Citizens for Legitimate Government, a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush Coup d'Etat and oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.

Citizens For Legitimate Government
is a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush coup d'etat, and to oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.

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October 2008 Archives, Page Two

SWAT teams on standby if McCain wins US election 24 Oct 2008 US police fear riots could break out if John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, wins steals the election next month. Law enforcement officials say the intense public interest and historic nature of the vote could lead to violent outbreaks if people are unhappy with the results, encounter problems casting their ballots or suspect voting irregularities. Police departments say they cannot rule out disorder and are mobilising extra forces and putting SWAT teams on standby. In Oakland, near San Francisco, police will have tactical squads, SWAT teams and officers trained in riot control on standby.

Ballots picked up, then disappear --The disappearance of some absentee ballots, picked up under unusual circumstances, has raised some serious questions. 25 Oct 2008 Three Hialeah voters say they had an unusual visitor at their homes last week: a man who called himself Juan, offering to help them fill out their absentee ballots and deliver them to the elections office. The voters, all supporters of Democratic congressional candidate Raul Martinez, said they gave their ballots to the man after he told them he worked for Martinez. But the Martinez campaign said he doesn't work for them... He and two other voters told The Miami Herald that the man was dispatched by a woman caller who also said she worked for Martinez. But the phone number cited by the voters traces back to a consultant working for Martinez's rival, Republican congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

Rokita wants charges filed against ACORN in Lake County --Left-leaning group says it obeyed law, calls GOP secretary of state's actions partisan 28 Oct 2008 (IN) The Republican secretary of state [right-leaning Todd Rokita] insisted Monday he has evidence that left-leaning ACORN broke the law by submitting fraudulent registration cards in Lake County -- cards that ACORN says it had to submit or it would have broken a different state law.

More than 50,000 registered Georgia voters "flagged" by computer mismatch 26 Oct 2008 Kyla Berry is one of more than 50,000 registered Georgia voters who have been "flagged" because of a computer mismatch in their personal identification information. At least 4,500 of those people are having their citizenship questioned and the burden is on them to prove eligibility to vote. Experts say lists of people with mismatches are often systematically cut, or "purged," from voter rolls. It's a scenario that's being repeated all across the country, with cases like Berry's raising fears of potential vote suppression in crucial swing states. "What most people don't know is that every year, elections officials strike millions of names from the voter rolls using processes that are secret, prone to error and vulnerable to manipulation," said Wendy Weiser, an elections expert with New York University's Brennan Center for Justice.

30 Florida counties won't follow state's voter ID suggestion 28 Oct 2008 Florida's Broward and Miami-Dade counties have announced that they will buck the state's recommendations for handling voters flagged by the controversial Florida Voter Verification Law on election day, streamlining the process to require less paperwork from challenged voters. The state's final unverified list, released Monday, leaves the voting status of more than 12,000 newly registered voters in limbo unless they can clear up identification mismatches in driver's license and Social Security databases.

Judge rules Ohio homeless voters may list park benches as addresses 28 Oct 2008 A federal judge in Ohio has ruled that counties must allow homeless voters to list park benches and other locations that aren't buildings as their addresses. U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus also ruled that provisional ballots can't be invalidated because of poll worker errors.

Obama has firm leads in Colo., Pa. 28 Oct 2008 Barack Obama is firmly ahead of John McCain in both Colorado and Pennsylvania, a new Politico/InsiderAdvantage poll shows. In the swing state of Colorado, Obama posts an 8-point lead over McCain, besting him 53 percent to 45 percent. He holds a similar advantage in Pennsylvania, where he tops McCain by 9 percentage points, 51 percent to 42 percent.

Poll: 81 percent of Penn students prefer Obama 27 Oct 2008 If Barack Obama were running against John McCain for the undergraduate assembly, Obama would win in a landslide. On Penn's campus, 81 percent of students said they support Obama, compared to 17 percent who said they support McCain, according to a CBS News/Chronicle of Higher Education/UWire poll released today.

Police foil plot by white supremacists to kill Obama 28 Oct 2008 A plot by far-right extremists to assassinate Barack Obama and kill and decapitate dozens of other black Americans at a school has been broken up, US officials claimed yesterday. Both Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman bought nylon rope and ski masks to use in robberies and allegedly planned to go from state to state killing people. To kill Mr Obama, the two suspects "planned to drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Mr Obama, shooting at him from the windows", according to the court documents.

McCain adviser: Palin is 'a whack job.' By Ali Frick 28 Oct 2008 The infighting within the McCain campaign has become increasingly public, with growing frustration directed at Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK). Last week, CNN reported that one McCain source called Palin "a diva" who "takes no advice from anyone." Politico’s Mike Allen reports another McCain adviser’s criticism of Palin: In convo with Playbook, a top McCain adviser one-ups the priceless "diva" description, calling her "a whack job."

Ted Stevens' conviction the crowning blow in bad year for GOP senators 28 Oct 2008 More than a year ago, The Ticket noted how everything seemed to be coming up roses for the Democrats as the landscape took shape for 2008 Senate races. Now, with the election a week away, the party caught still another break with the conviction this afternoon of the longest-serving Republican in the Senate -- Ted Stevens of Alaska -- on all seven counts of failing to report an array of gifts. Most obviously, the jury's verdict is a huge blow to Stevens' bid for a seventh full Senate term.

US-backed Afghan leaders seek peace talks with the Taliban 28 Oct 2008 Pakistani and Afghan leaders have agreed to seek peace talks with the Taliban in a bid to end 'insurgent' violence on the frontline of the United States-led "war on terror". The official announcement follows weeks of secret talks between Afghan officials and figures from the hardline Islamist militia, tacitly supported by officials in Washington. It also comes after growing acknowledgements from British and American military commanders that a long-term military defeat of the Taliban in war-torn Afghanistan is unfeasible.

U.S. Calls Raid a Warning to Syria 28 Oct 2008 U.S. troops in helicopters flew four miles into Syrian territory over the weekend to target the leader of a network that channels foreign fighters from Syria into Iraq [help McCain], killing or wounding him and shooting dead several armed men eight civilians, including four children, U.S. officials said Monday. Officials said the raid Sunday, apparently the first acknowledged instance of U.S. ground forces operating in Syria, was intended to send a warning to the Syrian government.

Syria warns US: an eye for an eye [Good! I am sick of the US carrying out war crimes daily--using our tax dollars.] 27 Oct 2008 Syria has warned the United States of retaliatory measures if Washington launches another incursion into the country's territories. "We would defend our territories" if the US repeats such a "criminal and terrorist aggression" against Syria, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Monday, a day after US commandoes launched a cross-border attack on a small Syrian border town. During the raid, the commandoes onboard four helicopters killed at least eight people, including four children in the village of al-Sukkiraya.

Iraq denounces U.S. raid on Syria 28 Oct 2008 Iraq's government denounced on Tuesday a U.S. air strike on a Syrian border village in an unexpected rebuke of Washington. "The Iraqi government rejects U.S. aircraft bombarding posts inside Syria. The constitution does not allow Iraq to be used as a staging ground to attack neighboring countries," spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said. Dabbagh said Iraq had opened an investigation into the incident and urged U.S. forces not to repeat it.

Syria closes U.S. institutions after raid 28 Oct 2008 Syria decided on Tuesday to close an American school and a cultural center in Damascus, in an apparent response to a U.S. military raid that the authorities said killed eight civilians.

British troops to leave Iraq early next year 28 Oct 2008 British Defence Secretary, John Hutton, has hinted at a withdrawal of around 4,000 troops from Iraq by early next year. Mr Hutton has told British MPs: "We've got two very finite and clear missions in Iraq. They are progressing well and we hope in the early part of next year we can make some very significant decisions about UK force levels in Iraq."

Kirkuk dispute threatens to plunge Iraq into Kurdish-Arab war --Study warns dispute over territories and revenues in oil region could lead to violence greater than Sunni-Shia conflict 28 Oct 2008 ...A festering Kurdish-Arab conflict over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other disputed territories could explode into the worst sectarian war the country has suffered since the 2003 invasion, a new report says today. At the heart of the dispute is the city of Kirkuk, home to 900,000 Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen, which sits on one of the country's biggest oil fields. It lies outside the northern zone run by the Kurdistan Regional Government, but is in practice run by Kurdish peshmerga fighters and a Kurdish intelligence service, the Asaish, which works closely with US intelligence.

Judge: Guantanamo prisoner's confession to Afghan police obtained through torture 28 Oct 2008 A young Guantanamo prisoner's confession to Afghan police was obtained through torture and cannot be used as evidence in his trial on charges of wounding U.S. soldiers with a grenade, a judge in the U.S. war crimes [kangaroo] court ruled on Tuesday. High-ranking Afghan government officials threatened to kill Mohammed Jawad and his family unless he admitted throwing the grenade that wounded the soldiers and their Afghan interpreter at a bazaar in Kabul in December 2002, the judge found. Jawad was 16 or 17 at the time and appeared to have been drugged, said the judge, Army Col. Stephen Henley.

Former Guantanamo tribunals advisor target of military ethics probe 27 Oct 2008 The US Air Force is conducting an ethics investigation of Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann over allegations that he abused his power and inappropriately influenced the prosecution of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, military officials said Saturday. Hartmann was the legal advisor to the US military commissions at Guantanamo and supervisor of the Office of Military Commissions-Prosecution (OMC-P) until he was reassigned to the position of director of operations of the Office of Military Commissions last month.

Guantanamo tribunals overseer under investigation 25 Oct 2008 A Pentagon official overseeing the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals is the subject of two investigations into his conduct, including one wide-ranging ethics examination into whether he abused his power and improperly influenced the prosecutions of enemy combatants. An internal Air Force investigation into the activities of Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann appears to be the more significant of the two probes because it was launched only after a preliminary inquiry found sufficient grounds to move forward, military officials said.

Four in court after terror raids 28 Oct 2008 Four men are due in court charged with terror offences following a series of raids in Birmingham, police said. Three of the men were charged with engaging in conduct with the intention of assisting [!] in the commission of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2006, West Midlands Police said. A fourth man, from Hodge Hill, Birmingham, was charged with failure to disclose information relating to an act of terrorism, under the Terrorism Act 2000.

DHS screening to require air travelers to fork out more info 23 Oct 2008 Starting early next year, air travelers will have to provide their birth date and gender, as well as their full names to the airline when making flight reservations. Domestic airlines are required to collect the additional information under a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program called Secure Flight, which after five years of delay and controversy finally became a formal security rule this week. The requirement will also apply to nontravelers escorting disabled persons or minors to departure gates.

Alert Issued at Penn. Nuclear Plant 28 Oct 2008 Officials at the Susquehanna Steam Electric Plant in Luzerne County issue an alert Monday afternoon. The alert went out just after noon after oxygen levels in one part of the plant dropped too low. A PPL spokesperson called it a low-level alert, but emergency workers were called to the nuclear power plant near Berwick

U.S. Stocks Rally, Dow Jones Industrials Climb 889 Points 28 Oct 2008 Stocks rallied and the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its second-best point gain as the cheapest valuations in 23 years lured investors and increased commercial paper sales signaled credit markets are thawing. The Dow climbed 889.35 points, or 11 percent, to 9,065.12.


U.S. threatens to halt services to Iraq without troop accord 26 Oct 2008 The U.S. military has warned Iraq that it will shut down military operations and other vital services throughout the country on Jan. 1 if the Iraqi government doesn't agree to a new agreement on the status of U.S. forces or a renewed United Nations mandate for the American mission in Iraq. Many Iraqi politicians view the move as akin to political blackmail, a top Iraqi official told McClatchy Sunday.

Report: US-Funded Iraq Water Treatment Project Late, Faulty and Over Budget --Project was so poorly conceived that there is no reliable electricity to run pumps and purification tanks 27 Oct 2008 A huge American-financed wastewater treatment plant in Falluja, which United States troops assaulted twice to root out insurgents aid US corpora-terrorist cronies in 2004, was supposed to be the centerpiece of an effort to rebuild Iraq. Instead, the project, which has tripled in cost from original plans to $100 million and has fallen about three years behind schedule, has become an example of the failed and often oversold program to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure with American dollars and 'skill.'

Syria Calls U.S. Incursion a "Terrorist" Assault [It is.] 27 Oct 2008 Syria described Monday as "terrorist aggression" a U.S. air and ground assault on a Syrian village near the Iraqi border that killed an alleged al-Qaeda leader and civilians on Sunday. "Killing civilians in international law means a terrorist aggression," Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told reporters in London, after talks with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, according to

US forces kill eight in helicopter raid on Syria 27 Oct 2008 American helicopters flying from Iraq landed inside Syria yesterday and dropped special forces who killed eight people, the Damascus government said last night, as Washington admitted it had targeted "foreign fighters." Syria warned that it held the US "wholly responsible for this act of aggression and all its repercussions".

Bigger role for US CIA drones in Pakistan 28 Oct 2008 Twenty people were killed last night in a missile strike by CIA Predator drone aircraft inside Pakistan amid reports that Washington is intensifying its aerial bombardment of the country after being forced to back away from plans to send in ground forces. The attack - the 18th in the past few weeks - targeted what was described as a "militant compound" close to Wana, the main town of the South Waziristan tribal agency... The latest strike and others carried out by the CIA were described last night by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as "disastrous".

Suspected US strike kills up to 20 in Pakistan 27 Oct 2008 A suspected U.S. missile strike on the house of a Taliban commander near the Afghan border killed up to 20 people Monday, Pakistani intelligence officials said. The reported strike occurred in the South Waziristan region, part of Pakistan's wild border zone that is considered a possible hiding place for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri. [OMG! Him again? Ayman al-Zawahri has already been killed and re-killed. These overly killed al-CIAduh guys keep popping up--no one is checking the number of times they've died, due to the election! See: Injured, re-killed Ayman al-Zawahri is back! By Lori Price 29 Sep 2008.]

Bomber in Police Uniform Kills 2 US soldiers in Afghanistan 28 Oct 2008 A suicide attacker in a police uniform blew himself up inside a police station in the northern province of Baghlan on Monday, killing two American soldiers and wounding another, Afghan officials said. An 8-year-old boy was also killed in the blast, and five Afghan policemen were wounded.

Gunfire brings down US helicopter in Afghanistan 27 Oct 2008 'Insurgents' exchanged fire with U.S. troops aboard a Black Hawk helicopter in central Afghanistan on Monday before the aircraft was hit and forced to land. Lt. Cmdr. Walter Matthews, a U.S. military spokesman, said there were no U.S. casualties as a result of the crash in a province neighboring Kabul.

Police will use new device to take fingerprints in street --Civil rights campaigners say images must not be added to databases 27 Oct 2008 Every police force in the UK is to be equipped with mobile fingerprint scanners - handheld devices that allow police to carry out identity checks on people in the street. The new technology for Project Midas, which ultimately may be able to receive pictures of suspects, is likely to be in widespread use within 18 months.

In bioterror dry-run, Kansas community turns flu shot clinic into dispensing station 25 Oct 2008 For the nurses who gave the shots, the police officers at the Abilene Community Center and others, the nine-hour walk-in influenza clinic on Thursday, was a test. For the first time, the Dickinson County health department partnered with Abilene Police, the Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management and others and turned the clinic into a point of dispensing event that satisfied their yearly requirement to prepare for a public health emergency or a [US-engendered] biological attack.

'Those are in quarantine, and they won't ever see the light of day.' Faulty Ballots Sent to D. C. Voters --Mailed absentee ballots are printed on demand by Sequoia for elections board 27 Oct 2008 As many as 126 District voters were mailed incorrect absentee ballots in the latest slip-up for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, already under scrutiny for mistakes made during the Sept. 9 primary. D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) says Sequoia Voting Systems, the company that provides the city with its 'voting' system and equipment, informed her office that there are at least 126 flawed absentee ballots.

This Year's Butterfly Ballot --This year, North Carolina’s flawed ballot could again result in tens of thousands of votes being lost. (The New York Times) 27 Oct 2008 Like a number of states, North Carolina allows its voters to choose a straight-party ticket. To do that, voters can mark one box and cast votes for all of the nominees of their preferred party. But North Carolina’s ballot has an unexpected twist. Even if a voter checks the straight-party box, he or she must vote separately for a presidential candidate. North Carolina’s ballot explains the need to check two boxes, and election officials make an effort to inform voters of the drill. But the ballot is still far too confusing.

Voting-Rights Groups Sue NM GOP, Alleging Voter Intimidation 27 Oct 2008 ACORN has announced that it's assisting in two lawsuits filed against the New Mexico Republican GOP, alleging voter intimidation. The ACLU and Project Vote -- a group that's been described as an ACORN affiliate -- are filing suit in state court, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is suing in federal court, according to Matthew Henderson of ACORN's New Mexico office*.

McCain guarantees victory 26 Oct 2008 Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press" that he can "guarantee" a win on Nov. 4 in a squeaker victory that won’t be clear until late that night. McCain spoke amid signs of a tightening race... "I guarantee you that two weeks from now, you will see this has been a very close race, and I believe that I'm going to win it," McCain told interim "Meet" moderator [Reichwing troll] Tom Brokaw. [LOL! Is the GOP planning to steal a third 'election?']

2 men arrested in alleged assassination plot aimed at Barack Obama --Authorities say two white supremacists planned to shoot 88 blacks and decapitate 14 others, with the presidential candidate as their final target. 27 Oct 2008 Federal authorities in Tennessee announced today that they have arrested two alleged white supremacists in an alleged plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama by driving their vehicle at top speed and firing high-powered rifles at him from their car windows. The plotters also allegedly discussed shooting 88 African Americans to death and decapitating 14 others in a killing spree across the country -- choosing the numbers 88 and 14 because, officials said, "they have special significance within the White Power movement."

Obama Assassination Plot Halted 27 Oct 2008 A US government agency said it has disrupted a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama. The agency said the alleged attack also threatened to either shoot or decapitate 102 black people in the state of Tennessee. Agents said they broke up plans by two "neo-Nazi skinheads" to rob a gun store and threaten a predominantly African-American high school, unsealed court records have revealed. The US government disrupted an unrelated alleged plot during the Democratic Party Convention in Denver, Colorado, in September.

Feds Thwart Alleged Obama Assassination Plot --ATF Agents Arrest Two Reputed Neo-Nazis for Alleged Plot Against Obama, Blacks 27 Oct 2008 The ATF has arrested two neo-Nazis for an alleged plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama. The alleged plotters [Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman] were also planning to kill 88 individuals by gunfire and 14 African-Americans by decapitation, federal law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

Ashley Todd, PA Racist Hoax "Victim," Was Paid Organizer for College Republican National Committee, Not a Volunteer By Meg White 27 Oct 2008 Last week, a troubled young woman handed the McCain campaign a Willie Horton-style race card, and the media helped them play it. The attack of a 20-year-old college student was seized upon by the Drudge Report as a "mutilation," and other conservative Web sites as fodder against the surging Obama campaign... Though Todd was an employee of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC), as confirmed today to BuzzFlash by a representative there named Ethan Eioln, nearly every report demoted her to the role of volunteer. In fact, she was hired by the CRNC and promised a contract wage of $3,600 from August until Election Day. After she was charged by police for filing a false report, her employment with the CRNC was terminated.

Halloween Palin Prop Sparks Controversy In WeHo 27 Oct 2008 A Halloween decoration showing a mannequin dressed as vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin hanging by a noose from the roof of a West Hollywood home is drawing giggles from some passers-by and gasps of outrage from others. The mannequin is dressed in brunet wig, glasses and a red business suit. Another mannequin dressed as John McCain emerges from a flaming chimney.

McCain pushed regulators for land swap, despite pledge 27 Oct 2008 Years after he resurrected his political fortunes from the Keating Five savings and loan investigation, John McCain promoted an Arizona land swap that would've benefited a former mentor and partner of the scandal's central figure.

Alaska Senator Is Convicted of Ethics Breach in Gift Scheme 28 Oct 2008 Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska was found guilty on Monday of violating ethics laws for failing to report gifts and services that he was given by friends. A federal jury of eight women and four men from the District of Columbia found that the Republican knowingly failed to list on Senate disclosure forms the receipt of several gifts and tens of thousands of dollars worth of remodeling work on his home in Girdwood, Alaska.

U.S. Sen. Stevens guilty of corruption charges 27 Oct 2008 U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska was convicted of corruption on Monday, a verdict that could endanger the Republican's political future and help Democrats expand control of the Senate in the Nov. 4 election. Stevens, 84, was convicted on all seven counts of lying on Senate disclosure forms by failing to report more than $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts from an oil executive.

Dozens of Call Center Workers Walk Off Job In Protest Rather Than Read McCain Script Attacking Obama By Greg Sargent 27 Oct 2008 Some three dozen workers at a telemarketing call center in Indiana walked off the job rather than read an incendiary McCain campaign script attacking Barack Obama, according to two workers at the center and one of their parents.

Big crowds for Obama's 'red-state tour' 26 Oct 2008 Barack Obama will conclude what aides referred to as a 10-day "red state tour" Monday, a trip that culminated in a two-day swing through three key Western states. With just over a week remaining in the contest, Obama's goal has as much to do with encouraging supporters to vote as with communicating his message. And his target has been states that George W. Bush 'won' in 2004 -- states where he has held every campaign event since Oct. 16.

Cost of crash: $2,800,000,000,000 28 Oct 2008 Autumn's market mayhem has left the world's financial institutions nursing losses of $2.8tn, the Bank of England said today, as it called for fundamental reform of the global banking system to prevent a repeat of turmoil "arguably" unprecedented since the outbreak of the first world war almost a century ago.

Zoo Puts Crate In Moat In Hopes of Getting Polar Bear Out --Zero In Moat For Two Weeks 27 Oct 2008 The Milwaukee County Zoo took steps on Monday to try and get Zero the polar bear back in his regular exhibit. It has placed a crate in the moat area with food to entice him to get in. The zoo director said there is fish, peanut butter and apples inside the crate.


'You'll have a revolution on your hands.' --Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CT So When Will Banks Give Loans? By Joe Nocera 25 Oct 2008 It is starting to appear as if one of Treasury’s key rationales for the recapitalization program -- namely, that it will cause banks to start lending again -- is a fig leaf, Treasury's version of the weapons of mass destruction. In fact, Treasury wants banks to acquire each other and is using its power to inject capital to force a new and wrenching round of bank consolidation... Mr. [Mark] Landler’s story noted that Treasury would even funnel some of the bailout money to help banks buy other banks. And, in an almost unnoticed move, it recently put in place a new tax break, worth billions to the banking industry, that has only one purpose: to encourage bank mergers... Late Thursday afternoon, I caught up with Senator Dodd, and asked him what he was going to do if the loan situation didn’t improve: "If it turns out that they are hoarding, you’ll have a revolution on your hands. People will be so livid and furious that their tax money is going to line their pockets instead of doing the right thing. There will be hell to pay."

'This is a dictatorial, after-the-fact pronouncement by him in line with a lot of other cherry-picking he's done on the signing statements.' --Sen. Arlen Specter, R-PA Administration to Bypass Reporting Law 25 Oct 2008 The Bush regime has informed Congress that it is bypassing a law intended to forbid political interference with reports to lawmakers by the Department of Homeland Security. The August 2007 law requires the agency’s chief privacy officer to report each year about Homeland Security activities that affect privacy, and requires that the reports be submitted directly to Congress "without any prior comment or amendment" by superiors at the department or the White House. But newly disclosed documents show that the Justice Department issued a legal opinion last January questioning the basis for that restriction, and that Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, later advised Congress that the administration would not "apply this provision strictly" because it infringed on the president's [sic] powers. Several members of Congress reacted with outrage to the administration’s claim, which was detailed in a memorandum posted this week on the Web site of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the move "unconstitutional."

'US troops' strike inside Syria 26 Oct 2008 US helicopter-borne troops have carried out a raid inside Syria along the Iraqi border, killing eight people including four children, Syrian officials say. The official Syrian news agency Sana said the raid took place in the Abu Kamal border area, in eastern Syria. It said that American soldiers on four helicopters had stormed a building under construction on Sunday night.

Syria: US choppers attack village near Iraq border 26 Oct 2008 U.S. military helicopters attacked territory inside Syria close to its border with Iraq Sunday, killing eight people in a strike the Syrian government condemned as "serious aggression." "We are taking matters into our own hands," a U.S. military official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of cross-border raids.

Deal on American presence in Iraq close to collapse 26 Oct 2008 Senior Iraqi politicians have warned that a crucial deal between Baghdad and Washington governing the presence of American troops in the country is doomed to failure after eight months of talks. "The Sofa [Status of Forces Agreement] is dead in the water," said one Iraqi politician close to the talks. He added that Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, believed that signing it would be "political suicide". The collapse of the deal would severely undermine American policy.

Powerful Iraqi party claims U.S. killed innocent man 26 Oct 2008 The most powerful Sunni Muslim party in Iraq issued an angry statement Saturday accusing Americans of covering up the killing of an innocent member of the party. The Iraqi Islamic Party of Vice President Tariq al Hashimi suspended all "official communication" with American military and civilian officials in Iraq Saturday until it receives an "explanation . . . official apology . . . and a vow to stop the campaign of harassment against the party."

Abu Nidal, notorious Palestinian mercenary, 'was a US spy' --Secret papers claim the feared assassin was hired to find links between Saddam and al-Qa'ida. By Robert Fisk 25 Oct 2008 Iraqi secret police believed that the notorious Palestinian assassin Abu Nidal was working for the Americans as well as Egypt and Kuwait when they interrogated him in Baghdad only months before the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Hitherto secret documents which are now in the hands of The Independent – written by Saddam Hussein's brutal security services for Saddam's eyes only – state that he had been "colluding" with the Americans and, with the help of the Egyptians and Kuwaitis, was trying to find evidence linking Saddam and al-Qa'ida. President [sic] George Bush was to use claims of a relationship with al-Qa'ida as one of the reasons for his 2003 invasion, along with Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Pentagon Finds KBR Violated Its Contract on Electrical Work in Iraq 25 Oct 2008 The Pentagon has rebuked its largest contractor in Iraq after a series of inspections uncovered shoddy electrical work and other problems on American military bases there, according to several Defense Department officials. The Defense Contract Management Agency, the Pentagon agency in charge of supervising contractors in Iraq, determined in August that KBR, the Houston-based company that provides virtually all basic services for the American military in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has been guilty of "serious contractual noncompliance" [not to mention, negligent homicide] in Iraq, the officials said. At least 18 people have died from electrocution since the March 2003 invasion, including 10 from the Army, 5 from the Marine Corps, 1 from the Navy and 2 military contractors.

KBR gets military projects worth $197 million 24 Oct 2008 Engineering, construction and services company KBR Inc. said late Thursday it received multiple project task orders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers totaling just over $197 million. KBR will provide design, engineering, construction management and project management services. Work is expected to begin immediately.

Air Force Probes General For Actions at Guantanamo 26 Oct 2008 The Air Force is investigating a top official in the Guantanamo war crimes trials following complaints that he inappropriately sought to influence the prosecution of cases, military officials said Saturday. Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann supervised the prosecution of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the legal adviser of the military commissions, until he was reassigned last month. Air Force Maj. David Frakt, who has represented several Guantanamo prisoners, said he and others alerted authorities to possible ethical violations by Hartmann.

Former generals support accused combatant's case 26 Oct 2008 Former generals and U.S. Justice Department officials filed briefs Thursday urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Bush administration's authority to indefinitely detain the only suspected enemy combatant held on U.S. soil. "This unprecedented expansion of executive authority within the borders of the United States is not only at odds with more than 200 years of history, but it is wholly unnecessary," argued former judges and officials including former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and former FBI Director William Sessions.

Two foreign DHL executives killed in Afghanistan 26 Oct 2008 On Saturday, an Afghan security guard working for the international shipping firm DHL shot dead the company's top two executives in the country before killing himself, authorities said. The early-morning attack, which killed a Briton and a South African, was as symbolic as it was bloody. It targeted a major multinational corporation at a time when Afghanistan is hungry for foreign investment. [Right, if militants attack corporations, their invading host countries will be forced to withdraw along with their parasites (US corpora-terrorists). --LRP]

Suspected US strike kills 10 in Pakistan: officials 26 Oct 2008 Suspected US spy drones fired missiles on Sunday into a militant training camp in a stronghold of Pakistan's top Taliban commander, killing at least 10 people, security officials said. The air strike in the restive South Waziristan tribal zone bordering Afghanistan was the latest in a string of attacks on Pakistani soil that have raised tensions between Islamabad and Washington.

USAF Creates Global Strike Command 24 Oct 2008 The U.S. Air Force will stand up a new major command called Global Strike Command devoted strictly to the nuclear enterprise, the service announced Oct. 24 at the Pentagon. Air Force leaders released a so-called roadmap, titled "Reinvigorating the Air Force Nuclear Enterprise," that details major actions the service will take.

White House Asks for Scrutiny of 200,000 Ohio Voter Registrations 25 Oct 2008 The White House has asked the Department of Justice to look into whether 200,000 new Ohio voters must reconfirm their registration information before Nov. 4. The action comes a week after the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a case brought by the Ohio Republican Party over the same issue. President [sic] Bush yesterday asked Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to review concerns over the voters raised by House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). Boehner wrote to Bush yesterday, saying, "I strongly urge you to direct Attorney General Mukasey and the Department of Justice to act."

Justice Dept. asked to probe Ohio voter records --Ohio Democrats labeled proposed investigation act of partisanship 25 Oct 2008 President [sic] Bush yesterday forwarded a request to the Department of Justice to investigate mismatched voter registration records in Ohio, as urged by U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R., West Chester, OH), House minority leader. A White House spokesman said the President would pass along to Attorney General Michael Mukasey the letter from Mr. Boehner asking the Justice Department to look into whether the state's voter rolls comply with the federal Help America Vote Act.

Warning on voting machines reveals oversight failure 26 Oct 2008 Disclosure of an election 'computer glitch' that could drop ballot totals for entire precincts is stirring new worries that an unofficial laboratory testing system failed for years to detect an array of flaws in $1.5 billion worth of 'voting' equipment sold nationwide since 2003. Texas-based Premier Elections Solutions last week alerted at least 1,750 jurisdictions across the country that special precautions are needed to address the problem in tabulation software affecting all 19 of its models dating back a decade.

Reuters poll shows McCain closing the gap 26 Oct 2008 Democrat Barack Obama's lead over Republican rival John McCain has dropped to 5 points, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Sunday. Obama leads McCain by 49 percent to 44 percent among likely U.S. voters in the daily tracking poll, which has a margin of error of 2.9 points. Obama's lead has dropped over the last three days [?!?] after hitting a high of 12 points on Thursday.

Obama calls McCain a Bush imitator 26 Oct 2008 Democrat Barack Obama portrayed Republican rival John McCain as a weak imitation of President [sic] George W. Bush on Sunday and warned a McCain White House would mean four more years of failed policies and broken politics. "We're not going to let George Bush pass the torch to John McCain," Obama told a crowd of more than 100,000 supporters who jammed a downtown Denver park and sprawled up the steps of the Colorado state capital building.

Palin now unpopular from within Republican camp 26 Oct 2008 News of tensions within the McCain camp has emerged after polls suggested Sarah Palin, who had a stunning initial honeymoon period on the campaign trail, is now dragging down the Republican Party. A poll released during the week found that Americans were growing wary of Palin as the country's possible number two leader.

'She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone.' Palin's 'going rogue,' McCain aide says 25 Oct 2008 With 10 days until Election Day, long-brewing tensions between GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin and key aides to Sen. John McCain have become so intense, they are spilling out in public, sources say. Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue." A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

Sarah Palin's hometown paper endorses Barack Obama: Obama for president --Palin's rise captivates us but nation needs a steady hand (The Anchorage Daily News) 26 Oct 2008 The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation. Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.

We Endorse Obama For President --Inspiring, Unifying --He would make the nation proud (The Hartford Courant) 26 Oct 2008 In its 244-year history, The Courant has endorsed only one Democratic candidate for president, Bill Clinton. Today we endorse a second Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama, with the hope that if elected, he governs from the middle as Mr. Clinton did... Mr. Obama has the right qualities of leadership, the elevating, can-do message that "we are the ones we have been waiting for" and the calm temperament for these anxious times.

Republican fears of historic Obama landslide unleash civil war for the future of the party 26 Oct 2008 Senior Republicans believe that John McCain is doomed to a landslide defeat which will hand Barack Obama more political power than any president in a generation. Aides to George W.Bush, former Reagan White House staff and friends of John McCain have all told The Sunday Telegraph that they not only expect to lose on November 4, but also believe that Mr Obama is poised to win a crushing mandate. They believe he will be powerful enough to remake the American political landscape with even more ease than Ronald Reagan did in 1980.

"OBAMA WINS!" --First American Newspaper with this Headline, 10 days before Election Day: New Mexico Sun News' Endorsement is a Prediction By Stephen Fox 23 Oct 2008 This is being printed and rolling off the presses, as I write this, on the front cover of Friday's edition of the New Mexico Sun News, circulation 10,000, Northern and Central New Mexico.

Parkway West suspends two more over targeting of Jews 25 Oct 2008 (MO) Parkway West Middle School officials suspended two more students, met with Jewish leaders and fielded calls from across the world Thursday, following an incident this week where sixth-graders targeted classmates in a student-titled "Hit A Jew Day." Parkway pokesman Paul Tandy said the school had now suspended five students in total.


Iraqi Sunni party suspends contact with U.S. over raid 26 Oct 2008 Iraq's leading Sunni party said Saturday that it is cutting contact with the U.S. to protest against an operation targeting its members in the Anbar province. The Iraqi Islamic Party, headed by Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, said in a statement that it has decided to suspend all formal contact with American civilian or military personnel until it receives an explanation along with a formal apology.

Iraq's prime minister won't sign U.S. troop deal 24 Oct 2008 Fearing political division in the parliament and in his country, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki won't sign the just-completed agreement on the status of U.S. forces in Iraq, a leading lawmaker said Friday. The new accord's demise would be a major setback for the Bush regime, which has been seeking to establish a legal basis for the extended presence of the 151,000 U.S. troops in this country...

Iraq can't spend its oil riches fast enough 24 Oct 2008 As much of the world grapples with the credit crisis, Iraq's government has an unusual money problem -- it can't spend its oil riches fast enough. Iraq's oil wells are pumping liquid gold at a steady rate. That oil wealth came to the fore this summer when the U.S. Government Accountability Office predicted Iraq could finish the year with as much as a $79 billion cumulative surplus. The August report drew anger in Congress, where members asked why the Iraqis haven't spent more of their own money on reconstruction efforts while U.S. taxpayers shell out $12 billion a month for military operations.

Afghanistan: Gunman kills 2 DHL executives --Briton among three shot dead outside DHL's offices in Kabul 25 Oct 2008 Three people, including one Briton, were killed today in a shooting in front of the offices of an international courier company in Kabul. The killings took place in front of the DHL headquarters in the upmarket Sher Pur area of Kabul, where many foreigners live.

US air force creates new nuclear command centre 25 Oct 2008 The United States air force is creating a new command centre to control nuclear weapons, after several high profile errors led to the dismissal of two top officials. In 2007 an air force bomber accidentally flew across the United States loaded with six nuclear weapons. Earlier this year it was revealed that nuclear missile fuses were inadvertently sent to Taiwan in 2006. [See: Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities'.]

Israel may turn to right as coalition talks crumble --An ultra-Orthodox party said it will not join a new coalition government being formed by prime minister-designate Tzipi Livni, opening the door for more hawkish parties to take control. 25 Oct 2008 Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's hopes of becoming the second woman to lead her nation suffered a serious setback on Friday when a critical political partner refused to join her in a new ruling coalition. The ultra-Orthodox Shas Party's decision makes it more likely that Israel will have to hold snap elections, which could propel Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu back into power.

Foreign companies' U.S. subsidiaries competing for bailout billions 25 Oct 2008 Insurers, automakers and American subsidiaries of foreign banks all want the Treasury Department to cut them a piece of the largest government rescue in U.S. history. The Financial Services Roundtable wrote Treasury officials on Friday requesting that the initiative to buy $250 billion in bank stock grow to cover insurers, auto companies, securities dealers and U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies, including banks. [This 'socialism,' aka welfare for Bush's corpora-terrorist cronies, is *outrageous.*]

U.S. to provide extra $320 mln to 'fight' bird flu 26 Oct 2008 The United States has promised to provide another 320 million U.S. dollars to beef up the international efforts in the 'fight against' bird flu, a visiting senior U.S. official said Saturday. Paula Dobriansky, U.S. Under Secretary of State, made the remarks on the sidelines of an international conference on bird flu opened earlier in the day in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the Egyptian MENA news agency reported.

U.S. Mulls Widening Bailout to Insurers 25 Oct 2008 The Treasury Department is considering buying equity stakes in insurance companies, a sign of how the government's $700 billion rescue program could turn into a piggy bank for a range of beleaguered industries. The availability of U.S. government cash in the middle of a global credit squeeze is drawing requests from insurance firms, auto makers, state governments and transit agencies.

Darpa Wants to See Inside Your House By Noah Shachtman 22 Oct 2008 The Pentagon wants to be able to peer inside your apartment building -- picking out where all the major rooms, stairways, and dens of evil-doers are. ...Darpa, the Defense Department's way-out research arm, is looking to develop a suite of tools for "external sensing deep inside buildings." The ultimate goal of this Harnessing Infrastructure for Building Reconnaissance (HIBR) project: "reverse the adversaries' advantage of urban familiarity and sanctuary and provide U.S. Forces with complete above- and below-ground awareness."

McCain got $7 million in excess donations: DNC 25 Oct 2008 John McCain received nearly $7 million in 6,652 donations that exceeded contribution limits while seeking the Republican presidential nomination, the Democratic National Committee said on Saturday. The DNC listed the figure in a complaint it said it will file on Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

AP: Palin pipeline terms curbed bids 25 Oct 2008 Gov. Sarah Palin's signature accomplishment -- a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 -- emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration, an Associated Press investigation shows. Despite Palin's boast of a smart and fair bidding process, the AP found that her team crafted terms that favored only a few independent pipeline companies and ultimately benefited the winner, TransCanada Corp. And contrary to the ballyhoo, there's no guarantee the pipeline will ever be built; at a minimum, any project is years away, as TransCanada must first overcome major financial and regulatory hurdles.

No guarantee gas pipeline will be built 25 Oct 2008 Contrary to Gov. Sarah Palin's campaign promises to "build a pipeline quickly," the massive project to send natural gas south is still no sure thing. TransCanada Corp. has been awarded a state license, but still needs approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is years away.

Palin wrongly suggests Congress bans oil exports 25 Oct 2008 On Thursday, a questioner at a town hall-style meeting in Wisconsin said he had heard that at least 75 percent of the oil drilled in Alaska was being sold to China and said, if true, he would like to know why. "No. It's not 75 percent of our oil being exported," Sarah Palin said, suggesting some of Alaska's oil, in fact, may be going abroad but not that much. "In fact," she added, "Congress is pretty strict on, um, export bans of oil and gas especially." No. Alaska oil has been exported since 2004, and little if any since 2000, according to the Energy Information Administration and the Congressional Research Service.

'Frugal' Sarah Palin faces second hearing on Troopergate 25 Oct 2008 Sarah Palin dismissed criticism over the $150,000 (£94,000) spent on her clothes since becoming John McCain’s running-mate, amid mounting evidence that she has become a significant drag on the Republican ticket. The Governor of Alaska spoke hours before giving a sworn deposition in the Troopergate inquiry in a hotel in St Louis, Missouri, as a second investigation opened into whether she abused her office by trying to have a state policeman fired to settle a personal score. A first report issued earlier this month concluded that she violated ethics laws in attempts to get her former brother-in-law sacked.

Bill Clinton and Obama plan joint appearance 25 Oct 2008 Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Missouri for events (the public ones, with reporters), not counting all of the fundraisers he's done around the country. Former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama will appear together "within the week," a source close to one of the men said.

Obama Makes Visit to a Most Beloved Supporter 25 Oct 2008 For the last 21 months, she has followed the odyssey of his presidential campaign like a spectator on a faraway balcony. She underwent a corneal transplant to see him on television... And on Friday, Senator Barack Obama spent the day here saying goodbye. At the Punahou Circle Apartments, a place of his own childhood, Madelyn Dunham, his grandmother, lay gravely ill. For weeks, Mr. Obama has talked to doctors and tracked her condition. When she was released from the hospital last week after surgery to repair a broken hip, he received word that he should not wait until after the election to make what he believes is most likely a final visit.

Prominent Republicans cross the aisle to endorse Obama 24 Oct 2008 Joel Haugen, a Republican fighting a tough congressional race against the Democrats in Oregon, has fallen out with his party. The reason: his surprise endorsement of Barack Obama for the presidency. "I believe in putting nation before party and my first priority is following my conscience with regard to what is best for America," Haugen said in a statement issued by his office today. "I have a huge amount of respect for John McCain, but I believe that he has more of a cold war mentality." Haugen is just one of many Republican politicians, dubbed "Obamicans", who have defected to Obama.

Judge rejects Montco lawyer's bid to have Obama removed from ballot 25 Oct 2008 A federal judge in Philadelphia last night threw out a complaint by a Montgomery County lawyer who claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was not qualified to be president and that his name should be removed from the Nov. 4 ballot. Philip J. Berg alleged in a complaint filed in federal district court on Aug. 21 against Obama, the Democratic National Committee and the Federal Election Commission, that Obama was born in Mombasa, Kenya.

Blame game: GOP forms circular firing squad [Aim high.] 23 Oct 2008 With despair rising even among many of John McCain’s own advisers, influential Republicans inside and outside his campaign are engaged in an intense round of blame-casting and rear-covering -- much of it virtually conceding that an Election Day rout is likely. A McCain interview published Thursday in The Washington Times sparked the latest and most nasty round of finger-pointing, with senior GOP hands close to President Bush and top congressional aides denouncing the candidate for what they said was an unfocused message and poorly executed campaign.

Wassup 2008 Posted by 60frames 24 Oct 2008 It's been eight long years since the boys said wassup to each other. Even with the effects of a down economy and imminent change in the White House, the boys are still able to come together and stay true to what really matters. (Video)

FDA Conspired with Chemical Industry to Declare Bisphenol-A Harmless By Mike Adams 24 Oct 2008 The FDA has been caught red-handed conspiring with the chemical industry to conclude that Bisphenol-A, the plastics chemical, is harmless to human health. As revealed by the Environmental Working Group, the FDA based its evaluation of BPA on a report authored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), a trade group that represents chemical companies and plastics manufacturers.


Treasury to Extend Bailout Funds to Insurance Companies 24 Oct 2008 The Treasury Department is working on ways to broaden its $700 billion bank rescue program to help [Bush's corpora-terrorist cronies] insurance companies that are a critical backstop to a wide range of deals, bond issues and leasing arrangements, sources familiar with the matter said.

KBR gets military projects worth $197 million 24 Oct 2008 Engineering, construction and services company KBR Inc. said late Thursday it received multiple project task orders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers totaling just over $197 million. KBR will provide design, engineering, construction management and project management services. Work is expected to begin immediately. [See: KBR Awarded U.S. Department of Homeland Security Contingency Support for Emergency Support Services 24 Jan 2006 ( The contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Program facilities... to support the rapid development of new programs.]

Blackwater Floats Private Navy to Fight Pirates [Uh, Blackwater mercenaries *are* the pirates. Pirates, terrorists and sociopaths--all funded by US taxpayers] 24 Oct 2008 Foreign navies have begun patrolling the Gulf of Aden to rein in the pirate gangs off the coast of northern Somalia, but they have had only limited success. As a result, ship owners have seen insurance premiums for coverage of passage through the Straits of Aden climb from an average of $900 to $9,000. It's bad news for shippers, but an opportunity for Blackwater Worldwide. Last week, the company announced plans to dispatch the MV MacArthur, a 183-foot vessel with a crew of 14 and a helicopter pad, to the Gulf of Aden to provide escort services for ships in need of security.

NATO warships ready to tackle piracy off Somalia 24 Oct 2008 NATO warships are in place off the Somali coast to tackle rampant piracy in the waters, and are ready to escort UN aid vessels under threat, a spokesman for the alliance's naval command said Friday. "The boats are in the area. They have started their deterrent role," a spokesman at NATO's naval command in Naples, Italy said by telephone, adding that the three vessels "would escort UN ships on request".

U.S. pressuring Iraq on security pact – Iran cleric 24 Oct 2008 The United States is putting pressure on Iraqis to accept a security pact that outlines how long U.S. troops will stay, an influential Iranian cleric said on Friday, after Baghdad called for changes to the draft. '(An) issue of importance to us and the region is the pressure that the Americans are exerting on the Iraqis to impose a security pact on them,' said Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president who heads a powerful clerical body.

Bahrain questions US war on terror 22 Oct 2008 Bahrain's prime minister says the war on [of] terror advocated by the White House has bolstered violence and terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. "The objective (of the war on terror) was to reinstate security and stability in Afghanistan and Iraq and purge terrorism. The current situation, however, runs counter to that goal," Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa said Wednesday.

No signs of Qaeda election threat - U.S. 24 Oct 2008 Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] has shown no signs it plans to attack the United States during the presidential election, but the government must keep guard during the 2-1/2-month transition to a new president, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Thursday. Chertoff added the global economic turmoil had yet to cause any visible change in al Qaeda's strategy, although the financial crisis could reduce state and local spending on security. [Will Bush attack us again and invoke martial law during the 2-1/2 month 'transition' period?]

Both sides gird for legal challenges in US election 24 Oct 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain vaulted state squabbles over voter registration onto the national agenda this month when he said one group was on the brink of pulling off the greatest election fraud in history. "The nightmare scenario we fear is that the 2008 election will be a rerun of 2000 and, if the election is as close as many expect, neither side will concede to the other on election night," co-chairmen John Danforth and Warren Rudman wrote. [So this is the GOP plan: McInsane will not concede, so that Obama's four years in office are plagued with dissent, lawsuits and threats so that he is pressured to sell out and govern from the 'center.' --LRP]

Tempers rise as GOP, Dems argue over voter registration 24 Oct 2008 Frances Graham says she convinced 138 citizens to vote for the first time this year. Among those citizens were Ian Meyer, Cathy Sotello, and Donna Siley. But Harris County eventually rejected them and more than 30 others to the bewilderment of Graham. Greenblatt: "So they do everything right?" Graham: "They do everything right." Greenblatt: "Yet, they're still getting rejected?" Graham: "They're still getting rejected..." Democrats allege that Republicans want to block new registrations because studies show new voters are more likely to vote for Democrats in the current election.

Cops: McCain Worker Made Up Attack Story --Pittsburgh Woman to Be Charged With Making False Report After Claiming "B" Was Carved Into Face By Mugger 24 Oct 2008 A John McCain campaign volunteer made up a story of being robbed, pinned to the ground and having the letter "B" scratched on her face in a politically inspired attack, police said Friday. Ashley Todd, 20-year-old college student from College Station, Texas, admitted Friday that the story was false, police said. Maurita Bryant, the assistant chief of the police department's investigations division, said Todd is being charged with making a false police report.

McCain Communications Director Gave Reporters Incendiary Version of "Carved B" Story Before Facts Were Known By Greg Sargent 24 Oct 2008 John McCain's Pennsylvania communications director told reporters in the state an incendiary version of the hoax story about the attack on a McCain volunteer well before the facts of the case were known or established -- and even told reporters outright that the "B" carved into the victim's cheek stood for "Barack," according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.

No Shirt, No Shoes, NObama --How an Obama sweatshirt got one Columbus woman banned from UDF for life 02 Oct 2008 Renee Barker walked into the store while her fiancé and their dogs waited in the car. After being told the store had no batteries, the clerk behind the counter, Mark Medina, offered up a curious request: "Can I tell you about my candidate, John McCain?" he asked her. The comment caught Barker off-guard momentarily. She noticed he was looking at her chest. Then it clicked--she was wearing her Obama sweatshirt.

Satire: GOP Sees Chance of Stealing Election Slipping Away By R J Shulman 24 Oct 2008 As polls indicate that Senator Barack Obama is slowly pulling away from rival John McCain, Republican leaders are concerned they will not be able to steal the election. "We project that we can overcome up to seven points of an actual Obama lead with the strategy we have in place," said Winthrop Downing of the Republican National Committee. Downing told the Post Times Sun Dispatch that this strategy, named Operation American Freedom, which was used successfully in 2000 in Florida and in 2004 in Ohio, uses shock and awe to disorient the opponent. (Satire)

Good riddance: GOP 'goner' list warns of House rout 23 Oct 2008 An internal document circulating among House Republicans warns of an impending congressional bloodbath [<g>], listing 58 Republican-held House seats being at risk, and 11 already considered as good as gone. As many as 34 GOP-held seats are in serious jeopardy of swinging to Democrats, the assessment shows.

Barr Says McCain is on his 'Farewell Tour' 22 Oct 2008 Bob Barr says that Sen. John McCain is on his "farewell tour" across America, as it has become clear that Sen. McCain has no realistic chance of winning the presidential election. "The wheels on the Straight Talk Express have come off," says Barr, the Libertarian Party's nominee for president. "Sen. McCain will be spending the last two weeks before the election on his 'farewell tour' across America."

Reagan Appointee and (Recent) McCain Adviser Charles Fried Supports Obama 24 Oct 2008 Charles Fried, a professor at Harvard Law School, has long been one of the most important conservative thinkers in the United States. Under President Reagan, he served, with great distinction, as Solicitor General of the United States. Since then, he has been prominently associated with several Republican leaders and candidates, most recently John McCain, for whom he expressed his enthusiastic support in January. This week, Fried announced that he has voted for Obama-Biden by absentee ballot.

Republican former Mass. governor endorses Obama 24 Oct 2008 Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, a Republican, endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president on Friday, citing the senator's good judgment, "deep sense of calm" and "first-class political temperament." Weld said he's never endorsed a Democrat for president before, but in the last six weeks or so, it became "close to a no-brainer."

Former governor Carlson endorses Obama --Republican gives four reasons for leap 24 Oct 2008 Saying he is looking for a leader who can overcome partisanship and unite the nation, former Republican Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson on Thursday endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president. "We have in Barack Obama the possibility of a truly great president," Carlson said at a state Capitol rally for the Democratic candidate.

Ex-Bush press secretary McClellan endorses Barack Obama 23 Oct 2008 Scott McClellan, President [sic] Bush's former press secretary, announced Thursday that he is endorsing Barack Obama for president. McClellan is the second former Bush administration official this week to come out in support of the Democratic presidential candidate. Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell announced his endorsement last weekend.

Navajo Council Endorses Obama 23 Oct 2008 As of Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama has yet another tribal endorsement — the Navajo Nation. "I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Navajo Nation," Obama said in a statement. The 88-member Navajo council voted 59-21 in its fall legislative session to endorse Obama. The Navajo Nation joins more than 100 tribal leaders, tribal organizations and tribes that have endorsed Sens. Obama and Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Barack Obama for President (The New York Times) 24 Oct 2008 The United States is battered and drifting after eight years of President [sic] Bush’s failed leadership. He is saddling his successor with two wars, a scarred global image and a government systematically stripped of its ability to protect and help its citizens -- whether they are fleeing a hurricane’s floodwaters, searching for affordable health care or struggling to hold on to their homes, jobs, savings and pensions in the midst of a financial crisis that was foretold and preventable. As tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy. After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States.

Courant to Endorse Obama 24 Oct 2008 2008 The Hartford Courant [a Reichwing rag] will endorse Sen. Barack Obama, only the second Democrat the newspaper has backed for president in its 244-year history. The endorsement, to be printed in Sunday's newspaper and released on at 5 p.m. Saturday, cites Obama's leadership qualities, his can-do message and his calm temperament.

Palin divides the country and her own party 24 Oct 2008 What we're finding on this trip is that Sarah Palin is an extremely polarising figure. She thrills socially conservative Republicans while alienating moderate Republicans and enraging Democrats, and we saw that during our trip through Colorado. John McCain wasn't social conservatives' first choice of candidate, but they cheered his choice of Sarah Palin. In an interview this week, Palin told Colorado Springs-based evangelical leader and broadcaster James Dobson that God "would do the right thing" on election day.

Palin adds to wardrobe before Reno campaign stop 24 Oct 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's wardrobe has grown--even after $150,000 worth of designer clothes, hairstyling and accessories the Republican Party provided for her. On Monday, the day before the Alaska governor appeared at a Reno rally, one of her assistants bought her a new suit for the occasion at an Ann Taylor store in an upscale Reno mall.

Palin's wardrobe expenses prompt complaint to FEC 23 Oct 2008 A watchdog group [Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission Wednesday alleging that the Republican Party broke federal campaign laws by buying Sarah Palin and her family about $150,000 in clothes for campaign appearances. The complaint names as defendants Palin, the RNC, Larson and other operatives associated with the RNC.

New Poll Finds Stark Reversal on Perceptions of Palin 24 Oct 2008 Public perceptions of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin have fallen dramatically since she emerged on the national political scene at the GOP convention. A majority of likely voters in a new Washington Post-ABC News national poll now have unfavorable views of the Alaska governor, most still doubt her presidential qualifications and there is an even split on whether she "gets it."

Bloch ousted as special counsel 23 Oct 2008 Special Counsel Scott Bloch is being forced out of office, according to sources close to the agency. Employees say Bloch was fired by the White House earlier today. On Monday, Bloch announced plans to resign from the agency Jan. 5. He’s under federal investigation for allegedly destroying data on a computer linked to a whistleblower retaliation case in the office.

EPA weakens new lead rule after White House objects 23 Oct 2008 After the White House intervened, the Environmental Protection Agency last week weakened a rule on airborne lead standards at the last minute so that fewer polluters would have their emissions monitored. The EPA on Oct. 16 announced that it would dramatically reduce the highest acceptable amount of airborne lead from 1.5 micrograms of lead per cubic meter to 0.15 micrograms. It was the first revision of the standard since EPA set it 30 years ago.

Polar bears dying out in Russian region: expert 24 Oct 2008 Polar bears are dying out in the remote Arctic region of Chukotka because of melting ice and increased killing by humans, an expert with the International Fund for Animal Welfare warned on Friday. "If this tendency continues, the population will disappear very quickly, said Nikita Ovsyanikov, a researcher from Wrangel Island natural park in Chukotka who has spent the past 18 years studying polar bears in the region. "We need to create new protected areas in the Arctic," said Ovsyanikov, who has conducted research on behalf of IFAW.

Zoo polar bear passes away --Snowball was oldest living zoo polar bear in the U.S. 24 Oct 2008 Snowball, a wild born 37-year-old polar bear, died unexpectedly at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Friday at approximately 10:30 a.m. She was the oldest zoo polar bear in the United States.


'It's payback time,' banks warned in threat letters 23 Oct 2008 Letters containing white powder that were sent to more than 50 financial institutions warned that "it's payback time," the FBI said Thursday. "Steal tens of thousands of people's money and not expect repercussions. It's payback time. What you just breathed in will kill you within 10 days. Thank [word redacted] and the FDIC for your demise," said one letter released by the FBI on Thursday. Most of the letters contained a powder that the FBI said is harmless. More than 50 letters were received this week at financial institutions in 11 states and the District of Columbia, the FBI said.

Canada 'had role in torture' 22 Oct 2008 Canadian officials indirectly contributed to the arrest and torture of three Canadian citizens in Syria and Egypt, a Canadian inquiry has found. Canadians Ahmad El Maati, Abdullah Almalki and Muayyed Nureddin were arrested by Syrian Military Intelligence during trips abroad between 2001 and 2004 on allegations of having links to 'al-Qaeda.' Frank Iacobucci, a retired supreme court judge who conducted the inquiry, concluded the men had been tortured with methods such as beatings with electric cables, burning with cigarettes and being kicked in the genitals.

U.S. Pressed to Turn Over Detainee Papers --British Court Blasts Inaction, Says Documents Are Vital to Guantanamo Case 23 Oct 2008 The British High Court yesterday condemned the U.S. government's failure to turn over intelligence documents that could support the claims of a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who has argued that statements he made confessing to terrorism resulted from torture and are, therefore, worthless. In a judgment, the British jurists hinted that unless the 42 documents are handed over quickly to the defense counsel as part of a habeas corpus proceeding in U.S. District Court, the London court might take that step itself, despite the threat of damage to ties between the two countries. Binyam Mohammed says he was tortured while in Pakistani custody before being secretly transferred by the United States to Morocco, where, he says, he was again tortured, including having his penis cut with a razor blade. Mohammed was sent to Guantanamo in May 2004.

Up to 11 killed, 22 wounded in Baghdad suicide-car bombing 23 Oct 2008 The death toll from a suicide car bombing which targeted the convoy of Iraq's labor minister on Thursday morning, rose to 11 with 22 others injured, an Interior Ministry source said. "Our latest reports said that 11 people were killed and 22 others wounded by the suicide car bombing that struck the convoy of Mahmoud Jawad al-Radhi, the minister of labor, in the Bab al-Sharji area in central Baghdad," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

'Appalling' RAF to blame for Iraq death, says wife 23 Oct 2008 British Defence chiefs must accept the blame for the death of an Australian man serving in the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Iraq in 2005, his wife says. Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel, 35, a former Royal Australian Air Force officer from Victoria, was the first Australian serving with a military group to be killed in Iraq when a Hercules flight he was on board crashed.

3 US coalition troops killed in Afghanistan 23 Oct 2008 The U.S military says a roadside bomb in western Afghanistan killed three U.S. coalition troops, while 18 Taliban fighters died in clashes elsewhere in the country. In a statement released Thursday, the military said the bomb that struck the U.S. coalition vehicle Wednesday also wounded another coalition member.

'US missile' hits Pakistani village 23 Oct 2008 A suspected US missile has landed in a Pakistani village in North Waziristan targeting a religious school. Witnesses said the target of early Thursday's attack was the school founded by the Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani in the main town of Miranshah. US drones attacked the school nearly one month ago and killed 23 people --mostly civilians.

IMF moves to bail out Pakistan 23 Oct 2008 The International Monetary Fund moved Wednesday to bail out cash-strapped Pakistan in the Fund's first bid to shore up an Asian economy following global financial turmoil. The Washington-based fund said Pakistan had sought its help to deal with a balance of payments crisis, which had raised the prospect of the violence-hit country defaulting on its foreign debts.

U.S. puts new pressure on Iran 24 Oct 2008 The United States on Thursday beefed up its sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, accusing the elite military unit of illegal trade in missile technology and 'weapons of mass destruction.'

Top Iran officials recommend preemptive strike against Israel 22 Oct 2008 Senior Tehran officials are recommending a preemptive strike against Israel to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear reactors, a senior Islamic Republic official told foreign diplomats two weeks ago in London. The official, Dr. Seyed G. Safavi, said recent threats by Israeli authorities strengthened this position, but that as of yet, a preemptive strike has not been integrated into Iranian policy.

Packs of robots will hunt down uncooperative humans By Paul Marks 22 Oct 2008 The latest request from the Pentagon jars the senses. At least, it did mine. They are looking for contractors to provide a "Multi-Robot Pursuit System" that will let packs of robots "search for and detect a non-cooperative human"... Given that iRobot last year struck a deal with Taser International to mount stun weapons on its military robots, how long before we see packs of droids hunting down pesky demonstrators with paralysing weapons? Or could the packs even be lethally armed?... Steve Wright of Leeds Metropolitan University is an expert on police and military technologies, and last year correctly predicted this pack-hunting mode of operation would happen.

'Here's what the law says, please explain why you're not following the law.' Can't Touch This --Why did the NSA classify 'public' report on wiretaps? 23 Oct 2008 When Congress passed a landmark electronic-spying bill last summer, the measure included a key provision that ordered the inspectors general of U.S. intelligence agencies to produce the first-ever public report on President [sic] Bush's warrantless-surveillance program. The report isn't due until next July--long after Bush leaves office. But when the inspectors general recently submitted their first "interim" report to Congress under the measure, it wasn't made public. Instead, the brief document, written by CIA inspector general John Helgerson, was marked classified--a move that has drawn a stiff protest from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes.

McCain Campaign Limits Press Access For Election Night 23 Oct 2008 Republican John McCain is not going to make his election night remarks in the traditional style _ at a podium standing in front of a sea of campaign workers jammed into a hotel ballroom. The throng of supporters will hold the usual election night party at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix on the evening of Nov. 4. But the Republican presidential nominee plans to address another group of supporters and a small group of reporters on the hotel lawn; his remarks will be simultaneously piped electronically to the party inside and other reporters in a media filing center, aides said. [LOL! McCoward won't attend his own surrender ceremony.]

Early voting 'boosts Democrats' 23 Oct 2008 A huge surge in early voting across key states appears to be helping the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. In one swing state, North Carolina, Democratic early voting is up 400% in the first week, with similar patterns in Ohio, Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico. Early voting now takes place in 34 states, although votes are only counted on 4 November. Up to one-third of all ballots are expected to be cast before election day, compared to one in five in 2004.

Florida's GOP lawmakers blamed for early-voting lines 22 Oct 2008 Republican legislators led a charge three years ago to set new statewide standards limiting the number of polling sites and their hours of operation. Those revamped rules trimmed early voting from 12 hours per workday to eight. During the first presidential election since Gov. Jeb Bush signed the bill in 2005, the new law's impact can be seen throughout South Florida: exhausting lines at polling sites in Miami-Dade and Broward that led voters to miss work, senior citizens to beg for chairs and voting advocates to question whether some are being disenfranchised.

McCain campaign paid Republican operative accused of voter fraud 22 Oct 2008 John McCain paid $175,000 of campaign money to a Republican operative accused of massive voter registration fraud in several states, it has emerged. As the McCain camp attempts to tie Barack Obama to claims of registration irregularities by the activist group ACORN, campaign finance records detailing the payment to the firm of Nathan Sproul, investigated several times for fraud, threatens to derail that argument.

Keating law firm donates $50,000 to McCain campaign 22 Oct 2008 Campaign finance records have revealed that the law firm founded by Charles Keating - before he went to jail for fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy for his activities as chairman of Lincoln Savings and Loans - has made donations totalling over $50,000 to McCain's campaign. The Center for Responsive Politics has done the math, and says: "In amounts ranging from $200 to $2,300, about 30 partners and employees of the legal firm Keating, Muething and Klekamp, as well as their family members, have contributed $50,200 to McCain's 2008 campaign."

The Devil wears Prada: Republican Party spent $150,000 on Palin's wardrobe --McCain's running mate – now hit by revelations of a lavish shopping spree – is starting to hurt his poll ratings. By David Usborne Lipstick and Armani on a hockey mom sounds fine, but at that kind of cost? After "troopergate" in Alaska, another mini-scandal attached to Mrs Palin is not what is needed. Palin's shopping list: $150,000 well spent? Saks Fifth Avenue: $49,425.74. Neiman Marcus: $75,062.63 Macy's: $9,447.71 Barneys New York: $789.72 Bloomingdales: $5,102.71 Hair and make-up: $4,716.49 Expenditure comes to more than $150,000. That's $2,500 every day. Or four times the salary of your average 'Joe the plumber'

GOP donors critical of Palin's pricey threads 22 Oct 2008 The Republican National Committee’s $150,000 investment in Sarah Palin’s wardrobe has prompted some teeth gnashing among the party’s big donors about its political sensibility and a feisty debate among campaign finance specialists about its legality. "As a Republican Eagle and a maxed-out contributor to McCain’s general campaign, I’d like my money back – he can still have my vote," complained one irate donor on Tuesday.

The Lady Who Doesn't Like Polar Bears By Tom Hayden 23 Oct 2008 Every child in America should know that Sarah Palin is against saving polar bears from extinction. Then the kids should ask their parents, teachers and ministers what the adults are going to do about it. The first step should to click the 30-second video of a polar bear family searching for ice in Alaska, and read the scientific report... Sarah Palin refuses to believe that the ice is melting because of global warming caused by our emissions from oil and gas. So while her state's coastal areas melt away before her eyes, and the polar bear habitat disappears, she opposes the "threatened" listing, and even is suing the Bush Administration.

Sarah Palin becomes a burden to Republican ticket 22 Oct 2008 The embarrassing price tag of her campaign wardrobe and her blooper about the job description of US vice president confirm what recent polls say: Sarah Palin is a burden to the Republican presidential ticket. Seven weeks after John McCain picked her as his running mate, Americans are less and less convinced she is worthy to serve as the country's number two leader. In a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll out Wednesday that puts McCain 10 points behind his Democratic rival Barack Obama, 55 percent of respondents and potential voters said they believed that Palin is not cut out to be vice president.

Mega barf alert! McCain kicks off 'Joe the Plumber' tour 23 Oct 2008 John McCain stopped at a series of small businesses along central Florida’s I-4 corridor on Wednesday, hoping to win-over economically-anxious voters with a bus tour through one of the Sunshine State’s most buffeted and hotly contested regions. Today’s outing was dubbed the "Joe the Plumber Tour," after the Ohio voter GOP plant who critically questioned Barack Obama’s tax plans and became a rhetorical fixture was inserted by McInsane in the last presidential debate.

McCain Urged Reagan Admin to Meet Terror Groups Without Pre-Conditions By Jacob Alperin-Sheriff 23 Oct 2008 In 1987, John McCain cast several votes in an attempt to force the Reagan administration to meet with RENAMO, a guerrilla organization in Mozambique that State Department officials at the time described as a "terrorist group," without requiring that the group meet any preconditions. McCain's support for RENAMO directly contradicts his attacks on opponent Barack Obama for having "worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers" and having "pledged to meet, without preconditions, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea."

Dictator Bloomberg: Council Votes, 29 to 22, to Extend Term Limits 23 Oct 2008 After a spirited, emotional and at times raucous debate, the New York City Council voted, 29 to 22, on Thursday afternoon to extend term limits, allowing Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to seek re-election next year and undoing the result of two voter referendums that had imposed a limit of two four-year terms. The vote was a major victory for Mayor Bloomberg who decided just weeks ago that he wished to seek a third term for himself in 2009, and for the Council’s speaker, Christine C. Quinn. The city comptroller, William C. Thompson Jr., condemned the vote, calling it "an affront to New Yorkers." "It says that their votes and their voice do not matter, that bullying and heavy-handed threats are more powerful than democratic ideals," said Mr. Thompson, a Democrat who had planned to run for mayor next year.

Credit Suisse reports £670m loss 23 Oct 2008 Credit Suisse reported its second quarterly loss this year after writing down the value of leveraged loans and commercial property assets. The third-quarter net loss amounted to 1.26bn Swiss francs (£670m), compared with a profit of 1.3bn francs a year ago, Switzerland's second-biggest bank said. The result was in line with a preliminary estimate Credit Suisse announced last week.

Foreclosure crisis falls hard on veterans 23 Oct 2008 It was always hard for James Wilson, a disabled veteran of the Iraq War, to make the house payment... Wilson, who survived an ambush and separate car and truck explosions in Iraq, joins other veterans who have found themselves caught in the mortgage crisis. Although solid numbers on veteran foreclosures are not available, RealtyTrac, a Web site that follows foreclosures nationwide, reported earlier this year that areas with large numbers of military personnel have foreclosures at a rate four times the national average.


Police prepare for unrest on Election Day 21 Oct 2008 Police departments in cities across the country are beefing up their ranks for Election Day, preparing for possible civil unrest and riots after the historic presidential contest. Public safety officials said in interviews with The Hill that the election, which will end with either the nation’s first black president or its first female vice president [sociopath], demanded a stronger police presence.

ACLU Demands Information On Military Deployment Within U.S. Borders --Deployment Erodes Longstanding Separation Between Civilian And Military Government (ACLU) 21 Oct 2008 The American Civil Liberties Union today demanded information from the government about reports that an active military unit has been deployed inside the U.S. to help with "civil unrest" and "crowd control" – matters traditionally handled by civilian authorities. This deployment jeopardizes the longstanding separation between civilian and military government, and the public has a right to know where and why the unit has been deployed, according to an ACLU Freedom of Information request filed today.

MoD scientists 'deployed in UK' 21 Oct 2008 Scientists from Porton Down have been deployed in the UK a "number of times this year", the government's head of counter-terrorism has told MPs. The lab mainly specialises in nuclear and biological warfare but the reason for the deployments is not known. Brigadier Chip Chapman told a committee of MPs he could not go into details for national security reasons. The Commons defence committee is probing the UK's level of readiness for a terrorist attack or other emergency.

16 Words: New Court Filing Suggests Manufactured Terror Threat in Bush's 2002 State of the Union By Laura Rozen 17 Oct 2008 A new court filing by the lawyers for Lakhdar Boumediene and five other Guantanamo detainees suggests that the Bush administration ordered the Bosnian government to arrest and hold the men after an exhaustive Bosnian investigation had found them innocent of any terrorism related activity and had ordered their release, in order to use them as props in Bush's January 2002 State of the Union speech.

Al-Qaeda Endorses McCain 22 Oct 2008 Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] is watching the U.S. stock market's downward slide with something akin to jubilation, with its leaders hailing the financial crisis as a vindication of its strategy of crippling America's economy through endless, costly foreign wars against Islamist insurgents. And at least some of its supporters think Sen. John McCain is the presidential candidate best suited to continue that trend. [LOL!] "Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election," said a commentary posted Monday on the Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the "failing march of his predecessor," President [sic] Bush.

McCain raises spectre of nuclear war 23 Oct 2008 John McCain raised the spectre of nuclear war as he struggled to overcome rival Barack Obama’s widening lead in the polls with just 14 days left in the epic race to the White House... The next president "won’t have time to get used to the office," the Republican said at a rally on Tuesday. "I sat in the cockpit on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise off of Cuba. I had a target," McInsane said, referring to the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis. "I know how close we came to a nuclear war and I will not be a president that needs to be tested. I have been tested. Senator Obama has not."

Nine Afghan soldiers die in 'friendly fire' attack by US warplanes 23 Oct 2008 American aircraft have killed nine Afghan soldiers in an accidental attack on an army post – the latest in a string of deadly mistakes involving Western forces in Afghanistan. Afghan officials said that the attack happened overnight on Tuesday in the eastern province of Khost.

Afghanistan: 9 Soldiers Killed, "Possible U. S. Error" 23 Oct 2008 The Command of the US-led multinational coalition has admitted that US troops may have been responsible for killing nine Afghan governmental soldiers and injuring three others, one of whom in critical condition, in an air strike last night during which a government army post was accidentally bombed in the south-eastern Khost province, one of the main Taliban strongholds. It was, however, only a partial admission of fault in which an attempt was made to lay part of the blame on the victims themselves.

Iraq says won't be bullied into signing US pact --Baghdad rejects US military chief's warning over failure to materialise deal 23 Oct 2008 Iraq will not be bullied into signing a security pact with the United States despite top US leaders warning of potentially dire consequences if it does not, the government spokesman said on Wednesday. Ali al-Dabbagh blasted US military chief Admiral Michael Mullen for saying that Baghdad faced the potential of significant losses if a deal is not concluded to keep American forces in Iraq beyond year end.

Iraq's cabinet rejects current draft of U.S. troop accord 21 Oct 2008 Shiite Muslim government ministers raised objections Tuesday to a "final draft" of an agreement to authorize U.S. troops to remain in Iraq, and after a four-and-a-half-hour cabinet meeting Iraq's government spokesman said that the agreement wouldn't be finalized in its current form. The clock is ticking: The United Nations mandate under which U.S. troops are in Iraq expires on Dec. 31... Lawmakers also want to strike a clause that would give the Iraqi government the right to extend the agreement without parliamentary approval if it felt that was advisable. Hamoudi said that Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki himself raised objections to the draft agreement.

Court rejects public hearing on Blackwater guards' deaths in Iraq 22 Oct 2008 A federal appeals court has ruled that a hearing on the deaths of Cleveland native Jerko "Jerry" Zovko and three other Blackwater guards in Iraq will go to private arbitration, a decision that probably ends a public investigation into their gruesome deaths in 2004. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday dismissed a petition by the families of the deceased guards -- Zovko, Stephen Helveston, Mike Teague and Wesley Batalona -- to move the case into public courts.

Senate Offices Receive Bomb Threats 22 Oct 2008 The U.S. Capitol Police are investigating bomb threats to "several" Senate offices, though so far the department has not felt the need to evacuate any offices or buildings on the congressional campus. Roll Call reports that a total of five Senate offices have received threats.

Senate receives bomb threats, no evacuation 22 Oct 2008 Several Senate offices have received bomb threats this afternoon, but the offices have not been evacuated and Capitol Police are investigating the threats. Capitol Police just sent out this alert to Senate offices, and seem to be downplaying the level of the threat: "Several offices have received a bomb threat by phone and email. The United States Capitol Police are actively investigating. There is no need for staff to take any precautions at this point. If your office receives a threat please take note of the time, caller I.D., and wording."

White powder at NY Times believed to be harmless 23 Oct 2008 An employee of The New York Times opened a letter Wednesday containing a white powder that officials later said was harmless. The discovery comes after more than 30 letters containing a suspicious powder were mailed to Chase bank branches and federal banking regulators' offices in nine cities.

ABC: Letter Threatens Chase Bank CEO, 'You Will Be Killed' 22 Oct 2008 The U.S. Postal Inspection Service posted a $100,000 reward late Wednesday for information about a flurry of threatening letters sent to JP Morgan Chase facilities, its CEO Jamie Dimon, and several federal banking offices around the country this week. "You need to be pay back. You will be killed in 10 days," one of the typewritten letters read, federal law enforcement officials told ABC News. Another letter, addressed to the JP Morgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon, in New York, threatened a series of attacks ending in an [inside job] Oklahoma City-like bombing.

Chase Bank Hoax Threat Letters Sent from Amarillo, Texas --More Than 30 Letters Sent on October 18th to Banks Across the Country 21 Oct 2008 Federal authorities say more than 30 threat letters were sent to JP Morgan Chase banks around the country, all postmarked last Saturday, October 18, in Amarillo, Texas. An FBI spokesperson said the letters all contained a powder substance that appears to be harmless. Additional testing is underway. The letters went to Chase bank facilities in at least seven cities, according to the FBI, and began showing up yesterday.

Homeland Security to Change Airline Boarding Process 22 Oct 2008 The Department of Homeland Security will take responsibility from airlines for checking passenger names against watch lists beginning in January and will require all commercial passengers for the first time to provide their full name, date of birth and gender as a condition of boarding a flight, U.S. officials said today. The changes will be phased in next year for the 2 million passengers each day aboard domestic and international flights to, from or over the United States.

Ministers shelve 42-day detention 13 Oct 2008 Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has told MPs that plans to extend terror detention to 42 days will be dropped from the Counter-Terrorism Bill. It follows a heavy defeat for the government in the House of Lords, which threw out the plan by 309 votes to 118.

More bailout contracts contain blacked out portions By Chris Carey 21 Oct 2008 The Treasury Department has hired two big accounting firms to help keep tabs on the government's financial-industry rescue program, and once again certain basic elements of the deals are shrouded in secrecy... The PricewaterhouseCoopers contract released by the Treasury Department on Tuesday has blacked-out text in the area covering the firm's bid, and also conceals the name of the PricewaterhouseCoopers partner who signed the deal. Another section listing the names of the PricewaterhouseCoopers employees designated to work on the contract also is blacked out.

Rescue Was Sold Softly to the Street --Kashkari Told Financial-Industry Players That Salary Caps Wouldn't Be Too Onerous 10 Oct 2008 As the biggest market intervention in U.S. history made its way through Congress, Neel Kashkari, the Treasury official named this week to run the program, offered assurances to 800 financial-industry players. Attempts by Congress to make beneficiaries pay for their mistakes, such as placing caps on executive pay, were "quite reasonable" and "a pretty modest hindrance to you," he told them, according to a recording of the Sept. 28 conference call made public on video-sharing Web site YouTube.

Dow sinks 514 on louder warnings of a recession 22 Oct 2008 After three days of relative calm, turbulence returned to Wall Street on Wednesday. Louder warnings of a deep recession and weak corporate earnings took the Dow Jones industrial average down 514 points amid fears that government intervention won't be enough to prevent global economies from faltering.

Ex-GOP operative tells cautionary tale about 'how to rig an election' --Allen Raymond went to prison for jamming phones of N.H's Democratic Party --Operation also prevented local firefighters from helping senior citizens get to polls 22 Oct 2008 Allen Raymond is living proof that political dirty tricksters do exist. The former Republican political operative went to federal prison after he pleaded guilty to charges of phone harassment. He jammed the phone lines of New Hampshire's Democratic Party on Election Day six years ago. "I think they were willing to do whatever it took to win, even if that meant breaking the law," Former New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan said. "Even if that meant suppressing the votes. So if that means they were trying to steal the election, yes, then they were trying to steal the election."

Workers quit over anti-Obama phone calls 22 Oct 2008 Telemarketers in Wisconsin and West Virginia asked to make calls bashing Barack Obama and linking him to 1960s radical William Ayers quit their jobs rather than read the required script. The calls were paid for by the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee and are being placed in several states across the country. [Awesome!]

Palin, N.C. lawmaker apologize for comments 22 Oct 2008 Republicans were in mea culpa mode yesterday after comments in North Carolina suggesting that their supporters are more patriotic than Democrats. At a fund-raiser in the Tar Heel state last week, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said, "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America . . . pro-America areas of this great nation." Yesterday on CNN, Palin said she didn't mean to say some parts of the country are more pro-American than others. "I don't want that misunderstood," she said. "If that's the way it came across, I apologize."

GOP spent $150,000 in donations on Palin's look 22 Oct 2008 The Republican National Committee spent about $150,000 on clothing, hair styling, makeup and other "campaign accessories" in September for the McCain campaign after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin joined the ticket as his running mate. The McCain campaign now says the clothing will go to a "charitable purpose" after the campaign.

Shop, baby, shop? GOP spent $150K on Palin clothes 22 Oct 2008 Who knew looking like a hockey mom was this darned expensive? Certainly not Wanda Routier, a proud hockey mom in Hewitt, Wis., who spends her time in sweat pants, turtlenecks, ankle boots and heavy coats. She was dismayed to hear Wednesday that the Republican Party had spent $150,000 on clothes, hair styling and accessories for Sarah Palin and her family from such upscale stores as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nieman Marcus.

Biden lashes out at corporate greed in Colo. stop 22 Oct 2008 Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Wednesday that Barack Obama will attack corporate greed and go after executives who reward themselves at the expense of employees. Biden took direct aim at executives who draw big salaries while leading failed companies where employees are losing pensions. "Their pensions go first," he told a roaring crowd.

Democrats set to dominate Senate 22 Oct 2008 "It doesn't get bigger than this." That is what Larry Sabato, Professor of Political Science at the University of Virginia, is saying about the potential for big Democratic gains in the US Senate races in November.

McCain Draws Even With Obama After Final Debate in AP Poll 22 Oct 2008 Republican John McCain erased Democrat Barack Obama's lead in the presidential race less than two weeks before Election Day in an Associated Press-GfK poll, as two other surveys put Obama ahead by 10 points or more. The AP poll, taken over five days following the candidates' final debate Oct. 15, shows Obama with 44 percent support and McCain with 43 percent backing among likely voters.

Former NYTimes 'reporter' Judith Miller joins Fox News 20 Oct 2008 Judith Miller, whose pre-Iraq war reporting propaganda was faulted in a 2004 apology to its readers by editors of The New York Times, has joined the Fox News television channel as a contributor. Miller "will provide commentary and analysis on national security issues, counterterrorism, and international affairs, including the Middle East on Fox," the cable news channel announced in a statement on Monday.

Interior rushing species act changes --Public comment review speeded 21 Oct 2008 Rushing to ease endangered species rules before Dictator Bush leaves office, Interior Department officials are attempting to review 200,000 comments from the public in just 32 hours, according to an e-mail obtained by The Associated Press. The Fish and Wildlife Service has called a team of 15 people to Washington this week to pore through letters and online comments about a proposal to exclude greenhouse gases and the advice of federal biologists from decisions about whether dams, power plants and other federal projects could harm species.


Top world military leaders meet in Lake Placid 21 Oct 2008 (NY) Some of the most powerful military commanders in the world met in Lake Placid over the weekend. Speculation was rife after a C-32, the military equivalent to a Boeing 757 airliner, touched down Friday at the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear. The 155-foot-long jumbo jet, which is used as Air Force 2 when the vice president is aboard, was emblazoned with "United States of America" on the side and parked on the eastern edge of the airport. Following the landing, a motorcade led by State Police rushed Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and top military commanders from four nations -- Britain, France, Germany and Italy -- to a resort in Lake Placid.

Guantanamo Bay to remain open: Bush 22 Oct 2008 America's Bush administration has confirmed the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, that houses suspected terrorists, will still be open when the new President takes office in January. White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, says there is no way the facility could be closed in the president's [sic] remaining three months in office.

US drops charges against -- but still holds -- 5 Guantanamo prisoners 21 Oct 2008 The U.S. military abruptly dropped charges against five Guantanamo Bay prisoners, including one who allegedly plotted to detonate a "dirty bomb" in the U.S., after a prosecutor accused the military of suppressing evidence that could have helped clear them. But despite the decision, announced Tuesday, there are no plans to free the men. New trial teams are taking another look at the evidence, the military said, and after consulting with intelligence agencies will recommend whether to reinstate charges.

Appeals Court Halts Release of 17 Guantanamo Detainees 21 Oct 2008 A federal appeals court last night blocked the release of 17 Chinese Muslims into the United States from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until it can hear further legal arguments in the case. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stayed a federal judge's order releasing the men, and it ordered oral arguments in the government's appeal, to be heard Nov. 24. The government is appealing U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina's decision Oct. 7 to release the men, all Uighurs, who have been held at Guantanamo Bay for nearly seven years.

Iraq cabinet wants changes in pact despite US warning 21 Oct 2008 Iraq's cabinet on Tuesday called for changes to a planned security pact with Washington, despite a warning from the US military chief that time is running out for Baghdad to approve the deal. But officials in Washington defended the draft agreement, with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warning of "pretty dramatic" consequences of not having an accord governing the presence of US troops in Iraq.

President Bush Asserts Right to Control Iraqi Oil (FCNL) 16 Oct 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush this week rejected a Congressional effort to bar the U. S. military from controlling Iraq’s oil resources. Before signing a bill authorizing military funding earlier this week, the president issued a "signing statement", saying that he would not be bound by a provision in the bill prohibiting expenditure of funds "to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq."

Iraq tribal clashes leave 15 dead 21 Oct 2008 Clashes between militants and Sunni tribesmen in Babil province in central Iraq have left at least 15 people dead, officials say. The violence comes ahead of a transfer of 'security' in the province from US to Iraqi troops, which the governor says is to take place on Thursday.

Letter threats to Chase grow past 30: FBI --"Today we're well over two dozen." 21 Oct 2008 At least 30 Chase bank offices in nine U.S. states have been targeted by threatening letters, many of them containing an unidentified powder, an FBI spokesman said on Tuesday. At least five Chase branches in Colorado and Oklahoma received the letters on Monday and some contained a white powder, Chase had said. FBI spokesman, Rich Kolko, declined to characterize the threats but said he was unaware of any connection to recent troubles in the U.S. financial system.

WeAreChangeLA 'debriefs' former CIA Case Officer Robert Baer about apparent Mossad, White House 9/11 foreknowledge By Shumonik 20 Oct 2008 On October 16, 2008, Robert Baer, who was a CIA Case Officer in the Middle East over the course of almost two decades, participated in a discussion at the Hammer Museum entitled "A Third War: The Threat of War with Iran." Dr. Trita Parsi was part of the discussion which was moderated by Ian Masters. Baer was briefly interrupted during the discussion by Jeremy Rothe-Kushel for clarity's sake, after he brought up 9/11 and reaffirmed his recently aired belief that Osama bin Laden is likely dead. Bob: The chances of Bin Laden being dead are very high... Jeremy: But he didn't do 9/11 though. Bob: Well, let's put it this way, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind... Jeremy: No. Bob: ...said he wasn't working for Bin Laden, so...

'Police say the nature of the story makes it a felony.' Student Arrested For Terroristic Threatening Says Incident A Misunderstanding 17 Oct 2008 (KY) A George Rogers Clark High School junior arrested Tuesday for making terrorist threats told LEX 18 News Thursday that the "writings" that got him arrested are being taken out of context. Winchester police say William Poole, 18, was taken into custody Tuesday morning. Investigators say they discovered materials at Poole's home that outline possible acts of violence aimed at students, teachers, and police. Poole told LEX 18 that the whole incident is a big misunderstanding. "My story is based on fiction," said Poole, who faces a second-degree felony terrorist threatening charge.

Ohio election Web site shut down after hacked 21 Oct 2008 The Web site of the Ohio state agency that handles voter registration and other election information was shut down briefly after it was hacked, an official said on Tuesday, vowing to guard against fraud in the key battleground state in the November 4 presidential contest. Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said the agency temporarily took the Secretary of State Web site at down on Monday after "one or more" security breaches were detected.

'I hit it in the square to vote for Obama. Immediately, it went to McCain.' Early-voting problems in Putnam --Touch-screen votes switched, then corrected 21 Oct 2008 Two more Putnam County voters - Martha Louise Harrington and Michael K. Koon - have come forward about problems they experienced on early-voting electronic machines at the Winfield courthouse. Last week, other early voters in Jackson and Putnam counties said touch-screen voting machines changed their votes after they tried to punch them in... "All the voting systems [in West Virginia] are manufactured by ES&S." [WHY are these 'voting' machines, aka tools for the GOP to implement Coup 2008, still *standing?*]

Concern That Overseas Military Votes Will Not Be Counted 19 Oct 2008 Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Defense (DoD) to obtain documents detailing the voting process for active duty military and their families stationed overseas [Judicial Watch, Inc. v U.S. Department of Defense, Civil Action No. 08-01748]. As reported by columnist Bob Novak, the federal Election Assistance Commission estimated overseas and absentee military voting rates were only 5.5% for the 2006 mid-term elections, and questions have arisen as to whether the Defense Department is adequately ensuring that overseas U.S. military personnel will be able to cast votes for Election Day.

Mega barf alert! Senate Republicans Demand ACORN Investigation 20 Oct 2008 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee maintained the conservative drumbeat against ACORN on Monday, demanding an investigation into claims of voter registration fraud at the community activist group. All nine Republicans on the panel co-signed a letter to committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy demanding an investigation into allegations of "widespread, systematic voter registration fraud" at ACORN.

Bear cub shot dead in Obama protest --Bear cub found at North Carolina university 21 Oct 2008 A bear cub was shot in the head and dumped, draped in Barack Obama campaign posters, on the grounds of a US university. Police at Western Carolina University said maintenance workers found the carcass of the 34kg black bear cub yesterday morning, the Asheville Citizen-Times website reported. "It looked like it had been shot in the head as best we can tell. A couple of Obama campaign signs had been stapled together and stuck over its head," said university police chief Tom Johnson. [Too bad the bear cub didn't *shoot first.*]

Dead bear cub covered in Barack Obama posters found at university 21 Oct 2008 A dead bear cub draped in Barack Obama posters has been found at the entrance to a university in North Carolina, police said today. Police and wildlife officials are investigating the incident at the Western Carolina University. Maintenance workers found the 34kg (75lb) bear cub in front of the administration building at the entrance to the campus. It had been shot, and Obama posters were stapled together and placed over its head.

Why can't Klein get a seat? 20 Oct 2008 Time columnist Joe Klein, who’s been a forceful critic of the McCain campaign (and already said he’s unwilling to accept a post-election apology), has found himself without a seat on the McCain or Palin planes the past four months. In June, Klein was kept from boarding the McCain plane over what they said had been a security issue. More recently, when trying to fly on the Palin plane last week, Klein told Politico over e-mail that the campaign's response was he "couldn’t be accommodated at this time."

World Citizens Prefer Obama to McCain by Nearly 4-to-1 21 Oct 2008 Gallup Polls conducted in 70 countries from May to September 2008 reveal widespread international support for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama over Republican Sen. John McCain in the U.S. presidential election. Among these nations, representing nearly half of the world's population, 30% of citizens say they would personally rather see Obama elected president of the United States, compared with just 8% who say the same about McCain.

Obama opens double-digit lead over McCain: poll 21 Oct 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has opened up a 10-point lead over Republican opponent John McCain two weeks before the November 4 U.S. election, according to Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on Tuesday. The poll found 52 percent of voters favor Obama compared with 42 percent for McCain.

Obama to leave trail and visit sick grandmother 20 Oct 2008 Democrat Barack Obama will leave the presidential campaign trail to visit his ailing 85-year-old grandmother in Hawaii, whose health has deteriorated in recent weeks, an aide said on Monday. With two weeks left in an intense battle for the White House, Obama will hold a campaign event in Indianapolis on Thursday and then fly to Hawaii to see his grandmother before returning to campaigning on Saturday, aide Robert Gibbs said.

Russian UN mission gets letter from McCain seeking election cash 20 Oct 2008 Russia's permanent mission to the UN has received a letter from U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain asking for financial support of his election campaign, the mission said in a statement on Monday. "We have received a letter from Senator John McCain with a request for a financial donation to his presidential election campaign. In this respect we have to reiterate that neither Russia's permanent mission to the UN nor the Russian government or its officials finance political activities in foreign countries," the statement said.

McCain camp hits up Russian envoy By Ben Smith 20 Oct 2008 On a day on which McCain campaign manager Rick Davis hinted that Obama was taking foreign money, the Russian Mission to the United Nations has released a standard-issue fundraising letter gone a bit astray: It was addressed to the Russian envoy to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin, at the mission's address, but without his title.

Ex-Chicago cop indicted on charges related to torture --2 of more than 100 black men who made allegations describe alleged torture 21 Oct 2008 A former Chicago police commander [Jon Burge] was arrested Tuesday on charges related to accusations that he and officers under his command tortured and abused suspects in the 1980s, federal officials said. Prosecutors allege More than 100 men -- all of them African-American -- have accused police under Burge's command of abusing or torturing them.

AP: Palin children traveled on state --In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. 21 Oct 2008 Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business. The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.

RNC appears to shell out $150K for Palin fashion 21 Oct 2008 The Republican National Committee appears to have spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

Fed injects $540bn into markets 22 Oct 2008 The US Federal Reserve is set to pump $540bn (£323bn) into money market assets as it joined countries around the world trying to revive the financial system. As Japan and France extended more help to banks, the Fed provided aid to mutual funds which have suffered higher than expected redemptions from investors amid liquidity concerns.

Homeless numbers 'alarming' 21 Oct 2008 More families with children are becoming homeless as they face mounting economic pressures, including mortgage foreclosures, according to a USA TODAY survey of a dozen of the largest cities in the nation. Local authorities say the number of families seeking help has risen in Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle and Washington.

Satire: Palin to Stay On At Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey to McCain Ticket By R J Shulman 21 Oct 2008 In a stunning turnaround, Tina Fey will leave her role on "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" to run as Senator John McCain’s vice presidential candidate -- while Sarah Palin will stay on to take Fey’s television roles. "It makes sense when you think about it," said NBC spokesperson, Aaron Schlozman. "Sarah Palin always wanted to be in television, actually studied it in college, and Tina Fey has more foreign policy experience than Sarah." [Satire]


US ambassador defends deal to stay Iraq for three years 20 Oct 2008 The US ambassador to Baghdad [Ryan Crocker] was yesterday forced to defend a controversial pact that would prolong its military operations in Iraq to 2011. A putative deal had been placed before Iraq's cabinet but, in a sign that opposition is growing to a prolonged American presence, the largest political faction issued a statement demanding additional revisions... American concessions on the ability of Iraqi courts to try US soldiers do not appear to have gone far enough to assuage nationalist resentment.

U.S. gives Iraq $13 million to fix looted museum 20 Oct 2008 The U.S. government has announced a $13 million grant mainly to help refurbish Iraq's National Museum which was looted [by US barbarians] in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, U.S. officials said Monday. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Goli Ameri announced the project at a news conference with Iraqi officials, held inside the dilapidated museum building which is still closed to the public.

US warship 'catches fire in Persian Gulf' 20 Oct 2008 A vessel belonging to the US Navy has reportedly caught fire in the northern Persian Gulf near the Iraqi port cities of Al-Bakr and al-Amaya. Informed military sources said on Monday that the UN Navy had secretly moved the vessel to the coasts of Kuwait after the fire broke out, Iran's Arabic-language TV channel Al-Alam reported.

Iran busts 'spy pigeons' near nuclear site 20 Oct 2008 Security forces in Natanz have arrested two suspected "spy pigeons" near Iran's controversial uranium enrichment facility, the reformist Etemad Melli newspaper reported on Monday. One of the pigeons was caught near a rose water production plant in the city of Kashan in Isfahan province, the report cited an unnamed informed source as saying, adding that some metal rings and invisible strings were attached to the bird.

Afghanistan efforts "disjointed": NATO leader 21 Oct 2008 One of NATO's top commanders has warned political will among NATO allies is wavering, and has described western efforts in Afghanistan as disjointed. General John Craddock also warned that military efforts were not being backed up on the civilian side.

Afghan Bombing Kills Five Children, 2 German Soldiers 20 Oct 2008 A suicide bomber in northern Afghanistan killed five children and two NATO soldiers, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said in a statement today.

U.S. wants Japan to send SDF copters to Afghanistan 20 Oct 2008 The United States has sounded out Japan on the possibility of dispatching Self-Defense Forces transport helicopters to aid 'reconstruction' efforts in Afghanistan, it was learned over the weekend. In concrete terms, Washington asked Tokyo whether it would be able to send CH-47 transport helicopters for domestic transportation, C-130 transport aircraft to fly goods and personnel from overseas to key airports in Afghanistan and to contribute personnel to provincial reconstruction teams.

Boeing to Supply Security Systems for Minuteman III Launch Facilities 20 Oct 2008 The Boeing Company announced today that it will manufacture and deliver control system hardware and modification kits to improve security at more than 450 Minuteman III facilities as part of the U.S. Air Force Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Security Modernization Program. Boeing will perform the production work under a $10 million subcontract to Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.

Army probes five slayings linked to soldiers in Colorado brigade 19 Oct 2008 Fort Carson soldiers returning from deployment in Iraq are suspects in at least five slayings, and officials want to know why. Cmdr. Maj. Gen. Mark Graham announced Friday a task force will examine any commonalities in the five killings, all allegedly committed by soldiers from the post's 4th Brigade Combat Team in the past 14 months. A sixth BCT soldier faces an attempted murder charge.

UK: Passports will be needed to buy mobile phones 19 Oct 2008 Everyone who buys a mobile telephone will be forced to register their identity on a national database under government plans to extend massively the powers of state surveillance. Phone buyers would have to present a passport or other official form of identification at the point of purchase. A compulsory national register for the owners of all 72m mobile phones in Britain would be part of a much bigger database to combat foment terrorism and crime.

Dangerous and depraved: paedophiles unite with terrorists online [to swell the ranks of the Department of Homeland Security] 17 Oct 2008 For some, the internet is merely a hiding place -- a web of secret corridors where all manner of shameful deeds unfold. [LOL!] But the police never expected that it might become a strategic platform where two groups of society's outcasts, terrorists and child sex abusers, could meet to exchange operational secrets. [Speaking of the pedophile/terrorist combo, see: Iraq contractor (KBR) gets 3 years in child porn case 10 Oct 2008]

Obama Assembles U.S.'s 'Largest Law Firm' to Monitor Election 19 Oct 2008 Democrats accused Republicans of trying to improperly disqualify voters. In Florida, Democratic lawyer Charles H. Lichtman has assembled almost 5,000 lawyers to monitor precincts, assist voters turned away at the polls and litigate any disputes that can't be resolved out of court. "On Election Day, I will be managing the largest law firm in the country, albeit for one day,'' said Lichtman, a Fort Lauderdale corporate lawyer and veteran of the five-week recount after the 2000 election coup d'etat when Florida the Supreme Court eventually delivered the presidency to George W. Bush.

Machine Problems Plague 1st Day of Early Voting 20 Oct 2008 (FL) People lined up to be among the first to vote at several early voting sites around Jacksonville Monday morning had an extra long wait and some left frustrated when machines at several locations refused to record the ballots. "It was very shocking to have the very first ballot at 10 o'clock this morning not go into the machine," said state Rep. Audrey Gibson, who hoped to be first to vote at the Gateway location.

Early Voting off to Rough Start 20 Oct 2008 (FL) Reports have been coming in from all over the city that indicate problems in some of the early voting locations. The problems stem from ballot-reading machines not working. Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland tells First Coast News that by early afternoon, 7 of the 15 machines had experienced problems with their optical scan readers. Those machines were indicating the ballot was too long. Officials measured the ballots, and they are the regulation length, 17 inches, so the manufacturer needs to address the problem.

Pima County officials hope flawed ballot is one of a kind 11 Oct 2008 (AZ) Officials in the Pima County Recorder's Office are hoping the early ballot mailed to voter Roy Thatcher for the Nov. 4 general election is one of a kind. Thatcher called the Tucson Citizen on Friday to report that only one side of his early ballot contained print. "It's completely blank on the back side," said Thatcher, a retired Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory engineer.

McCain Employing GOP Operative Accused of Voter Registration Fraud By Sam Stein 20 Oct 2008 John McCain's campaign has directed $175,000 to the firm of a Republican operative accused of massive voter registration fraud in several states. According to campaign finance records, a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the RNC and the California Republican Party, made a $175,000 payment to the group Lincoln Strategy in June for purposes of "registering voters." The managing partner of that firm is Nathan Sproul, a renowned GOP operative who has been investigated on multiple occasions for suppressing Democratic voter turnout, throwing away registration forms and even spearheading efforts to get Ralph Nader on ballots to hinder the Democratic ticket.

Biden to Supporters: "Gird Your Loins," For the Next President "It's Like Cleaning Augean Stables" 20 Oct 2008 ABC News: Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., on Sunday guaranteed that if elected, Sen. Barack Obama., D-Ill., will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in power and he will need supporters to stand by him as he makes tough, and possibly unpopular, decisions. "Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy... Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy." Not only will the next administration have to deal with foreign affairs issues, Biden warned, but also with the current economic crisis. "Gird your loins," Biden told the crowd. "We're gonna win with your help, God willing, we're gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride. This president, the next president, is gonna be left with the most significant task. It's like cleaning the Augean stables, man."

Colin Powell on NBC's "Meet the Press" --Transcript by CQ Transcriptswire 19 Oct 2008 Speakers: Tom Brokaw, Host; Gen. Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State... BROKAW: If you were called into the Oval Office on January 21st by the new president, whoever it happens to be, and he said to you, "General Powell, I need from you your recommendation on where I begin. What should be my priorities," where would you start? POWELL: I would start with talking to the American people and talking to the world, and conveying a new image of American leadership, a new image of America’s role in the world. The problems will always be there, and there's going to be a crisis come along in the 21st or 22nd of January that we don't even know about right now.

Gag me with a chainsaw! Obama: Powell will have a role in administration Colin Powell will have a role as a top presidential adviser in an Obama administration, the Democratic White House hopeful said Monday. "He will have a role as one of my advisers," Barack Obama said on NBC's "Today" in an interview aired Monday, a day after Powell, a four-star general and President [sic] Bush's former secretary of state, endorsed him.

Clinton, Obama rally together 20 Oct 2008 In their first major joint rally since Unity, N.H., in June, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama urged supporters in Orlando this evening to sweep Republicans out of the White House. Clinton talked about the foreclosure crisis and job losses -- a double whammy for Florida -- and argued that Republicans would not make the necessary fixes to the economy. "Sending the Republicans to clean up the mess in Washington is like sending the bull to clean up the china shop," she said.

Tires slashed on 30 vehicles during Obama rally 20 Oct 2008 Someone slashed the tires of at least 30 vehicles parked outside the Crown Coliseum on Sunday during a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, authorities said. Sheriff’s deputies are investigating. [Yeah, right!] The tires were cut while people were inside the Crown Coliseum listening to speeches, said Maj. E. Wright of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

Sarah Palin: Pointing a loaded gun at the environment? She's the gun totin', Republican evangelist with the vice presidency in her sights. If she succeeds it could be bad news for the environment. By Jimmy Lee Shreeve 20 Oct 2008 The Republican vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, has often trumpeted her expertise on energy development issues and her love for the environment. But since her appearance on the world stage, a good deal has come to light on her environmental record - most of which is not good.

Fresh Face on Cable, Sharp Rise in Ratings 21 Oct 2008 Rachel Maddow, a woman who does not own a television set, has done something that is virtually unheard of: she has doubled the audience for a cable news channel’s 9 p.m. hour in a matter of days... Ms. Maddow acknowledges that much of her success can be attributed to the lead-in from "Countdown," which continues to be MSNBC's marquee program.

The pre-'election' gas sale is on! A similar precipitous drop in gas prices took place just before the '06 'elections,' to aid GOP candidates. Watch the price of oil skyrocket, in the aftermath of the 'elections,' as they did in 2006. Gasoline under $3 for first time since February 20 Oct 2008 The average U.S. retail gasoline price dropped 23.7 cents over the last week to fall below $3 a gallon for the first time since mid February and is at the lowest level in almost a year, the Energy Department said on Monday. The average pump price has fallen 57 cents a gallon in the last two weeks because of cheaper crude oil and lower petroleum demand due to a weak economy Bush's corpora-terrorist cronies want to ensure that people do not blame the oil companies -- and the GOP -- at the polls.

US faces worst recession in 26 years 19 Oct 2008 The US economy appears to be plunging into what many experts believe will be its worst recession since 1982 [when another Republican was in power].

Dead crow sparks bird flu fears in HK 21 Oct 2008 A house crow found dead in Hong Kong has tested positive for the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus. An agriculture official says the crow was found dead in a park in October and tests showed it was carrying the virus.

Zoo visitors find polar bear still hanging out in moat after a week 19 Oct 2008 Zero the polar bear is still in his moat after falling in a week ago. And although he appeared satisfied with his current confines Sunday, people visiting his enclosure at the Milwaukee County Zoo strained to see him as he vanished around a corner, staying obscured for many minutes at a time.


HHS Declares 'Health Emergencies' to Limit Legal Liability for Anti-terrorism Vaccines, Drugs --U.S. Declarations of 'Public Health Emergency' Extend Through 2015 By Lori Price 19 Oct 2008 October Surprises: The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Michael Leavitt, has declared a series of 'public health emergencies' -- due to risk of a bioterrorism attack -- that continue through 2015. The moves provide the manufacturers, distributors, and others of 'anti-terrorism' drugs and vaccines immunity from lawsuits, should injuries or deaths occur due to the drugs or vaccines.

Mortgage firm arranged stealth GOP campaign 19 Oct 2008 Freddie Mac secretly paid a Republican consulting firm $2 million to kill legislation that would have regulated and trimmed the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, three years before the government took control to prevent their collapse. In the cross hairs of the campaign carried out by DCI of Washington were Republican senators and a regulatory overhaul bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. DCI's chief executive is Doug Goodyear, whom John McCain's campaign later hired to manage the GOP convention in September. Freddie Mac's payments to DCI began shortly after the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee sent Hagel's bill to the then GOP-run Senate on July 28, 2005.

GOP voter registration fraud case leads to arrest 19 Oct 2008 The owner of a firm that the California Republican Party hired to register tens of thousands of voters this year was arrested in Ontario late last night on suspicion of voter registration fraud. State and local investigators allege that Mark Jacoby fraudulently registered himself to vote at a childhood California address where he no longer lives so he would appear to meet the legal requirement that signature gatherers be eligible to vote in California.

Racist Obama Effigy Hung In Ohio 19 Oct 2008 A local station runs a disturbing story about a Ohio resident named Mike Lunsford who has hung an effigy of Barack Obama in his front yard. Lunsford freely admits that he is against Obama because of his race. (Video)

In Mo. Ozarks, Obama caricature creates a storm 18 Oct 2008 Thanks to a prominent highway sign depicting a turban-wearing, cartoon caricature of "Barack 'Hussein' Obama," a very public conversation on race, religion, politics and free speech has dominated this remote town of 10,000 people near the Arkansas border. The sign has been in place for two weeks on a major north-south highway that spans the state. Some call the sign - which features an exaggerated image of a grinning Obama complete with full lips and oversized teeth - flat out racist. Beneath Obama's image, the sign reads, "Barack 'Hussein' Obama equals more abortions, same sex marriages, taxes, gun regulations." [WHY is the sign *still standing?*]

McCain Adviser Says Northern Virginia Not "Real" Virginia 18 Oct 2008 McCain senior adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer said on MSNBC today: "As a proud resident of Oakton, Virginia, I can tell you that the Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into northern Virginia," Pfotenhauer said, speaking of Democratic gains in that part of the state. "And that's really what you see there. "But the rest of the state, 'real Virginia,' if you will, I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message," she continued.

Powell endorses Obama, chides McCain campaign tone 19 Oct 2008 Colin Powell, a Republican who was President Bush's first secretary of state, endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president Sunday and criticized the tone of Republican John McCain's campaign. The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said either candidate, both of them senators, is qualified to be commander in chief. But he said Obama is better suited to handle the nation's economic problems as well as help improve its standing in the world.

Colin Powell, former secretary of State, endorses Obama 19 Oct 2008 Colin Powell, a retired general who'd often been mentioned as a Republican presidential candidate himself, endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president Sunday during the taping of NBC's "Meet the Press" television program. Powell, who served as President [sic] George W. Bush's secretary of State during Bush's first term and made the case for an Iraq invasion before the United Nations, said Obama had shown that he had the "intellectual vigor" to be president.

Tinklenberg hits $620 k in donations 19 Oct 2008 An official with Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg's campaign says the 6th District DFLer raised $620 thousand since GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann made her comments on Friday. The source said another surge in donations occurred after former Secretary of State Colin Powell cited Bachmann as one of the reasons he endorsed Barack Obama. Powell called her comments "nonsense" during a briefing with reporters.

Bachmann Calls For McCarthyite Investigation Into Anti-American Activities of Liberals By Think Progress 17 Oct 2008 By Appearing on MSNBC’s Hardball today, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) attacked the patriotism of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), based on his alleged relationship to former Weather Underground member William Ayers and the values of Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. "I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views," said Bachmann. "That’s what the American people are concerned about." She then went further, suggesting that all liberal views -- held by people such as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, professors, and all Americans who identify themselves as "liberals" -- are "anti-American."

Bachmann: Obama may have "anti-American views" 17 Oct 2008 GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann was on MSNBC's Chris Matthews' "Hardball" on Friday. When asked if Barack Obama had anti-American views, she responded "Absolutely. I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views." She also said the people Barack Obama has been associating with are "anti-American." She also wants the news media to investigate if any other Democratic members of Congress have "anti-American views."

Alaska's minorities feel ignored by Palin 18 Oct 2008 Alaska's black leaders say they're not surprised to see Gov. Sarah Palin at the center of the controversy over injecting the race issue into the presidential campaign. Palin, Republican John McCain's running mate, has repeatedly insisted that Barack Obama's former preacher, the inflammatory Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a legitimate issue even though McCain himself has said it's out of bounds. "She has no sensitivity to minorities," said the Rev. Alonzo Patterson, a Baptist minister and president of the Alaska Black Leadership Conference. "She's really inciting a lot of African-Americans to get out and vote."

Obama Raises More Than $150 Million in September 20 Oct 2008 Senator Barack Obama’s campaign announced on Sunday that it had raised more than $150 million in September, a record-shattering amount underscoring again the unprecedented amounts of money he has attracted.

Obama's lead slips to 3 points 19 Oct 2008 Democrat Barack Obama's lead over Republican John McCain in the presidential race has dropped to 3 points, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Sunday. Obama leads McCain by 48 to 45 percent among likely U.S. voters, down 1 percentage point from Saturday. The four-day tracking poll, which has a margin of error of 2.9 points.

Hutton hints of troop withdrawal from Iraq in early New Year 20 Oct 2008 Most British troops could be out of Iraq by early next year, John Hutton has hinted on his first visit to the region since becoming Defence Secretary. Speaking after talks in Baghdad with Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, he said that Britain's role was likely to see a "fundamental change" in the first months of 2009, with the military presence limited to a training role.

Iraqis reach no decision on troops pact with U.S. 19 Oct 2008 Iraqi political leaders meeting on Sunday took no decision to approve a pact allowing U.S. troops to stay for three years, and many expressed reservations about it, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

Iraqis stage mass anti-US rally 18 Oct 2008 Supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr have staged a mass demonstration in Baghdad in protest against plans to extend the US mandate in Iraq. An estimated 50,000 protesters chanted slogans such as "Get out occupier!".

'US forces have a particular habit of attacking weddings.' Civilian dead are a trade-off in Nato's war of barbarity --The killing of innocent Afghans by US bombs is the result of a calculation, not just a mistake. And it is fuelling resistance By Seumas Milne 16 Oct 2008 This is the conflict western politicians and media continue to urge their reluctant populations to support as a war for civilisation. In reality, it is a war of barbarity, whose contempt for the value of Afghan life has fuelled the very resistance that western military and political leaders are now unable to contain. In this year alone, for every occupation soldier killed, at least three Afghan civilians have died at the hands of occupation forces. They include the 95 people, 60 of them children, killed by a US air assault in Azizabad in August; the 47 wedding guests dismembered by US bombardment in Nangarhar in July - US forces have a particular habit of attacking weddings; and the four women and children killed in a British rocket barrage six weeks ago in Sangin.

Pakistan does some US dirty work By Syed Saleem Shahzad 18 Oct 2008 Pakistan's seven-year association with the United States' "war on terror" has moved to a new and dangerous level: the US has given it a contract to build 1,000 Humvees for use by troops in Afghanistan against the Taliban-led insurgency... Asia Times Online has learned that Pakistan's Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) has been given the order for an undisclosed sum for the Humvees - high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles. Work on the Humvees has already begun, although the task is being undertaken in secret.

Taliban behead 30 men pulled from bus 19 Oct 2008 Taliban 'insurgents' pulled some 50 passengers off a bus in southern Afghanistan and beheaded as many as 30 of them after accusing them of being soldiers traveling in civilian clothes, Afghan officials in the region said Sunday.

U.S. seeks Guantanamo resentencing for driver 19 Oct 2008 Bush regime officials say they are seeking a longer sentence for a Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prisoner accused of being Osama bin Laden's driver. Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a 40-year-old Yemeni captured in Afghanistan in November 2001, is to be released Dec. 31 after being sentenced in August by a military jury to 66 months, with credit for 61 months already served, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Iran: West willing to help on second nuclear plant 20 Oct 2008 Iran's Management and Construction of Nuclear Plants Company said Sunday some Western countries have declared their readiness to cooperate with Iran on its second light-water nuclear plant, Iran's English-language Press TV reported. Iranian technicians are currently designing the country's second nuclear plant in Darkhovin, which is located in the southern province of Khuzestan.

KBR unit wins Georgia Power contract 16 Oct 2008 A unit of KBR Inc. has been awarded an engineering contract by Georgia Power. Financial terms were not disclosed. BE&K will install a new baghouse unit at Plant Scherer, a coal-fired power plant near Macon, Ga. The unit is part of Atlanta-based Georgia Power’s air-quality program.

Study: Airport screener badges need close tracking 17 Oct 2008 The government has not been able to keep track of all the airport security uniforms and badges it issues, which makes secure areas in airports vulnerable to terrorists posing as authorized officials, according to an internal review released Friday. Many details in the report were redacted for security reasons, such as which five airports the Homeland Security Department's inspector general audited.

Federal Officials Seek to Relax Rules for Dumping Mine Waste [OK, then dump the sh*t at the White House or at one of McCain's seven or eight houses.] 19 Oct 2008 The Interior Department has advanced a proposal that would ease restrictions on dumping mountaintop mining waste near rivers and streams, modifying protections that have been in place, though often circumvented, for a quarter-century. The department’s Office of Surface Mining issued a final environmental analysis Friday on the proposed rule change, which has been under consideration for four years. It has been a priority of the surface mining industry.

Threat of 'Major Global Recession' Tied to Bird Flu 17 Oct 2008 A severe outbreak of flu could kill tens of millions of people and spur a "major global recession", the World Bank is warning world leaders preoccupied with financial, food, and fuel crises. The bank has drawn up a worst-case scenario in which a flu pandemic could kill as many as 71 million people, cost some three trillion dollars, and cut global gross domestic product (GDP) by "almost 5 percent, constituting a major global recession."

Palin: Take Consistent and Firm Stand Against Moose Poaching (Care2) 18 Oct 2008 The backstory to Sarah Palin's accusations against her former brother-in-law, Trooper Mike Wooten, reveals how Palin and her family have shown utter disregard for wildlife - unless it can be used to her political advantage! (Petition)


Thousands Erroneously Tagged Ineligible to Vote --In New Databases, Many Are Wrongly Flagged as Ineligible 18 Oct 2008 Thousands of voters across the country must reestablish their eligibility in the next three weeks in order for their votes to count on Nov. 4, a result of new state registration systems that are incorrectly rejecting them. In Alabama, scores of voters are being labeled as convicted felons on the basis of incorrect lists. Michigan must restore thousands of names it illegally removed from voter rolls over residency questions, a judge ruled this week. Tens of thousands of voters could be affected in Wisconsin. Officials there admit that their database is wrong one out of five times when it flags voters, sometimes for data discrepancies as small as a middle initial or a typo in a birth date.

"When I touched the screen for Barack Obama, the check mark moved from his box to the box indicating a vote for John McCain." Early W.Va. voters angry machines kept switching their votes to GOP candidates --Jackson County touch-screens switched votes, 3 residents say 18 Oct 2008 At least three early voters in Jackson County had a hard time voting for candidates they want to win. Virginia Matheney and Calvin Thomas said touch-screen machines in the county clerk's office in Ripley kept switching their votes from Democratic to Republican candidates. "When I touched the screen for Barack Obama, the check mark moved from his box to the box indicating a vote for John McCain," said Matheney, who lives in Kenna. When she reported the problem, she said, the poll worker in charge "responded that everything was all right." [WHY are these 'voting' machines, aka GOP tools to implement Coup 2008, *still standing?*]

"I pushed buttons and they all came up Republican," she said. "I hit Obama and it switched to McCain. I am really concerned about that. If McCain wins, there was something wrong with the machines." More W.Va. voters say machines are switching votes --In six cases, Democratic votes flipped to GOP 18 Oct 2008 Three Putnam County voters say electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democrats to Republicans when they cast early ballots last week. This is the second West Virginia county where voters have reported this problem. Last week, three voters in Jackson County told The Charleston Gazette their electronic vote for "Barack Obama" kept flipping to "John McCain". In both counties, Republicans are responsible for overseeing elections.

Voters say they were duped into registering as Republicans --YPM, a group hired by the GOP, allegedly deceived Californians who thought they were signing a petition. Similar accusations have been leveled against the company elsewhere. 18 Oct 2008 Dozens of newly minted Republican voters say they were duped into joining the party by a GOP contractor with a trail of fraud complaints stretching across the country. Voters contacted by The Times said they were tricked into switching parties while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters [lots of them in the GOP, btw]. Some said they were told that they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Others had no idea their registration was being changed.

'Wake up, niggers!' --Locals say the "inciting" language used by the McCain campaign in the past month has emboldened racists to act and speak more openly, leading to outbursts such as "traitor", "terrorist" and "kill him" at campaign events. 19 Oct 2008 In a small town in Oklahoma, not even loyal Democrats will vote for a black man. Kristi Balden woke up at 4.30am to the sound of screeching tyres and yells of "nigger lover!" As she looked out of the window, a vehicle sped away with spinning wheels, peppering her parked car with gravel. She saw her Barack Obama yard sign in shreds on the lawn. It was the fifth time in three weeks her signs backing Obama had been vandalised. Elsewhere in the small town of Enid, in northwestern Oklahoma, more than 50 other residents have had their Obama signs smashed to pieces, and cars with bumper stickers that bear the black presidential candidate’s name have been splattered with eggs. Late one night three weeks ago, four white youths went to a town museum that celebrates minority achievements and took down an exhibit of five Native American teepees. They dragged two of the tents around the streets of an African American neighbourhood, yelling: "Wake up, niggers!"

Death threat, vandalism hit ACORN after accusations 17 Oct 2008 An ACORN community organizer received a death threat and the liberal-leaning voter registration group's Boston and Seattle offices were vandalized Thursday, reflecting mounting [GOP/Nazi] tensions over its role in registering 1.3 million mostly poor and minority Americans to vote next month.

Obama camp calls for special prosecutor in fraud investigation 18 Oct 2008 The Obama campaign announced Friday that it is asking Attorney General Michael Mukasey to turn over any investigations of voter fraud or voter suppression to Special Prosecutor Nora Dannehy. Dannehy is also the special prosecutor recently appointed to investigate the U.S. attorney firing scandal. Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign's general counsel, said on Friday that partisan politics was behind Thursday's leak from senior governmental officials about a preliminary FBI investigation into the voter registration activities of ACORN. "ACORN is a tool for attacking voters," Bauer said.

Reid calls McCain robo calls 'scummy' 17 Oct 2008 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he's surprised at "scummy" tactics employed by Republican John McCain's presidential campaign and "can't believe John McCain knows what's going on." Reid held a news conference Friday to call on McCain to stop sending automated phone calls attempting to link Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama with one-time radical William Ayers.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins decries anti-Obama robocalls 18 Oct 2008 Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, facing a tough reelection fight, urged GOP presidential contender John McCain on Friday to stop making automated calls into her state linking Democratic nominee Barack Obama to a 1960s radical. "These kind of tactics have no place in Maine politics," said Collins' spokesman, Kevin Kelley.

Obama Rally Draws 100,000 in Missouri 18 Oct 2008 Barack Obama attracted 100,000 people at a Saturday rally here, his biggest crowd ever at a U.S. event. The crowd assembled under the Gateway Arch on a sunny Saturday afternoon to hear Obama speak about taxes and slam the Republicans on economic issues. Lt. Samuel Dotson of the St. Louis Police Department confirmed the number of attendees piled into the grassy lawn flanked by the Missouri capital and the Missouri River.

Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times endorse Obama 17 Oct 2008 Declaring that "he is ready" and "a man of exceptional gifts," Chicago's two largest daily newspapers on Friday endorsed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for president. The Chicago Tribune's nod marked the first time the newspaper has supported a Democratic nominee for president. Obama's other high-profile newspaper endorsements include The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

N.C. academics offer Ayers endorsement 15 Oct 2008 Bill Ayers, the radical militant-turned-university professor whose ties to Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama are under scrutiny, is getting some support from faculty members across the country. Professors from UNC-Chapel Hill are among the more than 3,200 educators who have signed an online petition in support of Ayers. More than a dozen signatories are from local universities here in the Triangle.

Iraqis march for freedom from US --Crowd sets fire to effigies of Bush and Rice, burn American and Israeli flags 18 Oct 2008 Moqtada al-Sadr, the anti-American Shia cleric, called on Iraqi politicians today to reject an accord to allow US troops to stay in the country beyond 2008, as tens of thousands of his followers protested against the pact in the streets of Baghdad. In a display of anger at one point, members of the crowd set fire to effigies of George Bush and Condoleezza Rice as well as an American and an Israeli flag. "Yes, yes Iraq! No, no to the occupation!" the protesters chanted as they marched, peacefully, from Sadr City in east Baghdad to a public square a couple of miles away.

Muqtada al-Sadr urges rejection of US-Iraqi pact 18 Oct 2008 Anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged Iraq's parliament to reject a pact that would extend U.S. presence in Iraq for three years as tens of thousands of his followers marched through Baghdad's streets Saturday to reinforce that demand.

Explosive device goes off at checkpoint north of Baghdad 18 Oct 2008 An explosive device went off Saturday after a female suicide bomber was challenged at a checkpoint north of Baghdad, but no one was injured, the U.S. military said. The incident happened in Dhuluiya, a Sunni town about 56 miles (90 kilometers) north of Baghdad, according to an official with the town's police.

Peace activists demand Canada leave Afghanistan 18 Oct 2008 Precious lives and scarce dollars are being wasted on the futile war in Afghanistan, peace activists cried out during marches and rallies across the country on Saturday. Dozens of anti-war activists paraded onto Parliament Hill to demand an end to Canada's Afghan mission, part of a national day of action organized by peace groups that object to the human and financial costs of the bloody conflict.

Afghan elder and son shot dead outside mosque 18 Oct 2008 Three gunmen entered a Kandahar mosque just after morning prayers Saturday and shot dead a tribal elder and his son - a former bodyguard to President Hamid Karzai - in the latest in a string of assassinations gripping the city. Haji Ali Ahmad Khan, a leader of the Barackzai tribe in Kandahar, and his son, Gul Ahmad, were leaving a mosque in Kandahar's Bekhoja neighbourhood at roughly 6 a.m. when the assailants struck.

Suicide blast wounds NATO troops in Afghanistan 18 Oct 2008 A suicide car bomb exploded outside a base of the NATO-led military force in Afghanistan's western city of Herat Saturday, wounding several troops, the alliance said. The car bomb exploded at the gates of a base which is run by Italian troops in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with some Spanish soldiers also stationed there.

Blackwater: We'll Fight Somalia's Pirates By Noah Shachtman 16 Oct 2008 Security analysts and the Somali government are publicly flirting with the idea of hiring mercenaries to stop the pirates that are terrorizing east Africa. Now, the notorious guns-for-fire at Blackwater are responding to the call, with a resounding arrrr!!!!! "Blackwater Worldwide today announced that its 183-foot ship, the McArthur, stands ready to assist the shipping industry as it struggles with the increasing problem of piracy in [Somalia's] Gulf of Aden," the firm says in a statement. [Blackwater terrorists *are* the pirates!]

The torture time bomb --The Bush administration's approval of the abuse of detainees is a toxic legacy for the next US president By Philippe Sands 18 Oct 2008 As the US presidential election reaches a climax against the background of the financial crisis, another silent, dark, time bomb of an issue hangs over the two candidates: torture. For now, there seems to be a shared desire not to delve too deeply into the circumstances in which the Bush administration allowed the US military and the CIA to embrace abusive techniques of interrogation - including waterboarding, in the case of the CIA - which violate the Geneva conventions and the 1984 UN torture convention... New evidence has emerged in Congressional inquiries that throw more light on the extent to which early knowledge and approval of the abuse went to the highest levels. What does a country do when compelling evidence shows its leaders have authorised international crimes?

Response to 9/11 was 'huge overreaction' - ex-MI5 chief 18 Oct 2008 A former head of MI5 today describes the response to the September 11 2001 attacks on the US as a "huge overreaction" and says the invasion of Iraq influenced young men in Britain who turned to terrorism. In an interview with the Guardian, Stella Rimington calls al-Qaida's attack on the US "another terrorist incident" but not qualitatively different from any others.

F.B.I. Struggles to Handle Wave of Financial Fraud Cases 19 Oct 2008 The Federal Bureau of Investigation is struggling to find enough agents and resources to investigate criminal wrongdoing tied to the country’s economic crisis, according to current and former bureau officials. The bureau slashed its criminal investigative work force to expand its national [in]security role after the Sept. 11 attacks, shifting more than 1,800 agents, or nearly one-third of all agents in criminal programs, to terrorism and intelligence duties. Current and former officials say the cutbacks have left the bureau seriously exposed in investigating areas like white-collar crime, which has taken on urgent importance in recent weeks because of the nation’s economic woes.

Lehman's Collapse, Stock Sale Probed by Three U.S. Prosecutors 18 Oct 2008 Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is the subject of three federal criminal probes and at least 12 subpoenas of individuals to testify before grand juries, according to a lawyer for the bank that last month filed the largest bankruptcy in history. Lead Lehman bankruptcy lawyer Harvey Miller said Oct. 16 in federal court in Manhattan that the investigations were launched by New York U.S. attorneys in Brooklyn and Manhattan as well as in Newark, New Jersey.

Flu shots a tough sell to health care workers 16 Oct 2008 Nearly 60 percent of health care workers fail to get a flu shot. Dr. William Schaffner argues that getting vaccinated for the flu should be standard for doctors and nurses, just like washing their hands. Schaffner is president-elect of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, a nonprofit group educates brainwashes the public and health care industry about the causes, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. It gets about 75 percent of its budget from major vaccine makers.Some hospitals take a tougher stand on vaccinations. In Seattle, at Virginia Mason Medical Center, even sales reps, vendors and volunteers must be vaccinated unless they seek exceptions for religious or medical reasons. Even then, those who don't get a shot must wear a mask whenever they are in the hospital during the flu season.

EPA Won't Remove Rocket Fuel From Water --Critics Say EPA Is Protecting the Pentagon From Liability 22 Sep 2008 The Environmental Protection Agency has decided there is no need to rid drinking water of a toxic rocket fuel ingredient that has fouled public water supplies around the United States. The ingredient, perchlorate, has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states at levels some scientists say could interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental health risks, particularly for babies and fetuses. The conclusion, which caps years of dispute over the issue, was denounced by Democrats and environmentalists who accused EPA of caving in to pressure from the Pentagon.

Whale Protection Is Bolstered as Palin Objects 18 Oct 2008 The federal government on Friday placed beluga whales that live in Cook Inlet in Alaska on the endangered species list, rejecting efforts by Gov. Sarah Palin and others against increased protection. The relatively small, whitish whales, sometimes visible from downtown Anchorage, declined by almost 50 percent in the late 1990s, and federal scientists say they have not rebounded despite a series of protections, including a halt to subsistence hunting by Alaska Natives.


Obama Demands Special Prosecutor Investigate GOP Voter Fraud Activities 17 Oct 2008 Charging that the FBI probe of ACORN represents an "unholy alliance" between Republican operatives and potentially illegal conduct by law enforcement targeting voter fraud, the Obama campaign demanded Friday that the U.S. special prosecutor looking into the U.S. attorneys scandal investigate the matter. General counsel Bob Bauer sent a letter to Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey charging that coordinated "misconduct" by McCain campaign representatives and GOP officials were relevant to the special prosecutor’s work, because the activities may relate to the dismissal of seven U.S. attorneys in late 2006.

Justices Rule Against Ohio G.O.P. in Voting Case --Decision has potential to affect as many as 200,000 of 660,000 new Ohio voters 18 Oct 2008 The Supreme Court on Friday overturned a lower court’s order requiring state officials in Ohio to supply information that would have made it easier to challenge prospective voters. The decision was a setback for Ohio Republicans, who had sued to force the Ohio secretary of state, a Democrat, to provide information about database mismatches to county officials.

Story of Joe the Plumber springs many leaks 17 Oct 2008 A couple of things about Joe the Plumber... His first name isn't really Joe. It's Samuel. He's not really a plumber - at least, not a licensed one. He's concerned about increased taxes - but hasn't paid his own income taxes. And he's not exactly just a guy from Ohio. He's lived in Arizona ... and Alaska. And as for that unscripted moment that ended up on Fox News, the one at a rally where he questioned Sen. Barack Obama about the American Dream - and whether he'd have to pay higher taxes under Obama's plan? Seems Joe, who is actually Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, told conservative Web site that catching the Democratic presidential candidate off guard "was actually my intent."

Joe the Plumber: Social Security Is a 'Joke' and Liberal Conspiracy Theories By Bonnie Erbe 16 Oct 2008 Joe Wurzelbacher, the plumber so often referred to by Sen. John McCain in the third and final debate had better learn to shut his mouth. The more he speaks publicly, the more he looks like the GOP plant liberal blogs are starting to claim that he is... Keep watching this story because if it proves true that "Joe the Plumber" is the wealthy, Republican regular the liberal blogs are claiming he is, the McCain campaign could go down as the most corrupt and inept in history.

Satire: McCain's Real Joe the Plumber Is Mafia Figure By R J Shulman 18 Oct 2008 Last night, Joe the Plumber became an instant household word as he was mentioned numerous times by both presidential candidates, especially John McCain. Initial research identified the man as Joe Wurzelbacher of Toledo, Ohio, who spoke briefly with Senator Barack Obama at a political rally. However, the Post Times Sun Dispatch has learned for a reliable source that John McCain’s Joe the Plumber is in really Joseph "the plumber" Balducci, a 42-year-old wanted for questioning by Cleveland police in connection with the bombing of a voting machine warehouse on Euclid Avenue, the wiping off of thousands of names from the voting roles in heavily Democratic counties in Ohio, and for intimidation of minority voters. [Satire]

McCain Using Same Robocall Firm That Helped Smear Him In 2000 By Sam Stein 17 Oct 2008 In his efforts to attack Barack Obama, John McCain appears to have turned to the same political consulting firm that was responsible for spreading vicious smears about the Senator during the 2000 South Carolina GOP primary... According to campaign finance reports, the RNC has paid the firm more than $8 million this cycle. On Friday, Minnesota Democrats stated in a press release that FLS-Connect "may be behind the [RNC/McCain phone campaign]."

Want Palin's e-mails? That'll be $15 million --Even at that price, many records won't be available until after the election 17 Oct 2008 Sarah Palin's office has discovered a renewable resource to bring millions of dollars into Alaska's economy: the governor's e-mails. The office of the Republican vice-presidential nominee has quoted prices as high as $15 million for copies of state e-mails requested by news organizations and citizens. No matter what the price, most of the e-mails of Palin, her senior staff and other state employees won't be made public until at least several weeks after the Nov. 4 presidential election, her office told on Thursday.

Barack Obama for President (The Washington Post) 17 Oct 2008 ...[I]t is without ambivalence that we endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president. The choice is made easy in part by Mr. McCain's disappointing campaign, above all his irresponsible selection of a running mate who is not ready to be president. It is made easy in larger part, though, because of our admiration for Mr. Obama and the impressive qualities he has shown during this long race... He is deliberate but not indecisive; eloquent but a master of substance and detail; preternaturally confident but eager to hear opposing points of view.

More than 100,000 voted early Thursday 17 Oct 2008 More than 100,000 voters in North Carolina cast a ballot on the first day of early voting in an unprecedented rush to the polls amid a historic presidential election, according to elections data released Friday. Data from the State Board of Elections showed that 64 percent of voters who went to the polls Thursday were registered Democrats, while 21 percent of voters were registered Republicans. Another 15 percent were unaffiliated.

National Republicans Pull Ads in Louisiana 15 Oct 2008 The National Republican Senatorial Committee has decided to pull its television advertising out of Louisiana, a decision that drastically reduces the party's chances at its lone takeover opportunity in this election cycle. The ads, according to buy information obtained by The Fix, will end next Tuesday -- two weeks before the Nov. 4 election between Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and state Treasurer John Kennedy (R).

Poll: Obama ahead in critical counties 17 Oct 2008 Sen. Barack Obama holds leads in four key counties that will go a long way toward determining the eventual winner in four important swing states -- Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia -- according to a new Politico/Insider Advantage survey.

U.S. working overtime to keep troops in Iraq 17 Oct 2008 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is consulting with congressional leaders on the U.S.-Iraq status of forces agreement that will allow American troops to remain in Iraq after Dec. 31. The United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the U.S. military presence in Iraq runs out on that date, and U.S. and Iraqi officials must reach an agreement for American troops to continue operations and continue to 'train' the Iraqi security forces, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said during a news conference on Thursday.

Al-Maliki: U.S. general 'complicated relations' 17 Oct 2008 Iraq's prime minister slammed America's top military commander in Iraq on Friday, saying he "risked his position" when he said Iran sought to bribe lawmakers to vote against a security agreement between Iraq and the United States. "The American commander has risked his position when he spoke in this tone and has regrettably complicated relations," Nouri al-Maliki told a group of visiting Kuwaiti journalists in an interview shown on Iraq's state television.

G.O.P. Donor Is Accused of Overcharging Pentagon --Harry Sargeant is finance chairman of Florida Republican Party and major fund-raiser for Senator John McCain's presidential campaign 17 Oct 2008 The Democratic chairman of a House investigative committee presented documents to the Pentagon on Thursday charging that a top Republican fund-raiser, Harry Sargeant III, made tens of millions of dollars in profits over the last four years because his contracting company [International Oil Trading Company] vastly overcharged for deliveries of fuel to American air bases in Iraq.

Military: Turkey launches airstrike on PKK targets in N Iraq 18 Oct 2008 Turkish military said that its warplanes hit targets of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in Qandil region in Iraq's north on Friday. This was the seventh time that the Turkish warplanes have bombed PKK targets in several regions in northern Iraq since Oct. 4.

Baghdad mosque blast kills 3 17 Oct 2008 At least three worshippers have been killed in a bomb attack that hit the participants at the weekly Friday prayers in a mosque in Baghdad. "At around 1:30 p.m. (1030 GMT), as worshippers were leaving the Saeed Haydar mosque in the Shaab neighborhood, a bomb went off killing three people and wounding seven others," AFP quoted an Iraqi security official as saying.

South Afghanistan attack kills 17 civilians 17 Oct 2008 Women and children were among 17 civilians killed in southern Afghanistan, an official said on Friday... The issue of civilian casualties is an emotive one in Afghanistan and feeds the perception of many Afghans that foreign troops do not take enough care to avoid killing ordinary citizens and fuels resentment at the NATO presence in the country.

IAI's Heron UAV Hunkers Over to Canadian Forces In Afghanistan 17 Oct 2008 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has delivered the first Heron UAV system to the Canadian Air Force. IAI and MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) as prime contractor were recently awarded a contract to deliver IAI’s Heron UAV through MDA to Canadian forces deployed in Afghanistan (NOCTUA project). According to publications,the contract is valued at 95 million Canadians Dollars (US$81 million).

U.S. Prosecutor: Guantanamo trials reveal 'creeping rot' of injustice 14 Oct 2008 A U.S. military prosecutor has quit his job after concluding that the trial system at the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay amounted to a "creeping rot" of injustice. After resigning his reservist commission, Lt.-Col. Darrel Vandeveld said prosecutors were so determined to deny Mohammad Jawad, an Afghan who was detained as a juvenile, a fair trial that their role amounted to "ethical misconduct."

Next on "Survivor: NSA," the Telecom tribe faces an immunity challenge By John Murrell 17 Oct 2008 In Congress last July, the telecom industry won that most treasured of legal protections, retroactive immunity for unspecified offenses, for their role in rolling over to assist the National Security Agency in its warrantless wiretapping of American citizens (see "Telecoms win immunity -- for what, we may never know"). At the time, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which was serving as coordinating counsel in some 40 lawsuits over the surveillance, promised the fight was not over, and today it made good, filing suit to challenge the mechanics of the immunity provision as unconstitutional.

EFF Challenges Constitutionality of Telecom Immunity in Federal Court --Unconstitutional Law Cannot Shut Courthouse Door on Americans' Privacy Claims 17 Oct 2008 The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Thursday challenged the constitutionality of a law aimed at granting retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the president's [sic] illegal domestic wiretapping program.

Wall Street bankers in line for $70bn payout --Pay and bonus deals equivalent to 10% of US government bail-out package 18 Oct 2008 Financial workers at Wall Street's top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (£40bn), a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in bonuses, for their work so far this year - despite plunging the global financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, the Guardian has learned. Staff at six banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup will pick up the payouts despite being the beneficiaries of a $700bn bail-out from the US government that has already prompted widespread criticism.

AIG Still Paying For Luxury Suite at Madison Square Garden --Meanwhile, Under Pressure, Company Will Cancel Over 160 Events 16 Oct 2008 ABC News has learned that the beleaguered insurance company AIG is still paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a luxury suite at Madison Square Garden, the home of the New York Knicks and Rangers. AIG told that the contract for the suite was signed in February and is for the exclusive use of its "brokers and clients."

Christine Lagarde warned Hank Paulson to bail out Lehman Brothers 18 Oct 2008 Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, warned her US counterpart Hank Paulson that he had to bail out US investment bank Lehman Brothers or face global financial collapse, but her advice went unheeded. Sources close to Mrs Lagarde said that she had called the US Treasury Secretary - a close personal friend - well before the ailing bank's collapse imploring him to act, but he chose not to. Lehman Brothers' demise sparked the biggest shake-up on Wall Street in decades and sent shock waves around the world that triggered a massive bailout plan in Britain and Europe.

Lahde Quits Hedge Funds, Thanks 'Idiots' for Success 17 Oct 2008 Andrew Lahde, the hedge-fund manager who quit after posting an 870 percent gain last year, said farewell to clients in a letter that thanks stupid traders for making him rich and ends with a plea to legalize marijuana. Lahde, head of Santa Monica, California-based Lahde Capital Management LLC, told investors last month he was returning their cash because the risk of using credit derivatives was too risky given the weakness of the banks he was trading with.

Banks borrow record $437.5 billion per day from Fed 17 Oct 2008 Financial institutions ran to their lender of last resort for record amounts of cash in the latest week, Federal Reserve data showed on Thursday. Banks and dealers' overall direct borrowings from the Fed averaged a record $437.53 billion per day in the week ended October 15, topping the previous week's $420.16 billion per day.

Flu Pandemic May Cost World Economy Up to $3 Trillion 17 Oct 2008 A [US Army engendered] flu pandemic could kill 71 million people worldwide and push the global economy into a "major global recession" costing more than $3 trillion, according to raised estimates by the World Bank of a worst-case scenario.

"In spite of protections already in place, Cook Inlet beluga whales are not recovering." Bush administration declares Alaska's Beluga whales endangered --The move is in opposition to Gov. Sarah Palin's stance on the animals' status. The National Marine Fisheries Service will extend federal protections to the 375 whales. 17 Oct 2008 The Bush Administration today declared a small, isolated population of Beluga whales in Alaska's Cook Inlet as endangered species, rejecting arguments from Alaska Gov. [sociopath] Sarah Palin that these small, white whales were on their way to recovery. The National Marine Fisheries Service decided to extend federal protections to these whales near Anchorage after their numbers declined nearly 50% in the 1990s and the whales failed to rebound despite a decade-long program to revive the species.

Preview of Final 110th Congress Humane Scorecard (Humane Society Legislative Fund) October 2008 Every year the Humane Society Legislative Fund creates a federal Humane Scorecard to give you a snapshot of the animal protection issues considered by the U.S. Congress. The Humane Scorecard lets you see if your legislators are voting or taking action to help protect animals.

Leaders in the 110th --110th Congress Final Scorecard Leaders As of 10/10/08 (Humane Society Legislative Fund) Humane Champions: Members who led as prime sponsors of pro-animal legislation and scored a perfect 100%. Totals: 7 Senators, 23 Representatives; Legislative Leaders: Members who led as prime sponsors of pro-animal legislation. Totals: 27 Senators, 51 Representatives; Humane Advocates: Members who scored a perfect 100%. Totals: 3 Senators; 31 Representatives.

Farmers bring foot-and-mouth case 17 Oct 2008 The two laboratories at the centre of last year's foot-and-mouth outbreak and the government are to be sued for damages, the BBC has learned. If the High Court case brought by 14 farmers is successful, the labs and the government could face further claims that could total more than £100m.

Arctic temperatures hit record high 16 Oct 2008 Temperatures in the Arctic last fall hit an all-time high -- more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Centigrade) above normal -- and remain almost as high this year, an international team of scientists reported Thursday. "The year 2007 was the warmest year on record in the Arctic,'' said Jackie Richter-Menge, a climate expert at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H, and editor of the latest annual Arctic Report Card.


Top Tampa GOP Figure Circulates Joke About Killing Obama 15 Oct 2008 (FL) Al Austin, a longtime, high-level Republican fundraiser from Tampa, today sent to his list of political contacts an e-mail containing a joke that refers to the assassination of Barack Obama. When asked about the e-mail, Austin said it was a mistake and apologized and that he wouldn’t knowingly have circulated it. He said he planned to send an apology and retraction to the same e-mail list.

McCain Robocalls: Obama Is a Baby-Killing, America-ignoring, Hollywood-loving, Terrorist-Loving... 16 Oct 2008 The liberal muckraking site Talking Points Memo has collected some of the slough of anti-Obama robocalls being made by the McCain/Palin campaign with the RNC.

Newsletter depicts Obama with watermelon, ribs 16 Oct 2008 A San Bernardino County Republican group has distributed a newsletter picturing Barack Obama on a phony $10 bill adorned with a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken. The illustration appears in the October newsletter of the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated.

"It is a federal crime to threaten the life or a presidential candidate … they are participating in that crime." Missouri voter sues over McCain campaign "hate speech" 16 Oct 2008 Missouri voter Mary Kay Green has had enough. The supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama filed a lawsuit this week over what she claims is dangerous "hate speech" coming from the rival campaign of Republican presidential nominee John McCain. Green, a "semi-retired" civil rights attorney, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Kansas City this week accusing McCain, his running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and their campaign manager Rick Davis of "intentionally, recklessly and irresponsibly" portraying Obama "as un-American, a terrorist by association, and 'not like us,' a non-white individual."

'Joe the Plumber' owes back income taxes in Ohio 16 Oct 2008 "Joe the Plumber," the Toledo, Ohio, man whose complaints about Barack Obama's tax plan were featured in the final presidential debate, owes the state of Ohio almost $1,200 in back income taxes. According to records on file with the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, the state filed a tax lien against Samuel J. Wurzelbacher for $1,182.98 on Jan. 26, 2007, that is still active.

Joe the 'plumber' and his employer have no plumbing licenses 16 Oct 2008 Joe the Plumber lying sack of sh*t said Thursday he doesn't have a license and doesn't need one. Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as 'Joe the Plumber' said he works for a small plumbing company that does residential work. Because he works for someone else, he doesn't need a license, he said. But the county Wurzelbacher and his employer live in, Lucas County, requires plumbers to have licenses. Neither Wurzelbacher nor his employer are licensed there, said Cheryl Schimming of Lucas County Building Regulations, which handles plumber licenses in parts of the county outside Toledo.

U.S. election star "Joe the Plumber" lacks license 16 Oct 2008 It turns out, Joe Wurzelbacher isn't a licensed plumber after all. Oh, and his real name is Sam. The Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics revealed that Wurzelbacher was not a licensed member of their trade.

Ohio Files Appeal to Supreme Court on Voter Registration Data 16 Oct 2008 Ohio's attorney general filed an emergency appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court late Wednesday night seeking to block a lower court decision that could cost many thousands of Ohio voters a chance to cast a regular ballot Nov. 4. About 660,000 new voters have registered since January with an edge to Democrats. The filing on behalf of Ohio's Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner contends that upholding a Tuesday decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit would create havoc on Election Day and cause many voters to cast "provisional" ballots that may or may not ultimately be tallied depending on judgments by local elections boards.

Republicans challenge Ohio voters 16 Oct 2008 More than 200,000 registered voters in Ohio may be challenged over their right to vote in the presidential election. An appeal court has backed a complaint brought by the Ohio Republican Party, which argued the voters' details did not match federal records. Their concern is over registered voters backing Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama for president. A key Democratic official says she is concerned the move is a veiled bid to disenfranchise voters.

"This is," the report said, "a gross abuse of the public trust." White House Helped GOP Congressional Races 16 Oct 2008 When Karl Rove's office requested special help for beleaguered Republican congressional candidates in the months before the 2006 elections, the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy jumped to the task... Director John Walters's visits to Utah, Missouri and Nevada were among at least 303 out-of-town trips by senior Bush appointees meant to lend prestige or bring federal grants to 99 politically endangered Republicans that year, in a White House campaign that House Democratic investigators yesterday called unprecedented in scope and scale.

Officials: FBI investigates ACORN for voter fraud 16 Oct 2008 The FBI is investigating whether the community activist group ACORN helped foster voter registration fraud around the nation before the presidential election. A senior law enforcement official confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press on Thursday. A second senior law enforcement official says the FBI was looking at results of recent raids on ACORN offices in several states for any evidence of a coordinated national scam.

Satire: GOP Accuses ACORN of Stealing Their Thunder --"I know all about this voter fraud thing, doggone it," said Governor Sarah Palin, "because I can see an acorn from my house." By R J Shulman 16 Oct 2008 The Republican party has launched a major attack against ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, charging them with trying to steal the election for Barack Obama. "Their conduct is outrageous," said Steve Schmidt of the McCain campaign, "we have worked so hard to steal this election fair and square that to have this group of pipsqueak upstarts trying to steal it back is beyond the pale." [Satire]

Verizon and AT&T Provided Cell Towers for McCain Ranch 15 Oct 2008 By the time Sen. John McCain's presidential bid was in full swing this summer, the McCain's 15-acre ranch had wireless coverage from the two cellular companies most often used by campaign staff -- Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Verizon delivered a portable tower know as a "cell site on wheels" -- free of charge -- to Cindy McCain's property in June in response to an online request from Cindy McCain's staff early last year. Such devices are usually reserved for restoring service when cell coverage is knocked out during emergencies, such as hurricanes. In July, AT&T followed suit, wheeling in a portable tower for free to match Verizon's offer.

Bush Strategist: McCain Knows He Put Country At Risk With Palin Pick By Sam Stein 14 Oct 2008 Matthew Dowd, a prominent political consultant and chief strategist for George W. Bush's re[s]election campaign eviscerated John McCain on Tuesday for his choice of Sarah Palin as vice president. Dowd proclaimed that, in his heart of hearts, McCain knew he put the country at risk with his VP choice and that he would "have to live" with that fact for the rest of his career. "When Sarah Palin got picked instead of Joe Lieberman, which I fundamentally believed would have given John McCain the best opportunity in this race... as soon as he picked Palin, that whole ready versus not ready argument was not credible," Dowd declared during the Time Warner Summit panel.

IVAW members arrested while attempting to present questions to Obama, McCain 16 Oct 2008 One hour before the final presidential debate of the 2008 campaign, fourteen members of IVAW marched in formation to Hofstra University to present questions for the candidates. IVAW had requested permission from debate moderator Bob Schieffer to ask their questions during the debate but got no response... A total of 10 veterans were arrested during the action.

Emboldened Obama to push into firmly Republican states --Buoyed by success, Democrats to force cash-strapped McCain to defend safe areas 17 Oct 2008 Barack Obama, emerging from the third and final debate against John McCain with his momentum unchecked, yesterday opened up new fronts in the November 4 election battle by expanding into normally bedrock Republican states.

Irish bookie calls US race over, pays off on Obama 16 Oct 2008 The race is over as far as Ireland's biggest bookmaker is concerned. Paddy Power PLC says it is so sure Barack Obama will win the U.S. presidential election next month that it paid off Thursday on all bets it had taken backing the Democratic candidate. It said it shelled out more than euro1 million, about $1.35 million.

US policies led to Iran revolution, study says 16 Oct 2008 A new report based on previously classified documents suggests that the Nixon and Ford administrations created conditions that helped destabilize Iran in the late 1970s and contributed to the country's Islamic Revolution. A trove of transcripts, memos and other correspondence show sharp differences over rising oil prices developing between the Republican administrations and Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi in the mid-1970s, says a report to be published today in the fall issue of Middle East Journal, an academic journal published by the Washington-based Middle East Institute, a think tank.

Villagers say 18 civilians killed in Nato air strike in Afghanistan 17 Oct 2008 British defence officials said last night they were investigating reports that civilians, including women and children, were killed in an air strike by Nato forces in southern Afghanistan. Angry villagers took 18 bodies - including badly mangled bodies of women and children - to the governor's house in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, Haji Adnan Khan, a tribal leader in the city who had seen the bodies, was reported as saying. He said there might be more bodies trapped under the rubble.

Massachusetts soldier killed in Afghanistan 16 Oct 2008 A 25-year-old soldier with Massachusetts roots died after his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb this week in Afghanistan, his mother, Elizabeth Crawford, said. Army Specialist Stephen Fortunato was killed after volunteering to go out on a patrol Monday while serving with the First Infantry Division.

Suicide bomber explodes in police compound 16 Oct 2008 A suicide car bomber has attacked a police station in northwest Pakistan, causing the deaths of four of Pakistan’s security forces. The attacker struck in the mountain valley of Swat, where government forces have been struggling with Taliban militants.

Analysts: al-Qaida has funds despite economic woes 16 Oct 2008 Al-Qaida, which gets its money from the Bush's drug trade in Afghanistan and sympathizers in the [US-occupied] oil-rich Gulf states, is likely to escape the effects of the global financial crisis. One reason is that al-Qaida and other Islamic CIA terrorists have been forced to avoid using banks, relying instead on less-efficient ways to move their cash around the world, analysts said.

Spanish judge to probe Franco era 16 Oct 2008 A Spanish judge has launched a criminal investigation into the fate of tens of thousands of people who vanished during the civil war and Franco dictatorship. Judge Baltasar Garzon - Spain's top investigating judge - has also ordered several mass graves to be opened.

Two U.S. Labs Working with Deadly Germs Not Secure, Says GAO 16 Oct 2008 The Government Accountability Office is set to release as early as today a report criticizing security at two U.S. laboratories where researches handle the world's deadliest germs, according to the Associated Press, which received an early look at the report. The AP identified the two Biosafety Level 4 labs as the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio,Texas, and Georgia State University in Atlanta.

NJ flu-shot mandate for preschoolers draws outcry --Deadly vaccines contain thimerosol, a mercury-based preservative 16 Oct 2008 Many New Jersey parents are furious over a first-in-the-nation requirement that children get a flu shot in order to attend preschools and day-care centers. The decision should be the parents', not the state's, they contend. Hundreds of parents and other activists rallied outside the New Jersey Statehouse on Thursday, decrying the policy and voicing support for a bill that would allow parents to opt out of mandatory vaccinations for their children.

Former SEC chief rips agency on meltdown 16 Oct 2008 Arthur Levitt, the one-time chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, blamed his former agency Thursday for failures he said helped cause the financial meltdown. A resource-strapped SEC allowed confusion and reckless risk-taking to dominate financial markets, Levitt, who led the agency from 1993 to 2001, told the Senate Banking Committee.


Bush Declares Exceptions to Sections of Two Bills He Signed Into Law --Bush used signing statements to assert a right to bypass more than 1,100 sections of laws. 15 Oct 2008 President [sic] Bush asserted on Tuesday that he had the executive power to bypass several parts of two bills: a military authorization act and a measure giving inspectors general greater independence from White House control. Mr. Bush signed the two measures into law. But he then issued a so-called signing statement in which he instructed the executive branch to view parts of each as unconstitutional constraints on presidential power. In the authorization bill, Mr. Bush challenged four sections. One forbid the money from being used "to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq"; another required negotiations for an agreement by which Iraq would share some of the costs of the American military operations there. The sections "purport to impose requirements that could inhibit the president’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations," including as commander in chief, Mr. Bush wrote. In the other bill, he raised concerns about two sections that strengthen legal protections against political interference with the internal watchdog officials at each executive agency.

Mail carriers, escorted by police, to bring drugs in anthrax attack --HHS science advisor: Attack using crop-dusting airplane dumping anthrax spores over a city is a possible scenario 01 Oct 2008 Government mail carriers would deliver emergency supplies of antibiotics to people in U.S. cities in the case of an anthrax attack, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials said on Wednesday. The system has been tested in three large [blue] cities -- Seattle, Philadelphia and Boston -- and a pilot program is set to begin soon in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in Minnesota. The U.S. Postal Service carriers who would bring the antibiotics from door to door all would be volunteers who would have advance supplies of antibiotics to protect themselves and their families, officials said. Following any new attacks, the mail carriers would be escorted by local police as they deliver supplies of a few days' worth of antibiotics directly to residences throughout an affected community, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said.

"We have done all the things that we need to do, but the threat is building - the complex plots [to prevent an Obama victory] are building." 'Great' terror plot brewing in UK: Top official 15 Oct 2008 Britain may be faced with a major terrorist attack, a top security official said on Wednesday, as the the Government received a severe setback in parliament in its effort to pass a key counter-terrorism law. "There is another great plot building up again and we are monitoring this," warned Lord West, who advises British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on security matters.

Fears rise of terror plot in UK 16 Oct 2008 Multiple home-grown [!] terrorist cells are plotting a UK attack with the threat now rising almost as high as it was after the 2005 London bombings. Britain's Minister for Counter Terrorism Lord West told Parliament yesterday another "great plot" was being investigated by authorities. "Some of the measures that we have put into place in the past 15 months have made us safer, but that does not mean that we are safe," he told peers as the House of Lords debated a new Counter Terrorism Bill.

'I couldn't believe it. It was like something out of Guantanamo Bay. The room is painted totally black. The walls, the partitions, the window blinds – everything was black.' Parent fury as school uses 'Guantanamo Bay' isolation cells to punish unruly pupils 13 Oct 2008 A school which sends unruly children to Guantanamo Bay-style isolation cells has faced criticism. Children are ordered to sit for extended periods under a spotlight facing a black wall in one of four partitioned areas of a classroom to reflect on their misbehaviour. Teachers at Ridgewood School in Doncaster – who call the cells 'individual study rooms' – also notify parents if their youngsters spend time in the cells.

Bush White House 'endorsed torture' --CIA sought explicit consent from Bush Administration to continue practices 15 Oct 2008 The Bush Administration explicitly endorsed torture techniques used by the CIA on 'al-Qaeda' suspects, according to secret memos obtained by The Washington Post. The Post has identified two documents sent by the White House to then CIA Director George Tenet in 2003 and 2004, endorsing controversial interrogation techniques such as 'waterboarding'.

"'We don't want to continue unless you tell us in writing that it's not only legal but is the policy of the administration.'" CIA Tactics Endorsed In Secret Memos --Waterboarding Got White House Nod 15 Oct 2008 The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against 'al-Qaeda' suspects -- documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public. The classified memos, which have not been previously disclosed, were requested by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, according to four administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents.

Blackwater joins N.C. law enforcement in suspect search 14 Oct 2008 (Camden Co., NC) Law enforcement personnel from 3 jurisdictions, with an assist from personnel and equipment from Blackwater, searched a rural area in the county Tuesday morning for a suspect they say shot a county resident as he walked out his house to go to work. Blackwater was called to assist in the search with a helicopter.

Suspect to fight Homeland Security charge 15 Oct 2008 A 26-year-old Muskegon man arrested last month after he allegedly entered a restricted fenced-in area near the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power's Sims III Power Plant was arraigned this morning on felony trespassing charges in Ottawa County 58th District Court. Jeremy Sowa, who told the court he has no home and lives out of his car, was charged with trespassing a U.S. Department of Homeland Security classified "key facility," a four-year felony.

Ahmadinejad slams US for Iraq oil theft 15 Oct 2008 Iran's president has hinted that the White House is to blame for the billions of dollars that have gone missing in Iraqi oil revenues. "Several months ago, we heard that an enormous amount of over 100-million barrels of Iraqi crude have gone unaccounted for since the US-led invasion of the country," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday. The New York Times quoted a draft government report as saying in 2007 that "between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq's declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling."

US and Iraq draw up draft plan for troops withdrawal by 2011 15 Oct 2008 US troops will withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011 and American and British soldiers deployed there in the interim period could face prosecution in Iraq's courts for serious, premeditated "off-duty" crimes, under the terms of a draft status of forces agreement outlined today by officials in Baghdad and Washington. Ali al-Dabbagh, the Iraqi government spokesman, left open the possibility that some US and other forces might be asked to stay beyond that date if the Iraqi government felt they were needed.

2008 Afghanistan's 'worst year': minister 15 Oct 2008 This year has been the bloodiest for 'insurgent' violence in Afghanistan as increasing numbers of terrorists change battlegrounds and head here from Iraq, the defence minister said Tuesday. "The level of violence has increased every year and 2008 has been the worst of all," Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak told reporters, referring to the launch of an insurgency after the extremist Taliban regime was 'ousted' in 2001.

British soldier killed in Afghanistan blast: ministry 15 Oct 2008 A British soldier serving with NATO-led troops in Afghanistan died in an explosion Wednesday, the defence ministry said. The soldier, from D Squadron Household Cavalry Regiment, was killed while on routine patrol about 23 kilometres (14 miles) north of Forward Operating Base Delhi in Helmand province, in the south of the country.

Iran to flex muscles in aerial drill 15 Oct 2008 Iran's Air Force is set to test the country's state-of-the-art military equipment and flight tactics in a large-scale aerial maneuver. Iran's show of armed muscle is aimed at demonstrating the country's military offensive capabilities in the wake of escalating war threats against the Islamic Republic.

Cheney treated second time for abnormal heartbeat 15 Oct 2008 U.S. Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, who has a history of heart problems, was treated with an electric shock on Wednesday to resolve an abnormal heartbeat -- the second time in less than a year. Cheney returned to his official residence and resumed his normal schedule after the procedure, said his spokeswoman Megan Mitchell.

Cheney cancels fundraiser after experiencing abnormal 'heart' rhythm 15 Oct 2008 Dick Cheney was forced to cancel a fundraiser in Illinois today after his abnormal 'heart' rhythm flared up, forcing the US vice-president [sic] to stay in Washington for a short hospital procedure. Doctors discovered atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm in the heart's upper chambers, during a routine visit with Cheney this morning, his press secretary told reporters. [The real news here is that doctors were able to locate one. --LRP]

Sarah Palin's husband was warned about Troopergate 15 Oct 2008 Sarah Palin's husband was warned by a top police official to stop trying to have her ex-brother-in-law fired, it has emerged. John Glass, Alaska's deputy commissioner of public safety, told him the move could result in "an extreme amount of discomfort and embarrassment," a state inquiry into the so-called "Troopergate" incident found. Mrs Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, was found by the inquiry to have abused her power in personally pushing for the dismissal of Mike Wooten, a state trooper and her sister's ex-husband. The report discloses a warning given to Todd Palin by Mr Glass in the spring that disciplinary action had already been taken against Mr Wooten and that "we could not fire him".

CNN Electoral Map: Obama would win if election held today 15 Oct 2008 If the presidential election were held today, the latest update of the CNN Electoral College Map estimates Democratic candidate Barack Obama would win enough electoral votes to capture the White House. The new map indicates that Sen. Obama would have 277 electoral votes [270 are needed for victory], with Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate, amassing 174 electoral votes; 87 electoral votes are still up for grabs in several states.

Buckley Leaves Magazine His Father Founded After Backing Obama 14 Oct 2008 Author and humorist Christopher Buckley resigned from the National Review, a conservative magazine his father founded, after readers complained about his endorsement in another publication of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Buckley, son of the late William F. Buckley, wrote today in, an online publication in which he endorsed Obama, that he resigned from the National Review after it was deluged with critical responses to his column at the rate of 700- 1.

Dow plunges 733 on new disheartening economic data 15 Oct 2008 The economy lurched deeper into the doldrums Wednesday and took the stock market down with it, sending the Dow Jones industrials to a staggering 733-point loss and erasing any hopes that the convulsions that have shaken Wall Street for a month were over.

Seattle Times: Congress hides $3.5B in earmarks 14 Oct 2008 A year ago, Congress passed new ethics rules requiring lawmakers, for the first time, to disclose their earmarks - federal dollars they were quietly doling out as favors. But time after time, Congress exploited loopholes or violated those rules, a Seattle Times investigation has found. An in-depth examination of the 2008 defense bill found $8.5 billion in earmarks. Of those, 40 percent - $3.5 billion - were hidden.

Wall Street humiliated by nationalisation of banks 15 Oct 2008 The US government is set to become the largest shareholder in its national banks, pumping in $250bn (£143bn) to prop up its financial system and marking one of the most startling moments in a credit crisis that has brought quasi-nationalisation to the home of free-market capitalism.

Memos tell wildlife officials to ignore global-warming impact 14 Oct 2008 New legal memos by top Bush administration officials say that the Endangered Species Act can't be used to protect animals and their habitats from climate change by regulating specific sources of greenhouse gas emissions, the cause of global warming. The assessment, outlined in memos sent earlier this month and leaked Tuesday, provides the official legal justification for limiting protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Eruption of 3 volcanoes has scientists asking questions --Puzzle: Is there a common thread or were events just coincidence? 10 Oct 2008 How likely is it that three neighboring volcanoes would all erupt at the same time -- as the Kasatochi, Okmok and Cleveland volcanoes in the Aleutians did this summer? About as likely as a storm that only appears once in a thousand years, says Anchorage volcanologist Peter Cervelli, who'll deliver a paper on the subject this winter to the American Geophysical Union.


Iraqi VP: U.S., Iraq won't reach accord on troops this year 13 Oct 2008 Time's running out for reaching a security agreement with the U.S., and an accord is unlikely before the end of this year, Iraq's Sunni Muslim vice president said Monday. The United Nations mandate that authorizes the U.S. military presence in Iraq will expire on Dec. 31 and without a so-called status of forces agreement, it's questionable whether the U.S. will have a legitimate right to maintain its troops in Iraq, Vice President Tariq al Hashimi told McClatchy.

Lacking an Accord On Troops, U.S. and Iraq Seek a Plan B 14 Oct 2008 With time running out for the conclusion of an agreement governing American forces in Iraq, nervous negotiators have begun examining alternatives that would allow U.S. troops [Blackwater] to stay beyond the Dec. 31 deadline, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials. One option is an extension of the United Nations mandate that expires at the end of the year... Another alternative would amount to a simple handshake agreement between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President [sic] Bush to leave things as they are [!] until a new deal, under a new U.S. administration, can be negotiated.

Iran protests American troops' behavior toward pilgrims --U.S. forces are inspecting all people between the ages of 18 and 40, taking finger prints and eye scans. 14 Oct 2008 Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization on Monday voiced protest against the American troops' insulting behavior towards Iranian pilgrims in Iraq. Deputy Head of the Organization for holy sites affairs Hossein Akbar told a press conference in Baghdad on Monday that the U.S. forces' act of having Iranian pilgrims fingerprinted and giving eye tests along Iraqi borders is illegal, unconventional and in contradiction with current Tehran-Baghdad accords.

Friendly fire in Iraq -- and a coverup --The Army says no, but a graphic video and eyewitness testimony indicate that a U.S. tank killed two American soldiers. The mother of one soldier demands answers. By Mark Benjamin 14 Oct 2008 Salon has obtained evidence -- including a graphic, 52-and-a-half minute video -- suggesting that friendly fire from an American tank killed two U.S. soldiers in Ramadi, Iraq, in late 2006, and that the Army ignored the video and other persuasive data in order to rule that the deaths were due to enemy action.

Iraqi government in biggest ever sale of oil assets 13 Oct 2008 The Iraqi government is to sell the rights to recover 40 billion barrels of oil in the biggest ever sale of reserves. BP, Shell and ExxonMobil are all expected to attend a meeting at the Park Lane Hotel in Mayfair with the Iraqi oil minister, Hussein al-Shahristani for the first round of bidding for new contracts. It is the first time since the 2003 US-led invasion that the contracts have been released.

U.N envoy: Afghan insurgency spreading --Says Taliban influence reaching beyond traditional strongholds 14 Oct 2008 The 'insurgency' in Afghanistan has spread beyond Taliban strongholds while the number of attacks in the country has reached a six-year high, a top U.N. envoy said on Tuesday. Kai Eide, the U.N.'s special representative to Afghanistan, told the United Nations Security Council that insurgents are unlikely to ease attacks this winter as their influence continues to spread beyond traditional strongholds to provinces around Kabul.

Officer admits deleting part of record of events before tube shooting --Revelation very serious, says home secretary 14 Oct 2008 A police officer yesterday admitted he had altered a key document about the events leading up to the shooting dead of Jean Charles de Menezes. An official investigation was announced into the admission by the officer, known only as Owen, who was the deputy surveillance coordinator on the day De Menezes was killed after being mistaken by police for a suicide bomber. Yesterday Owen told an inquest he had deleted parts of a record he made about the decisions and options being considered by senior officers as De Menezes was followed by police on July 22 2005. The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, described the revelation as "very serious" and the De Menezes family said it potentially undermined the evidence of senior officers.

Nobel Prize to Arch-Critic Krugman Is Blow to Bush 13 Oct 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush, whose approval ratings are at historic lows as the U.S. veers toward a recession or worse, got yet another thumb in the eye when one of his most vociferous critics was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. While Princeton University Professor Paul Krugman was honored today for "analysis of trade patterns of and locations of economic activity," he's more widely known for twice-weekly columns in the New York Times and appearances on television, in which he regularly attacks the president on the war in Iraq, his tax cuts and other issues.

In the 'Pot-Kettle' moment of the century: Democrats accused of trying to steal election 15 Oct 2008 An elder statesman of the Republican party cast doubt about the legitimacy of the presidential election yesterday - three weeks before Americans go to the polls - by declaring the process was already "tainted" by voter fraud. The assertion from John Danforth, a former Missouri senator and ambassador to the UN, dramatically escalates charges by the John McCain camp that Barack Obama and the community organisation Acorn are trying to steal the election by bringing new voters into the electoral system. [LOLOL!!!!! and b*te me.]

Judge: Mich. can't reject voters with bad address 13 Oct 2008 A judge has ordered Michigan election officials to stop automatically canceling a voter's registration if the card is returned as undeliverable. Federal Judge Stephen Murphy in Detroit ruled Monday in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and a group representing college students. More than 1,400 voters in that category have been disqualified so far in 2008.

RNC eyes $5M bailout for GOP senators 13 Oct 2008 The Republican National Committee, growing nervous over the prospect of Democrats’ winning a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, is considering tapping into a $5 million line of credit this week to aid an increasing number of vulnerable incumbents, top Republicans say. With party strategists fearing a bloodbath at the polls [LOL!], GOP officials are shifting to triage mode, determining who can be saved and where to best spend their money.

Sen. Brown: Make O'Reilly cry Nov. 4 13 Oct 2008 Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, introducing Barack Obama at a conference center here, told a crowd of more than 3,000 that they could help bring favorite Democratic bogeyman Bill O’Reilly to tears on Election Day.

Poll: Obama Opens 14-Point Lead On McCain --CBS News/New York Times Survey Shows Major Swing Among Independents, Suggests McCain's Strategy May Be Hurting Him 14 Oct 2008 Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is entering the third and final presidential debate Wednesday with a wide lead over Republican rival John McCain nationally, a new CBS News/New York Times poll shows. The Obama-Biden ticket now leads the McCain-Palin ticket 53 percent to 39 percent among likely voters, a 14-point margin.

McCain Transition Chief Aided Saddam In Lobbying Effort By Murray Waas 14 Oct 2008 William Timmons, the Washington lobbyist who John McCain has named to head his presidential transition team, aided an influence effort on behalf of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to ease international sanctions against his regime. The two lobbyists who Timmons worked closely with over a five year period on the lobbying campaign later either pleaded guilty to or were convicted of federal criminal charges that they had acted as unregistered agents of Saddam Hussein's government. During the same period beginning in 1992, Timmons worked closely with the two lobbyists, Samir Vincent and Tongsun Park, on a previously unreported prospective deal with the Iraqis in which they hoped to be awarded a contract to purchase and resell Iraqi oil.

McCain was not tortured, PoW guard claims 14 Oct 2008 The Republican US presidential candidate John McCain was not tortured during his captivity in North Vietnam, the chief prison guard of the jail in which he was held has claimed. In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Nguyen Tien Tran acknowledged that conditions in the prison were "tough, though not inhuman". But, he added: "We never tortured McCain. On the contrary, we saved his life, curing him with extremely valuable medicines that at times were not available to our own wounded."

Palin's rural adviser quits 13 Oct 2008 Gov. Sarah Palin's rural adviser resigned Monday amid criticism of the governor's record on hiring Alaska Natives. Rhonda McBride, who is not an Alaska Native, made the announcement in an e-mail to several Native leaders, saying there needs to be more Native voices in Palin's administration. "I definitely think it would help to have an Alaska Native in this position," McBride told The Associated Press.

The Truth About Sarah Palin ( 14 Oct 2008 This page was created by Alaskans and has been online since 2007--with updates. [Warning! Graphic images of 'Victims of Sarah Palin's support for aerial hunting' and 'Sarah Palin showing off her kill']

Obama Supporters Protest With Obscene Anti-Palin Shirts 14 Oct 2008 Martha MacCallum, host: Sarah Palin is impounded with protest in Pennsylvania over the weekend -- but the most traumatic is very offensive, frankly, no matter who you support, an anti-Palin t-shirt that is so vulgar, we can't even show you what it says on cable TV.

Two Alaskan Women Speak Out on Palin Posted by BartLA 13 Oct 2008 (Video)

'Some of the antlers are scattered about his yard.' Johnston speaks about Bristol Palin, Obama, baby 13 Oct 2008 Levi Johnston, who's having a [second,Trig was first] baby with Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter, can't believe all the things he's hearing... Johnston is an avid hunter. He's bagged bears, sheep, elk, and caribou. Some of the antlers are scattered about his yard. Johnston has dropped out of high school to take a job on the North Slope oil fields as an apprentice electrician. Johnston didn't register in time to vote, according to the Mat-Su Division of Elections Office in Wasilla.

Private sector loans, not Fannie or Freddie, triggered crisis 12 Oct 2008 As the economy worsens and Election Day approaches, a conservative campaign blames the global financial crisis on a government push to make housing more affordable to lower-class Americans... They've specifically targeted the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the federal government seized on Sept. 6, contending that lending to poor and minority Americans caused Fannie's and Freddie's financial problems. Federal housing data reveal that the charges aren't true, and that the private sector, not the government or government-backed companies, was behind the soaring subprime lending at the core of the crisis.

Treasury to Invest in 'Healthy' Banks, Kashkari Says 13 Oct 2008 Neel Kashkari, the U.S. Treasury official overseeing the $700 billion rescue of the financial system, said government equity injections will be aimed at "healthy" firms. "We are designing a standardized program to purchase equity in a broad array of financial institutions," Kashkari, who heads the department's Troubled Asset Relief Program, said in a speech in Washington.

U.S. Treasury Said to Invest in Nine Major U.S. Banks 13 Oct 2008 The Bush administration will invest about $125 billion in nine of the biggest U.S. banks, including Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc... The proposed cash injections in exchange for preferred shares are part of a $700 billion [corporate] rescue approved by Congress. The other companies are Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Stanley, State Street Corp. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp., said people briefed on the plan.

Army blocks soldier from bringing puppy back 14 Oct 2008 More than 10,000 people have signed an online petition urging the Army to let an Iraqi puppy come home with a Minnesota soldier, who fears that "Ratchet" could be killed if left behind. "I just want my puppy home," Sgt. Gwen Beberg of Minneapolis wrote to her mother in an e-mail Sunday from Iraq, soon after she was separated from the dog following a transfer.

Zero the Polar Bear Spends Second Day In Moat 14 Oct 2008 Zero the polar bear spent a second day in the moat after tumbling in Monday. Zero was playing with a toy on Monday in his exhibit at the Milwaukee County Zoo when he fell over into a net. The net had been placed there in case a bear ever fell into the moat.

National Wolf Awareness Week --October 13th - 20th is National Wolf Awareness Week. (Defenders of Wildlife) National Wolf Awareness Week is a time to dispel misconceptions about wolves and to teach about the important role these predators play in maintaining healthy ecosystems. It takes place the 3rd week of October every year. National Wolf Awareness Week encourages conservation efforts not only for wolves, but for all wild species.


Pentagon Wants $450 Billion Increase Over Next Five Years 09 Oct 2008 Pentagon officials have prepared a new estimate for defense spending that is $450 billion more over the next five years than previously announced figures. The new estimate, which the Pentagon plans to release shortly before President [sic] Bush leaves office, would serve as a marker for the new president and is meant to place pressure on him to either drastically increase the size of the defense budget or defend any reluctance to do so, according to several former senior budget officials who are close to the discussions. The fiscal 2010 portion of the estimate includes a $57 billion increase, out of which $30 billion would go for a vaguely defined contingency fund [!] and $14 billion would go for replacing or fixing existing equipment, called reset, and modernization, the former officials said.

British troops 'should go home' --'No more need' for British troops 13 Oct 2008 British troops are no longer needed to maintain security in southern Iraq as the situation has changed, the country's prime minister has said. Nouri al-Maliki told the Times there might still be a need for their experience in training Iraqi forces. He said a "page had been turned" in the country's relationship with the UK.

Al-Maliki: British troops not necessary in Iraq 13 Oct 2008 Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told The Times of London that the 4,100 British troops in southern Iraq are no longer necessary to provide security, though he said there may be a need for a few British troops to remain for training and technical issues.

'US using debts to blackmail Iraq' 09 Oct 2008 Iraqi MPs say the US is using the country's debts as leverage to force Baghdad into signing the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). "Baghdad is under pressure by Washington to accept the security deal in exchange for clearing all of Iraq's debts," Iraqi lawmaker Mohammed Kamid al-Humedawi told Press TV on Wednesday. The US will be allowed to set up permanent military bases, if Iraq signs the agreement. Under the deal the US forces will also be granted immunity from legal prosecution inside their bases in Iraq.

Iraqi government fuels 'war for oil' theories by putting reserves up for biggest ever sale --BP, Shell and Exxon to Meet with Iraq Oil Minister --Unprecedented 40bn barrels up for grabs 13 Oct 2008 The biggest ever sale of oil assets will take place today, when the Iraqi government puts 40bn barrels of recoverable reserves up for offer in London. BP, Shell and ExxonMobil are all expected to attend a meeting at the Park Lane Hotel in Mayfair with the Iraqi oil minister, Hussein al-Shahristani. Access is being given to eight fields, representing about 40% of the Middle Eastern nation's reserves, at a time when the country remains under occupation by US and British forces. Two smaller agreements have already been signed with Shell and the China National Petroleum Corporation, but today's sale will ignite arguments over whether the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was a "war for oil" that is now to be consummated by western multinationals seizing control of strategic Iraqi reserves.

Bombing attacks kill 7 in N Iraq 13 Oct 2008 Two bomb attacks targeting U.S. and Iraqi troops on Sunday killed seven people here, a provincial police source said. A suicide bomber detonated explosives on his car at about 6 p.m. (1500 GMT) in an western district of the city, the source said, adding that the blast apparently was targeting a U.S. patrol.

Ahmadinejad warns of US plundering 11 Oct 2008 Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned that Washington's financial meltdown may pave the way for a new era of loot and plunder. Ahmadinejad says the national resources of world countries should not serve as Washington's economic savior. "Washington has long sought to extricate itself from its predicaments by stripping countries of their national resources," he said on Saturday. [Well said!]

Hutchinson named to Blackwater panel 11 Oct 2008 Arkansan Asa Hutchinson (R), a former federal Homeland Security undersecretary, has been named to a three-person panel by Blackwater Worldwide to ensure the private security firm follows circumvents U.S. export laws. Blackwater is the target of a federal probe into whether the company smuggled weapons into Iraq. The other two members on the committee are: Robert C. Bonner, former head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and a former U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, and Carol R. Marshall, a former Lockheed Martin Corp. ethics [LOL] executive.

Obama: Men and women should register for military draft 13 Oct 2008 Even as the U.S. confronts two long wars, neither Sen. John McCain nor Sen. Barack Obama believes the country should take the politically perilous step of reviving the military draft. But the two presidential candidates disagree on a key foundation of any future draft: Mr. Obama supports a requirement for both men and women to register with the Selective Service, while Mr. McCain doesn't think women should have to register. Also, Mr. Obama would consider officially opening combat positions to women.

"How do I get myself out of this office?" Tribunal misgivings drive Gitmo prosecutor to quit 13 Oct 2008 Darrel Vandeveld was in despair. The hard-nosed lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve had lost faith in the Guantanamo Bay war crimes tribunals in which he was one of the prosecutors. His work was top secret, making it impossible to talk to family or friends. So the devout Catholic -- working away from home--contacted a priest via the Internet. "I am beginning to have grave misgivings about what I am doing, and what we are doing as a country," Vandeveld wrote in an August e-mail... He even reached out for advice from his opposing counsel, a military defense lawyer. "How do I get myself out of this office?" Vandeveld asked Air Force Maj. David Frakt, who was representing the young Afghan Vandeveld had been ordered to prosecute for an attack on U.S. soldiers -- despite his doubts about whether Mohammed Jawad would get a fair trial.

Taliban leader killed by SAS was Pakistan officer --Britain's refusal to make incident public led to a row with Afghan president Hamid Karzai 12 Oct 2008 British officials covered up evidence that a Taliban commander killed by special forces in Helmand last year was in fact a Pakistani military officer, according to highly placed Afghan officials. When the British soldiers entered the compound [in the Sangin valley] they discovered a Pakistani military ID on the body. It was the first physical evidence of covert Pakistani military operations against British forces in Afghanistan even though Islamabad insists it is a close ally in the war against terror.

North Korea agrees to back down after US nuclear double-cross 12 Oct 2008 Work on re-installing nuclear facilities at Yongbyon in North Korea has been halted. North Korea has agreed to continue the dismantlement of all nuclear operations and will allow inspectors access to plutonium and uranium processing areas. The decision came in response to the US decision to remove North Korea from its list of countries which support terrorism. The North Korean government had challenged a binding nuclear agreement after the US failed to remove the country from its enemies list, in spite of promising to do so.

The revolutionary implications of the decline of American capitalism--Part 1 By Barry Grey 13 Oct 2008 WSWS National Editor Barry Grey delivered the following report to the Founding Congress of the Socialist Equality Party on August 9, 2008. (See "Socialist Equality Party holds founding Congress.") The WSWS had published two documents adopted by the Congress: "The Socialist Equality Party Statement of Principles" and the "Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party."

Report slams TSA failure to track security passes 13 Oct 2008 The agency [Transportation Security Administration] overseeing security at the nation's airports failed for years to track security passes and uniforms of former employees, creating widespread vulnerability to terrorists, says a government watchdog report obtained by USA TODAY.

Starting in '09, a license that doubles as a passport --New ID to ease travel to Mexico, Canada, Caribbean 13 Oct 2008 A Michigan driver’s license that will double as a passport has received federal approval and will be available in spring 2009, officials announced this morning in Detroit.

NSA Eavesdropping 'Outrageous' and 'Disturbing' Critics Say 10 Oct 2008 A Senate panel is probing claims top secret government workers eavesdropped on communications from American service members, journalists and aid workers overseas. Announcing the probe, Senate intelligence committee chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) called the allegations, made on ABC News, "extremely disturbing."

Feds propose consolidation of personal info in databases 08 Oct 2008 The federal government is trying to find better ways to standardize and coordinate personal information about American citizens that is currently spread across thousands of databases, according to a White House official. There are more than 3,000 programs or databases in the federal government that hold personal information--Social Security numbers, addresses, fingerprints, and so on--yet the government is only beginning to develop a plan for collecting, protecting, and using such information.

Satire: Bin Laden Was Hiding In Obama's Basement, Fox News Reports --"Someone must have tipped off Osama bin Laden," said Roger Ailes of Fox. By R J Shulman 13 Oct 2008 Fox News is reporting that for about three years, Osama bin Laden was living in the basement of a house owned by Barack Obama in this city 40 miles east of Springfield. The break in the case, according to Fox, occurred when they received a tip by a neighbor who had become suspicious. Wesley Comstock, a 43-year-old unemployed farm machinery worker who lived next to the house at 912 Calhoun Street, said, "I knew there was some funny business going on in that house with all them people wearing them turbines on their head and playing that loud Iraqi music." [Satire]

McCain helped businessman buy Fort Ord land for fraction of its market value 12 Oct 2008 An Arizona businessman, with help from Sen. John McCain's office, paid the federal government a mere fraction of the market value when he bought a Fort Ord (CA) land parcel in 1999, an Army appraisal obtained by The Monterey Herald shows. Donald R. Diamond, a real estate developer, lobbyist and top fundraiser for McCain's presidential campaign, bought the land for $250,000, though it was valued at $7.2 million, according to Pentagon appraisals made three years before the sale. He held on to the parcel for a little more than two years before selling it and the buildings on it for an estimated profit of more than $18 million.

Republican leaders break ranks with McCain 13 Oct 2008 Senior members of the Republican party are in open mutiny against John McCain's presidential campaign, after a disastrous period which has seen Barack Obama solidify his lead in the opinion polls. From inside and outside his inner circle, Mr McCain is being told to settle on a coherent economic message and to tone down attacks on his rival which have sometimes whipped up a mob-like atmosphere at Republican rallies.

Clintons Join Biden to Campaign for Obama in Scranton 13 Oct 2008 "It took a Democratic president to clean up after the last President Bush; it's going to take a Democratic president to clean up after this president [sic]," Clinton said Sunday at a loud rally here, where she appeared with vice presidential nominee Biden. "Barack Obama and Joe Biden are for you, and that's why I am for Barack Obama and Joe Biden," Clinton said.

Biden decries 'unbecoming personal attacks' 13 Oct 2008 Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden on Sunday accused the McCain campaign of trying to distract Americans from their economic woes by launching "unbecoming personal attacks" at Barack Obama. Appearing at a boisterous rally near his childhood home, Biden said John McCain's campaign is desperate to change the subject from the financial crisis that has wiped out many Americans' college and retirement savings. He said McCain has resorted to making "ugly inferences" about Obama in the waning days of the campaign.

Republicans warned over incendiary racial slurs by own adviser 13 Oct 2008 An adviser to John McCain has accused the Republican presidential candidate of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division" at his increasingly frenzied campaign rallies. Black Congressman John Lewis, a Democrat, who was recruited to advise the McCain campaign on race issues, hit out at the growing controversy over racial chants and shouts of "kill him" directed at Mr Obama that are now a regular feature at Republican election events.

Race in the 2008 Election By Sally Liuzzo-Prado 12 Oct 2008 The racial hatred being promoted by Sarah Palin and the McCain campaign deserves comment. I have experienced this type of hatred on a very personal level. I am the youngest daughter of Viola Gregg Liuzzo, who was murdered by the KKK AND a paid FBI informant on March 25th, 1965 while participating in the Selma to Montgomery voting rights march. I find it appalling that someone who wants to lead our country would lower themselves to incite racial violence in an attempt to win a political campaign... I also find it appalling that people in the McCain campaign are spreading rumors insinuating Barack Obama is of Arab decent, as if that in itself is a crime.

Barack Obama would offer John McCain a job if he wins the US election 12 Oct 2008 One well-connected Democrat, who spoke to Mr Obama last week, told The Sunday Telegraph: "John McCain is a good man. There's no question about it. I think we'll see Barack Obama reach out to him and say: let's work together." And a Democratic strategist who talks regularly with Mr Obama's senior advisors added: "Obama has said all along that he will work with the best people, regardless of party affiliation. John McCain has experience and he used to have a record of bipartisanship. We're all going to need to pull together when this is over." Mr McCain will not be offered a cabinet job, but Mr Obama may ask him to spearhead a bipartisan overhaul of veteran's affairs, an issue close to Mr McCain's [non-existent] heart. [Bipartisanship = surrender, DemocRATs!]

Ousted safety commissioner: Palin image damaged 13 Oct 2008 Former Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan said Monday he feels "relieved" by a legislative report concluding that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her authority by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper.

Poll: Monthly churchgoers swing toward Obama 11 Oct 2008 Significantly more monthly churchgoers are supporting the Democratic nominee -- Sen. Barack Obama -- in this year's presidential election than in the 2004 election cycle, according to a new poll. Voters who attend religious services one to two times a month are supporting the Democratic nominee by 60%, up from 49% who supported Sen. John Kerry in 2004, based on a survey released Oct. 8 by the nonpartisan group Faith in Public Life.

Wall Street explodes in historic one-day surge --Dow posts its biggest one-day jump boosted by news of help for banks 13 Oct 2008 Wall Street exploded in a historic one-day surge Monday [936 points], snapping back from last week’s devastating losses, with the Dow Jones industrial average chalking up its biggest-ever one-day point gain. The massive gains came after major governments announced further steps to support the global banking system, including plans by the U.S. Treasury to buy stocks of some banks.

Government to inject £40bn into ailing UK banks 12 Oct 2008 The cost to the taxpayer of bailing out Britain's weakest banks will escalate tomorrow when the government unveils an injection of at least £40bn into the country's struggling high street lenders. In a sign of the deepening financial crisis, the government is standing by to take majority stakes in Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS, owner of the country's biggest mortgage lender Halifax, and smaller stakes in Barclays and Lloyds TSB.

Toxic cloud passes, residents allowed home 12 Oct 2008 Residents of a western Pennsylvania neighborhood can return home Sunday after a chemical leak forced them to evacuate the night before. A leak at the Indspec Chemical Corp. plant in Petrolia on Saturday formed a cloud affecting at least 2,000 residents -- some of whom fled their homes. Others huddled indoors with their windows shut, authorities said. Three people were taken to hospitals, but officials could would not immediately say why.


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