THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL: In my June 29 post, I predicted an all out war in the Middle East and with Israel now bombing Lebanon and making deeper incursions into Gaza against the Palestinians, this prediction is becoming reality. Meanwhile, North Korea and Iran are making new threatening statements about nuclear weapon programs, the bombings in Mumbai have ratcheted up the tension with Pakistan over disputed Kashmir, Iraq is on the brink of civil war (not to mention the insurgent death squads that have claimed hundreds of lives this week alone), the Taliban are gaining control again in Afghanistan, and here at home Dubya's weasely butt-boy Karl Rove has been implicated in exposing CIA agent Valerie Plame to the media. Oh, and the Army says it's going to get new bids for services in Iraq instead of using Halliburton, but since there's no other company in the world capable of handling the array of services (from fuel to laundry services), it appears Halliburton will win the contract again to the tune of $7 billion a year. I wonder how much Cheney-of-Fools and Dubya get to stick in their pockets? I'm not even going to link each of these. Just go www.cnn.com or www.bbc.com to read all about it. Remember when all we had to worry about were the jizz stains on Monica Lewinsky's pretty blue frock? Ah...the happy, golden years.