Saturday, August 21, 2004

Future Dictionary

From Eric Alterman at Center for American Progress:

I borrowed this week's "Think Again" column from my friends over at McSweeney's. They've put together something they call The Future Dictionary of America, which they describe as "a guide to the American language sometime in the future, when all or most of our country's problems are solved" and our unhappy political moment is but a distant memory. The book includes contributions from almost 200 writers and artists. (It also comes with a CD with new songs and rarities from R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, Elliott Smith, Tom Waits, David Byrne, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, They Might Be Giants, and Death Cab for Cutie, among others. If you want to buy the book and CD after reading this, or even before, go here. The money will go to lots of good causes which are all described on the McSweeney's Web site. Here are a few of the highlights:

ashcrofted [ash'-krofftid] adj. removed from or disqualified for public office on grounds of religious delusions. Derived from The People v. President Ashcroft, the landmark Supreme Court decision that disqualifies all candidates for public office who espouse a religion and/or other organized forms of magical, delusional, or psychotic thinking, on the constitutional grounds of separation of church and state, a decision taken at the time of the restoration of the Constitution following upon the dynastic, so-called "anti-terrorist" or "neopatriot" era.—ROBERT COOVER

[. . .]

Go read the whole thing here.

Funny, but scary at the same time.

Eleanor Clift

[. . .]

The fact that Kerry attributed the breakdown in military discipline to the policymakers in Washington is lost on these men, who take Kerry’s words personally. This is not about Kerry’s performance in Vietnam; it’s what he said when he came home. Kerry has never made extravagant claims about his heroism in Vietnam. He never said his wounds were serious, and he never said he didn’t want to get out of Vietnam. After three wounds, under military rules, he was entitled to ship out, which he did after a combat tour of four months and 12 days. Nothing these so-called Veterans for Truth have come up with contradicts what Kerry has said, but that’s not the point.

The Swift Boat veterans have become the Campaign 2004 version of the Scott Peterson trial, trading charges and regularly appearing on the cable-news networks. The book that lays out the charges against Kerry, “Unfit for Command,” has been No. 1 on for over a week. Never mind that almost daily there’s a retraction or a new story to discredit what these veterans are saying. On Thursday, The Washington Post revealed that the military records of Larry Thurlow, who commanded a boat alongside Kerry, contain several references to enemy fire directed at all five boats in the flotilla, sharply contradicting what Thurlow is saying as a leading member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group. The Post got the affidavit through the Freedom of Information Act. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

Full story.

Manchurian Candidate

From Jim Hightower:

Those who command the empire don't possess great clarity or intellect. Rather, they tend to not ask themselves or anyone else about right or wrong, attributes of sensitive, self-critical people. The Washington imperialists do great harm as naturally and routinely as most people breathe or sleep. Power, getting it and exercising it, sustains them. It is their drug, nay their oxygen. They will say, and do, almost anything to keep it.

So, if 'Fahrenheit 9/11' didn't convince you to vote against the power-crazed gang of George W. Bush, see 'The Manchurian Candidate,' a remake of the 1962 film. The screening of this frightening, fictional Hollywood attack on the influence of a Halliburton-like entity coincides with a shareholder class-action lawsuit charging this mega oil and war-related conglomerate's chief executives with intentionally engaging in 'serial accounting fraud' from 1998 to 2001. Vice President Dick Cheney headed the company from 1995-2000.

Just as Republicans tried to stop the exhibition of Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit,' so too did right wing elements back in 1962 try to stop the original 'Manchurian Candidate' from hitting the big screen. Thanks to President Kennedy's friendship with Frank Sinatra, the lead in the original film, and his appreciation of novelist Richard Condon, who wrote the novel in 1959, the film slipped through the mostly locked gates of Hollywood's political censors. I doubt that the Bushies would give even a one thumb up to a film in which the villain, Manchurian Global, resembles a Halliburton/Bechtel/Enron/Carlyle Group collage of corrupt corporate executives manipulating U.S. policy. 'The Manchurian Candidate's' combined proximity to the November election and to recent legal actions against Halliburton makes for a clear political message - for those who will listen.

[. . .]

If Bush is reelected, we deserve whatever we get.


If you plan to come to NYC to visit, wait until after the convention.

ABC News:

Dozens of detectives have been reassigned, and they will join hundreds of transit officers to create a huge underground police force. Their primary goal will be to protect the city's subway system leading up to, and during, the Republican Convention.

[. . .]

The whole idea is to put so many police officers in the city's subway system that the terrorists think twice. Yes, that's a big job -- but we're also talking about the largest police force in America. And they're finding the manpower in every corner of the department.

Beginning next week, security in the New York City subway system will get even tighter, when uniformed police officers are joined by dozens of NYPD detectives to help patrol the platforms and the tunnels of Midtown Manhattan.

[. . .]

Included in the redeployment are:

  • Organized Crime Control Bureau

  • Narcotics Squad

  • Vice Squad

  • Auto Crimes Unit

  • Street Gangs Unit

  • [. . .]

    Oh yeah, this is gonna be fun. Ah, at least the hookers'll get a break.

    Connecting the dots

    And The Farmer at Corrente does a masterful job looking at the right wing spin machine and tracing its roots. Yes, Hillary, there is a VRWC. Remember this name. The American Security Council.

    [. . .]

    In 1958 ASC launched the Institute for American Strategy (IAS) for the purposes of further spreading Cold War political propaganda among the public, indoctrinating public policy "elites" and military personnel in the ideology of right wing think, emphasizing the importance of powerful military industrial complex interests and trying to convince anyone they could buttonhole that communist had infiltrated the government at the highest levels. ACS sponsored events including the National Military Conferences which were essentially git- to-know-ya gatherings for Pentagon officials and National Security Council big wigs looking to hoot it up with corporate executives from such board rooms as United Fruit and Standard Oil.

    Recall Eisenhower warning of the power of the military industrial complex -- these are the very people of whom he was speaking. The IAS was funded by the right wing Richardson Foundation (H. Smith Richardson) and administered by "political warfare" advocate Frank Barnett and long time ASC member Col. William Kintner. IAS president was John M. Fisher. Barnett was research director for the Richardson Foundation as well.

    [. . .]

    You owe it to yourself to read the entire post.

    New York's Horniest

    (New York-WABC, August 20, 2004) — Two New York City firefighters have been suspended, following allegations they sexually assaulted a woman at their firehouse in the Bronx.

    The firehouse in the Melrose Section was closed down all day so police could investigate the allegations.

    The 34-year-old alleged victim called EMS from her home on Friday morning, claiming she had been sexually assaulted by four firemen.

    Also on Friday, the fire department released a statement, which reads:

    "these are very serious allegations. The Fire Department's bureau of investigations and trials, along with our fire marshals, are working with the police dept and the DOI [City Department of Investigation] to aggressively investigate these claims."
    -- FDNY Statement

    The department tells Eyewitness News that the woman later changed her story to say sex with two of the firefighters was consensual. Another 12 firefighters have been reassigned.

    Just to add some perspective, the nickname of Engine 75 (the unit involved) is 'Animal House'.

    Texas Tea

    From NYT:

    Oil prices climbed nearer to $50 a barrel yesterday before retreating, as traders reacted to reports on the conflict in Iraq, concerned that growing unrest might interrupt crude oil exports.

    On the Nymex, crude oil settled at $47.86 a barrel yesterday, the last day of the September futures contract. Earlier, the contract rose as high as $49.40 a barrel. Prices fell in afternoon trading amid conflicting reports over whether Iraqi police were in control of the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf, the scene of fierce fighting the last two weeks.

    Still, the price of a futures contract can be distorted as it nears its expiration. The most active contract, crude oil for October delivery, ended at $46.72 a barrel yesterday, down 92 cents. Oil has gained 51 percent so far this year, reaching records every day except one since July 30.

    [. . .]

    From Tom

    We're heading for a perfect storm in the global economy. Asian demand is soaring. Production capacity is maxed out and cannot be increased rapidly. China has been paying for its oil with the revenues from Wal-Mart commodities. As prices rise, China will start paying for its oil with the $400 billion in US treasuries it holds. That will spike domestic interest rates and our economy will spiral downward. Here's a chill-inducing interview with Phillip Verlanger that uncovers the coming crash.

    Now, back to the Times:

    How much will expensive oil hurt?

    Over the last 30 years, the United States has been driven into recession three times by abrupt surges in the price of oil. As the price of crude has surged over the last two weeks, reaching new heights almost daily, some economists have begun to worry that the current "oil shock" will slam the brakes on the nation's economic expansion again.

    It probably won't. Despite the disquieting parallels with the oil shocks of the 1970's, the 1980's and the 1990's, the impact of the current oil spike on the American economy is likely to be much less intense than in previous surges.

    [. . .]

    Are they kidding?

    From an interview in Smart [link from Tom Paine]:

    [. . .]

    And it means the price of oil won't be coming down any time soon, says oil expert Philip Verlanger, senior fellow at the Institute of International Economics and founder of economic-consulting outfit PKVerlanger LLC. Verlanger thinks the only thing that will bring down the price of oil is, unfortunately, a recession. And that recession, he says, could be global.

    [. . .] Last week, Saudi Arabia said it would pump an extra one million barrels a day, and the price of crude rose. That should have us worried, right?

    Philip Verlanger: We should be very worried. The price of oil depends on the ability to process the crude into products that you and I can consume. We have some refinery constraints around the world right now that are pretty tight. What that means is that the incremental increase in Saudi crude can't do much good. There are serious refining constraints. The Saudis can announce what they want to announce, but we have a tightness in product markets. There's also a very tight heating-oil market in Europe, and it's not clear that it's going to clear up anytime soon. The other part of the problem is kind of unnoticed. The forward price of oil in say two or three years has risen very dramatically. If I'm a Japanese buyer and I'm worried about future oil prices — the Japanese have done this in the past — I can go buy on the futures market and hedge my costs. The December 2006 crude-oil price settled at $38.08. If I just look back a year ago, the December 2006 contract was at $24.67.

    SM: So the market is saying this is a long-term trend.

    PV: Yes. There are buyers who are very worried about capacity constraints, and this has become a real problem.

    [. . .]

    SM: That sounds pretty troubling, considering that the oil crisis triggered the stagflation economy of the 1970s.

    PV: To say that we're going to go to stagflation is probably wrong. I've done some macrosimulations, and what you see is much slower growth because of oil, and probably a recession next year. The reason is this capacity constraint. The macroeconomists keep saying that higher oil prices do not have the impact on the U.S. or world economy that they used to. The rule of thumb for the U.S. is that $10 a barrel cuts U.S. GPD by three-tenths or four-tenths of a percent. But when you don't have any more oil, and you need more oil to grow, the question then becomes, how large a price increase do you need to stop economic growth? If $10 doesn't do it, maybe we get $20, if $20 doesn't work, maybe we get $30. So certainly I think that $50 [per bbl] is in shooting distance. [my emphasis]

    [. . .]

    Now, when you take this in concert with rising interest rates, which will slow the housing boom considerably and probably lead to a rash of foreclosures, we're gonna be in deep shit six months from now.


    From The Agonist:

    CNN - -- The Kerry presidential campaign on Friday filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging ads from an anti-Kerry veterans' group are inaccurate and "illegally coordinated" with Republicans and the Bush-Cheney campaign.

    Thing is, the Bush spin machine will make it look like Kerry is being a little whiner. I mean, look at what the Swift Boat Nitwits have done to Kerry's poll numbers among veterans. And realistically, the FEC is a nutless bunch who won't take any action anyway.

    Deja vu, all over agian

    From The Talking Dog:

    I'll try not to be too snarky as I ask "what do these things have in common": (1) Crude oil has crossed $49/bbl., presumably on its way over $50, amidst continuing strong demand and ever more tenuous supply, and (2) New York City's police department has made a public show of force, including its riot gear and helicopters, to show it means business to battle protestors around the GOP Convention and even the Grey Lady succumbs to the idea that "the enemy is anarchists".

    First of all, it strikes me as inconceivable that any President whose policies contributed to $49/bbl. oil is even running for reelection, let alone seems to be running neck and neck in the polls (though trending against him, admittedly). But then, in such a situation, where resources will become more scarce and expensive, what more telling image is there than police in riot gear pushing back (with various degrees of force) political protestors?

    This is the stuff of craziness: we really haven't seen too much of this since the late 1960's, when a combination of discontent over Vietnam, civil rights, and other events (think "Prague Spring"), and peculiarly warm summers, led to many a long hot summer in the United States (and lotsa stuff elsewhere).

    [. . .]

    This is where Bush has taken us in four years. The nation hasn't been so divided in 30 years. How much do you want to bet the streets of New York will resemble the Dem Convention of '68?

    Friday, August 20, 2004

    Ain't it the truth

    Via Atrios (Go see his cats! They're awake!):

    Prevailing Consensus

    Tim Noah:

    What this man was saying was that it was better to have been wrong about Iraq
    than to have been right. That's the prevailing (though not always conscious)
    consensus in Washington, and it's completely insane.

    And, basically, this is because a bunch of liberal-to-moderate hawks considered support for the Iraq war to be a testosterone test - whether or not you had the cojones to kill a few people and send someone else's kids off to war for the good old USA.

    Abu Ghraib

    Via Reuters:

    [. . .]

    The Post quoted unnamed senior defense officials as saying the investigation led by Maj. Gen. George Fay found that a combination of leadership failures, confusing policies, lack of discipline and "absolute confusion" at the prison led to the abuse.

    [. . .]

    What the fuck was going on there? "Absolute confusion"? Man, I was in the military for eight years (6 active, 2 reserve) and never did absolute confusion reign. Don't get me wrong, some fucked up shit went on, but nothing like the lack of command structure in place at Abu Ghraib. Shit, even when we were getting shot at and all Hell was breaking loose, we kept our heads.

    [. . .]

    "Command should have paid more attention to the issue," one official told the Post. "Signals, symptoms of abuse weren't fully vetted to the top."

    However, the investigation stopped short of saying that soldiers were ordered to abuse detainees and no Army officers were likely to face criminal charges, the paper said.

    [. . .]

    Yeah, okay, these enlisted weenies did this all on their own. This was a leaderhip problem, pure and simple and I wanna see some officers swing. What happened to that one-star who was running the show? What happened to the MP commander? They didn't know what was going on? Bullshit.

    And Lambert at Corrente asks a pertinent question:

    But what was done with the Abu Ghraib intelligence, including the photos and the video of screaming boys being raped? Follow the bytes, because they should lead, probably through Republican operatives in the RNC/CPA, right to the West Wing.

    Gee, I wonder why Bush wanted to raze Abu Ghraib? How right the courts were to preserve Abu Ghraib as a crime scene!

    You betcha.

    And now they're after the medics too. From Lean Left:

    [. . .]

    I'm sure these doctors were just "a few bad apples," and any idea that there was a systemic problem here is ludicrous. And if you buy that, I've got a bridge to sell you.

    I honestly wonder how many more reports like this can come out before mainstream conservatives are forced to admit that the handling of Iraq by this administration has been an unmitigated disaster. [my emphasis]

    And Lambert's cohort Xan has more:

    [. . .]

    Army Spc. Luciana Spencer is a good example of the problem. A military interrogator, Spencer was cited in the Taguba report for forcing a detainee to strip and walk back to his cell naked, in an effort to humiliate him. In a still-classified sworn statement, she also admits to hearing other interrogators instructing the military police to abuse prisoners, and once witnessed Spc. Charles Graner slapping a detainee. Asked why she didn't report Graner, Spencer told investigators that she didn't know that what he had done constituted abuse.

    [. . .]

    Again I ask. Where were the officers and why aren't they being held responsible?


    From Asia Times:

    [. . .]

    As the US waits for the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union Three (France, Germany and the United Kingdom) to persuade Iran to abandon all aspirations of developing nuclear weapons, it is also becoming fairly certain that Iran has already made a decision to materialize that option. We are currently given two predictions about the date by which Iran would develop nuclear weapons. The Central Intelligence Agency estimates it to be by 2010, while Israel says 2007. Bush is likely to give the international actors time to persuade Iran to come clean regarding its nuclear program until November of this year. If he is re-elected, look for a possible preemptive US unilateral attack or a combined US-Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities by late this year, or early next year. [my emphasis]

    Mo Dowd on the 'lympics.

    [T]he White House has become the palace of paradox.

    The war that was supposed to let us swagger and strut in the world is impeding our swagger and strut in the world.

    As Selena Roberts wrote in her "Sports of the Times" column on Tuesday, American athletes in Athens are trying so hard to curb their usual chesty, preening, flag-waving behavior, in accordance with the U.S. Olympic Committee's fears about security in an anti-American climate, that it may be dulling the American team's edge.

    "It does not reflect well on American culture, but some United States athletes need to pound their chests to get their hearts racing," Ms. Roberts writes. "Some need to scowl, stare and pump music into their heads to accompany their defiant strut before the start gun. Somehow, intimidating others is motivating to them."

    Of the street-tough, hip-hop bad boy Allen Iverson's becoming a model of lackluster conformity in Athens, she wondered, "Who body-snatched this man?"

    Even our warlike national anthem has been transformed, from blaring horns to peaceful, soothing strings.

    [. . .]

    Just as President Clinton entwined himself with the Olympics in Atlanta during his re-election campaign, President Bush has attempted to latch onto the Greek Olympics, running an ad in which the flags of Afghanistan and Iraq are shown as a narrator boasts that at "this Olympics, there will be two more free nations, and two fewer terrorist regimes." (Not to mention more terrorist acts in the world.)

    But if the Olympics aren't working as a P.R. tool for the country, how can they work as a P.R. tool for the president?

    "The Americans are groping for an identity," Ms. Roberts muses. "Who are they without their trademark 'tude?"

    Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld thought they could change the American identity by invading Iraq, that they could toughen up our 'tude and remove the lingering post-Vietnam skittishness about force and the "blame America first" psychology.

    They thought our shock-and-awe war would change America's image, adding some muscularity that would make Arab foes cower and the world bow down to the U.S. as an unassailable hyperpower.

    The vice president and the defense chief have changed our identity and image in the world - but not in the way they envisioned.

    [. . .]

    Go read her column. [registration required]

    Bubble Boy

    Also stolen from Corrente:

    Read the post that belongs to this pic.

    Show me da money!

    From Reuters via Corrente:

    At least $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds that was given to Iraqi ministries by the former U.S.-led authority there cannot be accounted for, according to a draft U.S. audit set for release soon.

    The audit by the Coalition Provisional Authority's own Inspector General blasts the CPA for "not providing adequate stewardship" of at least $8.8 billion from the Development Fund for Iraq that was given to Iraqi ministries.

    I mean, heck folks, why should you and I be concerned?

    Our government just lost $3 down the Iraq rathole for every man, woman and child in America (for a population estimate of the United States, go here) or, better yet, $6.73 for every American taxpayer (for the number of taxpayers in 2003 go here).

    Isn't that pretty damned appalling? You and I don't really want to know how much money they've actually accounted for, do we?

    More on refugees

    The Heeb has more on the Sudan refugee crisis:

    [. . .]

    As the number of Sudanese refugees in Cairo increases, NGOs are stepping up to fill the gap, with organizations like the Sudanese Development Initiative and Sudanese Community Association providing education and help in finding jobs. Some of the refugees' employment difficulties may also be alleviated by the "four freedoms" agreement recently signed between Egypt and Sudan, which gives Sudanese nationals the right to work and move freely in Egypt.

    Those refugees who had to flee Darfur without their identity papers, though, may find it hard to take advantage of this legislation, and the UN's recent decision to suspend refugee-status interviews for six months is preventing some of them from re-establishing their identity. Also, many Fur of Cairo feel that the Arab world does not support their cause, and like poor immigrant communities the world over, must contend with racism and hostility from the police. . .

    [. . .]

    Go read the entire post.


    Via Pandagon. On Bush's latest campaign ad where he uses the Iraqi and Afghani olympic teams to illustrate all the good he's done there [sic]:

    [Iraqi soccer player]Ahmed Manajid, who played as a midfielder on Wednesday, had an even stronger response when asked about Bush's TV advertisement. "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?" Manajid told me. "He has committed so many crimes."

    Yeah, exploit them a little more.

    Bubba has more.

    Same with The Talking Dog:

    These ingrate Iraqi bastards. We liberate them, humiliate them, torture them, unleash anarchy, chaos and violence, and impose a puppet government on them, and now they have the audacity to say that just because they don't like the policies of their foreign occupiers, they get to have a say in whether or not their images are exploited for political gain!

    There's just no pleasing some people.

    Kevin at The American Street.

    Hearts and Minds

    Stole the whole thing from Democratic Veteran:

    Gomer says: surprize, surprize, surprize

    I can just hear the immortal Gomer Pyle now .... doing his hillbilli-esque "surprize" thing. Can you just see him right there in Sensitive Dick's face going on and on about this?

    The Bush administration is facing growing criticism from both inside and outside its ranks that it has failed to move aggressively enough in the war of ideas against Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups over the three years since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
    "It's worse than failing. Failing means you tried and didn't get better. But at this point, three years after September 11, you can say there wasn't even much of an attempt, and today Arab and Muslim attitudes toward the U.S. and the degree of distrust in the U.S. are far worse than they were three years ago. Bin Laden is winning by default," said Shibley Telhami, a member of a White House-appointed advisory group on public diplomacy and Brookings Institution scholar.Well when you have a Preznit so intimately acquainted with failure, should you expect anything else...really?

    Shitfire, to compete with Al-Qaeda Preznit Barely Intelligent offered all the Arabs a Tax Cut. He's still waiting for an answer apparently...


    From NYT Via Kos:

    THE definitive takedown of Swift Boats for Gutter Politics, courtesy of the NYT.

    A series of interviews and a review of documents show a web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures and President Bush's chief political aide, Karl Rove.

    Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family - one a longtime political associate of Mr. Rove's, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library. A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush's father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice. And the group's television commercial was produced by the same team that made the devastating ad mocking Michael S. Dukakis in an oversized tank helmet when he and Mr. Bush's father faced off in the 1988 presidential election.

    [. . .]

    After documenting the group's close ties to prominant Republicans with close ties to Rove and Bush himself, the piece takes on the allegations they've spewed. Among other things, the long piece includes the outing of Jerome Corsi (courtest of Atrios) as a wingnut Freeper (who then cowardly backstabs his Freeper bretheren by apologizing and distancing himself from the site); the claims by Dr. Letson that he treated one of Kerry's wounds, when in fact, his name appears nowhere in any records; how Larry Thurlow claims Kerry's Bronze Star is fraudulent because Kerry encountered no enemy fire the night of his heroics, and so on...

    [. . .]

    And this from Atrios:

    . . .Michelle "Little LuLu" Malkin suggesting that the shrapnel in Kerry's leg might come from a self-inflicted wound . . . The shrapnel is from a grenade. While it is true that people have wounded themselves in an attempt to get out of combat, it's hard to comprehend that very many of them have chosen to wound themselves with grenades.

    [. . .]

    Digby adds:

    [. . .]

    The only question I have about all this is when the charges of Kerry fucking Vietnamese child hookers comes in? No ginned up GOP smear campaign is worth its salt unless it features some juicy, voyeuristic tittilation so that Ann Coulter and Lucianne Goldberg can cackle and drool, screeching "pervert, pervert" over and over again. C'mon, there just have to be some faded tapes or fuzzy pictures of something somewhere. A bastard child he abandoned in a rice paddy? A non-stop orgy on his swift boat with the band of brothers? Let's get with it people.

    TBogg has something to say too:

    Not-Too-Swift Boaters not looking too good and sucking George W. Bush down with them.

    [. . .]

    Go read the article.

    Unless, of course, you want to go watch the professor flail around in his dinghy shouting "Cambodia! Cambodia!".

    And it wouldn't be complete without Josh Marshall:

    [. . .]

    As we've noted, these ads are funded by the president's financial backers, put together by his political associates from Texas, and obviously meant to support his campaign.

    Just one example from the Austin American-Statesman may serve to illustrate the point ...

    The [Swift Boat] group was organized last spring with the assistance of Merrie Spaeth, a Republican public relations executive from Houston, who also was a public relations consultant to independent counsel Kenneth Starr during his investigation of former Democratic President Bill Clinton. Her late husband, Tex Lezar, ran for lieutenant governor of Texas on George W. Bush's GOP ticket in 1994. [my emphasis]

    Obviously folks he's never had any contact with at all.

    [. . .]

    And they laughed at Hillary when she talked about the 'Vast Right Wing Conspiracy'.

    Thursday, August 19, 2004

    Hey . . .you . . .

    Psst . . . from Xan at Corrente:

    Simon & Schuster will publish a book of letters to Fahrenheit 9/11 director Michael Moore from U.S. troops in Iraq, The Hollywood Reporter said Thursday.

    The collection -- titled Will They Ever Trust Us Again? -- is scheduled to arrive in bookstores in November.

    [. . .]

    Can't wait. And this is good too:

    [. . .]

    Simon & Schuster -- a unit of Viacom -- also plans to release The Official 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Reader at the same time as Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment releases Moore's controversial movie on DVD and VHS Oct. 5. Among other features, the book will contain a transcript of the film . . .

    And this is outrageous!

    From Digby:

    She also alerted me to the fact that Zell Miller is going to nominate Bush at the convention.

    Zell Miller has been a closet Republican for years. Now that he's out, we should revoke his membership card.

    And to top it off . . .

    More bad news. From The Agonist:

    Stratfor - Iraqi Shiite sources say the Mehdi Army has launched several coordinated attacks on oil sector objects in the southern Iraq. After overrunning corporate Iraqi and Western security guards, militants blasted the southern pipelines and set several oil wells on fire in many places close to Basra and Al Amara. The sources added that Mehdi Army commanders say the attacks were done in response to Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's ultimatum of unconditional surrender and also in response to renewed bombing and attacks on An Najaf. The Mehdi Army threatens more attacks on Iraq's oil infrastructure soon.

    Oh, and by the way:

    Oil hit a new high of $48.60 today, aggravating recessionary fears further.

    Fuck you very much. Oh, and 'amid these recessionary fears', how much you wanna bet the Fed raises interst rates another 25 basis points next meeting? Greenspan is getting senile. Good luck all you folks with adjustable rate mortgages. Let's see what Bush does when the bottom falls out the housing market.

    Buttons revisited

    Remember what I said about the protester buttons yesterday?

    Yup, this is a deterrent. Why do I think the people who are coming here to raise Hell give a shit about a discount at fucking Applebees? Here's a deterrent for ya. If I catch you doing something fucked up, you'll have wished the cops got ya first.

    Well, Tom Tomorrow has this today:

    Bloomberg won't compromise on Central Park...
    ...but he is offering protesters discounts on meals, museums and office supplies, among other things--as long as they promise to remain peaceful.

    And as long as they're willing to wear a button identifying themselves as "Peaceful Political Activists."

    [. . .]

    (Parenthetical aside: you know, the Whitney, the Museum of Sex, the Pokemon store--places like that!)

    [. . .]

    Only in New-fucking-York.

    Ha! Part Deux

    Stole this from WTF Is It Now??

    Gonna get ugly

    From Bubba:

    Reader Eldo files this report:

    It looks like the Kerry/Edwards signs were taken from in front of the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union Hall, 1124 North Broadway. There were a couple of ripped ones laying in the gutter. I guess this is starting early. I called the office and asked if they had been stolen, and they were unaware at that time (5 minutes ago) that they were gone. They said they'd get more.

    The GOP has goons everywhere, apparently.

    You believe this shit? Ain't the first instance I heard about either. This shit happens in Third World toilets, not the United States. Bush is nothing more than a tin horn despot with his gang of thugs.

    Where are we?

    Remember the big fluff over Sudan a couple weeks ago. Colin Powell went there and the media whores and the blogosphere followed. Now, a few weeks later, everybody has forgotten about it again. Well, except the Heeb and me. Seems a whole bunch of folks are doing what they can to get aid to the people in Darfur and across the border in Chad. Well . . . that is . . . except the good ole' U.S. of A. There's genocide still going on, a humanitarian crisis of biblical porportions, and nothing from the White House. From The Head Heeb:

    Cairo on the scene

    Amira Ibrahim reports on Egypt's delivery of food and medical aid to the refugee camps in North Darfur. Egypt joins the United States, France, the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in providing humanitarian aid to the refugees, but the relief efforts fall into two distinct categories. The Western aid is coordinated with the UN and is being delivered primarily to refugee camps outside Sudan, while Egypt and other Arab states are providing relief in Sudan with the cooperation of the Sudanese government. Although Egypt's diplomatic support of Khartoum may be unproductive in achieving a political resolution to the Darfur crisis, it might at least be useful in facilitating humanitarian aid to the refugees who are still in Sudan.

    At least they're trying.


    Via Melanie at Just a Bump in the Beltway. Gary Hart writes an article at Salon here. Worth jumping through hoops for.

    The new Caesars

    The Bush administration's empire building is trampling on who we are and
    were always meant to be -- a republic.

    Aug. 18, 2004 The
    cause of imperialism, weakened for a time by the fall of the European and Soviet
    empires, has found new advocates. The fact that the 21st century imperial power
    happens to be the United States of America, whose independence from colonialism
    was declared 228 years ago, seems not to matter. The neoconservatives'
    project to position the United States as the world's dominant power -- and to
    use that power to govern in venues chosen seemingly by them alone, and
    collectively where reasonably easy but unilaterally where necessary -- has been
    advanced and saluted.

    A careful review of the statements of President Bush and his
    administration up to the declaration of victory in Iraq yields little evidence
    of the true purpose of America's invasion. The world is now familiar with the
    arguments: Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction; Iraq has or will soon
    have a "nuclear capability"; Iraq harbors and supports terrorists planning
    attacks on the United States; Iraq itself is a threat to U.S. national security.
    All have proved untrue and are no longer offered as justification for America's
    "preventive" war on Iraq, an action with precedent in U.S. history possibly only
    in the Philippines more than a century ago.

    Right wing slime machine

    From TPM:

    "Let's get some things straight here. There is a right-wing slime machine. It has kicked into gear with this phony attack on Kerry's military record. Bush benefits from the ad and condones it. And if Kerry doesn't hit back harder, it could cost him the election."

    Go read Josh Marshall's post for the details.


    They're still running the commercials with McGreevey saying how great the Jersey DMV . . . sorry, MVC is now that they reorganized it. I can't help thinking that he likes it because they still give it to you in the ass.

    John Kerry on 'answers'

    Stole it from Atrios.

    Kerry Speech to IAFF:

    Over the last week or so, a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been attacking me. Of course, this group isn’t interested in the truth – and they’re not telling the truth. They didn’t even exist until I won the nomination for president.

    But here’s what you really need to know about them. They’re funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They’re a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the President won’t denounce what they’re up to tells you everything you need to know—he wants them to do his dirty work.

    Thirty years ago, official Navy reports documented my service in Vietnam and awarded me the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. Thirty years ago, this was the plain truth. It still is. And I still carry the shrapnel in my leg from a wound in Vietnam.

    As firefighters you risk your lives everyday. You know what it’s like to see the truth in the moment. You’re proud of what you’ve done—and so am I.

    Of course, the President keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that. Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: “Bring it on.”

    I’m not going to let anyone question my commitment to defending America—then, now, or ever. And I’m not going to let anyone attack the sacrifice and courage of the men who saw battle with me.

    And let me make this commitment today: their lies about my record will not stop me from fighting for jobs, health care, and our security – the issues that really matter to the American people.

    The situation in Iraq is a mess. That is the President’s responsibility and he owes the American people an answer.

    America is on track to lose more jobs than it’s gained under George Bush and he supports a tax code that rewards companies for shipping jobs overseas. He owes the American people an answer.

    Health care costs have exploded out of control. The President has done nothing and he owes the American people an answer.

    The middle class is paying a bigger share of America’s tax burden. The President needs to answer to the American people why that is fair.

    Unfortunately, those in the White House are coming from a different place than you and I. They see things a little differently than you and I. They tell us that today, when it comes to the issues that matter most, we’re getting the job done.

    Go, Big John.

    Dave at The American Street adds his $0.02.

    Najaf, again

    So, the Iraqis are threatening that knucklehead al-Sadr again. First they're gonna take him, then they say they're not, now they say they are. Fuck him, Daisy Cutter time. Kick an 8000 lb fuel-air explosive out the back of a C-130 and let the chips fall where they may. What, they got 2000 of 'em holed up in that mosque? One fucking bomb; before-mosque with insurgents, after-smoking hole in the ground with pieces of insurgents. Simple. Like I said before, I might not agree with sending our troops there, but we are there, and war is only played one way-to win.

    Nader go home

    From Jesse at Pandagon:

    You've arrived! Congratulations. Now shut the fuck up about Democrats being against independent candidates, because you're being treated just like the GOP would be if they were undertaking this venture for a candidate (which, oddly enough, they are). You are now a candidate for president, not a lecture speaker. You aren't to be exalted because you aren't a part of a major party.

    You aren't special. You're another cog in another machine with very little chance of doing anything meaningful in the future unless you get your head out of your ass very, very soon. You are entitled to exactly nothing, particularly when you play hardball with people who have a lot more at stake than you do.

    Entire post.

    I'm still fucking with my server, decided to crash again this morning. Been up since 3:30 messing with it. I swear I'm gonna buy a new one when I get back from London.

    Wednesday, August 18, 2004

    More polls

    From Kos:

    Gallup. 8/13-15. MoE 4%. (7/19-22 results)

    Registered Voters

    Kerry/Edwards 52 (n/a)

    Bush/Cheney 42 (n/a)

    Likely Voters (MoE 5%)

    Kerry/Edwards 48 (51)

    Bush/Cheney 46 (45)

    The new CNN piece doesn't reference the results from a month ago. And the results from a month ago didn't split the registered voters from the likely voters. And the piece doesn't talk about the race "closing", which is what the likely voter numbers would seem to indicate.

    So I seriously wonder whether we have an apples to apples comparison here. Regardless, the 52-42 numbers seem wildly optimistic, considering that no other Ohio poll has shown a spread of more than four points in either candidate's direction.

    I'm done. Good night.

    Atrios has more on these results.

    I see the light

    One of them, Rep. Doug Bereuter (R-NE) - Senior member House International Relations Committee. Vice chairman House Intelligence Committee, is beginning to. Via the Farmer at Corrente:

    "I've reached the conclusion, retrospectively, now that the inadequate
    intelligence and faulty conclusions are being revealed, that all things being
    considered, it was a mistake to launch that military action,"

    More here.

    Update: 15:45:

    I see Kos and Atrios have shit to say on this too.

    Another link to the story from Atrios.

    And then there's this

    From Forbes:

    The Pentagon backed off its threat not to pay a Halliburton Co. subsidiary for troop support work, instead giving the company more time to justify its bills to the Army.

    Tuesday's decision ended a two-day exchange between the military and the oil and gas giant once led by Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a newspaper report.

    [. . .]

    The company has been awarded more than $6 billion in contracts related to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, but the company has been under fire for allegedly overcharging the government. Halliburton says it is a political target, denies wrongdoing and disputes whether withholding payment is legally justified.

    Halliburton said its subsidiary would offset any loss by simply keeping 15 percent from payments to subcontractors. [my emphasis]

    You know they'll get their money one way or the other. I wonder who got the brass at the Pentagon to change their minds? Hmmmmmmm?


    And why the outsourcing of the search for bin Laden to them won't work. From Matt Yglesias:

    "After all, we know Pakistan's intelligence service -- the ISI -- was riddled with Taliban and AQ sympathizers prior to the war. So there's no reason to think that's changed entirely." That's a rather gross understatement. It's not as if the Taliban took over one day, official Pakistani policy was anti-Taliban, but a whole bunch of Taliban sympathizers were working in the bureacracy. The Taliban didn't exist until it was created as a deliberate tool of Pakistani policy. The government helped arm, equip, and fund it, actively supporting their efforts to establish total domination over Afghanistan while at the same time the Taliban was sheltering Osama bin Laden and the 9-11 plotters were readying for the attack. And while al-Qaeda per se was not a creation of the Pakistani government, Pakistan was along with Saudi Arabia, the main creator of the international network of Islamist fighters out of which al-Qaeda grew.

    [. . .]

    Entire post.

    Did you get your button?

    From NYT:

    Thinking about smashing windows or overturning cars during the Republican National Convention? Think again: that will cost you a discounted buffalo chicken salad from Applebee's or a cheaper ticket to see "Tony n' Tina's Wedding."

    In a transparently mercantile bid to keep protesters from disrupting the Republican National Convention later this month, the Bloomberg administration will offer "peaceful political activists" discounts at select hotels, museums, stores and restaurants around town during convention week, which begins Aug. 29.

    Law-abiding protesters will be given buttons that bear a fetching rendition of the Statue of Liberty holding a sign that reads, "peaceful political activists." Protesters can present the buttons at places like the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Sex, the Pokémon Center store and such restaurants as Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too and Applebee's to save some cash during their stay.

    [. . .]

    Yup, this is a deterrent. Why do I think the people who are coming here to raise Hell give a shit about a discount at fucking Applebees? Here's a deterrent for ya. If I catch you doing something fucked up, you'll have wished the cops got ya first.

    Fucking with the Troll

    NYPD and NYFD had fun last night:

    (Upper East Side-WABC, August 18, 2004) — It is one thing to picket City Hall, but the stakes are upped measurably when you camp outside the mayor's bedroom window.

    The cops weren't called to the residence this morning-- they arrived on their own at 1:00am, as did firefighters. Both unions are looking for new contracts and a new way to get under the mayor's skin.

    [. . .]

    Protestors: "We are desperately seeking a contract and we are trying to get the mayor to come back to the table."

    That desperation has led to escalating protests. Over the past couple of weeks, union members have followed mayor Bloomberg all over town with pickets and demonstrations. So far, Bloomberg says he won't back down.

    [. . .]

    Full story.

    Hope they keep the little bastard awake for a week or two.


    Of which President Spineless Whore has none. Via WTF Is It Now?? from the Kansas City Star:

    The biggest Republican campaign donor in Texas has financed a smear campaign to not only challenge Sen. John Kerry's Vietnam War heroism but also to portray him as a liar and a coward.

    This is based on unsupported charges and transparently deceptive tactics. Yet President Bush has failed for days to denounce it, a decision that he knows gives the ad credibility with some poorly informed voters.

    Bush talks a lot about the importance of character. This was a good test of his ability to live up to that rhetoric, and so far he has failed it. Consequently, the American public will continue to be subjected to an ad that ignores the serious issues of a presidential race.

    [. . .]

    A group calling itself “The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” challenges this record with shrill rhetoric but little else. In an ad that began running this month, the deceptions begin immediately with two veterans misrepresenting themselves as having served “with John Kerry.” Unlike the men at the Democratic convention, they were not on Kerry's boat.

    [. . .]

    (For more detail on the issue see, a nonpartisan Web site that monitors political statements for factual accuracy.)

    Kerry's time in Vietnam convinced him that the American involvement there was a mistake. But his decision to speak out against the war does not justify charges about “betraying the men and women he served with in Vietnam.”

    Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican and a Vietnam War veteran himself, denounced the ad against Kerry in the strongest terms: “I deplore this kind of politics. I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable.”

    We're still waiting to hear such words from President Bush.
    [my emphasis]

    And this from the Philadelphia Daily News:

    Here's an idea: Let's have a debate on the Vietnam-era service of John Kerry and George W. Bush. The men who served with Kerry on his swift boat can tell their stories - and then the men who served with Bush in the National Guard in Alabama can tell theirs. Oh, that's right, there isn't one person who's yet come forward to say he remembers serving with Bush.

    Then we can get Jim Rassmann, the man Kerry pulled out from the river under fire (and for which action he was awarded the Bronze Star), to debate the men whom Bush saved... . Guess not.

    Instead, we have the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," who have made the loathsome smear ad running in some states. They say that Kerry - and almost all his crew members - lied about absolutely everything that happened in Vietnam. There's also a companion book, published by the right-wing Regnery Press, which goes further, claiming that Kerry came close to being a traitor. [my emphasis]

    [. . .]

    Assessing blame

    Robbed this from IntelDump:

    "For Want of a Horseshoe Nail?Effectiveness of Stability Operations During the Initial Implementation of the Transition Phase for Operation Iraqi Freedom."

    by Colonel Paul F. Dicker

    March 2004

    SUMMARY: U.S. strategy after armed conflict in Iraq was to seal the victory through re-establishment of infrastructure and establishment of democratic civil bodies of government. Prior to the conflict there were several studies that highlighted critical military actions required to insure successful post-conflict stabilization of Iraq. These requirements were not accomplished. The stabilization effort was complicated by the looting and lawlessness resulting from the collapse of regime's military and security force. Failures in planning and operations, coupled with several inaccurate assumptions, degraded post-conflict stabilization efforts and likely lengthened the post-conflict period of violence and lawlessness. This paper examines and analyzes the post conflict stability planning and operations, civil-military operations, and obstacles to achieving U.S. strategic goals in Iraq during the first 60 days of the conflict. [my emphasis]

    Click through to see the entire report from the Army War College.

    The General calls it

    From Jesus' General:

    [. . .]

    I think we can all agree on one thing. Alan Keyes is an agent provocateur hired by the Democrats to destroy the Illinois Republican Party's credibility. Either that, or he's utterly insane, because nobody is that stupid.

    Think about it. He's been in the race for what, ten days, and he's already come out against the direct election of Senators, endorsed a slavery reparations scheme that would allow dead people to stop paying taxes, and blamed 9/11 on abortion.

    The man is a laughingstock. He's going to lose the race. Worse yet, he's going to lose the race to Osama bin Laden, a terrorist who's on the FBI's most wanted list and can't campaign because Our Leader promised us his head three years ago.

    Good God, what where you thinking when you dialed his number!

    [. . .]

    Read the entire letter to:

    Senator Dave Syverson
    Senator Steve Rauschenberger
    Illinois State Senate

    Get rid of it

    That stupid Blogger navbar at the top of the page. Via TBogg from a reader at Roger Ailes. I posted the tag in 'comments'.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2004

    Last one

    For today. Via NevadaGayAthiest from Margaret Cho:

    [. . .]

    I think that these people who claim to do God's work are actually working for the Other Guy. Satan likes it when people are motivated by their own prejudice. The Horned One gets all happy when someone is being oppressed or unduly punished. The Dark Lord loves injustice. These so called family advocates and Christian groups are really doing the Devil's Work. I hope they enjoy being pawns for Lucifer.

    [. . .]


    Wait a second

    Via Eschaton. I clicked through because Atrios had posted a link to a clip from a Hardball show where Matthews goes ballistic on Matt Dowd of Bush/Cheney '04 for using a severely edited Hardball clip in their campaign adverising. But what got me was something Dowd said afterward:

    [. . .]

    MATTHEWS:[. . .]

    Quote—this is Harkin speaking, the senator from Iowa. [Link to Harkin's statement here.] “I just outrages me that someone who got five deferments during Vietnam and said he had ‘other priorities‘ at that time would say that... When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward, who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil. He‘ll be tough, but he‘ll be tough with someone else‘s kid‘s blood.”

    He called him a coward a number of times, Matt. Your response?

    DOWD: I think it‘s just outrageous that Tom Harkin, a surrogate for the Kerry campaign, that would do it. Bill Clinton served the presidency with distinction without having served in Vietnam or in a war. Ronald Reagan served a presidency with distinction without having served a war or in a world war. And I think this name-calling is very unfortunate that has to happen in this environment.

    MATTHEWS: Tad, your turn?

    [Kerry/Edwards' Tad]DEVINE: Well, first, Chris, I think we just made some history. We‘ve heard the Bush campaign say that Bill Clinton served the presidency with distinction. That‘s a breakthrough. We‘ve turned the corner on that one, I‘ll tell you that. [my emphasis]

    [. . .]

    Like I said before, the wheels are coming off the Republican wagon.

    I couldn't have said it better

    Lambert at Corrente:

    [. . .]

    Yep, that's the Campaign Against Fundamentalism we've been talking about.Of course—surprise!—Bush doesn't really mean what he says. After all, the wingers, the gun nuts, the theocrats, the Jeebofascists, and the right wing domestic terrorists are all part of the base.... So they aren't "Idelogical Extremists" at all... Just part of the mainstream....

    [. . .]

    Reaffirming Our Commitment to Democracy

    From Center for American Progress:

    Reaffirming Our Commitment to Democracy in the Americas
    [. . .}

    The Bush administration has developed a reputation around the world for being ideologically driven and unbending. In the Americas, it has expressed that will by unabashedly interfering in elections, expressing preferences for candidates rather than allowing people to select their leaders and hold poor choices accountable by voting them out in future elections. While supporting candidates friendly to the United States might meet our country's short-term interests, in the longer term the administration is cheapening the democratic process and strengthening the ability of undemocratic leaders to rule in an undemocratic way.

    [. . .]

    Full story.

    You gotta read this

    From Kevin at Lean Left:

    Is this what Republicans are going on about when they talk about "heartland values"?:

    [. . .]

    Joe Darby is a hero. He saw evil -- and yes, it was evil --being done and tried to stop it. If the United States is ever to be able to be seen as anything other than a sadistic colonizer in the Middle East, it will be because Joe Darby allowed the process to begin. He did so by acting with decency and courage in a place where authority and custom were running against him.

    Instead of being treated as a hero, however, his life is in danger along with that of his wife. His neighbors hold vigils for the bastards who tortured people and talk casually about the harm Darby deserves. Rush Limbaugh excused the torturers and Senator Inhofe was outraged at the revelations and the outrage over those revelations. And what of Bush? Where has his vaunted character been? Darby is a genuine American hero -- and yet Bush is allowing his fellow travelers, his base, to treat Darby like this without saying a word. Bush talks a lot about honor and dignity and strength and doing the right thing --but his military has kept Darby under wraps, and I could find no mention of Bush bringing up Darby's name on the stump or of chastising the people who excuse the torturers or demonize Darby. A man of actual character, a man with real values, would not sit silently when a good person, a man who out his nation above himself, was attacked.

    [. . .]

    Go read the whole thing here. Chaps my ass.

    Fired up

    The Farmer at Corrente is fired up over President Nitwit's message on leadership.


    I posted this over at The Fixer for potential dog owners. Read it before you get a dog.

    Holy Mary, mother of God

    Chase the niggas out the yard. And the Latins, and the Jews, and everybody else who ain't a God-fearing Christian.

    Via Pandagon from the New Republic Online:

    COMING HOME: I noted a while back that recent polling by John Green of the University of Akron showed that despite a concerted effort Bush has done nothing to blunt the traditional Democratic advantage among Jewish voters. In Green's survey the sample size for Jews was actually very small, but a much larger poll out today by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research confirms that Bush has made no inroads. The numbers look almost identical to what VNS exit polls found in 2000. . .

    [. . .]

    I'd say with the exception of their efforts to woo Jews, blacks, Hispanics, and Catholics, Karl Rove's and George W. Bush's strategy to bring traditionally Democratic groups into the Republican fold is going swimmingly.

    What I wanna know is what happened to the 'Big Tent' and 'Compassionate Conservatism'? Or are those just code words for 'racism'?

    Update: 10:30:

    From Atrios:

    Boxed In

    It really isn't clear what's left. Bush is distancing himself from the Falwellian branch of his base, even refusing to pray in public and offering up the heretical notion that even people who don't go to church deserve religious freedom. The much discussed Republican takeover of the Jewish vote (which I always scoffed at), isn't happening. Bush has lost the Hispanic-American vote, and is likely to be losing an important subset of that, the Cuban-American vote. Obviously Bush has lost the Arab-American vote. His campaign rallies contain screened crowds -- there are no real "public" events.

    What's left?

    No exceptions!!

    From Jesus' General:

    The Most Reverend John M. Smith, Bishop of Trenton

    Dear Bishop Smith,

    I've been an admirer of your work ever since you announced that pro-abortion politicians cannot receive communion. It's good to see that there are still a few Bishops out there who have the balls to stand beside Our Leader in this election season.

    My faith in your leadership was confirmed again the other day when I learned that you had revoked a little girl's first communion because she partook of a wheat-free host. It does not matter that a normal wafer might have killed her. She'd have met our Lord in Heaven. Now, thanks to you, she faces an eternity in Hell unless she chooses the death and resurrection embodied in the wheat-based host.Sure, some might argue that it was the act that is important--not the Church law governing the constituents of the wafer--but they are ignoring the most important issue, transubstantiation.

    Wheat was the grain that built the Church, and by extension, Western Culture. It was no accident. Our Lord commanded it to be so. Therefore, it would be heretical to use any other grain in the wafer. Indeed, other grains might corrupt our Savior's flesh as the host undergoes transubstantiation. A rice or corn based wafer might even result in worshipers eating the flesh of Buddha or Wankantanka, thereby releasing Hell's legions of demons to feast upon our souls in an orgy of apocalyptic destruction.

    You're all that is standing between us and those demons. Thank you for
    being strong.

    Heterosexually yours,

    Gen. JC Christian, patriot.

    You think the Baptists are the only ones who are 'out there'? The Catholics can be just as fucked up.

    Scary, again

    This caught my eye a couple days ago, bit the news media whores in the ass yesterday, and Democratic Veteran adds:

    Just when you thought that they might have learned their lessons, and quit fucking around with things that they don't understand, the Neocons do it again...this time with the "redeployment" of troops back to the US. The 1600 Crew is saying that this will give the troops more time at home...sure, between deployments back to where they were stationed overseas. It's a serious Catch-22 being sold by a bunch of guys whose closest association with military service was watching Bill Murray in "Stripes".

    [. . .]

    Entire post.

    Fucking assholes have no idea. Thank God this is a long-term plan and Kerry will reset everything when he gets in. No quarter and no mercy in November.

    Update: 07:15:

    Bubba's got a take on this too:

    Bush's move to withdraw troops from bases in NATO partner countries is designed to further isolate America and to poison John Kerry's chances for rebuilding our coalitions and getting real help in Iraq. What a bunch of cynical bastards.

    Update: 08:30:

    Watching CNN 'cause MSNBC has the 'lympics. So who's on? That nitwit Joe Lieberman, talking about this very subject. Jesus H. Christ, he's reciting the WH talking points! Oy gevult!!! What the fuck does he have, Zell Milleritis? Time to chuck 'em both out the party.

    Update: 12:45:

    Melanie at Just a Bump in the Beltway weighs in on this too.

    Rock stars

    From Kos:

    Ya think they made all these people sign loyalty oaths? NOT!!!

    Monday, August 16, 2004

    Immigration news

    From Ginger at the The American Street:

    One of the interesting things about observing immigration news is that you end up reading so many interesting stories and learning a lot about how the US does business. This is a roundup of interesting immigration stories from this week that gives a good idea of the breadth of topics immigration touches on: civil liberties, public health, law enforcement, marriage law, and, of course, the war on terror.

    [. . .]

    In a move that will come as no surprise to experienced immigration-watchers, the government is giving border patrol agents the ability to deport illegal aliens without reference to immigration courts. Theoretically, this measure should relieve the jail crowding that necessitates the "catch-and-release" program. In real life, there's a significant concern about the due process rights of aliens, including refugees and asylum applicants, who may get swept up and removed without recourse.

    [. . .]

    Also from the Department of "This Makes Sense Until You Think About It": if you're from Montserrat, you're about to lose your temporary protected status. Not because the volcano that has devastated Montserrat has stopped erupting--because it's not going to stop, which means the problem is no longer temporary. To compound the brilliance of this move, immigration authorities told Montserratians who don't want to go home to apply for British citizenship (Montserrat is a former British colony). They neglected to mention this to the British government first, though.

    The court decision to annul the same-sex marriages in San Francisco may force one woman to go into exile to stay with her spouse. Her spouse's work visa will end next year, and she can't renew it. Since they're not married, she can't get a green card on the basis of her relationship to a US citizen. It's one more thing to keep in mind when you look at what marriage rights entail under US law.

    [. . .]

    And she's got a lot more here. Yeah, you can trust us. We're from the government.

    Reservists losing jobs

    Let's see, you fought in Iraq, maybe you're wounded, maybe you've had your tour extended, and now you're home. Guess what? You ain't got a fucking job either. Glad I got out a long time ago.

    Bubba turned me on to this and it pissed me off enough where I posted the whole thing.

    By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON - Benefits reduced. Promotions forgotten. Jobs gone.

    It's tough to find these conditions when returning home from the mean streets of Iraq (news - web sites), ready to resume your civilian career. Increasing numbers of National Guard and Reserve troops returning home are experiencing just such disappointment.

    Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Labor Department (news - web sites) reports receiving greater numbers of complaints under a 1994 law that is primarily designed to give Guard and Reserve troops their old jobs back, or provide them with equivalent positions.

    Benefits and raises must be protected, as if the serviceman or servicewoman had never left.

    Labor Department officials said only a nationwide campaign to educate employers about the law prevented the problem from getting even worse.

    "Any increase in the number of complaints is a concern to us," said Fred Juarbe Jr., assistant secretary of labor for veterans employment and training. "At the same time, we're pleased by the fact that the increase in complaints is not at the level that would have been expected."

    Some soldiers, however, are finding the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act can't protect them.

    _Larry Gill couldn't return as a police officer in Thomasville, Ala., because a grenade injured a foot, making it impossible for him to chase criminals or duck bullets.

    _Jerry Chambers, of Oberlin, Kan., discovered that budget cuts eliminated his job as a substance abuse prevention consultant.

    _Ron Vander Wal, of Pollock, S.D., was originally told his job as a customer service representative was eliminated. He was rehired after filing a civil lawsuit seeking damages.

    Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said the department is drafting rules to spell out the law's protections for service personnel because "we've got to do everything we can to protect their re-employment rights."

    Labor was receiving about 900 formal complaints a year before the Sept. 11. The statistical picture since then, based on fiscal years ending Sept. 30:

    _1,218 cases opened in 2002.

    _1,327 cases in 2003.

    _1,200 cases from Oct. 1, 2003 through July 31. If projected over 12 months, the figure would be 1,440, the department said.

    Soldiers' complaints were upheld or settled by the department in one-third of last year's cases, while another third were found to have no merit. The remaining cases are inactive or closed, often because the government lost contact with the soldier or the soldier returned to active duty.

    When Guard and Reserve troops returned from the first Gulf War (news - web sites), there was one complaint for every 54 soldiers leaving active duty. Currently, with the government's aggressive drive to inform employers of the law, the figure has improved to 1 in 69.

    The complaints represent a small percentage of the quarter-million Guard and Reserve troops who left active duty since the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Not all returning troops are bitter about their job loss.

    Chambers, the substance abuse consultant, agreed that budget cuts left his former nonprofit employer no choice but to eliminate his job.

    "I don't fault them for that and I don't hold grudges," said Chambers. He was among the lucky ones, finding employment with his Reserve unit, the 1013th Quartermaster Company, based in North Platte and McCook, Neb. His unit has been mobilized anew, and he is again on active duty.

    For others, finding their jobs gone was an emotional and an economic hardship.

    Gill, the former Alabama police officer with an injured leg, had to give up a career that began in 1992 and followed in the footsteps of his father and brother. "My biggest concern is loss of income," he said.

    While some troops fault former employers for firing them as they served their country, most complaints involved alleged denial of benefits, promotions and raises, said officials from Labor and a Pentagon (news - web sites) organization — Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

    Army Col. Brarry Cox, who coordinates the ESGR's mediation efforts between employers and returning troops, said typical issues raised by soldiers include: "What about the 401 (k)? The end-of-year bonus? What about my evaluation? I was due a merit promotion that I missed.

    "We try to talk employers through a logical approach; How were they (the employees) performing prior to active duty, where do you think they would have come out?"

    The Labor Department, which has subpoena power, asks employers to justify firings or reduction of benefits and can refer complaints to the Justice Department (news - web sites) for filing of civil lawsuits. Only a small percentage of cases get that far.

    While the 1994 law strengthened previous protections, it doesn't help doctors, lawyers or small-business owners who depend on maintaining a client base. It doesn't save jobs eliminated by plant closings or budget cuts. And it doesn't help injured troops who can no longer perform the work they once did.

    Weird (Bad) Science

    From Democratic Veteran:

    Making Bad Science pay, the Lobbyists way

    Yet another use of bad science to enrich the coffers of the corpro-fascist pigs...and ensure that truly bad research is used predominently in making laws that [don't] protect us all...

    Things were not looking good a few years ago for the makers of atrazine, America's second-leading weedkiller. The company was seeking approval from the Environmental Protection Agency to keep the highly profitable product on the market. But scientists were finding it was disrupting hormones in wildlife -- in some cases turning frogs into bizarre creatures bearing both male and female sex organs.
    [. . .]

    [. . .]

    Entire post.

    Well, that explains the guests on Jerry Springer.


    Hadda steal this from The Head Heeb:

    Never made it to the Red Center when I was TDY to Australia for a week. Gotta drag the Mrs. there soon.

    Sunday, August 15, 2004

    Do you haff ze papers?

    From WTF Is It Now??:

    Bunnypants the Yellowbellied

    It's old news that while John Kerry has welcomed everyone at his campaign stops, the Boy King's handlers laborously handpick every one of the brainwashed mouthbreathers you see in all the Widdle Fuckwit's campaign stops and photo-ops, even forcing them to sign "loyalty oaths.

    "Heaven forbid the senseless twit ever has to face a heckler or even somebody asking him a tougher question than why isn't Laura here today? He even has something called "Ask pResident Bush" sessions, where supporters who must have undergone thorough questioning into their political family trees suck up to the vacuous ninny and leave pucker marks all over his shiny yellow ass.

    Well, in one such make-out session on Friday the stumbling mumblefuck couldn't even answer a question posed by a little kid about the firing of a school librarian:

    "I can't answer your question why. But Laura was a librarian, so maybe the superintendent ought to talk to the librarian, Laura. But, no, I don't know."

    But Saddam wuz a threat so ah took him out, you damn li'l commie.

    I love the attitude over at WTF.

    More on Bush and his Nazi rallies at Eschaton.


    Via Corrente, via Eschaton, from Sen Tom Harkin:

    DES MOINES -- Sen. Tom Harkin called Vice President Dick Cheney a "coward" for avoiding service in Vietnam and called on President Bush to end the "backdoor draft."

    [. . .]

    Harkin, who served as a jet pilot in the Navy, said the exemption wasn't intended for situations like the war in Iraq. He said first responders like Nydam are needed to protect the community.

    "The part of the U.S. code that provides for this anticipates major wars, major national emergencies," Harkin said. "That is not what we're confronting right now. You think about using this law only in (extreme cases), only when we're really in dire, dire need."

    Harkin also shot back at Cheney, who said in a visit to Iowa on Tuesday that presidential candidate John Kerry lacks a basic understanding of the war on terrorism and cannot make America safer.

    He noted that Cheney had several student deferments that allowed him to skip serving in Vietnam.

    "When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward, who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil," Harkin said. "Those of us who served and those of us who went in the military don't like it when someone like a Dick Cheney comes out and he wants to be tough. Yeah, he'll be tough. He'll be tough with somebody else's blood, somebody else's kids. But not when it was his turn to go." [my emphasis]

    [. . .]

    Damn right.

    Read the entire article here.

    Twenty (one) questions

    A bunch of questions our media whores should ask President Free Pass. From Lambert at Corrente:

    We've been working on a list of questions we'd like to ask Bush; here they are.

    The Kerry campaign has a site called "Ask the President" (thanks to alert reader raison de fem). It couldn't hurt to post some of the questions below there. (Sure, the form is an email-address-capturing device, but who cares? There's a lot at stake.) The Kerry campaign—or the surrogate team it has yet to form—sorely needs some spunk and snark. Let's give 'em some, courtesy of Corrente and the blogosphere....

    NOTE: In this simulated transcript, I have replaced the press's usual kneepad-appropriate salutation to Bush—"My Lord"—with the "Sir" that most Americans still expect.

    Readers, have at it... Maybe we can break 50!

    [. . .]

    Tough shit, I'm not stealing the whole thing. Go read the outstanding questions here.

    Bush in Florida, again

    Yup, a little over 24 hours and President Nutless Wonder is in Florida, surveying the damage. Real nice, asshole. Would you move so fucking quickly if Charley ran over a blue-fucking-state? I seriously doubt it. Took you 10 days to see if we were all right after 9/11. Sure didn't hesitate to have the Republican Convention here so you can exploit us though, right. Motherfucker.

    This is scary

    From The Talking Dog:

    The Bush Administration gives us its plans for the redeployment of 70,000 troops from overseas station to bases within the United States. The People's Daily report linked to here is pretty consistent with other reports I have seen and heard: Bush will announce this initiative (which will not affect-- at all-- the 130,000 plus troops in Iraq or the nearly 20,000 troops in Afghanistan) at a VFW hall in swing state Ohio. The rationale for this pullback of forces permanently based in Europe or Asia is "to be able to respond more quickly to foreign situations."

    [. . .]

    Entire post.

    All this says to me is that President Flightsuit is planning to go somewhere else and needs a couple more divisions to do it. While I've always advocated a kid going into the military after high school if he didn't know what do do and had no college plans, if I had an 18 year old kid, I'd try to talk him out of it. All these assholes are doing is squandering our childrens' lives. And I don't want to see any more kids turned into cannon fodder.

    I thought they'd settled this

    But I was wrong. That's why I rely on The Head Heeb:


    More than 150 Congolese Tutsi refugees have reportedly been massacred at a refugee camp in western Burundi. The National Liberation Forces (FNL) - a Hutu group that was until recently in rebellion against the Burundi government - has claimed responsibility for the attack, and DRC vice-president Azarius Ruberwa indicated that elements of the Congolese army were also involved.

    This could have major repercussions even beyond the immediate tragedy. To begin with, the massacre puts the fragile Burundi peace process in very real danger of collapse. The FNL, which had been the last holdout among the rebel forces, joined the peace talks in January; it has since backed off and refused to be part of a national unity government, but its active campaign has subsided. Evidently, though, it believes that Congolese Tutsi refugees are still fair game, and this isn't likely to make the already-vacillating Tutsi parties any happier about the peace process. If the government and international mediators continue to urge the FNL to join the coalition, the Tutsi parties may pull out - and if talks break off, then it may return to full-scale rebellion and reignite the civil war.

    [. . .]

    Go read the entire post, damn it.

    It just amazes me that we can intervene places that we fuck up even more, and this festering boil on Africa's ass continues to grow. These people have been hacking each other up for years. If we're gonna be a policeman for the world, we should start in Africa.

    As an aside, I'm gonna get to Africa too one day before I die. I can still hear my mother singing: 'Wir lagen zum Madegascar'.

    Taking over via 'regulation'

    Via Melanie at Just a Bump in the Beltway from the New York Times:

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 - April 21 was an unusually violent day in Iraq; 68 people died in a car bombing in Basra, among them 23 children. As the news went from bad to worse, President Bush took a tough line, vowing to a group of journalists, "We're not going to cut and run while I'm in the Oval Office."

    On the same day, deep within the turgid pages of the Federal Register, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a regulation that would forbid the public release of some data relating to unsafe motor vehicles, saying that publicizing the information would cause "substantial competitive harm" to manufacturers.

    As soon as the rule was published, consumer groups yelped in complaint, while the government responded that it was trying to balance the interests of consumers with the competitive needs of business. But hardly anyone else noticed, and that was hardly an isolated case.

    [. . .]

    "There's been more federal regulations, more regulatory notices, than previous administrations," said Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, though he attributed much of that to the new rules dealing with domestic security.

    And then there's Scott 'Lyin' Muthafucka' McClellan WH Press Secretary:

    Scott McClellan, the chief White House spokesman, said of the changes, "The president's common-sense policies reflect the values of America, whether it is cracking down on corporate wrongdoing or eliminating burdensome regulations to create jobs."

    Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha bullshit.

    Some leaders of advocacy groups argue that the public preoccupation with war and terrorism has allowed the administration to push through changes that otherwise would have provoked an outcry. Carl Pope, the executive director of the Sierra Club, says he does not think the administration could have succeeded in rewriting so many environmental rules, for example, if the public's attention had not been focused on national security issues.

    "The effect of the administration's concentration on war and terror has been to prevent the public from focusing on these issues," Mr. Pope said. "Now, when I hold focus groups with the general public and tell them what has been done, they exclaim, 'How could this have happened without me knowing about it?

    [. . .]

    The overall regulatory record shows that the Bush administration has heeded the interests of business and industry. Like the Reagan administration, which made regulatory reform a priority, officials under Mr. Bush have introduced new rules to ease or dismantle existing regulations they see as cumbersome. Some analysts argue that the Bush administration has introduced rules favoring industry with a dedication unmatched in modern times.

    "My thoughts go back to Herbert Hoover," said Robert Dallek, the presidential historian. "No president could have been more friendly to business than Hoover" until the Bush administration.

    While John D. Graham, administrator of information and regulatory affairs at the Office of Management and Budget, does not dispute the administration's pro-business tilt, he said there had been notable exceptions, which his office approved when government officials "provided adequate scientific and economic justification."

    [. . .]

    The administration, at the request of lumber and paper companies, gave Forest Service managers the right to approve logging in federal forests without the usual environmental reviews. A Forest Service official explained that the new rule was intended "to better harmonize the environmental, social and economic benefits of America's greatest natural resource, our forests and grasslands."

    In March of 2003, the Mine Safety and Health Administration published a proposed new regulation that would dilute the rules intended to protect coal miners from black-lung disease. The mine workers union called the new rules "extremely dangerous," while a mine safety administration official contended, "We are moving on toward more effective prevention of black-lung disease."

    In May 2003, the Bush administration dropped a proposed rule that would have required hospitals to install facilities to protect workers against tuberculosis. Hospitals and other industry groups had lobbied against the change, saying that it would be costly and that existing regulations would accomplish many of the same aims.

    But workers unions and public health officials argued that the number of tuberculosis cases had risen in 20 states and that the same precautions that were to have been put into place for tuberculosis would also have been effective against SARS. [my emphasis]

    [. . .]

    Full story.

    We've been hoodwinked, ladies and gentlemen. Time to wake up. President Ballbag might be a moron, but Cheney and Rove are smart guys. They've effectively sidestepped the checks and balances of congressional oversight. Hope it scares you as much as it scares me.