Saturday, August 28, 2004

Breaking News 2

NEW YORK - With the arrest of two men, authorities reportedly have broken up a bomb plot aimed at New York City subways. Investigators stressed that the men never got their hands on explosives, but the suspects allegedly discussed and plotted making a bomb that could be exploded at the 34th Street subway station or on a train pulling into that station.

Officials said there is no evidence the plot was timed to coincide with the Republican National Convention, but the timing of the arrests certainly appears to have happened to get the men in custody before the convention gets under way.

Investigators said the plot never had a chance of coming into fruition. The men never had access to explosives, but they are described as men who were willing participants in a plot -- motivated to jihad -- to set off a bomb in the subways. Attempts to reach spokesmen for the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, the FBI and the New York Police Department were unsuccessful Friday night.

From WNBC in New York.

So, if the guy they were trying to buy explosives from didn't have a sense of responsibility, and not turn them in, they would have blown up the 34th Street station. Sure looks like the NYPD and Homeland Security didn't have a fucking clue.

Can ya spare a dime?

The Agonist has a good post on the crime of being poor in the richest nation on earth which you really should read.

But what got me was something in the comments section from the father of a GI:

I look at my son who joined the army. He gets paid minimal for putting his life on the line 24 hours a day 7 days a week. He is a good kid and is a cavalry scout he leaves next week for urban combat training. He then gets ready to goback to Iraq for his 2 nd tour. On the first tour they got 1 liter bottle of water a day. After that you drank treated water from local sources, they all got dysentary so bad they soiled their clothes and of course there was no laundry. So after he pays his rent and car payment because he wants to live off base near a college campus he has about 250 bucks to last 2 weeks. I could go on but I will not. it is just very sad.

President Chickenhawk honoring our troops. Spineless worm.

And by the way, this is my 1,000th post.

God and the Republicans

Tresy at Corrente has a great piece on the Jesus freak mindset:

[. . .]

Christianity's central challenge to Man is the recognition of his unregenerate nature, that he is at root a creature of fear, selfishness and aggression towards others, with self-deception and hypocrisy lubricating all, consigning him, if not saved, to the certainty of suffering. Leaving aside its prescription, I happen to think its diagnosis not wildly off the mark. The truth about ourselves is not something we get for free, and in fact it's usually not something we really want, because the truth usually gets in the way of the selfish pursuits that occupy most of our waking attention.

We all delude ourselves to varying degrees, but we normally have some face-saving excuse. In politics, there is usually some genuine virtue that partisans can magnify to distract attention from their heroes' flaws and their policies' shortcomings. Even Nixon was a skilled stateman. What makes the Bush Cult scary is the bottomless, willing self-delusion, the eagerness to embrace every new hypocrisy, coupled with a moral certitude completely devoid of any actual moral self-scrutiny. Here is a man devoid of discernible compassion, respect for the truth, basic competence, introspection, honesty, humility, subtlety of mind or personal courage. He is from all appearances, an utterly hollow man whose every action belies the religion he wears on his sleeve. There is not an iota of evidence that he has ever done anything for anyone outside his family in his entire life. He thus presents a test case for all of us, but especially for any Christian who believes in the importance of living in Truth: how low are you willing to go for this man?

[. . .]

You owe it to yourself to read the whole thing.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Breaking News

From NBC News:

A DoD official is under investigation for spying for Israel. As that jerk-off Drudge says;

developing . . .

Update: 19:15:

Matthews is saying it's a "high ranking offcial in the Defense Department". And was involved in giving some of our codes to the israelis.

Update: 04:45 Saturday

(CBS) CBS News has learned that the FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to -- in FBI terminology -- "roll up" someone agents believe has been spying not for an enemy, but for Israel from within the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.

60 Minutes Correspondent Lesley Stahl reports the FBI believes it has "solid" evidence that the suspected mole supplied Israel with classified materials that include secret White House policy deliberations on Iran.

At the heart of the investigation are two people who work at The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

The FBI investigation, headed up by Dave Szady, has involved wiretaps, undercover surveillance and photography that CBS News was told document the passing of classified information from the mole, to the men at AIPAC, and on to the Israelis.

CBS sources say that last year the suspected spy, described as a trusted analyst at the Pentagon, turned over a presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran while it was, "in the draft phase when U.S. policy-makers were still debating the policy."

This put the Israelis, according to one source, "inside the decision-making loop" so they could "try to influence the outcome."

The case raises another concern among investigators: Did Israel also use the analyst to try to influence U.S. policy on the war in Iraq?

With ties to top Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the analyst was assigned to a unit within the Defense Department tasked with helping develop the Pentagon's Iraq policy.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been made aware of the case. The government notified AIPAC today that it wants information about the two employees and their contacts with a person at the Pentagon.

AIPAC told CBS News it is cooperating with the government and has hired outside counsel. It denies any wrongdoing by the organization or any of its employees.

An Israeli spokesman said, "We categorically deny these allegations. They are completely false and outrageous." The suspected spy has not returned repeated phone calls from CBS News.

Thanks to Xan at Corrente for the link.

I heart NY

You gotta love this city. Look at the picture. The only ones gawking are obviously tourists. The real New Yorkers could give a shit.

A group of AIDS activists stage a naked protest outside of New York's Madison Square Garden August 26, 2004. The protesters blocked 8th Avenue in midtown Manhattan outside the Garden, site of the Republican National Convention. Law enforcement authorities expect thousands of protesters to descend on the city before the start of the convention on August 30, 2004. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen

Bend over

From Kos:

The Olympic's governing board is pissed at Bush's "arrogance", and they have a way to retaliate -- denying NYC's its 2012 bid for the games.

I have posted a translation of Der Spiegel's article on the topic sent in by reader Hans in the extended entry.

Entire post.

Thanks a lot, President Asswipe. Unlike the Republican convention, the Olympics is something NYC could make money on, you fucking moron. But hey, in Bush World it's called Blue York. We're only here to be exploited. All those God-fearing Jesus freaks in 'Middle America' will love it, the shots from the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State, and all the flag waving. Bush is gonna wrap himself in the aura of 9/11 and turn his back on us as soon as it's over. I swear, if he wins in November, I'm going expat. You can visit the Mrs., her monster, and me in Paris.

Marshall on Greenspan

From Josh Marshall at TPM:

From the AP: "Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Friday that the country will face 'abrupt and painful' choices if Congress does not move quickly to trim the Social Security and Medicare benefits that have been promised to the baby boom generation."

This could use some elaboration.

To the degree there's urgency here, it is because of the mammoth deficits the president has run up. The president runs up a big deficit and now you've got to pay for it with cuts to your Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Where are the president's priorities?

Shouldn't the Kerry campaign be banging this drum? Especially since it's true (only an added benefit these days, I grant you.)

Isn't the Fed Chair supposed to be independent and above partisan politics? Greenspan is a Bush facilitator and should be kicked out at the same time President Nutless Wonder is. I can't believe Andrea Mitchell actually fucks him.

Cat revolt

Atrios' cats have gone on strike:

Friday Cat Blogging

The cats have informed me that they refuse to be photographed until there's a little bit more money thrown into the various begging bowls.

Mars, bitches!

That's why I'm a dog person.

Letter to McCain

Dear Senator McCain,

Let me first say that you will always have my undying respect for your service to this country. As a fellow combat vet, I know the sacrifices you made and can only imagine what you went through at the hands of your captors during the war. Allow me to personally thank you.

The reason I'm writing is because my respect for you is steadily decreasing. After what Bush did to you, to Max Cleland, and now to John Kerry, how can you possibly give this man your support. I realize you are a man of honor, and I know you will always be a Republican, but my God, man, he and his minions are smearing our fellow brothers in arms.

While I would never expect you to publicly renounce the President, a sitting Republican President, I am very surprised you would consent to accompany him on the campaign trail. Let alone have that 'Al and Tipper moment' with him the other day. How can you put aside your principles for this man who has none? For this man who, on the one hand praises our heroes sacrificing themselves in Iraq, and on the other trying to denigrate the service of your brothers in another ill-concieved war. Mr. Kerry's service, Mr. Cleland's service, and your service, Mr. McCain. How can you stand by and send the mixed messages you do? You criticize the Swift Boat Veterans and then go out with Bush and fairly tongue-kiss him.

Please, sir, for the sake of this country, get in touch with your honor and principles that I know you have, and take a stand. It's time for ethical men to do the right thing.

Update: 17:15:

The Angry Bear has more to say on the McCain/Bush relationship.

I'm mizable, right?

From AP:

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans living in poverty increased by 1.3 million last year, while the ranks of the uninsured swelled by 1.4 million, the Census Bureau reported Thursday

It was the third straight annual increase for both categories. While not unexpected, it was a double dose of bad economic news during a tight re-election campaign for President Bush.


"What's that stuck to the sole of my shoe, Dick?"

"Just po' folks, Dubya. Wipe 'em off on the curb."


A sad statistic

From Kos:

It happened this week almost without notice: The number of Americans killed in Iraq during 2004 now exceeds the number killed in 2003.

More remarkably, the 488 killed thus far this year died in just 239 days (2.04 daily average), while the 482 killed last year died during fully 287 days (1.68 daily average), which means that not only has 2004 been bloodier than 2003 in absolute terms, but in relative terms as well.

Is this progress? Is this stability and safety?

Now, here's the question I really want to ask: How long will it take the media to report this indisputable fact? I mean, can they take even five minutes time from the latest, breathless Swift Boat twist to report the fact that more Americans have died in Iraq this year than last?

My watch shows it's about 4:36 EST. Let's keep an eye on the clock, shall we?

Did someone say, 'mission accomplished'? Rat bastids.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Bush's record

The Farmer at Corrente has this from the AWOL Project:

Summary: Contrary to the spin put out by the White House (and endlessly repeated by the mainstream media) Bush was never transferred to the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron in Alabama. Nor was this "transfer request" an attempt to find somewhere to do training temporarily while Bush worked on an Alabama political campaign in 1972. Instead, Bush was running a scam designed to completely sever his relationship with the Air National Guard, and eliminate the last two years of his obligation to train and serve as a pilot, by joining a unit that had no training, and for which Bush was specifically ineligible.

[. . .]

What George W. Bush was attempting to do was run a scam. He was trying to find a way to "legally desert" his post, by gaming the system under which transfers to Air Reserve Squadrons were processed. In the meantime, while waiting for his scam to come to fruition, Bush blew off months of training that he was required to do under the law, and didn't even bother getting the medical examination required of all pilots, whether they had planes to fly or not.

As we now know, Bush never got the orders that would allow him to forget about fulfilling his obligations to the United States Armed Forces. His little transfer scam didn’t work, and he should have been showing up for training, and maintaining his qualifications as a pilot, throughout the Spring and Summer of 1972.

[. . .]

Read the whole thing here. It'll open your eyes.


Lest we forget. From The Talking Dog:

Grand Ayatollah Sistani has returned to try to negotiate and end to violence, as the fun and games continue in Najaf, threatening the Imam Ali Mosque, and hence, the continued existence of civilization. Note somewhere down the CNN report here, the local Iraqi police chief "rounded up" a few dozen journalists working Najaf and called them in to berate them for covering Sadr's Mahdi Army militiamen, and not his Iraqi police. (You see, we brought these people freedom...)

[. . .]

Read the rest.

What a clusterfuck.

Dear George

Kevin Hayden at The American Street writes a letter to President No Nuts:

[. . .]

I put on 12,000 miles per year on a car that gets 24 MPG and my gas in the past year has been about a buck higher, on average, than it was when you took office. So that's $500 a year that went to your buddies in Texas and Saudi Arabia, mostly. It's more than the tax cut I got. I haven't seen gas prices at record highs since, well, since your Daddy was in charge. Fancy that.

I can't afford to get sick anymore. I've only had one job that offered healthcare benefits in the past 20 years. College isn't something I encourage to my kids anymore. They're bright as the sun, but sans scholarships, it's just too much debt to get saddled with so young. "Make rich friends and kiss their asses" is the employment advice I give 'em, because it's the only thing I haven't tried, so maybe it'll work. Can't even marry above my station because I don't know a soul in the station above me, but maybe they'll get lucky there, as well.

[. . .]

Wages seem to be flat for everyone except CEOs anymore, unless they're in Ohio or Michigan or Colorado or Oregon where they're lucky if they just have a job.

Which is the main thing I wanted to write you about. You can't sell it to the worse off folks like most people are, talking so much about corners. I recognize that the oil companies and insurance companies and weapons makers and Saudi Arabia are well past the corner posting record revenues. (6.4% growth to the country whose citizens attacked us on 9/11!)

[. . .]

Go read the whole thing. You have to.

Me on the economy

1) Minimum wage $10.00/hr.
2) Double taxation for all offshore based American companies.
3) A 2 year tax holiday for any corporations that move back onshore and agree to pay their fare share of taxes for 10 years after that. If they move back offshore before then, their assets in this country would be siezed and federalized.
4) A 10 year tax holiday for any corporation inventing a non-polluting alternative technology to replace the internal combustion engine. (It has to produce the same power and torque in the same conditions as the ICE.)
5) A 10 year tax holiday for any corporation who develops a viable way to exploit the Solar System and its mineral wealth.
6) Establish a fair trade 'rulebook' and abide by its rules. The 'rulebook' would contain work regulations, an international minimum wage, environmental and human rights guarantees as well. Nations wanting to join the U.S. Economic Sphere will have to sign on and abide by it as well. Signatories who break the rules would be embargoed and boycotted.
7) Put space exploration in the hands of the private sector. Abolish NASA.
8) Abolish big business associations' political connections. If a group of businesses create a PAC to push their agenda in Washington, they must equally fund an opposition PAC advancing the public good.
9) Streamline the tax code. A guy who took the H&R Block tax course should be capable of caluclating IBM's tax obligation. No more fleets of attorneys looking for every fucking loophole.

I'll think of more, but this is what I'd do right off.

FYVM*, again

Via Democratic Veteran:

New federal rules will ace some 6 million workers out of the overtime pay to which, until now, they have been entitled by law, according to AFL-CIO calculations. Or they will bring a million-plus low-wage workers into overtime eligibility that they have been denied, as the Bush administration sees it.

The reworked regulations are so numerous and complex that no one knows for sure who will win, who will lose or where the balance will lie. It will probably be years until the changes settle and the outcomes are clear.

But if you think this is an administration that would set out to do workers a great big favor and pester employers' bottom lines, you ought to check your zip code. It may be time for you to move back to Earth.

Granted, it is a distinctly novel re-election ploy to cut the take-home of millions and expect to profit politically. But then the Bush White House has more than its share, not only of testosterone, but of chutzpah. (As in that term's classic example: the guy who murders his parents and pleads for mercy as an orphan.)

[. . .]

From the minute he took office and turned national energy policy over to the oil, gas and coal lobbyists, Bush has been the faithful servant of the Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

He has blocked any boosts in the increasingly laggard minimum wage. He had to be dragooned by worried fellow Republicans in Congress into accepting extensions in unemployment compensation. For him go out of his way to punch up the paychecks of the work-a-day by gimmicking overtime rules would be, let's say, out of character.

[. . .]

Full story.

And there's still working class assholes who say 'I'm voting for Bush'. If you do, you deserve to lose your overtime and, eventually, your job.

[*FYVM=Fuck you very much]

Did we forget something, assholes?

From Reuters via Corrente. Somebody ought to tell President Nitwit to hire a copyright lawyer. Every writer and TV or movie producer knows you can't use other peoples' shit without consent and without paying royalties.

By Karolos Grohmann
ATHENS (Reuters) - The U.S. Olympic Committee has asked the campaign to re-elect President Bush to pull an ad that refers to the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday.

The ad has angered Olympic officials because they feel it hijacks the Olympic brand -- a registered trademark -- even though it does not display the Games logo.

The U.S. Olympic Committee had asked the Bush election "campaign to withdraw the advertisement they are running," International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Giselle Davies told reporters.

The television advertisement, ahead of the presidential elections in November, does not feature the five Olympic rings -- one of the world's most recognizable images -- but an announcer tells viewers that at "this Olympics there will be two more free nations," referring to the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under Bush's presidency.

Afghanistan returned to this year's Games after its Olympic Committee, controlled by the then ruling hard-line Taliban regime, was suspended in 1999 and missed the 2000 Sydney Games.

The IOC reinstated Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The IOC said no official request had been made for the use of the reference to the Games.

"We own the rights to the Olympic name and nobody asked us," Gerhard Heiberg, head of the International Olympic Committee's Marketing Commission had said on Wednesday.

Ha ha! Dickheads.

Don't piss us off

Ya know, I've always said that fat little troll Denny Hastert is a fucking moron. He's gonna get his ass handed to him next week. From the NY Post via Kos:

August 26, 2004 -- WASHINGTON — New Yorkers yesterday slammed House Speaker Dennis Hastert for claiming the Big Apple was guilty of an "unseemly scramble" for cash after Sept. 11 — and one city councilman demanded he return his FDNY cap.

"I want to let Hastert know we want our FDNY cap back," fumed Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., referring to the baseball cap given to Hastert three years ago when the powerful Illinois lawmaker toured Ground Zero shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

Vallone, along with a slew of other officials and residents, blasted the Republican leader's claims in his new book, "Speaker," which were reported on the front page of yesterday's Post.

Hastert wrote that at the time of the attacks, it was impossible to calculate the cost, continuing, "but already we heard voices asking, 'Who's going to pay for this? How much will it cost?' "

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-Bronx) labeled Hastert's remarks "really sad."

"Hastert is not complaining about the cost of rebuilding Iraq, yet he complains about rebuilding New York?" Serrano said.

In Chicago yesterday, Hastert insisted that the $20 billion Congress provided for New York was adequate — and still took aim at those lawmakers who were calling for more money.

"More was never enough on this," Hastert said.

At Ground Zero, Beth Krumholz, 48, said, "I don't know how you can call it an unseemly scramble for dollars when five buildings were reduced to dust."

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens) pointed out that Florida residents ask for money after the state gets hit by hurricanes.

"I guess it's unseemly to ask for help only if you are a New Yorker."

Fat little turd.

And I guess Rep. Ackerman is oblivious to the fact that NY is a BLUE state.

Update: 16:30:

WTF Is It Now has this:

pResident Bush wants to watch the Republican convention from a New York City firehouse and "bond" with the city's Bravest, officials said yesterday.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is also scouting out firehouses so he can watch it with the heroes of 9/11.

"Both Bush and Schwarzenegger want to bond with city firefighters," said one city official who asked not to be named.

"Any firefighter would welcome a visit from pResident Bush, but maybe [the fascististic little shit] should stop by one of the firehouses Mayor Bloomberg has shut down," said Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.

Jebus Christ. What a shameless, hypocritical asstool. I'm speechless

Max, again

While I was at Eschaton, In noticed Atrios reposted the transcript of Max Cleland's speech to the Democratic National Convention. Go read it.

Press failures

Via Atrios from the Columbia Journalism Review:

[. . .]

There have been dozens of press failures during this presidential campaign. But this one, even given the Times' and the Post's belated efforts to get to the bottom of things, has to rank as a low point.

In the end, the whole ball of wax certainly did nothing to help the mainstream press' credibility with what is an increasingly dubious audience.

The most telling comment on that front may well have come from the unlikely duo of Jon Stewart and Ted Koppel, who shared a telecast during the Democratic convention. Koppel, by way of introducing his own viewers to Stewart, complained that "a lot of television viewers -- more, quite frankly, than I'm comfortable with" -- get their news from Stewart's "Daily Show" on Comedy Central. Stewart, almost as if trying to reassure Koppel, responded that his fans were watching him not for news per se, but rather for a "comedic interpretation" of the news. Koppel was unmoved. People watch Stewart "to be informed," Koppel insisted gloomily. "They actually think they're coming closer to the truth with your show."

With that, Stewart pounced. "Now that's a different thing, that's credibility; that's a different animal."

Yes, it is.

Go read the whole thing.

Problem is, the press is lazy, and they've been cowered by the VRWC slinging the 'liberal media bias' phrase around. They let themselves be marginalized, their credibility brought into question, and instead of standing up to it, the news media caved. Big time.

And another thought. The press is part of our national security in a way. The news media protects us (or is supposed to anyway) from threats to our system from within, such as the one who managed to slither under the door of the Oval Office in 2000. If Bush would have received the same press scrutiny Clinton and Monica's DNA received, he would have lost to Gore in a landslide.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Operaton Truth

Via Joe6Pack:

Operation Truth:

Operation Truth is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to educate the American public about the truth of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from the perspective of the soldiers who have experienced them first-hand.

Go take a look.

Matt Yglesias

I stole this whole thing from Matt Yglesias over at TAPPED because I'm tired and Mrs. F. is home from South Jersey.

OLYMPICS WATCH. TNR's Jason Zengerle has more on the president's continuing difficulties with the Iraqi soccer team. This interview's already gotten a lot of play, but apparently the team is still speaking out:

[A]fter Iraq's victory over Australia on Saturday, the team's coach, Adnan Hamad Majeed said that "we will never believe that Bush is with us" and accused the president of "helping to destroy our country." Speaking to reporters a few days later, Majeed elaborated on his anti-Bush comments, explaining: "You cannot speak about a team that represents freedom. We do not have freedom in Iraq, we have an occupying force. This is one of our most miserable times."

This is kind of funny to those of us fed up with the president's politicization of everything and tired of having Iraq's newfound "freedom" thrown in our face, but it really does speak to some very serious problems. Right now, everyone would like to see a decent, stable government created in Iraq (Iraqis included), but given the level of anti-American sentiment it's not clear that we have the capacity to get the job done anymore.

Yeah, I know it's a sorry excuse but hell with ya.

Max turned away

Former Georgia Senator Max Cleland, left, and former Green Beret Lt. Jim Rassmann, center, approach a Secret Service Agent, right, on station at the check point to the entrance of President Bush (news - web sites)'s ranch Wednesday Aug. 25, 2004 in Crawford, Texas. Cleland tried to deliver a letter protesting ads challenging John Kerry (news - web sites)'s Vietnam service to President Bush at his Texas ranch Wednesday, but the Secret Service stopped Cleland short of his goal. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Ballbag couldn't even let Ol' Max in or throw him out personally. Coward rat bastid.

Kerry pushes back

From CNN via Atrios:

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Citing the conclusion of an independent panel that higher command was also responsible for abuse of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, Sen. John Kerry Wednesday reiterated his call for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to resign.

"It's not just the little person at the bottom who ought to pay the price of responsibility," the Democratic presidential candidate said in a town hall meeting of Steamfitters Local 420 at a Philadelphia union hall.

Kerry said the Schlesinger report, which was released Tuesday, "said specifically that Secretary Rumsfeld set the climate in which these kinds of abuses were able to take place," he said.

Rumsfeld shouldn't resign, he should be arrested and charged with war crimes, Wolfowitz, Perle, and Feith too. And then Bush should be charged under the RICO organized crime statutes for what he's done to the government.

Fuck you very much

That fat little troll Denny Hastert (Speaker of the House) has been running off at the mouth again. Glen from A Brooklyn Bridge has something to say about it:

[. . .]

Hastert, in his book and in an interview yesterday with The Post, says the price tag for rebuilding became the driving issue for lawmakers and New Yorkers — who were so fixated on dollar signs that they lost sight of the human side of the tragedy.

"All the tragedy was converted into dollars and cents," Hastert told The Post. "People kind of lost the sense of the depth of the tragedy itself."

We lost the "sense of the depth of the tragedy?" We've got a big hole in our skyline and thousands of people who don't even have graves. No, I don't think anyone here has forgotten a thing.

While Hastert and his cronies where quibbling over aid we might really need, we volunteered, we did without, we raised just about every tax just to put our city back on its feet. But we are greedy.

I can't even count the number of times the Republicans and the administration have screwed us this city. Minor things like doctoring the EPA report to conceal the health effects on New Yorkers. (Not that that was a lie or anything.) Telling New York cops and fighters to work overtime without pay as a "wartime sacrifice" (while simultaneously pushing through another tax cut). Oh, yeah, the "party of states rights" telling New Yorkers how we should spend the money we finally got — because obviously we're too damned dumb to assess the damage to our city and spend the money on what we needed.

Stay home, you goddam prick.

You go, boy!

Yeah, what he said

Found this via Corrente:

[. . .]

To me, there are bigger things than simply being a patriot to a political party. And the fact that this particular party had the gall to join ranks behind this drunken lout of a man and claim that he had what it took to be President shows a breathtaking disrespect for the institution of the Presidency. The fact that men like Harding, Pierce, and Buchanan held the office didn't mean that we needed to contribute to that noble tradition.

But so be it. If they want to wallow in the mud, then we should oblige them. If it's fair to question John Kerry's patriotism and heroism, at an age when so many of his contemporaries acted so cravenly, then it's fair to question what Bush and Cheney were up to.

And let me advance the quaint notion that we shouldn't stop there. We should heed Sean Connery's advice from The Untouchables: if they hit us with a stick, we should hit back with a gun. They put one of us in the hospital, we put one of them in the morgue. All's fair in love and war; they want war, then we should give them war. No quarter should be given. We cannot rest until we've utterly destroyed this cancer on American politics.

Everything and anything should be on the table. And if this means that the GOP is destroyed, never to rise again, then so be it. They've had their chance to save themselves. Lacking a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, and possesed of an arrogance born out of ignorance, I won't shed any tears at their bier.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Something positive

Tgirsch at Lean Left asks a question:

There has been a great deal of criticism of Kerry supporters, claiming that we support him "primarily because he's not George W. Bush," and that we don't have any positive reasons for supporting Kerry. While the "not W" aspect does hold a considerable amount of weight, at least for me, there are plenty of good reasons to support Kerry over Bush. In my case, for example, I'm a pro-choice environmentalist, two things which are virtually impossible to square with any aspect of the GOP's platform. But even that is more of a pro-generic-Democrat stance than a pro-Kerry stance in particular.

So I figured I would issue a challenge to the bloggers on the leftermost side of the blogosphere: Pick a positive about John Kerry, like something he accomplished in the Senate, or some other positive good he helped facilitate, and write about that as a front-page post on your blog. The right has been asking for such things, so why not give them what they ask for? Let's build a positive case for John Kerry.

[. . .]

So here goes, something positive.

What got me behind John Kerry was this, the thing that angers the Swift Boat Nitwits for Bush. Always liked Kerry because he was indeed nuanced, a man who contemplates the big decisions, never hesitiating to amend his position in light of new information. But the thing I respect most is his courage.

The fact that he took the stand he did when he came home from Vietnam tells me that he's not afraid to walk into Hell if he has to, but he's gonna do it for the right reasons. I talk often here about some good officers I've served under, men who would lead you into the teeth of it and would do their damndest to bring you back alive. Kerry did that. He not only took care of his men on the battlefield but looked out for the other young men yet to sacrifce their lives when he brought the mistakes of the war to the attention of the nation. John Kerry is a man of principle (as far as a politician can be) and has proved it on many occasions. He is an educated man, a thoughtful man, and a responsible man. That's why I like him as a candidate, that's why I respect him as a man and a fellow veteran, and that's why he's got my vote in November.

Bubba goes off

Go read:

[. . .]

After watching this theater of the absurd for the past couple of weeks, I am convinced that the Bush campaign goons are the masters and that John Kerry and the Democratic Party are being played like a cheap fiddle and beaten like a rented mule.

[. . .]

Cannon fodder

This is UNCONSCIONABLE. Via Eschaton:

Under growing pressure to ship Marines to Iraq, the Marine Corps is cutting in half the rigorous field combat training it gives units preparing to deploy, senior officers say.

The Marines hope to make up the time by intensifying this final, pre-deployment training and focusing it on skills needed to survive and prevail in Iraq's brutal combat conditions. This means practicing more nighttime operations, ambushes, city fighting and guarding of convoys.

The exercise, called a CAX in Marine lingo, has been shortened from 23 to 11 days, Col. Blake Crowe, operations officer for the Marine Corps Training Command at Quantico, Va., said in an interview

[. . .]

Across the Marine Corps, the unanticipated and unbudgeted requirements of rotating fresh, well-trained troops through Iraq have forced dramatic and sometimes painful adjustments and compromises.

Full story.

Man, two things happen when you don't give Marines the proper training. One, they just ain't Marines. And two, they're gonna die. My grandfather fought for the Germans in both world wars. When the Germans got desperate, training was the first thing to go. Soon we're gonna have our own Volkssturm, units made up of old men and young boys with no training handed guns and told to 'shoot in that direction'. This is ridiculous, it's stupid, and it's gonna get more of our kids killed. Fucking assholes.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Pink Bunny?

Followed this link through Corrente. The Pink Bunny of Battle (don't let the name fool you):

[. . .]

The War Has Started

Now for the bad news. Academic freedom is under sustained, ferocious attack from right-wing extremists — and, dammit, they’re making progress.

There’s been a concerted campaign for years, of course, to create a “conventional wisdom” about colleges and universities — namely, that left-wing “political correctness” prevents conservative students from airing their views. Preventing them from doing so, conservatives say, is the left-wing professoriate, including “tenured radicals,” who do all they can to indoctrinate impressionable youths.

Conservatives have come up with some entirely bogus statistics “proving” that liberal professors outnumber their conservative counterparts by a factor of 10:1. And they’re determined to even the score — preferably, by eliminating tenure, firing all the left-wingers, and hiring a new generation of faculty who meet their ideological litmus tests. The free market nuts join in at this point, arguing that tenure is inefficient and prevents universities from becoming dynamic, entrepreneurial, for-profit institutions.

What’s more, right-wing extremists want to stop Federal funding for research on subjects they don’t want researched [1], such as HIV/AIDS, stem cells, homosexuality, birth control, sexual enslavement, child kidnapping, child abuse, and spousal abuse.

OK, that’s the background.

[. . .]

Go read this entire post. If you want a look into the VRWC to stifle academia, you have to.

Waddaya mean, no Tony?

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Even Blair's come to his senses. Via TBogg:

BRITISH Prime Minister Tony Blair is refusing to fly to the US to receive a medal bestowed on him by the nation for his support over last year's Iraq war, a London newspaper reported today.

US President George W. Bush has put huge pressure on his closest ally to pick up the Congressional Medal of Honour in person, the Sunday Mirror said, quoting a senior British government source.

[. . .]

"But he has refused for more than a year now and for good reason. He cannot possibly accept an award for the Iraq war when British and American troops continue to risk their lives there."

Mr Blair is concerned also that a trip to the US now would effectively be giving a boost to Bush ahead of November's presidential elections.

"The Democrats are watching the situation very carefully and there would be uproar if Tony travelled to Washington to meet (Republican) Bush so close to the presidential elections," the government source said.

[. . .]

Full story.

Tony has to work with whomever follows President Dipstick and he knows it. I'm sure he's praying for Kerry for all he's worth. Bush used and abused Blair in this whole Iraq mess and it cost Tony at home. He looks like a fool now, thinking President Stab Our Friends In The Back held the 'special relationship' our two countries have in the same regard. You were played, my friend. Keep your butt in the Kingdom until after November.

Warms my heart

Via Corrente from the LA Times:

At one point, as Bush was talking about his efforts to make health insurance more widely available, a gruff steelworker named Tom Miller, who described himself as a loyal supporter, all but interrupted to say, ``Insurance is important, but it doesn't mean a lot if you don't have a job.''

[. . .]

Timken [Bearings Inc. in Ohio] has been in the news in this campaign because Bush visited one of its Stark County facilities in 2003 and said his tax cuts would create jobs. But in May, the company announced it plans to close three Stark County ball-bearing plants that employ 1,300.

[Timken employee Tom] Miller told the president that he would not be getting many votes from steelworkers. Miller, a Bush supporter, drove home his point by describing the grief he caught from co-workers when he wore a ``Steelworkers for Bush'' T-shirt to the plant.

``You're a brave soul,'' Bush replied, touching off laughter. [my emphasis]

So, part of his base tells President Dicknose that he's losing votes and he makes a joke. Know why? Because he knows he'll win in November, one way or the other.

Reflexive liars

Being that I'm tired today. (Back to work after 2 weeks off) From Glen at A Brooklyn Bridge. I stole the whole thing:

Mea Culpa

I confess my sin: I'm not a Philadelphian. Not by birth. Not by adoption. So the "Cheez Whiz" story left me mystified for a while. Then I got it: yet another completely stupid lie. Ron Reagan was right: They lie reflexively.

Four more years of this? Please not.

That's the last I'm gonna post on this stupid Cheez Whiz thing. By the way, I hate the shit. Just like I hate Velveeta. I don't like eating any shit that can survive a nuc-u-ler holocaust and still be good.

More Dole

From Josh Marshall:

Today Bob Dole suggested that one or more of John Kerry's Purple Hearts may have been fraudulent in some way because they were for "superficial wounds."

Dole knows better.

In a 1988 campaign-trail autobiography, here's how Dole described the incident that earned him his first Purple Heart: "As we approached the enemy, there was a brief exchange of gunfire. I took a grenade in hand, pulled the pin, and tossed it in the direction of the farmhouse. It wasn't a very good pitch (remember, I was used to catching passes, not throwing them). In the darkness, the grenade must have struck a tree and bounced off. It exploded nearby, sending a sliver of metal into my leg--the sort of injury the Army patched up with Mercurochrome and a Purple Heart."

Update: 16:00:

From Atrios:

"I saw the blood."

Sanduksy tells Dole to suck it.

Crewmate Sandusky said today, "I was there when he got wounded. I saw the blood. I don't care what Dole said."

What a sad, sad moment in the life of Bob Dole, mocking a wounded soldier.

The Swift Boat Assholes

Okay, I'm tired of this. Why can't our news media get it straight? The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are liars, period. The only way they are akin to and others is that they are all 527s. Past that, the similarity stops. What should happen, is that they should have their 527 designation revoked for willfully slandering John Kerry. After that, Kerry should sue the lot of them for defamation. Let them pay. Motherfuckers.

Update: 16:45:

Ezra at Pandagon says it better:

Worng and Stupid

I think there's an easy response to this. "We don't want to ban all political speech, we want the president to denounce hateful, dishonest political speech. We know he's not good with nuance, but there's a line in the sand here and the Swift Vets have crossed it and done so funded by long-time supporters of the Bush family." Quite simply, they want the issue to be 527's -- a smart way of turning it on the one institutional advantage of the Democrats. We want the issue to be the unacceptability of lies and hate in the public sphere; that's a values debate and we'll win it. Particularly if we keep driving home the financial connections between Bush and the SwiftVets.

Further, if Bush thinks the campaign finance bill he opposed and then signed outlawed 527's, rather than created them, he was not only, by his own admission, wrong to oppose far-reaching campaign finance reform but too stupid to know what the bill he signed did. That means our president is wrong and stupid. God bless America, hail to the chief.


I used to respect Bob Dole for his service during WW2. After his bullshit yesterday, I lost any regard I ever had for him.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Good question

Atrios asks:

Why are the Swift Boat Liars and Move On "two sides of the same coin." Move On is an established organization which has been around for years and which has a very large small donor base (and, a few large donors as well). Swift Boat Liars came into being just recently to lie about John Kerry's record.

Why are the Swift Boat Liar ads and Move On's ads equivalent? On one hand we have proven liars contradicting existing Navy records and 35 years of public comment, and on the other hand we have legitimate questions, raised by many prominent news organizations, about whether George Bush bothered to show up for national guard service as he was required. There are many legitimate questions about Bush's failure to fulfill his duty, including his failure to take a required flight physical, as well as the fact that Bush lied about his military record in his autobiography. Kerry has Navy records to back up his claims, Bush does not.

Why is Move On a "far left" organization? Can you point to these extreme positions they've taken on some issues? Any issue?

... and, one more thing. If they're "the same," why are the swift boat liars on every news show and Move On people are not?

Why, because our media are corporate-owned, money-grubbing whores who don't want to upset the apple cart. If they did, they wouldn't have appeased Bush when he lied us into Iraq and they wouldn't have to print mea culpas now.

Bubba adds:

[. . .]

How many more lies like this have to be exposed before people stop paying attention to this bullshit and the Bush campaign starts talking about issues instead of dishonoring veterans this way? What a bunch of creeps.

More on the economy

Remember what I said about the housing market, the economy, and the increase in interest rates by the Fed?

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.

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.

Today, this from The Nation:

The crash of the housing market will not be pretty. It is virtually certain to lead to a second dip to the recession. Even worse, millions of families will see the bulk of their savings disappear as homes in some of the bubble areas lose 30 percent, or more, of their value. Foreclosures, which are already at near record highs, will almost certainly soar to new peaks. This has happened before in regional markets that had severe housing bubbles, most notably in Colorado and Texas after the collapse of oil prices in the early eighties. However, this time the bubble markets are more the rule than the exception, infecting most of real estate markets on both coasts, as well as many local markets in the center of the country.

[. . .]

As with the stock bubble, the big question in the housing bubble is when it will burst. No one can give a definitive answer to that one, but Alan Greenspan seems determined to ensure that it will be after November. Instead of warning prospective homebuyers of the risk of buying housing in a bubble-inflated market, Greenspan gave Congressional testimony in the summer of 2002 arguing that there is no such bubble. This is comparable to his issuing a "buy" recommendation for the NASDAQ at the beginning of 1999. More recently, Greenspan has done everything in his power to keep mortgage rates as low as possible, at one point even offering markets the hope that the Fed would take the extraordinary measure of directly buying long-term Treasury bonds. The man who testified that the Bush tax cuts were a good idea apparently has one last job to perform for the President.

Full story.

Yup, you think the economy was bad before? Wait.

Sharon and Arafat

From the Sunday Herald via The Agonist:

Yasser “The Builder” versus Ariel “The Bulldozer”. Even their nicknames are testimony to a shared lifetime of animosity that has become a microcosm of the passions that have divided Palestinians and Israelis for generations.

From Beirut in 1982 to Ramallah in 2002 and the years beyond, Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon have spent their lives fighting for causes diametrically opposed to each other, their mutually hateful relationship as much a personal, as political contest.

[. . .]

For Sharon, his problems are clear cut: opposition to his plans for a withdrawal from Gaza from members of his own Likud Party and militant settlers, that could stir up serious civil unrest within Israel itself.

Arafat, meanwhile, faces accusations of corruption and cronyism, resulting in an open challenge to his old guard from a younger generation angry at his failure to achieve anything from an intifada about to enter its fifth dangerous year.

[. . .]

Sharon’s “disengagement” plan calls for the removal of 8000 Jewish settlers from Gaza, where they live in 21 fortified enclaves among 1.3 million Palestinians, and closing four of the 120 settlements in the West Bank by the end of 2005. But Sharon has also made it clear Israel intends to cement its hold on larger settlements in the West Bank, where most of the 240,000 settler population live – a strategy Palestinians say is aimed at denying them a viable state.

Indeed, barely a day after Sharon faced the rebellious Likud vote, the other side of his so-called bargain was there for all to see, with the announcement of plans to accelerate settlement expansion and build yet another 1000 houses on the West Bank. Not only are these settlements already in breach of international law, but any planned expansion is at odds with whatever is left of the road map for peace.

Sensing Sharon’s dilemma, the Bush administration suddenly and quietly adopted a policy change, signalling approval of growth in some Israeli settlements. Yesterday’s New York Times quoted unnamed officials as saying the administration now supported construction of new homes in some settlements as long as the expansion does not extend into undeveloped parts of the occupied territories. Until now the US position has been that all settlement activity should be frozen.

The paper quoted a Bush administration official as saying Washington had decided “not to compound Sharon’s political troubles at a time when he was battling hardliners”.

But in the Gaza settlements due for removal, Sharon – once considered the godfather of settlement expansion – has more enemies than allies. Hardline settlers say they are preparing a fully fledged rebellion against the pullout. In Israel itself, security forces are on high alert – for once not simply because of a Palestinian terrorist threat, but in response to threats by Jewish extremists to assassinate political and security officials. The mood evokes memories of the hate-filled atmosphere that preceded the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

[. . .]

As if this wasn’t bad enough, pressure is mounting from Palestinian communities at large for a return to the principles of the first intifada – mass civil disobedience, locally orchestrated – to wrest the initiative from Arafat, his cronies, and indeed the militants who want to take over from him. This, say activists, would return the intifada to its true role as a people’s uprising, bringing back global attention and support.

“There is nobody immune from mistakes, starting from me on down. Even prophets committed mistakes,” said a confident-looking Arafat at his West Bank compound last week. It was a rare acknowledgment, the first such admission since internal unrest blew up last month in the greatest challenge to his authority since he returned from exile a decade ago.

But like his old foe Sharon, Arafat didn’t remain cowed for long. Only a day after his comments, the Palestinian parliament postponed a session in protest against what one lawmaker called Arafat’s “stalling” over the signing of a package of anti-corruption reforms.

Near-legendary political survivors as they are, crunch days lie ahead for both The Builder and The Bulldozer alike.

Both of them have been too close and too powerful for too long. We need another like Rabin in Israel, and the Palestinians have to kill Arafat.

Mo Dowd in the gutter

Maureen Dowd:

WASHINGTON — It's easy for the Bushes to stay gallant. They delegate the gutter.

There are always third-party political assassins, ostensibly independent, to do the dynasty wet work.

W.'s old pal and running partner, Lee Atwater, set up the Bush modus operandi: Lay in the weeds while craftily planting plausibly deniable surrogates to slice up your rival.

The New Yorker editor David Remnick, writing in Esquire in 1986, limned the 1980 Congressional race in South Carolina's Second District "between Atwater's man, Republican Floyd Spence, and a Faulknerian figure named Tom Turnipseed At one press briefing, Atwater planted a reporter who rose and said, 'We understand Turnipseed has had psychotic treatment.' Atwater played it cool and refused to comment, but later told the reporters off the record, 'In college I understand he got hooked up to jumper cables.' "

Karl Rove is Atwater's protégé on jumper cable politics.

[. . .]

The phlegmatic Michael Dukakis never knew what hit him with Mr. Atwater's Frankenstein monster Willie Horton coming at him in a third party scare ad and G.O.P. smear leaflets and letters.

John McCain should have known what was coming in South Carolina, but he acted stunned and hurt when he was hit with the Atwater/Rove mud treatment by shadowy Bush supporters.

Just as the Bush campaign dragged out fringe veteran surrogates in South Carolina to slime the former P.O.W. for being antiveteran, now the stomach-turning Swift boat attackers are sliming a war hero as a war criminal.

They started their vengeful and brazen campaign in May, after plotting since winter. But John Kerry is only now forcefully responding - though he should have had a response ready, since the Nixon tool John O'Neill has dogged him since '71.

Charging on Thursday that Mr. Bush wants the Swift boat sleazoids "to do his dirty work," Mr. Kerry reached for yet another Vietnam reference and water metaphor: "When you're under attack, the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attack."

The Skipper would do well to get a swifter boat. How pathetic is it that he's playing defense on Vietnam when W. didn't even serve?

[. . .]

Meanwhile, the Bush crew is shamelessly doing to Mr. Kerry what it once did to Mr. McCain: suggesting that the decorated Vietnam vet has snakes in his head and a temperament problem. "Senator Kerry appears to have lost his cool," Scott McClellan told reporters in Crawford on Friday. And the Bush campaign chairman, Marc Racicot, said on CNN that Mr. Kerry looked "wild-eyed" responding to Swift boat muck.

It makes sense for W. to use surrogates to do his fighting, just as he did when he slid out of Vietnam and just as he did when he sent our troops to fight his administration's misbegotten vanity war in Iraq.

I hope Kerry's crew doesn't let these weasels fuck him up like McCain did.

McCain 2000-2004, WTF happened?

Everybody's citing the parallels between what Bush and his Swift Boat Nitwits are doing to Kerry now, to what he did to McCain in 2000. This line of the transcript of the 'you should be ashamed' debates got me:

MCCAIN: But you're putting out stuff that is unbelievable, George [Bush], and it's got to stop.

And Butt-boy's response:

BUSH: I'm going to stand by what I'm putting on TV. And what I put on TV was looking in that camera and saying, You can disagree with me on issues, John, but do not question -- do not question my trustworthiness and do not compare me to Bill Clinton. [my emphasis]

Looking back with hindsight, that's exactly what he and his minions got the country to do, not question his trustworthiness. We're paying for it now.

And if you don't feel like searching for the 'ashamed' exchange, here it is:

[. . .]

MCCAIN: No, here in South Carolina. You've seen it -- turn on the radio, turn on the television, and unfortunately now pick up the telephone and you'll hear a negative attack against John McCain.

But let me tell you what really went over the line. Governor Bush had an event, and he paid of it, and standing -- and stood next to a spokesman for a fringe veterans' group. That fringe veteran said that John McCain had abandoned the veterans.

Now, I don't know if you can understand this, George, but that really hurts, that really hurts.

And so five United States senators, Vietnam veterans, heroes, some of them really incredible heroes, wrote George a letter and said, Apologize, you should be ashamed...

By the way, John Kerry was one of those 5 senators.

BUSH: Let me speak to that.

MCCAIN: You should be ashamed. Now if you want...

[CNN's Larry]KING: Is he responsible for what someone else says?

MCCAIN: Well, this same man -- he stood next to him, it was his event. This same man had attacked his father viciously.

BUSH: Yes, he did. Let me speak to that. Let me speak to that.

KING: All right.

MCCAIN: So I'd be glad to tell you the rest of the story, if you'd let me, when it's appropriate.

KING: Well, let him respond on that point.

BUSH: Let me -- let me answer that. MCCAIN: You should be ashamed -- you should be ashamed of sponsoring an event with that man there whop had attacked your own father.

BUSH: Let me say something, John. Let me finish. Let me finish.

John, I believe that you served our country nobly. And I've said it over and over again. That man wasn't speaking for me. He may have a dispute with you...

MCCAIN: He was at your event.

BUSH: Let me finish please, please.

MCCAIN: He's listed as your (inaudible)

BUSH: Let me finish. Let me finish.

KING: All right, let him finish.

BUSH: The man was not speaking for me. If you want to know my opinion about you, John, you served our country admirably and strongly, and I'm proud of your record, just like you are.

And I don't appreciate what he said about my dad, either. But let me say something, if you're going to be -- hold me responsible for what people for me say, I'm going to do the same for you. And let me give you one example.

Warren Rudman, the man who you had as your campaign man in New Hampshire, said about the Christian Coalition that they're bigots. He talked about the Christian Coalition in a way that was incredibly strong. I know you don't believe that, do you?

MCCAIN: George, he's entitled to his opinion on that issue.

BUSH: Well, so is this man.

MCCAIN: You paid for an event...

BUSH: So is this man.


MCCAIN: You paid for your...

KING: Please don't...

MCCAIN: You paid for an event...

BUSH: John.

MCCAIN: You paid for an event and stood next to a person. And when you were asked if you would repudiate him, you said, no.

BUSH: No. John, what I said -- what I said -- let me say what I said.

[. . .]

So, four years later and nothing's changed. My thing is, what in Hell happened to McCain in the last 4 years. Jesus H. Christ, he and Bush were almost doing an 'Al and Tipper' the other day.

Makes ya wanna puke, don't it?