Saturday, October 23, 2004
So when God made homosexuals who fall deeply, achingly in love with each other, did he goof?
Over the last couple of months, I've been researching the question of how the Bible regards homosexuality. Social liberals tend to be uncomfortable with religious arguments, but that is the ground on which political battles are often decided in America - as when a Texas governor, Miriam "Ma" Ferguson, barred the teaching of foreign languages about 80 years ago, saying, "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for us."
Texas Governor. It figures.
While homosexuality never made the Top 10 lists of commandments, a plain reading of the Book of Leviticus is that male anal sex is every bit as bad as other practices that the text condemns, like wearing a polyester-and-cotton shirt (Leviticus 19:19).
Oh, the horror!
Likewise, Jesus praises those who make themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, but conservative Christians rarely lead the way with self-castration.
A pity, no?
Or there's another solution. Paul disapproves of marriage except for the sex-obsessed, saying that it is best "to remain unmarried as I am." So if we're going to cherry-pick biblical phrases and ignore the central message of love, then perhaps we should just ban marriage altogether?
A Harley-Davidson V-Twin has a front cylinder and a rear cylinder and the same piston will fit in either one. The builder decides.
On Oct. 23, 1983, a suicide truck-bombing at Beirut International Airport in Lebanon killed 241 U.S. Marines and sailors; a near-simultaneous attack on French forces killed 58 paratroopersThe Marines were in the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit which consisted of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, my old regiment , and attached units, all from the 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Semper Fidelis, my brothers.
Writing in today's Le Monde, Rémy Ourdan sees Falluja as a major battle simply waiting. Some new facts. On the order of 1,500 Arab fighters are present in Falluja. On the order of 90% of the women, children and elderly have left Falluja for Baghdad or the towns surrounding Falluja. On the order of 80% of the men of fighting age of Falljua are now under arms.
There are 83 minarets (mosques) and 120,000 residences in Falluja.
Will Bush order the attack before November 2nd, or will he order the attack after November 2nd, and will the outcome of November 2nd matter?
The smart money (Juan Cole) is that Bush will wait until after November 2nd to flatten Falluja. My guess is that Bush won't wait. He just lost Ohio (Nader's off the ballot), and the newest numbers show he's lost Maine too, and he's a high-risk gambler.
Back when MB and the kids and I were enjoying the quiet of Disneyworld the week after 9/11, the radio was alive with chatter about follow-on attacks. I didn't give it a moment's thought. Use or lose, and holding some part of the attack inventory while the feds went non-linear and bagged every Arab under every bed was a recipe for "lose".
I think the same is true of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsford-Wolfowitz-Rice-Feith-Scooter-Hadley-Bolton-Luti-Fowler-(Perle)-Negroponte-(Bremer)-Garner gang of terrorists. The effects, domestic and Iraqi, are certain if the order is given before the end of the month, and uncertain after the third day of next month.
It is use or lose, and use always trumps lose.
Maybe the October surprise?
One of the aides, whose identity Knight Ridder is not disclosing because he served under cover, has been "going around telling people they are to fire 80 to 90 people" in the Directorate of Operations, the CIA's covert arm, according to a former official.
First, notice what a reputable news agency does when it knows the name of an undercover operator, as opposed to that pompous prick Robert Novak (Remember Valerie Plame?). Second, no good can come of partisan hacks taking over the Operations Directorate. How long do you think it will be before they're running operations in this country to protect the Republican agenda?
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Army is laying the groundwork to let Halliburton Co. keep several billion dollars paid for work in Iraq that Pentagon auditors say is questionable or unsupported by proper documentation, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
According to Pentagon documents reviewed by the Journal, the Army has acknowledged that the Houston-based company might never be able to account properly for some of its work, which has been probed amid accusations that Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root unit overbilled the government for some operations in Iraq.
The company has hired a consulting firm to estimate what Halliburton's services should cost, the report said.
[. . .]
So, I can steal several billion dollars worth of services and if I hide it well enough, you'll let me keep it? What a country! How fucked up is this? Not only did they get a no-bid contract (assuring they could make an excellent profit), but then they pad prices even more (greedy motherfuckers), and when they're caught at it, no one goes to jail. Instead, the Army just throws up its collective hands and says 'never mind'. These are billions of your dollars, ladies and gents. What are you gonna do about it on 2 Nov?
Update: 11:42pm OWT
Early report on Kerry's speech.
It is impressive to see it from the air. If it isn't God's country, at least you can see it from here.
“God, it is good to be here,” said Kerry, who marveled at the view of the snow-covered Sierra Nevada as his plane landed at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
“I saw Mt. Rose. I saw Slide Mountain. I saw the snow and said, ‘I’m in God’s country, this is great,’ ” he said.
“I always check the best bet when I come into Nevada. The best bet — single-deck blackjack. The worst bet, Bush’s health care plan — flu shots,” he said to cheers.
“The only thing I want is for John Kerry to be elected and Bush thrown out,” said Janette Sherman, who came to see Kerry from her home in Truckee, Calif.I don't know the gal, but she's definitely my homey.
More updates as the situation develops. Geez, sounds like I'm covering a train wreck. On the old B&C short line, maybe.
Friday, October 22, 2004
Bobby Muller was a Marine lieutenant leading an assault in Vietnam when a bullet severed his spine in April 1969. He spent almost a year recovering in a Veterans Hospital in the Bronx, where the woes of other battlefield casualties echoed his own and led him to dedicate his life to what he calls “war-related work.”
George W. Bush says he opposes the draft, but he supports an adventuresome foreign policy. Where will he get the bodies to put on the front lines? John Kerry says there’s already a back-door draft through extended tours and call-ups, and he’s raised the specter of a draft should Bush win a second term. The attack rattles Republicans because it has plausibility, and it speaks to the overstretched military and the issue of national sacrifice. Bush wants to wage a perpetual war against terrorists while not demanding any sacrifice from the broader public. The soldiers are sacrificing enormously in this war while the rest of the population, particularly the wealthy, is getting off.
Muller is white-haired now at 58, but he is pictured along with Kerry in “Going Upriver,” the new documentary about Kerry’s Vietnam experience and his leadership in the protest movement. “There was a lot of anger about him because he wasn’t more radical,” says Muller. “Remember, we were a bunch of dirt bags—longhaired and bearded. He was more presentable to the Establishment. I knew Kerry was going to run for president. Coming out of that war, it’s not surprising you dedicate yourself to political work. People died, and it was wrong.”
Good article. Go read it.
Ms. Clift would blush and tingle all over if she knew what she does to me!
President Bush wins secret fourth debate after Kerry fails to materialize
By Andy Borowitz
Updated: 3:03 p.m. ET Oct. 19, 2004
Oct. 19 - President George W. Bush notched his first debate victory early Sunday morning, winning handily in a fourth presidential debate that was kept secret from his Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry.
The debate, which was held at 2 AM Sunday morning in the basement of the White House and moderated by Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly, was a must-win affair in the eyes of the Bush campaign strategists who planned it.
"We knew that we needed to win at least one debate going into November," said Bush strategist Karl Rove. "Mission accomplished."
While aides to Kerry howled that the debate did not count since their candidate was kept totally in the dark about its time and place, Rove said, "They can spin this any way they want, but a win is a win."
The White House today released a videotape of the president's triumphal fourth debate, showing Bush gesturing towards an empty podium with Kerry nowhere in sight.
"Looks like my opponent didn't make it today," a smirking Bush says on the tape. "I guess he must be back in Massachusetts, busy being a liberal and such."
Four minutes into the matchup, O'Reilly declares Bush the winner and abruptly excuses himself, saying, "I've got a few phone calls to make."
Elsewhere, television station owner Sinclair Broadcasting found itself at the center of yet another controversy today after it ordered all of its affiliates to broadcast a film titled "John Kerry: Portrait of a Serial Killer."
Andy Borowitz is the author of The Borowitz Report, and the winner of the National Press Club's humor award. For more, go to http://www.borowitzreport.com/.
© 2004 Newsweek, Inc.
As a political and journalistic experiment, I decided to see how people who live in primarily one-party areas would react when faced with a living, breathing member of the opposition. I appointed myself an ambassador to bridge the Red-Blue divide and ventured into each side's territory dressed in the T-shirt, campaign button, and tote bag of the other. (A baseball cap, I decided, pushed the ensemble one step over the line, making me look a raving nut about to start yelling obscenities.)
Anybody who thinks a 'gimme cap' is part of an 'ensemble' is definitely going to be carrying a 'tote bag'!
In my Kerry-Edwards shirt, I enter Red America certain that I am on the verge of inciting to rage a gang of angry yachtsmen who would soon be strapping me and my lefty leisurewear to their mizzenmast. Instead, I encounter only shades of indifference—head shaking, "crazy idiot" expressions from older, very wealthy, very white folks in Newport Beach.
Driving home, I rip off my Bush-Cheney shirt so I can walk the streets of my neighborhood unjeered at and without terrifying little children. Reflecting on the sting of being called "asshole" during my travels through Blue America, I wonder: If I were truly a Bush supporter, how long would I be able to endure a life filled with epithets before I gave up on the shirt? Changing into a nonpartisan brown Gap polo, I breathe a sigh of relief that I will never have to find out.
This guy better be damn thankful he lives in L.A. and not somewhere people would really give a shit which candidate's apparel he wears. The 'tote bag' alone would get him punched out in some 'red' states!
I wear a "Veterans For Kerry" button on my ball cap, and no one has ever said anything other than to agree and express their support. Maybe it's because it's on a "United States Marine Corps" cap. Maybe they're afraid I'll nut up on 'em if they diss Kerry or call me a name. Maybe they're right.
Kerry, who would name a national security team a few weeks after the election, is said by campaign sources to be under a fair amount of pressure to pick Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) or Richard Holbrooke to help repair global alliances and attract new allies to assist in Iraq. Both men are seasoned diplomats, ambitious and close friends and political advisers to Kerry. And both clearly want the job.
That's a tough decision. Both men are qualified for the job in spades. I think I am leaning towards Ambassador Holbrooke because of his experience at the U.N., but that's just me.
There's more on this, and other Cabinet positions besides, in this article in today's Washington Post.
I think it's a good thing that Kerry is confident enough to be doing this shit now. It shows he can plan ahead.
Now I've made myself hungry. I'm going up on the roof and get the other ingredient I need for some SOS!
Nina Pineda reports from the topping-out ceremony.
I remember standing down here three years ago and reporting that, sadly, 7 World Trade had collapsed. And now the last to fall is the first to reach its top height, and a month ahead of schedule.
All eyes were raised as the final beam was raised atop 7 World Trade Center, 741 feet in the sky. A symbolic reminder of the city's resilience, and determination.
[. . .]
Within minutes of the attack engineers, carpenters, and iron workers, rushed to the scene to help. Many have been at the site ever since, first with the recovery effort, and now with the rebuilding.
Jack Smith, Iron Worker: "We're looking down in that hole, and thinking of all the lives that were lost there. And this one was rubble at one time. And now, life is coming back."
[. . .]
Say what you will about New Yorkers, but we ALWAYS rise to the occasion(well, except for the Yankees). It's just the way we are. We tell each other to fuck off constantly, but when something needs doing, it gets done. When we need to join together, we do. You should have seen us on 9/11, our worst and finest hour.
In the second half of March 2002, as the Bush administration mapped its next steps against al Qaeda, Deputy CIA Director John E. McLaughlin brought an unexpected message to the White House Situation Room. According to two people with firsthand knowledge, he told senior members of the president's national security team that the CIA was scaling back operations in Afghanistan.
That announcement marked a year-long drawdown of specialized military and intelligence resources from the geographic center of combat with Osama bin Laden. As jihadist enemies reorganized, slipping back and forth from Pakistan and Iran, the CIA closed forward bases in the cities of Herat, Mazar-e Sharif and Kandahar. The agency put off an $80 million plan to train and equip a friendly intelligence service for the new U.S.-installed Afghan government. Replacements did not keep pace with departures as case officers finished six-week tours. And Task Force 5 -- a covert commando team that led the hunt for bin Laden and his lieutenants in the border region -- lost more than two-thirds of its fighting strength.
The commandos, their high-tech surveillance equipment and other assets would instead surge toward Iraq through 2002 and early 2003, as President Bush prepared for the March invasion that would extend the field of battle in the nation's response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. [my emphasis]
[. . .]
So, as we all knew, Afghanistan was just a stepping stone toward Iraq. A convenient excuse is all. Nobody at 1600 ever gave a shit about Osama, instead they probably put him on the WH Christmas (Ramadan?) card list. Remember how they showed the Palestinians in the Holy Land dancing around in celebration after 9/11? They were doing the same dance of joy in the White House. 9/11 was the biggest gift anyone ever gave to Bush & Co.
And Jo at DemVet has the best line:
On November 3rd, perhaps we'll start to get our country back, and out of the hands of the worlds oldest pre-adolescent brain-damaged teenager.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
My Christian faith moves toward greater inclusiveness and acceptance, George Bush moves toward punishment, division, and exclusion. My Christian faith seeks to bring people into the circle of decision-making, George Bush seeks to keep them out. My Christian faith seeks to afford equal rights and responsibilities to all, George Bush seeks to reserve more rights for the privileged few.
"I am voting for Kerry because I am terrified of the police state that is being created by George and his cronies. I am also voting for Kerry because he is complex and sees the paradox of things, that we are living in a complex and paradoxical world. George prefers to see everything in black or white, good or evil and this old paradigm world view will ventually doom us and perhaps the entire human species to extinction.
The thing that troubles me most with this current president is a heightened sense of entitlement. Throughout the 2000 election process, George W. Bush seemed to view his ascendancy as something of a given, something he didn't feel he had to work for along the way, like many others before him.
Jeeminy, that's his family. Imagine what they'd say if they didn't have to like him!
Now, I have never agreed with Fidel's politics, being a Cold War veteran and all. I am old enough to have served with Marines that were actually aboard ship ready to go fuck him up during the Cuban Missile Crisis.There was a time when his overthrow of the Cuban government could have been turned to our advantage, but we blew it, and the rest is history.
I have always admired his spirit, however. Here he is, in charge of a pipsqueak of a nation, 90 miles off the coast of the most powerful nation in history and he has always held his middle finger high at us. That's OK. The worst thing I can really say about him is that he sent us a lot of Republicans that we don't need. Sneaky bastard.
I wish him a full recovery. This type of injury to a 78 year-old can easily be a death sentence.
I think it is high time that our silly embargo of Cuba be called off. Most of the rest of the world already has, but our pols don't want to piss off the Cuban voting bloc in South Florida.
I have an ulterior motive. I like Old Iron and there is plenty of it in use as daily drivers in Cuba, dating prior to the revolucion. Castro himself has a '59 Chevy and an old Ducati, one of Italy's finest motorbikes. I would like to take an auto carrier (rent one from Japan, Inc.?) or tow a barge down there and load it up. I would pick a couple of real cool ones for myself, and retire on the rest of them. Wanna go, Fixer?
“There’s a problem when the Vice President is warning of a nuclear attack and the Homeland Security Secretary who has declared that he is separate from politics spends the bulk of his time traveling battleground states."
The only thing I don't like about Edwards is that he's 10 years older than I am and he looks 5 years younger.
Well, I can see that you're all being nicer to that bastard than I am. I do hate him. Personally. He is not a good person, and he is not a nice person. He is an attention-deficit-disordered dyslexic dry drunk with a messianic, little man complex and a mean streak who doesn't give a damn about anything besides power.
With his personal and business history, and that of his family going back about four generations, the gall of that little twerp to even think he should be President infuriates me. Stealing the election didn't help. If things had remained as they were before 9/11, maybe he could have pulled it off, but he has proven that that event was too much for his little pea brain.
His willingness to be led by the nose by the neo-cons, his incuriosity, his inability to see reality or take the advice of experts, his reliance on his 'instinct' (that must have been what made him such a success in business), his inability to admit mistakes, his fear of showing 'weakness' by doing so, and his interjection of his phony morality into our lives as public policy, all stoke the fire in my gut.
Commit a crime and tell the judge that 'God told me to do it' and watch what happens. You'll be in the rubber room so fast it'll make your head spin. Bush says that and a good percentage of people in this country actually believe it. That so many people want so desperately to believe in something like that saddens me no end, as I have always thought most people were rational and at least a little intelligent. He's got them fooled big time and works them like a red-headed step-child. He is outwardly religious, but it's a LIE, judging by the things he has done. He talks the talk, but his religiosity is empty of spirituality. The milk of human kindness does not exist in him.
Bush lies every time he opens his mouth. The only two words I have heard him say that were true are 'results matter' and his handlers made him quit saying that right fast, as his 'results' won't stand the light of day. He blames everybody else for things that are HIS responsibility. Maybe not always his fault, but being President, they ARE his responsibility. With Bush, the buck always stops somewhere else. After all, he's infallible. Ask him, he'll tell you.
Don't get me started on the cabal he installed around himself to effect the coup d'etat which will be up to Kerry (and us) to undo. I have never been to a hanging, but I am damn sure hoping for a twelve-roper. [my emphasis]
I'm wit ya, pal. Hope ya don't mind me grabbing this.
There's a buzz now about why the House Intelligence Committee still hasn't received a copy of a CIA inspector general's report which examines the Agency's performance during the run-up to the Sept. 11 attacks. Democrats suspect it's being held up until after the election. And even the Republican chairman of the Committee joined the ranking member telling the CIA to stop delaying. [my emphasis]
[. . .]
So, if my theory is right, that this report is severely damaging to the White House, it must really shwack the Agency or they would have let it leak by now. Somehow, I don't think that political hack and DCI, Porter Goss, has the wherewithal to keep it from leaking, just to protect Bush. I can't wait until it does come out, one way or the other, it should be very interesting (yes, you should be thinking Arte Johnson).
Washington - A French pharmaceutical company will supply 2.6 million extra anti-flu shots to help the United States cope with a vaccine shortage that has sparked public concern, a top US health official said on Tuesday. [my emphasis]
Tommy Thompson, Health and Human Services Secretary for the United States, said Aventis-Pasteur, a division of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis, will raise the number of vaccines available in the US to 58 million in January.
[. . .]
Yeah, good thing we have 'Old Europe' when our balls are in a sling and our are backs against the wall. By rights, the Frogs should tell us to go fuck ourselves after the way we've treated them lately. Mon dieu!
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
For reasons known only to America's leading conservative thinkers, it is far more offensive to utter an inconsequential truth than to tell a long series of important falsehoods.
But Mr. Bush need not worry that serious scrutiny will be applied to his speeches or utterances. On Oct. 18, in what was dubiously billed by the White House as a "major foreign-policy address," he said things about his opponent which might more aptly be described by terms like "shameless" and even "McCarthyite." His "major speech" was nothing more than the same old catalog of misleading charges and plain falsehoods that Republicans have been repeating with increasing shrillness since their national convention
It isn't surprising that the President and his surrogates would try to deflect attention from his record with strained and misleading rhetoric. It certainly isn't surprising that they would try to distract the voters and the press with a bogus "issue" like the "lesbian" flap. It is disappointing that they can engage in such obvious manipulations and distortions with the smug expectation of easy success.
Lesbian flap? Now there's a mental picture. Shudder!
They'll think it's a success all right. When the moving van backs up to the White House. Hopefully the Paddy Wagon, too. Success for America.
While many Americans search in vain for flu shots, members and employees of Congress are able to obtain them quickly and at no charge from the Capitol's attending physician, who has urged all 535 lawmakers to get the vaccines even if they are young and healthy.
The practice appears to directly contravene the instruction being given by the government's executive branch.
It must be nice to be above the common folk. If we run low on hookers and booze, they'll probably get those first too, while the rest of us do without.
[. . .]
Hundreds of thousands of veterans of earlier U.S. military conflicts might also no longer qualify for VA health care or might be forced out by rules proposed by the Bush administration to relieve an overburdened system. The changes would increase veterans' out-of-pocket costs by increasing co-payments for out-patient care and prescription drugs, as well as require many to pay a $250-a-year enrollment fee just to stay in the VA health-care system.
That, critics say, will force many veterans to say goodbye to a health-care system they had assumed would be available all of their lives.
[. . .]
"Young men and women go off and fight for their country and are told that their needs will be taken care of," said Ronald Conley, national commander of the 2.8-million member, Indianapolis-based American Legion. "To change the rules on them when they get back is wrong."
[. . .]
And while I'm all pissed off, I come across this. Fucking bunch of users. Like my partner says, Bush looks at our troops as cannon fodder and deck apes, nothing more, and if they can't fight anymore, we don't want to know about 'em. I'm sorry, but I was more than willing to put my ass on the line for this country, still am, but if I'm fucked up in the process, you'd better give me the care I need.
"If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election." --Michigan State Representative John Pappageorge (R), July 16, 2004 (Detroit is 88 percent black in a predominantly white state)
[. . .]
It's more visible in Philadelphia than anywhere else as of tonight, where the Bush campaign staff attempted a last-minute drive to shuffle around polling places in Philadelphia--again, a predominantly black city in a predominantly white state. The Bush team argued that they wanted to relocate 63 polling places because they allegedly lack sufficient handicapped access, and because of "intimidation." Said Matt Robb, the Republican leader of the 48th ward in South Philadelphia, "It's predominantly, 100 percent black. I'm just not going in there to get a knife in my back." Another gem of a Republican said they were trying to change polling places in black neighborhoods because "The black neighborhoods are the ones that do the funny stuff. What are you supposed to do?"
[. . .]
Yeah, you know dem niggas, they's all troublemakers.
What the fuck is going on around here? Have we entered a time warp and been transported back 40 years? I am SO pissed off right now, I feel like going out and kicking my annoying neighbor's ass. This is criminal and you know the responsibility goes right to the top. Bush and his cronies need to do some jail time after they're out of the White House.
It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.
"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward."
[. . .]
From the L.A. Times via The Talent Show.
If I were an 'undecided voter' (ha!), I would certainly want to know who screwed the pooch in the months leading up to 9/11 and who still has a job three years later. I wish, since the Agency has had it with the White House (if the rumors can be believed), they would leak this report before Election Day. Probably the best way cut Bush's legs out from under him at this point.
From L.A. Times via Kos:
WASHINGTON -- The ranking members of the House Intelligence Committee have asked the CIA to turn over an internal report on whether agency employees should be held accountable for intelligence failures leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, congressional officials said Tuesday.
[. . .]
Ya think these bastids will show some balls and demand the fucking report before Election Day?
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
BAGHDAD—After 19 months of struggle in Iraq, U.S. military officials conceded a loss to Iraqi insurgents Monday, but said America can be proud of finishing "a very strong second."
"After that strong start, I really thought that we were going to take it home," Bremer said. "I'd say we can chalk this loss up to a combination of Iraq's home-field advantage and a poor second-half U.S. game plan."
Loyal fans of the U.S. are still coming to terms with the loss, a rarity for an organization that won undisputed world championships in the '10s and '40s, but has not always played its best on hostile ground in recent years.
Added Carruthers: "You'd think they hadn't even scouted their opponent beforehand, let alone beaten them soundly the last time they squared off. Someone should lose his job over this."
"But remember that this was just one war," Rumsfeld added. "We'll get 'em next time."I think we need new owners and a new coach.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 - The Selective Service has been updating its contingency plans for a draft of doctors, nurses and other health care workers in case of a national emergency that overwhelms the military's medical corps.
In a confidential report this summer, a contractor hired by the agency described how such a draft might work, how to secure compliance and how to mold public opinion and communicate with health care professionals, whose lives could be disrupted. (NYT)
[. . .]
Docs and nurses now, old forward air controllers next year. I'm a-waitin' for my draft card. You laugh? Read:
[. . .]
Under the plan, Mr. Flahavan said, about 3.4 million male and female health care workers ages 18 to 44 would be expected to register with the Selective Service. From this pool, he said, the agency could select tens of thousands of health care professionals practicing in 62 health care specialties. [my emphasis]
[. . .]
The bright side is that they'll have to fix my hip to get me combat-ready.
Most of the problems he has caused for this country stem not from his belief in God, but from his belief in the infallibility of the right-wing Republican ideology that exalts the interests of the wealthy and of large corporations over the interests of the American people. Love of power for its own sake is the original sin of this presidency
The essential cruelty of Bush’s game is that he takes an astonishingly selfish and greedy collection of economic and political proposals then cloaks it with a phony moral authority, thus misleading many Americans who have a deep and genuine desire to do good in the world. And in the process he convinces them to lend unquestioning support for proposals that actually hurt their families and their communities. Bush has stolen the symbolism and body language of religion and used it to disguise the most radical effort in American history to take what rightfully belongs to the citizenry of America and give as much as possible to the already wealthy and privileged, who look at his agenda and say, as Dick Cheney said to Paul O’Neill, “this is our due.”
The central elements of Bush’s political – as opposed to religious -- belief system are plain to see: The “public interest” is a dangerous myth according to Bush’s ideology – a fiction created by the hated “liberals” who use the notion of “public interest” as an excuse to take away from the wealthy and powerful what they believe is their due.
It is clear that President Bush has absolute faith in a rigid, right-wing ideology. He ignores the warnings of his experts. He forbids any dissent and never tests his assumptions against the best available evidence. He is arrogantly out of touch with reality. He refuses to ever admit mistakes. Which means that as long as he is our President, we are doomed to repeat them. It is beyond incompetence. It is recklessness that risks the safety and security of the American people
We also have learned in today’s Washington Post that at the same time Bush was falsely asserting to the American people that he was providing all the equipment and supplies their commanders needed, the top military commander in Iraq was pleading desperately for a response to his repeated request for more equipment, such as body armor, to protect his troops. And that the Army units under his command were “struggling just to maintain…relatively low readiness rates.”
But for the Bush team, it is all part of the same pattern. Lie, intimidate, bully, suppress the truth, present lobbyists memos as the gospel truth and collect money for the next campaign.
The same dangerous dynamic has led Bush to reject the recommendations of anti-terrorism experts to increase domestic security, which are opposed by large contributors in the chemical industry, the hazardous materials industry and the nuclear industry. Even though his own Coast Guard recommends increased port security, he has chosen instead to rely on information provided to him by the commercial interests managing the ports who do not want the expense and inconvenience of implementing new security measures.
The same insularity and zeal that makes them effective at smashmouth politics makes them terrible at governing. The Bush-Cheney administration is a rarity in American history. It is simultaneously dishonest and incompetent.
Massive incompetence? Endemic corruption? Official justification for torture? Wholesale abuse of civil liberties? Arrogance masquerading as principle? These are new, unfamiliar and unpleasant realities for America. We hardly recognize our country when we look in the mirror of what Jefferson called, “the opinion of mankind.” How could we have come to this point?
He has ducked accountability by the press with his obsessive secrecy and refusal to conduct the public’s business openly. There is now only one center of power left in our constitution capable of at long last holding George W. Bush accountable, and it is the voters.
Whoo-eee! Yes, I said "speech". Long, it was, and I read every word. Gore touched on every evil act that Bush has done. Well, not everything. He didn't have all day, but he got to a lot of them. There are a lot of summations out these days about Bush's criminal career in office and this is a good one. If you have a few minutes, go read it.
Finding excerpts to post was a lot like riding a desert race on a fast motorcycle: I just hit the high spots, and tried not to crash. Did a couple tank-slappers, tho'.
I think the last quote says it all.
I mentioned that when a college opened in Camarillo, it was named Cal State University Channel Islands, though, of course, Camarillo is on the mainland. Rumor has it that school officials were afraid that the initials of a Cal State University Camarillo — CSUC — would draw unintended laughs. So now the school is CSUCI.The result? Marvin Petal notes that it's known to locals as Cal Sushi.
School daze (cont.): Continuing the discussion of school nicknames, Margo Kline writes that at that good-times school, UC Santa Barbara, "the initials UCSB are said by some of the rowdier students to stand for 'U Can Study Buzzed.' " (Kline points out that the school does have six Nobel Prize winners, so not everyone is partying.)
At happy-go-lucky UC Santa Cruz, meanwhile, student Dori Daniels says the joke is that the initials stand for Uncle Charlie's Summer Camp.
Hopefully, I'll be back later with some real stuff. If the coffee holds out.
[. . .]
In many states, the moment a 16 or 17 years old commits a crime, it suddenly changes thier status from "helpless, innocent, little baby" to an "villianous adult." In other words, if you have sex with a 17 year old girl on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, you are a major felon taking advantage of an innocent young person. If she robs a convenience store on the way home, she's an hardened adult.
[. . .]
The latest Bush entry in the Stupid Olympics, after the "terrorism is a nuisance" canard (nicely ripped here by Michael Kinsley), is their umbrage over the suggestion that they have a secret plan to privatize Social Security.
If memory serves, the President was emphatic in the third debate on the need to divert a portion of payroll taxes into individual accounts. That's privatization. The fun part -- the need to replace trillions of dollars of lost revenue to pay current Social Security benefits -- was missing from his spiel. [my emphasis]
There are only a few possibilities here.
[. . .]
In an extraordinary response to these recent stories, Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt spoke thusly:
"The Bush campaign should be able to make an argument without having it reflexively dismissed as distorted or inaccurate by the biggest newspapers in the country."
Remind you of something? Maybe this?
"I subordinate myself without further ado to Herr Adolph Hitler. Why? He has proved that he can lead; on the basis of his view and his will,.... He and the party are one, and offer the unity that is the unconditional premiss of success." ~ Ernst Graf zu Reventlow, 1927.
Monday, October 18, 2004
There should no longer be any doubt that the war in Iraq is an exercise in lunacy. It was launched with a spurious rationale, the weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be a fantasy relentlessly stoked by obsessively hawkish middle-aged men who ran and hid when they were of fighting age and the nation was at war.
This is a war that never made sense and now we are seeing - from the troops on the ground, from our allies overseas and increasingly from the population here at home - the inevitable reluctance to forge ahead with the madness.
The president likes to say he made exactly the right decision on Iraq. Each new death of a soldier or a civilian, each child who loses a parent to the carnage, each healthy body that is broken or burned in this war that didn't have to happen, is a reminder of how horribly wrong he was.
My, some variation of the word "Lunatic" seems to be the order of the day. I must've started it. Even the highly paid and supposedly fearless journalists are starting to hint around that maybe Dubya is a taco short of a combination plate. They need to reach into their shorts and, if they feel anything there at all, they need to ratchet it up just a notch: Bush&Co. are out of their fucking minds!
When a few officials of the local Republican party in Cleveland, Ohio decided to treat themselves to a good old-fashioned boy's night out at a strip club, they were greeted with an alarming sight: a Fox News television crew.Once again, the good shit's in between the quotes.
"They asked me why Fox was outside," says Angelina Spencer, The Circus club owner, "and I told them they were doing a story about our voter registration campaign."
"They all scrambled and fought over the back door. One guy even got his tie caught in the door," she laughs.
With Americans spending around $10 billion a year on adult entertainment, the industry clearly has an opportunity to influence the outcome of the election. "A few Republicans have politely asked me to stop," Spencer says. "Anytime you get strip club owners involved in the political process, you know it’s going to be quite an election."
I like the more amplitudinous gals, myself. More room to stuff dollar bills.
Maybe they need a ride to the polls on election day. A chance to do my civic duty!
This may not come as a surprise, but I have received a plethora of e-mails accusing me of hating President Bush.
First, I hate no one. Second, I don't know President Bush, but he appears to be an affable individual. After all, any person whose favorite baseball player is Willie Mays cannot be all bad.
However, if hate is a loose euphemism for my profound disagreements with the president's policies the argument may have merit.
The good part is in between the quotes. Go read it.
It is the opinion of this writer that in order to support the president, one must place being a Republican above being an American.
I don't hate anybody. 'Hate' is a bad thing. I do, however loathe and despise George W. Bush. Personally. Anyone who could do to my (our) country the things he has done and think he is doing good work is a person worthy of my utter contempt on every level.
This country was not founded by polite people. The American revolution did not follow Robert's Rules of Order. The America experiment was launched in revolt against the existing order, against corrupt kings and their equally corrupt business partners. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and their kind rejected the divine right of kings; they did not believe that power should pass from one King George to another. And the best of their number, Tom Paine, preached the healing power of revolution - not just for America but for the world.
Nothing would horrify Moore's critics more than the suggestion that he might well be the best upholder of the revolutionary spirit in the current day - and thus the greatest patriot. But, then, Moore's critics tend to confuse patriotism with blind obedience. And if Jefferson and Madison teach us anything, it is that the true patriot must always stand against King George.
The time for delicacy is long past. It's time for knees to the groin and baseball bats.
The government today announced that it is changing its emblem from an Eagle to a condom because it more accurately reflects the government's political stance.
A condom stands up to inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed. It just doesn't get more accurate than that.
[. . .]
The prophets of doom, whom Cheney exemplifies, are precisely right about the importance of this election. But the momentous decision awaiting Americans is not whether they return to power a President who is uniquely qualified to protect the US against terrorism, as Cheney et al would have us believe. It is whether they re-elect a man who, it is now clear, has become palpably unstable.
The evidence has been before our eyes for some time, but only during the course of this election campaign has it crystallised - just in time, possibly, for the 2 November election. The 43rd US President has always had a much-publicised knack for mangled syntax, but now George Bush often searches an agonisingly long time, sometimes in vain, for the right words. His mind simply blanks out at crucial times. He is prone, I am told, to foul-mouthed temper tantrums in the White House. His handlers now rarely allow him to speak an unscripted word in public.
[. . .]
Go read the whole article at The Guardian. I don't need to say anything.
''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,'' Bartlett went on to say. ''He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'' Bartlett paused, then said, ''But you can't run the world on faith.''
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
And for those who don't get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. ''You think he's an idiot, don't you?'' I said, no, I didn't. ''No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!'' In this instance, the final ''you,'' of course, meant the entire reality-based community.
Reality-based community? So everybody between Fixer and me is in the un-reality-based community? The arrogance of these bastards!
Bush shouldn't be in charge of the United States. He should be in charge of some wacko neo-Christian-Nazi compound in Idaho where they can wear cammies and carry big no-balls-compensating weapons and just carry on to their little hearts' content about how the rest of us "just don't get it." Somewhere, not too close to a town, where they can anoint themselves with Crisco and worship their little chimp-like idol. Somewhere where they can't hurt the rest of us and we can keep an eye on them. Behind gray stone walls would be better.
Besides being the devil's spawn, they're all fucking crazy, clinically insane, and we are the worse for it.
I hope God doesn't tell them to unleash our weapons of mass destruction just before they are escorted out of the White House in January. In irons, I hope.
Print the article. Keep it next to the shitter and read a little every day. There's a lot more in it besides these excerpts.
Pay no attention to the redeployment of the Army NTC OPFOR to combat duty in Iraq. Thinking too seriously about what this implied for the future of the US military and about how badly overstretched our forces are right now will not be good for your health or your tax status. Incidentally, wasn't the redeployment of the Blackhorse to the Middle East part of the plot of a Tom Clancy book?
I guess that's how the WH does its military planning, see if there's a Tom Clancy parallel. I wrote about this a couple months back:
You know, I write spy novels and some science fiction. The reason I bring this up is not to peddle books, but to make an observation. Bush & Co's actions sound like the plot of a fucking spy novel. It's as if they're taking literary license with the war, the way I would when I ask my audience to suspend their belief in the flow of time and the details. (If writers didn't, novels would be SO long and boring, and filled with minutiae, that no one would want to read them.) But wars don't proceed like novels do. The president is not an omnipotent being, like a writer, who can mold the world so the outcome is in his favor. War, and running a country, involves minutiae on a biblical scale and all the details have to be addressed BEFORE war is declared. It's as if Bush thinks the world works like a TV show or a pulp fiction novel.
That's why they thought they could take Afghanistan using Special Ops forces alone. Some civilian in the Pentagon must have read Rainbow Six and said, 'we can do it that way'. Seems Tom Clancy never saw the need for a draft, but when we put a training unit on combat alert, a draft is probable. If the Air Force and the Navy put the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels on combat alert, a draft is imminent. I wouldn't be surprised if the Top Gun School personnel at Miramar are already training up for Iraq.
[. . .]
But as short on specifics as the plan is, it's instructive to see who might benefit from this "privatization" effort, because you know that someone's gonna make a buck or six from any 1600 Crew program (Iraq-CheneyBurton?). Seems that there's an investment company waiting in the wings for just such an opportunity...and surprise surprise surprise, guess with whom it's affiliated?
[. . .]
So, not just one, but about as many cronies as possible stand to benefit from this so-called "privatization" effort. How much you want to bet that there's no scenario where privatization does not include capitalization of some bank account related to Fearless Leader his family and friends (Saudis anyone?). Neilsie and Silverado will look like amateur hour if this happens, count on it.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
The big story of the US presidential election up to yesterday was how few undecided voters there were. Now the final presidential debate is over, these voters have essentially made up their minds - and it is George W. Bush who should be worried.
If John Kerry is elected the 44th president, it will be because of a single night in Miami, when he came to debate and Mr Bush came to - well, no one is quite sure. The double-digit lead that Gallup polls, long considered the authority for presidential polling, gave Mr Bush after the Republican convention was fully erased by that fateful 90-minute confrontation.
Step by step, debate by debate, John Kerry has addressed and removed many remaining doubts among uncommitted voters. My own polling research suggests a rather bleak outlook for the Bush candidacy: many who still claim to be "undecided" are leaning to Mr Kerry and are about ready to commit.
Can Mr Bush turn the tide in just 18 days? Absolutely, but he must address voters who still harbour economic and national security concerns. And that requires a fundamental shift in the president's strategy and message. Asserting that the economy is strong and Iraq a success is just not credible to the majority of Americans - or to the stubborn 5 per cent who remain uncommitted.
[. . .]
Via Jim Hightower.
Worrisome for Bush indeed. If Luntz is saying this, you know the Bush people know it. Look for a flood of dirty tricks to spew forth from the Repubs in the next couple weeks.
We have been impressed with Mr. Kerry's wide knowledge and clear thinking - something that became more apparent once he was reined in by that two-minute debate light. He is blessedly willing to re-evaluate decisions when conditions change. And while Mr. Kerry's service in Vietnam was first over-promoted and then over-pilloried, his entire life has been devoted to public service, from the war to a series of elected offices. He strikes us, above all, as a man with a strong moral core
Along with the invasion of Afghanistan, which had near unanimous international and domestic support, Mr. Bush and his attorney general put in place a strategy for a domestic antiterror war that had all the hallmarks of the administration's normal method of doing business: a Nixonian obsession with secrecy, disrespect for civil liberties and inept management
We have specific fears about what would happen in a second Bush term, particularly regarding the Supreme Court.
If he wins re-election, domestic and foreign financial markets will know the fiscal recklessness will continue.
The Bush White House has always given us the worst aspects of the American right without any of the advantages.
We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better.
Sometimes these New Yorkers are pretty smart.
[. . .]
Forty democratic senators were gathered for a lunch in March just off the Senate floor. I was there as a guest speaker. Joe Biden was telling a story, a story about the president. ''I was in the Oval Office a few months after we swept into Baghdad,'' he began, ''and I was telling the president of my many concerns'' -- concerns about growing problems winning the peace, the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanding of the Iraqi Army and problems securing the oil fields. Bush, Biden recalled, just looked at him, unflappably sure that the United States was on the right course and that all was well. '''Mr. President,' I finally said, 'How can you be so sure when you know you don't know the facts?'''
Biden said that Bush stood up and put his hand on the senator's shoulder. ''My instincts,'' he said. ''My instincts.''
Biden paused and shook his head, recalling it all as the room grew quiet. ''I said, 'Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough!'''
[. . .]
As [Former NJ Governor & EPA Chief Christine Todd] Whitman told me on the day in May 2003 that she announced her resignation as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: ''In meetings, I'd ask if there were any facts to support our case. And for that, I was accused of disloyalty!'' (Whitman, whose faith in Bush has since been renewed, denies making these remarks and is now a leader of the president's re-election effort in New Jersey.) [my emphasis]
[. . .]
As I've said before, our (NY, NJ, CT) Repubs are different from their ilk in other parts of the country. They tend to be more of the Classic Conservative mold rather than the Bible-thumping, Christo-fascist bunch. The Mrs and I used to have respect for Christie Whitman. 'Used to' being the operative word until she too caved to pressure like McCain did and actively supported Bush this cycle. She used to have principles, unlike that asshole we have running our state (Pataki). But though she denies her remarks, they do have a ring of truth to them (Gen Shinseki, Paul O'Niell, and others). She was awful quiet after she left EPA, wasn't she?
P.S.- Go read Melanie too.
UNITED NATIONS - The United States has refused to join 85 other heads of state and government in signing a statement that endorsed a 10-year-old U.N. plan to ensure every woman's right to education, health care, and choice about having children.
President Bush's administration withheld its signature because the statement included a reference to "sexual rights."
[. . .]
Bush has blocked $34 million in congressionally approved annual assistance to the United Nations Population Fund, alleging the U.N. agency helped China manage programs that involved forced abortions. China calls the charge baseless.
Now, this money would do a lot of good in Africa, where people are starving on their feet, dying of pestilence, and the victims of that horrible civil war in Sudan and the resultant refugee crisis in Drafur. (For further enlightenment on the Darfur situation, go see The Head Heeb) But Bush would deny all the good, just because abortions and birth control would be available to these women. They can barely take care of the children they have, resorting to consuming crab grass and weeds to survive. Where's the 'compassionate conservatism', you motherfuckers?
Update: 06:40: Faith-based Accounting
From The Agonist:
Boston Globe - About half of the roughly $5 billion in Iraq reconstruction funds disbursed by the US government in the first half of this year cannot be accounted for, according to an audit commissioned by the United Nations, which could not find records for numerous rebuilding projects and other payments.
Yep. I have faith that money is in the same place as the missing left socks that disappear in your dryer too.
From Kevin Hayden at The American Street:
To prop up Iraq and keep it from sinking under debt, the Bush administration has been begging long and hard for other countries to forgive tens of billions in debt. But one debt it doesn’t ask to be forgiven: reparations for the first Gulf War.
I bet you can guess who’s still collecting millions from Iraq.
Same old crooks, different scam. It seems we’re sucking more money out than we’ve been putting in. It’s good to see our troops dying to make war profiteers richer, right? Hello? America, you awake yet?
Heaven forbid, Halliburton loses a dime of its blood money, but we have wounded Guardsmen and Reservists who are living out of their cars because they can't get a job with their disabilities. For people who claim to have so much faith, they seem to forget one of Jesus' basic tenets. Help your fellow man. Where are the loaves and fishes, you disingenuous cocksuckers?