Thursday, June 30, 2005

Unbelievable

River as a new post up. Iraqis think as much of (p)resident Dicknose's speech as I do:

"Not only can they not find WMD in Iraq," I commented to E. as we listened to the Bush speech, "But they have disappeared from his speeches too!" I was listening to the voiceover on Arabiya, translating his speech to Arabic. He was recycling bits and pieces of various speeches he used over two years.

E., a younger cousin, and I were sitting around in the living room, sprawled on the relatively cool tiled floor. The electricity had been out for 3 hours and we couldn’t turn on the air conditioner with the generator electricity we were getting. E. and I had made a bet earlier about what the theme of tonight's speech would be. E. guessed Bush would dig up the tired, old WMD theme from somewhere under the debris of idiocy and lies coming out of the White House. I told him he'd dredge up 9/11 yet again . . . tens of thousands of lives later, we would have to bear the burden of 9/11 . . . again.

I won the bet. The theme was, naturally, terrorism- the only mention of 'weapon' or 'weapons' was in reference to Libya. He actually used the word 'terrorist' in the speech 23 times.

He was trying, throughout the speech, to paint a rosy picture of the situation. According to him, Iraq was flourishing under the occupation. In Bush's Iraq, there is reconstruction, there is freedom (in spite of an occupation) and there is democracy.

"He's describing a different country . . ." I commented to E. and the cousin.

[. . .]

Do the Americans continue to believe such speeches? I couldn't help but wonder.

"They'll believe anything." E. sighed. "No matter what sort of absurdity they are fed, they'll believe it. Think up the most outrageous lie . . . They have people who'll believe it." [my emphases]

[. . .]

My two cents on Journalist/Source Privilege

I support journalistic privilege in maintaining the confidentiality of sources up to a point. In the case of someone wanting to get some info out to the press about crimes, corruption, malfeasance in office, or corporate shenannigans, Hell, yes, their identity should not be disclosed. I think one reason that D.C. does not have a shield law is to protect politicians by dissuading folks from talking about government and Congress' fuck-ups by threatening possible jail time for doing so.

However, in the Plame case, there are unusual factors that make me believe Cooper's and Miller's sources should not only be revealed to the court, but to the public as well. Here they are:

1.) The leak itself was a Federal crime, i.e. to disclose the name of a covert agent.

2.) The leak was a partisan political act in retribution for Mr. Wilson's calling the president a liar.

So what we basically have here is someone, probably in the White House itself, who committed a Federal crime involving National Security in order to get back at someone who exposed a presidential lie, and used Bob Novak, a Republican operative in the guise of a journalist, to do it. The damage they may have done to intelligence gathering throughout the world is incalculable

I think Novak is being protected at the highest level. He did their evil bidding, he's gold.

I think Mr. Cooper and Ms. Miller are honorable in refusing to name their source, but, in this particular case, misguided. The nation deserves to know their source so we can get to the bottom of who thought so little of selling out intelligence agents and their sources that they would pull a cheap trick like that for political revenge. I think his initials might be K.R., and no, it's not Knox Rover.

Oy!

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MSNBC Breaking News
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NASA: Space shuttle Discovery is 'go for launch' on July 13


Note to Astronauts: Better you than me. I wouldn't fly in that piece of shit.

Vets Say Support For Bush's War Is Gone

An article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports on Bush's speech as viewed by members of VFW Post 2500 in Hollywood, Florida.
About 30 people were around the bar drinking, chatting, smoking as the president talked. "Does it have to be so loud?" asked Barbara Flint as she sat next to Jerry Giblock, a visiting Vietnam veteran.

"He's running scared," said Giblock, 63, a former Post 2500 member who lives in Anchorage, Ala. "His poll numbers are so low, he's got to say something, but the support is gone. It's gone. I don't think there's anybody in here who's behind him."
These veterans have fought in foreign wars and struggled after them, which makes them more than eligible to comment on the ongoing war in Iraq.
Howard Fay, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, ladled meatballs in the kitchen.

"I don't like this war at all," he said. "Saddam wasn't doing anything to us. The one we should have been going after with everything is Osama bin Laden."
These veterans know war is never simple or easy, and they say this president, who never saw combat, overlooked these things in his rush to invade Iraq and install democracy.

"I have no respect for this president," said Bud Lynch of Hallandale, a Korean War veteran. "He's just trying to finish Daddy's job. That's all this was about. There was no nuclear [expletive] or WMDs to begin with ... If it were my son who was being sent over there, I wouldn't let him go."
Gee, ya think he's an old hippie?
Bush heard applause as he finished at Fort Bragg, but there wasn't a ripple at Post 2500.
Members of Veterans' organizations are pretty generally thought of as being conservative, particularly so in South Florida, I would think. Bush was only able to pull the wool over these guys' eyes for so long, and that time is past, it seems. I wanta see what happens if the administration calls these Vets traitors for not supporting his imperial criminal enterprise. I think they'll wish they hadn't.

If Bush has lost the Veterans, he's lost. Good.

A personal note: I'm a Life Member of the VFW, and a member of my local Post 2675, the Levon P. Joseph Post, named after a local WWII Vet. I have never been in combat, except at the Enlisted Men's Club. The only time I was ever shot at by a hostile force, it was the U.S. Navy, and luckily, that day they couldn'ta hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle. I got close enough to the Dominican Republic once to qualify for an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, a real pretty campaign ribbon, which is the minimum requirement for membership in the VFW. Mostly we do civic-minded stuff like a Memorial Day ceremony at the marble orchard, or painting the flagpole at the local Vets' Hall. The last one took about three years to wend its way through the bureaucracy before they'd let us do it. We're sorta like the Elks with guns 'n ammo.

The End . . . starting now

Just go see The Heretik.

Chickenhawks Cluck

Go read all the lame excuses the College Republicans use to rationalize their non-participation in Bush's War that they so desperately love, in The Nation. All your favorites are there helping them express themselves - Horowitz, Norquist, Coulter, etc.
In interviews, more than a dozen conventiongoers explained why it is important that they stay on campus while other, less fortunate people their age wage a bloody war in Iraq. They strongly support the war, they told me, but they also want to enjoy college life and pursue interesting careers. Being a College Republican allows them to do both. It is warfare by other, much safer means.
I chatted for a while with Collin Kelley, a senior at Washington State with a vague resemblance to the studly actor Orlando Bloom. Kelley told me he's "sick and tired of people saying our troops are dying in vain" and added, "This isn't an invasion of Iraq, it's a liberation--as David Horowitz said." When I asked him why he was staying on campus rather than fighting the good fight, he rubbed his shoulder and described a nagging football injury from high school. Plus, his parents didn't want him to go. "They're old hippies," Kelley said.
"Oh, I would mos' def love to kick some raghead ass but Mommy won't let me" seems just a little lame, but that's just me. Whatever works. Those old hippies are savin' your worthless life, dipshit.

Chimpeach

It's time.

Yes it is, ladies and gentlemen. It's time for us to push the 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors' angle. My esteemed colleague Froggy has been for a while, but the lack of any new content in the Chimp's speech Tuesday night should have us drawing parallels between the Clinton Impeachment and Bush's fuckups.

Clinton:

1) Had an affair with a WH intern and lied about it.

Bush:

1) Depraved Indifference for Human Life - through his ineptitude or willful disregard, he allowed 3000 Americans to die in some of the most horrible ways imaginable.

2) Fraud - He lied to Congress about the prewar intelligence and willfully misled the American people.

3) Murder in the First Degree - A separate count for every U.S. serviceperson killed in the Iraq War. The (p)resident and his henchmen planned to enter into conflict with Iraq knowing the true state of affairs on the ground in Iraq with regard to WMD. In effect, Bush and Co. planned the deaths of our people and should be in front of a firing squad for it. The number of counts on this charge is nearing 2000. I don't think anyone with 5000 lives on their hands should be given the option of life in prison.

Time to get this out there. We should not have to wait until '08. We should refuse to be led by a criminal organization. With the revelations of the DSMs, the federal RICO statutes should be available to prosecutors. Maybe our congressional candidates in '06 can push this meme as well. I WANT INDICTMENTS!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Really Good Christians

RJ Eskow:

Wonder why it is that you never hear about it when these Christians - representing millions of members - speak out? The National Council of Churches is circulating a petition for the Fourth of July that protests the war in Iraq as an immoral act:

[. . .]


This is what Jesus would do, you wingnut morons.

Terminator IV: Election Day

Well, well, well...it looks like California's unemployment rate may rise by one.

The Chairman

Howard Dean is on The Fat Moron's Show Hardball tonight.

And on another note, JRH might have the right idea.

Change the emphasis

Since Bush likes invoking 9/11 so much, let's turn it around on him. Instead of trying to break Chimpy's linkage of Iraq and September 11th, let's pound the fact that the man who masterminded the 9/11 attacks is still on the loose. 9/11 = Justice Not Served. We were promised Osama 'dead or alive', I say we demand nothing less and the Wingnuts' 'War on Terra' will never be won without it. Now go read Oliver Willis.

Exit Strategy Redux

I don't agree with everything in this piece at Tom Paine.com, but it's definitely food for thought.
Comparisons between the wars in Vietnam and Iraq are coming fast and furious now, so let's consider one more. There is an apt parallel between the way we got out of Vietnam and the way that we will get out of Iraq - sooner or later.
Go read.

Here's a ground level exit strategy from Back to Iraq:
When I was in Ramadi, I found the morale to be lower than expected. It wasn't rock-bottom among the Marines of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, but it wasn't great. Most of the ones I talked to weren't confident they were doing anything worthwhile, and were instead focused on getting home alive. If a few Iraqis had to die to make that happen, well, war is hell.
Those Marines probably have no idea of the parallel in their thinking to that of their forebears in my generation. I do, and it causes an icy feeling in my spine because I agree with them 100% and it's not nice.

Just when I think I've seen everything...

From The Smoking Gun. You wouldn't believe me. Go see for yourself.

Update: Here are the lyrics to "The Zamboni Song" by the Gear Daddies.

Clear mission

John at Blogenlust says we heard it all before:

How do you know that our mission in Iraq is in disarray? Because the President repeatedly catapults the phrase "clear mission" whenever he has the chance (see also, Clear Skies Initiative, Healthy Forest Initiative, etc.).

[. . .]

Bush's Speech

To help save everybody some time so they can do more important things, I think Juan Cole sums up last night's speech beautifully. Short and to the point:
There was nothing new in Bush's speech, and most of what he said was inaccurate.
A coupla syllables less and that could be an all-purpose haiku for this administration.

Testing


Just testing out this Blogger picture thing. That's me, by the way, standing at the border between Germany and Austria atop Zugspitze, the highest Alpine peak in Germany. Altitude there is about 15,000 9000 feet (so I can't convert meters to feet. sue me).

click image to embiggen.

Criminal

Think Progress via RUFNKM:

[. . .]

The Bush administration had claimed on multiple occassions that the current budget was enough to provide full care. Back in February, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson testified that he was "satisfied that we can get the job done with this budget." Later, when Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) tried to add funds into the VA budget, Nicholson wrote her a letter assuring that the VA did not "need emergency supplemental funds in FY2005 to continue to provide timely, quality service that is always our goal."

Yet today, even after the administration's misleading claims had been exposed, and despite brand new data showing that demand for veterans health programs had grown twice as fast as the VA predicted earlier this year, House conservatives still voted to block any additional funding for veterans' care. [my emphasis]


[. . .]


Yup, I just love it when the Repubs say they 'support our troops'. The 'support' ends when the troops can no longer carry a rifle. Then they're just 'human compost'.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Balls

Democrats.com Urges Bush to Apologize, Exit Iraq - and Resign or Face Impeachment.

[. . .]

Democrats.com also urged Bush to resign from office by New Year's Day, along with Dick Cheney. "There is only one reason we invaded Iraq, and that is because George Bush and Dick Cheney made up their minds to do so, even before they stole the White House in 2000," Fertik said. "As conservatives who champion 'personal responsibility,' George Bush and Dick Cheney should take a dose of their own medicine and resign by New Year's Day, to let a new team put American on a new road to security and peace," he added.

If Bush refuses to resign, Democrats.com promised to build the largest grassroots impeachment movement in the nation's history. "George Bush claims the 2004 election was his one and only 'accountability moment,'" Fertik said. "But as Bush himself recently said, 'there's nothing farther from the truth.' The Constitution gives Congress the power to impeach the President for 'treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.' There can be no clearer case of an impeachable offense than lying to Congress and the American people about war and needlessly sending 1,744 young Americans to their deaths," Fertik concluded.

[. . .]


This is the kind of talk we need. "Bush/Cheney '04 - Resign or be Impeached."

Thanks to the Sister for the link.

Baby bullshit

How low can the Repubs go? Observe:

Major League Baseball hasn't narrowed the list of the eight bidders seeking to buy the Washington Nationals and some Republicans on Capitol Hill already are hinting at revoking the league's antitrust exemption if billionaire financier George Soros , an ardent critic of President Bush and supporter of liberal causes, buys the team.

[. . .]


How crybaby, whiny, vindictive can you get. There is no bottom for these people.

We got a plan to keep ya from getting run over by a truck...

I went over to the New York Press to see the cool recruiting poster and stayed to read the article about the Army's recruiting woes and the desperate lengths they are going to to get fresh meat.
But if asking nicely doesn't work, the army is apparently ready to let loose some new rhetorical weapons. In a Knight-Ridder story last week, an army recruiter named Timothy Waud in Simi Valley, California, offered a new argument to the parents of America's young:

"(Parents) say they don't want to send their son or daughter off into danger," he said. "There's a lot of misconceptions about Iraq. Frankly, percentage-wise you face more of a risk driving on the freeways out here."

Military service in Iraq: safer than playing in traffic! Goddamn, I wish I had teenage children!
I can kinda see the recruiter's point: In Iraq, when you get tire tracks on your leg, at least it will have been blown a safe distance first.

DSM Update

Via Kevin Drum:

LONDON -- In the spring of 2002, two weeks before British Prime Minister Tony Blair journeyed to Crawford, Tex., to meet with President Bush at his ranch about the escalating confrontation with Iraq, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw sounded a prescient warning.

"The rewards from your visit to Crawford will be few," Straw wrote in a March 25 memo to Blair stamped "Secret and Personal." "The risks are high, both for you and for the Government."

In public, British officials were declaring their solidarity with the Bush administration's calls for elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. But Straw's memo and seven other secret documents disclosed in recent months by British journalist Michael Smith together reveal a much different picture. Behind the scenes, British officials believed the U.S. administration was already committed to a war that they feared was ill-conceived and illegal and could lead to disaster. [my emphasis]

[. . .]


Go read.

Skippy reminder

Remember, Skippy's going for a million hits on or about the 10th. Run, don't walk, over there several times today.

Neocon Pride

(1.) We were able to get George Bush elected two times by voter fraud, intimidation, judicial tampering, and Jeb Bush, which just shows our moral superiority.

(2.) We have gutted the conservation laws established by liberals so that there's higher levels of mercury and jet fuel in our drinking water, but what the hey, we buy bottled water when others aren't looking and our wives don't nurse.

(3.) We don't support endangered wildlife because it interferes with our hunting and fishing in polluted streams. Besides who cares how many damn owls die. It's also patriotic to drill oil any where and time we want.

[. . .]


Go see the good folks at Adgita for the rest. An excellent read.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Irony

RJ Eskow finds it in today's news:

BTK killer confesses, Cheney defends Abu Ghraib . . .

The last condemnation

From Rudyard Kipling's Epitaphs of the War

"If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied."

Thank you . . . 20,000 times

In a couple minutes we'll get our 20,000th hit since November 17th (When I put up the counter). Thank all of you very much for helping us pass this milestone, especially our fellow bloggers who link to us and send people our way. I never expected to have this kind of readership when I began this blog a little under a year ago. The Alternate Brain was born on the 4th of July 2004, when I began to separate my political writings from my automotive blog (Originally titled 'The Fixer').

I started this blog with a graduate student from NYU, upon whom a fellowship at UC Santa Cruz fell. Time for the blog was not on his agenda anymore so I was doing both blogs by myself until September of 2004. I was heading off to London for 2 weeks and didn't know what kind of connectivity I'd have. I used to hang out at South Knox Bubba's place a lot and enjoyed talking with that crazy M/C mechanic with whom I had a lot in common. Even though he's an old Jarhead.

So I conned . . . er, suckered . . . er, asked him to guest blog here while I was gone. Gord was a babe (I use that term very figuratively) in the woods when it came to blogging but I knew, with his mechanical background, he'd pick it up easily. I wasn't disappointed and I'm grateful and thankful he stayed on after I came back (well, it was like feeding a stray cat, they never leave). He also joined me blogging over at what became 'The Fixer & Gordon'. Couldn't have done it without you, pal. I'd share a fire hole (or a doob) with ya any day.

While Gord and I worked well together, I figured we needed some adult supervision, so to speak. I went back to the source (SKB) and begged KR to come blog over here. She's a busy lady (but I'm stubborn) and I'm more than grateful whenever she can squeeze time in to make an apparance. Her timely posts always get the gray matter moving. Thank you, darlin'.

I wouldn't trade either of 'em for anybody. And next week another year of outrage at Chimpy Inc. and the Right Wing Jesus freaks will begin. We'll be here, at least until we win back what was lost or they drag us all off to Gitmo. Thanks again, 20,000 times. It's been a good year.

Tech note

There are comments there, though Haloscan has gone bonkers somehow you can still post. Oy! Looks like they're fixed.

The speech Bush oughta make. Fat chance.

Read the article down to it in Consortium News.
"First, you must know that I have long obsessed about getting rid of Saddam Hussein, taking care of some unfinished business from my dad's presidency. There's also a lot of oil there and my neoconservative advisers saw a good chance to project American power into the Middle East.

"So when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred, I saw my chance. Vice President Dick Cheney and I began merging references to al-Qaeda and Iraq. That way, the casual listener would start associating Iraq with Sept. 11 subliminally, even if there was no real evidence to support that connection.
"All these acts that I've described to you tonight might well be considered war crimes, but I really don't care much about international law. Remember when I reacted to one question about international law by joking, 'International law? I better call my lawyer.' That's just the way I feel about treaties and other things that try to tie me down.
There's about as much chance of him levelling with the American people as there is of me being Court Jester when Fixer is King of the World, but it's a nice thought.

Ha! Only took me two tries to get out all the funny punctuation marks. I'm getting better at it!

Rumsfeld criticized administration for 'Credibility Gap'

From Think Progress:
A 1966 article in the Chicago Tribune quoted Rumsfeld as saying the following: "The administration should clarify its intent in Viet Nam," he said. "People lack confidence in the credibility of our government. Even our allies are beginning to suspect what we say," he charged. "It's a difficult thing today to be informed about our government even without all the secrecy," he said. "With the secrecy, it's impossible. The American people will do what's right when they have the information they need." [Chicago Tribune, 4/13/66]
Need a little salt 'n ketchup to make eatin' yer words more palatable, asshole?

The party's over for betrayed Republican

The Republicans are eating their own. Some of 'em are wisely getting up from the table and declining the honor. A Guest Viewpoint in the Eugene (Oregon) Register Guard:
Fifty years from now, the Republican Party of this era will be judged by how we provided for the nation's future on three core issues: how we led the world on the environment, how we minded the business of running our country in such a way that we didn't go bankrupt, and whether we gracefully accepted our place on the world's stage as its only superpower. Sadly, we have built the foundation for dismal failure on all three counts. And we've done it in such a way that we shouldn't be surprised if neither the American people nor the world ever trusts us again.
We have mortgaged the country's fiscal future in a way that no Democratic Congress or administration ever did, and to justify the tax cuts that brought us here, we've simply changed the rules. I matured as a Republican believing that uncontrolled deficit spending is harmful and irresponsible; I still do. But the party has yet to explain to me why it's a good thing now, other than to say "... because we say so."

Our greatest failure, though, has been in our role as superpower. This world needs justice, democracy and compassion, and as the keystone of those things, it needs one thing above all else: truth.

Republican decisions made in 2002 and 2003 have killed almost 2,000 of the most capable patriots our country has to offer - volunteers, every one. Support for those decisions was gathered through what appeared at the time to be spin and marketing, but which now turns out to have been deliberate planning and falsehood. The Blair government's internal documentation only confirms what has been suspected for years: Americans are dying every day for Republican lies first crafted in 2002, expanded and embellished upon in 2003, and which continue to this day. This calculated deception is now burned into the legacy of the party, every bit as much as Reagan's triumph in the Cold War, or Nixon's disgrace over Watergate.
There's more. The piece is well done. Go read.

Just as an aside, one of the best days of my life was spent drift-boating the McKenzie River near Eugene with my ol' Marine buddy Larry who hailed from there. That was also the day I had the rear wheels of my truck, backed down a steep boat ramp, in the water and the engine wouldn't start. But that's another story.

Dance o' Joy!

WASHINGTON (AP) - A split Supreme Court struck down Ten Commandments displays in courthouses Monday, ruling that two exhibits in Kentucky cross the line between separation of church and state because they promote a religious message.

The 5-4 decision was the first of two seeking to mediate the bitter culture war over religion's place in public life. In it, the court declined to prohibit all displays in court buildings or on government property. Justices left legal wiggle room, saying that some displays - like their own courtroom frieze - would be permissible if they're portrayed neutrally in order to honor the nation's legal history.

[. . .]


Ha-ha! Bite me, you Jesus freak motherfuckers.

Thanks to Lambert for the link.

DSM Update

[. . .]

Addressing a briefing on lessons learnt from the Iraq war Lieutenant-General Michael Moseley said that in 2002 and early 2003 allied aircraft flew 21,736 sorties, dropping more than 600 bombs on 391 "carefully selected targets" before the war officially started.

The nine months of allied raids "laid the foundations" for the allied victory, Moseley said. They ensured that allied forces did not have to start the war with a protracted bombardment of Iraqi positions.

If those raids exceeded the need to maintain security in the no-fly zones of southern and northern Iraq, they would leave President George W Bush and Tony Blair vulnerable to allegations that they had acted illegally. [my emphases]

[. . .]


More damaging info from the Sunday Times.

Memes

David of 42 tagged me with this during the night.

1. What were three of the stupidest things you have done in your life?

a) Get addicted to cocaine.

b) Steal a car (Though it worked out for the better, all told)

c) Dropping out of high school because I knew more than everybody else.

2. At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?

My beautiful wife and her little Princess, my publisher, my boss.

3. If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up to five people to dine with, who would you pick?

Bill Shakespeare
John Adams
Isaac Asimov
Thomas Jefferson
Albert Einstein

4. If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?

I want to be King of the World
I wish my Schaivo-esque nephew would get better
I wish Jesus would return to set the record straight.

5. Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.

This is the New York Metro Area. I don't think there's anything we don't have within a 20 minute drive.

The Long Island Expressway (avoid)
Flying into and out of JFK (avoid)

6. Name one event that has changed your life.

"Studying" for the urinalysis test that got me out of SAC and active duty and into the Reserves.

7. Tag 5 people.

Pudentilla
Francesca
Eponymous
Yelladog
Maurinsky

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Take it to Karl

I served in the Marines in the infantry from 1986 to 1991, and I saw combat in Panama and the Persian Gulf. And I'm a liberal. I'm a liberal precisely because of my service and because of my experience.

Karl Rove is too obtuse to understand the complexities of the issues of which he so cavalierly speaks. Yet he is all-too-willing to sacrifice the lives of American service men and women in the name of his simplistic merry-making with U.S. foreign policy and militaristic shenanigans.

I am most upset with Karl Rove's insipid declaration that anyone who didn't feel the need for blind revenge is somehow less than patriotic. I understood my service to my country to be based upon the belief that we would uphold the American ideal that we will always seek to set the standard for the rest of the world to follow--liberty, humanity, civility, forthrightness, and dignity. Mr. Rove's comments besmirch anyone who seeks to have those ideals upheld.

Like Richard Nixon, Mr. Rove is a disgrace to the United States, is a stain upon American history, and serves no useful purpose within the public discourse of rational persons.

Mr. Rove needs to resign immediately. An apology is not sufficient to assuage the insult he levied upon America, nor can his continued service within the administration be tolerated.


Lots more where that came from.

Warriors

I while back, I got tagged with the book meme by Pudentilla. One of the 'five books that mean a lot to me' was Sun Tzu's The Art of War because it made me a better warrior and a better man. The Talking Dog uses it to describe the differences between China and ourselves:

[. . .]

A while back I started to do a post on Sun Tzu's The Art of War, noting that the best wars are never actually fought: proper planning and superior positioning force the enemy to succumb without having to engage in the blood and treasure costs of actual battle. The Chinese doubtless understand this. I suspect we understand it as well. The Chinese, hence, will be willing to continue selling us cheap tchotchkes performed by its quasi-slave labor force which it finances to us at artificially low renmindi valuations while we run a huge budget deficit to finance a military machine to battle a future China whose intention is to defeat a bankrupted United States who is its economic vassal, without bothering to fire a shot, or even field a soldier...

[. . .]


To quote Frank Burns: Beware the Yellow Hoarde! But if past record is an indicator, we won't know it until it's too late.

Negotiations

Remember when I said this:

[. . .]

Am I the only one who sees the parallel between this and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? How long has that mess been going on? How long will we be in Iraq? Will Iraq become known as the 'American Occupied Territories'?


Well it gets better. Billmon via the King:

[. . .]

And so we arrive at the heart of the problem: To salvage any ending short of total defeat in Iraq, the Cheney administration must act like those spineless, flip-flopping liberals. They have to negotiate with the terrorists, listening to their demands, trying to understand their grievances and goals -- shit, offering them therapy sessions for all I know. But at the same time, Bush also has to keep up the never-give-an-inch macho act, lest the silent majority finally grasp the dismal truth: Their sons and daughters must go on dying in the quagmire so the neocons can find a way out that doesn't involve losing too much face.

[. . .]


So, what are we gonna have? 30 years of cyclical negotiation-Intifadah-negotiation? That's even aside from the Chimpy hypocrisy 'we will not negotiate with terrists'.

Point men

In the 'War on Terra'. Go here to see how hard they're working to keep America safe.

Hey, keep an eye on that colored fella

[. . .]

The administration has finally cop[p]ed to torture of prisoners at not only Gitmo and Abu Gharib, but also Afghanistan. In addition, Italy has taken the extraordinary step of exposing and prosecuting covert CIA ops under the guise of conducting the War on Terror.

All an astounded TCF can say at this point is that I will be the unofficial blogger point man collecting apologies for my now unequivocally vindicated senior U.S. Senator, the honorable Richard J. Durbin. As well as, collecting names, email addresses and the URLs' of those whose compliance might necessitate holding their chestnuts to the fire.


Go there.

Grandma's right

Never apologize for telling the truth. An excellent essay by the Angry Old Broad. I was gonna steal a quote but I couldn't decide which one. Just go read it.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Our "Greasy Grass Fight"

On June 25, 1876, Lt. Col. George A. Custer and his 7th Cavalry were wiped out by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in the Battle of Little Big Horn in Montana.

Not exactly news, but I have a couple of points to make. We're all familiar with "The Battle of the Little Big Horn", wherein a small force thought it could subdue a larger one and split its forces in the arrogant belief that "white and might make right". The force that Custer committed to the actual fight was wiped out to a man.

I have always thought that the winner got to name the fight. The Sioux and Cheyenne called it "The Greasy Grass Fight". I guess that only applies if you have a written language and a printing press to make history come out however you want it to. That's point number one.

Point number two is this: WE are the Indians in this desperate battle against Bush and his arrogant cavalry of evil. Howsomever, our computers are our printing presses, and history does not have to come out like Bush and his media dogs want it to.

Stay in the saddle and ride 'em hard, boys and girls.

1,000,000

Skippy's going for a million hits by his 3rd birthday (July 10, maybe). Go there often.

Eminent Domain, Ry Cooder, and Chavez Ravine

Since there's been so much talk about eminent domain in the wake of the recent unconscionable decision of SCOTUS, I think this is very timely. Also, I'm an L.A. contemporary of Mr. Cooder's. We've never met, but we grew up not too far apart, although I didn't know it until I read this article, and I've been a fan of his for years. I remember the whole Chavez Ravine brouhaha. I've never set foot in Dodger Stadium because I didn't like the way it was acquired, even at 10 years of age. Must've been the dawn of any social consciousness I've got.

Ry Cooder has a new album that, given the lead time to do an album, is uncanny in its timing. This article in Mother Jones tells about the album, the neighborhood, and his inspiration.
As late as the 1940s, Chavez Ravine was an Old World enclave with 300 families of Mexican immigrants - a place where goats wandered freely and kids played in the dirt roads. But in 1950, following a city planning commission study of L.A.'s "blighted areas," it was decided that Chavez Ravine would be cleared out to make way for a low-income public-housing project. Most families took the meager payout and didn't challenge the authorities; when necessary, though, the city invoked the right of eminent domain, seized the land, and bulldozed the residences.

But the real estate lobby (which Cooder calls "hideous villains") saw an opportunity, and cast the idea of public housing as "creeping socialism." They accused the Los Angeles Housing Authority's Frank Wilkinson of being a communist agent, and the FBI stepped in to squash the project. Eventually, the housing authority sold 170 acres of Chavez Ravine back to the city, which offered the site to Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley. After a voter referendum and a California Supreme Court decision, construction on Dodger Stadium began in 1961. It's a classic Los Angeles story, full of shadowy deals and backroom corruption, reminiscent of Chinatown or a James Ellroy novel, and Cooder captures it with impressive complexity and nuance.
Read more Below the Fold.

Update: Went and bought the CD. I even paid retail! I haven't played it yet, but the liner notes alone are worth the money. More later.

Daily DSM

TBogg, via Roger Ailes (the good one), notes that Bush has a knack for planning his conquests far in advance.

Focus 2

Francesca:

Yes, let's continue to rant about what a remarkably innapropriate and corrupt asshat Karl Rove is. We can sign petitions and send letters to the editor or Congresspeople. But let's keep our eyes on the prize. As I've seen mentioned in a number of blogs today, these outrageous Rove statements smack of obfuscation and distraction.

While we were getting our panties in a twist yesterday over Rove, here's what else was going on.

[. . .]


An excellent catch-up piece if your time has been limited (like mine) lately.

Questions

Bubba asks a good one:

[. . .]

Does he go to bed thinking he's done a good day's work for America and Democracy and Liberty and Justice for All? Does he honestly believe he's fighting the good fight by declaring half of America traitors and terrorist sympathizers?

[. . .]


I've always wondered about that. Do these people think they're doing the right thing? I know the faithful are deluded, but what about the guys at the top? Or do they know they are orchestrating the first American coup for their greedy ends? Gut feeling: They know exactly what they're doing and they don't care.

My own road test

Since Gord has been going on about the hybrid cars over the last couple weeks, I just figured I'd give my impressions of a real car. I don't want to hear any shit from all you tree-huggers either.

1735

Granny said it best so I stole the whole thing:

Body Bags

1735 of them. President Bush has not attended a single funeral. We haven't ha[d] a serious national discussion about how we got here or where we are going.

It is complete and total disrespect for every man and woman who showed up to do their duty and paid a price. It is utterly disrespectful to the families who have empty spots where their people should be.

Demand the truth.

Employment notice

The War President

Paul Krugman:
America's founders knew all too well how war appeals to the vanity of rulers and their thirst for glory. That's why they took care to deny presidents the kingly privilege of making war at their own discretion.
In November 2002, Helen Thomas, the veteran White House correspondent, told an audience, "I have never covered a president who actually wanted to go to war" - but she made it clear that Mr. Bush was the exception. And she was right.
He talks about the DSM for a few paragraphs.
Still, some of my colleagues insist that we should let bygones be bygones. The question, they say, is what we do now. But they're wrong: it's crucial that those responsible for the war be held to account (my emphasis).
On one side, the people who sold this war, unable to face up to the fact that their fantasies of a splendid little war have led to disaster, are still peddling illusions: the insurgency is in its "last throes," says Dick Cheney. On the other, they still have moderates and even liberals intimidated: anyone who suggests that the United States will have to settle for something that falls far short of victory is accused of being unpatriotic.

We need to deprive these people of their ability to mislead and intimidate. And the best way to do that is to make it clear that the people who led us to war on false pretenses have no credibility, and no right to lecture the rest of us about patriotism.
In a Gallup poll taken in early April - that is, before the release of the Downing Street Memo - 50 percent of those polled agreed with the proposition that the administration "deliberately misled the American public" about Iraq's W.M.D. In a new Rasmussen poll, 49 percent said that Mr. Bush was more responsible for the war than Saddam Hussein, versus 44 percent who blamed Saddam.

Once the media catch up with the public, we'll be able to start talking seriously about how to get out of Iraq.
It's so easy to just let him write my stuff!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Kerry grows some

Via an email from the Sister:

Senator Kerry (D - MA) sends letter to Senate Intelligence Committee pressing for answers on the Downing Street Memo and other Downing documents. The letter leaked to Raw Story, is also signed by Senators Johnson, Corzine, Reed, Lautenberg, Boxer, Kennedy, Harkin, Bingaman, and Durbin. The text of the letter is below . . .


Who'd have thought it?

Good = Iraq = Bad

Via Scott over at the Wankers:

WASHINGTON - The top American commander in the Persian Gulf told Congress on Thursday that the Iraqi insurgency has not grown weaker over the past six months, despite a claim by Vice President Dick Cheney that it was in its "last throes."

Gen. John Abizaid's testimony came at a contentious Senate Armed Services Committee hearing at which Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld clashed with members of both parties, including a renewed call by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts for him to step down. [my emphasis]

[. . .]


Clinton lied and only a blue dress was sacrificed. The Bush administration can't even get the 'Lie of the Day' straight as 2000 Americans die.

Note to Bush on Timetable for Withdrawal

Get real. Go ahead and announce a timetable for withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. I don't think it will make the insurgents "lie low" like you claim. Hell, you lie about everything else, what makes you think the insurgents will even believe you? They may be zealots, but they're not stupid. They're religious zealots, a lot of them, but what works on your base may not work on other religious zealots that aren't as stupid. Dipshit.

Kristen Breitweiser

Mr. Rove, the first thing that I would like to address is Afghanistan - the place that anyone with a true "understanding of 9/11" knows is a nation that actually has a connection to the 9/11 attacks. One month after 9/11, we invaded Afghanistan, took down the Taliban, and left without capturing Usama Bin Laden - the alleged perpetrator of the September 11th attacks. In the meantime, Afghanistan has carried out democratic elections, but continues to suffer from extreme violence and unrest. Poppy production (yes, Karl, the drug trade) is at an all time high, thus flooding the world market with heroin. And of course, the oil pipeline (a.k.a. the Caspian Sea pipeline) is better protected by U.S. troops who now have a "legitimate" excuse to be in that part of Afghanistan. Interesting isn't it Karl that the drug "rat line" parallels the oil pipeline. (Yet, with all those troops guarding that same sliver of land, can you please explain how those drugs keep getting through?)

Now Karl, a question for you, since you seem to be the nation's self-styled sensei with regard to 9/11: Is Usama Bin Laden still important? Lately, your coterie of friends seems to be giving out mixed messages. Recall that in the early days, Bin Laden was wanted "dead or alive." Then when Bin Laden slipped through your fingertips in Tora Bora, you downgraded his importance. We were told that Bin Laden was a "desperate man on the run," and a person that President Bush was not "too worried about". Yet, whenever I saw Bin Laden's videos, he looked much too comfortable to actually be a man on the run. He looked tan, rested, and calm. He certainly didn't look the way I wanted the murderer of almost 3,000 innocent people to look: unkempt, panicked, and cowering in a corner.

Karl, I mention Bin Laden because recently Director of the CIA, Porter Goss, has mentioned that he knows exactly where Bin Laden is located but that he cannot capture him for fear of offending sovereign nations. Which frankly, I find ironic because of Iraq--and let's just leave it at that. But, when you say that "moderation and restraint" don't work in fighting terrorists, maybe you should share those comments with Mr. Goss because he doesn't seem to be on the same page as you. Unless of course, Porter is holding out to announce that Bin Laden is in Iran. (Karl, I want Bin Laden brought to justice, but not if it means starting a war with Iran - a country that possesses nuclear weaponry. The idea of nuclear fallout in any quadrant of the world is just not an acceptable means to any ends, be it capturing Bin Laden, oil or drugs. But, Afghanistan and Bin Laden are old news. Iraq is the story of today. And of course, it appears that Iran will be the story of next month. But, I digress.)

[. . .]


Read the rest of her post at Arianna's place.

Kablooie in St. Looie

Yeah, I know, this isn't about politics. I just wanted to use that title! I've been watching the TV coverage of the brouhaha at the Praxair plant in St. Louis. It's totally bitchin' watching that shit cook off!

That company repackages and distributes mostly welding gasses. Most welding gasses are inert, and are used to shield the work from oxygen in wire-feed welding, such as MIG and TIG. They don't burn, but they are under intense pressure and when they cook off they disperse the fire in a pattern consistent with the pattern of their own dispersal, which are the fireballs we've been seeing.

Oxygen doesn't burn, but not very much will burn without it. It supports and enhances combustion. That's what makes the BIG fireballs.

Acetylene is very combustible and burns with heavy black carbon smoke. That's the stuff that makes a carbide cannon go BOOM! It also lights the headlight on my motorcycle. I fill the headlight tank with carbide and pee in it when I leave the bar to wobble home. After it builds up a little acetylene pressure, I light it with my cigarette. It only blows the light to smithereens occasionally.

When I first turned the TV on, I thought it was home video of Fixer cuttin' up a little right after the third keg at the company picnic.

Please

Will Tom Cruise please shut the fuck up and get off my fucking TV.

Ask The Man Who's Been There...

Frameshop offers another take on why recruiting for the Army and Marine Corps is down.
Amidst the noise over issues that mean little, if anything, in comparison to Iraq, nobody seems to be asking this: Why are Americans no longer inspired to serve in the armed forces? What has happened in less than five years of George W. Bush as President that Americans are shying away from service in our military?

The answer is disarmingly simple: politicians lie, soldiers don't.

That's the long and short of it. In the past few months, the truth that soldiers speak upon returning from Iraq has started to outpace the lies that policians tell in their attempts to sell the war to the American people. And that impact will continue to be felt the longer we keep our soldiers in Iraq.
Sure, there are stories of triumph and stories of hope. But mostly, the stories being told at the kitchen tables and water coolers of America's military communities are stories of pain and uncertainty, stories of inspiration lost and dedication to service gone sour. They are stories of violence so brazen that even the most courageous among us are forced to pause and stare silently at our feet. They are stories that are slowly giving rise to the one, powerful force that truly has the potential to stop the war in Iraq: the force of resistance to the war from ordinary, unknown, workaday American citizens.
This is a good post to go read. One Marine describes his first tour, during the invasion, and his second tour after rotating home. The difference is startling.
"People who say it's getting better...I would like them to enlist, and go see how great it is firsthand."

DSM Update

So the weasel has something to say about the DSM?

GREGORY: As you well know, critics of this war have seized on what's being called now the Downing Street Memo, based on meetings that Britain's Chief of Intelligence had with American officials about the war. One issue that comes up in that memo and subsequent memos is British concerns about the fact that the White House in their view wasn't adequately thinking about what happens after the regime falls.

ROVE: I'm glad you brought that up because I want to put that in context. First of all that is the British - a Brit making a comment about what he perceived to be U.S. policy. But remember the time frame, it is months and months and months before the balloon goes up in Iraq. And in those intervening months there was plenty of time planning for post-war efforts, vast amounts of planning. You never know exactly how a war is going to plan out. Napoleon once said, 'vast numbers of refugees enormous problems with food aid'- did not happen. Vast uprising- didn't happen. That we would see a vast uprising by hundreds of thousands of Iraqis- didn't happen. War is ugly, but a lot went very well with this effort and in part it was because the United States government and our coalition partners used the months to plan for any eventuality.


So they took all that time to plan for any postwar contingency? Who did the planning, Mickey-fucking-Mouse? And, uh, Karl? Napoleon Bonaparte is not the person to cite when describing your military planning. Remember Russia? Remember Waterloo? Remember the Bastille? You fucking idiot.

GREGORY: But if you're talking about the number of troops necessary, the level of American casualties, the force and intensity of the insurgency. . . did the president mislead the American people about the cost of the war or was he just simply surprised by what happened?

ROVE: I would go back to the president's statements over the last several years and I would defy you to find one speech which he talked about Iraq where he doesn't say there would be difficult times ahead, that we had a long road to hope that a great deal of sacrifice was going to be called for by both the American people and by the Iraqis to achieve this goal. Look, we do not underestimate the ferocity and the anger and the viciousness of the people that we face. We are in a war. Some people may treat it as a law enforcement matter and be worried about indictments from the U.S. attorney from the southern district of New York. But we recognize this administration and the American people we are in a war and the only way you have a successful outcome in the war is to aim for a complete and total victory, which is exactly what we're doing. [my emphases]


Yep, that 'complete and total victory'. Is that anything like 'Mission Accomplished', Dickface?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Consign Rove Unto the Fire...

Or if you don't think you can swing an eternity of damnation and suffering for him, go sign this petition to can his ass. It probably won't do any good, but it'll make you feel better. There's some good comments. Thanks to Jami at Hillary Now via An Angry Old Broad.

Wow, Man! This Stuff'll Make Ya Go Bug-Fuck!

James Wolcott does it again.
Over the years I've often found myself wondering if certain members of the devil's party inhale insecticide to psyche themselves up for the evil they do. Tom DeLay is a logical candidate, given his professional background, and Ann Coulter often has the bug eyes characteristic of bug-juice abuse. Watching Fox News, I figured they might keep a industrial-sized bug inhaler in the offices for their producers and hosts to take an invigorating hit from before pushing the Bush agenda.
Apparently, they actually do. Go Read.

Houston's A Blast!

Following yesterday's post where I quoted Hot Tub Tommy thus:
"You know, if Houston, Texas, was held to the same standard as Iraq is held to, nobody'd go to Houston, because all this reporting coming out of the local press in Houston is violence, murders, robberies, deaths on the highways," DeLay said.
Needlenose relays some news:
. . . Throughout Houston, meanwhile, residents were buying up bottled water and siphoning from functioning water lines as hundreds of thousands of people remained without running water for the third day, adding to the general misery in a torrid city where electrical blackouts, gasoline lines, car bombs and gun battles are part of everyday life.
Heh heh. I think perhaps I hear steamrollers on the playing field as we speak...

Another North Carolinian Jumps Ship...

From Raw Story:
A candidate for North Carolina Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court has announced on her campaign's blog that she is leaving the Republican Party and denounced the Bush administration's policy on troop withdrawal from Iraq. Rachel Lea Hunter, a Republican and a candidate for Chief Justice, likens Bush's administration to the "Nazis" and says that all who disagree with the administration are being branded as "traitors".
Now there's an activist judge I can live with! Whatever's going on in North Carolina (or as we referred to it at Camp Lejeune, "North Khaki Lackey") what with this and Rep. Jones, I like it! Maybe they cleared some of the pig shit out of the drinking water.

Evangelicals Building a Base in Iraq

Go read this article in the WaPo if you want.

This makes me happy. I am glad to see "foreign evangelicals" surging into Iraq. We can fight them there instead of fighting them here. Wherever we have to fight them is OK, though.

Wrong headed

From Loren blogging at Jane's:

With his voice cracking from emotion Illinois Senator Dick Durbin apologized for questioning the tactics of U.S. military interrogators at Guantanamo Bay. You didn't need a television or a radio to hear the cackling from conservative Republican operatives.

Score another victory for Bushite Forces punching the right emotional buttons with the American public. It's all about marketing your message. If you know how to play the game you can turn a lousy movie into a blockbuster at the box office, sell a car that eats gasoline like a hungry sumo wrestler or in this case sell a political perception.

[. . .]


Durbin should have told everyone to go fuck themselves. We are turning our troops in Gitmo into Nazi Stormtroopers by allowing their harsher demons to emerge in these kind of environments. They are torturing detainees. And the fact we are holding hundreds of of people without charge goes completely against the American philosophy.

And you wonder why the Repubs think we're pushovers.

The Real News in the Downing Street Memos

Commentary by Michael Smith, the guy who first reported on the DSM, in the LATimes:
I did not then regard the now-infamous memo - the one that includes the minutes of the July 23 meeting - as the most important. My main article focused on the separate briefing paper for those taking part, prepared beforehand by Cabinet Office experts.
In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq.

The way in which the intelligence was "fixed" to justify war is old news.

The real news is the shady April 2002 deal to go to war, the cynical use of the U.N. to provide an excuse, and the secret, illegal air war without the backing of Congress (my emphasis).
We've all heard about this and posted about it, it's nothing brand new. Since this article came out just today straight from the pen of the guy who broke the story in the first place, I think it bears repeating for this reason: Most of the attention on the DSM concentrates on "fixing" the policy, and why the media hasn't pushed it more. I think perhaps we're not seeing the forest because of all the trees.

I think Mr. Smith is bringing attention to the more important issue, and I think he's right. By now, the media has sort of been hit in the face with the DSM to the point where it had to say something about it, but so far all I've heard about is the "fixing". It is old news.

We all know this administration lies like a rug. Remember, please, that they are also adept at deception and misdirection, sleight of hand if you will, and may be perfectly happy to let the debate spin its wheels on the less important issue. Lying to Congress about WMD is one thing: they can get away with it even though everybody knows they made it all up, because they can always shift the blame to "poor intelligence" and at least have a (legally) reasonable doubt, barring the emergence of a new-age Deep Throat (Please, Lord!). They control the Congress and know they're not going to get impeached over this.

Howsomever, if Congress figures out that the (p)resident started a war without even asking them like it says to do in the Constitution, they might get pissed off and do something, even if just out of spite from being ignored like they're just "the help". Maybe it's time we started pushing the BBP instead of just the DSM. Think about it.

You have been warned

As I said yesterday. I got proofs to go over for my publisher so my blogging will be sporadic. I stole this fully and completely from the Sister.

Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest:
Wouldn't it be interesting if it turned out that one of the major players in convincing America to tie its military up in Iraq, was at the same time providing North Korea with technology to improve its missiles? (Not to mention providing NK with submarines.)

Wouldn't it be interesting if it turned out that one of the major players in convincing America to take sides in the Middle East conflict turned out to be an espionage front for that side? (See also here.)

Remember the STF rule. When Republicans accuse...

(See more accusations here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here ...)
Why, yes. It would be interesting. Though not in an especially good way.

Meanwhile, Scott Ritter suggests that the US has already begun war with Iran, in much the same way we began war with Iraq, as we're now finding out care of the Downing Street Memos:

President Bush had signed a covert finding in late spring 2002, which authorised the CIA and US Special Operations forces to dispatch clandestine units into Iraq for the purpose of removing Saddam Hussein from power.

The fact is that the Iraq war had begun by the beginning of summer 2002, if not earlier.

[. . .]

It represents a record of precedent on the part of the Bush administration which must be acknowledged when considering the ongoing events regarding US-Iran relations. As was the case with Iraq pre-March 2003, the Bush administration today speaks of "diplomacy" and a desire for a "peaceful" resolution to the Iranian question.

But the facts speak of another agenda, that of war and the forceful removal of the theocratic regime, currently wielding the reigns of power in Tehran.

[. . .]

The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities.

The violation of a sovereign nation's airspace is an act of war in and of itself. But the war with Iran has gone far beyond the intelligence-gathering phase.
Go read the rest. And when you're finished, check out this piece at Freiheit und Wissen that pulls in additional information (such as the military installation currently being readied in Azerbaijan, just north of Iran), and see if you aren't ready to shit your breeks at the thought of what's in store for us as regards the two remaining players in Bush's "Axis of Evil."

I also spoke of this here, here, and here. Mark my words, we won't know about Iran until it's too late.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Crap

The report from the team investigating religious intolerance at the Air Force Academy. It boils down to this:

[. . .]

"There is a lack of operational guidance that tells commanders and senior supervisors exactly what is appropriate in regard to free exercise of religion," the general said. "There were some faculty and staff, in efforts that were probably well-intentioned, who expressed their faith in ways that were inappropriate for somebody in a position of authority."

[. . .]


More below the fold . . .

A Republican With A Conscience? Do Tell!

From AlterNet:
In the heady atmosphere of war lust and post-9/11 New Patriotism that subsumed Washington in March 2003, GOP House Representative of North Carolina Walter B. Jones made a stand. Jones told the press that he hoped his effort to rename French fries, "Freedom Fries," in the House cafeterias would prompt visitors "to think of the thousands of military members overseas who are there for you, for me, and for the freedom of millions of people they never know personally."

It was the high-water mark in the Campaign to Hate France, a key splinter project of the Let's Get Iraq effort.

Two years later, Rep. Jones told North Carolina's big daily, the Raleigh News & Observer, that he wished the Freedom Fries incident "had never happened" and that Congress "must be told the truth" about the Iraq war.
In every single direction, Iraq is staring at Walter Jones in the face, and it's turned him into an emotional wreck. Jones hangs photographs of the fallen soldiers from his district at the entrance to his congressional offices, and their eyes meet his every time he enters the offices. More than 100 Marines from Camp Lejeune have lost their lives; Jones has written letters to the 1,300 family members who survive them. Mix in the closed-door sessions he attends with generals and intelligence experts telling him every single thing is going wrong, the despair of wives and children on the bases who have seen tours of duty extended, and the disquiet, misery and injuries of the returned combat veterans. Jones still talks about the funeral he attended two years ago of Sgt. Michael Bitz, who never saw the birth of his twin sons.
It isn't just the book about war dogs, it's anything at all. This isn't about politics; it's personal, and utterly emotional. Walter Jones can't lie about Iraq anymore. He's worked in the beating heart of this rotten American war effort for almost three years, and he's complicit in all of it. It's enough to make a congressman cry.
I just know that other Congressmen have seen the light. I just wish they had the balls to admit it like Rep. Jones. Go read the rest.

Frisco Jon Offers To Sell Out Liberals

Jon Carroll of the EssEff Chron has a few things to say about the new Bush-blowing trend of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
So now it turns out the Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the new chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, hired a researcher in Indiana to document the liberal leanings of the television program "Now" with Bill Moyers. Tomlinson, it may be remembered, is currently trying to make public television "fair and balanced" by hiring Republican hacks to fill every position he controls.
This unnamed researcher classified as "liberal" an appearance by Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska who has a strong conservative voting record but a certain mistrust of the administration's reasons for invading Iraq. Also "liberal" was a program on wasteful spending at the Pentagon. There was a time when the profligate spending by big government was a major conservative issue, but no more. In order to find real conservatives, you have to wander over to the libertarian party.
I've decided to cut out the middle man. The White House is always looking for liberal bias in the news media, and I can help them find it. I can monitor my own column, and write detailed reports about the bias therein. For an extra 20 grand, I would testify before a Senate committee against myself, revealing my long record of liberal opinions. Whatever the Bush administration is seeking to prove, it can prove it by me.
I could tailor my bias to the crisis of the moment. Does the administration believe that liberals hate America? I could hate America. "Oh, darn you America with your bombing of Iraqi villages and your coddling of Pakistani warlords! Darn you with your pretending that opium-growing is no longer a problem in Afghanistan. Gosh darn you to heck for using fossil fuels at a suicidal rate and befouling the atmosphere and ... " is that enough?
I realize that I have missed out on the booming market in sniffing out liberalism. As a liberal myself, I can track other liberals to their lairs and, using my powers of disassembling, discover their dirty secrets.
Good goin', Jon. I'm sure we all want to know the dirt on Big Bird and why Mr. Rogers really left PBS, too.

Too Bad We Don't Have An Infantry Division To Spare Right Now...

"Hot Tub Tommy" DeLay sticks his foot in his mouth again. From the Houston Chronicle:
When House Majority Leader Tom DeLay sat down with reporters on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, he was asked to assess President Bush's campaign in Iraq and to respond to criticism that the military mission is not going well and the White House needs to develop an exit strategy.

DeLay offered this response: "These things take time and they take a long time, and some people get weary of the constant barrage that we see in the media.

"You know, if Houston, Texas, was held to the same standard as Iraq is held to, nobody'd go to Houston, because all this reporting coming out of the local press in Houston is violence, murders, robberies, deaths on the highways," DeLay said.
I got an idea: Let's level the playing field to help ol' Tommy out here. Let's turn a few hundred bombers, cruise missiles, and artillery pieces loose on Houston and follow up with an Infantry division or two. Wreck all the infrastructure like power and shit plants and water works. Send all the cops, firemen, and city workers home - disband them, so to speak. Put all the people out of work and not guard anything against looting. Then we could hold Houston to the same standard as Iraq.

One caution, though: Don't hurt the jail. Tommy's gonna need it in good shape to serve his time. What a fuckin' dildo.

Don't care

I really don't give a fuck about that little boy in Utah or the missing girl in Aruba. Sounds cold, but sorry. I don't. There are far more important things affecting this country. I get better coverage of what's going on here from EuroNews (Cable Channel 103 on Long Island) than any of the American news services.

Light blogging

Light blogging (probably) for me for the next couple days. Have to look over some proofs for my publisher.

Don't be fooled

For the moment, what should be considered a clear sign of tactical political failure by the Right, is when they need to manufacture outrage over the Dems' alleged refusal to negotiate, after an unsuccessful attempt to previously steamroll them on the very same issue. The demise of the linchpin of Bush's second term agenda will rightfully serve as the precedent for TCF's theory, as the word on Capitol Hill is that Congressional Republicans are looking for a Social Security 'exit strategy'.

And, for rightfully suspicious Lefty lurkers wary of seemingly harmless foliage in the outstretched hand of a Conservative foe, a call for a destructive rhetorical cease-fire over Iraq by Rush Limbaugh is neither a capitulation nor a sincere act of patriotism.

[. . .]


TCF speaks volumes to the Right's sudden amiability to compromise. Remember, when an animal is wounded is when he's the most dangerous.

It's all good

River has another post up:

[. . .]

Detentions and assassinations, along with intermittent electricity, have also been contributing to sleepless nights. We're hearing about raids in many areas in the Karkh half of Baghdad in particular. On the television the talk about 'terrorists' being arrested, but there are dozens of people being rounded up for no particular reason. Almost every Iraqi family can give the name of a friend or relative who is in one of the many American prisons for no particular reason. They aren't allowed to see lawyers or have visitors and stories of torture have become commonplace. Both Sunni and Shia clerics who are in opposition to the occupation are particularly prone to attacks by "Liwa il Theeb" or the special Iraqi forces Wolf Brigade. They are often tortured during interrogation and some of them are found dead. [my emphasis]

[. . .]


Bringing Democracy to a neighborhood near you. Thank God we can get some unvarnished news from Iraq. Unfortunately. things aren't going as swimmingly as Chimpy Inc. says.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What was that you said you were, again...?

Angry Old Broad's on a roll.

Chickenhawks

Here's a good one, via DemVet. Not only is this guy young and stupid, he's also a fucking idiot:

It got long on me, so I put the rest below the fold . . .

Hmmm....

An Angry Old Broad has some food for thought on the authenticity of the DSM. Read the comments too.

Idiots

From Pissed Off Patricia:

Vietnamese Leader to Meet With Bush Washington Post link

Whose idea was this? What a damned good idea to bring up the memories of Vietnam right now. Which genius in the white house thought this would be a positive move. Now, when the Iraq war is looking like the ugly stepsister of the war in Vietnam, along with all its hideous memories, might not be the best time to put that war back in the spotlight. Someone must have had a scheduling problem . . .


Let's see what this stupidity brings, not counting the obvious parallels between then and now. Personally, I know a bunch of Vietnam vets who will get really pissed off over this. They're still mad at McCain for getting all touchy-feely with the Vietnamese. Bush could shoot himself in the foot with an extraordinarily dumb PR move.

Scene Of The Crime

RJ Eskow at Night Light has some questions on the DSM as well.

Another "Pearl Harbor" Oughta Do The Trick...

From James Wolcott:
Now we know that the neocon Project for a New American Century said that a "catalyzing event--like a new Pearl Harbor" might be needed to unleash the forces of transformation envisioned by Perle and company, but 9/11 certainly fit the bill. Now we're being told that that wasn't enough, Americans are still too complacent on the couch, and that another 9/11 is needed to piggyback on the first 9/11 and then maybe we'll get serious about terror--"that nothing absent another significant attack on the homeland will wake us from our media induced stupor."
Go read this one. There's lots more.

Actually, you should click here and read 'til your eyes hurt.

I told ya

I said this a year ago. The U.S. ain't gonna let Saddam stand trial. He knows too much about our involvement in the Iran/Iraq War (Who do you think gave Saddam the WMD to kill the Iranians?) and the gassing of all those Kurds.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Iraqi's justice minister said today that U.S. officials are trying to delay interrogations of Saddam Hussein.

Justice Minister Abdel Hussein Shandal, in Brussels for an international conference on Iraq, also accused the U.S. of concealing information about the ousted Iraqi leader.

"It seems there are lots of secrets they want to hide,'' he told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview.

Shandal also said Saddam's trial would be over by the end of the year.

American officials have privately urged caution about rushing into a trial, saying the Iraqis need to developed a solid judicial system. They also worry it could interfere with the important constitution writing process and inflame sectarian tensions.

[. . .]


How much you wanna bet Saddam dies in a 'rescue' attempt by 'insurgent forces' just before his trial?

Link via Maru.

Heh

[. . .]

"But we gotta be there and fight in order to do it. And believe me, we are going to fight back. I don't care if Dick Cheney likes my mother or not. We are going to fight back," Dean said to cheers and applause. "I think it's great that Dick Cheney went after me, to be honest. At least they notice there's a Democratic Party that's not going to put up with this stuff any more. So there's a lot we're gonna do."


None other than our own Howard Dean.

Thanks to Lambert for the link.

The Blog Circuit Court Of Appeals

The DSM has brought out a lot of commentary on why the MSM didn't give much weight to it at first, and why that is changing. Here's a take from PressThink:
News judgment used to be king. If the press ruled against you, you just weren't news. But if you weren't news how would anyone know enough about you to contest the ruling? Today, the World Wide Web is the sovereign force, and journalists live and work according to its rules.
It goes on for quite a ways, but it's easy readin'. Lotsa links.

Circular Logic

Go see This Modern World.

Ivins on DSM

I like Molly Ivins and value her opinions. She chimes in on the media mishandling and back-pedalling (aka coverin' its ass) on the DSM. Go read, but here's the upshot:
I don't know if these memos represent an impeachable offense -- although I must say, I don't want to bring up the Clinton comparison again. But they strike me as a hell of lot worse than anything Richard Nixon ever contemplated. He used the government for petty political vindictiveness. Heck, I'd settle for that again, over what we're looking at now.

The irony of Deep Throat surfacing after all these years in the midst of this memo mess is almost too precious. Does The Washington Post have any hungry young reporters on Metro anymore? I'd say, start with: Who did Dearlove meet with besides George Tenet?
She's right. This mess needs to be investigated from Hell to breakfast, by Congress for sure, but also by an investigative reporter with the stones to do it. If there are none of those left, we might as well spread jam on ourselves, 'cuz we're toast.

Some of you folks have read the entire Briefing Papers from top to bottom, I am sure. What questions that need to be asked were raised in your mind?

No Bolton

From Michael Stickings at The Reaction:

The Bolton nomination continues to go nowhere, as Democrats stood firm once again on Monday to prevent it from going to the floor for a final vote. The Times reports here:


(p)resident 'Bring It On' is gonna have to do his own dirty work here. He'll have to use a recess appointment to get Bolton in place. The only people who'll be happy about that are his Christo-Fascist, Jesus freak, chickenhawk base. How many Repub senators (the so-called 'moderates') do you think this is gonna piss off? Wave goodbye to some more of that 'political capital', moron. The people you're dissing now were the margin you needed to push your crazy policies through congress. Good luck with that from now on. Did you say 'Energy Bill'? Did you say 'Social Security Reform' [cough]? Ha-ha-ha-ha!

John Kerry = Spineless weasel

Via True Blue Liberal:

WASHINGTON - Walking a tightrope on a politically charged issue, Sen. John F. Kerry vowed weeks ago to raise the controversial ``Downing Street Memo'' as an issue in Washington, but has since publicly held his tongue on the matter.

Instead, Kerry has been enlisting other senators to sign onto a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee seeking answers about the memo, aides said.

[. . .]


Just say 'no' to John Kerry in '08. Fucking pussy. I (and a whole bunch of others) stood by you last year, supported you, defended you against the Swift Boat accusations, and busted my ass to try and get you elected. It turns out you're just a spineless ass who doesn't want to go on record about anything, lest something you say can be used against you. You know, once upon a time, you thought nothing of engaging the enemy and fighting the good fight. What the fuck happened to you, man?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Decompression

Enough serious shit for a second. Via Travis, who gets the best stuff:


create your own personalized map of the USA

create your own visited country map

DSM/Traction

PSoTD has been keeping track of the amount of coverage the Downing Street Memos have been getting over the last couple weeks. Impressive.

Frist fucking

And MandT uses the whole arm:

[. . .]

Frist's arching hypocrisy about morality and the right to life are bottom feeding excreta at best. The thought that this incompetent quack practices medicine should send shivers down the spineless backs of Republicans to their cloven hooves. Now that Frist is jockying with Jeb Bush for the '08' nomination he is back-peddling as righteously as possible:

[. . .]


An excellent post dissecting the AsylumSenate Majority Leader and (p)resident Dicknose's little brother. Now, if they'd just make the print a little bigger over at Adgita . . .

I'm Takin' The Rest Of The Day Off. Well, Maybe...

There is so much stuff out there about DSM, the Media, etc. that it's hard to pick stuff to post. At the risk of giving away my secret, and in the interest of getting it all out to where you can see it, go to Cursor and from there to Media Transparency. I think it's the best news link out there.

Tomgram on Media and the DSM

From TomDispatch:
Well, for one thing, the political Internet simply wouldn't stop yammering about them. Long before they were discussed in print, they were already up and being analyzed at sites like the War in Context and Antiwar.com. So credit the blogosphere with this one, at least in part. But let's not create too heroic a tale of the Internet's influence to match the now vastly overblown tale of the role of the press in the Watergate affair. Part of the answer also involves a shift in the wind -- the wind being, in the case of politics, falling polling figures for the President and Congress. Can't you feel it? The Bush administration seems somehow to be weakening.

The mainstream media can feel it, too, and weakness is irresistible. Before we're done, if we're not careful, we'll have a heroic tale of how the media saved us all from the Bush administration.
It's lengthy, like all his stuff, but give your overheated typing digit a rest and go read.

Plugging Into Hybrids

I like Hybrid cars. I think they're a giant leap in the art of Not Having To Walk v. Despoiling the Planet. Go read this article and then go the Hybrid Center. Pretty soon you'll be as smart as me. Then it'll be lunchtime.

Bolton's Gone, Nuke Removal Can Proceed..

John Bolton's removal from State is a good thing. From the WaPo:
For years, a key U.S. program intended to keep Russian nuclear fuel out of terrorist hands has been frozen by an arcane legal dispute. As undersecretary of state, John R. Bolton was charged with fixing the problem, but critics complained he was the roadblock.

Now with Bolton no longer in the job, U.S. negotiators report a breakthrough with the Russians and predict a resolution will be sealed by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin at an international summit in Scotland next month, clearing the way to eliminate enough plutonium to fuel 8,000 nuclear bombs.
It was some legal crap about fixing liability if anything went wrong. Nothing that should have slowed the process.

And they want this guy as ambassador to the U.N.? They just want him out of D.C. I got the plan: make him ambassador to Nepal. He'll get tough with the hill people and those Gurkhas'll slice him into pieces with their kukris. End of problem.

Someone Else's Child

Me 'n Fixer have gone on about this before. No links, I'm lazy. Just read the entire Brain back to 1973. Op-Ed by Bob Herbert in the NYTimes:
It has become clearer than ever that Americans do not want to fight George W. Bush's tragically misguided war in Iraq.

You can still find plenty of folks arguing that we have to stay the course, or even raise the stakes by sending more troops to the war zone. But from the very start of this war the loudest of the flag-waving hawks were those who were safely beyond military age themselves and were unwilling to send their own children off to fight.

It's easy to be macho when you have nothing at risk. The hawks want the war to be fought with other people's children, while their own children go safely off to college, or to the mall.
If the United States had a draft (for which there is no political sentiment), its warriors would be drawn from a much wider swath of the population, and political leaders would think much longer and harder before committing the country to war.
Especially a bullshit criminal war like this one, fought for empire and wealth for the few. When the draft starts up, and the Selective (used to be, if you were poor or black, maybe not so much this time) Service has personnel on standy ready to rock right now, you'll hear an outcry that you won't believe from the parents who supported this war until their kids have to go fight it. I think it'll actually be something like, "My kid is too privileged, I've spent an awful lot of money giving him a shot at the big time, who's gonna reimburse me if he gets blown to pieces or comes home with PTSD? Send the poor kids, they got nothin' to live for anyway. Let Bush use them up!"

Wouldn't doubt it a bit. Bring on the draft, I say. It'll signify the end of the Bush cabal when the moneyed class turns on him.

Libraries Say Yes, Officials Do Quiz Them About Users

From the NYTimes:
Law enforcement officials have made at least 200 formal and informal inquiries to libraries for information on reading material and other internal matters since October 2001, according to a new study that adds grist to the growing debate in Congress over the government's counterterrorism powers.
"Any conclusion that federal law enforcement has an extraordinary interest in libraries is wholly manufactured as a result of misinformation," Mr. Madden said.

The study, which surveyed 1,500 public libraries and 4,000 academic libraries, used anonymous responses to address legal concerns. A large majority of those who responded to the survey said they had not been contacted by any law enforcement agencies since October 2001, when the Patriot Act was passed.

But there were 137 formal requests or demands for information in that time, 49 from federal officials and the remainder from state or local investigators. Federal officials have sometimes used local investigators on joint terrorism task forces to conduct library inquiries.
While it appears that librarians are not mandated to tell the Feds when you check out out a book on "Fly Fishing in Tora Bora", it does appear that they have more of an interest than they let on. The revision of the Patriot Act may have done some actual good for our privacy and civil rights under the Constitution.

More On Unreported Casualties

Following up on Fixer's post, "Nightmares", maybe not so much. From Daily Kos via Grannyinsanity.
My friend Rob emailed icasualties.org regarding yesterdays post about thousands of unreport GI deaths. These people have already been researching these numbers EVERY DAY since the war. I think their reponse is important for everyone to read. Some choice excerpts:

"In a word ... NO ... I do not believe such a discrepancy is even remotely possible."

"We have thousands upon thousands of eyes out there watching that list. We aren't missing thousands of names.

The last thing to consider is this: the Bush administration isn't GOOD ENOUGH to hide that many deaths. They haven't managed to hide Halliburton's over-runs. They haven't managed to hide the troop equipment shortages. And they haven't managed to hide their own ineptness in the whole occupation. Somehow the truth has a way of seeping out between the cracks."
This appears to be a cruel hoax. I can't imagine why anyone would want to add further grief to the families and loved ones of our slain troops, but I got a little message for 'em: STOP IT! Look, we all hate Bush and his criminal war. We all know this administration is totally incompetent and would lie about the color of its socks. That's no reason to stoop to their level and pull a bullshit scam that doesn't do anybody any good.

FuckingHelping Africa

From my colleague WhyNot at Pourquoi Pas:

[. . .]

I sure hope someone can contradict the statements of this article, and with substantial proofs, for as it is, it is but another disgraceful example of the exploitation and self-righteousness the western world is capable of.

[. . .]