Saturday, January 15, 2005

Powell: "We're Losing." Bush: "Hit the Bricks."

From the Financial Times.
Mr Powell's bleak assessment, less than three weeks before Iraqis are due to elect a parliament, reflects what advisers close to the administration and former officials describe as an understanding in the State Department and Pentagon of the depth of the crisis.

But, they say, this is not a view accepted by President George W. Bush.

One counterinsurgency expert said Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary, had a "brutally accurate" picture of the situation and the potential dangers.

But a member of an influential neoconservative policy group said that such warnings "stop well short of the president".

He said Mr Rumsfeld, criticised for the conduct of the war, had an interest in hiding the true picture from the president.

According to Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and head of the independent Middle East Policy Council, Mr Bush recently asked Mr Powell for his view on the progress of the war. "We're losing," Mr Powell was quoted as saying. Mr Freeman said Mr Bush then asked the secretary of state to leave.

Analysts are concerned that with the departure of Mr Powell and his replacement by Condoleezza Rice, the president's loyal national security adviser, the White House will be further shielded from dissent.

Bush, you started this fuckin' war on a lie and it's not going the way you wanted it to, and now you don't want to hear about it? You're a fucking asshole.

Outta here

Stolen fully and completely from Skippy 'cause it was so good:

subject: california's secession letter to bush:

dear president bush:

congratulations on your victory over all us non-evangelicals. actually, we're a bit ticked off here in california, so we're leaving. california will now be its own country. and we're taking all the blue states with us. in case you are not aware, that includes hawaii, oregon, washington, minnesota, wisconsin, michigan, illinois, and all of the north east.

we spoke to god, and she agrees that this split will be beneficial to almost everybody, and especially to us in the new country of california. in fact, god is so excited about it, she's going to shift the whole country at 4:30 pm est this friday. therefore, please let everyone know they need to be back in their states by then.

so you get texas and all the former slave states. we get the governator, stem cell research and the best beaches. we get elliot spitzer. you get ken lay. (okay, we have to keep martha stewart, we can live with that.) we get the statue of liberty. you get opryland. we get intel and microsoft. you get worldcom. we get harvard. you get old miss.' we get 85% of america's venture capital and entrepreneurs. you get all the technological innovation in alabama. we get about two-thirds of the tax revenue, and you get to make the red states pay their fair share. since our divorce rate is 22% lower than the christian coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. you get a bunch of single moms to support, and we know how much you like that.

did i mention we produce about 70% of the nation's veggies? but heck the only greens the bible-thumpers eat are the pickles on their big macs. oh yeah, another thing, don't plan on serving california wine at your state dinners. from now on it's imported french wine for you. ouch, bet that hurts.

just so we're clear, the country of california will be pro-choice and anti-war. speaking of war, we're going to want all blue states citizens back from iraq. if you need people to fight, just ask your evangelicals. they have tons of kids they're willing to send to their deaths for absolutely no purpose. and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their kids' caskets coming home.

anyway, we wish you all the best in the next four years and we hope, really hope, you find those missing weapons of mass destruction. seriously. soon.


Bullshit's gettin' deep


WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 - Over the objections of many of its own employees, the Social Security Administration is gearing up for a major effort to publicize the financial problems of Social Security and to convince the public that private accounts are needed as part of any solution.

[. . .]

But agency employees have complained to Social Security officials that they are being conscripted into a political battle over the future of the program. They question the accuracy of recent statements by the agency, and they say that money from the Social Security trust fund should not be used for such advocacy.

[. . .]

So the Repub Noise Machine is gonna inundate us with horeseshit until everybody believes Social Security is going down the tubes in 20 minutes. You can bet Fox already has the red staters lining up to 'git us one of them thar private accounts'.

[. . .]

Deborah C. Fredericksen of Minneapolis, who has worked for the Social Security Administration for 31 years, said, "Many employees believe that the president and this agency are using scare tactics to promote private accounts."

[. . .]

No shit, darlin'. If Chimpy didn't scare everybody, people would see his bullshit for what it is. It's their standard operating procedure, flood us with propaganda and slide legislation through once enough people believe it. His bonehead policies wouldn't stand up to objective scrutiny otherwise. The fact that using the fund's money to promote this propaganda is probably illegal, but you can be sure that wasn't given a second thought.

Update: 16:00:

[The Good] Roger Ailes adds

[. . .]

George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice and their respective flacks lie to you. Repeatedly. Willfully. Without remorse. And they will continue to do so. Today. And tomorrow.

[. . .]

The list

Of donors to Chimpy's inaugural is up over at PSoTD. Modify your purchasing decisions accordingly.


It'll blow your fucking mind. Go read Pudentilla.


FORT HOOD, Texas - Army Spc. Charles Graner Jr., the reputed ringleader of a band of rogue guards at the Abu Ghraib prison, was convicted Friday of abusing Iraqi detainees in a case that sparked international outrage when photographs were released that showed reservists gleefully humiliating prisoners.

[. . .]

The jury of four Army officers and six senior enlisted men rejected the defense argument that Graner and other guards were merely following orders from intelligence agents at Abu Ghraib when they roughed up the detainees.

Firing squad, hanging, this is one instance where the death penalty would be a deterrent. Maybe hand him over to the Iraqis? The world is watching this trial and the sentence that will be handed down shortly. If we give this asshole the max, it might go a ways to restore our credibility. It would be better if Gonzales and Rummy were on trial too, but it's a start.

Update: 05:36:


. . . But for these trial to truly be seen as justice for all, some of the civilians in charge of this fiasco need to appear in the prisoners dock. Abu Gonzales would be a good start, followed by John Yoo, Rumsfeld and the Hugger-in-Chief.

[. . .]

Update: 18:07:

They gave him 10 years

Saturday Cattle Dog Blogging

The Princess at about a year old.

Friday, January 14, 2005

"The Liberal Media," Part II

This just in from my boyfriend, who for some odd reason (which will be further investigated when I get home) was watching Fox News this morning. This gem was spoken by one of the Fox anchormen, who was discussing the Huygens mission to Saturn:

"Our government is wasting millions of dollars on foolish questions. A probe was recently launched
that might answer questions about how the universe was created, someone should tell them about god!"

Ah, yes, "fair and balanced." And a bit too Christian theocratic for my taste.



Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of "professionalized" terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank.

Iraq provides terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills," said David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats. "There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries."

[. . .]

Yep. It's a shame they don't report all the good stuff going on over there.

The . . . cough . . . Liberal Media


[. . .]

How comical is the American discourse? Incredibly, as “newsmen” like [NBC's David] Gregory cover for Bush, the air is full of loud complaints about the press corps’ vast “liberal bias!” You live at a time of complete propaganda, and Storeboughts like Gregory (pet name: Stretch) know their prime role in the process.

[. . .]

Federal Bureau of Ineptitude

Laura Rozen on the FBI's computer problems. All I can say is, oy! And I thought the military wasted money.

Update: 06:10:

Speaking of wasting money:

[. . .]

The mayor's spokeswoman, Sharon Gang, says that includes reviewing stands for the inaugural parade and special license plates for the event. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

How White Trash can you get?

Link via WTF??


From my dear friend, and Mrs. F's cousin, Encino Man:

With the White House claiming a so-called mandate to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to massive oil development, Congressional leaders are now planning a backdoor, budget maneuver that could doom the refuge to drilling and industrialization. Instead of having a full and open debate -- and vote -- on the fate of the Arctic Refuge, they will include projected revenues from Arctic drilling in the federal budget. If that budget passes, then Congress will almost certainly approve the actual oil development.

[. . .]


But if the raid on the Arctic Refuge isn't really about gas prices or energy security, then what is it about?

It's the symbolism.

The Arctic Refuge represents everything spectacular and everything endangered about America's natural heritage. It embodies a million years of ecological serenity . . . a vast stretch of pristine wilderness . . an irreplaceable birthing ground for polar bears, caribou and white wolves.

It is the greatest living reminder that conserving nature in its wild state is a core American value. It stands for every remnant of wilderness that we, as a people, have wisely chosen to protect from the relentless march of bulldozers, chain saws and oil rigs.

If we lose ANWR, it'll be a major setback for the environmental community. Write, bitch, and scream from the rooftops to your elected representatives about this.

Vietnam revisited

I posted about this last month, and I'm not advocating anyone to go UA or AWOL or desert, but you have to think there is something extremely wrong when:

[. . .]

An estimated 5,500 men and women have deserted since the invasion of Iraq, reflecting Washington's growing problems with troop morale.

[. . .]

And of course the Pentagon acts nonchalant:

[. . .]

The Pentagon says that the level of desertion is no higher than usual and denies that it is having difficulty persuading troops to fight. The flight to Canada is, however, an embarrassment for the military, which is suffering from a recruiting shortfall for the National Guard and the Army Reserves.

[. . .]

But, being that we have a tenth of the number of troops in Iraq that we had in Vietnam, the desertion rates work out about the same:

[. . .]

During the Vietnam war an estimated 55,000 deserters or draft-dodgers fled to Canada. There were amnesties for both groups in the late 1970s under President Jimmy Carter, but many stayed.

[. . .]

It all boils down to the fact that we're building the same fucking mess we did in Indochina 40 years ago. We'll probably be witness to the same sort of hurried departure we had in Saigon too. I just hope, that if Bush is planning to cut and run, he does it before too many more American lives are lost and too many more young Americans make a decision that could ruin the rest of their lives. (Thanks to DemVet for the link.)


I don't normally read Richard Cohen, but this got me:

It took no less a sage than President Bush to put the firing of four high-level CBS News employees in perspective: "CBS said they would act. They did. And I hope their actions are such that this doesn't happen again." This from the man who fired not a single person in his entire administration for getting nearly everything wrong about Iraq and taking the nation to war for reasons that did not exist or were downright specious. Lucky for Bush he's only the president of the United States and not the head of CBS.

[. . .]

Now it is even darker. The capitulation to Bush and the GOP is nearly complete. After the firings, the White House voiced its approval. So did Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, who, keeping a firm grip on his emotions, did not suggest President Bush take note and do some firings himself. All over this great country, wherever right-wing pundits pund and bloggers blog, a chorus of gleeful approval was raised to the heavens. But in praising accountability, they were unaccountably silent about -- and here let me quote from the CBS report about what went wrong -- the "myopic zeal" of administration figures who got everything wrong, still do and have never been called to account for it. They had everything wrong but the target. It wasn't Iraq that was the pushover; it was CBS.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Imminent Demise of the Republican Party

An uplifting and heartwarming thought. Excellent essay from Common Dreams via Corrente.


Just a note, being that the audience here at the Brain isn't the same demographic who stops by at TF&G, Gordon and my automotive blog. So, I put a link to our Auto Wisdom page in the sidebar here, down at the bottom before the ads, if anybody is interested. Have I mentioned Gordon and I have been mechanics since cars ran on points and radial tires were science fiction?

Mission Accomplished

The Dog:

[. . .]

Knowing that the mission has been accomplished, the ball has been spiked, and the end zone party commences in just eight days time (unsportsmanlike conduct penalty be damned!), even White House spokesman and compulsive confabulator Scotty McClellan confirmed that Saddam had nothin'-- not secret caches deep underground, not moved to Syria... just nothin'. Doesn't mean the whole war wasn't justified (the Imperium WAS reelected, was it not?)

[. . .]

Nothing else mattered. Not the lives or the bucks wasted, nothing mattered but the continuation of the Bush Empire. All they cared about was the second term and keeping the Corporate Raid of America going. Wonder what scam they're gonna use to get JEB elected in '08?

Net May Be Closing On Bugs

The Carpetbagger Report reports that more companies and some former associates may be plea-bargaining by "offering" to testify against Bugs DeLay. Ya-fuckin'-hoo!
Sources close to the investigation said this week that similar deals were being negotiated with some of the remaining six companies indicted late last year. The six companies are the Williams Companies Inc., Bacardi USA, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, Questerra Corp. and Westar Energy Inc.

One legal source with knowledge of the investigation said the agreements with the companies could help target "big fish" in the Republican Party by persuading the three DeLay aides to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for leniency or dismissal of their cases. The aides face 10-year prison sentences if convicted.
"If you are looking at 10 ... years in jail, are you going to take the hit for Tom DeLay?" the source asked.

DeLay is the absolute epitome of the criminal IOKIYAR mentality that has ruined political discourse in this country. Bullying, gerrymandering, probably extortion, under the guise of a "Moral Values Christian" when he's really a scumbag Texas pol who ought to be chasing unlicensed dogs in East Bumfuck County, are his tactics, and they've paid off for him. It's high time to put this crooked bastard in the stony lonesome. If they have to let some perps off (for now) to do it, I say it's well worth it.


Some folks are coming to their senses:

ATLANTA (AP) - A federal judge on Thursday ordered the removal of stickers placed in high school biology textbooks that call evolution "a theory, not a fact," saying they were an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

The disclaimers were put in the books by school officials in suburban Cobb County in 2002.

[. . .]

And some just refuse to take it:

The battle over attempts to introduce a version of creationism into the curriculum of American schools has become focused on a small town in Pennsylvania.

Biology teachers at a high school in Dover have rejected the instructions of local officials to read a statement in class today questioning the theory of evolution.

[. . .]

All I have to say is outstanding!

(Links via Jesse.)

Sleazy's List

In an open letter to Gonzales as to why he should not be confirmed, Marjorie Cohn includes the following, via TruthOut:
Mr. Gonzales, you have concurred in, even commissioned, advice that led to the following:

Sodomy with a broomstick, chemical light, metal object
Severe beatings

Water boarding (simulated drowning)

Electric shock

Attaching electrodes to private parts

Forced masturbation

Pulling out fingernails

Pushing lit cigarettes into ears

Chaining hand and foot in fetal position without food or water

Forced standing on one leg in the sun

Feigned suffocation

Gagging with duct tape

Tormenting with loud music and strobe lights

Sleep deprivation


Subjecting to freezing/sweltering temperatures

"Dietary manipulation"

Repeated, prolonged rectal exams

Hanging by arms from hooks

Permitting serious dog bites

Bending back fingers

Intense isolation for more than 3 months

Grabbing genitals

Severe burning

Stacking of naked prisoners in pyramids

Injecting with drugs

Leaving bullet in body of wounded prisoner

Taping naked prisoner to board

Shooting into containers with men inside

Keeping prisoners in small, outdoor cages

Pepper spraying in face

Forcing heads into toilets and flushing

Threatening live burial, drowning, electrocution, rape and death

Beating prisoners to death

Killing wounded prisoners

Throwing off bridge into river and drowning



Saddam Hussein would be proud of you, Mr. Gonzales.

You will have the distinction of being the first Latino Attorney General of the United States. You come from humble roots in Humble, Texas. You should understand the struggles of people of color, yet you have turned your back on them. As overseer of the policies that led to the torture of myriad people of color in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, you have betrayed your roots.

Your actions have shamed us in the eyes of the world and endangered our fighting men and women.

You do not deserve to be our country's top prosecutor, head of the Department of Justice, charged with protecting our civil rights.

Mr. Gonzales, you should be ashamed.

There's a lot more in the article. Go read.

Death penalty

(Hartford-WABC, December 6, 2004) — Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell says the state's first execution since 1960 will go on as scheduled. Convicted serial killer Michael Ross is due to be executed on January 26th.

The 45-year-old Ross, who admitted killing eight women in Connecticut and New York, is on death row for killing four young women in eastern Connecticut in the 1980s.

He reportedly wrote to the governor last week asking his death sentence be carried out as scheduled.

Now, unlike many lefties, I got no problems with the death penalty itself. I got problems with the implementation.

1.) The death penalty is supposedly a deterrent. It's not. When you hear they're gonna put somebody down, do you know what their crime was? Do you remember just what they did, ususally over a decade ago, to deserve this punishment? No. Where's the linkage? At what point does someone make the connection between the crime and the punishment?

2.) Mostly minorities get put to death, as it is in Bush's Texas, where Wetbacks, Niggas, and Retards are the only ones who get hung. There is a direct correlation between the type of legal aid you can afford and your chances of getting the death penalty. Until more white folks start sitting on Ol' Sparky's lap, I'll be against it.

There should be a national standard for the death penalty (killing a cop, premeditated murder, murder in commission of a felony, etc.).

There should be a determinite amount of time between the date of convition and the coup de grace.

There should be only one appeal. Each case reviewed by a panel of judges to assure that justice was meted out correctly (unlike Texas now, and Illinois in the past), and then a 'retrial' if you will, just to be sure we got it right. After that, off to get your needle. Only a year or so should elapse between conviction and implementation, so the crime is still fresh in people's minds.

Executions should be televised. On prime time, on every network, once a month. Now there's a deterrent. Ever watch someone die from 'other than natural causes'? You don't forget, trust me. Ever kill anyone? For that's what we are doing. If you've ever looked at an indictment it says, 'The People vs. Joe Mass Murderer. Remember 'We the People, in order to form a more perfect yadda, yadda, yadda'? With it televised, we will all collectively flip the switch. It won't be hidden by the dark of night in some obscure death chamber with 10 witnesses. I ask again. Ever kill anyone? You don't forget, trust me.

So yes, I am against the death penalty, until it can be used fairly and equitably.

As for the case above, however. If the guy wants to go that badly, I say we oblige him. He's a waste of my good air anyway.

Down an empty hole

ShakeSis this morning:

Congress allotted hundreds of millions of dollars for the weapons hunt, and there has been no public accounting of the funds. A spokesman for the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency said the entire budget and the expenditures would remain classified.
I wonder how many tax dollars were wasted trying to justify an already costly war. And might not they have been better spent securing the high-grade explosives we found that went missing?

David Kay came back a year ago and said there were no WMD in Iraq. We wasted a year and how much more money for this second fucking opinion that was unnecessary in the first fucking place. Thank God I don't have kids to whom I have to explain why their world will be bankrupt thanks to Chimpy's incompetence.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Lobbygow links to this article in the NYT:

ISTANBUL, Jan. 11 - The commander of American forces in the Middle East told the Turkish government on Tuesday that he could not spare any troops to meet its request for an assault on Kurdish guerrillas who have been using northern Iraq as a base for attacks on Turkish forces.

Gen. John P. Abizaid, head of the Army's Central Command, said during a visit in Ankara that the United States considered the main Kurdish separatist group, the P.K.K., a terrorist organization. But, he added, "we also understand - all of us understand - that our troops have a lot of work to do there along with the Iraqi security forces, and we agree that, over time, we must deal with the P.K.K."

[. . .]

So we're stretched that thin? Our allies who've kept at least one stretch of Iraq's border secure ask us for a little help and we can't spare the manpower? This could be a destabilizing influence in Turkey, the only Islamic member of NATO. Do we need Islamic Fundamentalism creeping northward to Greece's southern border? That will happen if Turkey goes under.

[. . .]

A separate American delegation, headed by Laura Kennedy, a deputy under secretary of state, also met with Turkish and Iraqi officials in Ankara on Tuesday to talk about the P.K.K. incursions. A statement issued after the meeting underscored that the United States preferred to see the Iraqis and Turks work out the problem together.

Work it out yourselves, boys, 'cause we got bigger problems. This is fucking insane.

Update: 15:55:

And it gets worse. Tokyo Rose lives (via Kos):

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Departing from fiery Islamic slogans, Iraqi guerrillas have launched a propaganda campaign with an English-language video urging U.S. troops to lay down their weapons and seek refuge in mosques and homes.

The video, narrated in fluent English by what sounded like an Iraqi educated in the United States or Britain, also mocked the U.S. president's challenge to rebels in the early days of the insurgency to 'bring it on'.

"George W. Bush; you have asked us to 'bring it on'. And so help me, (we will) like you never expected. Do you have another challenge?," asked the narrator before the video showed explosions around a U.S. military Humvee vehicle.

Threats intended to demoralise and frighten in the tense build up to elections at the end of the month were tempered with invitations to desert and escape retribution.

A masked guerrilla from an unknown group called the Islamic Jihad Army, eschewing past impassioned Arabic-language threats of holy war, told U.S. soldiers: "This is not your war, nor are you fighting for a true cause in Iraq."

"To the American soldiers we say you can also choose to fight tyranny with us. Lay down your weapons and seek refuge in our mosques, churches and homes. We will protect you," he said.

[. . .]

If they're confident enough to do this, we're looking at a long, protracted slog over there. Either that or we cut and run, and then Osama & Co. will be able to say they chased the Americans out. Unbelievable.

Absolutely nuthin'

The report from the Iraq Survey Group is in and guess what? There ain't no WMD in Iraq. Haven't been since before Gulf 1. So after all the bullshit, after Colin 'Colon' Powell trying to channel Adlai Stevenson, after 'Mission Accomplished', nuthin'. Bush is a murderer, period. Roger Ailes (the good one):

[. . .]

Thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have died because of this fraud on the public. Put down your feces, Keyboarders, and say it with me: Bush lied, many thousands died.

Riding the Polarized Express

I recommend this article by Steven Laffoley via Selves And Others
No torture versus torture. Blue State versus Red State. Liberal versus Conservative. Fahrenheit 9/11 versus The Passion of The Christ. America is riding the Polarized Express - a national train fast approaching a fork in the tracks. One track leads to the republic rediscovered. The other track, to dictatorship and empire.

Consider: we have seen this all before. In fact, just a hundred years ago, at the start of the last century, the politics of the ‘western’ world was disturbingly familiar to ours, with many nations of Europe similarly on the Polarized Express - Germany, Spain, Russia, Italy, and France among others.

These polarized groups fought over economic justice, over ‘family values,’ over national pride, over the fear of anarchists (the terrorists of their day), over religious values, over empire, over ethnic superiority. And as the polarization intensified so did the politics and leadership of each nation, moving, election after election, from left to right and then back again.

And in some nations - Germany, Italy, Russia, and Spain - the polarization ultimately snapped the back of democracy. Extremisms of various sorts emerged with a sureness of purpose almost religious in intensity. These “isms” promised social safety and political clarity.

In one nation, one man’s story and another man’s words were a candle’s light in the dark saving a republic from collapse. It is their story that casts a faint light of hope on the growing darkness in America.

Did I mention that I'm a righteous asshole? You gotta go read it to find out which republic! Ha!
America is riding the Polarized Express. And its democracy may soon be bent to the breaking point. But by repeatedly telling the stories of injustice, and by repeatedly casting light on the truth, America may yet rediscover their republic.

"Casting light on the truth" is a worthy goal, but there's not enough of it yet. We are barely at the "turning over rocks" stage. The media, from what I can tell, may be starting to awaken from their long opium dreams about this administration, but don't count on it.

Bush-neocon parting of the ways?

These are truly disturbing times. I have a little trouble coming to grips with the fact that I find myself occasionally agreeing with Pat Buchanan. Politics does indeed make for strange bedfellows. Thank you, self, for that mental picture!
The neoconservative hour may be coming to an end in the Bush era. Reason: The cakewalk war they plotted long before 9-11, on which their dreams of Middle East empire and reputations hang, has gone awry

Dissent in the U.S. establishment is growing louder. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to George H.W. Bush, fears the elections, by giving the Shia majority dominance of Iraqi politics, could lead to "incipient civil war." Scowcroft thinks America's best bet may be to turn Iraq over to the United Nations or NATO, whose presence might be less detested and inflammatory than our own.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, seems even more pessimistic: "I do not think we can stay in Iraq in the fashion we are now in. ... If it cannot be changed drastically, it should be terminated." Brzezinski estimates it would take 500,000 troops, $500 billion and resumption of the draft to pacify Iraq.

And so, reality intrudes. Where once, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice and Bush marched in lockstep with the neocons, U.S. national interests and Bush political interests seem now to diverge from the neocon agenda of more troops in Iraq and expanding the war to Syria or Iran. Rumsfeld appears to have recognized this truth and begun to act on it. Hence, the Weekly Standard calls for his firing.

President Bush now approaches the crossroads LBJ reached in December 1967. Then, Gen. William Westmoreland came home to tell LBJ he needed 200,000 more troops, in addition to the 500,000 already committed. A war-weary LBJ said no. Came then the Tet Offensive, and the presidency of Lyndon Johnson was broken.

Bush is nearing his Tet moment. After the Jan. 30 elections, he will have three options. Persevere in a no-win war with 150,000 U.S. troops bleeding indefinitely until America turns on him, his policy and his party. Send in tens of thousands of fresh U.S. troops to crush the insurgency as we undertake a years-long program of training Iraqis to defend their own democracy. Third, find an honorable exit, and leave Iraq to the Iraqis.

The success or failure of the Bush presidency will likely hang (good choice of words -ed.) on his decision. For which, he can thank the neoconservatives.

He can thank them as they all ascend the gallows steps, Patrick me boy-o. Soon, I hope.

Bush Manure

We all know that Bush and all his henchmen are lyin' sacks o' shit. Molly Ivins knows it, too, but she has a real way with words. Via Working For Change.
Excuse me, but is that smoke in your ear?

I wouldn't go calling anyone a liar, but as we say in our quaint Texas fashion, this administration is stuffed with people who are on a first-name basis with the bottom of the deck. They've been telling us only four out of the 18 provinces in Iraq will be too unsafe to vote in. Doesn't sound that bad, does it? Unless you happen to know that about 50 percent of the population lives in those four provinces.

Resigned to the fact that Social Security will have to be dismantled because it's in such terrible, awful trouble, headed toward bankruptcy the day after tomorrow? Well, the $10 trillion in unfunded liabilities they keep talking about sure sounds like a load of trouble. Except that it's a completely phony number. Not based on what will happen in 25 years or 50 or 75, but on infinity. Forever and ever.

Now, in addition to the regular misleading, fudging, distorting and phony statistics games, we're getting actual covert propaganda, and dammittohell, they're making us pay for it. A quarter of a million bucks to a right-wing commentator to talk up No Child Left Behind. Why? Distributing video "news" releases to television stations made and paid for by the government, but not identified as such. It's not enough that Bush has the bulliest pulpit on earth, he has to sneak his message across with government propaganda? What the hell is this?

Here in the National Laboratory for Bad Government (She's in Texas - ed.), we are happy to help out by showing everyone else how not to solve problems, but it's really annoying when Bush insists on taking what didn't work here and making it nationwide.

Not that I'm accusing anyone of lying, of course, but these people are slicker than bus station chili. Count your change when dealing with Bushies

Thank you, Ms. Ivins. I'll be sure to count my change. It's probably all the money I'll have when this nightmare is over.

Happy 268

John Hancock, the first man to sign the Declaration Of Independence, was born on this date in 1737. It was a dangerous thing to do, going against the King of England, and he wrote his name quite large. A brave man.

Seeing as how we are now faced with the dangerous task of going against yet another King George, I think it would be interesting to install a tachometer at Mr. Hancock's final resting place to see how fast he's spinning.

Be careful

Cross-posted from TF&G:

Now your car can be used as a witness for the prosecution:

The National Transportation Safety Board wants all cars to be equipped with black box data recorders, which keep records of, as Fox News reports, "everything from speed, brake pressure, seat belt use and air bag deployment."

The Fox story sums up some privacy advocate objections, and includes this mordantly amusing example of regulators' thinking:

According to Joe Osterman, director of highway safety at the NTSB, the recommendation was inspired in part by a tragic auto accident involving a 86-year-old man who drove his car into a crowded Santa Monica farmers̢۪ market last summer, killing 10 and injuring 63.

Osterman said a black box in the car might have not saved the people in the crash, but would have allowed investigators to find out how it happened and how cars could be better designed to reduce the likelihood of greater injury in the future.

Since there is no reason to believe that that tragedy occurred for any reason other than a bad driver stepping hard on the gas, thusly propelling him forward, at a time when a competent driver would have been stepping on the brakes, Osterman's comment belongs in the hall of fame of lame uses of tragedy to justify government action.

I debated this topic last December, when California became the first and so far only state to mandate that car buyers had to be told when their cars had the devices, on CNN's Talkback Live with Public Safety's Joan Claybrook; transcript here.

I saw an article in Newsday (the fishwrapper) yesterday at the shop about an accident here on Long Island where the anti-lock brake computer was allowed as evidence against the driver at fault. I'm still looking for the link to the story online. The story above was written last September.

Now, I personally think the computer is the greatest thing that ever happened to the automobile. They're cleaner, faster, and more powerful while using less gas than ever. You three-huggers bitch about a 10-cylinder Excursion, but it still gets better gas mileage than a mid-60s 6-cylinder and runs a thousand percent cleaner.

Thing is, if you got a problem with your car's computer tattling on you, you'd better get with your elected representatives, cause the computer in your car is here to stay.

Do as I say


EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AP) - A court-martial was ordered Tuesday for an Air Force officer charged with illegally shipping AK-47 assault rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers and other souvenirs from Iraq to this Florida Panhandle base.

[. . .]


[. . .]

But Rummy goes free:

We know that Rumsfeld (and other high FBI officials)

1. looted 9/11 relics (back here)
2. which is a Federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in jail (back here)
3. for which ordinary citizens have been indicted, prosecuted, convicted, and punished (back here).
(from deep within the Corrente Time Vault)

Oh, but what am I thinking? Rummy is a High Administration Official! And a Republican! And since we have become a government of men, not laws, that makes everything OK!

Much as I like to think my Air Force boys are the smartest service, this guy's a typical officer.

[. . .]

McMillion was a maintenance officer with the Eglin-based 728th Air Control Squadron in Iraq. Air Force officials said the alleged contraband was found in crates of equipment shipped to Eglin in September 2003 about two months before the ground radar unit returned.

If you're gonna do it, have the shit shipped to your fucking house, nitwit. Enlisted folks wouldn't have gotten caught.

Gloomy Glen

Glen's gettin' a passport:

I think I'm finally going to get a passport. It's generally useful, and I have this fantasy of spending two weeks in Ireland and maybe Wales. (I'm a Celtophile.) But the sudden impulse is simply that I may need to get out of here one day, just long enough to clear my head: my beloved country is really beginning to depress me.

[. . .]

Intelligent design, of course, is re-branded theology, and pre-Thomist at that. (Aquinas at least believed that reason and faith would arrive at the same conclusions, which made them equals; not so this crowd.) The most "scientific" argument ID's defenders can advance is, "Because I'm not able to figure out how it happened, Somebody brighter than I must have done it." I shudder to think of this country ruled and run by the suitably "educated" children of today.

[. . .]

It's getting scary, the traction these Creationists are getting. I can't believe so many people in this country are willing to throw away centuries (sometimes millennia) of scientific observation for this loony crap. The whole ID debate is just another Christo-fascist whitewash to make creationism palatable to the 'fence sitters'. Think 'Clear Skies', 'Healthy Forests', and 'No Child Left Behind'.

This Just In...

I'm sure there'll be more on this later. Joe Trippi, Dean's former campaign manager, came out on Hardball on MSNBC, for Rosenberg for DNC Chair. He says Dean is not all that interested in organizational matters and that Rosenberg is well suited to this position due to his experience. Trippi also said that Dean's forte is speaking out loudly, and that being DNC Chair would stifle him to a large extent. Stay tuned, sports fans.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005



[. . .]

This conclusion, however, leads us to consider Oliver's campaign to make conservative pundits state whether they have received any funds from Il Ducetto's administration. We believe this is a worthy effort but insufficent. We need to ask the networks, newspapers and syndicators whether they know if any of the pundits who appear on or in their media outlets and/or receive payments from them have received compensation from Il Ducetto's administration or campaign. And if they don't know, we need to ask them why not.

Just a public statement and disclaimer. The Brain will never put its principles or ethics on sale for anyone. The world might not turn on what we say here, but you're getting it the way we see it.

Fox, henhouse, again

Yesterday I brought you Allan Hubbard. Today I bring you Robert Joseph:

WASHINGTON -- The man who insisted that President Bush make the claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium for nuclear weapons in Africa is poised to assume a top State Department job that would make him the lead US arms negotiator with Iran and North Korea, according to administration officials.

Robert G. Joseph, a special assistant for national security to President Bush until a few months ago, is on the short list to become undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, the nation's senior diplomat in charge of negotiating arms control treaties, said the officials, who spoke on the condition they not be named.

[. . .]

Link via Laura Rozen.

The Devil you know

MSNBC Breaking News

Bush to name Chertoff as secretary of Homeland Security -
President Bush has selected federal appeals court judge Michael Chertoff to be the new secretary of Homeland Security, officials said Tuesday.

About Chertoff:

[. . .]

Because Chertoff was recently vetted for the federal bench, we assume that he's passed his background check with flying colors, and we won't be hearing about any more World Trade Center love nests, arrest warrants. Mob pals, and all the other things that made the brief Kerik period such a fun time to be a journalist.

That's the "good" news. The bad news is that while Chertoff may lack the whiff of sex scandal that would put the NY tabloids on the case, he's arguably a worse choice than Kerik. In the days after 9/11, Chertoff -- as head of the criminal division under John Ashcroft -- was architect of some of the most regrettable policies of Bush I.

[. . .]

What's more, Chertoff was responsible for the badly botched prosecution of al-Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, who has yet to be brought to any type of justice even though he was arrested three-and-a-half years ago. Under his leadership, the Justice Department pursued a theory that Moussaoui was "the 20th hijacker" -- despite zero evidence to support that claim. However, that argument has been used as an excuse to deny the American public from information that might prove what really happened to Flight 93 on 9/11.

[. . .]

And we thought we dodged a bullet with Kerik. Schumer's already caved, so's Bill Press on MSNBC, and we got snookered again. Just like they did with 'Abu' Gonzales, the Senate Dems are gonna confirm this guy without a fight because he ain't Kerik. The same way Gonzales 'has to be better than Ashcroft'. Fucking idiots.

And then again, maybe not

I don't know if I agree, but Ezra makes a good point:

[. . .]

Dean has baggage. Lots of it. And while I'm confident in his ability to quickly silence the final sniggers at his scream, I'm more concerned about his potential to feed negative storylines. Assume Dean wins the race and, despite our best efforts, we lose seats in 2006. It's damn possible, we've got an unfriendly map and a rash of upcoming retirements. With the Great Liberal Hope occupying the top spot, the newspapers and Third Way'ers will have more than enough ammo rerun -- and even amplify -- the narrative of a fringe Democratic party long separated from the mainstream. That'll give the party's conservative wing more power and further alienate our progressive base. Worse, it increases the likelihood that the Party actually will actually engage in another ill-advised lurch to the right.

[. . .]

And he links to the same Gadflyer post about Rosenberg Gordon did. This is what I like about him[Rosenberg]:

[. . .]

. . . We don't need some old-guard, timid patsy who'll buckle under to the competing complaints of the Party's various constituencies, prima donnas and contract-seeking consultants who are currently paralyzing the Party by trying to please everyone during the campaign at the expense of winning the election.

[. . .]


Shakespeare's Sister weighs in too.

Bubba'n Dubya, Sittin' In A Tree....

MSNBC reports that Clinton and Bush are becoming fast friends.
For two men at opposite ends of the political spectrum, the relationship between the 43rd and 42nd presidents has grown surprisingly warm and personal over the last six months. Clinton endorsed Bush's approach to the tsunami catastrophe, defending him against criticism about his initial response as well as raising cash alongside the president's father. Friends and aides say the two men enjoy each other's company and, as fellow pros, respect each other's political talents.

Jay Leno says Bubba's just trying to get close to the Shrub so he can put the moves on Jenna and Not Jenna. I hope he's setting him up for an internship at his library. Either way, pictures please!

Who The Hell Is Rosenberg?

The Gadflyer supports Simon Rosenberg for DNC Chairman. I never heard of the guy. What do you think?

You Know You're a Republican When...

...You fire someone for supporting the troops. From Boldprint:
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., lost his post as chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs this week for the worst possible reason: He spoke out loudly against cuts in veterans programs at a time when House GOP leaders - and President Bush - were touting the party's wartime support for the troops.

Next time you see someone driving around with a "support the troops" ribbon on their car, let them know what Republicans think of the troops.

And he's a Republican! They're starting to eat their own if they don't follow the party line. Good. Eat hearty, boys.

I hope the VFW, of which I am a Life Member and which is firmly in the Bush camp, takes note of this.

The word of God

From Night Light:

[. . .]

God was asked about Tom Delay’s widely criticized use of quotes from Matthew 7 in a prayer service for victims of the Asian tsunami. “I gave mankind the tools to prevent that tragedy by use of early warning systems, but sadly they weren’t put in place.” He added regretfully, “That was not my choice. Why, I even gave the wealthier countries the money needed to get it done, but they just kept it.” When pressed further about DeLay He said “I forgive all my children, but distorting my words that way was despicable of him. It must be the bug spray.”

[. . .]

It bothers me too

From JRH:

[. . .]

Another thing that bothers me about this whole thing is that this is what we reserve our outrage for in this country. Hundreds of thousands of people get killed a couple of weeks ago, and it only inspires us to argue over who is charitable and who is not. We are involved in a war, with people (Americans and others) getting killed everyday, but we are largely apathetic about it. We make no demands on our government to do things right, or even to explain why the war isn't a complete waste of human life. But Randy Moss pretends to drop his pants and suddenly we're outraged and we all want to have our say.

[. . .]

American priorities, puh!

Nuremburg revisited

FORT HOOD, Texas (Reuters) - A lawyer for Charles Graner, accused ringleader in the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal, on Monday compared piling naked prisoners into pyramids to cheerleader shows and said leashing inmates was also acceptable prisoner control.

Graner's attorney said piling naked prisoners into pyramids and leading them by a leash were acceptable methods of prisoner control. He compared this to pyramids made by cheerleaders at sports events and parents putting tethers on toddlers.

"Don't cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?" Guy Womack, Graner's attorney, said in opening arguments to the 10-member U.S. military jury at the reservist's court-martial.

[. . .]

First and foremost, the 'I was just following orders' defense went out the window in 1945. Second, this fucking idiot lawyer should be thrown in jail just for drawing the parallel between what happened in Abu Ghraib and cheerleader competitions. What a fucking asshole.

A kick in the ass

WaPo via Melanie:

D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects.

Federal officials have told the District that it should cover the expenses by using some of the $240 million in federal homeland security grants it has received in the past three years -- money awarded to the city because it is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

They say that it will cost close to $12 mil for security for the coronation . . . er, inauguration. It's the most expensive of these shindigs that we've ever held. Ya think they could have sprung for their own security, instead of expecting D.C. to pick up the tab. Is this what D.C.'s Homeland Security funds were earmarked for? Somehow, I don't think so.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Democracy at work

In Palestine. From the Dog:

[. . .]

Sorry. I was actually talking about Palestine, where Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas garnered around 65% of the vote and declared victory in the post-Arafat presidential election. BTW: international observers declared the election pretty clean by international standards, minimal interference from Israel, although there was a low turnout doubtless helped by a Hamas boycott.

[. . .]

Maybe we can learn a thing or two. Ya think?


To the rogues gallery. Remember this name, Allan Hubbard. From Corrente.

Earth to Captain Video

James Wolcott is at it again. You'll have to read three or four of his posts to find these excerpts. Just my way of making sure you get to read all his good stuff.
It's going to break Norman Podhoretz's peach-pit heart, but it will soon become time to recognize the inevitable and blow the whistle on the World War IV he and the neocons have been so determined to wage. At some point Dick Cheney will place a fatherly paw on Dubya's shoulder and say, "Earth to Captain Video: Time to bug out--I mean, withdraw in an orderly fashion." It's going to be hard breaking the news to the little fella.

As Vanity Fair's "Teen Scene" correspondent, I have a vested interest in the welfare of America's children, especially those in bare midriffs who know how to shake it. It is vital to ensure that no child be left behind, because once left behind, he or she begin to loiter at the mall and drift into a River's Edge lifestyle. Children are the precious hope of this country's doomed future. They will be the ones who will have to replant the ravaged forests and restore America's reputation in the world after the ignorant idler currently pretending to be president returns to Crawford, Texas to fall off his tricyle in retired disgrace.

A little gentler than Norman Mailer, maybe, but still a credit to New York City.

Put Your Drink Down Before You Read This....

Mimus at A Mockingbird's Medley's sister is out of the home again and e-mailing him. Go read.

20 That Might Come In Handy

20 wacky excuses for not going to work. These have actually been used. From MSNBC.
Think carefully, if you're debating calling in sick, here are some of the most unusual excuses workers gave for missing work.

I was sprayed by a skunk.

I tripped over my dog and was knocked unconscious.

My bus broke down and was held up by robbers.

I was arrested as a result of mistaken identity.

I forgot to come back to work after lunch.

I couldn't find my shoes.

I hurt myself bowling.

I was spit on by a venomous snake.

I totaled my wife's jeep in a collision with a cow.

A hitman was looking for me.

My curlers burned my hair and I had to go to the hairdresser.

I eloped.

My brain went to sleep and I couldn't wake it up.

My cat unplugged my alarm clock.

I had to be there for my husband's grand jury trial.

I had to ship my grandmother's bones to India.

I forgot what day of the week it was.

Someone slipped drugs in my drink last night.

A tree fell on my car.

My monkey died.

Those are pretty good. I myself have called in drunk.

My favorite is calling in with "eye trouble". As in, "I can't see coming to work".

Bizarro World

MSNBC Breaking News

CBS News ousts four for Bush National Guard story -
Four CBS News employees, including three executives, have been ousted for their role in preparing and reporting a disputed story about President Bush's National Guard service.

So, these guys get canned because they got part of a story wrong. Well, okay, so maybe some documents were forgeries. And then I see Scott "Lying Bitch" McClellan standing there, all sanctimonious about 'accountability' (ha!), Les Moonves (CBS CEO) on his knees fellating the White House, blubbering apologies over this, and I can't help thinking that the White House should be thanking them they didn't dig any deeper, that they did use forgeries and didn't get the genuine articles. It's unbelievable, like the world's been stood on its head. John Kerry was a traitor and Bush demands accountability. Go figure.

Womb Of Terror

Un-fucking-believable! Got this from King of Zembla:
Nine women protesting the Food and Drug Administration's position on the emergency contraceptive Plan B were arrested yesterday when they blocked entry to the agency's Rockville headquarters.

The women, part of a noisy protest in favor of making the morning-after pill available without a prescription, were taken away by officers of the Department of Homeland Security and charged with disorderly conduct.

Nine women blocking a doorway at the FDA? And this is a job for Homeland Security? This is the kind of high-profile collar that those elite terror-busters plan to point to when they ask Congress for their next budget increase?

Pardon our mystification, but you see, we couldn't find a single mention of the Department of Homeland Security here --

And he goes on. And on. About perhaps genuine threats about which DHS did absolutely nothing. Go read.

Do I detect a faith-based, or perhaps Big-Pharma-bottom-line-based, bias as to what constitutes a threat to our national security? Jeezus, what a bunch of morons.

Oh Fucking Swell....

From the BostonHerald:
Congress passes `doomsday' plan
By Noelle Straub
Sunday, January 9, 2005

WASHINGTON - With no fanfare, the U.S. House has passed a controversial doomsday provision that would allow a handful of lawmakers to run Congress if a terrorist attack or major disaster killed or incapacitated large numbers of congressmen.

``I think (the new rule) is terrible in a whole host of ways - first, I think it's unconstitutional,'' said Norm Ornstein, a counselor to the independent Continuity of Government Commission, a bipartisan panel created to study the issue. ``It's a very foolish thing to do, I believe, and the way in which it was done was more foolish.''

But supporters say the rule provides a stopgap measure to allow the government to continue functioning at a time of national crisis.

GOP House leaders pushed the provision as part of a larger rules package that drew attention instead for its proposed ethics changes, most of which were dropped.

Usually, 218 lawmakers - a majority of the 435 members of Congress - are required to conduct House business, such as passing laws or declaring war.

But under the new rule, a majority of living congressmen no longer will be needed to do business under ``catastrophic circumstances.''

Instead, a majority of the congressmen able to show up at the House would be enough to conduct business, conceivably a dozen lawmakers or less.

The House speaker would announce the number after a report by the House Sergeant at Arms. Any lawmaker unable to make it to the chamber would effectively not be counted as a congressman.

The circumstances include ``natural disaster, attack, contagion or similar calamity rendering Representatives incapable of attending the proceedings of the House.''

The House could be run by a small number of lawmakers for months, because House vacancies must be filled by special elections. Governors can make temporary appointments to the Senate.

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), one of few lawmakers active on the issue, argued the rule change contradicts the U.S. Constitution, which states that ``a majority of each (House) shall constitute a quorum to do business.

``Changing what constitutes a quorum in this way would allow less than a dozen lawmakers to declare war on another nation,'' Baird said.

Actually, it's not such a bad idea. If we could get Congress to get their Constitutional power to declare war back from the moron they bent over and gave it to, twelve guys might make better decisions than the one who got us into the mess we're in now.

Pull Yourself Up By Your Sandal Straps?

Apropos of nothing at all, go see this cartoon.

Funnier'n (Expletive Deleted)

If you're a George Carlin fan, as I am, go read Al Martinez' column in the LATimes.
Part Lenny Bruce, part Howard Stern, part Paul Krassner and part flushing toilet to those offended by his cobalt-tinted monologues, Carlin has been an outsider since he dropped out of high school and discovered marijuana.

Carlin cuts through the shit. We need more "outsiders" like him.

The Scent Of Fear

Bob Herbert in the NYTimes has a few things to say about Bush's War and the way it's going:
With the insurgency becoming both stronger and bolder, and the chances of conducting a legitimate election growing grimmer by the day, a genuine sense of alarm can actually be detected in the reality-resistant hierarchy of the Bush administration.

Brig. Gen. David Rodriguez told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday of an ominous new development in Iraq. "We've noticed in the recent couple of weeks," he said, "that the I.E.D.'s [improvised explosive devices] are all being built more powerfully, with more explosive effort in a smaller number of I.E.D.'s."

I can't find a link to the post[Here, here, here, here, and here. - The F-man.], but we predicted the missing 300+ tons of high explosives would be turning up, and that our soldiers would die. Sounds like we were right. Sometimes I hate being right. [Looks like we were right a lot, partner - the F-man]
Mr. Bush's so-called pre-emptive war, which has already cost so many lives, is being enveloped by the foul and unmistakable odor of failure. That's why the Pentagon is dispatching a retired four-star general, Gary Luck, to Iraq to assess the entire wretched operation. The hope in Washington is that he will pull a rabbit out of a hat. His mission is to review the military's entire Iraq policy, and do it quickly.

I hope, as he is touring the regions in which the U.S. is still using conventional tactics against a guerrilla foe, that he keeps in mind how difficult it is to defeat local insurgencies, and other indigenous forces, as exemplified by such widely varying historical examples as the French experiences in Indochina and Algeria, the American experience in Vietnam, the Israeli experience in Lebanon, and so on.

With the war draining the military of the troops needed for commitments worldwide, the Pentagon is being forced to take extraordinary steps to maintain adequate troop strength. A temporary increase of 30,000 soldiers for the Army, already approved by Congress, will most likely be made permanent. The Pentagon is also considering plans to further change the rules about mobilizing members of the National Guard and Reserve. Right now they cannot be called up for more than 24 months of active service. That limit would be scrapped, which would permit the Army to call them up as frequently as required.

That's not a back-door draft. It's a brutal, in-your-face draft that's unfairly limited to a small segment of the population. It would make a mockery of the idea of an all-volunteer Army.

Something's got to give. The nation's locked in a war that's going badly. The military is strained to the breaking point. And it's looking more and more like the amateur hour in the places that are supposed to provide leadership in perilous times - the Pentagon and the White House.

And our so-called "leader" doesn't want to hear about it.

I found God!

Bear with the little heathen boy for a minute and follow my logic.

Do you know the expression, 'all dogs go to Heaven', right? I mean, the wisdom is that because they're loyal, and innocent, and loving, and all that other good stuff so they automatically get a free pass. What if they're the ones who judge us as we enter the afterlife? Who better qualified? A panel of dogs, maybe one with all your former dogs on it. Maybe, if you lived a life that would impress a dog, you'd be qualified to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. How's that? Would you pass muster against a dog's standards of love and loyalty and goodness?

Yeah, what she said

I know it seems like Shakespeare's Sister and I have been having a bloggy love fest lately, but we've sunk our teeth into something we're both passionate about, namely leadership of the Democratic Party in the wake of what happened in November. She comments on my post yesterday and elaborates on her blog too:

[. . .]

The disdain they [the Dem leadership] show for their blogging rank-and-file betrays a deep lack of understanding about who we are. We don’t blog because we like to hear our own voices—we blog in the increasingly futile hope that they will hear our collective voice and conduct themselves in a manner befitting representatives who are actually listening.

Dammit, we’re your base, and we’re worth listening to.

Go read the whole post. So, if your Dem House and/or Senate member is wishy washy on Social Security, or Iraq, or shows signs of embracing the Dark Side, voice your disagreement and make them aware they will face a challenge in the next primary. Hel-lo to my neighbors in Connecticut, Joe "Zell" Lieberman's term is up next year. Find a replacement.

Update: 06:00:

Armando at Kos:

. . . "The president's idea of bipartisanship is, 'Here's what I want to do, join me,' " said Rep. Robert Menendez (N.J.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. "It isn't about negotiating. It isn't about compromise. It's almost this belief that they have the monopoly on what's best for the country." . . .

Maybe some hope?

Sunday, January 9, 2005

Party time


This will be the most expensive inaugural in history as W celebrates himself while the rest of the world looks on in disgust.

White Trash Barbie

Believe it or don't, I got this from a James Wolcott post about "Uncle Tom" Williams.

Victory Is Ours, Lieth The King

If you get the feeling I'm mildly obssessed with Maureen Dowd, well, you're right. But only because of her biting insight and way with words. From today's NYTimes:
The president prides himself on being a pig-headed guy. He is determined to win in Iraq even if he is not winning in Iraq.

Even for a White House steeped in hooey, it's a challenge. President Bush will have to emulate the parsing and prevaricating he disdained in his predecessor: It depends on what the meaning of the word "win" is.

The president's still got a paper bag over his head, claiming that the daily horrors out of Iraq reflect just a few soreheads standing in the way of a glorious democracy, even though his commander of ground forces there concedes that the areas where more than half of Iraqis live are not secure enough for them to vote - an acknowledgment that the insurgency is resilient and growing. It's like saying Montana and North Dakota are safe to vote, but New York, Philadelphia and L.A. are not. What's a little disenfranchisement among friends?

"It's going to be ugly," Joe Biden told Charlie Rose about the election.

The arrogant Bush war council never admits a mistake. Paul Wolfowitz, a walking mistake, said on Friday he's been asked to remain in the administration. But the "idealists," as the myopic dunderheads think of themselves, are obviously worried enough, now that Mr. Bush is safely re-elected, to let a little reality seep in. Rummy tapped a respected retired four-star general to go to Iraq this week for an open-ended review of the entire military meshugas.

Mr. Wolfowitz, who devised the debacle in Iraq, is kept on, while Brent Scowcroft, Poppy Bush's lieutenant who warned Junior not to go into Iraq, is pushed out as chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. That's the backward nature of this beast: Deceive, you're golden; tell the truth, you're gone.

Mr. Scowcroft was not deterred. Like Banquo's ghost, he clanked around last week, disputing the president's absurdly sunny forecasts for Iraq, and noting dryly that this administration had turned the word "realist" into a "pejorative." He predicted that the elections "have the great potential for deepening the conflict" by exacerbating the divisions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. He worried that there would be "an incipient civil war," and said the best chance for the U.S. to avoid anarchy was to turn over the operation to the less inflammatory U.N. or NATO.

The Iraqi election that was meant to be the solution to the problem - like the installation of a new Iraqi government and the transfer of sovereignty and all the other steps that were supposed to make things better - may actually be making things worse. The election is going to expand the control of the Shiite theocrats, even beyond what their numbers would entitle them to have, because of the way the Bush team has set it up and the danger that if you're a Sunni, the vote you cast may be your last.

It is a lesson never learned: Matters of state and the heart that start with a lie rarely end well.

People will keep dying in Iraq that didn't have to. Bush will clear brush in Crawford and think he's a big hero. He's not. In his quest for glory, he's managed to divide both the United States and Iraq, and put both countries in the shitter for many years to come. And that was in his first four years. I wonder how much damage he'll do in the next four now that he's got the hang of it.

Leave it to a Democrat

NM Governor Bill Richardson supports our troops:

SANTA FE -- The state would pay for a $250,000 life insurance policy for members of the New Mexico Army and Air National Guard under a proposal announced Tuesday by Gov. Bill Richardson.

The proposal is part of a package of military benefits that Richardson will ask the Legislature to approve when it convenes in two weeks for a 60-day session.

[. . .]

This program should be adopted military-wide for Regulars, Reservists, and Guardsmen. Being they only get something like $12-$15 grand in death benefits. Chislin' bastids. Tell Governor Richardson you appreciate his efforts on behalf of New Mexico's citizen soldiers.

Go away

The best quote I heard in a long time:

"We don't need the Americans' intervention. We know who to elect. Not like them -- they elected a moron."

A Palestinian on the upcoming elections to replace Arafat. Via Morrigan.

Weekend reading

Chapter 7 of Empires is up at creativity . . .

And a note. It's good to see KR back from the holiday in one piece.

And another note. I'm sure that by now you've all heard about the Koufax Awards over at Wampum. Just to get it out there, I'm abstaining from voting. How do I choose between Skippy, TBogg, and World O'Crap, for example? So I'm gonna leave off, because I can't, in good conscience, vote for one great blog over another. Maybe one year (if we are around so long), if we're nominated, I'll vote for The Brain. It is my favorite after all.

And one more note. I don't trust this guy Tim Roemer [DNC Chair hopeful] as far as I can piss into a force nine gale. I'm watching him on Little George and he's a shifty bastard. Any asshole who says the Democrats have to be more inclusive is a complete fucking idiot or a lying bastid. Tell your congressweasels to support Howard Dean for DNC Chairman.

More Gillard

I like him even more after this 'racist' bullshit with NRO:

[. . .]

I want conservatives to read this site and come away steaming. I don't want them to think they will like a word I will say here. I don't want them to think I will consider their opinions or viewpoints. I want them to think: boy he doesn't like conservatives and really, really doesn't care what we say.

I'm tired of people acting like these people can be reasoned with or talked to. They don't want to talk, they want to drive us away into a corner and ridicule our ideas.

I'm not writing to make conservatives happy. I want them to hate my opinions. I'm not interested in debating them. I want to stop them.

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Connecting the dots

Shakespeare's Sister has been on this:

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Meanwhile, if the Democrats don’t pull this troubling story together with the Armstrong Williams debacle, and use them to point out loudly and repeatedly how corrupt and morally bankrupt this administration actually is, then they truly are a useless bunch of wankers.

So has Oliver Willis:

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More Americans want answers:

Ralph G. Neas president of People For the American Way today called on the White House to immediately ask all federal agencies to disclose any public relations contracts with news commentators, and any programs that seek to disguise the release of agency information as real news stories put out by independent news organizations.

Armstrong Williams is just the tip of the iceberg. [my emphasis]

So has my partner Gordon:

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Lemme see if I 'm getting this right: They steal public money to mis-inform and dupe the public so they can keep doing what they're doing, even though it's wrong, and get the duped public to agree with it? Is that pretty close?

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And Dave Johnson:

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So it seems like a good time to remind readers of this story. The Bushies awarded the contract to supply oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to one of the core funders of the Right. What a coincidence! At a time when oil prices are higher than ever, many have questioned why the government wouldn't at least put a hold on oil purchases -- not to mention pumping some oil OUT of the reserves to lower demand. But that would mean that Koch gets less of our money to put to use funding the Right! Well, it isn't about the interests of the people of the country, it's about the interests of The Party.

And everyone asks the question, 'why is it just us?' Is it just the bloggers who are ranting and raving about this? Where is the Democratic leadership? Where are Kerry, Pelosi, Ried, Edwards, Kennedy, Leahy, and yes, even Dean, and the rest of them? I mean shit, bloggers connected the dots for 'em as early as '03 (long before I even dreamed of having a blog).

We would have won the election this past November had any of the contenders, any of the leadership, come out and called a spade a spade. And I'm not talking about "Rainman" Kucinich. Bush and his entourage are a bunch of liars, cheats, and theives. All this flowery fucking language in passive voice from the Dems, puh! 'Oh, the President was misinformed about Iraq's WMD.' 'Oh, the President got bad advice'. Bullshit. He makes the final decision. Remember Harry Truman? The buck stops here? It would be something if Bush fired the ones who 'misinformed' him, but instead he gave them medals. What is this, a banana republic in South America where sergeants walk around with more tin on 'em than our generals?

This administration is crooked, period. That's what we needed to hear, but instead we got platitudes. We got 'nuance'. I got a problem with spineless people. Instead of calling for 'bipartisanship' (which went the way of the dinosaurs in '94 and hasn't been seen since), the Democratic leadership should have been calling for indictments. Are you actually scared of the Republican majority? If you are, then you have no place in Congress. Are you scared of upsetting the apple cart when it comes to appropriations for your district? If you are, you're just as morally challenged as the Repubs. You're selling out your constituents to get yourself reelected and you should be on the unemployment lines. Note to Dem leadership, selling out in the name of your constituents is not the same as bipartisan compromise. As I said, bipartisanship went out the door in '94.

Time to take the gloves off, Mr. Ried, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Leahy. Start eating what Ms. Boxer does, because she gave you a valuable lesson in principle this past week. Hopefully, you all learned something about solidarity and intestinal fortitude. Time for you to step up and speak directly to the American people. Call for impeachment, don't just leave it to the bloggers and the 'pundits' on TV. We need big voices to say this, not the B-team.

We have an issue here, people. The bloggers are on it. Remember, a simple burglary begat Watergate, when another Republican crook left the White House in shame. Time to do the same thing to this one.

Update: 07:30:

And why aren't the leaders listening to the bloggers? We are the voice of your base, you idiots. If you stand up, we got your back.

Boot Joe

Legal Fiction:

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We should probably try to boot him out anyway. But I'm willing to make Social Security the last straw on whether I would support him in a primary. In general, I think the party needs to make it clear that anyone who supports the Bush Social Security phase-out should expect a fierce battle in the primary.

I've had it with Lieberman. I've been saying this since before the elections, but he's getting about as useless as tits on a bull. The post-lobotomy act is one thing, but I think he's come down with zellmilleritis. He's been supporting Bush in Iraq and on this Social Security smoke show. Like we say in NY, don't let the door hit ya in the ass.