Saturday, June 25, 2005
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.
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.Read more Below the Fold.
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.
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.
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.
[. . .]
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.
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.
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.It's so easy to just let him write my stuff!
Once the media catch up with the public, we'll be able to start talking seriously about how to get out of Iraq.
Friday, June 24, 2005
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?
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.
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.)
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Read the rest of her post at Arianna's place.
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.
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."
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
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.
"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...
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.
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.
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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.
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.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.
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).
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.
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.)Why, yes. It would be interesting. Though not in an especially good way.
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 ...)
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.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."
The fact is that the Iraq war had begun by the beginning of summer 2002, if not earlier.
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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.
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
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"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 . . .
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.
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.
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.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.
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.
One caution, though: Don't hurt the jail. Tommy's gonna need it in good shape to serve his time. What a fuckin' dildo.
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.
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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
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.
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.
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.
[. . .]
"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.
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.
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.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.
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?
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?
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!
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.
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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
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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:
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An excellent post dissecting the
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.It's lengthy, like all his stuff, but give your overheated typing digit a rest and go read.
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.
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.It was some legal crap about fixing liability if anything went wrong. Nothing that should have slowed the process.
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.
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.
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.
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.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.
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.
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: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.
"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."
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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.
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Congressman John Conyers tried fruitlessly to secure a real room for discussing the Downing Street Memo.
"Despite the fact that a number of other suitable rooms were available in the Capitol and House office buildings," he writes after being mocked in the Washington Post for playing a "dress-up game" in a tiny room -- "Republicans declined my request for each and every one of them."
But it was no sweat for the Rev. Sun Myung Moon to book a Senate auditorium from the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee -- for a grand masque in which the Times publisher, swathed in maroon king's robes, proclaimed himself Messiah?
Separation of church and state? Not if you're a Republican. What in Hell have they done to this country?
Whether you're a newly minted blogger or a relative old-timer, you've been seeing more and more stories pop up every day about bloggers getting in trouble for what they post.We're all a buncha loudmouths. Now we'll be a buncha loudmouthed sea lawyers! Yayyy!!!
Like all journalists and publishers, bloggers sometimes publish information that other people don't want published. You might, for example, publish something that someone considers defamatory, republish an AP news story that's under copyright, or write a lengthy piece detailing the alleged crimes of a candidate for public office.
The difference between you and the reporter at your local newspaper is that in many cases, you may not have the benefit of training or resources to help you determine whether what you're doing is legal. And on top of that, sometimes knowing the law doesn't help - in many cases it was written for traditional journalists, and the courts haven't yet decided how it applies to bloggers.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
The All Spin Zone reports that the rightwingers next attempt at discrediting the information in the Downing Street Documents is to declare the entire lot fakes. An interesting midstream change in direction, considering that thus far their line has been that the memos contain "no new information." Why someone would go to the trouble of creating documents out of thin air to report old news is beyond me. In any case, I'll turn it over to Kevin Drum, who handily dismisses the charges:
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So they're trying to do to us what they did to the 60 Minutes bunch. Thing is, the 60 Minutes piece was based on fake documents . . . supposedly. We're standing on firm ground here folks, with a good field of fire. Let's not give any of it up.
Congressional Republicans are hoping yet again to split the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers nine Western states and has issued some rulings to the dismay of conservatives, saying a breakup is the best way to reduce the caseload of the circuit's federal judges.Yeah, right. They'd love to "reduce their caseload" so they just hear cases involving Frisco and Hollywood and stay out of the way of the Republican steamroller as it undoes the Constitution and the New Deal and hands the soul of the Nation to their corporate cronies.
Judges on the Ninth Circuit decided that the federal government probably did not have authority to prohibit medical use of marijuana. They decided it was unconstitutional for schoolchildren to recite the full Pledge of Allegiance. In both cases, they were recently reversed by the Supreme Court. The Ninth Circuit also seems to be heading toward an opinion on just how schoolteachers may refer to religion in public school classrooms.
"The reason that the issue of splitting the circuit comes up repeatedly is because of dissatisfaction in some areas with some of our decisions," said Mary M. Schroeder, chief judge of the Ninth Circuit and a strong opponent of any split. "This has a long historic basis beginning with some fishing rights decisions in the 60's and going forward to the Pledge of Allegiance case and presently some of the immigration decisions."
Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said last fall that dividing the Ninth Circuit would be a priority. and linked any new judgeships to dividing the Ninth Circuit.Sensenbrenner again. It seems they use him for a front man because everybody knows he's an old fool.
A split would not directly affect the jurisprudence of the Ninth Circuit, of course. But it might speed the day that Republican appointees become the majority in the new, smaller circuits. Also, any circuit (or circuits) created that excluded California would probably be more conservative, Professor Hellman observed.Duh. I'm not even a perfesser an' I coulda told ya that!
Most of the judges themselves do not support a split, said Alex Kozinski, a Ninth Circuit judge. "We've taken votes of our judges regularly," Judge Kozinski said, "and we always overwhelmingly vote against the split. And these are the folks that know the work of the court."Granted there are a lot more people out West than when the court was formed and granted their case load is heavy. Judges all over the country go back to judge school all the time, not to learn more about the law, but to study case management. There's a huge judge school at the University of Nevada in Reno. Yes, case load is a problem and something needs to be done, but it provides a very handy smokescreen to hide the Republicans' true agenda, which is to make sure cases are decided they way they want them to be. They say they want "strict constructionists". What this means is, they will tell the court what the decisions should be and then the court will "strictly construct" the ruling to fit.
As soon as Hitler controlled the German courts, the Third Reich was free to do what it wished. I hope we don't end up like them, in smoking ruins.
On June 19, 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the United States Senate.It seems the filibuster didn't work very well when it was used to try to thwart good legislation. Now the Reps want to abolish it because it appears it might just work to thwart their evil intentions.
We are making a difference.
That Colored Fella emailed me to let me know the Big Brass Alliance had been mentioned on MSNBC, and Matt of Tattered Coat pointed me in the direction of One Woman Wrecking Crew's report on the mention:
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(I'd like to note that our ultimate goal is really the truth and accountability, part of which might be impeachment proceedings, but it's a small quibble.)
Sometimes you have an opportunity to study a lie. The Right's current smear-lie about Senator Durbin is an example. (Also here and here). We can look at what he said, and we can look at what the Right is SAYING he said, and compare them . . .
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But it is more than just a lie, it is a strategic lie. It is a lie designed to trick Americans into believing something that is strategically convenient to the Right. This lie is being used to reinforce an ongoing strategic narrative that Democrats "hate America" and "hate the military."
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And thanks to the corporate media, the bullshit gets spread far and wide.