Saturday, November 20, 2004


On 20 November 1943, the Second Marine Division assaulted Betio (BAY-shio) Island in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, at that time a British Protectorate, located in the Central Pacific a little northwest of the point where the Equator crosses the International Dateline. Betio is two miles long by a half-mile wide, 291 acres, less than half the size of New York City's Central Park.

The object of the assault was a Japanese airfield which Admiral Nimitz felt would hinder the upcoming island-hopping campaign which would provide stepping stones toward Japan for airfields and supply bases. The island was heavily fortified. There were 2700 Rikusentai, Japanese Naval Infantry much like our Marines, 1000 Japanese construction workers, and 1200 Korean laborers. U.S. Intelligence calculated the number of personnel quite accurately by analyzing the number of privies in aerial reconnaisance photos.

The Japanese commander, Admiral Shibasaki, claimed that "a million men could not take Tarawa in a hundred years".

The Marines were to assault from the lagoon side of Betio rather than the seaward side, to avoid Japanese coastal guns sited in that direction. They would have to cross a reef to do so. The only maps available were U.S. Naval maps drawn by an expedition in 1841. Former British planters provided information about tides, crucial because the assault boats needed at least 3 1/2 feet of water over the reef to clear it. The Brits estimated 4 to 5 feet of depth at that time of year, but warned that they might be off by a foot or so due to unusual 'dodging' tides. U.S. planners went by the estimate and were dead ass wrong.

Prior to the assault, U.S. Navy ships and planes bombed and shelled Betio with 3000 tons of high explosives, or over ten tons per acre. Since the island was very flat, a lot of low-angle ordnance skipped off into the ocean. The Jap fortifications, some with walls eight feet thick, were damaged but their occupants survived and came out ready to fight. Their communications were disrupted, but the defending force was pretty much intact.

The first wave came ashore in amphibious tractors, 'Alligators', and the following waves came in Higgins boats. There was not enough water over the reef and the boats were stopped, so a shuttle began from the boats to the beach by returning Alligators. They had started with only 125 of these and almost half were knocked out in the first wave. The Japs had over 100 machine guns and several anti-boat guns facing the lagoon. Many Marines disembarked and waded ashore in chest-deep water for over 500 yards. Many were killed by Jap fire, and many stepped in holes and drowned.

Once ashore, the Marines were pinned down on the beach behind a log sea-wall. Radios were shot up or soaked. Command and control was lost due to casualties, units landing on the wrong part of the beach, general confusion, and the 'fog of war'. Finally, junior officers, NCO's, even buck privates, began to take charge, organizing small groups of men and assaulting over the sea-wall toward the airfield, which at one end was only 50 yards from the beach. The fighting was mostly with grenades, flamethrowers and demolition charges. The Japs had an extensive bunker system, interconnected by trenches and tunnels. It was slow, deadly work, one bunker at a time, each one supported by fires from others.

The highest point on Betio was a bombproof bunker. Marines gained its top at great cost. They threw grenades down the vent pipe and shot many Japs at point-blank range as they poured out the back doors. They dealt with survivors by pouring gasoline down the vents, followed by satchel charges. Later, they counted 200 charred corpses in the bombproof.

The assault force commander, Colonel David M. Shoup, who received the Medal Of Honor for this action and was the Commandant of the Marine Corps in the sixties when I was a Marine, at one point sent this message: "Casualties: many. Percentage dead: unknown. Combat efficiency: we are winning."

The battle raged for three days and Betio was declared secured after 76 hours. The Marines lost over 1000 KIA and 2300 WIA. 17 Japs and 123 Koreans survived out of 4900. It was the fiercest, most hard-fought and bloody battle the Marines had been in up to that time. Picture 15,000 armed men in half of Central Park, each trying to kill the other by whatever means, and you get the idea.

This was the first assault against a heavily fortified beach in the Pacific War. Many lessons were learned. Naval gunfire was modified to use high-angle fire which would come down on a target instead of skipping off. Pin-point fire was used instead of saturation fire. Combat swimmers were trained to gather intelligence about tides and beaches. It cost a lot of lives to learn these lessons, but many lives were later saved.

Ironically, the Jap fortifications that resulted in so many Marine casualties resulted from an earlier Marine success. In late 1942, Colonel Evans F. Carlson's 2d Raider Battalion had assaulted Makin Island which was in the Gilberts about 100 miles north of Betio. They kicked ass. Forewarned being forearmed, the Japs fortified the shit out of Betio.

The movie Gung Ho with Randolph Scott was the Hollywood version of the Makin raid, but does not mention the nine Marines who were inadvertently left behind and later beheaded. The Jap who did that was executed for it after the war and the bodies were only recovered a couple of years ago.

Today, the former Gilbert Islands are the independent Republic of Kiribati.

My source was: Time-Life series World War Two: Island fighting. You can read and see more at Tarawa on the Web.

Good . . . Very Good

Go see Oliver Willis and scroll through his site. He's made up a bunch of new Dem t-shirts that are outstanding.


AMERICAblog via Atrios:

[. . .]

Where the hell is the Washington Post on all of this? Pay them the right price and they'll publish any crap, no matter how outrageous, no matter how wrong, no matter how hateful and obviously race-baiting (note that the fags in the publication are all white).

[. . .]

Read this, and then email the Post. The links are all here.


You'll notice I finally got around to making the 'comments' work right (oldest to most recent or vice versa) and I took the time to get a little creative (opinions solicited). I updated shit over at TF&G too, since I had some time this morning. Check out Gordon's latest post over there while you're at it. If you're a hotrodder, biker, or enthusiast, his words will make you nostalgic.


I'll be starting my new novel Empires over at Creativity within the week. I put a link in the sidebar down on the left if you're interested in following along. I'll be using the title page as an index.

Paradigm shift?


[. . .]

Steven Weisman of The Times reported that administration hawks were also talking about fresh intelligence on Iran's support for Hezbollah, which the world has known about for decades, and Iran's support for insurgents in Iraq, another old story. The hawks seem to be already starting to throw cold water on the prospects for a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear problem while trying to open the door to contemplating a military option. An administration official told The Times that Mr. Powell was trying to avoid meeting with the Iranian foreign minister at a conference both men are to attend in Egypt next week.

Small wonder, then, that the Europeans started to accuse Washington of trying to undermine diplomacy with Iran, just as the Bush administration thwarted their efforts to resume the U.N. inspections of Iraq - inspections that we now know had been highly effective.

Iran has long been a target of the hawks in the administration, who are undoubtedly feeling their oats after the election. But we hope that President Bush has learned enough from the Iraq adventure to understand the dangers of using flawed intelligence to create a false sense of urgency about a national security threat. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

I guess they recognize the Inept Administration's posturing now, since none of them (NYT, WaPo, others) had the nuts to call Bush on it during the buildup to Iraq. You hear the saber-rattling already, right? Do you think that ball-less Uncle Tom (Colin Powell) would have come out with the statement he did yesterday if Condi would have been credible floating that balloon?

[. . .]

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell thrust himself into the debate on Wednesday by commenting to reporters that fresh intelligence showed that Iran was "actively working" on a program to enable its missiles to carry nuclear bombs, a development he said "should be of concern to all parties."

[. . .]

People (even journalists) are starting to get it now, I hope. Bush & Co. are trading on what's left of Powell's credibility ('cause nobody trusts Bush's bed wench, CondoLIEzza), getting the issue out there in order to warm us up to the idea of taking military action against Iran. This is the same rhetoric we heard in the months before we invaded Iraq. Hey, what the hell? We got troops and bases right next door, right? No problem diverting some of them to Iran, right? That's the way people without a clue plan combat operations. Get used to it, we got another 4 years of this bullshit.

At least, the press is starting to ask the right questions instead of kneeling before Bush with their mouths open. Some of them anyway.


The proverbial pin is looming ever closer to the housing bubble.

[. . .]

Greenspan took investors by surprise, saying that foreign appetite for U.S. assets would likely decline and clearly stated that those who were unprepared for higher interest rates were bound to get burned and were "desirous of losing money." [my emphasis]

[. . .]

Look for another round of home refinancing to lock in a fixed rate now and then wait for the foreclosures on those who can only afford a variable rate or whose credit wasn't good enough to qualify. When that starts happening, the wheels will come off the economic buggy quick enough. Watch 'moral values' go out the window when the faith-based economy tanks.

Saturday Cattle Dog Blogging

Sometimes, Cattle Dogs don't want their pictures taken.

Friday, November 19, 2004


How did we get in this mess?

Our current national debt, as of November 17, is $7,443,751,916,595.72.

Dwight at Wampum explains.

The Freedom plank

Atrios and Yglesias make an argument for the Democratic Party to position itself on the side of personal freedom. Those who read this blog know I believe that this is a fertile field for us in this political environment.

Individual freedom is as All-American as apple pie and Let The Eagle Soar. The corporate police state theocracy is hostile to that All-American "value" and it is going to begin to encroach on people in ways that they will feel in their personal lives. There are at least three million votes there. Possibly many millions more. Plenty of Americans don't like being told how to live their lives by a bunch of priests, politicians or bureaucrats. And it ain't all about taxes.

Stole the whole thing from Digby 'cause it was short and I agree with this plan.

Hey, that worked

[. . .]

"In Afghanistan, drugs are now a clear and present danger," said Antonio Maria Costa, director of the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime, on the release of the 2004 Afghanistan opium survey. "The fear that Afghanistan might degenerate into a narco-state is becoming a reality."

[. . .]

"What we have here now is a narco-economy where 40 to 50 percent of the GDP is from illicit drugs," said the Kabul-based official. "The heroin traffickers are naturally interested in supporting terrorism and doing what they can to destabilize the central government because the last thing they want is the establishment of the rule of law. In those terms, it is a matter of national security to the U.S. and Europe." [my emphasis]

[. . .]


Good thing the Taliban are gone, 'cause they got in the way of free trade. See what happens when people are free.

You know, if we would have dedicated half the resources to Afghanistan we did to Iraq, we could probably call the operation there a success story. Instead, Bush cheaped out, saving everything but a token force for Iraq, and now the drug lords are more powerful than Karzai. He'll probably be dead a year from now anyway and some other cutthroat in his place. The ineptitude of the Bush administration knows no limits.

What the Marine Did

Owen West and Phillip Carter write the best piece yet, in my not-so-humble opinion, about the events, mindset, and perception surrounding the shooting incident at the mosque in Fallujah. By the way, the Marines refer to it as 'the Loo', from the Brit term for the shitter. I think that's a very apt term for that shithole. The article is a little long, but well worth reading.
The twin essences of war are chaos and killing, so the very idea of placing inflexible constraints on the act of killing is at odds with the fundamental nature of warfare. Managing this cognitive dissonance while trying to stay alive takes tremendous skill. Professional militaries, like the U.S. Marine Corps, do this well because of their discipline and training. But the very existential nature of combat tilts the moral plane under these young riflemen's boots. In a place where you are fighting for your very survival, like the streets of Fallujah, any action that keeps you alive is a good one. And any misstep could get you or your buddies killed.

Further, the Marines were fighting in an enemy city with little uncontested territory. There were no "friendly lines" behind which they could rest. The Marine in question had been wounded already. He was no doubt exhausted by five days of continuous fighting by the time he risked his life and burst into the mosque on Saturday. A well-rested man would have faced a dilemma inside, filled with shades of gray. A sleep-deprived man weary from days of combat saw only a binary choice: shoot or don't shoot, life or death.

He devotes some space to the killing by Iraqi criminals of Margaret Hassan.
There is another key difference that reveals a great moral divide between the Marines and insurgents they fought this week in Fallujah. The insurgents choose the killing of innocents as their modus operandi and glorify these killings with videos distributed via the Internet and Al Jazeera. They recognize no civilized norms of conduct, let alone the rules of warfare. The Marines, on the other hand, distinguish themselves by killing innocents so rarely and only by exception or mistake. Collateral damage is part of warfare, and civilians will die no matter how many control measures are in place. Yet the U.S. military devotes a staggering amount of resources to ensuring that civilian deaths do not happen, from sophisticated command systems that control precision bombs to staffs of lawyers at every level of command to vet targeting decisions. And when such breaches do occur, as they apparently did on Saturday, U.S. military commanders act swiftly to punish the offender, lest one incident of indiscipline blossom into many. (Indeed, one Army captain currently faces charges for killing a wounded Iraqi after a firefight and pursuit through the streets of Baghdad.)

War may be hell, but no honorable warrior likes to spread the hell unnecessarily. Killing Hassan, regardless of any attenuated argument the insurgent apologists may make, was both unlawful and amoral—and beneath what any warrior would do. Killing the insurgent in a split second because it was instinctual, on the other hand, was a tragedy, not an atrocity. (my emphasis)

I saw the video, of course. If it had been me, that room would have been littered with my empty rifle magazines because I would want to make it home alive and screw the guys who had been shooting at me earlier.

You can also read more of Mr. West's and his dad's (Gen. Bing West) dispatches from Iraq at WestWrite.

Bush's Posse, Yo

In his Op-Ed piece in today's NYTimes, Bob Herbert, sounding off about the incompetence of Condi Rice, likens the Bush administration to a street gang.
Competence has never been highly regarded by the fantasists of the George W. Bush administration. In the Bush circle, no less than in your average youth gang, loyalty is everything. The big difference, of course, is that the administration is far more dangerous than any gang. History will show that the Bush crowd of incompetents brought tremendous amounts of suffering to enormous numbers of people. The amount of blood being shed is sickening, and there is no end to the grief in sight.

As I watch the disastrous consequences of the Bush policies unfold - not just in Iraq, but here at home as well - I am struck by the immaturity of this administration, whatever the ages of the officials involved. It's as if the children have taken over and sent the adults packing. The counsel of wiser heads, like George H. W. Bush, or Brent Scowcroft, or Colin Powell, is not needed and not wanted.

Some of the world's most important decisions - often, decisions of life and death - have been left to those who are less competent and less experienced, to men and women who are deficient in such qualities as risk perception and comprehension of future consequences, who are reckless and dangerously susceptible to magical thinking and the ideological pressure of their peers.

I like the gang analogy. Let's wear red or blue bandannas like the Crips and the Bloods. Open season on the opposite side.

Deja Vu

Does anyone else remember the Republicans raising hell when Clinton let Democratic donors stay in the Lincoln Bedroom? Wasn't there screaming about "the White House isn't up for sale"?

Well, now it seems that the whole government is up for sale. Once again, it's okay if you're a Republican.


Josh Marshall:

Red state editorials give the thumbs-down to the DeLay Rule: Springfield News-Leader, Roanoke Times, Charleston Gazette, Indianapolis Star.

This should warm the cockles of Gordon's heart.

That is all, I'm off to work.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

You're kidding, right?

WaPo via Kos:

[. . .]

The Transportation Security Administration this week invited airports to apply to leave the federal security screener system and return to private screeners. The government took over airport screening after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and is planning a transition for approved airports by spring or summer 2005.

[. . .]

Am I the only one who thinks this is highly FUCKED UP?

[. . .]

TSA said security companies must provide comparable pay and benefits to their workers and must give priority in hiring to current TSA screeners. But that isn't reassuring to many TSA screeners, said Ron Moore, a screener at BWI and president of Local 1, the American Federation of Government Employees union.

"We feel protected as federal screeners because we don't feel we can be pressured by airlines or airports," Moore said. "The passengers seem to respond better to us because we're federal. It would be a shame to start to break that." [my emphasis]

Does (p)resident Inept Loser want another 9/11 incident? What the fuck are these people thinking? Let's just go back to the system that enabled the 9/11 hijackers in the first place. BWI and Dulles are supposed to be first. Write, call, and email your elected representatives. Go see Kos for all sorts of links.


The Clinton Library.

Law And Limits

Since I'm on the subject of 'Bugs' DeLay, here's some Molly Ivins on that roach, and the increased spending limit:
DeLay is one of the leading forces in making "Republican ethics" into an oxymoron.

DeLay has already been admonished by the House ethics committee three times on separate violations of ethics rules. Please note, that is the Republican-dominated ethics committee. The hilarious rationale offered by the R's for the new rule to exempt DeLay is that no one can accuse them of taking the moral low road here because, "That line of reasoning accepts that exercise of the prosecutor in Texas is legitimate."

These people consider themselves so far above the law that they feel the only motive must be political. That's what they say, anyway. They know DeLay's a crook, but he's their crook, and he shares the political loot, so they're more than willing to overlook and ridicule the legal process that, if a Dem Congressman did the same thing, they'd be using to demand his head in the name of "law and order". In a New York minute.
In furtherance of moral values, Congress now has to raise the debt limit by another $800 billion. We actually reached the debt ceiling in early October, but obviously the R's didn't want that vote coming up before the election. Then after they finish spending a staggering amount of money, the R's will return to make Bush's tax cuts permanent.

I realize the "liberal elites" are not allowed to even quote the word "dumb" lest we be accused of "cultural condescension" toward our salt-of-the-earth red-state compatriots. Since I'm a populist happily living in the midst of a quite red state (some of my best friends are named Bubba), I never pay any attention to such horsepoop. But I do resent it when the people running the country think we're so dumb they can rip us off and then tell us to pray.

It's not that they think we're dumb. It's just that they know there's nothing we can do about their crimes. They can piss on our legs and tell us they're pissing on our legs and smile, the arrogant criminal bastards. They lie, cheat, and steal, and they'll all be enjoying an exceedingly comfortable retirement on our money when the bill comes due.

Work Release

From Josh Marshall:
Rep John Dingell (D-MI) on Majority Leader Tom DeLay (TX-R): "These folks talk about values and decency, but then think it’s okay to change the rules once it appears one of their own may have broken them. This amounts to a work release program for the ethically challenged. We should all remember that a decade ago, Mr. DeLay helped to create this rule. Republicans said at the time they were the party of reform and good government. Now they’ve become the party of moribund hubris." (my emphasis)

These fuckers are going to go down like an express elevator. It's just a matter of time. Patience is a virtue. Patience, Hell, I wanna kill sumthin'!

The Big Dog

You gotta catch his speech at the opening of his library. He got some good jabs in on (p)resident Nutless.

Note 1: Chelsea don't look half bad.

Note 2: Chris Matthews is an asshole.


Regular reader Travis turned me on to this:

[. . .]

In the midst of two and a half wars, at a time when the Army is struggling to transform itself and must use extraordinary methods to find enough soldiers to fill the rotations to Iraq, Rumsfeld selected a man who's never served in the military or in government to be the Army's CEO.

[. . .]

Although the service secretaries are political appointees, they traditionally have been chosen from the ranks of those who've served the country in uniform, preferably in the uniforms of the services they've been picked to run.

[. . .]

Anybody who thought Rummy was on his way out has another thing coming.

Guniea Pigs

And no, I don't mean sloppy Italians. Via Skippy:

11/16/2004: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), led by Bush appointees, is seeking input on a new proposed study in which infants in participating low income families will be monitored for health impacts as they undergo exposure to known toxic chemicals over the course of two years. The study entitled Children’s Environmental Exposure Research Study (CHEERS) will look at how chemicals can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed by children ranging from babies to 3 years old.

For taking part in these studies, each family will receive $970, a free video camera, a T-shirt, and a framed certificate of appreciation.

In October, the EPA received $2.1 million to do the study from the American Chemistry Council, a chemical industry front group that includes members such as Dow, Exxon, and Monsanto (see full list of members on sidebar of this page). Critics of the research, including some EPA scientists, claim the study's funders guarantee the results will be biased in favor of the chemical industry, at the expense of the health of the impoverished children serving as test subjects.

[. . .]


When I was in Europe last year, the Mrs. and I visited the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp, the place where most of the medical atrocities were committed. The camp is still mostly there too. Maybe the Bush administration can ask the French to rent it out. Motherfuckers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A plan

Bulletin from Sgt. Fixer of the Reality-based Intelligence and Covert Action Command. From Xan at Corrente:

[. . .]

I've heard people suggest that we join the NRA en masse, in part to establish credentials for the future and some implication of "taking over from the inside" in the matter of rational gun control . . .

[. . .]

Every fucking Liberal/Democrat/Person who gives a shit about America should apply for membership in every conservative organization and then vote in our own officers. Could you see the NRA clamoring for responsible gun ownership instead of 'from my cold, dead hands'? It's time for infiltration, boys and girls. Become a member and then vote with a Left-wing tilt. Wither the tree from the inside out.

Our Strength Is As The Strength Of Ten, For Our Hearts Are Pure....

Barbara Ehrenreich in AlterNet has something along the same line as Fixer's previous post, or scroll down one, you lazy so-and-so.
Of all the loathsome spectacles we've endured since Nov. 2 – the vampire-like gloating of CNN commentator Robert Novak, Bush embracing his "mandate" – none are more repulsive than that of Democrats conceding the "moral values" edge to the party that brought us Abu Ghraib. The cries for Democrats to overcome their "out-of-touch-ness" and embrace the predominant faith all dodge the full horror of the situation: A criminal has been enabled to continue his bloody work with the help, in no small part, of self-identified Christians.

Here beith the lesson for today, brethren, between the quoteth.
One last lesson from the Christians – the ancient, original ones, that is. Theirs is the story of how a steadfast and heroic moral minority undermined the world's greatest empire and eventually came to power. Faced with relentless and spectacular forms of repression, they kept on meeting over their potluck dinners (the origins of later communion rituals), proselytizing and bearing witness wherever they could. For the next four years and well beyond, liberals and progressives will need to emulate these original Christians, who stood against imperial Rome with their bodies, their hearts and their souls.

Yea verily, for when they pitch in the lions, forsooth, it will be too lateth.

The deacons will now pass among thee....


Okay, so maybe I take back a couple of the bad things I said about Jesusland.

[. . .]

They raised their signs. Fags Are Worthy of Death. Fags Doom Nation. Fag Church. Your Pastor Is Lying. Others involved obscene drawings and references to excrement. One of the protesters dragged an American flag on the ground.

[. . .]

Worshipers drove through the bottleneck, refusing to engage. Michael Shackelford rumbled past in his truck without notice. Janice arrived minutes later in her Oldsmobile, nervously gripping the steering wheel, eyes straight ahead.

[. . .]

A burly man with a crew cut gave Michael a thumbs-up. "Man, you be who you are," Shannon Watie said, holding his Bible. "We got your back."

Watie later said that he respected Michael for having the courage to come out. "I have the sin of pride, the sin of lying sometimes," said the 37-year-old father of two. "The reason why Jesus was on the cross was because we all do."

[. . .]

WaPo via Pandagon.

This took place in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Where people of faith and tolerance stood up for what they knew was right and decent and good. Call me an idealist, but this is what America is all about.

And No Sambo Jokes, Either...

My ol' buddy Wolcott again, this time sounding off on Powell and Rice. Scroll down a little ways to "Rice And Beans". And I don't wanna hear any "taco" or "whole enchilada" jokes, got it?
But her incompetence precedes her, as does her presumptuous statement that for their failure to support the U.S. in Iraq, France should be punished, Germany ignored, and Russia forgiven. Punished, ignored, and forgiven for being right in the first place and refusing to take part in this debacle?--such nerve.

I can exclusively report what finally drove Powell over the brink. Yes, he was bummed by years of being backstabbed by the neocon hawks, most of whom spent Vietnam masturbating in their dorm rooms. But the last straw was seeing and hearing Thomas Friedman on Tim Russert's CNBC weekend show, channeling Bush's voice to advocate that Powell devote himself exclusively to negotiating a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis--that he be dispatched to the Middle East deal and not to be allowed to return home until he had one, even if it took a year.

Powell put aside his peanut butter sandwich, muted the remote, pondered all those airplane rides and diplomatic meals, and said to himself, "I'm too old for that shit." And the next morning tendered his resignation.

There's ever so much more in the article.

One thing about Wolcott. It's easy for me to post his stuff because there's not usually much left to say.

I Wish I'da Said That

CultureGhost done nailed it in this post:
Life has become so absurd that I find it unreasonable to assume that I could contribute anything to the discourse that would elevate it to rational.

Couldn'ta said it better myself.

True to form

They screwed the troops, now they're screwing the cops. Via are you effin' kidding me?

[. . .]

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) said that cuts by the administration in federal aid to local police agencies have left the nation more vulnerable than ever to public safety threats. The 20,000-member group also said in a statement that new anti-terrorism duties for local cops - which have come as state and local budgets have declined and historically low crime rates have crept upward - have pushed police agencies to "the breaking point."

The statement reflected the ongoing tension between the administration and many local police chiefs, who believe the White House has saddled them with anti-terrorism tasks without much regard to the cost.

Among other things, members of the chiefs' group have long complained about localities having to pay millions of dollars in overtime costs when the U.S. government issued terrorism alerts. The group also is annoyed that President Bush is phasing out a $10 billion program begun by the Clinton administration in 1996 to help local departments hire tens of thousands more cops.

[. . .]


Seems Clinton did more to keep our homeland safe than (p)resident Chimpy. Like everything else they do, they expect our first responders, just like our troops, to work on a shoestring. Heaven forbid they take a bite out of the tax cuts all the rich folks are getting.

Texas School Nixes Dragsters For Camo

The Houston Chronicle reports that parents are irate about having a cross-dressing day for their four-year-olds, even though it's been a regular event for years.
Note to boys in the tiny Spurger, Texas, school district: Put away those high heels and pleated skirts. Instead, wear black boots and Army camouflage to school Wednesday

Yeah, better get used to it now, kids. Your chances of going to the Middle East are a lot better than your chances of ever getting to Fire Island or West Hollywood.

Let's Go Fishin', Georgie

The Toronto Star finally asks the right question:
When U.S. President George W. Bush arrives in Ottawa — probably later this year — should he be welcomed? Or should he be charged with war crimes?

It's an interesting question. On the face of it, Bush seems a perfect candidate for prosecution under Canada's Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act

War crimes also specifically include any breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, such as torture, degradation, wilfully depriving prisoners of war of their rights "to a fair and regular trial," launching attacks "in the knowledge that such attacks will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians" and deportation of persons from an area under occupation.

The case for the prosecution looks quite promising. First, there is the fact of the Iraq war itself. After 1945, Allied tribunals in Nuremberg and Tokyo — in an astonishing precedent — ruled that states no longer had the unfettered right to invade other countries and that leaders who started such conflicts could be tried for waging illegal war.

But a Canadian war crimes charge, too, would face many hurdles. Bush was furious last year when Belgians launched a war crimes suit in their country against him — so furious that Belgium not only backed down under U.S. threats but changed its law to prevent further recurrences.

As well, according to a foreign affairs spokesperson, visiting heads of state are immune from prosecution when in Canada on official business. If Ottawa wanted to act, it would have to wait until Bush was out of office — or hope to catch him when he comes up here to fish.

Hey, Georgie, I hear them big lake trout are bitin', eh? I don't know if they got any bass up there. You better get up there quick! Here, take my car!
Martin was talking specifically about war crimes committed by militiamen in far-off Sudan. But as my friends on the Star's editorial board noted in one of their strong defences of concerted international action against war crimes, the rule must be, "One law for all."

One law for all? Canuckistan is pretty Socialist, but even they can't believe the Bush cabal would go along with a cockamamie furrin idea like that! I mean, if such a thing were in effect here, the new Attorney General would have his hands full indicting administration personnel for impersonating government officials, and CEO's for grand theft. That would be un-American!

Rule Change To Shield DeLay

From The Hill.
The House GOP caucus is likely to vote today to end its rule requiring leaders to step down if indicted, thus shielding Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) in the event that criminal charges are brought against him in a highly controversial case in Texas.

In the 108th Congress, GOP conference rules require a leader to step aside temporarily if indicted on a felony charge that carries a prison term of two or more years. A separate rule applies to committee chairmen.

Bonilla’s proposal would drop the requirement that a leader step aside if indicted by a grand jury or a state prosecutor.

“It would be the height of hypocrisy for a party that came to power promising to clean house to deliberately clear the way for a corrupt and unethical member under indictment to lead the people’s House,” a Democratic leadership aide said.

I've said many times that our country is in the hands of a criminal cabal. Now that the crooks have grabbed all the power, they're going to legitimize criminality by making the appearance of impropiety OK, at least until they're convicted. If DeLay is ever convicted, then we'll see if they change the rules again to allow convicted felons to run the House.

As one Republican official said, "It's not about what's legal. It's about what we can make legal."

Missed opportunities

I'm just thinking about the opportunity presented at the death of Yasser Arafat. And then I think about the people in place to act on this opportunity. It's depressing.

The folks in power don't seem to understand that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the tap root of the Islamic Terrorism problem. I am certain a Democrat would have had a contingency in place to take advantage of this wondrous development. But with Bush & Co. so cozy with Sharon and his 'Neocons', enabling them to operate in the Occupied Territories with impunity, the diplomatic door that has opened will close without any change in the status of the conflict.

The Israelis will pull out of Gaza and parts of the West Bank soon, which I view as a good thing, but they are doing it with Sharon's usual disregard for Palestinian issues. The wall around the West Bank cuts communities in half and isolates others; a strong American President could have pressured the Israelis to build the wall on the Green Line instead of the drunken, meandering route it takes through Palestinian territory to protect Israeli resources. Not with a Bush Administration.

Now, I'm not anti-Israel, my wife is Jewish and I understand the problems there, but those problems are beginning to affect the world in ever-expanding ways. It is the heart of what has become a Cold War between the U.S. and Israel on one side and Islam on the other. Fortunately, the Western-Soviet conflict was waged with relatively level heads (with regard to the use of WMDs). Do not expect that Mutually Assured Destruction mindset in this regard. Not in Israel, not in Washington, and certainly not in the caves of Afghanistan or the streets of Peshawar.

We know that if Osama and his ilk get possession of a nuke or chemical agent, they'll use it against us, or Israel. Should that horrible scenario play out, do you think Bush or Sharon would hesitate to respond in kind? I wouldn't be surprised to see mushroom clouds over several 'Axis of Evil' cities.

Where level-headed folks see the death of Yasser Arafat as an opportunity for peace, Bush and Sharon see it as a 'mandate' to kick the shit out of the Palestinians a little more. I'm praying the Israeli 'disengagement' proceeds smoothly, but I feel it will be just another excuse for the Palestinian bomb-throwers to renew the Intifadah and another excuse for the Israelis to go back in and beat them into submission once more.

Peace, or something close to it could have been a real possibility with Arafat out of the picture, but those in a position to act in the name of peace are bereft of objective thought on the issue. There will be no leadership from Washington and the Holy Land will continue to be the festering boil, infecting the world with the agents of terror.


From Bob Harris:

[. . .]

And there we find the very definition of doublethink.

Sure enough, many of the very same people who were so outraged that John Kerry would dare describe known atrocities to which the perpetrators had already confessed, insisting that this was a betrayal, and American troops would never do such a thing... are now saying that shooting an unarmed man who presents no threat is completely justified.

There's only one way this mindset is consistent: if you believe that Americans, by definition, are always on the side of light and therefore never commit atrocities. Whatever Americans do is justified.

There are some notable people in the not-so-distant past who believed something similar.

American troops died in large number to fight them.

What followed was the creation of a large body of international law on what is and is not a war crime. Much of this law was purchased with American blood.

And now... this is where we are.

[. . .]

Listen to Hannity and Limbaugh and you'd think this Marine killed the Iraqi on the steps of the Capitol as he tried to blow up an icon of our society. Being a combat vet, I'll withold judgment of the Marine until the entire story is told. Shit happens in combat . . . and I'll leave it at that.

We shall survive

The Talking Dog:

[. . .]

Our republic has survived venal people before. Of course, in general, at least those venal people usually had some basic levels of competence. We're about to see if our Founders could anticipate not merely venal people, but venal and insanely stupid and irresponsible people.

We'll likely survive this group too. However, no bets please.

Let us hope. Now that Bush has reordered his Reich with CondoLIEzza as 'the face of America', we should find ourselves even more isolated in the international community than during the first 4 years of Bush World. Unlike Powell, who received the benefit of the doubt by our oldest allies, they all know what Condi's about. With her at the helm at Foggy Bottom, don't expect them to give us shit.

This is even more worrisome:

[. . .]

But some in the foreign policy community are very much concerned by the elevation of Rice's deputy, Stephen Hadley, as her replacement as national security adviser. And they are waiting anxiously to see who will be named as Rice's deputy at State, and likewise who will be Hadley's deputy at the National Security Council.

[. . .]

Do you think there will be ANY dissenting opinions at NSC briefings? This is also good:

[. . .]

Also important is who replaces Hadley. Speculation is focused on Elliott Abrams, who now is in charge of Middle East policy at the NSC. Abrams, who was convicted and later pardoned in the Iran-Contra scandal, is seen by some at the State Department as fiercely pro-Israel. [my emphasis]

Imagine if a Dem put a convicted felon on the NSC staff? We'd never hear the end of the screaming from the Right. Where are our people? The only people screaming on the Left are the bloggers. What in Hell is going on at the DNC? It seems as if as soon as the elections were over, the Dem leadership gave up. Do you think Harry Reid will make any noise over these appointments? Yeah, neither did I.

Maru says it best:

[. . .]

By naming nanny, chronic liar and worthless national security adviser Condoleezza Rice as Colin Powell's replacement , the neocons effectively give the unsolicited finger to the world.

[. . .]

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


If you're a woman, or love one, you owe it to yourself to read this. Cervical cancer vaccine.

Nov 12, 2004 — Researchers say a second experimental cervical cancer vaccine appears to broadly protect against infection and risky precancerous conditions for more than two years, affirming scientists' belief that the disease could be progressively eradicated in a global campaign much like smallpox and polio.

[. . .]

As If California Doesn't Have Enough Problems Already

I see a bright future for this person with the Bush Administration.

I'm glad Ahhnold thinks she's a genius. This should go over big with the taxpayers.


[. . .]

Republicans are fine with their members being for abortion rights if that's what they have to tell voters to hold their seats. But such Republicans can expect only resistance if they dare to rise to the top and expect any meaningful influence on the issue.

[. . .]


By the midterms of '06, I doubt there will be any such thing as a moderate Repbulican or a classic Conservative in the Party. With the Neocon dominance, the centrists will be squeezed out or converted. That's why I don't agree with Democrats who are happy with Harry Reid (D-NV) being selected as Minority Leader.

I want a guy like me there. A guy who'll lay it on the line to that bastid Bill Frist and say 'if Bush sends us any Jesus freak judges for confirmation, they'll be met with a filibuster'. Who cares if you're labeled 'obstructionist'? They need us to get shit through. We don't need Ol' Harry trying to play nice. They want to destroy us.

We do not need to be changing to appeal to those who are so far right they will never accept anything with a Democratic taint. What we need to do is reinforce our values. Inclusion, the rights of people over their own bodies, the rights of people to love whomever they want to, so long as they're both consenting adults, the insistence on fiscal sobriety, the protection of our forests, skies, and waters. The moderates and fiscal conservatives will come to us when the GOP no longer tolerates debate on these issues from within.

Remember this, the Republicans own everything they've broken. Bad Karma, man. If things turn out well, I'll be a happy camper, but odds are it won't and they're gonna have to explain this mess in '06 and '08. You can only piss on people so many times before they realize it ain't raining.

But Colin, we hardly knew ye

Yeah, right. I stole the whole thing from DemVet becasue Jo says it much better than I could.

As the rats desert the ship, the latest one to head for the land of six-figure speaking and seven-figure lobbying fees is Colin "A Man of No Integrity" Powell. Word has it that he'll be replaced by Buh-Wheat in Drag...Preznit Pootie Tang's real wife, National Security Mis-Advisor and Chevron Board Member Condi "Shoop's in the way he kisses" Rice. Everytime I see Kinda-Lying Rice, I wish I had the concession on whatever it is that she puts on her hair.

Once I wondered what Powell would do when he left the 1600 Crew. After all, he got his woefully inadequate son a day-job, lied to the UN and the world, looked the other way as his boss lied, and lied and lied. Then I remember that he was the staff officer who investigated the My-Lai charges, albeit from the safety of his offices at MAC-V, and I know that he'll head off to live out his golden years untroubled by conscience. He gave that away sometime between Saigon and Washington DC, and it's been MIA ever since. Witness: the last four years and the Vietnam-like mess he is a prime architect of through wilful misdirection and deceit.

Colin Powell could renounce all his worldy possessions, take a vow of poverty and live the life of Mother Theresa, and he'd never atone for his performance over the last four years and his culpability for the Iraq War.

And then there's Michael.

And Hecate elaborates on what I talked about yesterday.


From The Farmer at Corrente:

[. . .]

The horrendous humanitarian disaster of Fallujah drags on as the US military continues to refuse the entry of an Iraqi Red Crescent (IRC) convoy of relief supplies. The Red Crescent has appealed to the UN to intervene, but no such luck, nor does the military relent.

[. . .]

Yup, Fallujah is pacified, but at what cost? In addition to nearly 60 troops and over 1000 Iraqis dead, none of the insurgents they were looking for has been captured or killed. I'm sure the Marines (through no fault of theirs) are al-Zarqawi's best recruiters. If we think the Marines' 'success' in Fallujah will begin to ease the tensions in Iraq and pave the way for elections in 6 weeks, we are sadly mistaken.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Our Tax Dollars Protecting Us

Dave Barry cracks me up. His message is clear: You must properly dispose of hazardous waste lest the sheeple panic.
So the nation was on High Random Fear Alert when the young man disposed of his poopy pants. Unfortunately, he elected to toss the garbage bag next to a municipal reservoir, where he was spotted by an Erie Water Works employee, who found the bag and reported it to the police, who closed all the streets in the area and called out the Bomb Squad and the Hazardous Materials Response Team. The Water Works department shut down the reservoir and warned the public to conserve water, a move that caused concerned residents to deluge the police with phone calls

This one may hold special immediacy, and hopefully not impending disaster, for Knox Rover. I'm always looking out for you, kid. Better late than never.
Our next piece of breaking news is a short newspaper item sent in July by alert reader Doe Clark. The article, headlined 'Officials Crack Down on 'Bathtub' Cheese,'' begins as follows: ''San Diego County health officials warned against buying or eating cheeses made in bathtubs that were being sold door to door.''

It is not totally clear, from this wording, whether it is the cheese that is being sold door to door, or the bathtubs. To be on the safe side, we urge residents of San Diego County to avoid both bathing AND eating suspicious cheese, lest you wind up becoming ill and producing what gastroenterologists refer to as an ''Erie Special.''

I love these internets.


If you feel you are getting stressed-out by all the happenings in our world, go read Obey Big Brother. He has some good points, but may possibly be just the teeniest bit bitter and cynical. I feel much more well-adjusted after reading him.


A good question asked by Hecate (guest blogging for Atrios):

[. . .]

Now, we're stuck in another quagmire, probably worse than Viet Nam. Again, young people are dying for no reason and others try to protest in as dramatic a fashion as possible. I don't think suicide is the answer, but I'd love to see a discussion. How can we effectively protest this insane war? What would work? Boycotts? Marches? Let's think creatively. The times call for it.

How come we don't have the huge marches I remember from that time? I mean, with the Internet, it should be easier to organize and mobilize people, right? If we're so against this war, why haven't the 'agitators' gotten people out in the streets in large numbers? If protest marches were the nightly fare in the news, as they were 35 years ago, they should be again today. We have to keep pressure on the White House, keep 'em under the gun, and move public opinion solidly against the war. Just sayin'.

I Guess You Can Just Pick The Parts You Like.....

Stole this whole thing from cleek.

This is floating around the net right now - author unknown. Maybe you'll be able to say you saw it here first...(Well...No. - Ed.)

Dear President Bush:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. As you said "in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man a woman." I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? (I'm pretty sure she's a virgin).

3. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

4. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? How can I help you here?

5. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Aren't there 'degrees' of abomination?

6. Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

7. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

8. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14) I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging. It must be really great to be on such close terms with God and his son, ... even better than you and your own Dad, eh?


Matt Yglesias:

Dan Drezner notes that today's mass announcement of cabinet departures ought to make it perfectly clear that Don Rumsfeld is here to stay as Secretary of Defense . . .

[. . .]

If anything, SECDEF will be the last to go. Bush won't switch horses mid-Apocalypse, not when he needs someone with the same warped ideolgy who has the experience Rummy does. Rumsfeld makes it work (not saying he's doing it well, sorta like McNamara) better than the rest of the Cabinet Secretaries who've resigned and he has to make Iraq work, at least hold the status quo. I get the feeling the Cowardly Liar can't afford to let him go right now, not until Iraq is moving on the right direction . . . sort of.

Powell and Others Bail

Big surprise, huh? From MSNBC.
Accelerating the shake-up of President Bush's inner circle in advance of his second term, the White House announced Monday that Secretary of State Colin Powell and three other Cabinet members have submitted their resignations.

The other members of Bush's 15-member Bush Cabinet whose departures were announced Monday are are Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Education Secretary Rod Paige and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

How about Zell Miller for State, Bob Jones III for Education, Ken Lay for Energy, and whoever's the CEO of Archer Daniels Midland for Agriculture? That oughta do it!


Even smart people, like Wolcott, are saying what I've been saying since May.

[. . .]

But that's not the issue with the Goss purge. The issue is that Goss is politicizing the agency, turning it into a strong arm of the Bush regime, guaranteeing that information will be slanted toward the conclusions Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld have already reached, that nary a discouraging word will deter the administration from its path of crusade.

To have all the executive, congressional, and judicial branches run by one party, a party determined to bring the intelligence agencies into ideological line--that's fascism in the making, my friends.

[. . .]

I gotta go to work.


Thanks to Gordon and Knox Rover for taking up my slack yesterday while I was out having a good time.


Via Roger Ailes (the good one):

Republican Linda Schrenko, who in 1994 became the first woman elected to a statewide office in Georgia (!) and advocated the teaching of creationism in Georgia's schools, has been indicted (registration required on most links) on allegations she helped herself to over $500,000 of the people's money.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

How to tell if you are living in a Red or Blue State

Since I seem to be on a Sunday/pseudo-Christian-bashing kick, go see this from Betty Bowers: America's Best Christian. Some selections:
Blue States: Home of good schools
Red States: Homeskooled good

Blue States: Want a big tent for their Party.
Red States: Wears a big tent to her party.

Blue States: Provide the "tax" part of "tax and spend"
Red States: Provide the "spend on a new 8-lane highway to link a Wal-Mart to the Olive Garden" part of "tax and spend"

Blue States: Watched friends in New York die in foxy attacks on America
Red States: Attack New York on Fox for not being friends of America

Blue States: Believe God loves us and gave everyone free will to be different
Red States: Believe God willed us to freely hate everyone different

Blue States: Want the right for everyone to worship as they choose
Red States: Want the right to choose everyone's worship

There's more. Have fun.

Worshipful Humor

If you don't read anything else today, please do yourself a favor and read these articles at Landover Baptist Church.
Attention Citizens Living in God's Country Without His Permission! An invitation to become a Real American™

That's why today, non-Christian quasi-American friend, it's time to get on board 100% with the winning team! Don't risk ending up in Hell and spending a lifetime doggy paddling in the lake of boiling lava while that bloated ignoramus Michael Moore bobs like a pork crackling buoy of singed, bubbling blubber beside you, spitting out his blasphemous research for all of eternity! It's a horrifying thought, but it just a preview of the frightening, sadistic horrors the Lord Jesus has in mind for you if you don't start showering Him with fawning, effusive flattery before He gets around to smiting you and flinging you into Hell.

Ex Injun to Deliver Thanksgiving Sermon

Freehold, Iowa - "I call him, Chief Running Red Butt, in jest," says Pastor Deacon Fred. "Because I remember when we rescued him from his heathen parents' reservation split-level out in the woods, Pastor Hardwick unloaded a round of buckshot into his naked red hiney. Well, he's come a long way since then, when he was about 6-years old, just barely out of the papoose. He had trouble walking because, and a lot of folks don't know this, but when Injun babies take their first steps, it is to hop around a fire. I'm told most Injuns don't walk on both feet until they first get drunk and lose their balance, which is usually around eight or nine."

That shit cracks me up and I hope it does the same for you.

Hack Is Hacked

While perusing James Wolcott, a daily read, I came across this article by Col. David Hackworth of Soldiers For The Truth. In it, he lays some blame for the situation in Iraq and has a word or two for a former mayor of the Big Apple. Go back and read Wolcott's lead-in, too.
I constantly hear the chant that we must support our troops. But what I see is more superficial lip service than serious consideration for our warriors’ welfare. If our top generals truly supported the troops, for example, they would have acknowledged that we were about to become engaged in a long-term insurgency campaign – and planned appropriately – long before the first tank shocked-and-awed its way into Iraq.

Any good infantry stud who’s studied insurgency warfare – especially Israel’s campaigns in Lebanon and Palestine, and ours in Vietnam and the Soviets in Afghanistan, where about 30 percent of all U.S. and Soviet casualties were the result of mines and booby traps – would have surmised from the get-go that our Iraqi insurgent opponent’s weapon of choice would be hit-and-run ambushes augmented by explosive devices. So it’s not a stretch to think it should have been obvious to our brass hats that Iraqi resisters would look at explosive devices as a cheap, easy method of inflicting casualties and disrupting operations, and use the same historically proven tactics that drove the Turks out of Iraq (then Mesopotamia), the USA out of Vietnam, the Soviets out of Afghanistan and the Israelis out of Lebanon.

During the final days of the presidential campaign, one of the thousands of neglected ammo dumps became an election flash point. In an attempt to take the heat off Bush, Rudy Giuliani actually went so far as to state that the heisted ammo was “the troops’ fault” and not the responsibility of the commander-in-chief.

But while Bush shouldn’t be held responsible for tactical snafus, his generals sure should – starting with Tommy Franks. It’s time that the C-in-C showed his support for the troops by nailing the culpable parties for all of the major military screw-ups in his pre-emptive war.

Hack's right. Bush is responsible for the strategic fuckup for being there in the first place, and the Brass is responsible for the tactical fuckups now that we're there. I'm sure these brave soldiers acquiesced en masse to protect their careers by not speaking out in the first place, but, had they done the right thing, which was to all resign on the spot, maybe 1100+ GI's and who-knows-how-many Iraqis would still be alive. Following the (p)resident off the cliff and taking our troops with them, or more properly, shoving the troops off the cliff at the (p)resident's whim while remaining safe themselves, was flat fuckin' wrong. I hope Bush, Cheney, Rummy, and a whole buncha others will eventually be made to pay for their sins and errors. It's a nice thought, but fat chance, white boy.
And an ambitious former mayor who dodged the Vietnam draft should be rapped on the head with the butt of an M-16 rifle for putting the politically expedient bad mouth on our brave soldiers.

Shit, a butt stroke with an M-16 is a love tap. They were never intended for close work with butt or bayonet. Let's put some real old-time grunt oomph! into the deal and use my favorite war-club, the M-14, and launch his head into the next county. Oh, I forgot, we don't want to hurt ol' Rudy, just express a little displeasure. Never mind.

Do What We Say...Or Else!

File this under "Toe the Party Line":

Dowd Nails It To The Cross

Maureen Dowd writes about the hate-filled pseudo-Christian bigot attitude towards their new False Idol and the rest of us, in the NYTimes:
You'd think the one good thing about merging church and state would be that politics would be suffused with glistening Christian sentiments like "love thy neighbor," "turn the other cheek," "good will toward men," "blessed be the peacemakers" and "judge not lest you be judged."

Yet somehow I'm not getting a peace, charity, tolerance and forgiveness vibe from the conservatives and evangelicals who claim to have put their prodigal son back in office.

I'm getting more the feel of a vengeful mob - revved up by rectitude - running around with torches and hatchets after heathens and pagans and infidels.

Bob Jones III, president of the fundamentalist college of the same name, has written a letter to the president telling him that "Christ has allowed you to be his servant" so he could "leave an imprint for righteousness," by appointing conservative judges and approving legislation "defined by biblical norm."

"In your re-election, God has graciously granted America - though she doesn't deserve it - a reprieve from the agenda of paganism," Mr. Jones wrote. "Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ." Way harsh

Read B.J.'s whole letter here, if you've got the stomach for it.

Here, Ms. Dowd describes how the Christian Retarded Right lays into that Commie Rat Bastard, Arlen Specter, for daring to question their agenda. And a little about that other good Bible-thumper, John Ashcroft. Read it.
And since the president has no end in sight to his war on terror, that makes him infallible ad infini-tum?

So now the 'Christians' want their pay-off. I can't wait to watch the the fun when the Christers figure out that since they got him elected, Bush doesn't need them anymore. I think they're gonna be very irate when they find out he used 'em like a two-dollar whore and then didn't pay them.

Arafat Voided

Tom Friedman is my favorite Middle-East expert because I can understand him, and what he says sounds studied and rings of logic and thought, unlike government (ours, theirs, who cares?) bullshit. From today's NYTimes, on Arafat's 'legacy':
The day after Yasir Arafat died, USA Today carried a big, bold headline that caught my eye. It said: "Arafat Dies, Leaves Void."

All I could think of when reading that headline was its double meaning. Yasir Arafat left a void of leadership, with no formal successor. But he also left a void of achievement. And it is that second void that really matters, considering that he led the Palestinian movement for some 40 years

Excuse me, but Yasir Arafat put the Palestinian cause on the world map in 1974, when he was invited to address the U.N. General Assembly. What did he do with all that attention after that? Very little. There is a message in his life and his legacy for every world leader: If all you do is express the aspirations, but never produce the reality, then history will judge you very harshly. And any honest history of Yasir Arafat will judge him on his voids, not his visions.

They may judge Arafat for being the inventor of terrorism as a media tactic too, but that's just my humble opinion.

The meat of the article is here.
If only President Bush called in Colin Powell and said: "Colin, neither of us have much to show by way of diplomacy for the last four years. I want you to get on an airplane and go out to the Middle East. I want you to sit down with Israelis and Palestinians and forge a framework for a secure Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and progress toward a secure peace in the West Bank, and I don't want you to come back home until you've got that. Only this time I will stand with you.

Fat chance.

See ya!

Won't be around much today. Here's why. Plus I got a buncha shit to do this morning.

Politics in Religion

Jeff looks at it a little differently. While we're on the subject of hypocrisy:

[. . .]

Needless to say, while the holy one not only meant that the church (any church) should stay out of politics, no doubt this doctrine was also intended as an "internal memo" as well. If J.C. was telling his followers to keep out of state politics, he was also saying, "Keep the politics OUT of the church as well."

[. . .]

You see, gays are only a pawn in their game. The leadership knows that the redemption of homosexuals is a totally lost cause and frankly, they could care less about them.

But, at the same time, why let such a traditionally prejudicial hatred go untapped? And so, they decided to use the issue of gay rights as both a wedge and a firestarter to further other causes, including the election of their faux-christian Presidential candidate.

[. . .]

Go read.

The stench of hypocrisy

[. . .]

If anyone is laughing all the way to the bank this election year, it must be the undisputed king of the red cultural elite, Rupert Murdoch. Fox News is a rising profit center within his News Corporation, and each red-state dollar that it makes can be plowed back into the rest of Fox's very blue entertainment portfolio. The Murdoch cultural stable includes recent books like Jenna Jameson's "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star" and the Vivid Girls' "How to Have a XXX Sex Life," which have both been synergistically, even joyously, promoted on Fox News by willing hosts like Rita Cosby and, needless to say, Mr. O'Reilly. There are "real fun parts and exciting parts," said Ms. Cosby to Ms. Jameson on Fox News's "Big Story Weekend," an encounter broadcast on Saturday at 9 p.m., assuring its maximum exposure to unsupervised kids.

Almost unnoticed in the final weeks of the campaign was the record government indecency fine levied against another prime-time Fox television product, "Married by America." The $1.2 million bill, a mere bagatelle to Murdoch stockholders, was more than twice the punishment inflicted on Viacom for Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction." According to the F.C.C. complaint, one episode in this heterosexual marriage-promoting reality show included scenes in which "partygoers lick whipped cream from strippers' bodies," and two female strippers "playfully spank" a man on all fours in his underwear. "Married by America" is gone now, but Fox remains the go-to network for Paris Hilton ("The Simple Life") and wife-swapping ("Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy").

None of this has prompted an uprising from the red-state Fox News loyalists supposedly so preoccupied with "moral values." They all gladly contribute fungible dollars to Fox culture by boosting their fair-and-balanced channel's rise in the ratings. Some of these red staters may want to make love like porn stars besides. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) An ABC News poll two weeks before the election found that more Republicans than Democrats enjoy sex "a great deal." The Democrats' new hero, Illinois Senator-elect Barack Obama, was assured victory once his original, ostentatiously pious Republican opponent, Jack Ryan, dropped out of the race rather than defend his taste for "avant-garde" sex clubs.

Frank Rich in the NYT. No need for further comment.