Saturday, January 22, 2005
A top North Korean official has told U.S. legislators that the communist state possessed nuclear weapons, Radio Free Asia reported on Friday.
North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said the country was a nuclear weapons state but its nuclear arsenal was defensive in nature and Pyongyang did not intend to possess it forever, Radio Free Asia quoted U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon as saying.
[. . .]
Tell me again why we're in Iraq?
The Bush inauguration is designed to shock the American public into noticing the fundamental changes within the government. Like Guantanamo, it is intended to be more symbolic than substantive. The event is a means of acclimating people to the seismic shift in the basic structure of the state. The administration has taken the country from Republic to National Security State in four short years. Now, they,re determined to saturate the public consciousness with that new reality.
"Canine bomb-sniffing squads, bicycle patrols and crowd control units also are at the ready Hour by hour the city of grand buildings and marble statues disappears behind curtains of steel security fences and concrete barriers."
"Disappears behind curtains of steel?" Or, was that an Iron Curtain?
Who said it can't happen here?
In the "Garrison State" the speeches reflect the values of its leaders. We should expect another dose of Messianic braying from the Bush pulpit; more incendiary taunting of imaginary enemies, more Simian chest-pounding over fabricated victories; more saccharine praise of our valiant military. And, of course, throughout the speech, the buzz-words that arouse the Christian faithful to near frenzy; knowing that one of their own occupies the thrown.
It's all gibberish, but the underlying factoids are quite real. The State and Corporate America have linked-together in a conjugal embrace; there's not a hairs-breadth between the two of them. While the corporate warriors are inside lining up at the public trough, the military is busy keeping the plain-folk at bay. The essential message is hard to ignore.
Duh. A little over the top, maybe, but not by very much.
Bush is like an incompetent plastic surgeon who leaves his clients scarred for life. And a lot of them love him for it cuz he's such a silver-tongued smoothie. They're afraid to look in the mirror, though.
Friday, January 21, 2005
THERE WERE, in the end, protesters along the route of President Bush's inaugural parade. It is conceivable that the president might have even caught a glimpse of them. What there were not nearly enough of, however, were ordinary people: Washingtonians, out-of-towners or anyone at all who was neither a Bush donor with tickets to the bleachers nor a demonstrator with a permit to wave a sign. This was not an accident.
Reports from those who did try to attend varied. Some stood for hours in the cold, trying to get through checkpoints. Some reported swifter entrance. But many, we fear, simply didn't bother to go, discouraged by the unwelcoming atmosphere of the inauguration with the heaviest security in history, the negative advance publicity, the closed streets and the phalanx of police officers lined up to protect the politicians from the people (from us? Why on Earth...? ed.). Maybe that's what the post-Sept. 11 world has to look like, but on a day ostensibly dedicated to the spread of freedom around the world, it wasn't the best advertisement for American freedom either.
So even if you (shudder) like the sonofabitch you couldn't get to see the parade without paying. Americans love parades, and I guess the Chimp-in-Chief has figured out how to make them pay-per-view, the little prick. That Marine Band wasn't paid for by your donors, Georgie.
[. . .]
From our new home we will continue the same fight as before, and invite others to join us. (We learn daily of more who are.) To those who can't or won't, don't misunderstand: They also subvert, who merely get up and leave.
And Pam is thinking about it:
. . . My question to those of you willing to speak up, was should we stay and fight? Kate and I need some convincing, as we felt the warmth of total acceptance by all of the folks we came in contact with in lovely Vancouver. . .
My 2 cents? I'm a stand and fight kinda guy. This is my country too, dammit, and I'm not letting any idiot in Washington weasel it out from under me. When I leave, I'm going because the Mrs. and I are retiring in the place where we fall in love again each time we visit. But I ain't leaving until we've won the fight. I'd rather go out in a box than run away from Bush and his cartel. They don't scare me, and the more criminal shit they do, the madder I'm gonna get, and that will reinforce my drive to stay and fight. That's just me.
I can understand Pam's motivation though. Were I part of a gay couple, I'd probably consider moving to Canada as well. It'll get a lot worse for them here before it gets better.
Besides, much as I treasure the memories of playing hockey in Toronto one winter, it's too fucking cold up there.
That's what George Bush said, and I don't agree with that at all. We're all responsible for our actions in our lives, and we all have to be held responsible and accountable for things that will happen when we're no longer in office, too. I mean, if we cast a vote for Social Security [reform] so that we end up with senior citizens walking around garbage cans looking for food, it doesn't matter if that happens a year from now or 40 years from now. We're responsible. There's no statute of limitations on bad judgment. [my emphases] - Sen. Barbara Boxer in a Salon interview.
The more I hear from Senator Boxer, the more I like her. Seems like she and John Kerry are the only ones with balls. She keeps this up, she might be our best hope in '08. Boxer/Obama maybe?
I am really something
That's what you'd probably say
So smoke your little smoke
And drink your little drink
While I dance the night away!
I'm a dancing fool! - Frank Zappa
[. . .]
The disconnect between the over-the-top celebrations in Washington and the hideous reality of Iraq does not in any way surprise me. It's exactly what we should expect from the president and his supporters, who seem always to exist in a fantasy realm far removed from such ugly realities as war and suffering. In that realm you can start wars without having to deal with the consequences of them. You don't even have to pay for them. You can put them on a credit card.
[. . .]
Is There Really A Crisis?.
Also related articles:
Are There Other Ways to Fix It?
How Would the Bush Plan Work?
The Really Troubled Program
... And Here's The Solution
If you go to the newsstand and get the print edition, there's a bunch of pie charts, graphs, sidebars, and probably 8x10 glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one telling what each one is. (Sorry, Arlo.)
Thursday, January 20, 2005
[. . .]
Funnily enough, the one country on this side of the ocean that would have elected Mr. Bush is not in Europe, but the Middle East: it's Iran, where many young people apparently hunger for Mr. Bush to remove their despotic leaders, the way he did in Iraq.
An Oxford student who had just returned from research in Iran told me that young Iranians were "loving anything their government hates," such as Mr. Bush, "and hating anything their government loves." Tehran is festooned in "Down With America" graffiti, the student said, but when he tried to take pictures of it, the Iranian students he was with urged him not to. They said it was just put there by their government and was not how most Iranians felt.
Iran, he said, is the ultimate "red state." Go figure.
So, Fidel is lecturing us on human rights abuses and the Iranians love Bush. There is something wrong with the Universe. I think I'm gonna buy a military surplus Minuteman silo from the Air Force, move me, the Mrs., and the Princess into it, and seal the motherfucker up. Shit's just crazy. I was thinking maybe Gitmo wouldn't be too bad (warm, ocean breezes, scantily-clad brown women), but with my luck, they'd ensconce me at Thule, Greenland. I like the silo idea better.
Never mind that Bin Forgotten is still on the loose, the Bushites are losing sleep because a cartoon sponge may be gay.
Bush better hop on the gay marriage amendment before SpongeBob and Tinky Winky (the gay Teletubby) hook up.
Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard, has been pilloried for suggesting that women may be biologically unsuited to succeed at mathematics.
He may have a point.
Just look at Condoleezza Rice.
Many fine examples of said arithmetical challenge here. Read. Enjoy.
Condi may not know Einstein's theory of relativity, but she has a fine grasp of Cheney's theory of moral relativity. Because they're the good guys, they can do anything: dissembling to get into war; flattening Iraqi cities to save them; replacing the Geneva Conventions with unconventional ways of making prisoners talk. The only equation the Bushies know is this one: Might = Right.
It is puzzling that if you add X (no exit strategy) to Y (Why are we there?) you get W²: George Bush's second inauguration.
At Condi's hearing, she justified the Bush administration's misadventures by saying history would prove it right. "I know enough about history to stand back and to recognize that you judge decisions not at the moment, but in how it all adds up," she told a skeptical Senator Biden.
Problem is, she's calculating, but she can't add. For now, Sam Cooke is right about the Bushies. They don't know much about history.
Those fuckers think they'll be long gone when History judges them. As egregious as their bullshit has been, the Time-Space Continuum has sped up so they'll know The Truth About Themselves in plenty of time. Unless they do the Right Thing and croak at the parties tonight.
It has been said that George W. Bush is in denial of reality, in Iraq and elsewhere. But what of America itself? More particularly, what of the majority of Americans who re-elected him?
They had the right to their democratic choice. Still, what sort of nation rewards a leader who misled it into war, spawned worldwide anger, eroded America's moral authority, turned the Iraqi occupation into a showcase for American ineptitude, and increased terrorism?
[. . .]
Ya see, it's one thing when folks form other lands look at our President with distaste because he's an idiot. It's another when they look at all Americans like idiots because we REelected him.
Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want. He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests. He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness. He restoreth my fears. He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war, I will find no exit, for thou art in office. Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me. Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion. Thou anointest my head with foreign oil. My health insurance runneth out. Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term, And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.
What, according to the American Family Association, is the greatest threat to our nation? Terrorism? Environmental degredation? Poverty? Greed? Not even close.
It's Spongebob Squarepants, and his insidious tolerance of diversity. Damn you, Spongebob!
Let's let the folks at the American Family Association tell you exactly what this means: "It is as unprecedented as it is cunning, using all the right words and happiest faces in an attempt to speak directly to the nation's children about 'tolerance and diversity.' Once again, of course, those ideas include homosexual advocacy."
First they came for Tinky Winky, and I did not speak up, because I couldn't stand the Teletubbies. Then they came for Spongebob, and I did not speak up, because I thought he was overexposed anyway. Then when Kermit the Frog and Snuffelupagus kidnapped me and I woke up in a leather bar wearing chaps, there was no one left to speak for me...
Damn, I hate when that happens!
A poll of 21 countries published yesterday - reflecting opinion in Africa, Latin America, North America, Asia and Europe - showed that a clear majority have grave fears about the next four years.
Fifty-eight per cent of the 22,000 who took part in the poll, commissioned by the BBC World Service, said they expected Mr Bush to have a negative impact on peace and security, compared with only 26% who considered him a positive force.
The survey also indicated for the first time that dislike of Mr Bush is translating into a dislike of Americans in general.
In Britain, 64% of those polled said they disagreed with the proposition that the US would have a mainly positive impact on the world. The figures were even higher in France (75%) and Germany (77%).
Mr Bush's victory was viewed positively in only three of the 21 countries: the Philippines, Poland and India.
Holy shit! Is the Guardian writing jokes for The Daily Show now?
Mr Bush's job approval rating stands at 50%, with 47% disapproving. In recent times, only Richard Nixon at the start of his second term in 1972 recorded poll ratings as poor.
Let's hope that the comparisons of Bush's second term to Nixon's keep a'comin'. If I remember right, Milhous had to go home a couple years in. And the horse you rode in on, Bush.
Explaining how both the "Social Security crisis" and the "privatization solution" rely on faulty math misses the point of the president's plan entirely. Like supply-side tax cuts, Social Security reform is a subject on which conservatives prize philosophy—or, if you prefer, ideology—over arithmetic.
The confusion over the nature of the debate is intentional. The Bush administration has linked two reforms—private accounts and benefit cuts—that have nothing to do with each other. Benefit cuts are the administration's preferred solution to Social Security's long-term financing imbalance. (Democrats prefer a mixture of benefit cuts and tax hikes.) Private accounts have nothing to do with Social Security's actuarial problems, except to the extent that they make them worse. White House aide Peter Wehner conceded as much in his leaked memo on Social Security. Pushing investment accounts without benefit cuts would mean "making no effort to address [the system's] fundamental structural problem," Wehner wrote.
Here's what a straightforward discussion of the philosophy behind the Social Security system would look like: Democrats support welfare for old people, on the grounds that it creates a safety net for capitalism's losers, who might otherwise live in poverty. Republicans oppose welfare for old people, on the grounds that it reduces incentives to work and save, it gives the government too much money to spend, and it makes people overly dependent on the government for their retirement. That's an honest debate. Let's have it.
There's a lot of good stuff between the quotes. Please go read.
Look, I know that Social Security needs some work. Fine. Let's fix it. I think we could start by not letting the government "borrow" the money to finance the budget. I'd like to see the amount in the "trust fund" that is composed of T-Bills, U.S. Savings Bonds, or all the other fancy names for I.O.U.'s. Their "promise to pay" is a house of cards, and there must be a tremendous interest bill. A tweak here, a tweak there, and that takes care of the math part.
Here's the true philosophical part as I see it: Do not let the Bush administration touch Social Security. They have fucked up everything they've put their hand to and there is no reason to believe they will do any better with this. I think their aim is twofold: Enrich their Wall St. henchmen, and make more greedy Republicans, and the Hell with the rest of us.
Henhouses overstaffed with foxes
Condi Rice says we should leave the questions to the experts
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice helpfully explained it all for us. The problem is that we are living in an alternative reality. What we think we know is not true. We have always had enough troops in Iraq. There are 120,000 trained Iraqi soldiers ready to take over. The president has condemned torture, so what else is there to say? Why torture happened, whose fault it is and why it is still happening at Guantanamo is not a problem because the president has condemned it. Secretary Rice also condemns it, so why raise questions about the fact that she wrote a letter to get an anti-torture clause in the intelligence appropriation bill taken out?
What, do you want to insult her integrity?
Secretary Rice did say that mistakes were made, but she does not know who made them or who should be held accountable. And, of course, as we all learned during the last election, no matter what happens, it is never, ever President Bush's fault.
Gee, Molly, thanks for clearing that up. She goes on with her thoughts on Jonathan L. Snare, new head of OSHA:
No, he's not an expert in health or safety, but he used to be the lobbyist for Metabolife, the ephedra diet pill that attracted so much unpleasant attention. Ephedrine was finally barred in 2003 after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided it had caused 155 deaths. I guess we're lucky Bush didn't put Snare at the FDA. According to the Washington Post, Metabolife spent more than $4 million lobbying the Texas Legislature between 1998 and 2000. Snare was also general counsel to the Republican Party of Texas from 1999 to '01 and has extensive experience in election law.
Claude Allen in the house
Anti-abortion, homophobic, abstinence-only supporting African American chosen as President Bush's chief domestic advisor.
In a post-election letter to the president, Bob Jones III, the president of Bob Jones University, suggested that Bush "put" his "agenda on the front burner and let it boil." With Allen in place as the president's chief domestic policy advisor, and Jim Towey, the head of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, recently named an Assistant to the President, "a post," writes the FRC's Tony Perkins, "with direct access to the Oval Office," the religious right is ready to rock 'n roll.
That was the last paragraph. That oughta get your interest up.
Remember, folks, readin' makes ya smart.
Cuba today accused the United States of lying to the world about its treatment of prisoners at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, saying torture was a daily occurrence at the prison camp for terror suspects.
The Cuban foreign ministry said it sent a letter to the US government urging authorities to immediately stop the alleged abuse at the camp, which sits on Cuba’s easternmost tip.
“The Foreign Ministry joins the protests and demands of the international community for the US government to immediately halt these flagrant violations of prisoners’ rights,” the statement said.
[. . .]
There was a time, in a galaxy far, far away, where any statement like this from the Cuban government would be laughable. Today, you have to take it with more than a grain of salt. Link via 12thharmonic.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
A reliable source tells me that RAND has been contracted by the government to come up with a way to avoid instituting a draft, despite the desperate needs for more combat forces.
The solution? Outsource desk and logistics jobs to private companies while pushing those "chairborne" warriors out of their offices into fighting units.
[. . .]
From a Kos posting.
They're desperate over at the Pentagram. Bush shot himself in the foot when he promised not to institute a draft. So, how much are Halliburton et al. going to overcharge us for these services? What, you think they're gonna put the contract up for competitive bids? Yeah right.
On Thursday, the fairy king of fairyland will be recrowned. He was elected on a platform suspended in midair by the power of imagination. He is the leader of a band of men who walk through ghostly realms unvisited by reality. And he remains the most powerful person on earth.
How did this happen? How did a fantasy president from a world of make believe come to govern a country whose power was built on hard-headed materialism? To find out, take a look at two squalid little stories which have been concluded over the past 10 days.
[. . .]
Link via WTF??
I've been through Europe over the past two years. This is how most folks over there look at us. This president has turned us from the Leader of the Free World into a fucking joke.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) predicted yesterday that partisan warfare over Social Security will quickly render President Bush's plan "a dead horse" and called on Congress to undertake a broader review of the problems of an aging nation.
Perhaps most provocatively, Thomas said lawmakers should debate whether Social Security benefits should differ for men and women, because women live longer. "We never have debated gender-adjusting Social Security," he said. A House leadership official said that not even Republicans on Thomas's committee would vote for that idea. Thomas also said the system might take into account the need of blue-collar workers to retire younger than office workers.
Yeah, that'll help clear things up. Yeesh.
Thomas's comments, which took the White House by surprise, reflected some Republicans' view that the White House has mishandled the plan's rollout and that a fresh start is needed to allow a chance for getting Democratic support.
Right. Bush finally got caught mishandling something, so he gets a "do-over"? My dyin' ass. He has enough trouble riding a bicycle forward, let alone trying to back-pedal one, no doubt to run over some citizen's rights that he missed.
It's gonna be a big fight, but this is a glimmer of hope.
President Bush, our neo-New Dealer, is reaping too much unfair criticism for the way he's going about his second inaugural. He spent the entire electoral season describing a country at war, describing himself as a "war president," comparing the war on terror to World War II, and wearing designer-fatigues in front of troops perfectly trained to die for his messianic fancies. Yet here he is, about to preside over the most lavish inaugural celebration in history (not counting a few imperial coronations of the Roman and Napoleonic sort).
The criticism is unfair because what most liberal detractors refuse to acknowledge is that Bush never intended to be a war president. He was only playing one on TV. He recognized better than any Democrat that it's the only way to win an election in a country of armchair jingoes. Leaders short on policy but big on politics not only read their electorate's fears accurately but stoke and validate them, riding them to victory. This the Bush camp has been doing splendidly since 2001. It brings to mind the way Leon Gambetta, the short-lived French statesman, summed up the long-lived "Ceasarian democracy" of Napoleon III and his Karl Roves of a century and a half ago: "Fear! That is their great political means. They engender it, they inoculate it, and, once they've frightened a certain class of citizens, they present themselves as saviors, the better to strip people of their freedoms, of their civic dignity, of their public rights."
At his second inaugural, Thomas Jefferson (to whom Bush referred in his first inaugural) had reminded Americans "that a just nation is taken on its word, when recourse is had to armaments and wars to bridle others." At his brief fourth, Roosevelt had found room to note that "we have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community. We have learned the simple truth, as Emerson said, that 'The only way to have a friend is to be one.' " And Lincoln in his second had that line about malice toward none and charity for all.
Bush's record makes it difficult to tread in those directions, self-parody or humor of any kind being the one taboo in inaugural speeches, and America's friendship and integrity having as much value as the dollar of late. Word has it he'll stick to fear. He managed to scare the country into war over nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in barely existing Iraq. He's about to scare the country into waging war on its own government programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) over trumped up fiscal crises in the distant future. Never has the nation so knowledgeably re-elected its own executioner, or so willingly bought into its own bankruptcy (my emphasis). That's just the "ownership society" Bush will celebrate on Thursday. He's earned it, and so have we all.
I disagree with the guy to the extent that I feel Bush has earned every last criticism, and then some, but I like Tristam's general tone. As a nation, we certainly have earned the disrespect of the world for actually electing this bozo and, whether we deserve it or not, we are going to get what's coming to us. What goes around, comes around. I'll bet in five years you won't find anybody that'll admit to voting for him. If we're allowed to ask (or answer) such questions by then.
MSNBC Breaking News
Senate committee OKs Rice as secretary of state by 16-2 vote -
Democrats John Kerry and Barbara Boxer are only "no" votes.
A word about Feinstein and her cronies: they are the Neville Chamberlain Democrats. They live in a dream of the past, a time when bipartisanship equaled statesmanship, and to be truly bipartisan meant you were a successful diplomat. Diplomacy is a fine quality that has been much belittled by the Bush Junta in recent years – and that’s the point. You’re not dealing with people who want to compromise. Mountbatten was a diplomat, because he negotiated with Nehru. Chamberlain was a fool, because he negotiated with the Axis. For a Democrat to be bipartisan today means to cooperate in one way only: You want to put your foot on my neck, and I’ll help you put it there.
[. . .]
Neville Chamberlain Democrats. I love it.
DOVER, Pa. - Science teachers in a central Pennsylvania school district have asked to be excused from a mandate that they read a statement about "intelligent design" during biology lessons next week.
[. . .]
"We believe that reading the statement violates our responsibility as educators as set forth in the code," biology teacher Jennifer Miller said in Friday's editions of the York Daily Record. "Students are allowed to opt out from hearing the statement. We should be allowed to opt out from reading it."
[. . .]
We're gonna breed a generation of morons if this becomes law. Personally, I'm surprised that Homeland Security didn't arrest the teachers who went against this crap.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Caged Saddam To Be Highlight Of Inaugural Ball
WASHINGTON, DC—Attendees at the Independence Ball, one of nine officially sanctioned galas celebrating President George W. Bush's second inauguration Thursday, will be treated to a viewing of a caged Saddam Hussein, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Monday. "What better way to honor the president than with a physical symbol of his many first-term triumphs?" McClellan said as Hussein rattled the bars of a cage already suspended above the ballroom where the event will be held. "And I must compliment the planning committee. Outfitting Gitmo detainees with iron collars and forcing them to serve appetizers was an inspired stroke." Ball attendees will also be awarded door prizes, including a basket of nuts, 20 yards of cloth, and a barrel of crude oil.
What could I possibly add to that?
'Suppose she's a chip off the old blockhead.
The White House has been mum on Jenna's job search (odd since they're usually so forthcoming), but the Post believes Jenna has started work not as a teacher, but as a teacher's aide because she doesn't have the qualifications necessary to take over a classroom under the stringent requirements of No Child Left Behind.
(Who knew when dad signed it into law in 2002, the child being left behind would be his own daughter?)
The Post reported in December that Jenna was going to teach at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in a low-income neighborhood. But after rumors flew that Jenna had actually started as a teaching assistant, the Post spoke to executive director Linda Moore.
"Jenna Bush is not employed as a teacher at the school," Moore said.
Asked whether Jenna was working as an assistant teacher, Moore said: "I can't confirm that."
[. . .]
As you know, dress and appearance are an important reflection of our Christian values. "We are what we wear," as the saying goes, and according to this edict, your own daughters [Jenna & NotJenna], bejeweled and bedecked in garments that plunge of neckline and cling of fabric, cannot be said to reflect the deeply-held believes of the tens of millions of "values voters" who sent you back to that highest office in the land.
[. . .]
Coalition for Traditional Values
Concerned Women of America
American Family Organization
Campaign for Families
Silver Ring Thing
Defend Our Marriages
Baptist Leadership Council
Seems like the Bush family doesn't quite measure up. From Kevin T. Kieth at Lean Left.
1943: WW II hardship, Soviet style: Red Army breaks 890-day-long German siege of Leningrad.
I wonder how many days it will take to break Bush's siege of America? 1400+ and counting.
1943: WW II hardship, American style: U.S. bans sale of pre-sliced bread for duration of the war. (Not unlike current practice, the government never explained how this action helped the war effort.)
Bush hasn't got the balls to ask the American public to make any sacrifice for his bullshit war, let alone a little thing like slicing their own bread, which might even promote a little unity.
Plenty more where those came from.
A charming man courts a woman, telling her that he's a wealthy independent businessman. Just after the wedding, however, she learns that he has been cooking the books, several employees have accused him of sexual harassment and his company is about to file for bankruptcy. She accuses him of deception. "The accountability moment is behind us," he replies.
Last week President Bush declared that the election was the "accountability moment" for the war in Iraq - the voters saw it his way, and that's that. But Mr. Bush didn't level with the voters during the campaign and doesn't deserve anyone's future trust.
Lemme see if I get this: Bush lied, hornswoggled, obfuscated, played a shell game with "moral values", invoked God to do evil, conned the Retard Right into finally electing him and, because he pulled it off, now it's OK ? As in, "Hey, suckers, I lied, cheated, and stole. I got away with it. I'm head honcho now, you did it and there's nothing you can do about it. Get over it. I'll do what I want. Fuck you." That about it?
Maybe we can't hold Mr. Bush directly to account for misleading the public about Iraq. But Mr. Bush still has a domestic agenda, for which the lessons of Iraq are totally relevant.
White House officials themselves concede - or maybe boast - that their plan to sell Social Security privatization is modeled on their selling of the Iraq war. In fact, the parallels are remarkably exact.
Still, there are two reasons why the selling of Social Security privatization shouldn't be another slam dunk.
One is that we're not talking about secret intelligence; the media, if they do their job, can check out the numbers and see that they don't match what Mr. Bush is saying. (A good starting point is Roger Lowenstein's superb survey in The Times Magazine last Sunday.)
The other is that we've been here before. Fool me once...
Bush, you only managed to fool enough people by a little bit. There is no statute of limitations on what you've done and I want to be there when the American sheeple figure out what a snow job you pulled on them. They'll be mad at themselves for being naive enough to let you get away with it, and then, because nobody likes to admit they 've been a fool, they'll transfer that anger to you and you'll hang. You haven't seen your "accountability moment" yet, motherfucker, and when you do, I and millions of other "reality-based" Americans will fucking come! (See Fixer's post)
If we let this arrogant fool destroy a social safety net that is the envy of the world and has served Americans well for over sixty years, by the same bullshit tactics he sold his bullshit war with, well, maybe we deserve to spend our Golden Years eating Wal-Mart dog food.
[. . .]
If nothing else, most Smart Boys know that a) giving a lady an orgasm earlier in the night takes a lot of pressure off for "the main event" and b) decent "oral debate" skills make up for any, um, underendowment issues quite a bit.
[. . .]
I might not know the ins and outs of the political/government situation as well as I'd like, but pleasing a woman is something I'm eminently qualified to speak on. No bragging, statement of fact. Guys, please your woman (or man, but it's not the same) before you do your thing, or just after, or both. They are not objects solely for your gratification. If you don't know how (common, for some reason) ask her to show you. You'll thank me. And ladies, don't just lay there and fake it. If your guy ain't doing it right, show him what you like.
"When democracy finally happens in Iraq, [people] in Iran will see what can be achieved."
Yeah, they will see burnt out cities, destroyed infrastructure, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, dead and wounded. They'll see that they're better off with their Fundamentalist mullahs than having American troops tramping over their land like bulls in a china shop. Tell me, Chimp-man, are they already stocking up on rose petals to toss at our feet when we arrive? You're a fucking asshole, you mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, retard.
Pessimism from Dave Johnson:
[. . .]
These new attacks are presumably just the second stage in the multi-nation plan Wolfowitz spoke about right before the war. In other words, we can plan to be at war for five to twenty years.
The Army and Guard are already being pushed to the limit. Thus, there will have to be a draft. But in order for there to be a draft, anti-war groups and spokesmen will have to be marginalized and crushed. So those of us who are anti-war should prepare to be called traitors and cowards with an intensity that we haven't seen so far. Ann Coulter is soon going to go completely mainstream. [my emphasis]
[. . .]
Once more unto the breach, my friends.
And just to throw this out there: What do you think about the blue states threatening to secede if Bush goes into Iran? And just like my Iraq endgame, I know no one has the nuts to do it but humor me. Again, comments solicited. And thanks again to all the folks who left comments on that post. Some excellent and detailed ideas, even from the guy who compared me to Nixon.
Monday, January 17, 2005
And that's why King would fuck Bush's shit up, and the reason why Democrats oughta take a look at King beyond his having had a dream and his having been to the mountaintop and his having been assassinated. Because King knew - he fucking knew - that one thing that made him a leader of the disenfranchised is that he spoke their language. Even as those around him believed (and some still believe) that King made a mistake in his expansion of his movement, King knew that no one is truly free until we all are free. He had to bring whites into the movement on a broad basis or the fight was never going to end. He had to undercut the trump card of the powerful in their ability to divide the underclasses, and that meant owning the rhetorical God to the point that whenever God is mentioned, the automatic association is with the civil rights, economic justice, and anti-war movements (think of how successful the right is in the use of the word "Christian"). Look at the speech up there. King is not conditional here - he says, "when you are right, God will fight your battle."
The thing is that as Democrats scramble like rutting hedgehogs on the last day of the forest fuckfest to find someone, anyone who will represent them to "the people," they'd be wise to look at how King used "God" in his speeches. See, in the Sister Pollard story, "God" for King represents the poor, the beaten, the disenfranchised, and if that God is on your side, then how can the powerful win? If someone could genuinely lasso that rhetoric and have the balls to use God against Bush in very clear, unambiguous, loud tones, then the right will be thrown into disarray - what will they have if they don't have God? Bush? Oh, fuck, they'll be running into the streets of D.C., screaming, coming up with new gods to worship. There will be blood orgies at the Watergate the likes of which that town hasn't seen since Ronald Reagan smeared himself with pig feces and demanded the cherries of a dozen College Republican girls be popped in front of him as he masturbated slowly, deliberately, eyes glazed over with mad power and semi-deified glory.
Now that's more like it! I think he's advocating ripping the club of God out of the hands of those who have co-opted it and beating them to death with it. I was just gonna use a reg'lar ol' Louisville Slugger. Hey, whatever works.
Here's what Wolcott has to say about it:
He's right, of course. Because MLK was a man. The faith he embodied and professed wasn't fanaticism hiding behind pursed lips, as Bush's is. King faced down his fears. Bush represses his under rodeo bravado, strutting his stuff before applause-machine audiences that he reassure him that he's top gun.
Hey, James, when ya got an inferiority complex like Bush's, ya gotta make up stuff to strut.
. . . Bush has an aggressive and ambitious agenda for using that control—against the mullahs in Iran and against targets in the ongoing war on terrorism—during his second term. The C.I.A. will continue to be downgraded, and the agency will increasingly serve, as one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon put it, as “facilitators” of policy emanating from President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. This process is well under way.
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Sy Hersh in the New Yorker. Read it and weep.
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If we are, as Mr. Hersh asserts, sending troops into Iran via Afghanistan, it would seem that we are using forces against the territorial integrity of Iran. If we have done so, it would seem that we have committed acts of war against Iran. But wait, only Congress can declare war, you may say. Well then, must we conclude that Il Ducetto has violated the Constitution in a not trivial way?
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. . . The lessons the White House believes it has learned from the Iraq fiasco? Political. I wonder what that means: arresting protestors?
Indeed. We are doing things under the guise of democracy and freedom that amount to an Imperial manifest. America has begun to be, and will become if we don't do something, a totalitarian state.
And all the Pentagram has to say? The article was "riddled with errors". They don't deny shit though, do they?
Lawyers for the low-ranking soldiers who have been charged say they remain skeptical that higher-ups will ever be charged.
"The higher up they go, the more problems they have with people leading to the Pentagon," said Harvey Volzer, who represented Megan Ambuhl, who was discharged from the military as part of a plea bargain in the Abu Ghraib abuses. "Pappas gives them Sanchez, and they don't want that. Sanchez can give them Rumsfeld, and they don't want that.
"Rumsfeld can lead to Bush and Gonzales, and they definitely don't want that," Mr. Volzer said, referring to President Bush and to Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel and attorney general nominee, who argued in a memorandum that parts of the Geneva Conventions were "quaint" and "obsolete."
Mr. Bergrin noted that when he asked a military judge to allow testimony by Colonel Pappas, Colonel Jordan and others at Sergeant Davis's court-martial, he was told they could not testify because prosecutors planned to charge them.
"I think the military is using these young enlisteds as scapegoats," he said.
Like, Duh! A few incidents might have been instigated by enlisted men, but as an ongoing deal it came down the chain of command. Colonels don't think this shit up as they're well aware this kind of abuse violates U.S. and International law. Neither do generals, for the same reasons. What generals do is follow orders from their civilian controllers. I think Bush and Rumbo would be fine cellies. They should give them a cell with a nice view. Of the construction of their gallows.
TCF was very impressed with Peter Beinert (Editor The New Republic), sitting in this week as a panelist on The McLaughlin Group. He held his ground, leaving no doubt he would not be an intimidated appeaser (see Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page), however his prediction that Simon Rosenberg would be the next Democratic National Committee chairman, annoyed me.
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I saw the show too. And that old fool McLaughlin said that Tim Roemer would be the next DNC Chair (the only reason I watch is for Eleanor Clift). Now, I am instinctively leaning towards Howard Dean, just 'cause I liked him from square one; when he announced his candidacy for President. He might be a nut, but he has convictions and he stands by 'em, come what may.
Thing is, I heard a lot of good things about Simon Rosenberg. I like the co-chair solution someone offered, because they have complimentary strengths. Rosenberg the administrator, Dean the agitator, out rousing the base while Rosenberg works within the Beltway. That ain't happening, not when Pelosi and Reid are leaning Roemer. Note: write to them and tell them they are backing the wrong guy.
Gotta learn more, but us Dems should take an active role in this leadership decision. Let's not leave it to the politicians, let them know your feelings on the subject. Let your local Party people know too. We need the best chance to win the '06 midterms, and maybe reclaim one Chamber of Congress. We need the momentum going into '08, and the next leader of the DNC is the first step toward achieving that goal . . . or not.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Don't conservatives ever get bored spouting the same old tailpipe exhaust? I know they don't care about boring the audience--they assume that you can't tell those dumbies anything often enough--but don't they ever bore themselves? Don't they ever experience an inner slump when they're about to repeat an anecdote as tired and stale as a downtown hooker after Fleet Week?
No, I don't believe they do. They use those faded anecdotes the way Reagan used his, as wadded-up insulation to stuff in the holes of their brain and prevent any new or unsettling notions from breezing in and rattling their convictions. Even Charles Krauthammer, considered to be one of the more "thoughtful" conservatives (depth perception being a matter of degrees--compared to Fred Barnes, a fossil shell looks thoughtful), is as mechanical as a player piano. Put a quarter in the slot, and he churns out a column that sounds like senility set to a ragtime rhythm.
Wolcott has an amazing way with words. Go read. You'll get a kick out of it.
My idea of the best way possible? Leaving Iraq as a functioning state (not necessarily democratic) with a minimum of bloodshed and loss of human life. I believe the best way to do this, in a modicum of time, is with a draft.
Were I President (one who'd inherited this crisis, as John Kerry would have) I would go before the American people and spell it out:
1.) I would get us out of Iraq in a little over two years.
2.) To do it, I will enact a draft for two years.
3.) I would immediately (as fast as time would allow) increase troop strength on the ground in Iraq to between 250 and 500 thousand.
4.) Iraq's borders would be sealed and a genuine 'occupation force' would be put in place. There would be units dedicated to law enforcement, and those detailed to hunting down and killing the terrorists/insurgents/'dead-enders'/whatever. City by city would be pacified and security maintained by American troops (not that stupid bullshit we did in Fallujah).
5.) Iraqi police and National Guard units would be trained properly during this time, without fear of retribution (suicide bombings, drive-bys, kidnappings etc). That's because there'd be enough U.S. troops to keep order, and hunter-killer units hunting and killing the insurgents. Hel-lo, if the borders are sealed, you have a limited number of agitators to deal with. We win the war of attrition, baby, hands down.
6.) Iraqi and Middle Eastern businesses would be given the contracts taken away from Halliburton to rebuild the infrastructure. The contracts taken away from Halliburton to support the U.S. military would be voided and military personnel would be doing those jobs, the way it was done before Halliburton had a stranglehold on the DoD supply chain.
7.) Halfway into this plan (about a year, give or take), if all is going well (safe streets, no daily car bombs and IEDs), I would call Iraqi elections. This would give us a year to turn over power to the new Iraqi government and National Guard and police. A phase-in, so to speak.
8.) 6 months after the election, if things are going smoothly, the U.S. troop drawdown would begin, ending 6 months after the draft runs its two-year course.
It probably wouldn't get me reelected unless I pulled it off perfectly, but to straighten this mess out, it'll take some leadership from someone not concerned about reelection. Am I crazy or in the ballpark? Comments solicited.
LONDON, Jan. 15 (AP) - American-led troops using the ancient Iraqi city of Babylon as a base have damaged and contaminated artifacts dating back thousands of years in one of the world's most important archaeological sites, the British Museum said Saturday.
For example, military vehicles crushed a 2,600-year-old brick pavement, and archaeological fragments, including broken bricks stamped by King Nebuchadnezzar II, were scattered at the site, a museum report said. The dragons at the Ishtar Gate were marred by cracks and gaps where someone tried to remove their decorative bricks, the report said.
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Link via Peter at Blondie's.
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In contrast, Liberals’ vision of America has everything to do with strength and little to do with control. Liberals argue that America’s greatest strength has always been her progressiveness, her awkward struggle for egalitarianism, her existence as a melting pot where all people are meant to be free. The opposite of control, the Liberal view is about personal freedom and finding the balance that ensures the expression of one person’s right doesn’t infringe on another’s.
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Pack a lunch, it's long, but oh so right. And she links to my post, so what could be bad?
. . . This is using the government itself to propagandize the public to support the policies of one political party. The Congress will not investigate. The FBI will not. The Justice Department won't. The media will drop it in a day or two. This is bad. The Party has merged with the State.