Saturday, July 2, 2005

Rove Update

From the July 11 Newsweek:
Initially, Fitzgerald's focus was on Novak's sourcing, since Novak was the first to out Plame. But according to Luskin, Rove's lawyer, Rove spoke to Cooper three or four days before Novak's column appeared. Luskin told NEWSWEEK that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." Luskin declined, however, to discuss any other details. He did say that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him. "He has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else," Luskin said. But one of the two lawyers representing a witness sympathetic to the White House told NEWSWEEK that there was growing "concern" in the White House that the prosecutor is interested in Rove. Fitzgerald declined to comment.
When a prosecutor "declines to comment", someone's goin' up on charges if he can get the goods on 'em, if my experience in these matters means anything. This is getting better and better.

Beat 'em up

Have I said lately how much I love the Adgita Diaries? Well I do, especially when they take down a pompous blowhard like Cal Thomas so eloquently:

[. . .]

Softly and safely ensconced on his dominionist church pew Thomas enlightens us about Satanic Islam: "One reason for this difficulty is that radical Islamists see the United States as un-free and in bondage to rampant sexuality, female immodesty and a general distain for God. They believe they are the free ones." Fundi jerk thy self. Thomas, looking deeply into that black hole of his soul, sure makes it simple for us to understand--its all about sex.

Wanna bet Thomas is a bad lay, reverently employing the missionary position in prayerful revulsion? And, by the way when was the last time you saw a general distain for god outside the confines of this tiny blog site? It is a minority view and probably never will get as much attention as Janet Jackson's star-spangled boob amonst the sheepful faithful, who idolize the trinity: Bush, Cheney and Rove.

[. . .]

Hit 'em again.

In MyRoom

Feel like getting away from it all but have no place to go? Your problems are solved by Yamaha! Well.... Anyway, go see Gizmodo and then go read comments at EM411 such as:
Keeping someone locked up in your apartment has never been easier. Say goodbye to those pesky screams for help. Easy to clean, and reusable.
Ah, this modern age!


[. . .]

The president has no one to blame but himself. The color-coded terror alerts, the repeated John Ashcroft press conferences announcing imminent Armageddon during election season, the endless exploitation of 9/11 have all taken their numbing toll. Fear itself is the emotional card Mr. Bush chose to overplay, and when he plays it now, he is the boy who cried wolf. That's why a film director engaging in utter fantasy can arouse more anxiety about a possible attack on America than our actual commander in chief hitting us with the supposed truth.

If anything, we're back where we were in the lazy summer of 2001, when the president was busy in Crawford ignoring an intelligence report titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" and the news media were more preoccupied with a rash of "Jaws"-like shark attacks than with Al Qaeda. The sharks are back, and the "missing girl" drama of Natalee Holloway has echoed the Chandra Levy ur-text. Even the World Trade Center is making a comeback, if we are to believe that the new Freedom Bunker unveiled for ground zero might ever be built.

[. . .]

Frank Rich in NYT. He makes some astute observations about the current situation.

A Gentle Reminder

For a gentle reminder of one of our primary purposes here in Left Blogistan, go see this groovy A/V at BushFlash. Thanks, 42.

DSM Update

Via, of course, the Sister:

Conyers and 51 Members File FOIA Request on Downing Street Minutes; Members Formally Seek Hearings in House

Representative John Conyers, Jr., (D-MI) House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member, along with 51 other Members today submitted a broad and comprehensive FOIA request to the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State seeking any and all documents and materials concerning the Downing Street Minutes and the lead up to the Iraq war, RAW STORY has learned.

In addition, the Members also formally requested that the House Committees on Judiciary, Armed Services, International Relations, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence commence hearings on the Downing Street Minutes. [Link]

[. . .]

Et tu, Tony?

Heh. Even the Brits have had it with the Chimp:

Tony Blair is contemplating an unprecedented rift with the US over climate change at the G8 summit next week, which will lead to a final communique agreed by seven countries with President George Bush left out on a limb.

The alternative is to face a "catastrophic failure" of his plan to get concerted action to combat global warming, which he has long said is the greatest threat the world faces.

[. . .]

Doesn't Tony know global warming is 'junk science'? Oh, I'm laughing my ass off. The only ones who don't get it are the NeoCons, the Wingnuts, and the Jesus-freaks.

Hat tip and more detail: Melanie.

Wet Dreams

Pic courtesy of dKos via Maru.

So What's the Story on Bob Novak?

If I were the Special Counsel in the Plame deal, Bob "Douchebag for Liberty" Novak would be standing at rigid attention in front of me and singing like a little canary under threat of incarceration under the hoosegow. He'd have a lot more new body parts than a hip when I got done with him. Anyway, why isn't he facing jail time? This commentary in the LATimes asks the same question.
It was classic Novak: a hatchet job directed not at Plame, but at her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. The firestorm that erupted has consumed millions of dollars in investigation and litigation costs and has wreaked havoc with the career not just of Plame (who had to leave the CIA) but of two reporters who were hauled into court and threatened with prison.

Novak's original intention, it seems, was to publicly damage Wilson, who had embarrassed President Bush by showing that he relied on false information to justify the Iraq war. Although Novak admits that he was asked not to publish Plame's name by a CIA official, he insists that he did not realize that he might be putting her in danger. Nevertheless, he showed little concern for safety or propriety until after the controversy erupted.
The disclosure of the name - in addition to violating the law against revealing the names of covert personnel - served no apparent purpose beyond that of retaliation.
Over the course of the investigation into the matter, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has gone after journalists such as Miller with a fury - winning findings of contempt against them for refusing to give up their sources.

Yet, there has been a conspicuous absence of any similar effort against Novak. This has led to speculation that either Novak has been given special treatment by a Republican prosecutor, or he has revealed his sources, or his sources have revealed themselves to the prosecutors.
In the interview, Novak refused to answer even the most basic question, such as whether "in general … you cooperated with investigators in the case." Novak insisted his lawyer had told him not to answer "until this case is finished." His reliance on his lawyer's advice is a rather feeble and perplexing defense.
I think I would gently remind the douchebag that his lawyer wasn't going to be the one doing the time.

They just hope nobody lights the damn thing while they're wrapped in it...

I like Margaret Carlson, but she's usually a little too polite. Not this time. From the LATimes.
It will soon be the Fourth of July again. Do you know where your flag is?

Why there it is, inside the Capitol, being waved around by members delighted to solve a problem that doesn't exist while ignoring ones that do. Last week, your House of Representatives voted, 286 to 130, to amend the Constitution to save the flag from being burned. The measure now goes to the Senate.

You say you weren't worried about flag-burning? That's why the folks in Congress make the big bucks and you don't.
If lawmakers wanted to do something really patriotic this Fourth, they might do their jobs. How about asking hard questions about the war, and beefing up the armor on those Humvees that keep getting blown apart? If Old Glory is so important, why have so few House members traveled to Dover to see it serving the high purpose of draping the coffins of the more than 1,700 soldiers who died for it?
Congress is proof of Samuel Johnson's adage that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.
Even former Speaker Newt Gingrich is alarmed by how careless Republicans have been with their power. "When you are in the minority, you need to fight," he warned this week. "When you are in the governing majority, you need to produce." This from a man who in his day threw more cocktails than Molotov.

This Fourth of July, the flag will be flying over my parents' house in Pennsylvania. The country will be celebrating. But the sight of Congress doing its job would elicit more astonished oohs and aahs than any fireworks.
Boy, that's no shit. Margie goes into a lot more detail. Go read.


My weekly commentary is up at Pourquoi Pas.

Gord's a genius!

Regarding the old man's post the other day:

[. . .]

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

Well, what do I wake up and see this morning?

Frog Marching Rove Down Yellowcake Lane

Multiple people have emailed to inform me that on the McLaughlin Group Lawrence O'Donnell has claimed that the primary Plame laker was Karl Rove.

I've set the Tivo to record the next showing, but I can't as of yet verify this, but there you go...

I guess Ol' Yelladog is right:

I hate to cross swords with Gordon, mostly because he's almost always right . . .

It's called wisdom.

Future news

An interesting read:

(Associated Press, Nov. 8, 2006) The Democrats didn't waste any time after their landslide victory in Tuesday's midterm election that put them in charge, with huge margins in both the House and Senate.

The incoming Democratic chairs of the various investigatory committees announced that, as soon as the new Congress is sworn in in January, subpoenas will be going out to the White House for all documents relating to when and how the decision to attack Iraq was made; to how far up the chain of command the authorization for torture went; and whether Bush and Cheney and/or their subordinates lied to the Congress and the American People. Congressional committees also will be on the lookout for evidence of Administration involvement in war crimes, bribery and election fraud, Democratic officials said.

[. . .]

Wishful thinking, perhaps, but the 2006 election cycle is just around the corner and it is within us to make it happen. Read the entire article that also has an interesting take on the road to Impeachment of the Chimp and his co-conspirators.

Thanks to the Farmer for the link.

Friday, July 1, 2005

A word

On Sandra Day O'Connor: There goes one beautiful woman.

A word to Dem Senators: I swear, by everything I deem holy, if you screw the pooch on her replacement, I'm going to do everything I can to see you out in the next election. If it means donating to races in 40 states, campaigning aginst you, whatever it takes to see your ass out when you have to run for reelection. Do you hear me? DO NOT FUCK THIS UP!

Support the troops

Via Glen. This is how it's done, you Yellow Elephants:

[. . .]

Love him or hate him, Garry Trudeau, the man responsible for the "Doonesbury" comic strip, is doing his part to help wounded troops and their families.

Trudeau is donating all his proceeds from the sale of his newly released book "The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time" to the Fisher House Foundation. Also, Andrews McMeel Publishing, the book's publisher, is contributing 10 percent of its take from the book to Fisher House.

[. . .]

I'm Surprised He Still Has Those Kinda Dreams At His Age...

Paul Krugman:
A majority of Americans now realize that President Bush deliberately misled the nation to promote a war in Iraq. But Mr. Bush's speech on Tuesday contained a chilling message: America has been taken hostage by his martial dreams. According to Mr. Bush, the nation now has no choice except to keep fighting the war he wanted to fight.

Never mind that Iraq posed no threat before we invaded. Now it's a "central front in the war on terror," Mr. Bush says, quoting Osama bin Laden as an authority. And since a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would, Mr. Bush claims, be a victory for Al Qaeda, Americans have to support this war - and that means supporting him. After all, you wage war with the president you have, not the president you want.

But America doesn't have to let itself be taken hostage. The country missed the chance to say no before this war started, but it can still say no to Mr. Bush's open-ended commitment, and demand a timetable for getting out.
Meanwhile, time is running out for America's volunteer military, which is cracking under the strain of a war it was never designed to fight.

So what would happen if the United States gave up its open-ended commitment to Iraq and set a timetable for withdrawal?
You'd like to know that, wouldn't you? Oh, I know that you do. Go read.

Chimpy Goes A-Courtin', and his Corporate Henchmen Too...

David Sirota's all over the latest SCOTUS developments like a cheap suit. Read what he thinks the Chimp will do here.

And then read why he thinks Big Corpora is creamin' its jeans here.

You can get to both articles by clickin' on his name. Limited time offer.

Update: David Corn weighs in as well.

Santa Maria's Real Claim To Fame

Santa Maria has gotten a bum rap lately, I think, for the simple reason that it's got the nearest county courthouse to Michael Jackson. Besides being the hub of one of California's most unique agricultural areas, and flanking Vandenberg AFB, it has been famous for many years as the home of a true California taste treat, the Santa Maria-style barbecue. From the LATimes:
For those who know Santa Maria barbecue, this will be no surprise. It is one of California's heritage foods, as much a part of the state's culinary soul as abalone and orange trees. On the Central Coast, you'll find it at restaurants, charity fundraisers, farmers markets and even stalls set up in random parking lots - basically anywhere a crowd of hungry people might gather.
First, a little history. Santa Maria barbecue is a throwback to California's rancho days. Traditionally, it was made by threading 3-inch-thick blocks of top sirloin on willow poles and then cooking them over long pits filled with smoldering coals of local red oak.
These days, rather than those monstrous top sirloin blocks, the meat is more likely to be tri-tip, which has the main advantage of coming in family-sized pieces of 2 to 3 pounds. The tri-tip began to gain popularity in the late 1950s when, according to Santa Maria legend, a local butcher named Bob Schutz started setting aside meat he had previously ground into hamburger.

This was a handy bit of timing, because that is just when Santa Maria barbecue was beginning to boom.

Though it had always been appreciated locally, during the 1950s its reputation was spread by the hordes of hungry pilots and other Air Force personnel who had trained at Vandenberg Air Force Base during and after World War II.
Somehow, despite such popularity, tri-tip has remained almost exclusively Californian. It is virtually unknown east of the Rockies. Last year, according to the National Cattleman's Beef Assn., 80% of the tri-tip sold in the United States went to California (add in the rest of the West and you've got more than 95%).
If you've ever been to a big Santa Maria barbecue, you surely have noticed the grills. These look like something dreamed up for a joint episode of "Emeril Live" and "Monster Garage," big as U-Hauls and tricked out with elaborate systems of pulleys and counterweights for adjusting the height of the grid. The meat is seared down low and then raised away from the heat to allow smoking.
Go read. There's a couple pages of background and several pages of recipes.

Mrs. G is from a little town just up the road apiece from Santa Maria. She grew up with this dish, and was surprised as all get-out when she moved to L.A. and couldn't find it anywhere, although in the intervening forty years it has spread far and wide around the state and beyond. She introduced me to it and I have eaten it many, many times, mostly outdoors, but not always. I firmly believe that the locals, the guys anyway, are not allowed to graduate from High School without displaying proficiency in whipping up a Santa Maria Tri-Tip. Every city park for miles around has the humongous grills, and every weekend finds them in use along with many that are towed almost anywhere. My mouth is watering so much right now I'm afraid I'm going to short out this thing, so Adios, amigos. Sometimes politics has to take a back seat to the pleasures of the flesh.

For a good introduction to our Central Coast, click here. And by all means, read this.

The crux of the biscuit

From the good folks at 12th Harmonic:

The Neocons seem to be feeling increasingly desperate these days, and they are right to be worried. If they had spent a bit more time philosophising and observing humanity and a bit less time furthering their own greed and looking for ways to subjugate humanity they might have realised a couple of things:

Firstly that you can only afford to tell big lies if you are intending to make a fast getaway. If you're planning on sticking around you can be sure your lies will catch up with you. Eventually you will be held accountable.

[. . .]

The Chimp administration is basically pulling a corporate raid of America. If they weren't so inept, they'd know how it works. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am. Get in, drive the price of the stock up, grab the profits, and then get out before the shit hits the fan. Can't do that in government, assholes. Now ya gotta stick around and have it crash down around ya.

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

"You're bothering me, dad!"

click to embiggen

Thursday, June 30, 2005


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

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

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

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

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

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

[. . .]

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

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

[. . .]

My two cents on Journalist/Source Privilege

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MSNBC Breaking News

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

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

Vets Say Support For Bush's War Is Gone

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End . . . starting now

Just go see The Heretik.

Chickenhawks Cluck

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


It's time.

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


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


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Really Good Christians

RJ Eskow:

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

[. . .]

This is what Jesus would do, you wingnut morons.

Terminator IV: Election Day

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

The Chairman

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

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

Change the emphasis

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

Exit Strategy Redux

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

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

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

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

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

Clear mission

John at Blogenlust says we heard it all before:

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

[. . .]

Bush's Speech

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


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

click image to embiggen.


Think Progress via RUFNKM:

[. . .]

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

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

[. . .]

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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

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

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

[. . .]

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

Thanks to the Sister for the link.

Baby bullshit

How low can the Repubs go? Observe:

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

[. . .]

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

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

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

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

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

DSM Update

Via Kevin Drum:

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

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

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

[. . .]

Go read.

Skippy reminder

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

Neocon Pride

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

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

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

[. . .]

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

Monday, June 27, 2005


RJ Eskow finds it in today's news:

BTK killer confesses, Cheney defends Abu Ghraib . . .

The last condemnation

From Rudyard Kipling's Epitaphs of the War

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

Thank you . . . 20,000 times

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

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

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

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

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

Tech note

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

The speech Bush oughta make. Fat chance.

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

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

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

Rumsfeld criticized administration for 'Credibility Gap'

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

The party's over for betrayed Republican

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

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

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

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

Dance o' Joy!

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

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

[. . .]

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

Thanks to Lambert for the link.

DSM Update

[. . .]

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

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

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

[. . .]

More damaging info from the Sunday Times.


David of 42 tagged me with this during the night.

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

a) Get addicted to cocaine.

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Shakespeare
John Adams
Isaac Asimov
Thomas Jefferson
Albert Einstein

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

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

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

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

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

6. Name one event that has changed your life.

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

7. Tag 5 people.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Take it to Karl

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

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

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

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

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

Lots more where that came from.


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

[. . .]

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

[. . .]

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


Remember when I said this:

[. . .]

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

Well it gets better. Billmon via the King:

[. . .]

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

[. . .]

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

Point men

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

Hey, keep an eye on that colored fella

[. . .]

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

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

Go there.

Grandma's right

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