Saturday, October 22, 2005

2005 Beltway Dictionary

Ausgezeichnet! Sie wollen viel spass haben.*

*Don't ask, I'm tired and it just came out in German. Go there and have a laugh. I'm gonna fall asleep watching the Series.

Public opinion

Via Lurch:

LONDON (Reuters) - Forty-five percent of Iraqis believe attacks on U.S. and British troops are justified, according to a secret poll said to have been commissioned by British defense leaders and cited by The Sunday Telegraph. [my em]

[. . .]

So, almost half of 'em believe they are fighting a war against us. How do the powers-that-be think they can even make a dent in the insurgency? If the Shi'ia, Sunni, and the Kurds don't start fighting amongst themselves, they just might turn their full attention to us. If the generals think our troops have their hands full now . . . It's time to bring our people home.

Wolcott on Scooter

Scooter . . . heh*:

[. . .]

It's not enough that you've been implicated in the Valerie Plame investigation, already indicted in the media's mind, but now you're being oiled and seasoned for ritual sacrifice by your former friends and associates in the White House, people you've trusted, people who share your convictions and zeal, but now avert their eyes or tense their smiles in the presence of a dead man walking. There's the gang plank, keep moving, say hello to the sharks.

[. . .]

*Permalink is down. I'll change it when it's fixed.

Hitler Youth



Using the parts inside a single molecule, scientists have constructed the world's smallest car. It has a chassis, axles and a pivoting suspension. The wheels are buckyballs, spheres of pure carbon containing 60 atoms apiece.

[. . .]

This is the next big thing in the health care industry and also the vehicle to build infrastructure in inhospitable climates. Just an aside, nanomachines can also be used as a weapon as I illustrated in Technocracy. Nanotechnology is the next frontier. I feel like I did when I was young, watching the Apollo missions to the Moon. Oh the possibilities . . .

Great thanks to the Renegade

The Fall of the American Empire

The British Empire, which was based on economy, failed in the end. The Imperialistic American Empire...which is based on politics, power, and military might...shall too go the way of the British Empire and fail, for politics and power last only so long.

[. . .]

Go see Ed.

Programming note

Frank Rich will be on Press the Meat tomorrow. As they say over at PSoTD:

Frank Rich, while you're on Meet the Press talking about the Fitzgerald investigation, can you ask Timmeh the hard questions about his involvement in the Plame case?

Now back to your regularly scheduled activities.

Fitz vs. Starr

Joe Conason (worth it to watch the ad and get the day pass):

[. . .]

The comparisons between Fitzgerald and Starr sound especially bizarre coming from pundits who failed to criticize the Whitewater prosecution back when their dissent might have mattered. In Slate, for instance, Jacob Weisberg accuses Fitzgerald of "Ken Starr-style foolishness" that may lead to "creative crap charges" -- presumably meaning indictments for perjury, conspiracy or obstruction of justice. And New York Times columnist John Tierney retrospectively criticizes the weakness of Starr's case against Bill Clinton.

My recollection is that Weisberg -- and others like him who now complain so bitterly about Fitzgerald -- voiced few criticisms of Starr or the Whitewater investigation. My additional recollection is that many of these same writers felt we simply must learn the "truth" about the ancient Arkansas land deal, even though it had nothing whatsoever to do with Clinton's presidency, national security or weapons of mass destruction, and therefore Starr's unpleasant methods, such as indicting various people on "creative crap charges" that had nothing to do with Whitewater, had to be accepted. [my em]

[. . .]

Hat tip: Tom

War Crimes

On Monday, October 17th Gail Davidson and Howard Rubin along with Jason Gratl and Micheal Vonn representing B.C. Civil Liberties stepped into courtroom 55 of the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver with the hopes of lifting the publication ban which, since December of 2004 August, has kept the case out of the public eye. After a relatively short session of 45 minutes they emerged successful. "I don't know that I would call it a victory quite yet," said Ms. Davidson, "but it is at least a step in the right direction. People deserve to know what is happening here."

What is happening is that Ms. Davidson and Lawyers Against the War have laid charges against George Bush Jr; accusing him of aiding, abetting, and counseling the commission of torture. This charge is based on the abuses of the prisoners held at the U.S. prisons in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Abu-Ghraib, Iraq including Canadian minor Omar Khadr, who has been held in Cuba since 2001. [my em]

[. . .]

That's going on in Canada. There are charges pending in Germany as well. Can't wait until indictments are sworn here too.

Hat tip: Cathie

Lest we forget . . .

While this blog is primarily concerned with national politics, occasionally I like to throw something up to remind us all what goes on in places where the U.S. has very little 'national interest'.

FIFTEEN months after the United Nations' Security Council issued an ultimatum to the government of Sudan to clean up its act in Darfur or face action, shocking new evidence of atrocities is emerging. Various governments have labelled the campaign of murder and forced displacement in Darfur as genocide and the UN last year described Darfur as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Yet according to the UN's own situation reports and accounts of investigations by African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces, the black African farmers targeted in the initial wave of violence continue to face the daily threat of violence.

[. . .]

Aid agencies say that without security in the region, they are powerless to help those most in need. Oxfam operates in 16 camps in Darfur but is currently unable to reach five because it is too dangerous to use the roads.

[. . .]

Unfortunately, ladies and germs, the health of Africa is in our national interest. For a bunch of folks who yell and scream about morality, our neglect of the Dark Continent is one of the most immoral positions we can hold.

We've used every excuse in the book to invade Iraq, a place that was relatively peaceful and no threat to us in the least (no, I'm not absolving Saddam of any of his sins, but sanctions were working, as Hans Blix and the U.N. proved three years ago). One line of bullshit passed by the Bushites was we were liberating the Iraqis from tyranny. What about the Sudanese? These people are dying wholesale at the hands of tyrants and we sit back and do nothing. A tenth of the expenditures in Iraq would probably be sufficient to keep the peace there and affect 'regime change', something sorely needed; a situation which should have been resolved long before we entertained any thought of invading Iraq.

And just a note to those folks who say we spend too much money on other nations. The U.S. spends a paltry .04% of our GDP on foreign aid. The international standard is .07%.

Thanks to Coalition for Darfur

Friday, October 21, 2005

Get over yourselves

Rude Pundit:

[. . .]

See, the Rude Pundit has said before, "freedom of religion" is also "freedom from religion." In other words, on your own fuckin' time, you can worship your Jesuses (whatever flavor of Christ you worship), you can be Allah-rific, you can pretend you understand the Kabbalah, you can get all nekkid and dance around yer goddess fire. There's your freedom. Enjoy. But you start to tell me shit like "I won't fill it. It's my right not to fill it" when it's your fuckin' job to fill my prescription? Then you (and any company that supports you) is engaging in a discriminatory practice as sure as a Denny's refusing to seat black people.

And until they open up "Scrips Fer Jesus" stores where God's druggists can do his will, just shut the fuck up, suck it up, and gimme my drugs.

[. . .]


[. . .]

Since Target is now hiring pharmacists who can refuse to do their jobs, I guess Target will have to live without the custom of those who prefer a competent staff instead of a moralistic one. I hope your next quarter reflects the thought that perhaps it would have been better to serve your customers than to hire those whose little feelings get in the way of doing the job.

[. . .]

I do a buncha shit at work every day that I don't like, but that's life. The day it gets to the point I feel I have to refuse to do my job is the day I find another one. Get over yourselves, you idiots, or get another job.

For the Holidays

I figured I'd spruce the place up. We'll go back to the old look after the holidays.


Far better than that smiling happy idiot one.

Thanks be to Maru

Goes for me too

The Angry Old Broad is . . . angry . . . again. Heh!

[. . .]

Tell ya what pal,when Rush Limbaugh shuts up,when FOX news goes out of business,and when the cabal of criminals running the country are all in prison or rendered completely powerless,then,MAYBE I'll shut the fuck up...

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

Princess Shayna says her pal Harry Hound has a great post up about priorities and how dogs should order their lives.

Yes, massa, I's be grateful.

Pam and Steve Gillard have posts up. Seems blacks should be grateful for slavery because that 'peculiar institution' was responsible for bringing them here, according to some wingnut black preacher. I mean, they could still be in Africa after all, right? Who'd want to live there? As I've said many times, I put black conservatives in the same boat I put gay conservatives. The name of the boat is Collaborators and it should be towed out to the target range.


Oliver Willis adds.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Stolen fully from Atrios:

Just on CNN - new Gallup poll has 45% saying country better off if Congress controlled by Dems, and 32% Republicans.

Bill Schneider helpfully pointed out that the last time Republicans had such shitty numbers was during impeachment. [my ems]


Oh. My. God.


Da Yelladog:

[. . .]

The hangings were carried out during the early morning hours of October 16, 1946 in a small gymnasium erected in the prison's courtyard. Three gallows filled the room - two to be used alternatively as each condemned man was dispatched and the third to act as a spare. The executions were briskly conducted - the entire procedure lasted just over 3 1/2 hours.

I want that to be a chapter in our history too. Real soon. His post is about that slime Ralph Reed, who should also be swinging at the end of a rope.

Gee, whatever happened to....

The American Prospect

The Fitzgerald probe reminds us: Whatever happened to Pat Roberts' Phase II intelligence report?
A second problem for Rockefeller: An internal staff memo urging him to call for an independent investigation of the administration's use of Iraq intelligence was leaked to FOX News' Sean Hannity in November 2003. The resulting mini-furor that erupted in the right-wing media has contributed to Rockefeller's reluctance to act.

But the main reason he has been inhibited is that previous public comments he made apparently caused the Pentagon to abruptly stop cooperating with the investigation. At the July 2004 press conference occasioned by the release of the Phase I report, Rockefeller asserted that certain activities of members of the office of then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, including a secret Rome meeting with the Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar, might have been "unlawful." At that point, Feith's office simply stopped cooperating with the investigation, and Roberts hasn't compelled Feith or his staff to comply. "[The Defense Department] got very skittish about volunteering as they had been up to that point," an SSCI staffer told the Prospect. "They got all lawyered up. Roberts' position, and [the Defense Department's], has been either 'show us what you're talking about' or 'withdraw the statement and we'll continue our cooperation with you.' Rockefeller wouldn't do either."
Accountability may yet arrive. With press-time reports that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was homing in on a group of top White House aides for playing a role in outing CIA agent Valerie Plame to the media (in an effort to retaliate against her husband for exposing the White House's hyping of dubious Iraq intelligence) perhaps the courts will take up where Congress has failed.

And when the courts are done with that, maybe they should look at Republican Senators and Representatives under the RICO act for conspiring to ruin our country.

How is this not like Vietnam?

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declined on Wednesday to rule out American forces still being needed in Iraq a decade from now. Senators warned that the Bush administration must play it straight with the public or risk losing public support for the war. [my em]

[. . .]

Fuck all those folks who say there's no comparison. The only difference is jungle vis-a-vis desert. Our guys are getting killed, there's no end in sight to the insurgency, and corporate America is getting rich. My dad was a DoD contractor and his best years were during the Vietnam War. Some of the wounds this nation sustained then have not healed and we're reopening the ones that have.


Mr. H points up another similarity.

Face it, America. You've been punk'd.

Larry C. Johnson at TomPaine.

It is now quite clear that the outing of Valerie Plame was part of a broader White House effort to mislead and manipulate U.S. public opinion as part of an orchestrated effort to take us to war. The unraveling of the Valerie Plame affair has exposed their scam - and it extends well beyond compromising the identity of a CIA officer. In short, the Bush administration organized and executed a classic "covert action" program against the citizens of the United States.
The attack on Valerie Plame Wilson was not an isolated incident. It was part of a broader pattern of manipulation and deceit. But this was not done for the welfare of U.S. national security. Instead, we find ourselves confronted by an unprecedented level of terrorist attacks and a deteriorating military situation in Iraq. At the same time, we now know that the Bush administration gladly sacrificed an undercover intelligence officer in order to keep up the pretense that the war in Iraq was all about weapons of mass destruction.

Americans have died because of the Bush deceit. The unmasking of Valerie Plame was not an odd occurrence. It was part of a pattern of deliberate manipulation and disinformation. At the end of the day, American men and women have died because of this lie. It is up to the American people to hold the Bush administration accountable for these actions.

We've known this for a while. It's good to see it out in public.

Accuracy in Media

Go see Shakey's Sis. Without one of those it must be easier to get the falafel out of his ass orally. Or put it in.

This warrants your attention...

I've had trouble concentrating this morning due to a large bearded biker gentleman and several other fellows with possible immigration issues tearing the roof off my house. Either that or maybe the bats in my belfry are just unusually active today. Anyway, I've kept active through the din by copying this. I think I've got enough to wallpaper at least one room.

Oh boy

[. . .]

Most critically, a plea bargain process has evidently been opened with Vice President Cheney's lawyer. that does not mean that an indictment is coming. but i've some critical background around the issue. [my em]

[. . .]

Sent here via ReddHedd at Jane's place. Looks like Colon Colin is trying to reclaim his honor, if it's true.


Shakes debunks the above. Thank God I put in the qualifier, huh? Heh.


White House adviser Karl Rove told the grand jury in the CIA leak case that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, may have told him that CIA operative Valerie Plame worked for the intelligence agency before her identity was revealed, a source familiar with Rove's account said yesterday.

Go see Gillard.

How it works

Since I seem to be on a clandestine operations kick this morning, I figured I'd give you an insight as to how shit really works by someone who's been there. I probably used his product when I was in (unbeknownst to either of us). While I was an end-user of intelligence, CAFKIA gathered it and explains about the 'right' and the 'need' to know.

Thirty years ago, I was in the United States Navy. I was in a corner of the Navy known as the Naval Security Group. I will not explain it any further than to say that we did stuff that required me to have a high level clearance.

[. . .]

The hard and fast rule in the intelligence community is "Need To Know." What that means is that the mere fact that I had a top-secret clearance did not mean that I could look at anything classified top secret or below. What it meant was that I was allowed access to such information as was necessary to do my job, and no more.

[. . .]

It is also important to note that simply confirming the veracity of a piece of classified information to an unauthorized individual was considered to be essentially the same as disseminating the information. So not being the first source on a bit of information is no defense if you could be considered a confirming source.

[. . .]

I could pull excerpts all day. Instead I suggest you read his aritcle in full. Informative and in depth.

And while I'm on it, it's time for this to be cleared up too.

How it went down

Dr. Cole:

Justin Raimondo has developed a source in Washington who has named for him three US citizens who were involved in cooking up the forged documents that alleged recent Iraqi purchases of Niger yellowcake uranium. (In fact, the Iraqis had never had the capacity to do anything serious with yellowcake.)

The mystery is still how the forged documents got into the hands of Rocco Martini, a former operative of Italian military intelligence. But after all that wouldn't have been so hard.

[. . .]

Planting documents is easy if it's done right. Thank the Lord the Bushites are a buncha idiots or this would never have come out. As the old man said below, these guys are like the bunch from F-Troop. Links aplenty at Juan's place.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Nah, tell 'em to just keep him...

Got this one from Grumpy Old Man via Shakey's Sis.

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the highway. Nothing is moving.
Suddenly a man knocks on the window. The driver rolls down his window and asks, "What happened?"

"Terrorists kidnapped President Bush and are asking for a $10 million ransom. Otherwise they are going to douse him with gasoline and set him on fire. We are going from car to car to take up a collection."

The driver asks, "How much is everyone giving on average?"

"About a gallon."


Burnt to a crisp or not, by the time the terrorists get as sick and tired of the Dipshit-in-Chief as we are, they'll be begging to pay us to take his ass back. Ha! Chumps!

Naughty Harry

Maureen Dowd via Uniongrrl, bless her heart.

Harriet Miers shared a little secret about herself on her application to be an associate justice: "Earlier this year, I received notice that my dues for the District of Columbia bar were delinquent and as a result, my ability to practice law in D.C. had been suspended."
Now we discover that she could be such a scatterbrain about paperwork that a little tiny thing like being able to legally practice law slipped her mind while she was serving as the lawyer for the leader of the free world?
With Karl Rove on grand jury watch and Dick Cheney snugly tucked into his underground bunker, W. and Andy Card are in control, and the West Wing ineptitude is comic.

It looks like the White House skipped the "B team" and went right to "F Troop". It is good to watch these nitwits unravel.

Heh . . .

From Joaquin Guerra via the Alternate Brain Mailbag

Strong constitutions


The new Constitution passed with 120% of the vote! Graveyards all over Iraq turned out in record numbers, especially in the province of Ninevah, a majority-Sunni province which, nevertheless, voted 78% in favor of the new Constitution, thanks to a heavy turnout from the majority-Kurdish cemetaries in the city of Mosul.

[. . .]

Just like Ohio and Florida.

What to do

Hesiod has some ideas for the WH Press Corpse:

[. . .]

"Will the President pardon any of the indicted members of his administraion?"

They should hammer Scott McLellan with that question, and every single Bush official who goes on Sunday talk shows, and even Bush himsefl when they get tehir precious few opportunities.

They should never let up until they get a straight "Yes," or "No" answer. It ha sto be definitive. No caveats, or escape hatches.

And, every single member of the Democratic party, and we bloggers, must ask this question every single day OF the news media. Force them to ask the question.

The Democrats show demand that Bush say whether he'd going to pardon anyone every time they go on a talk show, or are interviewed. Period. [my em]

[. . .]

Kommen Sie hier, Wurml*


[. . .]

Now, those close to the investigation say that a second Cheney aide, David Wurmser, has agreed to provide the prosecution with evidence that the leak was a coordinated effort by Cheney's office to discredit the agent's husband. Her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, was one of the most vocal critics of the Iraq war. [my em]

[. . .]

It's amazing how quickly the cowards float to the surface. Can you say impeachment? I thought you could.

*Come here my little worm. Hat tip: Maru

Bush Knew

New York Daily News

An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.
A second well-placed source said some recently published reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the President.

"Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way," the source said.

Talking Points Memo (and here)

Obviously, we have many more questions than answers here. But if President Bush knew about Rove's role from the beginning, then all of these interviews and grand jury appearances and the almost inevitable contradictions between them become real trouble for the White House.

And one more question. For almost two years, Scott McClellan insisted that neither Karl Rove nor Scooter Libby had anything to do with the leaks. He knew because he asked them, he said. He was very categorical.

Now it seems that at least with reference to Rove, the president knew McClellan's statements weren't true. And yet he allowed McClellan to make them. Come to think of it, I guess this one really isn't even a question. It speaks for itself, doesn't it?
But when you read further down into the piece you see that what got the president angry wasn't the leak; it was that they got caught.

Get a rope. I think a little old-fashioned Texas justice is appropriate here. Hell, get a mile of rope and cut it in lengths.

Just one question.

What did the President know and when did he know it?

A parting thought

Before I head to the shop. Now that Saddam's trial has begun, how many revelations will come to light about the U.S. involvement in the Iran/Iraq War? We irresponsibly gave WMDs to Saddam and he used them against the Iranians. Personally, I don't believe anything that does come out will make it to the ears of the American citizenry.

Alternate titles

Pauly comes up with alternate titles for Judy Miller's forthcoming (presumably, probably) book. Heh.

How did we get here?

Steve Gillard has a wonderful essay:

[. . .]

Corruption is not something which happens overnight. It takes time, like water wearing on a rock. The Bush Administration of 2001 is not the Administration of 2005. This doesn't mean the seeds of corruption were not there, but they took time to develop.

[. . .]

Why would Rove and company smear a former ambassador? Because, even after two years, they had no conception that the gulf between Texas statehouse politics could come to harm them. The corrupt pundit class, frightened into compliance by the Beltway Sniper, who scared them a lot more than 9/11, was willing to go along.

[. . .]

The problem here is that Valerie Plame was the rarest of the rare, a non-official cover agent of the CIA. No one knows how many there are, but the guess is that they would not fill too many tables at a dinner. Training one is more expensive than training a fighter pilot or Delta Force trooper. Revealing her name to anyone without a security clearance was a crime. Even while employed at CIA headquarters, people had no idea she was a NOC. Apologists like Bob Somersby and Richard Cohen just don't get it. This was a crime and one with serious consequences.

No need to belabor the point, but I'll put it this way: one of Special Operation Command's mission is to pull agents from dangerous situations. Pulling a NOC is the most dangerous of all. No one knows how many missions had to be run to clean up the mess created by this bit of spitework.

But why would they do it, then cover it up. Surely they understood what had happened?

[. . .]

As one who's pulled several Agency butts out of the fire, I have to agree. The Plame outing put literally hundreds of lives at risk; not just the spies, but the lives of those who have to go in and extract them. I lost friends in the failed hostage rescue in Iran and I had friends who had to get some of our covert operatives out of Russia during the height of the Cold War. I've pulled folks from 'unfriendly Asian nations' myself. It can get hairy as a motherfucker, something the idiots who live inside the Beltway can't begin to comprehend.

[. . .]

Once corruption enters the process, people assume everyone is corrupt. That everyone is as craven and venal as they are. That they work from the same motives. They never got that Wilson and his wife were real patriots, people who had risked their lives for the US and what it stood for. That they were deeply offended by this crap.

[. . .]

Were I Joe Wilson and someone did to my wife what they did to his, they'd pray for Fitzgerald to indict them; jail would be far more preferable than what my deranged mind could cook up for them. [Keep in mind, her life will never be truly hers. She's probably brought down some people who will want retribution. She will live the rest of her life with a target on her back, thanks to these assholes. - F.] I admire Joe for his restraint in allowing the process to work itself out. He's a far better man than I.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lower still

My pal David of 42:

Here in thrown-election Ohio, where I've been sentenced for the rest of the week, Preznit Flabjabbit's job-approval rating is now 37%... [my em]


Die, bitch!

Those close to the investigation said in June 2003, Hannah was given orders by higher-ups in Cheney's office to leak Plame's covert status and identity . . .

I'm waiting for Cheney's pacemaker to short-circuit. Zzzzzt!


Via Maurinsky:

Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. [Link; my em]

The world is in big trouble...

Saw this headline in the Guardian:

Chomsky is voted world's top public intellectual

Go read who came in fifth. Read the title of the post again...

Possible election fraud in Ohio Iraq

From the EssEffChron

Iraq's election commission announced Monday that officials were investigating "unusually high" numbers of "yes" votes in about a dozen provinces during Iraq's landmark referendum on a new constitution, raising questions about irregularities in the balloting.
Meanwhile, word of the review came as Sunni Arab leaders repeated accusations of fraud after initial reports from the provinces suggested the constitution had passed. Among the Sunni allegations are that police took ballot boxes from heavily "no" districts, and that some "yes" areas had more votes than registered voters.
"We feel the election was fair and balanced, and representative of Iraq as a hole" said newly-appointed Ministry of Truth And The Word of Allah director of election results, Habib al-Diebold, who until recently held a similar post in Carroll County, Ohio, with great success.

I made the last quote up to see if anybody even notices.

Merle Haggard: "Let's Get Out of Iraq"

I've been a country music fan for almost fifty years. In my musical taste, it's about as close to Rock as I can stand, Classic Rock and Old-Time Rock 'n Roll excepted. Having said that, I'm sick and tired of some of the artists who are exploiting fake patriotism to make a buck. They ain't makin' any off of me, and that's all I can do about it. I do have all the Dixie Chicks' albums. Anyway, it was heartening to see this piece at Counterpunch. It looks like (Don't Fix That Flat Tire) Merle's finally makin' up for his anti-protest songs from the '60s when he was tryin' to make a buck.

That said, there is little doubt that Haggard's achievements will stand as being among the highest in all of popular music history, not just in country music. His new album, Chicago Wind, is a fresh reminder of just why he is so important. And it speaks volumes about him that he was asked this year to open shows for both Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.

At age 68, he's just about seen it all and done it all and heard it all, but he still has many things on his mind. Over the years, he's commented on the state of affairs in this country, but he's never been politically predictable. Haggard has always been deeply patriotic, but obviously that does not always mean hewing to a particular political stance or political party. He speaks his mind.
"That's the News," his 2003 song commenting on Iraq, pretty much chastised the government and the media for swallowing the administration's spin that the war was over and won. Now he moves on to the matter of the U.S. being in Iraq, period. "Rebuild America First" is pretty honest and blunt. In part, he sings:

"Yea, men in position but backing away
Freedom is stuck in reverse
Let's get out of Iraq and get back on the track
And let's rebuild America first."

Haggard also comments on the current political and social scene in the song, "Where's All the Freedom?" He describes a country almost paralyzed by uncertainty, a nation where the Ten Commandments can't be displayed, where the grandparent of a soldier in Iraq can't afford to buy gasoline to drive to the grocery store, where individual rights are uncertain anymore.

He concludes: "Are we a nation under God anymore/How long do we cower down/Is this really still our ground/Our country is like a prisoner of war/Where's all the freedom that we're fightin' for."

As a revered country music pioneer -- and as an American citizen -- Haggard has earned the right to speak out. I think it's laudable that he does so when many other country artists feel -- rightly so, unfortunately, in many cases -- that to do so would jeopardize their careers with retail and radio. They're probably right. It would risk harm to their careers. Haggard isn't worried about that anymore. Good for him, agree with him or not. Country music was built on frankness and honesty. It still needs frankness and honesty.

Country music ain't the only thing in this country that needs frankness and honesty. The government, the media, and a large percentage of the ignoramuses who think they're good citizens for buying the administration's christo-fascist bullshit citizenry should be made to swallow huge doses of it until they come to realize our country is goin' to croak without it and start likin' it.

Thank you, Merle.

Are We Going to War With Iran?

From the Guardian:

Are We Going to War With Iran?

The Sunday Telegraph warned last weekend that the UN had a last chance to avert war with Iran and, at a meeting in London last week, the US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, expressed his regret that any failure by the UN security council to deal with Iran would damage the security council's relevance, implying that the US would solve the problem on its own.
Only days before, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, had dismissed military action as "inconceivable" while both the American president and his secretary of state had insisted war talk was not on the agenda. The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have found that Iran has not, so far, broken its commitments under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, although it has concealed activities before.

It appears that the UK and US have decided to raise the stakes in the confrontation with Iran. The two countries persuaded the IAEA board - including India - to overrule its inspectors, declare Iran in breach of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and say that Iran's activities could be examined by the UN security council. Critics of this political process point to the fact that India itself has developed nuclear weapons and refused to join the NPT, but has still voted that Iran is acting illegitimately. On the Iranian side there is also much belligerent talk and pop music now proudly speaks of the nuclear contribution to Iranian security.

The timing of the recent allegations about Iranian intervention in Iraq also appears to be significant. Ever since the US refused to control Iraq's borders in April 2003, Iranian backed militia have dominated the south and, with under 10,000 soldiers amongst a population of millions, the British army had little option but to go along. No fuss was made until now. As for the bombings of British soldiers, some sources familiar with the US army engineers report that these supposedly sophisticated devices have been manufactured inside Iraq for many months and do not need to be imported.

But is the war talk for real or is it just sabre rattling? The conventional wisdom is that for both military and political reasons it would be impossible for Israel and the UK/US to attack and that, in any event, after the politically damaging Iraq war, neither Tony Blair nor George Bush would be able to gather political support for another attack.

Quote of the Day

Stolen from Blondsense:

"Ponder, if you will, the surreal spectacle of a newswoman claiming that she went to jail to protect a source whose name she now cannot recall. Some witnesses ask for amnesty; Judy hopes to be granted amnesia". - Joe Cannon

Go check out the rest of his article at Cannonfire.


I was gona write this post yesterday afternoon, but consider this my way of counting to 10. I don't like being strong-armed, and I especially don't like it done to me publicly. What am I talking about? Let me explain.

The Dark Wraith is doing this fundraising thing for Shakespeare's Sister, a fine endeavor and I admire the effort. Shakes is a friend, I'd like to consider her a sort of protege back almost a year ago when she got started blogging. I'm proud of her and her success in Blogtopia (y!sctp!). I fully planned to contribute and still do, without being challenged to do so publicly. I don't need to be goaded to help people. I just don't do my philanthropy in public. That's between the Mrs., my accountant, the IRS, and me. I'm not philanthopic for accolades or recognition and I don't broadcast what I give to whom.

Not that it's anybody's business, but I was looking over our tax returns for last year and I see the Mrs. and I donated around $20,000 to causes that are dear to us. We don't need to be challenged to give. We both know what it's like to be on the balls of your ass (we were both unemployed for a year a while back) and we feel it's our duty to give back when we can.

In attempt to avoid embarrassment on anyone's part, I shipped off an email to DW early yesterday morning making an offer and explaining that I don't do my philanthropy publicly. Unfortunately, that fell on deaf ears and I was challenged publicly, hence my reasons for this post. It's also why I'll make the same offer here, today, publicly.

Shakes will get my $50 donation this afternoon that was a given. What I will do to sweeten the pot though (lord knows if this will be an incentive to any of you), is I'm offering up the complete collection of all the novels I've written that are currently in print (8) to the person who gives the Shakes' the largest donation. They'll all be signed as well, commemorating the fact you gave the most to the Shakes' fund. Since DW's challenge is ended on 22 Oct, I'll close this offer then too. Shakes can let me know who donated the most and I'll ship 'em to ya, so go over and contribute.

For future reference. If anybody wants money from me, contact me privately and I'll consider your cause. I don't respond to pressure tactics or public strong-arming. It usually garners the opposite of what you're trying to achieve (Not in Shakes' case of course because we love her). And DW, the way to go is never threaten me with violence, real or figurative (slap-slap), my knee-jerk response is not pretty.

And Shakes, sorry about not running this by you first. Let me know if you're not cool with it and I'll withdraw the offer.

Monday, October 17, 2005

In defense of Al

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan piss me off regularly, but I'm glad we have folks like them on the landscape. Steve Gillard speaks in their defense better than anyone I've heard in a long time.

[. . .]

When people ask Rev. Jackson for help, he comes. Whether it's North Carolina or New Orleans. He doesn't have to poisition himself or deal with the Democratic leadership.

Where are these hundreds of black leaders? When do they show up? When black children are shot by the police, you don't see Barack Obama with the family, do you? For all the attacks on Sharpton, when people have real crises, he's there. These so-called leaders are not. They seem to be afraid of their own shadows.

You do not gain respect with speeches. You have to confront the system and many of these so-called leaders are more than willing to live in Sharpton's shadow and hand him power. There are many younger leaders here in New York, but Sharpton, who was once one of the young leaders, did what they would not, go in the street and risk their lives. Sharpton was stabbed in Bensonhurst. Even Diddy is more willing to extend himself tham some of our political leaders.

[. . .]

Damn straight. Those guys are there. They're willing to yell and scream and dodge bullets if they have to. Where are the rest of them? Where are the white Dems when shit happens? Fuck asking where any of the Repubs are. We owe these guys because without them, without their ability to get media exposure, the problems of race and the poor would never be publicized.


Publius has more on that piece of shit Ralph Reed.

[. . .]

But the real outrage - and one that should cause social conservatives to tar and feather Reed - is the absolute contempt he had for well-meaning, sincere anti-gambling activists. He exploited and manipulated them to serve the interests of gambling interests - interests they thought they were opposing.

Even before the eLottery scandal, Reed had used social conservatives as patsies in the service of Abramoff's Indian casino clients.

[. . .]

There is more than one level of absurdity here. First, you have Reed taking steps to protect gambling interests because he was paid to do so. Second, Reed's strategy for protecting gambling was to attack opponents who supported an anti-gambling bill as being soft on gambling (thus exploiting sincere opposition to gambling by lying). That's truly amazing - his entire strategy was to lie to anti-gambling activists and assume that they would be completely ignorant about the content of the bill. Third, he was willing to undermine elected (though vulnerable) social conservatives - his supposed comrades-in-arms - in order to protect gamblers. That's truly amazing stuff.

[. . .]

This guy would pimp his own mother and then bust her for prostitution to make a buck on both ends. There's a special corner in Hell for this asshole, right next to his buddies DeLay, Abramoff, and all the rest.

They get letters

B12 has a few letters the Times received after printing the Judy Miller article.

Twofer in Seattle

Uniongrrl posts Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert's Monday columns.

PK writes about the future of the American working class in the wake of the Delphi "bankruptcy", and BH implores the Democrats to get off their ass.

Thank Uniongrrl for saving us all that Select money.

In a nutshell...

William Rivers Pitt on Traitorgate and WHIG:

In a New York Times article published on Sunday, columnist Frank Rich buried the dart right in the center-black. "What matters most in this case," wrote Rich, "is not whether Mr. Rove and Lewis Libby engaged in a petty conspiracy to seek revenge on a whistle-blower, Joseph Wilson, by unmasking his wife, Valerie, a covert C.I.A. officer. What makes Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation compelling, whatever its outcome, is its illumination of a conspiracy that was not at all petty: the one that took us on false premises into a reckless and wasteful war in Iraq. That conspiracy was instigated by Mr. Rove's boss, George W. Bush, and Mr. Libby's boss, Dick Cheney."
George W. Bush declared a national emergency in this Executive Order for one reason: to lock down the oil, and to give total legal cover to Dick Cheney's Halliburton, so they could do whatever they wanted to get their hands on it, and to get paid for it. Here we have Bush's fingerprints, and here is the reason for not only attacking Wilson, but for chucking up a war that was not necessary.

The payout.

The Office of Special Plans to the White House Iraq Group, Cheney to Langley and Bush with his Executive Order, a war to get paid and cash money, honey, for Halliburton and friends. Rove and Libby are small fish. If and when they get fried, the stink may well fill the Oval Office. If George and Dick come out of this unscathed, Mr. Fitzgerald may as well have stayed in Chicago.

I'd like to see Dick and Bush scathed big time, but I slightly disagree with Mr. Pitt: If Mr. Fitzgerald had stayed in Chicago we wouldn't have the present probability of indictments of a couple of fairly big fish. If the evidence points higher than that, that's even better, but I'll take what I can get.

If Bush and Cheney go down behind this, Mr. Fitzgerald will be a national hero for having the guts to pursue criminals at that level. Let's hope it happens and sends a message to the lesser administration criminals: Your time is coming.

Unwarranted faith

I love Kevin Hayden, but either his sarcasm is over my head on this one, or he's putting too much faith in the Dem leadership:

That pretty much settles it. The Democratic filibuster is on.

Much as Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi have grown some testicles in the past few months, I get the feeling the Miers confirmation will end up just like the Roberts vote went. They're more of the 'Devil you know' mindset and are afraid Bush will put up someone worse if they deny him Miers. There will be no filibuster.


As many of you who visit this part of the Blogosphere already know, Shakespeare's Sister lost her job awhile back. She and her husband, Mr. Shakes, have been the beneficiaries of kind and generous donations to tide them through this difficult time in their life together. She is a good woman, and he a good man. They contribute greatly to our stand against a machine of repression, mendacity, and stunning incompetence that has opened the 21st Century on a trajectory as grim as any in American history. It is proper that we who are of like conscience in this time stand together and help each other... - The Dark Wraith

Help if you can.

Normalizing treason

[. . .]

But when a senior aide to the President of the United States endangers the life of an undercover CIA agent, her colleagues and contacts around the world - when he chooses to put at risk our entire effort to undercover weapons of mass destruction before they are used to kill millions in an American city - what response do we get from the Bush White House and the Republican Party? A defensive (offensive) shrug.

The Republican party's gift to the American people, and the Bush administration's legacy, will be the normalization of treason. They are trying to convince Americans that betraying our country during wartime for personal gain is no more serious than running a stop sign or going 60 in a 55 zone. [my em]

[. . .]

A must-read by John at AMERICAblog.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

You ain't gonna believe this...

...but go read this article anyway. Not only will it help you with your Christmas gift shopping, you will be one step closer to being able to say you've heard everything. And, no, I haven't jumped the gun on the legalization of all the mindbenders in my previous post!

Heh . . . see yas!

Three more assholes to get stretched. WaPo via Digby:

[. . .]

Abramoff quietly arranged for eLottery to pay conservative, anti-gambling activists to help in the firm's $2 million pro-gambling campaign, including Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, and the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition. Both kept in close contact with Abramoff about the arrangement, e-mails show. Abramoff also turned to prominent anti-tax conservative Grover Norquist, arranging to route some of eLottery's money for Reed through Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform.

[. . .]

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

Let those dopers be...

Good article in the LATimes by a former Seattle police chief.

SOMETIMES PEOPLE in law enforcement will hear it whispered that I'm a former cop who favors decriminalization of marijuana laws, and they'll approach me the way they might a traitor or snitch. So let me set the record straight.

Yes, I was a cop for 34 years, the last six of which I spent as chief of Seattle's police department.

But no, I don't favor decriminalization. I favor legalization, and not just of pot but of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, psychotropics, mushrooms and LSD.
I've never understood why adults shouldn't enjoy the same right to use verboten drugs as they have to suck on a Marlboro or knock back a scotch and water.
Regulated legalization would soon dry up most stockpiles of currently illicit drugs - substances of uneven, often questionable quality (including "bunk," i.e., fakes such as oregano, gypsum, baking powder or even poisons passed off as the genuine article). It would extract from today's drug dealing the obscene profits that attract the needy and the greedy and fuel armed violence. And it would put most of those certifiably frightening crystal meth labs out of business once and for all.
The demand for illicit drugs is as strong as the nation's thirst for bootleg booze during Prohibition. It's a demand that simply will not dwindle or dry up. Whether to find God, heighten sexual arousal, relieve physical pain, drown one's sorrows or simply feel good, people throughout the millenniums have turned to mood- and mind-altering substances.

They're not about to stop, no matter what their government says or does. It's time to accept drug use as a right of adult Americans, treat drug abuse as a public health problem and end the madness of an unwinnable war.

I'm with him all the way. He goes into a lot more detail, so go read.


Of the Bush Administration. Over the past 5 years, a boatload of folks with ethics and principle have resigned or been cashiered. TomDispatch has a list.

Hat tip: Melanie

Sunday chores

Finishing the painting (remember the bookshelf project?) that I put on hold during the deluge of the past week (I want my fucking paint to dry.) I'll probably be on later. In progress pics below the fold.