Monday, June 27, 2005

Carry a Big Sticker

This is to hang on your right wing neighbor's door. See the seller's website at this link.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Lyndon Baines Bush

Architect of Iraqnam

From, Whiskey Bar

Changing My Profile

Editor-in -chief

I've decided to go with my true identity in my profile rather than my former Paul Klee mask.

All the Kids are Wearing These

In case you missed it, Wonkette forwards this ad from NewsMax.

Why Did We Attack Iraq?

Correspondents' Dinner 2004

Some commentators, like Michael Kinsley, insist that they knew we were going to war with Iraq at a time the the Preznit said we weren't, that war was "the last resort".They insist that we really knew better than to believe what the Preznit and his men were telling us. In hindsight,to me it was rather obvious, when we were reliably informed that air attacks were being unusually increased and thousands of soldiers were being moved up in aircraft carriers into the Gulf.

The Downing Street Memos have corroborated such observations about an early decision to go to war, as have witnesses inside The White House like Bob Woodward and Paul O'Neill.We have learned that the intelligence really didn't matter one way or the other. The decision to go to war was a fait accompli which exploited honest feelings of patriotism (from both sides of the aisle)for political gain. The general public, including so many journalists, were delirious to think our country was in danger from Saddam Hussein.

Why did we attack Iraq? When all the reasons offered by this adminstration, one by one, cave in, we still wonder, what was really their reason ? To them,war in Afghanistan seemed to be a mandatory requirement that must be dealt with so that we could move on to bigger things. Why couldn't we have put in a larger force specifically to bring Ben Laden to justice ? Surely our pal President Musharraf would understand.The search for Osama Bin Laden was a bipartisan matter that really was in no way foremost among the Bush Regime, at least in terms of their actions.Bush had the audacity to joke about looking for WMDs in front of a jolly, laughing press corps.

After the Memos,it is becoming undeniably clear. Why was attack so inevitable ? All that remains is Political Capital.Being a "war president" has such indisputable rewards. Even with the fairly recent example of Russia waging a quagmire in Afghanistan, insufficient planning was done by Bush's team for the outcomes of the Iraq attack.It is evident that Bush team thought we would get in and get out of Iraq quickly, making the President look like he was fighting terrorists.The only prewar terrorist activity that has been verified is Saddam's payments to suicide bomber's families from Palestine (they all hate the Jews, don't they?).The Preznit seems to value political capital above all else. Witness his summation of the 2004 election. He got what he wanted, and this was the message to him: enough of the voters have approved me over my opponent, so I will continue to do things the way I want, to "spend political capital." This interpretation of events makes Karl Rove's recent comments about liberals all the more base and despicable. Meanwhile, we all suffer and we are less safe by this distraction of a war.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Bolton Storms the Castle

From Pat Oliphant

The War in Iran Has Already Begun

Scott Ritter

Scott Ritter, former Marine, former U.S. weapons inspector, was right about Iraq: before we attacked , he insisted there were no WMDs. He was immediately attacked by antagonistic media which made bogus claims that he just might be some kind of pedophile.

Now, Ritter is speaking out again,publicizing credible reports that the U.S. has stepped up overflight attacks on Iran with drones and "other sophisticated capabilities".This really sounds like the lead up to the current Iraq War, as we have recently learned from leaked British government memos in which the U.S. tried to soften up Saddam months before the so-called beginning of hostilities.

A Better Comparison, Perhaps

Lt. Calley

One of the lessons of the whole Dick Durbin Attack (and apology) is that the mention of Nazis or Stalinists seems to be so inflammatory that the Right Wing Noise Machine finds it easier to do their usual misinterpretation, manipulation or outright misquoting of such matters. Right wingnuts treat such considered comments as if they were an entitlement to ignore the true problem by diverting attention from actually being awol or actually being complicit in torture done in the name of our country. Jon Stewart was wise enough to point this out last week; it's a losing proposition to mention Nazism and your opponent in the same speech, whether it's done by Rick Santorum or Robert Byrd.

It's inconceivable that any one could think that Durbin was universally attacking all of our soldiers. For what reason ? He really didn't say that.If one reads what he said, one would certainly think that he was disgusted that it was our soldiers who were observed mistreating prisoners by our FBI agent. He wasn't even reading his own words. Once again,the actual problem, such torture as chaining up prisoners for 24 hours or more, is ignored in order to attack the messenger. In current parlance, this is ignoring the elephant in the room. So many wingnut commentators seem to be saying that the problem was not that this kind of stuff was going on, but that it was publically reported to such places as Al-Jazeera.

Better to stick to 100% American examples of atrocious behavior, like the My Lai Massacre. When Seymour Hersh reported the My Lai story, it was eventually understood that this incident in no way represented all of our soldiers in Viet Nam, but only an aberrant few. Still, the perpetrators needed to be accountable for their transgressions, as are we all. Their actions disgraced every American.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bring 'em on !

So far this month, 58 U.S soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Successful Operation

Waiting Outside Fallujah

Our Marines have been successful in Operation Spear, in which about a thousand U.S. and Iraqi soldiers have cleared Karabila, an insurgent base near the Syrian border. Speaking of the insurgents, Captain Thomas Sibley said, "Yeah,in a couple of weeks they'll be back and make up for these losses." This situation repeats what has happened in such places as Fallujah. We don't have enough soldiers or enough solid support from the populace to hold these prizes. Judging by current American opinions of the war, we are not going to be sending larger numbers of our people to hold these hard won cities. This strategy, Rumsfeld's lighter army strategy, is repudiated by the real experiences of our soldiers.

Quote of the Day

Presidential Historian Alan Lichtman notes, "Graveyards in this town are littered with the bodies of those who have under-estimated George W. Bush." How unfortunate that the President has not attended any of their funerals.

Put a Legislator in Your Pocket

Here is an ad placed by Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif, in National Journal's Congress Daily and Hotline regarding the Cunningham abuses and the lack of a functioning Ethics Committee in Congress.

A Plea for Sanity

John Danforth makes the case for common sense in his piece on the religio-culture wars (from The New York Times).

Monday, June 20, 2005

Alert: No Child Left Undrugged

Ed Naha at Smirking Chimp has offered a serious warning about one of those Orwellian named Bush programs, New Freedom Initiative. Apparently this is a redo of a bill Governor Bush put into effect in Texas in "95. It calls for mandatory psychological screening of large groups of our children and mandatory prescription of psychotropic drugs.The state of Texas administered all of this, even if the child's parents refused the New Freedom to take drugs. Naha says 2/3 of the foster children were on these drugs. Now this could never apply to the Federal level, right ? Think again. Our legislators have already signed this into law. Read about it.

A Message for Torture Apologists

If it sounds like it's torture, and it looks like torture and feels like torture, then it is torture.

Our country, our journalists and our soldiers should definitely not be torture's enablers, proponents, or excusers.

Beating Up the Good Guys

The LA Times reports the continuing story of Spc. Sean Baker, a former MP at Guantanamo who was beaten by other MPs in" a training exercise". Baker volunteered to wear an orange detainee's outfit to play the part of an uncooperative detainee. Though he finally told his buddies he was Army, he was beaten so badly he now suffers "seizures, blackouts, headaches, insomnia and psychological problems." The Army later released Baker for medical reasons. Baker has not been satisfied with the military's response, though, for no one has been disciplined for this beating. He has filed suit for $15 million. Next time you see an I Heart Gitmo T-shirt, reserve a little sympathy for Spc. Baker.

Reasonable Answers

Daily Kos has guided me to a site that monitors all Iraq Casualties. They say that we don't have hidden deaths when soldiers die in German hospitals. They say that although the Pentagon might miss a few at first, all soldier's deaths are placed on their account. This seems reliable and reasonable. So my previous questions are here answered.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Recruitment Poster

In honor of the General's Operation Yellow Elephant, here is some inspiring encouragement for those strong advocates of Iraqnam, especially all those healthy Young Republicans,to rush right out and enlist to boost those faltering recruitment numbers.

Questions of Some Urgency

True Count?

At several sites on the Web, distressing questions are being raised about accounting for our war dead. It is suggested that thousands of our wounded soldiers who are air lifted from Iraq to our German bases die in the hospitals there. But the official count of the dead, 1702, does not include those who die soon after leaving Iraq. This figure is set at five to six thousand all together. This is certainly a claim that should be investigated. Were I a parent, spouse, or child of one of these soldiers, I wouldn't want them ignored just to make the body count look better.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Well Said

"If we are to give meaning to the deaths in Iraq, we must be willing to engage in truthful dialogue about the pretenses of war. Acquiescing to the lure of silence and ignorance is an affront to the families and memories of all who have fallen. It is a prescription for unending violence and suffering. "

From Dante Zappala, member of Gold Star Families for Peace.

Annals of Absolute Power

Tom Delay by David Levine

Political action is different nowadays.The concentration of power enjoyed by the Republicans has shown us that there is no leeway for bipartisanship or divisiveness.

Although George Bush's presidency was literally resuscitated by patriotic bipartisanship after 9-11, his actions and those of his deputies are amazingly inflexible. After the Democrats rejected just ten of Bush's judicial nominees(which might seem fairly bipartisan), did the President adjust at all ? Did he offer even one different name ? No. Three dropped out for their own advantage, and the Dems got the same seven horrific asshats they had already rejected for their extreme opinions. The Republicans claim they want bipartisanship, but their actions show otherwise.

When several Republican senators actually did participate in a compromise, there was hell to pay on the Right. Activists from the far Right have placed "appeasers" like John McCain on their shit list. Democrats must tune out any silly talk from Republicans about bipartisanship. The extreme conservative movement is in lock step, lined up to fight a war, not to necessarily help America, but simply to win. What they say, and what they tell Democrats they should be doing, is not what the Republicans in government actually do.

This war is fought by exercising their majority power in inconceivable new ways, like Trent Lott's "nuclear option". A battle is won when Delay and his Texas underlings decide to reapportion his state again, though it was so recently done in 2000 under Texas law.The reapportionment forced through pretty much automatically gave George Bush some extra electoral votes he needed in the historically close election of 2004.

This war continues with the treatment afforded public television. Newt Gingrich tried to cut the CPB in his days of power, but failed because general bipartisanship cost him the votes he needed. Today, the House has performed these cuts, so, as the wags say, the Republicans hate Big Bird. When Ken Tomlinson talks about liberal slant on PBS, just who does he mean? There was Bill Moyers, now replaced by less liberal David Brancaccio, and that's all. It's not surprising that Ken Tomlinson wants to make a former head of the Republican National Committee the new head of the CPB.

One of the most disturbing elements of recent discourse is the mealy mouthed "dissociation " of major Democrats like Biden and Edwards from Howard Dean. The Republicans would never do this even about some one as corrupt as Delay. Yet the corporate media is happy to publish quotes from Democrats lukewarm about any remarks from Dean. On Meet the Press on Sunday one of those lop sided conservative panels spent 1/3 of their thirty minutes talking about Howard Dean !

Democrats should have learned by now how to side step such trashing of their party. They do not help their base constituency back home by assuring the loss of future elections. The Republicans have mastered the skill of setting the agenda for discourse- Dems should not willingly play into their hands.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


From Mike Lukovich

Monday, June 13, 2005

Bush and AIDS in Africa

Most of us might figure that Preznit Bush owes Tony Blair one for being (by far) the most supportive of Bush's War, but you would be wrong. When Blair asked for aid money to control AIDS in Africa (about 25 billion dollars would do the job) , W couldn't quite match that amount. Bush later announced that our country was proud to offer 674 million dollars for this worthy cause. This munificent amount was not quite 3% of Blair's request. Not only that, this money was not anything new or additional to the current budget. It is comprised of previously budgeted funds that are now, finally, being released at the Preznit's order. Columbia Journalism Review points out that the U.S. spends less than one-tenth of one percent of GDP on such matters making us the least generous of all developed countries. Compassionate conservatism anyone ?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

We All Have Good Memories

The sort of misrepresentations that Preznit Bush puts out appear to be somewhat contagious. In their recent meeting, Tony Blair rushed to quash a reporter's question on the Downing Street Memo. In the course of his put down, Blair repeated the idea that Saddam hadn't let inspectors back in to Iraq just before the war, a contention we have also heard from Bush. Why would Blair say such a thing ? Perhaps he said this because he heard Preznit Bush get away with saying the same thing. Everyone one knows that of course our inspectors were back in Iraq at that time. Do these world leaders think that the millions of us (that their actions affect) forget yesterday's news? The build up to this war was not that long ago. We still remember Hans Blix and his team in Iraq-just before the war. The inspection teams returned to Iraq in November of 2002. In January of 2003, Blix reported to the U.N. They were there and ,guess what, the Bush people were so exasperated that his team wasn't finding WMDs. Why do Blair (and Bush) think we won't remember exactly what was happening? Isn't it our journalists' job to point out this kind of surreal lie ?

Quote of the Day

Where are our heroes ?

In 1976 Dick Cheney, then working in the Ford White House, said, "Principle is OK up to a certain point, but principle doesn't do you any good if you lose." He knew even then that the ends justify the means.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Let's Spend Less on Education

The above seems to be the goal of our Florida legislature. Years ago, our representatives discovered that by starting a state lottery, they could avoid spending as much on the education budget and still pretend they were philanthropists.

This year, they've come up with a new gambit to spend less on our children. The formula for paying teachers has been cut back because certain counties have "amenities" like nice beaches. They neglect to mention that sometimes 500,000 bikers come to my beach, Daytona, to enjoy those same amenities.Teachers in Volusia, Flagler, and Dade counties better get out the sun block because they're going to the beach, but not to the bank. Today, Circuit Court Judge P. Kevin Davey dismissed a case against this new plan to pay some teachers less by saying, "The bottom the legislature has the authority to make these decisions." Judge Davey felt that the school attorneys didn't show that the schools would be "severely hamstrung" and therefore unable to provide the core courses. This judge apparently doesn't expect much more than this for our kids. Sounds kind of like our legislators doesn't he ?

We already have Florida teachers relocating to Georgia, and it ain't for the beaches: it's for a professional salary.

Scandal Fatigue

For those of us suffering from the daily outrages of the Bush White House, The Carpetbagger Report has compiled a complete list of 5 or 6 transgressions (I forget how many), but my gosh they are all from this week. Take a look to see what the MSM will probably undoubtedly ignore...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More and More Unpopular

Today Eric Alterman points out that Preznit Bush's poll numbers are 20 points below Bill Clinton's on impeachment day...

Henry Cisneros

Let's bring him to justice !

My Help

I would like to offer my help to lawyer David Barrett in the ongoing Henry Cisneros case. If there's anything I can do to help, I'm ready and willing. I'm not so concerned that Cisneros paid his fine of $10,000 and that Clinton pardoned him several years ago. I would just like a little bit of the 1.2 million dollars spent on the investigation last year which Congress still continues to fund. Maybe I could turn up something new if I devoted my time to this struggle. Perhaps there is a Cisneros Deep Throat that could give me all the scoop on this crook.

New Standards for College Aid

During the debates leading up to the election, Preznit W insisted that the way to boost his lackluster employment numbers was to educate and re-educate all of us. Although he claims he is an "education president", his Department of Education has just made a move guaranteed to provide less, not more. The formula for financial aid, already mysterious at best, has been made more restrictive, and more expensive. Typically, a family will need to spend $1749 more per year in 2005 than than five years ago. As the Times tells us, this will make the difference whether some kids will go to school, or not at all. It's like Jon Stewart noted about the Environmental Protection Agency- they can drop Environmental and Protection from their name because they don't do that kind of thing any more: it's just an Agency. Now we have a Department of Education that is just a Department. Period.

Vacation Spot

Adam and the Dinosaur

For a nice summer trip, try the Museum of Creation in Kentucky.

Balm in Gilead

In Poe’s “The Raven”, his miserable narrator, tormented by a mocking black bird/demon cries out, “Is there no balm in Gilead ?” This was the land of the Bible that possessed the metaphorical salve to comfort the suffering Israelites. The poem's speaker feels no relief from the grief over the loss of Lenore, his love. His grim feelings are echoed in a religiously spiritual way in Gilead, a new novel by Marilynne Robinson, written twenty-five years after her first, Housekeeping. Her new novel is pervaded with authentic religious sensibility, expressed in severe but beautifully done prose. Believers and non-believers would do well to read this book to gain understanding of the complexity, value and truth found in the spiritual path.

Her narrator is John Ames, apparently dying of heart disease at the age of seventy-six, who writes an extended letter to his distant seven year old son in an attempt to explain his life and the lives of his family. Ames is a minister, definitely a man of God, as was his grandfather, who lost an eye to the struggles against slavery during the Civil War. Throughout the story, which covers about one hundred years of family history, Ames strongly portrays the spiritual composition, or lack of it, in all those he encounters.

Ames is a Calvinist, as is Robinson, a religious following now generally thought to be too strict and repressive for the modern day. But Ames, although often unyielding, leaves the judgments to his God, and tries be as gentle as he can be. He tries to be forgiving, since he admits he has much to be forgiven for himself. In doing so, the wisdom of his faith is self-evident. Robinson finds in her narrator John Ames a few answers but more questions about spiritual concerns in Gilead, Iowa. This work is so excellent it will undoubtedly be shortlisted for the literary awards of the coming season.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Goss is Disinvited

We won't have to worry about the Preznit getting bad intelligence from Porter Goss and the CIA. They won't be invited to National Security meetings as they always have been. Now, John Negroponte will be at the side of the Preznit at all those important meetings. Goss will probably be invited sometimes...

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Noah's Ark

Perhaps our children will be seeing this sort of explanation in their Biology classes.
The story of Noah and the Dinosaurs

Friday, June 03, 2005

Clinton's Lost Judges

There's a very pretty chart at uggabugga of the 60 or so Clinton judicial nominees that were blocked so relentlessly by the Republican representatives of the people. These are the nominations that they always seem to forget about. These were not given the courtesy of an up or down vote; they were blue slipped by one person or were submerged in the committee. If Preznit Bush seems so concerned about filling all of his spots in the judiciary, imagine how Clinton must feel. Some of Bush's choices are now for the same slots that Republicans kept Clinton from filling back when it was the Democratic President's turn for advise and consent.

Reading at Risk

In a report from 2004, the National Endowment for the Arts studied the downturn in the reading of literature. Called Reading at Risk:A Survey of Literary Reading in America, their findings show that fewer than half of Americans read any literature.Chairman Dana Gioia calls it "a national crisis" in which all demographics declined with the steepest, 28 %, in the youngest group. For more, see this.

Our Lady

Brain Stem Disconnected

Peggy Noonan would like us to believe that since W. Mark Felt helped bring down Nixon, all the immediate history that followed is his fault, at least the nasty bits. So when Pol Pot committed genocide upon millions of his own countrymen that was one of the "fruits" of whistleblowing on that crooked crew. Apparently, she doesn't possess a functioning brain.

Oh, it looks like the right is lining up to blame the genocide on Felt. Ben Stein thinks the same thing as Peggy. He's not so smart; I could have taken him any day on Win Ben Stein's Money. He only knows things old Republicans know.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Republican Way

Journalists asked about the outing of W. Mark Felt as Deep Throat almost uniformly say that they were inspired to become investigators by Woodward and Bernstein. When asked about the story such guilty insiders as Chuck Colson and Pat Buchanan leap immediately to ad hominem attacks on Felt's motives. This must be the original Republican Way, one that is being carried on so relentlessly not just in former Repug administrations but also today. The truth or even a fair guess at the truth is lost in methods that would be discouraged in Debating 101.