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Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Republican National Committee Chairman Says Wilsongate Might Be Worse Than Watergate

From Media Whores Online:
Hardball (MSNBC - 9/30/03):

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Don't you think it's more serious than Watergate, when you think about it?

RNC CHAIRMAN ED GILLESPIE: I think if the allegation is true, to reveal the identity of an undercover CIA operative -- it's abhorrent, and it should be a crime, and it is a crime.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: It'd be worse than Watergate, wouldn't it?

GILLESPIE: It's -- Yeah, I suppose in terms of the real world implications of it. It's not just politics.

This just in...
Atrios is quoting a Guardian reporter who is saying Washington journalists are identifying Karl Rove as the leaker in Wilsongate. I gotta run, so check out Atrios and keep up to date!

I'll add one brief thought--I hope they throw Karl into Guantanamo, and that Ashcroft will seek the maximum penalty possible for any guards who try to sneak messages from Karl out to his Republican crime syndicate (they stole the 2000 election, you know).
Sign of the Apocalypse?
Both the Red Sox and the Cubs are in the playoffs. Should both somehow reach the World Series, it would seem inevitable that one of them would have to win. Anyone who knows anything about baseball knows this can't happen. Remember the California earthquake in 1989 which delayed the World Series between the A's and Giants for a couple of weeks? Or the strike which cancelled the World Series in 1994? Kid stuff compared to what a Cubs-Red Sox Series would cause.

Personally, I'll be even more afraid if the Detroit Lions ever get to the Super Bowl. They won their last championship three months before I was born. I'll be writing my will if they ever get that far again. Fortunately, I don't think I have much to worry about.
What should have been news, but wasn't
The top 25 censored stories of 2002-03.
I knew she looked familiar!

For you younguns out there, the reference is to Sergeant Schultz, the stupid German guard at the POW camp which held "Hogan's Heroes." Col. Hogan and the other allied POW's plotted all sorts of sabotages and escapes from inside the camp. Everytime Schultz would see a trap door or tunnel, or maybe an extra person who wasn't supposed to be there, he'd just pretend not to notice and say "I see nothink, nothink!" The very model for "know nothing" Condi.

Oh yeah, TV sucked back then, too. I think Hogan's Heroes was voted one of the worst TV programs of all time.
Jacques and Laura, standing in Paris (pahree)

Sorry, couldn't resist. You want freedom fries with that?
One US soldier dead, two wounded in Afghanistan
Bush's first occupation continues to be an ongoing disaster.

U.S. troops clashed with suspected Taliban near a remote outpost in fighting that killed one American and wounded two others, the military said Tuesday, the latest violence in Afghanistan's increasingly virulent insurgency.
The death brings to 36 the number of U.S. troops killed in action in Afghanistan, in addition to at least 164 that have been wounded.
A very tough call, but I think I hate Powell the most.
Read this crap:

Powell spoke at length about Iraq during his speech and during an earlier interview with the Free Press. He said he believes a weapons of mass destruction program will be found in Iraq.

"There is no doubt in my mind" the United States will find evidence of Saddam Hussein's weapons program, Powell said. "It wasn't a figment of anyone's imagination."

Powell criticized those who questioned whether Hussein had deadly weapons before the war.

Some people thought that "sweet Saddam Hussein, who was willing to gas 5,000 people on a spring day in 1988, was suddenly a different Saddam Hussein," Powell said during the Free Press interview.

"Other nations might have been willing to make that judgment, but not President Bush. He wasn't going to walk away from the challenge."
(Powell was speaking at the U.S. - Arab Economic Forum in Detroit yesterday.)

No weapons, Colin. No threat. No challenge. Sweet or sour, Saddam had no power. Not to harm us. You said so yourself. And since you were national security advisor to Reagan when the U.S. was supporting Saddam, knowing full well that he was using chemical weapons, you are fully complicit in Halabja.

Bush is an amoral idiot. He doesn't know any better. Powell is a whore. By choice.
Congress: $87 BILLION not enough
Incredible. In Congress, instead of refusing Bush's extortion and demanding that the troops come home, they're just adding pork to the already pork-filled request to fund a brutal and pointless occupation. A lot of it is band-aids to make it possible to continue doing the incredibly stupid longer: Better armor for Hummers, radio-jamming devices to thwart remote-control bombs, repair for worn-out equipment, etc.

Just bring them home, you sleazy Congressional pork peddlers! You don't fix a mistake by continuing to make it.

And readers, please keep calling Congress (800-839-5276), and writing letters to the editor, and showing up for protests. Make it clear that you don't want another dime spent on occupying Iraq, and that you want the troops home.

Monday, September 29, 2003

I'll take door number two
"The debate comes down to one question," said Stuart Roy, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. "Are we a nation at war with terror or are we longing for a return to the weak and indecisive foreign policy of the past?" -- NY Times

Roy was responding to further criticism of Bush by Ted Kennedy. I'm wondering if Republicans are thrilled with Roy referring to Reagan's policies as "weak and indecisive."

But the question certainly reveals the Orwellian depths that Republitrons have reached. They seem to prefer massively stupid, illegal and bloody invasions of sovereign countries to weak and indecisive. Of course, informed, intelligent and compassionate responses seem like a reasonable third alternative to me.
Good thing Ari's gone
He would probably make this Wilson-Plame thing go away for the White House. McLellan isn't up to it. The press kept hammering at him to answer the questions, and from what I can read between the lines, he was setting off human lie detectors all over the room.

Hopefully this gets the opening ten minutes on the network news shows tonight.
Kucinich speaks at the "end the occupation" rally in LA

From Polizeros.
A scandal's finally a-brewing!
The "Justice" Department has said that it will begin investigating whether top White House officials revealed the name of a CIA agent to the press. There are all sorts of angles to this story: Atrios and Josh Marshall are on top of most of them.

In case you think that outing a CIA agent maybe isn't as big a crime as, say, starting a war based on lies, I'd have to agree with you. But there's at least one person out there who thinks it's the worst form of treason:

We need more human intelligence. That means we need more protection for the methods we use to gather intelligence and more protection for our sources, particularly our human sources, people that are risking their lives for their country. Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious, of traitors. -- George H. W. Bush, April 16, 1999.

Well, it appears that at least one top official in the White House did exactly that. I think you'd better have a talk with your son, George.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Colin Powell, serial liar
Even with that gap in coverage, Powell said to assume that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction "defies the logic of the situation over the years and what we know about this regime." -- ABC's This Week.

Earth to Colin: There are no weapons there. Iraq said there weren't. The UN looked. The Army looked. David Kay and the CIA looked. NO WEAPONS! You yourself said two and a half years ago that Iraq had no significant WMD capability.

Talk about defying the logic of the situation. What motivates these people? Is getting filthier richer that important? Keeping the fawning adoration of the ignorant millions? Surely they can't still believe that this bloody, muddled end justified the criminal means, or that eventually a neocon "democracy" will somehow emerge in Iraq and make everyone happy. I can barely understand where Bush is coming from--he was raised to be mean and snooty, not to mention that it might be hereditary. But did West Point train Powell to do or say whatever his superior officers said, no matter how illegal or insane? If so, we'd better inspect General Clark very carefully.
There goes Clark's airtime on Clear Channel
He says the American people are "really embarrassed" by Bush. Pretty good line, although I think we should just be mad and determined to rid ourselves of the Texas cowpie. Embarrassment would imply that we actually elected aWol.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

They got Al Capone on tax evasion...
Maybe we'll get the Bushies on this:

A senior administration official said two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and revealed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife.

The CIA has requested that the "Justice" department investigate whether White House officials violated the Intelligence Protection Act, which makes it a crime to identify covert CIA agents. After former ambassador Joe Wilson wrote his op-ed in the New York Times in July, in which he said he was the one who investigated the claims about Iraq buying uranium from Niger, columnist Robert Novak wrote in the Washington Post that a White House official had told him that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA agent. Now the Post is citing "a senior administration official" as claiming that TWO White House officials (top ones, at that), were involved in disclosing Plame's CIA connection to at least six journalists, not just Novak.

Certainly, if this did in fact happen, it was a crime and deserves to be punished. Careers, intelligence and lives may be threatened by the disclosure. Still, it seems bizarre that this fairly obscure action might be the first to land some Bushies in jail. I mean, they've started a war based on lies. They're holding people indefinitely without granting them any rights, in violation of the constitution. They backed out of treaties that had been ratified by Congress. They stole the frigging election! Is this really what's going to start to do them in?

Whatever it takes, I say!

Joe Wilson was in Ann Arbor Thursday night as part of Jim Hightower's "Rolling Thunder" tour. His talk was fairly interesting--he said it was time for Rummy to be fired. I was disappointed, however, that Wilson didn't address this particular issue concerning his wife.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Single-payer benefits in a minute!
Excellent job, Ambassador Moseley Braun!
MOSELEY BRAUN: Well, there's no question in my mind but that every American wants to have universal coverage. But the only way we can get there is with, in my opinion, a single-payer system that is decoupled from employment, that's to say, doesn't depend on employment.

The Clinton plan attempted to reconcile the public and private systems that we have now. They are simply irreconcilable. You cannot bring it together and make it make any sense without a whole lot of bureaucracies.

So if we go to a single-payer system, we will give our export sector, our multinationals, a competitive boost in the international markets, because right now they're carrying the cost of health care. We will give the middle class a boost in terms of their--and working people a boost in terms of their paychecks. We will give small businesses a real boost because they can't afford it.

And we can do it without spending a dime more than we are presently paying at the highest level of any industrialized country in the world.

A single-payer system really is the only way to go. And if we take it off the payroll tax, we will provide working people with opportunity for health care.

Shorter John Kerry
We need to increase our commitment to science in America, to venture capital, to the kinds of incentives that draw capital to the creation of jobs. Democrats can't love jobs and hate the people who create them. -- Actually, that's exactly what he said.

Incentives for capital. Some Democrat.
Rev. Al Welcomes Clark to the Party!
SHARPTON: Well, first of all, as the only New Yorker, I want to welcome General Clark to New York and I want to welcome him to our list of candidates. And don't be defensive about just joining the party. Welcome to the party. It's better to be a new Democrat that's a real Democrat, than a lot of old Democrats up here that have been acting like Republicans all along.

On the $87 billion (unlike Dean, he didn't need clarification as to WHICH $87 billion), Sharpton agrees with Kucinich:

In terms of your question, I would unequivocally vote no, because I think to continue to invest in a flawed and failed policy is not wise or prudent. It is really to try and chase bad investment with bad investment. The signal it would sent the troops is that we really do love them. Real patriots don't put troops in harm's way on a flawed policy. We would send a signal that we're not going to ask you to fight for health care for the children of our Iraq when you don't have it for the children in South Carolina or New York. That's the signal. That's real patriotism.
Some used to be anti-war...
WILLIAMS: Is that an up or down, yes or no, on the $87 billion per se?

DEAN: On the $87 billion for Iraq?


DEAN: We have no choice, but it has to be financed by getting rid of all the president's tax cuts.

Some still are!
KUCINICH: The message is now I will not vote for the $87 billion. I think we should support the troops and I think we best support them by bringing them home.

Our troops are at peril there, because of this administration's policy. And I think that the American people deserve to know where every candidate on this stage stands on this issue, because we were each provided with a document--a security document that more or less advised us to stay the course, don't cut and run, commit up to 150,000 troops for five years at a cost of up to $245 billion.

A matter of fact, General Clark was one of the authors of that document that was released in July.

So I think the American people deserve to know that a candidate--and I'm the candidate who led the effort in the House of Representatives challenging the Bush administration's march toward war, I say bring the troops home unequivocally. Bring them home and stop this commitment for $87 billion, which is only going to get us in deeper.

(from yesterday's debate)

We have a choice, Doctor, and you're on the wrong side. Either American troops and budgets continue to bleed to maintain an occupation, or they don't.

Who are Dean and the other big spenders among the candidates playing to, anyhow? Recent polls have shown the majority of Americans oppose spending the $87 billion. Of course that's not a good reason for a decision, as the majority of Americans have frequently shown themselves to be idiots. But why choose supporting this bloody boondoggle as your opportunity to take a stand against majority opinion? We can't know for sure, but it certainly seems as though the occupation is not improving things for Iraqis, and it certainly doesn't guarantee that things will get better soon, if ever. Leaving now leaves Iraq with an uncertain future; so does staying. Leaving saves probably thousands of US lives and billions of dollars. Do Dean and the others really imagine being inaugurated with this huge debt and occupation to manage? Pull out now, embarrass the crap out of aWol, and take over in 2005 without the cement shoes.
$87 billion, and what do you get?
A new curriculum for training an Iraqi army for $164 million. Five hundred experts, at $200,000 each, to investigate crimes against humanity. A witness protection program for $200,000 per Iraqi participant. A computer study for the Iraqi postal service: $54 million.
Those details include $100 million to build seven planned communities with a total of 3,258 houses, plus roads, an elementary school, two high schools, a clinic, a place of worship and a market for each; $10 million to finance 100 prison-building experts for six months, at $100,000 an expert; 40 garbage trucks at $50,000 each; $900 million to import petroleum products such as kerosene and diesel to a country with the world's second-largest oil reserves; and $20 million for a four-week business course, at $10,000 per student.

According to the Washington Post,

Such numbers, buried in President Bush's $20.3 billion request for Iraq's reconstruction, have made some congressional Republicans nervous, even furious. Although the GOP leadership has tried to unite publicly around its president, cracks are beginning to show.

Billmon has more on this, along with some interesting comments from his readers.

Do you think I qualify as a $200,000 expert to investigate crimes against humanity? That's $100 million for 500 experts! The 9/11 commission has a budget of about $12 million, upped from an original appropriation of only $3 million. Apparently finding out why thousands of Iraqis died is eight times more important to the Bush administration than finding out why thousands of Americans died.

The true meaning of liberation:
Meanwhile, at a House hearing yesterday, Democrats pressed Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz about whether the administration plans to withdraw troops right before the 2004 presidential election. He said no decisions are being made on political grounds.

"These are national security decisions; they have to be made on that basis," he said. Wolfowitz said that does not mean that "we're not trying to, in fact, get more Iraqis on the front lines, get them dying for their country so fewer Americans have to."
-- WaPo.

Just so long as somebody's dying, right, Wolfie?
Job Creation, Bush Style
Want to make a fortune off of cushy "rebuilding" projects in Iraq? New Bridge Strategies is ready to help, complete with Bush administration insiders:

New Bridge Strategies, LLC is a unique company that was created specifically with the aim of assisting clients to evaluate and take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion of the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Its activities will seek to expedite the creation of free and fair markets and new economic growth in Iraq, consistent with the policies of the Bush Administration.
Joe M. Allbaugh, Chairman and Director
Joe M. Allbaugh is the CEO of The Allbaugh Company, LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based corporate strategy and counsel firm. A native of Oklahoma, Joe served as the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under President George Bush until March 2003. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., he was Chief of Staff to then-Governor Bush of Texas and was the National Campaign Manager for the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign.

This is where the $87 billion is going--a reward to Joe and other Bush cronies for getting him appointed.

From Doonesbury.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

For some reason...
The Kalamazoo Gazette newspaper writes much better editorials than the Ann Arbor News:
When the weapons of mass destruction rationale fell apart, the Bush administration replied that weapons of mass destruction weren't the reason we invaded Iraq. Now it appears that the reason wasn't that Saddam had a hand in Sept. 11, either. Perhaps soon we'll get a better idea of what, exactly, our pre-emptive strike was pre-empting.

My letter to the editor got printed!
In Sunday's Ann Arbor News:

Better uses exist for Bush's $87 billion

President Bush has asked for $87 billion more to continue his ill-conceived wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Arguments are being made that we have to finish what we started, that we can't leave those countries like they are now. Those arguments are flawed because I don't believe that the Bush administration has the credibility, the ability, or even the desire to really do well by the people of those countries.

Even if I'm wrong on this, we still need to carefully consider the opportunity cost of spending $87 billion to rebuild countries we just spent billions destroying. Here are some facts, courtesy of the Madison (Wis.) Capital Times:

The $87 billion more Bush seeks to fund his occupations abroad could pay for 1.4 million new teachers at home. It could help 11 million low-income families meet housing needs. It could provide health care coverage for 30 million children.

The $87 billion would balance every state budget.

The president's $87 billion could, according to UNICEF, meet the basic human needs of every impoverished person on Earth.

Of course, all of this is pretending that we actually have $87 billion on hand. We don't. Instead, it will be borrowed from future generations. It is terrible that Bush wants to spend it on maintaining occupations in countries where we are not wanted, with no guarantee that it will actually improve anything. And it certainly shouldn't be spent by the same gang that got us into this mess.

Even when they're right, Republicans say dumb stuff:
Congress is taking action to make sure that the national no-call list goes into effect.

"Fifty million Americans can't be wrong," Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-Louisiana, declared Wednesday, referring to the number of people who have signed up to block the unwanted solicitations. -- CNN

Actually, here's evidence indicates that 50 million Americans can be very wrong:

Heres' something that I'm sure others have considered, but I hadn't. The electoral college, along with its many other faults, gives two votes per state just for being there, regardless of population, while the other votes are apportioned roughly proportional to population. Gore got 21 * 2 = 42 of these non-proportional votes, while Bush got 30 * 2 = 60. Subtract these out, and the electoral college vote becomes Gore 224, Bush 211. Put Florida properly in Gore's column (+23, not counting those two bogus votes), and it becomes nearly a landslide: Gore 247, Bush 188.

Coming up next: We ask Rep. Tauzin why telemarketing isn't free speech but campaign cash is.
Once again, killing Iraqis is not a crime
A U.S. military investigation found no misconduct by U.S. soldiers who killed eight Iraqi policemen and a Jordanian hospital guard near Fallujah on Sept. 12, the U.S. commander in Iraq said Thursday. "The initial findings are that the soldiers acted within the construct of the military's rules of engagement," Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said of the action by the 82nd Airborne Division. -- Washington Post

Well maybe, General, there's something wrong with the rules of engagement. Maybe there's something very wrong with U.S. soldiers being in Iraq. If they're not to blame, the blame moves up the chain of command. Turn yourself in, General. You too, Rummy and Dummy.
Good speech, George
W talked with world leaders for two days, left with no new troops, no new money. Failure is the ONLY thing he's good at.
Why we hate Bush
From Ted Rall.
Guantanamo Bay Espionage?
I don't know exactly what to make of the arrest of two US servicemen for espionage at Guantanamo Bay. They are charged with sending classified information about the "detainees" held there, as well as information about the base itself, to Syria. My guess is that there is a variation on the Stockholm syndrome going on; the servicemen identify with the plight of the prisoners and offer to assist them in contacting family and friends back home. Then again, it could all be trumped-up charges designed to make headlines and distract us once again from the enormous and ongoing crimes of the demander in thief.
Just a coincidence, I'm sure
On Tuesday, aWol bizarrely added a bunch of stuff about sex slavery to his "Despite all evidence to the contrary, I was right, you were wrong, it's your moral duty to send lots of troops and money" speech to the UN. Yesterday, a 69-year-old military veteran named Clark was arrested for alledgedly going to Cambodia to have sex with young boys. At least CNN's headline was "Man charged in U.S. for child sex crimes abroad," but I can certainly envision some Murdoch papers coming up with more scandalous-appearing headlines.

The article says:

The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which investigated the case, credited Cambodian authorities with fully cooperating in the case and making the arrest.

So why wasn't the guy held in Cambodia and tried there? (He was indicted in Seattle.) Is it a crime there? If the next guy in were an Aussie or a Saudi, would he have been arrested? I mean, I'm appalled by sex slavery, but the idea that somebody can get arrested in another country, by that country's police, for breaking an American law, seems to suggest that that country has ceded its sovereignty. Is a London cop going to arrest me for driving on the left side of the road in London because that's against the law in the US?

Again, I'm not condoning the guy's behavior (if he did it). But it sure looks like some sort of setup.

From Ted Rall.
We'll find out the truth...
BUSH: I think, like I said, be patient. The truth will be out. I told David Kay to go find the truth and to bring back reports based upon his own timetable that are solid reports about what he has found. We're analyzing miles and miles of documentation, we're interviewing all kinds of people in Iraq. Some of the famous cards in the deck of cards, and just average citizens who are bringing information.

We've been there for about four months. And David is spending a great deal of time learning the truth. And the truth -- we'll find out the truth.
(From aWol's interview with Brit Hume Monday)

And the truth is:

A much-anticipated interim report by the Bush administration's chief weapons hunter in Iraq will offer no firm conclusions about the former Iraqi government's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, senior officials said yesterday.
But officials yesterday sought to play down expectations that Kay's report will contain any major revelations. Kay, who is in Washington this week finishing the document, is "still gathering information from the field," the CIA's chief spokesman, Bill Harlow, said yesterday. "Don't expect any firm conclusions. He will not rule in or rule out anything."

Four months of UN inspections: Nothing. Four months of US investigations: Nothing. Colin Powell knew that Iraq had nothing in February 2001. Why isn't Congress screaming, accurately, bloody murder?

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

A couple of months ago, the Republicans in Congress and at the Democratic Leadership Committee were claiming that no one could successfully run for president by opposing Bush's war in Iraq. Well, Senator Robert Byrd (D-Almost Heaven) called Iraq "the president's war" yesterday, and Republicans took immediate offense:

''It's not the president's war. It's our war,'' [NM Republican Sen. Pete] Domenici said, alluding to the congressional vote authorizing military action in Iraq. ''In fact,'' he continued, ''I might say that I disagree with (Sen. Byrd's) entire statement. It has things in it that aren't true. It has things in it that aren't valid.''

Hmm...sounds familiar. But since when are Republican senators concerned about things that aren't valid? Sixteen words, anyone?

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), a committee member, said Monday that Byrd's comments were part of an ''emerging Democratic Party strategy'' being formulated in think tanks and among Democratic presidential candidates. ''We heard it in Bob Byrd today,'' he said. ''This is about trying to tag the war on a sitting president, so they can run against him in the '04 election.''

Tag the war on Bush? Like it was something that just happened, like Isabel, and Byrd was unfairly blaming Bush for all the death, destruction and expense. No Bush, no war. Simple as that.

So I guess Bush will have to run on the economy. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Maybe if Bush had listened to our focus group last February he'd have a better chance at reappointment.
Shame, Scandal, Disaster...
The United Nations was used on Tuesday as a prop for a failing President’s Fox newsbite writ large. It is a shame and a scandal and a disaster beyond description that this great nation has fallen so very low.

A moment will come on January 20th, 2005. It will be cold in Washington D.C. A man who is not George W. Bush will raise his hand and swear and oath to preserve, protect and defend the United States of America. The words “So help me God” will be snatched by the wind and carried across seas and mountains to the furthest corner of the planet. When that happens, all of the Earth will be joined together in the deepest and most profound exhalation of relief. When that happens, George W. Bush will have become in his absence what he completely failed to be with his presence.
-- From William Rivers Pitt's review of W's absurd speech at the UN.

From Joe Heller.

From John Deering.

From Mike Keefe.
The Truth Hurts, Senator
Republicans in the Senate were attacking Sen. Ted Kennedy for his comments last week that the war in Iraq was a "fraud made up in Texas."

Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.) took the criticism a step further. "Stop to think of the reaction of a young wife surrounded by small children, not knowing from day to day whether her husband will survive another day's engagement in Afghanistan or Iraq," he said. "And they hear that this whole thing has been a fraud perpetrated upon this family and was made up in Texas. I find that very painful." -- WaPo

Especially since they should have heard it eight months ago.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Powell said Iraq was no threat

This is incredible. Who needs conspiracy theories when their own words impeach them?

Colin Powell said Saddam had no "significant capability" with respect to WMD's, and posed no serious threat to his neighbors. He said this in a press briefing on February 24, 2001. It's still there! Go take a look!

Here are some of the juicy quotes:

We had a good discussion, the [Egyptian] Foreign Minister and I and the [Egyptian] President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions -- the fact that the sanctions exist -- not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein's ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.
[Egyptian] FOREIGN MINISTER MOUSSA: For us, I don't see that threat, but if you ask the Gulf regions and countries of that area they will they would continue to feel that and they say it publicly. The question is not rhetorical. The question is not to have some headlines. It's a very serious situation. We will continue to deal with that situation in a way that ensures stability and justice. Therefore, we will have a lot to say after the round of talks ...

SECRETARY POWELL: May I just add a p.s. that if I was a Kuwaiti and I heard leaders in Baghdad claiming that Kuwait is still a part of Iraq and it's going to be included in the flag and the seal, if I knew they were continuing to try to find weapons of mass destruction, I would have no doubt in my mind who those weapons were aimed at. They are being aimed at Arabs, not at the United States or at others. Yes, I think we should...he has to be contained until he realizes the errors of his ways.

I found this through Atrios, who found it through John Pilger and Lean Left. Just incredible! Less than a year later, Iraq is a charter member of the axis of evil. Two years later, Powell is reciting lie after lie in an attempt to convince the UN Security Council that Iraq is a threat to its neighbors and the US. No credible evidence that anything had changed. In fact, Bush said as much back in July:

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me first say that -- I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence. And the speeches I have given were backed by good intelligence. And I am absolutely convinced today, like I was convinced when I gave the speeches, that Saddam Hussein developed a program of weapons of mass destruction, and that our country made the right decision. We worked with the United Nations -- as Kofi mentioned, not all nations agreed with the decision, but we worked with the United Nations. And Saddam Hussein did not comply. And it's the same intelligence, by the way, that my predecessor used to make the decision he made in 1998.

Of course, that last quote is from an extremely unreliable source; that was the same interview where he said "And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."

To summarize: In 1998 Clinton bombed Iraq based on some intelligence. (Whether it was about WMD's in Iraq or stains on dresses, I'll leave up to the reader.) By February 2001, the new Secretary of State Colin Powell had seen the same evidence and decided that Saddam had no significant WMD capability and was unable to threaten his neighbors, much less the US. In the fall of 2002, Bush and Powell insist that Iraq is a threat and demand that weapons inspections resume. They do. After four months, they have confirmed that Powell in 2001 was right while Powell in 2002/3 was wrong. So the bombs drop and the invasion begins.

*** Bob's Links and Rants: Main ***
Okay, not from a different planet, but from his advisors--even worse!
I suggested below that aWol gets his news from extraterrestrial sources. Instead, he provided the answer in last night's interview:

"I appreciate people's opinions, but I'm more interested in news," the president said. "And the best way to get the news is from objective sources, and the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world." -- AP, via Billmon.
I swear, he's getting his news from a different planet:
Across Iraq, life is being improved by liberty. Across the Middle East, people are safer because an unstable aggressor has been removed from power. Across the world, nations are more secure because an ally of terror has fallen. -- aWol, again

And more from his stupid little UN speech: people embrace hope over resentment and choose peace over violence. Bush hoped for war, resented France, and chose violence over peace. Not a free person, I guess.

The old regime starved hospitals of resources, so we have helped to supply and reopen hospitals across Iraq. Actually, it was the sanctions that starved the hospitals.

The old regime built up armies and weapons while allowing the nation's infrastructure to crumble, so we are rehabilitating power plants, water and sanitation facilities, bridges and airports. "Allowing the nation's infrastructure to crumble" under US bombs.

...the United Nations should assist in developing a constitution, in training civil servants, and conducting free and fair elections. And when they're done here, maybe they can help out in Iraq.

Yet every young democracy needs the help of friends. You mean like the US got from France?

The advance of democratic institutions in Iraq is setting an example that others, including the Palestinian people, would be wise to follow. Yeah, the Palestinians keep trying to pretend that Bush doesn't have a veto over their elections.

A second challenge we must confront together is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Outlaw regimes that possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the means to deliver them would be able to use blackmail and create chaos in entire regions. Bush is a prime example!

The founding documents of the United Nations and the founding documents of America stand in the same tradition. Both assert that human beings should never be reduced to objects of power or commerce, because their dignity is inherent. Both recognize a moral law that stands above men and nations which must be defended and enforced by men and nations. And both point the way to peace; the peace that comes when all are free. -- So explain Guantanamo Bay, George.

It boggles the mind that someone so stupid and hypocritical could ever be allowed to run a carnival ride, much less the most powerful government on earth.

Don't let the facts get in the way
Or the fact that you've already admitted that you've got no evidence:

The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction. It used those weapons in acts of mass murder and refused to account for them when confronted by the world. -- aWol at the UN
Vote No on Recall!
Says Rep. Darrell Issa (R - Moron), the idiot who spent millions to get the California recall started in the first place.
Online Poll
About a year too late, but CNN asks: "Are pre-emptive strikes a valid policy?"

Monday, September 22, 2003

Uncle John wants YOU to do time!
Lots of it:

It is the policy of the Department of Justice that, in all federal criminal cases, federal prosecutors must charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense or offenses that are supported by the facts of the case, except as authorized by an Assistant Attorney General, United States Attorney, or designated supervisory attorney in the limited circumstances described below. The most serious offense or offenses are those that generate the most substantial sentence under the Sentencing Guidelines, unless a mandatory minimum sentence or count requiring a consecutive sentence would generate a longer sentence. -- From Ashcrotch's memo to federal prosecutors

Plea bargains are a popular and powerful tool for prosecutors to secure the cooperation of defendants and to speed cases through the system without devoting additional time and resources to a trial. Some 96 percent of the 60,000 cases handled by federal prosecutors in 2001, the last year for which complete figures were available, resulted in plea bargains, officials said. But the new policy states that prosecutors must seek the most severe sentence allowed by law unless there are overriding considerations. -- NY Times

With over 2 million already in prison, the highest per-capita rate in the world, Ashcroft wants more people sentenced to longer terms. It will cost much more for both the prison space and the trials, and our already inhuman "justice" system will get even worse.

I know that Reagan was bad, but I think his administration was pretty amateurish compared to this one when it came to destroying every semblance of a free, just and kind society in as short a time as possible. What could possibly be motivating these people to destroy the world? They're actively promoting world war, environmental destruction and huge increases in wealth disparity. They're bankrupting the country, and dismantling the constitutional protections they claim to be protecting.

I saw a little bit of Brit Hume's interview with aWol earlier tonight. He says he'll tell the UN that "we were right to go into Iraq," based on no evidence whatsoever that anyone, anywhere is better off. I had to switch over to another loser, the Detroit Tigers, before I threw something at my TV. In case you haven't noticed, I believe that George W. Bush is the single most despicable person that I've witnessed in my lifetime. Stupid is tolerable; stupid plus arrogant is annoying; stupid plus arrogant plus powerful is deadly. Why isn't Congress impeaching this dangerous buffoon? I'm not sure the world will survive until January 2005.
Bush to tell UN to go screw themselves, then ask them for help
Again. According to the NY Times:

President Bush will tell the United Nations on Tuesday that he was right to order the invasion of Iraq even without the organization's explicit approval, and he will urge a new focus on countering nuclear proliferation, arguing that it is the only way to avoid similar confrontations.

Okay, this is just the Times quoting inside sources about what Bush will say. I think we can safely say that what he actually says will be even more ridiculous. Will he suggest a ban on fictional imports of fictional yellowcake? That every country that doesn't have nukes be sanctioned, bombed and invaded as a lesson?

Every day, in every way, George W. Bush is making this world a worse place to live. I hope the UN laughs him out of the building.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Why didn't Buchanan write some of this stuff into Nixon's speeches?
As I recall, both William Safire and Pat Buchanan were speech writers for Richard Nixon. Safire must have written "peace with honor" and the other crap that kept us in Vietnam for four more years, at the cost of another million or so lives, including over 20,000 Americans. Buchanan, whatever his other faults, writes clearly and logically about foreign policy. He was consistently opposed to the war in Iraq, and answers the current arguments for maintaining the occupation very nicely:

Now we are in a sand trap. And the question the president and Congress must answer is: Do we go in deeper? Do we pour in whatever money and blood are needed to fight on to victory in a land where we are not loved and where the enemy can fight the kind of war Islamic warriors have fought successfully against the French in Algeria, the Russians in Afghanistan and the Israelis in Lebanon. Or do we disengage, accept the humiliation of an American withdrawal and choose a different battlefield on which to fight al-Qaida?
The mistake Reagan made in Lebanon was not in pulling out, but in going in. There was no vital U.S. interest in Beirut, no threat to our security. The same was true of Somalia. When we moved beyond giving food to starving Somalis to deciding what warlord should rule in Mogadishu, we intervened in a civil war and paid the inevitable price.
But, like a bad marriage, the mistake was going in, in the first place, and now, there is no easy way out. If we pull out, Iraq could become a failed state and a haven for Islamic warriors. If we stay and fight, we may be plunging into an endless or unwinnable war.

Somewhere, Osama bin Laden is saying to himself, "Mission accomplished."

U.S. - Arab Economic Forum
It's oil business as usual in Detroit next week, as the U.S. - Arab Economic Forum comes to town. Speakers include Colin Powell, two princes, one from Bahrain and one from Saudi Arabia, and the CEO's of GM, Boeing, Intel, HP and Pepsi. The sponsors?
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Kingdom of Bahrain
  • General Motors Corporation
  • State of Qatar
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Ford Motor Company
  • DaimlerChrysler
  • ExxonMobil
  • Microsoft
  • Axiolog
  • Comerica Bank
  • ChevronTexaco
  • Nakheel, LLC
  • PepsiCo
  • Greektown Casino
  • Marathon Oil
  • Tibco
  • Guardian Industries
  • Coca Cola
  • First Islamic Investment Bank
  • Brogan & Partners
  • Dow Chemical
  • Compuware
  • Comcast Cable
  • SBC Communications
  • Bank One
  • Arab Thought Foundation
  • Aramco Services
  • Harris Corporation
  • Harris Foundation
  • PCSI

I saw this advertised on TV. I guess the key is that no matter how many people die, how many bombs are dropped and terrorist attacks occur, there's money to be made. And that trumps all.

Iraqi police ready to turn guns on US troops
Iraqi policemen declared themselves holy warriors yesterday and vowed to take revenge for the deaths of their comrades in the town where ten police and a security guard were killed on Friday in the worst "friendly fire" incident of the Iraq conflict. "I am full of hatred for the Americans and I am ready to kill them," said Arkan Adanan, who was injured in the shoulder early on Friday morning when US troops poured rifle and machinegun fire into three police vehicles that were chasing suspected bandits. -- London Times
There's evil to be done, by George!
President George Bush is mounting an intensive campaign to force European countries to drop safety tests expected to save thousands of lives each year, internal US government documents seen by The Independent on Sunday reveal. -- from The Independent.

Friday, September 19, 2003

So what really happened?
Yesterday, there were reports of as many as eight US soldiers killed near Ramadi in Iraq. Robert Fisk's description of the incident seems to suggest that the total of dead and wounded was at least eight. But Centcom's report says three dead, two wounded. And the US media seem to have dropped the story altogether. These are real people who were killed or wounded in a war based on lies, and the press hardly seems to care.
Clark again
I already said we should forget about Clark, but Billmon has a bunch of reasons for forgetting about... about...

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Good anti-sprawl commentary
From Scott McElrath in the Ann Arbor News. Excerpt:

Results? We become more dependent on cars and commuting because we continue to desire to live away from it all in search of our little slice of America. Ahh, the American dream. But the dream has diminishing returns as we spend more time and money commuting than we do actually fulfilling any real pursuit of happiness. Why are we chasing this evaporative dream as it leads us farther and farther away from where we work and play? Until the public becomes more discriminating and says, "We don't want to live in anonymous cardboard box houses posing as McMansions in curving streets where there is no reason to curve the streets because it used to be a cornfield."

People are dying in Iraq to keep gas cheap so Americans can continue to move to these places. Enough already!

*** Bob's Links and Rants: Main ***
Saudis Want Nukes
The country with all sorts of links to 9/11 and the Bush administration is considering joining the nuclear club.

Billmon has plenty on this, along with lots of interesting comments.

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From Mark Streeter.
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Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President. Sorry you didn't go when you had the chance.

Former Georgia senator and triple-amputee Vietnam vet Max Cleland rips Bush, compares Iraq to Vietnam.

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Forget Clark
He says he probably would have voted for the war. We've already got plenty of those in the race.

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War was a fraud made up in Texas: Ted Kennedy
"There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud." -- Senator Edward Kennedy

He said Bush officials employed "distortion, misrepresentation, a selection of intelligence" to justify the war.

As for the administration's current policy in Iraq, Kennedy called it "adrift." He said Bush officials had failed to account for $1.5 billion of the $4 billion the war costs each month, citing a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office. "My belief is this money is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops," he told the AP.

The Republican response?
"The senator's comments reflect the tired old soft-on-defense attitude of the Democratic Party," the Republican official told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity. "And the American people are thankful for a strong and decisive leader in President Bush who isn't afraid to make tough decisions."

Or really, really bad ones. Of course, we can probably expect a stronger attack on Kennedy from Republicrats like Daschle, Biden and Lieberman. Why does it seem that the only real backbone in the Senate comes from the senior citizens: 71-year-old Kennedy, 81-year-old Hollings, and 85-year-old Byrd?

*** Bob's Links and Rants: Main ***
Arrogance of the Rich Leads to Solidarity of the Poor at the WTO
George Monbiot thinks the "failure" of the WTO talks in Cancun may lead to a major change in how things are done in the world.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Promise Kept

Tom Tomorrow linked to my blog today. I promised him I'd buy two of his books if he did. (I would have bought them anyway--Tom's cartoons and blog introduced me to lots of issues that I never paid much attention to before.)

BTW, the T-shirt I am modeling, the World's Largest Human Peace Sign, may be purchased through the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace. Contact Mitch Abrams if you'd like to buy one! There were approximately 2500 people in that peace sign on February 8 on the University of Michigan diag in 15-degree weather. And, BTW, WE WERE RIGHT!

At least three US soldiers killed in Iraq
According to the BBC. US sources like CNN are only reporting what the military tells them, which is that "at least two soldiers were wounded" in the combined mine/small-arms-fire attack. The Guardian reports at least EIGHT soldiers killed.
More on Powell at Halabja
Colin Powell's visit to Halabja, the infamous location where "Saddam gassed his own people," was a masterpiece of hypocrisy, as I've mentioned here and here. But according to the Mahablog, I didn't know the half of it. Some excerpts:

[addressing Powell]:
Let's not talk about "the world's" reaction to this tragedy, Mr. Secretary. Let's talk about your reaction. In 1988 then senators Claiborne Pell, Al Gore, and Jesse Helms introduced a bill to impose economic sanctions on Iraq in response to its use of chemical weapons. The Reagan White House blocked that bill. You were part of the Reagan White House, Mr. Secretary.
The truth is, 15 years ago the dead of Halabja were an inconvenience. You and others in the Reagan-Bush White House made sure those deaths didn't get in the way of your foreign policy agenda. But when the agenda became an invasion of Iraq, you shamelessly dug up the Halabja corpses and put them on display for your own purposes. Suddenly, you really, really cared about them.

Mahablog also cites a 1993 LA Times article. Here's an excerpt ("Bush" refers, of course, to Bush senior):

Getting new aid from Washington was critical for Iraq in the waning months of 1989 and the early months of 1990 because international bankers had cut off virtually all loans to Baghdad. They were alarmed that it was falling behind in repaying its debts but continuing to pour millions of dollars into arms purchases, even though the Iran-Iraq War had ended in the summer of 1988.

In addition to clearing the way for new financial aid, senior Bush aides as late as the spring of 1990 overrode concern among other government officials and insisted that Hussein continue to be allowed to buy so-called "dual use" technology -- advanced equipment that could be used for both civilian and military purposes. The Iraqis were given continued access to such equipment, despite emerging evidence that they were working on nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction. ...

And the pressure in 1989 and 1990 to give Hussein crucial financial assistance and maintain his access to sophisticated U.S. technology were not isolated incidents.

Rather, classified documents obtained by The Times show, they reflected a long-secret pattern of personal efforts by Bush -- both as President and as vice president -- to support and placate the Iraqi dictator. Repeatedly, when serious objections to helping Hussein arose within the government, Bush and aides following his directives intervened to suppress the resistance.

Powell was national security advisor from '87 to '89, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from '89 to '93. He was aware of and involved in these policies of the Reagan and Bush administrations. If he thinks the world should have acted earlier, he was in positions to do something about it. And he did. He helped Saddam Hussein.

We report, you decide...
The operation in Iraq will also serve as a launching pad for further diplomatic overtures, pressures and even military actions against others in the region who have supported terrorism and garnered weapons of mass destruction. Don’t look for stability as a Western goal. Governments in Syria and Iran will be put on notice — indeed, may have been already — that they are “next” if they fail to comply with Washington’s concerns.
As for the political leaders themselves, President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt.
-- Gen. Wesley Clark, April 10, 2003
Byrd flies again!
Remember that that $87 billion is just for 2004 alone. Does anyone really believe that it will be the last request for Iraq?

The President asked America for a generation of "sacrifice," but that noble sounding word does not reveal the true nature of what this President demands from the American people. He asks them to supply the fighting men and women to prosecute his war. He implores our people to sacrifice adequate health care; he asks them to settle for less than the best education for their children; he asks them to sacrifice medical research that could prolong and save lives; he asks them to put up with unsafe highways and dangerous bridges; he asks them to live with substandard housing and foul water; he asks them to forego better public transportation, and not just for now, for generations, and all of it for his folly in Iraq. Most puzzling to this Senator is this President's stubborn refusal to guard against the terror threat here at home by adequately funding Homeland Security. Is he asking us all to risk the safety of our homeland, too?
Senator Robert Byrd.

I got mentioned on Tom Tomorrow's blog!
This would mean I've reached the bigtime, except for the fact that I'm bragging about it, which a real big-time blogger would never do. That, and I sent him an e-mail promising to buy two of his books if he posted my comment.
Bush says there's no evidence of an Iraq-9/11 link
Busy, Busy, Busy has the transcript of Bush's interview with John King on CNN yesterday. CNN still mentions it on their home page; nothing to be seen on the home pages of the NY Times and Washington Post.

Tom Tomorrow asks why the Bushies are all of a sudden coming clean on this issue. I'd suggest that the arrival of Isabel on the east coast made the timing even better than a Friday afternoon--the hurricane has already blown the issue off the front pages. A more interesting possibility is the O'Neill family lawsuit against Iraq that I mentioned yesterday. With the administration denying the link, that lawsuit won't have much traction, and the Bushies won't have to worry about any 9/11 families getting any of their hard-stolen Iraqi oil revenues.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

"For the last six months I have participated in what I believe to be the great modern lie: Operation Iraqi Freedom."
First line in a commentary written by a US soldier in Iraq, printed in today's LA Times.
Florida families demand that troops be brought home

We are determined to continue on this campaign to the end. If necessary, a group of mothers will go on an indefinite hunger strike. You will not only be responsible for the lives of our soldiers, but for that of their mothers. We shall not accept political apologies. Lack of governmental will by President Bush to work together with the United Nations and to restore the power to the Iraqis is the reason why the participation of an international force comprised by big nations is not possible. The coalition we are being told about does not really exist. It is our troops that carry the load of this war. It is our children who are being sacrificed due to an arrogant and unfair attitude.

For this and for other reasons, we demand the return of our soldiers now!! We shall not abandon our loved ones; we shall not abandon our troops. We shall continue demanding their return day-by-day, street-by-street, door-to-door. We will ask the world to join us. We will not abandon our fight until our soldiers are back in our homes.

I wonder if these papers deliver to undisclosed locations?
Several newspapers had blistering editorials about Useless Dick Cheney's lie-a-thon on Meet the Press Sunday. (Me too.)
I wish William Safire were right on more issues!
Because when it comes to protecting civil liberties and blocking media consolidation, he's great! If he only understood what George Orwell and James Madison and Abraham Lincoln did, that wars (on terror, of liberation, for oil, whatever) are shortcuts to tyranny.
O'Neill's family files $1 billion lawsuit against Iraq for 9/11
At first viewing, this story evokes scorn or pity--the grieving relatives of former FBI terrorist-chaser John O'Neill, who died in the WTC on 9/11/01, have been duped into believing that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11. O'Neill, of all people, was aware of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda--he'd been chasing them for years, investigating the African embassy bombings and the Cole attack, among others. The lack of support he was getting at the FBI (which is a part of Ashcroft's Justice Department) had finally driven O'Neill to resign and take the job as head of security for the WTC. He'd been there less than two weeks when the planes hit. Surely his family would have known that OBL was the chief suspect to have been the mastermind, not Saddam. If not, it was all over the news back then, anyway. So how could they be so duped?

But then, think about it. Who's running Iraq now? A judgment against Iraq might come out of Halliburton's profits. So right away, the Bush administration becomes the DEFENDANT in the case, and will be tempted to defend Saddam against the charges. This poses all sorts of problems for them (which is a very good thing). Not only will they be testifying in court, under oath, that their evidence tying Saddam and al Qaeda is mostly bunk. They will also be forced to discuss details of what little truth there may be about the connection. And most of that would go back to the late '80's and early '90's, when the US was supporting both the mujahadeen in Afghanistan (the proto-al Qaeda) and Iraq. It would also likely run heavily through Saudi Arabia and the many Bush-family ties to that corrupt and brutal regime.

So O'Neill's family and their lawyer may be on to something big. Either they get a big showy trial which uncovers, under oath, most of the deception and lies that the Bushies have been telling for over two years, or, more likely, they get a huge settlement to shut up about it.
Clark is Anti-War? A General Misconception

While recent coverage of Clark often claims that he opposed the war with Iraq, the various opinions he has expressed on the issue suggest the media's "anti-war" label is inaccurate.
A review of his statements before, during and after the war reveals that Clark has taken a range of positions-- from expressing doubts about diplomatic and military strategies early on, to celebrating the U.S. "victory" in a column declaring that George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair "should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt" (London Times, 4/10/03).
-- from FAIR, which has a bunch of other Clark quotes in the article.

So forget what I said about Clark before. Just another Dean.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Buzzflash brings you
this cool excerpt from Al Franken's book!


Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday he had no reason to believe that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had a hand in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld was asked about a poll that indicated nearly 70 percent of respondents believed the Iraqi leader probably was personally involved.

I've not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that I could say that,'' Rumsfeld said.

Pick your comment:
  • Tell that to George and Dick!
  • Aren't you helping the terrorists by saying that?
  • Why do you hate America?
  • Careful, Rummy, you've already used up all your other justifications for the war.

This was on CNN; I doubt if it makes Fox News. It should be headline news everywhere. You and I and Rummy have known it all along, but Bush and Cheney and Rice and Ari and all the other liars, including Rumsfeld, have hinted at the connection for so long that 70% of Americans apparently believed there was some connection.

I believe a lot of the stuff in the so-called conspiracy theories, but they're unnecessary. There's plenty of grounds for impeaching pretty much the entire Bush administration based on their own words in the public record.

Getting Along at the UN:
Since extending the kind offer to old Europe and the rest of the UN to join in the expenditure of lives and treasure known as Operation Enduring Iraqi Occupation, the Bushies have decided that casting a veto and only no vote in the UN Security Council on a resolution calling on Israel not to expell Yasser Arafat would be their next attempt at reconciliation.

I mentioned the Detroit Tigers below. They've got a pitcher who has lost 20 games, the first one to do so in over 20 years in major league baseball. A pitcher can't lose 20 games on his own. He has to be on a team which supports this effort, through weak hitting, poor defense, a bad bullpen, and the lack of anybody better to replace him. George W. Bush has a similar support structure. If a president 30 or 40 years ago had been this bad, he wouldn't have been able to do nearly this much damage. A less corrupt congress, a more independent media, and a better informed public would have quickly stopped playing along. Bush's success at destroying so much both abroad and at home is possible only through an almost totally bought-off congress, consolidated and coordinated media, and probably the dumbest public ever anywhere.

At a time when hatred for America is reaching an all-time high, this further abandonment of the Palestinians is sure to have very nasty repercussions.
Dave Barry on Dean:
As I write these words, the front-running Democrat is a surprise newcomer named Howard Dean, who is the mayor of Rhode Island or something. It doesn't matter. The important thing is: He's new! He's hot! He's on the Internet! He's got Martin Sheen! Above all, he's not ''Dick'' Gephardt! We in the news media currently love Howard, and we will actively promote his candidacy until we receive word from News Media Conspiracy Headquarters that it's time to crush him like an ant.
Respect and the Detroit Tigers:
The Tigers lost their third in a row after winning the series opener. "A win is a win, even against them," Kansas City manager Tony Pena said. -- ESPN
Bush talks baseball, TV with God
Particularly disturbing was the revelation that, during his discussions with God, Bush forgot to ask key questions such as, "Where's Osama bin Laden?," "Is Saddam Hussein still alive?," and "What's the deal with Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction?" Instead, he said, "we often discussed Gilligan's Island."

"God was angry about the Mary Anne/Ginger debate," said Bush. "He said people who were focused on which girl they liked best were missing the point."

Opinions You Should Have
A hilarious blog! Almost as funny as this one, but more modest.
Lucky OBL
Harley Sorensen says that Osama bin Laden is the luckiest man in the world:
It seems quite possible that the absence of follow-up attacks on America can be explained by a lack of necessity for them. From bin Laden's point of view, everything in America is happening just the way he likes it. We are becoming more and more like a Middle Eastern emirate and less and less like the world's foremost democracy.

Why should bin Laden attack us again and rock the boat? Mr. Bush is doing his work for him.

Will there ever be another terrorist attack here? The experts say yes, and they're most likely right. When will it be? My guess: sometime next year, timed to draw the fearful closer to Mr. Bush and assure his re-election.

The best the lucky bin Laden could possibly hope for is four more years of George W. Bush.

You've probably noticed that I sometimes lack the tact to refrain from saying "I said that a long time ago!" This is one of those times. Except whereas Sorensen thinks Osama was just lucky to have Bush as an ally, I think Osama recognized opportunity when it came knocking. Here's a cartoon I made in July 2002:

Senate votes against FCC rule change!
The Senate voted 55 to 40 today to wipe out all of the Federal Communication Commission's controversial new media rules, employing a little used legislative tool for overturning agency regulations.

The resolution of disapproval, sponsored by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), is now put on the House calendar, where a tougher vote is expected. Even if passed by the House, the White House has promised a veto.
-- WaPo.

Of course it does. Even Trent Lott is on the right side of some issues, like this one. George W. Bush is on the wrong side of EVERY issue.
Clark's In
Gen. Wesley Clark will run for president, according to AP.

I still wish Clark had decided he was a Republican and taken on Bush for that nomination. Wouldn't it be great next November if he was the worst we could do instead of being our only hope? But still, I'm glad he's in. Either he throws the whole thing wide open, giving Kucinich a better chance, or he takes over the lead from Dean. I still think Kucinich is the best candidate, but from what I've seen Clark is probably my second choice (the "electable" thing unfortunately given some consideration).

(Warning: Tongue firmly in cheek from here on...)
To give his ticket a more liberal image, I suggest that he get Ramsey Clark to be his VP candidate: "Clark/Clark '04" has a nice ring to it! If he feels he has to appeal to the wingnuts, he could get former Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clarke instead. (She may not be eligible, as her planet of birth is unknown.) Or maybe he can get Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) as his running mate: "Clark/Kent '04!" sends a pretty strong subliminal message, I think!
Doing His Duty
Democratic Veteran writes about a Republican Missouri state senator, Jon Dolan, who is also a member of the Army National Guard. He was called up and assigned guard duty at Guantanamo Bay, but two weeks later he asked for and got "special leave" to go back to Missouri and break a veto on an attempted gun-control bill.

Some national guard members have been stationed in Iraq for months, called away from jobs, school and family, and many facing personal problems such as breakups and divorces. No trips home for them. But when Missourians are faced with the prospect of not being able to carry as many weapons as they want, now THAT's important!

I'll bet former Missouri governor and senator John Ashcrotch had something to do with this.
Now and Then
Recently, Bushies have been blaming some of the chaos in Iraq on prisoners that Saddam released last fall (that is, when they're not trying to claim that the US "liberators" emptied the prisons). This is certainly in keeping with their generally policy of blaming everything everywhere on previous administrations, but it might be helpful to recall the Bushies reaction to the prisoners being released when it happened:

QUESTION: After all these years, the Iraqis not only released all their political prisoners, but also shipped back several truckloads of documents that had been stolen from Kuwait. After all this time, to do two of those things in the course of two or three days, what do you make of this?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, as Secretary Powell said, the release of the prisoners appears to be a political ploy. But it's hard to know what to make of all of this. Saddam Hussein does not often act in a way that is clear or that is rational or even that is open and conclusive. That's why I indicated earlier that nobody knows how many prisoners have really been released. Nobody knows how many he had.
-- White House Press Briefing, 10/21/02

"Do you really think, if these people are dangerous to the regime, that they're going to be allowed out and stay out? Or are they going to be back in jail in about three days' time?" Powell asked. -- AFP, 10/21/02

So last fall, these people were neither numerous nor dangerous, and now they're the reason the Bushies can't control the country.
Chaos in Iraq
"In July this year alone, we got 780 deaths, with 460 of them due to gunshot wounds. That's the equivalent in one month of deaths due to gunfire that we would normally get in a year and a half," says Faik Amin Bakr, the head of Baghdad's Medical-Legal Institute. -- AFP
Someone please explain!

I'm a big fan of Ted Rall's. I admire his courage. But I'm struggling to understand this cartoon. As Rall frequently does, he couches an issue in an allegory with even more emotionally-charged issues (rape, Afghanistan). I can't really tell if he's taking the side of the real RIAA (the Recording Industry Association of America) or the teenagers and others who share copyrighted music over the Internet. Knowing Rall's work, I would suspect that he would come down on the side of the teenagers. But this cartoon seems to suggest that the issue would be clearer if the crime were more serious. Or maybe that the RIAA is blowing it out of proportion. Let me know what you think! Recording Industry or teenagers? Which side is Ted Rall supporting?
Stupid Worthless Democrats!!!
David Helfert, a spokesman for Congressman David Obey, D-Wisconsin, who criticized the White House for relying too heavily on murky intelligence to get support for the war, said Friday that Congressional Democrats would no longer pursue hearings on the intelligence matter.

"We’re past that," Helfert said, referring to the intelligence issue. "Those questions were eclipsed by the supplemental request by President Bush for $87 billion" to fund the Iraq war. "Congress if focusing on asking questions about the $87 billion, what it will be used for and whether it’s worth it. It would be a good characterization to say that the intelligence questions on Iraq and how the President came to believe that it had weapons of mass destruction are no longer an issue."

So by making an absolutely absurd request for an enormous amount of money to continue the brutal occupation that his illegal war caused, Bush gets off the hook for the lies that led to that war? We can't stand for this! Call Congress, insist on an investigation. We're not "past that," and don't let Congress think we are. They should ignore each and every request from the Liar in Chief until he is uninstalled by impeachment or a fair election.
Independent Media? Hardly.
I think the press was muzzled, and I think the press self-muzzled. I'm sorry to say, but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did. -- CNN's Christiane Amanpour

Does Fox News deny the charge? No way.

Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti said of Amanpour's comments: "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."

How about being an objective journalist? And al-Qaeda? Fox is still pushing that nonsense about Iraq? At least get your ridiculous insults straight and call Christiane a "spokeswoman for Saddam." Idiot!

[Update]: Tom Burka says the spokeswoman for al-Qaeda job is still open.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Update on Powell in Halabja
Maybe Colin was in the right place after all:

While past error is no indication of future action, the Kurds have not forgotten that Secretary of State Colin Powell was then the national security adviser who orchestrated Ronald Reagan's decision to give Hussein a pass for gassing the Kurds. -- Boston Globe, 12/15/02, via Atrios.

In my post below, I suggested that Colin Powell was in part responsible for the "highway of death" massacres at the end of the first Gulf War. Well, he was in part responsible for Halabja, too. It's amazing that he had the chutzpah to go there and complain about his old friend Saddam.

Powell told the people of Halabja: "I cannot tell you that the world should have acted sooner. You know that. What I can tell you is that what happened here in 1988 is never going to happen again."

Right, Colin. The world should have acted sooner. You should have told Nancy's astrologer to tell Nancy to tell Don Regan to tell Reagan not to give Saddam any more support as long as he was gassing people. Except you didn't care for the people of Iraq then any more than you do now. The criminal returning to the scene of the crime. Next stop: My Lai!
Recall Recalled
LOS ANGELES - A federal appeals court postponed the Oct. 7 recall election Monday in a decision that threw an already chaotic campaign into utter turmoil.
Kucinich on Israel/Palestine
Here's what Dennis Kucinich said in Congress last year:
The same humanity that requires us to acknowledge with profound concerns the pain and suffering of the people of Israel requires a similar expression for the pain and suffering of the Palestinians. When our brothers and sisters are fighting to the death, instead of declaring solidarity with one against the other, should we not declare solidarity with both for peace, so that both may live in security and freedom?

If we seek to require the Palestinians, who do not have their own state, to adhere to a higher standard of conduct, should we not also ask Israel, with over a half century experience with statehood, to adhere to the basic standard of conduct, including meeting the requirements of international law?

So Dean says just a little bit of this, "don't take sides," and makes front-page news, while Kucinich has been saying it for over a year. C'mon Lieberman, Kerry, Pelosi: Bring 'em on!
Some war criminals have some common sense...
Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in ‘mission creep,’ and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, there was no viable ‘exit strategy’ we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome. -- George H. W. Poppy Read My Lips 41 Bush, cited by William Rivers Pitt.
Investigations Over, Nothing Found, Wars Continue...
One of the things this points out that’s important for us to understand—so there’s this great temptation to look at these events as discreet events. We got hit on 9/11. So we can go and investigate it. It’s over with now. It’s done. It’s history and put it behind us. -- Cheney on Meet the Press

After failing to get any evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the US and Britain have decided to delay indefinitely the publication of a full report on the controversial issue, media reported today. -- Tom Tomorrow citing a link which doesn't work anymore.
Powell visits mass grave
The one in Halabja where Saddam "gassed his own people." Why don't you go to this mass grave next, Colin?

That's where the forces under Powell's command mercilessly bombed Iraqis retreating from Kuwait. Go here to see many more pictures from the first Gulf War.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Veep from the Deep Surfaces to Discharge Sewage
Useless Dick was on Meet the Press this morning, his pacemaker set, as usual, on LIE:

"[$87 Billion is] all that we think we'll need for the foreseeable future, for this year," Mr. Cheney said. He did not rule out the possibility of subsequent requests for more funds.

So kiss your social security and low interest rates and pretty much the foreseeable future of this country--all the money's going to be flushed down the Iraqi toilet.

Mr. Cheney conceded that he had misspoken when, during a television interview last spring, he said Iraq had "reconstituted nuclear weapons," but he expressed confidence that evidence that Mr. Hussein had a program for unconventional weapons would be uncovered. He also said he had played no role in obtaining contracts for the Halliburton Company, which he once led, for projects in postwar Iraq.

The defendant claimed that he had misspoken when he yelled "Fire!" in the crowded theater, which led to the deaths of thousands. He expressed confidence that the mean looking guy in the third row was thinking about buying a cigarette lighter, and who knows what he might have done with it? And that part about nuclear weapons was critical to getting the war which made Halliburton's contracts possible, so chalk up another lie for UD.

Mr. Cheney stood by his previous comments that the people of Iraq would greet the American-led forces as liberators, and not as enemies and occupiers, saying, (a)"I think the majority of Iraqis are thankful for the fact that the United States is there, that we came and we took down the Saddam Hussein government."

(b)And then the Great Pumpkin rose from the pumpkin patch and said to the tooth fairy, "Let's go see how Santa and the Easter bunny are doing." (If you believe sentence a, you should have no trouble believing sentence b.)

Mr. Cheney also echoed President Bush's recent language casting success in Iraq in its broadest terms, as important not only for the Iraqi people but for peace throughout the Middle East and for American national security. "And whatever the cost is, in terms of casualties or financial resources, it's a whale of a lot less than trying to recover from the next attack in the United States," Mr. Cheney said.

Great. Chances are pretty good we'll have to pay for both. Occupations breed terrorism. Wars breed terrorism. The first Gulf War gave us the eternal hatred of our former ally Osama bin Laden, and helped to turn US soldiers Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, and John Alan Mohammed into terrorists. It's hard to rank these awful lies Cheney tells, but this one may be the worst.

UD then goes on to give the "flypaper" theory official sanction:

"So what we do on the ground in Iraq, our capabilities here are being tested in no small measure, but this is the place where we want to take on the terrorists," Mr. Cheney said. "This is the place where we want to take on those elements that have come against the United States, and it's far more appropriate for us to do it there and far better for us to do it there than it is here at home."

From what I've read on other blogs, the "flypaper" theory (get all the terrorists into Iraq so you can kill them there) was pretty much an invention of wing-nut bloggers like Andrew Sullivan. It's apparently now an official member of the excuse-of-the-week club.

Of course, Olde Europe is going to come to our rescue. That is, if you don't ask Rummy:

Mr. Rumsfeld, in his appearance, rejected a characterization that he was stubborn in refusing to send additional American troops to Iraq to help halt the violence, saying he was acting on the best military judgment of commanders on the ground. But he held out little optimism that another United Nations resolution would inspire wavering nations to contribute significant numbers of additional peacekeepers for Iraq.

Although a number of foreign capitals have said they would not send troops to Iraq without United Nations blessing for the mission, Mr. Rumsfeld said that even with another resolution, "My guess is the most we could hope to get for by way of additional international troops would be something between zero or 10,000 and 15,000 — one division."

So Rummy stubbornly refuses to admit he's stubborn, eh?
WTO talks collapse in Cancun

Let's hope this is the beginning of the end for the WTO and all other secret, corrupt "free trade" thieves' organizations.
6000 US Casualties?
While the NY Times and others tend to report only "deaths directly attributable to enemy action from the time the president lied about 'mission accomplished' on May 1 until the time he lied about 'progress being made' on September 7," or similar nonsense, the Guardian reports that total US military personnel who have left Iraq because of death (over 300), wounds (over 1500), and other medical causes now totals around 6000.
A Modest Proposal
These are the seven elements of a proposal for getting out of Iraq, made by someone supposedly working in the Pentagon. See here for all the details.

1. Clean house at the Pentagon.
2. Rescind the reconstruction contracts of Halliburton, Bechtel and the other corporate welfare clients.
3. Give GEN Sanchez an ultimatum: "Kill Saddam Hussein by 31 December 2003 or you are commanding a radar site on Adak."
4. Set a date of 31 December for withdrawal.
5. Repair the damage to our military personnel.
6. Appoint a special prosecutor.
7. Begin the greatest untangling operation since Watergate.

From Boondocks.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

The Devil Went Down to Georgia...
to spout childish BS to the just-returned soldiers of the third infantry. Many weren't buying it:

Pvt. Kenneth Henry, 21, a radar operator with a field artillery unit, said the response was muted by the pervasive knowledge among the soldiers and their families that they will likely have to return to Iraq soon.

"How could you make these people feel better when you just said you're putting $87 billion into sending them back?" Henry asked.

Henry spent about six months in Iraq, traveling from Kuwait over the border to Nasiriyah and through the Karbala Gap before helping to take the Baghdad airport. He said he lost about 10 members of his unit, the Alpha 1-39 Field Artillery, and he's not eager to go back.

"What I heard him say was, 'You went there. You took names. Came home. Now you're going back,' " Henry said. "He likes war. He should go fight in a war for two days and see how he likes it."
-- LA Times.
Ain't gonna pay for war no more...
Newsweek poll: 51% of Americans OPPOSE giving Bush $87 billion more to burn in Iraq. So why were only 11% of the Democratic presidential candidates willing to express their opposition? Thanks, Dennis!

From Mike Lane.

From Anne Telnaes.

From Ed Stein.

From Ted Rall.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Which side are we again?
Bush said Powell will "carry a message: No free nation can be neutral in the fight between civilization and chaos." -- WaPo

The same stupid "with us or against us" crap he said two years ago. And the terms he uses! Iraq has been termed the "cradle of civilization" because of the cultures that developed there thousands of years ago. Saddam's government was brutal and repressive, but life in pre-war Iraq was not, by most accounts I've seen, chaotic. The chaos was brought into Iraq by the foreigners who crossed Iraq's poorly-defended borders in March and early April. Looting, car bombings, cop shootings--all made possible by the illegal US-British invasion.
Depressing Quote du Jour
In a world where a sub-sentient, fratboy can be successfully marketed as a strong, decisive leader to a significant number of independents and Democrats, I think it’s obvious that the Republicans are on to something. -- Digby


Sad, Isn't It?
I'm learning more about Johnny Cash now that he's dead than I ever did before.

MaxSpeak links to Cash's Ballad of Ira Hayes, about a Pima Indian who fought in the battle for Iwo Jima, but returned home to an America that offered him nothing. And Tom Tomorrow posts the lyrics of Cash's Man in Black:

Well you wonder why I always dress in black
Why you never see bright colors on my back
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone
Well there's a reason for the things that I have on
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down
Livin' in the hopeless hungry side of town
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime
But is there because he's a victim of the times

Johnny Cash, 1932-2003.
Well, Abe wasn't officially a Republican yet...
Maxspeak posted this letter from Abraham Lincoln to his law partner William H. Herndon. Aside from copying it verbatim here, I have added value by highlighting key parts. You're welcome.

The second paragraph refers to the US annexation of Mexican territory in 1846, which Lincoln opposed.

Washington, Feb. 18, 1848

Dear William:

Your letter of the 29th Jany. was received last night. Being exclusively a constitutional argument, I wish to submit some reflections upon it in the same spirit of kindness that I know actuates you. Let me first state what I understand to be your position. It is, that if it shall become necessary, to repel invasion, the President may, without violation of the Constitution, cross the line, and invade the territory of another country; and that whether such necessity exists in any given case, the President is to be the sole judge.

Before going further, consider well whether this is, or is not your position. If it is, it is a position that neither the President himself, nor any friend of his, so far as I know, has ever taken. Their only positions are first, that the soil was ours where hostilities commenced, and second, whether it was rightfully ours or not, Congress had annexed it, and the President, for that reason was bound to defend it, both of which are as clearly proved to be false in fact, as you can prove your house is not mine. The soil was not ours; and Congress did not annex or attempt to annex it.

But to return to your position: Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us," but he will say to you, "Be silent; I see it, if you don't."

The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.

Write soon again.

Yours truly,

A. Lincoln

SOURCE: Abraham Lincoln: A Documentary Portrait Through His Speeches and Writings, edited and with an introduction by Don E. Fehrenbacher; New American Library, 1964.

So many possibilities...
But this by itself demands impeachment and life imprisonment for the entire Bush administration:

The burning ruins of the World Trade Center spewed toxic gases "like a chemical factory" for at least six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks despite government assurances the air was safe, according to a study released on Wednesday.
The White House "convinced the EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones," Tinsley said. Among the information withheld was the potential health hazards of breathing asbestos, lead, concrete and pulverized glass, the report said.

Read what August Pollack, who was living about a mile away at the time, has to say about this. Personally, I think that failing to warn your own people when you know they are being gassed amounts to pretty much the same thing as "gassing your own people."
Best Review of a TV Movie EVER!!!
Kristen Breitweiser, a 9/11 widow, reviews the Bush propaganda film "DC 9/11." (Her review is on Salon, and requires viewing a 15-second AOL ad before you can read the whole thing--definitely worth it!)

She starts out:
The film "DC 9/11: Time of Crisis," which premiered Sunday night on Showtime, is a mind-numbingly boring, revisionist, two-hour-long wish list of how 9/11 might have gone if we had real leaders in the current administration. This film is rated half of a fighter jet -- since that is about what we got for our nation's defense on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

Then she starts to get a little critical:

It also confuses me that the filmmakers would allot so much time to the war posturing in Afghanistan because that, too, has been a failure. President Bush is quoted in the fictional drama as saying he will take Osama bin Laden "dead or alive." But, I'm sorry, have we captured him? And why so much time spent on this war plan anyway? I thought there was a copy of it on the president's desk the day before 9/11?

After a totally called-for attack on Condi Rice, Breitweiser continues:

It's also interesting to watch the fictional versions of Ari Fleischer and Karen Hughes "strategizing" and "orchestrating" to make President Bush look like a strong leader. Who knew that it was such hard work to frame the president as an empathetic, strong and competent leader in the face of the nation's worst tragedy? Forgive my naiveté, but I never knew how meticulously planned the president's every single word and movement were. And if his words are that carefully and painfully chosen, just how did those 16 words get into his State of the Union address anyway? But I digress.

What is so "off" about the film is that it is too slow, too methodical, too calm. There are no suit jackets hanging over chairs, no 5 o'clock shadows, no empty coffee cups strewn about, no shirt-sleeves rolled up, no people pulling all-nighters. No tempers flaring. No panic. No raw emotion. Nothing but a lot of talking, walking and more talking, and the occasional workout session by the president -- who knew he could bench-press so much weight?

The whole thing's good, and I don't want to deprive AOL of their fifteen seconds of fame (or get sued for doing so), so just get yourself over to Salon, pay homage to AOL, and enjoy the best movie review of the year!
They Noticed!
On page 23, of course:

Since the fall of Baghdad five months ago, senior administration officials from President Bush downward have been reinventing the rationale for war. -- Washington Post

"I don't think [Wolfowitz and other administration officials] are being forthright," said [Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln] Chafee, the sole Republican senator to vote against the war. "They are using whatever argument is most marketable at any given time."
Cheerful words from Paul Krugman:
If you thought the last two years were bad, just wait: it's about to get worse. A lot worse.
More Hearts and Minds Stuff
This AP report says that US soldiers mistakenly opened fire on Iraqi police in Fallujah who were chasing highway bandits. At least eight of the cops were killed. Many of these Iraqi cops have already been killed by members of the resistance, rightly or wrongly, for collaborating with the occupation. Now they're getting shot by the occupiers. This will do wonders for the efforts to turn security over to Iraqis. Suicide bombers probably have longer life expectancies than Iraqi police do right now.

The same article also says that two more US soldiers were killed and seven wounded last night. Rarely have so many suffered for so long so that so few could get so rich.
Dual-use Comments
I got involved in a comment thread at the Hamster about whether the war in Afghanistan was justified. Just like Howard Dean does, it is easy for many to claim that the Afghan war was an appropriate response to 9/11. I disagree. Here are the comments that I made there, slightly edited to make a little more sense (since I'm not posting the comments of the others in the thread).

We'll never know for sure if there was any real justification for the war in Afghanistan since Bush has blocked or hindered every attempt to investigate what really happened on 9/11 and who was responsible. From what we seem to know about the hijackers, where they lived, where they came from, and where they got their money from, attacks on Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Germany and Florida seem to be as justifiable as the attack on Afghanistan. (Florida not only harbored Atta and other hijackers, it also harbors terrorists who blew up a Cuban airliner in the '70's.)

And while the leaders of the Taliban were nutcases, many of their soldiers that we killed or detained were simply teenagers drafted at gunpoint.

Three-thousand mostly innocent civilians were killed in the US on 9/11. Our response was to kill thousands of people almost none of whom could possibly have been involved in 9/11. (I say "mostly innocent civilians" because some in the Pentagon were not civilians, and former FBI agent John O'Neill was working in the WTC that day. He had spent most of the previous decade tracking Osama. I'm not saying he shouldn't have, or that he deserved to die for it, but he was an avowed enemy of al Qaeda. If OBL applied Bush's warped logic, which is certainly possible, he could claim that O'Neill was his target and the rest were just regrettable collateral damage.)

Congress and the president should have an almost overwhelming bias against war. Unfortunately, since 9/11, it has been just the opposite. The first Gulf War came back to haunt us through OBL, Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, and John Alan Mohammed. These two new Bush wars will almost certainly have similar blowback. And what's really scary is that I think Bush welcomes it. Bring 'em on.


Just before the bombing started and for a short while after that, the Taliban did make offers to turn over OBL through a third country if Bush presented them with evidence of his involvement. W said stuff about not negotiating with terrorists (although they had been courting the Taliban about the pipeline before 9/11, even though they "harbored" OBL then and he had been blamed for the attacks on the embassies and the Cole), and went ahead with his war.

The war wasn't a just one because the number of people killed, wounded and captured who had nothing to do with 9/11 far outnumbered those who did. I'm still not convinced that anyone outside the 19 hijackers was actually involved in the planning of 9/11. Atta seems to have been quite bright and perfectly capable of coming up with the scheme mostly on his own. They certainly had outside support in terms of funding, probably from Saudi Arabia. But seriously, except in the most general way (go do something nasty to America), the actual planning for 9/11 could not have been done in the mountains of Afghanistan. No internet, no phones, probably days to get a message out. It was planned in apartments in Germany and Florida and New Jersey and San Diego. And almost all of the people involved in the planning died in the execution, IMHO.

Destroying the Taliban was gratuitous and unnecessary (not to mention unsuccessful, judging by recent news reports). Our troops still seem to have a license to kill anyone who was ever affiliated with the Taliban, even as just a lowly foot soldier. Just as in Iraq, lots of boys and men in Afghanistan have lost brothers and fathers (and sisters and mothers and so on) due to this excessive and brutal US response. I'm sure many of them have already dedicated their lives to getting revenge.


One other thing: the idea that the Taliban was "harboring" OBL. It took the most sophisticated military in the history of the world months to clear al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, and we're still not sure it's a done deal. How could one of the least sophisticated militaries, the Taliban, have possibly accomplished kicking al Qaeda out using Nissan pickups and AK-47's? Al Qaeda was there because they couldn't be kicked out easily, if at all. The Taliban had no choice but to tolerate OBL, at a minimum. Since they were in a struggle against the also brutal "Northern Alliance," they chose to court OBL rather than offend him. They probably wanted to--my point is they had little choice. Bush's "make no distinction between terrorists and those who harbor them" was the problem. Assuming the common assumptions are correct (though there's really no evidence supporting it, as FBI Director Mueller said in a speech last year), OBL and al Qaeda deserved to be punished for 9/11. The Taliban, brutal as they were (are), did not, especially the soldiers. Bush could have said "Taliban, get out of our way, we're taking out Osama." Instead, he just lumped them all together and started killing al Qaeda and Taliban and civilians. And Osama seems to still be running around.

Killing thousands of Taliban soldiers and holding thousands of others prisoner because their leaders didn't do something they were probably incapable of doing (expelling OBL) seems pretty unjust to me.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Bush's resignation speech
Look, in my speech this past Sunday, I used the word "democracy" about 11 times when talking about Iraq. It's democracy Florida-style, I suppose. Except we're not fixing the vote this time … we aren't letting these people vote at all. "Iraqis aren't prepared for democracy." That's what Dick Cheney and Saddam Hussein told me.
When I arrived, the last guy left me $4 trillion and said, "Be careful with all that cash in this neighborhood." Well, I have to level with you, America: it's all gone. The cupboard's bare and this year alone we blew half a trillion more dollars than we have in our bank account. Man, I can't believe I went through all that dough stone sober.
And what did we get for it? A Fatherland Security Department that's trying to read the labels on everyone's underpants. Think about it, all this Total Information Awareness KGB stuff: two years ago Americans were the victims - but my government has made Americans the suspects. I don't know about you, but this guy Ashcroft scares the bejeezus out of me.
Hey, I can take a hint. OK, I'm over my head on this one. I look back over these last years, and what have I got to show you for it: two years of bloodshed, economic devastation, and spreading fear in America and abroad.
-- unfortunately, from Greg Palast via Jim Hightower, not smirky.
Arrest Ashcroft for Contempt!
The Justice Department yesterday for a second time defied the federal judge overseeing the case of accused Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, saying it would not comply with her order to turn over two top al Qaeda detainees for interviews by Moussaoui and his legal team.
"These unprecedented depositions of . . . enemy combatants would needlessly jeopardize national security at a time of war with an enemy who has already murdered thousands of our citizens," said the filing, signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Spencer, the lead prosecutor.
The stakes are high for not only the Moussaoui case but also for further prosecutions of major terrorism cases in civilian courts. If the higher courts order the government to produce the three al Qaeda operatives, officials have said that they probably will move the Moussaoui prosecution to a military tribunal.
-- WaPo

This crap has to stop. Once Moussaoui disappears into enemy-combatant-land, we'll never know what if any involvement he had with 9/11. And this constant threat to remove defendants from our already seriously-flawed criminal justice system into never-never land threatens us all.

From Boondocks.
Osama bin Remembered?

Anyone else think those two stories go together? Buzzflash does.
Lies and the Lying Liars...
"I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that," [Rumsfeld] said. -- BBC, Nov. 15, 2002

The war officially began on March 19--Five months, three weeks and two days ago. Of course, Rummy fully admits his error:

JIM LEHRER: Rightly or wrongly, Mr. Secretary, I went back and checked the record today, the impression that was given in public statements and all that sort of thing was that when this war ended, this war was going to end, that when Saddam Hussein and his regime, you know, fell, then the rest of it was going to be kind of a mop-up. And I'm just --

-- PBS, yesterday.
The American Gulag
The United States wants to hold most of the suspected terrorists at a prison camp in Cuba for the duration of the war on terrorism instead of trying them before military tribunals, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday.

Rumsfeld said the 660 or so men held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base are imprisoned not as punishment but "to keep them from going back and fighting again and killing people." He said most would be held until the global war on terrorism is over - a fight that Rumsfeld has said could last years, if not decades.

The defense secretary said he expects some suspects to be tried before military tribunals but prefers that most continue to be imprisoned indefinitely.

"Our interest is in not trying them and letting them out," he said in a question-and-answer session after a speech to the National Press Club. "Our interest is in - during this global war on terror - keeping them off the streets, and so that's what's taking place."
-- AP
A couple of one-liners:
Jay Leno: "Rumsfeld said we shouldn't criticize the President. In other words, Americans shouldn't criticize our government for attempting to give the people in Iraq the right to criticize their government."

David Letterman: "President Bush, to help stabilize the situation in Iraq, wants $87 billion. Why is he asking us? He can get this in one Republican fundraiser."
Dumb and Dumber
Sounds like a coalition of the willing to me:
Wolfowitz said the Iraqi government was recruiting volunteers from other countries to battle U.S. troops "from the very early stages of the war," and displayed what he said were the passports of "foreign terrorists" killed or captured in Iraq during the U.S.-led invasion.

Get your Condi Rice Visa card:
Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told international reporters Tuesday that "a stable and prosperous Iraq is going to be the centerpiece of a more stable Middle East."

"The price tag may be very high," Rice said. "However, freedom is priceless. Security is priceless."

Both of those quotes are from CNN.

Then, there's Dumbest:
"The $87 billion, it's important to spend that money. It's in our national interest that we spend it," Bush said following a White House meeting with Kuwait's prime minister.

"A free and peaceful Iraq will save this country money in the long term. It's important to get it done now."

"I heard somebody say, well, what we need to do is have a tax increase to pay for this. That's an absurd notion," Bush told reporters.

"You don't raise taxes when an economy is recovering. Matter of fact, lower taxes will help enhance economic recovery.

"We want our people going back to work. We've got good momentum now in our economy; we don't want to destroy that momentum. But the $87 billion is worth it and I look forward to working with Congress to get that number completed and get the job done. "

Worst president ever--by far. (Sorry, George H. W., for taking away your title. At least it's still in the family.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I don't think I can improve on Digby's analysis of some really slimey MSNBC propaganda, so I'll let you read it for yourself!
Wrong Again
The attacks you have heard and read about in the last few weeks have occurred predominantly in the central region of Iraq, between Baghdad and Tikrit -- Saddam Hussein's former stronghold. The north of Iraq is generally stable and is moving forward with reconstruction and self-government. -- aWol, Sunday night.

ERBIL, Iraq, Sept. 10 — A suicide bomber driving a sport utility vehicle attacked a building used by Americans in this northern city, killing a local child and wounding about 50 people, 15 seriously, witnesses said today. -- NY Times, today.

Debate: The Bad, the Good, and the Ugly

Here's the detailed review of quotes from the debate that I promised last night. Wanting to end on a positive note, I'll start on a negative note.

The three dumbest quotes of the night. It should be no surprise that two come from Lieberman.

1. LIEBERMAN: This is a very important answer for the 140,000 Americans who are in Iraq and the military today and their families here in America, a disproportionate number of whom are African American. I would be prepared as president to send American troops in there to protect the 140,000 who are there today, because international peacekeepers may not be there for months to come.

In other words, protect our troops by putting even more in harm's way. Brilliant, Joe.

2. DEAN: First of all, let me just address Juan's question. I have never said that African American cities need gun control and white states don't. I have never said that. What I have said is that rural states -- and this includes places like Tennessee, perhaps, that have low homicide rates -- don't need the same gun laws that urban states do.

And if urban states want to have lots of gun control, let them have it, but just don't impose the same gun laws that you have in New York City or New Jersey or California on states like Vermont, which have a very low homicide rate.

To paraphrase Dean: I've never said what I'm about to say--here it is.

3. LIEBERMAN: In 2000, Al Gore and I went all around this country and warned the American people about George W. Bush. We said he would squander our surplus. We said he would compromise civil rights, he would abandon the middle class and he would turn his back on the poor. Let's be honest about this, the presidency of Bush has been a worse nightmare than even Al and I warned America about.

Funny thing is, Joe, about all I remember from you and Gore in 2000 is prescription drug plans and lock boxes. Let's be honest about this, if you said anything about Bush squandering the surplus and compromising civil rights, you didn't say it very loud or very often. Maybe you could have told us that he's a warmongering maniac, too. You could have told us about PNAC. No surprise that Bush has been a worse nightmare than you warned us about--you hardly warned us at all.


Okay, on to the in-between stuff. This started with Gephardt describing conversations he had with Bush last year:

GEPHARDT: [Bush] said, "I need your help. If I'm going to get the U.N., I got to show that I've got Congress behind me."

I said, "Fine, but I want language in the resolution that says you're going to exhaust the process at the U.N. and you'll have a plan."

He never had the plan and, incredibly, four, five months after the war is ended, he does not have the help that we need. It is an abomination that he has not gotten our country and our troops the help that we need.

To which Kucinich replied: Dick -- who is a good friend of mine -- Dick, I just want to say that when you were standing there in the Rose Garden with the president and you were giving him advice, I wish that you would have told him no, because as our Democratic leader, your position...


As our Democratic leader, your position helped to inform mightily the direction of the war. And I believe -- I am glad -- and I share your passion now about the direction the administration is taking this country.

And Sharpton added later, citing Gephardt's applause line: And what bothers me is that some in the Congress that supported the president should have asked him before they gave him entrance what the exit was. I've never heard of people acting like they didn't know we needed an exit when they gave him the entrance. That is a miserable failure, for us to allow this president to play these kinds of games.


Finally, on to the good stuff! These are just in the order they appeared in the debate, since I don't have time to rate them:

SHARPTON: So I think that what we all need to do on September 11th is say to George Bush, promises made were not kept. We still have bin Laden at large. Newsweek magazine can find him, video and audio coverage can find him. This guys has out more videos than a rock star, but George Bush's intelligence agencies can't find him.

KUCINICH: I think we have to understand that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, nor with Al Qaida's attack, nor did they have anything to do with the anthrax attack. I think Senator Kerry described well the direction we should be going in. I only wish that he had joined with me in an effort to organize Congress to vote against the war.

GRAHAM: I will support whatever is required to protect our brave men and women in Iraq. I will not support a dime to protect the profits of Halliburton in Iraq.

GRAHAM: Let me read to you what the resolution was that most members of Congress on this podium voted for, Congressman Kucinich and I voted against. The president's resolution said, "The president is authorized to use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate." My friends, those who voted for that gave the president a blank trust, a blank check. We cannot trust this president with a blank check.

GRAHAM: Ed, the president knew or should have known that there was no relationship between 9/11, there was no relationship between Osama been forgotten and Saddam Hussein.

MOSELEY BRAUN: This administration will not work with others, will not ask directions.

EDWARDS: These very liberties, this privacy, these constitutional rights -- that's what's at stake in this fight. And we cannot let people like John Ashcroft take them away in an effort to protect ourselves.

GEPHARDT: Well, first, I think we've got to ask a question and that is how many Americans have to lose their jobs before George Bush loses his?

DEAN: Well, if the percent of minorities that's in your state has anything to do with how you can connect with African American voters, then Trent Lott would be Martin Luther King.

LIEBERMAN: George Bush is the most fiscally irresponsible president in the history of the United States of America.

EDWARDS: Here's what we ought to do, we ought to go over to the White House and hang a big warning sign on the door of the White House that says, "This president is hazardous to your health."

MOSELEY BRAUN: Well, you know, a generation ago, the president of the United States told the American people that all we had to fear was fear itself. This administration, on the other hand, has pandered to fear and frightened the American people at every turn. And the PATRIOT Act is just part of that.

KERRY: Well, I'm glad the president finally found an economic development program. I'm just sad that it's only in Baghdad.

GEPHARDT: Like father, like son, four years and he's done. We're going to get rid of George Bush.

GRAHAM: For instance, there is an excellent governor of Michigan who would be an outstanding candidate for president of the United States. She is denied that opportunity because she happened to have been born in Canada.

SHARPTON: My favorite song is James Brown's song on the Republican Party, "Talking Loud, Saying Nothing."

KUCINICH: John Lennon, "Imagine," as in imagine a new America.

KUCINICH: I am going to vote no because I believe the best way to protect our troops is to bring them home.

SHARPTON: I'm also running because a lot is at stake. We are witnessing a nonmilitary civil war. It started with the recount in Florida, it went to the redistricting in Texas, now it's the recount in California. From the recounting of the votes to the redistricting to the recall, it's a rejection of the American people. We need to fight back. I'm a man of action. And unlike Schwarzenegger, I never had a stunt man do my hard work.

And all of this was on Fox News in Bill O'Reilly's time slot! I must be dreaming.

Gotta get their cheap shot in...
The NY Times lead editorial today starts out this way:

The world's attention should be focused on the World Trade Organization's meeting at Cancun this week for reasons having nothing to do with the anti-globalization protests. The protesters will be trying to be as colorful and disruptive as they were when the W.T.O. met in Seattle in 1999, but their role is marginal.

Surprisingly, the article then goes on to make one of the same arguments that the protesters will be making: that subsidies for agriculture in the US and Europe are destroying the ability of farmers in third-world countries to survive. And that's really what so-called "free trade" is all about--it's really "free exploitation" of the poor by the rich. And I think that the protesters in Seattle played a major, not marginal, role in raising the public consciousness about the issue to the point where the "newspaper of record" is willing to attack a criminal policy which has been pushed by both the Bush and the Clinton administrations. Why the Times feels it has to literally marginalize the Cancun protesters in the editorial is beyond my understanding.
Show them the meaning of American justice
Erick Williams wrote an excellent op-ed in the Lansing State Journal today. His conclusion:

As a result, innocent prisoners arrested for no good cause languished in prison because they were innocent.

No one knows how many Arabs and Muslims were rounded up. The Justice Department stopped counting after 1,200. The numbers are difficult to reconstruct because most prisoners were not released. They were deported.

Those innocent ex-prisoners are now in Pakistan, Egypt and other places, spreading the news about American justice.

Let the Protests Begin!
CNN reports that some 15,000 protesters are expected in Cancun this week as the Wicked Tyrants Organization meets there to discuss how to squeeze even more money out of the billions of poor people to benefit the rich. Please join in one or more protests in your area; I'll be outside Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn on Saturday. United for Peace & Justice has an extensive listing of planned protests.
The debate was excellent!
Most of the candidates had great one-liners attacking Bush. That the debate was shown on Fox News during O'Reilly's time slot was perfect. There was probably more anti-Republican rhetoric in that hour and a half than in the previous seven years of Fox News' existence. I'll try to find a transcript and highlight the zingers from the candidates tomorrow.

I see the debate doesn't get any notice on the NY Times main web page, but the Washington Post makes it the main headline. So does Fox News, which is almost as surprising as them carrying it in the first place. Their lengthy article seems likely to please most readers, giving us people on the right side of the issues (the left, that is) lots of good quotes to cheer, while giving the freepers something to jeer. It opens with:

The Democratic presidential candidates took President Bush to task Tuesday, chiding him for creating, among other things, a quagmire in Iraq, a police state at home, a disenfranchised Florida and a health care crisis in America.

The depiction of the president as the root of all evil began at the top of Tuesday night's debate, in which the candidates complained that Bush's rush to war in Iraq had distracted America from the real threat of terrorism.

CNN has a decent article.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Two excerpts from great articles:
Thanks to Tatiana for finding these! She needs to get her own blog!

President Bush seems to think the people speaking out against this disaster are only a minor nuisance who can safely be ignored. When he decided it was time for our children to start dying for foreign oil, the press said almost 80% of the American people supported the war. But only 33% of the American people vote. So why do we care about what the other 50% say?

The answer is that in this democracy what the voters want, and what the truth is, gets carefully manipulated by the corporate media, the pollsters and the politicians, who all share the same agenda. Your children have become "acceptable losses." Disagreeing with the current regime has become "unpatriotic."

And Jessica Lynch is a "war hero." When the media and the government are done exploiting her, making a movie full of lies and half-truths, she will be forgotten as quickly as the soldiers who died that day.

America is looking less and less like a democracy every day. When 66% of the American people don't bother to vote and American foreign policy is decided by the shameless hucksters of pseudo-patriotism we are truly in a desperate situation.

You see, we don't deserve a democracy; no one does. It has to be earned. Just like medals are supposed to be, in order to have any real value. So all you proud Americans with your bumper stickers and yellow ribbons who don't vote, all you armchair patriots who never fought in a war but want someone else's kid to be sent to Iraq to die, all you shallow consumers of red, white, and blue propaganda, you are the real enemy of democracy. And by looking no further than the six o'clock follies and the Presidents propaganda machine your ignorance is doing more to destroy America than Saddam Hussein ever did.
-- Richard J. Ducey

Bush's approval rating was hovering around 50 percent on the morning of September 11. Indeed, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden have done so much for Bush's presidency one might reasonably suspect they're being held in a witness protection program. -- J. Hoberman, in an article about Showtime's propaganda film "DC 9/11."
The friendly skies
Most people will be coded green and sail through. But up to 8 percent of passengers who board the nation's 26,000 daily flights will be coded "yellow" and will undergo additional screening at the checkpoint, according to people familiar with the program. An estimated 1 to 2 percent will be labeled "red" and will be prohibited from boarding. These passengers also will face police questioning and may be arrested. -- Washington Post

So, on most flights at least one, and maybe as many as eight, passengers will not be allowed to board and may be arrested. Still sound like a free country to you? I think the terrorists have won.
Go Carl! Go Chuck!
"Sunday night, the president finally came forward with the amount that he will ask in a supplemental appropriation request for fiscal year 2004 for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan: $87 billion," Mr. Levin said.

Mr. Levin called that sum "a bitter pill for the American people to swallow," since some of the money may have to be subtracted from spending on domestic needs.

"And, Mr. Wolfowitz, you told Congress in March that, quote, `We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon,' close quote. Talk about rosy scenarios!"

The criticism by Mr. Levin and other Democrats was not surprising. But some Republicans were beginning to join in it today, with Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska complaining that the administration had done "a miserable job of planning the post-Saddam Iraq."

"They treated many in the Congress, most of the Congress, like a nuisance," Mr. Hagel said in an interview on the CBS "Early Show" this morning.

Unfortunately, I don't see anything suggesting that Bush won't get the $87 billion. And unlike the Times, I'm probably more surprised at Levin's comments than Hagel's. Hagel seems to be distancing himself from the administration, something I hope more Republicans will do, and soon. Maybe if things get worse, Hagel will challenge Bush for the Republican nomination. He's got the voting machines to win!
Bush speech gets Zunes'ed
President George W. Bush’s nationally-broadcast speech Sunday evening once again was designed to mislead Congress and the American public into supporting his administration’s policies in Iraq. Despite record deficits and draconian cutbacks in government support for health care, housing, education, the environment and public transportation, the president is asking the American taxpayer to spend an additional $87 billion to support his invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Read the whole article by Stephen Zunes.
I guess I'm a "limousine liberal"
I'm the 51,803,565 richest person on earth!

Discover how rich you are! >>

Okay, that web site is greatly simplified, going strictly by annual income. But it puts me in the top 1% worldwide. I guess I'll make some donations today... Sigh. A few years ago, this might have made me happy! Soooo conflicted.
$87 billion, and what do you get?
Another tax cut and a trillion in debt
Bush has made us bankrupt and he ain't done yet
He sold our land to Republican whores...

Do us all a favor...
Please call your senators and congressperson and tell them not to give W the $87 billion he's requesting. Tell them that if they think we owe it to the Iraqi people to "see it through," it certainly shouldn't be seen through by the same criminals who got us in there in the first place. I don't think there's any hope for a decent resolution of the Iraq situation as long as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Rice are in charge.

Impeach first, fund later. Otherwise, bring the troops home and hope for the best--the occupation offers only one hope to the Iraqi people: that it will end.

Capitol switchboard: 800-839-5276

From Jeff Stahler.

From Steve Benson.

From Jen Sorensen.

From Mike Thompson.
Ramsey Clark Answers Bush's speech:
Sunday night, September 7, President Bush told the American public and the world to expect more of the same from his administration. More crimes against peace and humanity, more deaths and destruction, more debts and poverty. He wants everyone to help.
That means more wars of aggression. More summary execution and assassinations. More arbitrary arrests, more illegal detentions and disappearances. Guantanamo is a symbol to the world of President Bush's contempt for human rights: torture, suicides, secret detention, military trials, an execution chamber waiting. Guantanamo should be returned to Cuba now -- a century late.

U.S. forces must be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan. These must be our last foreign military interventions. U.S. companies must be barred from profiting from contracts for "rebuilding Iraq" which the U.S. destroyed. Ten percent of the U.S. military budget at the 2003 level should be paid into a U.N. fund for the next decade to compensate Iraq and Afghanistan for U.S. crimes against them, to be used as they choose.

We are virtually guaranteed more of the same unless President Bush is impeached for his high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

To take back the Constitution and save our country Vote to Impeach now. This vote is an unmistakable message from the American people. The world and the present Administration will understand this message. It means we do not accept the crimes President Bush has committed in our name and will not permit their repetition.
-- Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

Clark has been calling for Bush's impeachment for many months now. Go to and join in!
Oops, she did it again
Honestly, I think we should just trust our President in every decision that he makes, and we should just support that. (war in Iraq) --Britney Spears

Now we know why Madonna kissed her--she was trying to keep Britney from saying something stupid. Didn't work. What a moron! I've lost all the respect I never had for that girl.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Hearts & Minds
I just watched the 1974 documentary Hearts & Minds. It is an amazing look at the Vietnam war and the people that it affected. It features war footage, interviews with soldiers and pilots, generals, Vietnamese villagers, and politicians. The best insights come from Daniel Ellsberg.

Director Peter Davis makes several telling points just by letting the film run on for a while. In one scene, a funeral of a South Vietnamese soldier is shown. His son holds a picture of him and wails pitifully, on and on. The soldier's mother tries to get in the grave with the coffin, but is pulled out. She cries. The son continues to cry. Soldiers shovel dirt on the coffin. The son kisses the picture, then wails some more. This goes on for minutes. When Davis finally leaves this scene, he goes to a clip of General William Westmoreland, who was commander of US forces in Vietnam for several years. Westmoreland is saying that Orientals don't see life the same way we do--that life is cheap, that they don't hold it dear.

Highly recommended, and extremely relevant to what's going on today. The statements from Westmoreland, Johnson, Nixon and others sound so similar to what we hear from Bush, Rumsfeld and Powell today.

While the war itself was awful, I think the so-called "Vietnam syndrome" which followed may have been one of the best things to ever happen to this country. Ronald Reagan and especially the two George Bushes deserve eternal condemnation for "overcoming" it. A humble America terrified of getting into another insane war was exactly the America that the world, and Americans, needed. May the "Iraq syndrome" last forever.
The war itself was the mistake--all the rest mere details:
From Jonathan Schell:

The practical problem of Iraq's future remains. The Iraqi state has been forcibly removed. That state was a horrible one; yet a nation needs a state. The children must go to school; the trains must run; the museums must open; murderers must be put in jail. But the United States, precisely because it is a single foreign state, which like all states has a highly self-interested agenda of its own, is incapable of providing Iraq with a government that serves its own people. The United States therefore must, to begin with, surrender control of the operation to an international force.

It will not suffice to provide "UN cover" for an American operation, as the administration now seems to propose. The United States should announce a staged withdrawal of its forces in favor of and in conjunction with whatever international forces can be cobbled together. It should also (but surely will not) provide that force with about a hundred billion or so dollars to do its work – a low estimate of what is needed to rebuild Iraq.

Biden says we must win the war. This is precisely wrong. The United States must learn to lose this war – a harder task, in many ways, than winning, for it requires admitting mistakes and relinquishing attractive fantasies. This is the true moral mission of our time (well, of the next few years, anyway).

Opportunity Cost
What the president did not mention in his speech is that the $87 billion more he seeks to fund his occupations abroad could pay for 1.4 million new teachers at home. It could help 11 million low-income families meet housing needs. It could provide health care coverage for 30 million children.

For Wisconsinites and residents of other states that are struggling to maintain state and local services in the face of economic doldrums, the $87 billion would balance every state budget.

Overseas, the United States should begin to address the conditions that create the frustration and resentments that lead to terrorism. The president's $87 billion could, according to UNICEF, meet the basic human needs of every impoverished person on Earth.
-- Madison Capital Times
What regime poses the greatest WMD threat to the US?
Clearly, the Bush administration:

It now appears that the only place in the world where labs similar to those described by Powell actually exist is here, in the United States. Worse, according to the New York Times, the scientist responsible for the design and construction of the U.S. mobile biological lab is under suspicion by the FBI of using this technology to produce the dry powder anthrax used in the October 2001 letter attack that killed seven Americans. This same scientist was allegedly behind similar "defensive" research that identified anthrax- impregnated letters as an ideal platform for delivering the deadly biological agent.

So, when it comes to the only major biological attack conducted against the United States, the available information points to the likelihood that the attack originated in the United States, using technology and techniques developed as part of a defensive biological weapons program that was a product of bad intelligence about Iraq's biological weapons program.
-- Scott Ritter

From Ted Rall.
Rummy: It's the critics fault!
We know for a fact that terrorists studied Somalia, and they studied instances that the United States was dealt a blow and tucked in, and persuaded themselves that they could in fact cause us to acquiesce in whatever it is they wanted to do.

The United States is not going to do that; President Bush is not going to do that.

To the extent that terrorists are given reason to believe he might, or, if he is not going to, that the opponents might prevail in some way, and they take heart in that, and that leads to more money going into these activities, or that leads to more recruits, or that leads to more encouragement, or that leads to more staying power, obviously that does make our task more difficult.
-- Donald Rumsfeld, quoted in the NY Times.

This argument was used during Vietnam; it was used by Ashcroft in December 2001. It sucked then, it sucks now. Against all reason, logic and evidence, Bush, Rummy and the gang have gotten themselves into an impossible situation. Now they want to blame us for noticing. Does he really think we'd be better off if we'd had 50,000 troops in Somalia for the past ten years? If you want peace and security (which I'm pretty sure are two things the Bushies have no interest in), leave the rest of the world alone. Pay the market price for oil, whatever it turns out to be. If that means we have to restructure our economy and landscape in response to expensive oil, so much the better.
Great Minds
Last week, I quoted Paul Wolfowitz: "To those who think the battle in Iraq is a distraction from the global war against terrorism . . . tell that to our troops." I suggested that his logic would lead to a never-ending war which would eventually be fought on the streets of this country:

"To those who think the battle in Colombia is a distraction from the global war against terrorism... "

and not too much longer after that:

"To those who think the battle in Kentucky is a distraction from the global war against terrorism..."

Billmon suggests that a statement in W's Big Lie last night leads to the same thing:


2002: "We are fighting that enemy in Afghanistan so that we do not meet him again on our streets, in our own cities."

2003: "We are fighting that enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq so that we do not meet him again on our streets, in our own cities."

2004: "We are fighting that enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq and Saudi Arabia so that we do not meet him again on our streets, in our own cities."

2005: "We are fighting that enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq and Saudi Arabia and Syria and Lebanon and Yemen and Algeria and the West Bank, so that we do not meet him again on our streets, in our own cities."

2006: "We are fighting that enemy in the streets of America, in our own cities."

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Still Lying
Is it possible that George W. Bush still believes the crap he says?

We have exposed terrorist front groups, seized terrorist accounts, taken new measures to protect our homeland and uncovered sleeper cells inside the United States.

And we acted in Iraq, where the former regime sponsored terror, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction, and for 12 years defied the clear demands of the United Nations Security Council.

Our coalition enforced these international demands in one of the swiftest and most humane military campaigns in history.
-- Some of the many lies and half truths from his propaganda tonight.

It ain't over, George. It wasn't swift or humane. The sponsoring terror and possessing and using WMD's all occurred more than 12 years ago, like when you're daddy was supporting Saddam. You, like your daddy, are a miserable liar, George. Do the world a favor and resign--now!
Bush approval rating at 45%...
in latest Zogby poll.
One-sided Roundtable
I don't usually watch the Sunday talk shows, preferring just to read Liberal Oasis' rundown of the lowlights. But I did watch quite a bit of ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" today. I saw Colin Powell putting a shine on the excrement that is the Bush Iraq "strategy," and Ted Kennedy giving a tepid response. They then went to a "roundtable" with George Will, Michel Martin of ABC and Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal. They provided a lively debate trying to outdo each other as to why Powell was right and Kennedy was wrong. And, from what I've gathered, this is the most reasonable of the talk shows.

I think, if an honest history is ever written, that Colin Powell will go down as one of the most evil men in history. Bush doesn't know any better--he's an idiot. Cheney and Rumsfeld were born evil--they've never really had a choice. But Powell is an intelligent, articulate man from humble origins. He had a clear choice between serving wealth and death or serving humanity and life, and chose the former. You don't get much more despicable than that.
The Occupation Gets Fisked

How arrogant was the path to war. As President Bush now desperately tries to cajole the old UN donkey to rescue him from Iraq – he who warned us that the UN was in danger of turning into a League of Nations "talking shop" if it declined him legitimacy for his invasion – we are supposed to believe that no one in Washington could have guessed the future. -- Robert Fisk.
The "War on Terrorism" is Bogus
Is the conclusion reached by former British member of parliament Michael Meacher:

The conclusion of all this analysis must surely be that the "global war on terrorism" has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda - the US goal of world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project. Is collusion in this myth and junior participation in this project really a proper aspiration for British foreign policy? If there was ever need to justify a more objective British stance, driven by our own independent goals, this whole depressing saga surely provides all the evidence needed for a radical change of course.

That's his conclusion; the rest of the article describes the PNAC and the rest of the neoconjob which has led to two bloody and pointless wars--so far.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni gave a speech to a bunch of military officers and defense contractors. He was sharply critical of Bush's scary band of neoconmen. The speech was apparently very well received, since the article says that many Marines lined up to shake his hand afterwards, and many in the audience bought $15 CD's of the speech.

There's an online poll at the link as well, asking "How would you rate the job the U.S. is doing to reconstruct Iraq?" Currently the score is

Excellent: 10.48%

Good: 24.08%

Fair: 22.11%

Poor: 43.33%.
Why the US invaded Iraq, take 23
Undersecretary of State John Bolton, one of the scariest neocons around, now says that having WMD's wasn't the issue. Even having WMD programs wasn't the issue. No, the issue was that Iraq sought WMD programs, and that justified the invasion.

In an interview with The Associated Press, John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control, said that whether Saddam's regime actually possessed weapons of mass destruction "isn't really the issue."

"The issue I think has been the capability that Iraq sought to have ... WMD programs," Bolton said at the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

And while the brutality of Saddam's regime is the most common excuse heard in the last few months, Bolton seems to suggest that Saddam didn't kill enough people:

Bolton said that Saddam kept "a coterie" of scientists he was preserving for the day when he could build nuclear weapons unhindered by international constraints.

That fact, combined with Iraq's history of deceiving U.N. inspectors, showed that Saddam could not be trusted to abandon his ambition to develop unconventional weapons, Bolton said.

"Whether he possessed them today or four years ago isn't really the issue," he said. "As long as that regime was in power, it was determined to get nuclear, chemical and biological weapons one way or another."

You've seen all the quotes -- these liars justified their war on the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Lots of them. Every type. Now Bolton says that they had some scientists who knew how to make weapons, and that was good enough. People of this sort can, and will, justify anything.
WTO Protests
Please join in one or more WTO protests next weekend! There should be thousands of protesters outside the WTO meetings in Cancun from September 10-14, and hopefully they'll be getting a lot of attention. Let's show America that lots of people care about this issue! United for Peace and Justice is organizing protests across the country. Here in Michigan, there will be a "labor fest" at Ford Field in Detroit from 11 to 2 on September 13 and a picket line at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn at noon on the same day. I'm trying to organize Kucinich volunteers for those events--please join us if you're nearby!
Seems to be a common theme here:
The two cartoons below are just a small sample of those currently available in the "Bush goes crawling back to the UN" genre. Check out Slate's collection to see a lot more.

From Mike Thompson.

From Steve Benson.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Quote du Jour Number Two
This president is a miserable failure! -- Dick Gephardt. Really!


Go Texas Democrats!
They continue their fight against Tom DeLay and his jerrymanderers. Here's their press release from today:

Texas Democratic Senators
Washington, D.C. Press Conference
September 4, 2003


We come here today with an urgent message for Americans. Our Democracy is imperiled.

President Bush and his administration have undertaken the greatest assault on minority voting rights since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. It is a sad fact that the latest President from Texas is attempting to subvert one of the greatest accomplishments of another President from Texas, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Let us be specific. The Republican redistricting plan would silence the voices of 1.4 million Hispanic and African-American Texans. They would either be moved into districts so heavily Republican that their votes won't matter, or would be packed into districts that guarantees them permanent political minority status with little hope of affecting policy decisions in Congress.

Our circumstances have been extreme. To block this effort, we broke the quorum in the Senate and have been encamped in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for more than a month. With other Democrats and some help from Republicans, we have kept the redistricting agenda at bay for nine months.

We will not falter, and we will not quit. The stakes could not be greater. When one political party can erase long-standing parliamentary procedures and constitutional protections to enhance its own power, none of our cherished democratic institutions can be considered safe.

>From the Florida election of 2000 to redistricting efforts in Colorado, Ohio and Texas, to the California recall, many Americans have watched in horror as Karl Rove, Tom DeLay and their henchmen have subverted democratic institutions at every turn. Their actions must be seen for what they are: This is not politics as usual. This is Democracy on the brink of catastrophe.

President Bush has tried to distance himself publicly from the assault on minority voting rights. But as he claims to be reaching out to American minority voters, his administration is attacking the constitutional protections of minorities' very right to vote.

This is unconscionable. President Bush can halt this assault on minority voting rights immediately. We call on him to do so.

He cannot pretend that this is a "state" issue, a "Texas" issue. What is more important in a Democracy than the inviolable right to vote--and for the vote to make a difference?

With all due respect, President Bush no longer can hide his Administration's complicity in this unprecedented and immoral assault on Democracy.

Mr. President, do what is right for all Americans. When the voting rights of a single Texan, a single American, are under assault, the voting rights of all Americans are in jeopardy.

We ask you to tell your employees Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, Governor Rick Perry and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst to end this madness.

Your integrity is on the line. The eyes of Texas are upon you, as are the eyes of America.

Chalk one up for the good guys!
Miguel Estrada has withdrawn his nomination to federal appellate court, after Democratic senators filibustered it for nearly two years.
Rummy's in Baghdad
Am I glad he's there? Heavens yes! Do I hope he doesn't come back? Absolutely! (No, I'm not hoping he gets killed. I just think he should stay until everything he screwed up gets straightened out over there.)
None of the above...
is the runaway leader in the Taco Bell California election. While it seemed pretty rigged with Arnold being the "crunchy beef" taco while Gray Davis is the "chicken soft" taco, both Davis and Lt. Gov. Cruz "Chalupa" Bustamante have substantial 9% margins over Arnold. Apparently Arnold has been the worst thing ever to happen to sales of crunchy beef tacos--it looks like none have been sold since the poll started! The other 133 candidates, represented by the Grilled Stuft Burrito, are currently leading with 82% of the votes.

I'm sure hackers had nothing at all to do with this.
Quote du Jour
America is dumb, it's like a dumb puppy that has big teeth that can bite and hurt you, aggressive. -- Johnny Depp


Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Court blocks FCC rules
Take that Michael Powell!
Two comments on Billmon:
What's the chances of France, Germany and Russia pulling a 'Iran hostages' move and stalling any move on rescuing the U.S. in Iraq until after the '04 elections? It could be a wise move on their part. Clearly, any democratic administration that takes over after a Bush loss would be more willing to mend fences by conceding more than the neo-cons.

Why should Europe bail out the U.S. in Iraq when it goes against their best interests? Look if our troops get freed up between now and Nov'04 Bush will start another war. Either with NK or invade another country in the ME like Syria or Iran. And worse our people will support it. Doubt me? Bush has 65% approval ratings and with a citizenry this stupid and passive. Most will believe anything Bush says. In short helping Bush is like aiding a serial killer.

From Steve Benson.

From Matt Davies.

From Kal.

From Steve Sack.
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Back to UN We Go!
I'm not sure it offers much hope for improving much of anything, but I'm very curious how Rush, O'Reilly and the other UN-haters will spin this one. Of course, if it weren't for our veto, the UN could just decide to do what it did the last time a country in the Gulf region was illegally invaded--bomb the crap out of us for a month, force us to withdraw, then sanction us for twelve years.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office says the Pentagon will have to reduce the size of our forces in Iraq, no matter what.

I keep thinking of the current situation in terms of chess. What really matters at any point in time is the reality on the board, not what grand or less-than-grand schemes led to that reality. You may still be pursuing checkmate using a killer knight fork five moves after your opponent took your last knight. Your friend, who hasn't been following the game, walks in and says "Dude--you've got nothing! You're beat! Give it up!" But not only have you been devoted to your grand strategy during the course of this game, but for twelve years previously. You've dreamed and drooled over the possibility of facing this opponent, thought about little else. You've cheated and lied to get the opportunity. And for a while there things seemed to be going well. So ignoring the reality on the board, which is bad and getting worse by the minute, you cling to your pathetic hopes.

And I won't pretend to be some phony patriot hoping this all comes out well for Bush. To me, his humiliation is absolutely necessary for the future good of the US and the world. I hope it is accomplished with a minimum of bloodshed, but if Bush isn't humiliated, and soon, there will be no end to the bloodshed until the last of us has died. I want Bush humiliated so badly that when President Kucinich turns him over to the International Criminal Court in 2005 we'll have 99% of Americans approving. :-)

Hopefully, this crawling back to the UN is a start on that humiliation.
Bush Tax Cuts Having Their Intended Effect
Census Shows Ranks of Poor Rose by 1.3 Million.
Great Kucinich Website!
With Links to videos and audios.
It's not terrorism when we do it!
Stephen Zunes points out the blatant hypocrisy in the so-called "war on terror."

There must be decisive action by the international community to stop such attacks, both through challenging policies that breed terrorism -- such as military occupations and support for dictatorial regimes -- as well as through improved intelligence, interdiction and, where necessary, well-targeted paramilitary operations aimed at the terrorists themselves.

At the same time, the refusal by the U.S. government and media to acknowledge the U.S. role in international terrorism raises serious questions as to whether the United States really is waging a “war on terrorism” or a war limited only to terrorism that does not support U.S. strategic objectives. Until the U.S. government is willing to come out categorically against all terrorism, it will be difficult to find the international cooperation necessary to rid the world from this very real threat.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

The Iron Triangle
I think that's what William Greider called the unholy alliance between the Pentagon, Congress, and military contractors in his 1997 book Fortress America. Eisenhower called it the military-industrial complex. Greider suggested that the iron triangle shuddered in panic when the Soviet Union collapsed--would the gravy train come to an end? Not to worry. Using some obtuse language, two George Bushes have reinvigorated militarism to set everything right with the triangle. And Paul Wolfowitz makes the connection pretty explicit in his op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal:

Just as in the Cold War, holding the line in Berlin and Korea was not just about those places alone. It was about the resolve of the free world. Once that resolve was made clear to the Soviets, communism eventually collapsed. The same thing will happen to terrorism--and to all those who have attempted to hijack Islam and threaten America and the rest of the free world, which now includes Iraq. They will see our resolve and the resolve of the free world. Then they, too, will take their place on the ash heap of history.

The free world now includes Iraq? Military checkpoints everywhere, arrests by the hundreds, gunfire, explosions, no power, no water--I guess Janis Joplin was right: Freedom's just another word for "nothin' left to lose."

Wolfowitz's point, such as it is, of his op-ed is summarized in the concluding sentence:

To those who think the battle in Iraq is a distraction from the global war against terrorism . . . tell that to our troops.

He seems to be signalling a shift for who to blame for the occupation's immense problems from Saddam loyalists to foreign terrorists. I'm afraid that if his logic is followed to its terrifying conclusion, in a few years he'll be ending his columns with:

To those who think the battle in Colombia is a distraction from the global war against terrorism...

and not too much longer after that:

To those who think the battle in Kentucky is a distraction from the global war against terrorism...

I guess the most infuriating part is his assumption that there could be anyone in the world with LESS right to be in Iraq than the US military. Imagine if Iraq had attacked the US (admittedly a completely ridiculous idea given how far away it is, its lack of a navy or air force or any serious offensive weaponry capability at all, not to mention that it had never attacked or even threatened us). Even if they freed us from the horrible government of George W. Bush, I don't think many Americans would rest until every last Iraqi invader had been either chased from our shores or killed. Why should we expect Iraqis to react differently to a bloody invasion?

Kucinich Video
An excellent campaign video is now available online.
I've been reading Al Franken's book...
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. I've been planning on posting selections here--I'll guess I'll start with the one Atrios chose:

"[M]ainly it was Coleman’s proxies who played it dirty," Al Franken writes. "The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) ran an ad called ‘Pork’ that hit the hypocrisy jackpot. It savaged Wellstone for voting ‘to spend thousands of dollars to control seaweed in Maui,’ claiming that he prioritized seaweed control over national defense. In fact, Wellstone did vote for S.1216, as did Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott and 84 other senators. That bill did appropriate the seaweed control spending—but it also provided $21 billion for veterans’ health care, $27 billion for veterans’ compensation and pensions, and block grants to assist New York City’s recovery from 9/11. The NRSC was chaired that year by Bill Frist, who later replaced Lott as Senate majority leader. Before the memorial, Frist spoke with the Wellstones’ older son, David, who later recounted the conversation to me.

"‘I’m sorry about your parents and your sister,’ Frist told David.

"‘Did you authorize the seaweed ad against my dad?’ David asked.

"‘Yes,’ said Frist.

"‘And did you vote for the seaweed bill?’

"There was a pause. They both knew that the answer was yes. Finally, Frist said, ‘It wasn’t personal.’

"‘My dad took it personal,’ David said. ‘Thanks for coming to my family’s memorial.’"

Remember that when someone attacks a politician for his or her vote on some bill.
I wish I'd said that!
Naomi Klein writes in the Guardian about how the "war on terror" is being used to repress opposition around the world:

Many have argued that the War on Terror is the US government's thinly veiled excuse for constructing a classic empire, in the model of Rome or Britain. Two years into the crusade, it's clear this is a mistake: the Bush gang doesn't have the stick-to-it-ness to successfully occupy one country, let alone a dozen. Bush and the gang do, however, have the hustle of good marketers, and they know how to contract out. What Bush has created in the WoT is less a "doctrine" for world domination than an easy-to-assemble toolkit for any mini-empire looking to get rid of the opposition and expand its power.

The War on Terror was never a war in the traditional sense. It is, instead, a kind of brand, an idea that can be easily franchised by any government in the market for an all-purpose opposition cleanser. We already know that the WoT works on domestic groups that use terrorist tactics such as Hamas or the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (Farc). But that's only its most basic application. WoT can be used on any liberation or opposition movement. It can also be applied liberally on unwanted immigrants, pesky human rights activists and even on hard-to-get-out investigative journalists.

Not to brag (too much), but I've been saying this for over a year (see last year's archive page for context on these quotes):

(Addressed to Bush) [Russia and India] clearly have their own agendas and are happy to use your "war on terrorism" nonsense to support the suppression of rebels within their borders, but you are playing with serious fire if you ignore what these countries have to say. (12/4/02)

An even worse idea was extending the "War on Terrorism" so that the Pakistanis, Filipinos, Russians, Chinese, Indonesians, etc. could use the it as cover for squelching domestic dissent, sometimes with US military help. (9/27/02)

Arrests are being made for political purposes around the world, all in the name of the frigging "War on Terrorism." Has a better tool for the suppression of liberty and democracy ever been invented? (9/16/02)

Under the guise of "defending freedom," the "war on terrorism" is actively suppressing liberation movements around the globe. (8/27/02)

Besides increasing the frequency and violence of wars around the world, the US role as arms merchant to the world is clearly anti-democratic since it gives additional deadly power to those already in power, making it easier for them to suppress any opposition. As if that weren't enough, Bush has offered to assist governments in "fighting terror," which they are pretty much free to define any way they want. (6/10/02)

Bush declared a general "war on terrorism" which is little more than an offer to repressive regimes to assist them in repressing. (5/15/02)

Monday, September 01, 2003

Bush's Resume

If you're like me, you've probably received "Dubya's Resume" about fifty times in the past few months. But is it all true? Could any one man be that incompetent? Well, someone has been busy providing links to back up every item on the resume. Anybody doesn't believe how bad Bush is, send 'em there.
Liberal Oasis on Kerry...
...and his continued defense of the indefensible--his vote on the Iraq war:

Yesterday (on Meet the Press), Kerry gave a defense full of holes and contradictions. It's spin that makes your head spin.

He said:

"The bottom line is that we voted on the basis of information that was given to us, that has since then been proven to be incorrect."

OK then, you got had. Not your fault. Perhaps we shouldn’t have gone to war and you should retract your original position.

But Kerry won’t go there:

"…it was right to hold Saddam Hussein accountable, absolutely correct.

And anybody who doesn't believe it wasn't correct ought to go dig around in those graves or even make a judgment about what would happen if you left Saddam Hussein alone to do this."

Alone to do what exactly, if the info on WMD was incorrect?

And Saddam’s cruelty towards his own people wasn’t Kerry’s rationale going in. In his own words yesterday:

"I didn't base it on the nuclear, but the most important and compelling rationale were the lack of inspections and the non-compliance of Saddam Hussein.

Even Hans Blix at the United Nations said he is not in compliance."

Essentially, chem and bio weapons it would seem was Kerry's concern (that was Blix’s jurisdiction). Not mass graves. Not nukes.

But hold on again. Just before that answer, Russert aired a clip of Kerry's Oct. ’02 Senate floor speech explaining his position then:

"According to the CIA's report, all U.S. intelligence experts agree that they are seeking nuclear weapons. There is little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop them."

It’s just a mess. He’s talked himself into a hole that now he can’t get out of.

He should have either taken the Joe Lieberman route, somewhat downplaying the Bush lies, as Lieberman did on CBS’ Face The Nation yesterday:

"…the president and the administration, I'm afraid, did overstate the case in some ways.

And what bothers me about that is that it wasn't necessary. [It] has threatened to give a bad name to what I'm convinced was a just war."

Or, you can take the claim that you were given “incorrect” info to its logical conclusion and renounce your vote.

Of course, the Lieberman route would pull Kerry farther to the Right than he wants to be.

And to renounce the war completely would peg him an “anti-war” candidate (and, perhaps more unfairly, a “flip-flopper”).

That’s not part of the Kerry game plan.

So Kerry’s made his bed, and he’s chosen to lie in it, messy as the bed may be.

[Update] BartCop wasn't impressed with Kerry either.
Chalabi: The problem, not the solution.
The Washington Post wasted valuable column-inches yesterday posting a op-ed by one of Donald Rumsfeld's favorite criminals, Ahmad Chalabi. While putting in several plugs for handing power over to his group of necon exiles, the Iraqi National Congress, he pays lip service to ending the US occupation:

An extended occupation under the coalition leading to a popular resistance provides the political power to Hussein's plan and plays into his hands. The politics of occupation is well practiced in the Middle East -- the coalition would be wise to avoid it.

And how does he propose to end the occupation? Using the same enlightened methods that Hitler used in Poland and Stalin used in the Ukraine:

There are other steps the United States needs to take immediately to combat the Hussein network and improve security:

• Crack down on Saddam supporters at large in the country. Coalition forces need to move quickly to arrest and question thousands of people: Baathists, Saddam Fedayeen and former members of the security services and the military, as well as their brothers, sons, nephews and cousins. The Iraqi National Congress and other pro-coalition groups can provide lists and locations of these people and assist in their interrogations.

How thoughtful of him to provide lists of thousands of people, as well as their relatives, and offer to assist in their interrogations. The guy's a crook and a fraud just trying to get the US to coronate him. Sort of like Saddam in the '70's? Hmmm...
Maybe I don't need to fix my furnace after all
Just trying to find a silver lining in this report which says that the Earth is warmer now than at any time in the previous 2000 years.

Prof Philip Jones, a director of the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit and one of the authors of the research, said: "You can't explain this rapid warming of the late 20th century in any other way. It's a response to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."