Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Election in Mexico

The presidential election in Mexico is Sunday (note that they vote on a day off, rather than some countries which value democracy less and vote on Tuesdays). Look for even more interesting times ahead if the populist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) defeats Vicente Fox's chosen successor. AMLO intends to repeal parts of NAFTA, which would be a good thing for every non-millionaire in both countries, and would do more to solve the immigration issue than anything currently on the table in the US Congress.

Supremes get it right for once

The Supreme Court's Gitmo decision yesterday was a small step in the right direction. Billmon highlights the best part--the decision seems to suggest fairly clearly what we've known all along: The Bushies are breaking the law.

Is the dollar going?

After a month-long recovery of sorts, the dollar has suddenly dropped two cents against the euro just today--from $1.254 to $1.277 to buy a euro. This could be for the same reason that the stock market jumped up yesterday--the Fed indicating that the interest-rate hikes are about to stop.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

From Minimum Security (Stephanie McMillan).

Fifteen years for looting

From AP:
Three people convicted of hauling away liquor, wine and beer from a grocery store after Hurricane Katrina were each sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison.

The judge said he wanted to send a message that looting would not be tolerated when he gave the maximum sentence to Coralnelle Little, 36, Rhonda McGowen, 42, and Paul C. Pearson, 36, all of Kenner.
Send a message? A message? By locking three people up for maybe half of their remaining lives for a piddling little crime during a crisis? What is it about looting that pisses the wingnuts off so much, more than bribery or fraud or, you know, starting a pre-emptive war based on lies? Nobody is dead or missing limbs or even traumatized--just a store owner out a couple of hundred bucks. Lock 'em up for three months and make them pay it back. But FIFTEEN YEARS???

While most online sources use exactly the same AP article, Black Entertainment Television wrote its own report. They called the judge "no-nonsense." Maybe he didn't wear a funny hat or play the kazoo in court, but 15 years for looting is as about as non-sensical as it gets.

Talk about biased reporting

From CNN:
Israel rounded up members of the Hamas-led Palestinian government Thursday, arresting Cabinet ministers and parliament members as a crisis over the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier deepened.
Capturing a member of an army which has killed thousands of Palestinians, including the June 9 shelling of a beach which killed several children, "kidnapping." Seizing the leading members of the democratically-elected government of Palestine is "arresting," suggesting some legitimate law-enforcement activity, which it clearly isn't. Neither is destroying the infrastructure in Gaza, like the power plant and bridges, which, as Juan Cole points out, will surely lead to the deaths of many more Palestinian children.

Just like their Washington patrons, the Israeli war criminals will never take yes for an answer. No matter how many concessions the Palestinians make, no matter how many weeks or months elapse without a bombing, they will not stop their assault until the Palestinians are completely gone.

Be careful what you wish for

Yesterday, I wished the Interstate Highway System a crappy birthday. Looks like global warming, partly attributable to the interstates, has delivered on that wish:

From the WaPo:
Interstate 88 in Sidney, N.Y., washed out by Carrs Creek. (AP)

From Chan Lowe.

From John Darkow.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Meanwhile, in hell...

The Israelis are going bonkers, re-destroying Gaza and threatening to kill anyone and everyone they don't like. The Bushies, of course, blame the Palestinians.

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures Against the Times

I've said for years that the most dangerous time will come not when the Regime is flush with triumph but when this vicious gang of thugs find their backs against the wall. That time has come.
-- Chris Floyd, commenting on the attacks on the NY Times for reporting on government spying on bank transactions. Glenn Greenwald explains in detail how this is strictly a witchhunt and an attempt to gain full control over the press (as opposed to the 98% that the Bushies have currently)--basically an attempt to repeal what little remains of the First Amendment. I'll quote Greenwald's four main points, and paraphrase briefly his arguments.
(1) There is not a single sentence in the Times banking report that could even arguably "help the terrorists."
Everything in the Times' report was in the Patriot Act and has been said many times by Bush himself on the campaign trail. Even the details of the program have been publicly available on the UN website for years.
(2) The reason there is "no evidence of abuse" is precisely because the administration exercises these powers in total secrecy.
The attacks on the Times suggest that they are chasing phantoms--complaining about abuses that don't exist. Greenwald argues convincingly that distrust of government was a founding principle of this country, and that taking the Bushies (or any other administration) on its word is completely un-American.
(3) The Founders unequivocally opted for excess disclosures by the media over excess government secrecy and restraints on the press.
Bush and his minions are trying to equate opposition to his criminal policies with treason. Jefferson and other founding fathers explicitly warned against this ploy.
(4) How can any rational person believe that the reporters and editors of The New York Times want to help terrorists attack the U.S.?
AWol's supporters seem to have forgotten 9/11, which happened not far from Times headquarters. The charges that they are helping terrorists are ludicrous; the suggestion that they would want to even more so.

Read all of Greenwald's article and Floyd's blog post for more on this massive assault on the Constitution.

Glacier movement no longer glacial

From the LA Times: NASA and other scientists tracking Greenland's glaciers have found that they are moving and disappearing much faster than predicted, as rising temperatures are working deep into the ice in unanticipated ways.
Should all of the ice sheet ever thaw, the meltwater could raise sea level 21 feet and swamp the world's coastal cities, home to a billion people. It would cause higher tides, generate more powerful storm surges and, by altering ocean currents, drastically disrupt the global climate.

Climate experts have started to worry that the ice cap is disappearing in ways that computer models had not predicted.

By all accounts, the glaciers of Greenland are melting twice as fast as they were five years ago, even as the ice sheets of Antarctica — the world's largest reservoir of fresh water — also are shrinking, researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Kansas reported in February.

Fifty years of Interstate destruction

The WaPo has an article today about the Interstate Highway System, which came into existence when President Eisenhower signed the bill on June 29, 1956, fifty years ago tomorrow.

Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago (I-90/94)

That curve, and a couple of others like it, have always represented for me the destructive power of the Interstate system. The bill that Eisenhower passed provided for 90% federal funding--but most of the decisions about where the freeways would run, and which contractors would do the work, were left to state and local governments. Ten percent of the money, almost all of the control to decide whose houses get to stay and whose will be demolished. Ten percent of the money, almost all of the control to decide which contractors get the multi-million dollar contracts and which don't. A perfectly irresistable offer to local bosses like Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley. All of the land shown in the photo above, and most of the land for miles around, was already developed when the Dan Ryan was built in the early 1960's. The land is flat and there are no rivers within a few miles of the curve shown. That is, the fact that the freeway curves here, saving some neighborhoods while destroying others, was almost certainly a political decision, not an engineering one. My guess is that the decisions generally went against the poor, the black, and anyone who opposed Daley.

While in grad school at the University of Illinois, I wrote a paper investigating the effects of the Interstate highways on Chicago. A quick calculation determined that clearing the land for the highways had destroyed a far larger area of developed Chicago than had the famous fire of 1871. And census data show that Chicago's population peaked in 1950 and started to decline just at the time that the freeways were built, losing people to the distant suburbs. The effect in Detroit was even more stunning, with more than half the population leaving the city in the decades following the start of freeway construction (anyone who has ever driven in Detroit in the summer knows that the freeway construction has never been completed). I-75 was built through the heart of Black Bottom, a vibrant predominantly African-American neighborhood which was the birthplace to some of the best jazz in this country. Similar destruction occurred in cities around the country, except in those places like San Francisco and New Orleans which refused to let the freeways destroy their neighborhoods.

The interstates have obviously contributed to sprawl and the huge growth in auto usage and associated pollution, global warming and resource depletion. By current standards, Eisenhower was a pretty good president. But his favorite project has turned out to be a disaster of historic proportions, just like that of our current pResident. So--Crappy birthday to you, Interstate Highway System!

Minimum wage

Billmon discusses the juxtaposition of Congress rejecting an increase of the minimum wage with voting for raising their own salaries, pointing out (via CNN) that in the nine years since the last raise in the minimum wage Congress has voted itself raises equivalent to $15 an hour.
Ordinarily, I'm sympathetic to the argument that public officials should be well compensated -- because if the voters don't pay up, somebody or something else will. (In Rep. Jefferson's case, his freezer.) Also, congressional salaries basically suck. You could cover the entire payroll in both houses for about $90 million, which is less than what Dennis Kozlowski took home in one giddy year as Tyco CEO.

If one man can get paid that much money to drive an enormous, heavily leveraged organization straight into the ground, it doesn't seem unreasonable to pay 535 people the same amount to do likewise. They're just as good at it as he was.
But Billmon concludes that if the Democrats don't grab this ball and run with it, they are just as dumb as they seem.
This is as close to a no-brainer issue as you're going to find in American politics, which I guess is why the Dems were finally able to figure it out.

Now if they can just convince their own members -- some of whom seem to believe an extra $3,300 a year is better than being in the majority.

An Inconvenient Truth Knocks at the Door

From Tom Toles.

Well yeah, but they've got nukes!

Ted Rall reminds us that ALL Bush wars are bogus:

As you know if you've read this blog for a while, it really pisses me off when some poser Democrat says that the war in Afghanistan, or the "war on terror" in general, was any more justified than the bogus war in Iraq. Bush took his "new Pearl Harbor" and used it to extend his power, both abroad and at home. Terrorism and WMD's were simply excuses for doing what he wanted to do anyway. And failure works for him even better than success (lucky for him), because quagmires funnel many more billions of dollars into Republican coffers than actual missions accomplished would.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm in the majority now

That's me with the "Cut and Run" sign, from the March 19, 2006 peace march in Ann Arbor. Apparently, that's the 57% majority opinion in America these days. USA Today:
A majority of Americans say Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. Half of those surveyed would like all U.S. forces out within 12 months.

The poll finds support for the ideas behind Democratic proposals that were soundly defeated in the Senate last week.
About friggin' time. And to all you newcomers--don't let those slimebag chicken-hawk Repugs intimidate you with their "cut and run" suggestions of cowardice. Until they and their offspring go on patrol in Anbar provice, they are the cowards for sending other people's kids to steal oil for them. There is nothing brave about ordering bombings and killing people from far away--whether it's al Qaeda or al Bushco doing the ordering.

Le deluge not waiting until apres W

Global warming is getting everybody in Washington, except aWol apparently, soaked.

A large elm tree, featured on the far right of the back of the $20 bill, came crashing down Monday on the White House lawn.

Any Photoshoppers out there want to make me a picture of W, Cheney, Rummy, Condiliar and Karl standing on the roof of the White House holding signs?

From Pat Bagley.

From Thomas Boldt.

From R.J. Matson.

From Jen Sorensen.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Miami Mice

Read Juan Cole's take on the supposed Miami "terror cell" that Torture Gonzales is so excited to have caught in his mouse trap. These guys were not Muslims, just some weird cult with elements of Christianity and Judaism and a smattering of Muslim symbolism. They were incapable of doing much of anything--their only crime apparently being going along with an FBI provacateur's suggestions: Yes, we'd like some weapons; okay, we'll join al-Qaeda.

Chris Floyd relates the arrests to the worldwide assault on the poor, and then adds remarks about the way the "war on terror" seems to be exploiting the mentally ill to pursue its evil ends (and if the terrorist "suspects" aren't crazy enough when they are captured, they'll get tortured a while until they are).
After "sweeps of various locations in Miami, government agents found no explosives or weapons. Investigators also did not document any direct links to al-Qaeda," [reported Knight-Ridder]. "But this complete lack of evidence did not stop the FBI. "This group was more aspirational than operational," said John Pistole, the FBI's deputy director. In other words, merely thinking about "al-Qaeda," even if such a thought is planted by an agent provocateur, is illegal, a crime against the state.

George Orwell called this "thoughtcrime," and wrote: "Thoughtcrime is the only crime that matters." It does not matter if the hapless victims of FBI entrapment in Miami were actually a threat, the point here is they were thinking about "al-Qaeda," never mind this thought was planted in the mind of Narseal Batiste by the FBI...
As in the 2002 movie Minority Report, our government now considers you guilty if it suspects you might commit a crime, just like it does with other countries.

From Tom Toles.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Alien Nation

From the WaPo:
Americans are far more socially isolated today than they were two decades ago, and a sharply growing number of people say they have no one in whom they can confide, according to a comprehensive new evaluation of the decline of social ties in the United States.

A quarter of Americans say they have no one with whom they can discuss personal troubles, more than double the number who were similarly isolated in 1985. Overall, the number of people Americans have in their closest circle of confidants has dropped from around three to about two.

The comprehensive new study paints a sobering picture of an increasingly fragmented America, where intimate social ties -- once seen as an integral part of daily life and associated with a host of psychological and civic benefits -- are shrinking or nonexistent. In bad times, far more people appear to suffer alone.

"That image of people on roofs after Katrina resonates with me, because those people did not know someone with a car," said Lynn Smith-Lovin, a Duke University sociologist who helped conduct the study. "There really is less of a safety net of close friends and confidants."
Smith-Lovin said increased professional responsibilities, including working two or more jobs to make ends meet, and long commutes leave many people too exhausted to seek social -- as well as family -- connections: "Maybe sitting around watching 'Desperate Housewives' . . . is what counts for family interaction."
It is long past time to start negotiating the American way of life. The suburban model is not just a non-sustainable ecological disaster--it is isolating and depressing. We've spent trillions of dollars, fought wars, and consumed a huge proportion of the world's limited resources--all to make ourselves miserable. And we're still doing it!

State of Emergency

Alas Babylon, or any other place aWol sets his tiny little mind to invading.
The Iraqi government declared a state of emergency in Baghdad after American forces were involved in quelling a firefight in the city's center.

Elsewhere in Iraq, at least 12 people died and 24 were wounded after a bomb exploded just outside in a Sunni mosque in the village where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed. And at least 10 people were killed by a car bomb in the southern city of Basra, news services reported.

The American military announced today that a Marine was killed on Wednesday during combat operations in al-Anbar province, and that a soldier in Baghdad had died the same day in an incident unrelated to fighting.
The American military also announced Thursday that four marines had been killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb in Anbar Province, and that a soldier had died Tuesday after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb south of Baghdad.

And in a predawn raid on Thursday in Basra, in the south, 20 gunmen dressed in commando camouflage and black masks stormed a police station and freed three prisoners who had been charged with killing police officers, Iraqi officials said.
Meanwhile, back in Bush Quagmire I:
Four American soldiers were killed and one was wounded in a battle with Taliban insurgents on Wednesday in the far northeastern region of Afghanistan, the American military said Thursday.
Chris Floyd points out that while all this death and mayhem may bother you and me, it's just another way to make money for the Bushies and their supporters. Pretty much everything they've demanded of Iraq and Iran was available for the asking years ago, but they've continually refused to take yes for an answer, preferring war instead.
This week an interesting story appeared in the Washington Post, buried on page 16, of course, lest anyone think it was of the slightest importance. It revealed that documentary proof has now emerged confirming the fact that in the spring of 2003, the Bush Regime--flush with its illusory "victory" in Iraq--spurned a wide-ranging peace feeler from Iran which offered "full cooperation" on every issue that the Bushists claim to be concerned about in regard to Tehran: "nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups."
In other words, everything that George W. Bush says he wants from the Iranians now, he could have had for the asking three years ago. What then can we conclude from the rejection of this extraordinary initiative? The answer is obvious: that the Bush Faction is not really interested in curbing nuclear proliferation or defusing the powder keg of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the regional and global terror that it spawns.

What are they interested in? This answer too is obvious, to anyone who's been paying the slightest attention to the Faction's words and actions over the years: they are interested in loot and dominion. What they want from Iran is nothing less than its return to quasi-colonial control by the crony conquistadors of the West. And they're willing to play a (reasonably) long game to get it.

In the meantime, it serves their interests well for the entire Middle East to seethe and boil. War and rumors of war are engines of limitless profits for the crony-cons. It sends oil prices sky-high and keeps those pork-laden contracts for weapons and "military servicing" rolling in. And the terrorism that thrives in this deliberately created chaos is another massive money-maker, as vast armies of "security consultants" ply their political connections to gobble up tons of insider grease. Bush Regime minions have led the way in this alchemical transmutation of fear into gold: more than 90 officials from the Department of Homeland Security have stampeded through the revolving door from government service to lucrative private posts with companies seeking--and getting--fat deals from, er, the Department of Homeland Security, the New York Times reports.

Warmongers of Mass Delusion

From Tony Auth. Yes, in case you missed it, Little Ricky is claiming that "weapons of mass destruction" have been found in Iraq.
The lawmaker read from a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit:

"Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions, which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."

However, a senior Defense Department official pointed out to Fox News that the chemical weapons in question were not in useable condition.

"This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991," the official said, adding the munitions "are not the WMD this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMD for which this country went to war."
Santorum and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) are calling for more money to be wasted in addition to the $1 billion spent on the Bush-appointed Iraq Survey Group, whose report concluded that there were no WMD's (and which considered the detritus Santorum and Hoekstra are babbling about and determined that it in no way constituted WMD's).
Hoekstra added that the report shows that "there is still a lot about Iraq that we don't fully understand," and that he is going to ask for more reporting by the various intelligence agencies about weapons of mass destruction.

"[W]e are going to put additional pressure on the Department of Defense and the folks in Iraq to more fully pursue a complete investigation of what existed in Iraq before the war," Hoekstra said.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Historically, Bush is a fan of insurgencies

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - President Bush paid homage to Hungary's failed 1956 uprising against Soviet rule on Thursday and hailed its commitment to democracy in a region that was long dominated by Russia.
Bush, who visits Russia next month at a time when Washington is accusing Moscow of backsliding on democracy, praised the courage of Hungarians who rose up against communist rule in 1956 before resistance was crushed by Soviet tanks.

"I am here to celebrate the 1956 revolution. The idea of a revolution is celebrating the notion that all men and women should be free," Bush said at the start of talks with Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom.
Yeah. That's what revolutions are all about--celebration. Especially revolutions crushed by invading superpowers. Just one big party.


From John Darkow.

From Steve Sack.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The good ol' boy at his best

From the WaPo's review of Ron Suskind's new book, The One Percent Doctrine:
The book's opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush's Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president's attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: "All right. You've covered your ass, now."
What Bush really meant, of course, was "Dick and I have been planning this thing for a long time now--we've got a project for a new American century all worked out, and we need a new Pearl Harbor to get it started. And we're not about to let some damn spook blow it for us. Besides, this is my vacation--get the hell out of here!"

And then there's this:
One example out of many comes in Ron Suskind's gripping narrative of what the White House has celebrated as one of the war's major victories: the capture of Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in March 2002. Described as al-Qaeda's chief of operations even after U.S. and Pakistani forces kicked down his door in Faisalabad, the Saudi-born jihadist was the first al-Qaeda detainee to be shipped to a secret prison abroad. Suskind shatters the official story line here.

Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be. CIA and FBI analysts, poring over a diary he kept for more than a decade, found entries "in the voice of three people: Hani 1, Hani 2, and Hani 3" -- a boy, a young man and a middle-aged alter ego. All three recorded in numbing detail "what people ate, or wore, or trifling things they said." Dan Coleman, then the FBI's top al-Qaeda analyst, told a senior bureau official, "This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality."

Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda's go-to guy for minor logistics -- travel for wives and children and the like. That judgment was "echoed at the top of CIA and was, of course, briefed to the President and Vice President," Suskind writes. And yet somehow, in a speech delivered two weeks later, President Bush portrayed Abu Zubaydah as "one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States."
"I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."
Of course, compared to aWol and Fearmaster Cheney, Zubaydah was probably a model of sanity.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Massive war games

From AP:
Three aircraft carriers filled the skies with fighters as one of the largest U.S. military exercises in decades got underway Tuesday off this island in the western Pacific.
The maneuvers, dubbed "Valiant Shield," bring three carriers together in the Pacific for the first time since the Vietnam War. Some 30 ships, 280 aircraft and 22,000 troops will be participating in the five-day war games, which end Friday.

The exercises are intended to boost the ability of the Navy, Air Force and Marines to work together and respond quickly to potential contingencies in this part of the world, U.S. military officials said. Even U.S. Coast Guard vessels were joining in the maneuvers.

"The exercises are taking place on land, sea, air, space and cyberspace," said Senior Master Sgt. Charles Ramey. "They cover the whole spectrum."
Just one war after another.

Ration the Liberation

The US continues to bring freedom to the long-suffering people of Afghanistan, at the rate of 340 airstrikes in the past three months--more than twice the amount "liberation" delivered to Iraq in the same period. And those Afghans lucky enough not to be liberated directly by one of those bombs will know they are liberated--because their newspapers won't be allowed to tell them otherwise. From the BBC:
Criticism of the US-led coalition, or Nato mission, is banned as is interviewing what it calls terrorist commanders, or even filming or photographing them.

Representing the armed forces as weak is banned, as is publishing interviews against the government's foreign policy.

Broadcasters have also been told not to put news of militant activities, such as suicide or roadside bombings, as the lead story on bulletins.

The letter acquired by the BBC is marked not to be distributed or copied and was delivered by the intelligence services in Afghanistan to national journalists after they were summoned to a meeting.
The war in Afghanistan is just as premeditated and criminal as the one in Iraq, and don't let any lying politicians tell you otherwise (it's a favorite of Democrats trying to prove their macho or whatever). Yes, according to the official lie about 9/11, Afghanistan was "harboring terrorists" suspected of planning and directing the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. But so were Germany, Spain, Indonesia, California, Florida and New Jersey. The Afghan government, with their Nissan pickups and AK-47's, were to blame because they had not rid their country of these pesky terrorists, something the US military with its cruise missiles and pilotless missile-armed drones and night-vision goggles and depleted uranium hasn't been able to do in almost five years (approximately the same length of time that the Taliban had control of most of Afghanistan).

The Bushies continue to try to give their Iraq crime legitimacy by linking it to the "war on terror." It is way past time for the Dumbocrats to turn this nonsense inside out. The fiasco in Iraq and the lies told about it should be used to demonstrate the illegitimacy of the "war on terror." The Bushies didn't just lie about Iraq--they lied about EVERYTHING. All of their wars are bogus, and it's way past time for this to be shouted from the rooftops by anyone pretending to oppose the Bush agenda.

From John Branch.

From Ed Stein.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

From Jeff Parker.

Watch This!

Robert Newman's History of Oil.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The need for escapism is practically inescapable

Watch the World Cup, or watch the continued destruction of freedom, democracy and the world at the hands of our lawmakersbreakers? Watch Germany, Ecuador, England and Argentina romp into the second round, or watch the Senate and the Supreme Court stomp all over the Constitution and reality? It's awfully tempting to just sit back and watch the goals fly, instead of standing up as freedom dies. The Senate just voted, 98 to friggin' 1, to waste another $66 BILLION dollars on the destruction of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Roberts/Scalito court just decided that using evidence obtained in no-knock searches is just fine. And, on a 93-6 vote, the Senate rejected an amendment calling for a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The 2500th was killed recently, BTW.

So...When's the next game?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Awaits Senate Confirmation

NY Times headline: U.S. Identifies Successor to Zarqawi.

Senate leaders Bill Frist and Joe Biden both indicated that they expected Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri to have no trouble in getting his nomination confirmed. Biden said "We're without a boogeyman right now, and the sooner we get one the sooner we can go back to pretending that the war in Iraq has something to do with fighting terrorism."

Turning the corner

Billmon provides the caption for the Darkow cartoon below:
There are no more name-brand dictators or terrorists left to catch or kill: Zarqawi's successor is so obscure nobody seems to know who he is or where he came from -- it's not even written into the script yet. The elections are over, so there'll be no more purple fingers to wave in front of the cameras. The "permanent" government has been formed; all of its ministers finally named.

The turning points, in other words, have all been turned, and Iraq is still a killing field. Now that the last few macabre headlines have been squeezed out of Zarqwari's autopsy report, democracy boy and his handlers literally have nothing to look forward to -- except a long, hot summer of IEDs, ethnic cleansing and more of those flag-wrapped caskets being Federal Expressed to cemetaries around the country.
Unfortunately, Billmon forgets that the corner was never turned in Afghanistan, either--they just moved to a different corner. Now that there are no more propaganda victories to be had in Iraq, they'll just start over with Iran.


From John Darkow.

From Andy Singer.

I don't get it

From Jeff Koterba.

Koterba is a right-wing cartoonist from Omaha. I usually find his cartoons to be obnoxious, while sometimes they are funny or even on-target. This one has me stumped, however. Any ideas?

[Update] John writes:
I think the flood cartoon is related to the recent news about inappropriate expenses charged to some credit cards that were distributed to New Orleans flood victims.
Thanks, John. (Obviously, I've been paying more attention to the World Cup than I have to the news lately.) It makes sense that this would be the outrage that Koterba would see in this situation. I don't think I'll waste my time combing Koterba's archives looking for a similar cartoon about the frivolous ways the wealthy have been spending their enormous tax cuts.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ummm---where was this two years ago???

Or four years ago, for that matter.
It's not enough to argue with the logistics or to argue about the details or the manner of the conflict's execution or the failures of competence, as great as they are. It is essential to acknowledge that the war itself was a mistake, to say the simple words that contain more truth than pride. We were misled. We were given evidence that was not true. It was wrong, and I was wrong to vote for that Iraqi resolution.
-- John Kerry, speaking at the Take Back America conference in Washington Tuesday.

In his use of the passive voice, "We were misled," Kerry misleads us, once again, by pretending that he was a part of us, rather than one of the misleaders. Which he surely was. He was in a better position than most, in 2002, to know that there was no solid evidence of Iraqi WMDs, and even less that Iraq posed any threat at all to the US, WMDs or not. Still, he echoed the Bushies' lies as he voted for their war:
With respect to Saddam Hussein and the threat he presents, we must ask ourselves a simple question: Why? Why is Saddam Hussein pursuing weapons that most nations have agreed to limit or give up? Why is Saddam Hussein guilty of breaking his own cease-fire agreement with the international community? Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don't even try, and responsible nations that have them attempt to limit their potential for disaster? Why did Saddam Hussein threaten and provoke? Why does he develop missiles that exceed allowable limits? Why did Saddam Hussein lie and deceive the inspection teams previously? Why did Saddam Hussein not account for all of the weapons of mass destruction which UNSCOM identified? Why is he seeking to develop unmanned airborne vehicles for delivery of biological agents?
And two years later, after the whole world, including the billion-dollar Iraq Survey Group, knew that Saddam had no WMDs nor was anywhere near obtaining them, Kerry STILL defended his vote. Only now, when the American public, after years of being misled by Bush AND Kerry, has finally seen the light, is Kerry willing to admit he was wrong.

But has he LEARNED anything? Of course not. Four years too late, he finally admits that the Bushies were lying--about Iraq. That doesn't mean he is about to question any of the lies they're telling now. Here's what he said a few minutes after the quote above:
We allow for the over-horizon capacity to be able to respond to Iran or other threats to our country. We're not stupid.
You're either stupid, insane, or just another damn liar, then, John.

Kerry knew he was lied to about Vietnam; he knew he was lied to about Iran-Contra; now he finally admits he was lied to about Iraq. Yet he STILL accepts the lies about Iran! The swift boat attacks on Kerry were obvious nonsense; no matter how chicken he might have been in Vietnam, it was a lot less chicken than Bush was. But flip-flopper? His picture could be used to illustrate the definition. And when he says that we were misled, he tries to hide the fact, quite successfully I would say, that he is one of our leaders (and could have been our LEADER if he had actually tried to lead).

AAAARRRGH! And I started writing this post to complain once again about Hillary, who won't even go as far as Kerry in admitting in the face of overwhelming evidence that the Iraq war was a "mistake" (as Kerry and Pelosi both put it, although "crime" is the correct word).

W brings more freedom to Iraq

AWol had a fly-by photo op in Baghdad yesterday, where he demonstrated his new Prime Minister (and Prime Target, I imagine) Nuri al-Maliki puppet.

Just hours later, Puppet Maliki ordered a crackdown in Baghdad, because life there has been just a little too pleasant, I guess.

Now sing "If I only had a brain."

Of course, W didn't come home empty-handed:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

For only a dollar a day you can keep the death flowing

Selections from my favorite Reaganite's latest columns:
Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing hard-pressed US taxpayers $300,000,000 per day! These wars are lost. Yet, imbecilic members of Congress are in the process of funding the war for another year. Multiply $300 million by 365 days and you get $109,500,000,000. These are not the full costs. The huge figure does not include the destroyed equipment, destroyed lives, and long-term care of the maimed and disabled.

Gentle reader, are you getting enough vicarious pleasure from the slaughter of Iraqi women and children to justify this price tag? Is murdering "ragheads" that important to you? If so, you are one sick person, just like every member of the Bush administration.
$300 million--that's approximately $1 a day for every American. And Congress just voted to waste another $50 billion on the ongoing war crimes.

But it could be worse, and probably will be:
Just as the Bush Regime planned to attack Iraq and then orchestrated a case based on lies, the Bush Regime has already planned to attack Iran. Only this time nuclear weapons will be used.

Nuking Iran is an essential part of the attack plan. The US lacks the necessary conventional military force to invade and occupy Iran, but the use of nuclear weapons against Iran has a wider purpose. The neocons are determined not to have any more embarrassments, such as the Iraqi insurgency. By nuking Iran they intend to send a wider message that the US will use every means at its disposal to ensure its hegemony. The neocons believe that the use of nukes will convince Arabs and the wider world that there is no recourse to accepting America's will.

Mission CREEP

Jonathan at A Tiny Revolution reminds us of this exchange at aWol's bizarro press conference on March 6, 2003, two weeks before he started his illegal war of aggression in Iraq:
Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, millions of Americans can recall a time when leaders from both parties set this country on a mission of regime change in Vietnam. Fifty thousand Americans died. The regime is still there in Hanoi, and it hasn't harmed or threatened a single American in the 30 years since the war ended. What can you say tonight, sir, to the sons and the daughters of the Americans who served in Vietnam to assure them that you will not lead this country down a similar path in Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: That's a great question. Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament. And in order to disarm, it would mean regime change. I'm confident we'll be able to achieve that objective, in a way that minimizes the loss of life. No doubt there's risks in any military operation; I know that. But it's very clear what we intend to do. And our mission won't change. Our mission is precisely what I just stated. We have got a plan that will achieve that mission, should we need to send forces in.
Of course, this is just one of thousands of examples of aWol's hypocrisy--but I think it stands out because it contains a rare example of aWol speaking the truth. Not the part about the mission, or that it won't change, or even that the supposed mission was clear. No, the rare truth spoken by the pResident was the first sentence: "That's a great question." But, as usual on the rare times when he is asked a great question, his saying "That's a great question" means "I have no intention of answering it."

And, just a reminder. Just last month, aWol's Secretary of State and girlfriend Condiliar Rice was stating unequivocally that the mission had changed, completely:
I would ask that people remember why we are there. We are there because we are trying to--having overthrown a brutal dictator who was a destabilizing force in the Middle East, we're trying to help the Iraqis create a stable foundation for democracy and a stable foundation for peace.

From Matt Davies.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Quote du jour

According to Juan Cole quoting Al-Hayat, an Iranian official joked recently that the US doesn't need to invade Iran:
He said that the US had invaded Afghanistan and established an Islamic republic there. Then it had done the same thing in Iraq. Since Iran has had an Islamic republic for 27 years, he said, there really isn't a point in a US invasion.
Unfortunately--since when has the Cheney administration needed a point? Invasion is an end in itself for these criminals.


Asymmetrical warfare

They were held for years thousands of miles from home, charged with nothing and without rights. But when they finally cracked and took their own lives, it just demonstrated how evil they really were, according to Admiral Harris, commander at Gitmo:
"They are smart, they are creative, they are committed," Admiral Harris said. "They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."
Sort of like that Palestinian family of fanatics who got themselves killed by an Israel shell while picnicking on the beach. Will they stop at nothing??

The WSWS describes how the Israeli shelling was intentionally designed to provoke retaliation from Hamas and other Palestinian militants and to prevent the various Palestinian groups from working together. This means, and the Israelis know it, that more buses and restaurants will blow up in Israel, giving them the green light (as if they ever waited for it) to continue their extermination of the Palestinians.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Copa Mondial

Some distractions, like anti-gay-marriage amendments and the fake murder of fake terrorists, I try, usually unsuccessfully, to ignore. But other distractions I embrace wholeheartedly, and the World Cup is one of those. If you want to feel more a part of your world, you can join it in two sentiments: a hatred for Bush and a love for FOOTBALL (not football).

Now, if you'll escuse me, the Netherlands-Serbia & Montenegro match just started!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

From Bill Schorr.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mission Accomplished

Whoever died in the real or imagined airstrike in Hibhib, the mission was certainly accomplished: All the news websites are filled with Zarqawi stories instead of Haditha stories, for the second day running. That's ALL this was about.

The WSWS give a sober review of the nonsense, while Chris Floyd recalls the whole sordid Zarqawi fairy tale:
The reputed end of Zarqawi's reign of terror comes a mere four years after U.S. forces had pinpointed his hideout and were prepared to destroy his entire operation, only to be forestalled by the White House. Before the war, Zarqawi and his band of non-Iraqi Islamic extremists had a camp in northern Iraq, in territory controlled by American-backed Kurdish forces, who had wrested it from the hands of Saddam Hussein. U.S. Special Forces, CIA agents and other American personnel had a free hand to operate there; indeed, anti-Saddam Iraqi exiles held open meetings in the territory, safe from the reach of the dictator.

In June 2002, American forces had locked in on Zarqawi's location. They prepared a detailed attack plan that would have destroyed the terrorist band. But their request to strike was turned down not once, but twice by the White House. Administration officials feared that such a strike would have muddied the waters in their public relations effort to foment war fever against Saddam's regime.

At every turn, the Bush team had painted a picture of Saddam Hussein as a powerful dictator able to threaten the entire world. They had implied, insinuated and sometimes openly declared that he was in league with al Qaeda. But this wildly successful psy-ops campaign would have been undermined by a raid on Zarqawi, which would have exposed the truth: that Saddam was a crippled, toothless despot who had lost control of much of his own land and couldn't even threaten vast enemy armies within his own borders – much less his neighbors or the rest of the world. It would have also exposed the fact that the only Islamic terrorists operating on Iraqi soil were in areas controlled by America and its allies – which, now that Mr. Bush's invasion has opened the whole country to extremist terror, is still the case.
Oddly enough, Zarqawi first vaulted into the American consciousness just after the public exposure of earlier U.S. atrocities: the tortures at Abu Ghraib prison in the spring of 2004. With story after story of horrible abuse battering the Administration during an election year, Zarqawi, or someone just like him, suddenly appeared with a Grand Guignol production: the beheading of American civilian Nick Berg. This atrocity was instantly seized upon by supporters of the war to justify the "intensive interrogation" of "terrorists" – even though the Red Cross had determined that 70 to 90 percent of American captives at that time had committed no crime whatsoever, much less been involved in terrorism, as the notorious anti-war Wall Street Journal reported. Abu Ghraib largely faded from the public eye – indeed, it was not mentioned by a single speaker at the Democratic National Convention a few weeks later or raised as an issue during the presidential campaign that year.

Today's news has likewise knocked the new atrocity allegations off the front pages, to be replaced with heartening stories of how, as the New York Times reports, Zarqawi's death "appears to mark a major watershed in the war." Thus in his reputed end as in his reputed beginning, the Scarlet Pimpernel of Iraq has, by remarkable coincidence, done yeoman service for the immediate publicity needs of his deadly enemy, the Bush Administration.
The media and the congresscritters have a new take on aWol's favorite Texas saying: "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me a thousand times? Oooh! I like that! Do it some more!"

That the Bush administration and the Pentagon have lied repeatedly, about WMD's and ties to 9/11 and body armor and Haditha and pretty much everything else, is common knowledge. That they deliberately and admittedly use disinformation in Iraq and elsewhere is also well known. Still, every new announcement they make is treated as pure fact. What if they told a lie and no one repeated it?

Series Finale

Billmon reviews the final episode of the Abu Zarqawi Hour reality show:
Doubts about the show's viability deepened in April, after Washington Post TV critic Tom Ricks questioned whether the supposedly spontaneous reality show was actually being scripted by its producers.

Over the next few weeks, insiders say, Pentagon Channel executives determined that while the Zarqawi show still had a dedicated following of hardcore fans who would swallow any plot device, no matter how ludicrous, the series no longer made commercial or artistic sense. It was also believed that a spectacular and upbeat finale might lure viewers away from Haditha, the controversial docudrama now airing on the rival Reality Network.

Network sources say the Pentagon Channel is weighing a possible sequel to the Abu Zarqawi Hour, featuring an identical plot but a completely different cast. The network and Zarqawi have permanently severed their relationship, these sources added, due to "irreconcilable creative differences."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Does Yale have any reputation left to lose?

It gave degrees to both George Bushes, and John Kerry as well. It has employed a wealth-based affirmative action program for centuries. And now it denied Juan Cole a position in its history department at the request of the Israel lobby.

Billmon has the gruesome details.

They're just daring us to call them liars

Pictures from the "Zarqawi" "hit" (via Yahoo!):

The neighborhood:

Note that the neighborhood has lots of trees. There is a large open space without trees to the bottom of the picture--but it is also without buildings.

The house:

Note how tall the trees are and the proportions between the trunks and the crowns, and how isolated the house appears--more like an isolated villa.


So--Where are the trees??? Where in the top photo could the photographer possibly be standing to take this photo, showing several buildings, but not a single tree?

Oh, there's a tree, looking barely over one story tall--hardly one of the 60-footers from the second photo. And it sure looks like more than one house was destroyed.

Oops! No trees again.

Oh, there they are! Maybe the air strike shortened them by 40 feet (Okay, maybe it's one of those weird camera-perspective things--but compare the proportions of the trees to those in the second photo). And what about the trees right next to the house? Was the blast so massive as to obliterate every living thing??? So how come this guy looks so intact, relatively speaking?

The mainstream media obviously won't, but I will. Liars! Liars! Liars!

Fortunately, the Senate did

From R.J. Matson.

How desperate are things in Iraq?

So desperate that the US military and the "Iraqi government" are willing to announce that they've killed their bogeyman. And the lapdog press is lapping it up, based entirely on reports from the military and the puppet government. That Zarqawi and his supposed "al Qaeda in Iraq" organization were hyped by aggressive PR, that he may well have been dead for three years--none of this makes its way into the reports from the NY Times or the Washington Post (the paper which ran the story about the Pentagon's hyping of Zarqawi back in April).

Eight months from now we'll find out that "Zarqawi" and his seven dead associates were actually fourth graders or something. The Post gets so excited it probably wet itself:
His killing is the most significant public triumph for the U.S.-led coalition since the 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein.
Anyone who believes these latest lies should ask himself: Isn't the military capable of using tear gas or some other non-lethal way of capturing suspects, especially ones who supposedly lead massive terrorist organizations that they would like to break up? If al Qaeda in Iraq is really a massive terror organization, wouldn't the military want to interrogate its leaders, rather than just kill them and lose their secrets?

That would make sense only if you believe all of the lies. Bush and Maliki desperately needed a "triumph" (which in Iraq seems to be synonymous with "murder"), so they "killed" their bogeyman.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Secrecy and blackmail

I was explaining the process of impeachment to my Mexican friend the other day. She said "But no presidents have actually been impeached, have they?" I said that yes, two have, but neither was actually removed from office. So we got to talking about Clinton's impeachment, and she, like most people in the reality-based world, said that the Lewinsky affair was a stupid reason for impeachment.

I replied that I agreed, but that I think that it was more serious than most of my liberal friends do. This has nothing to do with whether adultery makes one more or less capable of being president. To me, the Lewinsky affair was a serious issue only because Clinton made it so--by denying it for a year he made himself, his most-powerful-man-in-the-world self, vulnerable to blackmail. Almost certainly, Bill and Monica weren't the only people who knew the truth. And since the President of the United States was demonstrably willing to lie about it, anyone with that knowledge had a big hook in the leader of the "free world." It could have been Osama bin Laden; it could have been Karl Rove; it could have been Ken Lay. It could have been someone we've never heard of and never will--but chances are that someone was dragging Clinton around by the nose during the year he was denying the affair (and even afterward--whatever he may have done because of the blackmail was probably much worse than the affair, and therefore even more vulnerable to blackmail). Yes, the affair was trivial and unrelated to being president; yes, he was hounded and entrapped; but by refusing to come clean on the story he put himself and the country at the mercy of anyone who knew his little secret.

So I explained this to my Mexican friend, and then it occurred to me that where Clinton had a dirty little secret, or maybe a dozen or a hundred, Bush has tens of thousands, contained in those documents he keeps classifying by the truckload. And while it is awful that this information, which belongs to the American people and almost certainly could have been used to vote or impeach Bush out of office, isn't public knowledge, it may be even worse that it is known by just a few. As bad as Bush seems, is it possible that he does so many terrible things because he is being blackmailed? It looks like we'll never know; as his crimes continue to multiply, we can be sure that the secrecy will as well. Secrecy is inherently undemocratic, removing power from the public and placing it in the hands of those few who know the secret. When it involves the most powerful men in the world, secrecy becomes lethal on a large scale.

The war on mass transit

In this country, the destruction of mass transit had been a slow, evolving thing--a public-private partnership. There have been massive subsidies for highways at the insistence of AAA and auto-industry lobbyists; the alleged conspiracy led by GM to destroy streetcar systems; the withering on the vine of Amtrak, expected to turn a profit while competing with massively-subsidized highways and airlines; the failure of twentieth-century land planning and the positive encouragement by government for the growth of suburban sprawl, creating a landscape which can only be navigated with private vehicles.

On the other hand, mass transit in Iraq is under a more direct and rapid assault. In just the past few days:
Then again, things haven't been that great for traveling by private vehicle, either. Ethnic cleansing activities are forcing thousands of Iraqis to be on the move, but attacks by Sunni, Shiite and American insurgents make that, and everything else, dangerous.

Killing hope

Mike Gerber writes about the assassinations of the 1960's:
Forty years on, Kennedy-King-Kennedy looks to me like the moment things started going bad, when control really clamped down from above, and apathy really took root below. Our country is headed in the wrong direction, and without a shred of romanticism, I think that direction was set by the assassinations of the 60s--not only by the loss of those people, their ideas and their ability to inspire, but also by our getting used to unsolved public murder as business as usual. That is a coarsening equal to any suffered by the Roman Republic. Is it merely coincidence that we've turned from a country of possibilities to one grinding out the same tragic, hoary imperial script? The country is traumatized, directionless, hurt; and a generation of politicians have risen who are experts at keeping us that way.

We go around in circles, searching for Kennedy-manques, a right wheel turning around a chewed stump where the left wheel used to be. If you don't like metaphors, here's a fact: All of the "lone nuts" of the 60s weakened one side of the spectrum, in favor of the other. We may think that's a mournful coincidence now, but I doubt future generations will. In my dark moments, I'm convinced that those bullets marked the beginning of American civilization's decline, the time when our capacity for fear and corruption decisively outstripped our desire for positive change.
I assume that in his brighter moments he figures that happened on 9/11 instead.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Adjectively speaking, Will Durst doesn't like the Bushies

He throws every adjective, including xylophonic, at the "EVIL, cretinous slime bluckets in the Bush Administration."

From Matt Bors.

From Don Wright.

From R.J. Matson.

From Tom Toles.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Juan Cole counts 80 dead from violence in Iraq yesterday. He also notes that the Iraqi government says that 180,000 Iraqis have been displaced by faith-based ethnic cleansing since mid-February.

Satire is still possible, if just barely

Bob Harris shows us how:
July 4, 2007

American citizens will now be compelled to allow British soldiers to live in their homes, thanks to a new signing statement from President Bush.

By negating the Third Amendment, the new order completes the abrogation of the entire United States Bill of Rights. High-level White House sources have indicated that this was Bush's sole purpose in issuing the statement.
The new signing statement was written into the margin of an unrelated bill blocking any recount of votes in the massive GOP sweep of the 2006 elections, giving Republicans a resounding majority in 53 states. Some Democrats mildly protested the vote count in December, citing mathematical studies which they claimed demonstrated that only 50 states had existed prior to the election. Republicans denounced this as "math," and the question remained unresolved for weeks.

The story gained further notoriety when bloggers in the state of North Florida found that three days before the election, the Veterans Administration had declared the entire black population of the state as Killed In Action in the 1944 battle of Anzio, even though several hundred Republican votes in the state were apparently cast by manatees.

From Jen Sorensen.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

How stupid is the NY Times?

I'm reading David Rieff's NY Times article about Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), the "leftist" candidate for president in Mexico's July 2 election, when I come across this sentence (emphasis added):
Although some American observers remain fearful of his leftist tendencies--The Wall Street Journal ran a column in March worrying that AMLO might be "laying the groundwork for an assault on the private sector"--none of the Americans I spoke to in Mexico seemed to believe that Lopez Obrador will nationalize oil and gas resources, as Evo Morales has done and Hugo Chávez has threatened to do.
I imagine few of those Americans believed, either, that AMLO would lose California to the United States or join the North American Free Trade Agreement--because those things have already been done! Mexico nationalized its oil industry in 1938; the national oil company is called PEMEX. And Hugo Chavez can threaten to nationalize Venezuela's oil all he wants, but it won't change the fact that Venezuela's oil industry was nationalized in 1975 (PDVSA), long before Chavez came to power.

I wonder what Rieff's Americans in Mexico think about the chances of George Bush annexing Alaska and Hawaii to the United States.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Quote du jour

I can't help wondering today how many of the innocents slaughtered in Haditha took the opportunity to vote in the Iraqi elections -- before their "liberators" murdered them.
-- Robert Fisk


From Chan Lowe.

From Ed Stein.

From Rex Babin.

Friday, June 02, 2006

More massacres

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military is investigating the deaths of nearly a dozen Iraqi civilians during a U.S. raid near Balad in March.

The probe is one of several inquiries into the possible killings of Iraqis, including women and children, by U.S. troops. Among the incidents are an alleged massacre by Marines of 24 civilians in Haditha last November and the death of an Iraqi civilian near Hamandiya, west of Baghdad, on April 26.

Also under military investigation are reports that soldiers killed two women, including one who was pregnant, in Samarra on Tuesday. Witnesses said the women were killed when their vehicle drove through a checkpoint.
Apparently, the wingnut reaction to Haditha is that we shouldn't "Rush to judgment." They want to wait until the smoking gun is a mushroom cloud on this one, apparently. This cartoon from Colorado Springs looney Chuck Asay shows the approach:


First, no specific Marines have been charged so far, much less been convicted without a trial. The evidence that a crime was committed seems overwhelming, and has been conceded by the military. And the suggestion that Murtha, or people on the left (which Murtha isn't), are engaging in some sort of collective punishment against the Marines by pointing out that this crime was committed, is ludicrous (even though the crime itself seems to have been an act of collective punishment, as is the entire war--for imagined crimes). And then, of course, the war itself is both an example of and a furtherance of the degradation of the Constitution.

BTW--Here's what Asay thought of fair trials back in November, 2001:

Good point, John

CNN fantasy correspondents Wolf Blitzer and John Roberts hallucinate on television:
BLITZER: John, it's an important diplomat triumph, if you will, for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. But it's too early to be corking champagne bottles over at the White House.

ROBERTS: Yes. I mean, there is nothing to suggest, Wolf, that even though they have agreed on a set of sanctions that anything is going to get past the U.N. Security Council.

Don't forget, there has been resolution on sanctions against North Korea because of its nuclear program that's been languishing for three years. And then, of course, there is the issue, if they do get sanctions leveled against Iraq--leveled against Iran, are they going to work? Don't forget, Iraq endured 11 years of sanctions, and, you know, we still had to go to war to get rid of what it was that they had.

BLITZER: Good point, John. Thank you very much.
Good point???? We HAD to go to war to get rid of WHAT IT WAS THEY HAD???? NOTHING??????

And Condi's "triumph" was having Iran reject an offer there was no way they were going to accept, passing one more phony milestone on the way to yet another criminal war.

It's getting sticky with Maliki

The new puppet in Iraq is tugging back on the strings:
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki lashed out at the American military on Thursday, denouncing what he characterized as habitual attacks by troops against Iraqi civilians.

As outrage over reports that American marines killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha last year continued to shake the new government, the country's senior leaders said that they would demand that American officials turn over their investigative files on the killings and that the Iraqi government would conduct its own inquiry.

In his comments, Mr. Maliki said violence against civilians had become a "daily phenomenon" by many troops in the American-led coalition who "do not respect the Iraqi people."

"They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion," he said. "This is completely unacceptable." Attacks on civilians will play a role in future decisions on how long to ask American forces to remain in Iraq, the prime minister added.
Puppet Karzai in Afghanistan made similar noises last year, but was brushed off by W. The Bushies went to a lot of trouble to get Maliki where he is--two wars, sanctions, three sham elections, and then vetoing the results of the last election. After all that, they're not about to listen to him.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The sky IS falling

Most days, Chris Floyd writes about one horrible thing or another, and most days I make some remarks about it here. Today, however, Floyd's post is a compilation of short reviews of several ongoing disasters: the rise of Christian Nationalism, the corporate takeover of the courts, Chomsky's take on the failed state called the U. S. of A., and how the Bushies "war paradign" has been used, intentionally, to radically alter (destroy, really) justice in America.

I haven't followed his links yet--I'm not sure I have either the time or the courage. But you can, if you dare.

The Titanic's new captain

From Tom Toles.

Why Haditha isn't a big story on the Arab street

Ted Rall explains why the reports of the Haditha massacre aren't provoking riots like the Danish cartoons and the Koran-in-the-crapper stories did:
Meanwhile, in the "new" Iraq, Abdel Salam al-Qubaisy of Iraq's Sunni Muslim Scholars Association says, U.S. massacres of civilians occur routinely. "The American soldier has become an expert in killing," he shrugs. Like many Iraqis, Baghdad shopkeeper Mohammed Jawdaat says that U.S. troops have never shown respect for the lives of Iraqi civilians. "Six months ago," remembers Jawdaat, "a car pulled out of a street towards an American convoy and a soldier just opened fire. The driver was shot in the head. There were no warning shots and the Americans didn't even stop."

Abd Mohammed Falah, a Ramadi attorney, says: "U.S. forces have committed more crimes against the Iraqi people than appears in the media. The U.S. defense secretary and his generals should be sent to court instead of two or three soldiers who will be scapegoats."

Newspapers don't bother to report when the sun rises in the east nor do they assign reporters to cover when dogs bite men. Likewise, says Baghdad newspaper boy Imad Mohammed, Iraqi newspapers haven't mentioned Haditha. Same-old, same-old massacres of Iraqis by American forces are no longer news: "The Americans see a Muslim go into a mosque and just assume he is a terrorist. They either arrest him or blow it up."