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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Nothing says freedom

Quite like a curfew:
The curfew was rare both in its scope and severity, catching many residents of Baghdad by surprise. Many people are fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, eating and drinking only after sunset, and they were caught without supplies and fresh bread--a Baghdad staple. Most residents did not have a chance to shop on Friday because of a regular, weekly vehicle curfew to prevent attacks against mosques during prayers.
Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose--which is pretty much where Iraq is now.

House for Sale

As Congress was shredding the Constitution this past week, Nancy Pelosi and other House "leaders" were hard at work--extorting their colleagues to give money to the Party. From the NY Times:
To move up the ladder in Congress, you must do more than win votes. You are, quite literally, expected to pay your dues.

If you are a rank-and-file member of the House, the amount is up to $100,000. If your ambitions are to preside over a powerful committee, the duty is $300,000. For a top party leader, the tally can climb beyond $600,000.

Make those checks payable to the Republican or Democratic Congressional campaign committees.

Whether or not they are in competitive races, lawmakers are asked to mount vigorous fund-raising drives to fill their own campaign chests. Then they dole to the party, which spreads the money to the most competitive campaigns in the country.
So, even if you're a much-loved champion of the poor, easily winning re-election every two years without needing to raise much money, you're expected to sell yourself to the highest bidders if you ever want to chair a committee or be Speaker of the House. And as the Repugs were forcing torture and unlimited enemy combatantship on the country and the world, what was the possible next Speaker of the House doing?
Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois, said he had no intention of paying his dues of $250,000, assessed because of his seniority on the Financial Services Committee. But after a two-minute telephone conversation with the minority leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, he changed course and sent in a check for $15,000.

"It's kind of hard to ignore," Mr. Gutierrez said in an interview, conceding that before Ms. Pelosi rang his cellphone, he had not given a nickel. "I still owe $225,000. Thank God it doesn't affect my credit score when I go get a mortgage."

It could, however, affect what committee assignments are passed out when Congress convenes in January. Several members said they had been told by party leaders that their positions could be on the line if they fail to contribute.

Last weekend, Ms. Pelosi made more than 50 telephone calls to members of her caucus, chiding them to pay their dues.
While it's somewhat alarming to note that a senior member of the Financial Services Committee apparently thinks that $250,000 minus $15,000 equals $225,000, that pales in comparison with the overall gist of the article. Only bankers are willing to spend the kind of cash Gutierrez needs to be appointed chairman of the Financial Services Committee by Speaker Pelosi, and he'll be much more steadfast in representing those bankers than he will in representing his district in Illinois (and he won't have to worry about getting a mortgage, either). If you wonder why Congress just voted another $70 billion to be flushed down the two-holer outhouse overseas, it's because the people profiting from those wars are the ones who make it possible for our Congre$$critters to climb the ladder.

Friday, September 29, 2006

They're now using air conditioners in the Arctic

The road through Hell

MIchelle sent me this link, a video showing a truck convoy in Iraq being attacked. The escorts from the Virginia National Guard apparently abandoned the Halliburton drivers to their fates. The one who survived (wounded) was later fired by Halliburton.

"History tells us that logic is false"

Like truth and reality, logic is a major casualty of the "war on terror." As I suggested a couple of days ago, one risks one's sanity attempting to understand what the Bushies' are saying. WIIIAI seems fully sane to me, but you can tell that the Bushian nonsense is starting to wear on him:
It's the pretense of pragmatism that irritates me. The pro-war spin on the semi-declassified NIE focuses on the sentence, "Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight." I'll concede that premise, which seems common sensical enough, but, even putting aside the countervailing number of jihadists created every day the war continues, how does this add up to a case for continuing the war to make us safer from terrorism? Have they never heard of cost-benefit analysis? Let's say that pulling out of Iraq would mean 1,000 fighters "inspired to carry on the fight." Hell, let's say 10,000. If we dealt with them through traditional means--intelligence, security, phone-tapping, satellites, etc--we could spend $100 million to combat each fighter, and still come out ahead.
It's like interpreting puke as art. You may think you see patterns, contrast, symmetry, balance, symbolism, or whatever in it, but it's still just puke. WIIIAI attempts to find logic where there is none. Bush even has an answer for him, which WIIIAI quotes in his next paragraph: "History tells us that logic is false." (To be fair, which I think also left the building with reality, I believe that the emphasis in W's sentence was on "that," a reference to some logic he doesn't like. Then again...)

Letting Big Dogs Lie

Whether or not he had sex with that woman, and no matter what the definition of "is" is, Bill Clinton either bombed at least one country based on lies, or else he is lying now, as Jonathan Schwarz documents.

From Lalo Alcaraz.

The murderers of democracy

Chris Floyd our Congressional torture-lovers for what they are: The murderers of democracy. Greg Saunders surveys the 5.5 "Democrats" who voted for torture and are running for re-election, including Michigan's own waterboarder, Debbie Stabenow. All 5.5 had sizeable leads in the most recent polls. (Joe Lieberman is Saunders' 1/2 Democrat, although Saunders is being very generous there.) So maybe their votes weren't just election-year scumbaggery. Maybe they really and truly hate the Constitution, international law, and humanity in general.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

What you need to know about American politics

Just watched the Daily Show. Jon Stewart's guest was former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, who resigned in 2004 three months after coming out of the closet. McGreevey told Stewart that his many years of concealing his homosexuality actually helped him to succeed in politics--he was practiced at the art of deception.

Eternal Shame on Debbie Stabenow

Voting with the Repugs to support torture, violation of international law, suspension of habeus corpus. Apparently she feared a Repug attack ad something like this:
Debbie Stabenow thinks people are entitled to fair trials. Debbie Stabenow believes defendants should be able to see the evidence against them. Debbie Stabenow doesn't think we should trust George Bush, and only George Bush, to define acceptable interrogation techniques.

Debbie Stabenow. Bad for torture; bad for fascism.
Well, you can relax, Debbie. The Repugs won't be running that ad. But they'll find something else, Debbie, they always do. And you'll always have on your conscience that human beings, many of them innocent, are being brutally tortured with your approval.

What a total lack of respect for the people of Michigan you have, Debbie, if you think this vote will impress us. Even Hillary wasn't this much of a sellout.

Call now!

A NY Times editorial highlights the "flaws" in the Bush-McCain Torture Bill:
Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of "illegal enemy combatant" in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.

The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret--there's no requirement that this list be published.

Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.

Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable--already a contradiction in terms--and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.

Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.

Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.
The Senate hasn't voted on this abomination--yet. Call now!

Condi really is an idiot

WIIIAI links to Condiliar's interview with the NY Times editorial board. Miss "No one could possibly have forseen" is at it again. WIIAI:
On why the invasion of Iraq did not create terrorists: "They attacked us on September 11th before anybody had even thought of overthrowing Saddam Hussein." Before anybody had even though...? Ever heard of the first Gulf War, Condi? Ever heard of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, Condi? Ever heard of the Project for the New American Century, Condi?
But there's much, much more, enough to make me think that W likes Condi so much because she's even stupider than he is.
The first point that I would make is that it should be no surprise to anyone that as you choose to confront terrorists in a pretty aggressive and offensive way, that they will do everything that they can to fight back...
Hey, she said the "war on terror" is offensive, not me.
You need to know that of course, al-Qaida makes no distinction between the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq in their recruiting.
See? They're just like us!

Here's the broader context, if you can call it that, for the quote WIIIAI referred to:
So there are plenty of excuses and plenty of arguments as to why people ought to go and fight these so-called Western forces. They didn't need Iraq to do that. They attacked us on September 11th before anybody had even thought of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. And they have attacked in places where the countries were involved in Afghanistan, they've attacked in places where the countries aren't involved anywhere. They've attacked without regard to what your policies happen to be.
I'm not sure what attacks she might be referring to in that last sentence. Bali, maybe? Indonesia hasn't sent troops to Afghanistan or Iraq, but the big Bali attack in 2002 targeted foreign tourists, mostly Australian, and included a bombing of the American consulate. It wasn't Indonesia's policies that were targeted.

Condi continues to show contempt for the reality-based community:
[Zarqawi's] second plan was to create tension, indeed, conflict between Sunnis and Shia and to, in effect, unleash sectarian violence. So to a certain extent, he had some success with both of those strategies. But the first of those, that is, trying to bring Iraq into the al-Qaida struggle and make it a central focal point, because after all, Iraq is a great center of civilization and therefore, symbolic as well as an actual haven--would be symbolic as well as an actual haven from his point of view; it's produced a backlash. It's produced a serious backlash among Sunnis, among Sunni tribes.

That's one reason we've been able to fight effectively in places like Fallujah. Zarqawi didn't walk in one day and give himself up. People helped us get him, which was part of this backlash. And so to the degree that there was an effort to make Iraq a central part of this, I think it has produced a backlash.
Condi apparently didn't see this report.
They are having some success in Baghdad with the Baghdad security program. There's no doubt about that.
Just depends on how you define success, I guess.

Condi on Lebanon:
I'll tell you something. Lebanon had come to a standstill politically well before the Hezbollah attack. I think you could make an argument that after the war, things had begun to move, some of them sideways, some of them forward, but they have begun to move.
I'll assume that Condi isn't aware, since she apparently isn't aware of anything, that the use of violence to effect political change is commonly called "terrorism." Of course, Condi doesn't do definitions:
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, six months of cutting off support to the Palestinian Governments seems to have had an impact on Hamas. Looked somewhat hopeful there for a while that Abu Mazen and Hania could form some sort of a government that would perhaps say the right thing and even more important, do the right thing. Now they seem to be in a stalemate.

There are a lot of people who say you need to get on a plane and you need to try to back Abu Mazen up and try to get over this hump, because this is a moment that you pushed for, a moment of weakness for Hamas. And it looks like it has a possibility of just leeching away.

SECRETARY RICE: I don't think that it is yet--what did you use, leeching?


SECRETARY RICE: Leeching. Leeching away -- they didn't teach me that word at Denver. What is leeching? Kind of --

QUESTION: Geologic erosion.

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, geologic erosion, all right. It's because I was a music major; I understand, okay.
Given that this was a verbal interview, Condi wouldn't have known whether the interviewer meant "leaching," which is "extracting a substance from a solid by dissolving it in a liquid," and is apparently what the interviewer meant, although incorrectly transcribed, or "leeching," which basically means "bloodsucking." But I guess it didn't matter--Dr. Rice, music major, was unfamiliar with both definitions (either of which was reasonably appropriate in the context used by the Times interviewer--the moment of opportunity may just wash away or may get sucked away).

There's a whole lot more, if you dare. This is our Secretary of State, people.

Farewell to Freedom

The torture bill just passed by the House and waiting for Senate approval pretty much destroys what's left of the Constitution. From Digby:
But the really breathtaking subsection is subsection (ii), which would provide that UEC is defined to include any person "who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense."

Read literally, this means that if the Pentagon says you're an unlawful enemy combatant -- using whatever criteria they wish -- then as far as Congress, and U.S. law, is concerned, you are one, whether or not you have had any connection to "hostilities" at all.
Call your senators now, while you still can.

Dinner in Hell

Nuts of the round table.

Usually these two have the world's OTHER leading terrorist between them.

"Excellent Pakistan joke, Hamid! Put 'er there!"

Hugo Chavez was right.

From Pat Bagley.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The story changes quickly

"We're not going to let lies and propaganda by the enemy dictate how we win this war." -- aWol, yesterday.

Actually, three weeks ago, that seemed to be exactly what the Bushies were doing. They even had an entire web page devoted to alleged quotes from terrorists. Here's a quote from aWol's speech on September 5:
We know what the terrorists intend to do because they've told us -- and we need to take their words seriously. So today I'm going to describe -- in the terrorists' own words, what they believe... what they hope to accomplish, and how they intend to accomplish it. I'll discuss how the enemy has adapted in the wake of our sustained offensive against them, and the threat posed by different strains of violent Islamic radicalism. I'll explain the strategy we're pursuing to protect America, by defeating the terrorists on the battlefield, and defeating their hateful ideology in the battle of ideas.

The terrorists who attacked us on September the 11th, 2001, are men without conscience -- but they're not madmen. They kill in the name of a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs that are evil, but not insane. These al Qaeda terrorists and those who share their ideology are violent Sunni extremists. They're driven by a radical and perverted vision of Islam that rejects tolerance, crushes all dissent, and justifies the murder of innocent men, women and children in the pursuit of political power. They hope to establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East, which they call a "Caliphate" -- where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology. Osama bin Laden has called the 9/11 attacks -- in his words -- "a great step towards the unity of Muslims and establishing the Righteous... [Caliphate]."

This caliphate would be a totalitarian Islamic empire encompassing all current and former Muslim lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. We know this because al Qaeda has told us. About two months ago, the terrorist Zawahiri -- he's al Qaeda's second in command -- declared that al Qaeda intends to impose its rule in "every land that was a home for Islam, from [Spain] to Iraq. He went on to say, "The whole world is an open field for us."
He goes on and on. And on.
Hear the words of bin Laden: "I now address... the whole... Islamic nation: Listen and understand... The most... serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War... [that] is raging in [Iraq]." He calls it "a war of destiny between infidelity and Islam." He says, "The whole world is watching this war," and that it will end in "victory and glory or misery and humiliation." For al Qaeda, Iraq is not a distraction from their war on America -- it is the central battlefield where the outcome of this struggle will be decided.
(That's copied directly from the White House web site--and that "Hear the words of bin Laden" still freaks me out.)

Eventually, he reached this conclusion:
These evil men know that a fundamental threat to their aspirations is a democratic Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. They know that given a choice, the Iraqi people will never choose to live in the totalitarian state the extremists hope to establish. And that is why we must not, and we will not, give the enemy victory in Iraq by deserting the Iraqi people.
In other words, we must let the "lies and propaganda by the enemy dictate how we win this war."

I realize I'm in dangerous territory here--Analyzing aWol's insane ramblings seems like a likely path to insanity itself. The WaPo's Dan Froomkin attempts it today, and WIIIAI does it almost every day, including yesterday. He even dares to take on Tony Blair today! We're playing with fire here, folks! Please be careful!

Alternate ending

Pakistan's dictator Pervez Musharraf was on "The Daily Show" last night:
To conclude the interview, Stewart put Musharraf on the "Seat of Heat," a new feature for the program in which red lights flash around the studio and the guest is asked a final question.

"George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden--be truthful--who would win a popular vote in Pakistan?" asked Stewart.

"I think they'll both lose miserably," replied Musharraf, an answer met with raucous laughter by the "Daily Show" audience.
Alternate ending:
"That's not how we decide things in Pakistan," said Musharraf.
Musharraf also said (really), when asked about the Iraq war, "It has led certainly to more extremism and terrorism around the world."

Fun dinner these clowns are going to have tonight! A chimp, a puppet, and a despot.

Juan Cole on the National Intelligence Estimate

The real scandal is that the NIE was classified at all. This is the best judgment of the 16 intelligence units of the US government. Even senators and congressmen had been denied access to it by the secrecy-obsessed Bush administration. How can our democratic system work if the legislature cannot get access to such key documents? And, why shouldn't the whole public have seen this estimate? Doesn't terrorism affect us all?
In fact, it is not enough that the key judgments have been declassified. They should do the whole thing.
Absolutely. Secrecy is the deadly enemy of democracy, one that Bush uses all the time. What we don't know is definitely hurting us.

Bob Harris has more.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A half-fast solution

NY Times:
Three Senate Democrats proposed emergency legislation on Tuesday to reimburse states for printing paper ballots in case of problems with electronic voting machines on Nov. 7.

The proposal is a response to grass-roots pressures and growing concern by local and state officials about touch-screen machines. An estimated 40 percent of voters will use those machines in the election.

"If someone asks for a paper ballot, they ought to be able to have it," said Senator Barbara Boxer of California, a co-sponsor of the measure with Senators Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin.
As long as the voting machines are hackable and unverifiable, as they are, any election involving them can be stolen. Having a combination of paper ballots and electronic voting solves nothing.

The best solution, to me, is using touch-screen computers to prepare paper ballots. The computer guarantees that overvotes don't happen--you can't vote for both Gore and Nader. It also guarantees that every ballot is legible--the computer prints a valid ballot, without phantom marks, hanging chads, or anything else to invalidate the ballot. Preferably, the computer prints TWO copies--one for the ballot box, the other for the voter. The voter can do whatever she wants with her copy--share it with the media, give it to the party boss, frame it, burn it. After the machine prints the ballots, the voter verifies that they are identical and represent his votes properly. The official copy should be machine-readable AND easy to read by humans. Scanners, if used, would be simple counters, with no network connections, USB ports, card slots, or any other way to hack into them. Their accuracy could and would be checked regularly.

Touch-screen voting offers the opportunity to get almost all of the confusion and errors out of voting, but the no-paper-trail machines currently being foisted on America have no purpose other than facilitating the theft of elections.

From Rob Rogers.

From Tom Toles.

From Ann Telnaes.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tortured Logic

Yesterday, John McCain was asked by CBS' Bob Schieffer about the recent National Intelligence Estimate which apparently concludes that the war in Iraq "has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks." (NY Times) Here's McCain's response:
I think that it's obvious that the difficulties we've experienced in Iraq have certainly emboldened. Lack of success always does that. But I would also argue that these people didn't need any motivation to attack us on September 11th. According to their history--and there's some validity to it--this begins with bombing of the--and killing the Marines in Beirut, and then Somalia, and now other, quote, "successes" of theirs. But I would--I think it would argue that we need to prevail in Iraq, and that if we fail, then our problems would be much more complicated. But if it wasn't Iraq, it'd be Afghanistan; if it wasn't Afghanistan, it would be others that they would use as a method of continuing their recruitment.
"These people didn't need any motivation."
Abdul: Mohammed, I'm bored. Let's do somethin'.
Mohammed: Nah, I got no motivation.
Abdul: Ah, let's go crash airplanes into buildings.
Mohammed: Why?
Abdul: No reason.
Mohammed: What the hell--why not?
Yeah, right.

"...other, quote, 'successes' of theirs."

Exactly who "they" are here isn't clear; the U.S. never figured out who was responsible for the Beirut bombing ("...we still do not have the actual knowledge of who did the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut Airport, and we certainly didn't then." -- Caspar Weinberger, 2001). It seems pretty clear that it WASN'T Al Qaeda, since that organization as such didn't exist for another ten years or so. The battle of Mogadishu in 1993 was fought against local militias; Osama bin Laden claimed to have assisted the militias, and bragged about the eventual withdrawal of American troops. Nevertheless, the main person claiming these two incidents as "successes" for "them" has been Dick Cheney.

"If it wasn't Iraq, it'd be Afghanistan; if it wasn't Afghanistan, it would be others that they would use as a method of continuing their recruitment." Just so many examples of American imperialism to choose from! It's a jihadist cornucopia!

Later, McCain wants to prove he's even crazier than Bush; maybe even crazier than Cheney:
Afghanistan is proving very troublesome now, we know about our pending difficulties with Iran, North Korea.
Pending difficulties. Yikes.

President McCain, four years from now, explaining the latest terror attacks on the US: "If it wasn't Iran, it'd be North Korea."

Back in the USSR

I'm continuing to read David Satter's book Age of Delirium: The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union. Here's a selection from page 100:
Romansheva grew up in Gorky and moved to Moscow in 1979 after agreeing to work in Psychiatric Clinic 27, a mental hospital for persons abandoned by their relatives. In order to live in Moscow, she had agreed to become a "limitchik," a person who is registered temporarily in the capital in return for working in a labor-short industry. Limitchiks are very vulnerable because although they can be given a permanent registration, or propiska, after three to five years, a permanent residency permit is not guaranteed. It depends on the approval of the head of the collective.
Compare and contrast:
I propose a new temporary worker program that will match willing foreign workers with willing American employers, when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs. This program will offer legal status, as temporary workers, to the millions of undocumented men and women now employed in the United States, and to those in foreign countries who seek to participate in the program and have been offered employment here. This new system should be clear and efficient, so employers are able to find workers quickly and simply.

All who participate in the temporary worker program must have a job, or, if not living in the United States, a job offer. The legal status granted by this program will last three years and will be renewable -- but it will have an end. Participants who do not remain employed, who do not follow the rules of the program, or who break the law will not be eligible for continued participation and will be required to return to their home.
-- George W. Bush, January 7, 2004

Of course, the Soviets also had a fondness for "aggressive interrogation techniques" and sending their military to Afghanistan to fight "terrorists." They bankrupted their country spending insane amounts of money on weaponry.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Iraq war finally explained

From Juan Cole:
In a worrisome sign that Muqtada al-Sadr has gone deep into an apocalyptic sense of the end of the world [Ar.], al-Zaman reports that the young nationalist Shiite cleric maintained that the US Department of Defense has compiled an enormous file on the hidden Twelfth Imam, that is virtually complete save that it lacks his photograph.

[For Shiite Muslims, the Twelfth Imam or Imam Mahdi is a little like Jesus Christ for evangelical Christians. Shiites believe that the Imam was translated by God into a supernatural realm, from which he secretly rules the world and from which he will one day return to restore the world to justice.]

Al-Sadr said during his Friday prayer sermon in Kufa that "The United States has been preparing for ten years a rapid reaction force against the awaited Imam Mahdi and the US provoked the Gulf War so as to fill the region with military outposts for this purpose."
Sounds crazy, right? But have you heard a better reason? This is the Pentagon he's talking about--maybe the Twelfth Imam is one of Rummy's unknown unknowns.

Friday, September 22, 2006

How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?

U.S. military deaths from Afghanistan and Iraq have now caught up to the death toll from 9/11: 2973...and counting.

You've never caught the guy you blamed for the first crime, George. The guy who committed the second crime faces you in the mirror every day. Easy to find. Do the right thing, George. Do the right thing.

Recruiters Lie

Dennis Perrin has the video.

From Bill Schorr.

From David Horsey.

From Ben Sargent.

Some opposition party

Tuesday, Bush goes to the UN and tells one lie after another. Wednesday, Hugo Chavez goes to the UN and speaks the truth. Excerpts:
The government of the United States doesn't want peace. It wants to exploit its system of exploitation, of pillage, of hegemony through war.

It wants peace. But what's happening in Iraq? What happened in Lebanon? In Palestine? What's happening? What's happened over the last 100 years in Latin America and in the world? And now threatening Venezuela -- new threats against Venezuela, against Iran?

He spoke to the people of Lebanon. Many of you, he said, have seen how your homes and communities were caught in the crossfire. How cynical can you get? What a capacity to lie shamefacedly. The bombs in Beirut with millimetric precision?

This is crossfire? He's thinking of a western, when people would shoot from the hip and somebody would be caught in the crossfire.

This is imperialist, fascist, assassin, genocidal, the empire and Israel firing on the people of Palestine and Lebanon. That is what happened. And now we hear, "We're suffering because we see homes destroyed."
And where is the biggest terrorist of this continent who took the responsibility for blowing up the plane? He spent a few years in jail in Venezuela. Thanks to CIA and then government officials, he was allowed to escape, and he lives here in this country, protected by the government.

And he was convicted. He has confessed to his crime. But the U.S. government has double standards. It protects terrorism when it wants to.

And this is to say that Venezuela is fully committed to combating terrorism and violence. And we are one of the people who are fighting for peace.

Luis Posada Carriles is the name of that terrorist who is protected here.
Thursday, the Dumbocrats take a stand--defending Bush!
"You don't come into my country; you don't come into my congressional district and you don't condemn my president," Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, scolded Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, was blunt in her criticism of the Venezuelan leader. "He is an everyday thug," she said.
"If there's any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans, whether they voted for him or not," Rangel said at a Washington news conference.
Yeah, well good luck with that, Chuck. Rangel actually confirmed one of the things that Chavez said: "The imperium is afraid of truth, is afraid of independent voices."

And then there's this latest outrage concerning torture. The Dumbocrats left it up to the "rebel" Repugs (aka the Graham Crackers, the Warner Brothers, the McCain Mutiny) to take a stand against torture, which in the end, of course, they didn't. Digby explains the politics, and Chris Floyd expresses the outrage:
And let us make one other point -- and in a most impolitic way, for the truth is often an impolitic commodity: John McCain is a goddamned liar. Yes, he himself suffered torture, yes he came through it, yes, we all admire his fortitude during that ordeal in his youth: but his record in later life, in politics, is that of a moral coward with good PR skills. (Not that it takes much skill to wow the poltroons who squat on the commanding heights of the corporate media world today.) And today, he has opened his mouth and emitted a damnable lie, to wit: "the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved."
What we have seen today is no "grand compromise," no "great debate," no "act of principle" and certainly no "preservation" of the Geneva Conventions. What we have seen instead is a small group of rich, cynical, power-hungry old bastards belch forth lies in the service of torture and tyranny. And if you're not angry about that, if you're not "shrill" about that, then by God you are one piss-poor American citizen. You shame every man and woman who have fought and died and marched and worked and dreamed for our freedoms.
And the Dumbocrats just sit and watch the Repugs make this awful reality, stepping up only to complain when some truth-telling "thug" speaks out.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

From Tom Toles.

From Pat Oliphant.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quote du jour

As a general rule, it's a bad idea to call a news conference if you have nothing to say. It's worse if you announce that answers are urgently needed but then decline to provide any.
-- Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank, describing yesterday's "briefing" by the co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group, James "#$%@!@#$#" Baker and Lee "%$##%$#@@" Hamilton. These imperial jokers have been "working" since March to come up with solutions to Bush Quagmire Two. So how's it going?
"We're not going to speculate with you today about recommendations," Baker announced at the session, hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Can the war in Iraq be won?

"We're not going to make any assessments today about what we think the status of the situation is in Iraq," said Hamilton.

Could they at least explain their definitions of success and failure in Iraq?

"We're not going to get into that today," Baker replied.

After more such probing, Hamilton became categorical. "We've made no judgment of any kind at this point about any aspect of policy with regard to Iraq."
"The next three months are critical," Hamilton warned at the start. "Before the end of this year, this [Iraqi] government needs to show progress in securing Baghdad, pursuing national reconciliation and delivering basic services."

But no matter how urgent the situation in Iraq, the solutions will have to wait at least until Nov. 8 -- and possibly much later -- because of a more urgent consideration: domestic politics. We're "going to report after the midterm election," Baker announced.

Bill Jones of Executive Intelligence Review asked the obvious question. "The situation in Iraq seems to be degenerating from day to day" and may not be a "salvageable situation" by November, he said. "Shouldn't the urgency be propelled by developments in Iraq rather than the calendar here?"

Baker didn't think so. "We think it's more important, frankly, to make sure whatever we bring forward is taken, to the extent that we can take it, out of domestic politics," he said.
Because, frankly, they don't give a flying Cheney about the thousands of Iraqis who will die between now and then.

On the other hand, the less we hear from James "#$%@!@#$#" Baker, the better.

Milbank clearly deserves a Pulitzer for this one--providing a suitably mocking tone when reporting on two jokers who richly deserve to be mocked. Milbank even (gasp!) checks what the jokers said yesterday against what they said before:
Baker, a troubleshooter for President Bush, said "We have said from Day One that we were going to report after the midterm election." In fact, Baker said on Day One -- the commission's launch on March 15, 2006 -- that "we have not set a time frame" and that "we may come forward with some interim reports."


Tight state controls on media

NY Times:
It was unclear how many of Mr. Ahmadinejad's constituents were in a position to hear Mr. Bush's message, given tight state controls on media in Iran.
That NY Times article provides a link to a full transcript of Bush's speech. Ahmadinejad's half-hour speech is merely summarized in a brief article, which contains exactly three full sentences and five sentence fragments from Ahmadinejad's speech. In fact, through Googling I don't find any mainstream (state controlled?) media providing a transcript of Ahmadinejad's speech. It is unclear how many of Mr. Bush's constituents were in a position to hear Mr. Ahmadinejad's message!

Fortunately, Information Clearinghouse has the transcript of Ahmadinejad's speech. Here are some of the things the NY Times decided the American people don't need to hear:
[T]he prevalence of military domination, increasing poverty, the growing gap between rich and poor countries, violence as a means to solve crises, spread of terrorism, specially state terrorism, existence and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the pervasive lack of honesty in interstate relations, and disregard for the equal rights of peoples and nations in international relations constitute some of the challenges and threats.
If some, relying on their superior military and economic might, attempt to expand their rights and privileges, they will be performing a great disservice to the cause of peace and in fact will fuel the arms race and spread insecurity, fear and deception. If global trends continue to serve the interests of small influential groups, even the interests of the citizens of powerful countries will be jeopardized, as was seen in the recent crises and the even natural disaster such as the recent tragic hurricane.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is born out of a movement, based on the pure primordial nature of a people who rose up to regain their dignity esteem and human rights. The Islamic Revolution toppled a regime, which had been put in place through a coup, and supported by those who claim to be advocates of democracy and human rights, thwarted the aspirations of the nation for development and progress for 25 years through intimidation and torture of the populace and submission and subservience to outsiders.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is the manifestation of true democracy in the region. The discourse of the Iranian nation is focused on respect for the rights of human beings and a quest for tranquillity, peace, justice and development for all through monotheism.

For 8 years, Saddam's regime imposed a massive war of aggression and occupation on my people. It employed the most heinous weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons against Iranians and Iraqis alike.

Who, in fact, armed Saddam with these weapons? What was the reaction of those who now claim to fight against WMDs regarding the use of chemical weapons back then? The world is witness to the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran, because of its humanitarian principles, even during the most testing of times and when it was sustaining the highest number of casualties, never allowed itself to use such weapons.
Ironically, those who have actually used nuclear weapons, continue to produce, stockpile and extensively test such weapons, have used depleted uranium bombs and bullets against tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Kuwaitis, and even their own soldiers and those of their allies, afflicting them with incurable diseases, blatantly violate their obligations under the NPT, have refrained from signing the CTBT and have armed the Zionist occupation regime with WMDs, are not only refusing to remedy their past deeds, but in clear breech of the NPT, are trying to prevent other countries from acquiring the technology to produce peaceful nuclear energy.
Terrorism and WMDs are two major threats before the international community. The Islamic Republic of Iran, as one of the main victims of terrorism and chemical weapons, fully appreciates the difficulties that lie ahead in the road to combat these menaces.

Today, the most serious challenge is that the culprits are arrogating to themselves the role of the prosecutor. Even more dangerous is that certain parties relying on their power and wealth try to impose a climate of intimidation and injustice over the world make bullying, while through their huge media resources portray themselves as defenders of freedom, democracy and human rights.

People around the world are fully aware of what is happening in the occupied Palestine. Women and children are being murdered and adolescents taken prisoner. Houses are being demolished and farms burnt down. Yet, when the people of Palestine resist these conditions, they are accused of terrorism. At the same time, the occupier, which does not abide by any principles and terror is part of its pronounced and routine policy enjoys the support of the previously mentioned governments. Let me be blunter. State terrorism is being supported by those who claim to fight terrorism.
Saddam, Taliban regimes were both the products of foreign powers. The people of Afghanistan and Iraq know very well who supported these two regimes.
The NY Times summary of Ahmadinejad's speech mentions practically NONE of this.

What will he talk about next?

Monday it was literacy. Tuesday it was world peace. What will boy blunder talk about next?

Wednesday: The importance of raising taxes.
Thursday: The art of compromise.
Friday: Let brush live!
Saturday: How to admit you're wrong.
Sunday: The importance of not being a hypocrite.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


AWol apparently went to the UN with handouts. Like they're his fourth-grade class or something. The White House web site page with the transcript of his speech has a link to this fact sheet. I haven't made it through the second paragraph, and already I'm outraged. Here's that paragraph:
We Are Seeing A Bright Future Begin To Take Root In The Broader Middle East. The principles animating this future can be found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' statement that the "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." In the nearly six decades since that document was approved, we have seen the forces of freedom and moderation transform entire continents.
I thought chutzpah was the guy who killed his parents and then pleaded for mercy because he was an orphan, but I think aWol has redefined it. Let's look at some of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 9: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Article 11: Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. ...
Article 12: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Five articles he is actively and vehemently ignoring, right this minute. And there are other articles on which he is at least pushing the limits. For Bush to actually bring up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which he does in the speech as well)--now that's chutzpah! Although later, the "fact" sheet tries to rewrite even this new definition:
Freedom, By Its Nature, Cannot Be Imposed--It Must Be Chosen
(Emphasis and underline in original.) So. The invasion of Iraq wasn't about the oil, weapons of mass destruction, ties to 9/11. And now it wasn't about imposing freedom either??? Does he realize that he has now left himself with only one possible explanation--that the war was simply a way to funnel billions of future taxpayer dollars into the hand of Republican cronies? There is nothing left.

I seriously doubt that

Yahoo! News headline: Bush appeals to Muslims in U.N. speech

I'm not sure I dare read the speech; maybe just wait for WIIIAI's review.

From Dwane Powell.

From Joe Heller.

From J.D. Crowe.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Chris Floyd summarizes the recent papal scrape:
German guy: "My rather absurd cult based on a highly selective, historically conditioned and ruthlessly hidebound understanding of the Bronze Age Middle Eastern desert god is better than yours!"

An infinitesimal percentage of Muslims: "No, it's not. Our rather absurd cult based on a highly selective, historically conditioned and ruthlessly hidebound understanding of the Bronze Age Middle Eastern desert god is better!"

From John Deering.

From Kevin Siers.

From Steve Sack.

From Tom Toles.

Sic Temper Ignoramus

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
-- Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush.
The drive to create reality transformed Soviet life into a masquerade. What became important was not what was true but what could be made to appear to be true as the structure of factual reality was replaced with organized falsification so that real life might, if only after the fact, appear to conform to the Soviet ideology.

As the outside world looked on in stupefaction, the Soviet Union became the scene of a whole set of miragelike imitations of democratic institutions: trade unions that defended management, newspapers that contained no information, courts to which there was no recourse, and a parliament that always unanimously supported the government.
-- David Satter, Age of Delirium: The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union, page xv.

Sound familiar? Billmon recommended Satter's book last week, and I got it from the University Library last night. That quote was in the introduction. Read Billmon's post for more parallels.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Global warming evolution?

These are the two most popular stories at Yahoo! News at the moment:
Anticipatory evolution going on in Holland, I guess. When much of your country is below a rising sea level, you do what you can to keep your head above water.

All kidding aside, that second article shows what people should really be afraid of, not all this overhyped nonsense about terrorism.

Friday, September 15, 2006

What passes for good news in Michigan these days

In an article on Ford's announcement that it is cutting some 44,000 jobs, many in Michigan, Detroit Free Press writer Sarah A. Webster found the silver lining:
While the white-collar cuts will likely hit Michigan especially hard, Ford did not announce plans to close any more plants here.

There was also a bit of good news for the economically challenged state: the Dearborn Truck Plant, the crown jewel of Ford's manufacturing operations, will get a third shift, beginning in 2007, for F-150 production. What's more, the Wixom Assembly Plant will close in 2007 as planned, squashing fears it might be idled sooner as part of the accelerated restructuring.
Furthermore, most Michiganders serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were not killed this week!

"Half of Lebanon is destroyed; is that a loss?"

That's from Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, as reported in Haaretz. I first saw that quote at WIIIAI. I wanted a little more context, so I went Googling, finally finding that Haaretz article from September 6. As bad as it sounds, the context actually makes it sound worse (emphasis added):
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday, with reference to the impact on Syria of the recent war in Lebanon, that no country "in our vicinity would take a chance on this or that military move with a marginal tactical goal because it understands the price it would pay. Thus, the fighting in Lebanon was a deterrent act."

Olmert said the Syrians "understand our strategic capabilities in other wars, when we would remove the limitations we placed on ourselves in the fighting in South Lebanon."

MK Ran Cohen (Meretz), who called Olmert's appearance before the committee "haughty," said everyone in Israel knows the war is the forerunner for the next one. "This war ended in complete failure," Cohen added.

Banging on the table angrily in response to the criticism, Olmert said, "I'm sorry that some MKs have lost their sense of proportion. Stop exaggerating.

"No danger to Israel was revealed during the past month. You didn't know that Hezbollah had 12,000 missiles in Lebanon? You didn't know that Iran supported them?"

Olmert also told the committee that "there were failures in the war, but there were also amazing achievements. Has the U.S. collapsed after three years in Iraq? What's the panic? We all make mistakes, I first of all."

"What did you think, that there would be a war and nothing would happen to our soldiers," Olmert asked the committee. "The claim that we lost is unfounded. Half of Lebanon is destroyed; is that a loss?"

With regard to the demand for a state commission of inquiry, Olmert said that while he valued the judicial system very highly, "that does not mean that at any given time they have to be the problem-solver."

The prime minister argued that a state commission would paralyze the political and military systems for a long period of time.
To which I say, with all sincerity: Is that a loss?

And don't you just love how the US debacle in Iraq is being used by Olmert as a positive example? Pooty-Poot didn't let aWol get away with that nonsense.


The sun is setting on the British vampire

Chris Floyd writes about Tony Blair's imminent demise. Floyd's conclusion:
Like Bush, Blair is a man in love with war--or rather, with the idea of war, for he, like Bush, has never seen combat. The idea that greatness can be measured in blood and iron--that one can somehow prove one's manhood and historical standing by sending other people to kill and die--is the tragic flaw that has drawn Blair to America's wars like a moth to flame.

He could have been remembered as the man who saved his nation from the brutal social ravages of Margaret Thatcher's soulless, hard-right extremism. Instead he will be known forever as the lying lapdog of George W. Bush. Tragedy is a harsh taskmaster indeed.

An Army of Whatever

There's an article by Nick Turse at TomDispatch about the desperation of military recruiters and what sort of military we're getting as a result:
In the latter half of the Vietnam War, as the breakdown was occurring, American troops began to scrawl "UUUU" on their helmet liners -- an abbreviation that stood for "the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful." The U.S. ground forces of 2007 and beyond, fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other war du jour may increasingly resemble the collapsing military of the Vietnam War, the band of criminal misfits sent behind enemy lines during World War II in the classic Vietnam-era film, The Dirty Dozen, or the janissaries of the old Ottoman Empire.

With a growing majority of Americans opposed to the war in Iraq, even ardent hawks refusing to enlist in droves, and the Pentagon pulling out ever more stops and sinking to new lows in recruitment and retention, a new all-volunteer generation of UUUU's may emerge -- the underachieving, unable, unexceptional, unintelligent, unsound, unhinged, unacceptable, unhealthy, undesirable, unloved, uncivil, and even un-American, all led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful. Current practices suggest this may well be the force of the future. It certainly isn't the new military Donald Rumsfeld's been promising all these years, but there's no denying the depth of the transformation.
Billmon, in his classic style, parallels quotes from that article with selections from Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

An excellent read

What is

Just finished it last night. Bob Harris has been one of my favorite bloggers for a few years, and his book is excellent. I now know what "brillig" means, among many other things!

From Ann Telnaes.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The hypocritical oaf: Frist do more harm *

Last week, WIIIAI wrote this:
One effect of transferring prisoners from CIA custody to Guantanamo is that Gitmo now has real terrorists people have heard of, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Well, it didn't take cat-killer Frist long to jump on that opportunity. He visited Gitmo last Sunday, and gave this report on the Senate floor:
Being there on the same island as some of the world's most hardened terrorists--like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man the 9/11 Commission calls the "principal architect of the 9/11 attacks"--was a vivid reminder that the detainees at Guantanamo remain locked up for a critical purpose: to protect Americans. If we let them go, there is no question in my mind that many would return to what they were doing before they were captured: plotting new ways to attack us.
As has been clearly proven in a court of law, right, Dr. Frist? Frist shows his usual respect for justice by avoiding using any terms that might prejudice any court or tribunal that may eventually some day try some of these detainees:
There has been a lot of debate recently about how we should prosecute terrorists. ... These men are dangerous terrorists who remain a threat to the safety and wellbeing of every American. They are militant extremists whose goal in life is to kill Americans and destroy our freedom and security.
Probably figured that out by watching a video tape. But the doctor is impressed with the treatment of these dangerous militant extremists:
They receive nutritious meals--on average, they have gained weight. They get regular exercise--typically 1 to 2 hours per day. They receive mail from their families. They see their lawyers. And they receive 24/7 medical care--better than many Americans.
So, Dr. Frist, what are YOU doing to see that Americans have access to medical care as good as that available to dangerous militant extremist terrorists? What CAN you do, being only a humble Senate Majority Leader?

More tax cuts, probably.

* This headline is based on a popular misconception, which I shared until about 30 seconds ago, which is that the Hippocratic Oath contains the phrase "First, do no harm." It does not. I still think it's a funny headline, though.

From Pat Oliphant.

Question of the day

Goes out to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

So--Mr. Maliki...

Which nut is nuttier?

In the post-9/11 world, the Post will continue to post Bush hype on page 1, truth on page 18

Jonathan Schwarz documents how the Washington Post, which in August 2004 admitted that in 2002 it put Bush administration claims of WMD's in Iraq on page 1 while burying stories questioning those claims on page 17 or 18, is doing the exact same thing with Iran this year.

Here's an excerpt from the Post's latest article, from page A17:
U.N. inspectors investigating Iran's nuclear program angrily complained to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent House committee report on Iran's capabilities, calling parts of the document "outrageous and dishonest" and offering evidence to refute its central claims.

Officials of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency said in a letter that the report contained some "erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated statements." The letter, signed by a senior director at the agency, was addressed to Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), chairman of the House intelligence committee, which issued the report.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A couple of excellent rants

From MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and from Tom Maertens, who served as National Security Council director for proliferation and homeland defense in the George W. Bush White House, and as deputy coordinator for counterterrorism in the State Department on 9/11.

80% of New York Democrats vote for pro-war Shillary

I've got lots of campaign money! I don't need a conscience!

NY Times:
In the New York race, Mrs. Clinton’s landslide carried its own broader significance. By performing strongly among a liberal, antiwar primary electorate, she showed that her vote for military action in Iraq in 2002 did not damage her political standing...

Mrs. Clinton's little-known opponent in New York, a union organizer named Jonathan Tasini, tried to tap into voter anger over Iraq, yet he had little money and did not effectively turn the race into a message-sending moment about the war.

"Clinton's work ethic, her lack of enemies, and her fund-raising help for other Democrats have insulated her from party criticism, including on Iraq," said Ken Sherrill, a political scientist at Hunter College. "I got a taped phone call from Susan Sarandon urging support for Tasini, but that's all I really heard about him."
Follow the money. One person, one vote is a joke in this country. Our government is for sale to the highest bidder. Just like Tom DeLay, Shillary has been funneling her ill-gotten funds to members of her own party, buying their silence and blocking any real hope of a true opposition party.

She's just as bad as Holy Joe, people, and more dangerous, because she has a realistic chance of being our next (awful) pResident.

From Steve Nease (Canada).

From Lloyd Dangle.

From Emad Hajjaj (Jordan).

Blair-Fish Project

From Steve Sack.

Fishing with Bush is like hunting with Cheney, I guess.

From Jen Sorensen.

Roll up the rim to win! *

Condiliar explains to Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay why US forces have killed so many more Canadians in Afghanistan than they have, you know, Osama. "See that tall guy with the beard over there by salad bar? Canadian, right? But imagine you're flying an F-15 at 600 miles per hour at 10,000 feet, hopped up on speed. That could be Osama, right? Would you want to take the chance that it wasn't?"

It being the anniversary of 9/11 and all, Condi once again is showing symtoms of pianist's inappropriate smiling syndrome. Please help Condi and other sufferers by giving generously to the PISS Foundation today.

* Obscure illusion to a Tim Horton's advertising slogan which you've probably never heard if you don't get CBC on your cable.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Outrages du jour

I've been pretty busy today, so I'll condense my blogging efforts into one quick outburst.
  • Harboring terrorists? The US is about to release serial terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. From ANSWER:
  • Today's announcement that the U.S. government is on the verge of releasing anti-Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles rather than extraditing him to Venezuela requires that all of us act now.

    Please take a moment and send a letter to the State Department and members of Congress indicating your disgust with this travesty of justice which can only be understood as a grave threat against the people of Cuba by the U.S. government.

    To send a letter today click here.

    What an irony that on the day Bush went on national television (September 11, 2006) to declare a non-stop war on "terrorism," the same government went into the last stage in the legal process to free the man responsible for blowing up a Cuban passenger plane with 73 people aboard in 1976. This same man organized other bombings of hotels and other civilian facilities in Cuba. Luis Posada Carriles was a CIA agent and has never stopped his campaign of bombings and assassinations. Now, he is to be set free among the U.S. public rather than face a trial and justice. Bush's so-called on war on terrorism is exposed as a complete fraud. Bush labels Cuba and the people of the Middle East as "terrorists" in pursuit of a war for empire a war that does not hesitate to use terrorist tactics against its targets.

  • The Repug candidate for governor in Michigan is a former president of, and son of the founder of, pyramid-scheme cult Amway.
  • The media has been hyping Chevron's latest oil find in the Gulf of Mexico, including estimates of recoverable reserves ranging from 3 billion to 15 billion barrels of oil there. Even 15 billion barrels is only enough to meet world demand for about half a year, or US demand for two years (at current rates). And The Oil Drum informs us that not only are the lower estimates more reasonable, but the oil will only be economical if prices stay high, and that none of it will be in the pipeline (literally) for several years. In the meantime, the amount of US oil production elsewhere will have declined by a larger amount than can ever be expected from this latest find.
  • Bush's stupid speech last night interrupted ABC's stupid miniseries.

From Daryl Cagle.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Quote du jour

"His face just started to turn red. I thought, personally, he had to go to the bathroom." -- Tyler Radkey, age 13, who was one of "The Pet Goat" readers at Booker Elementary School when its most infamous visitor dropped in five years ago.


Except for the various terrorist attacks, we haven't had any terrorist attacks for five years

[Note: Updated 12:48 PM]
Tim, I think we've done a pretty good job of securing the nation against terrorists. You know, we're here on the fifth anniversary, and there has not been another attack on the United States.
-- Fearmaster Cheney, yesterday on Meet the Press

Which is true, of course, if you buy Useless Dick's assumptions:
  • Attacks by domestic terrorists don't count: Rules out anthrax (probably, although nothing has really been proven about that), Beltway snipers, various other freeway snipers, various attacks on mosques, driving cars into crowds of people, etc.
  • Small attacks don't count: When an Egyptian started a shooting rampage at the airport in Los Angeles on July 4, 2002, killing two, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said, "There is no evidence, no indication at this time that this is terrorists." You can bet that had it occurred in Tel Aviv, Fleischer and all of the media would have called it terrorism.
  • Not-so-small attacks like slitting the throat of a Greyhound bus driver killing seven and wounding 32, don't count either.
  • Attacks overseas don't count: Most of the Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan can't properly be labelled victims of "terrorism," even when killed by suicide bombers, because most have been military personnel. (Most definitions of terrorism refer to attacks on civilians, although this hasn't stopped Cheney and others from referring to the 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon as "terrorism.") Nevertheless, dozens (hundreds?) of American civilians have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq in ways that could be considered terrorism. Americans have also died in terror attacks in Madrid, Bali, London, and elsewhere.
  • Suspicious airplane crashes aren't terrorism if the Secretary of State says they aren't three hours after the crash--no matter what the evidence might suggest once it has stopped burning.
  • Ditto for suspicious crashes which kill anti-war Democratic senators running for re-election.
  • Leaving people stranded in a flooded city for days, shooting up school buildings from airplanes, beating and shooting at non-violent protesters? Not terrorism if the government does it.
  • Shooting lawyers in the face certainly doesn't count.
  • The all-encompassing rule: It's only terrorism if we say it is. The U.S. government possesses the only true definition of terrorism, although what that definition is is classified Top Secret.
Following Cheney's rules, the Bushies' five-year record looks pretty meager compared to the Clintonistas, who prevented attacks for almost eight years: from the February 1993 attack on the WTC until the end of the term in 2001. Waco? Not terrorism because the government did it. Oklahoma City? Domestic--doesn't count. TWA 800? Mechanical failure--just ask the government. Khobar towers? Overseas, military target. Olympic bombing? Both the real bomber and the one falsely accused were domestic, so it doesn't count. East African embassies? Overseas--don't count. Columbine? Domestic, and heck, they were just kids, right? Doesn't count.

And don't even try to bring up the fact that both the Clinton and Bush administrations have committed far more attacks that should be called terrorism than have ever been committed against the US. Doesn't count. See the all-encompassing rule.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Four years late and several volumes short

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday finally released more parts of its investigation into the rampant lies used to drag us into Bush Quagmire II--that is, the war in Iraq. Unlike me, who spent most of my day watching televised sports, Saint Billmon spent much of his weekend reading the reports. He explains that while they still falls short of where they should have been (immediate impeachment of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and several others, followed by trials for treason), they also tell much more than San Bilmono expected they would, thanks in part to defections from the Repug fold on some issues by Senators Hagel and Snowe. At this point, I'll turn you over to Billmon--there's another game on!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Strange football score of the day

Army 17, Kent State 14, in overtime.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Gaza is dying

Patrick Cockburn writes about Israel's ongoing destruction of Gaza:
"It is the worst year for us since 1948 [when Palestinian refugees first poured into Gaza]," says Dr Maged Abu-Ramadan, a former ophthalmologist who is mayor of Gaza City. "Gaza is a jail. Neither people nor goods are allowed to leave it. People are already starving. They try to live on bread and falafel and a few tomatoes and cucumbers they grow themselves."

The few ways that Gazans had of making money have disappeared. Dr Abu-Ramadan says the Israelis "have destroyed 70 per cent of our orange groves in order to create security zones." Carnations and strawberries, two of Gaza's main exports, were thrown away or left to rot. An Israeli air strike destroyed the electric power station so 55 per cent of power was lost. Electricity supply is now becoming almost as intermittent as in Baghdad.
Iraq has certainly become an example, hasn't it? When things are totally FUBAR, whether in Gaza, Lebanon, Afghanistan or New Orleans, Iraq is the disaster against which they are measured. Mission accomplished, I guess.

Which do you prefer? Ebola or Marburg?

CNN offers us a similar choice in an online poll:
If the choices were Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, who would you pick for president?
Emigration and suicide were not offered as options, unfortunately.

Strange, because that was supposed to be the matchup for the NY Senate seat in 2000 before Rudy's health problems caused him to drop out. How depressing it is that the media are already working hard to limit our choices to big-name warmongers like these two.

One part of Iraq's economy is booming (so to speak)

Coffin maker Abbas Mohammed copes with rising demand. City morgue received 1,536 bodies in August. (AP)

What better way to commemorate 9/11...

...than shooting doves to raise money for a Republican?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cluster bombing civilians okay--US Senate

Our House of Lords voted down an amendment which would "stop the Pentagon from using cluster bombs near civilian targets and to cut off sales unless purchasers abide by the same rules." The amendment was proposed by Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Leahy (D-VT), but was voted down by the Repug majority, including Senators and presidential wannabes Bayh, Biden, Clinton, and Lieberman. To their great credit, both of Michigan's senators supported the amendment. (Roll call)

What a disgusting country this is.

But Lockheed Martin wants the money!

From Jim Day.

From Tom Toles.

Just try voting here

Mother Jones documents eleven of the worst places in America to vote.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


In reviewing Katie Couric's CBS News debut, the WaPo refers to her interview with "liberal columnist Thomas Friedman." He has supported the Iraq war from day one, wants to outsource everyone's job, and believes the world is flat. This is what the Washington Post considers a "liberal."

Everything you need to know about the so-called liberal media.

Without bin Laden, he is nothing

Chris Floyd:
Bush has never had the slightest intention of catching Osama bin Laden. He needs bin Laden like he needs air or water. Without bin Laden, he is nothing. Without bin Laden, he wouldn't be a "War President" wielding dictatorial powers over a cowed, confused nation. Without bin Laden--whom Bush has now taken to quoting as an expert on world affairs--the Potomac pipsqueak would be just another failed, one-term president named George Bush, a national joke, a trivia quiz answer, a half-forgotten goober ridiculed for a feckless reign that made Jimmy Carter look like Bismarck.
Let me bask in that vision for a few moments.
This quoting of Osama and other terrorist leaders is freaky, and aWol is now doing it all the time. In yesterday's speech, aWol sounded like a preacher quoting some great spiritual leader:
Hear the words of Osama bin Laden earlier this year: "Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us."
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.
Episcopal Book of Common Prayer

And then there's the dubious provenance of most of the quotes from W's favorite terrorists--video tapes fortuitously delivered at times of political crisis, or letters or CD's intercepted by US troops, both conveniently translated by the US government to reinforce W's latest talking points: Iraq is the central front in the "war on terror," etc. In these days of cheap laptop computers, none of these videos or other messages have been conclusively linked to OBL or the other terrorists by independent analysts. Who actually said these things, and what they actually said, is very much in doubt.

Then there is the issue of credibility. Bush:
They're driven by a radical and perverted vision of Islam that rejects tolerance, crushes all dissent, and justifies the murder of innocent men, women and children in the pursuit of political power. They hope to establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East, which they call a "Caliphate"--where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology. Osama bin Laden has called the 9/11 attacks--in his words--"a great step towards the unity of Muslims and establishing the Righteous... [Caliphate]."

This caliphate would be a totalitarian Islamic empire encompassing all current and former Muslim lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. We know this because al Qaeda has told us. About two months ago, the terrorist Zawahiri--he's al Qaeda's second in command--declared that al Qaeda intends to impose its rule in "every land that was a home for Islam, from [Spain] to Iraq. He went on to say, "The whole world is an open field for us."
Assuming for the moment that OBL and Zawahiri said this stuff, my first response is "Yeah? You and what army?" As WIIIAI put it, "intentions are not capabilities." At most, al Qaeda is capable of killing a few thousand people a year through terror attacks--hardly enough to take control of a vast region (you'd think W, who has killed many more and only controls a few blocks in Baghdad and Kabul as a result, would know this).

And finally--who is Osama bin Laden to be directing US policy? If our pResident is quoting some Saudi terrorist to support his policies, who exactly is running our country?

Desperate House Members

Jonathan Schwarz points out that Disney has apparently become a non-profit corporation:
ABC, after exploring all advertising avenues, has decided to show its upcoming two-part U.S. film, "The Path to 9/11," commercial-free when it airs next week...

In yet another surprise move, ABC has revealed it will also offer both parts of the film as a free online download at Apple's iTunes Music Store and stream the miniseries on its own Web site,

So..."The Path to 9/11" cost $30 million and was written and directed by conservative ideologues. Factually speaking, it's predictably craptastic. And yet Disney is glad to lose at least $30 million on it.

Jonathan then reminds us that Disney refused to distribute Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" two years ago, a move which cost them some $200 million. But "Fahrenheit 9/11" might have hurt Republicans in that election year (not enough, obviously), while "The Path to 9/11" apparently blames Clinton for 9/11, which might tend to help Repugs in this election year.

Hey Donald Duck! Your right wing is showing.

Katie Couric

I watched most of Ms. Perky's CBS News debut last night. The opening segment about the resurgence of the Taliban was pretty good, but then she blew it all by bringing in Tom Friedman to talk about Iraq.

Maybe tomorrow she can bring in Bill Ford Jr. to talk about how to turn around a car company. Or Bill Ford Sr. on how to turn around an NFL team. Or John Kerry on how to defeat a bumbling, criminal incompetent incumbent in an election.

Actually, Katie mentioned that she would have Rush Limbaugh on the show on Thursday.

I'm outta here!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

America will not bow down to tyrants

"America will not bow down to tyrants." -- AWol, today.

Bow down? Maybe not. But shake hands, hold hands, sell deadly weapons to--America is highly selective about the tyrants it won't deal with:

Karimov of Uzbekistan.

Mubarak of Egypt.

Musharraf of Pakistan.

Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein.

Part of the "freedom agenda?"

Here's something our reactionary leaders can probably respect about the reactionary leader of Iran:
Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Tuesday for a purge of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities, urging students to return to 1980s-style radicalism.
Why do I think the Cheneys and Liebermans of our country would cheer this action? Because they have proposed basically the same thing here. From the San Jose Mercury News, December 13, 2001:
An aggressive attack on freedom has been launched upon America's college campuses. Its perpetrators seek the elimination of ideas and activities that place Sept. 11 in historical context, or critique the so-called war on terrorism.

The offensive, spearheaded by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a Washington-based group, threatens free speech, democratic debate and the integrity of higher education. In an incendiary report, "Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America," the American Council claims that "colleges and university faculty have been the weak link in America's response" to Sept. 11. It also asserts that "when a nation's intellectuals are unwilling to defend its civilization, they give comfort to its adversaries."
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni was founded in 1995 by Lynne Cheney, the vice president's wife, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman.

All aboard the magic bus!

This is cool! Anyone who has ever rushed to catch a bus, only to stand in the rain for fifteen minutes waiting for it, will appreciate the University of Michigan's Magic Bus. The web site shows where every campus bus is at every moment, and tell you how long it will be until the next bus arrives. Check it out! You can also find when the next bus is coming through your cell phone if it is AOL Instant Messager enabled.

Now if we can get the city bus system to do the same thing. It's really more necessary, since while the UM buses run every ten minutes most of the time, the city buses generally run every half hour, or every hour in the evenings and on weekends. Of course, having next bus arrival time displayed at every stop would be better.

Why The 9/11 Conspiracies Won't Go Away

There's an article in Time this week: Why The 9/11 Conspiracies Won't Go Away. Author Lev Grossman reviews some of the "conspiracy theories," such as those in the online film Loose Change, explains their appeal, and notes their popularity:
A Scripps-Howard poll of 1,010 adults last month found that 36% of Americans consider it "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that government officials either allowed the attacks to be carried out or carried out the attacks themselves. Thirty-six percent adds up to a lot of people. This is not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream political reality.
Grossman examines one of the biggest controversies:
Take the section about the attack on the Pentagon. As the film points out--and this is a tent-pole issue among 9/11 conspiracists--the crash site doesn't look right. There's not enough damage. The hole smashed in the Pentagon's outer wall was 75 ft. wide, but a Boeing 757 has a 124-ft. wingspan. Why wasn't the hole wider? Why does it look so neat?

Experts will tell you that the hole was punched by the plane's fuselage, not its wings, which sheared off on impact. But then what happened to the wings? And the tail and the engines? Images of the crash site show hardly any of the wreckage you would expect from a building that's been rammed by a commercial jet. The lawn, where the plane supposedly dragged a wing on approach, is practically pristine.
Of course, Grossman is writing for a mainstream publication, so he can't let common sense stand:
But there's a big problem with Loose Change and with most other conspiracy theories. The more you think about them, the more you realize how much they depend on circumstantial evidence, facts without analysis or documentation, quotes taken out of context and the scattered testimony of traumatized eyewitnesses. ... The theories prompt small, reasonable questions that demand answers that are just too large and unreasonable to swallow. Granted, the Pentagon crash site looks odd in photographs. But if the Pentagon was hit by a cruise missile, then what happened to American Airlines Flight 77?

Here's the photo which accompanies the article:

Indeed--what happened to American Airlines Flight 77?

There are plenty of 9/11 conspiracy theories--and the official story as reported by the 9/11 Commission is certainly one of them. It also depends "on circumstantial evidence, facts without analysis or documentation, quotes taken out of context and the scattered testimony of traumatized eyewitnesses." The truth is undoubtedly a conspiracy theory. Three large American buildings were destroyed and a fourth damaged on the same day--without a doubt the work of many people following a pre-conceived plan; that is, a conspiracy. Anyone who claims not to believe conspiracy theories cannot possibly believe the official story. But the official story has huge holes in it as well. To me, simply the fact that the Pentagon, headquarters of the world's largest-ever military, was hit by anything forty minutes after it was clear that the nation was under some sort of attack, is the biggest hole of all. HQ doesn't get hit, especially by a rag-tag group headed by a guy in a cave, unless some of the guards allow it to happen. And the manner of collapse of the WTC buildings is certainly suspicious--especially after the rubble was hauled off quickly before it could be studied. That the administration blocked the establishment of the 9/11 Commission for over a year, and then substantially circumscribed and hindered its investigation, only adds to the suspicion. The administration had motive and opportunity, and profited greatly from 9/11, both politically and financially. Exactly what they did isn't clear. That they are hiding something is without doubt.

Scary quote du jour

"My message to the world is this: Just treat us the way we treat you." -- AWol's Labor Day speech.

Actually, world, feel free to regime change us, but without all the bombs and depleted uranium and Abu Ghraibs, okay?


Monday, September 04, 2006

Quotes du jour

Selections from Paul Craig Roberts' latest:
Who is going to tell Bush that the war is lost?
This is a delusional administration. Confronted with three major polls showing that two-thirds of Americans oppose the Iraq war, Bush declared that he is staying the course, demonstrating yet again his disdain for common sense and the will of the American people.

If Bush and his neoconservative cabal were judged by their performance they would be ridden out of town on a rail. If a court of law judged their actions, they would walk the plank.
Having lost the Iraq war, the neoconservatives are determined to initiate war with Iran.
Aggressive wars are themselves war crimes. To intentionally create a false basis for an aggressive war is an act of high treason.
This neoconservative conspiracy against the United States and Iran must be stopped. Neocons must be removed from the government that they have betrayed and held accountable for their crimes.

Before America can preach democracy to the world, we must first rescue American democracy from the Bush regime and re-establish government accountability to the people.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

All Bush Quagmires are Created Equal

Ted Rall wrote this article three days before yesterday's NY Times article about the record levels of opium being produced in Afghanistan. Rall:
The war against Afghanistan is no different, no more justifiable, and no more winnable than the war against Iraq. Both were underfunded, poorly planned and based on lies. Neither had anything to do with 9/11. And now, finally, the American public is starting to learn the truth.

George W. Bush's war against Iraq, most Americans believe, was a distraction from the war on terrorism. But so was Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden has been in Pakistan since before 9/11. Bush knew that. Nevertheless, he bombarded the military dictator of Pakistan, who financed the Taliban and Al Qaeda's training camps and hosted bin Laden, not with cluster bombs but with millions of our tax dollars. He never tried to catch Osama.
Rall's whole article is right on. As for the Times article:
Afghanistan's opium harvest this year has reached the highest levels ever recorded, showing an increase of almost 50 percent from last year, the executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, said Saturday in Kabul.
"This year's harvest will be around 6,100 metric tons of opium--a staggering 92 percent of total world supply. It exceeds global consumption by 30 percent," Mr. Costa said at a news briefing.

He said the harvest increased by 49 percent from the year before, and it drastically outpaced the previous record of 4,600 metric tons, set in 1999 while the Taliban governed the country. The area cultivated increased by 59 percent, with more than 400,000 acres planted with poppies in 2006 compared with less than 260,000 in 2005.
Back in late September, 2001, aWol's war bluster led me to go to the local Barnes & Noble, seeking a book on Afghanistan. I looked at all the displays and endcaps, but saw nothing. Finally, I asked at the counter. "Why would you want a book about Afghanistan?" asked the clerk. "Because we're about to go to war there, and I'd like to know something about it." Apparently I was about the only one. It was right there in the news--19 alleged hijackers, mostly from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, who had been living in Florida, California, New Jersey and Germany. The ringleaders of their alleged organization were also from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Yet we were going to bomb the crap out of Afghanistan, which already had little crap left unbombed. I wanted to know why. I still don't.

He believes the protests work too much

Andrew Rosenthal writes in the NY Times about the seeming dearth of protests:
When you hear Young and Company sing of "four dead in Ohio," their Kent State anthem, it's hard to imagine anyone on today's campuses willing to face armed troops. Is there anything they care about that much?

Student protesters helped drive Lyndon Johnson--in so many ways a powerful, progressive president--out of office because of his war. In 2004, George W. Bush--in so many ways a weak, regressive president--was re-elected despite his war. And the campuses were silent.
I was born in 1958, so I was a little young to participate in Vietnam War protests, but my older brother did, and I followed the news closely back then. I admired (and admire) those who protested back then, as I do those who protest now. But I think Rosenthal is engaging in a fair amount of revisionism, inflating the importance of the protests. Serious US involvement in Vietnam began in 1964, with little protest (at least compared to the 2003 protests against the Iraq war). LBJ won the election that fall in a landslide. The protest movement grew over the years, and apparently did have some impact on LBJ and McNamara. But I think the fact that they recognized the failures of their war had more to do with LBJ's not running again than did the protests. (Unfortunately, our current gang of idiots won't recognize their failures until they actually do have to fight the "terrorists" here--if then.) Many of the biggest protests--the Democratic Convention in Chicago and the marches on Washington in 1969--happened after LBJ decided not to run.

Still, the war continued for years. And Nixon waited until AFTER he was re-elected to sign the peace treaty (which he could have done four years earlier) and bring the troops home, having handily defeated an anti-war Democrat in the 1972 election. Unfortunately, to me that shows what little effect the anti-war movement actually had, eight years into a brutal, pointless war that had cost billions, killed 58,000 Americans and millions of southeast Asians.

Right-wingers still like to blame the protesters for losing Vietnam, but I think they're wrong. Vietnam won that war, as Iraq will win this one--they kept fighting until the American ruling class finally decided that greater profits were to be made elsewhere (or in other ways, since American corporations now regularly exploit dirt-cheap Vietnamese labor). Protests may have played a role in that decision, but only a small one.

In a sick way, I think that our rulers actually appreciate the protests to some degree. The marches in the winter of 2003 got lots of people involved. I went to one in Washington in mid-March 2003. The weather was beautiful, one hundred thousand gathering on the lawn of the Washington Monument and then marching around the White House (W was at Camp David, of course). At the end of the march, many of us were so exhilarated that we were saying "No way they can start the war now!" Of course they did, four days later. The disillusionment that obviously pervades everything I'm writing here began in earnest then, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

Many of us fought on, though. I worked on the Kucinich campaign; many others signed up with Howard Dean. Kucinich was systematically ignored, while Dean was pumped up like the housing bubble, only to be popped by a media blitz shortly before the Iowa circuses (sic intended), and especially afterward. Dean's rapid demise, and replacement by the hapless pro-war Kerry, disillusioned millions of Deaniacs who thought they could actually make a difference. (And I'll bet there was at least as much chicanery involved in getting Kerry the nomination that spring as there was in defeating him in the election that fall.) Many of those students Rosenthal doesn't see protesting still have a bitter taste in their mouth from that.

Still, I like the protests. They cheer us up, at least for a while, and demonstrate to the country and the world that many of us here don't agree with our country's policies. I'm just afraid they don't do much to change those policies.

What will work? I don't really know. It's not like we live in a democracy. Gore Vidal said recently that only a massive economic collapse is likely to topple the current American system of mis-government. For better or worse, that is probably right around the corner!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Can we truly afford the luxury of thinking clearly?

Heavens no! According to Field Marshal Rumsfeld, who plays rhetorical Jeopardy on the op-ed pages of the LA Times:
• With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that vicious extremists can somehow be appeased?

• Can we really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?

• Can we truly afford to pretend that the threats today are simply "law enforcement" problems rather than fundamentally different threats requiring fundamentally different approaches?

• Can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America--not the enemy-- is the real source of the world's troubles?
Shorter Rummy: "Can we truly afford to face reality?" The answer to all, is, of course not. After all of the wasteful, pointless wars and the tax cuts for the rich, we can't afford anything--especially keeping these lunatics in charge.

Rummy is also PO'd at Amnesty International:
Then there is the case of Amnesty International, a long-respected human-rights organization, which called the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay the "gulag of our times"--a reference to the vast system of Soviet prisons and labor camps where innocent citizens were starved, tortured and murdered. The facility at Guantanamo Bay, by contrast, includes a volleyball court, basketball court, soccer field and library (the book most requested is "Harry Potter"). The food, served in accordance with Islamic diets, costs more per detainee than the average U.S. military ration.
AI has now issued this correction: "We apologize for referring to Guantanamo Bay as 'the gulag of our times.' It is, rather, the never-ending summer camp from hell. We apologize to Secretary Rumsfeld and all the other idiots who think that volleyball courts and Harry Potter make up for having your freedom deprived for four and a half years without due process, and without one's family even knowing where you are."

Sarcasm aside, AI clearly intended the "gulag" comment to refer to the lack of legal recourse for the "detainees," not to the particulars of their confinement:
Guantanamo has become the gulag our times, entrenching the notion that people can be detained without any recourse to the law.

Friday, September 01, 2006

From John Darkow.

From David Horsey.

From Clay Bennett.

Despite threat of sanctions, uranium enrichment plans proceed

Of course the threat of sanctions is against Iran. The uranium enrichment is in New Mexico:
The first major nuclear facility to be licensed in the United States in three decades moved a step closer to construction Tuesday as officials broke ground for a $1.5 billion uranium enrichment plant in Eastern New Mexico.
Local officials lauded the plant for diversifying the region's bedrock economy of oil and gas.

[Gov. William] Richardson, a former U.S. energy secretary, said nuclear energy will play an important role in the nation's energy mix, and the uranium enrichment plant is a step into the future.
Two nuclear watchdog groups have appealed the NRC's license decision for LES, which is made up of European-based Urenco, British Nuclear Fuels Unlimited and minor U.S. partners.

Public Citizen and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service argued in their filing this month in federal court in Washington, D.C., that LES has not shown a plausible strategy to dispose of depleted uranium waste.

From John Trever.
Actually, I imagine that Ahmedinajad did say something like that, but it was probably translated as "We plan to boom and bust America's economy. Israel's too."

From Tony Auth.