Bob's Links and Rants

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Problem solved

You probably saw or heard about the WaPo report on the crappy conditions wounded soldiers experience at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Mold, mice, cockroaches--all the comforts of home (in the Lower Ninth Ward post-Katrina).

Well who said publicity doesn't get results? Action has been taken immediately to remedy the situation. According to the Army Times:
Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center's Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

"Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media," one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Via Chris Floyd.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Crappy fortune du jour

From my fortune cookie at lunch: "Originality overcomes everything."

Yeah, I've seen worse, but the thing that made this one especially crappy was: I got the same fortune last week!

Wouldn't last a minute in Baghdad

I LOVE this headline from CNN: Cheney heard boom, went to shelter. C'mon, Dick, that's how they greet liberators in Afghanistan, at least during the last throes of an insurgency. You've been screaming about the "terrorists" for years; grab your shotgun and get out there!

Of course, Cheney and booms go back a long way.

The other stories are claiming that the attack on Cheney has caused the stock market to take a dive; I say it's because he survived.

How long do you think it will be before the Bushies blame the attack on Iran?


Monday, February 26, 2007

Quote du jour

Arthur Silber:
One argument about Iran (and about Iraq, as well) is absolutely wrong and completely ineffective: the idea that we need "Congressionally-authorized, well-managed" wars of aggression. If a crime is "well-managed" and "competently" executed, that makes it worse, not better. If you're arguing for "competent" wars of aggression followed by "well-managed" occupations, you're not genuinely opposed to this administration in any way that matters, or with regard to any significant principle.
This was exactly the insanity of the worse-than-useless Kerry campaign in 2004.

Quote du jour

"Democrats fail to pass symbolic, non-binding resolution declaring earth not flat." -- Fake headline from Tom Tomorrow's latest cartoon. Tom also informs us (well me anyway) about Conservapedia, the online insanelopedia for those who think Wikipedia is burdened by just too much accuracy and intelligence, but who still like the fonts and graphics found there. Go there and find out why Christians are the only people with "faith."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

This Week InJustice

The best news of the week is that the Supreme Court ruled that indefinite detentions violate the Bill of Rights. Not only that--the ruling was unanimous! Who would have thought that Scalia, Scalito, Thomas and the rest would so strongly reject the Gulag Bushipelago?

They didn't. It was the Canadian Supreme Court that so ruled. In this country, the D.C. U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the trashing of habeus corpus contained in the horrible Military Commissions Act, agreeing with Bush and Congress that the Constitution doesn't really matter.

Speaking of indefinite detentions, Jose Padilla is finally getting a hearing in a real court. His lawyers are arguing, apparently with plenty of evidence, that the years of cruel solitary confinement punctuated by extremely stressful (at the very least) interogation have left Padilla a psychological wreck unfit for trial. Naomi Klein writes that the whole brutal US system of indefinite detentions and psychological (at least) torture is at long last on trial.

Last month, Chris Floyd wrote about how, while felons (or those with names similar to felons' names) aren't allowed to vote in Florida, they are (at least the felons) able to buy all the firearms they want. This week, Floyd noted that the there's a bill being pushed by the fascists in the Florida legislature which would "convey authority to falsify any public record to prosecutors, judges, mayors, sheriffs, coroners and other public officers." Pretty scary when you consider that Florida has a "three-strikes" law. The cops could create two previous convictions for you and then fake the evidence for the third--and your life is over (perhaps literally). Pretty scary anyway. Apparently the fascists think that falsifying records would somehow help in the so-called "war on terrorism." This from a state which harbored and trained several of the alleged 9/11 terrorists. (They didn't learn how to fly in Afghanistan!)

WIIIAI notes that a variety of war criminals in Afghanistan rallied in Kabul's blood-stained soccer stadium in favor of a law granting amnesty to all sorts of war criminals in Afghanistan. Eventually, this may be George Bush's last line of defense.

Because, of course, he continues to pile on the war crimes hourly. While many of the large car bombings and suicide bombings in Iraq make headlines here, the plane bombings do not. Juan Cole:
Late Saturday, the US Air Force launched a series of bombing raids on southeast Baghdad. This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can't possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you. The bombing appears to have knocked out what little electricity some parts of Baghdad were still getting.
There is no conceivable logic by which airplane or cruise-missile bombing is any less criminal or reprehensible than car, suicide, or IED bombing.


Friday, February 23, 2007

From John Deering.


From Dwane Powell.


From Clay Bennett.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

If Hillary stops running for pResident, I'll stop complaining about her

Sorry. I will make an effort not to have this blog become exclusively an anti-Hillary screed, but I'm just flabbergasted that this sleazeball detested by 3/4 of America is even remotely considered to be pResident, much less the frontrunner for 2008. Plus, I saw this Hillary quote about her 2002 Iraq vote over at WIIIAI: "My vote was a sincere vote based on the facts and assurances that I had at the time."

So I felt compelled to leave a comment, and then further compelled to post it here:
I suspect that one of Hillary's "assurances that [she] had at the time," probably from Bill, is that her yes vote would help her become pResident. And I'm sure she sincerely believed that.

I'd like to see her list the "facts" she had at the time, and then ask her to define "facts."


From Ted Rall.

Arthur Silber has a lengthy article about the myth of Americans as THE Good Guys, a myth which prevents most of us from recognizing the otherwise obvious fact pointed out by Rall in the cartoon above: Everything we accuse other countries of doing we are guilty of a hundred times over.

Silber's article discusses the brutal U.S. occupation of the Philippines at the start of the last century and how the same excuses for American crime and brutality which were used then are being recycled for use now.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

She most certainly DOESN'T deserve an apology, or a vote

Cartoonist Tony Auth seems to think that Hillary was clueless in 2002:

Absurd. When Hillary voted in favor of the Iraq war in October 2002, Bush had already misled us into one war (Afghanistan) and botched that occupation completely. The Constitution was already being trashed, with Hillary's help, through the Patriot Act, the indefinite detention of so-called "detainees" and "enemy combatants," including US citizens like Jose Padilla, and illegal wiretapping. W's incompetence was there for anyone to see--the failure to stop 9/11, the failure to capture Osama even though trashing an entire country for that express purpose, or, for that matter, every time he opened his mouth. There are only two explanations for Hillary's 2002 vote: either she's too stupid to see the obvious, or she's been on Bush's side all along. I suspect the latter, but in either case, Hillary doesn't deserve an apology. In the first case, she should simply be relegated to the trash heap of history, babbling her nonsense in venues far from Washington. In the latter case, she deserves a cell at Gitmo down the hall from Bush's and Cheney's.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Quote du jour: "It's over. You lost."

And yet, as the situation continues to deteriorate both for Iraqis inside and outside of Iraq, and for Americans inside Iraq, Americans in America are still debating on the state of the war and occupation- are they winning or losing? Is it better or worse.

Let me clear it up for any moron with lingering doubts: It's worse. It's over. You lost. You lost the day your tanks rolled into Baghdad to the cheers of your imported, American-trained monkeys. You lost every single family whose home your soldiers violated. You lost every sane, red-blooded Iraqi when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out and verified your atrocities behind prison walls as well as the ones we see in our streets. You lost when you brought murderers, looters, gangsters and militia heads to power and hailed them as Iraq's first democratic government. You lost when a gruesome execution was dubbed your biggest accomplishment. You lost the respect and reputation you once had. You lost more than 3000 troops. That is what you lost America. I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile.
-- Iraqi blogger Riverbend, in a post about the alleged gang-rape of an Iraqi woman by the so-called security forces (and their immediate exoneration by puppet-monkey Maliki). More on the subject from Chris Floyd and WIIIAI.


How can you lose something you never had?

Monday, February 19, 2007

From Khalil via Minuteman Media.


Arthur Silber writes the perfect metaphor for the Iraq war, up to and including Condi's latest lie-by. Excerpts:
Imagine that, as the third week of the robber's visit begins, he tells you that you really need to get back to work. After all, he lets you and the children get up and walk around for a few hours every day. He even lets you look out the windows now and then. He keeps an eye on you all the time, of course, and the gun is always in his hands. But he doesn't see why all of you can't start to enjoy a more "normal" life.
Imagine that, as the second month of the robber's visit begins, he ominously tells you that he's "growing increasingly frustrated," and that his "patience is not unlimited." Whenever his threats grow more specific, he seems to be saying that, if you don't do exactly as he demands, he might leave. He's convinced you would view this as a threat. But even that makes no sense to you at all, because the associate who brought the firearms has stayed. This second man now also rapes your daughter every day. But the first robber also says that he's not leaving anytime soon. He says he genuinely wants all of you to work this out; he views the two of you in particular as having a "partnership."

Secretary of Hate

So Condi went to Iraq and Israel over the weekend. She must be racking up a ton of frequent liar miles.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

From Rob Rogers.

Back in Bush Quagmire I

8 U.S. troops die in Afghan copter crash. Plus 14 wounded. The war in Afghanistan was and is just as pointless and criminal as the one in Iraq, and the results have been no better. The reasons given for that ongoing brutal attack were no better than could have been given for attacking several other countries:
  • Osama was there? Well maybe. Then again, maybe he was in Pakistan. Or dead.
  • The Afghan government, the Taliban, supported al Qaeda? So did Pakistan and Saudi Arabia--and they supported the Taliban as well, as had the US until a few years before.
  • It was a breeding ground for terrorists? Yes, because the CIA armed and funded the Mujahadeen in the 1980's, many of whom ended up a part of al Qaeda. We've done the same thing in Iraq by funding, training and arming Iraqi "security forces."
  • It harbored terrorists? The 19 alleged 9/11 terrorists had spent very little (if any) time in Afghanistan. Natives mostly of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, they had lived for years in Germany, Spain and Indonesia, and most recently in the United States. Bush had more justification for bombing Florida than he did for bombing Afghanistan.
Afghanistan was on the attack plan; Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and Florida were not. September 11 gave Bush the opening to do what he wanted to do. The attack was neither justified nor necessary, and has not made us or Afghanistan safer. And tell any US politician who claims that the brutal ongoing attack on Afghanistan was justified to go Cheney himself.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Meta-quote du jour

Holy Joe Lieberman hang-doggedly warned today that the non-binding resolution will turn into a constitutional crisis, "an escalating battle that threatens to consume our government over many months ahead, a battle that will neither solve the sprawling challenges we face in Iraq nor strengthen our nation to defeat the enemies of our security throughout the world from Islamist extremists." In other words--and I suspect you're all way ahead of me here--exactly like the war in Iraq.


Protest tomorrow!

Also, Michigan Peaceworks has a lot of other things you can do in the next week to put some pressure on Congress, including "Michigan Senators Lobby Day:"
Next Wednesday the 21st, peace groups from across Michigan will lobby and vigil at all 13 state offices of Senators Levin and Stabenow. Michigan says "End the war!" As Congress prepares to debate the supplemental appropriations bill to provide more funding for the war, demand our Senators use Congress' power of the purse to stop this war. We have received calls from across the country asking us to put more pressure on Levin because of the important role he plays in this Congress.


Nothing new about it

Thursday, February 15, 2007

From Nick Anderson.


It makes no sense at all

From David Horsey.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

So far from God, so close to the United States

That's an old lament among Mexicans, referring to the endless assault on their country and way of life by the relentless bully to the north. This time, it's subsidies, GM corn, and Wal-Mart. John Ross writes about how US agribusiness is destroying Mexican corn, and perhaps Mexico along with it. Excerpt:
Competing with highly subsidized U.S. farmers is driving their Mexican counterparts into bankruptcy. Whereas south of the border, guaranteed prices for farmers' crops is a thing of the past, corporate corn growers north of the Rio Bravo [what gringos call the Rio Grande] can receive up to $21,000 an acre in subsidies from their government, enabling them to dump their corn over the border at 80% of cost. The impact of this inundation has been to force 6,000,000 farmers and their families here to abandon their plots and leap into the migration stream, according to a 2004 Carnegie Endowment study.
If you aren't sufficiently pissed off yet, that article ought to do it--especially if you love Mexico.

One good candidate, and they don't even recognize his existence

From an AP article (emphasis added):
But Democrat Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who unsuccessfully sought his party's presidential nomination four years ago, said the United States "illegally attacked and invaded Iraq in a war based on lies. Now those same lies are being used to tell the American people we must escalate and continue to fund the war in the name of the troops."
Would it have been too much trouble to say, instead, that Kucinich is "seeking his party's presidential nomination" for 2008? Because he is. And he's far and away the best Democratic candidate (and of course far better than any Republican candidate). But the ignoring of Dennis, which was overwhelming four years ago, seems to be even more complete this year. Most articles about the swiftboat load of candidates don't mention him, instead focusing on Obama's "audacious" challenge to Hillary's "front-runner" status. Even the better cartoonists give him the "professor and Mary Ann" treatment ("and the rest"):

From Mark Davies.

Even I haven't mentioned him much lately. Frankly, working on his campaign in 2003-04 was depressing: We had the best candidate, with a lot of interest here in Michigan (only Dean seemed to have more). Yet Kucinich was systematically ignored, never presented as a viable candidate. And somehow John Kerry, who had almost zero support among most Michiganders for most of 2003, ended up winning the primary in February 2004. And now, even though Kucinich was far and away the most right (correct) of the 2004 candidates, his candidacy still doesn't exist in the media. At least his 2004 candidacy finally got a mention.

If Democrats are serious about ending the war and preventing more wars, reducing defense funding, and basically turning this country in the right direction--they have a candidate. Too bad they never hear about him.

Hypocrite in Chief

AWol gave a press conference today. The transcript isn't up yet on the White House web site, but I was struck by these two paragraphs from the NY Times article about it:
Bush said he could say "with certainty" that the weapons were provided by an elite part of Iran's Revolutionary Guards that is part of the government.

But, the president added, he does not know whether the weapons were "ordered from the top echelons of government. But, my point is, what's worse, them ordering it and it happening, or them not ordering it and it happening?"
First off, that's a question, not a point. More importantly, since when is this joker interested in the criminals in charge being held responsible for the crimes of their underlings?
The American people were horrified by the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. These acts were wrong. They were inconsistent with our policies and our values as a Nation. I have directed a full accounting for the abuse of the Abu Ghraib detainees, and investigations are underway to review detention operations in Iraq and elsewhere.
-- Presidential Statement, June 26, 2004

Under Saddam Hussein, prisons like Abu Ghraib were symbols of death and torture. That same prison became a symbol of disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values.
-- Fact Sheet: The Transition to Iraqi Self-Government, May 24, 2004

And, oh yeah, this one other note on W's credibility when he speaks "with certainty:"
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.
Presidential speech, March 17, 2003

He will say anything, do anything, to keep us in perpetual war. The truth and what he says are in no way related (although direct opposites usually comes close).

BTW, you've got to love the graphic the White House used at the top of the web page containing the March 17, 2003 speech:

And finally, you can probably read lots of W's denial and deception on the White House web site in a few hours when they post the transcript, although a more entertaining way to peruse the lowlights is to visit WIIIAI, who usually tears these things apart brilliantly.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stupid quote du jour

This is a global war on terror. Some people from the other side seem to believe that if we pull out of Iraq, that the Iraqi people are going to go back to tending sheep and herding goats. That's not what's going to happen. If we pull out of Iraq, what's going to happen is you are going to see more bloodshed than we have seen in a long time in this world.
-- Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA). Westmoreland is not, apparently, related to that other champion of endless war, Gen. William Westmoreland. Still, it's hard to know where to start in ripping this moron a new one.

  • First, following on my post from earlier today: Shut the Cheney up about a "war on terror!"
  • Second, it has been a long time since most Iraqis tended sheep or herded goats (if there ever was such a time). According to Wikipedia: "In 1996 some 66.4 percent of the labor force worked in services, 17.5 percent in industry, and 16.1 percent in agriculture." So I guess he's right there--Iraq is unlikely to return to a past that never was.
  • More bloodshed than we've seen in a long time? Well, maybe if you ignore the Congo and what's been going on in Iraq for the past four years. And while there is plenty of evidence that American troops staying is not improving the situation in Iraq, there is none at all that leaving will make it worse. Admittedly, none to indicate that leaving will make it better--because IT HASN'T BEEN TRIED. Staying is a proven failure; leaving isn't a guarantee of anything, but it is evidence of sanity.
Anyway--here's a photo of Westmoron for your dartboard:

And you can read more about him, including his Ten Commandments legislation and his appearance on the Colbert Report, on Wikipedia. Some of these people are too stupid to live, but not too stupid to be in Congress.


Why the Cheney are you apologizing?

Democrats are such wimps:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is apologizing for saying the lives of the more than 3,000 U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war were "wasted."

During his first campaign trip this weekend, the Illinois senator told a crowd in Iowa: "We now have spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted." (Watch Obama announce his candidacy)

He immediately apologized on Sunday, saying the remark was "a slip of the tongue."

During an appearance Monday in Nashua, New Hampshire, he apologized again, telling reporters he meant to criticize the civilian leadership of the war, not those serving in the military.

"Even as I said it, I realized I had misspoken," Obama said. "It is not at all what I intended to say, and I would absolutely apologize if any (military families) felt that in some ways it had diminished the enormous courage and sacrifice that they'd shown."
Actually, I think "wasted" was being nice. It implies being put to no use--US forces have been used for criminal purpose in the last five years decades--that's even worse than being wasted. Nevertheless, any time any politician comes remotely close to speaking the truth, he feels compelled to apologize.

W: "Hey, it's cool. I never been to war, but I been wasted plenny o' times!"


From Bruce Beattie.


From Tom Toles.

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From Mike Thompson.

Even the alliterative* Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, isn't buying this snake oil.


Framing the debate

What TV "news" "debates" would look like if lunatics were excluded:

From Ted Rall.

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Before I look

I'll bet that some of my favorite blogs, A Tiny Revolution especially, will be all over today's NY Times editorial, which demonstrates that an incredible lack of self-awareness is an affliction not only of George Bush, but of the NY Times as well. The editorial refers to the latest hype about Iran providing weapons to the insurgency in Iraq, and how the misadministration used anonymous briefers to give the story to the press. I hereby predict that Jonathan Schwarz at ATR, and probably a few others on my blog roll, will (or already have) focused on this sentence from the editorial:
How little this administration has learned from its failures is a constant source of amazement. It seems the bigger the failure, the less it learns.
This from the paper that, just a few days ago, published an article by Michael Gordon (Deadliest Bomb in Iraq Is Made by Iran, U.S. Says) about those same weapons based entirely on those same anonymous government sources. The NY Times was the Bushies' "news"letter in the run-up to the war in Iraq, and so far has served exactly the same purpose in the run-up to war with Iran. Somehow, they don't seem to have noticed--nor have they changed. While condemning the Bushies' method of delivering misinformation, they still seem to believe it all:
We have no doubt about Iran's malign intent. Iran is defying the Security Council's order to halt its nuclear activities, and it is certainly meddling inside Iraq.
If Mr. Bush is truly worried about Iran fanning Iraq's ever more bloody civil war--and he should be--he needs to stop fantasizing about regime change and start trying to find a way to persuade Iran's leaders to help rein in the chaos in Iraq.
Fanning Iraq's civil war? It isn't Iran that is surging 20,000 troops into Baghdad. It's the same clowns who made the civil war possible in the first place.

Anyway, everything above was written before 9 this morning. I will now go check my blogroll and see what the pros have to say.


So how's that war on terror going?

Of all the stupid ideas which have come out of W's mouth in the last six years, the so-called "war on terror" has to be the stupidest. That it is accepted as legitimate and is parroted by almost all politicians, Repugs and Dumbos alike, just makes it worse. And it's not like it's working. On the first anniversary of the bombing of the Mosque of the Golden Dome in Samarra, Iraq, here are some of the headlines:
What the US has done to Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of the "war on terror" is far worse than the combined effect of all terrorist acts against the US, and maybe against everybody, in history. George Bush is the world's worst terrorist. Worst everything, actually.


Monday, February 12, 2007

The other Jackie Robinson story

From an article on child prostitution in the Arizona Republic:
Jacqueline Robinson, 17, was 13 when she left home with some clothes her mom had just bought her and 50 cents to get on the bus. She had barely stepped off the bus when a prostitute told her she could make some money.

Robinson, who agreed to have her name published, said she was embarrassed the first time she went on the streets. She didn't have the right clothes, and she wasn't really sure what to do. She made only about $50 a night until she learned watching other girls.

After a while, she said, "it was a career. I felt like I couldn't wait to get out there. It was a rush for me having that much money in my hand. It was all about having fun. Getting money was fun for me."

At 13, she was pregnant. But she was working without a pimp, and one night, she was beaten for that. She miscarried the baby girl in an alley, severing the umbilical cord with a rock.

When she was 14, she had a boy. He was adopted by her aunt. She quit prostituting shortly after. She was almost 15.

"Do I want to start my life over again and do it the right way?" she said. "I do want that."

She thinks she will work legally as a stripper when she turns 18 to put herself through college. She wants to be a pro golfer and a fashion designer.
The new American dream, I guess. The article says that "about 300,000 children annually are sexually exploited for money in the United States."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Quote du jour

This is what the Bushists are tacitly admitting when they claim that the Shiite militias are fragging their ostensible American allies with Iranian weapons. They are saying that even the factions "liberated" and empowered by the American invasion are now attacking and killing U.S. soldiers, with even more virulence than the Sunni insurgents. They are saying that Bush is now "surging" more soldiers into a situation where every single armed faction in the Iraqi conflict is targeting and killing Americans, including those factions armed and funded by the Americans themselves.
-- Chris Floyd


From David Horsey.

It can always get worse...

We were already familiar with Condiliar from her National Security Adviser days, so it probably didn't surprise too many people that she would be an even worse and more embarrassing SecState than Colin Powell. But surely many were surprised that Bush could find an attorney general even worse than John Ashcroft, but, lo and behold, he certainly did. But Donald Rumsfeld? Surely that's a limbo bar so low that nobody could possibly get under it.

Well, maybe not. From yesterday's press conference with Secretary of War Gates:
Q: Mr. Gates, there's been a lot of increased rhetoric in Washington about the activities in Iran, in Iraq and around the world. Yesterday there were a couple of provocative acts, but you said it was just another day in the Persian Gulf. Do you think that the rhetoric in Washington is sometimes harmful and that maybe it should be toned down a little bit?

SEC. GATES: Well, I -- my impression, frankly, in the last few weeks is that there's been an effort in Washington actually to tone down everybody else. I don't know how many times the president, Secretary Rice and I have had to repeat that we have no intention of attacking Iraq -- Iran; that the second carrier group is there to reassure our allies, as well as to send a signal that we've been in the Persian Gulf for decades and we intend to stay there. And I think these are fairly modest statements, frankly.
Imagine if Ahmedinajad announced that Iranian warships (with planes capable of attacking any place in the US) had been in Chesapeake Bay for decades and intended on staying there. I'm guessing "modest" wouldn't be one of the first words used by Bush, our bloodthirsty Congress, or our state-run media to refer to Ahmedinajad's bluster. And as Jonathan Schwarz points out:
BUT SERIOUSLY: The U.S. is almost certainly doing things within Iran that would cause us to invade any country doing them to us—such as supporting separatist groups engaging in terrorism.
Of course, Gates knows more about Iran's involvement in trying to overthrow Iraq's Iran-friendly government than you do:
[I]t's the sophistication of the technology. I think that there are some serial numbers. There may be some markings on some of the projectile fragments that we found. I'm just frankly not specifically certain myself of the details, but I understand there is pretty good evidence tying these EFPs (explosively formed projectile) to the Iranians.
Rummy couldn't have flaunted his ignorance any better.

You've got to wonder about these serial numbers. Do Iranian munitions manufacturers actually put serial numbers on their shells, and if so, how does our famously inept "intelligence" community know what they are? Unless, of course, these are shells left over from the decades when the US sold weaponry by the boatload to the Shah, or maybe from the '80's when Ollie North was secretly selling weapons to Iran so their war with Iraq could be just that much bloodier. If the shells are American made, THEN I can see how they could track the serial numbers.

Most likely, though, it's just like Iraq. They're making stuff up out of thin air--pulling it out of their Cheneys, if you will. Iran is next on the agenda--any lie in a storm for these guys.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Quote du jour

To review: news shows are, yes, shows. They do not make money by providing us useful information. They make money by providing us... to the advertisers.
-- Bob Harris, noting that out of the over 100,000 deaths in the world today, only one is getting much attention from our so-called news networks. Harris notes that these "news" organizations are not underestimating the American public--that one particular death is the most popular story on Google News and Yahoo News.


Meat or future--your choice

I've been a vegetarian for over five years now. At times I wonder if it's worth it--walking the extra mile to find a veggie-friendly restaurant, having people treat me like an alien when I go to a dinner party, etc. But then I get reminded of what it's all about:

Last week I mentioned a UN report which said that livestock animals are responsible for one-fifth of the pollution responsible for global warming. Well, Kathy Freston writes a lot more about it at the Huffington Post, pointing out that abandoning a meat diet for a veggie one helps the environment a lot more than abandoning a gas guzzler for a Prius.
...feeding animals for meat, dairy, and egg production requires growing some ten times as much crops as we'd need if we just ate pasta primavera, faux chicken nuggets, and other plant foods. On top of that, we have to transport the animals to slaughterhouses, slaughter them, refrigerate their carcasses, and distribute their flesh all across the country. Producing a calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as much fossil fuels--and spewing more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide--as does a calorie of plant protein.
According to the UN report, it gets even worse when we include the vast quantities of land needed to give us our steak and pork chops. Animal agriculture takes up an incredible 70% of all agricultural land, and 30% of the total land surface of the planet. As a result, farmed animals are probably the biggest cause of slashing and burning the world's forests. Today, 70% of former Amazon rainforest is used for pastureland, and feed crops cover much of the remainder. These forests serve as "sinks," absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, and burning these forests releases all the stored carbon dioxide, quantities that exceed by far the fossil fuel emission of animal agriculture.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the real kicker comes when looking at gases besides carbon dioxide--gases like methane and nitrous oxide, enormously effective greenhouse gases with 23 and 296 times the warming power of carbon dioxide, respectively. If carbon dioxide is responsible for about one-half of human-related greenhouse gas warming since the industrial revolution, methane and nitrous oxide are responsible for another one-third. These super-strong gases come primarily from farmed animals' digestive processes, and from their manure. In fact, while animal agriculture accounts for 9% of our carbon dioxide emissions, it emits 37% of our methane, and a whopping 65% of our nitrous oxide.
Going veg provides more bang for your buck than driving a Prius. Plus, that bang comes a lot faster. The Prius cuts emissions of carbon dioxide, which spreads its warming effect slowly over a century. A big chunk of the problem with farmed animals, on the other hand, is methane, a gas which cycles out of the atmosphere in just a decade. That means less meat consumption quickly translates into a cooler planet.

Not just a cooler planet, also a cleaner one. Animal agriculture accounts for most of the water consumed in this country, emits two-thirds of the world's acid-rain-causing ammonia, and it the world's largest source of water pollution--killing entire river and marine ecosystems, destroying coral reefs, and of course, making people sick. Try to imagine the prodigious volumes of manure churned out by modern American farms: 5 million tons a day, more than a hundred times that of the human population, and far more than our land can possibly absorb. The acres and acres of cesspools stretching over much of our countryside, polluting the air and contaminating our water, make the Exxon Valdez oil spill look minor in comparison. All of which we can fix surprisingly easily, just by putting down our chicken wings and reaching for a veggie burger.
If you care about your home planet, stop eating meat. It's that simple.

Thanks to Mint for the link!

Stop war with Iran

Jonathan Schwarz lists several things you can do to try and stop Bush Quagmire III.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The first casualty of war is truth

Of course, that sucker was shocked and awed to death long before the official start of the current war in Iraq. Nevertheless, the lifeless corpse of truth continues to be "abused," Abu Ghraib-style, from all sides. Chris Floyd examines the January 28 massacre of hundreds near Najaf, and how while what happened there isn't clear, the fact that the US military and the Iraqi stooge government have been lying about it non-stop is perfectly clear.

If you wish to be a US government or military spokesmodel (TM WIIIAI) this month, here are your talking points when discussing any new or ongoing disaster in Iraq:
  • The bombing/shootout/whatever demonstrates the implacability of the enemy (whoever that may be this week)
  • It shows that the Iraqi government is trying, but maybe not hard enough
  • It is clear evidence that continued or even expanded US presence in Iraq is necessary, and, of course,
  • Iran was behind it.
Under no circumstances let actual facts or elementary logic about the incident/massacre/disaster interfere with your use of these talking points.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Another Arthur Silber quote

If ... the Democrats showed some leadership, there is one other issue they desperately need to address: Iran.

They should rescind the Iraq authorization of force resolution (Lindorff's reference is to the earlier one, passed right after 9/11 -- both should be burned to a crisp), since Bush uses the authorizations to maintain that he already has authority to attack Iran (and anyone else he chooses). And they should pass resolutions stating that, if Bush attacks Iran in the absence of a Congressional Declaration of War (remember those?), that will be grounds for immediate impeachment.

And they should draft articles of impeachment NOW, just in case they need them. And they should publish them in every major newspaper, and read them on television every night.

Quote du jour

We had no right to invade and occupy Iraq. Iraq never attacked us, and did not threaten us. We have committed an unforgivable war crime, on an immense scale. Insofar as fundamental moral principles are concerned, we deserve to lose.

"Victory" was impossible before this criminal enterprise began, because we never knew what we were doing at the most basic level. The longer we remain in Iraq, the worse the devastation will be. We must leave as quickly as possible, and then make whatever reparations we can.
-- Arthur Silber


From Chris Britt.

From Rob Rogers.

From Jen Sorensen.

Monday, February 05, 2007

$2.9 trillion and what do you get

More money for war and deeper in debt
Cuts in health and he ain't done yet
Our future robbed by Republican whores.

AWol continues to play the same game--ask for outrageous amounts of money for outrageous things, counting on the Dumbocrats to debate and compromise with his nonsense, rather than rejecting it (and him) outright. Announcing a "surge" of troops, in the face of the expressed will of the voters and even of the war criminals on his Iraq Study Group, has led to a month of debate about whether there should be a surge or not, instead of the proper debate about whether all US troops should be removed from Iraq tomorrow or day after tomorrow. And now they'll use this ridiculous budget as a starting point for compromise, rather than properly debating whether to pursue gentle impeachment (Bush, Cheney and Gonzo) or harsh impeachment (throw in everyone else in the administration, and sentence them all to eternity in Gitmo).

Unfortunately, the idiot Dems take all of their good options (defunding the war and impeachment) off the friggin' table (the table which still seems to have nuking Iran on it) so they're left with nothing to bargain away. Don't compromise with insanity, morons!

Aargh! Sorry--I'm in a foul mood. These -9 F overnight temperatures don't help.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Insane and Insaner

From AP:
U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. In dealing with this threat ... no option can be taken off the table.
-- Hillary Clinton, speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Thursday.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday accused Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of "timidity" regarding the security threat posed by

I hope they both get food poisoning from AIPAC and die. These lunatics should be listening to Americans, not trying to one-up each other for the Israelis. Ah--just stick with the food poisoning.

Quote du jour

"Bush is using proper English, as it will be spoken in the 23rd Century after 200 more years of budget cuts in education." -- Ted Rall


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Quote du jour

It's quite difficult to convince people you are killing them for their own good. That's our basic problem in Iraq.
-- Molly Ivins, who died yesterday. WIIIAI has a bunch of great Molly quotes, and is collecting more.


No food for oil

Four items to consider:

Mexicans protesting rising tortilla prices. From AP:
Some 75,000 unionists, farmers and leftists marched to protest price increases in basic foodstuffs like tortillas, a direct challenge to the new president's market-oriented economic policies blamed by some for widening the gulf between rich and poor.

Since taking office Dec. 1 after a disputed election, President Felipe Calderon has drawn his greatest criticism for failing to control the largest price spike in tortillas in decades. Tortillas are a staple of poor Mexicans' diet.

The national uproar has put him in an uncomfortable position between the poor and some agribusiness industries hoping to profit from the surge in international corn prices, driven mostly by the sudden explosion of the U.S. ethanol industry. A free-market advocate, Calderon has said he does not want to return to direct price controls enforced by many former Mexican presidents.


From Richard Crowson (Kansas).

Ethanol gets White House boost:
President Bush's call to increase the renewable fuel standards five fold over the next decade confirms that the demand for corn, ethanol and eventually other non-grain fuel sources will continue to soar, ethanol industry leaders said last week.
Livestock and Global Warming (from the People's Food Co-op Newsletter)
The Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has released a report stating that livestock animals are responsible for one-fifth of the pollution responsible for global warming. Gases from manure and animal flatulence, removal of forests to make way for grazing land, and the energy used in livestock farming are tied to 18% of the greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. Urgent action is called for to remedy the situation. The report also noted that livestock farming has increases water pollution, and that nearly 70% of Amazonian rainforests have been turned into grazing land.

I became a biofuels advocate almost three years ago. My old car had died, and I was shopping for a "new" one. I tried to find a used Prius or Insight on the used-car web sites, but the pickings were very slim and expensive. I went to the Earth Day Fair in Ann Arbor, and got to talking to the people promoting biodiesel. It turned out that there were far more used Volkswagen diesels on the market than there were hybrids, and I ended up buying a 2001 Golf TDI. I immediately filled it with biodiesel, and continue to run it on biodiesel whenever I can. I believe that biofuels have a role to play in a sustainable future.


Anyone who thinks that we can just replace all the oil with biofuels and continue motoring like crazed maniacs (Americans) is insane. (Yes, I'm talking about you, George.) By far the most important step we can take--to prevent global warming, endless oil wars, and that vastly overrated threat called "terrorism"--is to cut our energy use drastically. Serious trade-offs need to be considered. For instance, a huge amount of farm land could be freed up for biofuels if everyone ate less meat, which would help with the global warming problem as well. Better yet, the current "globalized" economy could be totally dismantled and replaced with an economy (or better yet many economies) which places the feeding of poor Mexicans (and billions of others) ahead of the profits of agribusiness. Simply switching from oil to biofuels is abandoning one false god for another, and will lead to equally disastrous consequences.

From Kevin Siers.

From Steve Kelley.

From Mark Cohen.

From Tom Toles.

No Joementum here, either

Senator Joe Biden jumped into the pResidential ring, and immediately knocked himself out by opening his mouth, saying this about Barack Obama:
I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.
Saddest thing is, he probably stole that line from someone else.

Bye-bye, Biden. And take Hillary with you.

Bush treats reporters like Israel treats Palestinian houses

By trying to run them over with Caterpillar tractors.

That's when the trouble started.
Touring a Caterpillar factory in Peoria, Ill., the Commander in Chief got behind the wheel of a giant tractor and played chicken with a few wayward reporters. Wearing a pair of stylish safety glasses--at least more stylish than most safety glasses--Bush got a mini-tour of the factory before delivering remarks on the economy. "I would suggest moving back," Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. "I'm about to crank this sucker up." As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety. "Get out of the way!" a news photographer yelled. "I think he might run us over!" said another. White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned. The episode lasted about a minute, and Bush was still laughing when he pulled to a stop. He gave reporters a thumbs-up. "If you've never driven a D-10, it's the coolest experience," Bush said afterward. Yeah, almost as much fun as seeing your life flash before your eyes.
As WIIIAI would suggest, no metaphors here, nope. None. Move along.