Bob's Links and Rants

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

From Jeff Stahler.

From David Horsey.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Torture Gonzales in a Stress Position

Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's always the victims' fault

Stealing an entire post from A Tiny Revolution:

Cho Seung-Hui, in the video mailed to NBC:

"You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today...You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.''

George Bush, three days before the invasion of Iraq:

"Tomorrow is the day that we will determine whether or not diplomacy can work...You see, the decision is [Saddam's] to make. And it's been his to make all along as to whether or not there's the use of the military. He got to decide...these are his decisions to make."
I didn't really want to steal that post, but Jonathan made it so timely and brilliant, I really had no choice. The decision was his.

Jonathan almost decided I should steal this great post, too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A six Virginia Tech day

In Baghdad, that is. The usual in this post-surge nightmare is two or three. While there is zero evidence that US troops are reducing violence in Iraq, there is plenty of evidence that they are not. More troops, more violence. No troops? Let's give it a try, shall we?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Quote du jour

Anyone who can be shocked by someone in America getting hold of a firearm and shooting a bunch of random strangers simply hasnít been paying attention.


Monday, April 16, 2007

If I could ask some followup questions

From today's briefing by White House Spokesmodel Dana Perino:
Q Dana, going back to Virginia Tech, what more does this White House think needs to be done as it relates to gun issues? The President says current laws need to be strengthened, anything beyond that -- you had a conference on school violence with guns -- what more needs to be done?

MS. PERINO: I would point you back to the fact that President, along with Secretary Spellings, hosted last October -- October 10, 2006 -- a conference on school gun violence after the Amish school shooting and the other shootings that had happened, because the tragedies are the ones that just collectively break America's heart and are ones that we deeply feel, because all of us can imagine what it would be like to have been at your own school, your own college, and to have something happen. And those of us who are parents, or brothers or sisters of people at the schools have to take that into consideration.

As far as policy, the President believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed.
My first followup: So NOW the pResident doesn't believe that a tragedy should not be an excuse for curtailing our constitutional rights?

Second followup:
So the Virginia Tech and Amish shootings are tragedies "that we deeply feel," unlike the similar and larger tragedies that we inflict or enable daily on the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia? Why is that?

Third followup, just to get the Repugs arguing amongst themselves: And isn't your concern for Second Amendment rights at odds with Republican senators like Jim Bunning (Idiot-KY), who said last year "Civil liberties do not mean much when you are dead?"

Fourth followup: You said that the pResident believes that "all laws must be followed." Which pResident would that be?

Fifth followup: I'm sorry, I've been using today's tragedy (the one in Virginia) to further my own agenda. That's highly inappropriate, don't you think?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Senate Clown is Coming to Town

Senator Carl "Blame the Victims" Levin is coming to Ann Arbor on Sunday. He'll be speaking and evading questions at the Michigan Union's Pendleton Room from 12:30 to 1:30. A protest in front of the Union. Bring signs and questions. I think my sign will say:

the War,
Bush, or
in disgrace

Last Sunday, Levin said "We're not going to vote to cut funding, period." The Dumbocrats must have the cleanest table in the world, having taken everything off it (defunding, deauthorizing, impeaching, being different from Repugs). And just a few weeks ago he was suggesting that US forces attack Syria and Iran. We need to let him know that he's not speaking for us.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Debating the immigration issue

Two diametrically-opposed opinions on how to determine the effectiveness of increased border security.

one of the best examples of success is the Arizona Border Control Initiative, which the government launched in 2004. In the first year of this initiative -- now, listen to this, listen how hard these people are working here -- agents in Arizona apprehended nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants, a 42-percent increase over the previous year.
In the months before Operation Jump Start, an average of more than 400 people a day were apprehended trying to cross here. The number has dropped to fewer than 140 a day. In other words, one way that the Border Patrol can tell whether or not we're making progress is the number of apprehensions. When you're apprehending fewer people, it means fewer are trying to come across. And fewer are trying to come across because we're deterring people from attempting illegal border crossings in the first place.
So which is it? Is the true measure of the effectiveness of a border security policy more arrests or fewer arrests? Both, of course! Because if you're George W. Bush, no evidence exists, ever, which demonstrates that your policies aren't working.

WIIIAI notes that if the number of arrests had stayed EXACTLY the same, that too would have been evidence of success. Of course, we've seen this again and again. A decrease in the genocide rate in Iraq indicates that the security situation has improved; an increase means that the "terrorists" are desperate, in their "last throes." And so on. Being George Bush means never having to admit you're wrong, despite an infinite number of opportunities to do so.

We get e-mails

The latest one from Senator Debbie Stabenow in response to my web-mail asking her to support de-funding and de-authorizing the Bush wars. It begins:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I appreciate you taking the time to share your views with me on this matter of critical importance.
Of course, she then goes on to demonstrate that she appreciates my views NOT AT ALL:
Now is the time to be fully behind our members of the Armed Services who are doing such an excellent job. We must remember that thousands of young men and women are in harm's way, fighting for our country. It is critical to make sure that they have everything they need to complete their mission and come home as quickly and as safely as possible.

I'm sure you will join me in extending heartfelt gratitude to all of the Michiganians who are participating in this effort. Our brave men and women who have been mobilized and deployed to bases around the world are serving our military gallantly. Their missions include the training of Iraqi police and security forces, patrolling combat zones, ensuring the safe and expedient movement of equipment and personnel, servicing those in need of medical care and evacuation, providing logistical and life support, maintaining aircraft and various resources, and many others. These important and brave contributions are worthy of our greatest admiration and support.
"Fighting for our country?" "Doing an excellent job?" "These important and brave contributions are worthy of our greatest admiration and support?"

NO! NO! NO! They are NOT! They are illegally occupying a foreign country against the will of the majorities in both that country and this one. Every day they are there makes a horrible situation worse. Of course it is largely not their fault. The blame goes mainly to the idiot in the White House, but much blame goes to exceedingly worthless Dumbocrats like Stabenow for refusing to do anything to stop it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The sunshine state

In Florida, you can be arrested for feeding the poor or being six years old, but if you blew up a Cuban airliner, you go free. Oh, and they've got that insane shoot-first law. Why would anyone not involved in organized crime or the Republican Party (but I repeat myself) ever want to retire there?

BTW, the six-year-old girl was charged with a felony, which may mean that she no longer needs to wait until she's 18 to (try to) vote the bums who arrested her out of office--she may never get to vote at all.

Quote of the week

"I disagree with what the majority of the American people want." -- Senator John McCain, who thinks he's running for pResident. Of course, ignoring what the American people want (ande even who they voted for), staging stupid photo-ops, and making inarticulate statements which fly in the face of reality worked well for the last guy.

They should--they gave it to him

From Milt Priggee.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Too many outrages, too little stomach to write about them

Lately I've been working fairly hard, and enjoying it. There's been lots of stuff I like on TV lately (with the Stanley Cup playoffs right around the corner). I've read several good books lately (The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, one of the best books ever IMHO; The Sweet Hereafter, by Russell Banks; the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, by Phillip Pullman; and many others), aided and abetted by my smartphone and Bluetooth headphones, which allow me to "read" while riding the bus--and walking to and from it, as well as while running and at the gym. My brother is coming to visit, my soccer season is about to start, I'm still trying to study Spanish everyday, and there's a bunch of other stuff I wish I spent more time on.

Meanwhile, the outlook for Planet Earth is so dreary that I find it hard to even focus on just one outrage to blog about. My usual favorites--Chris Floyd, Jonathan Schwarz, WIIIAI, and Michelle's recently-revived You Will Anyway--have been blogging up a storm on all sorts of topics: The US-sponsored disasters in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia (see Floyd's multiple posts on the almost completely unpublicized regime change in that poor country oft blighted by Uncle Sam). Michelle has been following the revelations surrounding the US attorney firings. While I don't believe that the firings themselves are that much of a scandal (the real scandal is that those jobs are political at all), the coverup has seemingly, if paradoxically, uncovered all sorts of other slimey manipulations by the Repugs to turn our government into Repug campaign headquarters.

Then there's the ongoing demonization of Iran, the Democrats total unwillingness to do anything to stop the war, John McCain's stupid statement(s) of the day, global warming, etc., etc., etc. It's just too much. But I go in phases on this--you never know when I'll just go off!

BTW, I have almost decided to take the biodiesel stickers off my car and turn against biofuels because of two Georges: George Monbiot, because he's against them; and George Bush because he's for them. Monbiot writes convincingly about the many ways that biofuels have become a threat, both to the food supply and the environment. Of course, Bush, McCain, and other kooks now think that any "solution" to our energy woes has to involve more nuclear power (except in Iran, of course). The one thing these morons won't mention is the only thing that will really work--massive conservation, using WAY less energy than we do now.

Like I said, it's all too depressing. But if I'm not depressing you sufficiently lately, chase those links above--you'll get there!

Also BTW, Michelle liked my comment on her blog, which featured this true-if-misleading headline: "Bush shot by FBI after being questioned by Patrick Fitzgerald about Osama bin Laden." Read her post and follow-up for the explanation.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Quote du jour

"The president is using a primitive, inarticulate argument that leaves him open to criticism and caricature." -- James Jay Carafano, a homeland security and counterterrorism expert for the Heritage Foundation.

Which of the thousands of Bush's primitive, inarticulate arguments is Carafano referring to? This one: "This is a war in which, if we were to leave before the job is done, the enemy would follow us here." Carafano is one of several think-tankers and in-government "experts" telling McClatchy that this particular argument is just so much GWBS.


Impeach Levin

I don't think a senator can be impeached, but Michigan residents should let him know that we want the war stopped now--and we don't want to waste another dime on it:
Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, the Senate Armed Service Committee chairman, took issue with an effort by Majority Leader Harry Reid to cut off money for the war next year as a way to end U.S. involvement.

"We're not going to vote to cut funding, period," Levin said.
In 2002, Levin voted against giving aWol permission to start a pointless criminal war. Since then, however, he has done nothing to stop it, even now when he actually has substantial power to do so. Last month, he was even pushing for more pointless criminal wars.

Levin is running for re-election next year. Let's make sure he doesn't get it.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

From Chris Britt.

Just get out

So how's the "surge" going? AP:
U.S. warplanes attacked suspected militiamen wielding shoulder-fired rockets Saturday in the second day of fierce fighting between U.S. and Iraqi forces and Shiite gunmen south of Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi officials and witnesses said.

At least one civilian was killed and five were seriously wounded when an American tank fired on their house in Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad, Iraqi police and hospital officials said. The victims had to be pulled from the rubble of their home, and evacuated to Diwaniyah hospital, police said.

The U.S. military had no immediate comment Saturday on any casualties among civilians or soldiers in Diwaniyah.

In Baghdad, two U.S. soldiers were killed and seven were wounded by two separate roadside bombs in Baghdad Friday.

One U.S. soldier was killed and four were wounded in an attack with an armor-piercing explosively formed projectile, or EFP, the military said in a statement.
Chris Floyd has made abundantly clear why Bush and Cheney want to keep this mayhem going indefinitely. But why anyone who buys more petroleum products than he sells, or who has a milligram* of humanity, would support one more nanosecond* of this carnage is beyond my powers of understanding.

*Supporting the metric system while opposing war!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Quote du jour

If there is a tragedy associated with Bill Clinton's case, it is not his, but ours: that a man with the insight and intellect that he has often displayed should reach the pinnacle of national power, and do nothing with it but serve the rich, serve the masters of war, and serve himself. But then, if Clinton had been other than what he was, he never would have reached that pinnacle.
-- Chris Floyd.


From Steve Sack.

Michelle has more on Straight Talk's armored shopping tour in Baghdad.

Many merchants in the market apparently gave McCain and his fellow nincongresspoops great deals--even free stuff. They apparently believed, and with good reason, that it was a stick-up. Josh Marshall:
The aging war hawk, proving that security is returning to Baghdad by walking into a market encased in body armor, surrounded by rooftop sharpshooters and enveloped in a shield of a hundred soldiers, helicopters (Blackhawks), helicopter gunships (Apaches) and all after another group of soldiers went in for a pre-jaunt security sweep which, in the words of Larry Johnson, "searched for explosives, sent informants into the crowd, set up a perimeter, and secured the area before the Senators showed up with their 100 armed guards."

White House for sale

From R.J. Matson.

For the most part, these "donors" aren't "supporting" a candidate--they're buying her/him. It's like gambling at a casino where the house pays out more than all the bets combined. In this case, the (White) House pays back hundreds or thousands of times on the "bet." Those with money bet on all the candidates.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Quote du jour

You know, I hear people equate supporting this war with "supporting our troops" twenty times a day, but every so often it just pisses me off all over again.