Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
On the holiday visit to Red State Land, I heard more of the Hindenburg (flaming Nazi gasbag) on the airwaves than I can normally stomach. But one theme ran throughout Limbaugh's bloviations. Let's play charades, shall we?
One word, short word. Two syllables. First syllable (point to "eye.") I? Right!!
Second syllable (pantomime running)
I, hmmm, I, let's see, I -- running -- jogging -- ran ....... IRAN!!!!!!
He was whipping up his mouthbreathers into a frenzy about how we would "have" to "clean up" Iran.
Unbelievable--but oh so sadly believable.
WASHINGTON -- Three years ago, President Bush declared that he had "zero tolerance" for trafficking in humans by the government's overseas contractors, and two years ago Congress mandated a similar policy. But notwithstanding the president's statement and the congressional edict, the Defense Department has yet to adopt a policy to bar human trafficking.
A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away, according to those involved and Defense Department records.
More at the link above.
Being pro-torture wasn't enough. Now we are pro-slavery. To steal from The Untouchables, we have become what we beheld.
Monday, December 26, 2005
1) God couldn't smell your perfume--but I could and
2) While we are told to make a joyous noise unto the Lord, please do not loudly replicate the sound of a small animal caught in a trap gnawing its foot off directly into the ear of a handsome edgy man.
But other than that, it was a delightful Christmas and I want to leave you with Bill O'Reilly's last card:
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
Even though you're a Jew!
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Where’s the Outrage?
By Arlene Getz
Updated: 3:33 p.m. ET Dec. 21, 2005
Dec. 21, 2005 - Back in the 1980s, when I was living in Johannesburg and reporting on apartheid South Africa, a white neighbor proffered a tasteless confession. She was "quite relieved," she told me, that new media restrictions prohibited our reporting on government repression. No matter that Pretoria was detaining tens of thousands of people without real evidence of wrongdoing. No matter that many of them, including children, were being tortured—sometimes to death. No matter that government hit squads were killing political opponents. No matter that police were shooting into crowds of black civilians protesting against their disenfranchisement. "It's so nice," confided my neighbor, "not to open the papers and read all that bad news."
I thought about that neighbor this week, as reports dribbled out about President George W. Bush's sanctioning of warrantless eavesdropping on American conversations. For anyone who has lived under an authoritarian regime, phone tapping—or at least the threat of it—is always a given. But U.S. citizens have always been lucky enough to believe themselves protected from such government intrusion. So why have they reacted so insipidly to yet another post-9/11 erosion of U.S. civil liberties?
I'm sure there are many well-meaning Americans who agree with their president's explanation that it's all a necessary evil (and that patriotic citizens will not be spied on unless they dial up Osama bin Laden). But the nasty echoes of apartheid South Africa should at least give them pause. While Bush uses the rhetoric of "evildoers" and the "global war on terror," Pretoria talked of "total onslaught." This was the catchphrase of P. W. Botha, South Africa's head of state from 1978 to 1989. Botha was hardly the first white South African leader to ride roughshod over civil liberties for all races, but he did it more effectively than many of his predecessors. Botha liked to tell South Africans that the country was under "total onslaught" from forces both within and without, and that this global assault was his rationale for allowing opponents to be jailed, beaten or killed. Likewise, the Bush administration has adopted the argument that anything is justified in the name of national security.
Read the rest
Student admits he lied about Mao book
By AARON NICODEMUS, Standard-Times staff writer
NEW BEDFORD -- The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed to have been visited by Homeland Security agents over his request for "The Little Red Book" by Mao Zedong has admitted to making up the entire story.
The 22-year-old student tearfully admitted he made the story up to his history professor, Dr. Brian Glyn Williams, and his parents, after being confronted with the inconsistencies in his account.
Had the student stuck to his original story, it might never have been proved false.
But on Thursday, when the student told his tale in the office of UMass Dartmouth professor Dr. Robert Pontbriand to Dr. Williams, Dr. Pontbriand, university spokesman John Hoey and The Standard-Times, the student added new details.
The agents had returned, the student said, just last night. The two agents, the student, his parents and the student's uncle all signed confidentiality agreements, he claimed, to put an end to the matter.
But when Dr. Williams went to the student's home yesterday and relayed that part of the story to his parents, it was the first time they had heard it. The story began to unravel, and the student, faced with the truth, broke down and cried.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Power We Didn't Grant
By Tom Daschle
Friday, December 23, 2005
In the face of mounting questions about news stories saying that President Bush approved a program to wiretap American citizens without getting warrants, the White House argues that Congress granted it authority for such surveillance in the 2001 legislation authorizing the use of force against al Qaeda. On Tuesday, Vice President Cheney said the president "was granted authority by the Congress to use all means necessary to take on the terrorists, and that's what we've done."
As Senate majority leader at the time, I helped negotiate that law with the White House counsel's office over two harried days. I can state categorically that the subject of warrantless wiretaps of American citizens never came up. I did not and never would have supported giving authority to the president for such wiretaps. I am also confident that the 98 senators who voted in favor of authorization of force against al Qaeda did not believe that they were also voting for warrantless domestic surveillance.
Read the rest. It's worth it.
If you are into really bad fiction and vapid, transparent political spin, then you need to click on the link and read all about the McLiar/Vader 2005 "accomplishments."
If you can't stomach the full six pages of single spaced tripe... below are a couple of examples (along with a little truth)
The President Will Work With Congress To Complete Reauthorization Of The Patriot Act
Listing this FIRST among his accomplishments is something of an unintentional joke. This is an accomplishment ONLY if you believe that getting bitch-slapped by your own party is a good thing, or that you don't care that your threat of a veto of anything short of full, unaltered reauthorization was viewed as toothless bravado. Before you know it, he'll be taking credit for spending cuts in the face of the biggest deficit in U.S. history
Congress Took Action To Reduce Government Spending
(yeah, you just knew that this one was coming didn't you...)
Now get a load of the explanation:
Both the House and Senate made a fiscally responsible vote to cut spending by $39.7 billion and keep the government on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. This will also be the first time in nearly a decade that Congress has reduced entitlement spending. This demonstrates a strong commitment to funding the Nation's priorities while ensuring that taxpayer money is spent wisely.
Yep, the "bridge to nowhere" is wise government spending alright. Yep, taking money out of those wicked entitlement programs like indigent healthcare, student loans, and school lunches will sure demonstrate to the nation your commitment to priorities. Remember, this is a president that hasn't used his veto ONCE to rein in pork spending by his party-run-amok.
Next thing you know he'll be taking credit for getting a torture bill passed....
Cutting The Deficit
Uh huh. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/97/US_budget_defecit.png
or try this link http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/opd/opdpenny.htm
President Bush Calls On Congress To Restrain Spending
Here is what the president did when he called on congress:
If you don't stop spending I'm gonna, gonna, gonna - do nothing and sign everything that you send me no matter how stupid, mean-spirited or hateful.
Last February, the President submitted the most disciplined budget proposal since Ronald Reagan was in the White House (unless you count all those budgets sent by Clinton).
The President Nominated Well-Qualified Candidates To The U.S. Supreme Court:
The President Nominated, And The Senate, Confirmed Chief Justice John Roberts. President Bush Nominated Judge Samuel Alito To Serve As Associate Justice Of The U.S. Supreme Court.
Ah President McLiar, you forgot one.....
Among the things he doesn't take credit for:
Threatening to veto the torture ban
Fixing Social Security
Helping the White Sox win the World series
Keep up the great work!!!
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Mr Bush, in an effort to force passage of the bill, warned on Friday he would veto any temporary extension of the [Patriot] act.
From AP today:
(White House-AP) December 22, 2005 - The White House is hailing the Senate's vote to extend the Patriot Act for six months, a day after vowing President Bush wouldn't accept a short-term extension.
Press Secretary Scott McClellan calls Wednesday night's Senate vote "an important victory for the American people."
Thanks to daily Kos for the story.
From the town where I spent my college years:
Town does about-face on holiday names
GREENCASTLE, Ind. -- Christmas and Good Friday are going back on the city's calendar after a community uproar over a City Council decision to adopt generic holiday names. Nearly 200 people -- many singing ''We Wish You A Merry Christmas'' -- filled the council's chambers before a 4-0 vote to reverse the policy after less than a week. ''I believe this was political correctness run amok,'' Councilman Mark Hammer, who was absent for last week's original vote, said during Monday's meeting. ''When we use the terms 'winter holiday' and 'spring holiday,' we're not being inclusive, we're being exclusive.'' The council's initial 4-0 vote to change the name of the employee holidays caused an outcry in the community of 10,000 people. ''This struck a nerve in people and impassioned them,'' Pastor Sam Gamble said. Council members said they received many telephone calls, e-mails and letters from residents who were upset about their decision.
What I find interesting was how few of them had open comments. Some had closed them. Some didn't even offer the option to comment. That really speaks for the strength of one's argument, doesn't it? - That they're not even willing to allow open debate.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I figured that taking a spin on it from a different angle (striking resemblance by profession) would be entertaining.
So...it is just me, or do this guy
and this guy
find themselves really doing the same thing?
And, ultimately, aren't they all trying to convince us to "please disperse because there's nothing to see here?"
It looks like Chimpy Inc. isn't as good as fixing elections in Iraq as they are in Ohio and Florida. The returns indicate a total rejection of the U.S. puppet (Chalabi) and an almost total rejection of semi-puppet Allawi. So--we have the hard-line religious parties winning and the Sunnis who turned out en masse , more pissed than ever.
So I was wrong on the conspiracy theory, but right in that Operation Iraqi Clusterfuck continues unabated.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Alice: While you talk, he's gone!
More: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law!
Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast - man's laws, not God's-and if you cut them down-and you're just the man to do it-do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake."
Bill O'Reilly: "Because I was in combat and when you are there your adrenalin is flying through your ears."
Funny, I don't recall Bill's military service. Turns out he was referring to his heroic tour of duty in Argentina REPORTING on the Falklands war, hunkered down in the Alvear Palace Hotel in Buenos Aires with a hard-to-find falafel in one hand and himself in the other, whiling away the hours with his collection of pin-up photos of Jeanne Kirkpatrick.
Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, imparting the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposes of these agencies.
Q: It was, why did you skip the basic safeguards of asking courts for permission for the intercepts?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I -- right after September the 11th, I knew we were fighting a different kind of war. And so I asked people in my administration to analyze how best for me and our government to do the job people expect us to do, which is to detect and prevent a possible attack. That's what the American people want. We looked at the possible scenarios. And the people responsible for helping us protect and defend came forth with the current program, because it enables us to move faster and quicker. And that's important. We've got to be fast on our feet, quick to detect and prevent.
Cheney, speaking to reporters during an overseas trip, forcefully defended the eavesdropping program as necessary to the nation's defense.
"The president and I believe very deeply that there is a hell of a threat," he said, adding this obliged them to "do everything in our power to defeat the terrorists."
Oh. The "Hell of a threat" clause. Wasn't that also used by Polk when they killed all the Irish?
From the White House, a record of remarks made on April 20, 2004, in Buffalo NY:
Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.
(Thanks to the dailyKos for making my head explode.)
As we stumble from apocalypse to apocalypse, they should recall the warnings of the prophet Hosea:
"For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind"
Methinks for all the sowing we have done, the whirlwind to come is an F6!
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A federal judge said on Tuesday the teaching of intelligent design by Pennsylvania's Dover Area School District violated the constitutional ban on teaching religion in public schools.
Judge John Jones, in a 139-page ruling, said, "The defendant's ID (intelligent design) policy violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States."
Jones banned the school district from any future implementation of the policy in Dover schools.
The district was sued by a group of 11 parents who claimed the intelligent design policy was unconstitutional and unscientific and had no place in science classrooms.
"You know, what we have got to recognize just there in this case is that the evolutionists worship atheism. I mean, that's their religion. And evolution becomes their religion. It is a matter of religion. So this is an establishment of religion contrary to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. And the fact that somebody comes along and says, "We are not sure that it's accurate, it's a theory and not a fact" -- how can you say it's a fact? You are talking about 10 to 15 billion years ago. Who was there?
Yeah, well, a lot of scientists are [acting like brain-dead psychozombies, editor's note]. More and more are. They are saying there are just too many things that can't be explained by evolution. But, I mean, these fanatics, I mean, it is a religion, it is a cult. It is cultish religion, and whenever you start talking about the origins of life, you now get into religious matter, and theirs is just as much religion. The only difference is that even questioning, questioning that-the ACLU says even if you question our religion, you are guilty of violating the First Amendment. I mean, give me a break."
This will all play out eventually in congressional committees and in the United States Supreme Court. If the Democrats regain control of Congress, there may even be articles of impeachment introduced. Similar abuse of power was part of the impeachment charge brought against Richard Nixon in 1974.
I won't go further into that, except to say that I hope the media and Congress do not let this go. We know that some members of Congress had been briefed on this issue, and while some of them may have valid excuses for not coming forward, in my mind the fact that they kept quiet in no way absolves Bush of responsibility - it just makes them complicit in the crime.
But there's a deeper point here, one brought out by Lindsay Graham's comments earlier this week. While "outcome-based" might be an intriguing phrase, the more common version is "the ends justify the means." The Evil and Greedy wings (E&G) of conservatism clearly operate under this philosophy - to them no means are too extreme if the end is achieved. You look at how they campaign - smear tactics, lies, innuendo - and you see that it's never about ideas, it's about winning. You look at how they govern - lying, rewarding their friends while punishing their enemies or ignoring the weak, making promises that they can't keep, and coalescing power in as few hands as possible. Now, one might argue (if they, say, were on LSD, had been kicked in the head by a horse, waterboarded, and subjected to the entire collected works of Scott McClellan) that these actions were taken "with the best intentions" - there are those, I'm sure, that believe that trickle down economics really works, or that they're really saving people's souls by going on religious crusades, or whatever.
However, we all know how dangerous this is. Ask the wingnuts how they'd feel if, say, Bill Clinton, had assumed that he had this power in a similar situation. They'd be screaming up one side and down the other about the abuses to their freedoms. Freedom isn't a sometimes thing. It's not something that we get to set aside when inconvenient. The Constitution is vague about some things, but not about this. "Congress shall make no law". "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated". And it's not me saying this. Decades of Supreme Court rulings clearly mark the boundaries of executive power.
"A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens," wrote Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
So, sorry, Mr. President, the ends do not justify the means. If you save my life, but take away my freedom, you, sir, are unAmerican. You, sir, are in violation of your oath of office. You, sir, are nothing but a criminal.
Monday, December 19, 2005
First of all, I think it is a stupid idea. Multi-millionaire players are not playing "for their country," and teams paying those millions should be concerned about season and career-threatening injuries.
But that doesn't merit a post here. Administration idiocy does. They won't let the Cubans in.
What is the point? I know, to suck up to well-heeled and politically active Floridians in a corrupt political environment, but please--Cuba? A tiny, impoverished nation?
What do we hope to prove?
We do business with far worse than Castro (hell, WE are far worse than Castro!) The fall of the Soviet Union (OK, for you dittoheads, Reagan bankrupting us with obsolete weapons for his defense contractor buddies had NOTHING to do with it, resume being fascinated by small shiny objects) demonstrated how access and trade can break down totalitarian walls, not a false isolation.
Wow, I'm frightened, but I feel safer knowing they can't play baseball here.
By AARON NICODEMUS, Standard-Times staff writer
NEW BEDFORD -- A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."
Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.
The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.
The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.
"I tell my students to go to the direct source, and so he asked for the official Peking version of the book," Professor Pontbriand said. "Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring inter-library loans, because that's what triggered the visit, as I understand it."
Although The Standard-Times knows the name of the student, he is not coming forward because he fears repercussions should his name become public. He has not spoken to The Standard-Times.
The professors had been asked to comment on a report that President Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to spy on as many as 500 people at any given time since 2002 in this country. The eavesdropping was apparently done without warrants.
The Little Red Book is a collection of quotations and speech excerpts from Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung. In the 1950s and '60s, during the Cultural Revolution in China, it was required reading. Although there are abridged versions available, the student asked for a version translated directly from the original book.
The student told Professor Pontbriand and Dr. Williams that the Homeland Security agents told him the book was on a "watch list." They brought the book with them, but did not leave it with the student, the professors said. Dr. Williams said in his research, he regularly contacts people in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other Muslim hot spots, and suspects that some of his calls are monitored.
"My instinct is that there is a lot more monitoring than we think," he said. Dr. Williams said he had been planning to offer a course on terrorism next semester, but is reconsidering, because it might put his students at risk. "I shudder to think of all the students I've had monitoring al-Qaeda Web sites, what the government must think of that," he said. "Mao Tse-Tung is completely harmless."
You know the look--when your dog hears you but you can tell he doesn't understand what you are saying. If I didn't know better, I would give the confused dog look to the following:
President Bush on Monday said disclosure of his domestic eavesdropping program was a “shameful act” and said he will keep using it “for so long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens.”
Note that the complete and utter disregard of our constititutional rights isn't the "shameful act" disavowed by the president. It is a (hopefully) free press that he is condemning.
The sad part is, I'm not confused. I know EXACTLY what he's saying:
And here's the concern I have-we can’t become an outcome-based democracy. Even in a time of war, you have to follow the process, because that's what a democracy is all about-a process.
I am not a lawyer, and I do not understand the law well enough to know if crimes have been committed either by the President or by those he ordered to spy on Americans, but I urge you and your colleagues to investigate this situation fully and, if necessary, bring charges against and punish those who have broken the law.
Dr. Eric Martell
I considered breaking down the president's address point-by-point, where he trots out his old failed explanations and his "stay the course" rhetoric, but realized the pointlessness of that exercise. Why bother to point out any more the foolishness of using violations of U.N. resolutions as an excuse to violate the U.N. charter? Why argue that "victory" is not only impossible but irrational? Rather, we just call it what it is, as the learned Schmidlap pointed out. The president just said "this is what I did, I did it because I wanted to and the hell with you."
Krugman, citing an early work from Henry Kissinger, of all people, and implicitly addressing the rise of fascism in the 1930s, describes what happens when a stable political system is confronted with a "revolutionary power": a radical group that rejects the legitimacy of the system itself. This, Krugman believes, is precisely the situation in the
Krugman further describes how "the Bush administration managed to sell tax cuts as a benefit to the poor when the result will really be to benefit the rich, and why they managed to rally support for war in Iraq with arguments for which they didn't have the evidence." Journalists "find it very hard to deal with blatantly false arguments," he argues. "By inclination and training, they always try to see two sides to an issue, and find it hard even to conceive that a major political figure is simply lying."
Sunday, December 18, 2005
I am no expert on criminal constitutional law, but I cannot find a way to fit this into the boundaries of legal surveillance. The 1978 act establishing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court clearly envisioned this tribunal acting swiftly to facilitate appropriate intelligence work, and the court has been OVERWHELMINGLY receptive to government requests.
According to the NYT report, "Mr. Bush's executive order allowing some warrantless eavesdropping on those inside the United States - including American citizens, permanent legal residents, tourists and other foreigners - is based on classified legal opinions that assert that the president has broad powers to order such searches, derived in part from the September 2001 Congressional resolution authorizing him to wage war on Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, according to the officials familiar with the N.S.A. operation."
So, once again. the dreaded "9/11" trumps all.
This is frightening, maddening and disgusting.
What I'm wondering from the lawyers is - did Bush break the law here? If so, he just told the country that he did, which would seem like a problem for him.
There is a secondary part to the story, dealing with the traitorous New York Times. No, not traitorous like the head of the KGB, err, President of the United States has suggested - that letting us know that the government may be illegally spying on us is somehow criminal - but traitorous in that they waited a year to publish this. I'm not even talking about that it meant they might have affected the elections in 2004, but that they might have covered up evidence of a crime by this nation's highest elected official for a year. That's it - I wouldn't read an article in that rag if they printed a cover story about how thinkingorsitting was the best blog ever.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
So Mary and Joseph slept in the stable. Well, they were poor..and Jewish, you know. This is really working out quite well for them.
Later on, we'll conspire..
There's a cross, it's on fire
We've got no more crime
All the blacks doin' time
Walkin' in a white man's wonderland!
Love, Bill Bennett
It's hard work! We're makin' progress! Remember, Christmas is barely past September 11!
So it's Christmas---go f%#k yourself!
Friday, December 16, 2005
And you know something - it's what Liberals always do. Liberals look at the imperfections everywhere and seek to rectify them.Hmm. Looking at imperfections and trying to rectify them. Oh, the horror. As RFK said, paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw, "There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?". Apparently, since Conservatives do the opposite of what Liberals do, they must go around trying to create imperfections where previously there were none.
But Rush wasn't done.
These imperfections lead to what they consider to be inequality and they get on to this manic, this radical madcap egalitarian kick, which suggests that everybody must be totally equal, which is in utter denial of uh of human nature.Wow. Where have I seen someone suggest that everyone's equal? It had to be some nutjob lefty extremist, right? Was it in Marx? Mao? MoveOn.org? Wait, something's coming to me...
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...
Oh, yeah. Notorious communist Thomas Jefferson. I should have known.
I have long been puzzled with the right's passion for these "elections" that Bush never wanted in the first place, and have been trying to figure out exactly what they are up to. With the gushing over-the-top coverage by Bush's press lapdogs, I began to think...hmm..they are stressing 1) turnout, 2) Sunni participation levels and 3) how well Iyad Allawi's slate is doing in early polling.
So put on your hats as shown above. Sunni votes and a stronger-than-expected showing by the secular Shi'a slate, as opposed to Sistani's religious candidates, means that no clear bloc can establish a government. Coalition-building is the order of the day, and of course who will have to be there to preserve this fragile "democracy?" Why, the U.S. military, of course.
The LA Times probably reflects the thinking of a lot of Americans in hoping that these elections are a milestone on the way to withdrawing US troops from Iraq. I cannot imagine why anyone thinks that. The Iraqi "government" is a failed state. Virtually no order it gives has any likelihood of being implemented. It has no army to speak of and cannot control the country. Its parliamentarians are attacked and sometimes killed with impunity. Its oil pipelines are routinely bombed, depriving it of desperately needed income. It faces a powerful guerrilla movement that is wholly uninterested in the results of elections and just wants to overthrow the new order. Elections are unlikely to change any of this.
The only way in which these elections may lead to a US withdrawal is that they will ensconce parliamentarians who want the US out on a short timetable. Virtually all the Sunnis who come in will push for that result (which is why the US Right is silly to be all agog about Fallujans voting), and so with the members of the Sadr Movement, now a key component of the Shiite religious United Iraqi Alliance. That is, these elections lead to a US withdrawal on terms unfavorable to the Bush administration. Nor is there much hope that a parliament that kicked the US out could turn around and restore order in the country.
NEW YORK (AP) -- President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States -- without getting search warrants -- following the Sept. 11 attacks, The New York Times reports.
The presidential order, which Bush signed in 2002, has allowed the agency to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States, according to a story posted Thursday on the Times' Web site.
Schmidlap wrote recently about the importance of habeus corpus, and why things like this should scare the crap out of us.
Before the new program began, the NSA typically limited its domestic surveillance to foreign embassies and missions and obtained court orders to do so. Under the post-Sept. 11 program, the NSA has eavesdropped, without warrants, on as many 500 people inside the United States at any given time. Overseas, 5,000 to 7,000 people suspected of terrorist ties are monitored at one time.
They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
22) "I was trying to escape. Obviously, it didn't work." --President Bush, after being thwarted by locked doors when he tried to exit a news conference in Beijing in the face of hostile questioning from reporters, Nov. 20, 2005
15) "I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office. She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli." --Sen. Bill Frist, diagnosing Terri Schiavo's condition during a speech on the Senate floor, March 17, 2005
6) "You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that." --President Bush, to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Please be seated. Thank you for the warm welcome. I'm delighted to be here with the men and women of the Wilson Center. According to your mission statement, the Center was created to bring together two groups--political leaders and scholars. I see some of the political leaders who are here, and I presume you've invited me to uphold the scholars' end. I've come to discuss an issue of vital importance to the American people, and that is victory in the war on terror. On September the 11th, 2001, our nation awoke to a sudden attack, and we accepted new responsibilities.
The United States did not choose war -- the choice was Saddam Hussein's.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I'll have some death penalty thoughts soon, but how do you feel if your plea for mercy depends on him????? And where does this clown get off pontificating that "without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption????"
"I lied about my age and joined the army. I was thirteen at the time. Yeah.. I went to Vietnam, and I was injured catching a mortar shell in my teeth. And they made me a three-star general! And then I got a job in journalism, writing for the National Enquire.. er, Geographic! Yeah.. I was making twenty thousand a ye.. month! In fact, I won the Pulitzer Prize that year! Yeah, that's the ticket. "
"In Plano, Texas, just north of Dallas, the school told students they couldn't wear red and green because they were Christmas colors. That's flat-out fascism. If I were a student in Plano, I'd be a walking Christmas tree after that order. Have a little thing on my head."
The difference? Tommy Flanagan, the Jon Lovitz character, is funny.
For example, one might think that the international news dispersion agency the Associated Press would be a good source for news. But check out this lead from a recent article:
Bush's Approval Up, but Disagreement Why
By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer Tue Dec 13, 7:36 AM ET
WASHINGTON - In a round of speeches on Iraq, President Bush is combining fresh expressions of steely resolve with sobering acknowledgments of how unexpectedly hard the task has been.
Let's look at that a little more closely. Notice the language choices that Mr. Raum makes - "steely resolve", "sobering acknowledgements" - these are both clearly chosen to paint the president in a positive light. Steely resolve isn't something that's confused with stubborness or the inability to change, but is considered to be a virtue - check out what you get when you do a search for the term. If one Soberly acknowledges something, he's not admitting a failing, he's modest and thoughtful. And "unexpectedly hard" - that's just misleading - while many supporters of Bush and the war in Iraq thought it would be roses and parties, there were plenty of us who thought things would be much harder. It's only unexpected if you consider the viewpoint of those who planned the way, who have since noted that they didn't think through the post-combat with the Iraqi military phase.
A left-leaning lead could have said: "In a round of speeches on Iraq, President Bush is trying new phrasing designed to convey a sense of resolve with an acknowledgment of how unsuccessful the United States has been in trying to control the Iraqi insurgency."
A more balanced lead might have been: "In a round of speeches on Iraq, President Bush's goal is to try to combine fresh expressions of what he would call steely resolve with an acknowledgment of the difficulty of the task."
I'm not a journalist, nor do I play one on TV, but I do know that it's important to read carefully what is written in news stories - it's very easy to create a particular emotion and bias the reader.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Bush on the Constitution: 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper'
Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.
Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.
GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.
“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”
“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”
"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”
I’ve talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”
I won't bore you with a rehash of his tired old reactionary yammering, but he hits a new high on the INCREDULITY METER (tm) by linking the new Chicago anti-smoking law to abortion....
I just have one question for Dennis: If life begins at conception, why do we celebrate birthdays?
After another weekend of football, I must say that I have grown so weary of athletes thanking God for their victory. The logical corollary must be of course, "Yeah, we were in great shape until Jesus made me fumble."
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Our Middle East bureau has obtained this exclusive photo of the dead terrorist:
and we have this top-secret police sketch of his likely successor:
Secret advisories preceded speech by Bush, ex-officials say
By Tom Hamburger, Peter Wallsten and Bob Drogin, Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times
PARIS -- More than a year before President Bush declared in his State of the Union speech that Iraq had tried to buy nuclear weapons material in Africa, the French spy service began repeatedly warning the CIA in secret communications that there was no evidence to support the allegation.
The previously undisclosed exchanges between the U.S. and France, described by the retired chief of the French counter-intelligence service and a former CIA official during interviews last week, came on separate occasions in 2001 and 2002.
The French conclusions were reached after extensive on-the-ground investigations in Niger and other former French colonies, where the uranium mines are controlled by French companies, the former official said. He said the French investigated at the CIA's request.
The account of the former intelligence official, Alain Chouet, was "at odds with our understanding of the issue," a U.S. government official said. The U.S. official declined to elaborate and spoke only on condition that neither he nor his agency be named.
However, the essence of Chouet's account--that the French repeatedly investigated the Niger claim, found no evidence to support it, and warned the CIA--was extensively corroborated by a former CIA official and a French government official.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
I am Mr. T. smith , deputy senior regional manager at Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance in Yorkshire.I have urgent and very confidential business proposition for you. On June 6, 2000, Mr. Barry Kelly made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for forty-eight months, (being four years) valued at US$40,000,000.00, forty Million, Dollars) in my branch.....and so on.
I know, I expected to be quite a well-endowed male able to please her all night long, and have a degree from a presigious unaccredited university to boot by now, but that was all personal. Now the blog is going to get $40 million!!!!
I never know how to feel about these things. I don't want to see people taken, but on the other hand, I do have a firm and abiding belief that stupidity should be painful. If you think a pill advertised in your email will turn your sprout into the Jolly Green Giant, you deserve to lose a hundred bucks. If you believe that someone overseas is going to wire you millions, you deserve to be cleaned out. If you paid for a "degree" from a "presitious unaccredited university" or cut a check to the International Star Registry to "name a star" for you without realizing that you just paid some loser sitting in his parents' basement with a graphics program and a color printer, you are good for a chuckle and deserve the worthless poster you get. It is also foolish to waste scarce law enforcement resources on these scams when a little common sense would stop this nonsense.
I will finish this thought later, but I need to forward some emails so Starbucks will send me free coffee.
What in the world prepared you to be the commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background, Mr. President, you apparently were incurious. You didn't want to travel. You knew very little about the military. . . . The governor of Texas doesn't have the kind of power that some governors have. . . . Why do you think they nominated you? . . . Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?
Incurious. That's a bit of a funny word - not used particularly often. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines it as
Lacking intellectual inquisitiveness or natural curiosity; uninterested.
As I think about that, since I do not lack curiosity, I wonder if that's not perhaps a remarkably accurate word for the condition that the wingnuts want both their leaders and their followers in. Rove and DeLay and the like don't want a President who pays attention and is inquisitive - that's not his job in their model. They want someone who will be a mouthpice, do what he's told, and really isn't interested in what's going on. Chimpy McPetGoat fits that model perfectly. He is one of the least intellectually engaged people I've ever seen - there really is no there there.
And I think (no offense to Schmidlap - not that he'll notice, he's busy pissing off the wingnuts again) that it's a better word than "stupid" for the teeming masses, yearning to never have to use their brains. Of course, those masses would never understand such a word, but that's really the point. The curious person learns about things different from what they already know, because there's a perceived value to them in the investigation - this leads to an intellectual journey which involves challenging one's beliefs, trying to see multiple points of view, and developing a deeper and more complex understanding of the world and of themselves. The incurious person disdains all that (sorry to the incurious, I know I'm using some polysyllabic words here) and lives in a world where they rely on someone (Rove, Dobson, etc) to tell them what to do and think, where they don't question their leaders, where Pete's cognitive dissonance questions never enter their mind, where it makes sense to vote against their self interest, and where they feel comfortable using myth and volume to replace science and reason. They have no problem with suspending a bilingual student for speaking Spanish instead of English in high school, because they lack the curiosity to understand cultures other than their own, and they don't want anyone to force them to deal with the unknown.
I'll close here with an answer to Mr. Wallace's final question - yes, I do believe that incuriosity has quite a lot to do with the reason the country is so [expletive]'d up.
Friday, December 09, 2005
She puzzled over this for some time, but at last a bright thought struck her. `Why, it's a looking-glass book, of course! And if I hold it up to a glass, the words will all go the right way again."
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I read your insightful posts about Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court on The Thinker. I wanted to bring to your attention a CampusProgress--AmericanProgress campaign we just launched called Alito’s America. Check out the website, http://www.alitosamerica.org/. The campaign includes a pretty provocative TV ad and tools for people to get involved in stopping Alito. Thought it might be of interest to you and your readers.
They are a solid organization worthy of your attention.
US terror watchlist 80,000 names long
Thu Dec 8,10:59 AM ET
STOCKHOLM (AFP) - A watchlist of possible terror suspects distributed by the US government to airlines for pre-flight checks is now 80,000 names long, a Swedish newspaper reported, citing European air industry sources.
The classified list, which carried just 16 names before the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington had grown to 1,000 by the end of 2001, to 40,000 a year later and now stands at 80,000, Svenska Dagbladet reported.
Airlines must check each passenger flying to a US destination against the list, and contact the US Department of Homeland Security for further investigation if there is a matching name.
The list contains a strict "no fly" section, which requires airline staff to contact police, and a "selectee" section, which requires passengers to undergo further security checks.
Some 2,000 passengers checking in at Stockholm's Arlanda airport have had to be cleared with the US authorities because of name matches on the "selectee" list this year, although none was prevented from boarding, Svenska Dagbladet said.
Given random chance, any person you know has about a 1 in 75,000 chance of being on that list, if we consider the entire world population.
Dr. Magoo often questions my sanity for listening to Hannity (I'm a poet but didn't know it!) but the unintended humor on this idiotfest is amazing. Last night, Sean informed us that God gave us Ronald Reagan to defeat "communism" and God has now delivered GWB to us to defeat the scourge of terror. If Sean's right, God has about as much eye for talent as the Detroit Lions!
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
But, as Salon.com's War Room reports, she's gotten even limper and more pathetic.
"The senator from New York can't find her way to a clear position on Iraq; Clinton said over the weekend, "I disagree with those who believe we should pull out, and I disagree with those who believe we should stay without end." "
So we shouldn't leave, but we shouldn't stay forever? Gee, thanks.
Not only that, but in her deep and profound wisdom, "Clinton has agreed to co-sponsor a bill by Utah Republican Sen. Bob Bennett that would make it illegal for anyone to intimidate any other person by burning the flag, to burn someone else's flag or to desecrate the flag on federal property. At the same time, however, Clinton continues to oppose efforts to amend the Constitution to prohibit flag burning. Without such an amendment, it's not at all clear that Bennett's proposal would survive the inevitable trip to the Supreme Court."
I haven't written much on flag burning here, because, like the Christmas thing, it's a crap issue put forth by the Republicans to distract us from their lies, theivery, and murder when there's no hot blonde chicks missing, but for her to even discuss this shows an utter lack of anything even approaching the evolutionary process of something that could one day turn into the primitive foundations of a cerebral cortex, given the right conditions and the interference of two or three deities or perhaps demigods.
Of course, we are still conspiring with the left-wing media, the Trilateral Commission and international Jewry to subvert and destroy Christmas. But I must advise that we have Santa Claus in custody:
and will turn him over to Dick Cheney unless our demands are met.
And I'm clearly a liberal. I made the decision to donate money to a couple of liberal causes, and since then, I'm on every mailing and phone list known to man. I get solicitations from MoveOn, John Kerry, Howard Dean, and half the Democrats on the planet for money or time to help protest the war, send Karl Rove to jail, send Tom DeLay to jail, fight the Patriot Act, oppose Supreme Court nominations, prevent torture, change Congress in 2006 - a whole swath of things, really. But not once have I gotten my marching orders for the war on Christmas - what did I do wrong?
Bushes' 'holiday' cards ring hollow for some.It is wonderful to see the whackjobs turn on the American theocrat!!
By the way, I must be doing something right. I received a hand-signed Christmas card from Jimmy Carter.
God bless you, sir!
Today we mark the anniversary of a fateful day in American history. On December the (who says December THE 7th???) 7th, 1941, our peaceful nation awoke to an attack plotted in secret, and executed without mercy. The strike on Pearl Harbor was the start of a long war (less than four years for a "long" war--how long will "Operation Iraqi Clusterfuck" last???" for America -- a massive struggle against those who attacked us (if only Anne Sullivan could hold President Hellen Keller's hand under the pump. George, did you hear what you just said, a massive struggle against those who attacked us???? Waa...waaa..You started a "massive struggle" against someone who DIDN'T attack us!!!! Waah waah..nope, Helen W. Bush isn't getting it...)
On September the 11th, 2001, (again, what is with the "the??" but nice cheesy exploitation of 9/11) our nation awoke to another sudden attack. In the space of just 102 minutes, more Americans were killed than we lost at Pearl Harbor. Like generations before us, we accepted new responsibilities, and we confronted new dangers with firm resolve. (Let's attack a completely unrelated country!!!!!!!)
Like generations before us, we're taking the fight to those who attacked us (and those who didn't)
The terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity (they did? I must have missed that memo. And they are making war on "humanity?" Terror attacks in Canada, Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Mexico, Guatemala, Latvia--oh the humanity!...oh wait, never mind.)
Last week at the Naval Academy, I gave the first in a series of speeches outlining our strategy for victory in Iraq. I explained that our strategy begins with a clear understanding of the enemy we face. (sounds like a GREAT idea! When will you start this whole "understanding the enemy" thing???) The enemy in Iraq is a combination of rejectionists and Saddamists and terrorists. (Alex, may I have new stupid words for $100?)
The terrorists affiliated with or inspired by al Qaeda are the smallest but most lethal group. Many are foreigners coming to fight freedom's progress in Iraq. They are led by a brutal terrorist named Zarqawi -- al Qaeda's chief of operations in Iraq (every source says that the vast majority of "fighters" are native, and the al Qaeda's chief of operations in Iraq is a flat-out lie. Zarqawi is a thug and the Bushies fell for his self-aggrandizing "al-Qaeda in Iraq" crap to tie Iraq to Bin Laden.)
The terrorists' stated objective is to drive U.S. and coalition forces out of Iraq and to gain control of the country. They would then use Iraq as a base from which to launch attacks against America, overthrow moderate governments in the Middle East, and try to establish a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain.
Hmm...there was no opportunity for "terrorists" to occupy Iraq before your boneheaded invasion, and your suggestion that these nebulous "terrorists" would "overthrow moderate governments in the Middle East, and try to establish a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain is just comical."
The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on September the 11th, (9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11) If we're not fighting and destroying the enemy in Iraq, they would not be leading the quiet lives of good citizens. They would be plotting and killing our citizens -- across the world and within our own borders. By fighting the terrorists in Iraq, we are confronting a direct threat to the American people -- and we will accept nothing less than complete victory. (talking point bingo--fight them there, not here! BINGO!!!!!)
We're pursuing a comprehensive strategy in Iraq. Last week, my administration released another screen for my sorry ass to stand in front of called the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq."
Amazing. Read the whole sack o' crap here.