Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Bush: Deserter

You gotta read this:

For the eighteen months prior to his quitting the Texas Air National Guard (TXANG), George W. Bush had ignored his obligations to the US Military, statutory and regulatory US Law, and Air Force regulations and policies. And for as long as he was being “supervised” by TXANG, he got away with it.

Very little attention has been paid to the period of Bush’s “service” after he left Texas and was assigned to the Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC) in Denver, Colorado. But it is during this period that Bush’s dereliction of duty—including his failure to participate in mandatory training, and his failure to maintain his flight status—came home to roost.

Unlike TXANG, ARPC took America’s national security—and the role played by Guardsmen and Reservists in maintaining US security—quite seriously.

The proof of this is the “ARF Retirement Credit Summary” dated January 30, 1974, which shows that Bush was placed in an “Inactive Status” effective September 15th, 1973. This document is the proverbial “smoking gun” which proves that the Air Force considered George W. Bush to have been a deserter.

Under Air Force policy in force at that time, the only way that someone in Bush’s position could be placed in an “Inactive Status” was if they were being “completely severed from military status.” And the only way that could happen is if someone had become permanently disabled, or deserted. Bush was not disabled.

Instead, consistent with contemporaneous laws, regulations, and procedures, ARPC had reviewed Bush’s records, and found that he had failed to “satisfactorily participate” as a member of TXANG. Bush was then ordered to active duty, for which he did not show up. ARPC then certified him for immediate induction as a “non-locatee” (e.g. a deserter) through the Selective Service System.

This is the only explanation that is consistent with Bush’s military records and Air Force policy of that era.

It is also clear that the Bush records were tampered with to hide this fact. Many documents were thrown out that should have been kept, and there is indisputable evidence that at least one key documents has been altered.

The documentary evidence also strongly suggests that when news of Bush’s situation reached Texas, strings were pulled that resulted in Bush being “rehabilitated” in a manner completely inconsistent with Air Force policy.

Chickenhawk. Deserter. Traitor.


Someone Qualified Reviews a Book!

You often have to wonder how some people get assigned to review books. But the Washington Post wisely chose Richard Clarke to review the new book by "anonymous," Imperial Hubris. He's more than qualified to do so. Here are a couple highlights:

For those Americans who had begun to doubt whether the Central Intelligence Agency could produce good analysis, Imperial Hubris clearly demonstrates otherwise. It is a powerful, persuasive analysis of the terrorist threat and the Bush administration's failed efforts to fight it. The CIA carefully vetted the book to ensure that no "sources and methods" were exposed, but the anonymous author -- a current CIA official -- draws effectively on the years he's spent carefully studying detailed intelligence reports from several U.S. and many foreign spy agencies. His criticism is damning.

The writer, author of the 2002 book Through Our Enemies' Eyes, declares that the U.S. war on terrorism is a failure. While admitting that President George W. Bush is technically correct when he says that "two-thirds of the known al Qaeda managers have been caught or killed," the author points out that other leaders have emerged to take their place. The president's often-repeated "two thirds" claim is based on an assessment of al Qaeda Shura Council members in September 2001. Some of them, like Muhammad Atef, are dead; he was killed by a CIA-controlled Predator flying over Kabul. Others, like Khalid Sheik Muhammad, are in U.S. custody; he was arrested in Pakistan. Many are under "house arrest" in Iran, in large part because the United States refused to bargain for their handover. Others, notably bin Laden and his deputy, are alive and apparently well, issuing audio tapes to the faithful.

The original al Qaeda, as the author points out, has been overtaken by a series of regionally based, autonomous jihadist terrorist groups, which carried out post-Sept. 11 attacks in Bali, Riyadh, Madrid, Istanbul, Casablanca, Chechnya, the Philippines, Thailand and Iraq. Despite the initial claim of State Department analysts -- in the annual report on terrorism -- that attacks have gone down, this new network of al Qaeda spinoffs has actually staged twice as many attacks since Sept. 11 as al Qaeda had prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. (The State Department has now withdrawn its report and corrected its error, admitting that 2003 marked an all-time high for the terrorist incidents.)

Isn't it fun when the Bushies get caught in their own lies (Nick Kristof, take note). But I digress:

Regrettably, Anonymous does not write much on working with Islamic friends. He tends to lump all Muslims into a single group, bound by their dogmatic hatred of America. In that, he is surely wrong -- although less wrong every day. For as he notes, Osama bin Laden is a hero to an ever-increasing percentage of the Muslim world. Should the CIA or the U.S. military ever manage to kill bin Laden, he will be at least as powerful as a martyr as he is now as a fugitive producer of audio tapes.

One would hope that Anonymous is also wrong in predicting that another attack, more powerful than Sept. 11 and perhaps involving weapons of mass destruction, is all but inevitable. Few things are predestined to happen, and hewing to that belief may only create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anonymous is bitterly critical of the leadership of the CIA, but the most remarkable thing about this book is that the director of Central Intelligence allowed it to be published. Since Imperial Hubris is an important contribution to a necessary debate, we should be grateful to the agency for that clearance -- and for its anonymous author's considerable courage and insight.

And, with a recommendation like that, let's all go out and read Imperial Hubris.

Here it Comes

Stand by for the October Surprise, the Repugs are getting all warmed up. I'm going to have to quote directly from Atrios, since the link he's linked to claims to be "under maintenance" (in other words, "we're removing an uncomfortably true story"):

The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission.

Such guidelines do not currently exist, said DeForest B. Soaries, head of the voting panel.

Soaries was appointed to the federal Election Assistance Commission last year by President Bush. Soaries said he wrote to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge in April to raise the concerns

Of course we'll need such a procedure. Especially in case John F. Kerry is leading in October.

Let's Blow These A-Holes Up

All I can say is, let's make the punishment fit the crime:

Six puppies were killed, apparently by fireworks placed in their mouths, shortly after teenage boys were seen carrying Roman candles in a north Tulsa neighborhood.

Animal control officers said they were following leads Tuesday but had no suspects in Sunday night's attacks, during which one person told police they heard a puppy yelp.

An older dog, a 41/2-month-old black Labrador mix, suffered burns on her muzzle and hindquarters from apparently being used as a moving target for fireworks.

Flog these little bastards until their backbones show.

Kristof: Innocent or Stupid?

Nicholas Kristof today is all worked up about those who refer to Bush as a liar, and compares those who do to the cretins who claimed that Clinton was a murderer. Um, not quite the same thing, Nick: one is a fact, one is a lie. And who knows lies and the lying liars who tell them better than the Republican Party?

Get this bit:

In fact, of course, Mr. Bush did stretch the truth. The run-up to Iraq was all about exaggerations, but not flat-out lies. Indeed, there's some evidence that Mr. Bush carefully avoids the most blatant lies — witness his meticulous descriptions of the periods in which he did not use illegal drugs.

He "stretched the truth" but didn't "lie," huh? Is Kristof blind, stupid, or what?

Picking Parts of the Bible

Fundies will have you know that they believe that the Bible, the entire Bible, is the inspired and unimpeachable Word of God. If so, why do they obey only selected tiny bits?

For example, this morning on NPR we had the egregious Barbara Bradley Hagerty whining about the "rights" of fundies at work not to have to obey company tolerance policies. She picked out one former Hewlett Packard employee who chose to post large printouts of Leviticus in his cubicle to express his disgust with the gay lifestyle and having to be forced to, gasp, tolerate it (for which he was rapidly shitcanned. Thank you, HP).

Perhaps while this gentlemen was printing out out the famous anti-gay bit of Leviticus, he might have also made a sign and marched down to Red Lobster to demand they remove shrimp and shellfish from the menu. Perhaps he should have gone and stoned the odd adulterer. Or maybe he should sit down and read what Jesus had to say about divorce (strangely, the divorce rate among fundies is actually slightly higher than among the population as a whole).

If you truly believe that the entire Bible is without error, you can't pick and choose verses - which fundies do as much as mainstream Christians though they don't admit it. So remove those garments made of more than one kind of thread, do not round the corners of your head, and rush off to construct an Ark of the Covenant. I'm not sure where you can find the shittim wood for that, but probably not at Home Despot.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Question

What will happen when the new Iraqi government actually tries to do something independent? Hm?

Repug Family Values Again

New York is getting ready for the Repug National Convention in September:

With thousands of Republicans set to invade the city this summer, high-priced escorts and strippers are preparing for one grand old party.
Agencies are flying in extra call girls from around the globe to meet the expected demand during the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 gathering at Madison Square Garden.

"We have girls from London, Seattle, California, all coming in for that week," said a madam at a Manhattan escort service. "It's the week everyone wants to work."

"It's going to be big," agreed one operator at a midtown escort service.

Yep, when they're not faking sympathy with evangelicals or crying crocodile tears at Ground Zero, they'll find plenty of whores to keep them busy (via Pandagon).

Brooks Does it Again

David Brooks occasionally writes something interesting, even if from his conservative viewpoint, but today he's up to his usual nitwittedness, if I can coin a term. According to Brooks, college educated people vote for the same party (he means the Democrats) over and over because they're more "ideological." Has it ever occurred to Brooks that those of us with half a brain vote for the Democrats because we're smarter than the deluded fools who vote for the Repugs?

However, even here Brooks makes a good suggestion, one I've been supporting for a long time:

An ambitious national service program would ameliorate the situation. If you had a big but voluntary service program of the sort that Evan Bayh, a Democrat, and John McCain, a Republican, proposed a couple of years ago, millions of young people would find themselves living with different sorts of Americans and spending time in parts of the country they might otherwise know nothing about.

Actually, I'm a little more radical than Brooks on this point; I'm for two years of mandatory national service, which could be in the military or elsewhere. Of course Brooks might not like the results. If the mindless idiots who reflexively vote Repug meet other sorts of people and start to realize how they've been screwed, they may start voting Democratic.

Let us Sing

Let us serenade the departing back of Paul Bremer:

Brave Sir Robin ran away,
Bravely ran away, away.
When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly, he chickened out. Bravely taking to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat,
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!




Monday, June 28, 2004

Shame

The greatest nation in the world - self proclaimed, admittedly - has far from the best health care system (and the only health care system in the developed world that is not nationalized). Bob Herbert looks at this disturbing situation:

In an article a few years ago in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Barbara Starfield of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine took a look at the overall health of the American people, and compared conditions here to those in other industrialized countries.

What she found was disturbing.

"The fact is that the U.S. population does not have anywhere near the best health in the world," she wrote. "Of 13 countries in a recent comparison, the United States ranks an average of 12th (second from the bottom) for 16 available health indicators."

She said the U.S. came in 13th, dead last, in terms of low birth weight percentages; 13th for neonatal mortality and infant mortality over all; 13th for years of potential life lost (excluding external causes); 11th for life expectancy at the age of 1 for females and 12th for males; and 10th for life expectancy at the age of 15 for females and 12th for males.

She noted in the article that more than 40 million Americans lacked health insurance (the figure is about 43 million now) and she described the state of Americans' health as "relatively poor."

"U.S. children are particularly disadvantaged," she said, adding, "But even the relatively advantaged position of elderly persons in the United States is slipping. The U.S. relative position for life expectancy in the oldest age group was better in the 1980's than in the 1990's."

The article was published in the summer of 2000. At the time Japan ranked highest among developed countries in terms of health, and the United States ranked among the lowest.

Last week I talked with Dr. Starfield, an internationally respected physician, professor and researcher, and asked whether the situation had improved over the last four years.

"It's getting worse," she said, noting, "We've done a lot more studies in terms of the international comparisons. We've done them a million different ways. The findings are so robust that I think they're probably incontrovertible."

"Greatest country in the world," huh? Should I add that our people are actually now on average shorter than people in Europe? Shame.

To get a sense of just how backward we're becoming on these matters, consider that in places like Texas, Florida and Mississippi the politicians are dreaming up new ways to remove the protective cloak of health coverage from children, the elderly and the poor. Texas and Florida have been pulling the plug on coverage for low-income kids. And Mississippi recently approved the deepest cut in Medicaid eligibility for senior citizens and the disabled that has ever been approved anywhere in the U.S.

Even the affluent are finding it more difficult to obtain access to care. For patients with insurance the route to treatment is often a confusing maze of gatekeepers and maddening regulations. The costs of insurance are shifting from employers to employees, and important health decisions are increasingly being made by bureaucrats and pitchmen interested solely in profits.

Health care should not be a for-profit venture. To have permitted it to remain so for so long is yet another stain on the filthy escutcheon of America's honor. How long until people finally get angry enough to demand change? I wish I knew. I'm surprised, frankly, it's gone on this long.

F9/11 Sets New Records

No doubt much to the dismay of Repugs everywhere, Michael Moore's new film had a big opening over the weekend - the biggest ever for a nonfiction film. In the process it became the highest grossing documentary of all time, and was the number 1 film for the weekend! And it's doing well everywhere, even in red states (Fox Sports commentators remarked during the NASCAR race at Sonoma yesterday that Dale Jr. had recommended the film to his pit crew!). Perhaps finally the discussion this nation needs to have about what's been going on for the last three years is about to begin.

The phenomenal opening represented a decisive victory for Mr. Moore and for the Miramax movie executives Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who released the film independently after it was rejected by Miramax's corporate parent, the Walt Disney Company, as too political.

"We sold out in Fayetteville, home of Fort Bragg," in North Carolina, Mr. Moore said on Sunday. "We sold out in Army-base towns. We set house records in some of these places. We set single-day records in a number of theaters. We got standing ovations in Greensboro, N.C.

"The biggest news to me this morning is this is a red-state movie," he said, referring to the state whose residents voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election. "Republican states are embracing the movie, and it's sold out in Republican strongholds all over the country."

Harvey Weinstein said: "It's beyond anybody's expectations. I'd have to say the sky's the limit on this movie. Who knows what territory we're in."

We'll see over the next week or two if the film has legs, but I suspect word of mouth will keep people coming to see Moore's expose of the Naked Emperor.

But Do They Feel Free?

It's pretty hard to write about the turnover of "sovereignty" in Iraq without using a lot of quotation marks (and impossible to talk about it without using a plentitude of "air quotes!"). Proconsul Paul Bremer, presumably in serious fear of his life, hurriedly turned over "control" this morning and then booked out of Iraq on the first available jet. I think this covers the reaction of ordinary Iraqis:

But the BBC's Dan Damon in Baghdad says the handover will mean little to ordinary Iraqis.

Our correspondent says it is not clear how real the transfer of power will seem to the many Iraqis whose backing is needed to defeat insurgents.

No doubt it will seem as real to most Iraqis as it seems "real" from this remove. In other words, not at all.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

October Surprise

Via South Knox Bubba, Bruce Mulkey of the Asheville Citizen-Times looks forward to what a lot of us suspect may happen if we get into October with Dubya trailing:

The original "October Surprise" was allegedly carried out in 1980 by officials of Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign. Iranian militants had stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, taking approximately 66 American hostages. President Jimmy Carter's administration pursued the return of the hostages but had little success. Years later, former Carter administration staffer Gary Sick attributed Carter's setback in this matter to overtures made to the Iranian government by officials of the Reagan campaign. By encouraging the Iranians to continue holding the hostages beyond the November 1980 presidential election, the Reagan supporters believed that their candidate would have a much better opportunity to unseat Carter. Whether or not Reagan's entourage actually convinced the Iranians to withhold the release of the hostages is still rigorously disputed. What is beyond dispute, however, is that Iran released the remaining hostages on Jan. 20, 1981, immediately after Reagan took office.

So if you were Karl Rove, Bush's top political strategist, and your candidate was slipping in the polls, what re- election strategy would you be cooking up right now?

Indeed. Check it out.

Phil Carter Wants to Know: What is Wolfowitz Smoking?

Evidently some pretty good stuff, as Phil observes dryly over at Intel Dump today:

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz must have a surgically-implanted metal rod in his back that enables him to conduct lightning, as well as other things, away from the Pentagon and Bush administration. Whether telling Gen. Eric Shinseki that he was "wildly off the mark" in predicting it would take a lot of troops to pacify Iraq, or in saying last week that the U.S. press in Iraq were cowering in their hotels, he often seems like he's approaching the world from a completely different set of assumptions than the rest of us.

It sure does! Check out the rest of this long and informative post.

Why be Sorry for Telling the Truth?

Judge Guido Calabresi told the truth at a judicial gathering last Saturday:

Calabresi, a former dean of Yale Law School, was quoted saying the U.S. Supreme Court "put somebody in power" when a ruling it made in December 2000 settled the dispute over whether Bush had defeated Al Gore.

"In a way that occurred before but is rare in the United States ... somebody came to power as a result of the illegitimate acts of a legitimate institution that had the right to put somebody in power," Calabresi said. "The reason I emphasize that is because that is exactly what happened when Mussolini was put in by the king of Italy.

"The King of Italy had the right to put Mussolini in, though he had not won an election, and make him prime minister," the judge continued. "That is what happened when Hindenburg put Hitler in."

Calabresi told the lawyers: "I am not suggesting for a moment that Bush is Hitler. I want to be clear on that, but it is a situation which is extremely unusual."

Calabresi went on to say the public should expel Bush from office to cleanse the democratic system. "That's got nothing to do with the politics of it. It's got to do with the structural reassertion of democracy," Calabresi was quoted saying.

Calabresi later apologized. Why apologize for the truth? It's past time people started admitting that Bush is the emperor sans clothing. It's past time to fully face the fact that we had a coup in this country in 2000. And it's past time to put it right and butt kick Bush and the Repugs out of office.

Why Does Rod Paige Still Have His Job?

Good question, when the Secretary of Education's partners in the Houston "education miracle" that brought you No (Rich, White) Child Left Behind have departed under, shall we say, somewhat of a cloud:

Three years after Rod Paige left his job as schools superintendent in Houston to become the federal secretary of education, his successor and several of his closest associates are stepping down, some amid questions about how business dealings have been conducted in the district.

Kaye Stripling, who is 63 and has served as superintendent in Houston since Mr. Paige left in January 2001, announced her retirement this month

Others who have recently resigned include Laurie Bricker, a member of the Board of Education, and Cathy Mincberg, the district's chief of business services. Ms. Bricker was an ally of Dr. Paige as he carried out his pro-business vision, which included privatizing many services in the district. Ms. Mincberg helped engineer Dr. Paige's rise to superintendent in 1994 while she was on the board and before she became a paid administrator.
...
In the seven years that Dr. Paige was superintendent, Houston reported such gains in student achievement that George W. Bush's supporters hailed the progress in the 2000 presidential campaign as a Texas miracle. It helped Dr. Paige earn his cabinet seat and enabled the Bush administration to use Houston as a model for the No Child Left Behind education act. With Dr. Paige's departure for Washington, Ms. Stripling, a onetime teacher, was named to replace him. In 2002 the Broad Foundation, based in Los Angeles, awarded Houston a $1 million prize as the best urban school district in the United States.

But in 2003, a state audit of records at 16 middle and high schools in Houston showed that more than half the students who should have been reported as dropouts in the 2000-2001 school year had not been. Those findings were followed by the discovery that Houston had also failed to report thousands of schoolhouse crimes, raising doubts about the district's credibility with all kinds of data and attracting nationwide attention from the news media. Last fall, Dan Rather and Bill Moyers made reporting trips here.

And yet Rod Paige, who has been no stranger to controversy of other sorts during his tenure, is still Secretary of Education, and is still peddling the same steaming heap of bullshit he forked over to the people of Houston. Interesting.

Whoops!

Dubya gets filmed in his undershirt!

When the US president arranged a visit to Ireland in an election year he wanted to make sure the folks back home could see him - but not dressed in a vest.

And that is why there was a wave of international censorship after George W Bush appeared at the window of an Irish castle wearing a white undergarment, rather than his traditional shirt and tie.

It may have been bedtime, but the president was wide awake to the potential public relations dangers.

After spotting the camera, he quickly backtracked, and allowed one of his aides to open the bedroom window instead.

'Best vest man'

It was too late. The cameraman had got the shot - George W Bush as you have never seen him before, in a vest, about to go to bed, at Dromoland Castle in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland.

Rather than being known as "America's best dressed man," he could now be labelled "America's best vest man".

Needless to say, orders were immediately issued that the pictures showing the Naked Emperor in his undershirt not be shown:

A hastily written memo was delivered to all broadcasters, including the BBC.

"These pictures are the property of the Irish presidency and must not be used for transmission by any service," it said.

Just in case anyone was thinking of ignoring the instruction, it was written in bold, with capital letters and underlined.

It was too late for some broadcasters, who had excitedly rushed to air with the pictures of the blushing Mr Bush.

The authorities were not amused, and apparently made their feelings known to the cameraman involved.

"He'll probably be sent to Guantanamo Bay now," joked a fellow cameraman.

Lese majeste is not allowed where the Chimperor is involved.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Words of Truth and Wisdom

Ladies and gentlemen, the legitimate President of the United States, Albert Gore:

When you boil it all down to precisely what went wrong with the Bush Iraq policy, it is actually fairly simple: he adopted an ideologically driven view of Iraq that was tragically at odds with reality. Everything that has gone wrong is in one way or another the result of a spectacular and violent clash between the bundle of misconceptions that he gullibly consumed and the all-too-painful reality that our troops and contractors and diplomats and taxpayers have encountered. Of course, there have been several other collisions between President Bush's ideology and America's reality. To take the most prominent example, the transformation of a $5 trillion surplus into a $4 trillion deficit is in its own way just as spectacular a miscalculation as the Iraq war.

But there has been no more bizarre or troubling manifestation of how seriously off track this President's policies have taken America than the two profound shocks to our nation's conscience during the last month. First came the extremely disturbing pictures that document strange forms of physical and sexual abuse -- and even torture and murder -- by some of our soldiers against people they captured as prisoners in Iraq. And then, the second shock came just last week, with strange and perverted legal memoranda from inside the administration, which actually sought to justify torture and to somehow provide a legal rationale for bizarre and sadistic activities conducted in the name of the American people, which, according to any reasonable person, would be recognized as war crimes. In making their analysis, the administration lawyers concluded that the President, whenever he is acting in his role as commander in chief, is above and immune from the "rule of law." At least we don't have to guess what our founders would have to say about this bizarre and un-American theory.

By the middle of this week, the uproar caused by the disclosure of this legal analysis had forced the administration to claim they were throwing the memo out and it was, "irrelevant and overbroad." But no one in the administration has said that the reasoning was wrong. And in fact, a DOJ spokesman says they stand by the tortured definition of torture. In addition the broad analysis regarding the commander-in-chief powers has not been disavowed. And the view of the memo -- that it was within commander-in-chief's power to order any interrogation techniques necessary to extract information -- most certainly contributed to the atmosphere that led to the atrocities committed against the Iraqis at Abu Ghraib. We also know that President Bush rewarded the principle author of this legal monstrosity with a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals. President Bush, meanwhile, continues to place the blame for the horrific consequences of his morally obtuse policies on the young privates and corporals and sergeants who may well be culpable as individuals for their actions, but who were certainly not responsible for the policies which set up the Bush Gulag and led to America's strategic catastrophe in Iraq.

Just a little taste of another great speech from Gore. Check it out.

Because Dubya Says So!

Mark Morford rips into the inanity of the Dubya gang:

Let's watch, for example, as the bipartisan 9/11 commission -- the one that Bush finally, reluctantly, whiningly, after nearly three years, agreed to allow to exist at all -- let's watch as they emerge after months of investigation with a report that declares, once again and for the 500th time, that there was no collaboration whatsoever between Saddam and al Qaeda in the 9/11 attack. Duh.

Of course, when the 9/11 commission's report came out, BushCo was quick to reply: Um, well, we never actually claimed, you know, verbatim or whatever, that 9/11 was orchestrated by Saddam and al Qaeda, you know, together.

Except, of course, yes you did, Dubya. Repeatedly. Ad nauseam. In this very memo to Congress, outlining your reasons for leading America into this brutish hellpit. And also on just about every newscast and interview and mumbled speech, hint and gesture and Dick Cheney's pallid snicker, all resulting a huge majority of misguided and fear-pummeled Americans who honestly believed not only that Saddam had a role in 9/11 but also that he pretty much piloted those doomed planes himself, and that's why we needed to blast the living crap out of his piss-poor nation and earn ourselves huge gobs of global scorn while generating more anti-U.S. hatred among terrorists than Osama could have ever dreamed. Go, team!

Oh but here's Dubya, in an AA-grade bout of denial, summing up the entire point quite nicely: "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

See? That's all you need to know. There was a connection because I say there was a connection. We stomped into war for justifiable reasons because I say there were justifiable reasons. Nearly 1,000 U.S. soldiers have died for my oily and ultraviolent petrochemical corporate cronies because I say they should die. End of story and off to bed now, you little punkass American suckers.

That's right. Shut up and eat your peas.

Wash His Mouth Out

Goodness gracious, if the evangelicals just realized how their heroes talk:

Vice President Dick Cheney blurted out the "F word" at Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont during a heated exchange on the Senate floor, congressional aides said on Thursday.

The incident occurred on Tuesday in a terse discussion between the two that touched on politics, religion and money, with Cheney finally telling Leahy to "f--- off" or "go f--- yourself," the aides said.
...
According to congressional aides, Leahy said hello to Cheney following the taking of the Senate group photo on the floor of the chamber.

Cheney, who is president of the Senate, then ripped into Leahy for the Democratic senator's criticism this week of alleged war profiteering in Iraq by Halliburton, the oil services company that Cheney once ran.

Leahy and other Democrats have called for congressional hearings into whether the vice president helped the firm win lucrative contracts in Iraq after the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein.

During their exchange, Leahy noted that Republicans had accused Democrats of being anti-Catholic because they are opposed to some of President Bush's anti-abortion judges, the aides said.

That's when Cheney unloaded with the "F-bomb," aides said.

My oh my. Whack him over the head with the KJV.

Clinton's Book

The usual suspects are arguing that since the book won't sell well in "red states," it's really not a best seller.

But that's easy to answer. People in red states don't read (it would be interesting to see a real statistic on this, by the way).

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Getting Ready to Turn Over the Rubble

What can one say?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Something Stupid This Way Comes

I used to respect Ray Bradbury, but I'm wondering if Alzheimers or just crotchety old age has caught up with him...his whining that Michael Moore has "stolen" his title is just beyond asinine. Five words, Ray: Something Wicked This Way Comes. And that's Will Shakespeare on the line, pal.

Possible Pipe Bomb Found Next Door!

I came home to find a note from a Fire Department investigator in my door today, and later found out from a neighbor that a possible pipe bomb was found next door to our house this morning...aimed at random, I presume, since the neighbors are mostly peaceful types and the most outrageous thing I do personally is fly a Royal Navy white ensign off my porch. Strange times, in an age like this. More if I find out more.... UPDATE: Talking to the Fire Department investigator this morning, I learned that this was expended fireworks taped up to look like a bomb. Not a very bright thing for someone to do.

Googlebombing - Right Wing Fires Back!

The number one result for searching "miserable failure" in Google is still Dubya's official bio, but number two is Jimmy Carter's official bio, and number three is Michael Moore's website! The Googlebombing wars continue.

The Truth Hurts

Needless to say, the Bushies are infuriated over a new MoveOn.org ad showing the great new jobs that have been created by the Administration - you know, great jobs like flipping burgers.

The Bush administration says that is a misleading picture. Most of the jobs created last month were in industries that pay above-average wages, including health care, construction and financial services, the campaign says. "These are areas where people get paid well, and that has a big impact on kitchen-table issues," said Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt.

Except that a lot of those industries don't pay "above average wages," especially health care and even worse construction, where wages have been forced down by mobs of illegal or semi-legal Mexican immigrants who will work long hours for low pay and can't complain about safety violations (two Mexicans working as roofers here in Columbus were killed last year, both in unsafe conditions). Financial experts concur that there's a problem:

Some economists also point to stagnant wages and eroding job quality as dark clouds looming over the economic recovery.

"Despite the well-advertised pick-up of job growth, recent trends in real wage income remain very disappointing," lamented Stephen S. Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley, in a June 7 memo to clients. "This, in my view, underscores one of the most serious shortcomings of this recovery -- an unprecedented shortfall of the most important piece of personal income growth," wages and salaries.

Over the first 29 months of the economic recovery, total wages and salaries have risen less than 3 percent after adjusting for inflation -- a fraction of the 9 percent gains of the previous six upturns, Roach said. That works out to a $280 billion income gap between where workers are and where they should be, he concluded.

CIBC World Markets, a Toronto-based investment banking firm, reached a similar conclusion in a report issued Monday. That study found that U.S. job creation since late 2001 has been concentrated in low-paying industries such as hospitality, education and personal services, while job losses have hit higher-wage sectors such as transportation, manufacturing, utilities and natural resources.

"The message is clear: The vast majority of the jobs that evaporated during the job-loss recovery were high-quality jobs," the CIBC study concluded.

The fact is, the American economy is based entirely on consumption. If people cannot afford to consume - to buy houses, cars, appliances - the economy will collapse. Big business needs to realize that a race to the bottom is a race to their own destruction. They haven't woken up yet. Will they?


Dubya's Military Records

AP have filed suit to have Dubya's military records released in their entirety. I'm not sure this will do them any good - my guess is that anything "interesting" has been destroyed (or, as the military will claim, "lost"). We shall see....

Photoshop, Anyone?

I'm standing by for someone to Photoshop Dubya's maniacal head onto a khaki-uniformed dictator; come on, artist-types!

Reptilian Business

David Neiwert comments on the Enron tapes here. Read the reader comments too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Repug Family Values

The Ryan divorce - a little present for Barack Obama!

Another Diagnosis!

It's evidently popular to try to find a reason for why Bush is such a nitwit. Here's Elaine Kitchel over at Intervention Magazine:

George W. Bush doesn’t read. “I know he doesn’t read,” one White House staffer told columnist Sidney Blumenthal, who wrote it in The Guardian on April 15th of this year. In fact, in an interview with Brit Hume, Bush admitted that he does not read the newspapers, nor does he read documents prepared for him daily called “President’s Daily Briefs.” Instead, he prefers to have them interpreted and encapsulated for him by his staff, usually Condoleeza Rice or Andrew Card.

Bush himself told Hume, “I glance at the headlines just to kind of [get] a flavor for what’s moving. I rarely read the stories.”

The president related to Hume, “I get briefed by people who have probably read the news themselves.” The president further stated that Andrew Card and Condoleeza Rice, on the other hand, get the news “directly from the participants on the world stage.”

Bush continued to Hume, “I appreciate people’s opinions, but I’m more interested in news. And the best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what’s happening in the world.”

Of course Democrats would argue that Rice and Card are not necessarily “objective sources.” But why doesn’t the president read? Some have speculated that he has dyslexia. Certainly, it would fit. People with dyslexia generally dislike reading because it is hard work for them. Dyslexia tends to run in families, and the Bush family has been open about George’s brother Neil having it. Further, people with dyslexia often have language processing problems of the type President Bush displays. Making up words, confusing first and last syllables, using malapropisms and similar sounding words, like “preservation” for “perseverance,” are all common in people with dyslexia.

“The errors you’ve heard Governor Bush make are consistent with dyslexia,” wrote Nancy LaFevers, a Houston dyslexia diagnostician (Vanity Fair, October 2000).

Certainly not impossible, and as the mention of Vanity Fair above indicates, one that's been made before. Kitchel points out:

There’s nothing shameful about dyslexia. A person who has it can still have a high I.Q. and plenty of talent. The Bushes could have done a lot to dispel some of the shame lingering in those with dyslexia by admitting it and then pointing to Winston Churchill as an example of a person who excelled even though he was also subject to the condition. Instead, candidate George W. spoke at the Alfalfa Club in Washington D.C., saying if he were to be made the president of the U.S. he would have a 119 emergency telephone number for dyslexics. This seems a little cruel, given the dyslexia in his family. But what’s a little cruelty to the Bushes? They are so steadfast in their denial of George having dyslexia that we will probably never have definitive proof.

If Bush is indeed dyslexic, he could do a lot for the problem simply by being upfront about it, much as the Reagan family was about the late President's ordeal with Alzheimer's. But that's just not the Bush way.

Yikes!!!

Boy, and Howard Dean got in trouble for his "I have a scream" speech. Check out the maniacal picture of Dubya Mark Kleiman prints here. Yikes!

It's Hard to Shrink Bush; He's Already Pretty Small

Justin Frank, a professor of psychiatry at George Washington University, has written a new book that attempts to figure out what makes President Caligula tick:

"He reminded me of my more disturbed patients," the psychiatrist said. "Being on the wagon is not the same thing as having alcoholism treated. That means taking responsibility, and making amends to the people you've damaged.

"Bush switched from alcoholism to religion. It takes responsibility out of his hands. Being born again is a way of denying the past," Prof Frank said.
...
Prof Frank's prescription is for Mr Bush to join an Alcoholics Anonymous programme - and for him to be relieved of his high-pressure job.

Sounds like a good prescription to me.

Krugman on Ashcroft

Paul Krugman points out, truthfully, that it's hard to talk about the malfeasance of John Ashcroft, our useless Attorney General, without sounding shrill. He does a pretty good job nonetheless:

In April 2003, John Ashcroft's Justice Department disrupted what appears to have been a horrifying terrorist plot. In the small town of Noonday, Tex., F.B.I. agents discovered a weapons cache containing fully automatic machine guns, remote-controlled explosive devices disguised as briefcases, 60 pipe bombs and a chemical weapon — a cyanide bomb — big enough to kill everyone in a 30,000-square-foot building.

Strangely, though, the attorney general didn't call a press conference to announce the discovery of the weapons cache, or the arrest of William Krar, its owner. He didn't even issue a press release. This was, to say the least, out of character. Jose Padilla, the accused "dirty bomber," didn't have any bomb-making material or even a plausible way to acquire such material, yet Mr. Ashcroft put him on front pages around the world. Mr. Krar was caught with an actual chemical bomb, yet Mr. Ashcroft acted as if nothing had happened.

Incidentally, if Mr. Ashcroft's intention was to keep the case low-profile, the media have been highly cooperative. To this day, the Noonday conspiracy has received little national coverage.

Indeed. David Neiwert wrote extensively about the case on his blog Orcinus, but the national media snoozed while the same crew that brought you Oklahoma City continued to cook up new monstrosities.

...it's hard to believe that William Krar wouldn't have become a household name if he had been a Muslim, or even a leftist. Was Mr. Ashcroft, who once gave an interview with Southern Partisan magazine in which he praised "Southern patriots" like Jefferson Davis, reluctant to publicize the case of a terrorist who happened to be a white supremacist?

More important, is Mr. Ashcroft neglecting real threats to the public because of his ideological biases?

Mr. Krar's arrest was the result not of a determined law enforcement effort against domestic terrorists, but of a fluke: when he sent a package containing counterfeit U.N. and Defense Intelligence Agency credentials to an associate in New Jersey, it was delivered to the wrong address. Luckily, the recipient opened the package and contacted the F.B.I. But for that fluke, we might well have found ourselves facing another Oklahoma City-type atrocity.

The discovery of the Texas cyanide bomb should have served as a wake-up call: 9/11 has focused our attention on the threat from Islamic radicals, but murderous right-wing fanatics are still out there. The concerns of the Justice Department, however, appear to lie elsewhere. Two weeks ago a representative of the F.B.I. appealed to an industry group for help in combating what, he told the audience, the F.B.I. regards as the country's leading domestic terrorist threat: ecological and animal rights extremists.

Even in the fight against foreign terrorists, Mr. Ashcroft's political leanings have distorted policy. Mr. Ashcroft is very close to the gun lobby — and these ties evidently trump public protection. After 9/11, he ordered that all government lists — including voter registration, immigration and driver's license lists — be checked for links to terrorists. All government lists, that is, except one: he specifically prohibited the F.B.I. from examining background checks on gun purchasers.

Yes, terrorists with guns are safe. Amazing.

Ashcroft is a man who uses his office solely for the purpose of ideology. He's the man who draped the topless statue of Justice, the man who announced a fake terrorist plot in Columbus, Ohio the day before John Kerry came there to campaign, the man who allows the deadly right wing to continue their anti-government plotting unabated. What is his true goal? Certainly it doesn't involve protecting America.


Monday, June 21, 2004

SpaceShip One Flies Successfully

Burt Rutan's entrant for the Ansari X-Prize, SpaceShip One, flew successfully today to over 62 miles, or officially into space. Pilot Mike Melvill reported hearing 3 loud bangs during the flight, but everything appears to have been nominal. More here.

Was There Ever Much to Tiger Woods?

If there was, there's not much left, at least at the moment. Maybe Tiger needs to stop doing endorsements and, um, practice. And unload his caddie, preferably into the nearest water hazard.

My first suggestion for Woods's immediate and long-term recovery is that he spend four years in the Peace Corps. Planting crops in Ethiopia or Zaire while teaching children to read and write would have a salutary effect on his attitude, which at the moment resembles that of a spoiled Venetian princess.

Woods called Shinnecock "out of control" and "unfair" and said, "This is not the way the game is supposed to be played." It was a less-than-gracious tribute to the gripping duel between winner Retief Goosen and runner-up Phil Mickelson, who seemed to play just fine. Woods also criticized the USGA for not anticipating a cold front in making the greens too fast and hard. And he took exception to distractions he said were imposed on him by the press. "Unfortunately, I had to deal with some other stuff here with you guys that I shouldn't have had to deal with," he said.

Woods apparently believed we shouldn't have troubled him about the goon behavior of his caddie, Steve Williams. Or about his former coach Harmon's opinion, apparently quite accurate, that Woods is not in control of his golf ball.

Let's get something straight: Woods is a 28-year-old professional who is responsible for the direction of his own career, and he is equally responsible for the detestable conduct of his caddie, who needs to keep his hands and feet to himself. Unfortunately, Woods doesn't seem to see it this way, and even appears to subtly encourage Williams.

Woods was standing on the second tee during the final round Sunday, when he was bothered by the noise from a spectator's camera. His caddie turned and marched angrily 25 yards over to a section of the gallery, where he plunged three deep into a crowd of people, and pulled the offending camera away from a spectator, who turned out to be an off-duty police officer. The rest of the gallery responded with uncomfortable murmurs.

"Chill out, Steve!" someone yelled.

What a shame that a man who once was a great ambassador for golf has fallen to this level. Let's hope he can rise again, and prove that there is, indeed, a great deal to Tiger Woods.

Lab Test!

Hey, why not.

Dogs have long been used to sniff out explosives and drugs, track criminals and find missing children. Now, researchers are attempting to harness the olfactory powers of canines for use in the field of medicine.

Scientists are training dogs in the hopes that they may one day be able to reliably diagnose certain forms of cancer by smell, and help doctors catch these diseases earlier than conventional diagnostic tools currently allow.

I see no reason why this wouldn't work. Of course it might mean that being billed for a "Lab Test" means you've been sniffed by a big black dog.

Speaking of Clinton...

...the familiar squad of right wing whiners and loonies are exploding out of the woodwork to "oppose" his autobiography. WHAT a surprise.

Citizens United — a conservative lobbying group whose president, David Bossie, Mr. Clinton writes, helped to foment the Whitewater scandal — bought advertising time in several markets during Mr. Clinton's interview on "60 minutes" to argue that the former president was responsible for failing to prevent the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Here is what you might miss in Bill Clinton's new book," the advertisement begins, reciting a list of terrorist attacks abroad during his presidency.

In the buildup to the release of "My Life," the talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, another villain of Mr. Clinton's narrative, has begun calling the book "My Lie." And a column in the American Spectator, once the leading journal of Clinton-bashing and another target in his book, pronounced "a long hot Clinton summer is upon us" and derided Mr. Clinton's expressions of contrition for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

"Yes, it's terrible to be caught," the Spectator wrote, "though rather delightful to commit moral error when no one is looking."

In the conservative Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes, the executive editor, called Mr. Clinton "Calvin Coolidge without the ethics and self-restraint."

Keith Appel, a Republican media consultant, said that the Web-based Drudge Report, which rose to prominence during the Clinton years, is playing a leading role again.

"That Web site is read by millions of conservatives and just about every conservative talk radio host in the country," Mr. Appel said, noting a headline that said, "After Reagan Week, Now Comes Clinton Summer." "The airwaves are hot with it already, bringing back all the bad news about the Clinton impeachment, lying under oath, the stain he has brought on the presidency. It helps remind people that the Bush administration is the antithesis of Clinton."

To drive home the point, Bush campaign allies are reviving talk about the honor and dignity of the Oval Office in thinly veiled references to the Clinton years.

"I have found that the best way to get a rousing response from a crowd is to say that whatever disagreements you may have with President Bush on one issue or another, nobody can argue that he hasn't restored honor to the White house," said Gary L. Bauer, chairman of the organization American Values. "I think there is a reason that the Kerry people were not all that excited about this book coming out now."

What a bunch of self-righteous, phony-religious asswipes. History will, I suspect, largely vindicate President Clinton, for all of his personal failings - failings shared by a large percentage of the men who have held the office - while Shrub and the necrocons will be cast into the outer darkness as the Know Nothings of the modern era. If only I could be frozen to see it.

Remember When?

Everyone see President Clinton on 60 Minutes last night? Remember when the United States had an intelligent, eloquent, albeit flawed man as President? Remember when the body bags weren't coming home in droves, when the economy was doing well, when photos of American "heroes" torturing Iraqis weren't in the paper?

And now we have the Chimperor. God help us.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Another Sign of the End Times?

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams may appear on The Simpsons....

Dr Williams has previously publicly announced his support for the show, and its accident-prone star, Homer Simpson.

The Simpsons producer Al Jean reportedly said they had been flattered by Dr Williams' support and "we'd love to have him on the show".

The archbishop's spokesman told BBC News Online on Sunday that no invitation had yet been made, but Dr Williams "had said a lot of positive things about the show, and it has a lot of merit.



Saturday, June 19, 2004

If True, We Are in the Deepest Shit Imaginable

Dubya's "efforts" against al Queda have been so ineffective and stupid that al Queda may be planning to do their best to keep the Chimperor in office:

A senior US intelligence official is about to publish a bitter condemnation of America's counter-terrorism policy, arguing that the west is losing the war against al-Qaida and that an "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked" war in Iraq has played into Osama bin Laden's hands.

Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, due out next month, dismisses two of the most frequent boasts of the Bush administration: that Bin Laden and al-Qaida are "on the run" and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer.

In an interview with the Guardian the official, who writes as "Anonymous", described al-Qaida as a much more proficient and focused organisation than it was in 2001, and predicted that it would "inevitably" acquire weapons of mass destruction and try to use them.

He said Bin Laden was probably "comfortable" commanding his organisation from the mountainous tribal lands along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Indeed, bin Laden does seem to be comfortable and al Queda clearly is organized in such a way that it runs efficiently without day to day interference from the top. Evidently other intelligence experts agree with the thesis of this new book:

Imperial Hubris is the latest in a relentless stream of books attacking the administration in election year. Most of the earlier ones, however, were written by embittered former officials. This one is unprecedented in being the work of a serving official with nearly 20 years experience in counter-terrorism who is still part of the intelligence establishment.

The fact that he has been allowed to publish, albeit anonymously and without naming which agency he works for, may reflect the increasing frustration of senior intelligence officials at the course the administration has taken.

Peter Bergen, the author of two books on Bin Laden and al-Qaida, said: "His views represent an amped-up version of what is emerging as a consensus among intelligence counter-terrorist professionals."

Anonymous does not try to veil his contempt for the Bush White House and its policies. His book describes the Iraq invasion as "an avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat but whose defeat did offer economic advantage.

"Our choice of timing, moreover, shows an abject, even wilful failure to recognise the ideological power, lethality and growth potential of the threat personified by Bin Laden, as well as the impetus that threat has been given by the US-led invasion and occupation of Muslim Iraq."

In his view, the US missed its biggest chance to capture the al-Qaida leader at Tora Bora in the Afghan mountains in December 2001. Instead of sending large numbers of his own troops, General Tommy Franks relied on surrogates who proved to be unreliable.

Either Franks' pet Afghanis were inefficient or, more likely, they failed to stay bought.

Anonymous, who published an analysis of al-Qaida last year called Through Our Enemies' Eyes, thinks it quite possible that another devastating strike against the US could come during the election campaign, not with the intention of changing the administration, as was the case in the Madrid bombing, but of keeping the same one in place.

"I'm very sure they can't have a better administration for them than the one they have now," he said.

"One way to keep the Republicans in power is to mount an attack that would rally the country around the president."

God help us.

Our Enemies

Dubya et al have argued that Iraq is the source of our problems. The true source, friends, is Saudi Arabia. The majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. Osama bin Laden is Saudi. The majority of the money that funded the plot appears to have been Saudi. What has been the reaction of the Administration? After 9/11, Saudis in the US, including members of the bin Laden family, were flown out of the country before they could be questioned as to any knowledge they might have of the plot. Since then, the Saudis have been treated as glorious allies.

They're not. One day the house of Saud will fall, and Saudi Arabia with it, and we will be left standing here wondering what went wrong. If we want to spread democracy in the mideast, Saudi is the obvious first place to start.

Too bad the Bushes and the house of Saud are such good buddies.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Dick Cheney: Lying Bastard

Yep, that's pretty blunt, but sorry, friends, that's the way it is. Because now our distinguished Vice President-Appointee has made it known that he never, ever said that Saddam had a 9/11 connection - the evil, lazy, left wing press put those words in his mouth. Lying, filthy bastard.

Reiterating the distinction between contacts and actual collaboration on the Sept. 11 attacks, Cheney said some news media had blurred that distinction and reported the administration was directly tying the attacks to Saddam.

"The press is, with all due respect there are exceptions, often times lazy, often simply reports what someone else in the press says without doing their homework," Cheney said.

Oh, I see. I do see, "Dick." Then these words did not come out of your filthy, lying trap:

"With respect to 9/11, of course, we've had the story that's been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohammed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack..." Cheney on Meet the Press, 9/14/2003

So how did that evil press twist those words? Or these:

"[Hussein] also had an established relationship to al Qaeda, providing training to al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons, gases and making conventional bombs." Cheney - Boston Globe, 10/9/03

That evil Boston Globe just made those words up, right?

"I continue to believe. I think there's overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government." VP Crashcart quoted on NPR, 1/22/04

So NPR had Karl Cassel or someone imitate your voice, eh, Dick?

"There's overwhelming evidence there was a connection between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I am very confident that there was an established relationship there." Same NPR interview as above.

You lying bastard. We have a president who believes he is a king, a vice president whose every word is a filthy lie, a secdef who commits war crimes. Any Repug who continues to support this administration is in fact committing treason. Any Democrat who fails to do whatever they can to kick these bastards to the curb is doing the same. THEY HAVE TO GO.

UPDATE: Dan Froomkin has a link to this (via Brad DeLong). TREASON! Shout it to the skies, friends.

Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate

March 18, 2003

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Sincerely,

GEORGE W. BUSH

Impeach or better.

Dick Cheney, Still an Idiot After all These Years

Bunker Boy, no surprise, is lashing back at the press now that his "theory" about an Iraq-9/11 connection has been flushed down the bowl of history by the 9/11 Commission. He's right, damn it, he's Bunker Boy!

Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the evidence is "overwhelming" that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, and he said media reports suggesting that the 9/11 commission has reached a contradictory conclusion were "irresponsible."

"There clearly was a relationship. It's been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming," Cheney said in an interview with CNBC's "Capitol Report."

"It goes back to the early '90s. It involves a whole series of contacts, high-level contacts with Osama bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence officials."

"The press, with all due respect, (is) often times lazy, often times simply reports what somebody else in the press said without doing their homework."

What did we do as a nation to deserve this moron and the fools around him?

Not a Good Day for Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, is not having a good day today as the Guardian's religious affairs correspondant publishes a book showing how he backtracked and betrayed his friend Canon Jeffrey John all in the interests of keeping intolerant, largely African Anglicans - who ought to be invited to get the hell out of Dodge and join the Southern Baptist Convention where their intolerance belongs - in the Anglican Communion and withdrew Johns' appointment as suffragan bishop of Reading. Not pleasant reading for those of us who admire the Archbishop.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, twice gave verbal permission for the gay cleric Dr Jeffrey John to be appointed a bishop, it emerged yesterday.

The disclosure comes almost a year after Dr John was forced to stand down from the post of suffragan bishop of Reading by Dr Williams, because his appointment caused a storm of protest from Anglican evangelicals across the world.
...
The new book discloses the level of vituperation and hatred towards gays exhibited by religious opponents during the row. Dog excrement was sent to Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford, who had recommended Dr John for the bishopric. Descending to the farcical, the wife of a local vicar declined to allow the new bishop even to park his car in the vicarage drive.

The Bishop of Oxford admitted that Dr John's sexuality - he has been in a long-celibate partnership with another priest for 28 years - was a major factor considered in appointing him. He said that he had rung Dr Williams to ask whether he would be prepared to consecrate Dr John while he was still on the shortlist, and again once after he had been chosen as the best candidate for the job. On both occasions, the new archbishop - in post for fewer than six months - had said he would.

Time for the Archbishop to show some courage. If we lose the Africans - no big deal.

Bush Example Not a Good One

No surprise that when Dubya picks an example of a doctor burdened by malpractice claims, he picks a killer, as Bob Herbert reveals today:

To bolster his argument Mr. Bush introduced a local doctor, Compton Girdharry, to an audience at Youngstown State University. Dr. Girdharry, an obstetrician/gynecologist, said he had been driven from a practice of 21 years by the high cost of malpractice insurance.

The president praised Dr. Girdharry and thanked him for his "compassion."

If Mr. Bush was looking for an example of a doctor who was victimized by frivolous lawsuits, Dr. Girdharry was not a great choice. Since the early 1990's, he has settled lawsuits and agreed to the payment of damages in a number of malpractice cases in which patients suffered horrible injuries.

"It's been four years since my son passed away, and I don't feel any stronger or any happier than the day I lost him," said Lisa Vitale, whose suit against Dr. Girdharry and a hospital was settled out of court.

During an interview in her home in Alliance, Ms. Vitale said she went into Alliance Community Hospital on the morning of Aug. 17, 1993, for the delivery of her second child.

Her first delivery had been by Caesarean section, but Ms. Vitale said she was told that a vaginal delivery this time would not be a problem. While she was in the delivery room, however, the fetal monitoring strip was not properly checked and, she said, she was left alone and in pain for long periods. Dr. Girdharry stopped by around 6 p.m. and then went to dinner.

No one noticed that the baby was in serious distress.

Dr. Girdharry blamed the ensuing tragedy on the nurse. Ms. Vitale, he told me, "was being monitored by a nurse who was what they call a casual part-time nurse, who was not very well trained in reading fetal monitor strips."

By the time he was called back from dinner, he said, it was "too late" to take the steps, including a Caesarean delivery, that might have prevented permanent injury.

The baby was born with severe brain damage. He was unable to even drink from a bottle. He lived six years and four months, requiring nursing care the entire time.

Judy Mays, another patient of Dr. Girdharry, delivered a son by Caesarean section on March 26, 1999. The baby was fine. But, as alleged in a suit filed by Ms. Mays, when the incision was closed, a sponge with a cord and a ring attached to it was left inside.

Ms. Mays said she complained repeatedly to Dr. Girdharry about the pain she experienced, which at times was incapacitating. "When I brought it to the doctor's attention," she said, "he told me, `Well, you just had major surgery. You've got to heal."

After four and a half agonizing months, Ms. Mays felt a bulging growth beneath the skin, "about the size of a grapefruit."

She was petrified, she said, thinking it was a tumor. She said an associate of Dr. Girdharry ordered tests, including a CAT scan. The sponge was spotted, but by that time it had adhered to her internal organs and her intestines were surrounding it.

Dr. Girdharry told me he began operating to remove the sponge but found the damage was worse than he had expected. Another surgeon was called to complete the surgery.

Ms. Mays said she learned after the surgery that part of her large and small intestines had been removed, and that she probably would have died if the sponge had stayed inside her for another month. The surgery, she said, has left her with a variety of permanent ailments.

These are just two of the cases settled by Dr. Girdharry, who told me that his appearance in Youngstown with President Bush was "a dream come true."

I'll bet it was. More like a nightmare for this man's patients.

Trolling for Votes at the Freak Show

No surprise that the Bushies would be trying to pick up votes at the cretinous flat-earther freak show that is the Southern Baptist Convention. These are people who are not very bright - and proud of it.

...Dr. Jack Graham, the departing president of the denomination, whom Mr. Reed contacted to be the host of the Bush-Cheney reception, said there was a clear distinction between his roles at the convention and at the reception. "This is Jack Graham the person, not Jack Graham the president of the Southern Baptists," he said in an interview at the event.

What is more, he said, he believed the Bible called on Christians to support godly politicians.

And of course Bush, the man who has killed over a thousand American troops and untold numbers of Afghani and Iraqi civlians, a man who seems to believe that part of mandate is to bring on the Apocalypse, is a "godly politician."

Like hell he is. He's a criminal surrounded by criminals using credulous fools.

There are a few Southern Baptists disturbed by the direction their denomination has gone. They need to do what former President Jimmy Carter did several years ago - leave.

"So What?"

Rum Dum admits he kept an Iraqi prisoner illegally incommunicado, without revealing his existence to the Red Cross. His reaction, naturally, to this war crime - for that is precisely what it is - is, in a word, "BFD," and tried to blame it, naturally, on resigned CIA director George Tenet. How very convenient!

People used to call Reagan the "teflon President." He appears to have been covered in tar compared to the criminals currently in power. It's up to the voters to make it stick this time.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Yes! Texas Repugs are STILL Loonies!

Kevin Drum hasn't gotten around to analyzing the latest Texas Repug Insanity, so until he does, check out the bloody craziness here (warning - long pdf for those of us on dialup connections)!

Here's a few fun excerpts from the 2004 Texas Repug Platform:


Speed Limits - The Party opposes any regulation of highway speed limits based on environmental standards of any kind. The Party supports highway speed limits based on safety standards only.

Americans with Disabilities Act – The Party supports amendment of the Americans with Disabilities Act to exclude from its definition those persons with infectious diseases, substance addiction, learning disabilities, behavior disorders, homosexual practices and mental stress, thereby reducing abuse of the Act.

Scientific Theories – The Party supports the objective teaching and equal treatment of scientific strengths and weaknesses of all scientific theories, including Intelligent Design – as Texas law now requires but has yet to enforce. The Party believes theories of life origins and environmental theories should be taught only as theories not fact; that social studies and other curriculum should not be based on any one theory.

Minimum Wage – The Party believes the Minimum Wage Law should be repealed and that wages should be determined by the free market conditions prevalent in each individual market.

Downsizing the Federal Government – The Party supports the downsizing of the federal government in order to re-establish states’ rights guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. We further support the abolition of federal agencies involved in activities not delegated to the federal government under the original intent of the Constitution including, but not limited to, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; the position of Surgeon General; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Commerce, and Labor. These authorities should be eliminated or, where needed, transferred to the state or local governments. We also call for the de–funding and abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Public Broadcasting System.

There's an incredible amount of monkey hooting in here. Remember, these are the stupid people who want to live in the 10th century and who are currently running the United States. Do you want to live in the country this thing describes? If not, your choice is obvious, isn't it?

David Neiwert Takes on Juan Williams

I mentioned Juan "Jews for Hitler" Williams and his coming out as a right wing freako yesterday, but David Neiwert delivers Juan a kick to the crotch in his inimitable way. Check it out!

By the way, I've led NPR's ombudsman know what I think about them using a right winger as a reporter. As I pointed out, if they want to use Williams as a commentator, that's fine, but he should NOT be reporting. Go to NPR.org and let them know what you think.

This is a War Crime

Let's chain up Ronald Dumsfeld and ship his ass to Nuremburg:

Pentagon officials tell NBC News that late last year, at the same time U.S. military police were allegedly abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered that one Iraqi prisoner be held “off the books” — hidden entirely from the International Red Cross and anyone else — in possible violation of international law.

Um, no, MSNBC, that's not a possible violation of international law. That's the real deal:

Shortly after the suspect’s capture, the CIA flew him to an undisclosed location outside Iraq for interrogation. But four months later the Justice Department suggested that holding him outside Iraq might be illegal, and the prisoner was returned to Iraq at the end of October.

That’s when Rumsfeld passed the order on to Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, to keep the prisoner locked up, but off the books.

In the military’s own investigation into prisoner abuse, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba said efforts to hide prisoners from the Red Cross were “deceptive” and a “violation of international law.”

That's more like it.

Reprogramming the VP

As I mentioned yesterday, the 9/11 Commission has basically told Dick Cheney et al to shut the hell up about the phony "connection" between al Queda and Saddam. Incredibly, the Administration of Fools has announced they're going to continue making the claim. Maureen Dowd, meanwhile, wonders if Bunker Boy needs to have a quick negative load jammed across his logic terminals, to borrow a phrase...

Mr. Cheney isn't programmed to process evidence that shows he was wrong; he simply keeps repeating the same nonsensical claims as if he has a microchip malfunction.

Unfortunately, there's no spouse to give him a knock on the head, as the Stepford husbands do when their Farrah fem-bots go haywire and keep repeating things like, "I'll just die if I don't get that recipe. . . . I'll just die if I-I-I [bop!] don't get that recipe. . . ."

Cheney-bot just keeps going and going: "He had long-established ties with Al Qaeda. . . . He had long-established ties with Al Qaeda-a-a. . . . He-he-e-e—— brzzzrrrp!"

No kidding.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

John Kerry in Columbus

In spite of nasty weather, the John Kerry rally yesterday here in Columbus seems to have been a big success. Of course the usual wingnuts showed up.... A friend of mine who attended remarked:

He said all the stuff you expect he would. He's not the best speaker, although far better than Bush, of course. It was neat to hear John Glenn, who introduced him. And Mayor Coleman, who actually is a charismatic guy. It was actually a neighborhood thing. People were not bussed in from around the city and once they hit a certain point, they stopped letting people in. So it was a crowd, but not crowded.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman will be, assuming the Ohio Democratic Party ever gets its act together, a major player on the state and possibly national stage.

Some photos of the rally can be found here, and a local blogger's article here.

9/11 Commission to Cheney: You're an Idiot. Shut Up

Dick "Bunker Boy" Cheney continues to claim, every time he's in front of an audience of stupid synchophants, that Sodamn Insane and Osama bin Laden were playing footsie before 9/11. Now, the 9/11 Commission - you know, the one Dubya tried to suppress - is basically saying to Dick "Shut the hell up, cretin."

The panel investigating the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks found that there was "no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States," according to a staff report issued on Wednesday.

The report says Osama bin Laden "explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to (Saddam) Hussein's secular regime. Bin Laden had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan.

"The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded bin Laden to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda."

A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting bin Laden in 1994.

Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded.

"There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship," the report said.

So, Dick do us a favor. Shut up. Stop lying. And go away.

Fair and Balanced!!

Fox News, of all people, went to the premiere of Michael Moore's new film, Fahrenheit 9/11:

But once "F9/11" gets to audiences beyond screenings, it won't be dependent on celebrities for approbation. It turns out to be a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail.

As much as some might try to marginalize this film as a screed against President George Bush, "F9/11" — as we saw last night — is a tribute to patriotism, to the American sense of duty — and at the same time a indictment of stupidity and avarice.

Readers of this column may recall that I had a lot of problems with Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," particularly where I thought he took gratuitous shots at helpless targets such as Charlton Heston. "Columbine" too easily succeeded by shooting fish in a barrel, as they used to say.

Not so with "F9/11," which instead relies on lots of film footage and actual interviews to make its case against the war in Iraq and tell the story of the intertwining histories of the Bush and bin Laden families.

And here's a little kick in the crotch to the right wingnuts trying to supress showing of the film:

But, really, in the end, not seeing "F9/11" would be like allowing your First Amendment rights to be abrogated, no matter whether you're a Republican or a Democrat.

Fox being fair and balanced! Hey, guys, you CAN do it!

The President is NOT a King. He Just Thinks He Is

Phil Carter takes time off from studying for the bar exam to rebut a Repug law prof who has joined in the chorus of Repugs claiming that George "Dubya" Bush, the Naked Chimperor, is in fact a king. I won't excerpt it; you should read the whole thing, and carefully. Think on this: if the President can do anything he wants in "war time," and he has declared that this IS "war time," then what follows?

NPR's Juan Williams Comes out of Conservative Closet

Well, well, well. Juan Williams of NPR joins the ranks of right wingers infesting and distorting public radio, and is seen arguing in the New York Times that Dubya can easily capture up to 20% of the black vote this fall. Juan is assuming, of course, that 20% of blacks are as blind as he is. Not very likely.... Juan argues that the NAACP was mean to poor little Georgie:

It has its roots in an ad, run nationally by the N.A.A.C.P., that implied that Mr. Bush, as governor of Texas, did not want to punish the white men who attacked and killed James Byrd Jr., a black man, in Jasper, Tex., in 1998.

The ad distorted a complex situation. As governor, Mr. Bush took the conventional conservative position that hate crimes legislation could lead to a dangerous increase in prosecutorial power. Mr. Bush argued that there were adequate criminal penalties to punish Mr. Byrd's assailants. No matter: the N.A.A.C.P. broadcast its ad. Mr. Bush, who won 30 percent of the black vote and 47 percent of the Hispanic vote in his 1998 gubernatorial campaign, was introduced to minorities as a man willing to stand with white lynch mobs.

If President Bush wants to return to the White House, he needs black Americans to vote for him; in swing states in the South and Midwest, they could make all the difference. To do that, though, the president needs to begin reaching out to black Americans. Fortunately, he has a lot to say.

Ooo yeah, like all Repugs, he has a LOT to say to minorities. You know, stuff like "Get the hell back in your place and quit yer bitchin'" and "Go clean the kitchen and then cook me dinner" and "No, you can't go to college. We need those spots for rich white kids." Anyone else notice, btw, the overwhelming whiteness of the crowds visiting Reagan's casket at the Capitol? Hm?

Now that Juan has come out as a right wing commentator, it's time for NPR to get him the hell out of the "reporting news" business, since it's brutally obvious what his prejudices are.

John Kerry Comes to Town: Two Lenses

I'll probably have more on John Kerry's visit to Columbus once I talk to a friend of mine who went to the rally, but for now, I offer two lenses of his visit. WCBE, a local NPR station and supposedly part of the So-Called Liberal Media, offered one or two sound bites from Kerry, and several minutes of "fair and balanced" opposition from, all of people, the egregious Ralph Reed. Un-flipping-believable. The usually conservative Columbus Dispatch, on the other hand, focused on the rally and Kerry's message, and merely mentioned that some neanderthals had shown up to act like children.

Those of us to the left may as well slash our own throats with supporters like WCBE.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Cheney: Still Lying After All These Years

In spite of evidence to the contary, Dick "Bunker Boy" Cheney continues to spout the lie that the secular Saddam had ties to the religious lunatics of al Queda. You'd think he'd give this a rest, but it apparently plays well with the Repug's base base.

The vice president offered no details backing up his claim of a link between Saddam and al-Qaida.

“He was a patron of terrorism,” Cheney said of Hussein during a speech before The James Madison Institute, a conservative think-tank based in Florida. “He had long established ties with al-Qaida.”

Uh huh! And if you meet the VP, make sure you check to see you still have your wallet afterwards.

Our Useless Attorney General

Yesterday our glorious attorney general, best known for being defeated in a senate race by a corpse, perjured himself on national television in order to get a few political hits against John Kerry before Kerry's visit to Columbus. Paul Krugman believes, with good reason, that Ashcroft is the worst attorney general in American history, which would not be a stretch in the worst Administration in American history:

For this column, let's just focus on Mr. Ashcroft's role in the fight against terror. Before 9/11 he was aggressively uninterested in the terrorist threat. He didn't even mention counterterrorism in a May 2001 memo outlining strategic priorities for the Justice Department. When the 9/11 commission asked him why, he responded by blaming the Clinton administration, with a personal attack on one of the commission members thrown in for good measure.

We can't tell directly whether Mr. Ashcroft's post-9/11 policies are protecting the United States from terrorist attacks. But a number of pieces of evidence suggest otherwise.

First, there's the absence of any major successful prosecutions. The one set of convictions that seemed fairly significant — that of the "Detroit 3" — appears to be collapsing over accusations of prosecutorial misconduct. (The lead prosecutor has filed a whistle-blower suit against Mr. Ashcroft, accusing him of botching the case. The Justice Department, in turn, has opened investigations against the prosecutor. Payback? I report; you decide.)

Then there is the lack of any major captures. Somewhere, the anthrax terrorist is laughing. But the Justice Department, you'll be happy to know, is trying to determine whether it can file bioterrorism charges against a Buffalo art professor whose work includes harmless bacteria in petri dishes.

Perhaps most telling is the way Mr. Ashcroft responds to criticism of his performance. His first move is always to withhold the evidence. Then he tries to change the subject by making a dramatic announcement of a terrorist threat.

For an example of how Mr. Ashcroft shuts down public examination, consider the case of Sibel Edmonds, a former F.B.I. translator who says that the agency's language division is riddled with incompetence and corruption, and that the bureau missed critical terrorist warnings. In 2002 she gave closed-door Congressional testimony; Senator Charles Grassley described her as "very credible . . . because people within the F.B.I. have corroborated a lot of her story."

But the Justice Department has invoked the rarely used "state secrets privilege" to prevent Ms. Edmonds from providing evidence. And last month the department retroactively classified two-year-old testimony by F.B.I. officials, which was presumably what Mr. Grassley referred to.

He's a peach, ain't he? Somewhere Himmler is smiling. Krugman, who may be unaware that John Kerry is coming to Columbus today, gives another reason for Ashcroft's undoubtedly false accusations against a Somali immigrant yesterday:

Last week Mr. Ashcroft, apparently in contempt of Congress, refused to release a memo on torture his department prepared for the White House almost two years ago. Fortunately, his stonewalling didn't work: The Washington Post has acquired a copy of the memo and put it on its Web site.

Much of the memo is concerned with defining torture down: if the pain inflicted on a prisoner is less than the pain that accompanies "serious physical injury, such as organ failure," it's not torture. Anyway, the memo declares that the federal law against torture doesn't apply to interrogations of enemy combatants "pursuant to [the president's] commander-in-chief authority." In other words, the president is above the law.

The memo came out late Sunday. Mr. Ashcroft called a press conference yesterday — to announce an indictment against a man accused of plotting to blow up a shopping mall in Ohio. The timing was, I'm sure, purely coincidental.

Very possible. Just one thing, Paul: "pure" is a word that should never be used in conjunction with the crooks ruining the country.

General Refuses to Take Fall Alone

Brigadier General Janis Karpinksi has wisely refused to take the fall for the abuses at Abu Ghraib alone. According to the former officer in charge of the prison guards at Abu Ghraib and other facilities, in an exclusive BBC interview:

Gen Karpinski said military intelligence took over part of the Abu Ghraib jail to "Gitmoize" their interrogations - make them more like what was happening in the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which is nicknamed "Gitmo".

She said current Iraqi prisons chief Maj Gen Geoffrey Miller - who was in charge at Guantanamo Bay - visited her in Baghdad and said: "At Guantanamo Bay we learned that the prisoners have to earn every single thing that they have."

"He said they are like dogs and if you allow them to believe at any point that they are more than a dog then you've lost control of them."

Wave that flag. Keep waving.

What have we turned into?

Monday, June 14, 2004

Blatant Repug Attempt to Upstage Kerry Appearance

In a move more blatantly political than normal, Attorney General Asscrack, as Jo Fish lovingly calls him, has announced, a day before John Kerry is scheduled to make an appearance in Columbus, that a local Somali was plotting with Al Queda to blow up a local shopping mall. What a heaping helping of stinking manure.