|The Antiwar Movement Is Picking Up Steam|
How do the brave members of the 101st Keyboarder Brigade explain away all the veterans who come back and speak out against the war?
Iraq Veterans Against The War Links Page
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Monday, February 28, 2005
Saturday, February 26, 2005
|The Shameless Antagonist's Privatization Smackdown|
There are two reasons I'm fighting the effort to privatize Social Security: It's evil and it's disingenuous. Those who support it thinking that the Bush plan will help save Social Security either haven't thought it through yet, or are gullible dupes. The attempt to privatize Social Security is a thinly-veiled crusade to destroy it. Consider what happened at Drexel University, for example:
As the Drexel Democrats and their coalition or approximately 50 began to chant "hey hey, ho ho, Senator Santorum has got to go," the College Republicans chanted what could be described as either a huge gaffe, or, even better, the truth.
"Hey hey, ho ho, Social Security has got to go!"
If I'm not mistaken, Senator Santorum came to Drexel to talk about Social Security "reform" that would lead to the program's solvency. Granted, his plan would lead to the total destruction of the Social Security system, but generally, that's not something the republicans want to go around and chant.
Did I say disingenuous? Evil? I'm not backing down a bit on those claims. They know their true aims could never stand the light of day, so they attempt to deceive us. They want your Social Security money, AND your precious red slippers. The man who came to the White House claiming to be a "uniter and not a divider" has no qualms about sending his flying monkey minions out with their grubby little fists full of race cards: . Here's a misleading advertisement from BAMPAC, Alan Keyes' PAC:
Of course, you'll run across Keyes on FOX and CNN praising the plan to the skies, but will you hear the NAACP Washington bureau chief say, as she has recently,that the president's plan is extremely dangerous for African Americans?
There is absolutely no lie or deceptive tactic the folks behind the effort to destroy Social Security won't use. Race-baiting doesn't work? How 'bout gay-baiting? They expect the media to go along for a ride, which they seem all too willing to do. It's shameful that the president has once again enlisted the vermin behind the swift boat liars to produce ads like this, which appeared in the American Spectator:
Yep, you've got that 'unitin' and not dividin' thing down, guys'. First, the neocons attack Jimmy Carter and label him a traitor, and now they're gunning for the AARP. That's right. Those prune-munching, slacks-wearing, selfish enemies of freedom don't support the troops! I suppose if you believe that Jimmy Carter is a traitor, you'll believe anything.
Bill "Bet on Black" Bennett, that erstwhile moral scold, leads the neocon charge:
...Conservative radio host Bill Bennett and National Review editor Rich Lowry got the anti-AARP ball rolling on Bennett’s nationally syndicated program Monday morning:
BENNETT: "I talked to an old guy . . .and he said, 'I am so disgusted with my peer group' -- he called them 'my peer group,' 'my cohort,' these old people. He said, 'They get around … All they do when they get around is talk about ways to rip-off the government. Hey, you know about this program. No.'You know, they compare notes about ways to, you know, get more money. And he said, 'I’m thoroughly opposed to almost all this stuff.'But this is the mentality you’ve got now. AARP in some ways fuels this fire."
LOWRY: "Yeah, well, and I think anyone who’s a Republican and who’s remaining a member of the AARP is making a huge mistake, ‘cause you are just subsidizing an ideological and political assault on the president from that group. I understand a lot of people are members just ‘cause you get various, you know, benefits and you can sign up for insurance and all the rest of it, but you might as well belong to an arm of the DNC."
It’s not at all surprising that Bennett and Lowry neglected to mention that the AARP’s support was key to the GOP’s success in adding a Medicare prescription drug benefit, a benefit we now know will cost significantly more than originally advertised.
Well...We've used the race card, the patriotism card, the homo card...What's left? The age card...What Bennett and Lowry seem to be saying is that the Social Security system is in crisis, (it isn't), because of those greedy old bastards sitting around in their Buicks plotting ways to take money from the government. Of course, they fail to realize the irony of their comments, greedy bastards that they are.
Thereisnocrisis.com has taken the lead in cutting through the disinformation, We need to fight for this. Call your senators and congressmen. All able hands to the battlements! Start pouring the lead! The barbarians are at the gate.
If you want to compare and contrast what the Bush plan would mean to you, check out this benefits calculator, produced with the governement's own statistics, and provided by Fightin' Henry Reed, the new leader of the Senate Democrats.
Calculate Your Social Security Benefits Here
Thanks to Two Democrats In A Red State for the link
Friday, February 25, 2005
Deficits Matter If The Rest of The World Thinks They Do
Dick Cheney once famously remarked that "Reagan showed us that deficits don't matter". His dubious claim rests on the myopic thinking that doesn't acknowledge the interconnectedness of the world economy. There isn't an economist alive that wouldn't view a widespread divestment on the part of Asian Central Banks as a disaster for the American economy. Of course, you could argue that the lower price of American exports could mitigate the harmful effects of such a pullout, but take off your shirt and look at the label...Where is it made? Consider where the components of your car are made; consider where most of our stuff you buy at Wal-Mart comes from...Nothing is made in the states anymore.
Three days ago, the euro was sitting pegged at 1.3216 against the dollar. Today, Bloomberg reported that it's risen to 1.3157. It's dramatic rise is best seen within the context of the burgeoning deficit of 427 billion accompanied by our boondoggle in Iraq. It's no wonder that Europe and Asia are diversifying; it only makes sense to not gamble on a country with risky economic policies.
On Tuesday, Korea led the charge:
South Korea's decision to sell most of its U.S. government bonds triggered similar moves in East Asia and hammered the U.S. currency's value.
South Korea's action was mimicked by at least Taiwan, another economy that holds a huge amount of U.S. government debt, sending the dollar to new lows, CNN reported Tuesday.
In London, the euro soared against the dollar to $1.3216, up from $1.3065 late Monday, as the dollar sank against Japan's yen 103.87 from 105.57.
Deficits do matter, Dick.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Accountability? You've Gotta Be Kidding
Yale, Bush's alma mater, released a new poll on Americans and the environment. The results were predictable. An overwhelming majority believe we're in bad shape when it comes to air and water quality, and an overwhelming majority wants the government to do something about it.
...And the public wants action as well as talk. Eighty-four percent believe the United States should enact stricter emissions and pollution standards for business and industry. This reflects substantial majorities of Democrats (92%), Independents (90%) and Republicans (68%).
What is the Bush response to this overwhelming mandate? Increase emissions, weaken environmental standards, ask politely for polluters to police themselves, ignore global warming, equivocate environmentalism with terrorism, and now, ignore the whistleblowers...
MORE THAN A THOUSAND WHISTLEBLOWER CASES DUMPED — Special Counsel Dismisses Hundreds of Disclosures and Complaints in Past Year
Washington, DC — The U.S. Special Counsel has dismissed more than 1,000 whistleblower cases in the past year, according to a letter from the Bush-appointed Special Counsel released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The Special Counsel appears to have taken action in very few, if any, of these cases and has yet to represent a single whistleblower in an employment case.
Accountability? Responsiveness to the concerns of citizens? From this administration? Forget about it.
The environment is one of many issues that the Republicans are weak on. Democrats should be screaming about this at the top of our lungs every damn day. It can make a difference in the 2006 elections if we stand up and fight rather than piss and moan--the democratic default as of late.
Beneath the Fold
Here's what Bloomberg's news service reported today on Iraq. Good luck finding it in your local paper. Try looking beneath the fold on page 12.
At least 10 Iraqis and two U.S. soldiers were killed in three separate blasts north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said today. Agence France-Presse said a car bomb south of the Iraqi capital killed three people.
That's eight more U.S. soldiers since Monday, and it's all reported beneath the fold. Their deaths, their broken homes--it's all so common now it's not newsworthy. These stories are getting buried. Go to Fox, CNN, The Washington Post--any major daily. This is not the lead. The top headline at CNN is currently Bush's trip to Slovakia (accompanied by a fantastic photo of our dear leader). Fox features the Pope's latest bout of the flu.
What's actually happening in Iraq? Consider the end of the first sentence. Bloomberg is one of the few news outlets left to include this phrase in their reporting: "the U.S. military said today". It's important to remember that almost all the news we read from Iraq comes from inside the green zone, from embedded reporters, or from military spokespeople.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
|An Unlikely Champion For Ohio|
Aside from MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, the issue of vote fraud in Ohio was largely ignored by the mainstream media despite the proponderance of evidence.
Yesterday, to the complete surprise of everyone, Bush apologist Christopher Hitchens decided to take up the issue. Here's an excerpt from the latest issue of Vanity Fair:
I asked her, finally, what would be the logical grounds for deducing that any tampering had in fact occurred. "Well, I understand from what I have read," she said, "that the early exit polls on the day were believed by both parties." That, I was able to tell her from direct experience, was indeed true. But it wasn't quite enough, either. So I asked, "What if all the anomalies and malfunctions, to give them a neutral name, were distributed along one axis of consistency: in other words, that they kept on disadvantaging only one candidate?" My question was hypothetical, as she had made no particular study of Ohio, but she replied at once: "Then that would be quite serious."
I suppose it's better late than never, but where were you in November, Chris? Do you now need to write a piece critical of the administration to distance yourself from Armstrong Williams and Jeff Gannon? Now that Bush has been reelected, are you off the retainer?
Sunday, February 20, 2005
The Problem With One-Party Government
...is that nobody is held accountable. What I don't understand is why moderate republicans can't accept that, as Lincoln said, "Power corrupts, and absoulute power corrupts absolutely". Now that the Republican party Neocons have control of all three branches of government, the military, and most of the press, there are terrible abuses of power taking place. The Iraq War is the black heart of all the corruption; the sign and avatar of everything that's wrong with one party government. Of course, there are no congressional hearings on the 9 Billion Dollars of taxpayer money "misplaced" by the Coalition Provisional Authority led by Paul Bremer:
There are 6 Congressional Committees investigating the Oil-for-Food (UN) scandal, yet not a single Republican Committee Chairman will call a hearing to investigate the whereabouts of 9 billion dollars missing in action.
What has emerged recently is that the corruption is beyond the scope that anyone could have possibly imagined...
Many liberals might like to credit Clinton with our prosperity in the nineties. The truth is, however, that our system works best economically, socially, and politically, when power is balanced between the two parties. If Democrats were in a similar position as the Republicans are now, abuses of power would occur. The difference is that, if you give Democrats enough rope, they hang themselves; if you give republicans enough rope, the hangings are rarely self-inflicted.
Most Americans believe, in principle, that their government should be held accountable. If we continue to point out the corruption, the tide can yet turn.
|Incredibly Funny, Incredibly Thought-Provoking|
Bill Maher, Robin Williams, Leslie Stahl, and Joe Biden commenting on the Jeff Gannon affair:
Watch The Video By Clicking Here:
Thursday, February 17, 2005|
|Jesus Christ: Worst Leader Ever|
Character assassination is so easy. Take Jesus, for example.
The self-proclaimed "King of the Jews" is a fraud (What's next? Is he going to claim he invented the internet)? First of all, the man has no credentials. What divinity school did he attend, anyway? My wife's uncle is a carpenter, and a very nice guy, but I'm not entrusting him with my immortal soul. Jesus is also a traitor. By encouraging us to be forgiving rather than judgemental, he's undermined the old testament. Jesus' admonition to "turn the other cheek" is nothing short of appeasement. And the Beatitudes? Pure Socialist drivel. The miracles? Please...Even if they did happen, feeding fish to 5,000 people fosters unhealthy, immoral dependency. If Jesus were really the messiah, he would have taught them how to fish. As far as the success of his administration, one only needs to consider the fate of his disciples--Practically all of them were crucified. Sure, Christianity became one of the world's great religions, but that didn't happen on Jesus' watch. Credit for that should be given to Paul, Emperor Constantine, Billy Graham, the Pope, etc...
When taken out of context, anyone can be demonized and belittled. Those who do so, however, should be careful in their choice of victims. Today, Powerlineblog is defending their description of Jimmy Carter as a traitor. You'll find very few liberals, myself included, willing to defend Ward Churchill, but Jimmy frickin'Carter? By claiming this Powerline is positioning themselves to the right of Ann Coulter.
Their rationale (with my commentary)is as follows:
Carter panted after the Nobe Peace Prize for years (conjecture), seeing it as a means of gaining official redemption for his humiliation at the hands of the voters in 1980 (conjecture). He lobbied quietly behind the scenes for years to get the prize, and finally met with success in 2002 when the left-wing Nobel Prize committee saw an opportunity to use Carter as a way of attacking President Bush and embarrassing the United States (unsupported claim, smearing of the Nobel committee). The head of the Nobel Prize committee openly admitted that this was their motivation in selecting Carter (prove it). Any other ex-president would have refused to be a part of such an obvious anti-American intrigue, but not Jimmy (conjecture). Here we should observe that Carter conceives himself much more as a citizen of the world than as a citizen of the United States (conjecture), and I think it is highly revealing that Carter is most popular overseas in those nations that hate America the most, such as Syria, where they lined the streets cheering for Carter when he visited. (irrelevant)
The Powerline team, which labels anyone who disagrees with the Bush Administration as traitors has a distinct advantage because they didn't start writing until the Bush presidency. Without a doubt, during the Clinton presidency, they would have been guilty of treason in accordance with their own definition: i.e., not supporting the president's policies.
As for their dubious claim of liberals giving aid and comfort to the enemy, they fail to realize that the opposite is actually the case. Porter Goss--yes, the Bush Administration's choice for the head of the CIA nailed the point home today:
The Iraq insurgency continues to baffle the American military and intelligence communities, and the U.S. occupation has become a potent source of recruiting for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, top national security officials told the U.S. Congress yesterday.
"Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists," Central Intelligence Agency director Porter Goss told the Senate select committee on intelligence.
That's what's known as a hyperlink, John. You can use them to refer people to actual news, and not just biased conservative commentary. I wouldn't go so far as to claim "Hindrocket" (does that name smack of flatulence, or Jeff Gannonesque tendencies?) is a traitor. However, the fact that he considers the half of Americans who don't trust Bush's leadership on foreign policy to be traitors is nothing short of imbicilic demagogery. Pathetic.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Scandal, Republican Style
This one has everything a sensationalist muckracker could hope for: An exposed CIA undercover agent, a dramatic court ruling, conflicting principles that cross the ideological divide, angry recriminations, and a gay prostitute with privileged access to the president.
David Brock's Media Matters for America is operating as a clearinghouse for information on the issue. He's been reporting on it since January 28th.
Here is my one paragraph summary of events so far: The Armstrong Williams bribery case led to suspicions about Gannon's credentials. Gannon was the "Washington Bureau Chief" for a dodgy outfit called Talon News who pitched "softball questions to the press secretary and the president. Jeff Gannon's real name is J.D. Guckert. Americablog and Atrios and Daily Kos led a coordinated effort by bloggers to investigate Gannon/Guckert. What they found wasn't pretty: Guckert's press credentials are a sham, his financing comes from a wealthy Texas millionaire linked to the president, his entire journalism training was a two-day seminar--and oh yes, despite the anti-gay news articles he wrote for Talon, he's a male prostitute. His waxed chest, and, ahem, other parts, are regrettably plastered all over the internet.
So much for restoring honor and integrity to the White House. The Guckert case has raised the hackles of the moribund democratic leadership. Unlike the press, the Democrats are actually focusing on the most important aspects of the case.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg was on the offensive last week:
"I am writing to request that you immediately release documents to my office relating to the White House press credentials of James D. Guckert, a.k.a. "Jeff Gannon." Specifically, I am seeking documentation related to the question of which name Mr. Guckert/Gannon used when applying for credentials, and which name was on the official White House press credentials he received," wrote Lautenberg.
"As you may know, Mr. Guckert/Gannon was denied a Congressional press pass because he could not show that he wrote for a valid news organization. Given the fact that he was denied Congressional credentials, I seek your explanation of how Mr. Guckert/Gannon passed muster for White House press credentials,"
Two days ago, the House Democratic Whip followed suit by demanding an investigation of Gannon's role in the leaked Plame memo:
“Valid questions are being raised regarding the Bush White House’s relationship with James Guckert, also known as “Jeff Gannon,” and his access to documents that revealed the identity of Undercover CIA Operative Valerie Plame.
As you might expect, the right wing bloggers are attempting to portray this as an attack on Gannon's sexual orientation, and criticize the mean-spiritedness of the lefty blogs. Ignore them, and for a change, listen to your legislators. These are the two essential questions: 1. How, and why, did Gannon get access to the White House? 2. What is his connection to the Plame memo?
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
|Accountability on Iraq|
In 1941, as the United States was on the verge of entering World War II, Sen. Harry S. Truman launched an investigation into reports of widespread waste, corruption and mismanagement in the nascent war effort. Over the next three years, the Truman Committee held hundreds of public hearings, visited military bases across the country, and ended up saving taxpayers $15 billion dollars. His efforts also saved countless lives by rooting out contractors using inferior materials and producing shoddy equipment.
We sure could use "Give 'em Hell, Harry" today -- although, given the epidemic of corruption infecting the reconstruction of Iraq, even he would have his work cut out for him.
By even the most charitable standard, the effort to rebuild Iraq has been an unmitigated disaster. A cornucopia of waste, fraud, ineptitude, cronyism, secret no-bid contracts, and profiteering cloaked in patriotism. There is the $9 billion the U.S.-led occupation government can't account for; the over 70 investigations into potential criminal cases involving U.S.-funded projects; the ongoing billing disputes with Halliburton, which despite having repeatedly ripped off taxpayers, continues to receive billion-dollar contracts; the $20 billion in Iraqi oil money kept track of by a single accountant; the study showing that up to 30 percent of reconstruction funds are being lost to fraud and corporate malfeasance. Whether you are passionately in favor of the war or passionately against it, don't you want to know exactly where our money is going and how we can stop the corruption?
On top of the corruption is the fact that, because so little of the $24 billion in taxpayer money that Congress has earmarked for reconstruction is reaching ordinary Iraqis, two years after we cakewalked over Saddam, the Iraqi people are still facing massive food shortages, energy shortages, and woefully inadequate water and sewage systems. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, only 27 cents of every dollar spent on rebuilding Iraq has gone to actually improving the lives of its people, with the rest going to security, waste, overhead and fattening the bottom line of big U.S. corporations.
Nothing to see here...Move along folks.
Monday, February 14, 2005
|The Wrath of Khan|
An investigation by Pakistan's ISI agency has revealed that disgraced scientist A Q Khan and his associates sold nuclear codes, materials, components and plans that left his "signature" at the core of Iran's nuclear programme, a leading British daily reported on Sunday.
If you're going to declare "War on Terror", be sure to go after the guys with the weapons. Of course, maybe this is the Khan Bush was thinking of...
Friday, February 11, 2005
Back in Iraq
(To the tune of "Back in Black" by AC/DC)
Back in Iraq/Preemptive Attack/Lot of soldiers will never come back
Lies got us there/most don't care/W.M.D.'s not found anywhere
Bush's gang/pushing lies/launching missiles up into the skies
Condi Rice/Richard Pearle/Lying so much makes you wanna hurl
They've got/Fox News, News Max/ Media shills covering up their tracks
And now we're back/ Back in Iraq/Preemptive Attack
Back in Iraq/Back in Iraq
Hey Hey Hey Ya (x2)
Back in the back/Of a Cadillac
Someone else takes a bullet in the nugget sack
I'm a Harvard grad/with an M.B.A
So "Bring it On" 'cause I'm outta harm's way
Now on to Iran/We gotta plan
Gotta listen to me cause I'm the man
And now we're back...(Chorus)
|Condoleeza Rice is a Liar |
I have to conclude that either her supporters are unable to read, are willfully ignorant, or believe that lying was permissible for the sake of strategic objectives.
As Atrios comments: "For some reason with Rice we need to prove she lied like 5 gazillion times before we can call her a liar".
Susan Hu at Daily Kos is only too happy to do so. Here's just one indisputable, proven, documented, irrefutable, closed-and-shut, unambiguous example of Condoleeza lying. If you want more, read Susan's piece.
Although then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice wrote a March 22, 2004 column in The Washington Post that "No al-Qaeda threat was turned over to the new administration," a newly declassified document [image below the fold] tells the story.
U.S. media haven't got this yet, but Australian papers have:
EIGHT months before the September 11 attacks the White House's then counterterrorism adviser urged then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to hold a high-level meeting on the al-Qaeda network, according to a memo made public today.
"We urgently need such a principals-level review on the al-Qaeda network," ... Richard Clarke wrote in the January 25, 2001 memo.
Mr Clarke, who left the White House in 2003, made headlines in the heat of the US presidential campaign ... when he accused the Bush White House of having ignored al-Qaeda's threats before September 11.
Mr Clarke testified before inquiry panels and in a book that Rice ... had been warned of the threat.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
|Andrew Sullivan Deserts From The Ranks of Pro-Torture Republicans
Not only does conservative commentator Sullivan criticize the pro-torture policies of the Administration, he also calls the president's statements on torture a LIE. This may very well be the most hopeful news story I've read all year. I'd like to believe that most republicans, if they were knowledgeable on the subject, would feel the same way.
LIE OF THE WEEK: "Torture is never acceptable, nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture." - president Bush, in a simple lie. Jane Kramer has more details on what this administration is doing to terror suspects - handing them over to be tortured by regimes this president then calls on to democratize! The most chilling quote in the piece comes from John Yoo, the man who helped end the United States' prohibition on torture:
[Yoo] went on to suggest that President Bush’s victory in the 2004 election, along with the relatively mild challenge to Gonzales mounted by the Democrats in Congress, was "proof that the debate is over." He said, "The issue is dying out. The public has had its referendum."
Ah, the accountability moment. I had no idea that a vote for Bush was a vote for torture. But now we know, don't we? According to Yoo, the president has the constitutional right to over-rule all laws and treaties against torture and the only remedy is impeachment.
|The 52 Warnings The Bush Administration Doesn't Want You To Know About
In the months before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal aviation officials reviewed dozens of intelligence reports that warned about Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, some of which specifically discussed airline hijackings and suicide operations, according to a previously undisclosed report from the 9/11 commission.
The report discloses that the Federal Aviation Administration, despite being focused on risks of hijackings overseas, warned airports in the spring of 2001 that if "the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion, a domestic hijacking would probably be preferable."
The Bush administration has blocked the public release of the full, classified version of the report for more than five months, officials said, much to the frustration of former commission members who say it provides a critical understanding of the failures of the civil aviation system. The administration provided both the classified report and a declassified, 120-page version to the National Archives two weeks ago and, even with heavy redactions in some areas, the declassified version provides the firmest evidence to date about the warnings that aviation officials received concerning the threat of an attack on airliners and the failure to take steps to deter it.
Among other things, the report says that leaders of the F.A.A. received 52 intelligence reports from their security branch that mentioned Mr. bin Laden or Al Qaeda from April to Sept. 10, 2001. That represented half of all the intelligence summaries in that time.
|Left Wing Media Bias, R.I.P.
Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, Micahel McManus, Charles Krauthammer...How many more embarassing propaganda scandals can this administration endure?
The latest scandal, relentlessly pursued by Americablog, Atrios, Daily Kos, et. al., has finally reached the papers. A more bizarre story cannot be found:
Gannon began covering the White House two years ago for an obscure Republican Web site (Talon-News.com). He was known for his friendly questions, including asking Bush at last month's news conference how he could work with Democrats "who seem to have divorced themselves from reality."
Gannon was also given a classified CIA memo that named agent Valerie Plame, leading to his grilling by the grand jury investigating her outing.
He came under lefty scrutiny after revelations that the administration was paying conservative pundits to talk up Bush's proposals. By examining Internet records, online sleuths at DailyKos.com figured out that his real name was Jim Guckert and he owned various Web sites, including HotMilitaryStud.com, MilitaryEscorts.com and MilitaryEscortsM4M.com.
"The issue here is whether someone with connections to male prostitution was given unfettered access to the White House and copies of internal CIA documents. For a family values administration, that's pretty creepy," said John Aravosis, one of the bloggers chasing the story.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
|Destroy The Man, Ignore The Issue
This was the lesson the right wing learned from the Dan Rather affair. If you can find reason to discredit a source, you never have to deal with the issue they bring up. President Bush's failure to fullfill his national guard service became a non-issue after the calls for Rather's head reached a fevered pitch.
Their latest target is Eason Jordan, CNN's news chief, who has argued in the U.K. Guardian that the U.S. Miltary has failed to protect journalists in Iraq, and that he believed Arab journalists had been arrested and tortured by U.S. soldiers. At the Davos economic summit in Switzerland, he went even further, suggesting that journalists had been deliberately targeted by U.S. forces. Rather than investigate the charges, as catalogued by Reporters without borders, the right wing Ad Hominem attack machine is calling for Jordan's head. The media becomes the message rather than the issue at hand.
Here's a sample from The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, a top right wing blogger:
We suppose that we, too, should apologize for not having commented upon the latest Eason Jordan Foot-in-Mouth Moment™ until now, but we've had little if anything to add to what's already been said about this CNN shitbird's outrageous allegations against our Armed Forces. For a most excellent round-up, we strongly suggest that you go to La Shawn Barber's Corner.
Not that we're in the least bit surprised at his libelous lies. He is, after all, the same Eason Jordan that admitted to having been a mouthpiece for Baghdad Bob, suppressing news of torture and oppression under Sod'em Septic Tank's regime, all in order to preserve CNN's precious access.
He's also the very same nugget of ass raisins who claimed that journaljizmers were being tortured by U.S. soldiers.
And now, to top it all off (apparently notoriety is addictive), he stood up and proclaimed loudly to a gaggle of twits in Switzerland that he knew of at least twelve cases where journaljizmers had been targeted by U.S. forces and killed. That's called "assassination", in case you're wondering.
Just keep this in mind whenever somebody quotes CNN as being "news".
Heck, even Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry was more factual than that waste of airwaves.
For more thoughtful commentary, please visit
For a list of journalists killed in Iraq and the events culminating in their deaths visit
Reporters Without Borders
Was Jordan correct in his belief? You be the judge.
Bush's "No Child's Behind Left" Act
What does Bush's budget mean for education?
Forty-eight education programs would be eliminated, including one for ridding drugs from schools. In all, more than 150 government-wide programs would be eliminated or slashed deeply, including Amtrak subsidies, oil and gas research, and grants to communities hiring police officers.
Read it and weep:
I know it sounds bad, but look on the bright side. Whenever a door shuts, another one opens. Your kids can always raise the money for college tuition by selling pot at school--nobody's gonna catch 'em.
Monday, February 07, 2005
|Anectdotal Evidence in Iraq
Since the war began, local newspaper coverage, naturally enough, has focused upon the firsthand accounts of individuals returning from combat. What such coverage often lacks is context, and individual experiences may or may not reflect the broader reality of the war.
The latest anectdotal account comes from Gary L.Krueger of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.
Krueger is an employee of Halliburton subsidiary of Kellogg Brown and Root currently on leave from his job as a truck driver in Iraq.
In the New Ulm Journal, Krueger spoke of his experiences:
Krueger found unanimous Iraqi support for America.
"I never talked to an Iraqi who wasn't glad we were there," Krueger said. "Those resisting us are mostly Syrians, Iranians and members of the Baath party, Hussein's people."
Krueger goes on to note that he's been fired upon five times while in convoys, a fact that Powerline blog omits from their "Good news from Iraq" take on Krueger's experiences. Does this fact belie his assertion of "unanimous support"?
Do the writers of Powerline and the New Ulm Journal actually believe that Krueger's experiences are typical of soldiers and contractors in Iraq? When juxtaposed with a recent poll undertaken by the Coalition Provisional Authority, it seems that Krueger's observations were an anomaly:
Four out of five Iraqis report holding a negative view of the U.S. occupation authority and of coalition forces, according to a new poll conducted for the occupation authority.
In the poll, 80 percent of the Iraqis questioned reported a lack of confidence in the Coalition Provisional Authority, and 82 percent said they disapprove of the U.S. and allied militaries in Iraq.
Unanimous support? Hardly.
For less cherry-picked collection of anectdotal experiences from Iraq, check out Operation Truth, and consider the totality of their experiences within the context of the war as a whole.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
|Andrew McCarthy's Vacuous Pro-Torture Apologetics
The conventional wisdom of conservatives in regard to the Gonzales nomination seems to be "He didn't authorize torture, but if he did, we'd support him".
During the hearings, retired military officers, scholars, and lawyers argued against the Gonzales nomination on principled grounds. To his credit, McCarthy does a fair job of summing up their case:
The trio lodged a few basic objections to Gonzales: (a) They insisted that he had retreated from what Koh insisted had been "zero-tolerance" policy regarding torture in the 1990s; (b) extrapolating from the (now retracted) August 2002 memo issued by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, they claimed that policies he advocated, or at least tolerated, would enable the United States to engage in precisely the same type of savagery as was once practiced by Saddam Hussein's sadistic regime; and (c) they contended, again drawing on the OLC memo, that Gonzales advocated a constitutional "commander-in-chief power" to override statutes and treaty obligations that would place the president "above the law."
Now these are serious charges...How does McCarthy refute them?
He Doesn't. Instead, McCarthy shifts gears and writes,
New Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter performed his most valuable service of a very long day in about five minutes of questioning — during which he exposed the emptiness of the high dudgeon by confronting these experts with the so-called "ticking bomb" hypothetical: A bomb is about to be detonated in a major metropolitan area, likely to kill perhaps hundreds of thousands of people, and the military has as a captive a known terrorist who, we have reason to believe, has knowledge which would allow us to save those lives if we could get him to provide it. Are you saying, the senator asked, that torture — even in a non-lethal method, requested by a responsible high official, and perhaps even supervised by a federal court — would be absolutely impermissible? That we must stand down while those thousands are massacred?
Why was this such a valuable service? For the same reason as McCarthy's column. It changes the subject. What Specter says, reading between the lines, is: "He didn't advocate torture, but even if he did, we'd support it". They are unable to defend the indefensible--what actually happened and who was responsible for it--so they take the easy way out. The issue in the Gonzales debate is not "is torture ever permissible?", but rather, "how has the policy changed, and who is responsible for changing it?". We will never get an honest answer to this question from Gonzales, Bush, or any other Pro-Torture Republican.
|Gonzales: Too Forgetful To Be Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales will be the new Attorney General of the now officially Pro-Torture United States. Perhaps there is still some legal mechanism for preventing him from assuming his post.
His senate hearing testimony made evidently clear that Gonzales is not a well man. Democratic senators should immediately demand the release of his medical records. Gonzales appears to be a man whose discombobulated mental faculties could be a danger to himself and others.
From Ted Kennedy's response to the Gonzales testimony:
...Yet Mr. Gonzales refuses to tell us anything about how the Bybee-Gonzales Memorandum was written and why he ordered it. We know from press reports that the C.I.A. asked him for advice on how far the agency could go in interrogating detainees. In July 2002, he held meetings with other Administration officials to discuss how to legally justify certain interrogation methods. He refuses to tell us anything about those meetings.
He says he can't remember what specific interrogation methods were discussed.
He can't remember who asked for the Justice Department's legal advice in the first place.
He can't remember whether he made any suggestions to the Department on the drafting of the Bybee- Gonzales Memorandum, although he admits that "it would not be unusual" for his office to have done so.
He doesn't know how the memo was forwarded to the Defense Department and became part of its "Working Group Report" in April 2003, which was used to justify the new interrogation practices at Guantanamo. Those practices, in turn, to use the obscure word resorted to by the Administration, somehow "migrated" to U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, as if no human hand had been involved in the dissemination.
Read About Gonzales
If Gonzales can forget such crucial details, one could certainly imagine him leaving a pet in a locked car on a hot sunny day, or driving off with the babyseat on the hood of the car. Do we really want such a man as A.G.?
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
The Record on Veterans
In the State of the Union Address, President Bush will announce increased compensation for veterans. Meanwhile, in the real world, veterans are apoplectic about this administration. If you're aware of this, you probably listen to veterans or the Shameless Antagonist rather than FOX, CNN, or MSNBC. Apparently this isn't newsworthy:
The leader of the nation's largest military veterans organization has reacted strongly to comments made by the Pentagon's undersecretary for personnel and readiness, Dr. David Chu.
Chu was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article Tuesday, pitting veterans from past wars against those currently serving in the war on terrorism, alleging veterans' benefits were taking away funds from national defense.
"His remarks about veterans' pay and benefits that 'the amounts have gotten to the point where they are hurtful...they are taking away from the nation's ability to defend itself' is a slap in the face to every veteran who took the oath to uphold and defend the constitution against all enemies," Cadmus wrote in a letter to the editor of the Journal.
"Our country cannot separate military retirees from veterans -- a veteran is a veteran!" asserted Thomas P. Cadmus, national commander of The American Legion. "When their country called all gave their best -- some gave their last -- and they deserve the best our country can give them."
Read The Full Press Release:
|This Site is a Michael Jackson-Free Zone
From this day forth, I promise you, dear reader, that I will not mention Michael Jackson or any aspect of the trial on this blog. Feel free to come to this non-Jackson oasis in a Jacko-crazed world. It would be great if other bloggers could join me and widen the scope of the Jackson blackout. I'm counting on broad-based, bipartisan support.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
|Powerline's Mark Dayton Destruction Campaign
Powerline blog, which features the writings of Joel Hinderaker, a Minneapolis corporate lawyer who goes by the unintentionally homoerotic nome de plume Hindrocket, is engaged in a systematic campaign to take down Senator Mark Dayton. Their most recent posting, entitled "Profiles in Disgrace" criticizes the senator for voting against the Condoleeza Rice nomination, and for closing his Washington office due to a homeland security warning. In the process of discrediting Dayton, they cast aspersions on Sen. Byrd, Hubert Humphrey, and even tiny social justice church St. Joan of Arc...Why write something focused and coherent when you can attack 40 years of liberalism in one fell swoop?
HINDROCKET adds: Reader Tom Mckeown makes a good point:
Was any other Minnesotan struck by the contrast in courage between the Iraqi women waiting in line to vote today with the retreat from Washington by Senator Mark Dayton on the hint of some threat, which was ignored by every other elected official in DC...Such courage by our sentaor would not merit a chapter in "Profiles in Courage" and deserves his early retirement.
UPDATE: Reader Mary Ledbetter writes to point out that St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church is not "Catholic" in the sense that it is in union with the Church of Rome. Rather, it appears to be a Christian "new age" church (my interpretation of its mission statement at the linked site). Reader Mitch Gossman describes the church as the local epicenter of so-called "liberation theology."
Powerline would like to portray Mark Dayton as a coward running from imminent danger. The writers of Powerline know full well that Congress wasn't in session when Dayton closed his office, but they neglect to mention it. Congress was in recess, and these clowns know it. Of course, they leave it to a reader to make the case, thereby providing them with a scapegoat lest they be caught in their mendacity.
Here is what Dayton had to say about the incident, by the way. Judge for yourself:
I do so out of extreme, but necessary, precaution to protect the lives and safety of my Senate staff and my Minnesota constituents, who might otherwise visit my office in the next few weeks. I feel compelled to do so, because I will not be here in Washington to share in what I consider to be an unacceptably greater risk to their safety.
To Powerline, apparently being concerned for the safety of others is cowardice. Perhaps that's why they supported a president who sent our troops into battle without sufficient armour.
As far calling Rice a liar, their defense of Rice is pathetic. The only response necessary is "I believe the title of the memo was "Bin Laden determined to attack within the United States", and "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud". She's a liar, and Dayton was the only one with the courage to tell her so to her face.
You might as well be bold, Senator Dayton. Even if the Hindrocket is shooting blanks, they're coming after you anyway.
|Down With Torture Guy
Please take the time to call your congressman and encourage him/her to vote against the nomination of Alberto Gonzales. The Democrats on the judiciary committee voted unanimously against his nomination, and we need to send the message that our country shouldn't adopt the tactics of our enemies by condoning torture. With Gonzales as A.G., we would be doing exactly that.
Here is the Alberto Gonzales record courtesy of PFAW:
As counsel to the President, Alberto Gonzales has been a prime advocate for new and dangerous presidential powers as well as greater Executive Branch secrecy, part of an effort to shield the Bush administration's claims from review by Congress and the courts.
He helped craft and defend the Bush administration's policy of detaining "enemy combatants," including U.S. citizens, without charges, counsel or judicial review. By an 8-1 majority, the Supreme Court concluded that this policy violates basic constitutional principles.
He was a key architect behind the creation of military commissions that sidestep U.S. criminal law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the laws of war.
He has urged President Bush to reject warnings from U.S. military leaders and instead loosen restrictions and definitions of torture, in the process unraveling six decades of U.S. leadership on human rights.
He has been the White House point-person in the President's ongoing effort to pack the federal judiciary with far-right judges.
He carelessly mishandled his solemn responsibility to advise then-Governor Bush on clemency applications from inmates awaiting execution, repeatedly leaving out crucial information that literally may have saved a life (e.g. failing to note that the defendant was mentally ill or that the defendant's lawyer slept through the trial).
Alberto Gonzales should not be the Attorney General of the United States of America.
|Legitimizing The Occupation
The heroic rescue of Jessica Lynch, the toppling of the Hussein statue, the capture of the evil dictator, and now the sham elections...What do these incidents have in common? They all were widely hailed as omens of success in our neocolonial venture in Iraq. Each one was meant to legitimize the occupation. Elections are a good thing when they lead to democracy, but even Communist nations have elections of a sort. Fidel Castro, for example, is "elected" time and time again as the Cuban head of state, chosen by loyal Communist apparachiks. How is the pre-ordained election of CIA operative Allawi any different?
Tony Blair and George Bush were quick to characterise yesterday's election as a triumph of democracy over terror. Bush declared it a "resounding success", while Blair asserted that "The force of freedom was felt throughout Iraq". And yet the election fell so completely short of accepted electoral standards that had it been held in, say, Zimbabwe or Syria, Britain and America would have been the first to denounce it.
...Most candidates had been afraid to be seen in public, or to link their names to their faces in the media. The United Iraqi Alliance, identifying only 37 of their 225 candidates, explained: "We offer apologies for not mentioning the names of all the candidates ... We have to keep them alive."