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Thursday, June 30, 2005

late lunch 

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a news release declaring: "Republicans can't hide from their record of neglecting our nation's veterans."

The release cited repeated rejection by the Senate Republican majority of amendments sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to boost spending.


In short, Iraq has become a crisis, simply because the present leadership, as with the Breshnev politburo, has bet the farm on it. It is not likely that the US will suffer as much as the USSR did, because the internal contradictions are not as great. But it is highly likely that the costs will be far greater - and from more different quarters - than is currently expected.

Fitzgerald needs the reporters to contradict whatever whitewash the WH has come up with for this mess justice. Its not just the identity of the source, it is what the WH was saying and when that will show that they lied to Fitzgerald and the Grand Jury to cover up their manipulation of and lying about prewar intelligence. . This is what happens when the administration's Orwellian alteration of history occurs in a venue where lying is a crime and providing talking points is conspiracy to obstruct



Under the circumstances, the mindless chants of "failure is not an option" are starting to sound like the desperate prayers of the terminally ill. Failure is always an option -- particularly for morons who launch a war of choice under the impression that they can't possibly lose it.

LIARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

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Bono, lead singer of the Irish band U2 and longtime activist for aid to Africa, echoed Geldof’s praise for President Bush as he told an American television interviewer June 26, “[Bush] has already doubled and tripled aid to Africa .… I think he has done an incredible job, his administration, on AIDS. 250,000 Africans are on anti-viral drugs; they literally owe their lives to America.”

In fact, Bono only said the latter half of that quote during his appearance on Meet the Press last Sunday. The first part — “[Bush] has already doubled and tripled aid to Africa” — is deceptively transplanted from an interview Bono did with Time magazine that Tim Russert quoted on the show, and the State Department has taken it entirely out of context. Here’s the full quote:

Question: Which of the G8 leaders do you think remains the toughest nut to crack?

Bono: The most important and toughest nut is still President Bush. He feels he’s already doubled and tripled aid to Africa, which he started from far too low a place. He can stand there and say he paid at the office already. He shouldn’t because he’ll be left out of the history books. But it’s hard for him because of the expense of the war and the debts.


White House Rewrites Bono’s Statement

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Napalmed People 

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Two weeks ago the U.K. Independent ran an article (6/17/05) that confirmed that the U.S. had "lied to Britain over the use of napalm in Iraq." Since then, not one American newspaper or TV station has picked up the story, even though the Pentagon has verified the claims. This is the extent to which the American "free press" is yoked to the center of power in Washington. As we’ve seen with the treatment of the Downing Street Memo (which was reluctantly reported five weeks after it appeared in the British press), the air-tight American media ignores any story that doesn’t embrace their collective support for the war. The prospect that the U.S. military is using "universally reviled" weapons runs counter to the media-generated narrative that the war was motivated by humanitarian concerns (to topple a brutal dictator) as well as to eliminate the elusive WMDs.

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mornin' 

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Yes, all those Terrorist are exactly the same people. One is just like another and you can bet it makes sense to lump them all together

"Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home."

Many--and probably most--of the enemy forces faced by US troops in Iraq are not followers of Osama bin Laden. According to recent estimates gathered by the Brookings Institution, there are now about 16,000 insurgents and about 1,000 foreign fighters engaged in the war against the US military and the interim Iraqi government. And Bush neglected to mention the recent intelligence report noting that Iraq--thanks to his invasion--has become an effective breeding ground for the anti-American terrorists who may indeed look to attack the United States elsewhere.


The Stage Managed Presidency

CHEERS to media honesty. The one outburst of applause during Bush's speech at Fort Bragg was instigated by this White House lackey. ABC News and---zounds!---even Fox News didn't let the Bush team get away with it. Memo to Bush Museum planners: that canned clapping will fit nicely on the shelf with the fake turkey...and the `Mission Accomplished' banner...and the WMDs we found.


Kool Aid Drinkers

"Many Americans did not watch the speech. Those who did were 2-to-1 Republican, so most were arguably already in the president's camp."

The Talking Points Memo Speech 

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we have heard all of this

you can say "9/11" a hundred times a day.

you can say "mission" and "men and women of the Armed Forces" and even "taking the fight to them".

you can say "we were attacked"

you can use focus grouped words like "Sacrifice' and "brave men and women" or whatever the fuck.

But what we wanted to hear were directions for the way out

instead we heard reason to stay

Karl, this time you guessed wrong.'

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Din Din 

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Un fucking believable

A Baptist group will protest a US soldier Staff Sgt. Christoper Piper’s funeral because “They claim U.S. soldiers like Piper are dying because the country is being punished for its tolerance of what they see as immoral behavior, such as homosexuality.”



More Quran Defacing

“American soldiers having nefarious designs against Muslim Ummah, have been committing desecration of the holy Quran at Guantanamo,” Salahuddin Ayyubi, 32, told reporters as he came out from the Kot Lakhpat.
He said that the US soldiers had been committing various shameful incidents that even could not be narrated in words before the Muslims. “ Once we saw them throw the Holy Quran in a bucket full of urine,” he said.

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Lunch 

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Karl Rove Is A Traitorous Skunk Who Should Be Hung Slowly In The National mall

Respectable opinion treats Rove's speech as just another partisan flap. It's much more. It's the reincarnation of a style of politics that turns political opponents into traitors or dupes who are soft on the nation's enemies. Welcome back to the '50s.


How Dare You Question Us?

Batten down the hatches: This is the beginning of an administration push to jack up public support for the war in Iraq by attacking anyone with enough sense to raise questions about how it's going.


Is This What They meant By Freedom Is On The March?

Islamic Law Controls the Streets of Basra

Enforcers patrol the city and Shiite militiamen have taken over the police. Residents accused of infractions are beaten or killed.

Matt Cooper and Judith Miller 

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So they face jail terms in light of SCOTUS decision yesterday to turn the case back. I don't know about Matt Cooper. I know Judith Miller gave the Bush Administration the official casus beli for the NYT. She should not go to prison. She should hang.

I see no reason to allow her to hold back the name of a person who endangered the life of an American agent.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Jesus Christ On a Cracker 

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One Republican Folds

Republican decisions made in 2002 and 2003 have killed almost 2,000 of the most capable patriots our country has to offer - volunteers, every one.

We have mortgaged the country's fiscal future in a way that no Democratic Congress or administration ever did, and to justify the tax cuts that brought us here, we've simply changed the rules.

My party has repeatedly ignored, discarded and even invented science to suit its needs, most spectacularly as to global warming.




California Spiees on Citizens

SACRAMENTO - Three decades after aggressive military spying on Americans created a national furor, California's National Guard has quietly set up a special intelligence unit that has been given ''broad authority'' to monitor, analyze and distribute information on potential terrorist threats, the Mercury News has learned.





"This is not a life," Sarhan added. "This is hell."

And with the temperature exceeding 100 degrees, as it has every day for weeks, people voiced anger at the prospect of spending their third summer since the U.S.-led invasion with only intermittent electricity. Those with generators will be able to power air conditioners and other appliances; the rest will simply bake.

"So many problems are happening in the city," said Mohammed Sarhan, 50, a grocer in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Dora. "Where do I start -- water, electricity, security, unemployment or health?"



Crying Wolf Too Often


Barely one in five Americans -- 22 percent -- say they believe that the insurgency is getting weaker while 24 percent believe it is strengthening. More than half -- 53 percent -- say resistance to U.S. and Iraqi government forces has not changed.






Kafkaesque Detention

WASHINGTON — The government detained at least 70 men, all but one a Muslim, as material witnesses and abused their civil rights in a largely secret operation launched by the Justice Department after the Sept. 11 attacks, Human Rights Watch and the ACLU allege in a report out today.

The civil rights groups say that in many cases the detainees were not told why they were arrested and did not get immediate access to lawyers, and that the Justice Department often would not confirm whether they were being held.

Federal law allows the government to temporarily detain people who are suspected of having knowledge of a crime to ensure they testify. But the report accuses the government of operating in "a Kafkaesque world of indefinite detention" for many people who were never linked to terrorism.

Of the 70 men identified in the report, 42 were released without any charges filed.





We Should Just Leave Iraq


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Who Served? A reminder From a kos diary 

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Democrats

• Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
• John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star, etc.
• Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
• George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
• Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
• Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
• Al Gore: Enlisted 1969; sent to Vietnam as army journalist.
• Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
• John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal.
• Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
• Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
• Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver & Bronze Stars.
• Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
• Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.

The Republicans:

• Dick Cheney: did not serve. (Five deferments!)
• Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
• Tom Delay: did not serve.
• Bill Frist: did not serve.
• Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
• Rick Santorum: did not serve.
• Trent Lott: did not serve.
• John Ashcroft: did not serve. (Seven deferments!)
• Jeb Bush: did not serve.
• Karl Rove: did not serve.
• Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. (Because of his "bad knee"; and this is the sorry excuse of a man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.)
• Richard Shelby: did not serve.
• Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
• Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
• Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
• Kemp: did not serve. The active NFL star had a "knee problem."
• Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
• Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
• George Pataki: did not serve.
• Phil Gramm: did not serve.
• Ronald Reagan: Even our old friend reagan, didn't fight the good fight. "Poor eyesight" kept him in a non-combat role, making propaganda films. But it didn't keep him from accidentally remembering himselv in combat service years later, only to be reminded that was just a movie.

And don't forget:
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.

Neocons:

• Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
• Richard Perle: did not serve.
• Douglas Feith: did not serve.
• Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
• Bill Kristol: did not serve.

Oh yeah, and here's the record for the top echelon of the media's patriots. These, of course, are the people questioning Kerry's patriotism:

• Sean Hannity: did not serve.
• Rush Limbaugh: did not serve. (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
• Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
• Paul Gigot: did not serve.
• Bill Bennett: did not serve.
• Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
• Ralph Reed: did not serve.
• Michael Medved: did not serve.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/6/25/223415/525

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Tuesday Night's Speech 

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I am trying to figure out what Bush will say Tuesday evening. I think this speech is bigger than any speech Bush has ever given and this is where I believe he will stumble, and we will see the beginning of the end. My guess is that like a tragic hero (except of course Bush is no hero- but I’ll cast him in that role for any idiot who thinks he deserves the title) he cannot see his own Achilles heel. The people (and I also use that term rather loosely) he has surrounded himself are people who have only hammers. Every problem then is treated like a nail, even if it isn’t. I see the Tuesday evening speech as an opportunity to ease everyone’s fears about Iraq. But try as I may, I cannot figure out what exactly he will offer that won’t make him and his advisors feel that they are somehow a sign of weakness.

I suspect the speech will be filled with lots of Bushisms and Rovian platitudes. He’ll mention that we have “liberated 50 million people”, he’ll tell us that our goals are pure, spreading democracy and freedom in the Mideast. He may give us a litany of accomplishments. He may tell us that he removed a dictator. He may remind us that Freedom is on the march. He may even have a purple finger.

A genuine person would easily overcome the main problem of credibility. Bush and his surrogates, lacking sincerity, won’t admit to any error in the face of the most obvious errors. In the news conference with Rumsfeld and Senator Edwards, Rumsfeld will not call it a Guerilla war. “It’s not a guerilla war…it’s an insurgency,” he insists and corrects. Mr. ‘Known unknowns and unknown unknowns’ and the rest of the Bush Administration are missing something. Not just the ability to tell the truth, but as a Poker player or a stand up comic knows- it’s the ability to read the room. The insult of calling a guerilla war an insurgency shows the depth of the disconnected world the inner circle lives in. I would ask Rumsfeld if the semantic choice of ‘insurgency’ versus ‘guerilla war’ meant that the 72 dead American kids were any less dead? The secondary problem but no less important issue is the effect this is all having on the armed forces. How can you even address this when the Secretary of Defense parses ‘insurgency’ versus ‘guerilla war’? That doesn’t begin to touch the misspent US tax dollars there, the fact that the standard of living in Iraq is less than it was two years ago. You can’t discuss what color to paint the walls when the other person thinks there is no house there at all. My guess is, and it’s only a guess, Americans want to see results and they are not seeing them. Americans want to put Iraq behind us and the Bushies want to wave in front of everyone perpetually.

Bush will not change course. At the end of the day he might as well have a Mission Accomplished sign behind him.

To the rest of the public, and increasingly to the lazy US press, it is this exact insistence that everyone else and things are really OK is wrong is exactly what is meeting resistance. The public sees a different reality on the internet than they see on ABC, NBC, MSGOP, and CBS. Hell blogs are doing more research and fact-finding just to pressure the networks to tell the whole. The Downing Street Memos were only addressed because bloggers made the lazy press wake up. The facts of the case presented by a global news network expose us to different sides that we may not have heard. The families of those serving, the families of those hurt and wounded know a different story. The hundreds of thousands of people who are their friends know a truer account of what is going on. The natural intelligence of people who begin to connect the dots of a much bigger picture paints of rictus of distrust onto the face of America.

Eventually the truth seeps in. Rather, it has in fact seeped in.

So the word on the street is that Iraq is Nowhere’sville. Kids of recruitment age distrust the reasons for it and the accomplishments of it. They feel no passion for this war. Kids see little heroism the way they did when we invaded Afghanistan. Now Bush will thumb his nose at what the foreign press thinks, but I believe that most Americans do in fact care what foreigners think about us. Most Americans are truly upset that we are no longer the knights in shining armor to the world- instead; we are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It bothers us that we have lost that status.

I think all Bush would have to say gain any credibility is that its bad in Iraq and they are looking for ways to fix it. But Cheney and Rove’s consistent pronouncements that seem to defy reality, the reflex to attack any critic, attacking critiques that are personal and degrading not reasoned or at all intellectual, the obviously contrived uniformity of the message all seem beyond what reasonable people would think and feel.

Another major mistake the Bushies are not paying attention to is callousness, even if it is only the appearance of callousness: Rove’s depiction of Liberals as soft on terrorism despite the many Democrats and Liberals serving, the exchange between Rumsfeld and the Army infantryman, the dismissal of any defense of the torture and redefining what we do to incarcerated people as little more than fraternity pranks. This does not sit well with people despite what Rove thinks. What we are doing for example in Gitmo and in Abu Gharaib is torture and given a chance, I believe most Americans would tell you this is wrong plain and simple and they wish we had no part in it. The Bushies fear of appearing weak is making them weaker by the moment and by the pronouncement. Americans want the truth and with the exception of the most die hard right wingnuts; most Americans do not really feel that they are getting the truth.

(The insurgents are likely to really time some horrific attacks to show up Bush’s speech. Which will show their sophistication and make Bush look like a bigger fool.)

Bush is not connected to reality. One pundit today made the point that “The social security campaign has been a disaster for Bush. The more he has traveled, the more public approval of his handling of the issue has collapsed.” I use this as a guide for predicting what Bush will do. Like Molly Ivins says: ‘He was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. He actually believes his own advisors about his popularity. He stands in front of hand picked Americans and believes that these nitwits represent the rest of us. When in fact they are just nitwits. I think what is catching up to Bush is the fact that Iraq will not be the medal he can wear on his chest, but an albatross around his neck. One that he cannot seem to recognize. But everyone else is saying, “hey there’s an albatross around your neck.”

Bush cannot garner more support for this war outside of deal making in regards to legislation. Bush will not face another election soon. But many Republican Congressmen and Senators do. They see the war as an albatross around their own shoulders and must distance themselves from Bush.

Already Cheney and Representative Chuck Hagel are at war. So there is one Republican Senator who thinks Bush and Cheney are idiots. So how much cooperation or uniting or coalition building will happen between them? None. Take Andrew Sullivan, a Gay Republican who supports a party that went to war on a pack of lies and hopes to condemn Gay people to second-class citizenship. If you can explain Gay Republicans to me then do. I understand Jews for Nazis even more. But Sullivan says this: ”The disapproval levels of Independents and Democrats are now indistinguishable, but the Republican bloc is solid. This strikes me as a direct result of the Rove strategy of brutal partisanship, Christianist pandering, and general fiscal and military fecklessness. Some readers have said that my criticism of the administration makes me sound like a liberal these days. Well, from these results, I'm not the only one being pushed by right-wing extremism into opposition.”

Recently we discovered that while Republicans support Bush whole-heartedly, independents have left him. That tells me Bush is not just losing the public, he is losing what is left of the middle of the country.

There are some things Bush can do to get his ass out of trouble. He can say as soon as there is a constitution signed we will draw down troops. That is roughly eight months off. Calculate eight times thirty equals roughly 240 days, time 2.3 dead a day = 552 dead. Add that to 1739 dead and you get 2291 dead. Figuring there 9 wounded to every one killed we will have almost 18,000 total wounded. That is big price to pay to save face for Bush. But if a drawdown is to start, that is the price we will have to pay.

By Tuesday evening, if Bush hasn’t given some plan, and the overall effect is the same circus different clowns that will be the beginning of the end for the Bushies.

I realize and most of you too also realize that their power is only held because they control the means to power. Their power does not rise out off popularity. Their power is artificial and temporary. They can do damage before they lose it all. But I believe we are seeing the death spiral of the 2004 “mandate”.




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Another love letter to Karl Rove 

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The Problem With Karl Rove's Phone

Yesterday I tried to call Karl Rove at the White House. You will not be surprised to learn that they were insulting and snippy to me and I could not get through to his office. The comment line was as close as I got and they were clueless as to why the switchboard would not transfer me to the public servant known as Mr. Rove.

If I had reached him I would have asked him as he blathered about how anxious and proud the conservatives were who jumped at the chance to have a war -- where are they now on the streets of Baghdad? My son was a very liberal Democrat, when he signed up for the National Guard no one asked, when he was deployed no one asked his opinion or his politics, and after he lost his life protecting the people looking for those weapons of mass destruction no conservative hawk came forth to take his place. Nor have they lined up at recruiters offices to answer the needs of our exhausted Army.

I hope Mr. Rove will show his true colors and sign up for a guard unit, no one is too old now, Pennsylvania guards men in their 50s are serving. If he is too busy slandering half the people in this Country perhaps he could send a child he loves dearly to take my Sherwood's place?

I hope others will ask these questions of Mr. Rove and his friends, maybe their calls will get through.

Sincerely,
Celeste Zappala, Philadelphia
Mother of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, KIA 4/26/04


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Long Hot Summer Day 

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Hardliners Win In Iran. Was that What Our Freedom In The Mideast Tour Was About? If so, then it has failed.


In Iran’s presidential election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hardline religious conservative, has beaten Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a pragmatic ex-president who had painted himself as a cautious reformer. Whether Mr Ahmadinejad won by fair means or foul, Iran looks like turning its back on reform—and perhaps on the outside world

Letters To Karl From Soldiers Servbing in Iraq In Reagrfds To His Comments Aboput Conservatives and Liberals

Vet: Lost Friends on 9/11, Mad at Rove
From the mailbag:

I was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1970. My father fought for FDR and HST in WWII. My grandfather fought in WWI for Wilson.

I live in NY, and when I lost friends in 9/11, my liberal buddies and I would have loved to have Bin Laden in a room with a tire iron. We also supported the Afghanistan action, because that's where the Taliban were.

Then we were heartbroken when President Chimpy attacked Iraq to further his political ambitions, because anyone who hasn't had his head up his ass knows Saddam was not involved in 9/11.

Why is it that Democrat presidents win wars, and Republican presidents whine about them? It's all marketing and PR, and we're the suckers. Bush has no intention of getting Bin Laden.

Rove has got to go.


Vet: Open Letter to Karl Rove
From the mailbag:

I spent 11 years serving this country with distinction in the Army. I come from generations of soldiers who have fought in every war this country has had. My ancestors fled from an oppressive government in the mid 18th century after fighting the Second Jacobite Rebellion. My forebearer Sir Robert Keith led the cavalry charge that dispersed the archers that led to defeat the English king at the Battle of Banockburn. My family fought along side of William “Braveheart” Wallace.

I’m liberal because I want a government of the people, for the people. I want a government that serves the common good. I want my taxes to help the community and make it stronger. I want a government that stands for our founders cries for Liberty and Justice! That Fat F#$k Rove (capitals because it is now a proper name I use for him)questions my Patriotism?!?! He is the traitor. He is the Tory. He has committed sedition. Even after he’s passed on, I will remember his name and make sure it remains in disgrace. I will not allow one person in my presence to ever again justify any support of this craven coward. I want his ass serving on the front line. Fat F#$k...Look me in the eye when you say it!

Question my Nationalism! Question my Imperialism! Question my Fascism! But Never!, Never!, question my Patriotism.

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” - Benjamin Franklin

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Theodore Roosevelt

Vet: Republicans Don't Serve
From the mailbag:

There're a couple things you learn in a war tour.

First, combat sucks. It's dangerous and scary and usually confusing and, generally, best avoided if possible.

Second, you absolutely need your buddies. To this end, you never ever let them down when they need you. Because when you get in trouble, it's going to be DEEP trouble, and your buddies will be more valuable than gold or liquor.

Third, as long as your buddy is there for you, you couldn't care less if this buddy is gay, black, female, islamic, stupid, liberal, pro-pot, pro-choice, or believes in flying pigs and Jerry Garcia's impending resurrection. It is so totally not important.

Fourth, you're well aware that some of the people you are defending hate you and what you represent. They think you're a jack-boot thug. You don't begrudge them this, though. They're welcome to think whatever they like, and defending that right for them is one of your more noble callings.

These are four lessons that our Republican leadership have never learned. Why?

Because Republicans don't volunteer.


Active Iraq Soldier: Karl, Come over _here_ and say that, Chickehawk...
From the mailbag:

I'm writing you from [Location Withheld] Iraq, about 35 miles NW of Baghdad.. And I'm too tired to give Karl the verbal beating he deserves for his insults. I'm too tired because we're jsut a bit shorthanded over here, fighting his war for him. A war taht has made nearly every country in the world fear and distrust America, a war fought for a knowing lie dreamed up by Karl and his buddies, none of whom have ever heard a shot fired in anger, or helped pick up the parts of another human being after an IED blast.

I enlisted after the war beganm and after I'd gotten my degree. I could easily have stayed home and watched the war on TV, and Karl does. I do not support this war in the slightest, but I will not sit at home and lecture others on their insufficient patriotism when the nation is in need. I joined because I believe in giving back some measure of service and devotion to my country.

To hear a man like Karl insinuate that only conservatives are really patriotic is a knife in the back to every man and woman in Iraq who serves here. At least a third of us voted against Bush and pals. The number increases every day that we stay here, forced to make bricks without straw for months on end.

We've been here for 6 months. We're going to be here for at least 6 more. And next week we're moving to a more 'active' sector because the unit there is rotating home and the are is still too hot to entrust to the IA or IP, most of whom are still not fit to guard a traffic light, despite two years of efforts on our part. For some of us, this is our second tour through Iraq. My unit, [Withheld] was the tip of the spear in OIF I. At least half of us are combat veterans of a major battle and liberals. Can any of your gang say that, Karl?

Never insult me and my fellow liberals again, Karl. Watching a fat, hateful thing like you that has never faced any greater danger in your life than a long golf shot denigrate every liberal who has put on a uniform is more demoralizing than ten thousand speeches that uphold America's highest ideals from Sen. Biden or Byrd.




Veteran: Shame on the Bush Administration
A long one from the mailbag:

Shame on the Bush Administration for allowing Karl Rove's outrageous statement equating liberals with traitors to stand without apology. Shame on them for not firing Rove outright.

I'm an American woman who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1979 through 1983 and was honorably discharged. I served during a time of peace, but I, like all of the other young men and women who volunteer to serve their country as soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors, knew that there was a possibility we could be called upon at any time to put our lives on the line. This was the Cold War era, when nuclear anihilation was just a push of a button away. I served willingly and with my eyes wide open.

I lived in Germany from 1986 through 1992 with my active duty Air Force husband. While I was there, I worked as a civilian in the Public Affairs Office in Bremerhaven, and was there supporting the U.S. Army troops who were sent to fight in the Gulf War. Although I was no longer in the military myself, my service with the U.S. Army as a civilian in support of our troops and our country is something I'm very proud of. We were doing the right thing, backed by a huge coalition of countries who believed as we did that Saddam Hussein had overstepped his bounds in trying to take over tiny Kuwait and upset the precarious balance of power in the Middle East.

Throughout my adult life I've been a registered Democrat and yes, a liberal. As a peacetime veteran and as a wartime civilian who served her country willingly and with heartfelt patriotism, I am deeply insulted by Karl Rove's outrageous condemnation of those who don't march in lockstep with the religious right, conservative GOP. How dare this man, who like his masters, never served his country in uniform, imply that I and my "liberal" veteran and active duty brothers and sisters are traitors for not supporting this criminal, pre-emptive war we now find ourselves fighting in Iraq? How dare he call any American, veteran or not, traitors for exercising their right in our democracy to speak their minds and disagree with their government? And how dare this president and his administration allow their attack dog, whose generous salary is paid by the American people, stand by and back up his reprehensible words?

My first and second husbands served in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army. My brother-in-law served a full career in the Air Force and is now in Iraq as a civilian, trying to teach brave, doomed Iraqis to be policemen. My uncle served in the Army for 25 years and retired as a general. My father was a Marine who fought in the Korean War, as was another of my uncles. My grandfather fought in World War II in Europe.

All of us, whether liberal or conservative, served our country with honor and pride. Yet not one of us would ever dream of considering any fellow American who merely disagreed with us, politically, ideologically or otherwise, a "traitor" to our country. Protecting the right of free speech and freedom of _expression, after all, is why we served.

Americans, rightly shocked and furious over the senseless carnage and murder of innocents of September 11, 2001, were propagandized, lied to and duped into attacking Iraq, which had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. More than two thousand American service members -- patriotic volunteers, every single one of them -- have now lost their lives to a lie, many thousands more have been horribly maimed and their lives ruined, and tens of thousands innocent Iraqi men, women and children have been systematically murdered and maimed. And our government will not give us a straight, honest answer why. Instead, we're fed excuses and lies.

I am an American, and until 2000, when George W. Bush was appointed president of our great country, I was proud to be an American. I cannot say that anymore. Since then, I've watched with horror as Bush and his cronies have systematically chipped away at the greatest democracy the world has ever known. America has become a pariah to the rest of the world; how will we ever live down Abu Ghraib, "renditions", the arrest, indefinite detention and torture of thousands without right to a fair trial, the systematic destruction of the world's delicate environmental balance and the outright robbing of the American poor so the American rich can get richer? How can we abide watching Bush -- the president of our country! -- walk hand in hand through the Texas wildflowers with the Saudi prince, the leader of the very country that produced both Osama bin Ladin and most of the Sept. 11 terrorists? How could Americans have re-elected this man in 2004? Duped again.

And now, those of us who react with anger and indignation over these crimes, committed in our names and without our support, are "traitors"? I'd call us patriots in the truest sense of the word.

Shame on Karl Rove. Shame on George W. Bush, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell (!) and Donald Rumsfeld. Shame on the Republican politicians -- elected by the people of this once great country -- who support or stand by and watch this systematic rape of the United States of America, and equally, shame on the Democratic politicians who don't have the courage or morality to speak out against it. These are the real traitors to America. I despair for our children and for all of us.



Veteran: You Prepared for War?
From the mailbag:

Really Karl, you prepared for war? How did you do that, play golf or have dinner at the White House? You make the conservatives sound so strong, yet, if I recall Karl, you have never severed. I also recall that your puppet Bush ran to protect Austin from the Viet-cong while his fellow Americans were dieing in the rice patties of Vietnam. Cheney had more deferrals than a tree has leaves. So I ask again, how do conservatives prepare for war?

You prepare for war by jumping on a tragedy to divide America, to further your agenda, to create a war that did not need to be fought. For the love of god, I would have been the first in Afghanistan; we should have turned that nation into a sheet of glass. The fact remains, not a single solitary person on any of those plans that were used against us in September 11th were Iraqi, furthermore most of them were from Saudi Arabia, a nation that we are currently bedding (screwing) our leader daily.

So in short Karl, you prepared for war by running under Bush's desk like a coward. You are a cowered, your boss is a coward, and his puppet master is a coward and the bulk of the conservative are yellow tailed cowered.

I have worn the uniform, I know what it is like to squeeze off rounds from an M-16, I know the joy of having an officer pin a medal to your shirt, I know the hardships of living off of 12,000 a year. I am a liberal and I HAVE PREPARED FOR WAR you [edited] coward.





The Economist: Bush’ Long Hot Summer

With Iraq, even Mr Bush's supporters admit that the administration exaggerated Saddam's ties to al-Qaeda. But in some ways, the current blithely optimistic doublespeak is worse. How can Mr Bush say he is “pleased with the progress” there, or Dick Cheney claim that the insurgency is “in the last throes”? Iraq is no Vietnam, but the sooner Mr Bush spells out the truth bluntly, the sooner he will recover his reputation as a straight-shooter with the American people and Congress.

With Social Security the mis-selling is more complicated. Mr Bush deserves credit both for pushing America to reform its huge entitlement system before the baby-boomers start to retire and for trying to create an “ownership society”, based around private accounts. But he has blurred the lines between the two, trying to sell private accounts as an answer to an immediate pensions crisis. In fact, Social Security will be “fixed” only by changing the entitlements or the contributions.

Recently, Mr Bush has altered course a little with pensions. But on many issues his generally admirable resoluteness has descended into pig-headed obstinacy. The only possible explanation for his determination to stick with Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary responsible for post-invasion planning and the disasters of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, is the misguided assumption that firing him would be a sign of weakness. In fact, it would be a sign that even Mr Bush's friends are accountable. The same goes for Guantánamo itself. Giving terrorist suspects a proper trial is not a risk; it is justice.

It is hard for Mr Bush to reach out beyond his natural supporters, partly because he often brings out the worst sort of unprincipled negativism in his opponents—be they Howard Dean or Jacques Chirac. But it cannot help the war on terror that so many people regard America as an unprincipled bully. At home, his tactic in the first term of beating up the Democrats, even when they supported his tax cuts, has solidified their opposition—and he is finding it difficult to get anything past them, let alone a project as large as Social Security reform.

More than anything else, Mr Bush's long hot summer represents a failed opportunity. Last November he was given not just a mandate, but a chance to reinvigorate his presidency. He did not take it. The next few months will be crucial—and not just for Mr Bush. It is not good for the world to have an American president consumed by domestic misfortune. But that is what we will have to deal with, unless Mr Bush clears the brush that threatens to overwhelm his legacy.


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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Trash talk or desperation? 

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James Wolcott says

James Wolcott makes a point that Arriana Huffington did a few days ago. The unbelievable depth of the maliciousness of Karl Rove’s attack on Democrats and Liberals is a symptom of a much bigger problem facing the country. Apparently only four months after Republicans were holding up purple fingers, we can neither quell the insurgency, nor the impatience of people around the country with what appears to be the biggest boondoggle in recent history.


“Attack attack. Smear smear. 9/11 Iraq. 9/11 Iraq. Smear smear. Attack attack. Iraq 9/11 Iraq 9/11.” I think this is wearing thin with Americans. Not admitting the obvious truth is getting old even with many on the right.

He says:

This marks a tactical shift from the stay-the-coursers. Only a few weeks ago, White House flacks and their shoeshiners in the media were shrugging off the bad poll numbers with "Hey, polls go up and down." You know, sorta like the stock market. You just gotta ride out these bumps. But now that it's clear even to Bush fantasists that the polls numbers on Iraq aren't going up and down, they're only going in one direction, and picking up speed as they descend, they're saying that the opinion of the American people must be discounted for their own good. The will of the people must take second place to the wiser, stronger will of those in charge. The most ludicrous poll-dismissing ploy was attempted by David Brooks, who harkened back to George Washington at Valley Forge. It was not a parallel flattering to Bush. George Washington served with his troops at Valley Forge, endured what they endured. Bush froze on 9/11 and hasn't done a single thing since that would inconvenience him, his supporters, or his Republican donors.

Historical parallels have lost their spine-stiffening efficacy. We're all Churchilled out, this isn't 1939 or 1865 or 1776, the disaster is unfolding here and now and in front of our eyes and if Republican conservates want to perservere despite eroding support then they should pull all those future lobbyists and leeches out of the Heritage Foundation dorm and march them over to a recruiting station, where they can learn how to shoot off something besides their Rush-quoting mouths.




Billmon maybe agrees with the thesis that this is desperation, not planning.


“But I actually think Rove's rant should be seen as a somewhat encouraging sign. Rove and his idiot chorus aren't roaring at the top of their lungs to try to drown out the liberals -- that would be absurd overkill, given how effectively the corporate media has ridiculed and/or demonized the likes of Howard Dean and Dick Durbin. No, Rove's hate rally is aimed squarely at suppressing the growing doubts of the great silent majority -- and even, to a certain extent, those of the conservative true believers, some of whom are showing ominous signs of war weariness.

The rhetorical assault on the liberals, in other words, is the core of the PR counteroffensive the White House has been promising to unleash for the past week.

Having been advised by the "moderates" to level with the American people and explain just how badly things have gone off the track in Iraq, and how much time, treasure and blood it will take to redeem Bush's casual promises of victory, the Rovians apparently have decided they can't do it -- not without suffering unacceptable casualties on the home front. American troops, after all, are expendable. But Bush's political capital is both precious and increasingly scarce. Much too scarce, apparently, to waste on an exercise as frivolous as a presidential appeal for patriotic unity and shared sacrifice.

Cynically speaking, Rove may be right. Leaving aside the polarized wasteland the GOP machine has created out of the American political process, public disillusionment with the war in Iraq already may be too far gone to be turned around with eloquent speeches -- much less the kind of cheap publicity stunts favored by the Rovians.

Things are even worse, in fact, than I had thought. In a previous post, I misreported the results of the latest Gallup Poll when I wrote that only 39% of those surveyed by Gallup had answered yes to the question: "Do you think it was worth going to war in Iraq?" The question actually was much more straight forward (and forward looking): "Do you favor or oppose the war in Iraq?"

In other words, nearly 60% of the American people are now willing to say, flat out, that they oppose the war in Iraq. That's a remarkable statement. I'm not sure 60% ever opposed the war in Vietnam, even after it had been lost. You don't turn those kind of numbers around with PR spin -- the casualty lists now speak louder than the microphone, even one as powerful as the White House's.

Add to that the prospect of still higher gas prices, unfilled (and probably unfillable) economic expectations and the black ring of scandal widening around the DeLay-Abramoff-Reed-Norquist axis of weevils, and it's clear that recycled Reaganite optimism -- the "morning in America" brand of propaganda -- isn't going to cut it.

So Rove is falling back on his classic strategy of rallying the base. What's more, he's mainlining it a much rawer and more savage version of the conservative message than the White House usually permits itself. While the customary surrogates -- Fox News, Rush, the blogger hyena pack -- have snarled and snapped, the results apparently have been found wanting. Now Bush's "brain" is stepping into the ring himself.”



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Friday, June 24, 2005

More Shit Republicans Have Thrown At All Of Us 

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An Italian judge ordered the arrests of 13 people in the purported CIA abduction of an imam, who then was sent to Egypt, the Milan prosecutor's office said Friday. An Italian official said earlier the 13 were CIA officers involved in U.S. anti-terrorism efforts.

13 Ghosts Arrested



The Bush administration, already accused by veterans groups of seeking inadequate funds for health care next year, acknowledged yesterday that it is short $1 billion for covering current needs at the Department of Veterans Affairs this year.


Bush Fucks Veterans

Washington has for the first time acknowledged to the United Nations that prisoners have been tortured at US detention centres in Guantanamo Bay, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq, a UN source said.

US Admits Torture


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Families of 9/11 victims to Rove: Fuck Off 

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Families of September 11

As families whose relatives were victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, we believe it is an outrage that any Democrat, any Republican, any conservative or any liberal, stakes a "high ground" position based upon the September 11th death and destruction. Doing so assumes that all those who died and their loved ones would agree. In truth, some would and some would not. By definition the conduct is divisive and, because it is intended to be self-serving and politicizes 9/11, it is offensive.

We are calling on Karl Rove to resist his temptations and stop trying to reap political gain in the tragic misfortune of others. His comments are not welcome.

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White House Stands behind Rove's comment. 

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you bet

the democrats and liberals are soft on terrorism.

Not "five deferments Dick" .

Not Dad got me out of service W.

Not Only uniform he ever wore was in Cub Scouts Dan Bartlett.

Not fat ass pussy Karl Rove.

No. it's the liberals that are soft.

In other news, Five Marines died in Iraq

Perhaps one day, Karl Rove will be hung in the National Mall as a traitor or tried and imprisoned at the Hague as a war criminal.

that would be nice.
..

Karl Rove's "Understanding of 9/11" 

.Kristen Breitweiser


Mr. Rove, the first thing that I would like to address is Afghanistan - the place that anyone with a true “understanding of 9/11” knows is a nation that actually has a connection to the 9/11 attacks. One month after 9/11, we invaded Afghanistan, took down the Taliban, and left without capturing Usama Bin Laden - the alleged perpetrator of the September 11th attacks. In the meantime, Afghanistan has carried out democratic elections, but continues to suffer from extreme violence and unrest. Poppy production (yes, Karl, the drug trade) is at an all time high, thus flooding the world market with heroin. And of course, the oil pipeline (a.k.a. the Caspian Sea pipeline) is better protected by U.S. troops who now have a “legitimate” excuse to be in that part of Afghanistan. Interesting isn't it Karl that the drug “rat line” parallels the oil pipeline. (Yet, with all those troops guarding that same sliver of land, can you please explain how those drugs keep getting through?)

Now Karl, a question for you, since you seem to be the nation's self-styled sensei with regard to 9/11: Is Usama Bin Laden still important? Lately, your coterie of friends seems to be giving out mixed messages. Recall that in the early days, Bin Laden was wanted “dead or alive.” Then when Bin Laden slipped through your fingertips in Tora Bora, you downgraded his importance. We were told that Bin Laden was a "desperate man on the run,” and a person that President Bush was not "too worried about". Yet, whenever I saw Bin Laden's videos, he looked much too comfortable to actually be a man on the run. He looked tan, rested, and calm. He certainly didn't look the way I wanted the murderer of almost 3,000 innocent people to look: unkempt, panicked, and cowering in a corner.

Karl, I mention Bin Laden because recently Director of the CIA, Porter Goss, has mentioned that he knows exactly where Bin Laden is located but that he cannot capture him for fear of offending sovereign nations. Which frankly, I find ironic because of Iraq--and let's just leave it at that. But, when you say that “moderation and restraint” don't work in fighting terrorists, maybe you should share those comments with Mr. Goss because he doesn't seem to be on the same page as you. Unless of course, Porter is holding out to announce that Bin Laden is in Iran. (Karl, I want Bin Laden brought to justice, but not if it means starting a war with Iran - a country that possesses nuclear weaponry. The idea of nuclear fallout in any quadrant of the world is just not an acceptable means to any ends, be it capturing Bin Laden, oil or drugs. But, Afghanistan and Bin Laden are old news. Iraq is the story of today. And of course, it appears that Iran will be the story of next month. But, I digress.)

More to the point, Karl when you say, “Conservatives saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and prepared for war,” what exactly did you do to prepare for your war? Did your preparations include: sound intelligence to warrant your actions; a reasonable entry and exit strategy coupled with a coherent plan to carry out that strategy; the proper training and equipment for the troops you were sending in to fight your war? Did you follow the advice of experts such as General Shinseki who correctly advised you about the troop levels needed to actually succeed in Iraq? No, you didn't.

It has always been America's policy that you only place soldiers' lives in harm's way when it is absolutely necessary and the absolute last resort. When you send troops into combat you support those troops by providing them with proper equipment and training. Why didn't you do that with the troops that you sent into Iraq? Why weren't their vehicles armored? Why didn't they have protective vests? Why weren't they properly trained about the rules of interrogation? And Karl, when our troops come home – be it tragically in body bags or with missing limbs – you should honor and acknowledge their service to their country. You shouldn't hide them by bringing them home in the dark of night. Most importantly, you should take care of them for the long haul by giving them substantial veteran's benefits and care. To me, that is being patriotic. To me, that is how you support our troops. To me, that is how you show that you know the value of a human life given for its country.

For the record Karl, does Iraq have any connection to the 9/11 attacks? Because, you and your friends with your collective “understanding of 9/11” seem to be contradicting yourselves about the Iraq-9/11 connection, too. First, we were told that we went to war with Iraq because it was linked to the 9/11 attacks. Then, your rationale was changed to "Iraq has WMD". Then you told us that we needed to invade Iraq because Saddam was a "bad man". And now it turns out that we are in Iraq to bring them "democracy."

Of course, the Downing Street memo clarifies many of these things, but for the record Karl: Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11; there were few terrorists in Iraq before our invasion, but now Iraq is a terrorist hot-bed. America had the sympathy and support of the whole world before Iraq. Now, thanks to your actions, we find ourselves hated and alienated by the rest of the world. Al Qaeda's recruitment took a nose-dive after the 9/11 attacks, but has now skyrocketed since your invasion of Iraq; and most importantly, nearly 2,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed because of your war in Iraq. These facts speak for themselves. (And, they speak very little about effectively winning any war on terror.)

Karl, you say you “understand” 9/11. Then why did you and your friends so vehemently oppose the creation of a 9/11 Independent Commission? Once the commission was established, why did you refuse to properly fund the Commission by allotting it only a $3 million budget? Why did you refuse to allow access to documents and witnesses for the 9/11 Commissioners? Why did we have to fight so hard for an extension when the Commissioners told us that they needed more time due to your footdragging and stonewalling? Why didn't you want to cooperate so that all Americans could “understand” what happened on 9/11?

Since the release of the 9/11 Commission's Final Report, have you helped bring to fruition any of the commission's recommendations? Have you truly made our homeland safer by hardening/eliminating soft targets? Because, to me rebuilding a tower that is 1,776 feet tall where the World Trade Center once stood seems to be only providing more soft targets for the terrorists to hit. Moreover, your support for the use of nuclear energy seems to be providing even more soft targets. Tell me, while you write your nifty little speeches about nuclear power, do you explain to your audience how our nuclear plants will be protected against terrorist attack or infiltration? What assurances do you give that nuclear waste will not find its way into terrorist's dirty bombs and onto our city streets? And, how do you assure your audience that the shipment of radioactive material will not become a terrorist target as it rolls through their own backyards?

To date, you have done practically nothing to secure our ports, nuclear power plants, and mass transportation systems. Imagine if the billions of dollars you spent in Iraq were spent more wisely on those things here at home. Imagine what sort of alternative energy resources (bio-diesel, wind power, solar power, and hybrid automobiles) could have been researched and funded in the past three years. Talk about regaining the respect and support of the world, that is the one way to do it.

Karl, if you “understand 9/11”, then why don't you understand that until we have a more environmentally friendly energy policy, we cannot effectively fight the war on terrorism. By being dependent on foreign oil, we have no choice but to cozy up to nations that sponsor terrorists. Moreover, because of oil, we may end up placing our troops and our nation at greater risk by having to invade certain oil-rich countries. Our invasion of these countries merely serves to inflame would-be terrorists by reinforcing their notion that we are gluttonous and self-centered -- invading sovereign nations solely to steal their oil. Forgive me Karl, but is that how you think you "win hearts and minds"? Does that help in any way to "spread democracy"?

Finally Karl, please “understand” that the reason we have not suffered a repeat attack on our homeland is because Bin Laden no longer needs to attack us. Those of us with a pure and comprehensive “understanding of 9/11” know that Bin Laden committed the 9/11 attacks so he could increase recruitment for al Qaeda and increase worldwide hatred of America. That didn't happen. Because after 9/11, the world united with Americans and al Qaeda's recruitment levels never increased.

It was only after your invasion of Iraq, that Bin Laden's goals were met. Because of your war in Iraq two things happened that helped Bin Laden and the terrorists: al Qaeda recruitment soared and the United States is now alienated from and hated by the rest of the world. In effect, what Bin Laden could not achieve by murdering my husband and 3,000 others on 9/11, you handed to him on a silver platter with your invasion of Iraq - a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Which leads me to my final questions for you Karl: What are your motives when it comes to 9/11 and are you really sure that you understand 9/11?




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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Fuck Republicans...Better Yet...Don't Fuck Republicans 

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Surviving The Worst Crimes Ever

BushCo survived the illegal sanctioning of inhumane torture. They survived a gay male prostitute acting as a journalist. They survived Enron and Diebold and the rigging of the first election and they will survive Downing Street simply because all the people who should be on the attack about these atrocities all work for the guys who committed them.

So then, the question is not merely when will the stack of lies, of abuses become so high, so unstable, so inexcusable that the entire nation finally takes notice and the whole house of cards comes crashing to the ground in a big nasty soul-jarring spirit-cleansing patriotism-redefining whoomp and smothers the whole lot of them, but rather, can it be soon enough?

And to that question, we all know the answer.




Judge Says Republicans Are Like Nazis


"Republican dirty tricks are not confined to just me any more. I also saw that Congressman Jones made the news by calling for a withdrawal of our troops. Whatever one may think about the war, one should ask when the mission will be over and when the troops can come home. Are we going to stay indefinitely? While it is nice that we are building Iraq, what about America? And what about the cost? Why do the Americans have to foot the bill when we can ill afford it? These are all legitimate questions to ask. Congressman Jones did nothing more than make a proposal to start pulling out.

"But it seems that the administration in Washington will brook no criticism of its policies. So it has sent out its dutiful attack dogs to shoot the messenger. What have we heard? That Walter Jones is a member of the lunatic fringe. That Walter Jones should resign. Its the same stuff that COPAM pulled on me, only this time its orchestrated by those in Washington instead of those in Raleigh.

"What I find disturbing is that we are criticized for nothing more than the exercise of our Constitutional rights. Those who disagree with any aspect of the administration are branded as traitors and must be silenced. I thought the previous administration was bad because of the amorality. This is far worse.

"There is a famous poem about the Nazis of Germany - first they came for one group, then another, but the writer did not speak up. And then they came for the writer and there was no one left to speak up. The administration is acting like the Nazis. I will not be quiet. I agree with Congressman Jones that we should ask the administration the tough questions and that we should begin to withdraw."


Stop Complaining About the Air Force Academy…Jew

A Pentagon inquiry's finding of no overt religious discrimination at the Air Force Academy strains credibility, considering the academy superintendent has already acknowledged it will take years to undo the damage from evangelical zealots on campus. Indeed, amid its thicket of bureaucratese, the report by an Air Force investigative panel goes on for page after page describing cases of obvious and overt religious bias. But it tosses all of these off as "perceived bias," as if the blame lies with the victims and not the offenders, and throws up a fog of implausible excuses, like "a lack of awareness" of what is impermissible behavior by military officers.



Fleecing the Public

Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress berated the Pentagon for withholding information about Halliburton's disputed billing under a $2.5 billion contract for Iraqi oil site repairs and fuel imports.

Saying the Pentagon is acting as if "it has something to hide," Representative Christopher Shays, a Republican from Connecticut, said at a hearing Tuesday that he would support issuing a subpoena to the Pentagon next week if it did not provide long-requested documents relating to the contract, which was awarded to Halliburton in early 2003 without competition.


Fuck The Law…Gimme Your Name

The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches.

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This Soldier's Iraq Diary 

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from kos


by tricky dick
[Subscribe]

Wed Jun 22nd, 2005 at 16:33:25 PDT

You know that Marvin Gaye song "What's going on"? Of course you do. I ask myself that question quite often. Much of what happens in country I never see. In many ways I am as in the dark as everyone else. But, for what it's worth, today I will throw in my two cents. Perhaps by adding the small part of the picture I see, it will put into sharper focus all of the reports you read every day. I don't really see myself as a Soldier blogger such as Soonergrunt or Nameless Soldier. I would much rather have pie flame wars than discuss what I do for a living. But I have decided that there are some things you should know...

Diaries :: tricky dick's diary :: :: Trackback ::

This is a diary about torture. Torture and cruelty. It's been in the news quite a bit lately, so I have decided to tell you what I know about torture and cruelty in Iraq.

Many of the Iraq War apologists are quick to point out how much better off Iraq is today with Saddam Hussein in prison. They cite the closing of Saddam's torture chambers as a central justification of the Iraq campaign. Well, there's a problem with that theory. The torture hasn't stopped. It continues to this day, under new management.

What I have seen, specifically, is the torture and brutal beating of Iraqis by members of the Iraqi Army (IA). Much of it is conducted by Shia and Kurds against the Sunnis, payback for decades of Sunni brutality. I also suspect that many of the thugs who previously served Hussein have now signed up with the new Iraqi Government. The bottom line is that these guys are largely a bunch of thugs, and that their victims are largely unarmed civilians. They might be Sunni civilians as opposed to Kurdish or Shia, but they are every bit as helpless regardless of their ethnicity.

We have actually received guidelines as to how to deal with abusive IA officers. We cannot admonish them in front of their men, lest they lose face. We have been instructed to correct them in private, if possible. It is a bullshit policy. In fact, our leadership openly acknowledges that the problem is "difficult to control". They pretty much tell us that the best course of action is to stay out of it. We have no control over these guys.

To me, this situation speaks to the problem of nation building. It is simply very difficult to change the way an entire nation operates. It isn't as if every one in Iraq was good and decent, but Saddam made them do all these awful things. He had alot of help. In a way, Saddam was a product of his environment. Iraq is a tough place to grow up, cruelty is a way of life here. Torture is much more accepted here than in the US.

In our compound, we have a bunch of dogs
(and a cat) that we have adopted. Most of them were adopted by US Soldiers (although it is against regulations to have pets) to rescue them from the IA guys, who were abusing them. The IA and US forces each live in their own compounds at this base. We work together, as is the case in much of the country. The dogs were brought into our compound by guys who were sick of seeing the animals beaten by IA Soldiers. These guys were brutally beating these dogs, for fun. Some of the dogs were so badly hurt, they couldn't walk. Some of them would cry if touched, probably a result of bruising and internal injuries. They had been kicked and beaten with sticks so badly it is remarkable they survived.

By now, you might have the impression that I don't hold my IA couterparts in very high regard. You would be right to think that. None of us like them, they are scum. They are also cowards, it is almost impossible to keep these guys from running in a firefight. If they were ever caught alone by an insurgent ambush, they would be either killed or they would run. They refuse to fight the enemy. But even if that were to change, even if we succeed in training these guys to the point that they can successfully engage the enemy, they would still be a bunch of dirtbags. Thugs pretty much sums it up.

That is who is going to eventually fill the vaccum left by Saddam's regime. A bunch of thugs. And they will torture people. They will, in some cases, torture random people for little or no reason. That's the best case scenario, for a bunch of thugs to take charge and impose a regime of cruelty and intimidation on the people of Iraq. As for the worst case, go read Juan Cole's blog... scary, scary stuff.

I would like to close with a personal story. There's an Iraqi National I know here. He works on the base. Let's call him Joe. He's a good kid. He knows a little english and we were bullshitting about stuff when I mentioned that I was going home soon. He looked at me, obviously shaken, and asked, "Are more Soldiers coming?". I realised I shouldn't have said that, I told him more Soldiers were coming. "American Soldiers?", he asked. I told him yes. More American Soldiers were coming, they are already on the way. Joe is scared shitless of the day we leave. The day that US Soldiers stop coming here, Joe will be truly fucked. He has worked with our guys since 2003, he isn't safe outside of the base. He can't even go into town without risking his life. It's guys like Joe I feel most sorry for. They were naive enough to trust us, and we will almost certainly abandon them to the cruel realties of Iraq. I would like to think that Joe will wind up in the United States someday... there will be no bright future for him in this place.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

lunchy 

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Porn star's dream: Sex with Bush twins

(Asked interviewer not to publish until after dinner with president)


The fake Secret Service Agent


"This is something that shouldn't happen in America," Young said. "People shouldn't be excluded from public events based on their viewpoints. The White House and Secret Service should come forward and disclose who these people were that prevented us from taking part in this meeting and what their marching orders were."


An Iraqi Describes Life Inside Iraq

Detentions and assassinations, along with intermittent electricity, have also been contributing to sleepless nights. We’re hearing about raids in many areas in the Karkh half of Baghdad in particular. On the television the talk about ‘terrorists’ being arrested, but there are dozens of people being rounded up for no particular reason. Almost every Iraqi family can give the name of a friend or relative who is in one of the many American prisons for no particular reason. They aren’t allowed to see lawyers or have visitors and stories of torture have become commonplace. Both Sunni and Shia clerics who are in opposition to the occupation are particularly prone to attacks by “Liwa il Theeb” or the special Iraqi forces Wolf Brigade. They are often tortured during interrogation and some of them are found dead.

There were also several explosions and road blocks today. It took the cousin an hour to get to work, which was only twenty minutes away before the war. Now, he has to navigate between closed streets, check points, and those delightful concrete barriers rising up everywhere. It is especially difficult to be caught in traffic and that happens a lot lately. Baghdad has been cut up into sections and several of them may be found to be off limits immediately after an explosion or before a Puppet meeting. The least pleasant situation is to be caught in mid-day traffic, on a crowded road, in the heat- waiting for the next bomb to go off.

What people find particularly frustrating is the fact that while Baghdad seems to be falling apart in so many ways with roads broken and pitted, buildings blasted and burnt out and residential areas often swimming in sewage, the Green Zone is flourishing. The walls surrounding restricted areas housing Americans and Puppets have gotten higher- as if vying with the tallest of date palms for height. The concrete reinforcements and road blocks designed to slow and impede traffic are now a part of everyday scenery- the road, the trees, the shops, the earth, the sky… and the ugly concrete slabs sometimes wound insidiously with barbed wire.

The price of building materials has gone up unbelievably, in spite of the fact that major reconstruction has not yet begun. I assumed it was because so much of the concrete and other building materials was going to reinforce the restricted areas. A friend who recently got involved working with an Iraqi subcontractor who takes projects inside of the Green Zone explained that it was more than that. The Green Zone, he told us, is a city in itself. He came back awed, and more than a little bit upset. He talked of designs and plans being made for everything from the future US Embassy and the housing complex that will surround it, to restaurants, shops, fitness centers, gasoline stations, constant electricity and water- a virtual country inside of a country with its own rules, regulations and government. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Republic of the Green Zone, also known as the Green Republic.

“The Americans won’t be out in less than ten years.” Is how the argument often begins with the friend who has entered the Green Republic. “How can you say that?” Is usually my answer- and I begin to throw around numbers- 2007, 2008 maximum… Could they possibly want to be here longer? Can they afford to be here longer? At this, T. shakes his head- if you could see the bases they are planning to build- if you could see what already has been built- you’d know that they are going to be here for quite a while.



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Poet Calvin Trillin 

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When rockets fly and battle smoke is thick,
It's good to hear from "Four Deferments Dick."
He's always sure. He knows what warfare is---
Enough to know it's not for him or his.
Insurgents somehow, though they're in the throes,
Kill more GIs---but no one Cheney knows.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Din Din 

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WASHINGTON – A defense contractor who took a $700,000 loss on the purchase of Rep. Randy Cunningham's Del Mar residence in 2003, and provided a yacht for his use in the nation's capital , forced his employees to make political contributions that benefited the San Diego Republican and other members of Congress, according to three former senior officials of the company.



Your Media-Covering The Top Stories

Here are the number of news segments that mention these stories: (from a search of the main news networks’ transcripts from May 1-June 20).
• ABC News: "Downing Street Memo": 0 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 42 segments; "Michael Jackson": 121 segments.
• CBS News: "Downing Street Memo": 0 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 70 segments; "Michael Jackson": 235 segments.
• NBC News: "Downing Street Memo": 6 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 62 segments; "Michael Jackson": 109 segments.
• CNN: "Downing Street Memo": 30 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 294 segments; "Michael Jackson": 633 segments.
• Fox News: "Downing Street Memo": 10 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 148 segments; Michael Jackson": 286 segments.
• MSNBC: "Downing Street Memo": 10 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 30 segments; "Michael Jackson": 106 segments.




Why W Went To War
'If I have a chance to invade…, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.'"



Marines Poorly Outfitted

Marine Corps units fighting in some of the most dangerous terrain in Iraq don't have enough weapons, communications gear, or properly outfitted vehicles, according to an investigation by the Marine Corps' inspector general provided to Congress yesterday.

--snip—

Complaints of equipment shortages in Iraq, including lack of adequate vehicle armor, have plagued the Pentagon for months, but most of the reported shortages have been found in the Army, which makes up the bulk of the American occupation force.


Three Laws Against Torture


The Geneva Conventions, which protect people captured in conflict, prohibit "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment." The scope of that clause's legal obligation has been debated, but previous American governments abided by it. President Bush decided that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to the suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban members who are detained at Guantánamo.

The United Nations Convention Against Torture, also ratified by the United States, requires signatories to "prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction ... cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." The Bush administration declared that this provision did not apply to the treatment of non-Americans held outside the United States.

Finally, there is the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It makes cruelty, oppression or "maltreatment" of prisoners a crime. Armed services lawyers worried that some methods of interrogation might violate the Uniform Code and federal criminal statutes, exposing interrogators to prosecution. A Pentagon memorandum obtained by ABC News said a meeting of top military lawyers on March 8, 2003, concluded that "we need a presidential letter" approving controversial methods, to give interrogators immunity.





One sees a similar approach in the gambler who, having lost his car, bets his house in hopes of redeeming himself.

As the news worsens the lying, begun long ago, increases. Democracies of course have to be lied into aggressive wars, since no one really cares about the form of government in an obscure and remote nation. Thus as losses mount, the enemy’s successes are described as defeats, as the last throes of a failing force. (I would not be surprised to find that Tokyo described the bombing of Hiroshima as a sign of American desperation.) The government forbids reporters to photograph the coffins, punishes soldiers who talk to the press. The horribly wounded are discreetly hidden. Generals who are not upbeat are fired. Dissidents become labeled as traitors. War crimes become isolated incidents: Only those which are discovered have occurred. Etc.

--snip—

What price nothing? A couple of thousand dead kids, countless cripples who will remain crippled when the current administration has been forgotten, a country wrecked, God knows how many dead Iraqis (I know, they don’t count), thousands of sisters and mothers remembering Bobby every Christmas and looking at his last year book from high school, a tremendous diminution in America’s influence and prestige as China rises, unforeseeable consequences in the Middle East. For what, Mr. Bush? For what?


Iraqi Forces completely infiltrated



We Will All Pay For This

The sad irony is that Iraq — unlike Japan or Germany during World War II — also wasn't a viable threat to the United States when we "preemptively" invaded it. Once again, we have been reminded that violent intrusions into other people's history have unforeseen consequences, usually negative. First among these effects is the inciting of insurgencies, united only by common hatred of the occupying foreign soldiers

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One of the strangest stories I have ever read 

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( about Sun Young Moon and the Washington Times)

Despite its modest circulation, the paper continues to propel important stories into conservatism’s national echo chamber. The gratitude that has accrued on the right could be heard in a special message delivered by Ronald Reagan at a Washington Times anniversary dinner celebration in 1997. “The American people know the truth,” declared the former president. “You, my friends at The Washington Times, have told it to them. It wasn’t always the popular thing to do. But you were a loud and powerful voice. Like me, you arrived in Washington at the beginning of the most momentous decade of the century. Together, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

“And -- oh, yes -- we won the Cold War.”

With the Cold War long over, Moon’s purposes are no longer necessarily compatible with the aims of American conservatives or the United States government. If his newspaper promotes a hard line toward North Korea, the would-be messiah and his commercialized church have pursued a very different policy -- and they have done so from within the newspaper itself. Given Moon’s propensity for what many ex-disciples have called “heavenly deception,” the doctrine that God must fight Satan’s deception with righteous lies, the paper’s editorial policy may merely serve as a diversion from his self-serving ties with North Korea.

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Lunch 

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The Aftermath of the War Bush Doesn’t Have To See


Rummy in La La Land

The Pentagon says there are enough U.S. troops in Iraq to defeat the insurgency. U.S. commanders in Iraq, from the lowest to the highest levels, say there are not enough troops deployed to make a significant difference, despite their technological and firepower advantages.


Iranian Anti American Hardliner wins election because of Bush’s Comments.

"I say to Bush: `Thank you,'" quipped Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi. "He motivated people to vote in retaliation."



Scott Ritter Says The War In Iran Has Already begun



Lame Lazy Fucking Press

(Is that redundant?)

USA Today's assignment editor, Jim Cox, was quoted in an article in his own paper saying he didn't run the memos because he "couldn't get a verifiable copy" of the initial memo, written by Richard Dearlove, the head of British intelligence and presented to Tony Blair.

Couldn't get a copy?

It was published by Rupert Murdoch's Times of London! One of USA Today's British correspondents could have walked into the Times offices and photocopied that paper's copy-or the one at the BBC. What a joke!

It's time for people to turn to the alternative media and the Internet for their information. All the corporate media is good for now is movie listings and comics (newspapers) and lame sitcoms (TV) best watched as a form of anesthetic.






A top Justice Department official threatened to remove a government expert from its witness list if he did not water down his recommended penalties for the tobacco industry, the witness said in an interview yesterday.

Only three more years of this shit to go 

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Laurie David Points out that The latest environmental atrocity is a scientific analysis of the impact of cattle grazing on public lands that has been falsified -- leading to a relaxation of grazing rules.


The study -- paid for with taxpayer dollars -- originally said that the new grazing rules would have “a significant adverse impact” on wildlife. Enter an as-yet-unidentified Dept. of Interior re-write man and -- presto! -- the report suddenly said that the new rules would be “beneficial to animals”. I don’t have my thesaurus handy, but I’m pretty sure “adverse” and “beneficial” are not synonyms.

Apparently we're in the midst of a trend: faceless bureaucrats whitewashing science. Moles tinkering in the engine room. Termites in the attic. Deployed by Very Big Business to rewrite regulations to their financial benefit -- natural resources be damned.

I think it is high time we saw pictures of these faceless criminals. The New York Times has been trying to find one of Mr. Philip “Exxon” Cooney, but to no avail. So here's my offer: a hundred bucks and a set of Curb DVD’s for the first person who can deliver the identifying snapshot from the Cooney family vacation at Yellowstone!



The Bush administration altered critical portions of a scientific analysis of the environmental impact of cattle grazing on public lands before announcing Thursday that it would relax regulations limiting grazing on those lands, according to scientists involved in the study.

A government biologist and a hydrologist, who both retired this year from the Bureau of Land Management, said their conclusions that the proposed new rules might adversely affect water quality and wildlife, including endangered species, were excised and replaced with language justifying less stringent regulations favored by cattle ranchers.



U.S. allies have begun to resist Washington's secretive role in spiriting away terror suspects:

Italy is investigating the disappearance of one accused militant as a kidnapping, Sweden wrote rules to assert its authority over outside agents and Canada is holding hearings after one of its citizens was sent to Syria.


In addition to the thousands of American and Iraqi casualties, one victim of this slow bleeding in Iraq is the American military as an institution. Across America, the National Guard, designed to assist civil authorities in domestic crises (like the pandemic of a lethal avian flu that some public-health planners fear), is in tatters. Re-enlistments are down, training for domestic support missions is spotty at best, equipment is battered and many units are either in Iraq or on their way to or from it. Now the rot is beginning to spread into the regular Army. Recruiters are coming up dry, and some, under pressure to produce new troops, have reportedly been complicit in suspect applications.


"[We] have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. [We] have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiqués are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows... Our unfortunate troops,... under hard conditions of climate and supply, are policing an immense area, paying dearly every day in lives for the willfully wrong policy of the civil administration in Baghdad." - T.E. Lawrence, Sunday Times of London, August 22, 1920


Such is the overload of faked reality for Americans at this point that it will be far more difficult for the Bush administration than it was for F.D.R. to persuade the nation of an imminent threat without appearing to cry wolf. Nor can it easily get the country to believe that success in Iraq is just around the corner. Too many still remember that marvelous aircraft-carrier spectacle marking the end of "major combat operations" in Iraq - a fake reality show adapted, no less, from a Tom Cruise classic, "Top Gun." Some 25 months and 1,500 American deaths later, nothing short of a collaboration by Orson Welles and Steven Spielberg could make this war fly in America now.


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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Dad 

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My dad was a gruff man. Egotistical, Neanderthallic, braggadocio, and masculine hardly describe him. Rage-a-holic maybe does. Not humorless or without charm, mind you. But this was the way he was around us it seemed like.

Ultimately my Dad was a Willy Loman of sorts. He had a series of skill related jobs but no real career other than a ten year stint in a company he helped to build. It was a company that pre-washed jeans and tagged and priced and sized women’s wear and distributed these brands to different retail outlets. Eventually they let him go as like his family, they had just anout enough of him.

A failed business venture followed.

For personal reasons I won ‘t go any further other than to say it goes without saying that I did have a great relationship with my father.

But it being father’s Day, I will say these things: he loved me. He worked his ass off keeping a roof over my head. He was a WWII veteran. He did his best.

I forgive him.

Like a lot of fathers out there, he never matched up with the figures we saw in movies and TV and on variety talk shows. My Dad often embarrassed me and seemed blind to his own Achilles heel.

What I want to do is make sure I don’t become him. Or fail the way he failed.

I already jingle change in my pocket.

That scares me.

To any father who might wander upon this, I wish you a Happy Father’s Day. I can only imagine how hard it is being a dad today. I have so much respect for what you do,

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Billmon says 

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From the Pentagon's point of view, though, the biggest problem with the plot is that it isn't going anywhere. That might not be so bad (in 14 seasons of Bonanaza, the only place the Cartwrights ever went was back to the ranch) but this is a war/spy show, and those are always tricky -- to hold the audience, you need progress towards victory, even though you can't actually get there until the final episode, which in this case might be a long way off.

But even the Pentagon knows what to do when the plot starts to drag: Throw in a cool chase scene! And so we end up with CIA agents and special forces pursuing more bad guys than Kiefer Sutherland does in a full season of 24. Some they catch (and, for comic relief, display to the world in their jockey shorts.) But, since taking down villains too easily destroys dramatic tension, they usually they get away.

Every villain has his henchmen, though, and catching them is a good way to create the illusion of plot progression, even if every episode does seem to wind up "back at the ranch." But it's also easy to get carried away with this device. Creating, and catching, too many bad guys too quickly starts to seem unrealistic, like an action hero comic book. Which is OK if you're intentionally aiming for that effect as an alienation techinque -- as in the old Batman TV show -- but not so good if you're trying to maintain the more traditional suspension of audience disbelief.

Looking at the episodes mentioned by Bernhard, I'd say the Pentagon is in some danger of overdoing it. There appear to be enough "top Al Qaeda aides" in Iraq to fill Shea Stadium. Zarqawi's inner circle alone would probably take up the entire upper deck. This is not only bad news, but bad storytelling. Shit, the way things are going, I wouldn't be too surprised if some day soon Centcom announces it's captured the Joker and the Riddler, and is hard on the trail of the Penguin. Is it any wonder the ratings are down?


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Do The Editors of the New York Times Read Their Paper? 

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First, today’s article on resurgent of sales in corporate jets had a rosy assessment of why this is so.


The market for business jets is booming again, after a steep downdraft following the collapse of technology stocks in 2000. Sales jumped 18 percent in 2004 over the previous year, and they are continuing this year at a double-digit pace, thanks to the buoyant American economy, which has fattened corporate profits and personal bank accounts.

Did the same editor(s) also read this article?

Falling Fortunes of the Wage Earner; Average Pay Dipped Last Year for First Time in Nearly a Decade

Wages for average worker fell in 2004, after adjusting for inflation, first such drop in nearly decade; many economists argue that increasing exposure of Aemrican economy to globalization, along with other foreces, including soaring health insurance costs that leave less money for raises, is putting pressure on wages that could leave millions of workers worse off; some economists say wage sluggishness is temporary and that real wages have slipped only because sudden increase in oil prices has briefly left workes behind curve; Bureau of Labor Statistics says wages fell 0.5 percent last year, after inflation.




Or this article?


RECORD DEFICITS REPORTED

WASHINGTON, June 17 - The United States hit a record deficit of $195.1 billion in the first quarter in trade and capital flows with the rest of the world, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The news reignited worries that the economy cannot sustain the growing level of global debt.



Or this article?

HOURLY PAY IN U.S. NOT KEEPING PACE WITH PRICE RISES

Amount of money American workers receive in their paychecks is failing to keep us with inflation; three years of job losses have left large worker surplus, which reduces pressure on wage growth; some economists say that even though economy has been adding hundreds of thousands of jobs almost every month this year, stagnant wages could put dent in prospects for economic growth; say that if incomes continue to lag behind increase in prices, it could hinder ability of ordinary workers to spend money at healthy clip.


Oh well

I have not missed a NYT in 17 years. I am a loyal reader and a big fan and I think the paper is still too important to dismiss. But this is like watching someone dear to you slowly deteriorate. It’s like seeing a mentor lose credibility or status. It’s like watching a favorite athlete fumble, stumble, get knocked out and fall. It hurts you just as much to watch it.

All I can guess is that today, where facts are a commodity, it doesn’t surprise me that the New York Times doesn’t have a point of view anymore. Like the cable networks, they figure that truth is hammered out like Hegel’s dialectic. Two opposite forces clashing. In this case, the result is not news, or a clearer understanding of where the economy is or why jets are selling faster. In this case, the result is simply noise.


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Friday, June 17, 2005

late lunch 

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Non Scientific Poll- did bush mislead into war?....uh…94% said yes

the fraggings have begun already

Frist Surprised By His Own Words


The slow fall of the NYT

Only a very special brand of arrogance would permit any employee of the New York Times, which brought us the mythmaking of Judith Miller, to insist that new documentary evidence of "intelligence fixing" about Saddam's arsenal is no longer news.



In effect, they're trying to turn America into a giant version of the elder Richard Daley's Chicago.

These efforts have already created an environment in which politicians from the right party and businessmen with the right connections believe, with good reason, that they have immunity.

Foxes Buy Henhouse


All Bills Come Due Eventually

It is not unreasonable to expect that other young men will soon be destroying themselves in this country as they blow up Americans in shopping malls and restaurants and hospitals and churches. The chickens of the criminal war in Iraq will come home to roost. No matter that the majority of Americans disapprove of the war. It is too late for that now.

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