Tuesday, October 7, 2003
Maybe they weren't "senior" administration sources?
If Novak followed the journalist line, there aren't very many people who would qualify as *senior* administration sources. Bush could haul them all into one room, and demand to know who the perps are. Or, Novak was playing loose with the "senior", and a broader investigation is called for.
Either Novak's a liar, or the Justice Department is following their "anthrax political assassin cover-up" strategy -- searching far and wide where they know the perpetrators *aren't*, in order to look like they're doing something while they avoid doing anything that might turn up the actual terrorist.
Expect the FBI to drain a lake in Maryland, pretending that they hope to find a tape of a conversation with Novak -- even while the handful of "senior administration officials" are ignored.
I'm opposed to the death penalty in principle. And, in principle, I think it's a bad idea to fire people who have made a mistake -- as long as they can learn from it.
But I can't think of any penalty too strong for the people who allowed Iraq's various nuclear facilities to be looted.
I would want this to go through the court system, with full due process, but somebody's head should be cut off, preserved, and stuck on a pole on the White House grounds. And maybe all their nuclear (ha ha) family should have their heads there, too.
Bush, Rumsfeld, Franks, and everybody in the chain of command are in line for this penalty. If Bush were ten percent the man he pretends to be, he would take the full blame for this disaster.
The whole war was supposed to be about preventing terrorists from getting nasty weapons, and these IDIOTS let all the nuclear facilities be looted by anybody with the ignorance or gumption to carry away radioactive materials.
Cheney and Rove are desparate to convince people that Bush is a good leader in the so-called war on terrorism -- precisely because he is a miserable failure at it. Except for right-wing propaganda, people would laugh them out of the room. Bush let Bin Laden kill thousands, then couldn't catch Bin Laden, Omar, the anthrax killer, or even Saddam, *and* he let terrorists walk out of Iraq with nuclear materials to build dozens of dirty bombs. When a Republican talks about how good a leader Bush is, just laugh.
The Democrat who gets the nomination should promise a full accounting of Bush's disasters, including how much nuclear material disappeared from Iraq while Bush left it unguarded.
Monday, October 6, 2003
The Top Ten Conservative Idiots (No. 129) [democraticunderground.com]:
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." (Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002).
"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons." (George W. Bush, September 12, 2002).
"If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world." (Ari Fleischer, December 2, 2002).
"We know for a fact that there are weapons there." (Ari Fleischer, January 9, 2003).
"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." (George W. Bush, January 28, 2003).
"We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more." (Colin Powell, February 5, 2003).
"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons - the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have." (George Bush February 8, 2003).
"So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? I think our judgment has to be clearly not." (Colin Powell, March 8, 2003).
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." (George Bush, March 18, 2003).
"We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad." (Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003).
"At this point we have found substantial evidence of an intent of senior level Iraqi officials, including Saddam, to continue production at some future point in time of weapons of mass destruction. We have not found yet, and I'm sure you know this, otherwise you would know it earlier, we have not found at this point, actual weapons." (David Kay, chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, October 3, 2003).
Schwarzenegger and Nazi stuff....
Usually, any mention of Nazis and Hitler just perverts a conversation beyond any hope of usefulness. Usually it is right-wing extremists who try to stop the conversation at that point.
It's pretty clear that Schwarzenegger didn't admire Hitler for killing millions of people.
On the other hand, Schwarzenegger admired Hitler for his rise to power, and for his speaking style. And Schwarzenegger wanted to be like that himself: "like Hitler in the Nuremberg stadium. And have all those people scream at you and just being total agreement whatever you say."
The edge is in the "and just being total agreement whatever you say."
That's a yellow flag. And when you look closer there are a lot more yellow flags. Is Schwarzenegger going to listen to the people, or tell the people? Is leadership getting thousands to scream and applaud, or working through state government to solve problems?
How can we make a judgment?
First: does he show up for debates, or does he show up for media spectacles? Frankly, refusing to debate Davis may be a good tactical decision, but it is completely inappropriate for democracy.
In a short campaign, and with no previous track record to judge Schwarzenegger by (except for his serial gropings), it is entirely reasonable to vote him down for his apparent lack of commitment to democratic ideals.
The recall started out as a joke, and now it's a bad joke.
To raise the level of ridiculousness, we propose the following:
First, count the number of reasonably probable gropes Mr. Schwarzenegger has copped in the last period of time. We say go back to his second film -- giving him his weight-lifting career for free, and one film where he could have learned how to behave in a civil society.
Second, give that many of the top recall candidates (based on the final vote count) a free feel-up of Schwarzenegger's wife. The gropes should be videotaped so Schwarzenegger can get a good look at the error of his ways.
If Maria stands by her man, she should be willing to go through with this.
Of course, this isn't as bad as what Schwarzenegger's victims suffered: Maria won't have to worry about getting fired if she resists or complains. But it's a start.
[Attention certain literal-minded readers: this is satire.]
Sunday, October 5, 2003
Bush to Sharon: "Cut that out! The 'War on Terrorism' is *my* war, to get *me* elected. Don't you go poaching my Wars."
So Kay claims he's found secret laboratories for WMD in Iraq.
I'm perfectly willing to think that Saddam had all kinds of things. But I'm not willing to trust Kay. Kay was finally forced to shut up when his early claims were proven to be phony, and hyped.
Now he makes more claims. Excuse me... why should I presume his current claims aren't phony or hyped? I just read newspapers, so I don't have first-hand information about whether these claims are true. What I have is first-hand memory of Kay's repeated claims of "proof", and first-hand memory that Kay's claims turned out to be bogus.
You know... I'm tired of giving Bush cronies the benefit of the doubt. They repeatedly make some claim that turns out to be phony. Then they claim they aren't liars, but stupid.
I think it's time to just presume that they are lying -- either flat out lies, or "propaganda lies" -- intentionally misleading statements.
Suddenly, anything The Groper 'cannot recall' is untrue. How is it plausible that his memory about these things is suddenly perfect, and all of these women are liars? I thought Schwarzenegger claimed *he* was the liar -- about gangbang sex, backstage sex, drugs, and all the "yadda yadda".
"Electing a governor who might have committed a crime is obviously going to distract the state from the important work it has to do." --Gray Davis
"Win One for the Groper" --Maureen Dowd
Yeah, *that's* a good idea: bomb Syria. They're "terrorists", after all, and everybody knows from CNN that we're in the middle of a "War on Terror" (that will go on forever, or until the last Bush's last term in the White House).
Maybe The Dimwit will help Israel conquer Syria. Wouldn't *that* put a stop to terrorism, once and for all....
If our troops in Iraq are just "flypaper" -- sitting-duck targets to attract terrorist bombers -- why not try to get the Palestinian suicide bombers to go after them, too? Doesn't that make sense?
If you were inclined to be fair to Bush, the hoopla over so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction is quite irrelevant.
While Bush lied repeatedly about Iraq's weapons in order to gain support for his war, the true justification didn't rely on those lies at all.
Bush's true justification for conquering Iraq is his "pre-emptive strike" doctrine. According to this doctrine, Bush is entitled to conquer any country, entirely at his own whim.
We aren't supposed to question Bush's judgement. We are either with him or against him. To be against him is to be for terrorists, and therefore to be an enemy combatant -- subject to arrest and execution without civilian due process.
The real issue is that Bush's doctrine is illegitimate, unjustifiable, and not supported by the people of this country, much less the rest of the semi-civilized world. And if the doctrine itself is illegitimate, Bush is the perfect example of why.
It could take the world decades to recover from Bush's malfeasance and political opportunism. Someone who screws up as badly as Bush has no business being in a situation where his whims can wreck nations, economies, and environments far into the future.
Host at Schwarzenegger rally: "Who's the guy with the LA Times? Find him and beat him up, will you?"
Saturday, October 4, 2003
Big corporations.... They don't hire American workers. They don't pay American taxes. All they do is sell their products here, and move the profits to off-shore accounts. (That's the trend.)
We're going to have to find a way to protect the quality of employment, or our economy will spiral down as too many people are forced into low-wage service jobs that don't pay enough to buy all these products. And if the corporations refuse to pay taxes, and the workers don't earn enough money to pay taxes, the government will be in serious trouble.
If a corporation has a choice between paying Americans $10/hour plus benefits or paying Indians $1.20/hour with even fewer or no benefits, an awful lot of corporations choose to pay $1.20.
Typically despicably, the Republican party is even out-sourcing their fund-raising calls to Americans. The *good* thing about this is that it makes everything absolutely clear. Technology makes it possible to outsource, but competition and values determine the outcome. Competition forces a race to the bottom -- as a matter of self-preservation and greed. But there is a question of values, also, and Republican corporate and political values have become so reprehensible that the Republican party won't even hire American workers.
The good news is that if we can fix this problem it may well solve the future problem of technology eliminating a large percentage of existing jobs. The bad news is that it isn't obvious how we can save our jobs now.
Let's be clear: it is *entirely* appropriate for government to set rules about the conditions of employment. Corporations individually following their narrowly perceived, short-term interest will seek to increase their profits by reducing costs as much as possible -- within the rules of the marketplace. The rules are determined by governments. The narrowly perceived, short-term interests of corporations are not always in their own long-term best interests, and are *certainly* not necessarily in the best interests of the employees, people, and nations. The way to generate long-term prosperity is to make sure people earn enough money to buy lots of goods and services. We now have many decades of proof -- economic wreckage under Republicans, prosperity when government stands for the workers. Even the rich get richer when the entire economy does well, but they have to earn it, and can't rely on handouts from their cronies in the government.
One positive indication: when the general economy prospers, there is much less pressure to cut costs. Fixing the economy will probably give us some time to deal with the outsourcing problem. But we have to get the Republicans out of the White House before we'll have a prayer of fixing the economy.
So it looks like DICK Cheney's Chief of Staff is the prime culprit in the Wilson-gate affair. Makes you wonder how there could be so much buzz about Rove.
The *fun* thing would be if the reason Bush knew it wasn't Rove is that he knew it was out of Cheney's office.
Suspicion centers on Lewis Libby (from Salon.com).
"I know that the people of California can see through this trash politics.
"Let me tell you something, let me tell you something: A lot of those that you see in the stories is not true, but at the same time, I have to tell you that I always say, that wherever there is smoke, there is fire. That is true.
"So I want to say to you, yes, that I have behaved badly sometimes. Yes, it is true that I was on rowdy movie sets and I have done things that were not right which I thought then was playful but now I recognize that I have offended people.
"And to those people that I have offended, I want to say to them I am deeply sorry about that and I apologize because this is not what I'm trying to do." --Arnold Schwarzenegger
Schwarzenegger accused the women as a group of lying, without admitting which stories of harrassment were true, then apologized for how some people might have *felt* about what he did. He didn't apologize for *what* he did, and he didn't apologize to the specific women he harrassed.
This is not a "courageous" apology, but rather an attempt to defame the women involved and to frame sexual harassment as being unimportant.
"An outraged President Bush immediately demanded the names of those responsible for exposing Ms. Plame. He repeated his father's statement that 'those who betray the trust by exposing the names of our sources' are 'the most insidious of traitors.' There are limits to politics, Mr. Bush declared; Mr. Wilson's decision to go public about his mission had embarrassed him, but that was no excuse for actions that were both felonious and unpatriotic.
"Everything in the previous paragraph is, of course, false."
People don't say this enough: Joe Wilson is a hero. When Saddam Hussein threatened westerners as hostages during the first Bush Gulf War, Joe Wilson's courageous personal acts kept them safe.
That is, he didn't apologize for touching women's bodies or making sexually explicit remarks, but rather for how people feel about what he did.
Most people are sloppy about apologies and responsibility, but when the whole world is watching, it's time to be precise.
Schwarzenegger surely has the best Republican writers and best Republican strategists that money can buy. He should not get a pass for sloppiness. Rather, we should demand precision, and assume that his statements are precisely what he means.
In this case, his statement was a phony apology with an accusation that some of the women are liars, but without acknowledging which episodes he knows to be true. That, frankly, is a McCarthy-ist tactic.
Bob Novak had just better shut up entirely. His "counsel" told him not to comment on some aspects of the Wilson case, but he shoved his foot up his own derrier again, anyway.
Novak implied that Mrs. Wilson violated campaign finance laws by listing a fake company as her employer. The fake company, it turns out, was a CIA front company.
If any bad-guys were trying to figure out how much damage Wilson had done to their cause, Novak just publicized a big piece of their research. Thanks, Bob, you "most insidious of traitors".
(Technically, I don't agree that exposing a CIA agent is necessarily "traitorous". The man who said that is among the vilest of Republican crooks. But, you know, if the shoe fits....)
In particular, Novak is explicitly partisan, and served as the instrument of a Republican slime campaign, without regard for potential consequences -- consequences to the effort to prevent the spread of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
Novak should admit this was a terrible mistake and apologize. Otherwise, this should be a career-ending episode. I wouldn't hold a bad mistake against him, unless he doesn't learn from it and help the nation learn from it by acknowledging the error.
Friday, October 3, 2003
"He apologized, and that's courageous." --Maria
I say the *way* Schwarzenegger apologized was cowardly, not courageous.
Apologize for specific incidents... *that* would be appropriate and, in fact, courageous. But to accuse some of the women of lying, and then apologize for the incidents that weren't lies, *that* is cowardly.
"My relationship to power and authority is that I'm all for it. People need somebody to watch over them. Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave." --Arnold Schwarzenegger
If Schwarzenegger pulls off the coup d'etat in California, it would only take a few women to recall him -- just collect a million and a half signatures. That wouldn't be so hard.
Is it old news? No. Previous reports of Schwarzenegger's sexual misbehavior were not in mainstream journalism outlets. The LA Times has more credibility in presenting these stories.
Did Schwarzenegger already admit to this? No, his previous confessions were limited to consensual sexual behavior.
The six cases in the LA Times story are specifically about a man in a position of economic power making sexual advances against the will of the women... including against the will of women who could reasonably be afraid of economic consequences of resisting.
Hysteria in California....
Schwarzenegger propagandists are down to a single lie: It was politically motivated to release the story now.
Should LA Times have waited until *after* the election? Obviously not.
Should LA Times have printed an incomplete story? No, the value is in its quality.
Should LA Times have dropped the story altogether? No.
Remember that the second biggest problem of the recall is the short time-frame. If the time had been just a couple of weeks shorter, maybe Schwarzenegger wouldn't have had to face this charge. Then again, if the time for the recall were just a couple of weeks longer, maybe other stories would come to light.
Bottom line: A manager at a corporation who gropes subordinates would be out the door in a flash. A job applicant who is known to have a pattern of sexual harassment would not be considered.
Schwarzenegger is not an acceptable candidate for governor.
No one should be surprised that it is the Republican party that is supporting a sexual harasser.
"If we keep being put in the position of having to respond to recount after recount after recount of the same ballots, then we just can't sit on our hands, and we will be forced to do what might be in our best personal interest--but not--it would not be in the best interest of our wonderful country." --James Baker
Revealing Ms. Wilson's job was mean-spirited, petty, and stupid. So what if Poppy called it treason? Poppy's a crook.
James Baker and George W. Bush are guilty of the highest crime conceivable in a democracy.
The good news about Schwarzenegger's 100-day plan, is it sets a clear measure. If he fails to do what is positive, and pushes through what is negative, on the day 101 it will be perfectly reasonable to recall him.
As far as I know, it is a complete lie that he can erase the car tax increase without legislative approval. The legislature should give Schwarzenegger a chance to come up with a different tax increase, or spending cuts that Californians and the legislature would prefer. When Schwarzenegger fails at that, take him down.
So when the LA Times tracks down the details on six of Arnold Schwarzenegger's sexual harrassments, Arnold denies some or all of the incidents, but admits to rowdiness and to behavior that some "people" might find offensive. Sweetheart that he is, he even apologizes.
Are a semi-denial and a general apology enough?
The issue isn't really the six documented episodes. The issue is that the six documented episodes indicate a pattern where perhaps dozens of women have been groped.
Sure, Schwarzenegger says he lied about his various sexual exploits -- backstage blowjobs and upstairs gangbangs -- but the fact that he would lie to get ahead is not a reason to vote for him, either.
Thursday, October 2, 2003
Imagine if the Republican coup de California succeeds....
First, Republican Governor Pete Wilson conned the whole state into Enron's energy deregulation scheme. After voters threw Wilson out like moldy bread, Bush's rich energy cronies seized the day to steal billions from California. When Davis was forced to take drastic steps to keep the power on in California -- only necessary because Bush appointees at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission protected the multi-billion dollar thieves -- the Republican conspirators raised the drumbeat against Davis.
Let's be clear: Davis's problems are mostly about the national economy and the Bush-crony energy gangbang. And, yeah, he's a little stiff. It's unreasonable to hold the national economy against him. It's silly to think anyone could have done better against the likes of Ken Lay, Thomas White, Dick Cheney, and the rest. The company that designed the deregulation was making money showing energy companies how to exploit its flaws.
So we're really down to that Davis is a little stiff.
Schwarzenegger may be the front-man for the gang of thieves who stole billions from California, but Davis is a little stiff.
Ahnold: "I'm not a sexual predator, I'm a liar.... OK, I am a sexual predator, but I'm *still* a liar."
Wednesday, October 1, 2003
The Daily Show on the telemarketing ban: "Bush is like a genie who only grants crappy wishes. Thanks for the quiet phone. Can I use my next wish on health insurance?"
"If somebody leaked classified information, I'd like to know it." --The Dimwit-in-Chief
"My heart just breaks for those left to dangle in the wind (by this administration)" --Mom
Across the networks, Republican operatives chant: "It's all political. It's all political."
It's a propaganda lie.
First, Bush lied to take us to war. Then he used a cheap propaganda lie in the State of the Union speech -- a Constitutional requirement.
When a citizen called the administration on its lies, the White House retaliated with a treasonous act.
When the crime was exposed, and an investigation was called for, the administration did -- nothing -- for at least two months.
Now when Democrats call for an independent investigation, the Republicans chant: "It's all political. It's all political."
It's not politics, it's treason. And waiting ten weeks smacks of cover-up.
The White House strategy is to ignore the treason, and call for an investigation of leaks in general -- as if to promise further retaliation for anyone who gives evidence in the matter.
Well, the harder they come, the harder they fall. Between his chants, Gillespie admitted that this case is more serious than Watergate.
The only thing more beautiful than what we know about Rove, would be if the second source -- the one who leaked the classified information to Rove -- is Cheney, or one of Cheney's goons. (Beautiful in some sort of cosmic sense of irony and symmetry.)
You have Poppy manipulating Saddam to invade Kuwait and push the feudal Gulf states into our camp, then helping Saddam identify and crush Shiite rebels as a way to stay in power. And Poppy cons the entire world into supporting him -- even to *pay* for the war, for goodness' sake.
But then along comes Junior, dumber than a stump... decides *he* is going to make the decisions about which corrupt, murderous kleptocrats stay in power, and conquers Iraq against all common sense. Hubris, we call this.
And yet, Junior's downfall will be his political guru -- whose sorry ass Poppy had fired.
And it really, really couldn't be more appropriate, since it turns out the excuses for the Iraq conquest were lies, or ridulous, except that Rove *clearly* wanted the war to further his domestic agenda and political power.
But isn't it bizarre that conquering a country and killing tens of thousands in order to win a majority in Congress is OK, but "outing" a CIA agent is "treason"? And isn't it bizarre that it is Poppy's statement that is going to bring down both Rove and Junior?
"Journalists are saying privately: yes, it was Karl Rove that I talked to." --Julian Borger, Guardian Unlimited.
Whether the FBI covers this up or not, everyone is going to know that it was Rove. The journalists aren't going to confirm it on the record, but everybody is going to know. And Bush will have the choice of dumping his "traitorous" political maestro, or keeping him. Happy Election Season!
"Joe Wilson's wife is fair game." --Karl Rove
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Last update: 10/7/03; 10:42:24 PM.