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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Defend Marriage!

Stop the war.
While U.S. casualties steadily mount in Iraq, another toll is rising rapidly on the home front: The Army's divorce rate has soared in the past three years, most notably for officers, as longer and more frequent war zone deployments place extra strain on couples. "We've seen nothing like this before," said Col. Glen Bloomstrom, a chaplain who oversees family-support programs....

Between 2001 and 2004, divorces among active-duty Army officers and enlisted personnel nearly doubled, from 5,658 to 10,477, even though total troop strength remained stable....

Martha Rudd, an Army spokeswoman, attributed the recent surge in divorces to the stress and uncertainty caused by a stepped-up deployment cycle. "An awful lot of people are going back to Iraq for a second tour — that must be hard to take," she said. "You can get through one tour, but then you think, 'Please, no more.'"...

Sylvia Kidd, director of family programs for the private Association of the U.S. Army, urges military couples to seek help when needed but fears many spouses are too isolated....Kidd said the divorce problem could get even worse, as long the campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere require frequent deployments. "All kinds of couples have problems, but they don't necessarily break up," Kidd said. "When you add the additional stress of these separations, it's the straw that breaks the camel's back."

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: | Defend Marriage | Home - defendMARRIAGE Coalition | Rallies & Events - defendMARRIAGE Coalition | Defend Marriage , Canada! | United Families | The Navajo Defend Marriage -- Testimony to General Revelation | :: What Evangelicals are Doing to Defend Marriage | IslamOnline - Views Section

1:47:24 AM    

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Fool Me Once, Shame On You

For those who don't know, the Washington Post wrote in respones to the Downing Street Minutes that they were not news because everyone already knew everything they contained--importantly, though the WP carefully avoided mention, the DSM proving that Bush had decided to go to war prior to figuring out a reason and also that he in fact began that war prior to recieving congressional authorization.

This is bullshit.
First of all, Secondly it is certainly not something "everyone" knew, and certainly not something the news was reporting on. Thirdly, I think perhaps the largest shocker of all: this is proof--positive evidence and not mere speculation. It implies the Washington Post knew the war was a fraud from the very start and probably before but pretended it was legitimate.

That, if true, would be treason so far as I'm concerned. In the real definition of the word.

We've at least become sophisticates of our own bamboozlement, I guess.

First, there is the group of us (we) that have seen through the bamboozlement from the start. The feeling I've heard over and over hasn't been sophistication, so much as chagrin...over the fact that Bush could bamboozle everybody else (despite our protests).

Second, there's the mainstream press, for whom the Downing Street Memos are old news. Although they appeared to have been bamboozled, they now say they knew the truth all along (i.e. they are just as sophisticated as "we" were). It's just that they didn't care to share their insights with the American people (thereby facilitating the bamboozlement).

Finally, there's the group that have been bamboozled on a consistent basis, until perhaps recently. But Toto has pulled the curtain aside, forcing Bush to frantically tell them to pay no attention to the man behind the screen.

This group, I think, will proceed slowly down the path of opposition to White House policy. Nobody likes to admit that they had been bamboozed, after all.

But at least it's good to see that the press is now (finally) holding their hand along that journey.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Bushism Video: Fool Me Once - George W. Bush Quote | Fool me once , shame on you . Fool me twice, shame on me . | Design by Fire: Fool me once , shame on me | Fool Me Once Shame On You ; Fool Me Twice Shame On Me - Ann Huggett | Memorable Quotes from Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) | Trinicenter.com - More Shame on Bush. Fool Me Once | Shame On You , George, by Sheila Samples - Democratic Underground | FOOL ME ONCE , SHAME ON YOU ! FOOL ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME ! the | The Uke Man Speaks: “ Fool me once , shame on . . . you . Fool me | George W. Bush fool me once , shame on you . Video clip

12:51:34 PM    

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Empire's New Clothes
The cost of the war in Iraq is almost beyond imagining. But as it comes into focus, it’s no wonder that the public is turning against it.

This is a bull's-eye of a column by
Christopher Dickey of Newsweek:

A clear head and a calculator will tell you very quickly that the costs of this conflict in Iraq are on a scale far beyond whatever benefits it was supposed to bring. If Saddam had been behind 9/11, OK. But he wasn’t. If he’d really posed a clear and present danger to the United States with weapons of mass destruction, then the invasion would have been justifiable. But he didn’t, and it wasn’t. Bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people is a laudable goal, but not one for which the administration made any worthwhile preparations—which is why the occupation has been so ugly, bloody and costly. Tabloids may amuse their readers with snapshots of Saddam in his skivvies, but it’s the Bush administration’s threadbare rationales for postmodern imperialism that have been exposed.

"Some may disagree with my decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power," the president suggested in his weekly radio address last weekend, "but all of us can agree that the world's terrorists have now made Iraq a central front in the war on terror". . . . Our troops are fighting these terrorists in Iraq so you will not have to face them here at home."

Wait a minute. Who disagreed about Saddam? Do you know anybody anywhere, who said, "Hey, the Butcher of Baghdad is a stand-up guy, let’s keep him around"? The problem was always what or who might come after. What skeptics said was, "Occupying Iraq is a dangerous idea because 1) it will cost an enormous amount of blood and money, 2) it's an open-ended commitment that has no defining moment of victory or scenario for departure and 3) zealous terrorists will thrive there under foreign occupation, then spread anti-American violence far and wide.

. . . If we're safer, it’s largely because the war in Afghanistan and covert operations in Pakistan managed to round up or kill most of the key organizers of 9/11 by the spring of 2003. What we’re facing today are new dangers from new terrorists—-and new dangers we are likely to bring on ourselves.

That's exactly it. When Dubya says, "world's terrorists have now made Iraq a central front," etc., he's not giving us a reason to support his policies -- he's admitting that they've failed.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: The Empire ’ s New Clothes - Newsweek The War on Iraq - MSNBC.com | The Empire ’ s New Clothes - Newsweek The War on Iraq - MSNBC.com | The Empire ’ s New Clothes - Newsweek The War on Iraq - MSNBC.com | The Empire ’ s New Clothes - Newsweek The War on Iraq - MSNBC.com | The Empire ’ s New Clothes - Newsweek The War on Iraq - MSNBC.com | The Empire ’ s New Clothes : GQ Features on men.style.com | The Empire Has No Clothes : US Foreign Policy Exposed | Sentient Times April/May 2003 | Empire's New Clothes | The Empire's New Clothes , 6/4/2004 - The Texas Observer

11:02:03 PM    

Saudi Oil Bombshell

The price of a barrel of crude oil is flirting with $60; a Chinese state-controlled oil company has made an $18.5 billion bid for the American oil firm, Unocal -- ExxonMobil has quietly issued a report, The Outlook for Energy: A 2030 View, predicting that the moment of "peak oil" is only a five-year hop-skip-and-a-pump away; "Oil Shockwave," a "war game" recently conducted by top ex-government officials in Washington, including two former directors of the CIA, found the United States "all but powerless to protect the American economy in the face of a catastrophic disruption of oil markets."

Well, hold your hats, folks. Below Michael Klare, discusses a new bombshell book by oil industry insider Matthew Simmons, and his unsettling news that everything you've heard about those inexhaustible supplies of Saudi oil, which are supposed to keep the world floating for decades, simply isn't so. This is real news and absorbing its implications is no small matter.

For those oil enthusiasts who believe that petroleum will remain abundant for decades to come -- among them, the President, the Vice President, and their many friends in the oil industry -- any talk of an imminent "peak" in global oil production and an ensuing decline can be easily countered with a simple mantra: "Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia." Not only will the Saudis pump extra oil now to alleviate global shortages, it is claimed, but they will keep pumping more in the years ahead to quench our insatiable thirst for energy. And when the kingdom's existing fields run dry, lo, they will begin pumping from other fields that are just waiting to be exploited.

In a newly-released book, investment banker Matthew R. Simmons convincingly demonstrates that, far from being capable of increasing its output, Saudi Arabia is about to face the exhaustion of its giant fields and, in the relatively near future, will probably experience a sharp decline in output. "There is only a small probability that Saudi Arabia will ever deliver the quantities of petroleum that are assigned to it in all the major forecasts of world oil production and consumption," he writes in Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. "

It is not surprising, then, that the Department of Energy and the Saudi government have been very nervous about the recent expressions of doubt about the Saudi capacity to boost its future oil output. These doubts were first aired in a front-page story by Jeff Gerth in the New York Times on February 25, 2004. Relying, to some degree, on information provided by Matthew Simmons, Gerth reported that Saudi Arabia's oil fields "are in decline, prompting industry and government officials to raise serious questions about whether the kingdom will be able to satisfy the world's thirst for oil in coming years."

Essentially, Simmons argument boils down to four major points: (1) most of Saudi Arabia's oil output is generated by a few giant fields, of which Ghawar -- the world's largest -- is the most prolific; (2) these giant fields were first developed 40 to 50 years ago, and have since given up much of their easily-extracted petroleum; (3) to maintain high levels of production in these fields, the Saudis have come to rely increasingly on the use of water injection and other secondary recovery methods to compensate for the drop in natural field pressure; and (4) as time goes on, the ratio of water to oil in these underground fields rises to the point where further oil extraction becomes difficult, if not impossible. To top it all off, there is very little reason to assume that future Saudi exploration will result in the discovery of new fields to replace those now in decline.

This being the case, it would be the height of folly to assume that the Saudis are capable of doubling their petroleum output in the years ahead, as projected by the Department of Energy. Indeed, it will be a minor miracle if they raise their output by a million or two barrels per day and sustain that level for more than a year or so. Eventually, in the not-too-distant future, Saudi production will begin a sharp decline from which there is no escape. And when that happens, the world will face an energy crisis of unprecedented scale.

The moment that Saudi production goes into permanent decline, the Petroleum Age as we know it will draw to a close. Oil will still be available on international markets, but not in the abundance to which we have become accustomed and not at a price that many of us will be able to afford. Transportation, and everything it effects -- which is to say, virtually the entire world economy -- will be much, much more costly. The cost of food will also rise, as modern agriculture relies to an extraordinary extent on petroleum products for tilling, harvesting, pest protection, processing, and delivery. Many other products made with petroleum -- paints, plastics, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and so forth -- will also prove far more costly. Under these circumstances, a global economic contraction -- with all the individual pain and hardship that would surely produce -- appears nearly inevitable.

Through his scrupulous research, Simmons has convincingly demonstrated that -- because all is not well with Saudi Arabia's giant oilfields -- the global energy situation can only go downhill from here. From now on, those who believe that oil will remain abundant indefinitely are the ones who must produce irrefutable evidence that Saudi Arabia's fields are, in fact, capable of achieving higher levels of output.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: TomDispatch - Tomgram: Michael Klare on a Saudi Oil Bombshell | TomDispatch | TomDispatch | Matt Simmons' Bombshell | EnergyBulletin.net | Energy and Peak Oil News | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil Headlines - 27 June, 2005 | Energy | People For Change - DECLINE OF SAUDI OIL OUTPUT | People For Change - DECLINE OF SAUDI OIL OUTPUT | truthout - Michael T. Klare | The Impending Decline of Saudi Oil | BOMBSHELL : US Promised 'Carpet of Gold' to Taliban in Exchange for

10:16:22 PM    

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Downing Street Documents

The Downing Street Memo and related documents returned this summer to tell us this: the Bush Administration tells the British government a "truth" that it will not tell the American people or the rest of the world. Not only will the Bushies not tell Americans what they tell the British government, they tell Americans almost the opposite.

Things haven't changed. It apparently is happening right now:

From the Scotsman:

BRITAIN is coming under sustained pressure from American military chiefs to keep thousands of troops in Iraq - while going ahead with plans to boost the front line against a return to "civil war" in Afghanistan.

Tony Blair was warned that war-torn Iraq remains on the brink of disaster - more than two years after the removal of Saddam Hussein - during his summit with President Bush in Washington earlier this month.

Scotland on Sunday revealed last month that Blair is preparing to rush thousands more British troops to Afghanistan in a bid to stop the country sliding towards civil war, amid warnings the coalition faces a "complete strategic failure" in the effort to rebuild the nation.

"The Prime Minister was given a pretty depressing run-down of the prognosis for Iraq while he was in Washington," one senior Ministry of Defence source said last night. "The Americans are pushing for at least a maintenance of the troop numbers we have there now. Our latest intention is to reduce by at least half the number of our troops in Iraq within a year.

So the Bush Administration tells Blair that Iraq remains on the brink of disaster. Not could be. Not is sliding towards. REMAINS ON THE BRINK OF DISASTER.

But this is what we get from the Bush Administration when they speak to America:

From CNN:

Cheney: Iraq will be 'enormous success story'

"We will succeed in Iraq, just like we did in Afghanistan. We will stand up a new government under an Iraqi-drafted constitution. We will defeat that insurgency, and, in fact, it will be an enormous success story."

Cheney compared the current situation in Iraq to the last months of World War II, when Germans launched a desperate offensive in the Battle of the Bulge and the Japanese offered stiff resistance on Okinawa.

He said the insurgents will "do everything they can to disrupt" the process of building an Iraqi government, "but I think we're strong enough to defeat them."

Sound the same to you as what The Scotsman reported that the Bush Administration told Blair? Me neither.

So, I would say this to the U.S. news media: Find out how The Scotsman came up with this information. And find out why this kind of information isn't being shared with America.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: The Raw Story | Backstory: Confirming the Downing Street documents | The Raw Story | A rational voice - Alternative news | The Raw Story | House Judiciary Democrats to hold hearings on | The secret Downing Street memo - Sunday Times - Times Online | Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action - Sunday | Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’ - Sunday Times | lies.com » More on Downing Street Documents ’ Significance | The Real News in the Downing Street Memos | Scoop: Another Downing St Memo – Wrongfooting Saddam | DJ Paul Edge Blog: Bush and the Downing Street Document

8:40:47 PM    

Friday, June 24, 2005

Italian Payback for Extraordinary Rendition and Segrena/Calipari Betrayal

ROME - An Italian judge on Friday ordered the arrests of 13 CIA officers for secretly transporting a Muslim preacher from Italy to Egypt as part of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts — a rare public objection to the practice by a close American ally.

The Egyptian was spirited away in 2003, purportedly as part of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program in which terror suspects are transferred to third countries without court approval, subjecting them to possible torture.

The arrest warrants were announced Friday by the Milan prosecutor's office, which has called the disappearance a kidnapping and a blow to a terrorism investigation in Italy. The office said the imam was believed to belong to an Islamic terrorist group.

The 13 are accused of seizing Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, on a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003, and sending him to Egypt, where he reportedly was tortured, Milan prosecutor Manlio Claudio Minale said in a statement.

The U.S. Embassy in Rome and the CIA in Washington declined to comment.

The prosecutor's statement did not name the suspects, give their nationalities or mention the CIA by name. But an Italian official familiar with the investigation confirmed newspaper reports Friday that the suspects worked for the CIA.

The official also said there was no evidence Italians were involved or knew about the operation. He asked that his name not be used because official comment was limited to the prosecutor's statement.

Minale said the suspects remain at large and Italian authorities will ask the United States and Egypt for assistance in the case.

The prosecutor's office said Nasr was released by the Egyptians after his interrogation but was arrested again later.

The statement said Nasr was seized by two people as he was walking from his home toward a mosque and bundled into a white van. He was taken to Aviano, a joint U.S.-Italian base north of Venice, and flown to a U.S. air base in Ramstein, Germany, before being taken to Cairo.

It said investigators had confirmed the abduction through an eyewitness account and other, unidentified witnesses as well as through an analysis of cell phone traffic.

In March 2003, "U.S. authorities" told Italian police Nasr had been taken to the Balkans, the statement said. A year later, in April-May 2004, Nasr phoned his wife and another unidentified Egyptian citizen and told them he had been subjected to violent treatment by interrogators in Egypt, the statement said.

Italian newspapers have reported that Nasr, 42, said in the wiretapped calls that he was tortured with electric shocks.

On Friday, the Milan daily Corriere della Sera cited another Milan-based imam as telling Italian authorities Nasr was tortured after refusing to work in Italy as an informer. According to the testimony, he was hanged upside down and subjected to extreme temperatures and loud noise that damaged his hearing, Corriere reported.

Minale said the judge rejected a request for six more arrest warrants for suspects believed to have helped prepare the operation. Judge Chiara Nobile ordered the arrests after investigators traced the agents through Milan hotels and Italian cell phones, said reports in Corriere and another daily, Il Giorno. Il Giorno said all the agents were American and three were women.

Minale said a judge also issued a separate arrest warrant for Nasr on terrorism charges. In that warrant, Judge Guido Salvini said Nasr's seizure violated Italian sovereignty, according to Italian news agency Apcom.

Nasr was believed to have fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia and prosecutors were seeking evidence against him before his disappearance, according to a report in La Repubblica newspaper, which cited intelligence officials.

Corriere said Italian police picked up details, including cover names, photos, credit card information and U.S. addresses the agents gave to five-star hotels in Milan around the time of Nasr's alleged abduction. It said investigators also found the prepaid highway passes the agents used for the journey from Milan to the air base.

The report said investigations showed the agents incurred $144,984 in hotel bills in Milan, and that two pairs of agents took holidays in northern Italy after delivering Nasr to Aviano.

Italian-U.S. relations were strained after American soldiers killed an Italian intelligence agent near Baghdad airport in March. He was escorting a kidnapped Italian journalist after he had secured her release from Iraqi captors.

Germano Dottori, a political analyst at the Center for Strategic Studies in Rome, said it is not unusual for intelligence agencies to have squabbles with allied countries but that he could not recall prosecutors directly involved in investigating or apprehending agents involved.

"At some point the Americans will begin to think they can't trust the Italians," Dottori said.

Well, extraordinary rendition from the US is a-ok with Abu Gonzales, but it looks like Italy doesn't much like it from their soil. Cell phone usage was mentioned. So it's probable that the agents used their cover names while on the phone with each other, suggesting their conversations were being monitored by the Italians, and further suggesting the possibility of a strong case against them. Hopefully, the Italians are taking a firm stand over the kidnapping in the pure interest of upholding law and order for everyone. It would be so refreshing to know that the law still means something somewhere and that "Texas cancer" hasn't engulfed the entire world yet.

"At some point the Americans will begin to think they can't trust the Italians," Dottori said. But isn't it maybe about time the U.S. started worrying about the fact that the Italians, along with a number of others, already evidently no longer trust the Americans?

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." - Mark Twain

UPDATE: Kevin Drum

Has a post with details from various stories of this incident. Read all three stories to get the full picture. Each one has details the others don't, and you need to read them all to get a feel for what's going on. Nobody expects any of the CIA officers to be turned over to the Italians, of course, but the big question still remaining is what happens next: will the Italians treat this like a shot across the bow and let the case die out, or will they use it to embarrass the American government as fully as they can? Stay tuned.

Besides, you get to live kinda fine on the public dime for torturin' people:

In hotel bills alone, the group ran up a tab of $150,000, the court papers indicate.

Once the rendition was completed, several of the agents traveled to Venice for a celebration, also at a luxurious five-star hotel, the court papers say. Four others took a vacation along the picturesque Mediterranean coast north of Tuscany.

Is this a great country or what!
The first rule of covert operations: The agent can't pretend he is James Bond while staying at Motel 6.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google:

7:44:41 PM    

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Rove Mis-Understands

So, Karl, where's Osama?

And I would think US soldiers have to worry about people shooting at them and blowing up RDX bombs from material we forgot to secure. Not Dick Durbin. Oh, and Sen. Durbin, your apology means jack shit. They will hammer you anyway.

And Kos:
"Liberals saw what happened to us and said we must understand our enemies."

He's right. We want to understand.

We want to understand why Osama Bin Laden hasn't been captured? Why did the administration take its eyes off Al Qaida to invade Iraq? I mean, Al Qaida is the enemy Rove himself said we had to defeat. But we haven't.

Instead of defeating our enemies, we went to war against an impotent enemy -- Saddam. And yes, we want to understand. Like, why did they lie to go to war in Iraq? Why is that war still going, unabated? Why are we no closer to victory now, than we were in when Bush declared "mission accomplished"? Why don't our troops have proper ammo? Why aren't there enough boots on the ground in Iraq? Why are we still dying in Afghanistan?

He's right. I want to understand. I don't understand why the administration hasn't called for sacrifice. Why won't war supporters enlist? Why won't they encourage their circle of influence to enlist? Why won't they level with the American people, and give an honest assessment of what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I don't understand how our nation, always the good guys, is now perceived as the "bad guy" the world over. I don't understand how torture has become a commonplace occurance inside facilities that bear the stars and stripes.
It seems conservatives send other people to die in a war they didn't really understand how to fight, much less win. Funny, I remember liberals supporting them at the time.

It's pretty clear now that this was a set up orchestrated by the White House in order to deflect attention away from the disaster that is the war in Iraq, Bush's plumetting polls, and the Downing Street Memos revelations about Bush's lies in the runup to the Iraq war.

President Bush thinks 57% of Americans are traitors who hate America, want to kill our military, and love Osama bin Laden. 57% of Americans are apparently happy, or at least not outraged, by the murder of nearly 3,000 people in NY, VA and PA.

The Democratic Party had better realize that these people declared war today in a big way. We do not let this issue go until Karl Rove resigns. There IS no other issue in town, until Karl Rove resigns.

If Ken Mehlman wants to have a public debate about who's a bigger man, then "Bring It On". And we'll start by talking about the President who just killed 1700 Americans in Iraq for a lie, and still hasn't bothered to attend a single funeral of one of the soldiers he killed.

Sign the petition to fire Rove here.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: TIME Magazine: Battle Hymn of the Republicans | TIME.com: W. and the "Boy Genius" | BrothersJudd Blog: MARK HANNA'S IN THE HOUSE: | Alex's Weblog - Alex Marshall - New Urbanism, Old Urbanism, and | Alex's Weblog | Wealth Bondage: Auguries | “Do Cultural + Security Issues = National Republican Era? | 04-049 (Darrell M. West) | Different Lights - | The Gadflyer: War and Piece by Laura Rozen

4:35:17 PM    

The Freedom Full Body Cavity Search

Nothin' up your ass, nothin' to worry about.

The Transportation Security Agency decided to disseminate a bunch of personal passenger information to private companies, in violation of a Congressional edict and their own promises. The issue was naturally brought up at the libertarian magazine Reason's weblog, prompting this lightning-quick response from somebody who sees this subterfuge as essential to his not dying a fiery, horrible death:

Who cares? Why does someone's irrational concern about privacy trump the rest of the passengers being more confident that their plane will not be used as a human cruise missile by terrorists?

It's part of an age-old struggle wherein we who are not criminals are constantly called upon to explain what we're so worried about "If we have nothing to hide."

Sadly, this is what passes for a eulogy at the wake of the Fourth Amendment (putting aside the lying to Congress, separation of powers, and completely ineffective airline safety policy).

-- mandatory drug testing for junior high students (Who cares? The right of your 12-year-old not to pee in a cup outweighs the need to pacify panicky parents who worry about juiced intrascholalistic chess competitions?);

-- the ability of cops to basically tear apart your car based on a busted taillight, or to randomly stop cars for DUI testing on no probable cause at all (Who cares? Does your quaint addiction to privacy trumps the confidence by simpletons that the Drug War is being won, two ounces of weed at a time?).

-- the ability of the FBI to check the reading lists of library patrons, a power recently rescinded by the House, but it's not one that they were using anyway, except that they were (Who cares? What.. you don't want your wife to find out that you've been reading Nancy Drew Mysteries for their erotic passages?)

-- maybe somebody can stop people with forged papers from accessing nuclear weapons plants first. Or we can continue bask in the feeling of absolute security that can only come from Grandma having to remove her orthopedic shoes before flying to Atlanta for Jimmy's graduation.

Well, I dont know about you guys, but I feel much safer when the government tucks me in at night...always watching out for me. I just love living in a zero-tolerance society where all problems are magically solved. There aren't any problems, right?

On the other hand, how will my being treated like a suspicious criminal prevent another terrorist attack?
Based upon news reports I've read, I gather that the TSA flunkies will be so busy inspecting my shoelaces and underwear and looking for plastic explosive in my toothpaste that they won't have time to check and make sure there are no bombs or bioweapons in the cargo hold.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: American Handgunner: The straightjacket of false freedom : airline | Dear Blabby | Custom-Made Abuses at Customs | freedomforum.org: Lawsuit: Prison officials prevented Muslim | Edge of Sports | PSIgate - Physical Sciences Information Gateway: Search /Browse Results | TSA, RIP? - The Record - Opinion | Women and Global Human Rights | Free Speeches - Guantanamo: Detainee Accounts | Dave Zirin: Kobe Bryant and the Price of Freedom

2:08:59 AM    

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I Am A Democrat!

Driftglass Rules

Terrorist Mastermind Convicted of manslaughter. So if Bin Laden was somehow, miraculously nailed tomorrow, and brought before the bar, and was only convicted of felony manslaughter because he never actually flew any planes into any buildings. How would you feel about that?

Today shows, when you cut through all of the rhetoric, the elemental difference between the GOP and the Democratic Party and why, for all of its faults, it is so fucking easy for me to say proudly that I am a Democrat.

Why, for a person of conscience, there's really no contest. It's not even close.

Because unlike the Republicans, my party does not court and cultivate and lay out the fucking welcome mat for monsters.

My Party hasn't sold its immortal soul to hate-mongering theocrats like Jerry Falwell and James Dobson, who, in every word and deed, aggressively seek to annihilate the very principles for which my Party supposedly stands.

In my Party, the worst and basest impulses of the American heart do not find a happy home and a well-laid table.

In my Party, a sickening number of senior members did not need to duck for cowardly anonymity and cover when it comes to something as simple as condemning lynching.

In my Party, we look on the Reign of Terror that the Klan conducted while wearing a judge's robe and a cop's uniform as despicable. As one of the darkest and most shameful chapters in American history. We do not look on it with fucking nostalgia. And some Lyncher's Happy Days, where Jesse "the Fonz" Helms is idolized as a cool-kid role model.

You "Moderates Republicans" want to talk? You want to discuss Social Security and Medicare? National debt and tax reform?

Fine. But first kick the gargoyles that run your Party the hell out of your Party.

Because unlike the GOP, my Party does not negotiate with terrorists...or with those that aid and comfort and admire them.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Daily Kos :: Governor Mark Warner, "Why I am a Democrat ." | Why I Am A Democrat - Right Wing News (Conservative News and Views) | Hannah's Blog: I'ma Democrat | "I Am a Democrat and not a Revolutionist": Senator David Bennett | Winds of Change.NET: Why Am IA Democrat ? | Texas Democratic Party | iowahawk: Why I Am a Democrat | I Am A Democrat Now | MyDD :: Why I am a Democrat | Why I am A Democrat /Republican

7:04:44 PM    

Monday, June 20, 2005

Fallujah: Napalm By Any Other Name

Napalm = "Mark 77" or "Mark of the Beast."

In August last year, the United States admitted dropping the internationally-banned incendiary weapon of napalm on Iraq, despite earlier denials by the Pentagon that the "horrible" weapon had not been used in the three-week invasion of Iraq.

The Pentagon said it had not tried to deceive. It drew a distinction between traditional napalm, first invented in 1942, and the weapons dropped in Iraq, which it calls Mark 77 firebombs. They weigh 510lbs, and consist of 44lbs of polystyrene-like gel and 63 gallons of jet fuel.

Officials said that if journalists had asked about the firebombs their use would have been confirmed. A spokesman admitted they were "remarkably similar" to napalm but said they caused less environmental damage.

But John Pike, director of the military studies group GlobalSecurity.Org, said: *"You can call it something other than napalm but it is still napalm. It has been reformulated in the sense that they now use a different petroleum distillate, but that is it. The US is the only country that has used napalm for a long time. I am not aware of any other country that uses it." Marines returning from Iraq chose to call the firebombs "napalm".

Mr Musil said the Pentagon's effort to draw a distinction between the weapons was outrageous. He said: "It's Orwellian. They do not want the public to know. It's a lie."

In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Marine Corps Maj-Gen Jim Amos confirmed that napalm was used on several occasions in the war.

More word games at the Pentagon. They've recently denied reports that they used napalm against troops in Iraq. Reporters have claimed they did and so to have Air Force pilots We napalmed both those bridge approaches said one.

Turns out the weapons used were "remarkably similar" to napalm, the firebombing agent used extensively during the Vietnam War. Those burning Vietnamese kids running from giant orange balls of fire in the classic pictures were being "napalmed." Highly controversial, it was banned by a United Nations convention in 1980 that the United States refused to sign. The U.S. did claim to have destroyed its napalm arsenal two years ago but here it is napalming Iraqi troops.

When is napalm not napalm? When you switch gasoline for for jet fuel apparently. The new not-napalm has the happy name of "Mark 77," which sounds more like the latest boy band than the latest firebombing agent. Marine spokesperson Col. Michael Daily explained the difference between the gasoline of napalm and jet fuel of Mark 77 in a recent email:

This additive has significantly less of an impact on the environment.

Nice to know the Pentagon is environmentally-senstive when it's roasting people alive.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Daily Kos :: Fallujah : Napalm By Any Other Name | Political Affairs Magazine - Fire Bombs in Iraq: Napalm By Any | International Law: Fire Bombs in Iraq: Napalm By Any Other Name | International Law: Fire Bombs in Iraq: Napalm By Any Other Name | BELLACIAO - Fire Bombs in Iraq: Napalm By Any Other Name | Reports: Firebombs in Iraq: Napalm By Any Other Name | Iraqanalysis.org » Briefings»Fire Bombs in Iraq: Napalm By Any | Indymedia Cambridge, UK | Fire Bombs in Iraq: Napalm By Any Other Name | Voices in the Wilderness : Fire Bombs in Iraq: Napalm By Any Other | GlobalEcho - Alternative Media

10:48:16 AM    

Rice Says; The American People Were Told About The Generational Commitment to Iraq

That's not true. To build support for the war the administration told the American people that the conflict in Iraq will be short and affordable.

In war, truth is the first casualty. This bit of ancient wisdom means that many a soldier and civilian died because politicians lied. The War in Iraq is certainly no exception. In fact, this bloody war may well be the poster child for war on truth.

We were told Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed an imminent threat to US security. It did not. We were told war was the last resort. It was not. We were told, some 1500 American lives ago, that the mission was accomplished. It is not, and the carnage continues.

Revelations of some hard truths in the past month alone prove that this ugly war was predetermined many months before the invasion; that intelligence was fixed to justify an invasion; that a massive air assault against Iraq occurred well before the invasion; and that napalm-like weaponry was used against the Iraqi people during the invasion.

The only WMDs are the weapons of mass deception emanating from The White House. We once had a President named George who could not tell a lie. Now we have one who cannot tell the truth.

...Rep. Conyers adds:

As Republican Senators publicly proclaim that the situation if Iraq is eroding, we learn that there is no "exit strategy" because no exit is planned.

Not strictly a lie, just a new reality. They told us a long time ago that they would change reality whenever they wanted to change it. The "Enduring Bases" are designed for an occupancy of at least thirty years OR til Iraq runs out of oil.

Neo-con Dynasty--puts me in mind of a poem that is especially bitter, given that this is father's day:

A Dead Statesman

I could not dig, I dared not rob,
And so I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue,
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale will serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: State of the Union Address | Swans Commentary: The American Caliphate: US Establishment | 2005 State of the Union Address | AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth | Iraq Is Test of US Commitment to Advance Freedom, Bush Says - US | News Hounds: Election in Iraq ? It's All About Bush | American Rhetoric: George W. Bush - 2005 State of the Union Address | Patridiot Watch: February 2005 Archives | Political Strategy: A War Plan for Aggressive Progressives | George W. Bush

12:24:54 AM    

Saturday, June 18, 2005

British Sources Say "FIXED" -- Means "Manipulated" or "Cooked"

Conservatives have attempted to dismiss the Downing Street memo, a secret British intelligence document indicating that intelligence officials there believed that the Bush administration was manipulating intelligence to support its case for war in Iraq by insisting that the term "fixed" has a different meaning in British English than in the United States. The memo describes Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the British foreign intelligence agency MI6, stating that in Washington, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." In fact, British reports -- including one that quoted the memo itself six weeks before the British Sunday Times published its full text on May 1 -- refute the notion that "fixed" means anything different in British parlance.

Robin Niblett, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, claimed that "'Fixed around' in British English means 'bolted on' rather than altered to fit the policy." In an exclusive interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the June 15 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Rice eagerly agreed with Matthews's suggestion that in Britain the word "fixed" really "means just put things together." In the June 20 issue of the conservative Weekly Standard, contributing editor Tod Lindberg wrote of the memo: "'Fix' here is clearly meant in its traditional sense, in the sort of English spoken by Oxbridge dons and MI6 directors -- to make fast, to set in order, to arrange."

Other conservatives questioned the meaning of "fixed" without explicitly suggesting transatlantic miscommunication. On the June 10 edition of PBS' NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, National Review editor Rich Lowry claimed "it was meant in the sense that the intelligence is supporting the policy asking questions like what will a post-invasion Iraq look like and questions of that nature." National Review Online contributing editor James S. Robbins also doubted the meaning of "fixed around the policy" in a June 6 column and in a June 16 article on the conservative website CNSNews.com. The June 14 edition of CNN's Inside Politics cited a commentary making this argument by the conservative blog Dean's World.

But British sources contradict these claims. In a British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) documentary from March, which quoted the Downing Street Memo more than a month before the Sunday Times published it, BBC reporter John Ware explained: "By 'fixed' the MI6 chief meant that the Americans were trawling for evidence to reinforce their claim that Saddam was a threat." The headline of a Sunday Times preview of the documentary -- "MI6 chief told PM: Americans 'fixed' case for war" -- also makes it clear how the British understand "fixed."

Similarly, Sunday Times reporter Michael Smith, who first disclosed the memo on May 1, ridiculed the notion that "fixed" has a different meaning in Britain in a Washington Post online chat:

SMITH: There are number of people asking about fixed and its meaning. This is a real joke. I do not know anyone in the UK who took it to mean anything other than fixed as in fixed a race, fixed an election, fixed the intelligence. If you fix something, you make it the way you want it. The intelligence was fixed and as for the reports that said this was one British official. Pleeeaaassee! This was the head of MI6. How much authority do you want the man to have? He has just been to Washington, he has just talked to George Tenet. He said the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. That translates in clearer terms as the intelligence was being cooked to match what the administration wanted it to say to justify invading Iraq. Fixed means the same here as it does there.

Moreover, when the Sunday Times first disclosed the memo on May 1, it noted the Bush administration's attempt "to link Saddam to the 9/11 attacks" as an example of "fixing" the intelligence around the policy:

The Americans had been trying to link Saddam to the 9/11 attacks; but the British knew the evidence was flimsy or non-existent. Dearlove warned the meeting that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy".

In a May 2 column in London's Daily Mail, political editor David Hughes argued that the meeting detailed in the Downing Street memo "led inexorably to the publication of the 'sexed-up' Iraq weapons dossier two months later," referring to a now-famous 2003 report by BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan alleging that a British dossier on Iraq had been "sexed up" to hype the Iraqi threat. Gilligan's report became the subject of intense controversy when British weapons expert Dr. David Kelley committed suicide following the revelation that he was a key source for that report. An official inquiry into Kelley's suicide criticized Gilligan, his report, and the BBC, which prompted claims that the inquiry was a whitewash.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: The Downing Street Memo | The Downing Street Memo | Scoop: David Swanson: Downing Street Memo In FoxSpeak | A Close Reading of FoxSpeak | Democrats.com | Political Affairs Magazine - More on Iraq War Lies: A Close | The Washington Monthly | Charlie Rose Show Username: Password: Remember password | Forgot | News Dissector Blog > Print > In the Media Maelstrom | News Dissector Blog | EvansMediaUSA :: Archive(2005/6)

10:49:12 AM    

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Fred Phelps Now Protests Funerals of the War Dead

Kansas preacher says he's coming to Idaho

BOISE, Idaho -- A Kansas preacher and gay rights foe whose congregation is protesting military funerals around the country said he's coming to Idaho tomorrow to picket the memorial for an Idaho National Guard soldier killed in Iraq.

A flier on the Web site of Pastor Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church claims God killed Cpl. Carrie French with an improvised explosive device in retaliation against the United States for a bombing at Phelps' church six years ago.

"We're coming," Phelps said yesterday.

Westboro Baptist either has protested or is planning protests of other public funerals of soldiers from Michigan, Alabama, Minnesota, Virginia and Colorado. A protest is planned for July 11 at Dover Air Force Base, the military base where war dead are transported before being sent on to their home states.

Phelps gained national notoriety in 1998 when he picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student beaten to death in Wyoming.

Since then, Phelps said his church has been the target of hateful words and actions, including a bomb attack six years ago.

Phelps' church has picketed the funerals of AIDS victims for more than a decade.

French, 19, was a Caldwell High School graduate and varsity cheerleader. She was killed June 5 in the northern city of Kirkuk. French served as an ammunition specialist with the 116th Brigade Combat Team's 145th Support Battalion.

Phelps said the fact that French led an all-American life gives him all the more reason to picket her final public tribute.

"An all-American girl from a society of all-American heretics," he said.

"Our attitude toward what's happening with the war is the Lord is punishing this evil nation for abandoning all moral imperatives that are worth a dime," Phelps said.

Caldwell Police Chief Bob Sobba said he cannot bar Phelps from going to the public funeral, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Albertson College of Idaho in that city.

"While we respect Mr. Phelps' right to protest, we would hope that he would respect the family and friends of this young person by not disrupting the memorial," Sobba said.

Idaho Air National Guard Lt. Tony Vincelli, acting as spokesman for French's family, said there were no plans to change the funeral arrangements.

The Rev. Brian Fischer, pastor of Boise's Community Church of the Valley, and himself a past target of protest by the Westboro Baptist Church, decried Phelps' plan.

"What Phelps is doing is a reprehensible thing, to take a funeral and turn it into a photo op for his hate cause," Fischer said.

"We hope everyone will ignore Phelps' group."

In 2003, Phelps demanded that he be allowed to erect an anti-gay monument in a Boise public park. To avoid a lawsuit from his group, city officials voted in 2004 that a Ten Commandments monument be moved out of the park.

Ugh...These are the assholes at godhatesfags.com. What kind of sick bastard even becomes involved with this "ministry"? What a perversion. What a mess. How disgusting. It makes me sick.

That deafening silence is Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney not attacking Pastor Phelps for a failure to "support our troops".

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Fred Phelps - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia | Tri-City Herald: State | EXPLORE: Fred Phelps - Dictionary of Famous People | Jen Speaksbecause I love to run off my mouth! | Rev. Fred Phelps - encyclopedia article about Rev. Fred Phelps . | Man about Murfreesboro | Daily Kos :: Kossack Kicks Fred Phelps ' Ass! | Lintefiniel Musingformerly Jen Speaks! | I protest.: On compromise. | The Smirking Chimp

1:24:21 AM    

Eliminating Saddam's Long-term Threat

Possible Undeclared Motives for the Invasion of Iraq

The general idea was that sanctions would not work in the long term. Saddam could play a cat-and-mouse game with the USA indefinitely. Given his past record, he would be likely to acquire a stockpile of WMD, particularly nuclear weapons that could threaten other countries in the region as well as the USA.

Fair enough. This is certainly a reasonable argument. But there is a problem with this hypothesis: if this was indeed the motive " a long term threat" then what was the hurry? Saddam was in no position in March 2003 to threaten any regional country or the United States. Could the administration have given itself a little bit more time to plan the campaign?

There is almost universal agreement now that the post-invasion phase was poorly planned. The reason most people accept for that poor planning was that haste! But why was there so much haste? Lack of proper preparation, lack of proper planning, disasters that led to the loss of countless lives, Iraqi and America; chaos, lawlessness, poor decisions that led to America being viewed as an enemy by ordinary people.

What would have happened if the invasion was delayed for some six months, or even a year to prepare better? Wouldn't this have led to some life saving?  If all those criminal mistakes were not made, couldn't that have possibly led to the success in this campaign instead of resulting in a humiliating failure?

Even the plans put forward by the numerous committees set up by the State Department were hurriedly and unceremoniously discarded! Why?

This theory does not explain the great urgency with which the campaign was conducted or the great incompetence in its implementation. If long term dangers were the main motive, then surely the long term effects of chaos in Iraq and the already-volatile region would also be equally threatening to the USA and to world peace and would have warranted some consideration?

1. The timing was dictated by "short-term" domestic US political considerations, for re-election purposes, which did not leave sufficient time to plan for the campaign properly, and to exploit public sentiment that allowed that "thin" evidence to be sufficient justification for the war;

2. A level of (political and administrative) incompetence that no amount of planning could improve.

The implications, in either case, for the integrity of the administration or its capability to run the affairs of America,  are self evidently disastrous!

In summary, there may have been a case for Saddam being regarded as a long-term threat to the USA for that factor to be considered a motive for the invasion. But if that is accepted, then the conclusions of either criminal incompetence or recklessness and lack of sufficient consideration for loss of American (or other) lives or for creating more long-term grave dangers on the part of the administration must be accepted by advocates of this theory.

categories: Outrages
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12:40:27 AM    

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Issues To Explore At Next Week's DSM Hearing

Steve Soto over at The Left Coaster suggests that Conyers focus on three issues at the DSM hearing and call these individuals as possible witnesses next week in his efforts to build a case that the decision had already been made in the summer of 2002.

First and most damaging to me, as we first reported back in October 2003, why would the White House see a need to build a strategic information campaign using White House staff to manipulate media coverage in favor of a war months in advance of going to the UN, Congress, and the American people if the issue and decision had not already been made? Retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner wrote a little-noticed but never disputed paper that outlined the steps the Bush Administration took to build what in essence was a strategic influence and disinformation campaign to manipulate the media and sway public opinion in favor of a war that Bush says he hadn't yet decided upon. These efforts started with the creation of the Coalition Information Office by none other than Karen Hughes at about the same time the Downing Street Memo said that Bush had made up his mind. Colonel Gardiner feels that the organization was in fact put together at the time of the memo, and that the "marketing" of the war began in September when Congress returned from summer recess. Since his study came out, Colonel Gardiner has received confirmation from a number of sources including sources inside the Bush Administration that almost all of his initial conclusions were correct. Even though the whole study is chilling, pay particular attention to his material from Page 50 onward to see how the Downing Street Memo can be supported with Gardiner's work. Perhaps Congressman Conyers can call Colonel Gardiner as a witness next week to lay out the involvement of the White House and outside GOP public relations firms in selling a war to the Congress and the American people through an intimidated and spoon-fed media, a campaign that actually commenced around the same time that the Downing Street Memo indicated a decision had already been made. And yes, I've talked with Gardiner today, and Colonel Gardiner is willing to share his information with Conyers.

Second, none other than Bob Woodward himself in his wet-kiss book "Bush at War" reported that Bush authorized Rumsfeld to move approximately $700 million from Afghanistan reconstruction to the establishment of a logistical infrastructure to support an Iraq invasion, without the required congressional notice and authority. When did this happen, as Woodward notes with a great deal of risk of legal problems for the White House? It happened in July 2002, at about the same time as the Downing Street Memo was written saying the decision had already been made by Bush, within a month of the Downing Street Memo. Perhaps Conyers can call Bob Woodward as a witness to testify about what he found in researching his book on this congressionally-unauthorized transfer of funds from Afghan reconstruction to Iraq war planning during the Summer of 2002.Also remember that the one physical piece of evidence we had was the aluminum tubes. They were also attempts to get documents that said Iraq was seeking uranium, but the only physical evidence we had was the tubes. This is why the uranium documents became so critical. Tubes + uranium would be a vastly stronger argument. This is why even after being told not to use the Niger story they did. This is why even though the Niger documents were transparent forgeries, they still used them.

And lastly, it has been reported that Bush dropped in on a White House meeting in Condi Rice's office in March 2002, and blurted to the three startled US senators Rice was meeting with "Fuck Saddam, we're going to take him out." Perhaps Conyers can call the three senators as well as Michael Elliott and James Carney of Time Magazine to confirm what Bush said and did, three months before the Downing Street Memo said that a decision had already been made.

Again, the key for Conyers is not to get trapped into building his case primarily upon the fixed intelligence claim in the memo, but to build also a circumstantial case as well that supports the bigger claim that the decision had already been made by the White House to go to war in the Summer of 2002, despite what was being told to Congress and the American people.

There is no pathetic out for the betrayal of trust: He said he didn't make up his mind about invading, and this memo, along with the testimony of Col. Gardiner, along with other pieces of evidence that can be pilled on: The Richard Clarke account, the Paul O'Neil account, the Bush ghost writers account, the Woodward thing, the implementation of the strategic information campaign to influence the media, and other things all can show how this likely was a lie and betrayal of our trust and that in fact they wanted to go to war from the getgo. If Saddam had cooperated, if inspectors had continued and found nothing...he would of still gone to war. This is counter to his words that 'war was a last resort.'

Maybe the best approach is to get the repugs to counter the DSM by getting them to try to prove that what they are claiming is true - i.e. that war was the last option.

Perhaps we can take a leaf out of the democracts.com playbook and offer $1000 to the person who 'leaks' an internal repug memo which best proves that they really were fighting for peace. That should be pretty easy right? If war really was the last option, then there should be a mile-long paper trail of all their noble efforts.

Let's challenge any bush insiders to leak the smoking gun memo which proves that their Dear Leader is actually a peacemonger who had exhausted all other options.

As Bendover commented: I don't mind being lied to. The president is my moral and intellectual superior so if he says he must kill tens of thousands of men, women and children to erase his oedipal obsession, that's good enough for me. Well it's NOT good enough for me.

categories: Outrages
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10:28:55 PM    

Friday, June 10, 2005

What if the Downing Street memo was blond and missing?
Subject: Aruba girl getting 10 times the coverage of Downing Street memo.

I think I've found my own personal hellish media "Jump the Shark" moment: this spate of Missing White Women stories trumping everything. (Really, it's worse than when Dave and Maddie hooked up.)

According to Nexis, it's even worse than I thought.

To the unaware, having exhausted our infatuation with the runaway bride Jennifer Wilbank and getting all the mileage out of Supermodel Tsunami Survivor Petra Nemcova (who recently received an hour on "Larry King Live"), the cable channels are currently showcasing the story of Natalee Holloway, a blonde Alabama high school senior vacationing in Aruba who has been missing for a week now.

Squeaming readers may want to stop reading here. Really.

A quick Nexis search this morning of news transcripts for the past week shows that Natalee Holloway has been featured in 231 stories, while the Downing Street memo only 20. Yes, It's even crept into the refreshingly informative CNN International Hour.

If that sort of attention makes the Downing Street memo "famous" -- as Eric Boehlert noted in Salon -- what astronomic level of celebrity is reserved for these missing women of the week?

The entire thing is designed to make well-off white girls paranoid so they'll watch TV, as if news was a soap opera, as if these are the problems of the world. And then, having blanketed us with coverage from day one, some anchor will describe the story as having "captivated the attention of the nation." Well, how could it do otherwise, since you've done nothing but shove it at us for weeks now?

And in these neverending sagas of the trivial, some really bad journalism gets committed out of the need to have a fresh angle every day. Honestly, the other night some git on ABC News referred to spring/summer trips as "rites of passage for young adults."

Rites of Passage? Man, whatever happened to losing your virginity, or drinking your first beer, or joining a cult?  Double plus bonus coverage for damsel embryo-Americans!

categories: Outrages
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12:52:54 PM    

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Freeway Blogging the Downing StreetMemo

BBA The Freeway Blogger continues to do excellent work, day in and out to raise public awareness in California of Bush administration atrocities. If you've never been to freewayblogger.com, do yourself a favor and check out some of the fabulous past work.

According to CBS news, on 9/11 the building of the case for war began:

At 9:53 a.m., just 15 minutes after the hijacked plane had hit the Pentagon, and while Rumsfeld was still outside
helping with the injured, the National Security Agency, which monitors communications worldwide, intercepted
a phone call from one of Osama bin Laden's operatives in Afghanistan to a phone number in the former Soviet
Republic of Georgia.

The caller said he had "heard good news" and that another target was still to come; an indication he knew
another airliner, the one that eventually crashed in Pennsylvania, was at that very moment zeroing in on Washington. It was 12:05 p.m. when the director of Central Intelligence told Rumsfeld about the intercepted conversation.

Rumsfeld felt it was "vague," that it "might not mean something," and that there was "no good basis for hanging hat." In other words, the evidence was not clear-cut enough to justify military action against bin Laden.

But later that afternoon, the CIA reported the passenger manifests for the hijacked airliners showed three of the
hijackers were suspected al Qaeda operatives. "One guy is associate of Cole bomber," the notes say, a reference to the October 2000 suicide boat attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, which had also been the work of bin Laden.

With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans. And at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H."
meaning Saddam Hussein "at same time. Not only UBL" the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden.

Now, nearly one year later, there is still very little evidence Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. But if these notes are accurate, that didn't matter to Rumsfeld.

"Go massive,"
the notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

I think these things might be clues to the truth, and how and when the case for war was built. And what it was built on, but, no -- nobody got a blowjob -- or did they?

categories: Outrages
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4:50:27 PM    

George WMD Bush, the Torturer-In-Chief?

While you're visiting the Poor Man, read this too. A couple of times. Then print it out and pass it around.

This is a very significant post - the realization that words can actually hurt the right wing is an insight I have not seen before.

On the whole, progressives try to deal with "reality", and pride ourselves on making a conscious effort not to be tricked by orwellian language. As a result, perhaps, we have not understood the crucial importance of this same orwellian language to the right wing. We have attacked what we think is their "reality" problem, but the right wing isn't listening because we're not dealing directly with the pseudonyms and talking points through which they can quell any vestige of uneasiness about what they are actually doing.

Offensive, unjustified and unprovoked war becomes "the Bush doctrine".

Dissing Arafat becomes "they hate our freedom"
Bugging the security council becomes "reforming the UN"
Intolerant creationist bible worship becomes "intelligent design".
Threatening judges and picketing hospitals becomes "culture of life".
Demonizing gay people becomes "protecting the sancity of marriage."

In fact, by instantly transforming a discussion of the way the right way transforms discussions of grotesque, systematic acts of torture into a discussion of the words like Gulags used to describe that torture, Bush and the Right pulled off quite a nifty post-modern hat-trick that only reinforces The Poor Man's point.

People are being BEATEN TO DEATH in our name, by our government, on a scale and with a brazenness that boggles the mind. That is THE discussion. Those are the words we should be repeating PERIOD. That question of the status of the detainees has to be taken to what the conventions call a competent tribunal to determine whether or not they are POW's or instead, as we claim, enemy combatants. And, in fact, no such competent tribunal has ever ruled on these detainees' status. Not a point missed or scum left unscathed. Maybe your best, and thats saying something. Damn, would I like to hear this for the opening statement at the upcoming Hague trials. I think Abu Ghraib is the worst of all because they knew damn well they weren't terrorists in Iraq. The invasion and occupation of Iraq never did and still doesn't have anything to do with the war on terror. To quote Mark Twain "We should remove the Stars and Stripes and put up the Skull and Crossbones".

UPDATE: Driftglass has more details about "willful blindness" and the mind-fuck done on the GOP/Fundie stooge mindset.

Most of these people are not Nazis, but they are the perfect raw material for our own, homegrown American Rightwing Demagogues; obedient, stupid, bigoted and easily frightened.

And because everything - their very souls - rest on the foundation of the infallibility of Dear Leader, they'll happily kill anyone in any numbers who might force them to face up to the fact that Dear Leader is a duplicitous, lying sleazebag who has played on their fear and ignorance and patriotism to turn them out like $2 crack whores.

Read the entire piece http://driftglass.blogspot.com/2005/06/this-from-mr-gilliard.html

categories: Outrages
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12:54:42 PM    

Soviet America

Well, the Bush-Nazi comparisons are deja-done, so of course now we have to move on. Seen on the MARC commuter train (between Baltimore and DC) today, this picture pretty much sums up the new "National Security: That is so Soviet as to be erie.

I swear they ripped off a Soviet poster down to the color of the people's shirts. If memory serves correct, it was a Olympics poster even.

Wonder if it's real or guerrilla art. If it's real, I still wonder if maybe the designer is pulling a fast on on his employers.

Although this style is often associated with 1930s communism. It was also very popular in the U.S. Look at much of the WPA era art work at your local historic library or post office. It's collectivist, sure. But there was a time in America where that was considered a good thing (before we all ran off to our voucher-funded schools and gated communities...)

Perhaps the artist was working within the bounds of the assignment to say, sotto voce, "Holy crap, are we in a police state now or what?"

Ha ha, that's great, I love it. Wait for the "I heart The Patriot Act" posters coming soon.

But while the tone might well be Stalinist/Maoist/Fascist (oh hell, might as well just say totalitarian), the actual art is Deco, not socialist realism.

Granted the style of that poster isn't exactly "Socialist Realism," it's the combination of the vaguely-socialist realism style and the "Watch, Ride, Report!" motto that jars.

Reporting left-behind parcels, OK. Reporting other passengers who are behaving oddly, I'm not so keen on. Define "behaving oddly." Thanks to the munificence of our social services, there are a *lot* of clinically crazy people on the streets, and mass transit is a perfect place to involuntarily meet them. I hate to think of some poor schizo, who already has problems with mysterious voices and paranoia, getting hauled in on a security sweep.

categories: Outrages
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2:54:06 AM    

Monday, June 06, 2005

If You're Desperate And You Know It, Send The Twins[The Iraq War Song]

[Sung to the tune of 'If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands']

If you cannot get recruits, send the twins.
High school parents are a drama, send the twins.

If insurgents are looking frisky,
Syria is testing scuds,
North Korea is too risky, send the twins!

If we have no allies with us, send the twins.
If we think that Amnesty International has dissed us, send the twins.
So to hell with calls for peace
Let's look tough for posterity
Follow your own lead, Mr. Bush, and send the twins.

If you believe your own bs, send the twins.
If oil is really worth it, send the twins.
If they've got people that hate us,
and that's good enough for you,
The Downing Street Memo, is not true?
Send the twins!

If you never were elected, send the twins.
Your poll numbers have gone down, send the twins.
If you think your mission's just,
c'mon now, WTF?
Send the twins!

If your corporate fraud is growing, send the twins.
If your ties to it are showing, send the twins.
If your politics are sleazy,
and hiding ain't that easy,
And your manhood's getting queasy, send the twins!

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, send the twins.
For our might knows not our borders, send the twins.
Disagree? We'll call it treason,
Let's make war not love this season,
Even if we have no reason, send the twins!

categories: Politics
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9:49:18 PM    

 John Kerry to call for impeachment of George Bush

John Kerry announced Thursday that he intends to present Congress with The Downing Street Memo, reported last month by the London Times. The memo purports to include minutes from a July 2002 meeting with Tony Blair, in which Blair allegedly said that President Bush's administration "fixed" intelligence on Iraq in order to justify the Iraqi war.

The Downing Street Memo is the leaked secret British document that details the minutes of a 2002 meeting between top-level British and American government officials. The memo states that George Bush "was determined" to attack Iraq long before going to Congress with the matter, and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

So far neither government has disputed the accuracy of the memo.

The memo caused an uproar in Britain and made a significant impact in the British national elections, but has recieved little attention in American news.

The Boston Globe published an article by Ralph Nader, Tuesday, in which Nader also called for President Bush's impeachment. The story is being carried on Michael Moore's website and the Democratic Underground.

Failed presidential candidate Kerry advised that he will begin the presentation of his case for President Bush's impeachment to Congress, on Monday.

Kerry said of the memo: "When I go back [to Washington] on Monday, I am going to raise the issue. I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home. And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that."

He questioned Americans' understanding of the war and the idea that criticism equals disloyalty, saying, "Do you think that Americans if they really understood it would feel that way knowing that on Election Day, 77 percent of Americans who voted for Bush believed that weapons of mass destruction had been found and 77 percent believe Saddam did 9/11? Is there a way for this to break through, ever?"

House Representative John Conyers has written to the President regarding the memo:

"...a debate has raged in the United States over the last year and one half about whether the obviously flawed intelligence that falsely stated that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction was a mere 'failure' or the result of intentional manipulation to reach foreordained conclusions supporting the case for war. The memo appears to close the case on that issue stating that in the United States the intelligence and facts were being 'fixed' around the decision to go to war."

There is a growing movement on the internet and in Congress for a "Resolution of Inquiry" into issues surrounding the planning and execution of the Iraq war, especially in regard to the Administration's handling of intelligence.

John Dean, a key Watergate figure, wrote in a June 2003 column for a legal website, that, "To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked... Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be a 'high crime' under the Constitution's impeachment clause."

However, in practical terms impeachment in the U.S. Senate requires a 2/3 majority for conviction, which is unlikely given that 55 out of 100 Senators are Republican.

When asked about the Downing Street Memo on May 23, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said: "If anyone wants to know how the intelligence was used by the administration, all they have to do is go back and look at all the public comments over the course of the lead-up to the war in Iraq, and that's all very public information. Everybody who was there could see how we used that intelligence.

"And in terms of the intelligence, it was wrong, and we are taking steps to correct that and make sure that in the future we have the best possible intelligence, because it's critical in this post-September 11th age, that the executive branch has the best intelligence possible."

categories: Outrages
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1:52:28 AM    

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Bye The Times

The Media exists for the purposes of the corporate and government elites. These purposes include preventing ordinary Americans from having any say in their own government. The Media survives as a business only because ordinary Americans give them their money. We are the base of the pyramid, holding it all up.

We pay them to destroy our country. We are like crack addicts. We pay them for some vapid thrills, and our lives and the lives of our children are forfeit. Think: 40 million cable subscribers at say $50 a month. 1 million people cutting the
chains of cable times $50 a month times 12 months means a loss of $600 million a year to cable. With 2, 3, 5 million, we could force the breakup of the cable cartels in a very short time.

Same goes for newspapers, magazines, network shows (through advertisers), PBS, NPR, etc etc. Given the real purpose of Media--to keep us out--can you think of anything more effective in changing their policies than removing their income, and
telling them we want a media that informs us?

If we had a free press we would have seen something like this weeks ago:

In regards to what John Conyers over the weekend reportedly described as "the smoking bullet in the smoking gun", a letter has just been sent to Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, asking questions about the recent reports that the U.S. and U.K. stepped up their air attacks in the Iraqi "No-Fly-Zone" prior to the war in "an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war."

A draft version of Conyers' letter was published over the holiday weekend by RAW STORY.

This latest information on the covert way in which the Bush Administration may have pushed the world towards war is based on a new report from Rupert Murdoch's London Times which reported over the weekend that "despite the lack of an Iraqi reaction, the air war began anyway in September [of 2002] with a 100-plane raid."

In fact, the original Downing Street Memo/Minutes mention that "The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime."

Concerning the latest report, Conyers writes in his letter to Rumsfeld today:

If true, these assertions indicate that not only had the Administration secretly and perhaps illegally agreed to go to war by the summer of 2002, but it also took specific and tangible military actions before asking Congress or the United Nations for authority, and absent an actual or imminent threat.

Thus, while there is considerable doubt as to whether the U.S. had authority to invade Iraq, given, among other things, the failure of the U.N. to issue a follow-up resolution to the November 8, 2002, Resolution 1441, it would seem that the act of engaging in military action via stepped up bombing raids that were not in response to an actual or imminent threat before our government asked for military authority would be even more problematic from a legal as well as a moral perspective.

...He then goes on to ask Rumsfeld for a response to the following questions, along with a request for "any memorandum, notes, minutes, documents, phone and other records, e-mails, computer files (including back-up records) or other material of any kind or nature concerning or relating thereto which are in the possession of or accessible by the Department of Defense."

Did the RAF and the United States military increase the rate that they were dropping bombs in Iraq in 2002? If so, what was the extent and timing of the increase?

What was the justification for any such increase in the rate of bombing in Iraq at this time? Was this justification reviewed by legal authorities in the U.S.?

To the best of your knowledge, was there any agreement with any representative of the British government to engage in military action in Iraq before authority was sought from the Congress or the U.N.? If so, what was the nature of the agreement?

Conyers, along with 88 members of Congress recently sent a letter to George W. Bush asking for information concerning the now-infamous Downing Street Memo (actually Minutes, not a Memo) which was also first reported by Murdoch's paper. That document -- written a full eight months prior to the war -- revealed, amongst other things, that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

It also goes on to say that "Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."

The members of Congress have yet to receive a response from the White House, though neither the Bush nor Blair Administrations have disputed the authenticity of the information contained within the minutes.

An alliance of citizens groups has recently been formed at AfterDowningStreet.org to petition congress to launch a "Resolution of Inquiry" into the matter. A congressional "Resolution of Inquiry" is considered the first step towards Presidential Impeachment. (Both The BRAD BLOG and Velvet Revolution, which we helped to co-found, are members of that alliance.)

Conyers also has asked citizens to sign the same letter they sent to Bush, and has promised to hand-deliver it to the White House once he receives at least 100,000 signature.

Sign the letter here. Write to your Congresspeople here.

categories: Outrages
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1:44:09 AM    

US Invasion of Iraq Was a Energy Resource War

Published on 3 May 2005 by The Cape Times (Sth Africa).

With the rapid decline of global oil supplies, the United States is heading for an economic crash unlike anything since the 1930s. And the collapse of the dollar will affect every nation on earth.

This is the chilling warning from academic Richard Heinberg of the New College of California. Heinberg is in Cape Town, South Africa, this week to share his views on what governments and societies need to do to mitigate the imminent global crisis after world oil production peaks.

"It's too late to maintain a 'business as usual' attitude. What is required is to manage the change that peak oil will bring in a way that causes the fewest casualties. This must be done at an economic and geopolitical level, to fend off resource wars. The US invasion of Iraq is clearly a resource war," Heinberg said on Monday.

Global oil discovery peaked in the 1960s and oil production is likely to peak as soon as 2007. With a world economy based on fossil fuel, the economic and social consequences will be dire.

In his most recent book, Power Down: options and actions for a post-carbon world, Heinberg describes the options available to avoid catastrophe.

Wearing a T-shirt that read: "Wake up! You are here," with an arrow pointing to a graph of a peak in oil production, Heinberg said world governments were aware of the pending crisis. The United States department of energy had commissioned a report on the probable impacts of "peak oil", the point at which global oil production will no longer meet demand, which was released in February.

"The report was compiled mainly by ex-CIA people. The CIA has always kept a close watch on resources. They found that peak oil would provide the US and the world with an 'unprecedented risk and management problem'.

"They say if they have 10 years to prepare, the economic and social chaos could be minimised. But if it's less, the US will face a serious problem and the government will have to manage it without public input. For that, read martial law. The report found oil price volatility will increase to unprecedented levels," Heinberg said.

The US response is not to cut oil consumption by making major lifestyle changes, and scale back on economic activity, but to use the military to maintain control over oil in the Middle East.

"The long-range plan is for the West to control the Middle East by the military so it can control the price of oil."

This was formalised as far back as 1979 by former US president Jimmy Carter, in what became known as the Carter Doctrine, which stated that America would use the military to maintain access to the oil reserves in the Middle East.

Clearly we need to find substitutes for oil, says Heinberg, but the available energy alternatives are not reassuring.

Natural gas extraction will peak a few years after oil, extraction rates for coal will peak in decades, nuclear energy is dogged by unresolved problems of waste disposal and solar and wind energy will have to undergo rapid expansion if they are to replace even a fraction of the energy shortfall from oil. And the enthusiasm about a hydrogen economy comes from politics rather than science, he said.

"Our real problem is that we are trapped in a perpetual growth machine. As long as modern societies need economic growth to stave off collapse (given existing debt-and-interest-based national currencies), we will continue to require ever more resources yearly.
But the Earth has limited resources.

"The energy conundrum is thus intimately tied to the fact that we anticipate perpetual growth within a finite system," Heinberg said.

He sketches four main options available in response:

  • Following the US leadership in competing for remaining resources through wars;
  • Wishful thinking that the market or science will come to the rescue;
  • Assuming that we are already in the early stages of disintegration, devoting our energies to preserving the most worthwhile cultural achievements of the past few centuries.
  • "Powering down" - reducing energy resource use drastically through economic sacrifice, reducing the population size and developing alternative energy sources.

"The sooner we choose wisely, the better off we and our descendants will be," Heinberg said.

categories: Outrages
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12:54:14 AM    

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