Invading Iraq and
misleading the American people, Bush has launched the most foolish war
in over 2000 years since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost
The number of American casualties in Iraq is now well more than 2,000,
and there is no end in sight. Some two-thirds of Americans, according
to the polls, believe the war to have been a mistake. And congressional
elections are just around the corner.
What had to come, has come. The question is no longer if American
forces will be withdrawn, but how soon — and at what cost. In this
respect, as in so many others, the obvious parallel to Iraq is Vietnam.
misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war
since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost
them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from
office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If
convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.
First and foremost, such a presence will be needed to counter Iran,
which for two decades now has seen the United States as "the Great
Satan." Tehran is certain to emerge as the biggest winner from the war
— a winner that in the not too distant future is likely to add nuclear
warheads to the missiles it already has. In the past, Tehran has often
threatened the Gulf States. Now that Iraq is gone, it is hard to see
how anybody except the United States can keep the Gulf States, and
their oil, out of the mullahs' clutches.
A continued American military presence will be needed also, because a
divided, chaotic, government-less Iraq is very likely to become a
hornets' nest. From it, a hundred mini-Zarqawis will spread all over
the Middle East, conducting acts of sabotage and seeking to overthrow
governments in Allah's name.
that isn't a quote from some wild-eyed lefty, that was a quote from an
article by "Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the
Hebrew University, [who] is author of Transformation of War (Free Press, 1991). He is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers."
the whole article. It is cogent and educated and smart and credible. I
expect numerous personal attacks on Professor van Creveld to be
launched by the neo-con chickenhawks shortly.
Maintaining an American security presence in the region, not to mention
withdrawing forces from Iraq, will involve many complicated problems,
military as well as political. Such an endeavor, one would hope, will
be handled by a team different from — and more competent than — the one
presently in charge of the White House and Pentagon.
Al Jazeera is a hell of a lot more professional news organization than
Fox News, and it knows a hell of a lot more about the value of freedom
of speech. It's only the parochial idiots that populate parts of
America that think they know more than everyone else in the world.
DON'T BOMB US....In the ever expanding blogosphere, the latest entry is a blog from several Al Jazeera staffers titled, appropriately, "Don't Bomb Us." Here are five things they would like you to know:
1. Al Jazeera was the first Arab station to ever broadcast interviews with Israeli officials.
2. Al Jazeera has never broadcast a beheading.
3. George W. Bush has recieved approximately 500 hours of airtime, while Bin Laden has received about 5 hours of airtime.
4. Over 50 million people across the world watch Al Jazeera.
For what it's worth, item #4 is really the only one
that matters. After all, whatever war it is that we're fighting, it's
obvious that it's primarily a war of ideas — and the only way to win that
war is via persuasion. Al Jazeera's 50 million viewers are our core
audience for our ideas, and bombing their headquarters sure isn't going
to do anything to get those viewers on our side.
In any case, "Don't Bomb Us" is your one stop shop for all news
about George Bush's alleged desire to reduce Al Jazeera's headquarters
to rubble. Check it out.
Is Al Jazeera is the main propaganda outlet for the other side in this war?
Actually, the main propaganda outlet for the Islamist radicals and
Iraqi rebels is the Bush regime. From the talk of "crusades" to the
invasion of Iraq to Guantanamo Bay to the Abu Ghraib videos Bush and
his henchmen are busy working day and night to incite even more Muslims
to take up al Qaeda's cause.
As I've explained before, this was all a terrible misunderstanding:Bush never said he wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera, he may have just wanted to get
bombed on alcohol.
Votes are valuable, and each voter should have the knowledge-and the
confidence-that his or her vote was recorded and counted as intended.
Electronic voting has returned us to the bad old days of ballot-box stuffing and vote-rigging, when it didn't
matter who voted as long as the right-- i.e., connected -- people did the counting. Even if you don't think there
was monkey business with the votes in Ohio last year (and the number of people who still believe those votes were
counted fair and square is steadily diminishing), you have to acknowledge that electronic balloting without a
verifiable paper trail creates a wide-open door for all kinds of election fraud.
That's why everybody -- Democrat, Republican, Green, Socialist or whatever -- should stand with New Jersey's own
Rep. Rush Holt, one of the smartest guys in Congress, and sign the "Voter Confidence Petition" in support of the
Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act, or H.R. 550.
This link will give you your info, but here's what the
bill (which is stalled in committee) would do in a nutshell:
* Mandate a voter-verified paper ballot for every vote cast in every federal election,
nationwide (because the voter verified paper record is the only one verified by the voters themselves, rather than by
the machines, it will serve as the vote of record in any case of inconsistency with electronic records);
* Protect the accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act for voters with disabilities;
* Require random, unannounced, hand-count audits of actual election results in every state, and in each county,
for every Federal election;
* Prohibit the use of undisclosed software and wireless and concealed communications devices and Internet connections in voting
* Provide Federal funding to pay for implementation of voter verified paper balloting;
And most importantly . . .
* Require full implementation by 2006
-- the election the Republicans are most worried about. Not that I'm
implying the GOP would be tempted even the slightest bit to put its
on the scale. Heavens to Betsy, I wouldn't dream of even suggesting such a thing. That's why I'm confident we'll
see support for this bill extending well beyond the Democratic side of the room. Otherwise I might have to think
uncharitable thoughts about Republicans! Goodness gracious, we don't want that to happen, so by all means
click here and do your bit for democracy.
It's sad that we even have to talk about why it's important to have an auditable voting system in this country.
It's even worse that there's a need for legislation to mandate a paper trail.
It's practically criminal that any member of Congress should oppose
such basic, fundamental principles about election integrity and the
people's right for a vote to count. The lack of Republican support for
HR 550 says it all.
Mr. Six, that freakishly festive old bald guy (actually, probably not old) with the oversized glasses and bad makeup is won't be invading our televisions again with his manic dancing and annoying "We Like to Party" song.
Now new owners will have finally put him to rest. He's
not an appealing character, and he would seem to frighten some
children. (He frightens some adults.)
Mr. Six memorabilia flies off the shelves. The look-alike contests draw
hundreds. He has his own roller coaster, Mr. Six's Pandemonium. All in
all, Mr. Six has been a huge, if annoying, success. Despite this, Dan Snyder, who took control of Six Flags amusement parks along with two partners yesterday, plans to force the old spokesgeezer into retirement, the New York Post
reports. Apparently, Snyder and his team want to shift the primary
marketing focus from thrill-seeking teenagers to mothers with young
Bush Is Not In Reality, Lost in Religious Idealism, Like Ali Khamenei
Wolf Blitzer had Seymour Hersh on this morning, here is the transcript, and all I can say is, this nation is being run by a madman!
BLITZER: In this new article you have in The New Yorker, you also write this about the president: " 'The
president is more determined than ever to stay the course,' the former
defense official said. 'He doesn't feel any pain. Bush is a believer in
the adage, "People may suffer and die, but the Church advances." ' He
said that the president had become more detached, leaving more issues
to Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney. 'They keep him in the gray
world of religious idealism, where he wants to be anyway,' the former
defense official said."
Could you be more specific on this former defense official?
HERSH: Sure, in this day and age, Wolf. No. I mean, that's -- we're having a war over sourcing right now.
BLITZER: But this is someone who had day to day or contact, direct contact with the president?
HERSH: Suffice to say this, that this president in private, at Camp David with his friends, the people that I'm sure call him George,
is very serene about the war. He's upbeat. He thinks that he's going to
be judged, maybe not in five years or ten years, maybe in 20 years.
He's committed to the course. He believes in democracy.
He believes that he's doing the right thing, and he's not going to stop
until he gets -- either until he's out of office, or he falls apart, or
BLITZER: But this has become, your suggesting, a religious thing for him?
Some people think it is. Other people think he's absolutely committed,
as I say, to the idea of democracy. He's been sold on this notion.
a utopian, you could say, in a world where maybe he doesn't have all
the facts and all the information he needs and isn't able to change.
I'll tell you, the people that talk to me now are essentially frightened because they're not sure how you get to this guy.
BLITZER: Here's what you write. You write, "Current and former military and intelligence officials have told me that the
president remains convinced that it is his personal mission to bring
democracy to Iraq, and that he is impervious to political pressure,
even from fellow Republicans. They also say that he disparages any
information that conflicts with his view of how the war is proceeding."
Those are incredibly strong words, that the president basically doesn't want to hear alternative analysis of what is going on.
You know, Wolf, there is people I've been talking to -- I've been a
critic of the war very early in the New Yorker, and there were people
talking to me in the last few months that have talked to me for four
years that are suddenly saying something much more alarming.
They're beginning to talk about some of the things the president said
to him about his feelings about manifest destiny, about a higher
calling that he was talking about three, four years ago.
don't want to sound like I'm off the wall here. But the issue is, is
this president going to be capable of responding to reality? Is he
going to be able -- is he going to be capable if he going to get a bad
assessment, is he going to accept it as a bad assessment or is he
simply going to see it as something else that is just a little bit in
the way as he marches on in his crusade that may not be judged for 10
or 20 years.
A telling phrase
HERSH: He believes that he's doing the right thing, andhe's not going to stop until he gets -- either until he's out of office, or he falls apart, or he wins. What are the odds that the missing word there is "impeached"?
either until he's out of office, or he falls apart, or he wins. I'm rooting for Falls Apart and soon!
This latest bit from Sy Hersh seems to reinforce other
stories we've heard about Pres. Bush's isolation from the rest of the
administration. From the Newsweek's article in the middle of the
Katrina crisis, where Andy Card and others were afraid to confront
Pres. Bush to recent reports that he only talks to Laura Bush et al.
The more and more I hear about Pres. Bush lately, the more I wonder if
he's going to have a mental breakdown or something. This is simply too
frightening for words to think that no one can tell the "leader of the
free world" that we might have to nip the "freedom is on the march" in
Iraq and the Middle East in the bud. We live in scary times. I hope
that the defense official that Sy Hersh talked to was exaggerating or
something. That would be much more comforting than seeing "The Madness
of King George" play out in modern times. Scary stuff indeed!!
This just in!!!!
John Warner (Armed Services Chair) is publicly
pleading for Bush to go before the American people in a "fireside chat"
format, to explain what the hell is going on in Iraq. Talk about
synchronicity: a real-time news item that highlights this diary's
thrust, that Bush is hyper-insulated, even to the point that leaders of
his own party must resort to desperate public pleadings to get his
attention on matters of grave concern.
Not only are the wheels off this juggernaught, the undercarriage has been shredded and the oil pan is on fire.
My take on all this is that we have three years to watch Bushco
systematically gut the entire foundations of modern conservativism
through the rot of Republican corruption, ineptitude, deceit and
watching our enemy implode. Because this man represents far more of a
threat to this country and its values than al Qaeda. Sit back and get out the popcorn.
Michael Brown is now channeling Stuart Smalley. "I'm moving on with my life," he said. "I'm doing a lot of good work
with some great clients. . . . My wife, children, and my grandchild
still love me. My parents are still proud of me.
He learned his lessons, and now they're for sale.
director Michael Brown, who was vilified over his handling of the
Hurricane Katrina disaster, plans to make a fresh start in Colorado,
selling his expertise about how emergency planning can go right or so
"You have to do it with candor. To do it otherwise
gives you no credibility," Brown said Wednesday. "I think people are
curious: 'My gosh, what was it like? The media just really beat you up.
You made mistakes. I don't want to be in that situation. How do I avoid
In an interview with the Rocky Mountain News, Brown
acknowledged key mistakes he made while overseeing the federal response
to the hurricane that ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi. He also lashed
out at the media and discussed plans to base his fledgling consulting
business in the Boulder-Longmont area of Colorado, where he lived
before joining the Bush Administration in 2001.
Katrina showed how bad disasters can be, and there's an incredible need
for individuals and businesses to understand how important preparedness
is," he said. "So if I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be
better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses
_ because that goes straight to the bottom line _ then I hope I can
help the country in some way."
Brown went from a little-known
political appointee to national lightning rod status just days after
Katrina made landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29. Over the next several
days, national television viewers were outraged by images of evacuees
still waiting to be rescued or suffering in over-crowded shelters.
Although some congressional critics pointed the finger at state and
local officials for failing to order mandatory evacuations soon enough,
Brown took the heaviest fire over the federal response. Critics seized
on his appearance on ABC News' Nightline program, when he implied that
he was unaware of hundreds of people suffering without federal help at
an overcrowded New Orleans convention center.
"Don't you guys watch television?" host Ted Koppel asked pointedly.
Brown said he had simply misspoken, but that he never was able to recover public confidence.
"That was a mistake. That was a real tipping point for me because I
hadn't slept. I misspoke," Brown said. "People were seeing pictures of
these people in the convention center that FEMA had learned about 24
hours before that. When I said, 'We just learned about that,' people
misinterpreted that as, 'You mean this has been going on for 24 hours
and you don't know about it?' "
Brown said criticism comes with the territory for any public
official. The irony is that he was just days away from resigning his
job before Katrina struck.
"The original plan was to be gone
before the start of hurricane season," he said. "It couldn't quite get
done in time, and so . . . my leaving was delayed slightly. And the
rest is history."
He said that he and his wife, Tamara, have put
their Virginia house on the market. They plan to move to the
Boulder-Longmont area full-time, while he plans to commute back and
forth to a second office and apartment in Washington.
More details about Brownie's new disaster preparedness consulting firm,
"it seems that Brown's actual angle may be providing not generic
emergency response consulting services but rather consulting services
to incompetents who've been saddled with emergency preparedness
responsibility and fear becoming national laughing stocks when they
turn mid-size disasters in to full-on catastrophes through gross
It's important to keep close tabs on everything going on in your disaster so as to avoid the true catastrophe of having the press think you're not on top of things.
Brown's consulting job is to teach people how NOT to be like MICHAEL
BROWN. Amazing! Is this is a Great country or What?
As visual metaphors go, it was a lavishly gilded lily of an image, a
hanging curveball across the plate, a George Tenet-style slam-dunk: A
weary President Bush, trying to escape a news conference in Beijing on
Sunday, strides away from the microphone to a pair of locked doors,
which he pulls and tugs in vain. No exit , the image screamed. No way out.
Of course, George Bush will inevitably get out of the mess he has made
-- he leaves office in three years and two months, not that anyone's
counting. But the rest of us will be left with his handiwork: crushing
national debt, rising economic inequality, a poisoned political
atmosphere and, oh, yes, the war in Iraq. We're the ones trapped in the
dark with no exit sign in sight.
The administration is losing the public debate because of its many
missteps and failures, but also because of its insistence on conflating
the war in Iraq with the larger "war on terror." Does anyone understand
what "war on terror" means? The country was attacked by a murderous
association of Islamic fundamentalists led by Osama bin Laden. Last we
heard, he was still alive and well, probably in some cave in
northwestern Pakistan. That's a long way from Iraq.
president says that Iraq is a test of our nation's resolve, that
anything less than victory will confirm the enemy's view that America
lacks the stomach for a fight. But "stay the course" doesn't play as a
strategy when the course seems to lead nowhere. What is victory in
Iraq? When will we know we've won? When the simmering, low-level civil
war we've ignited sparks into full flame and somebody takes over the
country? When a new government in Baghdad declares its eternal
brotherhood and friendship with Tehran?
The mess that George
Bush and Co. have created in Iraq doesn't have an unmessy solution.
Murtha's plan -- just get out -- isn't really attractive, but at least
it's a plan. The saying goes that when you're in a hole, the first
thing to do is to stop digging. But the president, like the optimistic
kid in the old joke, just keeps burrowing deeper into the pile of
manure, even though by now we can be pretty sure that there's no pony
UPDATE 1: Iraqi
leaders want US out of Iraq and call for a timetable for the withdrawal
of all foreign troops. Why do Iraqi leaders hate Iraq? Those darn
Iraqi leaders! Looks like
they have aligned themselves with the likes of Murtha, Michael Moore,
Moveon.org and 57% of America. Let's teach them a lesson and bomb the
crap out of their country...
Uh... wait... didn't we already do that?
the party's over and the hosts ask you to leave, only a fool would ask
for more dip and chips. Bush wants them to tap another keg, turn up the
music and piss off the neighborhood. This party needs a bouncer.
Bush feels betrayed by several of his most senior aides and advisors
and has severely restricted access to the Oval Office, administration
sources say. The president's reclusiveness in the face of relentless
public scrutiny of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and White House leaks
regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame has become so extreme that Mr.
Bush has also reduced contact with his father, former President George
H.W. Bush, administration sources said on the condition of anonymity.
sources said Mr. Bush maintains daily contact with only four people:
first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes. The sources also say that Mr. Bush has stopped talking with his father, except on family occasions."
I don't think this is a terribly bad idea considering the rut his previous knuckle draggers got him, and this country, into.
Not just worst president ever. But quickly becoming scariest president ever.
Why doesn't the public know more
about the fallen soldiers and their families? Partly it's because
there is little or no media coverage which helps keep the public from
knowing the 'real cost' of the war. Paul Fusco pulls back the
curtain in this photo essay..
A War without casualties? A war where only the evil get hurt? As much
as we would like to believe this, such an idea does not exist. War
produces casualties and destroys lives. Since the beginning of the
Iraqi war the government has consistently tried to divert media
attention both visually and factually. An obvious example of that
effort was closing Dover Air Force Base to the press so we cannot see
rows of flag-draped coffins ready to be shipped to grieving families.
As increasing numbers of families grieve in the small towns of America,
Paul Fusco shows us the bitter truth associated with the intolerable
loss and pain from this war.
In November 2003 Magnum photographer Paul Fusco began
his essay on the funerals of the soldiers killed in Iraq. From the
first funeral, military officers confronted media saying the families
didn’t want the coverage. Fusco was never allowed to speak to the
Schmidt, who defeated Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett for her seat in
Ohio, shut down the House of Representatives by challenging the courage
of decorated Vietnam War veteran Jack Murtha, saying "cowards cut and
run." The place exploded. It was probably everybody pulling out their
Blackberries and Googling Jean Schmidt's war record, where they no
doubt found her history as the head of Cincinnati Right to Life.
Presumably if Murtha's combat experience had been blowing up local
Planned Parenthood clinics, that would have qualified.
fiery, emotional debate climaxed when Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, the
most junior member of the House, told of a phone call she received from
a Marine colonel.
"He asked me to send Congress a message - stay
the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message -
that cowards cut and run, Marines never do," Schmidt said.
Democrats booed and shouted her down - causing the House to come to a standstill.
Harold Ford, D-Tenn., charged across the chamber's center aisle
screaming that it was an uncalled for personal attack. "You guys are
pathetic. Pathetic," yelled Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.
And her little dog Toto, too.
Update 2:ThinkProgress has the video. Really, you should see it. The minute she steps up there you can just feel she's itching to make trouble.
re Schmidt's withdrawal - after the chaos erupted when she was speaking
and the sound was but for quite a while, when they came back, the first
order of business was permission for her to withdraw her remarks which
was granted followed by Hag herself doing a little "gosh, I was not
referring to any of my esteemed colleagues" dance.
IMHO - Dems should not have let her get away with that - sorry but they really need to learn how to play harder than this.
It gets worse: House Republicans request ethics probe (sub.req.) of Murtha.
good thing about the GOP attack on Murtha is that they are going to
totally alienate, once and for all, all the Yellow Dog Democrats,
moderate Republicans and Independents.
Murtha just finished his comments on Tweety by saying that the people
are way out in front of the pols "People come up to me and say they
agree while the members say they need to think about it." He concluded
by saying the repub motion distorted his view by calling for pullout
with no plan and that they were reprehensible.
That's how a real dem talks - perhaps some others would like to take lessons?
UPDATE 3: But an unanswered question remains, who is this Colonel Danny Bubp, and
why does his opinion matter so much to Ms. Schmidt? One would assume
that he would possess at least as much military experience as the man
he essentially termed a coward, in response to the Congressman's call
for the troops in Iraq to return home within six months.
we do know that Colonel Bubp is an Ohio state representative, in fact,
from a district contained within Ohio's 2nd Congressional district,
which Ms. Schmidt won in a special election earlier this year. And how
did he win that seat for the first time in 2004?
years in the Marines, and Col. Bubp missed every single military
engagement? Southeast Asia? Beirut? Grenada? Panama? Gulf War? The
Balkans? Somolia? He even missed embassy service in Paris!
that hasn't stopped Col. Bubp from attacking the character of decorated
veterans like Cong Murtha. Col. Budp campaigned for Schmidt in her race
against Iraq veteran Paul Hackett in the special election.
In O'Reilly's view the only real problem is the "internet smear sites" drawing attention to his comments:
far left internet smear sites have launched a campaign to get me fired
over my point of view. I believe they do this on a daily basis. This
time the theme is O'Reilly is encouraging terrorist attacks.
Damn the Facts, this is Unbelievably stupid. Not unusual with these guttersnipes.
typical comments from O'Reilly. But he added an unusual twist. O'Reilly
promised to publish the names of everyone who supported these "internet
smear sites" on his website:
I'm glad the smear sites made a big deal out of
it. Now we can all know who was with the anti-military internet crowd.
We'll post the names of all who support the smear merchants on
billoreilly.com. So check with us.
unclear where O'Reilly would find such a list. But since he has labeled
everyone who supports websites like MediaMatters.org and
ThinkProgress.org as "anti-military" it seems to be an effort to
intimidate everyone who doesn't endorse the Iraqi clusterfuck.
Some bloggers are planning to email O'Reilly and insist to be placed
on His Enemies list. As a public service here are a few reasons
you might want to consider adding to your email to O'Liar.
Dear Bill O'Reilly. Please put me on your Enemies List because:
1.- You thought telling an entire city that you didn't
think they should be defended if Al Qaeda attacked them would be a
2.- You thought telling one of of your women coworkers
that performing sexual acts using a fried middle eastern food would be
a sexy turn on.
3.- I read ten pages of your goddamn porno book, and you owe me.
4.- You thought I forgot all about that whole "I'll be first to be mad if no WMDs are found in Iraq" thing, but I didn't.
5.- I was on McCarthy's Enemies List, and Nixon's Enemies List, and I want to continue the streak.
6.- I'm hoping to hasten your rapid descent into
madness. Possibly by The Holidays, if possible, because I haven't gotten
Al Franken anything yet.
Mission Statement 'Organization to Shoot Bill O'Reilly into the Sun:We are a group of people with a
common goal for the common good. To shoot Fox News celebrity Bill
O'Reilly into the sun. We do not wish any harm to Mr. O'Reilly, we
simply feel that he could better serve mankind in a rocket ship, on a
collision course with the center of our solar system. In fact, we feel
O'Reilly himself would be receptive to the idea, after a little
Happy Veterans Day to All Who Have Served And Are Now Serving
eleven has come round again, when we remember what used to
optimistically be referred to as the last great 'War to end all Wars.
As our nation celebrates the
contributions and sacrifices of America's Veterans today, today is more than just a day to give Veterans a parade and a thank
you. Veterans Day is about honoring those who have fought in service to
this nation. The best way to honor our sacrifice is to take care of their
needs and answer the questions they have. To date, all we have gotten from
most people in Washington
is a bunch of lip service and requests to be window dressing for advantageous
that every politician – from the President on down – will finally tell us:
there no mandatory baseline funding of the Department of Veterans Affairs? You say you support the
Troops, but year after year, the VA is woefully underfunded because funding is
at the discretion of Congress and the President. The result has been the
agency charged with Veteran care has been continually underfunded by as much as
13-14%, according to the agency’s own Undersecretary. The agency does not
have enough centers and personnel to properly screen for and treat Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder or provide adequate and timely health care.
and Afghanistan Veterans are already homeless. There is no system set up
to help them.
no one been fired for underestimating the VA’s funding need by billions? A wave of new Veterans is
coming and the VA is not ready. Earlier this year, Secretary Jim
Nicholson crawled to Congress with his tail between his legs to admit the
agency miscalculated its need by almost $3 billion for the next two
years. Who has been held accountable for this foul up? Has the
agency kept a closer eye on the developing need to make sure they aren’t caught
unprepared, as our Troops return from war?
we become Veterans in the first place? On behalf of the Veterans of Iraq, I ask that the
question is finally answered: Were we misled into war? We deserve
anyone have a real plan for Iraq? Many of us who served in Iraq
feel there was never a well thought out plan for after the invasion. We
never felt there was a clear mission with attainable goals. We are told
by many of our friends still over there that there is still no clear mission.
Is there an exit strategy that is responsible and practical? Neither
Democrats nor Republicans have offered anything on that front.
We want to know how and why the Bush administration
distorted intelligence to lead us into war in Iraq. We want to know who
else was involved in Lewis Libby’s efforts to conceal the White House’s
deceptions. And we want to know why the Republicans who control
Congress have, until just last week, repeatedly accepted the deception
coming from the White House and refused to ask the hard questions about
the misuse of pre-war intelligence.
Most of all we want to know when George Bush will stop misleading
Congress and the American people, acknowledge the mistakes we’ve made
in Iraq, and develop a strategy to achieve military, political and
economic success to bring our troops home.
No, really? Get out! All I have to say to that is eat that
bacon-wrapped pork chop you greasy GOPers! Eat it and love it! Bring a
napkin to the table and eat it all. You bought it, and now you're going
to be voted out in 2006. Too bad. This is one dish that you can't send
back to the chef.
The highway bill seemed like such a good idea when it sailed
through Congress this summer. But now Republicans who assembled the
record spending package are suffering buyer's remorse.
$286 billion legislation was stuffed with 6,000 pet projects for
lawmakers' districts, including what critics denounce as a $223 million
"Bridge to Nowhere" that would replace a 7-minute ferry ride in a
sparsely populated area of Alaska. Usually members of Congress cannot
wait to rush home and brag about such bounty -- a staggering number of
parking lots, bus depots, bike paths and new interchanges for just
about every congressional district in the country that added $24
billion to the overall cost of maintaining the nation's highways and
bridges in the coming years.
Lawmakers say voters are stopping them back home to ask whether the
"Bridge to Nowhere" is a joke or whether it actually exists. It is no
joke. The Senate has already considered one proposal to scale back
the legislation -- an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to
cut funding for some of the projects special-ordered by Alaskan
lawmakers and use the money saved to rebuild the Interstate 10 bridge
over Lake Pontchartrain outside New Orleans. The I-10 bridge, a major
transportation corridor, was shattered during the Katrina storm surge.
bid failed, but it gained widespread attention and attracted 15 Senate
"yes" votes, a landslide, considering the political clout of Stevens, a
former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a formidable
force in Congress. In a display of outrage, Stevens threatened to
resign from the Senate if Coburn's measure succeeded.
In a speech to a group of conservative academics and policy experts,
DeLay blamed the runaway spending of recent years on minority
Democrats. When he took questions, the first came from a senior
official at the American Conservative Union, who asked DeLay, "How
large does the Republican majority in the House and Senate need to be
before Republicans act like the fiscal conservative I thought we were?"
Given that Jerry Kilgore lost Virginia, probably thanks to a
supportive visit from George II, other Republican leaders are going to
drop the prez like a hot potato. John McCain will become the hot guest
to have at the table this year. Better hope that pork chops aren't on
Tom Cruise has tossed off the shackles of Hollywood
oppression and is piloting his Scientology-fueled funny car straight
towards you. The tires are smoking and he's screaming to the stands about
Katie, psychiatry, sex, space aliens, and Brooke Shields.
We would love to have been a fly on the wall during the negotiations
which led Tom Cruise to dump his sister, Lee Ann DeVette, as his flack in favor of hiring Hollywood insider Paul Bloch of Rogers & Cowan.
(For the record, DeVette has said she wants to spend more time on
Cruise's charitable activities.)
What, after all, is the new PR
strategy? For Cruise to go into extended seclusion? Though the
headlines about the megastar leaping on couches, having verbal tugs-of-war with Brooke Shields
and other antics involving impregnated fiance Katie Holmes are now old
hat, those events have led the press to sow new seeds of scandal almost
any time Cruise breathes—whether there’s truth to any of it, or not.
recently read in a celebrity magazine (no, we don’t actually buy them;
they just have this habit of landing in our lap), that Katie Holmes’
lawyer Dad was holding up the wedding over the prenup; in another one
we read that Cruise had bought a house for he and Katie in her
hometown, Toledo, to appease the in-laws. Is any of this true?
the appearance on Oprah, there’s no footage to verify any of it, but
the normalcy of negative headlines about Cruise these days would have
been unthinkable a few years ago.
Whatever happens from here, people in
PR and marketing will be watching Bloch just as closely as they
surreptitiously scan headlines to catch up on the latest alleged Tom
Fine. Then shut down the black sites, tell Dick Cheney to stop
lobbying against the McCain amendment, and allow the Red Cross
unfettered access to prisoners in our custody. After all, if the events
of the past four years had happened in any other country in the world —
the abuse, the memos, the photos, the relentless opposition to
independent inspections — isn't that the least it would take for any of
us to believe it when that country's head of state declared "We do not
It's not going to be easy for the United States to regain its
credibility as a country dedicated to combatting barbarism and
supporting human rights. That's all the more reason we should start now.
Fareed Zakaria confirms what I've been thinking, that the war has for all intents and purposes been lost because of Abu Ghraib:
is a case of more than just bad public relations. Ask any soldier in
Iraq when the general population really turned against the United
States and he will say, "Abu Ghraib." A few months before the
scandal broke, Coalition Provisional Authority polls showed Iraqi
support for the occupation at 63 percent. A month after Abu Ghraib, the
number was 9 percent. Polls showed that 71 percent of Iraqis were
surprised by the revelations. Most telling, 61 percent of Iraqis polled
believed that no one would be punished for the torture at Abu Ghraib.
Of the 29 percent who said they believed someone would be punished, 52
percent said that such punishment would extend only to "the little
Of course it's not torture. It's all fraternity hazing pranks, remember?
Support the troops by ignoring the Geneva conventions. That's how it works in gooper cognitive-dissonance land.
Yellow magnets on your car = "Supporting the Troops."
Voting for leaders who fail to provide basic body armor for the troops = "Supporting the Troops."
Calling for a pre-emptive war based on trumped-up WMD evidence = "Supporting the Troops."
asking for them to be brought home so they can't be killed and maimed
for the pointless reason of establishing an Iran-friendly theocracy in
Iraq = "Liberal Treason."
Notice that Bush said: "Any activity we conduct is within the law."
only act within the law." I think he honestly believes that he
could authorize "any" action and, by definition, it wouldn't be torture.
Scientists discover that some chicks who dig Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts also dig cars
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Men and women agree that cars play an
important role in dating, but they don't always agree on what should
happen once things get rolling.
Eighty-nine percent of males and 95 percent of females said they
were extremely or somewhat likely to notice their date's car, according
to a survey conducted by Ford Motor Co. The survey was conducted as
part of a program, including "speed dating" events in various cities,
to promote the company's new Fusion sedan. The survey polled 400 single men and women.
It's not just the make and model of a car that's getting noticed,
according to the survey. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said the
condition of their date's car would at least somewhat impact their
attraction to the person.
Women felt more strongly about their date's car condition than men
with 69 percent saying it would at least somewhat affect their
attraction to their date compared to 47 percent of men.
"You often get one chance to make a right impression and, many
times, your car is one of the first personal things your date sees
about you. Similar to your clothes, your car says something about you
and your style," said Ellen Fein, dating expert and co-author of The Rules.
About 20 percent of respondents said they had been "asked to chip in
for car-related expenses by their date." Of those that had been asked
to chip in, 15 percent said they were asked to spring for gas followed
by parking (9 percent) and tolls (6 percent).
When asked to recall their "most embarrassing car date moment," 22
percent of respondents said it was being told by their date that they
were a bad driver. Far more women suffered this insult than men. Second
overall was suffering an "upset stomach," followed by being pulled over
for speeding, and getting in to a fender-bender. Just barely making the
list was "getting caught fooling around."
Sixteen percent of those surveyed ranked kissing as their "favorite
car date activity." But, only 8 percent of females surveyed chose
kissing versus 24 percent of males.
Gosh, a car company discerned that shiny new cars might help garner affection ? Whoda thunk it.
The Fault, Dear Brutus, Is Not In Our Stars, But In
I'm trying to imagine a modern news anchor (or pundit) saying anything
that articulate or erudite on the air today, and failing miserably. The
McCarthyite use of fear and the climate of fear was eerily similar
to today's GOP attacks on war critics "Why do they hate America." You
sense it strongly as you watch this movie -- the parallels.
Went to see "Good Night and Good Luck" last Friday. One hell of a movie and is highly recommended. What I especially liked about it, though, was how
focused it was, how it didn't try to be about more than just a moment, when
a group of people powerful in their own right decided to stand up to a
bully. Dianne Reeves's singing, for the jazz score alone, was worth the price of admission, without all the politics.
The story is inspiring, though, to see those who go
to the same cocktail parties challenge one another, to see one neighbor
take on another. We need only think about our lapdog MSM or of Judith Miller and the NYT fiasco
to realize how rare that is today, and how much the poorer we are today for
the co-opting of the once powerful press.
A transcript of Murrow's famous McCarthy program is here. This was the part that had me holding my breath in the theater:
Earlier, the Senator asked, "Upon what meat does this,
our Caesar, feed?" Had he looked three lines earlier in Shakespeare's
Caesar, he would have found this line, which is not altogether
inappropriate: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in
No one familiar with the history of this country can deny
that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to
investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and
persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin
has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in
confusing the public mind, as between internal and the external threats
of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must
remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction
depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear,
one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason,
if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we
are not descended from fearful men -- not from men who feared to write,
to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment,
This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep
silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our
history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is
no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As
a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We
proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom,
wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend
freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused
alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable
comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He
didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it -- and
rather successfully. Cassius was right. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not
in our stars, but in ourselves."
Straithairn was magnificent in the portrayal of Morrow, and that is
primary strength of this movie -- a short study of Morrow's
As history, it was representative but still thin gruel. It does not try to present Morrow as the defeater of McCarthy, and
presents only a few bare bones moments about McCarthy's overreaching.
The uneducated who learn their history from movies might mistakenly
believe that it tells the whole story, but it is unfair to critique the
movie for something it does not purport to be.
One thing to realize about Morrow -- he got his start
in radio, and had
a preachy pedantic air common for that era. It worked for him because
he was so good, but Rather copied the style without success. I think
Morrow's style did not translate as well to television, but what really
mattered was his dedication to the story rather than to self-preening
so common of media stars today.
A new political dynamic has emerged on the South American continent and much of Latin America
over the past five years. That's not news. What is a bit surprising is
that the Bush administration has failed to recognize (or perhaps
“acknowledge” is a better word) the emergence of a social democratic
movement that continues to gather steam.
The Bush administration largely views these developments as a threat to
U.S. hegemony in the region. The new leadership in Latin America which
is driving these bold initiatives would probably prefer to consider the
reforms that are taking place as a counterpoint to a non-benevolent
“manifest destiny” being pushed by multinationalists.
So, it's not a bit surprising that many Latin American leaders are
balking at the U.S.'s attempt to drive the discussions at the two day
America's Summit (being held today and tomorrow in Argentina) toward restarting the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) talks.
The government of Argentina is particularly sensitive to the Bush
administration's desire to railroad FTAA, in light of the calamitous
economic events in the country during 2001.
If there's only one good thing about the Bush administration's folly in
Iraq, it's that the war has distracted the attention of the policy
makers, and allowed the social democratic movements to prosper. Most
importantly, what's happening in South America is directly related to
the “laws of unintended consequences”. A failed energy policy in the
U.S. that has allowed energy companies to gouge American consumers has
financed the revolution in Latin American politics.
The populist genie is out of the bottle, and it's unlikely that any
push by the Bush administration to ramrod FTAA is going to meet with
much success. Perhaps it's time for the administration's experts to
come to terms with the new realities of true Latin American national
empowerment, rather than trying to dictate terms of a broken policy of
Scooter Libby's Sex Shocker Book 'The Apprentice'
I'm still trying to figure out what you do with a stick to drive a bear
to rape children. It makes no sense, which is par for the course, I
guess. picture by monk
I was a huge fan of Libby's coy writing style in his now infamous
'Aspen' letter to Judy Miller. However, he lost me (I'm still reeling)
upon reading his earlier (1996) work entitled "The Apprentice".
I have yet to read the actual tome in full, the passages being bandied
around the internet are enough to make you call your mother crying
while running for the shower. Pedaphilia, scatological psychosis,
golden showers and beastiality are just a few of the exciting topics
that Scooter Libby toys with according to the New Yorker.
I nearly set down my coffee cup in one of my suddenly saucer sized eyes upon reading this passage:
age ten the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple
with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with
their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with
a stick when it seemed to lose interest.
First Santorum with his dog-sex, now
Libby. Who knew that there was such a strong bestiality underground in
the Republican party?? The wages of repression is becoming a really sick motherfucker.
Yeah, this is pretty fucking nuts. But
the bear being aroused with a stick, the idea that a bear would have
intercourse with a human being whether a stick is involved or not - all
of that isn't really the important thing here.
And that guy who told Alan Colmes he fucked a mule and then got
defensive that liberals would see something wrong in the wholesome
red-state practice of having a mule as your first girlfriend.
WTF is wrong with these people? Pedophile bears and bear-fluffers?
Maybe his next book could be how Cheney and Bush
fucked him so hard that he had to take a fall for them....at least it
would be true.
A hard-luck California Guard unit was assured of its safety -- and then the bombs exploded.
At a prayer breakfast in Baghdad last week, Col. William Wood tearfully
promised soldiers in the California National Guard battalion that the
killing and wounding of soldiers in his battered unit would come to an
No more soldier photographs, he pledged, would be added under his watch
to the already crowded wall at Forward Operating Base Falcon where the
battalion honors its dead.
Less than 48 hours later, the 44-year-old Wood died in a roadside bomb
explosion when he came to the aid of a fallen comrade. He was the
highest-ranking American officer to die since the war began.
Wood's death and three others from the same unit last week added to the
mounting woes of the Modesto-based 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry
Regiment, which has been mired in controversy and misfortune since it
began training in the New Mexico desert more than a year ago. The unit
was sent to Iraq in January.
The battalion's casualty rate, 11
killed and more than 100 wounded among its 700 troops, is one of the
highest of National Guard units in Iraq.
Two days after the
prayer breakfast, Capt. Michael MacKinnon, a regular Army officer
brought in to command one company of Wood's battalion, was on patrol in
a treacherous area of southern Baghdad when a bomb exploded near his
As MacKinnon, 30, lay mortally wounded, Wood rushed
to his aid only to be killed when another bomb exploded.
MacKinnon recently contributed a
column to the company's newsletter that is sent to family and friends.
Despite the unit's rocky recent history, Mackinnon said he had become
attached to it. "I know there were a couple of months where the company
had some troubles as a result of some isolated incidents," he wrote. "I
can assure you that this is something of the past. I can also tell you
with absolute certainty that this company is back on its feet."
In July, 12 soldiers from the battalion's Fullerton-based Alpha Company
were charged with misconduct for their alleged role in the abuse of
Iraqi prisoners. Last month, U.S. military officials in Iraq announced
that three sergeants have been imprisoned and four other soldiers
sentenced to hard labor for their role in the incident in which a stun
gun was used on handcuffed prisoners.
As a result of the
prisoner abuse charges, battalion commander Lt. Col. Patrick Frey was
replaced by Wood, a regular Army officer and native of the Florida
According to one soldier attending the Oct. 25
prayer breakfast, Wood told the assembled battalion that he had come to
the unit concerned about "the professionalism, talent and discipline of
the officers and men."
But after a month or so working with the
soldiers, Wood said he came away impressed, noting that the unit had
conducted 500 patrols, 19 raids and captured 79 suspected insurgents.
This was a better record than some of the much larger regular Army
units in Iraq, Wood told the soldiers, declaring himself to be a proud
"Nightstalker," the battalion's nickname.
Most of the
battalion's casualties, nine killed in action in the last six weeks,
came under Wood's command. All were from what military officials say
are increasingly sophisticated roadside bombs known in the military as
"improvised explosive devices."
The deaths recalled the unit's
stormy training period in the New Mexico desert in the summer of 2004.
Several soldiers participating in the training exercises complained to
reporters about poor equipment and training, particularly in dealing
with explosive devices.
The chief of the National Guard, Lt.
Gen. H. Steven Blum, defended the training. Other soldiers blamed the
complaints on a handful of misfits.
West Point graduate from Helena, Mont., died of his injuries at the
Combat Support Hospital.
Wood, from Panama City,
Fla., is survived by his wife, Nanci, and a daughter. MacKinnon is
survived by his wife, Bethany Mayers, and two sons. Just as
battalion was adjusting to the loss of two of its leaders, two more of
the California unit's soldiers died in a roadside bombing
Saturday. Killed were Capt. Raymond D. Hill, 39, of Turlock and
Taffari Guy, 23, of Pomona. Their deaths came at the end of what had
been the bloodiest month for U.S. troops since January and an
increasingly deadly one for National Guard soldiers, who accounted for
20 of the 92 soldiers killed in October.
Don't let the fact that you were filmed stripping the ball out of an
NFL quarterback's hands on live television stop you from pleading
innocent to the charge
CINCINNATI - The fan who ran out of the stands and snatched a football
from Brett Favre's hand pleaded innocent to a variety of charges at his
arraignment Monday, while the Bengals promised not to let it happen
Gregory Gall, 31, of Cincinnati, is accused of resisting arrest,
trespass and disorderly conduct while intoxicated. He was released on
his own recognizance following his appearance in Municipal Court.
The Bengals are reviewing their security measures to prevent a
repeat of Gall's run on the field, which interrupted the final minute
of Cincinnati's 21-14 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday that the league doesn't get involved in team security issues.
"It's a local matter," he said. "If there's any questions, we can
assist them. But it appears to be an isolated incident, and the Bengals
are reviewing it."
Favre drove the Packers to the Cincinnati 28 in the final minute and
took a snap from center when Gall ran onto the field, prompting
officials to blow the play dead.
Gall approached Favre from behind, snatched the ball from his
throwing hand and ran to the other end of the field with security
guards in pursuit. He was finally tackled and taken from the field.
The five-minute delay gave the Bengals time to regroup. They sacked
Favre on the next play, and the clock ran out after Favre faked a spike
and wound up running downfield. He flipped the ball forward illegally
as the game ended.
Several Packers complained about security, noting that the fan could
have hurt Favre. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis acknowledged after the game
that the delay broke the Packers' momentum, and joked that the team
would pay the fan $20.
A day later, Lewis said fans must be kept off the field.
"That's the first fear you have — there's a guy running clean at
Brett Favre," Lewis said Monday. "That's why you can't allow that to
occur. Our people that handle security feel very badly about it and
will take steps (so) that kind of thing never happens here again at
Paul Brown Stadium."
Sports leagues have struggled with the question of how to prevent
fans from going on the field. In September 2002, a father and his son
ran onto the field during a Chicago White Sox game and attacked Kansas City first base coach Tom Gamboa.
A fan went onto the field at halftime of the Patriots' Super Bowl
win over Carolina two years ago, briefly delaying the second-half
The NFL required all 32 teams to conduct pat-downs of fans entering
their stadiums before games this season. Local government officials
initially balked, but the pat-downs were conducted before each of the
last two Bengals home games.
Ghost town alive. After the real horror of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans revels in 'Mardi Goth'
Revellers get political in the French Quarter Saturday night. The
"You're doing a great job, Brownie" sign is an ironic paraphrase of
U.S. President George W. Bush, who praised former FEMA director Mike
Brown's handling of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina before
Brown resigned under a torrent of criticism.
The margarita Diane Spieler sips during her nocturnal masquerade on
Bourbon St. perfectly matches the glow-in-the-dark green of her hideous
face, airbrushed in dreadful detail with reptilian scales and skeletal
hollows. Is she a radioactive ghoul? An alien sea serpent?
somebody asks me, I just tell 'em I'm Katrina," the 57-year-old New
Orleans accountant says, glaring through ghostly pale contact lenses
beneath hair molded into spikes. "Doesn't it look mean and freaky?"
months after the monster hurricane's horrifying rampage, Halloween has
brought back the French Quarter's thirst for theatric horror and
debauchery, its Mardi Goth mojo in the heart of a city long known for
its reverence for voodoo and Anne Rice's glamorously gothic vampire
"Halloween is the best kept local secret. It's shoulder-to-shoulder, just like Mardi Gras, but everybody's in costume,"
said late Saturday, the spooky celebration in full swing two days
early. "It's the first big, fun, drinking night since the hurricane."
of New Orleans remains a ghost town, but the French Quarter teems with
wicked witches and pimps in purple velvet. Elvis struts the sidewalk
flanked by Supergirl and Marilyn Monroe. An Amazonian blond's skimpy
cop outfit flirts with indecent exposure. Others share the Katrina
theme, dressing as discarded refrigerators and the blue tarps that
cover broken city roofs.
"Enough cleanup! Time for a drink!" said
Bobby Hughes, 23, a Loyola University graduate student sporting a blond
pigtailed wig, a plaid skirt that is too short on his 6-foot-6 frame,
and a blouse knotted above his waist that bares traces of a red bra.
my name tonight," said Hughes, joined by girlfriend Kat McKibben, a
"love bug" with floppy antenna, feather boa, butterfly wings and fuzzy
slippers. "You're hot!" a passing man tells Hughes.
Spared the brunt of Katrina's wrath and the flooding that followed when levees ruptured, the French Quarter has steadily revived since reopening a month ago. Its bars, restaurants and T-shirt shops have been kept afloat by a transient stream of construction workers, relief volunteers and journalists.
cans overflow with discarded beer cups. Shoes stick to sidewalks
lacquered in spilled liquor. Outside the Bourbon Street Blues Company,
a woman lifts her shirt in return for a shower of beads tossed from the
"Different parts of the city, the Garden District and
everything, are not the same at all," said Dawn Carroll, 33, dressed as
a "Tool Time" character from the sitcom Home Improvement, only with a
naughty tool belt. "This makes you think that (New Orleans) is going to
come back. It'll be back full force."
Bourbon St. might not be
kid-friendly, and many neighbourhoods remain too wrecked for
door-to-door trick or treating, but children haven't been neglected.
De La Salle High School in the Garden District, little Batmen and
butterfly-winged fairies fill sacks with chocolate bars and lollipops
from bowls on tables lining the sidewalks. Indian warriors and
cheerleaders dance to zydeco music, oblivious to the downed power lines
in the median of St. Charles Ave.
Cherly Oncale worked on her son's costume for
two weeks during their hurricane exile in Atlanta. Their flight from
Katrina took them to five hotels in five cities. They returned two
weeks ago to a friend's house.
"We need a good party right now, to kind of reground us," Oncale said.