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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

So, is President Bush a Liar? 

Kristof strikes again.
A consensus is emerging on the left that Mr. Bush is fundamentally dishonest, perhaps even evil — a nut, yes, but mostly a liar and a schemer.
...
I'm against the "liar" label for two reasons. First, it further polarizes the political cesspool, and this polarization is making America increasingly difficult to govern. Second, insults and rage impede understanding.
...
In fact, of course, Mr. Bush did stretch the truth. The run-up to Iraq was all about exaggerations, but not flat-out lies. Indeed, there's some evidence that Mr. Bush carefully avoids the most blatant lies — witness his meticulous descriptions of the periods in which he did not use illegal drugs.
...
Mr. Bush's central problem is not that he was lying about Iraq, but that he was overzealous and self-deluded. He surrounded himself with like-minded ideologues, and they all told one another that Saddam was a mortal threat to us. They deceived themselves along with the public — a more common problem in government than flat-out lying.

Kristof follows the typical recipe for press-rats seeking to jump the sinking neocon ship. Blame liberals for being too overzealous, pick on us for being too right about the wrongness of the war and this administration, and then provide a so-called reasonable analysis that triangulates between our rightness and the horrible wrongness that was distributed by this administration thanks to the media whores corps.

Surely there is a component of groupthink involved in this administration's crimes against humanity. Their ideological circle jerk freed each of them individually to do whatever they wanted, including lie to the American people.

Kristof says Bush "stretched the truth." I say he shoved a firecracker up its ass and lit it on fire. Now liberals are left to sweep up the detritus while media whores like Kristof blame us for acting too pissed about it.

Go fuck yourself.

That doesn't make me feel better. Riding these liars out on a rail would.

update: here are some of El Presidente's lies.








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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Ask Bill 


God grant me the serenity...oh fuck that, time's a' wastin'.


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Another great way to put it 

Naomi Klein has a great column in the Nation.
Good news out of Baghdad: the Program Management Office, which oversees the $18.4 billion in US reconstruction funds, has finally set a goal it can meet. Sure, electricity is below prewar levels, streets are rivers of sewage and more Iraqis have been fired than hired. But now the PMO has contracted with British mercenary firm Aegis to protect its employees from "assassination, kidnapping, injury and"--get this--"embarrassment." I don't know if Aegis will succeed in protecting PMO employees from violent attack, but embarrassment? I'd say mission already accomplished. The people in charge of rebuilding Iraq can't be embarrassed, because clearly they have no shame.

Read the rest, it's really good.

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Great way to put it 

Julius Blog has a review of F911 that describes the problem in a nutshell.
Over the last four years most American media have sunk to embarrassing levels of pro-government fawning, practicing self-censorship daily, promoting the White House talking-points, and ignoring opposing views. The Left, anti-war positions, and critics of the president have been completely ostracized by the media. This movie provides a serious balance and great relief to all those that have been shut out of the mainstream media.

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Democracy is not a spectator sport 

I went to moveon.org's town meeting last night, along with 25-30,000 people across the country. In Des Moines, the crowd was around 160-200 people, about twice as many as we were planning for. Everyone was angry and ready to beat Bush.

I was given the privilege to introduce Michael Moore via teleconference, at least to the Des Moines crowd. I was pretty nervous, and I can't remember everything I said, but you hardly had to say anything intelligible. A primal scream would've been something people could connect to at this point. People are really fed up!

Michael Moore said he was very optimistic, and I am too, at least for beating the hell outta Bush. But beyond that, I'm hoping Kerry can "turn those frowns upside down" with some good solid policy.


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What went wrong 

Krugman lays it out, plain and simple.
Let's say the obvious. By making Iraq a playground for right-wing economic theorists, an employment agency for friends and family, and a source of lucrative contracts for corporate donors, the administration did terrorist recruiters a very big favor.

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Monday, June 28, 2004

The sun will come out, tomorrow 

Most of the time I live with the dual burdens of sheer dread and unmitigated rage. Just when it seems like we've painted ourselves into a corner, El Presidente finds an even tinier corner of the corner to recklessly box us into. But Liberal Oasis (and "Anonymous") gives me hope today.
Anonymous appears resigned to war.

But as he noted...we can avoid having nothing but bad military choices if our policies change.

What policies? Over on NBC's Meet The Press, Newt Gingrich inadvertently provided some guidance.

Russert played Newt a clip of an earlier NBC interview with Anonymous, where he calls the Iraq war a "Christmas gift" to Osama.

Newt responded:

If you read his book, is much more complicated than just that quote.

He basically suggests that unless we're willing to give up the oil fields --

[Apparently, we own the Middle Eastern oil fields!]

-- we're willing to abandon Israel, we're willing to abandon every major government in the Arab world that we are in a total war with bin Laden, that we have to either win or die.

To translate:

1. If we're willing to develop alternative, renewable energy sources so we don't have to rely on Middle Eastern oil;

2. If we're committed to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a true honest broker;

3. If we really believe in all that democracy stuff and stop propping up the dictators we deem as friendly;

4. Then maybe we can actually prevent this from becoming a perpetual war between civilizations.
That sneaky Bush administration keeps making me think we don't have alternatives, but we do. There are many possibilities for peace.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. - Rumi




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'Ambassador Bremer has left the country' 

From Independent Online, South Africa, since our press is either too cooperative or too incompetent to report it.



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Saturday, June 26, 2004

Fahrenheit 911 

Anti-Bush, anti-war, anti-capitalism run amok. Most important, Fahrenheit 9/11 is fundamentally an indictment of mainstream press.

Go see it, of course. Whatever you think of Michael Moore's treatment of the issues, the American people need to talk about them. We aren't talking about who is reaping the spoils of war, who is dying, and why this administration went to war in the first place. The film helps us have this conversation, which is a good think since the mainstream press has utterly failed.

I was pleased to hear that the movie sold out all over the country. It goes to show that there is a disconnect between what the media wants to tell us and what we want to hear. We are begging for this discussion!

We went to the 1:30 pm showing yesterday at the Varsity Theatre in Des Moines, the only theatre in town showing it. The theatre nearly filled, and when we got out, the line for the next showing was down the street. I volunteered to help MoveOn distribute flyers while there, and didn't end up having to do that, but did speak to the press a little, and met the local MoveOn coordinator. I read that later showings were packed.

The reviews have been mixed and the criticisms have been ridiculous. The same whiny shit, everywhere:

1. F911 is too biased and angry!
2. Michael Moore lied about !
3. I'm a democrat and even I hated it!

Face it, assholes, you can either get on the truth train or it is going to run you over. You can't stop this.


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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Breaking: Dick Cheney is not a vampire 


Cheney not a vampire

I imagine that MSNBC won't have this up for long. It's a picture of Dick Cheney, and the caption says, "Vice President Dick Cheney is reflected in a mirror as he speaks earlier this year in Milwaukee." (click on the picture for a larger image)

Incidentally, the article is about Cheney cursing out Senator Patrick Leahy today.

According to aides, Leahy said hello to Cheney following the taking of the Senate group photo on the floor of the chamber.

Cheney, who as vice president is president of the Senate, then ripped into Leahy for the Democratic senator’s criticism this week of alleged war profiteering in Iraq by Halliburton, the oil services company that Cheney once ran.

Leahy and other Democrats have called for congressional hearings into whether the vice president helped the firm win lucrative contracts in Iraq after the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein.

During their exchange, Leahy noted that Republicans had accused Democrats of being anti-Catholic because they are opposed to some of President Bush’s anti-abortion judges, the aides said.

Cheney then responded, “f--- off” or “f--- you,” two aides said, both speaking on condition of anonymity.

Leahy, D-Vt., confirmed that the confrontation took place but would not provide details.

“I think he was just having a bad day,” Leahy said. “I was kind of shocked to hear that kind of language on the floor.”

Even thirsty bloodsuckers lose their cool every now and then.

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Just a spooful of treason 

Helps the president go down, the president go dow-own, the president go down,
Just a spoonful of treason helps the president go down, in the most debasing way!

El Presidente met with Patrick Fitzgerald, the independent counsel in the CIA leak case. He brought his personal lawyer. You be the judge.


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My letter to the NY Times 

To the editor: Mr. Shenon accuses Mr. Moore of distorting the facts surrounding the flights taken by Saudi nationals including members of the Bin Laden family. While Saudis were not allowed to fly out of the U.S. when the rest of the country was grounded, they were in fact able to fly within our borders. Even Ricky Martin wasn't allowed to fly, but relatives of Public Enemy #1 (Usama Bin Laden, in case you've forgotten) were. It's incredibly disappointing that the NY Times and other major media voices don't care to report this curious fact.

Sincerely,

(no response to this one)


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My letter to the Washington Post 

In today's Post, Joel Achenbach refers to the president as "the spiritual leader of the nation as well as the head of state." Sorry, but until the theocratic branch of the Republican party gets an amendment through, I'm going to be looking for my spiritual leaders outside the administration. Especially this administration.

Sincerely....


(they may be publishing this one!)


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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Bush anti-torture memo 

By way of Discourse.net, a memo dated February 2002, in which El Presidente, in a nutshell:

1. agrees that we don't have to abide by the Geneva conventions
2. says we'll do it anyway, at least while we're fighting the taliban.

The reasoning seems to be that Al-Qaida, as supported by the Taliban and thus apparently indistinguishable from them, is not a state, so cannot represent itself in the contractual agreement that is Geneva. Therefore, Geneva doesn't apply in our global war on terra.

The obvious question is whether we believe in the moral underpinnings of Geneva for our own conduct, or whether we view it as an amoral contractual agreement. The obvious answer from the 'thugs will be that Al-Qaida is much more brutal than we could ever hope to be. The obvious answer from your mother is if Al-Qaida jumps off a bridge, does that mean you have to do it too?

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Fun with Spanky 

This guy rocks.
The rising disdain of the press corps would be positively delightful -- except for knowing that it took an unnecessary war, widespread torture, probable war crimes, and several high-level acts approaching treason to get the press to finally show a little proper skepticism.

Picky, I realize.

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I knew it! 

I knew that when the WH released documents supposedly exonerating them in the torture scandal, the documents would actually indict them! In fact, I said so this afternoon on Eschaton.
The administration is so retarded, I'm betting that some of the documents they release about their torture deliberations will not work in their favor.
Tomato Observer | Email | Homepage | 06.22.04 - 2:56 pm | #

They are so predictable.


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Dear Mr. Ashcroft 

Shut your fucking face uncle fucka
You're a cock sucking ass licking uncle fucka
You're an uncle fucka, yes its true
Nobody fucks uncles quite like you
Shut your fucking face uncle fucka
You're the one that fucked your uncle, uncle fucka
You dont eat or sleep or mow the lawn,
You just fuck your uncle all day long...

etc.


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We need Michael Moore just as he is. 

Michael Moore is criticized for using similar techniques as the 'thugs to get his point across. For instance, as I read yesterday, the 'thugs make sure not to talk about pre-emption, they talk about prevention & protection. Instead of talking about obligation to sustain our communities and our country, they talk about "tax and spend." Instead of acknowledging corporate utter dependence on the largesse of the politicians (who are so generous with our money), they talk about welfare dependency of widows and orphans.

We need Michael Moore to be just as he is. We've had a quarter of a century of weak-willed democrats and pseudo-republicans who have tried to play nice with the 'thugs. It hasn't paid to treat them like reasonable, moral creatures. They've nearly ruined our country on all fronts: domestic, international, democratic, economic, institutional, technological, and with respect to basic morality. We need a few Michael Moores to at least give us some teeth in taking back our country from that pack of murderers (illegal war), extortionists (the coalition of the billing), embezzlers (Enron execs and all the other happy Bush contributors), and pedophiles (Name ONE democrat who has been convicted of something like this; I can name about 20 'thugs).

I anticipate that before the election, anyone who ever watches a movie and even those who don't, will have watched F911. I anticipate that it will do more good than harm. I anticipate that it will only bring more people to my side, rather than drive anyone away.

See you at the opening!

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Monday, June 21, 2004

They've got game! 

Atrios was really inactive this weekend, so it seems that he and everyone else were just storing up their talents for Monday. Here is a gem. With respect to the "press corps", Philalethes writes, "I almost feel sorry for these guys. Can you imagine waking up every morning, knowing that you're going to have to spend the whole day lying, and expressing false outrage over things you made up? It sounds completely exhausting."


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How can you not like Michael Moore? 

He gives great interviews, like this one with George Stephanopolous. Of particular note:
I mean, listen, George: If the media had done their job, if they'd asked the hard questions of the Bush administration about these weapons of mass destruction, demanded proof — The media — and everybody watching this knows this — got on board. They took the soup, they took the Kool-Aid. They just became cheerleaders for this war. And that was a disservice to the American people. The great thing about this country is, you as journalists … get to ask any question you want in this country. Literally, you can ask any question you want. No one will arrest you. Why weren't the questions asked? Why wasn't it put to this administration? You know, why didn't anybody say, "Whoa, wait a minute, we're not sending our kids off to die." Have a voice.

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Rummy is a lean, mean, fighting machine 

When he wants to be. According to the Washington Times, Rumsfeld has cleared all military officials high up in the hierarchy in the abuse torture probe. I guess that includes himself, even though he, himself, hid at least one prisoner from the Red Cross. Apparently, elected and appointed officials have no problem accepting torture as a necessity in the war on terra, while also blaming torture solely on rednecks from Appalachia.

It would seem that after the Abu Ghraib debacle, we might be able to at least figure what to do with the mercenary interrogators, but according to the LA Times, our senators are still stuck in terra mode. Terra terra terra.

We need a come to Jesus meeting. Torture is not an effective practice and it's immoral besides.


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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Media in crisis 

Are mainstream news outlets making themselves obsolete? Naturally, I would hope so since they so rarely attempt even a passing swipe at objectivity.

It came as no surprise when the Pew Research Center recently found that republicans are more likely to watch Fox News, while democrats are more likely to watch CNN or another outlet. There were several other interesting findings, though.

Republicans have grown increasingly distrustful of most major news outlets since 2000, while Democrats are somewhat more suspicious, but not a lot more.













% of Republicans who believe most or all from...
News outlet2000 2004
CBS News2715
ABC News2517
NBC News2916
CNN3326
Fox2629
NPR2016
News Hour1812
C-Span3223
Wall Street Journal4623
Daily Paper2116


Notice the major losers among Republicans: The evening news and the Wall Street Journal! Compare with NPR, which has seen only modest loss in credibility with Republicans.

As a lot of us know by now, the WSJ recently broke the news about the torture memo (see Josh Marshall). However, the Pew survey was conducted a while before that. However, it's possible that the WSJ has become increasingly critical of this administration over time, and thus has alienated their conservative audience. I don't read WSJ nor do I keep my finger on the pulse of the freepers, admittedly.

Another possibility is that Republicans generally are becoming more disillusioned with news sources than are Democrats because they are the ones who were most taken in by their media in 2000. Perhaps Democrats are no more shocked and awed over the chicanery of the press than they were 4 years ago.

It's probably a good sign for liberals that 'thugs don't trust the media. Incidentally, although more 'thugs have come around to Fox, their credibility numbers are not overwhelming either. 35% of thugs watch it, and only 29% of thugs say they believe it (a rather modest increase from 4 years ago).

Other interesting findings in the Pew survey:

Significant increase in Americans getting their news from international outlets. From 37% in 2002 to 52% in 2004.

Getting news from the internet is increasing from 23% in 2000 to 29% in 2004.

Incidentally, another Pew survey of journalists gives a different side of the story. Compared with 41% of journalists surveyed in 1995, 66% today say that a bottom-line orientation is hurting their reporting. Compared with 30% in 1995, 45% in 2004 say reporting is increasingly sloppy and error prone.

Where only 24% of the general public thinks the press went too easy on El Presidente, 55% of the national press thinks this.

Pew Surveys are always interesting reads. I urge you to look at them for yourself.


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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Chris Hitchens you miserable puke 

In Slate:
"Almost the whole of public opinion is complicit in this, as is shown by the fury over the administration's failure to pre-empt the Sept. 11 assault: a pre-emption that would almost certainly have involved some corner-cutting in the interrogation room."

Many, many people must have fantasized about getting Osama Bin Laden into some version of an orange jumpsuit and then shackling him for a while to the wrong end of a large pig. It's not very far from that mass reverie to "Hey, Mustapha, you're gonna get to really know this porker" and similar or worse depravities. So in a distressing sense—of course you can all write to me if you like and say that you never even thought about it—we face something like a collective responsibility, if not exactly a collective guilt.
Just because you are an amoral armchair warrior doesn't mean that I am, so don't bring me or anyone else into it, you rotten cunt. You have to answer for your own crimes.


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Nothing seems like coincidence anymore 

In case you haven't heard, The LA Times leads with the story about the terrorists who kidnapped and beheaded Paul Johnson yesterday in Saudi Arabia. Hours later, the apparent leader and two lieutenants in the kidnapping plot were killed in a shoot out. I know I'm not the only one wondering how such a convenient scenario was accomplished. Get a nice big fat patriotism-inducing beheading, and kill the perpetrators too? I know I'm nuts to consider such a thing, but after everything this administration has done, wouldn't it be nuts to think otherwise?
In a reference to criticism of the Saudi government for failing to crack down on insurgents, Oberwetter said Saudi officials were given only three days to find Johnson in a city the size of Chicago. But he reminded the Saudi government that Americans had "helped advance the interests of Saudi Arabia" and said good relations between the two nations depend on the protection of American expatriates.

"This has been a rough year for Americans in Saudi Arabia," he said. "We urge the government of Saudi Arabia to continue its efforts to bring Paul's murderers to account, as well as those who have carried out other terrorist crimes in the kingdom."

Later Friday, Saudi forces said they had killed the militants' leader, Abdulaziz Muqrin, and three others.

In Washington, Saudi spokesman Adel Jubeir said Muqrin was killed in a gun battle along with two of his lieutenants and a fourth person. Three Saudi security officers also were killed in the shootout in Malaz, a mixed commercial-residential neighborhood in Riyadh.

Authorities identified one of Muqrin's lieutenants who was killed as Faisal Dakheil, an Al Qaeda operative who had been on the Saudis' most-wanted list.

Details of the shootout were sketchy Friday evening, and Saudi authorities said they could not confirm reports that Muqrin and his aides were shot while dumping Johnson's body.

"We had over 15,000 people working on this. It might have happened when some of them were combing through neighborhoods, questioning people and pursuing leads," a senior Saudi official said in a telephone interview. "There was a firefight. The security forces laid siege to the building. Our people are still mopping up."



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Friday, June 18, 2004

I never said that. 



Evil dickhead blames the confusion on the media. I blame it on his pathological lying, myself.

Bob Somerby is not the first to warn liberals not to use the L-word loosely, but I don't know how you can avoid it here. Let's suppose this is my four year old:

"I didn't inhale!"
Honey, it's worse to lie about it.
Okay, depends what the definition of "is" is.
I think you need a time out.
Wahhhh! Mommy, I'll be good!

Now, imagine my somewhat more evil three year old:

Saddam was behind 9/11
Honey, it's worse to lie about it.
Saddam was behind 9/11
Do you need a time out?
Saddam was behind 9/11
Lissen kid, you're getting on my last nerve! Here's proof!
I never said Saddam was behind 9/11
Go to your room!
Wahhh! Mommy, you're mean!
Go to your room!


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I voted for Al Gore 

I not only voted for the man, I enjoyed voting for him more than I've enjoyed voting for anyone. I truly believe that he would have been a great prez.

Sigh.


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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Preznit needs full attention when reading to kids 

According to the AP, Cheney gave the order to shoot down the hijacked planes on 9/11.
In most cases, the commission said, the chain of command in authorizing the use of force runs from the president to the secretary of defense and from the secretary to military commanders. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was briefed by Cheney at 10:39 a.m. that he had been authorized by Bush to instruct fighters to shoot down hijacked planes.


Okay, lessee now:

8:46 Flight 11 hits WTC
8:55 Bush arrives at the elementary school; he has been told about the crash but claims he doesn't know it's terrorism
9:06 Andy Card tells Bush about the 2nd aircraft hitting the WTC
9:16 Bush leaves the classroom
...lots of time passes, including 9:24, Flight 77 is identified as hijacked and heading for DC
9:38 Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon
9:55 Bush & Cheney have a discussion about shooting down any more hijacked planes.
10:02 Cheney's command post receives word about hijacked Flight 93 on its way to DC
10:03 Flight 93 crashes in Pennsylvania countryside
10:08 Bush is told of crash of Flight 93
10:10-10:15 Cheney is asked for authority to shoot down Flight 93. He issues order.
10:39 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is briefed by Cheney that he has been authorized by Bush to instruct fighters to shoot down hijacked planes.

Is it as weird to you as it is to me that El Presidente clearly wasn't in charge here? Apparently he had access to a phone even if they were flying him around in circles. And it wasn't just "body language" that keeps his relationship with Big Dick Cheney alive. They had some kind of hysterical mind-meld going on that had the Big Dick's mind flying him around in circles, also, thus failing to shoot down the goddamn planes.


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It's a lovely day for a walk, John Kerry. 

Very few darkly humorous posts make me laugh out loud, but when they do, I try to share the love. Jerky writes on Eschaton:
And as long as I'm being paranoid:

This week, former president George Herbert "Poppy" Walker Bush celebrated his 80th birthday by diving out of a plane and floating safely to the ground in a tandem parachute jump.

To me, this stunt seems like the symbolic end of an era… specifically, the era of killing Bush family enemies by sabotaging their planes.

After all, in the five years since ol' Poppy took his first post-WWII jump (ostensibly to celebrate his 75th birthday) an endless parade of luckless Kennedys and Carnahans and Wellstones have rained from the sky to their fiery doom. All things considered, is it really so far-fetched to think of the old man's jump as a way of exulting in his sinister dynasty's carefree dominion over the nation's skyways?

And, perhaps more importantly, does this mean the Bush Family Evil Empire will shortly be changing their "rub-out" techniques?

Let me put it this way: if I were John Kerry and the Elder Bush suddenly took up scuba diving... I'd sell the yacht.



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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

You're not paranoid; they really ARE against you 

Even Bush's friends think he's an idiot. From the L.A. Times:
A group of 26 former senior diplomats and military officials, several appointed to key positions by Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, plans to issue a joint statement this week arguing that President George W. Bush has damaged America's national security and should be defeated in November.
...

It is unusual for so many former high-level military officials and career diplomats to issue such an overtly political message during a presidential campaign.
...

[F]rustration over the Iraq war was "a large part" of the impetus for the statement, but the criticism of President Bush "goes much deeper."

The group's complaint about Bush's approach largely tracks Kerry's contention that the administration has weakened American security by straining traditional alliances and shifting resources from the war against Al Qaeda to the invasion of Iraq.

Oakley said the statement would argue that, "Unfortunately the tough stands [Bush] has taken have made us less secure. He has neglected the war on terrorism for the war in Iraq. And while we agree that we are in unprecedented times and we face challenges we didn't even know about before, these challenges require the cooperation of other countries. We cannot do it by ourselves."

Signatories include:
Avis T. Bohlen — assistant secretary of State for arms control, 1999-2002; deputy assistant secretary of State for European affairs 1989-1991.

Retired Adm. William J. Crowe Jr. — chairman, President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Committee, 1993-94; ambassador to Britain, 1993-97; chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1985-89.

Jeffrey S. Davidow — ambassador to Mexico, 1998-2002; assistant secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, 1996

William A. DePree — ambassador to Bangladesh, 1987-1990.

Donald B. Easum — ambassador to Nigeria, 1975-79.

Charles W. Freeman Jr. — assistant secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs, 1993-94; ambassador to Saudi Arabia, 1989-1992.

William C. Harrop — ambassador to Israel, 1991-93; ambassador to Zaire, 1987-1991.

Arthur A. Hartman — ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1981-87; ambassador to France, 1977-1981.

Retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar — commander in chief of U.S. Central Command, overseeing forces in the Middle East, 1991-94; deputy chief of staff, Marine Corps, 1990-94.

H. Allen Holmes — assistant secretary of Defense for special operations, 1993-99; assistant secretary of State for politico-military affairs, 1986-89.

Robert V. Keeley — ambassador to Greece, 1985-89; ambassador to Zimbabwe, 1980-84.

Samuel W. Lewis — director of State Department policy and planning, 1993-94; ambassador to Israel, 1977-1985.

Princeton N. Lyman — assistant secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, 1995-98; ambassador to South Africa, 1992-95.

Jack F. Matlock Jr. — ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1987-1991; director for European and Soviet Affairs, National Security Council, 1983-86; ambassador to Czechoslovakia, 1981-83.

Donald F. McHenry — ambassador to the United Nations, 1979-1981.

Retired Air Force Gen. Merrill A. McPeak — chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, 1990-94.

George E. Moose — assistant secretary of State for African affairs, 1993-97; ambassador to Senegal, 1988-91.

David D. Newsom — acting secretary of State, 1980; undersecretary of State for political affairs, 1978-1981; ambassador to Indonesia, 1973-77

Phyllis E. Oakley — assistant secretary of State for intelligence and research, 1997-99.

James Daniel Phillips — ambassador to the Republic of Congo, 1990-93; ambassador to Burundi, 1986-1990.

John E. Reinhardt — professor of political science, University of Vermont, 1987-91; ambassador to Nigeria, 1971-75.

Retired Air Force Gen. William Y. Smith — deputy commander in chief, U.S. European Command, 1981-83.

Ronald I. Spiers — undersecretary-general of the United Nations for Political Affairs, 1989-1992; ambassador to Pakistan, 1981-83.

Michael Sterner — deputy assistant secretary of State for Near East affairs, 1977-1981; ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, 1974-76.

Retired Adm. Stansfield Turner — director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1977-1981.

Alexander F. Watson — assistant secretary of State for Inter-American affairs, 1993-96; deputy permanent representative to the U.N., 1989-1993.

As far as I'm concerned, if you're not against El Presidente, you're with him. I'm going to enjoy watching the parade of republican rats jumping ship.



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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The torture memo  

Normally I don't jump on the bandwagon just to be in with the cool kids, but in the case of the torture memo, I think it's important for the blogosphere to reflect (and promote) widespread opposition to two fundamental sins suggested by the President's advisors. First, torture is never okay and if you don't know the difference between torture and not-torture, then you are morally corrupt. Second, the president is not the KING. As I learned in advanced algorithms and logic class, just because A leads to B does not mean B leads to A. Just because most people don't support him and never did, doesn't mean El Presidente gets to be King. Maybe that's the way they do it in Saudi Arabia, but I still have hope that it's not the way we do it here.

It's appalling, and AssKKKroft will probably take the fall for it in a backasswards way (and good riddance, too). But don't forget who El Presidente surrounds himself with. Morally corrupt sociopaths. Morally corrupt sociopaths. There's really no other way to see it.


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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Muslim sensibilities are likely not any more delicate than ours 

Among the many piles of shit produced by the press, there is one meme that is repeated in article after article, that of Muslim special shame over what has happened to the prisoners. For instance, an article in the New York Times claimed,
Nudity is considered particularly shameful in Muslim culture, a violation of religious principles.
As it turns out, we've got plenty of our own nudiphobes to go around, beginning arbitrarily with the Mormons, moving on to Asskkkroft, and pretty much the rest of the fundie gangs, including this one.

If a bunch of Promise Keepers were forced to prance around nude, pose as if they were giving each other blowjobs, and form naked human pyramids, I'll bet there would be some serious need for pastoral counseling.

Frankly, sexual abuse always degrades and damages whomever its victims are. Rape and sexual abuse in war have been documented all over the world. The "whole nudity thing" (as one captain described to the Times) stems from the fact that we are getting our warfighting ideas from the same deranged conflicts we like to condemn. We know that rape and sexual abuse effectively knock the spiritual shit out of our enemies. That's the lesson we learned from Bosnia-Croatia, Rwanda, and more recently, Sudan.

The evidence is mounting that this interrogation technique was not only systematic, but also strategic. We did it and we meant to do it, and oh, by the way, we're not sorry. So when the media clowns repeat that Muslims are especially sensitive to such an approach (even though that is just false on its face), they seem to be congratulating the interrogators for their more perfect application of a rather mundane warfighting tactic. Or, they may be explaining the obvious, which is that when you rape and sexually abuse the opposition, if you don't subsequently send them to the "showers" or shoot and bury their boys and men in mass graves, or hack up every third neighbor with your machete, you can probably expect a shitstorm to result.





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Sunday, June 06, 2004


A walk down memory lane. Posted by Hello

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So long, and thanks for all the memories 

Thank you, Mr. Reagan, for reminding the world that, indeed, ketchup consists of tomatoes. Which are fruits, but whatever.


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Friday, June 04, 2004

Women and the war 

From time to time, I have tried to analyze the war and current events through a feminist lens. There have been several circumstances that have troubled me as a feminist. First, the war itself is to me an expression of the worst aspects of masculinity. A second circumstance that I have pondered in this blog, is the dominant political discourse of comparing dick sizes.

The images of Lynddie England and other women involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal shook my feminist sensibilities. In the past I have argued that we need more women in positions of leadership, that we needed to break the inexorable dangerous (and rather boring) cycle of masculine chest-beating. Here were women in the middle of the hyper-masculine fray, contributing to yet another activation of masculine competition: the systematic emasculation of Iraqi prisoners. As England herself explained,
"Well, I mean, they [the photos] were for psy-op reasons," she said "And the reasons worked. I mean, so to us, we were doing our job, which meant we were doing what we were told, and the outcome was what they wanted. They'd come back and they'd look at the pictures, and they'd state, 'Oh, that's a good tactic, keep it up. That's working. This is working. Keep doing it. It's getting what we need.'"

Barbara Ehrenreich takes this incident as an opportunity to critique a certain kind of "feminist naivete" that "saw men as the perpetual perpetrators, women as the perpetual victims and male sexual violence against women as the root of all injustice." This kind of argument is rather old-fashioned, if you ask me. All the contemporary feminists of any measure recognize the social construction of masculinity and femininity. We see men and women equally trapped in the webs we all weave.

The problem for all of us is that hyper-masculinity--the competition, the rage, the raw violence of it--is the game that is being played, and if any of us want to play that game, we must accept its legitimacy. Hence, we have El Presidente in a flight suit, John Kerry surrounded by those tired old war veterans, Lynndie England sexually abusing male prisoners. It's all part of the same social fabric.

In the past, I have severely criticized our elected officials, even suggesting they might be suicidal over the consequence of their reckless willingness to go along to get along. But according to the rules of the game, the failure would lie in being a sissy who acted mercifully.

I received a form letter from my Senator, Tom Harkin, in response to one of the many letters I have sent him in opposition to this illegitimate war. Harkin wrote, "I said prior to the war's initiation that I did not believe the President had made a sufficient case for war." So why did you authorize El Presidente to go to war, Tom Harkin? Did you see everyone else doing it and fall in line?

Lynndie England is not a millionaire Senator. She is a poor young ill-educated woman who probably has a lot of experience being on the wrong end of the hyper-masculine stick. She is pregnant and expecting the child of another of the perpetrators, Army Specialist Charles Graner. Graner has a checkered history, having been repeatedly accused of abusing prisoners in an American prison where he worked as a guard, and having been accused by his ex-wife of abusing and threatening her.

Millionaire senators have less to lose for not going along to get along than white trash female troops. They might lose their jobs for doing the right thing and doing it unapologetically, as they should have done in the first place. England is surrounded by perpetrators and must act in the moment to go along to get along, not only to secure her job but perhaps for her physical security as well. Don't get me wrong, she is a revolting creature who joined the game. But as we have known all along, this is what war comes down to. We send poor trash to actually commit the horrors, and we sit back and enjoy the show. There was no reason to believe that this war would be any better than any other war; in fact, there was reason to believe it would be far worse. Those who authorized war to go along to get along are more revolting to my feminist sensibilities than any trashy tomboy pointing at Iraqi penises.

Masculinity does not have to mean war. But right now it certainly does. We must rewrite what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman (in a man's world), acknowledging the greater strength and clarity that are needed to achieve peace.


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