Saturday, July 31, 2004

Presidential Auction 2004

The millionaires are dancing now. The balloons are falling on John Kerry, John Edwards and their nuclear families.

They're playing "Johnnie B. Goode" over the loudspeakers. Democrats are hopping up and down like JFK never went to Dallas; like Bill Clinton didn't blow it for us; like there's a chance to bring the boys home alive; like America can crawl out of Dick Cheney's bunker and look at the sun again.

But has Johnnie Kerry been good so far?

More from Greg Palast...

No calm in sight for Iraq

Amidst the ongoing bombings and assassination attempts, the fighting and kidnapping, negotiations are ongoing for the lives of seven truck drivers held by Iraqi militants, and the governor of a southern province has agreed to quit if kidnappers will release his three sons who were taken on Wednesday, and the house torched.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Hands off Venezuela

Week of solidarity - London, August 9-15

A week of events is being held in London in solidarity with the Venezuelan people, and to tell the US and UK governments ... who've already backed one coup against Chavez ... to keep their hands off Venezuela!

Get involved now if you want to help or find out more about how power to the people is a reality and spreading throughout the world.


Previous Venezuela posts
More on Venezuela

One less complication

From the Progress Report:

PESTICIDES WITHOUT SUPERVISION: Under new rules issued by the Bush administration "the Environmental Protection Agency will be free to approve pesticides without consulting wildlife agencies to determine if the chemical might harm plants and animals" currently protected by the Endangered Species Act. "The new rule benefits the pesticide industry at the expense of endangered species," said Aaron Colangelo, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council. The EPA claimed the old tests were complicated; instead, it's easier to just get rid of them. Easier, maybe, but not better for the environment. The old law, for example, was "successfully used by environmental groups in a recent lawsuit seeking to mitigate the effects of pesticides on salmon in the Pacific Northwest. A federal judge found that the EPA had failed to abide by a requirement that it consult with federal wildlife agencies over the potential harm from pesticides." Now, however, the EPA instead "will conduct its own scientific evaluation."

It's easier to be a dictator, like DoubleAss says.

Many years ago in a college entomology course, we were required to research the current literature on the safety (or lack thereof) of pesticide use. The professor wanted us to realize that environmentalists were making a big deal out of nothing. What I found instead at that time was that the majority of people running the EPA were also board members of or had other connections to the major chemical companies. Something tells me that hasn't changed.

....and hey, do what you will anyway.

The child that got left behind

This comes from Dena in New York who says it was sent to her by a Republican friend who says he's going to be voting Libertarian this year.

United States Grammar School Interim Report to Parents
May 2004

By Nancy Greggs

Dear Mr. and Mrs. G.H.W. Bush,

Once again, it is that time of year when we update the parents of our students on their child's progress, and we regret to inform you that your son, Georgie, is not doing as well as we'd hoped and expected when he
embarked on his four-year program at our school.

As you are well aware, Georgie was installed as class president at the start of the school year, despite the fact that the majority of his fellow students did not vote for him. We foresaw problems immediately, but were assured by several school board members (who, as we understand it, are friends of your family) that this would not result in any real difficulty. Unfortunately, they have been proven wrong.

In the area of scholastic achievement, despite our best efforts, Georgie is still reading and speaking at a grade level far below our usual standards. At this point, we are not sure if his failure to learn is due to laziness and a lack of ability to apply himself to his studies, or if he simply lacks the intellectual capacity to improve in these areas.

His oral presentations to the class are particularly troubling; it is apparent that Georgie has not read the necessary materials, and he often simply fabricates facts to hide this shortcoming. In oral exams, he tends to repeat the same answers over and over, e.g. "The economy is good; jobs are on their way," indicating a profound failure to keep up with the Current Events portion of the curriculum. Georgie also tends to fabricate elaborate stories about himself - which, admittedly, can sometimes be very amusing. During a school celebration last May, he delighted his fellow students by coming to class in a little "flight suit" just like the grown-ups wear!), and had everyone! in stitches with his story about the family dog having eaten his report card from military pre-school!

On the whole, however, Georgie does not play well with other children. His "leadership" in the classroom continues to divide many students, one against the other. Other study groups, such as our French- and German-language classes, are no longer willing to cooperate with Georgie's group, even though they haven't traditionally done so in the past.

Your son also displays a lack of taking responsibility for his failings, and seems unable to appreciate the consequences of his actions. Although he was provided with the best textbooks on the subjects of the Economy, Job Creation, The Environment, et cetera, these books were damaged or completely destroyed within a matter of months. Georgie insists that he "inherited" these books in poor condition, despite all evidence to the contrary. (In fact, these same textbooks were previously used by one of our very best students, who actually returned them in better condition than he found them!)

During his first few weeks with us, Georgie quickly became part of a group of other "problem students." Despite warnings, he has consistently befriended children whom we consider to be "bad elements," such as little Kenny Lay and a foreign-exchange student named Chalabi. Both of these youngsters have been expelled from other schools due to their involvement in cheating other students out of their lunch money. We feel that these kinds of relationships can only lead to no good, and hope that you will advise your child accordingly..

Georgie often displays aggressive behavior in the schoolyard, and recently assaulted a student in another school district, completely unprovoked. When asked about this incident, Georgie insisted that the other child was armed and dangerous. When investigation into the matter proved otherwise, Georgie changed his story several times: he was just trying to "democratize" the other child, the other child's school was harboring gang members, and so on. Quite frankly, his story on this topic has so changed from week to week, we simply can't trust his word at all anymore.

Georgie's friends, while not great in number, are very loyal, but tend to be over-protective. If any of the other students point out Georgie's failing grades, these friends simply shout them down and tell them not to speak at all. When Georgie was summoned to the principal's office several weeks ago, he insisted that his "best friend" come with him. We feel that it is in Georgie's best interest to learn to stand up for himself; failure to do so could seriously damage his ability to handle a leadership role in his adult years.

As you are aware, final exams will be held in November, and Georgie's past performance leads us to conclude that he will not be able to achieve the grades necessary to continue on with another four-year term at our institution.

Yours truly,

Ms. J.Q. Public,
Assistant Principal

A haven in Miami

Several of Venezuela's thugs from the attempted coup on Hugo Chávez are currently residing in Miami. (Well, several other Latin American countries' thugs make their homes in Miami, as well.)

One of them, an ex-president, seems to have reason to believe he can simply tell the truth.

It is hard to imagine a better gift to Mr. Chavez than the statements Carlos Andres Perez gave to Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional. Mr. Chavez "must die like a dog, because he deserves it," said Mr. Perez, who was impeached on corruption charges during his second term. Mr. Perez also said, "I am working to remove Chavez [from power]. Violence will allow us to remove him. That's the only way we have."

The former president, who lobbed the bloody barbs from his comfortable perch in Miami, said, "We can't just get rid of Chavez and immediately have a democracy... we will need a transition period of two to three years to lay the foundations for a state where the rule of law prevails."

When asked about the desire of Venezuelans to move forward on democratic reform, Mr. Perez hinted he sees a role for himself in this hypothetical, despotic future. "I am not the past, I am the future." But Mr. Perez is definitely part of Venezuela's past and personifies the kleptocracy and incompetence that originally gave rise to Mr. Chavez.
  VHeadline article from a Washington Times editorial

Previous Venezuela posts
More on Venezuela

Friday, July 30, 2004

Census Bureau is tracking Arab-Americans

Information about where the largest numbers of Arab-Americans reside in the U.S. is being provided to the Department of Homeland Security by the Census Bureau.

...Hermann Habermann, deputy director of the Census Bureau, told the New York Times: “We are required to provide information to other federal agencies. This is not a cabal calculating secret tabulations.”

He added: “We do worry about how information will be used. However, we have not been given the authority to determine which organisation gets which information.”

Four years ago the Census Bureau apologised for allowing its data to be used in the round-up of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War.

Herr Habermann iss only doing vhat he iss tolt.

Apology. That's just swell. I guess they can always apologize to the Arab-Americans one day in the future.

Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security, said the information was needed so officials would know which national airports would need to display signs in Arabic as well as English.

Uh-huh, sure. And we've only had Arab-American communities since when? Suddenly it's important to have signs at airports that they can read in their native language.

“The information is not in any way being used for law enforcement purposes,” said a spokeswoman. “It’s being used to educate the traveller.”

Riiiight. Spokeswhore I think is a better term.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

The July Surprise

Pakistan delivers on that request to provide a high value target around the time of the Democrat Convention.

A top al Qaeda operative [Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani], one of the world's most wanted men, has been captured in Pakistan and a senior government minister said Friday that the network supporting Osama bin Laden was crumbling.
  Reuters article

Sure it is.

Ghailani, who is in his early 30s and goes by the nicknames "Foopie" and "Ahmed the Tanzanian," was indicted in New York in 1998 for the synchronized blasts that blew up the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

He reportedly could not drive a car at the time of the bombings, but Ghailani is probably the most senior al Qaeda operative caught in Pakistan since the arrest in March 2003 of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

"It is a big achievement for our security forces," Hayat said. The minister said the capture of Ghailani was soley down to Pakistan's security forces, and there was no help from U.S. intelligence.

Too bad they hadn't played up his name a lot more beforehand (and "Foopie" would have been such an easy one to remember). I don't think this is going to make as big a splash as BushCo was hoping for. And, of course, the surprise part is a little deflated since the request for a capture to be "announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July" was leaked early this month.

They've had Foopie for a little bit, so maybe they decided to wait till the day after the convention to announce it so that they could deny that 26-27-28 charge.

But maybe a lot of people didn't get that information. Two of the women in the office were talking a couple days ago about the fuss over Mrs. Kerry's "shove it" remark to a nagging reporter. They had never heard about Cheney telling Senator Leahy to go fuck himself.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Lasik break

If all goes well, I'll be back to the posting tomorrow afternoon - or evening or maybe even morning - who knows?

....and hey, you do what you will anyway.

Update on a military investigation

More sickening shit, and more U.S. justice for the Iraqis.

One of four soldiers charged with shoving two Iraqi civilians into the Tigris River where one of them drowned says his superior officers ordered up the incident and told him what to say to officials looking into the death, an Army investigator testified Wednesday.

Spc. Terry Bowman said he "was told by his chain of command what version to give CID," Sgt. Irene Cintron of the Army's Criminal Investigation Command (CID) said during a teleconference from Iraq as the military convened a hearing to determine whether the soldiers will be court-martialed.

Bowman said he had been ordered to push the men into the river, Cintron said. No names were disclosed, though three of the soldiers' commanders have received nonjudicial punishments for their roles in the incident. None of the punishments include jail time.

... Marwan Hassoun said he watched the soldiers push his cousin into the water and then he was pushed in, Cintron testified. He said he could hear his cousin screaming.

"He said it was eight meters (24 feet) deep and at no point did he feel the bottom of the river," she said. She described the drop from the bridge as 10-12 feet.

After he got out on the bank, Hassoun said he could hear the soldiers above laughing as they drove away. He said he then went back to a checkpoint "soaking wet from the river" and reported what happened, Cintron said.

A search was begun for a body and it was found two or three miles downriver.

Martinez initially told investigators neither he nor anyone in his platoon pushed anyone in the river, Cintron said. He said they dropped the two men off on the side of the road. A week later, on Jan. 23, Martinez said he had gone to the river's edge with the men, "kicked one in the butt" but the man jumped in on his own.

Sgt. Alexis Rincon, a member of the patrol that night, testified the soldiers forced the men to jump and that Martinez leveled a rifle at one of the Iraqis to make his point.
  Denver Channel article

Background on the case: here and here

Conspiracy theories aren't theory

And if you don't suspect your government of underhanded, secret dealings, you're asleep at the wheel.

That, in the early 1970s, the newly-formed Trilateral Commission published a report which recommended that, in order for "globalization" to succeed, American manufacturing jobs had to be exported, and American wages had to decline, which is exactly what happened over the next three decades; and that, during that same period, the richest one percent of Americans doubled their share of the national wealth, is not "theory." It's fact.

...That George Bush was the CIA director who kept the names of what were estimated to be hundreds of American journalists, considered to be CIA "assets," from the Church Committee, the US Senate Intelligence Committe chaired by Senator Frank Church that investigated the CIA in the 1970s; that a 1971 University of Michigan study concluded that, in America, the more TV you watched, the less you knew; and that a recent survey by international scholars found that Americans were the most "ignorant" of world affairs out of all the populations they studied, is not a "theory." It's fact.

...Just before his death, James Jesus Angleton, the legendary chief of counterintelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency, was a bitter man. He felt betrayed by the people he had worked for all his life. In the end, he had come to realize that they were never really interested in American ideals of "freedom" and "democracy." They really only wanted "absolute power."

Angleton told author Joseph Trento that the reason he had gotten the counterintelligence job in the first place was by agreeing not to submit "sixty of Allen Dulles' closest friends" to a polygraph test concerning their business deals with the Nazis. In his end-of-life despair, Angleton assumed that he would see all his old companions again "in hell."

...Although I don't remember ever meeting James Jesus Angleton, I worked at the CIA myself as a low-level clerk as a teenager in the '60s. This was at the same time I was beginning to question the government's actions in Vietnam. In fact, my personal "paranoid shift" probably began with the disillusionment I felt when I realized that the story of American foreign policy was, at the very least, more complicated and darker than I had hitherto been led to believe.

But for most of the next 30 years, even though I was a radical, I nevertheless held faith in the basic integrity of a system where power ultimately resided in the people, and whereby if enough people got together and voted, real and fundamental change could happen.

What constitutes my personal paranoid shift is that I no longer believe this to be necessarily true.

In his book, "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower," William Blum warns of how the media will make anything that smacks of "conspiracy theory" an immediate "object of ridicule." This prevents the media from ever having to investigate the many strange interconnections among the ruling class—for example, the relationship between the boards of directors of media giants, and the energy, banking and defense industries. These unmentionable topics are usually treated with what Blum calls "the media's most effective tool—silence." But in case somebody's asking questions, all you have to do is say, "conspiracy theory," and any allegation instantly becomes too frivolous to merit serious attention.

On the other hand, since my paranoid shift, whenever I hear the words "conspiracy theory" (which seems more often, lately) it usually means someone is getting too close to the truth.

I got an email from Jay this morning wondering why in heck people don't see what's happening in our country - when the 9/11 Commission report is there for the reading, why are people still believing the ruses? He includes a response from Dave.

Jay wrote:

Subject: It wasn't the CIA's fault!!!

Everything politics is getting twisted from reality and I can't stand the pabulum dished out. It's like there's a mass hysteria. The lies are repeated so often I forget myself they are lies.

I know for instance the CIA was saying they weren't sure about the WMD's etc. They tried again and again (and it's documented in the very Senate report everyone is pointing to) to get the 16 words removed from the State of the U speech. BUT now everyone is down on the CIA and believing the lies people are telling, for giving shrub the wrong info.

It wasn't the CIA! It was the admin's. drive to produce info that turned out to be totally wrong. Think about what O'niell said in his book. Think about what so many other people have said about what the admin. wanted and that they were looking for a way to convince the congress to sanction this war.

And sure enough, now everyone is talking about taking independent power away from the CIA and giving it to a person closer to the president. For C's sake, that's exactly how the problem was created! Has everyone gone MAD?

Dave wrote:

Hey Jay,

The CIA, Bill Clinton, Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair and other leaders and their Intel agencies all agreed that there were WMDs in Iraq. Perhaps President Bush made a mistake. If so he had a lot of company. After the 9/11 attack on our country I believe he did what any prudent person would do under the same circumstances. It is a different world since the 9/11 attack. We are threatened by a determined and vicious enemy. The Islamic extremists have not changed over the past thousand years. Their methods remain the same... terrorism, murder and bombing. The only thing that changes is their target. Every American, including you and me are the targets now. They would love to saw our heads off or burn us the way they did to some of those people they kidnapped. They would love to destroy the people of the United States and turn the world back to the seventeenth century under their control.

President Truman accepted a cease fire in Korea and the war is still not officially over. Now North Korea has nukes and they hate us more than ever. I thought President Clinton was right in his Bosnia decision. However, it has turned out to be an unending quagmire, not a three month incursion like he said. He did what he thought was right at the time. He made some mistakes. The cost is great. Would anyone else with the same information have done any different? Maybe, but I believe it is unlikely.

I believe that we should give President Bush the benefit of the doubt in this case Jay. I believe he made a mistake, not a calculated political move. The situation is a long way from over and only the future will tell whether the action in Iraq was a good idea or not.

Best Regards,

Jay wrote:


I understand about the Third Jihad and all that. And if I believed western civilization was at risk I too might not mind a few blunders. But I don't.

On the other hand I do believe in America and it's principles. And I'm willing to stick by those principles even when threatened.

In your email it seems you have not taken issue with what I said.

By reading the Senate report you will see what I'm saying. I'm not talking about someone elses version of what they think they read mind you. I'm talking about reading the report and coming to your own conclusions.

But in case you don't want to download the 24 meg file, I'll give you parts to think about.

Conclusion 1. Most of the major key judgments in the Intelligence Community's October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting. A series of failures, particularly in analytic trade craft, led to the mischaracterization of the intelligence.

If you understand the difference between the NIE and the "underlying intelligence reporting" you will see what I mean. Some one or few persons changed the info from the intelligence reports, and the Senate says as much!

It wasn't the CIA's fault.

Being short of time (and perhaps just tired), I sent Jay a quick response:

here's my conclusion (for the time being!)...a conclusion which your dave confirms in his absurd message...most people just don't get it. according to their regular lives, they judge the people at the top positions as though they, too, have regular lives (ideas, desires, needs, etc.). they have no experience with anything deeper beneath the surface of (or farther out), and so they believe everyone functions at their level.

they truly do not see what you see. they can't.

while i think it is nobel of you to try to open the eyes of these people, you might think about an old navajo proverb: you can't wake someone who is pretending to sleep.

reality is going to get even wonkier - whatever it is that maintains time is weakening.

thanks for being.

So, Jay, this post is an addendum to that quick, philosophical brush-off of how people work. This article I'm quoting has the reasons well-articulated....

[T]here may be millions of us, lurking at websites like Online Journal, From the Wilderness, Center for Cooperative Research, and the Center for Research on Globalization, checking out right-wing conspiracists and the galaxy of 9/11 sites, and reading columnists like Chris Floyd at the Moscow Times, and Maureen Farrell at Buzzflash. But we know we are only a furtive minority, the human remnant among the pod people in the live-action, 21st-century version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

And being paranoid, we have to figure out, with an answer that fits into our system, why more people don't see the connections we do. Fortunately, there are a number of possible explanations.


Read it. I think you'll begin to see what I'm talking about.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Iraqi national conference is postponed

Key political groups have been promising to boycott, leaders in ethnically diverse areas have been unable to agree on delegates to send and even before Wednesday's car bombing, officials have expressed worries the gathering will be a target for terror attacks.

Abdul Halim al-Ruhaimi, one of the organizers, said that after U.N. requests, the Iraqis agreed to a postponement until mid-August to give officials time to speak with groups that had been reluctant to attend.

U.N. officials told The Associated Press they had repeatedly called on organizers to delay the conference for as long as a month to encourage wider participation and ensure it was properly prepared.

Al-Ruhaimi denied the suicide attack had any role in the decision to postpone the conference, which is to select a national assembly that will have some semi-parliamentary powers.

But the delay highlighted how Iraq's new government has struggled to get momentum in the democratic process even as violence has shown no sign of easing. article

Rome wasn't built in a day, you know.

....and hey, do what you will anyway.

DoJ says Sibel Edmonds was fired from FBI because she blew the whistle on 9/11 cover-up

The Justice Department's inspector general concluded that the allegations by the translator, Sibel Edmonds, "were at least a contributing factor in why the F.B.I. terminated her services," and the F.B.I. is considering disciplinary action against some employees as a result...
  NY Times article

We still don't have Ms. Edmonds' testimony, as the DoJ is blocking that. For more on her case, go here.

Welcome to are now a Republican

The citizenship ceremony in Jacksonville [FL] seemed to go off as usual, with a crowd of nearly 200 people going home as new Americans.

Just before the new citizens left the June 29 event, an immigration official directing the swearing-in urged the them to stop by a voter registration table -- a not uncommon sight at naturalization ceremonies.

But this table was unusual: Those handing out forms were Republican volunteers -- and the party affiliation box had been checked off ahead of time to make all of the new voters members of the GOP.

...It is a third-degree felony in Florida to alter voter registration forms without the voter's consent.
  Miami Herald article

How many Rethugs do you think will be prosecuted?

Yeah, right.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Worthless Commission Report

Pat Oliphant

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Ricin in Gerber baby food

Poison found in two jars of baby food purchased at the same store was not in a deadly form and the two infants who ate small of amounts of the banana yogurt did not even fall ill, officials said.

The contamination of the Gerber brand food was disclosed Wednesday by police, who are searching for a man they believe may have witnessed the tampering. Charles Dewey Cage, 47, of Irvine, was "in the area at a relevant time," said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
ABC News article

The poisoning was discovered when notes were found inside the jars. Authorities say only that the notes contained references to an Irvine police officer.

Ricin is made from castor beans. In its purest form, it can be fatal if swallowed, inhaled or injected.

A man wanted for questioning in the case says he "needs a good lawyer." A man identifying himself as Charles Dewey Cage reportedly called the Orange County Register on Wednesday night to deny any involvement in the incident.

The man said he had "two strikes" on him and that he "did not do it."
WisTV article

Well, of course not. Charles Dewey Cage is not an Arab name.

Federal authorities are downplaying the threat from the trace amounts of poison found in at least two jars of baby food in Southern California.

Officials in Orange County say they've determined that the amounts of ricin found inside the jars were probably not sufficient or pure enough to injure an infant. And, other federal officials say there's no reason to believe in a wider threat of contamination.

So let's not put a slump on Gerber sales.

Your food supply is safe. Your children are safe. We are fighting the terrorists in the Middle East so we don't have to fight them here.

Oh wait...

WASHINGTON (July 16) -- Al-Qaida may be recruiting non-Arabs less likely to attract the notice of security personnel to carry out attacks inside the United States, the FBI warned on Friday.
Free Republic article

So report any suspicious activities - by strangers or by your neighbors, because now you can't tell the good guys from the evil ones just by their names and nationalities. And be very afraid, because now it could be anybody. And especially keep an eye on liberal women.

Because of its hardline Muslim views, al-Qaida favors using male operatives between the ages of 18 and 35 in its attacks, the FBI said. But women could also be recruited, especially from areas considered more liberal on the subject such as North and East Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, the FBI bulletin said.

But keep buying Gerber products.

Doctors Without Borders leaves Afghanistan

With a deep feeling of sadness and anger, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announces the closure of all medical programs in Afghanistan. MSF is taking this decision in the aftermath of the killing of five MSF aid workers in a deliberate attack on June 2, 2004, when a clearly marked MSF vehicle was ambushed in the northwestern province of Badghis. Five of our colleagues were mercilessly shot in the attack. This targeted killing of five of its aid workers is unprecedented in the history of MSF, which has been delivering medical humanitarian assistance in some of the most violent conflicts around the world over the last 30 years.

Although government officials have presented MSF with credible evidence that local commanders conducted the attack, they have neither detained nor publicly called for their arrest. The lack of government response to the killings represents a failure of responsibility and an inadequate commitment to the safety of aid workers on its soil.

In addition, following the assassinations, a Taliban spokesperson claimed responsibility for the murders and stated later that organizations like MSF work for American interests, are therefore targets, and would be at risk of further attacks. This false accusation is particularly unjustified as MSF honors the separation of aid from political motives as a founding principle. The sole aim of the organization is to provide assistance to populations in distress in the name of medical ethics and solely based on their needs. This threat undeniably constitutes a refusal by the Taliban to accept independent and impartial humanitarian action.
PNN Online article

I guess it's no help to remind anyone that the Taliban are a creation of the U.S. But maybe this bit of information sheds some more light on the subject:

The violence directed against humanitarian aid workers has come in a context in which the United States-backed coalition has consistently sought to use humanitarian aid to build support for its military and political ambitions. MSF denounces the coalition’s attempts to co-opt humanitarian aid and use it to "win hearts and minds." By doing so, providing aid is no longer seen as an impartial and neutral act, endangering the lives of humanitarian volunteers and jeopardizing the aid to people in need. Only recently, on May 12, 2004, MSF publicly condemned the distribution of leaflets by the coalition forces in southern Afghanistan in which the population was informed that providing information about the Taliban and al Qaeda was necessary if they wanted the delivery of aid to continue.

People, our country is fucking over the world in our names and with our tax dollars. You do realize that, don't you?

Over the last 24 years, MSF has continued to provide health care throughout difficult periods of Afghanistan’s history, regardless of the political party or military group in power. "After having worked nearly without interruption alongside the most vulnerable Afghan people since 1980, it is with outrage and bitterness that we take the decision to abandon them.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here...

Enlisting Arabs

Secretary of State Colin Powell has given a tentative welcome to a Saudi Arabian proposal for sending Arab and Muslim troops to join peacekeeping operations in Iraq. Mr. Powell discussed the issue in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, with Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

The Saudi proposal, which would involve troop contributions from Muslim states in Asia and the Middle East, but not Iraq's immediate neighbors, has been under diplomatic discussion for about two weeks, but only became known on Wednesday.
Voice of America article

I can think of at least one of Iraq's immediate neighbors who'd be well-advised to keep its troops at home and well prepared for a possible "liberation".

Although U.S. and Saudi officials have not named countries that might be asked to participate, likely candidates are understood to include -- among others -- Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, Morocco, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Honestly, I shouldn't be commenting here, since I know so little about those countries and their armed forces, but I'm not going to let that stop me. Ignore it if you want, but I'm thinking those countries have some pretty volatile conditions and might actually need what troops they have at home. Perhaps we are going to offer to send some of our forces to replace the ones they have to give up.

No Arab nations are currently in the coalition, which numbers about 160,000 troops -- all but about 20,000 of whom are American.

The Bush administration has long sought to augment the force with more Muslim troops. Mr. Powell says the "basic conditions" Islamic states have set for participation have already been met. He says a sovereign Iraqi government is now up and running and there is a United Nations mandate for peacekeeping troops under Security Council resolution 15-46, approved last month.

I'm not sure that the reluctant and condition-requiring Arab nations see that Iraqi government as sovereign. But I could be wrong. And there probably is some incentive at this point for Arab nations to try to get some stability back into Iraq.

But, Lordy, I'm about ready to just put down my keyboard and find the best seat to watch the rest of the show. I know things have been just as crazy or crazier in human history, but it's always been in spots. We've got a global conflagration going on now. I think in the world of WMD that's called "critical mass".

You know that moment just before the pot boils over?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Update 2:15: Surprise, surprise.

An Islamist militant group threatened Thursday to attack Muslim countries that send troops to Iraq as proposed by Saudi Arabia and welcomed by the United States.

"We will not remain silent if troops are sent to Iraq by any Arab or Muslim country, especially by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and others," said the statement by the group calling itself the Islamic Tawhid Group, posted on an Islamist Web site.

...Addressing Muslim soldiers, it said: "If you are sent to Iraq do not respond and don't throw yourselves to death because our swords will be in the face of whoever cooperates with the Jews and Christians."

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Body Count

902 GI's died since war began in Iraq as of JULY 24, 2004

Hello? Wake the town and tell the people!

Does anyone REMEMBER August 17, 2003?

MAZEN DANA, Reuters' photo-journalist was murdered outside of Abu Grhaib Prison after filming and interviewing PRISONERS

I wrote an article months ago that some of you may have read:

Journalists and Photographers
Die Trying to Tell Us Truths

Mazen had previously filmed DEAD U.S. soldiers buried in the desert and in another location more DEAD U.S. soldiers wrapped in plastic by their fellow U.S. soldiers, who were ordered to HIDE the bodies.

While I don't remember the EXACT "Official Body Count" in August, 2003, I did watch continuously from that time to see if the body count went UP to include those DEAD soldiers.

It didn't.


Bush archivist forced to quit

Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin was pushed by the White House in December to submit his resignation without being given any reason, Senate Democrats disclosed last week at a hearing to consider President Bush's nomination of his successor.

The Democrats said the White House should explain why it asked Carlin to resign. He said in a letter to Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) that White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales called him Dec. 5 and told him "the administration would like to appoint a new archivist." Carlin said, "I asked why, and there was no reason given."

Critics have suggested Bush may have wanted a new archivist to help keep his or his father's sensitive presidential records under wraps. Under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, many of President George H.W. Bush's papers are due to become public in January.

The 1984 law establishing the National Archives and Records Administration provides that the archivist will serve an indefinite term and can be replaced if he resigns or is removed by the president. If he is removed, "the president shall communicate the reasons for any such removal" to Congress, the law says.
WaPo article

Well, I've got a guess, but who knows?

Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-Maine) pointed out that Carlin has not quit yet. Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1995, Carlin wrote Bush that he would submit his formal resignation "upon the confirmation and swearing in" of the next archivist.

Maybe he should have refused to step down and force them to fire him. At least they'd have had to give some reason.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Juan Cole takes on Oil Slick Dick

Reuters reports, "Cheney said Americans were safer and he stood by prewar characterizations of Iraq as a threat despite the failure to find weapons of mass destruction and new warnings by Cheney and other administration officials that another major terrorist attack may be coming."

Iraq was not a threat to the United States. Period. Let me repeat the statistics as of the late 1990s:

US population: 295 million
Iraq population: 24 million

US per capita annual income: $37,600
Iraq per capita annual income: $700

US nuclear warheads: 10,455
Iraq nuclear warheads: 0

US tons of lethal chemical weapons (1997): 31,496
Iraq tons of lethal chemical weapons (1997): 0

While a small terrorist organization could hit the US because it has no return address, a major state could not hope to avoid retribution and therefore would be deterred. Cheney knows that Baathist Iraq posed no threat to the US. He is simply lying. I was always careful not to accuse him of lying before the war because who knows what is in someone else's mind? Maybe he believed his own bullshit. But there is no longer any doubt that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, no active nuclear weapons program, no ability to deliver anything lethal to the US homeland, and no operational cooperation with al-Qaeda. These things are not matters of opinion. They are indisputable. Ipso facto, if an intelligent person continues to allege them, he is prevaricating.

“President Bush is determined to remove threats before they arrive instead of simply awaiting for another attack on our country. So America acted to end the regime of Saddam Hussein . . . Sixteen months ago, Iraq was a gathering threat to the United States and the civilized world. Now it is a rising democracy, an ally in the war on terror and the American people are safer for it.”

I'm pretty sure The Big Dick doesn't actually believe that horsepucky. But I wouldn't say he's prevaricating. I'd say he's blowing smoke up our asses. And simply repeating ad nauseum what the idiot base for this administration wants to hear.

Even sections of the Republican Party are openly questioning Cheney's claims. Sen. Lincoln Chafee said that Iraq is more dangerous now than when he visited last October. He clearly fears that the Bush administration is planning to go after Iran, and suggests seeking cooperation from Tehran instead. (It worries me no end that Washington insiders like Chafee should be apprehensive about White House policy toward Iran, and confirms my suspicions that Tehran is next.)

They are completely out of control. And my sense of it is that they do not want the Middle East stabilized.

The world is safer now

Militants are attacking Iraqi police recruits.

In Afghanistan, they are bombing people trying to register to vote.

And Iran is getting back into its nuclear program.

Don't worry. It's just the Middle East. We're fighting terrorists there, so we don't have to do it here.

Go back to your TV.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tom Toles

Celluloid States of Mind

Two Americas. Two worlds.

Is it live or is it Memorex? Out there in the Matrix, life is one big movie.

A few PR Watch highlights remind us how celluloid we have become.

U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey says the Food and Drug Administration's chief counsel "is aggressively intervening against the public on behalf of drug companies and medical device manufacturers" and this "pattern of collusion" has "corrupted [the FDA's] mission to protect the public health." Daniel Troy, who lobbied for drug and tobacco companies before being appointed as USDA counsel, reportedly told drug companies to inform him of lawsuits so that the FDA could strengthen their defense. "Make it sound like a Hollywood pitch," he advised. Troy has filed USDA briefs on behalf of former client Pfizer, SmithKline Beecham Consumer Products and GlaxoSmithKline.

Indeed. As that always works.

The big production right now, of course, is the Democratic National Convention.

(Why is MTV calling Kerry's wife "Heinz Kerry"? Heinz was a married name. And Mr. Heinz is dead.)

In his essay, "A Cultural Approach to Communication," Columbia University journalism professor James W. Carey identifies two views of communication -- "transmission" and "ritual." ...A ritual view of communication is directed not toward the extension of messages in space but toward the maintenance of society in time."...Rosen, who is covering the Democratic Nation Convention on his weblog PressThink, suggests journalists keep Carey's essay in mind while covering the convention. Why? "Because if you try to understand a political ritual with a transmission view in your head, you will miss much of what's going on...

"Fear has increased in every newsroom in America," said CBS's Dan Rather during a discussion of "The Press and the Election" at Harvard University. That's fear of "a torrent of e-mails and phone calls" complaining about media coverage of controversial issues. Rather said journalists might think, "when you run this story, you're asking for trouble. ... Why run it?" ...ABC's Peter Jennings added, "I hear more about conservative concerns than I have in the past. ... I feel the presence of anger all the time."

PBS anchor Jim Lehrer blasted the major TV networks for limited coverage of the political conventions, since "we're about to elect a president of the United States at a time when we have young people dying in our name overseas, [and] we just had a report from the 9/11 commission which says we are not safe." NBC's Tom Brokaw countered, "These conventions are so managed, so over-managed" there's not much to report. Brokaw complained about Kerry campaign media control, saying, "There is a politburo running this convention." For a joint CBS/NBC interview, campaign "staff wanted the questions to concern Mr. Kerry's expectations for the convention, nothing more" - a request that was "swiftly denied."

"One cannot conceive of other elements [that could be] put in place to create a space that's more of an affront to the idea of free expression," said U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock, after touring the Democratic National Convention's "free speech" protest zone in Boston. The zone is "bordered by cement barriers, a double row of chain-line fencing, heavy black netting, and tightly woven plastic mesh," with "coils of razor wire" along elevated train tracks. A lawyer for activists challenging the zone compared it to "a maximum security prison, Guantanamo Bay, or a zoo" - comparisons Woodlock called "an understatement," although he upheld the zone for security reasons.

"On Saturday, [Republican] convention officials will begin a highly organized nationwide campaign to get volunteers to donate blood, feed the hungry and operate community health fairs. Initially, it will be part of a broader effort to draw attention away from the Democratic National Convention. But the campaign - known as Compassion Across America - will continue at the Republican National Convention," reports Jennifer Steinhauer. She wonders if "here is a television image that organizers of the Republican National Convention are fantasizing about: Protesters clog the area around Madison Square Garden, inconveniencing commuters ... [while] Republican delegates [are] feeding the homeless."

I don't all seems kind of unreal.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, their lives are all too real. And ugly. I was reading a Time magazine article in the waiting room at the eye clinic yesterday about a family in Baghdad's upper-class district. The family consists of a seventy-some pediatrician and his wife, their son and daughter-in-law, and two or three grandchildren. The son has lost his job and cannot find work. Now he escorts the women anywhere they have to go, and if they don't have to go anywhere, they don't leave the house. The daughter-in-law says that women are simply not safe in Baghdad these days without the traditional clothing covering their entire bodies, and she simply will not be subjected to the increasing conservative religious pressures since the U.S. invasion to make the Iraqis more liberated.

I wonder how much longer before she gives in. After a year of being cooped up in their house, the children are fighting and the adults are getting on each other's nerves. They have electricity for a few hours a day only, and a small generator that allows them to watch TV. The clinic where the patriarch pediatrician works is three miles from their home, and was looted and trashed when the U.S. forces took the city. People are afraid to go about the city, and so those who finally bring their children in to see the doctor have very ill children. His family wants him to quit the practice until order is restored to Baghdad, because of the danger in traveling to the clinic, but he says that more children will die if he doesn't go to work. He goes by taxi to avoid the appearance of any wealth, which he hopes will prevent him being kidnapped. Ordinary civilians are kidnapped for ransom with amazing frequency.

They have a saying in Baghdad these days about their new American-delivered freedom: the terrorists are free to kill us, and we are free to stay in our homes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Presidential Auction 2004

Before I go, I have to bring you this....

Last week, a GOP lawmaker and co-chair of the Bush-Cheney '04 Michigan Veterans Leadership Team called for his party to "suppress the Detroit vote," making a mockery of President Bush's belated attempt to reach out to African-Americans in that city last week. Speaking at the National Urban League, Bush said, "I believe you've got to earn the vote and seek it," but State Rep. John Pappageorge (R) revealed a backup plan in the swing state of Michigan: "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election," he said. It is little secret what Pappageorge meant by the "Detroit vote" – while Michigan state is majority white (78 percent), Detroit boasts an overwhelmingly minority population (88 percent). State Sen. Buzz Thomas (D) told reporters, "I'm extremely disappointed in my colleague…That's quite clearly 'code' that they don't want black people to vote in this election."

Source: Progress Report

District rigging. Voter list rigging. Possible cancellation of elections. It's the GOP way: Anti-democratic.


I thought I might get more posted today after returning from a pre-op eye consultation for LASIK. I wasn't expecting it to leave me feeling so unpleasant - it was only some pupil dilations and bright lights. We'll see whether tonight is any better. Back at it tomorrow, otherwise. Surgery Thursday afernoon - might slow things down, but they say that it's a very quick recovery. soon as I can see and don't feel like crap, I'll pick up the pace again.

Check out some of the blogs and websites in the sidebar if you haven't already. They're all good.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Impeach BushCo

Ramsey Clark's Statement to the July 25 Rally at the DNC in Boston:

By your courage and commitment, you have won the Constitutional rights to speak, assemble and petition on Boston Common and beyond. Let your message ring out!

It is not enough to vote a lawless President out of office.

Lawlessness must be removed from office.

George W. Bush made his criminal intentions clear long before committing his war of aggression against Iraq, an act held to be the “supreme international crime” by the Nuremberg Tribunal. The war has taken tens of thousands of lives.

In front page headlines in the New York Times on January 29, 2003 alone, the American people were told "Calling Iraq a Serious Threat, Bush Vows That He’ll Disarm It,” - “President Says America is Not Afraid to Take Unilateral Action” - “Bush Enlarges Case For War by Linking Iraq with Terrorists.”

He boasted of assassinations and summary executions in his State of the Union message in January 2003 making them official U.S. policy along with the direct targeting of civilians and civilian facilities.

President Bush has placed himself above all law. His lawyers in the Defense and Justice Departments have pronounced that the prohibition against torture “must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his Commander in Chief authority,” (March 2003) and, “Any effort to apply (the criminal law against torture) in a manner that interferes with the President's direction of such core matter as the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants thus would be unconstitutional.” (August 2002) We now know that such torture has led to scores of deaths.

The American people should not have needed the disclosures of the criminal conduct of President Bush by Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9/11, or in books by former Bush Administration Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill, former Chief Security Advisor on Counter Terrorism Richard Clarke, or preeminent investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Seymour Hersh, among many others, important as their contributions are.

President Bush told the world himself time and time again that the law is no obstacle to him, making our country the enemy of the people of the planet. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Any political party aspiring to nominate a person for President must renounce international crime and pledge accountability for its past commission.

The U.S. military occupation of Iraq remains a crime. The troops must be withdrawn and reparations paid for the death and destruction from U.S. Shock and Awe - terror Bush style. And “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States” responsible for such crimes “shall be removed from office” now. Article II, Section 4. Constitution of the United States of America.

Impeachment of George W. Bush and other officials of the United States who participated in this criminal enterprise by the U.S. House of Representatives and their trial by the Senate for “high Crimes and Misdemeanors" is essential to the integrity of the Constitution and the honor of the elected representatives whose duty it is.

Ramsey Clark
New York, NY
July 22, 2004

Source: Vote to Impeach

The ad that ran in the NYTimes will run in the Boston Globe during the DNC convention.

Monday, July 26, 2004

We are going to run out of investigators

There are so many investigations going now. Good enough in a philosophical sense: leaks and investigations indicate an end to secrecy. But the playing out may not be satisfactory.

At any rate, here's one of them I don't think I've posted anything about before...

Information about a criminal investigation of possible intelligence leaks by Sen. Richard Shelby [R-AL] was referred to the Senate Ethics Committee on Thursday...

The information is related to a leak of intercepted al-Qaida communications just prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

...The investigation centers on the leak of highly classified intelligence related to al-Qaida communications in June 2002, primarily to CNN.

...The criminal investigation of Shelby (R-Ala.), who no longer serves on the committee, remains open. But the fact that the matter has been referred to the Senate Ethics Committee indicates that the action will now shift to Capitol Hill and that a criminal indictment is not likely unless and until additional information comes to light...

Shelby has in the past denied that he ever "knowingly compromised classified information" and his staff told reporters on Saturday that they should refer to the previous statement on the issue he made earlier this year.
  MSNBC article

Sometimes people who aren't "in the know", who don't have all the information, don't realize the import of the information they might have. I'm not sure that someone on the Senate Intelligence Committee - indeed, the chairman of that committee, as Shelby was at the time - fits in that category.

CNN reported on June 20 that in one communication intercepted by the National Security Agency on Sept. 10, 2001, an individual was overheard saying, "The match begins tomorrow" while in another that same day, a second person said, "Tomorrow is zero hour." In both, the speakers were in Afghanistan and were speaking to individuals in Saudi Arabia. The intercept was not found until Sept. 12, 2001.

The intercept was from a communications channel the United States had identified as a key communications link for al-Qaida operatives.

How is it that this intercept was not found until September 12? Was the NSA sloppy? Did they truly not believe Clinton's NSA information that al-Qa'ida was a major and imminent threat? Did somebody intentionally scuttle the intercepts? I haven't read the 9/11 report, but I'm going to make a wild guess that it didn't come up with a finding of intention.

Shelby "leaked" the information in June 2002. The investigation is in part due to the White House (and the CIA) being extremely pissed that the intelligence incompetence (intentional scuttling?) was made public.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Plame affair

Waterman thinks that the most important reason for the leak that outed Valerie Plame as a CIA agent may be because of what she was working on - and getting too close to: the possibility that Halliburton/Cheney was selling WMD to Middle East countries.

I think there's a good deal of merit to that idea, especially considering what we now know about Halliburton's shady trading with Iran.

Iraq's new government: more progress

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Gunmen assassinated a senior Iraqi interior ministry official in Baghdad on Monday, a ministry source said.

The source said Mussab al-Awadi was killed along with two of his bodyguards as he left his house in the capital.

Awadi was in charge of dealing with tribal affairs.

In May, Izzedin Salim, head of the now defunct Governing Council, was killed in a suicide bomb attack on his convoy.

Earlier this month a suicide bomber attacked a convoy carrying Iraq's justice minister, killing five bodyguards.
  Reuters article

This land is your land

If you never got to connect to that great animation of Bush & Kerry, here's why....and it's new home.

As of Friday, the feature had already been viewed more than 10 million times, according to AtomFilms, which controls its distribution. Typically, a film is considered a hit with 1 million viewings a year, said Scott Roesch, AtomFilm's vice president of marketing.

The feature was created by brothers Gregg and Evan Spiridellis, whose site,, was overwhelmed early last week as millions of people attempted to download ``This Land.'' By Monday evening San Francisco-based AtomFilms -- which runs many of Jibjab's works -- took over hosting the brothers' cartoon. But AtomFilms, too, found its Internet capabilities topping out.

...The feature can be viewed at
  San Jose Mercury News article

By now, parts of the "This Land" have been shown on Fox News, CNBC, CBS "Early Show," the "NBC Nightly News" and elsewhere. Last Friday, the brothers were talking with Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" about appearing tonight.
  NY Times article

9/11 Commission cuts vacations short

It's amazing what an election year can accomplish.

House and Senate committees were directed to give up some of their August vacations and start work immediately so that legislation can be drafted by the end of September.

A special fall session of Congress is also possible.

At the same time, President Bush is studying the recommendations this week at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, aides said, and is considering which ones can be implemented by executive order, without the need for congressional approval.

Political considerations may have fueled the sudden urgency in Congress. Bush and Republican congressional leaders "all worry that if they appear to be dragging their feet on the 9/11 Commission reforms, they could be put on the defensive on the terrorism issue in November, especially if there is another attack," says Thomas Mann, a congressional scholar at the Brookings Institution. "Just what gets enacted is another matter."
  USA Today article

And at this point, we don't expect much, so nothing will surprise us.

The commission on Thursday proposed a total reorganization of the nation's intelligence agencies and the creation of a new director to oversee the chiefs of the CIA, FBI and other divisions. If enacted, the reforms would require agency heads to cede power to the new director — an idea that has already received some resistance, including from acting CIA Director John McLaughlin.

And whose name(s) do you think might be tossing about as the head of that new powerful agency?

In accepting the commission's findings, Bush praised the report but made no commitment to accept any of its recommendations, including the creation of a Cabinet-level position to oversee the nation's 15 intelligence agencies.

No, he's back there at Casa Fabricata figuring out which plans he can implement in the manner of king.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

End your Sunday with Jesus' General

Patriotboy cracks me up some times, particularly when he writes actual letters.

Just go have a look.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Meet Michael John McCrae

Usually, I let this stuff pass. (Usually, I don't read it.) But today's a little different than other days, so...

About the Author: Michael John McCrae is an Independent, Conservative, Christian who has been personally insulted as a voter because John Kerry thinks the "Heart and Soul of America" lays in the "X- rated sexual innuendo" of Whoopi Goldberg. Well, Michael McCrae thinks America is better than that. Michael McCrae believes there is at least some morality left. So Michael McCrae is going to leave this here (until after the election) as a reminder to all of what John Kerry and John Edwards believe the Real America to be. They believe America's "heart and soul" resides in the "X-rated sexual innuendo" of Whoopi Goldberg. You can draw your own conclusions. Email:

If you've been reading YWA for any length of time, you already know what I think of Kerry and Edwards.

I'm sure you have already gathered that Michael Conservative Christian McCrae is freaked out about sexuality more than probably just about anything. As though Edwards and Kerry specifically isolated a ribald innuendo as the place where the heart and soul of America lies. (It's lies, Michael, not lays. An egg gets laid. And a lucky man.)

But let's look at what the personally insulted Michael John McCrae is leaving up until after the election, just for some Sunday fun.

In the NUFF SAID Department: I saw an ad for the upcoming CNN John Kerry Special Report: “Born to Run”. I had to wonder; is that born to run to the UN when he gets a boo-boo; or is it born to run away at the first sign of trouble? Never mind that this will be a great, unpaid-for, political advertisement for the “Elect Kerry Campaign”. Never mind too that the President will not get equal free time on CNN boosting his campaign. All you needed to see was the ad for the one hour “Elect Kerry” show. Several people are shown being interviewed and no one is saying anything negative about Kerry. That is CNN being unfair and unbalanced. Nuff said!

I guess Michael missed George's great unpaid-for advertisement, the ABC special with Diane Sawyer. And the Meet the Press interview. And the Fox interview.

And I guess Michael isn't counting all the many hours of CNN coverage of the president's speeches and antics around the world for the past four years.

Frankly, I can't see any reason why the incumbent in any presidential election should need campaign advertising time. If four years of his leadership isn't enough advertisement of what to expect from a man, then what is?

I see everyone liberal is still very concerned about hurting the feelings of France and Germany. Germany should understand that we do not have to leave one, single American in Germany anymore. They are supposedly a world leader for truth, justice, democracy and freedom. They don’t need us anymore. If we move our bases to Poland, and Latvia and Estonia and Bulgaria, we will help the economies of those countries and Germany will have much more room to give in support of their burdensome socialist programs.

So, Michael, honey. Ask yourself the logical question: Why are we in Germany? To bolster their economy? You really think?

...[E]xcept for the United States and a few other like civilized nations, most other nations of the world are ruled by heartless, dictatorial crap-heads who don’t care about the sanctity of life. (If the shoe fits, Pal!)

...And France? Well; who really cares about France besides John Kerry? Nuff said!

Somebody who cares about the sanctity of life perhaps? A Christian maybe?

Arnold, though he was joking, was addressing people who can’t take a joke; unless of course it is an “X-rated rant” from one certain comic.

Let me get this straight...Arnold makes jokes. Whoopi rants. Because Arnold is a bad actor turned governor, and Whoopi is a comedian. Okay, I think I've got it.

I owe Mr. Robert Novak a BIG apology. Novak did reveal the name of Valerie Plame, (with a “P”), but he did not break any law by his action. The whole affair is now shown for the political “liar-fest-to-get- Bush” that it was. I am sorry for ever doubting you Robert. I still wish I knew how much CNN stock you own though. Wilson lied, and it turns out Iraq had approached Niger (an African nation) for some “yellow-cake” (not pound cake or devil’s food cake, which is why Wilson sat at so many “teas” in the first place). The “16 words” so many liberals were having “poo-poo” fits over were actually based in good intelligence after all.

Michael, sweetheart, the lawbreaker is whoever leaked the name to Novak. Thank you for letting us know where Niger is, but the yellowcake claim was not actually based in good intelligence after all. The Senate report actually says that, whether he did or not, there was never any good evidence to indicate that Saddam was attempting to buy yellowcake from Niger. And, by the way, according to the Senate report, and Wilson, it seems that it was Iran that was interested in buying yellowcake.

In a “Washington” column I read this: “One day after Bush rolled out a new ad blasting Kerry for voting against a law making it separate crimes to kill or harm a fetus during an attack on a pregnant woman, [John] Edwards promised a vigorous defense of abortion rights. Kerry “will stand up, fight for and protect every day that he is in the White House a woman’s right to choose.” Edwards said. (Rhetoric On Values Turns Personal, 10 July 2004)

I want to know what one has to do with the other. Kerry will defend a woman’s right to choose abortion, but he refuses to defend a woman’s right to carry her child to term? If someone kills a wanted child, Kerry will not defend the woman should her child be killed by some murderous, evil scumbag? GEE WHIZ!

And, I bet Michael is old enough to vote. What a shame.

Where, Michael, where does Kerry say he will not defend a woman whose child is killed by some murderous, evil scumbag? Michael, the law making it separate crimes to kill or harm a fetus during an attack on a pregnant woman (during the commission of certain crimes), would be adding a law defending the fetus, not the woman. It creates a new legal status for a fetus - one equal to that of a person already born. A law that could have some pretty wild ramifications if some advocate of fetus' rights (some caring Christian person perhaps) should decide that any damage to a fetus can be punishable. The law does nothing to protect the woman against the attack in the first place. So it can't be that Kerry was refusing to defend the woman's rights.

In fact, Michael, there was an alternative law proposed and defeated called the Motherhood Protection Act, which would have created "a separate criminal offense for harming a pregnant women and offer penalties matching those in the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. By not establishing the fetus as a separate victim, the Motherhood Protection Act still addresses the problem of violence against pregnant women without calling into question the validity of Roe v. Wade." How did Kerry vote on that one?

I did want to comment on the Nader (Yawn!), Dean (Double Yawn!) debate. I think Nader should have a Senate record before being President, don’t you?

You mean like George WTF Bush's Senate record? You couldn't mean like Abraham Lincoln who lost his bid for the Senate. Or like Dwight Eisenhower who went from a life in the military straight to the presidency? Or, is there something personal about Nader that he should be a Senator first?

Attention all Liberals! Understand that the Gay Marriage issue is causing much Southern heartache! Many of your voters in the South who proudly call themselves Democrat, also proudly proclaim the correct form of marriage is that between a man and a woman. More than 70% of the Southern Democrat voting base knows the rule for marriage as established by the one True God of Heaven. Attention all liberals!

Don't ask me.

Let's cut to the conclusion....

I am so glad to be back from Baghdad.

And we "liberals" are so glad to have you back, too. Nuff said!

Well, Michael did publish this at a site called Useless Knowledge.

And, I have wasted your time and mine (but, hey, you know what Cheney would say). I even glanced into a couple other of Michael John McCrae's writings at this site. They were essentially sermons. One discusses being "with us or against us," in effect.

In the scriptures there are: “wheat and tares”, “sheep and goats”, “leavened and unleavened bread”, you know; other forms of Black and White.

...The admonition of scripture is to “examine your own self”. So, in a way, I agree with some of the more current offerings of my readers. I am examining myself as to the truthful content and the fairness of what I write.

I'm going to suggest he failed the exam.

I don’t ever worry about expressing my faith through scripture. The Word of God is the finest tool of truth one can have. A person can ignore it; disbelieve it; rail against it; condemn it; yet, it remains the only truth that will lead one to life eternal.

It is all there in Black and White. I’m a sheep, not a goat.

I can agree with the sheep part.

Okay, I release you now from this Sunday's sermon. Back to your pagan-ass lives. But don't come to me crying when you get your goat certificate.

....oh, do what you will anyway.

Super Waves

Over the past two decades more than 200 supertankers and container ships exceeding 200 metres in length have sunk around the world, with rogue waves believed to be a possible cause.

Senior scientist with the GKSS Forschungszentrum GmbH research centre, Wolfgang Rosenthal, says many ships have been lucky to survive giant waves.

"The same phenomenon could have sunk many less lucky vessels: two large ships sink every week on average, but the cause is never studied to the same detail as an air crash," he said.
ABC Australia article

Two per week. I had no idea. You?

The whole article reminds me of a great (old) movie: The Last Wave. If you ever come across it, watch it.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Presidential Auction 2004

The Democrat party platform has a few interesting points:

Sidesteps the question of whether the Iraq war was a mistake, saying "people of good will disagree about whether America should have gone to war."

Obviously they weren't against the war in the first place. They just object to the Repuglican party being in control of it.

Suggests party supports maintaining a U.S. military presence in Iraq to prevent it from becoming "a haven for terrorists and a destabilizing force in the Middle East."

So where's the line item thanking Prezidiot Bush for getting us into Iraq, permitting this plank in the platform, and then screwing it up so badly that the Democrat party has a chance at the White House? Apparently, they hadn't figured out a way to get that military presence permanently installed without paying a political price for it. They should be pleased that His Slowliness the Dope did the dirty work for them.

Reserves the right to preempt unconventional attacks, but says Democrats will emphasize winning international support when confronting those threats.

The doctrine of preemption is just fine. Selling a given invasion to foreign investors before going in will be the key. After all, if you are going to be king of the world, you have to fool more than your own citizens to keep resistance at a minimum. BushCo's big mistake was in pursuing tyranny instead of manipulation.

Calls terrorists with weapons of mass destruction the single-greatest security threat to the United States.

Do they know who and where these terrorists are, or are they pulling a possible scenario out of their "ass"? That reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw yesterday: Vote Democrat - the ass you save may be your own. In the place of "ass" was the back end of the Democrat mascot.

Supports adding 40,000 troops to the military "to sustain our overseas deployments and prevent and prepare for other possible conflicts."

Does that mean a draft? Or just a lowering of the bar for who is accepted at the recruiting stations? The platform says "we are dedicated to keeping our military operating on a volunteer basis," so maybe they're going to raise military pay? Offer some better bonus incentives? The platform doesn't tell us.

Reaffirms U.S. commitment to Israel and offers support policies pushed by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; supports the creation of a Palestinian state; vows to help "transform" the Palestinian authority by promoting "responsible" leadership; says Jerusalem belongs to Israel and should not be divided.

Vows to put Israel's interests before America's or the world's.

Supports raising minimum wage to $7 an hour from current $5.15.

I want you to take a good long look at those figures, because they are not typos. Could you live on $5.15 an hour? Could you raise your family on $7?

Actually, if you look at the domestic planks, especially jobs, health care, and military reform, I think even your misguided Republican friends (those who are not wealthy) will be forced to think twice about voting Repug.

And, although I'm not thrilled with leaving this in the hands of the president, I think it is an absolutely necessary step in the right direction:

Supports giving president a constitutional "line-item veto" that would allow him to reject provisions of congressional spending bills.

We really need to get rid of that ability to tack totally unrelated issues onto bills just to get pet projects through. And I don't think it should be limited to spending bills.

I've commented on a lot more of the platform planks than I intended to when I started this post. There are a lot more of them, however. So take a look. Here's a shorter highlights list, and here's the whole thing (pdf).

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sudan reacts to U.S. official charge of genocide

Sudan's Foreign Minister Mustafa Othman Ismail charges George W(TF) Bumrush with politicizing the Darfur situation.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Othman Ismail criticized U.S. President George W. Bush of trying to exploit the crisis in Darfur to win black voters for his re-election.

There was no other explanation why the Bush administration had suddenly stepped up its criticism against the Sudanese government over the crisis, the minister said in an interview published Sunday in the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.
Sudan Tribune article

There must be another explanation because it would be totally out of character for them to politicize tragedy. As far as I know, they haven't staged a photo op in Sudan (yet).

Actually, I think it is not so likely that they are courting the black vote. Butthead's snub of the NAACP was a pretty clear signal that they're unconcerned about the black vote. Does Sudan have oil?

Regarding accusations that the Sudanese government was providing weapons to the government-linked Janjaweed Arab militias, Ismail said: "If the government, as they claim, is arming the Janjaweed. Who is arming the rebels?"

Hmmmmmmmmmm. Better get a little background on the rebellion and Sudanese political history.

The earth pot is at a rolling boil. Must be all those CMEs.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Cynthia McKinney's come-back

On Tuesday this week, Cynthia McKinney was vindicated.

McKinney...passed the 50% mark, narrowly giving her the edge she needed to avoid a run-off in the 4th Congressional District's Democratic primary here in suburban Atlanta. The (still unofficial) result will all but assure her a return to Congress.

...The former congresswoman known for her no-holds-barred criticism of the corporate and political elite lost her seat in 2002 when a maelstrom of post-9/11 media hysteria and right-wing fear-mongering combined to knock her out of office and nearly off the mainstream political map.

In the months following September 11, few public figures had the courage to openly ask how and why America was attacked that day, and who stood to benefit in the attack's wake. McKinney was one of the lone politicians to ask the questions no one seemed to want to face. In the spring of 2002, it proved a dangerous move. Already known as a political lighting-rod for speaking out on issues that even so-called liberals in the her own party avoided, McKinney had recently broached a series of politically taboo subjects. In March 2002, McKinney held back-to-back hearings investigating the Florida election debacle and alleged human rights violations by the George H.W. Bush-connected mining company, Barrick Gold. Shortly after, she made what would be her most serious political misstep. McKinney appeared on KPFA's Flash Points radio program and made statements that would all but end her ten-year congressional run. As Greg Palast told GNN, "Her words were taken, put through a media mix master, and changed around so that Cynthia McKinney was accused of saying that George Bush knew all about the September 11th attack in advance, and that he kept it to himself to make sure that the his buddies would from the wars to come." The only problems was that was not exactly what McKinney said.

That's okay. I'll say it for her.

The underbelly

The Most Dangerous Game traces the history of top-secret CIA mind control operation MK-ULTRA: from the covert importation of NAZI scientists at the end of WWII, to the illegal brainwashing experiments conducted on the patients of world famous psychiatric researcher, Dr. Ewen Cameron - cut to the pulsing hypnotica of Mitchell Akiyama.

Click graphic


Rahul Mahajan has a post about why the Democrats are losing the political war in America.

Bush frequently relies on heavily Orwellian framing -- "Healthy Forests" for an initiative to let private corporations cut down the forests, "Clear Skies" for an initiative to let corporations pollute more, etc.

...Liberals tend to think that facts and reasoning are what matter -- a legacy of the Enlightenment (something, of course, the radical right never went through and is largely unaware of). In other words, they think people are mostly rational and try to piece out what are the best policies by looking at the facts and the arguments that the two sides bring.

That's totally wrong, according to [George Lakoff, a linguist who has become something of a political consultant for the liberal left]. In fact, people make decisions based on emotive associations that are formed by the creation of simple, easily grasped, emotionally resonant frames that are then repeated ad nauseum. Thus, for liberals to fight back, they shouldn't ignore the facts but they need to concentrate on the frames.

I have to take exception to the analysis here. First of all, I think the statement about liberals thinking that facts and reasoning matter. I'm not sure they believe "people" are mostly rational, etc. The liberals themselves tend to be mostly rational, and Lakoff's description of people as being simple and emotive is not describing most liberals.

So, here's the liberal dilemma: to win political seats, they must campaign like conservatives, using dumbed down rhetoric and trigger words to capture the votes of non-reasoning people who are not particularly concerned with the facts. I think that is an unnatural approach for reasoning people, and one that feels dishonest and manipulative. Liberals seem to have the choice of behaving in the way they believe a democracy works, or behaving in a manipulative way that is counter to the precepts of democracy. Personally, I find the latter untenable.

Rahul asks, at the end of his post, the obvious question:

The question that occurs to me, though: are the rest of us, who explicitly abjure propaganda and manipulation, also at the same time abjuring any possibility of winning political victories?

I think the answer is, yes.

And that is why I say there is no longer room in this country for liberal democrats (small "d"). It is soundly in the grip of manipulators and the manipulated, which accounts for an overwhelming majority of the population. Fighting back by using undemocratic tactics strikes me as about as sensible as destroying a country to save it. If you have a population of people who can't be counted on to reason, and who react rather than think, what kind of democracy are you going to have? How can you even have a democracy?

Well, of course, we never did have. Not in this country.

I'll be watching our neighbors to the South, but frankly, I don't think there will ever be a successful, true democracy as long as there are greedy, power hungry people who are willing to be manipulative and deceptive. And I don't think the human race will ever have a shortage of those.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Making the Plame case go away

Josh Marshall discusses a Washington Times article which discusses the pre-Novak leaks about Valerie Plame's CIA work...

"The law says that to be covered by the act the intelligence community has to take steps to affirmatively protect someone's cover," one official said. "In this case, the CIA failed to do that."

A second official, however, said the compromises before the news column were not publicized and thus should not affect the investigation of the Plame matter.
There does seem to be a rush of articles aimed not simply at discrediting Wilson but specifically at arguing that there is no legal basis for a prosecution of the folks who leaked Plame's name. Who's so concerned? It makes me wonder.

I wonder when we're going to get the results of Fitzgerald's investigation into this. I suspect we are going to be robbed of Joe Wilson's wish to see Karl Rove frog marched from the White House in handcuffs.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.