Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Rapture Ready

This is a must-read website for those of you who know nothing about the Rapture. (See my post on Bill Moyers' speech if you haven't already.)

The site has a handy page to answer your questions if you are one of the unfortunate who get left behind, which I expect will cover everyone reading this blog.



I realize this web page will be addressing two audiences: those of you who read this page before the rapture and those of you who read it after the rapture. My focus here will be on those who have found this page after the rapture of the Church. For anyone reading this material before the pre-trib rapture, I highly recommend that you ponder the negative consequences of being left behind and seriously consider committing your life to Jesus if you have not done so already.

More...

And by the following passage, which is written to be read post-Rapture, I would say we are already there. (Well, aside from the seeming to be "the most benevolent leader who has ever held office" part.) We must have missed the mass ascension somehow. Check around to see if 144,000 people recently went missing without a "natural" cause.

During the next few years, a world leader--whom the Bible calls the Antichrist--will arise. At first, he will seem like the most benevolent leader who has ever held office. However, by the end of the tribulation, he will easily put the likes of Hitler and Stalin to shame. Because the lies of the Antichrist and false prophets will be so pervasive, you will need to assume that everything you read and hear in the mass media is tainted doctrine.




Cartoons.

Just wars

Wasn't that NATO's (Clinton's) "rescue" in Kosovo? One of those "just" wars?

Bob links to an article to relieve you of your last shred of illusion about why we go to war.

The trigger for the US-led bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 was, according to the standard western version of history, the failure of the Serbian delegation to sign up to the Rambouillet peace agreement. But that holds little more water than the tale that has Iraq responsible for last year's invasion by not cooperating with weapons inspectors.

...Article I (1) called for a "free-market economy", and article II (1) for privatisation of all government-owned assets. At the time, the rump Yugoslavia - then not a member of the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO or European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - was the last economy in central-southern Europe to be uncolonised by western capital.

...In the 1999 Nato bombing campaign, it was state-owned companies - rather than military sites - that were specifically targeted by the world's richest nations. Nato only destroyed 14 tanks, but 372 industrial facilities were hit - including the Zastava car plant at Kragujevac, leaving hundreds of thousands jobless. Not one foreign or privately owned factory was bombed.

Beheadings and negotiations - Part II

In case you missed this information when it came around the first time or two...

BUSH REJECTED PLANS TO GO AFTER TOP TERRORIST

In his effort to claim he is the strongest candidate on national security, President Bush has lately been speaking a lot about how he is doing everything possible to track down terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - the man thought to be responsible for escalating attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq. But according to NBC News, it was Bush who in 2002 and 2003 rejected three plans to strike and neutralize Zarqawi because he believed a successful strike would undermine the public case for targeting Saddam Hussein.

As NBC News reported, "Long before the war, the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself - but never pulled the trigger." In June 2002, the Pentagon drafted plans to attack a camp Zarqawi was at with cruise missiles and airstrikes. The plan was killed by the White House. Four months later, as Zarqawi planned to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe, the Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, yet "the White House again killed it." In January 2003, the Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the White House killed it.

According to NBC, "Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi's operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam."

Zarqawi is thought to be at least indirectly responsible for hundreds of U.S. casualties. Just yesterday, Zarqawi's terrorist group beheaded an American civilian in Baghdad.

Source: Daily Mislead

Beheadings and negotiations

The insanity of it all should not escape us.

After the beheading of a captured American, pleas are going forth to the kidnappers for mercy on behalf of two others being threatened, and to Tony Blair to negotiate the release of the British hostage.

A Foreign Office spokesman today said the government would not change its stance and give in to the kidnappers. "We just cannot. It would be open season for the terrorists," he said.
article

Please. What is it now?

The "terrorists" were demanding the release of all female prisoners in Iraqi coalition prisons in Abu Ghraib and Umm Qasr in exchange for the lives of the three hostages. What are the female prisoners but hostages?

What are the thousands and thousands of civilians who are killed in "precision" airstrikes but murdered hostages?

We can't negotiate with terrorists. Bullfuck. We are terrorists. And we don't even ask for reasonable deals. Give us control of your land, your oil, and your livelihood, or we'll kill thousands of your children, your wives, your mothers and fathers.

Oh, you think that's a little overblown? Okay, I'll bring it down to where you can see it. Turn over your rebels and terrorists, and we'll quit bombing your cities.

Sound like a reasonable request to you? How about this - American citizens in Chicago: turn over your drug dealers and mafiosi, and we'll let you live. Otherwise, we'll have to bomb some of those houses where we believe they're hiding out. Too bad about the innocents living nearby.

We're holding entire Iraqi cities hostage, and our blood boils when they take a few hostages (who are only there trying to rebuild and help those ungrateful ragheads), notably without torturing them (unlike any number of the female hostages we hold in Abu Ghraib), and cut off a head.

And get a load of apparently crack-smoking Derr Rumsfiend at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri...

I guess one of the best things about my job is that I can get out of Washington once in a while and either get to Afghanistan or Iraq and have a chance to thank the troops there or go to bases elsewhere in the world and have a chance to thank the young men and women—all of whom volunteered to serve our country.

Absolutely thrilled to go to Afghanistan or Iraq I imagine. Wolfowitz is, I know.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, [I was] with a Marine group when they first went into Iraq back in May and April in which time after a month they lost no soldiers at all through the combat. I went back a year ago and we lost 8 guys within a two-week span. A couple of questions. We still continue to sort of refer to May 2003 as the end of major combat and I’m not clear on that and the second thing is why do you think it is that we haven’t been able to make Iraq more secure. Every soldier I talk to and that’s my own personal experience, every soldier I talk to or marine say that it’s much more frightening now, it’s tougher now, we’re taking more combat now and the latest reports seem that we have less security now than we did say a year ago.

RUMSFELD: Thank you. We did lose lives during major combat operation. Major combat operation is just that—it involved the air and the land and the sea and it was opposing organized armies and elements of the Iraqi armed forces. That ended and major combat ended and what we have been in since that period has been an insurgency. And the reason it’s tough and the reason we’re losing lives is because an insurgency is an ugly business. It’s a tough business and our forces are doing a terrific job over there. It is a tough job. And the reason that it’s tough is because you have foreign terrorists coming the county, you have former regime elements that were part of the Baathist party and the regimes of Saddam Hussein, and you have criminals they are paying to do this.

Do you think that satisfied the questioning soldier?

We’re training up their security forces now. .... They are doing a good job. They are losing more Iraqi security forces than coalition security forces, which shows they are out providing security for their country.

Look on the bright side. Saddam was worse than us when it came to torture. The rate of U.S. forces injuries in Iraq is rising faster than the rate of U.S. deaths. And more of them than us are getting killed providing security.

QUESTION: We just talked a lot about what’s going on in Iraq. I was wondering if you could address some of the progress being made in Afghanistan. Some are concerned that a lot of effort is being concentrated in Iraq now instead of Afghanstan.

RUMSFELD: I’ve heard that concern. I don’t know quite where it comes from. We’re focusing a good deal of attention on Afghanistan and we’ve got a wonderful group of men and women in uniform there. We’ve got civilian leadership there and the ambassador and his team—the country team. They have successfully selected a president, they are in the process now of having a nationwide election for president and they have a constitution. In the election the United Nations is helping to administer it they were hoping to have, as I recall, 4 or 5 or 6 million people register to vote. There are now, something like 10 and half million the last time I looked, of which 41 percent are women, which of course in that country is most unusual. There continues to [be] periodic Al-Qaeda and Taliban attacks along particularly the Pakistan border. The country is not fully pacified but it is — it’s economy is booming. Refugees have come back from all over the world to that country; the[y're] voting with their feet and they want to be there. The government is functioning and the NATO countries have agreed to take over first, the international assistant security force in Kabul and more recently, some of the provincial reconstruction teams in the northern portion of Afghanistan. And things are going very well.

Indeed. Very well.
Protesters Attack Soldiers in Afghanistan
Afghan aid workers flee Herat
Karzai sacks Herat governor
2 American soldiers, some militants killed in Afghanistan fighting
Violence continues to escalate in Afghanistan ahead of elections
US Probing Alleged Abuse of Afghans
US, Britain to increase troops in Afghanistan

QUESTION: If I may follow up, have you any comment about the new assertions in the book by Seymour Hirsch [sic] about how high up and when the administration knew about abuses of prisoners.

RUMSFELD: No, I’m not aware of it. I know that when he wrote a couple of articles for some magazine that we put a team of about 4 or 5 people...to find if anyone could find any scrap of truth in anything that he had written and we were unable to do so.

QUESTION: Are you saying the book is false?

RUMSFELD: I haven’t seen the book. You just heard me answer the question. I have not seen the book. I’m not aware of these allegations. I’m saying that — you should listen very carefully — when there was an article, I think, in the New Yorker that he wrote we had a team of people go out and see if they could find any proof in it. We were unable to validate anything in that article. But I have not seen the book, maybe somebody else has.

Soldiers aren't supposed to ask those kinds of questions. Makes Demon Rumsfiend testy. No weekend leave for that guy.

I think that the United States and the coalition countries, of course unlike other countries, we have no desire to stay there or to be there at all other than to help that country get on it’s feet. We’re in the processing of doing that and they’re making good progress politically. They’re making progress economically. The schools are open. The hospitals are open. They have a stock market functioning. They sent some teams to the Olympics. They have a symphony and at the same time, amidst all those good things that are happening, people are being killed. Iraqis are being killed, as they were yesterday and the day before. At some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed and we’ll have enough of the Iraqi security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country and we’ll be able to pare down the coalition security forces in the country. [emphasis mine]


Totally mad.

Don't DeLay

Normally, I don't reproduce entire MoveOn mailings, but I'm making an exception here, as it has some good references and information on Tom DeLay. The mailing is tailored to each member's location, and in this case involves my district representative to the House in Washington, Kenny Hulshof. A phone call to Kenny Hulshof would be a wasted phone call, but any of you in this neighborhood do what you want. Kenny Hulshof sat in his office on March 20, 2003, and refused to permit his constituents to enter to voice their opinions on the invasion of Iraq. That's how much Kenny Hulshof is concerned about his constituency. He gets his support from Tom DeLay. He doesn't need mine.

Come November, we need to show Kenny Hulshof the door.

For those of you in other areas, you can check here to see if your representative is on the ethics committee. (Yes, I know. Congressional ethics. Oxymoron.) And in Kenny-boy Hulshof's case, it's like having the fox guarding the henhouse.

Dear MoveOn member,

Your Representative, Kenny Hulshof, is facing a moment of truth. Hulshof sits on the House Ethics Committee, which meets tomorrow, Wednesday, September 22nd, to decide whether to investigate Tom DeLay, the House Republican Leader, for corruption.

DeLay is already facing a possible indictment in Texas, and an Ethics Committee investigation could force him to resign his leadership post. It would be a huge victory for fairness.

But Hulshof has received $14,000 from a PAC controlled by DeLay. That, combined with partisanship, could make it hard for Hulshof, a Republican, to do the right thing.

Unless we all demand it. Please call him right now:

Representative Kenny Hulshof
Phone: 202-225-2956

Make sure his staffers know you're a constituent. Then tell them:

"We need an outside counsel to investigate Rep. Tom DeLay."

Please let us know you're calling, at:

MoveOn

Few people are as central to right-wing control in Washington as Tom DeLay. He's right up there with Bush, Cheney, and Karl Rove. Nicknamed "The Hammer" for his ruthless style, DeLay's in charge of ramming the right wing's agenda through Congress.

DeLay was the mastermind behind last year's outrageous redistricting in Texas; he refuses to allow a vote in the House on limiting media consolidation, because it will win; and when other Congresspeople question Bush's war policy, he accuses them of undermining our troops and surrendering to terrorists. DeLay has literally locked House Democrats out of negotiations on major bills like Medicare, and held votes open for hours so arms can be twisted with threats and bribe offers -- and that's according to fellow Republicans. [1]

Right now, we have a chance stop him. In Texas, DeLay's immersed in a campaign finance scandal that could get him indicted. And on Capitol Hill, he's facing the first formal ethics complaint in seven
years. [2]

The problem is, four of the Ethics Committee's five Republican members, including Rep. Hulshof, have received campaign money from DeLay. [3]

We've got to demand an outside counsel to investigate charges that DeLay:

- Funneled illegal corporate contributions to GOP candidates for
the Texas legislature, through the RNC and a group called TRMPAC.

- Improperly involved a federal agency in partisan politics, by
asking the Federal Aviation Administration to track down Texas
legislators.

- Illegally solicited a $25,000 campaign contribution from Westar
Energy Corporation, in exchange for supporting legislation that
would benefit the company.

- Solicited $50,000 from Enron for the Texas redistricting effort,
described below. [4]

Representative Hulshof is one of just 10 Representatives in the country, and just 5 crucial Republicans, who will decide whether or not DeLay is investigated.

Please call him now:

Representative Kenny Hulshof
Phone: 202-225-2956

Tell him:

"We need an outside counsel to investigate Rep. Tom DeLay."

Please let us know you're calling, at:

MoveOn

Last summer, DeLay forced an unprecedented mid-term redrawing of the map defining Texas' Congressional districts, likely moving five Democratic House seats into the Republican column this fall.

The story's a bit complex, but here's the basic outline:

1. Every 10 years, after the census, House district maps are redrawn.
Texas' legislature did this in 2001, completing the job.

2. DeLay raised massive sums of money for Republicans running for the
Texas state legislature. Some of this money was apparently from
corporate sources, illegal under Texas law.

3. Benefiting from this money, Republicans took over the Texas state
legislature in 2002.

4. On DeLay's instruction, the state legislature redrew the map of
federal House districts, to replace the one made after the census.
A new map without a new census was unprecedented, and totally
un-democratic. The new map was drawn to favor Republicans, and it
disenfranchised 1.4 million African-American and Latino voters.

5. A few principled Democrats still in the state legislature refused
to convene, in an attempt to prevent a vote adopting DeLay's map.

6. DeLay had these legislators threatened with arrest, so they left
the state. MoveOn members raised a million dollars to help them,
while DeLay called in the FAA to track them down.

7. Ultimately, one of the Democrats buckled and went home, enabling
the state legislature to convene and approve DeLay's map.

8. DeLay's map goes into effect this fall, and Republicans are
expected to pick up 5 House seats now held by Democrats, cementing
DeLay's hold on power. Unless we stop him.

DeLay's strong-arm tactics are a reminder that the right wing will do anything to gain and keep control, regardless of the cost to our democracy.

It's a pattern we've seen again and again -- in impeachment, the 2000 election, and in the 2003 special election for governor in California. All these events shared the common thread of Republicans overturning legitimate elections by any means at their disposal.

It's time to fight back.

Please call Rep. Hulshof now, and demand that the Ethics Committee appoint an outside counsel to investigate Rep. Tom DeLay:

Representative Kenny Hulshof
Phone: 202-225-2956

Thank you, for all you do.

Sincerely,

- Carrie, Joan, Lee, Marika, Noah, Peter, and Wes
The MoveOn.org Team
September 21st, 2004

P.S. Yesterday's New York Times called for an outside counsel to investigate DeLay:

The House's Fear of Tom DeLay
NY Times

These editorials have also called for an outside counsel:

Miami Herald: Unethical ethics panel
Miami Herald
(registration required)

Austin American-Statesman: Outside investigation of ethics charge warranted

Austin American-Statesman

(registration required)

Footnotes:

[1] A bribe was attempted while the Medicare bill was held open:
Chicago Suntimes
Slate

[2] The official summary of the formal complaint against DeLay:
MoveOn pdf

[3] AP: Four on Ethics Panel Accepted Delay Money
ABC

[4] Houston Chronicle: DeLay's national committee documents Enron donation
Houston Chronicle

These articles also detail DeLay's fundraising abuses:

Washington Post: DeLay's Corporate Fundraising Investigated
Washington Post

Dallas Morning News: As DeLay raises cash, critics raise questions
MoveOn (registration required)

The most secretive government in American history

Freedom of Information Act

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ruled Wednesday that the government must respond by October 15, 2004, to a FOIA request by the American Civil Liberties Union for documents regarding detainee treatment and casualties at U.S. detention facilities worldwide. The ACLU's FOIA request has been pending for nearly one year, and absent the Southern District's intervention, there was no indication that the U.S. intended to produce the documents in the near future. Noting that a timely response is part of the government's FOIA obligations, Judge Hellerstein said, "If the documents are more of an embarassment than a secret, the public should know of our government's treatment of individuals captured and held abroad."
Behind the Homefront

The Associated Press reported late today [Sept. 16] that the Department of Defense has one week to release any files about President Bush's service in the Air National Guard that have not previously been released. Federal District Judge Harold Baer Jr. this afternoon ordered the records released to AP in response to its Freedom of Information Act request by Sept. 24. The department must also provide a written statement of the steps it has taken to locate the records, according to the order.
Behind the Homefront

Homeland Security

Section 2l4 of the Homeland Security Act makes it possible for a company to tell Homeland Security about an eroding chemical tank on the bank of a river, but DHS could not disclose this information publicly or, for that matter, even report it to the Environmental Protection Agency. And if there were a spill and people were injured, the information given DHS could not be used in court!

Secrecy is contagious – and scandalous. The Washington Post reports that nearly 600 times in recent years a judicial committee acting in private has stripped information from reports intended to alert the public to conflicts of interest involving federal judges.
Bill Moyers

Silencing the soldiers

Military officials are cracking down on blogs written by soldiers and Marines in Iraq, saying some of them reveal sensitive information. Critics say it's an attempt to suppress unflattering truths about the U.S. occupation. NPR's Eric Niiler reports.

A blogger with the pen name CBFTW, stationed near Mosul with the First Battallion, 23rd Regiment, says he began his My War Web log to help combat boredom. "I'm just writing about my experiences," the soldier says. "I'm pretty much putting my diary on the Internet -- that's all it is."

CBFTW says he has avoided describing sensitive information, such as U.S. weapons capabilities, weaknesses and scheduling. But earlier this month, CBFTW was lectured by commanders about violating operational security. Two other popular blogs run by soldiers have been shut down recently.
NPR article

On secrecy itself

Now we are buying into the very paradigm of a “war on terror” that our government – with staggering banality, soaring hubris, and stunning bravado -- employs to elicit public acquiescence while offering no criterion of success or failure, no knowledge of the cost, and no measure of democratic accountability...I am reminded of that line from the news photographer in Tom Stoppard’s play Night and Day: “People do terrible things to each other, but its worse in places where everybody is kept in the dark.”

I have become a nuisance on this issue – if not a fanatic -- because I grew up in the South, where for so long truth tellers were driven from the pulpit, the classroom, and the newsroom; it took a bloody civil war to drive home the truth of slavery, and still it took another hundred of years of cruel segregation and oppression before the people freed by that war finally achieved equal rights under the law. Not only did I grow up in the South, which had paid such a high price for denial, but I served in the Johnson White House during the early escalation of the Vietnam War. We circled the wagons and grew intolerant of news that did not confirm to the official view of reality, with tragic consequences for America and Vietnam.

...The Project for Excellence in Journalism, reporting on the front pages of the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, on the ABC, CBS, and NBC Nightly news programs, and on Time and Newsweek, showed that from l977 to l997 the number of stories about government dropped from one in three to one in five, while the number of stories about celebrities rose from one in every fifty stories to one in every fourteen.

What difference does it make? Well, its government that can pick our pockets, slap us into jail, run a highway through our back yard, or send us to war. Knowing what government does is “the news we need to keep our freedoms.”
Bill Moyers

A dying breed

Sadly, for America, Bill Moyers is retiring from investigative journalism. (Sy Hersh is getting on in years, too. Where are the replacements?)

Here's an excerpt from Moyers' 9/11 2004 speech to the Society of Professional Journalists.

One of the biggest changes in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. How do we fathom and explain the mindset of violent exhibitionists and extremists who blow to smithereens hundreds of children and teachers of Middle School Number One in Beslan, Russia? Or the radical utopianism of martyrs who crash hijacked planes into the World Trade Center? How do we explain the possibility that a close election in November could turn on several million good and decent citizens who believe in the Rapture Index? That’s what I said – the Rapture Index; google it and you will understand why the best-selling books in America today are the twelve volumes of the left-behind series which have earned multi-millions of dollars for their co-authors who earlier this year completed a triumphant tour of the Bible Belt whose buckle holds in place George W. Bush’s armor of the Lord. These true believers subscribe to a fantastical theology concocted in the l9th century by a couple of immigrant preachers who took disparate passages from the Bible and wove them into a narrative millions of people believe to be literally true.

According to this narrative, Jesus will return to earth only when certain conditions are met: when Israel has been established as a state; when Israel then occupies the rest of its “biblical lands;” when the third temple has been rebuilt on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques; and, then, when legions of the Antichrist attack Israel. This will trigger a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon during which all the Jews who have not converted will be burned. Then the Messiah returns to earth. The Rapture occurs once the big battle begins. True believers” will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to heaven where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts and frogs during the several years of tribulation which follow.

I’m not making this up. We’re reported on these people for our weekly broadcast on PBS, following some of them from Texas to the West Bank. They are sincere, serious, and polite as they tell you that they feel called to help bring the Rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That’s why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and volunteers. It’s why they have staged confrontations at the old temple site in Jerusalem. It’s why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the 9th chapter of the Book of Revelations where four angels “which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released “to slay the third part of men.’

...One estimate puts these people at about l5% of the electorate. Most are likely to vote Republican; they are part of the core of George W. Bush’s base support. He knows who they are and what they want. When the President asked Ariel Sharon to pull his tanks out of Jenin in 2002, over one hundred thousand angry Christian fundamentalists barraged the White House with emails and Mr. Bush never mentioned the matter again. Not coincidentally, the administration recently put itself solidly behind Ariel Sharon’s expansions of settlements on the West Banks. In George Monbiot’s analysis, the President stands to lose fewer votes by encouraging Israeli expansion into the West Bank than he stands to lose by restraining it. “He would be mad to listen to these people, but he would also be mad not to.” No wonder Karl Rove walks around the West Wing whistling “Onward Christian Soldiers.” He knows how many votes he is likely to get from these pious folk who believe that the Rapture Index now stands at 144 --- just one point below the critical threshold at which point the prophecy is fulfilled, the whole thing blows, the sky is filled with floating naked bodies, and the true believers wind up at the right hand of God. With no regret for those left behind.

I know, I know: You think I am bonkers. You think Ann Coulter is right to aim her bony knee at my groin and that O’Reilly should get a Peabody for barfing all over me for saying there’s more to American politics than meets the Foxy eye. But this is just the point: Journalists who try to tell these stories, connect these dots, and examine these links are demeaned, disparaged, and dismissed. This is the very kind of story that illustrates the challenge journalists face in a world driven by ideologies that are stoutly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. Ideologues – religious, political, or editorial ideologues – embrace a world view that cannot be changed because they admit no evidence to the contrary.


Read Bill's speech (pdf). There's much more to it than the Rapture Index. There always is. He's one of a kind.

And I say, bring on the Rapture. The sooner they go, the better.

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

The horse('s ass) race

The overall popular vote doesn't mean a damn, as Al Gore and Sam Tilden will attest. The only polls that might foretell an outcome are ones that mirror the hand-me-down, winner-take-all charade that passes for democracy in America's sorry selection process. And since state-by-state polls are historically of questionable reliability, tea leaves might be a better bet.

...The whole world has watched the collusion of the "opposition" over the past few years. There is little sympathy left for a party that tries to spin its own spinelessness into a role as the Bush regime's first victim rather than its most willing collaborator - it's a kind of like Austria after the Anschluss. The left would deeply like to believe that Kerry can continue on his current course, with a wink and a nod, and then somehow govern from a mandate on which he never campaigned. The more likely outcome, of course, is that he will lose.

...Now, with the current regime on the ropes in virtually every field of endeavour, Kerry is like a boxer with nothing to grab hold of. It's hard to hold Bush accountable for the international crime of an illegal war you supported, especially when you insist on continuing to defend one of the worst ideas in human history. As far as Bush's domestic agenda is concerned, the waters are again deliberately muddied when they needn't be... Trade policy has impoverished workers and fattened corporate pockets in a murderous race to the bottom spurred on by both parties. And the bipartisan addiction to war that drains every available penny from any other priority... must I go on?

...[T]here appears to be a bright future in jailing troublemakers. The Republican National Committee's rehearsal with "Guantanomo on the Hudson", where the RNC apparently leased a contaminated Pier 57 which was subsequently used by the NYPD as a holding pen, bodes ill for the rest of us... As American apartheid mutates and assumes new forms, those who refuse to recognize it risk becoming its victims as surely as those bystanders caught up in the orange netting by New York's finest.

...And so it goes. The worst administration in US history is poised to avoid the drubbing any real popular democracy would hand it, while the dust swirls and the press pack pounces on tit-for-tat allegations about America's last great imperial failure.

...The American political elites just can't seem to get their minds around a crisis of this proportion. It's almost as if the unspoken horror unfolding in Iraq is so beyond the pale that gentlemen prefer to fight about smaller things... It is a frightening and sobering reality that Americans are almost completely clueless as to how isolated we are. If it's not on TV, of course, then it doesn't exist, regardless of what the rest of the world sees. This dangerous self-delusion is partnered with another: that ridding the top echelons of government of the proto-fascist junta now in power will somehow unswirl the chocolate from the milk.

More from Daniel Patrick Welch...

We don't negotiate with terrorists

Well, some we do.



The United States has lifted its remaining sanctions on Libya, paving the way for more than $1 billion of compensation to be paid to the families of the Lockerbie bombing victims.

The move has been largely welcomed by those British families who lost loved ones on Pan Am Flight 103.

Libya had threatened to withdraw the offer of compensation if the embargo was not lifted by tomorrow.
Scotland Today article

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

Presidental Auction 2004

As an increasingly unpopular President at the helm of an unpopular war fought under dubious circumstances, Bush’s vulnerabilities seem tailor made for politics 101. Add a stagnant economy, record deficits, struggling state economies due to federal cutbacks and a general feeling that we aren’t better off now than we were four years ago and most political pundits would be writing Dubya’s obit right about now.

Yet the race for the Presidency remains neck-and-neck in most polls with Bush ahead in some and only slightly behind in others. If the trend continues, the Dems will be sitting around on the day after election scratching their heads and wondering what went wrong.

In part, the answer can be found in a war that ended 30 years ago and wounds that should have healed by now but haven’t.

But the real answer can be found in three words:

John Forbes Kerry.

...Bush is a flawed President but he has the luxury of running against an equally-flawed opponent. Both men are products of wealth and privilege. Neither had to work very hard to get where they are today and both owe their present place in life to a family member who cleared the way (Bush owes his daddy, Kerry a rich wife). Both are shameless opportunists who will exploit anything, including death and human tragedy, to further their political ambitions.

Neither is honest. Both have been caught in a number of lies and neither, when caught, has had the guts to stand up and say “hey, I was wrong.”

Sadly, both are running for President and neither is qualified or up to the job.

If this is the best we can do then we, as a nation, are in a hell of a lot of trouble.
The Rant

Over a cliff, and no one noticed until it's probably too late.


Monday, September 20, 2004

AWOL

Here's a cut-to-the-quick summation of the whole shebang over CBS' snafu at The Rude Pundit:

Bottom line on this sideshow: Would those who say that Dan Rather should not be trusted, now that he seems to have used forged memos in a portion of a single report, ever say the same thing about George Bush when he led us to war based on "misleading" information about WMDs, including, well, forged documents? Howzabout a trade? We won't trust Rather anymore if you don't trust Bush. Deal? No? Then go fuck yourself with your memos.


Amen.

Presidential Auction 2004

Britain's ambassador to Italy has called President Bush "the best recruiting sergeant" for al Qaeda, Italian media reported Monday.

Sir Ivor Roberts...was quoted as telling an annual Anglo-Italian gathering in Tuscany: "If anyone is ready to celebrate the eventual re-election of Bush, it's al Qaeda."
Yahoo article

Hope he enjoyed his job while he had it.

American reported beheaded

A group linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said in footage posted on the Internet on Saturday it would slit the throats of the two Americans and the Briton unless Iraqi women were freed from Abu Ghraib and Umm Qasr jails in 48 hours.
article

We might hold women and children hostage indefinitely in prisons and torture them, but we don't negotiate with terrorists.

Iran: to invade or not to invade

US spy agencies have played out "war games" to consider possible pre-emptive strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, and concluded that strikes would not resolve Washington's standoff with Tehran, Newsweek magazine reported on Sunday.

"The war games were unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating," an unnamed air force source told the magazine in its latest issue.
News 24 article

I don't get it. Why didn't they just rig the games to guarantee a win, like they did when they war gamed an Iraqi invasion?

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

South Korea with nukes?

UN nuclear inspectors just caught close U.S. ally South Korea enriching small amounts of plutonium and uranium to weapons grade.

This revelation comes when the Bush administration's neocon hawks are clamouring for war against Iran over its unproven nuclear weapons program. These are the same hawks who raised a hue and cry over Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

South Korea's six-year-old program was far ahead of Iran's; various deceptions were used to conceal it from UN inspectors. North Korea, to no surprise, has been crowing over this embarrassing revelation, claiming its nuclear program has been justified.
article

I don't think it's going to embarrass the Bushcons. They obviously can't be embarrassed.

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

A real mother for ya

Remember the mother who protested at a Laura Bush speech and got hauled away? The Rude Pundit has something to say about that.

But sometimes the things that are seemingly sideshows really are the main events, the tightrope where life and death can occur in a blindingly fast moment. Take the much discussed story of Sue Niederer. Niederer is a New Jersey woman whose son, Lt. Seth Dvorin, was killed in Iraq. Wearing a t-shirt that said, "President Bush You Killed My Son," Niederer attended a campaign speech by Laura Bush, another mother, as we are constantly, nauseatingly reminded. At the firehouse in Hopewell Township, New Jersey (is there a firehouse in America not visited by some random Bush or Cheney?), Niederer demanded to know why Bush doesn't send her daughters, both of military age, to go fight in Iraq. She was, as we know by now, arrested for trespassing, even though she had a ticket to the event. Consigned to the category of "protester" by the media, Niederer's plaintive cry for justice is now equal to people who strip off their clothes for AIDS funding or puppeteers for peace. Republican New Jersey Assemblyman Bill Baroni commented, "She really ought to find something to do with her time."

Maybe what she can do with her time is try to put back together the gory jigsaw puzzle that is now her son's corpse. See, Seth Dvorin died trying to defuse a homemade bomb, which went off and ripped through his body, sending pieces of it in several different directions. There's a good chance his hands were torn into dozens of bits. There's a good chance the bomb was packed with metal shards, nails, what have you, each of which that went through him would have taken a piece of him with it before it landed on the ground. Seth's father, Richard, has also taken it upon himself to protest, in a letter to President Bush. Perhaps his 25 year-old widow has protested, too. But it is his mother who has made the most public outcry, to another mother, about the deaths of children.

During the "Dirty War" in Argentina, from 1976-1983, a military junta disappeared tens of thousands of so-called "rebels" and others. Every week, on Thursday afternoons, since 1977, in the Plaza de Mayo, the main square of Buenos Aires, a group of mothers have appeared to demand answers on what has happened to their children. In often silent protest, the very presence of these women, the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, creates a living memorial, a way for the disappered to never be forgotten. Some of the members themselves were disappeared, but their numbers grew to thousands, an empowering moment in the early 1980s when the people themselves were blatantly disempowered. And many of the mothers did learn what happened to their children (although thousands remain unaccounted for). And the junta fell, but the mothers remain.

Perhaps it's time, perhaps it's time, again, at last, in this nation, for Sue Niederer to be another Rosa Parks, for movements of mothers to come together and not allow their children to be disappeared into the vast abyss of memory where all soldiers seem to have been told they die for good and noble causes, where all parents are supposed to be proud of the sacrifice.

Let's do mothers and fathers. Can we do that?

But yeah, I guess around the world it seems to be the mothers who wrest change from brutality and death, dope dealers and goon squads.

I saw a bumper sticker yesterday - Vote: It's up to the women.

Young Rethuglicans

LAFAYETTE [Louisiana] — Vandals set fire to signs and wrote pro-President Bush messages on the front of Lafayette’s Democratic Party Headquarters, the second time the office was hit by vandals.

...The office was closed Thursday because of Hurricane Ivan. The building’s owner found the damage Thursday morning when he checked on the building, said Lexi Thompson, state director of the National Coordinated Campaign.

...The remnants of a small fire fueled with John Kerry/John Edwards campaign signs remained on the front steps of the headquarters at 310 Buchanan St. in downtown Lafayette on Thursday morning.

A mixture of ash from the fire and what appeared to be motor oil was used to smear “4+ GWB” across the front windows and “W” on the headquarters’ door.
article

GOPunks and the KKK - indistinguishable.

Did you catch the Young Republican stomping on the protester?

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

Bush to pull troops out of Iraq?

Robert Novak, that paragon of journalistic virtue, is "leaking" a story that Bush will pull troops out of Iraq after he wins in November, no matter what.

Well-placed sources in the administration are confident Bush's decision will be to get out. They believe that is the recommendation of his national security team and would be the recommendation of second-term officials. An informed guess might have Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, Paul Wolfowitz as defense secretary and Stephen Hadley as national security adviser. According to my sources, all would opt for a withdrawal.

Josh Marshall comments:

Given the identity of the reporter, I think this leak is simply an effort to give options to potential Bush supporters.

For those with their hands over their eyes, there's the president's slogans on the hustings. For those who see that what the president is saying makes no sense but yet really prefer not to vote for John Kerry, there's this leak which tells them with a wink that the president realizes his policy has failed and will pull the plug very soon.

Update: Iraq

Gunmen killed a Sunni cleric as he was entering a mosque in Baghdad to perform noon prayers today.

It was the second fatal attack on a cleric belonging to the influential Association of Muslim Scholars in less than 24 hours, the group said.

...The Association of Muslim Scholars is a conservative group that has worked for the release of foreign hostages. It strongly opposes the US presence in Iraq.
  Boston.comarticle

Well, that's the kiss of death, isn't it?

Juan Cole takes apart John McCain's demand to launch increased offensives now to pave the way for elections in Iraq, rather than after the November "election" here, as is planned by the administration (since there will undoubtedly be increased U.S. soldier deaths which would not bode well for the Bloody Asshat's support).

The rather bloodthirsty demand launched by Arizona Senator John McCain that the US military conquer Fallujah and other Sunni Arab cities of al-Anbar Province will not in fact enhance the possibility of free elections in January.

...What does McCain think the election would look like, with Ramadi, Fallujah and other Sunni cities reduced to rubble? Does he think the sullen Sunni Arabs will actually just jump on a US bandwagon in the wake of such brutality? Does he have any idea of the sheer number of feuds that will have been incurred with the Sunni tribes?

...It seems almost certain that most candidates for high office in Iraq will run against the US. I.e., their platform will probably include a promise to get US troops out of the country ASAP. Others will boycott the elections. The number of such boycotters, and the number of those running against the US, would be even greater in the wake of a bloody and indiscriminate US campaign against the townspeople of al-Anbar.

And, of course, the incredible devastation of Falluja continues...

Late Saturday and early Sunday, US warplanes and artillery struck Fallujah repeatedly. The bombardments killed four persons and wounded six. Although the US military typically points to the guerrillas it kills in such operations, it makes no accounting of the innocent civilians it kills and injures when bombing residential neighborhoods.

Cole has another excellent post, the contents of a letter he sent to a commenter who objected to Cole's "anti-militarism". Read the whole thing, but I want to comment on the conclusion:

Not only were all the Shiites in southern Iraq outside Najaf itself angered by the fighting in Najaf, but so were the Lebanese, Bahrainis, Iranians, Pakistanis, and Indians. An operation would have to be really important and urgent to make it worthwhile alienating 120 million people. I didn't see the urgency. Most of the cities in Iraq are not under US control and are patrolled by militias. If you were going to pick a fight, Ramadi or Kut would have been preferable, because they lack the "gut" factor.

And, it is precisely by injuring these religious feelings that the US hastens the day when the Iraqi public comes out into the streets in the hundreds of thousands and begins the revolution for Iraqi independence.

Because of the instability of the BushCons and their Christian/Zionist bent, I am inclined to believe that some of what is taken for stupidity is more appropriately termed insanity, and that the situation in Iraq is not for them so much a blunder as it is a bonus for speeding up the Apocalypse. No matter what Bush says out of one side of his mouth about Islam not being the target (terrorists are), the other side of his mouth spouts biblical apocalyptic diatribe, crusades, and God's working through him.

No, I don't think we're winning, but to say well, we must just stay the course and any of you who are questioning are just hand wringers is not very responsible.

The fact is we're in trouble, we're in deep trouble in Iraq.


---Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, September 20, 2004.
  article




....but hey, be what you want....you will anyway.

Black eye for CBS

Bad news for the rest of us. You simply cannot hand these people such a fine victory.

CBS News is ready to admit it used fake memos in its 60 Minutes report on President George W. Bush's disputed Texas Air National Guard Service.

An official network statement is expected soon, perhaps as early as today, sources within the network say.

The statement comes after many "second-guessing" meetings within the network and a stormy meeting with news anchor Dan Rather over the weekend on whether or not to apologize to President Bush over the story which said he received special favors while serving in the Guard and avoided punishment for disobeying a direct order.

Rather went to Texas late last week to tape an interview with Bill Burkett, the former national guard official believed to be the souce for the memos. Burkett refused multiple requests for an interview as did both Rather and CBS News President Andrew Heyward.
  Capitol Hill Blue article

What's worse, Burkett is the alleged eye-witness to the destruction of Bush's guard records when he was running for Texas governor. His credibility is totally shot now.

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

Update 1:15 pm: The admission of using faked documents has been downgraded to a statement that CBS can't prove the authenticity of the documents.

An interview with Burkett is supposed to air tonight.



Tom Toles

Tough Guy Allawi

Wrist in a cast.



In the interview on Thursday at his heavily guarded residence in the Green Zone compound in Baghdad, Allawi [said] that he lost his temper at his Iraqi aides and pounded the table so hard that a bone snapped. "I was angry," he said.
  Seattle Times article

Maybe he was angry when he allegedly shot those prisoners in the head as soon as he was installed as president.

This time, he was pissed about that al-Douri capture bungle.

Visiting Allawi at his sprawling residence is a short course in just how bad the situation has become for anybody associated with the U.S. purpose in Iraq. To reach the house is to navigate an obstacle course of checkpoints, with Iraqi police cars and Humvees parked athwart a zigzag course of concrete barriers.

An hour or more is taken up with body searches and sniffing by dogs, while U.S. soldiers man turreted machine guns. A boxlike infrared imaging device can detect the body heat of anybody approaching through a neighboring playground. The final security ring is manned by CIA-trained guards from Iraqi Kurdistan.

This is the man who has been chosen to lead Iraq to the haven of a democratic future, but he is sealed off about as completely as he could be from ordinary Iraqis, in the virtual certainty that insurgents will kill him if they ever get a clear shot.


Sounds like bubble boy tough guy Allawi has a lot in common with bubble boy tough guy Bush.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Plame case is still being investigated

In case you've forgotten. A related issue is who provided the phony Niger documents that the misadministration used in its case for invading Iraq. Josh Marshall has been keeping up with the events of this tale, and in today's post discusses the Italian woman who provided the documents and her (officially) unnamed source.

FBI agents did do a cursory interview with Burba not long after Rockefeller asked for an investigation. And they made a pro-forma request for her to contact her source to see if some arrangement could be devised under which they could speak to him.

But after that, they didn’t follow up with her for months to find out what the answer was. And when they did finally follow up with her, it was mainly because one agent was passing the matter on to someone else.

To this day they’ve never made contact with the guy who tried to sell Burba the documents.

Now, on the surface you might say, ‘Well, maybe she’s just refused to name her source. And maybe she’s the only one who knows who the guys is. So what can they do?’

But that excuse falls apart pretty quickly.

Here’s why. Read on...


New York Times reporter Judith Miller (of phony Chalabi information fame), has been ordered to testify to the grand jury after her motion to quash a subpoena in the outing of Valerie Plame investigation was denied.

And hey, the Federal offense of outing an undercover CIA agent, putting the nation's security at risk, possibly getting people killed, destroying a line to the hunt for WMDs in terrorist hands, etc., isn't such a big deal. It's not important. As Josh says in his article, the FBI doesn't want to know any more about it.

But, hey, wouldn't it make a great TV show?

Federal prosecutors are still trying to uncover who leaked Plame's identity to conservative columnist Robert Novak, which he published shortly after Wilson wrote an op-ed piece critical of the Bush administration's justification for war in Iraq.

At least one person in Hollywood has been paying attention to the scandal as well. And, stripped of its nasty political implications, is pitching it as a lighthearted drama at FOX and its sister studio, 20th Century Fox TV.
  article

It's nice to know somebody takes serious things seriously.

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

Is it just me?

Or have they given up concerning themselves with creating new legends and gone for the easier recycling of the same ones throughout the world? (Kind of like religion.)

Russia's terrorist boogeyman is a lot like our terrorist boogeyman (the previously reported dead, previously reported one-legged, ever elusive Abu Musab al-Zarqawi).

He is Russia's homegrown version of Osama bin Laden, but with a trademark all his own: dramatic mass hostage-takings that have often turned to bloodbaths.

...Basayev, 39, who lost a leg five years ago while fleeing Russian forces through a minefield in 1999, has been helped by the vast sympathy he enjoys from many Chechens, a people who have resisted Russian domination for centuries and are furious over widespread human rights abuses by Russian troops in the Caucasus republic, experts say.
  ABC article

Who says human cloning has not been perfected?

And speaking of Asshats....

"Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat."—Washington, D.C., Sept. 17, 2004
  source

We won't mention that our military kills at the whim of a hat - an asshat.

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

Spinning Winning

Just trying to do my patriotic part.

The Lying Asshat Cabal must be right about things getting better in Iraq. The Brits are pulling out some troops!

Britain is to scale back its 8,000-strong military presence in southern Iraq in October, despite fears of worsening security in the run-up to elections

...While numbers are still being finalised,
the size of the deployment once the rotation is completed is likely to be "substantially less" than at present, the Observer said, quoting military sources in Iraq and London.

...The Observer's report contradicted one in Saturday's edition of The Times which said Britain was considering whether to send "a few extra troops" to Iraq ahead of the elections taking place in January.
  Iraq Net article

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


When I wake up in the afternoon
Which it pleases me to do
Don't nobody bring me no bad news
'Cause I wake up already negative
And I've wired up my fuse
So don't nobody bring me no bad news

...If you're gonna bring me something
Bring me something I can use
But don't you bring me no bad news


from The Wiz
rumored to be taken from the mind of George WTF Bush
okay, I'm starting that rumor

Sunday morning comin' down

Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November.

The literature shows a Bible with the word "BANNED" across it and a photo of a man, on his knees, placing a ring on the hand of another man with the word "ALLOWED." The mailing tells West Virginians to "vote Republican to protect our families" and defeat the "liberal agenda."
  Yahoo article



I remember when I was a kid and John Kennedy was running for president. The big scare then was that if he got elected, we'd be forced to be Catholic.

And, sadly, people bought that, too. Probably a lot of people in West Virginia.

The larger point here is that somebody is finally playing to the real reason there are Bush supporters amongst those who don't have large stock portfolios.

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

It's always more fun in the vision stage

And then the frequency resonates on reality level and things get heavy.

As you see, the idea of a new home for YWA led to the idea of a new paint job, and that led to a great deal of time consumed, which could have been spent blogging the all important campaign news. Mea culpa.

I'm still not finished. I'm having trouble with the padding in the sidebar column - I can't figure out how to code it, and I don't know how to code for a narrower body. I'd like to code a date on each post, but haven't figured that one out yet either. Blogger code. Browser variability. And a pea brain.

Maybe I'll try a little more tomorrow.

But don't anybody tell Jim I'm wasting time on superficial endeavors.
Do you think we read YWA for its form and layout and colors? Please.
No?

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

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The fan and the shit are too close together

A link from Bob.

Soldiers from a Fort Carson combat unit say they have been issued an ultimatum - re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq.
  Rocky Mountain News article

This does not look good. And I have a feeling that there could be some serious civil unrest if Washington thinks they're going to reinstate the draft, when even the soldiers who are already enlisted are trying to get out.

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

House hunting

As I said, I'm looking for a new home for YWA. Blogger is too blogged up or something. Maybe it's just gotten too popular (lots and lots of people use the service) and they need more bandwidth. Or something. What do I know? Little or nothing about everything.

At any rate, I'm testing tblog. I got a free account there, and set up YWA with the same information it has here - a little different look. I think it will work out okay. Posting and publishing seems to be easy enough. Some things are better with Blogger, and some things are better with tblog. But tblog is actually working and publishing like it should (and like Blogger should and used to).

The only hang-up will be if I get a negative response from my e-mail to the folks at tblog. Their conditions for having an account there state:

Blogs that are unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, libelous, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable may not be hosted on tblog.


Conceivably, YWA could be "objectionable". There's something about complaints and possible removals. Since I'd hate to have to tone down my diatribes, and I'd hate to get all set up at a new home and then get kicked out, I've asked them to check YWA's content and let me know if that's a risk.

Hopefully, I'll hear from them soon.

After reading some of their comments, it looks like they have their fair share of problems as well. Maybe if I decide to use it, I'll try it for a while and see how it goes.

I'm sorry to have to jerk you around. For the time being, don't change your bookmark for YWA. I'm still here at Blogger's blogspot.

But, in the meantime, I've published a post at the new home. Go and take a look and let me know what you think.

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

Time for a cool change

Perhaps we won't get one. But, You Will Anyway is working on the moral first priority - itself. Blogging may be very slow to non-exsitent today after this post while I try to figure out how to configure the blog on a new hosting service. Blogger has lost my devotion. It took almost forever and two different browsers to get this post published.

At any rate, you know nothing is happening in the world aside from the American presidential mudfight. So go out and enjoy yourself today.

If you need a little reminder, here's Alternet:

The presidential pageant has now risen full in the sky and is blocking out the sun. Until November, we dwell in a weird half-light, stumbling into spooky shadows but shielded from the harsh glare of the nation's actual circumstances. Down is up, fiction is truth, momentous realities are made to disappear from the public mind. The 2004 spectacle is not the first to mislead grossly and exploit emotional weaknesses in the national character. But this time the consequences will be especially grim.

The United States is "losing" in Iraq, literally losing territory and population to the other side. Careful readers of the leading newspapers may know this, but I doubt most voters do. How could they, given the martial self-congratulations of the President and relative restraint from his opponent?


More...

Okay, later.


If there's one thing in my life that's missing
It's the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
It's kind of a special feeling
When you're out on the sea alone
Staring at the full moon, like a lover

I was born in the sign of water
And it's there that I feel my best
The albatross and the whales they are my brothers
There's lots of those friendly people
And they're showing me ways to go
And I never want to lose their inspiration

Time for a cool change
I know that it's time for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it's time for a cool change

- Little River Band

Friday, September 17, 2004

Repuglican compassion

I guess today's the day for Repuke posts. Following my earlier one about the Young Republicans caught on camera dragging a protestor to the ground and stomping her, Bob has a link to a story I saw yesterday, but couldn't authenticate and so didn't post. Here it is from CNN.

Wearing a T-shirt with the message "President Bush You Killed My Son," Sue Niederer of nearby Hopewell screamed questions at the first lady as the audience tried to drown her out by chanting, "Four more years! Four more years!"

She pressed on, refused to leave and eventually police removed her from the firehouse rally.

The first lady finished her speech, praising the administration's achievements in the war on terror and the economy.

Rabid. Automatons. And what on earth is Pickled Bush? Not a shred of compassion for a woman whose unbearable pain and sorrow is shared by other parents like her because of the administration's "achievements". The rabid beasts will simply drown her out, stamp her out.

I remember my grandmother standing silently in front of her TV when news of the American soldiers killed in Viet Nam would come alive with photos on NBC. I remember her vividly, because she always stood silently with tears welling in her eyes.

I don't think I did then, but I know now what she was feeling.

Humanity is at a very low point. Some point below human. Although I don't know what that could possibly be.

WTF?

I'm getting sick of Blogger's general crappiness in publishing this past week (you don't notice it from your end, unless you see double posts), so I'm trying to find another (free - I can't help it, no moolah) blog host.

And I ran across this:



BlogShares is a simulated, fantasy stock market for weblogs where players invest fictional money to buy stocks and bonds in an artificial economy where attention is the commodity and weblogs are the companies. Weblogs, or blogs for short, are valued by their incoming links from other known blogs. In effect, links become the business deals in the simulation and players speculate on the fortunes of thousands of blogs by buying and selling shares. A whole host of options exist for advanced play including gifting shares, leveraged buy-outs, stock splits, additional share issues, market and player bonds.

Anyone can play BlogShares for free, and ownership of a blog is not a requirement to participate. You need simply to register to receive a virtual $500 to start investing. Blog owners also receive 1000 shares of stock in their blog. Each individual uses the simulation for different purposes: you can use BlogShares to find new blogs to read, to show your appreciation by buying or gifting shares and, of course, to accrue as much capital as possible.


I found it when I Googled "You Will Anyway". Here's the page that came up. You can pretend buy stocks in You Will Anyway and other blogs, if that's your idea of fun.

I have no idea how YWA got there in the first place.

I'm currently selling at $1.55 if I read this thing right. Valued at $8,400+.
Again, if I read this thing right. Incoming links have a value and outgoing links do. Whatever. I have absolutely noooooooooo experience with stocks, and not a clue how it works. So now you know why I'm looking for a free blog host.

More airstrikes on Falluja

A U.S. air strike on a "terrorist meeting site" in Falluja Thursday night killed approximately 60 foreign fighters with ties to known terrorist leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the Coalition Press Information Center said.

...The airstrike destroyed three buildings inside the "terrorist compound," according to CPIC.

Hours later, U.S. forces conducted another airstrike on Zarqawi targets in Falluja.

The Coalition Press Information Center reported that interim Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi authorized the attack on a "terrorist compound" located in the south-central part of Falluja, which took place at about 2:45 a.m. Friday (6:45 p.m. Thursday ET).

There was no immediate word on casualties in the second strike.
article

Airstrike after airstrike after airstrike. Just another day in the continuing razing of a city that dared to piss off the Madmen of Pennsylvania Avenue. I wonder how much of Falluja is left.

And immediately after, suicide bomb blast rocks Baghdad.

An earlier report of the precision airstrikes (that's what we always call them):

News agency reports from Falluja, and local hospital officials, said that the airstrikes killed at least 16 civilians, including women and children, and that an ambulance was hit by a shell, killing the driver and six occupants. This was denied by a coalition press officer. "The U.S. military is confirming that we did not hit an ambulance and we did not hit a marketplace," the press officer, Sharon Walker, said, referring to news agency accounts. She said that the 25 deaths "of Zarqawi operatives or anti-Iraqi forces" were an "initial estimate," leaving open the possibility of more casualties.

...The American military has limited its attacks to airstrikes. U.S. forces on Monday patrolled the outskirts of the city. Using loudspeakers, U.S. troops called on a local militant Islamic leader to "come out and fight."
article

Standing on the outskirts calling like idiots and bullies, while your air force bombs the city to holy hell. I bet those are some proud Marines.

Despite the military's denial, witnesses said the bombing targeted the city's residential al-Shurta neighborhood, damaging buildings and raising clouds of black smoke, The Associated Press reported. Dr. Adel Khamis of the Falluja General Hospital told the news agency that at least 16 people were killed and 12 others wounded. The ambulance was hit by a shell, killing the driver, a paramedic and five patients inside the vehicle, another hospital official, Hamid Salaman, told The AP.
.
"The conditions here are miserable - an ambulance was bombed, three houses destroyed and men and women killed," the hospital's director, Rafayi Hayad al-Esawi, told Al-Jazeera television by telephone in a report posted on the satellite station's Web site. "The American Army has no morals." Witnesses told The AP that American warplanes repeatedly swooped low over the city and that artillery units deployed on the outskirts of the city also opened fire. The explosions started at sunrise and continued for several hours. The military statement said the attack occurred at 6:07 Monday morning. One explosion went off in a marketplace in Falluja as the first vendors began to set up their stalls, wounding several people and shattering windows, witnesses told the news agency.

You can't strike anything in a city precisely from the air. It's disgusting that they continue to claim precision strikes against militants. There is nothing left here for America but shame.

And death.

Iraqi insurgents pressed their assault on U.S. and allied forces Thursday as two Americans and a Briton were kidnapped from their Baghdad house and three Marines were killed, bringing the number of U.S. military deaths in the country this month to at least 52.
article

America, get out.

Google doesn't even have mention of the "pounding" that Falluja is taking today on their News headlines page. You have to enter a search to see it.

Bob Goodsell offers a link to the excellent Bob Harris: Our savage numbness

Previous Falluja posts

A new report says Saddam had no WMD, but he had "clear intent". Which do you think will be the focus of the GOP?

American reconstruction in Iraq:



Ibrahim Jassim poses for a photograph with his wife, Zahra Jassim, and sons, Sayf Jassim, right, and The al-Faqar, outside their tent at a sprawling refugee camp in Kirkuk, Iraq, Tuesday Sept. 14, 2004. As many as 500 Kurds a day streamed into Kirkuk last month in a sudden land rush that took city officials and U.S. troops by surprise and has left the nascent city government struggling to cope with dozens of refugee camps on once vacant patches of ground. Source

Young Repuglicans

It's only going to get uglier and uglier. We're a divided, angry country.

Lament of the Bubba

LaBelle suggests we read South Knox Bubba's latest.

I think he's losing his patience. And maybe his last hope.

What's goin' on? We've spent the last two weeks talking about Dan Rather's superscript font and 1970s typewriter technology. Before that we were talking about swift boats and Cambodia. In the middle of all that we were talking about gay marriage and drowning hamsters and Jenna/Not-Jenna's wardrobe malfunctions. Now we're talking about Theresa Heinz-Kerry and naked hurricane victims and some Kinko's in Texas. And I'm so disgusted I'm reduced to posting pictures of cows and bunny rabbits.

What the fuck?

While the lapdog media and its 101st Fighting Keyboard Brigade whisper operatives are busy splooging all over their downloaded copies of fake memos and dancing their little happy dance over finally "getting" Dan Rather, there are a lot of other things they aren't talking about.

Like GOP run private detention centers in NYC....

[...Like...]

...But you know what they're REALLY not talking about? The war in Iraq. And you know WHY they're not talking about the war in Iraq? Because it's fast becoming a clusterfuck of biblical proportions.

...Plain and simple, it's the "fucking crazies" at the Pentagon and the imperialist GOP thugs in the White House with their reckless PNAC foreign policies and lust for oil and billion dollar no-bid contracts who are responsible for this outrage.

Then Dick Cheney has the nerve to say "vote for us or expect another terrorist attack," and the quivering little cowards living in the Bush Culture of Fear piss their pants as predictably as Pavlov's Dogs and stand there in a puddle saluting.

...But I'll give them credit. They have figured out that Americans are the stupidest, most easily distracted people on Earth. Look! Over there! It's gay Cambodian terrorists faking memos for Dan Rather! Mission Accomplished!

God, we are such a nation of idiots. If we let these creeps get away with this we deserve whatever happens to us.
Full post

I've got nothing to add.

Well, except maybe this: I don't know how to stop them.

Ooops, "forgot" to tell you that

With a new Medicare drug benefit set to begin in 2006, Americans 65 and older can expect to spend a large and growing share of their Social Security checks on Medicare premiums and expenses, previously undisclosed federal data show.

Information the Bush administration excluded from its 2004 report on the Medicare program shows that a typical 65-year-old can expect to spend 37% of his or her Social Security income on Medicare premiums, co-payments and out-of-pocket expenses in 2006. That share is projected to grow to almost 40% in 2011 and nearly 50% by 2021.

Unless Congress does something to hold down costs confronting seniors, the official projections suggest that health spending will consume virtually the entire amount of Social Security benefits when children born today reach retirement age.
USA Today article

If there are any benefits by then.

Look on the bright side, oh ye of little faith (you doom and gloom Democrats) - maybe there won't be any children born today to reach retirement age if we reinstall BadAss Bush.

Presidential Auction 2004

I think Ben Sargent has an accurate overview:



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

Wake up and smell the rotting flesh

We’re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore

How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the Party of Newt Gingrich’s Evil Spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch President, a Dull and Rigid Man, whose Philosophy is a Jumble of badly sutured Body Parts trying to Walk?

by Garrison Keillor

Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party...

...The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.

...Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform of tragedy—the single greatest failure of national defense in our history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a failure the details of which the White House fought to keep secret even as it ran the country into hock up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that will render government impotent, even as we engage in a war against a small country that was undertaken for the president’s personal satisfaction but sold to the American public on the basis of brazen misinformation, a war whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous transfer of wealth taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the deception is working beautifully.

The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is the death knell of democracy. No republic in the history of humanity has survived this. The election of 2004 will say something about what happens to ours. The omens are not good.

...There is a stink drifting through this election year. It isn’t the Florida recount or the Supreme Court decision. No, it’s 9/11 that we keep coming back to. It wasn’t the “end of innocence,” or a turning point in our history, or a cosmic occurrence, it was an event, a lapse of security. And patriotism shouldn’t prevent people from asking hard questions of the man who was purportedly in charge of national security at the time.

More...


Thanks to Tom for the link. And I don't know where he got the following, but I hope it's true:

Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards was about five minutes into his speech when he was interrupted by a group of six or eight leather-lunged persons who congregated in the nosebleed seats, chanting "Four more years!"

Edwards stopped, smiling slightly. The entire arena booed the interrupters (I hesitate to call them 'Republicans' because we know that the Republican Party would never condone rude election year behavior).

And in a moment the arena, about 10,000 people, responded with a brief chant,

"TWO MORE MONTHS!!"

Worth repeating

From the Daily Mislead:

Vice President Cheney has regularly attacked the national security credentials of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), calling him weak on terrorism. But...it was Cheney who actually did business with terrorist countries and traveled abroad to attack America's counter-terrorism efforts in the 1990s.

As The American Prospect documents, Cheney oversaw Halliburton's effort to do business with Iraq and Iran in the 1990s, despite American sanctions against those countries. During his time as CEO, he oversaw Halliburton's $73 million worth of business with Saddam Hussein. This, despite his claim that he had imposed a "firm policy" of not doing business with Iraq. Similarly, details of Halliburton's Iran business during Cheney's tenure was so egregious, it is being investigated by authorities today. Halliburton today admits one of its subsidiaries still "performs between $30 [million] and $40 million annually in oilfield service work in Iran."

On top of evading U.S. sanctions laws against terrorist countries, Cheney actually attacked the U.S. government in a series of trips abroad, demanding sanctions be lifted on terrorist countries so he could do business with them. In trips to Malaysia and Canada, for instance, he insisted the Clinton administration lift sanctions on Iran, despite that country being listed by the U.S. State Department as a state-sponsor of terrorism.

You can see the full American Prospect piece at http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1330816&l=55998.


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

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Femme blogs

A new blog is keeping "the mother of all blog rolls" - links to female leftist political bloggers. It's called What She Said! I'll put a permanent link to it in my sidebar, and you can check through the very long list of blogs at your leisure.

....or do what you want....you will anyway.

MVR consolidating power

Pro-government deputies in Venezuela's National Assembly (AN) may propose changes to the country's 1999 Constitution to permit President Hugo Chavez Frias an unlimited continuum of mandate periods as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Under the current system, reformist Chavez Frias is limited to two 6-year terms.

Movimiento Quinta Republica (MVR) congressman William Lara says that although Chavez supporters hold only a small majority in the unicameral AN [National Assembly], representatives are already viewing as many as 21 constitutional amendments to be introduced as early as next year.
  VHeadline article

Man, I hate to see that. Twenty-one amendments in one year! They hammered out what they've claimed (and seems to be) a very good Constitution. And the move to remove limits on presidential terms, while arguably not without merit, also has great potentional for corruption. And a huge problem at this time is that in the fight with the opposition for control of the country, it seems to be playing into their charges that Chávez is a Castro wannabe.

The lawmakers, who are supporters of President Hugo Chavez, proposed
amendments to 21 articles in the constitution that would, among other things, change the vote currently required to pass new legislation from two-thirds to a simple majority.

The constitution was drafted in 1999 by a special assembly packed with allies of Chavez and overwhelmingly approved by voters that year. It has repeatedly been touted by Chavez as "the best constitution in the entire world."

The reform would also make it significantly more difficult for government opponents to pass a referendum on whether or not the president must step down.

Amendments, according to the current constitution, can be approved with a simple majority vote in the legislature. To go into effect, the amendment must be approved by a simple majority of voters in a nationwide referendum.

...Several government-friendly legislators disapproved of the amendment proposal, which lawmakers are slated to begin debating next week.

"I don't agree with presidential re-election without limits," said Ricardo Gutierrez, who is vice president of Venezuela 's National Assembly.

Jesus Torrealba, a representative of the Democratic Coordinator opposition coalition, said the reform would weaken one of the oldest democracies in South America.

"We are facing a legislative onslaught that aims to keep Chavez in power and undermine the principles that establish consensus in approving laws," said Torrealba.
  Wall Street Journal article

The idea that any amendment has to be approved by citizen voters is, I think, a wonderful Constitutional law that encourages participatory democracy. But I'm not sure a simple majority is a good idea at all. Close contests would be destined to cause extreme battles and strife. And in the parliament, imagine if you only had to buy one vote instead of 40 or 50 or whatever. But, that's just my instinct. I haven't any evidence to offer to show that it's a bad idea.

....but hey, do what you want....we do.

Previous Venezuela posts
More on Venezuela

Define the Bush administration

kak·is·toc·ra·cy   
n. pl. kak·is·toc·ra·cies
Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.


[Greek kakistos, worst, superlative of kakos, bad; see caco- + -cracy.]

Pronunciation: käk-uh-STÄH-kruh-see

Is that where we got the word "kaka"?

Anyway, I thought this was a joke at Culture Ghost, (via Blanton's and Ashton's), but apparently not. I got the above right off the Dictionary.com page.