Thursday, August 31, 2006
"the consequences would be absolutely predictable"
"If America were to pull out before Iraq could defend itself, the consequences would be absolutely predictable, and absolutely disastrous.For this administration, possibly the worst administration in American history when it comes to foreseeing the consequences of their actions, to now tell us that the consequences of ANYTHING are predictable, is just silliness!
Let us consider the track record of this administration on making predictions, particularly about Iraq. "Vice President Dick Cheney famously claimed in June of 2005 that "The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." In the same interview he said that he expected the war to be over before the end of the Presidents second term. This is an expectation that the Presidents own words and reality have demonstrated to be wildly optimistic.
Remember (who can forget) the Presidents mission accomplished speech? Check out these proven historical inaccuracies: " Major combat operations in Iraq have ended." "We are bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous." "Nineteen months ago, I pledged that the terrorists would not escape the patient justice of the United States" Patience is one thing, but waiting for Osama to die of old age is hardly bringing justice.
Here is the pre war prediction from administration toady Andrew Natsios (then head of the Agency for International Development) on the cost of the Iraq adventure when he was interviewed on Nightline:
ANDREW NATSIOS"No, no. This doesn't even compare remotely with the size of the Marshall Plan.Ted senses the absurdity of this claim and kindly gives Mr. Administration Toadie a chance to back away from this laughable prediction:
(Off Camera) The Marshall Plan was $97 billion.
This is 1.7 billion."
TED KOPPELTed obviously can't comprehend the absolute silliness of Mr. Natsios and makes one last attempt to have him back down... But Andrew only takes the opportunity to slam around the people who it turns out were in fact being honest about the situation!
(Off Camera) All right, this is the first. I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?
Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do,
But the American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this.
TED KOPPELHoopla indeed! We know I could fill page after page with this stuff. Rumsfeld telling us where the WMD were and that the military action would be doubtful to last 6 months, all the turning points that have led us nowhere... seriously it just goes on and on. Yet now Bush has another Iraq prediction he wants us to take his word for? How stupid does he think we are anyway?
(Off Camera) I understand. But as far as reconstruction goes, the American taxpayer will not be hit for more than $1.7 billion no matter how long the process takes?
That is our plan and that is our intention. And these figures, outlandish figures I've seen, I have to say, there's a little bit of hoopla involved in this.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Gonzalez promotes 'rule of law' in Iraq
Since I'm a little bit cognizant of the workings of our government, my natural inclination was to wonder what in the world our A.G. had to do with happenings in Iraq. So I click the link to read the rest of the story and here's the scoop.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales met with Iraq's deputy prime minister in Baghdad in a visit he said was to promote "the rule of law."The story then delves into the absolute bloody chaos that Iraq has experienced the last couple of days with tortured murder victims being dumped around schools and battles between militias and the government... The trainwreck that is Iraq just goes on and on.
I'm quite certain though that America's top law enforcement officer has solutions that will work. Let us consider some of Alberto's pontifications!
After meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh, Gonzales, an architect of America's heavily criticized prisoner of war policy, told reporters that his visit was meant to help "promote the rule of law and also help promote security in this great country."Thank you for the platitudes and happy talk Mr. Gonzalez, you may now fly back to America to watch the seeds of peace and justice you planted be piled in a naked pyramid with wires attached to their private parts and then machine gunned while being bombed... Could there possibly be a more nonsensical photo-op/soundbite ever in world history? I mean lets send the head of the Environmental Protection Agency over next to hold forth on the need to clean up all the sand!
"There are great ambitions for this country. Those ambitions cannot be realized without security, and that will be very, very important."
He reiterated the "commitment of the United States government in helping you achieve your dreams for this country."
Well thank goodness that Alberto is on the job anyway. On the job of securing peace and stability in Iraq that is. Next week, when the smoke and blood have cleared and this chaos is just a bad but fading memory, we will thank our lucky stars that Alberto went over and straightened out that situation.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Katrina blogswarm... my take.
My impression of this event is how hollow the talking point rings to me when I hear an administration stoolie proclaim "it's not luck that we haven't been hit since 9/11". They always do this in the context of the global war on terror, in furthering their pursuit of convincing us that we ought not be protective of various civil liberties.
When you consider the implications of that statement in reality however you realize... we've actually been smacked quite hard. Who or what it is that destroys an entire American city really has very little bearing once the rescue effort and the television crews hit the scene. It is in the response to the crisis that the truly abysmal failure of this administration stands as a glaring example for any who care to bear witness. The image of Bush's deer in the headlight expression as he reads My Pet Goat to the children after being informed of the 9/11 calamity was simply replaced with the image of Bush strumming a guitar and eating cake with John McCain as the storm raged. A more Neronesque/Marie Antoinetish moment in American Presidential history could not have been possibly stage managed. But it all was too regrettably true.
Looking at this from the perspective of those who would mitigate future calamities, we must again bear witness to the slothfullness and absolute incompetence of this administration. Cracking down on the civil liberties of the citizenry in order to stop possible terrorism ought to be a difficult proposition compared to the steps needed to combat the conditions that made Katrina so horrible. Yet time and again, starting with the Kyoto treaty and persisting through present times, this administration has attempted to debunk the widely accepted science that gives us cause for alarm with global warming. Bush ran in 2000 promising to reduce greenhouse gasses, but promptly ended any doubt that he was in the pocket of big oil. So we may not have had another 9/11 type terrorist act on American soil, but this administration has done nothing whatsoever to mitigate the next Katrina. If anything, their policies have lead us to the point that Katrina type disasters will become commonplace.
All the staged managed appearances and soundbites ever dreamed up in the warped mind of Karl Rove can not change what we witnessed as a nation. We saw an entire American city lost to wind and flood. We saw it's citizenry abandoned for days, forced to live in squalor and lawlessness in a slow motion disaster. Our nation watched as the President vacationed and played and then when the true extent of the disaster was finally forced onto his consciousness we watched him lie and flounder about for good publicity. What a disgrace.
Heckuva a job Bushy... Heckuva job.
Let the navel gazing commence!
Quite frankly the dead white girl shark feeding frenzies we see from our media on a regular basis is an embarrassment. We have had two solid weeks of wall to wall Karr coverage for what? Has this warped coverage in any way enlightened us?
I can't begin to tell you how absolutely frustrating it is for someone who tries to stay informed on the important issues of the day to be bombarded by fluff. And it happens about once a month it seems. The MSM have gone from one time serious purveyors of information to across the board modern day National Enquirers. The last two weeks my poor wife has had to listen to me on a regular basis exclaim "WHO CARES!" or "ENOUGH!" as I waded through the news wasteland in search of non Karr related tidbits of "news".
Thank heavens there is now a light at the end of this tunnel... just another week or so of Karr fluff and we're through until the next feeding frenzy hits. If I have to hear one more breathless newscaster speculate on Karrs signature in a friends yearbook as relating to the ransom note I will keel over from an aneurysm! Even Olbermann (whom you can tell is just gnashing his teeth as he deadpans with blank stare on this type of story and his boss cracks the whip for him to cover this crap) led with Karr several times and devoted multiple segments to this non-story.
On a slightly different note, I would hereby like to give the conspiracy theory being posited by liberal talk radio host Thom Hartmann some play. After all, this conspiracy theory is more grounded in reality than the last couple of weeks of wild speculation have been. Mr. Hartmann wonders how in the world the Dept. of Homeland Security came to be intregal in the investigation. Mr. Hartmann believes the timing to be suspicious insofar as the ruling by Judge Taylor that President Bush has repeatedly broken federal law with the NSA spy program was released immediately after the Karr story broke. What better way to deflect attention from the fact that Mr. Bush is a repeat felon than to create a mass media diversion with some perv in Singapore being tied to Ramsey? Mr. Hartmann would like someone to ask the Singaporean authorities precisely who or what led to the timing of the Karr arrest. Sounds like a job for some enterprising journalist... no? Oh that's right, there are no salacious details or purient interest in that type of story. So it's just not going to happen.
If anything, learning that the DNA has cleared Karr makes this conspiracy theory more plausible. Why go through all the hooplaw and press conferences if a simple DNA test is the be all end all of the story. Keep it under wraps, get your DNA sample, test it and if it matches... THEN commence the feeding frenzy.
In the meantime, I'm certain the navel gazing will lead many outlets to shake their collective heads in dismay at the dismal state of affairs with modern day news, and search for the lessons to be learned. Lessons that will be promptly forgotten the next time some cute little white girl or blonde bombshell grabs the headlines for weeks on end...
Friday, August 25, 2006
Another travesty...but we should trust them!
Murat is a German resident with Turkish citizenship. He traveled to Pakistan for what he intended to be a short time of studying Islam. Unfortunately for him he chose to do this immediately before 09/11, and he was arrested by Pakistani authorities. He was then turned over to the Americans and accused of having ties to Al Qaida. He would spend the next four years in Guantanamo Bay.
Murat has been found by Judicial review to be innocent of the charges against him. This despite several determinations by sham military proceedings at Guantanamo that Mr. Kuraz was indeed an enemy combatant based upon secret information and without the accused being given legal representation.
How does this affect you? Quite simply this is a clear cut case in which the Administrations determination that a person was connected to terrorism was shown to be entirely based upon fabrications and shoddy intelligence. It took several judicial proceedings and some very tangled negotiations with Germany for Murat to gain his freedom.
What an absolute travesty. Imagine the horror of being connected with terrorists and having 4 years of your life taken from you. What about the feelings of his family and loved ones? These years are just irreplacable.
But George Bush and his stoolies would have you believe that they are able to determine who is or isn't affiliated with terrorism when it comes to whom they can spy upon with the NSA. They insist they have super secret information that can not be shared with a judge, and that if we all knew what they did then we would be entirely understanding. I say quite simply that the case of Murat is yet another in many cases in which the administration has quite simply gotten it wrong.
Consider the following examples: The federal no fly list is rife with inaccuracies. This list is supposed to stop people affiliated with terrorism (the same people George Bush et al think should be spied upon) from flying due to the supposed risk they represent to airliners. Some people who have been put on this list are Randi Rhodes, (nationally syndicated liberal radio talk show host) Democrat(ic) Senator Ted Kennedy, singer Cat Stevens, outspoken critic of Bush and author of Bush's Brain James Moore, Democratic Representative John Lewis, and many more obviously innocent would be fliers. Yet we are asked to just accept the supposed right of this obviously confused administration to determine who ought to be spied upon, with no judicial oversight.
The Assistant A.G. told Federal Judge Joyce Hen Greens that the U.S. Military could indefinitely detain a little old lady from Switzerland, who may inadvertently give a donation to a terrorist organization believing they helped orphans. Assistant A.G. Brian Boyle also asserted that an English teacher in England who taught English to the son of an Al Qaida agent also could be held indefinitely as an enemy combatant. So little old ladies and English teachers who are just living normal lives are compared to those carrying bullets on the front lines by this administration. The believe if you talk to these folks that you ought to be spied upon, and they do not want judicial review of their program.
There are many more examples of this administration mistakenly accusing people of connections to terrorism. Innocents who are rendered to be tortured in foreign lands, lawyers wrongfully arrested for connections with bombings half the world away and on and on and on. We must demand that this administration follow constitutional principles in fighting the war on terror. Because acting on their own hook they have made too many mistakes to allow them to continue unchecked. Just remember, without Judicial review, Mr. Kuraz would still be rotting in Guantanamo Bay.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
This can not stand.
The Alabama Democratic party leadership have seen fit to invoke a rule that no other candidate has followed since 1988 to disqualify the winner of the primary race for a seat in the Alabama legislature. The primary winner was an openly lesbian white woman. Evidently the Alabama Democratic party leadership do not think that primary election results actually mean anything. Quite simply this is patently un-American, and these Democratic leaders should be ashamed of themselves.
The gender, race, and sexual orientation of this candidate were full well understood by the voters when they decided to choose her to represent them in an uncontested race for the legislature in the November election. For party leaders to now invoke a rule that no other candidate has been expected to follow is positively odious!
How sad is it that in a state so renowned for bigotry and repression that the very party in large part responsible for lifting the apartheid now finds itself resorting to the same type of tactics. This smacks of the same sort of justifications used in the glory days of Jim Crow. We don't think you should vote so you must pay this tax, and also pass this test to demonstrate you are literate and informed. This is special treatment for you (and those who look like you) alone however... we'll let everybody else vote without the undue burden we're giving you.
All I have to say to the Dem leadership in Alabama is this: Get a clue about small d democracy or take your Jim Crow loving bigoted selves and get out of my party! SHAME!
What is "BREAKING NEWS"?
In an instant the possibilities race through my mind. The newest terrorist attack? A breakthrough between Israel and Hamas? The President admits he's a dunce?! It HAS to be some type of Earth shaking news to warrant this absolutely sensational notification on MSNBC... I just has to be, right?!
WRONG! Here is the actual BREAKING NEWS: "Plane carrying JonBenet Ramsey suspect John Mark Karr arrives in Colo." Huh?
Honestly! An event that was prescheduled to occur for many hours, and was absolutely routine in nature as far as the airport is concerned is BREAKING NEWS. The sensationalism of headlining something that really does not have one iota of an affect on 99.9% of MSNBC's readership, beyond tawdry rubbernecking titillation, is just tabloid in nature.
I note that on MSNBC's front page there is (or was if things have changed by the time one reads this) not one story about Iraq. I am impressed that they do have a separate section that covers the Iraq war... because going to Google and clicking on their link for World Top Stories will not load ONE single story covering anything about Iraq. Not one! They have stories about foreign troops holding together a shaky truce in the Congo, fishermen in the Phillipines who want to sue over an oil spill, and the brother of the Fox captives (I truly pray and wish they are soon released unharmed) saying that they are powerless.
The fact is that Iraq has become such a rolling trainwreck that it is no longer news when multiple car bombs rock Baghdad and dozens are killed on a daily basis. Here's what would make headlines in Iraq. A day of Iraqi peace! If there was one day that passed with no killing... or even just a couple of deaths but thats all... THAT would be news.
In the meantime, if you want to keep up with the events happening around the globe, you will just have to pick your way through the poopuffery that the networks determine you think is news. In my opinion the arrival of a scheduled flight at it's destination is not breaking news. If the flight had not arrived? That's BREAKING NEWS!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Pa Supremes re Nader: Fraudulent, dishonest
Now the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that Ralph Nader and his running mate must pay over $80,000 in expenses incurred by a group of voters that filed a lawsuit to keep Nader off the ballot in Pennsylvania in 2004. This opinion makes clear that the campaign to add Nader was fraudulent, and the court further makes clear that the entire court proceeding is little more than the Nadiots yanking the court systems chain. Just take a look at what these judges have to say :
The Commonwealth Court opinion described the Nader-Camejo petitions as "the most deceitful and fraudulent exercise ever perpetrated upon this court."
Signatures were filed for "Mickey Mouse" and "Fred Flintstone," and thousands of names were created at random, the lower court found.
"Given the magnitude of the fraud and deception implicated in (their) signature-gathering efforts, their claim that the Commonwealth Court acted in an unjust and unconstitutional fashion by assessing transcription and stenography costs does not pass the straight-face test," Justice Sandra Schultz Newman wrote for the majority.
It's bad enough that after the 2000 debacle Nader tried to sabotage Kerry in the 2004 election. Now he's getting slapped around by the courts for dishonestly trying to game the ballots. Nader claims to be the great champion for changing the basic structure of the American two party system, but he wants to do it by methods that would bring into question the fundamental underpinnings of any democracy: the validity of the voters will as expressed in their approval or lack thereof of the issue he champions.
It is long past time for Nader to cut his losses and retire in disgrace. He has already done enough damage to this nation with his bull headed refusal to not play the Republican tool. And what a great tool he's been for them...
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Liberals: A herd of cats
I saw Santorum on Hardball last night absolutely chortling about his campaigns very public support of the Greens. Santorum openly gives them financial and staffing support for the express purpose of splitting the liberal vote. The thing that baffles me is the extent to which it appears to work.
What could possibly influence a liberal to vote for a 3rd party candidate in a competitive race? Especially when the ascendancy of that candidate is openly promulgated by the conservative who will plainly benefit. For that matter, what was the allure of Ralph Nader in 2000 that drew so many liberals and cost this nation so dearly at the end of the day? It was well known during that election that the race was extremely competitive, it could have gone one way or the other, yet Nader pulled hundreds of thousands of crucial votes from Gore. What were liberals who voted for Nader thinking?
I guess it comes down to this. Trying to get died in the wool liberals to act in a cohesive manner is like trying to herd cats. You might be able to move the majority of the gang in a somewhat similar path, but there's always going to be the few who wander off on their own who just don't seem to care about the macro picture.
Died in the wool conservatives on the other hand? Herding them is like herding sheep! Try prying them loose from the party dogma, the party word of the day, the latest party line... and you got a real chore on your hands. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary or the incontrovertible scientific evidence, a true red conservative will not falter in their faith of what they have predetermined is the case. This makes for a formidably solid voting block come election day. To show the difference just consider that Pat Buchanan also ran in 2000 and the percentage of the vote he received was a pittance compared to Nader.
Monday, August 21, 2006
The George Express comes off the tracks.
In other words no matter what the "soveriegn government" of Iraq states they want us to do, Bush has determined to continue the occupation of Iraq. That is it, cut and dried. It is clear that he intends to hold on by the skin of his teeth and let the next President handle this mess. Now that is truly a profile in courage!
But all this is actually old news. Nothing new to see here... just move along. Then all of the sudden the President drops THIS bombshell!
I have suggested, however, that resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill to achieve an objective. I have made that case. And one way to defeat that -- you know, defeat resentment, is with hope. And the best way to do hope is through a form of government.What?! Did the President just actually say that the best way to "do hope" (whatever that really means... for the purposes of this post I'll guess he meant "give" or "instill" etc hope) was to have a good form of government? I'll wager when George said this that a rooster crowed in the Whitehouse garden, symbolizing the denunciation of Jesus Christ (as the great best giver of hope) by his chosen hand on Earth. What about family? Are these really your values George? You derive more hope from the government than your religion or family?
The thin high wailing sound you heard in the background several hours ago were the collective screams of dismay by all true Conservatives. Bush has attacked the core principle of conservatism with that statement. The best way to do hope is through a form of government? George Bush, meet Karl Marx.
Besides which the form of government is not the issue whatsoever. There are many examples throughout history of monarchs ruling with wisdom, and their kingdoms flourishing. Indeed there are examples of hope crushing failures in our own government throughout it's history. How many dreams were crushed during the great upheaval that was our civil war? Talk hope to a Katrina victim stranded on a roof for 4 days. Do you honestly believe that survivor would care a wit that the helicopter that came to their rescue flew the U.S. flag or the flag of another nation that may not hold our democratic values? Most certainly not! How many hopes and dreams were crushed by our governments lackadasical response to that hurricane? You can't hope for much when your floating face down in the Mississippi river!
Friday, August 18, 2006
Why does Judge Taylor heart Al Qaida?
One part of the judges ruling that has recieved very little publicity should give those attacking her pause. Judge Taylor dismissed a seperate claim by the ACLU that sought to stop the data mining of communications. According to the story the judge ruled that not enough was publicly known about the data mining program to rule on it's constitutionality, and that further litigation would jeopardize state secrets.
This then is hardly the wild eyed pronouncement of a radicalized jurist. She stopped the litigation she thought did not have sufficient evidence to rule upon, and would affect national security, but ruled to stop activities that clearly are unconstitutional based upon what already is public knowlege. Rather than blindly lashing out in partisanship, she makes a Soloman like decision. She holds the administration to account for that which is known, but doesn't even try to judge or attempt to discover that which is currently speculation. In splitting the difference the explosive news of the day is that she has ruled that the administration is out of bounds, leading to an outcry from the right, without considering the full context of the ruling.
Also of note is the Justice Department's statement protesting the ruling. Even as I pounded out this rebuttal of the administrations oft claimed primary duty of protecting the American populace, Mr. Gonzalez reaffirmed that position. To quote the Justice Department response:
"In the ongoing conflict with al Qaeda and its allies, the President has the primary duty under the Constitution to protect the American people," the department said in a statement."
The best rebuttal in detail of this patently unconstitutional illogic comes from the judges ruling itself:
"Implicit in the term 'national defense' is the notion of defending those values and ideas which set this Nation apart. ... It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of ... those liberties ... which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile," Taylor wrote.With this line of reason, the judge appeals to America as an ideal. An America that stands for liberty and justice for all. In contrast, the harping of the administration on keeping you safe, keeping you in fear, and discrediting those who disagree with them as giving aid and comfort to our enemies appeals to the baser instincts of humankind. Down the road the Judge points to is the shining city on the hill. The place of ideals... the great melting pot of democracy. Down the road pointed to by the administration lies endless war, fear, distrust and danger. Let us choose our path wisely.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
"Our most solemn duty"...
According to the Constitution of the United States, the President recites the following oath upon assuming office:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."Nowhere in that oath is there a mention of protecting American citizens. However it clearly is incumbent upon the President to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. THAT then ought to be the most solemn duty of the President.
The mantra that the President and his lapdogs repeat endlessly is an appeal for America to live in fear, looking to the guiding hand of his administration to show the way to safety. Implicit (and at times explicit) in that supposition is that to stray from the path set forth by the administration is to invite disaster. With this fearmongering being the guiding principle of the Bush administration, one can hardly be surprised when the administration decides that Constitutional precepts are subservient to keeping America safe. After all the President makes clear time and again that he considers his most solemn duty to be protecting Americans.
Weakening our Constitution in pursuit of security is a danger to our very way of life. Taken to an absurd extreme, your safety could best be assured with your confinement in a cell surrounded by guard dogs with a drip tube feeding you the required daily nutrients prescribed by the FDA. You may not have any rights, but by gum you would be safe!
Let us not accept a dogma that allows us to forsake our Constitution because we have been driven by fear to do so. Let us rather hold the President accountable for what indeed should be his most solemn duty.
**P.s. This is my first post back from enjoying a somewhat lengthy time of newly wedded bliss. It's been great, but the status of affairs in the world is such that I just can't keep silent... So I'm back!"
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