Thursday, September 29, 2005

The seesaw insurgency.

I have noticed a very curious phenomona regarding the Bush administrations pronouncements on the Iraq insurgency.

Anytime there is some type of "corner" or "benchmark" or so on that is soon to take place the administration talking points are all about how the insurgency will step up their attacks as the event approaches. This is completely understandable and one would think the insurgents are making these events troublesome as a sort of statement of their own as to the inability of the powers that be to govern despite these benchmarks. (I in no way wish to be understood as somehow thinking the insurgency is ok in doing so mind you. We should simply understand the reasons they mount these offensives as the benchmarks approach.)

What is odd about this from the administration however is that we have repeated examples of them saying the insurgency is winding down. The quote from Vice President Dick Cheney 05/31/05 was "in its last throes". We have many other examples of administration and or miltary sources (Gnl. Abizaid 03/12/05 "the insurgency is waning as a result of momentum from the elections") about the supposedly weakened state of the insurgency.

So one must wonder... what is really going on here? How can it be that the same administration would warn of increased insurgent activity repeatedly, then turn around and be so optimistic about the the weakening insurgency? I think the truth is that the insurgency is not weakening but the administration in a desperate attempt to create their own reality repeatedly asserts the opposition is dying down, until they are forced to acknowlege the true state of affairs as these benchmarks roll around.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

House Republicans: Shame...

I understand the blogosphere is just all abuzz about the legal troubles of Tom Delay. This post has to do with a very minor issue in the scheme of things, and is not Delay related. Click the title for the full article this post is about.

The gist of the story is that Rep. Barbara Lee of California wanted to honor the community service of longtime Berkeley Councilwoman Maudelle Shirek. Rep. Lee therefore forwarded a seeming non-controversial proposal to have a post office named after Ms. Shirek. This sort of thing is done pretty commonly. The famed Alaska bridge to no where is being named 'Don Young's Way' after the House member who is responsible for including funding for what most honest brokers acknowlege is a huge piece of pork. So naming a post office after this 94 year old community activist seems like it would be pretty simple right? Not if your a wingnut!

Turns out Rep. Steve King, R-Wingut, thinks this very simple action would honor a woman whose past "sets her apart from, I will say, the most consistent of American values." So he took the trouble to call a roll call vote on the measure (a voice vote is the standard for such procedures, signifying unanimous consent) and it was defeated on nearly a party line vote (the measure would have needed a 2/3 majority to pass). Seriously... they will name a multi-million dollar boondoggle piece of pork bridge after the guy who sees to it that we the taxpayer fund his little project during a time of blossoming deficit and budget crisis, but they will block honoring a long time community activist because they don't like her politics! If I were Mr. Young I would be ashamed to have my name forever attached to that bridge. And if I were Mr. King, I would be ashamed to have been the wingnut who blocked the locals in Berkeley from honoring a longtime community activst.

So... what is Mr. Kings problem with Ms. Shireks past anyway? She was "involved" with the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library in Berkeley. According to Rep. King this means that she "had an affiliation with the Communist Party." Of course Rep. Lee was flabbergasted at the connection and said of Rep. King, his "campaign of innuendo and unsubstantiated 'concern' is better suited to the era of Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover than today's House of Representatives." To which Rep. King retorted (in classic wingnut style) "I think that if Barbara Lee would read the history of Joe McCarthy, she would realize that he was a hero for America."

There you have it! McCarthy is a hero... All that "have you no sense of decency" and what not is just tired old rhetoric that modern day righties just scoff at. Check out this synopsis of the great hero, The Righty Honorable Senator Joseph McCarthy and how he fell from grace. Great American Hero? House Republicans are just out there. Considering the bridge to no where and the sundry other place names granted without partisan rancor one simply must ask of this crowd. Have they no sense of shame?

Why Cindy is so effective.

Click the title for a link to the transcript of Cindy Sheehans interview with Chris Matthews.

What makes Cindy so effective in the anti war movement is the fact that she is just so real. She isn't some rehearsed automated talking point politician that we are so used to seeing in the media. She gets hung up with questions and fumbles around a bit and that actually is refreshing. She is a real person who self evidently has a real stake in this fight and it is great to see her do her thing.

Just to make clear, I in large part do not support her stance on the Aghan war. However she is spot on regarding Iraq and I do hope she is successful in holding those feet to the fire.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Another fantastic post from Balkanization on prisoner abuse.

Balkinization has been doing yeomans work in covering the prisoner abuse scandal. The article by Scott Horton linked from the title is another example of well sourced and damning evidence of the complicity of this administration in the ongoing prisoner torture scandal. The article also examines the effect of this policy on our military, and the 230 year history of prisoner treatment that has been eviscerated by this administration. If you have any interest in this issue you must read this article.

Monday, September 26, 2005

You seriously can't make this stuff up!

Click the title for the lastest knee slapper to come from the investigation into the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

The story reads: CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger reports that Michael Brown, who recently resigned as the head of the FEMA, has been rehired by the agency as a consultant to evaluate it's response following Hurricane Katrina.

Doesn't this administration have any sense of decency? I mean to use the man who resigned in disgrace due to the bungling response of his department to consult on that response is just inconceivable.

Using this standard, here are 10 other possible consultants that could have sat on famous investigations in the past.
10: Osama Bin Laden to lead the 9/11 commission.
9: Sadaam Hussien to oversee the U.N. weapons inspectors.
8: Rush Limbaugh, lead consultant to the national Drug Czar.
7: Ron Jeremy to advise the Meese pornography commission.
6: Monica Lewinsky as staff researcher for Henry Hyde during the Clinton Impeachment.
5: G Gordon Liddy as lead investigator for the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate.
4: Benedict Arnold to investigate the proposed surrender of West Point to British forces in 1780.
3: Dick Cheney to advise on price gouging by Halliburton.
2: David Duke to research the holocaust.
1: Robert Oppenhiemer to find the cause for all that glass in the Nevada desert.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Make it Stop!! Part II

A more comprehensive report on the latest allegations of prisoner torture (abuse is to nice a term to give this behavior) may be found here .

I found this part of the story very curious. "Broken limbs and similar painful injuries would be treated with analgesics, the soldiers claim, as medical staff would fill out paperwork stating the injuries occurred during capture."

This is an absolute perversion of the hypocratic oath. The medical personel are enabling these prisoners to be tortured by not accurately reporting the cause of these injuries. I presume it would be a given that should we find file after file of medical records detailing how the various injuries suffered by those in our control were due to torture at our hands, that the practice would come to a stop. Otherwise why make up the false reports? This behavior by doctors truly is not acceptable. Any doctor found to be participating in activities that lead to the continued torture of detainees should have his/her liscense revoked. I whole heartedly support our military and think the situation they find themselves in is not one of their choosing. But that can only go so far, and the line I draw is when the medical staff effectively promotes an atmosphere in which the torture of their charges is allowed to go forward due to the activities of the medics.

This administration must NOT be allowed to escape punishment for this travesty. This is not a few freakazoids on the night shift getting out of hand. This is systemic, and the direct result of policies set forward by this administration that allowed for the "legalizing" of an activity that can not be legalized. Torture is torture and basic respect for human rights dictates it is not acceptable, no matter the religion or nationality of the person you'd like to break the bones of.

Friday, September 23, 2005

You are best described as a:

Strong Democrat

WOO HOO!!! I knew it!

Click the title to take the test yourself...

Make it STOP!!

The link in the title is to yet another story of an investigation into prisoner abuse.

As quoted by this article:
'Frustrated soldiers would often beat the Iraqis as a stress release, the sergeant said.
“In a way it was sport,” the sergeant said. “One day (another sergeant) shows up and tells a PUC to grab a pole. He told him to bend over and broke the guy’s leg with a mini-Louisville Slugger, a metal bat.”
'The soldier said anything short of death was acceptable. “As long as no PUCs came up dead, it happened,” he said. “We kept it to broken arms and legs.”'
(PUC is short for persons under control)

Our military JAGs opposed the imfamous torture memo from Albert Gonzalez for a very good reason. Now the crap is hitting the fan. Isn't it high time for some leadership out of this... absolute... nightmare of prisoner abuse? They are prosecuting our men and women in uniform for carrying out the policies they promote! This is in our name and it is an absolute horror show. Who could ever have imagined 6 years ago that this would be the policy carried out in the name of America? It still is just unbelievable. It simply is unforgivable. OUTRAGEOUS! Heinous! Words cannot express the absolute disdain I feel for those who have brought us to this pass. They have strengthened the enemy in time of war and all it seems we can do about it is shake our heads in dismay at the pictures.

A must read... None Dare Call It Stolen:

It is simply heartbreaking to see this in my America. This should be a place where ALL voters are encouraged to participate regardless of their political belief. And where voters KNOW their vote counted because this right is fundamental to our way of government. It simply is not acceptable to have this be a partisan issue. I could not live with the shame of condoning the suppression of the vote by people who don't see things the way I do. That just is not how we as a nation should operate. We can be so very blustery in demanding democratic reforms around the world but maybe it's time to look in our own back yard. A paper trail on electronic voter machines is the LEAST we can do. To me the verification that my vote is correctly registered is a great deal more important than getting a transaction summary each time I go to an atm. Just read the article and lets get this taken care of!

More righty doublespeak

Click the title for the story from MSNBC.

The part that gets me is the following quote from Frist spokesman Bob Stevenson: "Frist traded using only public information, and only to eliminate the appearance of a conflict of interest, Stevenson said."

I suppose the appearance of conflict of interest can be found in a following paragraph.
"For years, Frist was criticized for holding HCA stock while directing legislation on Medicare reform and patient issues. His office has consistently deflected criticism by noting that his assets were in a blind trust and not under his active control."

Ok... So we have years of criticism for holding stock in a business that has various issues that he votes on. But this is ok by his reasoning because the stock was in a "blind trust". Yet 2 weeks before a disapointing earning forecast tanked this stock, Frist orders the sale of said stock from a "blind" trust? The conflict of interest here is readily apparent! He's using insider information to pad his wallet pure and simple. Martha Stewart wound up crocheting doormats from table napkins while sitting in prison for selling her stock (which was not in a "blind" trust) prior to it tanking. I mean how blind is blind if the holder of the stock can order it sold? This whole story is obviously an example of insider trading and Frist needs to be held to account. But I dont think he will be, and you know why? Cause he's a superpowerfull Republican leader in Washington. If anything some flunky of his will take a fall and he'll wash his hands of the affair while living high on the hog from his ill gotten gains.

But hey... it's great to hear Frists office is finally admitting that holding all that stock was an "apparent conflict of interest" after all these years. How altruistic of him to finally get this taken care of!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Legalizing torture.

Click the title and also this link for an absolutely outstanding comprehensive review by Balkinization of the torture policies forwarded by this administration.

The notion that we as a nation have become the purveyors of this behavior in conducting the war on terror is an absolute disgrace! A true stain on our honor. The promulgation of these policies is criminal no matter how gussied up by legalism and Orwellian double speak the explanations by this administration are. SHAME!

Writing Zogby

Click the title for a report from an Impeach Bush Coalition member about a go around with Zogby about polling on the impeachment question. Following is the mail I just fired off to Zogby on this issue:

I must say that I was not a little surprised at Mr. Chris Conroys reply to 'Lukery' regarding the impeachment question. To say that you will not raise impeachment unless it is raised by congress, as you intend to remain impartial in your questioning is a bit puzzling. Have you noted the present makeup of the U.S. House of Representatives, the body that would 1st consider this question? You appear to be taking a position that is quite partial by not allowing the question until the Republican led congress decides to proceed against the Republican president. If you have any sort of clarification on this issue I, and those who agree with me anxiously await the explanation.

If I may be so bold as to predict what your reply may look like, let me prespond. The contention that this is not currently an issue of social import because it is not the topic of commentary by the ruling class punditry is increasingly losing credibility. Paul Craig Roberts who has an extensive conservative pedigree has called for impeachment. Simply Google search 'impeach bush' for reams of documentation on this growing issue. As cowed as the press is by this administration I think any impeachment commentary is remarkable on its face. The punditry are increasingly asking if the probable switch of power in the House in 06 will result in impeachment. I think that is a given. How bout getting out in front a little and phrasing the question thusly. If the U.S. House of Representatives should switch hands from Republican to Democrat, do you think they will introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush? If so would you support or oppose your representative voting in favor of these articles if based upon leading the country to war in Iraq using falsehoods.

Hey... I'm not the guy that makes these questions up and I suppose you just saw why not. But it's a legitimate question, and it's coming whether you ask it or not. Thank you.

Conditional props in the Jet Blue emergency landing story. Get it? PROPS!! JET Blue... ah never mind...

Well anyway... I never heard any commentator praise for the manufacturer of the Jet Blue plane that landed with its landing gear stuck sideways. The condition I place on the following comment is that this assumes that no manufacturer defect is found to have caused the landing gear malfunction. But for that gear to remain locked and not crumple under the stress of that landing I found to be remarkable. I mean the gear obviously was not meant to withstand the kind of pressures that were exerted upon it during that landing. Everything I heard regarding this was that the plane was expected to wind up on its belly at the end of it all. So if the problem turns out to have been with some maintenance issue rather than manufacturer defect, that landing gear really proved to be quite durable even under the worst circumstance it could possibly face.

Of course the Pilot has recieved accolades all around and those are much deserved as well. Nicely done!

As 'they' so often say: Now witness the wrath of GOD!

God is about to show his terrible wrath and make known the full measure of his displeasure on the state of Texas. Let this be a lesson to you Mr. President. Your administration is an embarrasment to all that is holy. The blood of tens of thousands is upon your hands and your sins have not passed unnoticed by him which you claim to follow. Your home state will now bear the punishment of a jealous god who is displeased with your worship of filthy lucre and ill treatment of those whose charge you have so horribly overseen to their detriment. Watch in horror as your beloved state of Texas has Gods punishment unleashed upon it
Mr. Tom Delay you have angered God! You will now bear the punishment of an angry God for your corrupting influence upon the land. Behold the anger of the lord as the expression of his wrath is set upon your home state of Texas. Next time you consider whether or not you should take that junket to some exotic land on the tab of an infidel with business before your consideration, you will recall this calamity and shun the offer.
God also is clearly upset with you oil barons. Your perfidiousness and gluttony is now being punished oh ye of the price gouging and environmental destructiveness. Now that the engines of your war on the environment lie in ruins as you consider the further price increases on those enslaved to your corruption, let the lessons of this disaster be known lest you invite the wrath upon yourselves again. Heed the ultimate verdict of the almighty and tremble.

Erm... let me state this in closing. Everything I just said is ABSOLUTE BULL!!! I truly do not believe a word of it. God as I understand, doesn't unleash hurricanes as punishment or cause the suffering of innocent millions in retaliation for the sins of the few. Yet here I must caution that my (and your) understanding of God truly is bounded by the limited comprehension we as human being have. I compare this to an ants understanding upon crossing an airport tarmac of a Jumbo Jet. To the ant that Jet is very large and very noisy, and if not approached with the right amount of respect can kill it and its entire colony without seeming to care or make any effort at it. But the ant truly doesn't understand the workings of the Jet. It is limited in its understanding simply by having a brain smaller than a grain of sand. I would posit that our relationship with God is thus, and I have no doubt that we will be very surprised at the time of enlightenment, when we come to understand Gods true nature. Until then I dont even pretend to try to understand this, but trust that he is a loving God and thus not interested in causing the suffering of millions to punish the few. But what am I in the long run? Just an ant...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Truth Be Told

Clicking the title will link you to a blog that has a great post. Check out this link for Catherine Criers' absolutely fantastic article on the Huffington Post, regarding the Right Wing attempted coup of our judicial system. It is a very good read.

While I'm linking to good posts on other blogs, check out Deans post on why he's not a conservative. Another very good read. Sometime I'm gonna have to post why I'm not a "hate America" lefty. Suffice to say I'm a meat eating, gun owning, patriotic lefty. I swear I get chills when I hear a good rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. So enough about me... go read Catherine Crier and Dean!

P.S. Another good article comes from Denis Hamill . He speaks the truth when it comes to the Bushovich war in Iraq and its bearing in the war on terror.

Calling us traitors.

I'm not giving a link to the site. If you want to read what I refer to, visit blogs for bush. The comment on that site which I find so irritating is as follows:

"It must be getting overly clear by now that our enemies in Iraq and our domestic leftists are speaking the same language quite often - because they both have the same aim: the defeat of the United States in the War on Terrorism.

I've said it before and I'll keep right on saying it - this is wartime; a time for choosing. Which side are you on? You can be on the side of the United States and support our military effort to absolute victory, or you can be a traitor...those are your two options."

This is wrong on so many levels. The invasion of Iraq has hurt our cause in the war on terror on so many levels. Please read if you haven't already, the last several posts on this blog for documented evidence of the harm done to OUR side of this war because of this misbegotten policy. It is precisely because of my absolute belief that the war on terror MUST be won that I am so dismayed by the Bushovich Iraqi boon doggle.

Would those of us who agree with my viewpoint be so inflammatory as to accuse those who don't see things our way over the Iraq war as being traitorous?
Perhaps ill informed or blindly obedient to the Bush administration (otherwise known as a Koolaid drinker). But to sling the term "traitor" around in these times simply because we dont see eye to eye hardly speaks well of your dogma. It brings to mind the statement by Whitehouse spokesman Trent Duffy, that President Bush "can understand that people don't share his view that we must win the war on terror, and we cannot retreat and cut and run from terrorists, but he just has a different view." This from the Administration that has seen during its term in office an explosion in the numbers of terrorists we have to "fight over there", the escape of the mastermind of the 9/11 plot from any punishment for the deed, and the loss of nearly all of our unanimous international support for our efforts in the war on terror due to its Iraqi quagmire. We are traitors? Get your priorities straight, stop drinking the Koolaid and get a clue here...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Click the title to read the Time news release regarding their article which quotes many current and former intelligence officers on the conduct of the Iraqi war. It is simply a must read.

Of particular interest to me was this snippet: A Focus on WMD: A decision in the spring of 2003-to make the search for WMD the highest intelligence priority-also hampered the U.S. ability to fight the insurgents. In June, former weapons inspector David Kay arrived in Baghdad to lead the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), which had 1,200 intelligence officers and support staff members assigned to search for WMD. They had exclusive access to literally tons of documents collected from Saddam's office, intelligence services and ministries after the regime fell. Kay clashed repeatedly with U.S. military leaders who wanted access not only to the documents but also to some of the resources-analysts, translators, field agents-at his disposal. "I was in meetings where (General John) Abizaid was pounding on the table trying to get some help," says a senior military officer. "But Kay wouldn't budge."

This means that the administration made the calculation that it was more important to find the evidence of non-existent WMD than to put down the early insurgency. They gave the expertise in analysts, interpreters and field agents to David Kay who led the search rather than properly supporting the military in the early days of the occupation. It is a given that the post war planning for occupation was sorely lacking. But evidently the plan for finding those non existent WMD's was very much thought out and followed through on. As noted in the Time article, according to David Kay, General Abizaid told him: "You have the only organization in this country that's working." It really is a crying shame that this administration apparently was more interested in justifying its folly than in actually seeing to it that the folly didn't spiral out of control as has happened. If only the administration had forseen the most basic results of unplanned occupation, even to the simple extent of trying to stop the looting in the days immediately following the invasion. Thanks to this absolutely inane lack of planning literally hundreds of tons of ammunition and explosives were looted from dumps around the countryside while the Administration placed guards on... the Ministry of Oil and the oil rigs. I wont even go into the absolute disaster to the occupation that has followed by just allowing looting of the infrastructure in the immediate aftermath of invasion. This lack of post invasion planning (except in regards to that search for the justification of the invasion, and Iraqi oil) is absolutely a criminally negligent oversight by this administration.

The last paragraph in the Time news release reads: No Plausible Roadmap to Stability in Iraq: But the Pentagon leadership is unlikely to support a strategy that concedes broad swaths of territory to the enemy. In fact, none of the intelligence officers who spoke with TIME or their ranking superiors could provide a plausible road map toward stability in Iraq. It is quite possible that the occupation of Iraq was an unwise proposition from the start, as many U.S. allies in the region warned before the invasion. Yet, despite their gloom, every one of the officers favors continuing-indeed, augmenting-the war effort. If the U.S. leaves, they say, the chaos in central Iraq could threaten the stability of the entire Middle East. And al-Qaeda sympathizers like al-Zarqawi could have a relatively safe base of operations in the Sunni triangle. "We have never taken this operation seriously enough," says a retired senior military official with experience in Iraq. "We have never provided enough troops. We have never provided enough equipment, or the right kind of equipment. We have never worked the intelligence part of the war in a serious, sustained fashion. We have failed the Iraqi people, and we have failed our troops."

What we are facing in other words is a situation where America must either significantly increase troop numbers, or continue in the quagmire we find ourselves in. Increasing troop numbers is not feasible in the face of the current Iraqi government calling on troop reductions, and in the face of increasing domestic opposition to the war. Withdrawal leads to chaos, and a probable sanctuary to terrorists. As quoted in the last paragraph: "It is quite possible that the occupation of Iraq was an unwise proposition from the start, as many U.S. allies in the region warned before the invasion." We chose to ignore our allies and now we are faced with a no win situation. We can thank this administration for this turn of events. They must be held to account for this travesty. Not only have "we" failed our troops and the Iraqi people, we the people have been failed by this administration.

Friday, September 16, 2005

2 pertinent reposts.

1st let me thank the Impeach Bush Coalition for posting my article.

Following are 2 reposts of previous articles I have blogged. The 1st pertains to the awful results of the Abu Ghraib scandal and possible further harm to American interests should the documentation of other abuses be released. The 2nd post was in response to Christopher Hitchens commentary saying Iraq was a war to be proud of. The Abu Ghraib post pertains to my argument that this scandal is an impeachable offense. The Hitchens post pertains to the Galloway/Hitchens debate but also pertains to the harm this war has caused us in the 'war on terror.'

Repost: Pouring Gas on the Flames:

A major issue in the war on terror is the perception of America by the "Arab street" as being immoral, power hungry, and generally unpleasant to be associated with. That is the reason Karen Hughes was given the rather monumental task of presenting the Muslim world a picture of us as decent, neighborly types who aren't very interested in killing them for oil.

The New Yorker has an excellent, if somewhat dated article by Seymore Hersh that details the root causes of the abuses of Abu Graib. This abomination is continuing with the pentagon fighting tooth and nail to keep more pictures and video of prisoner abuse from being released and to even keep their reasoning for releasing them from being released. Big secret here folks... the reason they don't want to release this stuff is because it makes Karen Hughes job nigh on impossible.

The wingnuts currently in power have instituted a systematic program that allowed this stain on our national honor to happen. To me the issue here isn't even about the Geneva Conventions. It is about basic human rights. Unless the Bushovics can somehow classify muslim prisoners as other than human (and with the war on science being conducted by them it shouldn't surprise us should they try it) America is bound to treat them, being human, humanely. Of course this isn't somehow a justification for the wingnuts abrogation of the Geneva Conventions. It simply is to concede that point for the sake of argument, to wonder what makes muslim prisoners somehow no longer covered by basic human rights.

In the meantime, their point that release of these pictures would harm our interests is no doubt correct. Whose fault is that? The policies that lead to this stain certainly were not agreed upon by the general public. The harm to us is a direct result of neocon idealogy run amok, as is clearly specified in the New Yorker/Hersh article. So a big thank you goes to the wingnuts for harming our interests in the war on terror.

These pictures are going to come out sooner or later. And if what Seymour Hersh is currently saying is correct (and he's been spot on so far) these disclosures will include the rape of children in Abu Graib. Make no mistake folks, this will indeed be a nuclear public relations disaster of biblical proportions. And in the Arab world it will be all of America that takes the blame. We are after all a democracy and we (sort of) voted for the ... how do I put this nicely ... ijit, ultimately responsible for these abominations. So how are we to respond when it hits the fan? Heres my answer! Use our democratic powers to place people in power who will hold this crowd responsible for this travesty! The only way we can hope to regain any standing after this is to hold the people responsible who allowed it to happen. To disgrace them and toss them in the pokey, where they will be treated far more humanely than the policies they preach allow for the prisoners now being held. Further we must renounce this conduct regarding prisoner treatment and allow international observation of the practices after reform. And yes... we must do something that is abomination to the average Bushie. We must admit what happened in our name was wrong and apologize for this outrageous behavior. Do I think any of this will actually happen? Nope. Rather a few flunkies in Abu Graib will take a fall as the right prattles on about isolated incidents and what not. And the outrage from the Arab street will grow while George pours gas on the flames...

Repost: Christopher Hitchens: Loud, Proud and Wrong!

Check out the above link for a treatise by Christopher Hitchens that attempts to justify the Iraq debacle.

Let me start with the 1st point of his article: He writes:
"LET ME BEGIN WITH A simple sentence that, even as I write it, appears less than Swiftian in the modesty of its proposal: "Prison conditions at Abu Ghraib have improved markedly and dramatically since the arrival of Coalition troops in Baghdad."

I could undertake to defend that statement against any member of Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, and I know in advance that none of them could challenge it, let alone negate it. Before March 2003, Abu Ghraib was an abattoir, a torture chamber, and a concentration camp. Now, and not without reason, it is an international byword for Yankee imperialism and sadism. Yet the improvement is still, unarguably, the difference between night and day. How is it possible that the advocates of a post-Saddam Iraq have been placed on the defensive in this manner? And where should one begin?"

Of course the conditions in Abu Graib have improved with American control. Thats because we do not follow the same policies practiced by Sadaam or by many of our allies around the globe. The horror of Americans torturing Iraqi prisoners, even if that torture would have been a welcome reprieve had those same prisoners been treated thusly in Saddams prisons is precisely because we (correctly so) hold ourselves to higher standards. Let there be no doubt about it... as I described in a previous post, the revelations of abuse to this point truly are the college hazing prank stuff. The awful truth is being hidden by the Penatgon because the true state of affairs as documented on film, if ever allowed to become public will prove far more damaging than anything revealed to this point. But even so, I have no doubt the situation in Abu Graib under American control is much better than under Sadaams regime... and that is hardly anything to crow about. The debasement of our standards by this administration in regards to prisoner treatment is a stain on our national honor, regardless of the treatment that could be expected at the hands of Sadaam or any other ruthless dictator.

Mr. Hitchens lays out 4 criteria for eligibility for a regime to be labeled "rogue and failed" thereby laying it open for its justified expulsion by force. These criteria are: "It had invaded its neighbors, committed genocide on its own soil, harbored and nurtured international thugs and killers, and flouted every provision of the Non-Proliferation Treaty."

These are very valid reasons and any reasonable person may agree that a state violating those principles may rightly be corrected with military force in order to halt said transgressions. But not when those criteria are features of the nations past behavior. I mean the U.S. many times in our history invaded its neighbors, committed genocide on its own soil, harbored international thugs and killers and is the only country to actually use nuclear weapons against an enemy. This obviously did not violate the non proliferation treaty but said treaty is a relatively new phenomona, and given time I'm sure we'll find some cirmcumstance to break it. Also the historical record shows that the U.S. actually was the supplier of Sadaam in the early stages of his WMD programs. Does that reflect well on our belief in non-proliferation? So does this mean I think the U.S. should be subject to the same measures as Mr. Hitchens feels was justified in ousting Sadaam? Of course not! The question is, does Mr. Hitchens hold these standards regarding the continued existence of America? The real point here is that at the time of the Iraq invasion at least 3 of the 4 criteria applied by Mr. Hitchens no longer applied. Iraq is now shown to have had no weapons of mass destruction program, Iraq had no more quotient of international thugs than any other regime currently in power in that part of the world (partial point to Hitchens), certainly had not invaded any neighbor since it's expulsion from Kuwait, and was not then involved with genocide. Does this mean I think Sadaam was a nice guy? Certainly not, and the world is better off with him out of power. But the means by which this end was attained have proven to be a greater harm to America in our loss of international prestige and lack of focus in the TRUE war on terror than the benefit of having removed the dictator. And the fact remains that at the time of his ouster Sadaam was contained and the list given by Hitchens did not apply to the situation at the time. Can you imagine America marching into Cambodia right now in response to the genocide of the mid 70's? Preposterous...

Mr. Hitchens also has a list of 10 bullet points of positive results from the Iraq calamity. Let me take issue with just the last 2 for now:

9) The violent and ignominious death of thousands of bin Ladenist infiltrators into Iraq and Afghanistan, and the real prospect of greatly enlarging this number.

The sad fact in this regard is that this invasion has swelled the ranks of the Islamo extremist movement. For every terrorist killed, dozens join their ranks. The facts show that far from weakening the movement by the bleeding of their membership, this horrible war is strengthening their ranks by radicalizing the Arab "street" against us.

Besides which, another sad fact is that the tactic of the suicide bomber by definition leads to the death of the perpetrator. And while westerners may ponder the ingnominous nature of the death of said bomber, it is considered a glorious achievement by our enemies. The lexicon used by cheerleaders for this war really has no bearing on the perception of these acts by those who carry them out unfortunately. If only it were so easy...

10) The training and hardening of many thousands of American servicemen and women in a battle against the forces of nihilism and absolutism, which training and hardening will surely be of great use in future combat.

This is actually the opposite of what is really happening. Our forces are being stretched thin. Material and manpower are being bled in a quagmire. The truth of the matter is the training being done here is by the terrorists in a theater they can send their recruits to learn the tactics to further harm our interests. The recent uptick in American casualties in Afghanistan are a direct result of the wrong headed war in Iraq. This war is not making us safer, and most of the citizenry of America know this.

The true state of affairs regarding these 2 points show that rather than America gaining strength in the "war on terror" by training our military and weakening the terrorist movement, the opposite is in fact happening. It is precisely for this reason that history will view the results of this misguided adventure in Iraq as a significant setback in the war on terror. Using 09/11 as a platform to forward the neocon Mid East fantasy has resulted in disaster, and the sooner the Hitchens and Cheneys of the world recognize this fact the sooner we can go about correcting this mistake.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Send a message to the world. Impeach Bush.

For the purposes of this post, let me first of all agree that the term "war on terror" is an imperfect term. But it is the widely accepted nomenclature for the struggle we find ourselves engaged in so that is the terminology that will be used.

The terrorist attacks on 09/11 indeed changed everything. America found itself thrust into a struggle that it had not prepared for and did not seek. The nature of the war on terror is such that international cooperation against our enemies is vital to our success. Who can not remember the French papers Le Monde headline of 09/12 reading "We Are All Americans" and not recall the sense of unity that permeated the international stage in the face of the threat to our way of life? Indeed the perpetrators of this attack were roundly condemned by the rank and file of the very religion they purported to wish to advance. Another outpouring of support after the attack was directed towards the leadership of President George Bush by the American people with polls immediately following the attacks showing nearly unheard of support for his leadership.

The immediate response from President Bush to the terrorist attacks was to invade Afghanistan and remove the Taliban government that had given refuge to Osama Bin Laden. In this undertaking America enjoyed widespread international support. So what has happened to this support immediately following the successful ousting of the Taliban?

The first signs of trouble with the international community came when the Whitehouse created a novel class of detainee. Designating those captured and suspected of involvement with terrorism as enemy combatants allowed the administration to deny these prisoners basic rights recognized by the Geneva conventions. The international community correctly protested when America constructed a detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and attempted to lay a legal foundation allowing for the torture of these prisoners. International and American military legal opinions decrying these methods were not considered as the administration pushed forward with this policy. As evidence of prisoner abuse came to light, rather than forsaking this course of action the administration has further promulgated the mistake. After the invasion of Iraq, (which consequences on international opinion will be discussed shortly) the unlawful combatant designation was transferred to prisoners being held there. This policy is directly responsable for the scandal of Abu Ghraib. That scandal has become one of the most potent recruiting tools for Al Queda in the war on terror. The latest affirmation of the torture policy is the threatened veto of the Department of Defense spending bill if an amendment proposed by Senator John McCain were attached. The amendment would mandate that all prisoners be treated according to the standards required by the U.S. Army’s Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation.

By forwarding this hitherto illegal treatment of prisoners, President Bush has brought dishonor on the United States of America. He has also increased the threat to American military personel should they fall into the hands of our enemies. For allowing this stain on our national honor and the resulting loss of invaluable international standing and goodwill in the war on terror, and for pursuing policies that strengthened our enemies in a time of war, George Bush should be impeached.

The next great strain on international support for American leadership in the war on terror came with the pursuit of war with Iraq. Using outright falsehoods domestically, as well as internationally , the administration pushed it's war with Iraq. While claiming this invasion must go forth in a world changed by 09/11, the fact is that the invasion was planned prior to that horrible day. While the Administration found fertile grounds for their propaganda with the American media, it could never garner international support for the invasion on a scale approaching the support gained domestically. Despite this failure, the administration, in a classic creation of it's own reality, claimed that going forward with the invasion was somehow enforcing U.N. security council resolutions at the very same time that body was steadfastly refusing to endorse the invasion. The administration further alienated potential partners in the aftermath of the invasion by excluding nations from rebuilding contracts if they did not support the invasion. The seeming bellicose attitude from the administration in going forward with the invasion despite not having planned for an occupied Iraq led to a loss of international prestige on a massive scale. The President single handedly took unprecedented support of American goals internationally after 09/11, to unprecedented depths of international distrust and approbrium with the Iraq war. This wrong headed policy has lead to increased recruitment by our enemies in the war on terror. It furthermore has given them a real life training ground to further develop the techniques that harm our interests. The recent uptick in American and Afghan government casualties is a result of terrorist tactics perfected in Iraq being exported to Afghanistan. The notion that we are safer because of the Iraqi war is simply not credible. We have harmed our own interests in the war on terror (which no one doubts MUST be won) by invading Iraq and snubbed our former allies in doing so, doubly injuring our effort.

For harming the interests of the United States by pursuing, through falsehoods, a needless war that detracted from Americas true effort in the war on terror, and alienating needed allies in the war on terror thereby giving aid to the enemy, George Bush should be impeached.

The Democrat Agenda.

One of the most common things we hear from Republicans is "Sure it seems like the public is very angry with Republican leadership and they want to toss us out on our well padded hieneys... Why just the other day I had to call in the local sheriff to disperse a mob of the lower class citizenry that had gathered up pitchforks and torches and were marching towards the local Republican spa. So sure the mood of the nation seemingly has turned against the current leadership. That whole unfortunate burning of the elephant effigy on mainstream the other night was a wake up call. And whats this business of having to have an armed escort whenever..."

Wait a minute... I've digressed. Actually the original point I was trying to make was this. Republicans are fond of pointing out there is no agenda being put forth by Democrats so we really are not presenting ourselves as a viable alternative to their failure.

Lets just take a look at some recent initiatives undertaken by Democrats and exactly what happened to these examples of Democratic leadership. One recent -initiative- voted down by straight party votes in committee would have forced the disclosure of any Whitehouse documents regarding the fixing of intelligence to justify war with Iraq as described by the Downing Street Memos. Another initiative pertained to calls on the administration to disclose any documentation that may shed light on the outing of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame in retaliation for her husbands public exposure of falsehoods by the administration in the lead up to the Iraq war. Both of these imminently reasonable initiatives regarding details of how we have arrived at the state we are in with the Iraq war, and the possible treasonous activity of Whitehouse officials for political gain were not allowed to be even brought to a vote on the house floor due to the lack of Democratic power in their respective committees. To be sure, if the shoe were on the other foot, it probably would be the case that Democrats would not be responsive to Republican requests that may land a Democratic president in hot water. But the point here is that Democrats simply do not have the ability to move their issues.

Consider -this story- for an example of Democratic initiative snuffed out of hand by the head of the house Judiciary Committee chaired by Republican James Sensenbrenner. This is an example of what seems to be a perfectly reasonable response for relief from the new bankruptcy law by victims of hurricane Katrina. There is no political damage that could be given by allowing this relief unless you are a shill for the credit card industry. Yet even here Democrats are powerless to do anything but express their dismay as the Republican juggernaut crushes them. And we are supposed to be giving out our leadership of the country talking points?

My final example of Democratic initiative that is hopelessly ground under the partisan heels of the Republican machine is the -Senate floor vote- strictly along partisan lines to establish an independent non-partisan commission to investigate governmental response to Hurricane Katrina. The Republicans want to have an openly partisan bi-cameral congressional commission that reflects the GOP control of Congress. Seriously! To them this investigation is all about partisanship whereas the Democrats want an independent investigation. Yet even in a call for non partisanship in an issue as seemingly non partisan as what happened with the hurricane relief, Democrats are stymied.

Lets get this straight. As soon as the Democrats have the ability to breathe without Republican oversight of the air they are using, then we can start demanding the Democratic plan for action. Indeed we see the Democratic mindset each day in action in the hallowed halls of Congress. The problem is those halls are over run with power hungry Bush administration and corporate lap dogs. So lets look at Republican leadership performance before we start baying at the Democrats for their lack thereof.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bush calls for arrest of himself.

Click the title for a link to the story.

Now admitably, he didn't actually just come out and say, "Please arrest me."

As the article specifies however Bush "pressed the global community to “put the terrorists on notice” by cracking down on any activities that could incite deadly attacks."

HELLO! Mr President, you started a needless war that alienated the entire world against us. This international support is desperately needed in the war on terror and prior to your war of choice we had the support of nearly 100% of the world. You have promoted policies against prisoners of war that have inflamed the entire Arab street. It is YOUR activities that have endangered us in the war on terror. Maybe you should push for a U.N. resolution to punish those who incite deadly attacks, and we can use that to have you arrested. You sir are truly the top recruiting officer for Al Queda. President Bush, you oversee the Al Queda executive branch in Washington D.C. Without you in power they would be a shadow of what they have become. Thank you Mr. President... nicely done.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Blame the media redux:

2 posts down the page I point out the President seriously trying to blame the press in regards to the federal response to the Hurricane. There is another point that must be made in this regard.

The original -question- that Bush responded to must be taken in context. The end of the previous answer and the question that follows are: Bush: "But yeah, I'm relying upon good people. That's why Admiral Allen is here. He's good man. He can do the job. That's why General Honore is here. And so when I come into a briefing, I don't tell them what to do. They tell me the facts on the ground, and my question to them is, do you have what you need.
Q Did they misinform you when you said that no one anticipated the breach of the levees?"

What is Bushes reply? He was paying attention to (nonexistent) reports from the media that New Orleans had dodged a bullet? So he evidently was not actually taking advice from the experts around him regarding the levies, but was relying on the same media he intentionally denigrates and misleads on a daily basis for his information regarding the ongoing disaster? This actually is the worst natural disaster to ever happen in our nations history and the President would have us believe he went on Good Morning America and spouted absolute horse pucky regarding the levies, because he heard it from (nonexistent) media reports, and evidently was not paying attention to the people he installed to deal with the problem! I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around this one. Actually... it simply is unbelievable. I'll chalk this up to another 'fact' Bush just pulled out of his butt on the spur of the moment, and wonder when oh when will we ever be rid of this buffoon?

Bush takes responsibility for Federal disaster response: Why I'm not impressed.

Click the title for the story.

The part that has the politicos in a buzz is the following quote from Bush: "And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility. I want to know what went right and what went wrong,"

If he were willing to follow that up with an admission that the federal resonse was inadequate, that would be a noteworthy. But it seems the only prior displeasure -expressed- by Bush regarding the federal response was to say the results were not acceptable, nearly a week after Katrina made landfall. Indeed, as shown in this -timeline-, federal officials and Republican mouthpieces seemed very impressed with the relief effort even as the disaster unfolded. Bushes now famous -quote- to then head of FEMA Michael Brown, "Brownie, your doing a heck of a job" was issued on the same day he found the results of disaster relief unacceptable.

So while the rest of the world may stand in shock at the prospect that Bush has admitted to some sort of culpability in now taking responsibility for the federal response, does it really carry any meaning if he, and the wingnut spin machine, are convinced that said response was actually a great achievement? Once he comes out and admits that perhaps being photographed playing geetar and eating cake in the midst of the unfolding disaster was a mistake, then we're talking actual recognition of culpability. But saying he is responsible for something that is being spun as a masterful response to the disaster is not really any different than what we have grown to expect from this man anyway.

When all else fails, BLAME THE MEDIA!!

Click the title to read what the Preznit had to say about why his administration was so freaking slow to respond to the devastation of New Orleans. Heres what he had to say:

"When that storm came by, a lot of people said we dodged a bullet. When that storm came through at first, people said, Whew. There was a sense of relaxation. And that’s what I was referring to.

And I myself thought we had dodged a bullet. You know why? Because I was listening to people probably over the airwaves say, The bullet has been dodged. And that was what I was referring to.

Of course, there were plans in case the levee had been breached. There was a sense of relaxation at a critical moment."

He honestly is trying to blame the media! This talking point was dredged up early on in the controversy and has been shown to be a canard. The media, with the notable exception of a right wing slanted "news" website, were in full throat from the start with the horrid truth of the disaster. I believe that George sees his problems with the public as being due to a newly found spine in alot of reporting regarding this administration and he is actually making up facts to try to slander the people telling the truth here. The FACTS are, the "people over the airwaves" were spot on in reporting, and if George didnt live in a cocoon he would have KNOWN what was happening. But since he botched the response and actually lost an entire American city in front of God and the world, lets blame those who report on his disaster of a response for that failure.

This man just needs to go away. Just move back to the ranch and leave those of us who wish to live our lives with fact based governance and sanity in peace.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The danger of the yes man.

Here is a -story- that shows the ruthlessness of Saddam Hussien when it came to surrounding himself with yes men.

Quote: When his country was at war with Iran in the 1980s, he asked his cabinet ministers to give their advice. His Harvard-trained minister of health suggested that Hussein should temporarily step aside until peace was restored. Hussein reportedly thanked him and then ordered his arrest.

When his wife begged for his return, her husband's body was chopped into small pieces and delivered to her in a canvas bag. That was in 1982 and few inside his inner circle have challenged him since. Endquote.

The results of this conformity by Saddams inner circle can only be described as disastrous for his nation. His invasion of Kuwait was partly a -result- of bad information from terrified yes men. I'm sure you are asking, what is the point of all this Mr. Frik?

The point is this. Whether you surround yourself with yes men/women based upon the use of the lethal repression of dissent, or just -being an ass- to those who bear bad news, you still surround yourself with yes... people. As the last link to MSNBC/Newsweek shows this had a direct affect on Georges response to Katrina. Is there one amongst us who would dare believe that if Bush were truly in touch with the disaster he would have been photographed with a big cake or strumming a guitar AFTER the hurricane struck? Thats just being clueless, and that comes from insulating oneself from reality. In this case it proved lethal.

What is to be done about this? We see the results of this insulation playing out right now in Iraq. Only the most fervent koolaid drinkers truly think we are winning that quagmire. Somehow someone must get through and start laying out realities to Bush. I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon, so the next alternative is impeach him. Hold him accountable for the lethal turn his fantasy land governing style has taken. Not by watching his poll numbers slide to the level sustained by the koolaid crowd, but by humiliating him with impeachment. Or the next time some buffoon decides to create his/her own realities from the Oval Office we can only wish we had made an example of the 1st such fantasy bound President.

Blatant dishonesty: The hallmark of this administration.

Click the title for a link to a story in Media Matters that confirms what we already knew about the inner workings of this administration.

To quote the story: From its earliest days, the Bush administration adopted a policy of shielding itself from political damage by never publicly admitting any mistake -- even if it meant lying to the media and the American public.

Bush is being intentionally dishonest -- in Brooks's words, "totally tactical and totally insincere" -- in resisting such public admissions (of making mistakes) and in blaming others when failures are too obvious to deny.
end quote

It seems to me that the party who saw fit to impeach Preznit Clinton for lying would be awfully peeved at this behavior. Where-as Clinton lied about something (an extra marital affair) that by its very nature is secretive, and 99% of the rest of humanity would have done the same type of lie when busted, the Bushovichs lie as a matter of policy. Do you recall the wingnut refrain "what will we tell our children?!" when the Clinton perjury thing was all the talk of the town? I suppose its ok for your children to learn via this president that lying as a matter of policy is perfectly ok. But should a democrat be found lying about something which the nature of humanity dictates will be lied about every time it is discussed by the perp, we'll blow (no pun intended, I swear!) our stacks? Pick the log from your own eye before you complain of the mote in mine!

Also on Media Matters is the -story- of Ann Coulter just plain making stuff up in blind defense of Bush. Stuff that if patently and demonstratably false. She claims that the Bush laugher that no one forsaw the breaching of the N.O. levees was "manifestly true." I'll give you a moment to wipe the tears from your eyes after that huge laugh you just enjoyed. Manifestly True? Mayhaps Ann has a Rush "problem" and needs to lay off the crack pipe before going forth on the national stage. Because it is manifestly true that anyone who has a modicum of interest in this subject knows full well that the preznits statement is manifestly false.

But as we see in the 1st story from Media Matters, another falsehood is standard fare for the course anyway. Impeach impeach impeach!

Ron Paul, R. of Texas is spot on regarding Iraq!

Click the title for a link to Out Loud, which in turn links to a 42 minute speech by Ron Paul Republican of Texas regarding the Iraq war. He really lays out the history and the folly of this war. It is so nice to be able to give a Republican some props... This speech is just great!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Read Michael Moores letter to people who voted for George Bush.

Click the title to link to and an open letter from Michael Moore to Bush supporters.

I've never understood what it is about Michael Moore that allows the wingnuts to demonize him like they do. I mean to them invoking Michael Moore has the same devastating effect of labeling something they are slandering as liberal. Mr. Moore is simply a film maker with a political agenda. Its not like he's picketing the funerals of Iraq war casualties or funding Al Queda or anything. If anything the target of his barbs, the Bush Admininistration is causing said funerals and they may as well be officially designated the Al Queda recruiting office in Washington D.C. with the horrible policies they promote in the war on terror. Well anyway read that letter. It speaks the truth.

Impeach Bush...

Click the title to link to the Impeach Bush Blog Coalition Website.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Bill Maher: Recall Bush

Click the title for a link to Crooks and Liars who have a link to a segment from Bill Maher. Mr. Maher says of Bush:
"Herbert Hoover was a sh**ty president but even he never conceded a major metropolis to rising water and snakes. On your watch we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon, and the city of New Orleans. Maybe your just not lucky!"

Amen brother Maher. This is the worst president ever.

Stupid Human Quotes:

Linked -Here- are 25 stupid quotes from various luminaries regarding Hurricane Katrina.

My personal favorite is quote #22: "FEMA is not going to hesitate at all in this storm. We are not going to sit back and make this a bureaucratic process. We are going to move fast, we are going to move quick, and we are going to do whatever it takes to help disaster victims." --FEMA Director Michael Brown, Aug. 28, 2005

This, as with just about every other quote from an administration source in the list, shows a very basic disconnect with reality. You have just witnessed the results of the 'create your own reality' style of governance. We also, sort of, witnessed the results of this governing style with the Iraq war. By sort of, I mean we know it has gone bad. But we certainly were, and are, not so connected and involved in that disaster as it unfolded as we were with the day to day details of Katrina.

Fantasy based governance has now proven extremely lethal in 2 instances that are readily apparent to any but the most ardent koolaid drinkers. The sooner we can get back to reality based government the sooner we can start to reverse the damage thats been caused. We wont be able to bring back the dead, but we may be able to stop future catastrophes.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Check out this site.

Click the above title to see the beginnings of the Impeach Bush Blog Coalition. I'm happy to lend what support I can... and there will be a link added permanently in short order.

Repost: Lying: The case for impeachement.

I posted the following in late August. I'm reposting it in response to The Bulldog Manifestos (link in the title) call on bloggers of like mind to call for Bush impeachment with a unified voice. The case layed out for impeachment below has to do with this administrations lying us into the Iraq quagmire. I believe the incompetence demonstrated with the Hurricane Katrina response is criminal and also a solid reason for impeachment. If requested I will post a treatise on that in a future post. In the meantime... here is Lying: The case for impeachment.

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

These are the famous 16 words from George Bush given in his state of the union address on Jan. 28, 2003.

Impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton began on November 05, 1998. The basis for this impeachment was President Clintons statement under oath that he had not had "sexual relations" with Monica Lewinsky.

Lets compare the nature of these two lies shall we? President Clintons perjury had to do with an extra marital affair. The nature of this activity is such that participants in the affair attempt to cover up and conceal said affair. This is not to justify perjury. It is to attempt to understand that it is part of the human condition to lie about this type of activity. The Republican controlled house of Representatives thought the transgression was serious enough to warrant the impeachment of President Clinton.

President Bush on the other hand lied while standing in the very chamber of the Republican controlled House of Representatives in his 03 state of the union. The nature of his lie was purely due to political motiviations. It has been a stated neocon belief since the mid 90's that the overthrow of Iraq would lead to a flowering of democracy and be a base for future U.S. military functions in the mideast. As is stated here "After the terrorist attacks on the US homeland, so single-minded were these ideologues that they were immediately "ready with a detailed, plausible blueprint for the nation's response. They were not troubled that their plan had been in preparation for over a decade for different reasons, in a different context, and in relation to different countries and, as such, did not in any way represent a direct response to the events themselves".

So we have a President who lied to get us into an unnecessary war that has cost America hundreds of billions of dollars, and thousands of lives. This war has also cost America all the international goodwill we incurred after the attacks on 09/11. This goodwill was and is indespensable in a successful war on terror. All for an ideaology that is flawed. What is the punishment for that? If there is no consequence for this monstrosity who is to say there is anything wrong with continuing said behavior? Look at my post here for the possible ramifications of allowing this to go unchallenged.


Tom Delay is the most recent rich white republican to -trumpet (link)- the grand lifestyle being enjoyed by the Katrina refugees in their temporary housing arrangements in various stadiums around Texas. As the story goes:

While on the tour of a shelter with top administration officials from Washington, including U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao and U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, DeLay stopped to chat with three young boys resting on cots.
The congressman likened their stay to being at camp and asked, ``Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?''
They nodded yes, but looked perplexed.

Of course they looked perplexed! I'm certain they were caught off guard so they didn't have the foresight to tell this abomination to -go *f* yourself(link)- as recently happened to Cheney while yukking it up with the locals in Gulfport Mississippi. Having your home destroyed and being warehoused in some stadium hundreds of miles away is like being at camp? I'll GUARANTEE the camps Delay attended while growing up were a good deal less traumatic than what these people are going through. Get a clue!

Brownie goes to Washington...

While most of the rest of the bloggers who share my politics may herald the -news (link)- of Michael Browns return to Washington, I am taking a more somber approach.

As the quote from the head of Dept. of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff reads, "Other challenges and threats remain around the world.” This means that should (God forbid) some other disaster befall us while his handlers are busy patching up the Gulf Coast, Michael Brown will oversee the relief effort by FEMA for the new catastrophe. I'm sure this is causing the good folks of California to redouble their prayers that the big one not strike until adequate leadership is installed at FEMA to respond to the disaster.

For that matter, I'm certain after the past reaction to FEMAs response to Katrina, the Pres and Karl Rove are on their knees as you read this praying fervently that no other disaster befall us while Brownie is doing this planning...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

When politics kill...

Here is the -difference (link)- regarding the response by FEMA to the various hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004 and their response to Hurricane Katrina.

Its fairly obvious that thousands died simply because Louisiana was not a swing state in an election year.

Here is a -story (link)- about another truth teller being canned by this administration back in 2004. Clark Kent Ervin was inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security (in case you live under a rock DHS heads FEMA) and highly critical of several programs overseen by DHS. The repeated practice of this administration of sacking those who tell it like it is is another example of how political motives directly affect the ability of these agencies to adequately perform their duties. This political agenda has led to the inadequate response by FEMA and the death of thousands. In my humble opinion the wilfull malfeasance and negligence of this administration is criminal. You cant spin the dead bodies floating down the Mississippi no matter how adept you are at media control.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"Unbiased media" now means equal time for liars.

Here is a -link- to a story from Larry Johnson, now former contributor to MSNBC.

The Whitehouse is in full damage control mode regarding the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. The spinners have been dispatched like a cloud of locusts to the various media to lay blame squarely on the local authorities for the botched response to the disaster. They have no use for actual "facts" but rather are spreading outright falsehoods. Evidently being "unbiased" means giving these louts airtime even though it is clearly proven that they are covering for the Whitehouse with lie after lie. The timeline in the above link gives the factual course of events as this unfolded. So why should the facts be labeled as "opinion" and somehow given equal footing with those just spreading proven falsehoods? Thats not unbiased... if anything it's biased for the Whitehouse Rovian spinmeisters by allowing them to spread the falsehoods.

Here is a -link- that shows the true state of politics in D.C. at these times. Democrat Nancy Pelosi is just dead on with her assesment of this President but all she can do is slam him at a press conference. In the meantime Congressional Republicans are meeting behind closed doors (Democratic leadership not invited) to plan for a commission to investigate the response to Katrina. So we have Democrats calling a spade for a spade but without any ability to affect the matter, and Republicans setting up commissions that will undoubtably wind up shifting all blame from the administration and to local Democratic officials. We no longer live in a Republic as far as I'm concerned. This isn't the America I grew up with.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Firefighters as photo op props...

Check out *this story* from the Salt Lake Tribune.

The politics practiced by this administration in this case directly affect the life and death of hurricane Katrina victims. For crying out loud... this is an absolute shame! How can conservatives just stand by while this happens? How can this be justified? I'm sure they'll find a way...

Those lucky poor folks...

Barbara Bush said of the refugees currently housed in the Astrodome: "many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this is working very well for them."

I'm sure this will go far in dispelling the underlying tone racism currently festering with the response to Katrina coverage. Check out The Blog of 8's post regarding right wing pontification on the state of the poor in New Orleans. It is apparent from these sorry excuses of absolute bigotry that the wingnut side of the political fence has a problem.

In the big picture, I'm not one who ascribes the criminally inept response to the hurricane as an example of racist policies from our government. I think it is a prime example of this administrations blindness to reality. To hear the head of Fema protest he wasn't aware of the refugee crisis at the convention center after days of coverage on live t.v., to hear the president ponder that no one foresaw the breaching of the dikes... there are just a veritable ton of examples, is to listen to an administration disconnected from reality. You cant just make your own reality up as you progress in response to an ongoing disaster, and that method of governance is the hallmark of this administration.

Of course the people who bore the consequences of this malfeasance were the poor, and when the cameras descended onto New Orleans the poor were mainly blacks. They cant be blamed for feeling like race was a factor in the alacrity with which they were helped. Somewhere in the depths of my soul, I have an unfortunate feeling that the response from this administration to the devastation of say, Aspen Colorado by an avalanche would have been faster and more complete than the devastation of some American ghetto of poor people.

In the meantime, the refugees at the Astrodome can thank their lucky stars that they no longer have their own residences or jobs and so on. Thank goodness we have the former 1st lady, current 1st mother to point out how fortunate they really are.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Smirk on Mr. President... smirk on.

Here is the perfect picture to represent this presidents response to Hurricane Katrina. He smirks while the victims suffer.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Template/linkage stuff...

I am really pretty new to this blogging business so I went and messed with my template settings without even thinking about it. So I tossed all my old links! I'm working on getting them back... If you want to link trade post here and I'll check out your site :P If your even reading this ... good for me... :P

Politics and Hurricanes part II: Holding my fire no longer.

I really really gave the Bush administration a chance to come through in response to hurricane Katrina. I should have known better.

Here is the unvarnished and horrible truth of the matter. The day after the hurricane struck, rather than returning to Washington D.C. or heading to the Gulf Coast to lead the nation through this crisis, President Bush actually went to San Diego for a rah rah speech on the Iraq disaster. Unbelievably he strummed a guitar while New Orleans was in the process of being destroyed, and enjoyed some cake with John McCain! This president is so out of touch he actually takes points on responding to the suffering of the populace he leads from Nero and Marie Antoinette!

The president made the incredibly inaccurate assertion that he didn't "think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." The truth is quite the opposite, as seen in this headline. In fact the record shows that at least one person lost his job for previously criticizing cuts in the presidents proposed budget for Army Corps of Engineers water projects. Projects that directly affected the scope of this disaster. Yet another honest person booted for telling it like it is... as quoted in the story: "I think he was fired for being too honest and not loyal enough to the president," said lobbyist Colin Bell, who represents communities with corps-funded projects. Probably the most damning evidence that this disaster was predicted before hand was Fema's listing of a hurrican strike on New Orleans as one of the top three most likely catastrophic natural disasters facing America.

So once it was clear to the Bushovichs that this was becoming a drag on his already record low popularity (FOUR days after Katrina landfall) he was hustled off for a flyover of the devastation followed by a speech detailing what the federal response to this was going to be. This speech to me was extremely reminiscent of his pontifications following 09/11. Resolute, strong, decisive, declarative, etc etc etc... This isn't the war on terror Mr. President. Lets just for a time leave the laundry list of stuff your finally starting to do in response to this and give us some humanity in our leaders. I'll guarantee that President Clinton faced with the same circumstance would have led the nation in feeling it's pain. The strutting Texan blowhard cowboy was the wrong tone. I read on one of the blogs I peruse a rundown of "freeper" reaction to the speech and even the Bushovichs were sorely disapointed. I've searched high and low for the link but I cant find it... If and when I do I'll add an addendum to this post.

Molly Ivins, James Wolcott, and just about the rest of the liberal blogosphere were right on this one. Let loose the dogs of politics... the Bushies deserve every hit they take on this one. I'm tempted to say my wait and see attitude could be defined as insanity. That is to say that insanity may be defined as performing the same action over and over and expecting a different result. Well this is the 1st time I've given this administration a pass as the disaster in question unfolded hoping for a good result, and I dont intend to do so again.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Making a mockery of God

Repent America is claiming that the city of New Orleans was destroyed by God because there was to be a gay event held there on 08/31/05.

If Repent America truly believes this, do they think that maybe God got the wrong information and smote New Orleans a week early by mistake? I mean if this truly was somehow Gods answer to this convention, why wouldn't he hold his wrath until the event was actually taking place? And what are all the heterosexual God fearing conservative people who were affected by this judgement from God supposed to think about this? Seems like God could have just smote the convention with a localized tornado and not had all this collateral damage. I mean as it is, because of the mistaken timing by God, ALL the damage is collateral while the evil Gay people have skated scott free. This assertion by Repent America truly makes a mockery of God.

Repent America needs to realize that God doesn't operate at RA's beck and call. Using their logic, we could then make the case that Florida has been repeatedly punished for voting for George Bush last year, and Louisiana and Mississippi had it coming for the same reason. Such is obviously not the case... but as far as that logic is concerned, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Secretary of State Condi Rice smackdown!

A shopper in Ferragamo on N.Y. cities 5th ave. upbraided Condoleeza Rice for shopping for shoes while the gulf coast descends into anarchy following the Katrina disaster. The shopper was promptly removed by security. I'm sure having the real world intrude on her shopping excursion was a shock for Condi, justifying the removal of said intruder.

At the same time, our neighbors to the North were prepared to send Canadian search and rescue units with supplies of food and fresh water to the gulf coast. Except they weren't allowed entry into the U.S. apparently due to "mass confusion" at the U.S. federal level in the wake of the storm.

Time to get Condi on the job I'd say. Doesnt the State Department have something to do with international relations and so forth? 3 cheers to the shopper who gave Condi what for in the shoe store!

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