Friday, December 29, 2006
Punishment may have come, certainly too late, to one man. To a country, to millions of lives, to a world where hatred and anger are given nourishment by far too many for far too many reasons, justice is still nowhere to be found. Our nation's part in the brutal decay of another will be written in the history books for our children to read. This death will be no more than a clause in a sentence. Our shame is burned into our very core and is written in rivers of blood for all to see.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Dr. Samuel Johnson
So Saddam is to die by hanging.Regardless of how one feels about the death penalty, the execution of this sentence under these circumstances in a horrible idea. The execution would take place under the authority of a government viewed by many Iraqis and observers throughout the world as a failed American stunt devoid of legitimacy, following a trial that didn't even rise to the level of a sham. Iraq right now is this:
An execution would be this:
Turn him over to the Hague, hold a trial with full due process and let any sentence be carried out under the auspices of international law.
Team members: Looks like I jumped the gun, Blogger isn't ready for us to switch to the new format yet, will advise when that happens.
Monday, December 25, 2006
"A merry Christmas, Bob," said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. "A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year. I'll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob. Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!"
Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Three of these things are kind of the same
Can you guess which one of these thinhs doesn't belong here
Now it's time to play our game (thanks Sesame Street!)
12,000 Iraqi policemen killed since '03
6 U.S. Soldiers Die in Bombing (editor's note:Good God, six more slaughtered on Christmas Eve)
Ethiopia launches offensive against Somalia
“I must tell you, I'm sleeping a lot better than people would assume”
".. how to win this war in which we find ourselves"
George W. Bush
"War is the extension of politics."
Karl von Clausewitz
The first two quotes suggest presidents who found themselves almost passively confronted with the horrific reality of war. However, the last quote goes a long way toward explaining the differences between them.
War may indeed be an extension of politics. In the case of the war faced by Abraham Lincoln, political decisions postponed by the framers and profound political changes unforeseen contributed to this horrific conflict. The founding fathers pushed the question of slavery onto future generations, and certainly never anticipated a mechanizing, urbanizing nation with a population spreading from the original colonies afar afield as Texas and California. Growth, urbanization, industrialization and the emergence of a democratic culture from the strictures of an aristocratic republic presented challenges and unanswered questions that may well have required this ultimate drama to resolve. Abraham Lincoln saw the war come, and he led his nation THROUGH it.
George W. Bush's war also was an expression of the political, but it was not the result of both an inexorable march and a response to sudden jarring changes. Rather, it was the fouled fruit of a political ideology founded in American imperial hubris, of bending the world to our will (while generating huge profits for friends and patrons). Mr. Bush, we did not "find ourselves" in this war. You wanted it, sought it and embraced. Unlike Lincoln, you led us TO it, and you show no desire or ability whatsoever to lead us THROUGH it as did your esteemed predecessor.
Friday, December 22, 2006
VLADIMIR: We can't.
ESTRAGON: Why not?
VLADIMIR: We're waiting for Godot.
ESTRAGON: Ah! You're sure it was here?
ESTRAGON: That we were to wait.
VLADIMIR: He said by the tree. Do you see any others?
ESTRAGON: What is it?
VLADIMIR: I don't know. A willow.
ESTRAGON: Where are the leaves?
VLADIMIR: It must be dead.
ESTRAGON: No more weeping.
VLADIMIR: Or perhaps it's not the season.
ESTRAGON: Looks to me more like a bush.
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Ah, the Nazi analogy...
Yes, the Nazi image occupies very different positions in our national psyche, from tired conversational cliché to dramatic movie image to video game villain to the tortured memories of those touched by what may be our closest incarnation of true evil. It is also certainly true that our government, even under the grotesque incompetence and criminality of the current administration, does not sink to the level of human baseness that was Adolph Hitler.
Analogies are teaching points, however, and certain similarities must be noted. Many are characteristic of all ambitious power seekers, but others [hopefully should] give us pause. Both Adolph Hitler and George W. Bush exploited national tragedy, patriotism and fear to move nations comprised largely of decent people to wage unnecessary, unlawful and horrific wars of choice. These chosen wars were both sparked by near messianic visions, one of a Third Reich and the other a “New American Century,” and both conscripted the media, the corporate community and much of organized religion to support them.
Both men craved power to conceal their failures in life. One, a failed artist, sought greatness in being "der fuehrer," while the other desired redemption from myriad failings and shortcomings by being a "war president." Late in both conflicts, the two leaders were also reduced to pathetic desperation. One ordered non-existent divisions to face the Russians and cursed those who brought him the grim news of reality, while the other said that November's Democratic election victories were “a call to find new ways to make the mission there succeed” (and I’m assuming he also cursed those who brought him the grim news of reality.)
However, as the article cited above points out, those together do not represent the most telling and frightening similarities. That will remain “the banal ordinariness of the citizens who perpetrated it. The relevance of Third Reich Germany to today's America is not that Bush equals Hitler or that the United States government is a death machine. It's that it provides a rather spectacular example of the insidious process by which decent people come to regard the unthinkable as not only thinkable but doable, justifiable.”
We let it happen. Say that again, we let it happen. Sure, I, and many of you reading this opposed this monstrosity from the beginning, while others came later to see the truth.
But still, despite our best intentions, WE LET IT HAPPEN. Yes, of course, I wrote about how wrong this was, I went to meetings and I corresponded with government officials, but in reality, I did nothing. I let it happen. I went to work, I went to the beach, I ate, I drank, I laughed, and I LET IT HAPPEN. I let it happen in the midst of my "banal ordinariness."
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The president said he interpreted the Democratic election victories six weeks ago not as a mandate to bring the U.S. involvement in Iraq to an end but as a call to find new ways to make the mission there succeed. (link)
Mr. President, we have the results of your Rorschach test. We showed you and the rest of America a series of inkblots. More than 80% of America thought they looked like this
That’s really all you need to know, isn’t it? Any byline by this shameless hack signals another waste of ink and pulp defending the indefensible.
Try this one:
As he attempts to chart a “new way forward’’ in Iraq, President Bush again is striving to frame the conflict there as central to a broader struggle against world terrorism – despite analysis both from inside and outside the administration that worsening sectarian violence inside Iraq is responsible for a greater share of the increasing casualties there than any acts of terrorism.
Pssst, Mark, the casualties in Iraq have not resulted from “terrorism” as that term is generally used. The violence in Iraq results from sectarian clashes and from resistance to the U.S. invasion and the attempted installation of a stooge government.
You keep on tryin’ though, Lil’ Feller, and maybe someday you and your beloved preznit will find that elusive “way forward.”
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Words of wisdom from Fearless leader (the Year 2000 beta test module)
"I just don't think it's the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, we do it this way, so should you ....but I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you…..I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course."
"If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world and nation building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road, and I'm going to prevent that...."
"Well, if it's in our vital national interest, and that means whether our territory is threatened or people could be harmed, whether or not the alliances are -- our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. That would be a time to seriously consider the use of force. Secondly, whether or not the mission was clear. Whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be. Thirdly, whether or not we were prepared and trained to win. Whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy. I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place."
"..... if we don't stop extending our troops all around the world and nation building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road, and I'm going to prevent that."
It really depends upon how our nation conducts itself in foreign policy. If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us."
"I'm going to be judicious as to how to use the military. It needs to be in our vital interest, the mission needs to be clear, and the exit strategy obvious."
Elsewhere in the Iraqi capital, gunmen in military uniforms robbed government accountants as they left a bank with bags of cash, in the second major bank robbery in Baghdad in eight days.
The article further notes that, according to Mr. Cameron, "the threat to Britain was bigger now than prior to the war, was a statement of fact."
Nice work, guys.
One interesting sidebar in the piece is that the British politicos are becoming a might peeved as being seen as Bush's lapdogs. A Conservative party policy group reported that "British interests would `always be best served in partnership with America,' but the relationship must be put on a `proper footing'. We should recognise that we will find it difficult to serve our interests, or those of America, if we are regarded as their mute partner in every foreign undertaking."
Good luck with that.
Washington The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate. Sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops for a mission of possibly six to eight months is one of the central proposals on the table of the White House policy review to reverse the steady deterioration in Iraq. The option is being discussed as an element in a range of bigger packages, the officials said. But the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission [editor's note--Duh!] and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public.
Definitely go with the White House. They've been spot on so far, and what do those military guys know?
Monday, December 18, 2006
WASHINGTON - Attacks on U.S. and Iraqi troops and Iraqi civilians jumped sharply in recent months to the highest level since Iraq regained its sovereignty in June 2004, the Pentagon told Congress on Monday in the latest indication of that country’s spiraling violence. In a report issued the same day Robert Gates took over as defense secretary, the Pentagon said that from mid-August to mid-November, the weekly average number of attacks increased 22 percent from the previous three months.
The story is bad enough as it is, but yet--the spin continues even amidst this tale of woe. Note the reference to "since Iraq regained its sovereignty." Sovereign, huh? Well, it certainly seems to be a particularly explode-y kind of sovereignty!
Steve Chapman’s assertion ("Iraq report actually fuels hawks," Commentary, Dec. 14) that the liberation of Iraq from the butchery and tyranny of Saddam Hussein "was a doomed enterprise from the start" and that "we could do worse" than talking to Syria and Iran as the Iraq Surrender, uh, Study Group, shows that it is he, not the Bush administration who have "learned nothing" from history.Just one suggestion, Danny Boy---
He says we should "look at…the Americans in Vietnam." Okay, let’s look. We were never defeated on the battlefield. Tet [Offensive] was a military disaster for the Vietcong and North Vietnamese, not an American defeat. And South Vietnam fell two years after we left, not to a popular uprising, but to a conventional armored invasion from the North after the Democratic "Watergate babies" of 1974 cut off the South Vietnamese at the knees.
Now another Democratic Congress, and Steve Chapman, wants to ignore the millions of Iraqis who risked their lives to vote for their leaders and a constitution, proudly displaying their purple fingers. They risk and lose their lives daily, publishing newspapers, joining the police, just going to work.
What do Syria and Iran want? Certainly not stability in Iraq or Lebanon as both have aided the private armies of Muqtada al-Sadr and Hassan Nasrallah, respectively. They want an American defeat in Iraq. Neither want democracy to gain a foothold and spread.
Chapman must have missed the recent revelations of U.S. intelligence officials regarding the ongoing attempts by Syria and Iran to wreak havoc from Beirut to Baghdad. Officials described how Iranian Revolutionary Guards worked in tandem with Syrian military intelligence to facilitate the travel and training of radical Shiite Iraqi militants.
The New York Times reported that "a senior American intelligence official" says that between 1,000 to 2,000 fighters in Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army had been trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon. A number of Hezbollah operatives are also said to have entered Iraq to do training on-site.
Chapman’s and the ISG’s naiveté is exceeded perhaps only by the late Sen. William Borah who, upon hearing of the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, opined, "Lord, if only I could have talked with Hitler, all this might have been avoided."
Daniel John Sobieski
I predict that Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
I came across Bill Frist's list of the tremendous accomplishments of this disgraceful Congress:
"We passed legislation securing the right to prayer in U.S. military academies.Thanks Bill (especially that crackdown on fetus farming!)
"We passed legislation protecting the Mount Soledad Memorial Cross.
"We passed the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, which allows for the 10- fold increase of FCC fines for indecency violations.
"We passed Cord blood legislation that harnesses the power of stem cells in cord blood to develop new cures for life-threatening diseases.
"We passed the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act, which prohibits the gestation of fetal tissue in order to use it for research.
"We passed the Stem Cell Research Alternatives bill, which provides federal funding for a variety of stem cell research that do not involve destroying human embryos."
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Of course she does.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
“You have a President that’s in deep shit. He got us into the war, and all the reasons he gave have been proven invalid, and the whole electorate was so pissed off that they got rid of anyone they could have, and then they ask, ‘What is the Democrats’ solution?’”
Some liberal media.
Washington: The Army and Marine Corps are planning to ask incoming Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Congress to approve permanent increases in personnel, as senior officials in both services assert that the nation's global military strategy has outstripped their resources. In addition, the Army will press hard for "full access" to the 346,000-strong Army National Guard and the 196,000-strong Army Reserves by asking Gates to take the politically sensitive step of easing the Pentagon restrictions on the frequency and duration of involuntary call-ups for reservists, according to two senior Army officials.Ho ho ho!
As President Bush weighs new policy options for Iraq, strong support has coalesced in the Pentagon behind a military plan to "double down" in the country with a substantial buildup in American troops, an increase in industrial aid and a major combat offensive against Muqtada Sadr, the radical Shiite leader impeding development of the Iraqi government (link).She puzzled over this for some time, but at last a bright thought struck her.`Why, it's a Looking-glass book, of course! And if I hold it up to a glass, the words will all go the right way again!"
OK, let me get this straight. We are going to wage a major offensive against a Shi'a cleric in a Shi'a country, and are effectively siding with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's Badr brigade and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which has strong ties with--Iran.
There's one to ponder, but the looking glass isn't helping.
Headline of an AP story this morning: "Bush decides direction of Iraq policy"
Well, of course he did. He's the decider.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I bring you good tidings of great fear, which shall be to all Americans.
For unto you this day there is an enemy, terrorists, freedom haters and evildoers
You will find the enemy stripped and lying in a prison, but that's just for starters
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the corporate host praising W, and saying,
Glory to W in the White House, and on earth, fear and corporate profits toward men.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Despite the pleasure I take from seeing the administration embarrassed, I find that the report is fundamentally and fatally flawed. The study group, while more perceptive than the president (not a particularly high standard), still dwells in a fantasy world, evidenced by statements such as these:
"the Iraqi government needs to show its own citizens—and the citizens of the United States and other countries—that it deserves continued support."I believe the problem is readily apparent.
"President Bush and his national security team should remain in close and frequent contact with the Iraqi leadership to convey a clear message: there must be prompt action by the Iraqi government to make substantial progress"
"the United States should make clear its willingness to continue training, assistance, and support for Iraq’s security forces and to continue political, military, and economic support"
"Saddam Hussein has been removed from power and the Iraqi people have a democratically elected government that is broadly representative of Iraq’s population"
THERE IS NO IRAQI GOVERNMENT and THERE IS NO IRAQI ARMY! Period, end of story.
Clinging to these pretenses accomplishes nothing positive, either for Iraq or for the United States. The Iraqi "government" controls no territory, commands no loyalty, has no monopoly (anything BUT a monopoly, as the competing militia factions exercise real authority) over coercive force and is unable to perform even low-level governmental functions. "Training" an "Iraqi security force" or military is a non-starter because of the fundamental reality that it is impossible to have an Iraqi military when there is no Iraq. We have spent significant time, manpower and money tilting at this windmill, and in the face of even stronger militia operations and a greatly-diminished regard for both the U.S. role and the Iraqi "government," expecting improvement here is a fool's paradise.
This of course is no secret or any profound observation on my part. It also is not surprising, given the makeup of the study group. While it may be "bipartisan" it is still made up of mainstream Washington insiders who have a vested interest in avoiding the obvious reality. The report clings to the Iraqi government, elections and democracy because this is the last refuge of even the slightest (albeit totally fictitious) whiff of anything resembling legitimacy in the invasion and occupation. They cling to frauds and fictions because they have to do so. Any other course of conduct would force them to do something that they would be organically unable to do. They would have to describe not incompetence, not missed opportunities, not flawed planning, but criminality. They would have to talk not of victory or defeat, progress or setbacks, but rather our nation's criminal conduct, the conduct of a rogue state. That they could not do.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Mary Cheney’s pregnancy poses problems not just for her child, but also for all Americans....Mary’s pregnancy is an “in-your-face” action countering the Bush Administration’s pro-family, pro-marriage and pro-life policies.First of all, I have a few roblems in my life, and Mary Cheney's family life doesn't make my radar screen. Then, of course, in her view, there are few things worse than a loving couple raising a child in a caring nurturing environment. Oh the humanity!
And in terms of Papa Dick's pro-family, pro-marriage and pro-life policy? How's that workin'?
So Jan, take your "concern" for women back to your permanent residence in the 1950s and
Friday, December 08, 2006
Messianic (adj)--of or relating to a messiah promising deliverance; a "messianic cult."
The winger radio station here has a local morning show featuring an ex-country DJ named John Howell. As I've mentioned, I will occasionally stumble onto them because they broadcast the college football and basketball games I listen to in the car. This idiot was criticizing the editor of The Nation magazine, Katrina vanden Heuvel, for saying that the country was ill-served by Bush's "messianic" foreign policy. According to "Big John," she was criticizing Chimpy because he is a "Christian."
Good God. Now we can speculate on "WWJD" with what currently occupies the White House (I'm seeing a celestial shortage of both fire and brimstone), but she was not criticizing him for believing and professing that Jesus of Nazareth is the messiah. She was critical of his conduct based on his quite bizarre belief that God has chosen and is directing HIM, George W. Bush, to do really stupid and horrible things.
So John, wave goodbye to Mr. Dictionary Man and
I would hope that even the Tribune editorial board would cringe when they look back just two years ago:
Bush has scored a great success in Afghanistan--not only by ousting the Taliban regime and nurturing a new democracy, but also by ignoring the chronic doubters who said a war there would be a quagmire....Bush has kept Americans, and their government, focused--effectively--on this nation's security...he has the steadfastness, and the strength, to execute the one mission no American generation has ever failed.
[Governor Bush] showed a grasp of detail on both domestic and foreign affairs, and told the public what kind of administration he wanted to run. ..That would be an administration dedicated to Republican principles of limited government, low taxes, free enterprise, personal rights and personal responsibilities. But it would be one shorn of the unfortunate vitriol that accompanied the GOP revolution in 1994. It would be an administration that trusts people to make their own decisions, but would not forget that some people need the government's help.Comments to come, but chew on that one for a while.
It would be an administration that recognizes a president doesn't succeed by browbeating, lecturing or intimidating Congress. A president succeeds by setting broad goals, leading by example, and recognizing that the perfect should not be the enemy of the good...Bush has offered solutions to problems. He has, to his credit, not given the impression that he has the last word on every problem to confront government. He would listen....There is, finally, the question of basic honesty…Gore, unlike his boss in the White House, has by all accounts lived a life of probity. There's no doubt that he is a decent man. But his penchant for enhancement has become something of a running joke. Created the Internet? Discovered Love Canal? While he may not have explicitly laid claim to those events, the fact is that Gore has a natural inclination for evasion that is deeply troubling. His explanations of his creative fundraising techniques--'No controlling legal authority'?--suggest that the public will grow disenchanted with yet another White House that can't tell the whole truth…The White House has seen enough of that. The nation has seen enough of that. It's time to move on. This is an election about honesty, about restoring bipartisanship, about fostering government that will nurture a booming economy without getting in the way of American ingenuity. There is one candidate for president who will do all that, and it is George W. Bush.
Dissatisfaction with President Bush's handling of Iraq has climbed to an alltime high of 71 percent (link). The latest AP-Ipsos poll, taken as a bipartisan commission was releasing its recommendations for a new course in Iraq, found that just 27 percent of Americans approved of Bush's handling of Iraq, down from his previous low of 31 percent in November.
Every limbo boy and girl
All around the limbo world
Gonna do limbo Iraq!
All around the limbo clock
George be limbo, George not quick
Polls go unda limbo stick
All around the limbo clock
Hey, let's do limbo Iraq!
Marky wrote that we saw a "most blunt characterization of the war" when Bush said, "It's bad in Iraq. . . . Does that help?" Mark, Mark, Mark, that was no "blunt characterization," no plain-spoken statesmanship. Watch the tape. That was the reaction of a petulant child, not a president. It was Corky St. Clair from "Waiting for Guffman" wailing that "I just hate you, and I hate your ass face! (To hear Corky, go here and click on the first one under "Miscellaneous.")
Welcome back to doing what you do best, Mark--the carnival barker at the never-ending Cirque du Clusterfuque.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
The blogosphere has already destroyed his ridiculous statement that "He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization. " The ammo has come from both left and right. Even the often absurdist FAR RIGHT Eugene Volokh (yes, law profs can be, and often are, vainglorious fools) wrote that
This argument both mistakes the purpose of the oath, and misunderstands the Constitution. In fact, it calls for the violation of some of the Constitution’s multiculturalist provisions...the Constitution thus already expressly authorizes people not to swear at all, but to affirm, without reference to God or to a sacred work. Atheists and agnostics are thus protected, as well as members of certain Christian groups. Why would Muslims and others not be equally protected from having to perform a religious ritual that expressly invokes a religion in which they do not believe?What made this more remarkable was Praeger's "Who, me?" response. He wrote that
My belief that the Bible should be present at any oath (or affirmation) of office has nothing whatsoever to do with the religion of the office holder....Why wouldn't Ellison bring a Bible along with the Koran? That he chose not to is the narcissism of multiculturalism that I referred to: The individual's culture trumps the national culture.The "national culture" involves subscribing to a particular religion? "Why wouldn't Ellison bring a Bible along with the Koran?" WHY WOULD HE??? Why bring a religious tract that means nothing to you?
Of course, a leading Jewish source also disagreed with his take on Jewish officials.
Denny adds that
You don't have to be Christian to acknowledge that the Bible is the source of America's values.Uhhhm, this Sunday School teacher does a HUGE Scooby-Doo moment. How is the "Bible" the source of American values?
Denny idiotically blathers on that
I cannot name any Western European country that does not have a document similar to the American Constitution and something akin to our Bill of Rights.Ummm, Denny, ever heard of the UNITED KINGDOM? England swing like a pendulum do? You do know that in the English system, there is no equivalent of the 1st Amendment?
Even Denny concedes that the "swearings" with props are photo-ops and are PURELY ceremonial, as the legally effective oath is administered en masse with no "props." Here's the rant:
Obviously, Mr. Ellison will have already been officially sworn in. Therefore, the use of the Koran has absolutely nothing to do with taking an oath on the book he holds sacred. It is used entirely to send a message to the American people.Yes, Denny, he is sending a message, a message that he cares enough about his congressional duties to affirm that in the presence of the scripture he reveres.
Denny concludes that
It is not I, but Keith Ellison, who has engaged in disuniting the country.OK Denny. Disuniting the country? How? By not engaging in a sham? By taking the solemn oath on a book that means nothing to you? How?
In a rare glimpse of his relationship with the former president after recent signs of possible strains between the two men, Bush said he calls his parents every two weeks.Yup, nothing's more important than family.
Here's the reality:
“Mr. Gates, do you believe that we are currently winning in Iraq?” Mr. Levin asked. “No, sir,” Mr. Gates replied, going on to agree with the senator that a political settlement is needed to end the blood-letting, and that the United States needed to convey “a sense of urgency” to the Iraqis about reaching an accord.Here's the nightmare:
Mr. Gates said “there clearly were insufficient troops in Iraq after the initial invasion.” While he said that he envisions “a dramatically smaller” number of United States troops there, he said an American presence would be required “for a long time.”
From Juan Cole.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Just a couple of quick thoughts today.
Farewell, John Bolton. Good riddance. Tony Snow actually said today that Bolton had done a "great job." Exactly how, Tony, unless alienating us from the whole world is "great?"
Congratulations, Lindsay Lohan, for becoming an alcoholic before being old enough to have alcohol.
I will spend more money this year at stores that say "Happy Holidays!"
and my favorite one. Preeminent historian Eric Foner wrote in the Washington Post that
It is impossible to say with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say, 2050. But somehow, in his first six years in office he has managed to combine the lapses of leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to rank him as the worst president in U.S. history.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
1) R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me
The Jim Webb incident has generated a lot of talk and I'm wondering what it all means. The right-wing echo chamber is all over Webb's supposed "rudeness" and "boorishness" (they seem to have forgotten how one Sen. Jesse Helms effectively threatened Bill Clinton's life) and his lack of "respect."
If you have read these pages, you know that "respect" for George Walker Bush is a scarce commodity around here, and our contempt is well-justified. This is nothing new of course. Go back and see our 16th president referred to as "the original gorilla" and mercilessly caricatured in the cartoons of the day.
My question though--is there any validity to the old saying, "I don't respect the man, but I respect the office?" Is that possible, and if so, what does it mean?
… I get tired, just a little bit, keep on tryin' (just a little bit), you're runnin' out of foolin' (just a little bit) and I ain't lyin' (just a little bit)
2) Isn't it remarkable that it is the Democrats' responsibility to solve George's mess when they haven't even been sworn in yet?
3) It looks like the much-hyped "Baker Report" will be warmed-over nonsense and people will just keep dying. It will speak in vaguely-defined platitudes and indefinite objectives--and people will keep dying.
4) Speaking of death, remind me to take al-Maliki in next year's dead pool (if he's still eligible, this is a tough month for him).
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The Department of State advises that the use of the phrase "civil war" in Iraq is not appropriate. Based on our review of events in Iraq, we have determined the proper terms to use. From now on, the conflict will be referred to as:
1) a "Kerfuffle"
2) Explode-y Tag
3) Iraqi PUNK'D!
5) Sectarian Slapdown
6) Damned ungrateful A-Rabs!
"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.
"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.
"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"
"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.
"We will work together" is the heady plaudit we now hear from both parties. If this was at all possible, why was this affirmation not forthcoming from the Democrats who never ceased to give the president total uncooperation? What is really meant is, "Now you can do things OUR way-cooperate, or else!" Elephants have great memories and can be stubborn too.
Oh Elizabeth! Clearly, the last time you poked your head out of the sand you heard moderate GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush stating that he was a compassionate conservative and a uniter, rather than a divider. That was a long, long time ago, and since then things have changed somewhat. The GOP gained total control of both houses of congress over two election cycles ago. That's when George and Dick took off the sheep's clothing and revealed themselves to be Drinky McLiar and Darth Cheney. Drinky went on to lose his veto pen for a record period of time, allowing the GOP-controlled congress to spend all of your children's inheritance. In return, congress allowed Drinky and Darth to make a mockery of the constitution while sacrificing life and limb of America's youth (not to mention tens of thousands of Iraqis) to make the world safe for Wall Street, Halliburton and Exxon. During all this time the "uncooperation" of the neutered Democrats amounted to a couple of judicial filibusters in the senate. The GOP response was to threaten to do away with the filibuster!
Fortunately, enough of America had their heads out of the sand and their ears open over the past four years and found that a GOP-controlled government (like a unitary executive) is a really BAD idea. That "Cooperate, or else" that you're hearing is coming from the PEOPLE who voted the criminals and the liars out of office. You see, it turns out that progressives have long memories too.
So Elizabeth, thanks for sharing. Now you can feel free to
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
(link) The United States will not withdraw its forces from Iraq before its mission of building a stable democracy is complete, President Bush said Tuesday. "There is one thing I’m not going to do. I am not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete."Oh my God. Could this man possibly be any more detached from reality?
He added that
“There’s a lot of sectarian violence taking place, fomented in my opinion because of the attacks by al-Qaida...No, George, it's not al-Qaida, it is a home-grown, completely foreseeable civil war that YOU caused. He stumbled on that
“When you see a young democracy beginning to emerge in the Middle East, the extremists try to defeat its emergence,” Bush said. “Extremists attack because they can’t stand the thought of a democracy. And the same thing is happening in Iraq.”No again, George. This is not a "young democracy." This is a failed occupation decorated with faux "elections" for show. None of the elements of statehood are present, the regime is absolutely devoid of legitimacy and no further sacrifice of blood and treasure on the part of the United States can change those two basic facts.
For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Friedman, he is one of the supposed "liberal hawks" on the war. He was a gung ho supporter of U.S. intervention, and believed such action could be justified solely by regime change alone. Imminent threats or UN resolution defiance were unnecessary adornments in Tom's world.
Well, Mr. Friedman has basically spent the last 18 months telling us to ignore what he wrote for the previous 18 months, as regime change has turned into an ever-worsening nightmare. This morning, on the Today show, Tom told us that the blame for this disaster falls squarely on the shoulders of the Sunni Iraqis who have not accepted "the verdict of this war."
Think about that one for a second. We should blame those who have not embraced the invasion and occupation of their country by a foreign power, coupled with the imposition by that alien power of a stooge government where Shi'a death squads operate with impugnity under that government's (at least nominal) authority.
I doubt many would blame them for not accepting that "verdict."
"We fight to avoid a Sunni victory which may lead to an Al-Qaeda dominated caliphate that will use Iraqi oil revenue to purchase the nuclear bombs that will be used to commit an American Hiroshima. Any questions?"
Just one, Terry--how do you feed yourself?
Ladies and gentlemen, Retard America.
Monday, November 27, 2006
WASHINGTON - NBC News Monday branded the Iraq conflict a civil war—a decision that put it at odds with the White House and that analysts said would increase public disillusionment with the U.S. troop presence there. NBC said the Iraqi government's inability to stop spiraling violence between rival factions fit its definition of civil war.In a related announcement, NBC News Monday branded the Golden Gate a "bridge" and the Statue of Liberty a "statue."
(link) Eager to begin refurbishing his tattered legacy, the President hopes to raise $500 million to build his library and a think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Bush lived in Dallas until he was elected governor of Texas in 1995. Bush sources with direct knowledge of library plans told the Daily News that SMU and Bush fund-raisers hope to get half of the half billion from what they call "megadonations" of $10 million to $20 million a pop...The legacy-polishing centerpiece is an institute, which several Bush insiders called the Institute for Democracy. Patterned after Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Bush's institute will hire conservative scholars and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies," one Bush insider said.That's odd, I thought we already had lasting memorials to the Bush legacy
I have stories, oh, do I have stories, from my sojourn into Red State America, but unfortunately, for the sake of domestic tranquility, I can't share most of them here. But one very quick one--I went with my 15-year old son to see Borat. It is as funny and as grotesquely inappropriate as you have heard. The next morning, the local paper runs a column on said film by the loathsome Jonah Goldberg. A Limbaugh-Hannity listening [unnamed] family member showed it to me and asked if I had read it. I said, politely, "no--considering the source." Unnamed Family Member responds, "Why, because he's CONSERVATIVE?" Again as politely as possible I responded, "no, because he's an IDIOT!"
But some leftovers for a delicious dessert, courtesy of Gadflyer and Tapped:
Democrats 39,267,916 (57.7%)
Republicans 28,464,092 (41.8%)
Democrats 31,405,754 (53.7%)
Republicans 24,920,212 (42.6%)
"This is presumably the first cycle since the modern party system began that no party (in this case the Dems) lost not a single House, SEN, or GOV seat."
Now THAT'S happy!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
And yes, tomorrow is November 22, the anniversary of the first event I can say that I truly remember:
Hard to imagine a Jack Kennedy pushing 90....
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is the lesson learned from Viet Nam by George W. Bush, that great freedom fighter who saved Alabama dental offices from the scourge of communism.
No one ever said he was a quick study. There are of course many obvious lessons to be learned from that painful era (even The Princess Bride gave us "Ha ha.. you fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is: Never get involved in a land war in Asia.")Those lessons tend to revolve around the limits of American military power, the crucial role of nationalism and ethnicity as motivational forces and the inability to impose unpopular western-style regimes on cultures we don't understand. Somehow I don't see winning unless quitting, a simple-minded cousin of "stay the course," on that list of lessons learned.
And then there is Dennis Byrne, one of the dimmer bulbs that for reasons that pass all understanding is allowed to bloviate on the op-ed page of a major newspaper:
The folks who believe the Iraq war looks increasingly like the Vietnam War are right. At least the part where the United States pulls out and leaves millions of people hanging out to dry. That part where the war comes to a dishonorable, murderous end. Like on the day, April 30, 1975, that America broke its promises to millions of South Vietnamese and jumped ship. The day on which hysterical Vietnamese civilians and officials were crowding a ladder to the top of the U.S. Embassy, pleading for a seat on the last American helicopter out. The day that crowds of Vietnamese swarmed the embassy gate, crying for escape or protection, as North Vietnamese tanks approached. The day that uncounted thousands turned into freedom-seeking boat people. We abandoned millions of people to be stripped of their freedoms, imprisoned for their beliefs or slaughtered by a monstrous, tyrannical regime. It was one of the most shameful days in American history. It was our own day of infamy. Blame public opinion for bringing shame on ourselves. Public opinion demanded a Congress that simply decided to choke the life out of the South Vietnamese. Yes, the Iraq war is beginning to look a whole lot like the Vietnam War.No, Denny, that day was not the day of shame. The shameful days were those of more than a decade past when, like today, we fought an unnecessary, misbegotten war conceived of hubris, deceit and a fatally flawed ideology.
We did not leave "millions of people hanging out to dry" that day, we left Viet Nam to determine its own destiny. No doubt the course of that process was made more painful by generations of western imperialism and war, buty the process was Vietnamese. The "government" of South Viet Nam was horrifically corrupt, and was peopled by holdovers from French imperialism, priviled and Catholic, known as the "whites" in an agrarian, Buddhist nation. No matter how many American bodies were sacrificed on the altar of the domino theory, this regime never commanded the respect and loyalty of the people.
There were many lost opportunities in the Viet Nam saga. Ho Chi Minh was at Versailles in 1919 seeking inclusion of Asian peoples within Woodrow Wilson's vision of self-determination. During World War II, Ho used the words of Jefferson to declare Vietnamese independence, yet FDR returned his people to the French to enlist DeGaulle's help in post-war Europe. Dien Bien Phu in 1954 should have allowed us to see this as a post-colonial contest for the soul of a small, distant nation rather than
In The March of Folly, popular historian Barbara Tuchman wrote that America "betrayed" itself in Viet Nam, and how right she was. Unfortunately, another lesson, apparently unlearned, of the Viet Nam era is how willing American leaders are to engage in those same acts of betrayal, and how willing the betrayed nation is to allow them to do it.
Monday, November 20, 2006
I wondered outloud which company (ies) would even consider sponsoring this program. Apparently the answer was ZERO. Today, Murdoch actually apologized as he cancelled BOTH the book and the TV special:
I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project," said Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman. "We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson."
Perhaps Murdoch read this little tidbit from the Fox station manager in Louisville, KY as he explained his reasoning for NOT airing the proposed special:
"I have my own moral compass and this was easy," said Bill Lamb, general manager of WDRB in Louisville.
(AP) SAN FRANCISCO - Two peace activists have planned a massive anti-war demonstration for the first day of winter. But they don't want you marching in the streets. They'd much rather you just stay home. The Global Orgasm for Peace was conceived by Donna Sheehan, 76, and Paul Reffell, 55, who live together on a houseboat along scenic Tomales Bay in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.
Their immodest goal is for everyone in the world to have an orgasm on December 22 while focusing on world peace. "The orgasm gives out an incredible feeling of peace during it and after it," Reffell said on Sunday. "Your mind is like a blank. It's like a meditative state. And mass meditations have been shown to make a change."
Male activists reported feeling sleepy immediately after planning the event, while women were frustrated that the men were unable to bring the plans to a mutual, satisfying conclusion.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
WASHINGTON - Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry said Sunday he is still considering a second run for the White House in 2008, despite public criticism of what he has has called a “botched joke” about the Iraq war.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
I've felt an odd attraction to her for a long time and having done a little research, now I understand why. She was an NCAA gymnast AND graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland... No mention of marital status!
Friday, November 17, 2006
(This is real)
DoD ACCOMPLISHMENTS SINCE 2001
In the last six years, the Department has made great strides in modernizing its forces to address the threats of the 21st century.
I. WAR ON TERROR
Overall: A multinational coalition has liberated more than 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq, with formation of representative governments and security forces.
Liberated 31 million Afghans from Taliban control and destroyed Al-Qaeda sanctuary –and stood up a provisional Afghan government eight months after operations began
Liberated 27 million Iraqis from a brutal dictatorship and turned over sovereignty of the country to an Iraqi government in 16 months:
Recruited, Organized, Trained, and Equipped Iraqi and Afghan Security Forces:
131,000 Iraqi Ministry of Defense
180,000 Iraqi Ministry of Interior
33,000 National Army
37,000 Afghan National Police
Conducted safe and secure elections in Afghanistan and Iraq
Elections in Iraq
January 30, 2005 election / roughly 55% of voters turnout
October 15, 2005 constitutional ratification / 63 % of voters turnout
December 15, 2005 election / 78 % of voters turnout
March 16, 2006 – Permanent Iraqi Government seated
Elections in Afghanistan
October 9, 2005 election / roughly 80% of voters turnout
December 7, 2005 – Afghan President inaugurated
Captured or killed much of the extremists’ senior leadership; while others are on the run
Saddam Hussein’s sons, killed July 22, 2003
Saddam Hussein, captured December 13, 2003
Ali Hassan Mahmud al-Tikriti AKA Chemical Ali, captured August 21, 2003
Al Qaeda in Iraq leader, Al Zarqawi, killed June 7, 2006
45 of 55 of Saddam’s top regime (deck of cards) killed or captured
Conducted hundreds of intelligence and tactical operations throughout the world with partner nations against terrorist organizations directly or loosely affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
NATO has expanded its reach in Afghanistan – the first time the Alliance has acted outside of its traditional boundaries.
Suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have revealed information that has helped thwart attacks against our troops, the American people and our allies.
Oh my God.
Case in point:
Talk dope Glenn Beck, in an interview on CNN's Headline News with Minnesota's Representative-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, asked "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies...I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."What? Because the man is religious, he is AN ENEMY?? Well, he's obviously a dangerous man, just look at this threatening man:
And of course, the Senate Republicans elected Trent Lott to the all-too-humorous post of "Minority Whip." The genius who gave us "Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me."
We also all remember how Chimpy told us after Katrina that "Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house--he's lost his entire house--there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."
Well, the porch is done, here they are!
1) The Bush administration has appointed a new chief of family-planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services who worked at a Christian pregnancy-counseling organization that regards the distribution of contraceptives as "demeaning to women." (link)
2) According to the president, the lesson of Viet Nam was "We'll succeed unless we quit."
3) The Guardian reports that President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make `a last big push' to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration's internal deliberations.
A "last push" to "win?" Win what in this grotesque lost cause--and at what cost? This is the most base form of criminality at work here, sacrificing lives for nothing but a vainglorious attempt to subvert the already-written verdict of history.
I am reminded of two quotes concerning the horrific Civil War engagement at Cold Harbor:
Confederate Gen. Evander Law said, "it was not war; it was murder," and Union Capt. T.E. Barker said that he would "not take my regiment in another such charge if Jesus Christ himself should order it!"
Murder? Yes, and I don't see Jesus issuing any orders.