Saturday, September 09, 2006
I have not yet come to my conspiracy theory conclusion. There are many unanswered questions--why weren't fighters scrambled? (they were when Payne Stewart's plane became the deep freeze?) Why are there no pictures of a plane about to hit THE PENTAGON--one of the most secure buildings on the planet? And, excuse me for asking--where are the planes?
But when I return to rationality, I recall that this is the most incompetent bunch of bungling boobs to ever take up residence on that end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Everything they have touched has turned to crap, disaster after disaster. There is no way these ham-handed buffoons could have pulled this off--right? Right?
A typical comment will be one like Chuck Schumer's of last week: "There are growing doubts about how competently he's conducted the war." (How do you competently invade the wrong country?)Good point, Matt.
Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman’s recent assertion is that comparisons between Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein are basically foolish. I disagree. There are many parallels between the two.
Rewind to the 1930s. Hitler’s Third Reich was already well positioned for "success." Back here in the States, the position of the U.S. people was exactly the way it was against Hussein three years ago. In a nutshell, we felt, "Yes, he’s a crazy, brutal dictator who brutalizes innocent people, but he’s halfway around the world and he’s not our problem."
Sound familiar? Meanwhile, while going ignored by the superpower U.S. and forging very strong alliances with nations with powerful armies, he slowly but surely started to absorb France, Austria, Poland, etc. By the time the U.S. got involved, we had a real mess on our hands that cost tens of thousands of U.S. lives.
Fast forward to the ’80s and ’90s and we see Hussein attacking countries that border Iraq. No he wasn’t as successful initially as Hitler at growing his empire, but with the war on terror growing, so were his supporters. Even the man in charge of Iraq’s weapons program noted it was only a matter of time before a large arsenal of globally dangerous weapons would have been created. Chapman shouldn’t be so shortsighted as to assume that there aren’t any valid comparisons between Hussein and Hitler. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
Mr. McCabe's ignorance of history is appalling.
There is no comparison between pre-World War II and the runup to this disaster in Iraq.
Germany was an industrial power that was arming at a time when much of the rest of the world was both retreating from militarization after the horrors of World War I and crippled by depression. Iraq had fought Iran with our full encouragement and in response to the Iranian regime's support of Iraqi Shi'a uprisings, and invaded Kuwait again with our misguided blessing. While by no means justified, Iraq's action against Kuwait was understandable--Kuwait was pulling from Iraqi oil fields and was overproducing, driving crude prices down at a time when Iraq needed oil revenues to recover from the costs of the Iran war.
At the end of the 1st gulf war, and then through sanctions, Iraq's military was gutted and its economy in shambles. The U.S. and Britain flew daily missions over much of the country, with extensive satellite surveillance. On the eve of World War II, Germany was a fully industrialized, armed and expansionistic state. Iraq was crippled and ruled by a tinhorn dictator who, no matter how oppressive to his people, posed no threat to the United States.
That was what those of us who opposed war knew then--the fact that he was "halfway around the world" played no part. Mr. McCabe, those who misunderstand history are condemned to screw it up completely.
Key scenes draw flak as false or misleading
More than 25,000 people have written to ABC to complain about "The Path to 9/11," penned by Cyrus Nowrasteh, whom Rush Limbaugh calls a friend. On Thursday, Bill Clinton's office called for ABC to "fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely."
James Bamford, an author who writes about national security agencies, told MSNBC an FBI agent hired as an adviser on "Path" quit halfway through production "because he thought they were making things up."
ABC's defense: "The movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, and time compression. No one has seen the final version of the film because the editing process is not yet complete, so criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible."
Most of the furor concerns a few key scenes.
Scene: The CIA and Northern Alliance come within killing distance of Osama bin Laden, but former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger is portrayed saying they don't have the presidential authority to kill. ABC reportedly has toned down this scene in recent days.
Reaction: None of that happened, according to the film's senior adviser, Thomas Kean, a Republican who chaired the 9/11 Commission. He admits the scene is a "composite," as are some agents in the film.
"It's utterly invented," President Bush's former terrorism czar Richard Clarke said this week.
"No such episode ever occurred -- nor did anything like it," Berger wrote to ABC. "In no instance did President Clinton or I ever fail to support a request from the CIA or U.S. military to authorize an operation against bin Laden or al-Qaida."
Scene: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other Bush officials are shown taking no action at pivotal moments when terrorists may have been stopped.
Reaction: Bush officials have not complained to ABC.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Proposition That The United States Withdraw Military Personnel And Bases From Iraq
In order to halt the continuing loss of human life and resources necessary to meet human needs at home, shall the United States commence a[n] humane, orderly, rapid and comprehensive withdrawal of United States military personnel and bases from Iraq?
Proposition To Request The House Of Representatives To Impeach George W. Bush
Shall our representative to the U.S. House of Representatives be asked to support the impeachment of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney from office for misleading our nation to war with Iraq, for permitting the illegal use of torture, and for conducting domestic spying on U.S. citizens in violation of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act?
Dear Senator Mitchell:
It is highly unlikely that there has been a more poignant event in recent American memory than the events which took place on September 11, 2001. Undoubtedly, it is safe to say that for those who were alive and aware of the events on that day, everyone will be able to remember where they were when it happened and the numbing feeling that surrounded the whole event. The outpouring of emotion and sympathy on the global stage was unprecedented
While things that happen day-to-day may be caught up in winds of partisanship, what must be kept cold and objective is history and the lens through which we view it. To distort history is to do a disservice to those who remember the past and those who teach it in the present. How can we expect to teach future generations about the past if the lessons they are presented are distorted and inaccurate? Worse, after sufficient time passes and such fallacies are propagated, who will remain to refute them? Furthermore, who will even care for their refutation as we move further away?
The Walt Disney Company, through its ABC subsidiary, is scheduled to air the two-part series “The Path to 9/11” this weekend as we approach the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001. Anniversaries are certainly causes for remembrances, but those of milestone nature (first, and, I would give you, subsequent ones which occur in the future on multiples of the fifth or tenth occasion) have a greater buzz and interest.
It has been made clear through the media that this project is fraught with historical inaccuracies and appears to have been challenged as such from the start.
- While allegedly having been based on the 9/11 Commission’s report, it appears that the writer, who has a long and distinguished history in conservative circles, manipulated elements to paint the previous administration in a poor and false light and promote a view of the current events in Iraq that is not in step with the truth.
- It has been reported that an FBI consultant quit midway through the filming because of the deviation that the project was taking from the true historical account.
- The project has gone from being a “documentary” to a “docudrama” to one in which ABC management has acknowledged that production liberties were taken.
- The selective releasing of advanced copies for screening and review to only those outlets who eschew a negative view of President Clinton’s administration and, quite frankly, the more liberal elements of the population, have added fuel to the fire.
- Disclaimers aside, it is very difficult to produce a ‘historical account’ when fiction is applied.
Senator Mitchell, mine is likely not the only voice which has been raised in protest. With a little over forty-eight hours until the program is to begin, it is unlikely that the necessary wholesale changes which must be made to this production to bring it in line with the 9/11 Commission’s Report can be made. Yes, it causes a tremendous gap in your programming in two, key primetime slots during day being billed as momentous in its remembrance by anyone with a microphone or camera.
But isn’t insuring that it is done right more important than putting forth something that could damage the reputations of a host of household brands? ABC News lost one the greatest and most respected broadcasters of our time, Peter Jennings, not very long along. Bob Woodruff was critically injured visiting a war in a country that never should have taken place. What kind of news event would it be when someone reported about the deliberate misrepresentation of such a key part of our nation’s history?
Please do the right thing. Please make this go away.
Rumors are that they're also starting up services where your former romantic partners will call you and remind you why they dumped you, former employers will show up at your house and fire you again, and funeral directors will disinter the remains of loved ones and plop them on your couch.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
"The Path to 9/11 is a dramatization, not a documentary, drawn from a variety of sources, including the 9/11 commission report, other published materials and from personal interviews. The events that lead to 9/11 originally sparked great debate, so it's not surprising that a movie surrounding those events has revived the debate. The attacks were a pivotal moment in our history that should never be forgotten and it's fitting that the discussion continues."Bullshit. Dramatization? Fine. Nobody cared if Titanic got the history wrong in its breathless "dramatization" ("Jack..Rose..Jack..Rose...Jack...Rose"). Nobody really cares if you make crap up for the People Magazine crowd (cut to a blushing Lady Diana Spencer, "whatever will the queen think?")
But damn it, we DO care when your "mock-umentary" fictionalizes real, painful and important events in very recent history for partisan advantage, and attempts to fraudulently re-write history. Or at least I care, and I hope you do too. But then again, America will probably watch--and believe (see below)
The owner of DataUSA Inc., a company that conducted political polls for the campaigns of President Bush, Sen. Joe Lieberman and other candidates, pleaded guilty to fraud for making up survey and poll results.
Tracy Costin pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Costin, 46, faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when she is sentenced Nov. 30.
As part of her plea agreement, Costin agreed to repay $82,732 to the unidentified clients for 11 jobs between June 2002 and May 2004. DataUSA is now known as Viewpoint USA.
According to a federal indictment, Costin told employees to alter poll data, and managers at the company told employees to "talk to cats and dogs" when instructing them to fabricate the surveys......
In this morning's Chicago Tribune, the editorial page pilloried Ryan. The editorial called him a "blustery denier" and pointed out that "[b]ad things happened on his watch. The piece asked "without genuine contrition, is compassion what a criminal deserves?"
Yet, in the same section, in a piece labeled as "analysis," the Tribune's Michael Tackett applauds the president's "air of defiance" and says how his justifications "had an air of authority." He concludes that Bush "showed he still has a sense of the bold."
I am not apologizing for George Ryan--he engaged in graft all too typical of Illinois politics, and the conduct of the Secretary of State's office endangered Illinois drivers. The editorial, however, attributes 9 deaths to George Ryan. The other George can claim tens or hundreds of thousands of dead, while promising, or threatening, to "stay the course."
Who really is the "blustery denier?"
No, no, not THOSE skittles--I mean the old phrase deriving from an English bowling game popular in the pubs. It means that life isn't all laughter and good cheer, such as...below (one day's reporting from Reuters):
BAGHDAD - Two people were killed and eight wounded when a bomb exploded near a funeral tent in Amel area in southwestern Baghdad. People had gathered there to mark the death of a supporter of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, the Interior Ministry said.
BAGHDAD - A car bomb killed eight people and wounded 38 in northern Baghdad's Qahira district, police said. An Interior Ministry source who quoted hospital tallies said six people were killed in the bomb blast and 46 wounded.
BAGHDAD - Police found the bodies of 19 people across Baghdad on Tuesday, an Interior Ministry source said. Some of them had been bound and blindfolded.
BAGHDAD - Iraqi police found a further 15 bodies throughout Baghdad on Wednesday, most were bound, blindfold with some showing signs of torture, police said.
SINJAR - A car bomb killed six members of Iraq's border police and wounded six others in the northern town of Sinjar, close to the Syrian border, police said.
MOSUL - Gunmen killed two people from the Yezidi religious minority in the northern city of Mosul, police said. It was not clear whether they were targeted because of their beliefs.
MAHMUDIYA - Mortars killed two people and wounded six when they landed on a main road in the violent town of Mahmudiya, just south of Baghdad, police said.
Oh wait--it appears that we can't turn over control of the
and the air force:
Progress...hard work...stay the course...
The wife and I have speculated as to the original intent of these memorials, and we have agreed that it was clearly part of a grieving process. We also agree that this original purpose over time has been superseded by the cautionary impact of these memorials. Someone (or in a few cases, two or three people) died here, perhaps because of a drunk driver, perhaps because conditions were bad, perhaps, because of careless or reckless behavior. So, while I doubt I'd ever construct such a memorial myself, I can rationalize a positive effect.
Last week a house fire snuffed out the lives of six children on the far north side of Chicago. Those of us who live here in the area have endured saturation coverage of this horrific event, and as the father of smallish children, I have refocused my attention to details like smoke detector batteries, home escape routes, keeping open flames to a minimum and flammable materials out of their reach. And of course, there is the inevitable memorial at the site of the fire. Tuesday's (9/5) Chicago Tribune featured a large full color photograph (registration required) of the memorial and I was struck immediately by the utter stupidity of at least one human being. There suspended on a wrought iron fence, hovering above the flowers and the potted plants was the single most disgusting and senseless contribution I've seen since Willie "Flukey" Stokes was buried in a Cadillac coffin -- a helium filled Tweety Bird.
Yes, that's right - Tweety Bird.
Now, I've seen teddy bears and other stuffed animals at these sites, and while I find them tacky, I can see them having a future existence in a pediatric hospital unit or perhaps kept by other family members as a reminder of a loved one.
But Tweety Bird?
I showed the photo to the wife and she immediately asked whose birthday was being celebrated. When I showed her the caption, she cringed.
"That's just awful."
We speculated that perhaps it was purchased by a child, and this could be forgiven, as children don't process death as adults do. But then I realized that an adult had to be involved in the process - had to accompany the child to the store to buy Tweety, bring the child to the site, tie Tweety to the fence. It affected me even more viscerally than reading the words of the woman who thought to senselessly rationalize the deaths of a Naperville, IL woman, her two infant sons and her mother because "God had a higher purpose for them in Heaven."
Six young lives lost in an inferno, a family shattered, a mother and father grieving, and the best this supposed adult can do is tie a celebratory cartoon character to wrought iron fence? Please, please, please - whoever you are - go straight to the woodchipper.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Osama bin Laden (via Preznit Chimpy) "death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us."
[note to Preznit Chimpy--bin Laden was referring to FOREIGN TROOPS on ISLAMIC lands, not you in Crawford doing...whatever.]
The Transportation Security Administration has a webpage where they list what sorts of things you can bring on an airplane, what needs to be checked, what can go in a carry-on, etc.
They have a section for Makeup & Personal Items.
Everything in the list is permissible in checked luggage, but there are distinctions for carry-ons. For example, you cannot put mouthwash, toothpaste, Blistex, Neosporin, shampoo, or bottles of saline solution larger than 4 oz in your carry-on bags. You can bring nail clippers, though, which is a relief. Oh, and one more thing.
Personal lubricants (up to 4 oz) can be put in a carry on bag.
So, remember, if you're flying somewhere for that long-distance booty call, you have to check the toothbrush and Blistex, but the KY Jelly can go right in your pocket for easy access.
I feel safer already.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I am so tired of this nonsense. It is historically inaccurate, sociologically offensive and it is INSULTING. Yes, it is insulting to suggest that the nation which stared down the Soviet Union should feel a pervasive fear of kids who here would be hanging around the 7-11 parking lot. It is cowardly and despicable.
I don't want to minimize the real threat of acts of terror--crime is everywhere. But as Doc Magoo said below, I'm not afraid. There are many clashes of ideology to come--free versus fair trade, environmentalism and consumerism, wealth and poverty--but some guys in a basement with some wire and cleaning supplies aren't it.
For two excellent pieces, read this one from Joshua Holland and this one from tompaine.com.
"Here's the short version of everything you need to know about global warming. First, the consensus of the scientific community has shifted from skepticism to near-unanimous acceptance of the evidence of an artificial greenhouse effect. Second, while artificial climate change may have some beneficial effects, the odds are we're not going to like it. Third, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases may turn out to be much more practical and affordable than currently assumed.
This brief will address the three points above and, in an appendix, offer non-jargon explanations of the most important recent findings of greenhouse science. But the pressing point of this briefing is not so much scientific as it is practical—that action against artificial global warming may not prove nearly as expensive or daunting as commonly believed. Greenhouse gases are an air pollution problem, and all air pollution problems of the past have cost significantly less to fix than projected, while declining faster than expected. This gives cause to hope that artificial greenhouse gases can be controlled reasonably cheaply and without wrenching sacrifices to the global economy. And if there is a chance of an economical approach to greenhouse-gas reduction, then what are we waiting for? Let's start now."
"Neither the House office whose site contains the above link, nor the U.S. House of Representatives is responsible for the content of the non-House site you are about to access."
Not sharing their fear makes my life better each and every day.
This is the moment to say that there are things in life worth fighting and dying for and one of them is.............. (drum roll)
"MAKING SURE NANCY PELOSI DOESN'T BECOME THE SPEAKER."
The results of the mid-term elections are worth KILLING and DYING for? Nancy Pelosi inspires sufficient fear for Sean to urge taking up arms? (for others, I'm sure, not him)
Wow. Cue "Battle Hym of the Morons."
Condi said that "I'm sure there are people who thought it was a mistake to fight the Civil War to its end and to insist that the emancipation of slaves would hold." Rice added that "I know there were people who said, 'Why don't we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves?'"
Yes, there were many pacifists who wanted to let the "erring sisters" depart in peace. The vast majority of the inhabitants of the Union states, including one Abraham Lincoln, would have been quite satisfied to " take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves" through mid-1862, if that "peace" included restoration of the union. Emancipation was not a war objective at the outset, Lincoln very clearly stated that his only goal was to preserve and maintain the union. Lincoln, who had strong personal feelings on the matter, seized on emancipation as federal policy as a war measure intended to weaken the southern states in a variety of ways.
This experience is hardly comparable to occupying a sovereign country invaded on pretense while propping up a puppet "government" with no claim to legitimacy or sovereignty. But look on the bright side, at least she mentioned "civil war!"
Monday, September 04, 2006
–noun, plural -ries.
1. a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war; 2. an engagement ending in such triumph; 3) the ultimate and decisive superiority in any battle or contest:
Isn't that a happy word? Success and triumph, how fun! And it works well in rhymes and cheers! Peppy cheerleaders can yell "V-I-C-T-O-R-Y, that's the [insert anthropomorhic team nickname here] battle cry!"
Our second word for tonight is:
1) the act of occupying; 2) the state of being occupied; 3) the seizure and control of an area by military forces, esp. foreign territory; 4) the term of control of a territory by foreign military forces; 5) invasion, conquest and control of a nation or territory by foreign armed forces: 6) the military government exercising control over an occupied nation or territory.
Oooh. boys and girls, that is not a nice word. There is no success, no triumph, and you can't use it in a cheer. So from now on, boys and girls, we'll just forget about that nasty old "occupation" and always use our friend "VICTORY!"
That's our lesson for tonight. Mr. Dictionary Man will be back tomorrow and we will learn all about "fascists," "appeasement" and "freedom." Sleep tight!