Thursday, December 29, 2005

Personal Responsibility

It's amazing what mental gymnastics conservatives will put themselves through when it comes to responsibility. Supposedly, personal responsibility is a touchstone of modern conservatism; the individual is supposed to be responsible for everything from their diet to their medical decisions regardless of their preparedness to do so.

I have a very good friend who is a conservative and who loves to get into political discussions. While he is definitely conservative in his views - having come from a very rich family - he also loves to play devils advocate so his actual views on many subjects we discuss can only be discovered after stripping away the "argument for argument's sake."

One of the things I've discovered about conservative ideas of responsibility is that it does not extend into the future further than their own lives. Some examples of this that we discussed last night over several beers (for him) and glasses of wine (for me) included the responsibility of people to think about how many children they have and the impact they will have on future rates of consumption and on the question of pollution/global warming. In both cases my friend claimed that there was no responsibility to consider the future because of effects on the individual or society (most especially vis-a-vis the economy in the case of pollution reduction) in the here-and-now.

I'm not sure how such a limited scope of personal responsibility has become so ingrained in conservatism - indeed in many people's thoughts regardless of political affiliation. My best guess is that our brains have not had a chance to catch up with how much longer we are able to live and with the span of time we can now effect with our actions. One need only consider the near sense of neglect over radioactive wastes from weapons programs and nuclear power generation. The time frames over which these wastes are toxic are longer than the entire span of human history; a span which our primate brains are incapable of comprehending. Most people are barely able to think about planning for their own retirement, much less thinking about how their actions will affect their own grandchildren whom they claim to love.

Conservatives seem most incapable of overcoming this cognitive limitation or at least the most reluctant to do so. Responsibility does not end with our own life and our legacy is too important to ignore for short-term gain, We do so at our own - and our childrens' - peril.


That wonderful, lazy time between Christmas and New Years...

I saved enough vacation days to be able to relax from last Friday, through to January 3rd of the New Year. Eleven days off in a row!

There are a couple of posts bouncing around in my head that I want to write and I hope to get around to them soon. But in the meantime, I'm relaxing, enjoying time with my wife, sleeping in, catching up on my reading.

In that vein, let me make a book recommendation. Check out The Time Traveler's Wife, by first-time novelist Audrey Niffenegger. It's very different; it's very good.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

What Matters

It's Christmas Eve in our house; we've just spent the morning baking some cookies and a wonderful coffee cake for tomorrow morning. The house has been decorated since the weekend after Thanksgiving and there are presents under the tree. Inside our little world, all looks warm and comforting.

But looks can be deceiving...

Outside, things are not as they should be; there are too many soldiers stuck in a mess not of their own making, dying too often leaving families to mourn instead of celebrate the season. Conservatives are playing Grinch with our freedoms and the National Treasure. Christofascists are scheming how to spread their style of Taliban--ism throughout our land and how to keep the next generation ignorant enough to believe their own special brand of religion fueled hatred.

We all have so much to be grateful for in this magical season, the above paragraph not withstanding. And I hope that everyone who stops by here can experience as much of the magic and love of this wonderful season; regardless of which holiday it is that you celebrate at this traditional time of celebration from times well hidden in the mists of history. Find the time to spend with family or friends; take a little time to find some peace in the world and in your heart.

Take the time away from work and the usual troubles of the world to relax and recharge because we cannot let the New Year be the same as the old year. We'll need all our strength, physical and mental to make our world a better world.

Which, after all, is the real meaning of this season and of our lives.

So: Merry Christmas, Happy Hannuka, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Mithras, Happy Festivus, Merry Fitzmas, Merry Winter Festival...

Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Why Bush Picked Alito - And Why He Must Not be Confirmed

Besides playing to the christo-fascists who would like to return us all to the thirteenth century, seems there was another reason Bush wanted Sammy Alito on the bench.

Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito defended the right of government officials to order domestic wiretaps when he worked for the Reagan Justice Department, documents released Friday show.
He fits right in with the rest of BushCo. who never met a civil right they didn't want to violate. We know that Bush had allowed both the NSA and the Pentagon to spy on US citizens without judicial oversight when he selected Alito. Looks like he was looking for someone who would be willing to vote the "right way" should this illegal activity ever make it before the court.

Or it was just dumb luck.

Emphasis on dumb.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Just so you know:

The Constitution, Article II, Section 4:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

The Constitution, Article I, Section 3:
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachments shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust, or Profit under the United States, but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment, and Punishmnet, according to Law.


Glad to see that our glorious VP, Big Dick, was able to cut short his trip abroad and to visit the troops - all on the taxpayers' dime - to cast the deciding vote to screw over those same taxpayers.

Well, to screw over the poorest of tax payers. The rich ones, not so much.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Falling Apart at the Seams

It was, finally, perhaps, a reach too far. Bush's secret order to spy on Americans without judicial oversight is starting to have serious repercussions.

A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.
And Republicans are starting to join with Democrats to call for hearings into the secret spy program.Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe have joined with Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin and Ron Wyden to call for an investigation by both the Senate's Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

Remember, this was absolutely illegal. And Bush admitted that he did it purposely.

Impeachment. Now.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bush Denies Being a Dictator

In his press conference yesterday, the President of our United States actually had to deny being a dictator. How low this moronic, incurious, coke-addled idiot has brought our country...

I can't even write a decent post about Bush's last act of ignominious Constitution destruction (see my last couple of attempts, below). But the boys over at AmericaBlog sure can. Keep up with it all. Go over to AmericaBlog; start at the top and read your way down.

Then do something about it. You'll know what to do.

Beat the drums for impeachment.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Can We Talk About Impeachment Now?

“Where does he [Bush] find in the Constitution the authority to tap the wires and the phones of American citizens without any court oversight?” asked Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Bush’s interpretation of the Constitution was “incorrect and dangerous.”
As I said on Sunday, this is NOT some over-zealous overreach of authority. This wiretapping, without judicial oversight, is de facto, de jure ILLEGAL. However much you want to spin the illegality of the way in which BushCo. lied their way into the Iraq war, there is no spinning this, despite his best efforts, as something within the president's constitutional powers. And no amount of whining about leaks damaging the "everlasting-extra-double-top-secret war on terror, Amen &trade" can change the facts.

Defining Victory Downward

Thanks to Bush's speech last night, we now know what victory looks like in Iraq.

Claims of U.S. torture in secret Afghan prison

24 ex-Saddam aides freed

...more than 2,150 U.S. soldiers have died...

Iraq Officials Struggle to Contain Tension

Bomb explodes near Iraq children's hospital

17 killed in Iraq clashes

...and the bad news isn’t over.
Amazing, isn't it? Bush can somehow manage to see the pony through all that horseshit.

Here's the next Democratic talking point and it should be hammered on at every opportunity: Bush has admitted making mistakes and getting bad intelligence prior to starting his neocon wet-dream war. So how do you ask someone to be the last one to die for a mistake?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

"He is a President, Not a King"

Russ Feingold really rips into Bush for his wiretap authorizations. As so many in the blogosphere have said, this is a crime - not just an ovverreach of authority.

This was a brave thing to say in the face of certain knee-jerk chickenhawk retaliatory attacks, and Feingold deserves some serious respect for his spine. The next question is who will be the first brave soul to publicly say the "I" word?

Who will call for Bush's impeachment?

Friday, December 16, 2005

What Liberal Media?*

The next time some conservative complains about the "liberal media," you can just show them this from Raw Story:

On the second page of a report which reveals the White House engaged in warantless domestic spying, the New York Times reveals that it held the story for a full year at the request of the Bush Administration...
Then you can tell them to STFU.

*Title from Eric Alterman's book.

Bush Caught Wiping His Ass With Constitution

He might as well have been. There was a story earlier this week about the Department of Defense spying on US citizens, now this:

The National Security Agency has eavesdropped, without warrants, on as many 500 people inside the United States at any given time since 2002, The New York Times reported Friday.
Unlike the DoD where soldiers typically don't question orders and where Rummy has ruled with an iron fist and fired or demoted (or sent to Iraq?) those who've disagreed with him and his directives, there are lots of career civil servants in the NSA. These guys not only have read the Constitution, but they know what it means. Consider this:

But some NSA officials were so concerned about the legality of the program that they refused to participate, the Times said.
But like those pesky scientists who recommended that Plan B be approved for over the counter sales and those who expressed alarm over global warming effects, these experts were ignored by BushCo. too.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Israel Bashing Bush?

Pretty harsh words:

The Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mark Regev, said:"The combination of fanatical ideology, a warped sense of reality and nuclear weapons is a combination that no one in the international community can accept."
Oh, wait... he was talking about Iran.



Wednesday, December 14, 2005

War on Christmas?


Quantum Sociology

"Human behavior is quantum rather than Newtonian."

I said that in the comments to the post below on the death penalty. In quantum physics, the Uncertainty Principle says that you cannot know to any random level of certainty both the position and the velocity of a particle. It's my assertion that most human events, murders included are "quantum" events; you cannot know everything about an event - about a murder. There are too many variables, too many uncertainties. Eye witness testimony has been proven to be untrustworthy in many instances; memories of events witnessed can be shaped and influenced by subsequent events and discussions and the way questions are posed.

In recent years, as technology has improved, evidence that once could not be gathered, much less evaluated has been used to exonerate people who've spent decades on death row. Some states have tried to limit either the number of appeals a deathrow inmate can mount, some have even tried to limit new evidence or the technology that can be brought to bear on evidence from older crimes. But as it always has, knowledge always grows over time.

Given the inability to have "perfect knowledge" about human events; given that inmates who've nearly exhausted their appeals have been exonerated by new or newly knowable evidence not available when they were convicted, how can society impose the ultimate sentence on a fellow, sentient human being; one for which there is no post facto remedy?

I'm tempted to stop there, but there remains a question or set of questions, posed admirably by my sister in the comments to the post below. What about serial killers or rapists? What about those who've confessed or for whom there is ample evidence that they actually committed the crime? What about those for whom recidivism is nearly a given? Don't those criminals cry out for the death penalty?

In that case, I believe we have to "appeal to our better angels." I have always been taught, I've always heard politicians say that the purpose of our justice system is - in the main - to rehabilitate offenders so that they can rejoin society. In fact, most modern, so-called "first world" countries' justice systems are based precisely on that proposition. They claim to have moved beyond the vengeance style of justice epitomized by "an eye for an eye."

Those who cannot be rehabilitated can surely be given life without parole. And there is ample proof - to dispel the first objection you'll hear to that sentence - that it's orders of magnitude less expensive to house an criminal for life than to run through the various mandatory and optional appeals processes that can mean decades of legal costs - always picked up by the tax payers - in addition to the day-to-day housing costs. And who would be the first to say that someone should be killed because it's too expensive to keep them alive?

So to those who would say that we should regularly put to death prisoners I would give you two questions to ask yourself - and to answer with full truthfulness to yourself:

1. Is it really possible to have full and complete knowledge of any human event that is as physically and emotionally complex as a murder?

2. What is the purpose of our justice system: rehabilitation or vengeance?
I think the answers to those questions should inform your opinion of the death penalty in a supposedly civilized society. Let me know your thoughts in the comments - oh, and read those in the post below, too... they are a great place to start.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Pentagon Spying On You and Me?

If, as it appears to be, this is true, it's disgusting. It's also not surprising, given the current misadministration's penchant for all things secret. And uncontstitutional.

The civil rights being breached by this are exactly those for which I served so long to protect and defend. Which gives me more than the right to say the following to any of you DoD spooks snooping around here: Fuck you.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I wanted to post my thoughts on the death penalty in a supposedly civilized society, prompted by the media frenzy over tomorrow's execution of "Tookie" Williams. So I went to MSNBC's site to gather a little information. What I found there made my post mostly moot.

I thought I might write a bit about whether our legal system is supposed to rehabilitate prisoners or extract societal vengeance on them. But seeing Bush claiming that we don't do torture next to the headline about Williams' final appeals being denied was a bit too ironic.

Where the Troops Should Be

Iraq was never a place our military should have been sent. Besides the complete lack of compelling, legal casus belli, many of us predicted the mess they'd be bogged down in before the first boots hit the ground. But that doesn't mean there aren't places in the world our soldiers could do much good. Take Darfur, for instance.

One hundred thousand American troops, deployed with a similar number of UN Peacekeepers, could make a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of displaced people being terrorized by rebels and their own government. They could ensure the safety of the refugees, hunt down the militias, ensure that food is delivered where it is most needed and put an end to the genocide that's been the shame of all civilized nations for nearly a decade.

But the Sudanese caught in the crossfire are not sitting on reserves of oil; there is no semi-professional army that BushCo. can claim - while standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier - to have defeated in a couple of days. Instead of fueling a growing Islamic backlash against the West, our soldiers could be saving lives in a part of the world that has given up on hope or help.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

White Flag

Republicans can take their white flag and shove it up their collective asses.

The American people don't want to surrender - or cut and run, as their spin meisters have branded it - they want answers. They want a plan. And that plan had better include a timetable. And barring a plan, Americans want our soldiers out of Iraq.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Lies Built on Lies Built on Torture

It is generally agreed - outside of the current administration and their chickenhawk supporters - that torture does not yield "actionable" information. Depending on the character and mental and physical strength of the victim, you get either nothing or you get anything that will make the pain stop. Scientifically this fact is unassailable; but like peak oil, global warming and evolution, that doesn't stop BushCo. from calling it all bullshit and doing whatever it wants anyway.

So it was with little surprise to me that I read this in today's New York Times:

The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.

The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.
That these two practices, torture and rendition have become arcane legal and political discussions and the subject of "negotiation" in our Congress will be, in the long view of history, one of the most horrible tangents American actions have ever taken. Not only will it greatly increase the danger to our soldiers everywhere in the world, but it does perhaps irreparable damage to our national psyche.

Can we ever again hold our heads quite so high in the world again? The United States has become like the high school honor student and football captain who has been revealed to be pimping the cheerleading squad to his teammates to pay for his crack habit.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Can You Say "Fiscal Discipline"?

Not if you're a House Republican, you can't. Not that we've come to expect anything but spiraling deficits under the current leadership, but this seems especially egregious.

The House passed three separate tax cuts yesterday and plans to approve a fourth today, trimming the federal revenue by $94.5 billion over five years -- nearly double the budget savings that Republicans muscled through the House last month.
Of course if you ask a Republican about the effects of their raping and pillaging of the budget, well, you'll get a whole different picture. They must be getting economic reports from the same analysts that are telling Bush how well we're doing in Iraq.

"Our economic policies have done the trick," said Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio). "We are in the middle of one of the strongest economies this country has ever seen."
But don't mind me, I belong to the hated "reality based" community.

Support the Air Marshals

I come from a family that is full of police officers; I nearly became one myself. So I have an appreciation for the split second decisions and their sometimes awful consequences made by law enforcement personnel. The air marshals on that Miami flight yesterday likely had very little time to make a decision and react to what they perceived as a serious threat by Rigoberto Alpizar.

However, not enough information has been made public yet for us to decide whether or not the shooting was justified. That is why every time a law enforcement officer discharges their weapon, there is an investigation and the officer is placed on administrative leave or put on desk duty. A reasonable person waits to hear the facts before forming an opinion.

What was most disturbing to me, watching CNN not long after the incident, was the knee-jerk reaction of Representative John Mica (R. FL), chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee. When Wolf Blitzer asked him about reports that Alpizar's wife had run after him screaming that he was sick and off his meds, Mica said (and this is all from memory, CNN doesn't have this interview up on its website), "I don't care about any of that!" And immediately launched into a "Support the Air Marshals" speech.

Without any evidence on which to base his remarks, Mica stated that he unequivocally supported what the air marshals did and didn't want to hear anything about how Alpizar might be sick. The talking points came out - obviously he was well prepared and briefed - about how many passengers had flown since 9/11 (can any Republican speak about any incident without dragging that memory out into the open?) and how this was the only deadly incident since then. He was completely unconcerned about the life or problems of a citizen of his state; this guy was shot by law enforcement, therefore he was guilty, therefore it didn't matter that he was dead.

End of story.

I have been wondering lately if it is only the Iraq war that brings out this knee-jerk reaction in the Right. Obviously not. Welcome to the brave, new, Republican world; where the cops are always right and you are always a suspect.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Moderate and true conservative Republicans have turned a blind eye to the christo-fascists in their midst. Their timidity in the face of the haters among them has damaged our country and its political discourse for decades to come. Democrats, who should be the opposition party have been mostly timid in criticizing Republican policies and their disastrous results.

Even on the Iraq war, where 60% of the public believes BushCo. is doing a horrible job, Democrats can't agree on a set of counter-policies; hell they can't even agree on how to disagree with the Chickenhawks.

Strong antiwar comments in recent days by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have opened anew a party rift over Iraq, with some lawmakers warning that the leaders' rhetorical blasts could harm efforts to win control of Congress next year.

Several Democrats joined President Bush yesterday in rebuking Dean's declaration to a San Antonio radio station Monday that "the idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong."
This was not even our Republican in Democrats clothing Joe Lieberman, but Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.). And although not mentioned in this particular article, Hillary Clinton has fallen squarely into the timid camp. At a time that calls for strong leaders willing to make strong and principled stands on the critical issues surrounding our actions in the world, we get the triangulators of the Democratic leadership.

They would all do well to remember these words:

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.

Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I Miss the Cold War

Having spent ten years training for the day when Soviet tanks rolled through the Fulda Gap in Germany, it was quite a shock to me when the Berlin Wall fell and suddenly the central plains of Europe were just another place on a map. I remember the infectious joy on the faces of the young East and West German men and women atop the remnants of the wall. I remember how strange and wonderful it was to see people walking freely across the former checkpoints across what had been the iron curtain.

I never thought I'd want to go back to the bad old days of the Cold War.

And yet, stories like those flying about the media about clandestine prisons in countries that used to be behind the iron curtain, run by our very own CIA have made me long for the days when the US could condemn such prisons run by the Soviets - and do so without irony. The mouth-breathers on the right can scoff all they want when those of us with even a rudimentary knowledge of history sadly call that prison system the American Gulag; the term is more apt than they can ever admit.

That old saw about repeating history has rarely had such resonance. The Bush administration has already expressed its disdain for the "reality based community," and they have embraced and - in a sense - enforced ignorance as a virtue and so the lessons of the past are thrown out with the lessons of biology and evolution and physics. And so while history never so much repeats as it does rhyme, we have echoes of the Soviet gulag system spread out across Eastern Europe in the same states which celebrated the fall of the USSR.

The buildings are the same, grey and institutional, anonymous on the outside. Many of the techniques used to obtain "information" are the same. Much of the results are the same; forced confessions to crimes that may or may not have ever happened, poor intelligence and a growing group of people around the world who will hate us for seven generations. Even the denials of their existence are as transparent as anything utterd by the aparatchiks of the KGB.

The only difference is that the people running the prisons speak American accented English instead of Muscovite Russian.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Rumsfeld Run Out of Town?

Raw Story has an article up stating that John Kerry has asked Bush to fire Rummy. And Political Wire is reporting rumors that Joe Lieberman (D, or is that R?) could be tapped as his replacement.

WTF is going on?

The Blog is More Powerful Than the Sword?

Perhaps the old saying will never be changed, but journalist and journalism professor Bill Thompson believes that my not be far from the truth. His journalism students are required to create and maintain blogs as part of their course work.

They don't have to write personal journals or reveal anything about their private lives: they've been asked to blog interesting stories in the area of online journalism and new media, which may be a bit self-referential but is at least relevant to the course.

So it's more like John Naughton's Memex 1.1 than Belle de Jour's confessions.

The idea is to give them a better understanding of how the technology works, and show them just how easy it is to publish online even if you have no idea how the web works or what HTML is.
But it's not just about Thompson's curriculum, he truly believes that blogs are having a real effect on journalism.

But the real point of getting a journalist blogging at this early stage in his or her career is that the bloggers, in all their variety, with all their different skills and abilities and interests and biases, are reshaping the world in which professional journalists operate just as much as the telephone shook up the profession in the first half of the 20th Century.
While bloggers have been saying for quite a while that we are having an effect on real-life journalism, there haven't been too many instances where folks on the "other side" have admitted as much. I have my doubts about whether a small blog like mine has any effect - except for days like Friday when I was mentioned in the Dauo Report on, my readership is so small that it's unlikely to ever be read by a real reporter. But with more and more of the big blogs being mentioned in the "real media," it's hard to deny that there is some synergy. And of course there are those who've made the transition from blogging on their own to working for the media, essentially getting a pay check for doing what they had done for free.

The real test in the near future will be for those larger bloggers - those still independent from the media-corporate conglomerates - to maintain their independence and their own voices even as they become more important in the wider world of journalism. And incrementally I would imagine that a whole new model of journalism will develop, one that combines old-style reporting with the connectedness and interactivity of blogging.

In the meantime, it's nice to see academia take us seriously.

FBI Back on the Case

I wonder what could have prompted the FBI to take another look at the case of the forged documents from Niger?

The FBI has reopened an inquiry into one of the most intriguing aspects of the pre-Iraq war intelligence fiasco: how the Bush administration came to rely on forged documents linking Iraq to nuclear weapons materials as part of its justification for the invasion.

The documents inspired intense U.S. interest in the buildup to the war — and they led the CIA to send a former ambassador to the African nation of Niger to investigate whether Iraq had sought the materials there. The ambassador, Joseph C. Wilson IV, found little evidence to support such a claim, and the documents were later deemed to have been forged.
Seems I remember a lot of blogs, especially Talking Points Memo and AmericaBlog really pushing that point; that nobody had stopped Martino during several visits to the US even though his name kept turning up everywhere connected to this case.

This article doesn't credit the blogosphere:

Those findings concerned some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee after published reports that the FBI had not interviewed a former Italian spy named Rocco Martino, who was identified as the original source of the documents. The committee had requested the initial investigation.
But whatever the reason, reopening this case is an important move.

Friday, December 02, 2005

One More...

Fuck Bush.

Here's how your new Victory Strategery is working, you asshat:

Ten marines were killed in a roadside bombing, the military said today, and 11 other marines were wounded outside the city of Falluja in one of the deadliest attacks on Americans since August.

The military said the marines, from Regimental Combat Team 8 of the Second Marine Division, were conducting a foot patrol outside of Falluja on Thursday when they were attacked with a bomb "fashioned from several large artillery shells."
There's ten more young soldiers who won't get to at least call their loved ones on Christmas day, or to wish their families a happy Hannuka. There are ten more families who will begin their holiday seasons with the dreaded knock on the door by a couple of Marine Corps officers with their hats tucked under their arms and that awful, serious look on their faces. There's eleven other families who, instead of preparing for the holidays will be trying to figure out how to afford a trip to Germany where most wounded soldiers wind up in the hospital.

You spoke of sacrifice; and the fates know that our soldiers and their families are making sacrifices - many the ultimate sacrifice. But when does the rest of the country make a commensurate sacrifice? When do you - and your goddamned family - start to make sacrifices? Where are Jenna and Barbara; why aren't they standing, first in line, at the recruiter's office?

You've driven our military and our country to the brink of absolute breakdown based on nothing but lies and deceit and spin. You're killing our young soldiers, bankrupting the very safety nets that will help their maimed and scarred compatriots when they return home and all you can come up with is "Stay the Course, V2.3."

If, as you say you fervently believe, there is a god, I hope he has created a whole new circle of hell for you and the rest of your maladminstration. And I hope that you rot there.

And While I'm At It...

Fuck Alan Greenspan.

A little late to the party, you rich, overbearing little fucking troll. You couldn't work up any concerns over the Rethug's tax cuts - which caused the deficits, but you sure hate to see those poor folks getting their Social Security and Medicare.

Depends on Your Definition of "Victory"

More on Bush's New Strategery for Iraq Victory.

There's an interesting contrast of headlines in the median this morning about what's going on in Ramadi. From The Australian we get:

Masked gunmen capture Iraqi city

December 03, 2005
BAGHDAD: Just one day after Washington unveiled its strategy for victory in Iraq, rebellion has again flared in the restive city of Ramadi, with hundreds of gunmen attacking a US military base and briefly seizing control of the town centre.
While at Forbes we get this:

New US-Iraqi operation launched in Ramadi
12.02.2005, 05:51 AM

BAGHDAD (AFX) - US and Iraqi forces in Iraq launched a new operation in Ramadi, the day after militants staged a symbolic attack on the town, as a new report suggested the insurgency could get stronger.
So, which is it? Did US troops start a new operation or did the insurgents enemies of a free Iraq actually capture a city that has been wracked by violence since the invasion? It can't be both...

From an offshore paper we get news of a violent takeover of an Iraqi city. From our own press we get that our boys are on the offensive. BushCo. wouldn't be trying to pull some sort of psyops here in the good ol' US of A, would they? They'd never resort to placing stories in the press to make themselves look good would they?

Iraq STILL Nothing Like Vietnam

Although most historians already accepted that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was at best a "misunderstanding" and at worst "manufactured," the NSA now confirms that the intelligence to support the escalation of the war was skewed.

Newly-released US documents suggest the US escalated the war in Vietnam based on skewed intelligence.

The documents cast doubt on the existence of an attack on a US warship by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin on 4 August 1964.
But please, please, don't compare our misadventures in Southeast Asia with our current travails in Southwest Asia. Sand vs. jungle. Sunni and Shia and Kurds vs. Vietnamese and Cambodians and Laotians. They're really nothing at all alike.


Man the Torpedoes!

John at AmericaBlog thinks that our friends on the right might be preparing to unleash the Swift Boaters again. It may not be exactly the same gang of thugs and they probably won't go by the same market-tested name, but the tactics are likely to be the same and the target will be very similar: Jack Murtha.

Here's a quote John found from our dear friend Ann Coulter (for whom, John claims, there is no direct medical evidence that she doesn't have a penis):

And unlike Murtha, who refuses to release his medical records showing he was entitled to his two Purple Hearts, we know what North did. (These Democrat military veterans are hardly shrinking violets when it comes to citing their medals, but they get awfully squeamish when pressed for details.)
This time, though, we can be ready. Pass the word around. Gather your best material on the worst offenders and prepare to unleash a salvo of blog-torpedoes that will sink their sorry asses before they can even get started. No more of the baseless bullshit they got away with in 2004 with Kerry. No more of the crap they pulled on Max Cleland.

Or as John writes:

There's reason to believe the McCarthyite Wing of the Republican party may kick off a larger campaign in a few days to Swift Boat Murtha. If that happens, I think we need to go nuclear in response. Teach the Coulters and all the rest that the real world of politics is a lot more brutal than a glass of Slim-Fast. If they want to play dirty, then someone needs to slam them down, hard enough, so that it never happens again.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bush Lied - Again

And gets called on it on Anderson Cooper's show.

In his speech (on the new Iraq strategery), Bush had said that Iraqi troops “primarily led” the assault on the city of Tal Afar. However, there was an on-the-ground, embedded reporter on the scene. In other words, a non-military eye-witness not bound by the strictures of the UCMJ.

TIME Magazine reporter Michael Ware, who is embedded with the U.S. troops in Iraq who participated in the Tal Afar battle, appeared on Anderson Cooper yesterday. He said Bush’s description was completely untrue:

I was in that battle from the very beginning to the very end. I was with Iraqi units right there on the front line as they were battling with al Qaeda. They were not leading. They were being led by the U.S. green beret special forces with them.

And yet... our friends in the MSM seem to be completely ignoring this story of the President telling an outright lie to the American people during what was billed as a major speech on the Iraq war. Even though the revelation was made on one of their own shows!

Maybe they just think that telling lies about a war built on lies is no big deal.

Via The Raw Story and Think Progress.

F*** Judith Miller

She screwed up her reporting on WMD prior to the war and helped to sell the nation down the Tigris, so to speak. After spending what turns out to be way too little time in jail, she can't even manage to apologize in a way that shows she's truly sorry for the irreparable damage she's caused our country.

She said: "I am obviously deeply chagrined that I ever write anything that turns out to be incorrect. I'm deeply sorry that the stories were wrong."


Although Ms Miller apologised for the intelligence being incorrect she defended her journalism saying she was right to publish and had done everything she could to verify the facts. She said: "I'm deeply sorry our intelligence community got it wrong.

"I am deeply sorry that the President was given a national intelligence estimate which concluded that Saddam Hussein had biological and chemical weapons and a active weapons programme."
That's some apology. She's sorry the spooks got it wrong; even her apologies aren't factually correct.

Can anyone tell me why she was ever employed by the "Paper of Record" in the first place?

And, as with so much good reporting lately, can anyone tell me why we learn so much about our own country from the foreign press?

Is the New Iraq Strategery (Same as the Old Iraq Strategery) Working Yet?

Not so much.

Insurgents attacked several U.S. bases and government offices with mortars and rockets Thursday before dispersing in the capital of western Iraq’s Anbar province, residents said.
Yep, the Iraqi police and Army are more and more ready to assume their duties as protectors against insurgents enemies of a free Iraq. The process of Vietnamization Iraqification is going really well.

When is Bush's next speech before a captive audience?