Saturday, September 20, 2003

"Do you suffer from winger flatulence?" 

Tom "Don't Call Me French!" DéLay is at it again. Juliet Eilperin of WaPo reports:

[Democrats] have spewed more hateful rhetoric at President Bush than they ever did at Saddam Hussein ... Are they leaders or are they just liberal pundits?

Critics, traitors, winger projection... I'd yawn, but I don't want to breathe in.

Yep, Le Comte de Bugville is a sufferer... No doubt about it...

Science has much to teach today's Republican party 

James Gorman of the Times writes:

Distinctly Big, if Extinct: The 1,500-Pound Rodent
Upper and lower pairs of ever-growing incisors are what make Phoberomys a rodent ... the order Rodentia can now be said to have a greater size range — from less than half an ounce to 1,500 pounds — than that of any order of placental mammals ... one more example of how successful rodents are. Of 4,600 mammal species, 2,600 are rodents. In terms of individuals, there are lots of them. "Wherever there have been rodents," she said, "they have been very abundant."

They're abundant, alright...

From the massive and slow-moving Rodentia Hyde-ius...

To the rotund and incisor-laden Rodentia Gingrichus and its orotund cousin Rodentia Limbaughii...

To the teeny and toothy Rodentia Bushus Fabulosii ...

Isn't Creation wonderful?

Iraqi security: a proving ground for privatization 

What the wingers would like to see here, too, you can be sure. Why not privatize all police functions? Anyhow ....

Where's Krugman? 

So if Krugman's supposed to be published on Tuesday and Friday, then where was he yesterday?

Has the Times (heaven forfend) decided to suppress him?

UPDATE: Several alert readers remind me that The Shrill One has gone on a book tour, and to read his latest in the Times magazine, which is excellent.

The Wecovery 

We're still waiting...

Peter G. Gosselin of the LA Times writes:

Still other optimists assert that although payrolls may be shrinking now, new jobs — millions of them — are just around the corner. But a recent New York Federal Reserve Bank study, the first to try to explain what distinguishes this recovery and its early 1990s cousin from others in the last half-century, puts a serious damper on their predictions.

The study by economists Erica Groshen and Simon Potter concludes that most job losses in the two recent recessions involved permanent elimination of positions, not temporary and easily reversible layoffs. And it says that most of what gains there have been so far this time have involved establishing new jobs in wholly different parts of the economy from where the losses occurred.

"If job growth now depends on the creation of new positions in different firms and industries," Groshen and Potter write, "then we would expect a long lag before employment rebounded."

Translation: Don't expect a jobs boom — and a big new lift for the economy — anytime soon.

Quack, quack...

They even lie about the medals for the war 

From a letter by Dorothy Michael in my own Inky:

President Bush recently honored the Army unit that led the attack on Baghdad, awarding it a well-deserved presidential unit citation for "extraordinary heroism." Formal recognition of military service is so important for the morale of the troops.

I am concerned, though, that there will be no specific campaign medals for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Participants in these campaigns will get a generic "Global War on Terrorism" service/expeditionary medal.

Hmmm... Iraq part of the "Global War on Terrorism." But... But... Didn't our faabulous Dear Leader just tell His People that:

We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th.

And isn't it true that the only intelligence that Saddam was involved in terror is faith-based?

And doesn't it look like this "generic" medal means that the Pentagon and the Bush Gang are gearing up for one, two, many Iraqs?

I'd like to see some of the recipients of these medals throwing them over the White House fence, as Kerry (give him credit) among others did during the Viet Nam war.

YABL, YABL, YABL. No matter how deep you sink a shovel into this crap, it's never deep enough, is it?

Why is this story dying? 

When Pretzel Boy went to war, this is what he certified to Congress:

"I determine that .. acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001

Now, a year later, Bush tells us:

tWe've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th.

Isn't this a lot bigger than the 16 words fiasco? It's enough for me to start calling the Beltway Dems wussy again! Can't they call Bush on this? As for the SCLM...

As the wingers used to bellow when the VLWC was executing its coup during the Clinton years, "Where's the outrage?"

So who's counting the Iraqi civilians? 

Steven R. Hurst of the AP writes:

In the last six days, U.S. troops have shot at Iraqi police, journalists, a wedding party and a top Italian diplomat searching for looted antiquities.

The Americans are under increasing pressure as the guerrilla resistance has stepped up its hit-and-run attacks and is bringing more firepower and sophistication to the fight.

Unsure of who will shoot at them next, the U.S. forces have been involved in "friendly fire" attacks in which 10 civilians have been killed in the past two months.

In areas where resistance is stiffest, the massive response by U.S. soldiers is changing once-neutral residents into outright opponents.

The military keeps no record of Iraqis who have been killed either intentionally or as innocent bystanders in the primarily urban combat.

Yup, you've got to win the hearts and minds of the people...

Friday, September 19, 2003

What a difference a day makes! 

Clark must have been reading our blog...
Dan Balz of WaPo writes:

Retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark reversed course yesterday on the issue of Iraq, saying that he would "never have voted" for the congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to go to war, just a day after saying that he likely would have voted for it.

Actually, given the SCLM, and the gotcha games that go on, now I have sympathy for the guy. What is going on here?


Mike Allen of WaPo writes:

President Bush has often used major speeches to bolster his standing with the public, but pollsters and political analysts have concluded that his recent prime-time address on Iraq may have had the opposite effect -- crystallizing doubts about his postwar plans and fueling worries about the cost.


Why do they hate American? 

Well, at least the reservists and their families. From WaPo here:

In Kansas, Amanda Bellew, wife of Army Spec. Jason Bellew, a member of the 129th Transportation Company, said she and other family members were hoping to gather 50,000 signatures on their Web site, www.129bringthemhome.com, to present to Congress in opposition to the extended tours.

Looks like Red State support is cracking too...

Saving Muslims in Kosovo 

You know, if the Bushies weren't ideologically driven and hog stupid, they'd be trumpeting America's triumph in saving Balkan Muslims from massacre in Iraq right now, as an example of the sort of good that America can do in the world.

But since The Clenis™ did that, mention Kosovo is taboo. Anyhow, here are some stirring words from our last elected President:

Clinton is adored by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority for leading the coalition that halted the brutal crackdown on ethnic Albanians seeking independence four years ago.

He appealed to them to speak out against ethnic killings.

"You cannot build a new Kosovo on retributive violence," he said. "No one ever gets even in this life."

"Last time I was here, I admitted that you could never forget the injustices and inhumanity you suffered and that no outsider, including me, could force you to forgive anyone," Clinton said. "But you should try. Not for them, but for you. I want you to be free."


And words I should probably take to heart.

But like St. Augustine, "Not yet, oh lord, not yet." First I want the stomp the Republicans. Then I'll forgive them.

Bush kleptocrats fire energy whistleblower 

Robert Gehrke of AP via the Kansas City Star writes:

[Kevin] Gambrell said for years the Indians have been told by oil and gas companies to sign blank leases to build pipelines across their land and the companies would fill in the lease rates later.

"Just sign here. It's our standard contract."

The sort of behavor with which the Bush hang is intimately familiar...

In Afghanistan pipeline "negotiations", perhaps?

More from Clark 


Still, asked about Dr. Dean's criticism of the war, General Clark responded: "I think he's right. That in retrospect we should never have gone in there. I didn't want to go in there either. But on the other hand, [Dean] wasn't inside the bubble of those who were exposed to the information."


And Dean got it right, didn't he? Exactly because he was outside the bubble.

Since the bubble was made of lies, and now it's bursting. So has Clark stumbled, right out of the gate?

Design your own hell! 

Fun for the whole (SIC) family! Here. (Via Burnt Orange Report.)

Maybe John "Oil, please" Ashcroft is consigning hysterics to the Ninth Circle even as we read....

Media starting to pile on... 

Yep, the Big Lies are unravelling.... The LA Times editorializes:

So Which Story Is It?
President Bush's declaration Wednesday that Saddam Hussein had Al Qaeda ties but that there was "no evidence" he was linked to 9/11 had an Alice-in-Wonderland quality. Only a few days earlier, Vice President Dick Cheney on national television had expanded the administration's claims, hinting darkly that Hussein's security forces might have been involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and that Iraq was at "the heart of the base" of the terrorist threat that culminated in Sept. 11.

Who is the public supposed to believe, Bush or Cheney? In delivering a different message depending on what day of the week it is, the administration is shredding whatever remains of its credibility on Iraq.

Still though...

The interesting thing about this growing media firestorm is that it is the 16 words all over again. That firestorm, too, exploded only after the administration (in this case, Ari Fleischer in his last days at the White House) admitted, well, a mistake.

It's hard for me to believe, then or now, that the admission was accidental. This administration hardly ever admits anything, let alone error.

But why did Bush say what he did? What was Rove thinking? Are they trying to make nice with the UN and the Europeans? Who would fall for that?

"Afghan elite seizes land for mansions as poor lose homes" 

According to Phil Reeves of The Independent. Hmm... Reminds me a little of Enron. How many billions are we sending these guys again?

Some duckies are luckier than others 

AP via the Toronto Globe and Mail here:

After two years of declines, the total net worth of America's richest people rose 10 per cent to $955-billion (U.S.) this year from 2002, according to Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the nation's 400 wealthiest individuals.

Great! They can hire more servants! That should solve that pesky jobs thing ...

Wingers projecting again 

General Ashcroft here:

"The charges of the hysterics," [Ashcroft] added, "are revealed for what they are: castles in the air built on misrepresentation, supported by unfounded fear, held aloft by hysteria."

Gosh, hysterics are hysterical, aren't they?

The wingers do get a little huffy when challenged ...

Bush gang can't "steel" an election 

That's a relief, eh?

Mike Allen and Jonathon Weisman of WaPo write:

n a decision largely driven by his political advisers, President Bush set aside his free-trade principles last year and imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel to help out struggling mills in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, two states crucial for his reelection.

Eighteen months later, key administration officials have concluded that Bush's order has turned into a debacle. Some economists say the tariffs may have cost more jobs than they saved, by driving up costs for automakers and other steel users. Politically, the strategy failed to produce union endorsements and appears to have hurt Bush with workers in Michigan and Tennessee -- also states at the heart of his 2004 strategy.

The strategizing was "too clever by half," [Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist with ties to the administration,] said. "It presupposed that nobody was watching what we were doing, and it presupposed that our credibility was of no importance."

Ah. Strategery.

Sorry, our mistake! 

Alessandra Rizzo of AP reports:

American soldiers in northern Iraq mistakenly fired on a car carrying the Italian official heading up U.S. efforts to recover Iraq's looted antiquities, killing the man's Iraqi interpreter, an official said Friday in Rome. The Italian, Pietro Cordone, was unhurt.

of course, if we'd guarded the museum besides guarding the oil ministry ....

General Clark: Marching immediately in the wrong direction? 

Now the Bush Big Lies are coming unstuck. His faabulous gang members just can't seem to keep them glued together. The mainstream Baltimore Sun editorializes:

President Bush said Wednesday, flat out, that there's no evidence Saddam Hussein had anything to do with Sept. 11.

Now he tells us.

The president's defenders can of course correctly point out that Mr. Bush has never actually claimed otherwise. But there is such a thing as fostering an impression, and over the past year the White House has so assiduously invoked Sept. 11 whenever warning about Iraq's intentions, or crowing about Iraq's defeat, that no one could fail to grasp that there was an underlying message: American troops had to fight their way into Baghdad because American citizens perished in the attacks of two years ago.

American troops suffered more casualties outside Baghdad yesterday. And why are they there? Will the commander in chief come clean?

Why, then, and just now, would newly-minted candidate General Wesley Clark say that he would have voted for the war?

"On balance, I probably would have voted for it," Clark said. "The simple truth is this: When the president of the United States comes to you and makes the linkages and lays the power of the office on you, and you're in a crisis, the balance of the judgment probably goes to the president of the United States."

"Lays the power of the office on you"???

Even at that point, Bush had a track record for lying. And Clark says he will substitute Bush's "judgment" for his own? When Bush comes back from an August vaction and decides to manufacture a "crisis"?

This reminds me of George "Brainwashed" Romney back in 1968. Who wants a President who can be brainwashed?

What's up with that? I don't agree with the Horse on General Clark's "Winning Strategy," unfortunately.

"Big Lie" meme makes the mainstream 

And high time, too. Andrew Greely of the Chicago Sun-Times writes:

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda chief (director of communications, in the current parlance), once said that if you are going to lie, you should tell a big lie. That may be good advice, but the question remains: What happens when people begin to doubt the big lie? Herr Goebbels never lived to find out. Some members of the Bush administration may be in the process of discovering that, given time, the big lie turns on itself.

The president has insisted that Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism, a continuation of the administration's effort to link Iraq to the attack on the World Trade Center. While almost three-quarters of the public believe that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the attack, the polls after the president's recent speech show that less than half believe that Iraq is the ''central front'' of the war on terrorism. Moreover, the majority believe that the war has increased the risk of terrorism. A shift is occurring in the middle, which is neither clearly pro-Bush nor clearly anti-Bush. The big lie is coming apart.

There is not and never has been any evidence that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attack. None. The implication of such involvement was an attempt to deceive, a successful attempt at the big lie.

Now comes the "balanced" part.

I'm not sure that the president knows it is a lie, however.

The hidden assumption here being that aWol actually knows what a lie is. It could be, that for him, it is sufficient for him to believe something for it to be true ("faith-based intelligence").

Of course, that would make him at best deeply narcissistic, and at worst a sociopath... But then, news is suppposed to be new, isn't it....

Music to our ears 

That would be the fine whine of Bill "Me later" O'Reilly.

O'Reilly vents on FUX "news" (via the Horse):

Right now there's huge money flowing into far left propaganda machines ...

Ah yes, I remember when I was a mere sprat, polishing the chandaliers in The Mighty Eschaton Building in majestic downtown Philadelphia. Little did I then dream that I would one day become hugely rich, peddling scandal about an elected President... Oh, wait...

Right now, the left is booked a full roster of character assassins. I mean these guys make Donald Segretti and the Nixon plumber unit look like the Muppets.

Oh? You mean they're convicted felons?

And now (oh my golly) the beauty part:

Character assassination and irresponsible editorial behavior is simply unacceptable

Really? To whom?

Diplomatic language 

Talking Points interviews Ambassador Joseph Wilson:

WILLSON: Well, I think we're fucked.

There you have it... Read the whole thing.

Kay to "find" smallpox? 

Now that the Rovelicans have decided they can't actually completely suppress the report of 1200 WMD-hunters... Anyhow, this may be a trial balloon...

UPDATE: Alert reader pos points out that there's no evidence of smallpox, but that's never stopped them before, has it? Note also that I said " "find" " ....

Waiting on the Shiites 

Peter Ford of the Christian Science Monitor writes:

The Shiites, who make up 65 per cent of Iraq's population, are clearly key to the country's future. Having borne the brunt of Saddam Hussein's brutality in the aftermath of two uprisings in 1991 and 1999, they are relieved to be rid of him and largely tolerant of the American presence.

"I don't like having an invading army here, but the Americans should stay until they have restored security, rebuilt the country and we have our own president," says Nasir Abbas, a falafel cook at a Baghdad restaurant. "Then they should leave. But whatever the Hawza says, we will follow."

The Hawza, a collection of Shiite religious scholars in Najaf that enjoys massive respect among Shiite Muslims, appears divided between moderates and radicals over the approach to take towards the Americans.

But the loudest voice emanating from this opaque institution is that of the most outspoken cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, a young man who comes from a long line of authoritative ayatollahs and who appears to enjoy the widest support among ordinary Shiites, especially the younger ones.

Using the Hawza's biweekly newspaper, Mr. Sadr has been stirring up anti-American feeling, blaming coalition troops for every evil that besets the country, and calling for their immediate withdrawal.

He has so far stopped short of urging his followers to take up arms against US troops. "But we are all waiting for the religious leaders to give us a sign," says Mr. Ibrahim, whose cafe seat gives him a view of a mosque minaret damaged by US shelling during the war. "If the scholars tell us it is time for jihad [holy war], even the women will go out to fight."

Heck, these are the guys we want to be bribing!

Kleptocrat Nation 

Thieves in High Places, by Jim Hightower

klep-to-crat na-tion (klep-te krat na-shen), n. 1. a body of people ruled by thieves. 2. a government characterized by the practice of transferring money and power from the many to the few. 3. a ruling class of moneyed elites that usurps liberty, justice, sovereignty, and other democratic rights from the people. 4. the USA in 2003.

The Kleptocrats have taken over. Look at America's leadership today ? not just political, but corporate, too. Tell me you wouldn't trade the whole mess of them for one good kindergarten teacher.

Yet, they're in charge! Here we are, living in the wealthiest country in history, a country of boundless possibilities, a country made up of a people deeply committed to democratic ideals, a country with the potential for spectacular human achievement ? but we find ourselves ruled (politically, economically, culturally, and ethically) by a confederacy of kleptocrats.

They have collected up our democratic powers piece by piece, hoarding them in the privacy of their own fiefdoms. These elites (fully abetted by the governmental elites they have bought), now effectively control the decisions that affect We the People ? everything from public spending priorities to environmental degradation, wages to war, what's on the "news" to who gets elected.

This would be terribly depressing except for one thing, which is that one basic has definitely NOT changed in our land: The people (you rascals!) still have that instinctive and tenacious belief in our historic democratic principles. The antidote to kleptocracy is the age old medicine of democratic struggle, agitation, and organization ? and all across our country, the rebellion is on!

FIGHT BACK! More from Hightower, via Working for Change

Inhale a bit of our country's pungent, brawling, inspiring history of grassroots rebels, then tell me that battling the bastards today is too hard, too uphill, or takes too long. What else are you doing that is more worthy of your efforts than trying to establish the moral principles of fairness, justice, and equality for all in our America?

Another good idea for Iraq! 

Mathew Rosenberg of AP writes:

In an apparent search for pointers on how to police a hostile population, the U.S. military that's trying to bring security to Iraq is showing interest in Israeli software instructing soldiers on how to behave in the West Bank and Gaza, an Israeli military official said Thursday.

Because the Occupied Territories are such a peacable place....

Still, lets us all know what's in store, eh? And for how long? Nice to see the malAdministration thinking long term at last!

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Something in the Kool-Aid? 

Let's review: Nixon, with the (felonious) Plumbers, where Watergate was just the tip of the iceberg.

Reagan, with the "off-the-shelf" covert action capability.

aWol, with examples too numerous to mention.

Why the heck is it that whenever the Republicans get elected, they try to overthrow Constitutional government?

UPDATE: Alert reader Doug comments; "Please. This example breaks down because not all of those guys were elected." Heh heh.

Kennedy: Billions going to bribe foreign leaders to send troops to Iraq 

Steve LeBlanc of the AP writes:

"There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office showed that only about $2.5 billion of the $4 billion being spent monthly on the war can be accounted for by the Bush administration.

"My belief is this money is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops," he said.

Interesting... And it is how the Bush gang thinks...

Soldiers dying of mysterious pneumonia-like illness 

Pentagon investigating. Mark Benjamin of UPI via The Agonist.

Texas thugs put the boot in 

How childish.

Kelly Shannon of AP writes:

The Texas Senate dropped thousands of dollars in fines and restored parking and cell-phone privileges Thursday for Democrats who were punished for fleeing the state to block a Republican-led redistricting plan.

The Democrats instead will be placed on a probation of sorts until the start of the next regular legislative session in January 2005. They were told if they leave again to break a quorum, they would have to pay $57,000 apiece in fines.

If any of the senators are absent without a sufficient excuse for more than 72 hours when their attendance is required in the chamber, the fines and sanctions also would be reinstated.

Maybe they should be required to bring a note from Karl Rove?

SCLM graciously issue The Arnis™ a free pass 

Katha Pollitt states the obvious:

Now just imagine for a moment that a Democratic politician had told a soft-core men's magazine in 1977 about gangbanging a "black girl"--and when asked about it in 2003 said he didn't remember a thing about the interview or the incident itself, but also said he made the whole thing up to get attention. Would that story have been relegated to the bin of youthful escapades by Fox, CNN, the New York Post, Peggy Noonan, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and the rest? Or would we be hearing a lot about "character" and the "I was lying" defense? Suppose that same Democrat told Playboy in 1988 he didn't allow his wife or mother (?!) to wear pants in public. And suppose that in 2000, two British television journalists accused that Democrat, now 53, well past the youthful-escapade phase, of groping them, and publicly declared themselves disgusted and offended? Let's say that he told Entertainment Weekly this past July how fun it was to push Kristanna Loken's head into a toilet in Terminator 3 ("I wanted to have something floating in there"). Let's say papers in Britain were reporting all this and more--from feeling up women in the presence of his wife to heavy use of illegal steroids to rumors of an extramarital affair with a 16-year-old actress--wouldn't we be hearing about it night and day?


I don't think it's a good thing to postpone the California recall. I yield to no-one in wanting to pay back the Supremes for abetting the VWRC coup in Florida 2000; but it's more important to win in California today, and finally the Dems were gaining momentum. Delay only gives those with a lot of money, and those who own the media, the time they need to turn the situation around–i.e.m The Rovelicans.


Military Families Speak Out 

And operating on Cleland's Principle of Ask the troops on the ground, check out this site:

As people with family members and loved ones in the military, we have both a special need and a unique role to play in speaking out against war in Iraq. It is our loved ones who will be on the battlefront. It is our loved ones who will risk injury and death. It is our loved ones who will return scarred from having injured innocent Iraqi civilians.


This letter shall serve to remind you that these soldiers have now been away from our homes for eight months, away from their children, wives and parents, away from their universities and jobs, involved in a guerilla war in an unknown country, not knowing the culture or the language of the place, menaced by mines, bombs and guns, risking their lives 24 hours a day, standing in their uniforms and carrying their equipment in temperatures of up to 130° F. The National Guard soldiers are civilians, not active members of the Army. They have never received the training for combat in the desert or to face urban guerrillas. We know that, since their arrival at AR Ramadi, our young soldiers have been patrolling and searching the houses of presumed guerrilla forces. We know that they lack adequate equipment, that in many cases they have patrolled without bulletproof vests and without the necessary ammunition to face the guerrilla forces.

"Mission accomplished," my Aunt Fanny.

Condemned to repeat it... 

Great stuff from Max Cleland on the eerie and awful parallels between Iraq and VietNam here (via Atrios):

I like the final cheap shot 'cause that's the kind of artist I am:

Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President. Sorry you didn't go when you had the chance.

But there's much of the wisdom that comes from experience in Cleland's article as well. This, for example:

If you want to know what is really going on in the war, ask the troops on the ground.

The farmer, of course, did exactly this earlier today, posting the letter from Tim Predmore to his hometown paper.

Read the whole thing.

US Army now firing on the press (again) 

From AP here via the Agonist:

The AP reporter was fired on by one of the tanks with three rounds from its 50-caliber machine gun. An AP photographer said his car was shot up by American troops, the windshield blown out and all the tires flattened. The photographer and his driver were not injured.

Hours later, soldiers pointed tank cannons at reporters every time they tried to approach to find out what had happen.

This story has a lot of other interesting detail about from ground-level; it repays reading. You can see why Rummy would want to loose off a little cannon fire at anybody who wrote this up.

Initially as U.S. forces took fire from unknown positions, the soldiers shot back with no obvious targets in an apparent effort to protect themselves until reinforcements arrived, a witness said.

Winning hearts and minds...

Wednesday night's shooting at the wedding in Fallujah came after American soldiers mistakenly killed eight U.S.-allied Iraqi police officers outside the town in a friendly fire incident.

Shooting the police we ourselvers are trying to train...

In Baghdad, police backed by U.S. soldiers and helicopters sealed a large part of the center of the city Thursday in a raid to capture car thieves.

Meaning there is no functioning Iraqi police force or army yet, since we have to do it ....

About 100 Iraqis danced in the streets and carried a large photo of Saddam dressed in military fatigues. There was celebratory gunfire and the people chanted: "With our blood, with our souls, we sacrifice ourselves for you, Saddam."

Well, just dead-enders, I suppose...

Maybe "Tomposity" Friedman has it right—we should declare victory in Iraq, and go after France instead.

After all, rule number one of the malAdministration is that nothing is ever their fault—it's the press, the French, the critics... All of those unfabulous people!

Words fail me 

But not Richard Cohen of WaPo, who writes:

We like our presidents as we like our morning TV hosts -- comfy.

Comfy. Right.

"Comfy" like certifying to Congress that "I determine that .. acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001" when going to war, and then saying, a year later, that "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th."

Comfy... Comfy... like a big, soft, warm, pile of steaming shit.

Differential Descriptions 

Natasha at Pacific Heights got to wondering the other night, why a CNN news reader referred to John Edwards thusly....

The millionaire trial lawyer promised to [fight for the working class.]

...when he could as easily have said...

"'the successful son of a mill worker promised to fight for the working class'?

Natasha gives you the answer and then proceeds to come up with some one-liners for Bush/Cheney not likely to appear on CNN anytime soon, like say...

The two former energy company executives promise to respect the environment.

She has more, and they are all great fun. As Natasha admits, she could probably go on and on...I'd say she's done her part; any additions to the list should come from readers. Here or there; any we receive we'll be sure get over to Pacific Heights.

While you there, don't miss this post about her initial experience as a local voting activist with the wonderfully witty title, "Backyard RealPolitik."

Takes two hands to handle a whopper 

The biggest Bush lie of all. Tom Tomorrow nailed that slippery little scut...

YABL, YABL, YABL. So many it's hard to keep track! Must have been how I missed this one...

Just the Republicans handling your money 

That giant sucking sound, I mean. Robert Pear of the Times here:

"We can't afford an open-ended entitlement that has no limitations on costs," said [Representative Patrick J. ] Toomey.

For Medicare, that is.

But for Halliburton? No problem! Where's that no-bid contract with the open-ended date for completion?

Keeping Track Of The Outrage 

The outrage that is Bush & co, and your own outrage at that outrage. No small task with this administration.

Now comes the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace, which also publishes Foreign Affairs, with a really neat on-line feature, "BETWEEN THE LINES, (DECONSTRUCTING AND DECODING OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS)" The document is presented with certain portions in red, when you pass your cursor over those sections, the authors commentary appears.

This first installment, "Revisiting the Case for War," presents the October 7, 2002, speech the President gave in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in which he made a detailed case for war against Iraq.

Using intelligence documents that were declassified and released on July 18th of this year as part of the administrations efforts to deal with the growing controversy surrounding that damn yellowcake from Niger, the authors, Joseph Cirincione and Dipali Mukhopadhyay, through their running commentary, make clear precisely when and how the President's words don't reflect what's in the documents.

The speech is worth reading again, to remind yourself of how focused was the effort to justify the notion of a preventive war against Iraq, without relying on the central argument that is now emerging as its chief justification, a strange amalgm of an idealistic desire to restore the fundamental human rights of the Iraqi people, and a neo-colonial impulse to control the shape of their society and government in order to create a pro-Western Arab free-market democracy, the first falling domino by which the entire Middle East will be transformed, more to our liking. Oh, and of course, that will be best for all the people there, because all people long for freedom.

No snarkiness implied in that last sentence; I believe that all human beings long for freedom, along with autonomy and community. I just think that different people, as well as peoples have very different definitions of concepts like freedom, autonomy, and community.

No One Left to Sell Out To 

A long overdue takedown of the insufferable Hitchens here:
Hitchens has riotous fun [in The Long Short War] heaping contempt on several of the volunteer "human shields" who left Iraq before the bombing began. They "obviously didn't have the guts," he jeers, hunkered down in his Washington foxhole. Bearing witness to his own bravery, Hitchens reports in March 2003 that, although even the wife of New York Times columnist Tom Friedman is having doubts about going to war, "I am fighting to keep my nerve" - truly a profile in courage, as he exiles himself in the political wilderness, alongside the Bush administration, Congress, a majority of U.S. public opinion, and his employers in the major media. Outraged at the taunt that he who preaches war should perhaps consider fighting it, Hitchens impatiently recalls that, since September 11, "civilians at home are no safer than soldiers abroad," and that, in fact, he's not just a but the main target: "The whole point of the present phase of conflict is that we are faced with tactics that are directed primarily at civilians. It is amazing that this essential element of the crisis should have taken so long to sink into certain skulls" (emphasis in original). No doubt modesty and tact forbid Hitchens from drawing the obvious comparison: while cowardly American soldiers frantically covered themselves in protective gear and held their weapons at the ready, he patrolled his combat zone in Washington, D.C. unencumbered. Lest we forget, Hitchens recalls that ours is "an all-volunteer army" where soldiers willingly exchange "fairly good pay" for "obedience" to authority: "Who would have this any other way?" For sure, not those who will never have to "volunteer."
And this doesn't even touch the merciless dissection of Hitchens' Coulter-like self-contradictions and drunken invective later in the review. Read the whole thing.

Hitchens' "contrarian" rep is about as justified as the "compassionate" label is for his new crush, Bush. Try finding a negative review of "No One Left to Lie To," for example. As the reviewer, Norman Finkelstein writes:
To discover our true human nature, Freud once wrote, just reverse society's moral exhortations: if the Commandment says not to commit adultery, it's because we all want to. This simple game can be played with Hitchens as well: when he avows, "I attempt to write as if I did not care what reviewers said, what peers thought, or what prevailing opinion might be," one should read, "My every word is calculated for its public effect."

Our Ab-Fab President  

Weird. I mean, even weirder than usual.
September 18:

It’s a fabulous country we have.

September 15:

She's a fabulous First Lady. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: So was your Mom! (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: I'm sorry she's not here tonight. And speaking about my mother, I'm still listening to her, by the way. (Laughter.)

September 8:

She is a fabulous First Lady, a great wife -- (applause.)

August 6:

This guy [Powell] has done a fabulous job. Washington, particularly in August, is a dangerous period -- a dangerous time, because there's a lot of speculation.

June 20:

I am, one, sad that Ari's leaving. He's done a fabulous job for my administration.

And of course here:

Dr. Condoleezza Rice is an honest, fabulous person, and America is lucky to have her service -- period.

What's common in all these fabulous people...

They enable Bush in his lies (that is, they are "loyal.")

So, to aWol, at least one synonym for fabulous is enabler. Thoughts, anyone?

Thanks to alert reader POS for pointing out Blotchy's use of this word.

BTW, "He's not afraid to call Condi Rice 'fabulous'" is number 6 on our "Top 10 reasons not to hate George Bush" list.

UPDATE: Alert reader misplaced patriot points me to the canonical list at Betty Bowers. Not that there would be anything wrong with Bush being a faaabulousy closeted homosexual, of course. Or with "lump in the bed" Laura helping to keep him that way.

Thieves like Them 

Citizens like Us.

Molly Ivins writes:

[T]here is something even worse being taken, being stolen, by this administration. As Jim Hightower observes in his excellent new book, "Thieves in High Places: They've Stolen Our Country and It's Time to Take It Back," what they're really stealing is the very idea of this country, the idea that there's a common good, that we're all in this together, that we all do better when we all do better.

In this country, we have the most extraordinary luck – we are the heirs to the greatest political legacy any people have ever received. Our government is not THEM, our government is US (with room for improvement, to be sure). All this right-wing propaganda about how the government is The Enemy, the government needs to be strangled, needs to be starved, needs to be hocked off, as though schools and hospitals were horrible things – it's all nuts.

It's our government, we can still make it do what we want it to when we take the time and put in the energy it takes to work with other people, organize, campaign and vote – we can still make the whole clumsy, money-driven system work for us. And it's high time we did so.

She's talkin' sense, Merle.

Saudi nukes?! 


With friends like these....

UPDATE: Alert reader Gabe points us to the Saudi denial.

The Wecovery 

That's "We" as in "weak"... And "W" as in aWol...

Well, at least the pace of layoffs has slowed. Though it could be a random blip.

Jeaannine Aversa of AP writes:

After rising for three straight weeks, new claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in nearly a month, raising hopes that the pace of layoffs may be starting to slow down again.

The more stable four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out week to week fluctuations, however, rose last week to 410,750, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week, and the highest level since the middle of July.

Although other parts of the economy are improving, the labor market is expected to be the last to heal. Economists believe companies will want to wait until profits get stronger and they have more confidence in the rebound's vigor before they go a hiring spree.

I keep hearing about this future "hiring spree" in these stories. Emphasis on future . Do businesses really go on "sprees"? I mean, except for things like CEO compensation?


Tarek Al-Isswai of AP writes:

Wednesday night's shooting at the wedding in Fallujah came after American soldiers mistakenly killed eight U.S.-allied Iraqi police officers outside the town in a friendly fire incident. The military has apologized for the incident and opened an investigation.

Witnesses said guests at the wedding shot guns into the air in celebrartion, and passing American troops in Humvees, believing they were under attack, opened fire, killing the teen and wounding six other people.

Winning hearts and minds. Anyone counting the Iraqi civilians?

Advancing The Meme: Bush-Hating Liberals (All Libs) VS Clinton-Hating Righties (Just A Few Wachos) 

CalPundit does a charming turn on Krauthammer doing the "look at those Dems and their crazy-ass hatred of Bush" blues in Time magazine. Seems Dr. Kraut is concerned about our mental health. As some of Kevin's commentators point out, the Kraut does a fair job of outlining what liberal objections to Bush are, and then finds them to be pathological.

Well, since we're speaking of pathology, let us not forget that in Mr. Krauhammer, we have a man whose support for Jonas Savimbi, anti-communist crusader of Angola, was ceaseless. We have a columnist who, at the time of Mandela's first visit to Washington, urged fellow neo-cons and Repubs to accept Mandela for the steely ideologue of lefty nationalism he susposedly was, so that they could then challenge liberals to be equally as grownup about Savimbi. We now know, of course, that Savimbi was a homicidal maniac whose army included sizeable numbers of children kidnapped from their families and pressed into uniform to fight the international communist conspiracy; in other words, a fitting subject for one of Ann Coulter's reputation reclamation projects. Now Charles, what was it you were saying about moral equivalency....?

The definitive answer to Chas and all the other little neo-con Krauts is provided in the lively comments thread by Julia of Sisyphus Shrugged whose statement is such a wonderful example of angry, passionate, and yet still civil, political rhetoric, it demands to be quoted in full.

I don't hate Bush. I despise him.

I hate what he's doing to this country, I resent and abhor his attacks on my civil liberties and the way he's feeding my grandchlidren's seed corn to his friends as a party snack. I think he must be stopped from getting any more of our nation's and the world's children killed to try and carry out a foreign policy which seems to have been dreamed up by a bunch of rich frat boys while drinking beer and watching the super bowl.

I am deeply grateful that we are so close to an election and I intend to do whatever is in my small power to see that he is defeated in it.

Is he some sort of right-wing version of the Great Satan the right saw when they looked at Clinton? Not for me. He's a petulant little man with a great deal of money and media support and some smart tacticians behind him.

He's not worthy of the emotion Clinton inspired. He's not the kid that won the game, in schoolyard terms - he's the kid whose chauffeur came looking for you after school.

Hatred is too big a word for such a small quivering hermit crab of a man.

Doesn't sound all that crazy to me.

Update: Julia has posted the comment on her blog; read it here, read it there, it should be read everywhere.

"Shrill" once more 

Yep, "shrill" is definitely on the RNC's word list (the one the RNC forces all the Rovelicans to memorize). Here's a good one, from Tom "I'm not French" DéLay:

"The president's critics will spew their shrill rhetoric anew, but we understand we have a war to win," said Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas. "Security never goes on sale."

As usual with the Rovelicans, Le Comte de Buggyville's words are:

  1. Projection-filled: "spew" sounds pretty "shrill" to me

  2. Full of hidden and false assumptions: What does winning the war in Iraq mean, operationally? And if we do win it, does that have anything at to do with winning the war on terror? And what is the operational definition of that?

  3. Full of lies: Security is exactly "on sale." First, because a large part of the war has been privatized, and second because our domestic security is underfunded, now and for the forseeable future, because the Rovelicans can't handle money, starting with the tax cuts for the super-rich.

Jeebus, decoding this Rovelican bullshit is like reading Pravda. It's hard work, but someone has to do it! Anyone else got any gems like Der Bugster's "spewage"?

Shrill is, of course, already in the Lexicon of Liberal Invective, so we are already innoculated against it.

No Child Left To Find 

"If you want to play in our revolution, you have to live by our rules."
- Tom Delay (R-Texas).

Via Cursor a link to Sydney Schanberg's recent article on Bush's education swindles. (past and present) See: A Texas Hoax May Be the President's Waterloo

Schanberg writes:

Over the past year or so, getting headlines in Texas but only modest coverage elsewhere, the "Texas Miracle" has been disrobed. It was a scam, a hoax. The governor had put the fear of Bush into the school bureaucracy. You will perform, the principals and superintendents were told. You will dramatically bring down the dropout rate and dramatically raise the reading and math scores. Bonuses were promised to those who succeeded, demotions and pay-docking to those who didn't.

Suddenly, as if in the Land of Oz, kids in low-income districts who had been dropping out of high school at rates of 30 and 40 percent and higher were apparently born again, burying their faces in their books into the wee hours. And then the truth came out. They were still dropping out at the same old percentages; they just weren't being counted as dropouts. They weren't even being listed as "whereabouts unknown"—as if they might have moved to another district and forgotten to leave a forwarding address. They had simply disappeared. They were los desaparecidos. Maybe General Pinochet had them kidnapped for interrogation and torture.

Anyway, if you want to read more about the "Texas Scandal," I recommend you get on the Web and look up a series of marvelous pieces that a fine reporter, Michael Winerip, has been doing in The New York Times. (My only quibble is that all the articles have been half buried on the education page at the back of the Metro Section, instead of starting on page one. After all, we do say we really care about kids and education.)

As a sample, here is some of what Winerip found on the scene in Houston, where he described Sharpstown High School: "[This] poor, mostly minority high school of 1,650 students had a freshman class of 1,000 that dwindled to fewer than 300 students by senior year. And yet—and this is the miracle—not one dropout to report. Nor was zero an unusual dropout rate in this school district that both President Bush and Secretary of Education Rod Paige have held up as the national showcase for accountability. . . . Westside High here had 2,308 students and no reported dropouts; Wheatley High 731 students, no dropouts. A dozen of the city's poorest schools reported dropout rates under 1 percent."

This was the district cited as the model for Bush's No Child Left Behind law enacted by Congress in the first months after his inauguration. Congress authorized $18 billion to launch the program nationwide. Oddly, the president has budgeted only $12 billion, lopping off one-third of the money. This is the disconnect that runs through nearly all of the president's cornerstone policies. He utters grand slogans and then slips behind his Wizard of Oz curtain and pretends that's all he has to do. Just wear a sincere tie or some military-style clothing and speak the appropriate stately catchwords while standing in front of a giant flag, and then say "God Bless America" at the close, and people will give him the second term his father was unable to achieve.

Jamie McKenzie writing in the September 2003 issue of No Child Left observes:

Some of the change strategies being used against American schools by the current administration have already been tried in Texas but recent news reports cast doubt on the integrity, authenticity and value of those change strategies.

What was once proudly called the "Texas Miracle" - an impressive (apparent) shift in school performance - might have been more of a flimflam operation in some places than a true miracle, judging from the harsh audit report published by the TEA (Texas Education Agency) ruling on procedures used by the Houston ISD when reporting dropouts in 2000.

As far back as the year 2000 when the current President was Governor of Texas and the Secretary of Education was Superintendent of the Houston ISD, the TEA (Texas Educational Agency) issued a harsh report warning that the Texas system for recording dropouts when combined with various incentive programs would lead to serious under-reporting and under-counting. (Dropout Study: A Report to the 77th Texas Legislature) In short, the report stated that some schools and districts might sweep the dropout problem under some magic carpet. Instead of taking care of these troubled students, the system might erase them.

Much more info and links from No Child Left. See: Cooking the Education Books? Works of Mass Deception?

Whats with these BushCo yokels? Has any one of em ever done an honest days work?

Shut Up! Shut Up! 

Full article here Tim Predmore writes:

So then, what is our purpose here?

Was this invasion because of weapons of mass destruction, as we so often have heard? If so, where are they? Did we invade to dispose of a leader and his regime because they were closely associated with Osama bin Laden? If so, where is the proof? Or is it that our incursion is a result of our own economic advantage? Iraq's oil can be refined at the lowest cost of any in the world. Coincidence?

This looks like a modern-day crusade not to free an oppressed people or to rid the world of a demonic dictator relentless in his pursuit of conquest and domination but a crusade to control another nation's natural resource. At least to me, oil seems to be the reason for our presence.


I once believed that I served for a cause: "to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States." Now I no longer believe that; I have lost my conviction, as well as my determination. I can no longer justify my service for what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies.

Tim Predmore is on active duty with the 101st Airborne Division near Mosul, Iraq. A version of this essay appeared in the Peoria (Ill.) Star Journal.

Hey! How'd he ever get the idea Iraq's regime was "associated" with Osama bin Laden?! Must be that elitist liberal "March to War" media spreading lies around again. Or maybe one of those leftist Hollywood celebrity types was feeding crazy subversive notions to our troops in Iraq by way of France!

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Bush administration charges wounded soldiers for their meals 

Sandra Juntz of Stars and Stripes here:

Troops wounded in combat in the nation’s war on terrorism are being handed more than just discharge papers when they leave military hospitals — some also are getting a bill.

At a daily rate of $8.10, hospitalized troops, including those wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, are being charged for their meals.

Lucky duckies!

Let's send the CEO jobs overseas! 

A much bigger bang for the buck, eh?

It's expedient that one man... 

Yep, the NYSE just heaved $140-million-Man Richard Grasso over the side.

Now, if only we could get rid of all the other oligarchs and grossly overpaid American CEOs.

Oh, wait... Where would Rovelican campaign funding come from them?!

Crude coverup of reservists' deaths in Iraq at Fort Bliss 

From Laura Cruz of the El Paso Times reports:

The U.S. Army on Tuesday revealed that all records and documents about the weapons that jammed during the March 23 ambush that led to the death of nine Fort Bliss soldiers were destroyed in the Iraqi attack and that there is no way to trace the weapons' histories.

Oh, come on. The Army blames the victims:

The official 507th report, which was released by the Army on July 17, suggests that the "malfunctions may have resulted from inadequate individual maintenance in a desert environment."

But the families are having none of it.

Arlene Walters, mother of Sgt. Donald R. Walters, who died in the attack and would have celebrated his 34th birthday Tuesday, said her son was dedicated to his job and to details. She said she finds it hard to believe that her son's weapon wasn't kept clean.

"He kept his guns as clean as can be," she said. "He even talked to his dad about it."

Who will investigate? Perhaps the Inspector General of the Pentagon—Oh, wait... That would be L. Jean Lewis, an especially nasty VWRC thug, no doubt stashed in that position of trust by the Bush Gang to make sure that nothing, but nothing about military contracting problems ever comes to light in our privatized war of choice (Salon; do the one-day) .

AP to the dark side? 

Ron Fournier—MW?


The sharply partisan rhetoric that marked past Clinton-Gore campaigns crept into Clark's address.

"Why has American lost 2.7 million jobs? Why has American lost the prosperity of a $5 trillion surplus and turned it into a deficit that deepens every day? Why has our country lost our sense of security and feels the shadow of fear? Why has America lost the respect of so many people around the world?"

With each question raised by Clark, the crowd shouted, "Why?"

"That's the questions we're going to be asking and one more: Why - why are so many here in American hesitant to speak out and ask questions?" Clark said.


What the heck is "sharply partisan" about asking basic questions like this?

"Shrill," "sharply partisan" ... Looks like the SCLM is writing its stories right off faxes from the RNC. Who knew?

Still, Clinton was actually elected President: twice. So if this be partisanship, let us make the most of it!

Memo to George: Tell Dick 

Terrence Hunt of the AP writes:

"There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaida ties," the president said. But he also said, "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th."

The president's comment was the administration's firmest assertion that there is no proven link between Saddam and Sept. 11. It came after Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday clouded the issue by saying, "It's not surprising people make that connection" between Saddam and the attacks.

Of course, Bush is lying about Saddam's AQ ties too, as usual.


Oh, and Terrence? The word is not "assertion." The word is "admission." Eh?

After poisoning New Yorkers, the Rovelicans want to hold their convention there 

I don't think so.

Devlin Barrett of AP writes:

Last month, the EPA's internal watchdog found the agency, at the urging of White House officials, gave misleading assurances there was no health risk from the dust in the air after the towers' collapse.

The White House "convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones" by having the National Security Council control EPA communications after the attack, according to the inspector general's report.

Seven days after the attack, the EPA announced that the air near the site was safe to breathe, but the agency did not have enough information to make such a guarantee, the report found.

Another candidate for the Hall of Shamelessness! Why on earth would the Rovelicans think they're welcome in New York? Bloomberg should just cancel the convention now, while there's still time. It's only going to get uglier...

Rummy's pensees d'escalier 

Yes, Rummy waxes philosophical during what we all hope are his last days in office. AP via KPLC here:

Rumsfeld also offered some perspective about his relationship with the military.

He says there's never a problem in someone following his orders. Instead, Rumsfeld says the problem is telling someone to do something that "in retrospect you wish you hadn't." He didn't elaborate what that might be.

"Didn't elaborate"... No, I wouldn't think so...

How stupid does the Bush administration think you are? 

Stupider than monkeys, anyhow.

The New Scientist reports:

Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, US, are the first to show that animals are capable of recognising unfairness. They trained capuchin monkeys, which are native to the forests of South America, to exchange a token for food. Once the monkeys were used to handling the tokens, Brosnan set them up in pairs and rewarded each in turn.

If both received a piece of cucumber as a reward, they behaved as before. However, if Brosnan gave one a grape, which they considered a more prized morsel, the other often refused to accept the cucumber. Worse still, if one monkey was rewarded for doing nothing, then four times out of five the other refused to participate further

Now, about those tax cuts...

The hubris bat takes wing 

Again. On to Syria!.

Maybe Saddam's WMDs are hidden there! You think? Let's go find out!


Vernon Loeb, MW 


The peaceniks will stay with Howard Dean.

I get tired of repeating this, but the reason Dean gets traction is that he's got brass ones: he's got the courage to take Bush on. The MWs keep seeing Dean through the lens of McGovern or even Gene McCarthy, and that's not what's going on at all.

Of course, Clark is no shrinking violet either, eh?

Anyone counting the Iraqi civilians? 

Ken Dilanian and Drew Brown of my own Inky report:

Iraqis and international observers say that the military's tactics - including use of overwhelming force against houses filled with women and children - have resulted in the detentions of hundreds of innocent people and the deaths of others. They say the coalition is creating new enemies as fast as old ones are eliminated.

U.S.-led coalition troops have shot and killed at least 58 and possibly as many as 81 civilian noncombatants since major combat was declared over May 1, according to a review of reports first compiled by Iraq Body Count, a London research group that bases its estimates on published or broadcast reports by news agencies and human-rights groups.

The military says it does not count civilian deaths. Asked about the issue, L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, said: "The loss of life is a tragedy for anyone involved, but the numbers are really very low."

When pressed, Bremer acknowledged that he could not say how many civilians the coalition troops had killed.

"It is the same scenario every day," said Eman Ahmed Khammas, the director of Occupation Watch, a Baghdad-based advocacy group. "The number of civilian casualties is increasing. But there are no statistics."
The most frequent complaints from Iraqis and observers are that soldiers fire indiscriminately in crowded civilian areas, that they often base raids on faulty information, and that they erect poorly marked checkpoints and fire without warning on cars that approach without stopping.

That's the malAdministration, isn't it? If they don't want you to know, they just don't collect the numbers. (Gee, first I was thinking of economic statistics, but it works for Florida 2000 too, doesn't it?)


Douglas Jehl with David E. Sanger in the Times here:

New intelligence assessments are warning that the United States' most formidable foe in Iraq in the months ahead may be the resentment of ordinary Iraqis increasingly hostile to the American military occupation, Defense Department officials said today.

That picture, shared with American military commanders in Iraq, is very different from the public view currently being presented by senior Bush administration officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who once again today listed only "dead-enders, foreign terrorists and criminal gangs" as opponents of the American occupation.

The defense officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were concerned about retribution for straying from the official line. They said it was a mistake for the administration to discount the role of ordinary Iraqis who have little in common with the groups Mr. Rumsfeld cited, but whose anger over the American presence appears to be kindling some sympathy for those attacking American forces.

Can't we just give Rummy, Condie, and Paulie Jug-Ears the axe because of poor performance reviews?

Watch for "shrill" 

From the Times, this little throwaway:

Republicans will have begun an orchestrated campaign to present Mr. Bush's potential opponents as shrill and negative.

Of course, from the Lexicon of Liberal Invective, we already know what they really mean by shrill.

But You Knew That 

The Shrill One has lately observed:
"There's a confusion between objectivity and even-handedness, they are not the same thing," Krugman said. "If Bush said the earth was flat, the reports in the mainstream media would say, 'Shape of the Earth: Views Differ."'

What he fails to add is that if Gore had said the earth was round, the same media would thunder, "Into the Ozone Again: 'Astronomer' Gore Claims Earth Round; It's Really an Oblate Spheroid."

The Wecovery 

John Berry of WaPo via the Seattle Times here:

Nevertheless, the nation's jobless rate was still 6.1 percent last month, and the number of payroll jobs has declined every month since January. Nearly 100,000 jobs were lost last month alone, and in recent weeks the number of initial claims for unemployment benefits has been rising.

Some analysts are concerned the lack of job creation could short-circuit the stronger growth evident in many recent economic reports. Without more jobs, and the added income they would provide for unemployed people going back to work, the spurt of growth triggered by federal income-tax cuts and low interest rates might subside in the first half of next year, analysts have warned.

Just in time to truly fuck Blotchy for 2004. I guess some prices are worth paying.

Sayeth the OECD in the Financial Times:

"Although a sluggish recovery appears to be the most likely short-term scenario, the world economic outlook is characterised by an unusual degree of uncertainty, with downside risks predominating," the OECD] said.

No shit, Sherlock...

Rovelican democracy in Texas 

Christy Hoppe of the Dallas Morning News here:

But 25 minutes into the speeches by the returning [Democratic] senators, invisible Republicans cut off their microphone.

They must be taking their cues from the fruitcake Republicans who tried to have Democrats arrested on Capital Hill ...


Cheney too. Here's a nice piece of invective from the sober Minneapolis Star-Tribune (via Atrios):

To explore every phony statement in the vice president's "Meet the Press" interview would take far more space than is available. .... Opponents of the war are fond of saying that "Bush lied and our soldiers died." In fact, they'd have reason to assert that "Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz lied and our soldiers died." It's past time the principals behind this mismanaged war were called to account for their deliberate misstatements.

Nice to see this slogan make it into the mainstream. Especially since it is nothing but the truth. Anyone else seen this in the mainstream?

Bush to Bono: Drop Dead 

Mike Allen of WaPo writes:

The Irish rock singer Bono confronted President Bush in the Oval Office yesterday with what AIDS activists say is a vast gap between funding he promised in the State of the Union address and the actual money headed for Africa.

The U2 singer said afterward that he felt "depressed," and that he and Bush had "a good old row" over how much the White House was allocating to fighting the global HIV-AIDS pandemic. Bush had promised $15 billion over five years for vaccines and treatment, but the administration wants to send only $2 billion next year. AIDS activists said the money is needed now.

So Bono calls Bush on a bait and switch in process, and Bush reacts... As if no-one around him ever questions him. Xanax, Mr. President! Xanax!

The Boy Emperor 

Al Kamen of WaPo writes:

State Department types were taken aback last week to find that a longtime diplomatic photo exhibit along a busy corridor to the cafeteria had been taken down. The two dozen mostly grainy black and white shots were a historic progression of great diplomatic moments, sources recalled.

Then they were gone. And what was put up in their place? What else? A George W. Bush family album montage of 21 large photos of the president as diplomat.

Bush as a diplomat... Isn't it pretty to think so?

Scalia: You have no right to vote for President 

"Dean" Broder may actually be onto something here. During the Republican coup d'etat in election 2000:

the leaders of the Republican majority in the Florida legislature publicly asserted that if the outcome of the Florida voting were still in dispute on Dec. 12, the deadline for naming the state's presidential electors, the legislature itself would make the decision whether Florida's decisive votes would make George Bush president. They cited the authority granted in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which says that "each state shall appoint in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors" to cast the state's ballots for president.

The legislature did not have to follow through, because the U.S. Supreme Court settled the issue by halting the vote-counting and declaring Bush the winner. But in the course of the hearings before the high court, Justice Antonin Scalia told the lawyers representing Al Gore that "in fact, there is no right of suffrage under Article II."

[Alexander Keyssar, a professor of history and social policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government takes the] view, which I share, that contemporary Americans would react with disbelief and anger to the "extraordinary . . . assertion that American citizens have no constitutional right to vote for president."

[Keyssar's] proposed solution: Adopt a one-sentence constitutional amendment stating "All American citizens shall have the right to vote for presidential electors in the state in which they reside."

I remember being astonished at the reminder in 2000 that our votes for president count only if the legislature chooses to count them.

Hmm.... In 2000, Florida. In 2004, Florida and Texas?

With more and more unauditable and Republican-programmed voting machines going in, and at least two major state Legislatures in the hands of Rovelicans who have already shown they will do whatever it takes to win and hold power, it looks to me like our Democracy is not nearly as healthy as we like to think it is.

"It wasn't me" 

"Well, it certainly wasn't me!"

From VOA:

Meanwhile, U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said the Bush administration had never accused ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein of being involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also said there was no indication of Iraqi involvement in the attacks. A recent Washington Post poll said more than two-thirds of Americans believe the ousted Iraqi leader was involved.

Gosh, who could it have been? Good thing the adults are in charge...

Kicking Dumbass' Ass 

Rick Perlstein at the Village Voice has some ad ideas for the Democrats, all of them sure to offend the CW about attacking our popular wartime preznit, and therefore eminently worth producing. And from what the good folks over at democrats.org are posting, it looks like he has allies.

Any other ideas? I continue to pray for a "Dukakis-in-a-tank" ad using Codpiece's USS Lincoln photo-op, even if not as funny a one as Al Franken has in mind. From what I've read, however, I get the impression that for some reason the Dems can't use the footage unless the GOP does first. Am I missing something?

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Man of the People 

Showing that "spontaneity that marks a winner," and the same jes' folks appeal that allowed him to outpoll Al "Earth Tone" Gore by a negative half million votes, President Martha Stewart paid a visit to Indianapolis yesterday.

And proving how his jes folks he is, he had everyone on the rostrum remove his tie.

Exhibit A is Brian Bosma. He appeared onstage in a necktie, prior to the president's arrival. When the president got there the Indiana House minority leader had an open collar. In a News 8 interview immediately following the speech, the tie was back on.

Former state Republican chairman Mike McDaniel helped organize the event. “They wanted them to be themselves and that's what we were trying to get out of those shots and it worked for the most part,” he said.

Of course, it's possible to carry this jes' folks thing too far, so the Bush people had other instructions, like no flash cameras. Luckily, his jes' folks friends didn't need handholding:

Wilma Hart, had this to say to the White House staffer: “I said, ‘Do we look like we just crawled out from under a rock someplace?’”

No, Wilma, no one would mistake you for Dick Cheney.

No word on whether NASCAR talk was allowed.

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others 

Clark's In 

President GI Joke suddenly needs a new pair of Depends.

Another Idiot Joins the Times Op-Ed Page 

Debutante pundit David Broder-er, Brooks demonstrates he can turn conventional-wisdom tricks like any seasoned press whore. In Republicans for Dean he writes, dissing Dean:
Anti-ideological, the true independents do not even listen to candidates who are partisan, strident and negative.

Yeah, the political atmosphere was like a fucking zephyr of spring mountain air until Dean came along and started in with all that negativity, partisanship and divisiveness. What Dems need is an out-of-work pallbearer like Joseph Lieberman to match President Mr. Nice Guy's innate geniality.

The hubris bat takes wing again 

On to Syria! How it plays in the Middle East media.

Say, what's up with... 

North Korea?

The jobs czar?

OBL, "dead or alive"?

Just asking...

Top 10 reasons not to hate George Bush 

Here at Corrente, we are doing our best to restore civility to American political discourse! Here's the latest revised list:

10. He can wear an earpiece with the best of 'em.
9. He pronounces "nuclear" like a regular guy.
8. Say what you like about him, but he has the nicest ass of any president in living memory.
7. No issues with dogs.
6. He's not afraid to call Condi Rice "fabulous."
5. He only turns vicious when cornered.
4. George Bush omorashi!
3. He restored honor and dignity to the oval office.
2. One word: Xanax
1. You can watch with the sound turned down.

Thanks to all who commented, and to alert readers Molly (#8) and Anonymous (#6).

Please feel free to use this material on the show, Mr. Letterman ....


Nice editorial in the LA Times, with the headline Cheney in Wonderland.

Nothing we don't already know, of course, but it's nice to see this material make the mainstream media.

Paulie Jug-Ears, uh, mis-states 

Robert Scheer of the LA Times writes:

It's hard to believe that it was just a slip of the tongue rather than a calculated lie when Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz sullied the memory of those who died on 9/11 by exploiting their deaths for propaganda purposes. The brainwashing of Americans, two-thirds of whom believe that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks, is too effective a political ploy for the Bush regime to suddenly let the truth get in the way.

"We know [Iraq] had a great deal to do with terrorism in general and with Al Qaeda in particular and we know a great many of [Osama] bin Laden's key lieutenants are now trying to organize in cooperation with old loyalists from the Saddam regime " Wolfowitz told ABC on this year's 9/11 anniversary.

We know nothing of the sort, of course, and the next day Wolfowitz was forced to admit it. He told Associated Press that his remarks referred not to a "great many" of Bin Laden's lieutenants but rather to a single Jordanian, Abu Musab Zarqawi. "[I] should have been more precise," Wolfowitz admitted.

"More precise." Mmmmm, I like that. It reminds me of Rummy's "technically accurate." YABL, YABL, YABL....

Anyone counting the Iraqi civilians? 

Jeffrey Fleishman of the LA Times writes:

he number of reported gun-related killings in Baghdad has increased 25-fold since President Bush declared an end to major combat May 1. Before the war began, the morgue investigated an average of 20 deaths a month caused by firearms. In June, that number rose to 389 and in August it reached 518. Moreover, the overall number of suspicious deaths jumped from about 250 a month last year to 872 in August.

qWagmire, eh? And not just for us.

They can dish it out, but they sure can't take it 

The Rovelicans, that is. Hil Anderson of UPI writes:

Conservative Bill Simon, who lost to Davis in 2000, spoke for many recall supporters when he called the ruling "an outrageous interference with the rights of California voters and a transparent attempt to thwart the will of the people."

A fine whine! Then again:

"Plaintiffs' claim presents almost precisely the same issue as the court considered in (the Bush decision), that is, whether unequal methods of counting votes among counties constitutes a violation of the Equal Protection Clause," the judges wrote. "In Bush, the Supreme Court held that using different standards for counting votes in different counties across Florida violated the Equal Protection Clause. The plaintiffs' theory is the same, that using error-prone voting equipment in some counties, but not in others, will result in votes being counted differently among the counties."

Hoist with their own petard. (The word of the moment is schadenfreude.)

OTOH, I'd rather beat the Rovelicans now, rather than later, and it looked like the tide was turning in favor of the small-d democratic forces. Sigh ....

Corporate Milksop & the Cowed 4th Estate 

Each is given a bag of tools
Shapeless LIES, and a book of rules.

I bring up the following example of the Fox Newzi corporativo's love of law suits against anyone who doesn't tote the company bale, which backtracks into pre-blogger days, and because A.V. Krebs in the current issue of The Progressive Populist journal revisits the slippery affair. Explanation follows.

From the October 1, 2003 issue of The Progessive Populist: In Whom Can We Trust? - A.V. Krebs writes:

For the corporate state and its political minions such public distrust, apathy and self-centeredness is a heaven sent blessing for as we have seen in recent years fewer and fewer people are taking part in the democratic process, leaving a small cadre of fascist plutocrats to govern and regulate our republic's affairs. No longer do we see national policy dictating politics, but rather egocentric politics dictating national policy.

A large measure of the blame for this condition can be laid at the doorstep of the national media upon which people read, listen to and watch each day. Rather than live up to its responsibility to act as a reliable "fourth branch of government" it has become for the most part simply a messenger boy for the ruling plutocracy. Meanwhile, the public is left in the dark and uninformed of the facts that go toward the formation of a responsible citizenry.


The husband and wife investigative team of Akre and Wilson had prepared a WTVT/Fox 13 documentary on how Florida dairymen had been secretly injecting the genetically engineered rBGH into their cows and how Florida supermarkets quietly reneged on promises not to sell milk from treated cows until the hormone gained widespread acceptance by consumers.

In a subsequent law suit the reporters charged in detail that Fox TV, after being strongly pressured by Monsanto, violated the state's whistleblower act by firing the journalists for refusing to broadcast false reports and threatening to report the station's conduct to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

A Florida jury later concluded that Akre was indeed pressured by Fox lawyers and managers to broadcast what the jury agreed was "a false, distorted or slanted story" and was fired for threatening to blow the whistle and awarded her a $425,000 judgement. However, that decision was later reversed by a Florida court of appeals on a legal technicality when the judges agreed with Fox's lawyers that it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.

Akre recalls: "Prior to our dismissal, station manager Dave Boylan, a career salesman without any roots in journalism and seemingly lacking the devotion to serve the public interest that motivates all good investigative reporting, had flaunted the company's wealth in an attempt to make us back down. "We paid $3 billion for these stations," he told us on one occasion. "We'll tell you what the news is. The news is what we say it is!"

Ah yes - Fox News; "We distort - You comply"

Additional background on the Akre and Wilson case via: FAIR.org/1998
Summary of the Akre/Wilson case below, via: 'In Motion Magazine', 1998, excerpt below:

Akre and Wilson were fired after a year-long battle over a TV news feature series they produced which highlighted the public health dangers of Monsanto's rBGH (increased antibiotic residues, increased levels of a potent human growth hormone factor called IGF-1, linked to the promotion of cancer tumors). Shortly before the original TV series was to run, an attorney from Monsanto contacted Fox TV and demanded that the script be altered. The station gave in to Monsanto's demands and told Akre and Wilson to rewrite and tone down the script. One year and 73 rewrites later Monsanto still wasn't satisfied and Akre and Wilson were fired. rBGH was approved by the FDA in February, 1994, with no labeling or special pre-market safety testing required, despite massive opposition by consumers and dairy farmers, and over the objections of scientific experts from the Consumers Union, the Cancer Prevention Coalition, and other organizations. - In Motion Magazine, "Monsanto and Fox TV Unite to Suppress Journalists' Free Speech on Hazards of Genetically Engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH or rBST)"

Ah yes - Monsanto; We distort - You compote...hey wait, didn't I just read something else something like that somewhere else around here?

I'll bet that buttered CNN corn-cob Lou Dobbs will get to the bottom of all of this buggery! Heh! Shooor he will.

Monday, September 15, 2003

They wouldn't. They couldn't possibly... 

From KRON in SF via Atrios:

Some National Guard troops are coming home earlier. Congress is investigating complaints that they are from states that supported the Bush election campaign.

Appellate Court Says "No" To Punchcard Recall 

Well, this should be fun to watch. According to CNN and AP:

The 9th Circuit, US Court Of Appeals has just released it's decision on the California recall: it's a no go for October 10th, which neatly reverses the lower court ruling; remember the issue was the state's inability to complete its promise by the October date instead of by March of next year, to replace those punchcard systems used in a fair number of counties, which are known to produce the highest number of spoiled ballots. No problem, said the lower court judge. Yes, a problem said a three judge panel of the Appellate Court; apparently they were all appointed by Democratic Presidents, two by Clinton, one by Carter; the lower court judge was a Republican appointee, I believe.

That sucking sound you hear is Rush Limbaugh and his legion of imitators drawing in sufficient breath to produce another perfect storm of indignant rage.

Don't get too excited; the Appellate Court stopped short of producing an implementation order; instead, they are leaving a week for the appeals that are certain to be made, probably all the way to the Supreme Court.

CNN is reporting that the ballot will have five cards of named candidates for Governor; remember that when Mickey Kaus starts accusing those Judges and all Democrats of being condescending to minorities. I happen to vote in a district that uses punchcards. After voting in ten years worth of elections, I finally ventured up to speak with one of the charming pole volunteers who make elections possible in this state to ask why the State can't work out a system where the punch holes were better aligned with the ballot choices, and that would not require me to go over my ballot to make sure I'd punched through what I now know to be chads. It was then, and only then, I found out that for ten years I had been inserting the ballot improperly, over rather than under the ballot booklet. My votes had counted because I always did a second check to compare the numbers of ballot and booklet, but it made voting a very arduous process. And I'm as bright as the next person.

I'm betting that the last thing on earth this White House wanted was a reminder of Florida, 2000; the opinion makes copious use of that example. I wonder, too, if some Republicans wouldn't love it if a court got in the way of a recall it's beginning to occur to them they might not win.

Let it go to the Supreme Court say I; let it be an exact repeat of the Florida decision.

Then let's have that October recall and beat the pants off of the Republicans.

Misleader.org Debuts 

The good folks at MoveOn have launched a new project. Get your daily dose of Bush lies via e-mail, or even better, subscribe some poor journalist you know who's growing tired of selling his or her ass on the street for Rupert Murdoch.

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