Saturday, June 04, 2005

Now I know why the New York Times doesn't have Sunday funnies! 

They've got David "I'm Writing as Bad as I Can" Brooks!

I turned to the Times editorial page just to see if Brooks could write a whole column about Watergate without using the words "crime" or "criminal." Do you think he passed the test? Take all the time you need. That's enough, right? Of course.

But Brooks does emit this little crotte of snark ("Life Lessons From Watergate"):

Places like Washington and New York attract large numbers of ambitious young people who have spent their short lives engaged in highly structured striving: getting good grades, getting into college. Suddenly they are spit out into the vast, anarchic world of adulthood, surrounded by a teeming horde of scrambling peers, and a chaos of possibilities and pitfalls.
Entering the world of the Higher Shamelessness, they begin networking like mad, cultivating the fine art of false modesty and calculated friendships. The most nakedly ambitious - the blogging Junior Lippmanns - rarely win in the long run, but that doesn't mean you can't mass e-mail your essays for obscure online sites with little "Thought you might be interested" notes.

They create informal mutual promotion societies, weighing who will be the crucial members of their cohort, engaging in the dangerous game of lateral kissing up, hunting for the spouse who will look handsomely supportive during some future confirmation hearing, nurturing a dislike for the person who will be the chief rival when the New Yorker editing job opens up in 2027.

And of course they are always mentor-hunting, looking for that wise old Moses who will lead them through the wilderness and end their uncertainty. They discover that it's socially acceptable to flatter your bosses by day so long as you are blasphemously derisive about them while drinking with your buddies at night.

This is now a normal stage of life. And if Bob Woodward could get through something like it, perhaps they will too.

For that is the purpose of Watergate in today's culture. It isn't about Nixon and the cover-up anymore. It's about Woodward and Bernstein. Watergate has become a modern Horatio Alger story, a real-life fairy tale, an inspiring ode for mediacentric college types - about the two young men who found exciting and challenging jobs, who slew the dragon, who became rich and famous by doing good and who were played by Redford and Hoffman in the movie version.

Woodward was nervous once, like you.
(via NY Times)

Ready for your closeup, Mr. Brooks?

Just because Josh Marshall has John Edwards opening for him at TPM cafe, and Kos and Atrios have millions of readers, many of them "diggers" doing actual research, instead of regurgitating talking points from the Republican Noise Machine... Well, that's no reason for Brooks to feel he's losing his place at the top of the greasy pole, is it?

Or maybe it is.

"Nervous," eh? I'd say this is a classic case of WPS (Winger Projection Syndrome).

Poor, poor David Brooks. He's a shop-soiled, aging diva, long past his sell-by date. Maybe if he lost some weight ....

Department of Pictures You'd Rather Not Have In Your Mind 

On-the-record omments before the Radio-Television and News Directors Association (via Froomkin):

[BUSH] I’m a crier, and I weep a lot.
(via RTNDA transcript)

Bush also comes out against a draft. Say, have those recruiting figures cocme out yet?

Otherwise, it's just pathology on parade. That slippery little scut is as slick as a door-to-door Bible salesman.

NOTE Froomkin goes on to write, although these are news directors, they (with one exception) didn't cover the story at all. And, oddly, though the comments were on the record, only "excerpts" were put on the RTNDA site. I wonder why?

UPDATE Alert reader Cole points out:

bush crying?
Isn't the condemnation of a show of tears what was used to destroy the presidential run by Muskie a few years back!?


A(nother) Light in Dark Times 

Know what I like about our local fishwrapper? I mean, aside from the fact you can wrap meat in it and train pups with it, and so forth? Because sometimes they publish a “wow” piece.

Today’s had an opinion piece by DeWayne Wickham (long may his banner fly) that notes among other things that aWol used “disassemble” for “dissemble,” referring to lying. And he calls him on it and points out that he’s an idiot. He then goes on to point out at least two blatant lies he made during the press conference, and then says “Shame on you!” to all of his colleagues who pretended none of this happened.

Reward good behavior, especially since he works for Gannett (at least until thugs from the Ministry of Truth come around to have a "talk" with him). His email is DeWayneWickham@aol.com.

I don’t have a link, sorry. Couldn’t find one. Readers, help the linkigially challenged?

What's your agenda? 

Do you have one? If you don't, do you want one? Or are you just saying you don't have an agenda because your agenda is hidden? Is it possible not to have an agenda? What is an agenda?

NOTE Questions inspired by alert reader Mrs. T.

UPDATE Alert reader MJS supplies us with Bush's agenda. However, he forgets that the poor are poor because they are unGodly. Anyhow:

"[BUSH] When I go home tonight I'm gonna play with my broccoli. Laura's gonna steam some broccoli, I know it, she always does. And I'm gonna pick up one of those little steamed broccoli trees and get it all jiggling, and we're gonna laugh, we're gonna laugh hard, because we're free and broccoli jiggles when it's been steamed. Sorry about your dead kids, but you're poor and fuck you."

I did consider placing this contribution under The Department of Pictures You'd Rather Not Have in Your Mind...

It's DeLovely, It's DeLawyer, It's DeLay...(clunk) 

Trying to channel the spirit of Cole Porter here, but it just doesn't work. Nothing with the word "DeLay" in it will scan worth a crap.

Oh yeah, he's lawyerin' up. BIG time.

(via Richmond VA Times-Dispatch)

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, facing allegations of unethical conduct, has turned to Richmond lawyer and Republican activist Richard Cullen for legal help.

DeLay, R-Texas, recently retained Cullen and the firm where he is a partner, McGuireWoods LLP, a DeLay spokesman confirmed yesterday. Cullen is a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and a former state attorney general, appointed by then-Gov. George Allen, now a U.S. senator.

Cullen will handle a wide range of matters for DeLay, including ones that may come before the House ethics committee, DeLay spokesman Dan Allen indicated in an e-mail. He declined to say why Cullen was selected. Cullen would not comment yesterday.

In 1987 [Cullen] was special counsel to then-U.S. Sen. Paul S. Trible Jr., R-Va., during the congressional investigation into the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages controversy.
Gotta find my old cast album of "Anything Goes." For some reason "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" is playing pleasantly in my head right about now.

Goodnight, moon 

Dunno if my B.S.S. will let me sleep. And if you want to lie awake, or wake up screaming, check out this compilation on Randi Rhodes of information on who makes electronic voting machines. Diebold is not the only Republican donor...

And as long as we're poking our own brand of gentle fun at the malAdministration, try this Google search. Heh. Hope they don't take it down. (Via, again, Randi Rhodes.)

(Democracy left for) Dead in Ohio 

A little classical music there, kids...

In response to "Coin dealers, money laundering, and connecting the dots in Ohio", Kossack Gryn alerts us to Bernadette Noe, lady wife of Bush Pioneer Tom "Just Say" Noe, he of the mysteriously missing millions that we, putting on our tinfoil hats—as if, at this point, we ever take them off—argued could well have been part of a money laundering scheme to pay rogue Diebold programmers to hack Ohio's servers.

Well, Gryn points out that Bernadette—if I may so call her—was on the board of elections in her county. The board was choosing between two Diebold products: one, an optical scanner, with a paper trail; the other, a touch screen, without. And which product did Bernadette favor? Guess. Take all the time you need. That's enough, right? Yes, she favored the unauditable, no-paper-trail product; so much so that she dropped a dime on a fellow Republican to get him off the board, and the no-paper-trail product in.

And what county is that, you ask? The one Bernadette got the unauditable Diebold machines into?

Why, Lucas County. Here's one of those juicy little election details:

Similar sworn testimony surfaced Tuesday at a citizens' hearing in Toledo. Among other things eye witnesses confirmed that a Diebold programming team entered the Lucas County (Toledo) Board of Elections to "reprogram" the opti-scan voting machines on the day the recount began.

Catherine Buchanan, a Democratic Party observer, testified that one of the sample precincts chosen as a control for the recount---Sylvania Precinct 3---had the programming card reprogrammed prior to the ballot testing. While the observers watched, nearly seven out of fifteen test ballots were rejected at least three times before the machine would read them.

Janet Albright told hearing officers she had been voting at the same Lucas County polling place for fourteen years but that the polling place was changed this year without notification to a station farther away. Machines throughout Lucas County malfunctioned in tests through the week prior to the election, and on election day. Thousands of Ohioans---primarily in Democratic precincts--thus lost their right to vote.

During the Lucas County reprogramming, election observers were shocked when they were denied the right to look at sheets that had target test results on them, or the reprogramming of the opti-scan machines used in the recount. Diebold-leased machines and software malfunctioned in the weeks prior to the election.
(Yurica Report

Say it once, why say it again? Because it bears repeating:

What we knew:

Dot 1: Precious metals are good for money laundering.

Dot 2: Tom Noe "lost" $10-14 million dollars in rare coins, good, like precious metals, for money laundering.

Dot 3: Diebold says they want to help Bush win, and Diebold programmers are known to have been convicted of fraud. (All from "Coin dealers, money laundering, and connecting the dots in Ohio".)

Now add this:

Dot 4: Tom Noe's wife got Diebold machines that don't leave a paper trail installed in Lucas County.

Dot 5: Lucas County was a statistical anomaly, Bush's way, on [cough] election Day.

Dot 6: Diebold programmers did something to the machines in Lucas County after the [cough] election, but they wouldn't show anybody what. I wonder why?

When is a reporter going to take Deep Throat's advice, and follow the money?

I'm still betting some of the laundered money ended up in the pockets of a rogue Diebold systems programmer, hacking the mother machine.

Oh, man. My B.S.S. is acting up real bad. Again.

Friday, June 03, 2005

This picture needs a caption! 


5:00 Friday Horror: Gitmo jailers pissed on the Koran 

Well, 7:45:

American jailers at the Guantanamo prison for foreign terrorism suspects splashed a Koran with urine, kicked and stepped on the Islamic holy book and soaked it with water, the U.S. military said on Friday.

In the incident involving urine, which took place this past March, Southern Command said a guard left his post and urinated near an air vent and "the wind blew his urine through the vent" and into a cell block.
(via Reuters)

Yeah, and the dog ate my homework. Guess I'd better not try to dry out my, um, waterlogged copy of The Purpose Driven Life near the window, eh?

Coin dealers, money laundering, and connecting the dots in Ohio 

Every Friday is Tinfoil Hat Day!

I just can't stop connecting those dots....

Dot One: As we surmised (awhile back), dealing in precious metals can be a front for a money laundering operation. In fact, the Treasury Department agrees:

The Bush administration, in its latest effort to nab drug lords and terrorist financiers, will require major dealers in gold, diamonds and other precious metals and gems to set up comprehensive anti-money laundering programs.

The provision applies to dealers who have bought and sold at least $50,000 worth of precious metals and gems. Dealers whose activities for the 2005 calendar year fall into that dollar threshold will have until Jan. 1, 2006, to set up anti-money laundering programs.

"The characteristics of jewels, precious metals and stones that make them valuable also make them potentially vulnerable to those seeking to launder money," said FinCen's director William Fox.

Congressional investigators have told the Treasury Department it needed to get a firmer grip on how terrorists may be using alternative means - such as trafficking in gold and hard-to-trace diamonds - to raise and move financial assets.
(via AP)

Dot Two: Rare coins are also hard to trace. Bringing me at once to the shenanigans in the Ohio Republican party. Pass the popcorn:

Ohio's "Coingate" scandal isn't just about the disappearance of up to $12 million in rare coins a state agency invested in, or even about the fact that the agency had no business investing public money in collectibles in the first place. It's also about an apparent culture of influence peddling and abuse of power in state government. Authorities must get to the bottom of this problem - wherever it may lead. More important, state leaders should quickly enact reforms to guard against the abuses this episode has exposed.

Two months ago, reports emerged that $300,000 in rare coins was missing from a collection in which the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) began investing in 1998 as a peculiar form of stock hedge. That was bad enough. But last week, word came that between $10 million and $12 million in coins had disappeared. [I.e., "disappeared" into somebody's pocket. But whose?] That caused BWC director Jim Conrad to announce his resignation, and launched a flurry of accusations and calls for legal action.

At the scandal's center is [Bush Pioneer] Tom Noe a rare coin dealer, former county GOP chairman, long-time party fundraiser and (until recently) member of the Ohio Board of Regents. He arranged and managed BWC's coin collection, sharing in the profits.

Noe, who faces several investigations, also has given campaign donations to virtually all statewide elected officials. But Noe is not alone. It was reported this week that Republicans have received more than $200,000 from 50 other brokers who have done business with the BWC. And that's just one state agency.

It all leaves an ugly perception - which may well be backed by reality - that Ohio state government runs on a "pay-to-play" basis, that political contributions buy state business. This is unacceptable. Ohio voters and taxpayers deserve far better.
(via Cincinatti Enquirer)

Shocked, shocked!

Of course, the Enquirer is a Republican paper and a cog in the wingerly apparat; the Enquirer's owners and backers are thoroughly enmeshed in, and have benefitted handsomely from the system they now editorialize against.

So, what if pushing the pay-to-play narrative is yet another piece of misdirection?

They heave a few polticians over the rail to divert our attention from... something.

But what? What could be worse for the Republicans than a massive corruption scandal in a state that they have totally wired? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

Dot Three: A corrupt voting machines systems programmer would demand to be paid in laundered money; and those who paid him would want to use laundered money as well. Before dismissing this idea—I grant it isn't a theory—remember:
  1. We already know of Diebold one voting machines programmer convicted of fraud, and
  2. Diebold's Republican CEO said he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

And who is better equipped to put a corrupt systems programmer in place at Diebold then, well, the Republican executives of the company? Laundering their own corporate money through Thomas Noe's company, as part of the $10-12 million that got "lost"?

Oh, and did I mention that Diebold is headquartered in Ohio?

Please refer all comments containing the words "conspiracy theory" to The Department of No! They Would Never Do That!

After all, we already know that Florida 2000 was stolen—not through the chad fiasco, though that was bad enough, but by the systematic exclusion of likely Democratic voters from the rolls, well before the election.

NOTE Although individual electronic voting machines are hackable, the true vulnerability of an electronic voting machines system is that the votes are centrally stored and tabulated on a single server. That's called a single point of failure. "Give me the right place to stand, and I will move the world," said Archimedes. And give a corrupt systems programmer the right set of privileges, and one man, acting alone for those who paid him, could create all those little statistical anomalies that have so many worried about Ohio 2004.

UPDATE Here's an Ohio blog that's watching the saga unfold. Pass the popcorn!

Did the Nixon White House have prior knowledge that Bremer would assassinate Wallace? 

A lone gunman, acting alone, leaving a diary—or not?

But which one? Back in the day, there very so very many lone gunmen, acting alone, leaving diaries... It's almost as if all these operations events had something in common...

Anyhow, did anyone in the Nixon White House have prior knowledge that Arthur Bremer was going to assassinate George Wallace? Tinfoil hat time? Not really. The Wallace family seemed to think so. And Nixon's behavior at the time was even weirder than usual.

Will Bunch brings our attention to some WaPo content: an actually, honest-to-gosh scoop that seems to have been overlooked in the orgy of Deep Throat coverage:

For the first time, Woodward

There's a pony in here!
-- relying on information that he got from the No. 2 CIA man back in 1972 --added some key new details to President Richard Nixon's strangely suspicious behavior after the shooting that crippled Alabama Gov. George Wallace, the most serious political threat to the president's re-election that year. The growing mound of information about White House meddling in the probe of deranged would-be assassin Arthur Bremer is enough to suggest a re-opening of the investigation of the probe:
[WaPo]That evening, Nixon called Felt -- not Gray, who was out of town -- at home for an update. It was the first time Felt had spoken directly with Nixon. Felt reported that Arthur H. Bremer, the would-be assassin, was in custody but in the hospital because he had been roughed up and given a few bruises by those who subdued and captured him after he shot Wallace. "Well, it's too bad they didn't really rough up the son of a bitch!" Nixon told Felt. Felt was offended that the president would make such a remark. Nixon was so agitated and worried, attaching such urgency to the shooting, that he said he wanted full updates every 30 minutes from Felt on any new information that was being discovered in the investigation of Bremer.

It's important for the White House to stay atop a political assassination case, and that Nixon would take some special interest in the matter in an election year is hardly surprising. But why would the president seem so agitated, and make so many phone calls, on what in essence seemed an open-and-shut case of a lone gunman?

This passage is from a 1997 Washington Post story involving some of the tapes. It begins with a White House meeting that night of May 15, 1972, between Nixon and Chuck Colson, his aide who today is a prominent born-again Christian [SIC] activist:

"Is he [Bremer] a left-winger or a right-winger?" Nixon asked. "Well, he’s going to be a left-winger by the time we get through, I think," Colson replied. "Good," Nixon said, chuckling. "Keep at that. Keep at that." Colson’s lieutenant, soon-to-be Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt, told the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973 that he was told to get into Bremer’s Milwaukee apartment simply to find out "what kind of a kook this guy is," but the idea really was to salt the place with McGovern for president literature. With the FBI on the verge of obtaining a search warrant, Colson was worried only that it might be a bit too late.

In the end, Colson canceled the operation. The FBI had the apartment sealed. But the next morning, at a meeting with Colson and top aides H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman, Nixon was still urging a White House-inspired media campaign about Bremer, with tidbits to be obtained from FBI Director L. Patrick Gray. "You got Pat Gray, he will be an accomplice," Nixon says in confident tones. "Use him. And use Colson’s outfit—you know, to sneak out things. I mean, you do anything. I mean, anything!"

Maybe this is all very sleazy, hardball politics. Or maybe this is something worse. Could the "agitated and worried" Nixon have been concerned that Hunt and his team of "White House plumbers" -- arrested at the Watergate Hotel just 33 days later -- would somehow be linked to Bremer through one of their rogue operations.

The key question in any crime is cui bono?, or who benefits? With Wallace surging in the Democratic primaries, he might have launched another third-party bid, one which could have out-performed his 1968 showing of 13 percent -- and cost Nixon a close election.

Before Wallace died in 1998, his family asked the case be re-opened -- specifically to examine the actions of Nixon's aides. From a Dec. 14, 1992, Associated Press story (Nexis -- no link): The FBI should reinvestigate the 1972 shooting of former Gov. George C. Wallace, his son said, to learn if there is any truth to a report that the attack was discussed in the Nixon White House.

George Wallace Jr. said Saturday he asked President-elect Clinton to reopen the investigation and that he also wants a congressional inquiry. Wallace said he doesn't believe then-President Nixon had any knowledge of the assasination attempt before the shooting. "My question is, did anyone else involved in Nixon's campaign have prior knowledge?" he said. That was 13 years ago -- but it's not too late. In fact, the key players -- Hunt, Colson, Liddy -- are all alive and in good health. They may know more about why their boss was so agitated about Arthur Bremer. In 2005, with "Deep Throat's" final leak, we're still wondering what did all the president's men know, and when did they know it? (via PNI Online)

Interesting. But since Colson is now a Christian [cough] activist, maybe we could just ask him; after all, it's a sin to lie...

And please refer all mail containing the words "tinfoil hat" to The Department of No! They Would Never Do That!

If He Was So Bad, Why Doesn't Bush Give Him A Medal Of Freedom? 

Is there anything more laughable than a pair of fools like Friedman and Brooks extolling the poverty of the Third World as an antidote to those spoiled rich kids in Europe with all their outdated perks? (Brooks' "It is happier to live in a poor country that is moving forward - where expectations are high - than it is to live in an affluent country that is looking back" is particularly delicious; when can we look forward to him packing up the family for the big move to India?) Anything more hilarious that that?

Why, yes, I guess it would have to be the spectacle of 3 known law-breakers, one with time under his belt, lambasting W. Mark Felt as a traitor to everything Americans hold dear for outing the largest government criminal conspiracy prior to the Bushco coronation. For putting it all together in one place we can thank John Stewart and The Daily Show. And for putting it into a neatly watchable soundbite that I can link to, I can thank Crooks and Liars.

As John Stewart proves, "Mark Felt is truly a great man."

Update: Fixed Friedman's name. Although in the climate of the current regime, evidence of incompetence is only incompetence of evidence.
Ask Rumsfeld.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Um, Peggy? Josh? Anyone? 

I was just reading this post of Josh Marshall's referring to Peggy Noonan's outrageous comments about W. Mark Felt today.

Let me just quote the part of Noonan's article I'm interested in talking about:
Felt helped produce was a weakened president who was a serious president at a serious time. Nixon's ruin led to a cascade of catastrophic events--the crude and humiliating abandonment of Vietnam and the Vietnamese, the rise of a monster named Pol Pot, and millions--millions--killed in his genocide. America lost confidence; the Soviet Union gained brazenness. What a terrible time. Is it terrible when an American president lies and surrounds himself by dirty tricksters? Yes, it is. How about the butchering of children in the South China Sea. Is that worse? Yes. Infinitely, unforgettably and forever.
Um, Peggy? Josh? Anyone see the problem with this argument?

How about the impeachment of a president over a blowjob? Anyone remember what was going on at that time? You know, um, that little "obsession" as W and the boys called it at the time that Clinton's administration had with that little insignificant Islamic terrorism thing?

If one's going to make this sort of argument about the impeachment of Richard Nixon one could easily make a similar argument about the impeachment of Bill Clinton. One could contend that the impeachment of Bill Clinton produced, to use Peggy's words, "a weakened president who was a serious president at a serious time."

If we're going to seriously accept an argument that Nixon was capable of stopping Pol Pot then it's not too crazy to contend that Clinton could've stopped al-Qaeda if he hadn't been critically weakened by "Lewinsky-blowjob-gate." Clinton would've been in a position to seriously go after al-Qaeda if he wasn't distracted by the impeachment saga of 1998 and 1999.

In short, if Peggy can get away with this argument then I'm going to contend that Clinton's impeachment helped lead to the deaths of thousands of Americans on 9/11.

Furthermore, since W and the boys used the bogus terrorism link argument to justify the IraqWar Part II disaster, one could contend that Clinton's impeachment may have also led to the deaths of 1,600 U.S. soldiers and 100,000 Iraqis over the past two years.

In fact I would even be so bold as to contend that I have a much better argument on the evidence than Peggy does.

Anyone else care to comment? Please, can someone out there in bigtime media or a bigtime blogger say something about this?

UPDATE Mustang Bobby in comments points out that Noonan et al is getting this from none other than Rush himself.


UPDATE 2 Hello Buzzflash readers! Several thousand of you have come in since last night and we here at Corrente appreciate your visits.

As for bigtime bloggers or media, not a one of them (and I e-mailed a link to several of them) have linked this or written about this yet.

Oh well.

What's in That Kool-Aid? 

From the Department of Disturbing Possibilities:

Today’s local fishwrapper has an AP (no link, sorry) article that says a Swiss scientist named Ernst Fehr of the University of Zurich has discovered a hormone named oxytocin, which, when sprayed on people or ingested, makes them trusting even when they shouldn’t be. Willing to give people money, believe lies, stuff like that. Seems to work 17-45% of the time.

Perhaps now we know what’s in the Kool-Aid, eh? Could there be an antidote? A hormone that makes people examine facts and evidence?

Those Swiss—well, at least they gave the world LSD. Maybe they can come up with the antidote, too.

Christopher Cox: An SEC Shoo-In 

Yeah, if Bush wants him, you know he's trouble.

Swimming In The River Phlegethon 

And while we're on the subject of Africa, the Village Voice has a number of meaningful pieces, including this one from Nat Hentoff on what may be at the bottom of Bush's hypocritical hesitation to intervene in the affairs of Darfur--the agreement with the Sudanese government to feed us info on terrorists:
"Why have Bush, Rice, and the rest of the administration betrayed the black-Africans being slaughtered in Sudan? The answers are in a detailed report by Ken Silverstein in the April 29 Los Angeles Times, "Official Pariah Sudan Valuable to America's War on Terrorism."
Silverstein writes, the CIA sent "an executive jet...to ferry the chief of Sudan's intelligence agency [the Mukhabarat] to Washington for secret meetings [with CIA officials] sealing Khartoum's sensitive and previously veiled partnership with the administration, U.S. government officials confirmed.
As Silverstein notes, the head of Sudan's equivalent of the CIA, Major General Salah Abdallah Gosh, was Khartoum's liaison with Osama bin Laden when that Al Qaeda flourished in Sudan during the 1990s. More recently, members of Congress have charged General Gosh and some of his colleagues in Khartoum with "directing military attacks against civilians in Darfur."
With their blood on his hands, General Gosh told the L.A. Times, "We have a strong partnership with the CIA. The information we have provided has been very useful to the United States."
General Gosh was not understating how valuable his partnership with the CIA has been, and continues to be, to the United States—so valuable that last October, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service confirmed that while Gosh has indeed been among those playing "key roles" in the genocide in Darfur, the Bush administration is "concerned that going after these individuals could disrupt cooperation on counter-terrorism."
He goes on to identify specific acts of omission committed by the Bush administration to protect Sudan's government in exchange for the relevant data. Rather like the convenient relationship we've had with Uzbekistan, methinks.

And then there is the post by the admirable Ward Harkavy on Wolfie's new gig at the World Bank, and how much impact we can expect it to have on the ongoing African crises. (His opinion is: "Not much.") But linked to that post is a story by the IRIN arm of the UN on the tragedy in the Congo that manages to highlight, in an almost throwaway manner, an even more cruel twist to the already ghastly atrocities committed there--Viagra as a weapon of war:
""Most of these rapes were by the Interahamwe but some were by members of the national army," Stanilas Bya Mungu, GTZ project manager in Bukavu, told IRIN.
Army dissidents led by Mutebutsi and Nkunda carried out rapes systematically during their occupation of Bukavu, he said. The dissidents, he said, targeted neighbourhoods then went from house to house to rape victims ranging from one to 80 years old.
"We noticed that Viagra was attributed to [Mutebutsi's] military," he said.
The dissidents, he added, broke into four medical distribution centres in the city and took the viagra."
I'll spare you the evil details. If Africa has not yet become the seventh circle of Hell, I'd surely like to know where it is.

But don't worry. Our precious tax dollars and marching freedom won't be squandered there.

Snowflakes in June 

A veritable cavalcade of weirdness this morning, and one need look no further than the NYTimes to find it. First to smack one in the eye like the proverbial cream pie is the heartwarming tale of discarded cells rescued from the sink by nice white people in search of nice, perfect white children of a suitably malleable age:
"...to protest a bill supporting the use of embryos for stem cell research, President Bush appeared with the McClures and 20 other Snowflakes families, kissing the babies, some of whom wore T-shirts that said "former embryo," or "this embryo was not discarded." Federal and state lawmakers have held similar appearances.
People on this part of the political spectrum have begun calling the process "embryo adoption," echoing the phrase that Snowflakes uses instead of "embryo donation." The Health and Human Services Department has termed the process embryo adoption in certain grants. Bills that would formally call it "embryo adoption" have begun to filter into statehouses in California, New Jersey and Massachusetts, states that, not coincidentally, are at the forefront of legalizing and encouraging embryonic stem cell research...
"I think appearing with Snowflakes kids is a potent symbol, and I think it illustrates the truth, which is that the embryo is just that child at an earlier stage of development," said Bill Saunders, director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Life and Bioethics."
"Snowflakes" being an organization of people dedicated to saving frozen embryos from the near extinction threatened by the immminent collapse of the in vitro fertilization industry. As real, live children (with heads and arms and legs and everything) die brutal deaths under the watchful eye of child protective services here at home and in bogus wars everywhere else, this touching display of pro-life angst feels more than a tad misplaced. But what do I know? I'm just a kid who was actually adopted after I was born.

Meanwhile, our Culture of Life president is coming up with reasons why we can't give more money to Africa, in addition to the previously promised $15 billion we never gave:
"Asked Wednesday about the issue, Mr. Bush said, "It doesn't fit our budgetary process."
So there, you 4 million dead Congolese! Bush did actually raise the issue of genocide in the Sudan, but only in a spirit of political efficacy. You see, the lack of frozen embyros in that country, combined with its lack of oil or other useful resources, make it all but impossible for him to commit to any kind of humanitarian intervention.

"When the President Talks to God" 

Just click the link. You'll be glad you did.

Click here.

My favorite stanza has got to be this one:
When the president talks to God
Does he ever think that maybe he's not?
That that voice is just inside his head
When he kneels next to the presidential bed
Does he ever smell his own bullshit


Goodnight, moon 

Look! Over there! Richard Nixon!

Look! Back there! A functional free press!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

La Meme Ca Change... 

In a comment to my previous post on the Felt matter, parsec wrote:
"I was in college when the Watergate hearings were televised and not being a politically in-tune type I was only vaguely aware of the ins and outs of the story. It didn't make sense to me why Nixon would be involved with such a thing when the election was in the bag. I never believed many of the nasty things people said about him at the time. Then, over time, one by one, the stories proved true. The last one was verified about four years ago when the Nixon Library(!) exhibited the letter from Anna Chenault wherein she lamented the price she was paying for having persuaded President Thieu to withdraw from the Paris peace talks -- so Nixon could beat Humphrey in the '68 election. The deal left on the table that year was the same one we accepted five years -- and 20,000+ American lives -- later."
But they died for freedom. Don't you see how much freer we are since the war, what with all our oil-guzzling Hummers and non-returnable bottles and useless-as-tits-on-a-boar McMansions we rattle around in? Doesn't the sweet smell of liberty waft through the air when you look at a new improved map of Vietnam? And how about those Cambodians? They really came out of the deal smelling like roses, didn't they? Good God, it's great to give your life for a concept, isn't it? Well, I guess I wouldn't know, being as I'm not quite dead yet, and being as neither are all the powermongers who move the pieces on the board and exchange someone else's lives for their own even as they speechify all that high talk about how good it is to die for freedom. But, Goddamn! It sure does sound pretty, doesn't it? Pretty enough to tempt all those kids who believed in a real, honorable American dream, the one where we ride in with the cavalry and save the little guy from the murdering Hun. Pretty enough to grow plenty more cannon fodder for the next 50 years of patriotic bullshit memorial services overseen by cowardly men offering cliched epitaphs to dead soldiers that they, and they alone, are responsible for murdering.

20,000+ more dead? Please. There's so much more where they came from. We can do this for hundreds more years, and so long as we confuse pity and respect for our dead with a mandate for endless war, we will never. Ever. Stop.

Each time, the wave hits farther up the beach 

I hate to interrupt the SCLM's circle-jerk on Deep Throat, but needs must when the Devil, or Bush, drives.

The easy point to make is that Deep Throat, and Watergate, explain why the Bush Whited Sepulchre House would rather that the press use no anonymouys sources (except those approved by Karl Rove, of course). Nixon... Now there was a President. Don't you wish you had Nixon back, instead of this crowd?

Anyhow, the long narrative that the SCLM is studiously ignoring is this:

The Republicans have been trying to abolish Constitutional government for some time. And each time, the wave breaks further up the beach.

Nixon, the first wave: Watergate, and the plumbers, were felonies orchestrated and directed from the White House. And Nixon tried to use national security as a cloak to hide his crimes. But our Democratic institutions—and here I use the letter "D" in both upper and lower case—were strong enough to withstand the assault. Hearings were held, and Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment.

Reagan, the second wave: Iran-Contra was a covert, off-the-shelf army run from the White House, off budget, and against the express intent of a law passed by Congress exactly to forbid such a thing. In this case, our Democratic institutions were weaker. Hearings were held, but even though the offense was greater than Nixon's, Reagan suffered no penalty, and the all the malefactors were pardoned.

Bush, the third wave: Name it. A war founded on deception ("facts and intelligence to fit the policy"). The Geneva convention, a treaty ratified by Congress, turned to a scrap of paper by White House Lawyers. The Patriot Act. The theft of at least one Presidential election. The Cheney task force.

For Bush, nothing. No penalties, no consequence. Are our Democratic institutions so weak?

UPDATE Then again, for the antidote See RDF.

If Wishes Were Horses 

Know what I saw today at the store parking lot?

A guy in a cowboy hat peeling off a W’04 sticker from his truck.

I had to ask, figuring he was just tired of it or something.

And by the Tits of Meshe, he said, “Wish I’d never voted for the lying motherfucker.”
I just nodded. If only more begin feeling this way, we got a real chance in ’06, me hearties. Our local party is stronger than ever. Twenty new registered since we held our local chair election.

That's Gratitude For You 

Following up on Tom's post about Deep Throat below, the linked article contains this gem from Charles Colson:

Nixon chief counsel Charles "Chuck" Colson, who worked closely with Felt in the Nixon administration, also expressed surprise at the disclosure.

"Mark first served this country with honor, and I can’t imagine how Mark Felt was sneaking in dark alleys leaving messages under flower pots and violating his oath to keep this nation’s secrets. I cannot compute that with the Mark Felt that I know," Colson said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press. Colson pleaded no contest to an obstruction of justice charge in the Watergate scandal and served time in prison.
(via MSNBC)

As many know, Colson's career has had a lucrative (and lachrymose) second act as a "born-again Christian." Fewer might recall that his conversion came about after the Watergate-induced shattering of his earlier lucrative career as self-described "hatchet man" who "would walk over my grandmother for Nixon."

You might think that, as a Christian for whom coming to Christ is the only thing that matters in life, he might have considered thanking Mark Felt for literally making his salvation possible. But this is a guy who has bupkis to say when a fellow Christian hypocrite lies to the voters on a daily basis about matters of life and death, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Which is further proof, if any is needed, that a born-again Christian is just the same old turd with a fresh coat of paint.

The Good Old Days Aren't Gone--Just Hard To Locate 

Everywhere you look, details of the newly-revealed identity of "Deep Throat" are splashed across the headlines. It's almost as though people were nostalgic for the days when reporters went underground and did difficult work to get to the bottom of government wrongdoing and malfeasance.

Oh, wait. That's still going on. It's just that nobody really seems to care anymore, which is why, I guess, the Boston Herald can come right out and claim on Bush's behalf that the Amnesty International report is a "lie".

While it's interesting that Felt has finally admitted to his part in the Watergate investigation, in an archival, anthropological way, it's not the story that needs to be pushing everything else off the front page. The big story is how complicit current news organizations have become in "catapulting the propaganda" (3rd paragraph up from the end of the speech.) Or in subtly re-shaping the concepts underlying how government works, as in CNN's curious spin on how Congress has an obligation to Bush not to honor the wishes of the people who put them in office. Irony? Irony doesn't begin to cover it.

(Thanks to Crooks and Liars for pointing out the last two examples.)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Oh God! My B.S.S. just spiked! 

[Excuse me just a minute.]

[OK, now I feel... Different, anyhow.]

"Elder Bush would like son Jeb to run for president."

Nice of Dad to weigh in with that thought now, huh? Quack, quack....

A Good Ride Spoiled 

(I was gone for a bit for various reasons, but now I'm back. [To those of you groaning at this news, just deal with it.] But I'm just crossposting today from my own site because I'm playing catchup on so many levels. Here's my take on re-entering the world of Babble-On).

9It’s been a long, peaceful respite, away from the news and the shameless, preening babblefest we can always expect from our government any time of the year that patriotically-themed holidays are on the calendar. We’ll be getting another in 35 short days, and then again in November. (Flag Day, June 14, seems curiously lacking in interested parties, but as it has always been focused on the cloth and not the blood spilled around it, I expect it holds too little titillation for all the armchair warriors who so enjoy blatting about the joy of death on behalf of those who can no longer give an opinion.)

But I couldn’t even get through the 10 hour ride home without my blood pressure skyrocketing to stroke level every time I heard snippets of the Memorial Day speech coming out of that slack-jawed hayseed that squats in the West Wing like a foul toadstool, let alone his riposte to the Amnesty International report, him and his henchman. Is that the best you could manage, George, you impotent worm? In one breath he pushes for a totally bogus evisceration of Social Security, saying "The easy path is to say, `Oh, we don't have a problem. Let's ignore it -- yet again", while almost at the same time waving away the thousands of pages of ACLU evidence, the army and FBI's own reports, with the words:
"It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world," he said, adding: "We've investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of — and the allegations by — people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble — that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report."
That's right, people who've been trained to disassemble! As in, disassemble the truth.

But that pack of bald-faced lies and brazen Orwellisms was a mere amateur's work compared to the Memorial Day speech. I give you:
"America has always been a reluctant warrior."
Lies! He sought this war; he manipulated every event, turned every phrase, pressured every intelligence analyst, to make the war he so dearly wanted a reality. And this:
"Because of the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, two terror regimes are gone forever, freedom is on the march, and America is more secure. "
More lies! The Taliban are alive and well in Afghanistan (where women are still looking for that marching freedom), making inroads just about everywhere except Kabul, and Kabul isn't looking so well these days. The civil war we unleashed in Iraq is gaining ground and shows no sign of containment. Our own Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication warned last year that our actions since 9/11 have actually made us less safe. But his hubris and gall know no bounds. He reads from letters written by the dead, to families back home, reads the parts that say things like this:
"...I gave my life so you could live. Not just live, but live free"
He goes on to tie it up neatly with this:
"And we must honor them by completing the mission for which they gave their lives, by defeating the terrorists, advancing the cause of liberty, and building a safer world."
Where did he get these letters? How did he get his hands on them? How do we even know they're real? And how do you "defeat" terrorists, when every violent act only creates another one?

What a bitter homecoming, to have to listen to a man not fit to lick my cat's ass "disassemble" the truth from atop the pile of dead he has made, and watch him wrap himself in the borrowed glory and pity of those lives left broken and shattered in his own hateful wake.

Inerrant boy and the problem of evil: That's my story, and I'm sticking to it 

Yes, the White House press room has indeed devolved into a Theatre of the Absurd:

Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, recently, Amnesty International said you have established "a new gulag" of prisons around the world, beyond the reach of the law and decency. I'd like your reaction to that, and also your assessment of how it came to this, that that is a view not just held by extremists and anti-Americans, but by groups that have allied themselves with the United States government in the past -- and what the strategic impact is that in many places of the world, the United States these days, under your leadership, is no longer seen as the good guy.

[BUSH]: I'm aware of the Amnesty International report, and it's absurd. It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that is -- promotes freedom around the world. When there's accusations made about certain actions by our people, they're fully investigated in a transparent way. It's just an absurd allegation.

In terms of the detainees, we've had thousands of people detained. We've investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations -- by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is. And, you know -- yes, sir.
(via Whited Sepulchre House transcript)

"Disassemble," as in take apart, destroy, rip to pieces.... Is that a Freudian slip, or what?

Kinda like "disassembling" a frog, isn't it?

UPDATE From the Department of Say It Once, Why Say It Again?:

It really is not a coincidence that the boy who blew up frogs with firecrakers is the man who mocks those he has the power to execute and the man who authorizes policies of torture.

See back here to The Problem of Evil (2005-02)—for which the political (as opposed to the religious, ethical, or tribal) solution is checks and balances, as the Framers knew.

UPDATE Alert reader kelley b notes:

[KELLEY B] Bu$hie not only wears the Freudian slip, but the Freudian dress and pumps, too.


[KELLEY B] Thanks, you're a great audience. I just flew in from...

My Tire Guy Makes My Day 

Went down to the tire guy's place today to get my oil changed (I like him, so I'd rather pay him than do it myself or go to one of those oil-change places) and he had the little teevee on sitting on the table with aWol (aWol but still with enough chutzpah to attend a Senseless Slaughter Remembrance Day, er--I mean, Memorial Day ritual) doing a "press conference." (That is, a "session where the little box on his back better not short out.") I had to laugh when Jerald, the tire guy, 'Nam vet and all-around fixit man, looked at the teevee and said, I quote:

Sheeeeit. If that motherfucker can be president, my goddam dog can be president, and look at the poor fucker--got hit by a car and hasn't been right since. I warned you, didn't I? Oh, that's right. You're a Kerry guy. Well, I tell ya, if you ever chug some bad whiskey and need to puke it up, just watch this bastard talk awhile. That shit'll come right up. And you're talking to a veteran. A real one. 'Course, then you'll want more whiskey.

I tipped him nicely. Now to find some whiskey.

Felt is Deep Throat 

W. Mark Felt, who retired from the FBI after rising to its second most senior position, has identified himself as the "Deep Throat" source quoted by The Washington Post to break the Watergate scandal that led to President Nixon's resignation, Vanity Fair magazine said Tuesday.

"I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat," he told John D. O'Connor, the author of Vanity Fair's exclusive that appears in its July issue.
(via MSGOP)
From what I recall, many bloggers had speculated that it had to be Felt.

Quack, quack 

Even WaPo seems to be catching on:

Two days after winning reelection last fall, President Bush declared that he had earned plenty of "political capital, and now I intend to spend it." Six months later, according to Republicans and Democrats alike, his bank account has been significantly drained.

Ah. The famous Bush mandate [NSFW!].

"There is a growing sense of frustration with the president and the White House [no kidding], quite frankly," said an influential Republican member of Congress. "The term I hear most often is 'tin ear,'" especially when it comes to pushing Social Security so aggressively at a time when the public is worried more about jobs and gasoline prices. "We could not have a worse message at a worse time."

Well, a message like this would be better in 2006. Numbers like this too:

In the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, taken last month, 47 percent of Americans approved of Bush's performance, tying the lowest marks he ever received in that survey, back in mid-2004, when Democrats were airing tens of millions of dollars' worth of campaign attack ads.

Similarly, just 31 percent approved of his handling of Social Security, an all-time low in the Post-ABC poll, while only 40 percent gave him good marks for his stewardship of the economy and 42 percent for his management of Iraq, both ratings close to the lowest ever recorded in those areas. Other surveys have recorded similar findings, with Bush's approval rating as low as 43 percent.

It would be nice if that darn liberal media would put that "popular President" meme to rest, now.

Such weakness has unleashed the first mutterings of those dreaded second-term words, "lame duck," however premature it might be with 3 1/2 years left in his tenure.

Bush's chief strategist, Karl Rove, is said by colleagues to remain optimistic that Congress will deliver Social Security legislation that includes personal accounts. But other aides privately are beginning to talk about whether they could accept a deal that does not include the accounts.

No deals. Never, never, never, never, never. "When your enemy's drowning, throw him an anvil."

John D. Podesta, a top Clinton aide who runs the Center for American Progress, a research institute that promotes ideas that counter conservative policies, said Bush made the mistake of trying to turn a successful election strategy of catering to his base into a governing philosophy that excludes Democrats.

"What surprises me is that they seem to be unable to adjust particularly to the circumstances," Podesta said. "They promoted their Social Security case. It bombed. I would have thought they would have tried to change the subject or tried a different strategy. 'You're with us or against us' works well when you're fighting al Qaeda, but it doesn't with Social Security, and they don't seem to have another play in the book."
(via WaPo)

I don't see why Podesta's surprised. The wingers and the theocrats put liberals, democrats, and Democrats in the same category as AQ, and they're Bush's owners. So it's not surprising that Bush has the same mindset about us that he does with AQ.

Monday, May 30, 2005

I can accept Bush butchering Lincoln, but must He butcher Eisenhower? 

Granted, Bush's Memorial Day speech wasn't the weird travesty that His D-Day speech was—but still..

Here's the Eisenhower quote in context:

At a distance, their headstones look alike. Yet every son or daughter, mom or dad who visits will always look first at one. General Eisenhower put it well in 1944, when he wrote his wife, Mamie, about "the homes that must sacrifice their best." The families who come here have sacrificed someone precious and irreplaceable in their lives -- and our nation will always honor them.
(via Whited Sepulchre Housetranscript)

Standard issue Bush bathos and fakery, you think? No. Here's the whole quote from Eisenhower; I've crossed out the parts that Bush left out, for vividness:

How I wish this cruel business of war could be completed quickly. Entirely aside from longing to return to you it is a terribly sad business to total up the casualties each day even in an air war and to realize how many youngsters are gone forever. A man must develop a veneer of callousness that lets him consider such things dispassionately; but he can never escape a recognition of the fact that back home the news brings anguish and suffering to families all over the country. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives and friends must have a difficult time preserving any comforting philosophy and retaining any belief in the eternal rightness of things. War demands real toughness of fiber-not only in the soldiers that must endure, but in the homes that must sacrifice their best.
(via Women of Wars)

Funny how Bush left out the arithmetic part ("total up the casualties"), the empathatic part ("the news brings anguish"), the longing for peace ("this cruel business"), and the challenge to faith ("a difficult time preserving any comforting philosophy.")

Or not funny.

The savage irony is that the Army public relations office has a 2001 boilerplate speech that uses the Eisenhower quote. Let's see what they left in, as opposed to what Bush left out. Here are some excerpts from that script:

May 1, 2001
"Standing in the Shadow of Greatness"

(Opening amenities; speaker acknowledges and addresses specific audience)



A few weeks before the Normandy landing, the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, wrote home to his wife reflecting on the great losses he had witnessed during the war. He wrote, "It is a terribly sad business to total up the casualties each day ... and to realize how many youngsters are gone forever. A man must develop a veneer of callousness that lets him consider such things dispassionately, but he can never escape a recognition of the fact that back home the news brings anguish and suffering to families all over the country. War demands real toughness of fiber, not only in the soldiers who must endure, but in the homes that must sacrifice their best."


Contributing writer: Tom Vance

THE SPECIAL EVENTS SPEECH SERIES, a command information product of Army Public Affairs, consists of prepared speeches for holidays and events of special interest to Army audiences and the general public. Regular speeches in this series cover Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Army Birthday/Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.

We encourage speakers to adapt these speeches as needed for local and timely use.

(via Army Public Affairs)

Well, I see the Army managed to leave out Eisenhower's longing for peace ("this cruel business"), and the challenge to faith ("a difficult time preserving any comforting philosophy.

But they left in Eisenhower's arithmetic, and they left in Eisehower's empathy.

Funny how Bush left the empathy and the arithmetic out. I wonder why?

UPDATE A tip of the Ol' Corrente Hat to alert reader Will Kirkland for fixing a massive typo.

Hmm, 2: Stealth fighters to South Korea 

Of course, any deployment that makes the front pages of the Times isn't all that stealthy:

The deployment last week of 15 stealth fighters to South Korea, along with the severing of the American military's only official interaction with North Korea, appears to be part of a new push by the Bush administration to further isolate North Korea despite China's hesitation to join the effort.

Although senior Pentagon officials say the F-117 stealth fighters are part of preparation for a long-planned training exercise, the show of force comes at a delicate moment both militarily and politically. China, South Korea and some experts in the United States have urged the administration to make a more specific offer to North Korea, laying out what it would get in return for giving up its nuclear arms program. Administration officials, however, have suggested in recent interviews that they are headed toward taking a hard line, cracking down on the North's exports of missiles, drugs and counterfeit currency.

The United States warned its allies this month that the North might be preparing to test a nuclear weapon. Now senior officials say American intelligence agencies are still monitoring several locations in North Korea where a nuclear test might be held, though they readily concede the evidence that the North will proceed with a test is "partial."

In a change that reflects a failure of the present policy, some officials say they will no longer rely heavily on China to sway the North Koreans. Ms. Rice met with China's leaders in Beijing in March specifically to ask them to pressure North Korea. That pressure has continued. But senior officials say they now realize that China may never be willing to use its leverage over North Korea, which relies on China for much of its food, energy and other resources.
(via that Okrent-hating-good-for-fishwrap not the London Times)

Well, great. Of course, I'm sure this intelligence is trustworthy.

I mean, Bush wouldn't fix the intelligence and facts around the policy twice, would he?

NOTE Before Iraq, I thought North Korea was the greater priority. But now... Who knows what these guys are willing to fake, or how bad the clusterfuck will be when they "git tough"? Of course, it couldn't possibly be worse than Iraq, right?

Hmm, 1: Chazez drops out of sight 

I hope he doesn't smoke cigars...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is fine despite rumors about his health after the cancellation of his weekend radio and TV show, a government official said Monday.

Information Minister Andres Izarra told the television station Globovision "there is no reason to be alarmed."

"There is nothing abnormal or extraordinary occurring," Izarra said. He said the 50-year-old president was well and handling government business as usual on Monday.

Izarra made the comments after hundreds of government supporters went to the Miraflores presidential palace Sunday demanding to see Chavez to check he was all right, the government said in a statement.

Chavez was last seen in public on Friday. He was expected to attend a pro-government march on Saturday, but his attendance was canceled.

His radio and TV show "Hello President" was canceled on Sunday. Izarra told state television and radio Sunday that Chavez turned over his airtime to allow the broadcast of a volleyball match between Venezuela and Brazil, citing family commitments. Izarra said Chavez was "spending time with his family, as every human being has a right to do."
(via AP)

Not that I'm paranoid...

And no doubt in Venezuela "spending more time with his family" means something quite different than it does here. But still....


Yes, Rudyard Kipling knew a thing or two about soldiering in dusty Mesopotamian wars:


by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

Funny how recruiting quotas drop when the chickenhawks send not enough troops on a fool's errand for WMDs they had to know never existed, without armor, and with no plans to win the peace, after fixing the intelligence and facts around the policy, isn't it? "You bet that Tommy sees!"

While about 80% of my rage is directed at Bush, his Dominionist owners, and the PNAC scum for getting the troops into a quagmire, the remaining 20% is directed at the feckless Democrats for rolling over on it. As most of them are still doing.

UPDATE Paul Krugman says what Kipling says, except in prose:

[O]ur all-volunteer military is based on an implicit promise that those who serve their country in times of danger will also be able to get on with their lives. Full-time soldiers expect to spend enough time at home base to keep their marriages alive and see their children growing up. Reservists expect to be called up infrequently enough, and for short enough tours of duty, that they can hold on to their civilian jobs.

To keep that promise, the Army has learned that it needs to follow certain rules, such as not deploying more than a third of the full-time forces overseas except during emergencies.

But the Bush administration, which was ready neither to look for a way out of Iraq nor to admit that staying there would require a much bigger army, simply threw out the rulebook. Regular soldiers are spending a lot more than a third of their time overseas, and many reservists are finding their civilian lives destroyed by repeated, long-term call-ups.

Two things make the burden of repeated deployments even harder to bear. One is the intensity of the conflict. In Slate, Phillip Carter and Owen West, who adjusted casualty figures to take account of force size and improvements in battlefield medicine (which allow more of the severely wounded to survive), concluded that "infantry duty in Iraq circa 2004 comes out just as intense as infantry duty in Vietnam circa 1966."

The other is the way in which the administration cuts corners when it comes to supporting the troops. From their foot-dragging on armoring Humvees to their apparent policy of denying long-term disability payments to as many of the wounded as possible, officials seem almost pathologically determined to nickel-and-dime those who put their lives on the line for their country.

Now, predictably, the supply of volunteers is drying up.

Much more serious, because it would be irreversible, would be a mass exodus of mid-career military professionals. [happening already, back] "That's essentially how we broke the professional Army we took into Vietnam," one officer told the National Journal. "At some point, people decided they could no longer weather the back-to-back deployments."
(via Times

Nice work, you chickenhawk pieces of shit. And it's great to see all the members of the 101st Fighting Keyboaders volunteering to take up all the slack. And it's great to see all those Federalist Society weasels and K Street gladhanders and blow-dried evangelists and winger media whores and Sabbath Day gasbags stepping out of their wingtips and into Army boots.

Oh, it's not happening? Dulce et decorum est, alright, it's especially sweet when someone else is doing the dying. Scum.

A Memorial Day Observation 

Did you ever think we'd get to the point that two car bombs killing 30 Iraqi police officers would merit just a cursory ho-hum mention on CNN?

And, of course, this is on the same day that Chimpy makes his usual perfunctory speech at Arlington Cemetery for Memorial Day.

And don't you agree that a man who has sent 1600 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths based on lies shouldn't even be allowed on such hallowed ground?

As for what the Memorial Day weekend is like for the families of those 1600 Americans, go here.

Another good article about what the image of the U.S. has become during W's regime, go read this.

UPDATE Hitting a few of the same notes, the Rude Pundit has an excellent Memorial Day blog post here.

Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori 

Remember, it's a fucking LIE. When I think of Memorial Day, I think of wasted lives. I think of World War One, with its terrible piles of dead. I recall Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I think of the warmongers among us now, drooling over their maps and new weapons, just sure that their special deity is on their side. And I think of the recruiters. And I think of the obscene "defense" (read "imperial war") budget. And I put on a recording of "Universal Soldier" and read Johnny Got His Gun and cry and then get angry, very angry. I'm sorry, soldiers everywhere--one day this madness must end and there are those working toward it. As Dr. King said, we either learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.

Happy Memorial Day. Now there's an oxymoron.

Holiday etiquette tips: Getting those guests to leave 

If they think you're technical, go crude:

GENEVA, Ill. A 46-year-old man allegedly set his own home on fire in order to get two visitors to leave, police said.
(via AP)

Don't try this at home! Or, do.

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner 

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

Randall Jarrell

Good to have a long weekend, isn't it?

Goodnight, moon 

So, are the Dominionists trying to provoke a religious civil war? Is that the long term strategy?

Great headlines of our time 

It's not a bubble 'til it bursts

The chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Assn. is worried enough about the torrid housing market to get out of it.

"I'm going to rent for a while," said Douglas Duncan, who expects "significant reversals" in regions that have enjoyed strong home price appreciation, including Washington, D.C., Florida and California. He plans to sell his suburban Washington home, which has tripled in value since he bought it a dozen years ago, and move into an apartment.
(via LA Times)

Find a bigger fool while you still can!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Meetup going belly up? 

A shame. See Kos.

Then again, seems like exactly the sort of thing CivicSpace should be enabling, eh?

Grand Vapids: Preznit Chucklehead seeks yucks on the pleasant peninsula. 

Great Moments in Oratory:
"Someday you will appreciate the grammar and verbal skills you learned here. And if any of you wonder how far a mastery of the English language can take you, just look what it did for me." - President Bush's commencement address of this past week at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Woo-wee, I'll bet the 11pm show was a real spit-take nut-buster of ironic hilarity! Once ya git that Mr. GW fellar in a frendly room - and on a good timin' roll - the self depricatin' high spirited humorizims, why, they justa don't stop-a-comin'. No siree-dee-dee-dee-dee.

Anyway, thanks to John McCaslin: some guy "whose column is nationally syndicated" (and not just by any old syndicated outfit) but, rather, by the Messiah and True Parent hisself - of all humanity - and other seemingly important stuff like that.


corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

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