Wednesday, June 30, 2004

She Shoots ... She Scores!

We can only hope that Tom's vacation transforms into retirement. Barbara Ehrenreich hits a grand slam her first time out. Okay enough of the sports analogies but she writes a crisp essay denouncing one of my personal pet peeves ...the liberal label. Here's an excerpt but go read the whole thing.
You can call Michael Moore all kinds of things -loudmouthed, obnoxious and self-promoting, for example. The anorexic Ralph Nader, in what must be an all-time low for left-wing invective, has even called him fat. The one thing you cannot call him, though, is a member of the "liberal elite.
My point is not to defend Moore, who — with a platoon of bodyguards and a legal team starring Mario Cuomo — hardly needs any muscle from me. I just think it's time to retire the "liberal elite" label, which, for the past 25 years, has been deployed to denounce anyone to the left of Colin Powell. Thus, last winter, the ultra-elite right-wing Club for Growth dismissed followers of Howard Dean as a "tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show." I've experienced it myself: speak up for the downtrodden, and someone is sure to accuse you of being a member of the class that's doing the trodding.
Beyond that, the idea of a liberal elite nourishes the right's perpetual delusion that it is a tiny band of patriots bravely battling an evil power structure. Note how richly the E-word embellishes the screeds of Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and their co-ideologues, as in books subtitled "Rescuing American from the Media Elite," "How Elites from Hollywood, Politics and the U.N. Are Subverting America," and so on. Republican right-wingers may control the White House, both houses of Congress and a good chunk of the Supreme Court, but they still enjoy portraying themselves as Davids up against a cosmopolitan-swilling, corgi-owning Goliath.
It's true that there are plenty of working-class people — though far from a majority — who will vote for Bush and the white-tie crowd that he has affectionately referred to as his "base." But it would be redundant to speak of a "conservative elite" when the ranks of our corporate rulers are packed tight with the kind of Republicans who routinely avoid the humiliating discomforts of first class for travel by private jet.

So liberals can take comfort from the fact that our most visible spokesman is, despite his considerable girth, an invulnerable target for the customary assault weapon of the right. I meant to comment on his movie, too, but the lines at my local theater are still prohibitively long.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Is anyone missing Tom yet? Sadly, No! [Hat tip to Seb for my theft]

When Facing Your Own Mortality, It Becomes Easier to Face Your Mistakes

Bill Buckley Via INTL News - Josh Marshall:

“With the benefit of minute hindsight, Saddam Hussein wasn’t the kind of extra-territorial menace that was assumed by the administration one year ago. If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war."

Josh recaps the reasons for invading Iraq and whether any hold water at this point -he's spot on with why support for the war remained high while evidence discrediting all evolving rationales for it mounted:
Surveying the whole political landscape, it is clear that a large factor in keeping support for the war as high as it is is the deep partisan political divide in the country, which makes opposing the war tantamount to opposing its author, President Bush, a step most Republicans simply aren’t willing to take.[Nitpicker emphasis]

At a certain point, for many, conflicts become self-justifying. We fight our enemies because our enemies are fighting us, quite apart from whether we should have gotten ourselves into the quarrel in the first place.
Sad, but true.

Like Rain on Your Wedding Day ... or Not
David Ray Harris, whose false testimony put a man on death row for more than a decade in a case featured in the documentary 'The Thin Blue Line,' was executed in Texas on Wednesday for a 1985 murder.
Isn't it truly ironic?

La La La La La La La ...
The White House on Wednesday dismissed opinion polls showing that many Americans feel the war in Iraq has increased the danger of terrorism instead of reducing it.

Several surveys this month have shown growing public concern about the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and its potential for fueling Muslim anger against the United States.

Asked about polling data, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that Americans understood administration policy was 'making the world a safer and better place.'

'First of all, I don't know that all polls show the same thing on that very subject,' he said.

'Because of the action that this president is taking, we are making the world a safer and better place and making America more secure.'
Ignorance, after all, is bliss. I don't think for a nanosecond that these jokers believe that if they keep on repeating the same old lies their mantra will become the truth. However, I do think they believe that there is a significant proportion of the population that will come to believe it - and why not? It's been a winning strategy thus far.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Is He in Any Position ...?
Secretary of State Colin Powell threatened Sudan with unspecified U.N. Security Council action on Tuesday if it failed to crack down on Arab militias whose actions he said were approaching genocide against African villagers in the western Darfur region.[Nitpicker Emphasis]
I'm not saying we shouldn't do everything in our power to stop the genocide in Sudan but jeebus will these guys make up their minds about the UN already.

Ready and willing Reserves
The U.S. Army on Tuesday defended its plan to mobilize involuntarily 5,600 retired or discharged soldiers as nothing 'new or unusual,' but critics said it undermines the concept of an all-volunteer military.

The soldiers will be summoned from the Individual Ready Reserve, a seldom-tapped pool of 111,000 people who remain eligible to be called to active duty for eight years after completing their voluntary Army service commitment.

Army officials said these soldiers will be deployed this year to Iraq and Afghanistan to fill shortages in specific jobs such as military police and civil affairs.
Guess that 'handing over' thing was merely symbolic -shock.

With Apologies to the General ...

Giblets over at Fafblog! weighs in on the Veepstakes:

John Edwards. Edwards's 'Two Americas' speech was deeply stirring, it was by far his most effective speech. It was also his only speech. Giblets was deeply stirred the first three or four times he heard it. Now it just pisses him off. If Giblets hears any more about the Two Americas, Edwards, both Gibletses from both Americas will find you and slap you senseless.

Wesley Clark. Experienced. Battle-hardened. A foreign policy heavyweight. A complete non-starter. What happens to your lieutenant swift boat commander nominee when you stick a war hero Supreme Allied Commander, Europe on the market? Depreciation, that's what. Well, sorry, Clark, but with every other day from now 'til election day being Band of Brothers Monday, Napalm Wednesday, or Swiftboat Heroism Remembrance Friday, we need to ride this war hero monopoly pony as far and as fast as it'll go.

John McCain. Yes, Giblets is aware that McCain has completely rejected the notion of running with John Kerry over and over again and that he is currently campaigning for Bush. But it the idea is just too kooky and sexy to not mention over and over again! Kerry-McCain, Kerry-McCain, Kerry-McCain! Plus Giblets supports McCain's 'give Japan the Bomb' solution to North Korea. We need more 'outside the box,' or 'crazy,' thinking in our VP. Giblets has found Cheney's 'crazy-lite' approach to governance wanting of late.
Medium Lobster, on the other hand, has some words about what can happen when freedom reigns as the result of recent SCOTUS decisions. Which, if that's what Mr. Preznit was thinking of when he wrote "Let Freedom Reign" in his chickenhawk scratchings, would have been appropriate. However,given the context of said scratchings, "let freedom ring" would have been more fitting -no surprise there.

Go check these out because, after all, it's the world's only source of fafblog. While you're there you might want to see why Giblets is so upset about F9/11 as well.

Go Yankees' Fans
Cheney, who visited both clubhouses after batting practice, watched part of the game from the box of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and part from a first-row seat next to the Yankees dugout, where he sat between New York Gov. George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Cheney was booed when he was shown on the right-field videoboard during the seventh-inning stretch.

I may not be a fan of the yankees, but I'm a fan of their fans.

Steady Ass Covering in Times of Change

Juan Cole has two hypotheses regarding Bremer's hasty departure from Iraq. Either he's getting out of dodge before all hell breaks loose (saving his own ass) or they figure if they're no longer in Iraq, Allawi (and not the Bush Administration) will take the heat and the bad press. While the former is probably a valid thesis, we'll have to see how the latter flies. Either way, Sadly, No! shows us just how cool 007Bremer is upon his departure.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Presumably the Secretary of Defense doesn't do his standing naked, continuously, in the middle of the night, surrounded by hostile guards and attack dogs. But then, Rumsfeld's blustery testosteronics are at the heart of what has gone wrong with the Bush foreign policy—and last week the assorted temper tantrums appeared to be a leading indicator of a gathering summer storm confronting this presidency.

The torture investigation is one of four major defensive battles the Administration is facing. In the weeks to come, the White House will also have to deal with the 9/11 commission's final report, the congressional investigations into the CIA's bungled assessment of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and a special prosecutor's hunt for the White House leakers who blew the cover of CIA secret operative Valerie Plame. Not only is the Administration defending itself against the Democrats, the investigators and the media. Two other serious, surreptitious—and quite possibly unprecedented—battles are going on: the intelligence community is at war with the White House, and the uniformed military is at war with the civilian leadership of the Pentagon. The first conflict went public last week with news of the impending publication of Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terrorism, a book by an anonymous author who is known to be a senior CIA official and former chief of the agency's Osama bin Laden station. The invasion of Iraq was "an avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat," the author writes. "There is nothing that bin Laden could have hoped for more than the American invasion and occupation of Iraq."

Michael Moore couldn't have said it any better—and this book was vetted by CIA censors. In fact, the views of Anonymous are an accurate reflection of the opinions I've heard from multiple intelligence sources. The spooks seem to believe that outgoing CIA Director George Tenet was strong-armed by Cheney and Rumsfeld into overassessing Iraq's WMD capacity. This may or may not be true, but it is the conventional wisdom in the intelligence community. Furthermore, there is intense anger over the White House's revealing the identity of Plame, who may have been active in a sting operation involving the trafficking of WMD components. Plame was outed in a White House attempt to discredit the finding of her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, that there was no evidence that Iraq tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger. "Only a very high-ranking official could have had access to the knowledge that Plame was on the payroll" of the CIA, an intelligence source told me.

The military has made no secret of its fury with Rumsfeld and his coterie of neoconservatives at the Pentagon. Rumsfeld has been faulted for committing too few troops and too little planning to postwar Iraq. Returning National Guard leaders have been telling their congressional representatives about chaos in the field. There is also some rustling among the brass about General Tommy Franks' memoir, to be published in August. Bob Woodward reported that Franks once called Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, who was charged with postwar planning, "the [Cheney expletive] stupidest guy on the face of the earth," and some defense experts are wondering if Franks, who has a reputation for candor, will elaborate on that. ...

Hardly New

Doesn't this just get back to the Emperor having no clothes? Which is what some of us have been saying for quite some time.

Faulty Intelligence

You know, I never bought the faulty intelligence argument that BushCo was pawning off as an excuse for their lies that led to the invasion of Iraq. I also had a little different take on Tenet's "slam dunk" comment as introduced by Bob Woodward. Bob interpreted it to mean the case against Saddam having weapons of mass destruction was a slam dunk while I interpreted the comment to indicate that the PR case taken to the [gullible] American people would be a 'slam dunk' and they needn't worry about getting the citizenry on board. However, there is something to be said for faulty intelligence having a great deal to do with where we are today. Need I say more?

Losing It

It can't be something in the water, yet it appears to be contagious.


This is what it looks like.

Easing the Transition

Brought to you by the Coalition Provisional Authority and, of course, Music For America:

Countdown to Blastoff to democracy

...and another fitting Tribute to Ronnie to boot.

Sunday, June 27, 2004


Via Daily Beast

Held Hostage
An Iraqi militant group issued footage Sunday of a man it said was a captured U.S. Marine and threatened to behead him, further heightening tension ahead of the June 30 formal handover of sovereignty.
Maybe Bush could trade some arms for the marine. You know, continue with the Ronnie comparison. Speaking of the late, lame Reagan, Nick Morgan over at De Novo had the best suggestion for a tribute to that dear leader that I came across. He suggested the following: Lincoln's already got the five dollar bill, so boot him off the penny to make room for Reagan. After all, everyone knows what part of the Reaganomic dollar actually "trickles down," right?

Meter Malfunction
Republicans, the party of moral outrage concerning everyone's behavior but their own.

If I had to guess, I'd say it was a proximity malfunction on their morality meters.

Matinee Conflict
My husband and I went to a matinee on Friday (no, not that one). However, as we approached the theatre, we passed a couple of yahoos holding a large Bush-Cheney '04 sign in preparation for the arrival of F9/11 crowds. We were content to ignore them, until that is they had to shout, "Don't go in there and feed your hate." I turned and said, "Yeah, don't you hate it when a sitting Democratic VP tells a Republican Senator to go 'F' himself ... oh wait, that wasn't a Democrat was it? If you mental giants had bother to check the showtimes or noticed the paucity of patrons, you might have been able to deduce that we aren't even going in to see that movie." I further suggested that next time they merely wear their dunce caps which would send the same message and be considerably more convenient to transport. Not to worry, my husband is accustomed to cringing. BTW, we are going to see F 9/11 but we're waiting to go to the Democratic Fundraiser showing on July 11th - I mean why go to a matinee for $11 on opening day when you can wait a couple of weeks and pay $40.

Update: The movie we saw was The Notebook - yes, he came to a, little more bittersweet than I expected, chick flick with me. It was good, not great, but we both enjoyed James Garner as usual. We went to the local independent theatre which has always shown MM's films. The local megaplex, owned by an OC Republican, is showing F9/11 although they have not shown any of his other (or any small less commercial) films. Just goes to show you, there is one thing that comes before blind Republican loyalty ... greed.

It began with internet connection problems, followed by several 'real life' interruptions and lapsed into blogger melancholy. It's rather like a soap opera, or time-lapse photograghy of a geological event -you re-enter the process after what seems an eternity to find little has changed. BushCo is alive, and still misleading the country not having been either impeached or prosecuted; Kerry is still the Democratic nominee. On the other hand, Hesiod has called it quits and unlike Billmon who re-opened the bar, Counterspin Central remains closed. I hope this situation is temporary but it has caused me to reflect on the order of my addictions. First Billmon, then Hesiod ... if Digby bows out, I'm scrappin' the blogroll and starting from scratch.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

More Harmless Frat-like Fun
U.S. intelligence personnel ordered military dog handlers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to use unmuzzled dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees during interrogations late last year, a plan approved by the highest-ranking military intelligence officer at the facility, according to sworn statements the handlers provided to military investigators.

A military intelligence interrogator also told investigators that two dog handlers at Abu Ghraib were 'having a contest' to see how many detainees they could make involuntarily urinate out of fear of the dogs, according to the previously undisclosed statements obtained by The Washington Post.

The statements by the dog handlers provide the clearest indication yet that military intelligence personnel were deeply involved in tactics later deemed by a U.S. Army general to be 'sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses.'

President Bush and top Pentagon officials have said the criminal abuse at Abu Ghraib was confined to a small group of rogue military police soldiers who stripped detainees naked, beat them and photographed them in humiliating sexual poses. An Army investigation into the abuse condemned the MPs for those practices, but also included the use of unmuzzled dogs to frighten detainees among the 'intentional abuse.'

So far, the only charges to emerge have been against seven MPs and do not include any dog incidents, even though such use of dogs is an apparent violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Army's field manual. The military intelligence officer in charge of Abu Ghraib later told investigators that the use of unmuzzled dogs in interrogation sessions was recommended by a two-star general and that it was 'okay.'[Nitpicker emphasis]
C'mon didn't you ever put a sleeping pal's hand in a warm bowl of water at a slumber party? This is no different, just tryin' to scare the piss outta them is all, the head honcho said it was okay. B'sides, it got kinda boring around there and we just had to let off a little steam - Rush unnerstands.

As of late, this is a common referral to my blog. Hope it wasn't something I said.

It appears his site is down right now -at least I can't get it. But TBogg, who is always fabulous has really been extraordinary the past few days. Maybe it has to do with the loss of Ronnie - anyway you really need to stop by.

Apparently even Idahoans are unpatriotic these days.
A federal jury in Idaho on Thursday acquitted a Saudi computer student of charges that he spread terrorism on the Internet, handing the Justice Department a resounding defeat in a case that turned on a provision of the USA Patriot Act.

The case of Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, 34, in Boise had become a test of the scope of U.S. anti-terror laws, including a provision of the Patriot Act that targets secondary players.

Al-Hussayen was arrested in February 2003 in an early morning raid at his campus home at the University of Idaho in Moscow. He was accused of designing web sites and posting messages on the Internet to help recruit and raise funds ffor terrorist missions in Chechnya and Israel. His attorneys argued that he was being prosecuted for expressing views protected by the First Amendment.

The jury of four men and eight women delivered their verdicts after deliberating seven days. The trial lasted seven weeks and featured a convicted terrorist who said he was influenced by Al-Hussayen's web writings, and a retired CIA operative who said he thoughtthe government's case was a waste of time.

Al-Hussayen was acquitted on all three terrorism counts against him, as well as one count of making a false statement and two counts of visa fraud. Jurors could not reach verdicts on several other false-statement and visa-fraud counts, and a mistrial was declared on those charges.

'I think they need to focus on real terrorism cases. There are plenty of ways to do that without dismantling the Constitution,' David Nevin, Al-Hussayen's lawyer, said in an interview after the verdict. 'The message (from the jury to the Justice Department) has to be, `Do it the right way.'
If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere ... tumblin'

A Real Loss
The keyboard and the raspy voice have gone quiet, but his spirit will always live on.

'night, Sweet Ray.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Do you believe in magic?

BushCo, Evanesco!
If only.

New Memo-Gate

It all depends on what your definition of "humanely" is? Trouble is - Asscroft won't let us in on their definition.


A pentagram maybe, but the Pentagon?

In Transit

Did you see it?

Not, if like me, you live anywhere in the west.

Excused Absence

Okay, I don't have a note from my mom but Friday my cable company was obviously having issues and I had no internet access. Saturday, well Saturday, is kinda like my Sabbath - I generally don't blog on Saturdays. This is partly to demonstrate that I maintain some control over my habits; that it's not just another addiction. After that, well I wasn't sure if it was safe to come out yet. I mean my mother always said if you didn't have anything nice to say about someone, you shouldn't say anything at all. On a related note, it's a good thing to know that B.S. is still bipartisan. Yeah, because that's what their actions are really about - it couldn't be that they'd be wasting time and funds trying to get coverage and make headway during the mourning of St. Ronnie and cancelling ads for a single day for his funeral is so significant. This is an example of Dubya's suspension of campaign activites, and this move by Kerry, especially given some extremely difficult to reschedule big money benefit concerts, is one he'll likely regret.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Dope meets with Pope
The U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, James Nicholson, said he expected Bush and the pope "will have a very meaningful exchange on Iraq, the Middle East and terrorism" and said John Paul was "very supportive of our efforts" to combat the terrorist threat.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Yes, a meaningful exchange - headlines the following day read ...the last words of his frail holiness were reportedly "Eat sh*t and die Dubya, maybe you'll have better luck with your next re-birth." The mortician blushed as he reported of his efforts to return the Pope's right hand to a state suitable for an open casket - there was a little matter of a rigor-fixed finger gesture.

Horse Sense?

Go for a little Triple Crown Trivia

Reason #101 to Feel Safer

We hold American citizens and 'enemy combatants' indefinitely but this guy we deport to his terrorist homeland?
The Bush administration in January deported al-Marabh to Syria — his home and a country the U.S. government long has regarded as a sponsor of terrorism.

The quiet end to al-Marabh's case provides a stark contrast to other cases in which the Bush administration has held suspects without lawyers as enemy combatants. It also contrasts with the terms FBI agents used to describe al-Marabh in internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Al-Marabh "intended to martyr himself in an attack against the United States," an FBI agent wrote in December 2002. A footnote in al-Marabh's deportation ruling last year added, "The FBI has been unable to rule out the possibility that al-Marabh has engaged in terrorist activity or will do so if he is not removed from the United States."

One FBI report summarized a high-level debriefing of a Jordanian informant named Ahmed Y. Ashwas that was conducted personally by the U.S. attorney in Chicago. The informant claimed al-Marabh told him of specific terrorist plans during their time in prison while al-Marabh was serving an eight-month sentence for entering the United States illegally.

Even the federal judge who accepted al-Marabh's plea agreement on minor immigration charges in 2002 balked. "Something about this case just makes me feel uncomfortable," Judge Richard Arcara said in court. The Justice Department assured the judge that al-Marabh did not have terrorist ties.

A second judge who ultimately ordered al-Marabh's deportation sided with FBI agents, federal prosecutors and Customs Service agents in the field who believed al-Marabh was tied to terrorism.

"The court finds applicant does present a danger to national security," U.S. Immigration Judge Robert D. Newberry ruled, concluding al-Marabh was "credibly linked to elements of terrorism" and had a "propensity to lie."

Justice spokesman Bryan Sierra said Wednesday the government has concerns about many people with suspected terror ties, including al-Marabh, but cannot effectively try them in court without giving away intelligence sources and methods.

"If the government cannot prosecute terrorism charges, another option is to remove the individual from the United States via deportation. After careful review, this was determined to be the best option available under the law to protect our national security," he said.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Yes, deportation is such an effective tool. A little historical nugget. In 1991, the first 'hit' was obtained in a DNA database. The search identified an hispanic male with a long criminal history as the individual who raped and murdered a 23 year-old co-ed. The man had never been tried and convicted for any of his crimes, never served any time in prison. On the other hand, he had been deported 11 times. At the time of his arrest for this homicide, he was in jail; his assault attempt on another woman was thwarted when her son came home. Yeah, let's just deport them.


Could this be related? [to the post below]
Witnesses told a federal grand jury President George W. Bush knew about, and took no action to stop, the release of a covert CIA operative's name to a journalist in an attempt to discredit her husband, a critic of administration policy in Iraq.

Their damning testimony has prompted Bush to contact an outside lawyer for legal advice because evidence increasingly points to his involvement in the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to syndicated columnist Robert Novak.

The move suggests the president anticipates being questioned by prosecutors. Sources say grand jury witnesses have implicated the President and his top advisor, Karl Rove.

One Down
WASHINGTON - CIA Director George Tenet, battered by Sept. 11 fallout and criticism of Iraq intelligence mistakes, said Thursday he would soon resign in a jarring announcement that threw open a key position at a critical time in the war against terrorism.
The obvious glaring question ... can he get a book published before November?