Monday, October 31, 2005

You have been warned

"We have been warned. Prepare for a broader war in the Middle East, as plans are being laid for the next U.S.-led regime change – in Syria. A UN report on the death of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafig Hariri elicited this comment from a senior U.S. policy maker: 'Out of tragedy comes an extraordinary strategic opportunity.' This statement reflects the continued neo-conservative, Machiavellian influence on our foreign policy. The 'opportunity' refers to the long-held neo-conservative plan for regime change in Syria, similar to what was carried out in Iraq."
-- U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), delivered Before the US House of Representatives, October 26, 2005

Full text of Ron Paul's speech here.

Watch the video here. (And ask why there were so many empty seats in the House).

Sunday, October 30, 2005

"Next!"


But if I can't have the devil...

I'll settle for the other weasel.


Being conservative is just criminal

"The poor babies. They want to cut taxes and we want to put them in jail. They want to keep the pork on the pan and we want to stick them on a Plamegate skewer. They want to break the laws of the land behind closed doors and we want string them up for a modified hangout in the light of day."
-- Michael Conniff, New West. Full article here.

The Myth of The Pro-War, Pro-Bush Military Shattered in New Poll

"More than half of North Carolina military members surveyed in the latest Elon University poll disapprove of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq and his overall job performance. Nearly 53 percent of military members said they strongly disapproved or disapproved of Bush's handling of his job. And just more than 56 percent of that same group strongly disapproved or disapproved of how he has dealt with the Iraq war."
-- Tim Whitmare, Associated Press. Full article here at Veteran's for Common Sense

2,000 US troops dead in Iraq; one soldier's story


"I went to fight in Iraq to get revenge for 9/11... I found out Bush had led us into a war that was immoral and totally wrong."

Tomas Young's full story
here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

This note's for you, Christo fascist zombie brigadiers

Sorry - busy dealing with the aftermath of Wilma in my neck of the woods. But just to irritate the right wing zombies who swallow the bull of the Bush administration criminal cabal but drop in here on occasion to try and offend me, some food for thought (insofar as they are capable of that process):
"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group or any controlling private power. " --President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Sunday, October 23, 2005

They just love us in Iraq ... to death

"Millions of Iraqis believe that suicide attacks against British troops are justified, a secret military poll commissioned by senior officers has revealed. The poll, undertaken for the Ministry of Defence and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, shows that up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country. It demonstrates for the first time the true strength of anti-Western feeling in Iraq after more than two and a half years of bloody occupation."
-- Sunday Telegraph, London. Full article
here.

Old Bush vs. new

"The Bush administration is bracing for a powerful new attack by Brent Scowcroft, the respected national security adviser to the first President George Bush. A Republican and a former Air Force general, Scowcroft is a leading member of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment, and his critique of both of the style and the substance of the Bush White House, is slated to appear in Monday's editions of the New Yorker magazine. The article also contains some critical comments on the handling of U.S. foreign policy by the current President Bush from his father, whose 1989-1993 presidency is hailed for deft management of the end of the Cold War, German unification, the first Gulf war and the collapse of the Soviet Union. "
-- UPI, Oct. 21, 2005. Full article here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cheney ' Cabal' hijacked foreign policy says former Powell chief-of-staff

This is too good to pass up for something as mundane as sleep....

Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday. In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made. “Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.”
-- Financial Times Full article here.

"Go f**k yourself, Mr. Cheney."

The big lie about Valerie Plame

The dittohead legions and their cronies have begun a pernicious effort to deny that Valerie Plame was indeed an undercover agent of the Central Intelligence Agency. A former colleague of Ms. Plame reveals the factual poverty of these claims:

"The misinformation being spread in the media about the Plame affair is alarming and damaging to the longterm security interests of the United States. Republicans' talking points are trying to savage Joe Wilson and, by implication, his wife, Valerie Plame as liars. That is the truly big lie."

Larry C. Johnson worked with the Central Intelligence Agency (1985-1989) and the Department of State's Office of the Coordinator for Counter Terrorism (1989-1993). Valerie Plame was a classmate of his from the day she started with the CIA.

Full article here.

Some more petard hoisting

When they are not indulging in outright lies, the right wing loves to post quotes from Democrats that purport to prove that they once supported various Bush administration policies, whether it be the belief that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction, or just the (sad) fact that most of the Dem delegation voted to begin this war in the first place. Some of these comments they take out of context, but others are inescapably true.

As we all wait the word from Paul Fitzgerald on which White House insiders will be indicted for blowing Valerie Plame's cover, it seems appropriate to quote the current president's father on just such kind of behavior.

In 1999, George H.W. Bush said "... I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious, of traitors."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Money for Nothing

"When the final page is written on America’s catastrophic imperial venture, one word will dominate the explanation of U.S. failure—corruption. Large-scale and pervasive corruption meant that available resources could not be used to stabilize and secure Iraq in the early days of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), when it was still possible to do so. Continuing corruption meant that the reconstruction of infrastructure never got underway, giving the Iraqi people little incentive to co-operate with the occupation. Ongoing corruption in arms procurement and defense spending means that Baghdad will never control a viable army while the Shi’ite and Kurdish militias will grow stronger and produce a divided Iraq in which constitutional guarantees will be irrelevant."
-- Philip Giraldi, former CIA Officer, currently an international security consultant, writing in the American Conservative. Full article.

Don't you love it when Bush & Co. get a "left" hook from their fellow travellers? Never thought I'd be plugging Pat Buchanan's magazine in my blog.

Moonbat and proud


We call them "wingnuts," and they call us "moonbats." I doubt many of them know where their pejorative for us originated.

George Monbiot, scion of conservative Tories, born January 27, 1963, is a journalist, author, academic and activist in the UK who writes a weekly column for The Guardian newspaper.

Wear the appellation proudly.

No room in the taxpayer supported Armed Forces Radio Network

Progressive talk radio host Ed Schultz says his program, slated to debut on a Pentagon radio station Monday, was pulled to punish him for airing audio embarrassing President Bush. Ed Shultz played an audio tape of Pentagon communications official Allison Barber helping troops in Iraq rehearse for their broadcast video teleconference with the president last week. Barber walked them through questions and their answers and warned them the president might ask questions not from the script. The incident was widely considered an embarrassment to the White House, which appeared to be coaching soldiers for its own political purposes. According to People for the American Way, Barber personally called Schultz -- regarded as a liberal in the world of talk radio -- on Monday to tell him his show would not be airing Oct. 17 after all.
-- UPI

James Dobson and Rush Limbaugh? No problem.
Find out where Ed is playing on your radio dial.

SondraK


The intrepid team of web archeologists at Muttering Jam have uncovered a rare photo of right wingnut blog commander-in-chaff Supreme SondraK.

Muttering Jam medical consultant Dr. Harriet Miersky (no relation) says that this medical condition has been linked to frequent exposure to FoxNews.

Monday, October 17, 2005

It's Bush-Cheney, not Rove-Libby

"There hasn't been anything like it since Martha Stewart fended off questions about her stock-trading scandal by manically chopping cabbage on "The Early Show" on CBS. Last week the setting was "Today" on NBC, where the image of President Bush manically hammering nails at a Habitat for Humanity construction site on the Gulf Coast was juggled with the sight of him trying to duck Matt Lauer's questions about Karl Rove. "
-- Frank Rich, NY Times Full article

Friday, October 14, 2005

Alex Ross


Alex Ross takes the sometimes mundane art of comics books to a level undreamed of since, well... since forever. His paintings render super heroes with a raiment that is at once both godly and supremely human. In his relatively short career, he has risen to a pantheon of craftmanship in comics usually reserved for names like Kirby, Eisner, Steranko and Adams. Check out "Marvels" or "Kingdom Come" and prepare to be awed. And from this same brush has come the most wicked political statement about our current president that I have yet seen.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

George W. Bush's suicidal statecraft

"Flaying away with a stick at a hornets' nest while loudly proclaiming 'I will stay the course' is an exercise in catastrophic leadership.

"Sixty years ago, Arnold Toynbee concluded, in his monumental 'A Study of History,' that the ultimate cause of imperial collapse was 'suicidal statecraft.' Sadly for President George W. Bush's place in history but - much more important - ominously for America's future, it has lately seemed as if that adroit phrase might be applicable to the policies pursued by the United States since the cataclysm of 9/11."

Zbigniew Brzezinski was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter. This Global Viewpoint article was distributed by Tribune Media Services International.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Dems Chant 'Shame! Shame!' as GOP Bullies House Vote

Courtesy of the Brad Blog, another epiphanic legislative moment in our Congress. Did you see this on the 11 o'clock news? This is YOUR country they are tearing down, people!
Video in Windows Media format...
Video in QuickTime format...

"So you see, Virginia, once upon a time we had what were called 'checks and balances' ..."

Defeat Richard Pombo





Here's the man to replace Richard Pombo in California's 11th district. Californians - you MUST elect McNerney to start the ball rolling to run the Neocon nightmare out of town!

Remedial math



Thursday Oct. 6 2005: An Iraqi man picks through piles of copies of the new constitution left rotting in the Baghdad garbage dump.

What 200 Billion Dollars, 4 Billion Bullets
and 153,000 Gallons of Blood Has Bought

-- A Liberal Dose

Exhibit A

After devoting a portion of the October 6 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show to discussing pending legislation that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" of detainees held by the U.S. government, Glenn Beck interviewed a caller who claimed to have worked as an "intelligence officer" and to have "extracted intelligence" from U.S.-held prisoners by torturing them. The caller said his preferred methods of torture included burning the retinas of prisoners' eyes with high-powered halogen lamps and blowing out prisoners' eardrums with high-pressure water and air. He also claimed to have known "a contractor that did drilling on live teeth." After hearing the caller describe these torture techniques, Beck responded, "I've got to tell you, I appreciate your service." During the interview, Beck asked the caller if he ever had trouble sleeping at night. When the caller answered, "No," Beck responded, "Good for you." He later added, "[W]hen all is said and done, I'm glad people like you are on our side."
-- from Media Matters

Friday, October 07, 2005

The banality of evil

Evil men or just evil intent?

" Doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on "normalization." This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous, and unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as "the way things are done." There is usually a division of labor in doing and rationalizing the unthinkable, with the direct brutalizing and killing done by one set of individuals; others keeping the machinery of death (sanitation, food supply) in order; still others producing the implements of killing, or working on improving technology (a better crematory gas, a longer burning and more adhesive napalm, bomb fragments that penetrate flesh in hard-to-trace patterns). It is the function of defense intellectuals and other experts, and the mainstream media, to normalize the unthinkable for the general public."
-- Edward S. Herman, The Triumph of the Market

Fear Factor, Part II

If you can't sweet talk 'em, scare 'em

As national poll results reflect an ever-increasing disillusionment among the citizenry with the war in Iraq and the President's whole crony-ridden administration, last night's speech was an Orwellian classic. When all else fails, trot out the fear machine, make the linkage with "communism" and the "cold war." Recite the 9/11 mantra. But of course, ignore the fact that this ill-advised unilateral invasion of a Middle-Eastern secular state run by a bestial, murderous but ultimately UNTHREATENING tyrant (who just happens to be sitting on the world's 2nd largest oil reserves) has had one over-arching consequence. It has INCREASED the threat of terrorism in the world, it has INCREASED the influence of bin Laden and his al Qaeda jihadists not only in the Middle East but in Asia and perhaps Europe as well, and has swelled the ranks of willing suicide bombers.

One line stands out in my mind: "They seek to end dissent in every form and to control every aspect of life and to rule the soul itself."

Yeah.

More on Miers

What appears to be shaping up is a split on Miers between the holy roller Republicans (nay) and the corporate fat cat Republicans (yea). Thomas Franks showed us with great wit in “What’s The Matter With Kansas?” how the latter have manipulated the former to get what they want. Miers will be great for big business, since the bulk of her legal experience in Texas had been defending them against consumer or other sorts of redress claims. This should be interesting.

What does God have to say about those poll numbers?

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and his Information Minister Nabil Shaath have revealed, that in June 2003 U.S. President George Bush had told them that God had directed him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and that he then felt that the God was telling him to play the role of a peacemaker between Palestine and Israel, by helping the Palestinians in getting their state and Israelis their security.

The White House has, however, denied the claim as "absurd".

Full article
here

Previous post debunked?

O.K. I did find this at Snopes.com. And was pilloried at the dailyKos for not doing my fact-checking more carefully. What is interesting is how many people who left a comment at kos seem to think it still could be true (and also think that Snopes.com is part of the greater conspiracy). Anyway, I was convinced enough that I deleted the post on the dailyKos.

And this Hal Turner appears to be an ultra-paranoid wingnut afterall. Sorry, folks. We all make mistakes sometimes.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hard-wired key loggers installed in all new laptop computers?

I have not yet done any fact-checking on this, so I can't substantiate its veracity, but I'd rather err on the side of urban legend when it comes to liberty.

Check it out and decide for yourself. And send this around. If it's b.s., Snopes.com will pick it up sooner or later.

Mirsky on Miers


I don't get it. The Christo facist zombie brigades don't think she's righteous enough. At least some of them. The pachyderm congress is split. Harry Reid's lovestruck. And me, ever flirting with the frothy foam of paranoia's next wave, has to wonder - "whoa... what a great setup. If the righties appear split, the Dems will cave, and she's a shoo-in. If Reid supports her, the Republicans' radar will go off, and maybe she'll be sent packing." Maybe, just maybe, chaos rules after all.


(Still, you gotta wonder about someone who said that George W. Bush is the smartest man she's ever known.)

I was depressed even before I read Krugman today

Needed to take a rest from this stuff for a while - 3 days ain't much of a hiatus, I know - but I was starting to feel the overture of despair whittling at my soul. Take a walk down right wing blog avenue and see for yourself how many of these people genuinely believe that the state of the nation has never been better (or turn on the radio, except for NPR and AirAmerica, there's nothing but brownshirt talk radio fouling the ionosphere), that under the "leadership" of the greatest bunch of brigands in our 200+ year history, America will shine the light that illuminates the world. Bankrupt. Absolutely bankrupt, people. So I was in a tenuous state to begin with. Then I read Paul Krugman's recent column, "The Way It Is":

"Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He sold all his stock in HCA, which his father helped found, just days before the stock plunged. Two years ago, Mr. Frist claimed that he did not even know if he owned HCA stock.

"According to a new U.S. government index, the effect of greenhouse gases is up 20 percent since 1990.

"Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a 33-year-old Wall Street insider with little experience in regulation but close ties to drug firms, was made a deputy commissioner at the F.D.A. in July. (This story, picked up by Time magazine, was originally reported by Alicia Mundy of The Seattle Times).

"The Artic ice cap is shrinking at an alarming rate.

"Two of the three senior positions at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are vacant. The third is held by Jonathan Snare, a former lobbyist. Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog group, reports that he worked on efforts to keep ephedra, a dietary supplement that was banned by the F.D.A., legal.

"According to France's finance minister, Alan Greenspan told him that the United States had ''lost control''of its budget deficit.

"David Safavian is a former associate of Jack Abramoff, the recently indicted lobbyist. Mr. Safavian oversaw U.S. government procurement policy at the White House Office of Management and Budget until his recent arrest.

"When Senator James Inhofe, who has called scientific research on global warming 'a gigantic hoax,' called a hearing to attack that research, his star witness was Michael Crichton, the novelist.

"Mr. Safavian is charged with misrepresenting his connections with lobbyists -- specifically, Mr. Abramoff -- while working at the General Services Administration. A key event was a lavish golfing trip to Scotland in 2002, mostly paid for by a charity Mr.Abramoff controlled. Among those who went on the trip was Representative Bob Ney of Ohio.

"It's not possible to attribute any one weather event to global warming. But climate models show that global warming will lead to increased hurricane intensity,and some research indicates that this is already occurring.

"Tyco paid $2 million, most going to firms controlled by Mr. Abramoff, as part of its successful effort to preserve tax advantages it got from shifting its legal home to Bermuda. Timothy Flanigan, a general counsel at Tyco, has been nominated for the second-ranking Justice Department post.

"In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is awash in soldiers and police. Nonetheless, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has hired Blackwater USA, a private security firm with strong political connections, to provide armed guards.

"Mr. Abramoff was indicted last month on charges of fraud relating to his purchase of SunCruz, a casino boat operation. Mr. Ney inserted comments in the Congressional Record attacking SunCruz's original owner, Konstantinos 'Gus' Boulis, placing pressure on him to sell to Mr. Abramoff and his partner, Adam Kidan, and praised Mr. Kidan's character.

"James Schmitz, who resigned as the Pentagon's inspector general amid questions about his performance, has been hired as Blackwater's chief operating officer.

"Last week three men were arrested in connection withthe gangland-style murder of Mr. Boulis. SunCruz, after it was controlled by Mr. Kidan and Mr. Abramoff, paid a company controlled by one of the men arrested, Anthony 'Big Tony' Moscatiello, and his daughter $145,000 for catering and other work. In court documents, questions are raised about whether food and drink were ever provided. SunCruz paid $95,000 to a company in which one of the other men arrested, Anthony 'Little Tony' Ferrari, is a principal.

"Iraq's oil production remains below prewar levels. The Los Angeles Times reports that mistakes by U.S. officials and a Halliburton subsidiary, which was given large no-bid reconstruction contracts, may have permanently damaged Iraq's oilfields.

"Tom DeLay, who stepped down as House majority leader after his indictment, once called Mr. Abramoff 'one of my closest and dearest friends.' Mr. Abramoff funneled funds from clients to conservative institutions and causes. The Washington Post reported that associates of Mr. DeLay claim that he severed the relationship after Mr. Boulis's murder.

"Public health experts warn that the U.S. would be dangerously unprepared for an avian flu pandemic.

As Walter Cronkite used to say, That's the way it is."

We have gleefully accepted a culture of greed in this country that has destroyed our sense of community. Americans by and large will tolerate anything as long their acquisitiveness and material avarice can continue to be fed by a consumption driven economy that is ever ready to provide newer, flashier toys and the credit to purchase them. This, coupled with a preternatural ability to delude ourselves (with the complicit cooperation of our corporate media) will sadly lead to the unravelling of the nation. I fear that it is already happening.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Meaningful coincidence?

"Biohazard sensors showed the presence of small amounts of potentially dangerous tularemia bacteria in the Mall area last weekend as huge crowds assembled there, but health officials said they believed the levels were too low to be a threat."

-- Martin Weil and Susan Levine, Washington Post

Full article here.

Like Rachel Maddow this morning on AirAmerica, I am not ready to start accusing Karl Rove of bioterrorism, but this little item creeped me out nonetheless.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Buying of news by Bush's aides is ruled illegal

Meant to post this yesterday, dammit!

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 - Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.


In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the U.S., in violation of a statutory ban.
-- Robert Pears, NY Times. Full article
here.

Oh, and if you have any lingering doubts who paid for it? Yup, you and me.


Now, do you think anything will be done about it?

Fame


Hey, lucky me. Daring to post a comment on "Knowledge is Power," a self-congratulatory right wing blog run by Amazon Wingnut Supreme SonkraK, I unleashed a shitstorm of indignation and got myself awarded a pictorial tribute by one of "Headmistress" Sondra's wingless drones. Whoo-hoo!
I really need to get out more.

Planetary enemy # 1

Congressman Richard Pombo, R-CA

This guy represents the total and complete unraveling of every environmental safeguard that been put in place in this country in the last 40 years. When House Republicans announced their decision to pass over moderate New Jersey rep James Saxton and make Pombo chair of the House Resources Committee, property rights groups were ecstatic. "He has been there for us time and time again," said the American Land Rights Association. "This is great news," said a leading off-road-vehicles advocate. Having succeeding in eviscerating the endangered Species Act in the House (let's hope the Senate comes to their senses) he is now trying to get offshore oil rigs everywhere in the Gulf coast that Big Oil wants to drill. Here's his web site: http://www.house.gov/pombo/. Send him and email and tell him what you think. We need to find the indictable skeletons in this bozo's closet and send him packing. What is it with you Californians?