Thursday, June 30, 2005

More on Trust

I just posted this comment over at Moxie Grrrl and thought it would further the discourse on the issues W, Rove and Co are having with Trust (yes, with a capital T):
The trouble with W, Rove and Co is this: If you can't trust them to tell you the truth when it is important, can you believe them when they say something you think is right?

1 Bush = ?

I was thinking about this on my AM run. Sure we need to beat the terrorists, and better to do it on theirs rather than our soil. Bear in mind that it is questionable that there were more terrorist in Iraq before we got there.

Even so, W was saying on Tuesday that yes, indeed, no matter the cost, "It is worth it." So, I put the question to you. How much is 1 Bush worth?

This led me to perhaps a really good freeway blog entry that I may put up this weekend.
1 Bush = How Many Dead Iraqi Children?
Warning - Graphic Photos many reichwingers won't want to look at are Contained in the prior two links - not suitable for children
Let's ask the questions again:
A - How much is 1 Bush worth?

B- Is it still worth it?

Ordered Not to Boo

This is an interesting idea, presented at Take it to Karl:
I have 2 achievement medals commending my actions at classified locations. I'm one of many who have more time in a tent than Bush has in the ANG. He is wrong. His speech was foolish. Giving it at a location where people were ordered not to boo him and to applaud shows rank cowardice. By landing on a military base and never leaving it, he proved he is afraid to face the public.
I do believe that folks serving in classified actions that recieve not one, but two achievment medals might know a thing or two about the difference between cowardice and bravery.

Add Another Country to the List of Great Places to Visit

Voting with our pocketbooks is the best mode of expressing our opinions becuase we can vote more than once and vote often (as Cesar Chavez used to say). Horay! for Spain.

Canada and Spain sound like a nice itenerary for those with discretionary dollars - although Canada has to get the nod for frugal folks like myself.

Just About as Good As A Fading Yellow Magnetic Ribbon Pasted to a Hummer

Anyone been over to www dot America Supports You dot Mil yet? I've been over there three times since W mentioned it in his now lauded-by-the-riechwingers speech. I have it found it about as gratifying and useful as those magnetic ribbons slapped on various SUVs.

What do you think about the location?

Here's the latest few posts from folks about the globe:
I thought that I would thank the men and women who have faithfully served that nation in a time of war. I pray every night that you will come back home and that everybody will recieve you with open arms.
Ben Bese, Drummond, OK

I would like to be able to thank each one of you individualy, that being impossible, I will just say that I pray for all of you and want you home safe. God bless you!
anne carr, Natick, MA

I just wanted you guys to know that it's not just Americans who value what you are doing all over the world. We here in Britain value, support, and are grateful for all the hard work and dedication that you have shown. It is people like yourselves and the others in your armed services along with our own armed services that have ensured our survival and freedom. So I wanted you to know that people all over the world see you as the fighters of freedom and liberty not just for America but for all those that value the right to say and think what they like.
Michael Pope, Harlow United Kingdon

We all realize how difficult it is for you and we want you to know our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you and keep you safe. We hope you return home soon.
Anna Garcia, Saint Louis, MO
Here's the latest few responses from GIs:
Just wanted to say thank you to everyone out there who supports the Military! You are the reason we do what we do. You are the people we are fighting for and we wouldn't have the courage and conviction to fight for our freedom if it wasn't for your love and support! Thanks so much! I love you America!
SrA Amy N. Velasco, USAF, Middletown, PA

I would like to thank America for supporting me and my fellow brothers and sisters. It's an honor to defend this great country, and it's people like you who make my job enjoyable. I've been to many countries, and sometimes we take our freedom for granted and how wonderful we have it here. I love my country and would die defending her.
Rolando Gandara, TSgt, Air Force, Fabens, TX

I want to thank everyone who supports every soldier in the US Military. I am a young soldier just turning nineteen, but the support that i have received had helped me 100%. Thank you to all of you for all you have done to make me a better soldier. And for supporting everyone to defend our country.
PFC Raychel Daum, princeville, IL

I want to thank the people of the united states for supporting us and to my mother and god for making it all possible to live in this great country with freedom. hopefully, one day other counties can share the same feelings about their country as i do about AMERICA
Ronald Smothers PFC U.S Marines, detroit, MI
The Take the Fight to Karl Web location is less fluff and more stuff. I suggest you have a visit over there instead.

Meanwhile, more GIs will be flying home in flag covered boxes over the course of the July 4th Holiday. Still worth it?

Here's a Good Idea

Who owns your property?

WEARE, New Hampshire (AP) -- A critic of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that governments may seize private property for economic development is suggesting the process be used to replace Justice David Souter's New Hampshire home with a hotel."

The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare," Logan Darrow Clements wrote in a fax to town officials in Weare Tuesday.

Souter, a longtime Weare resident, joined in last week's 5-4 court decision that said governments may seize private property for private development, if doing so would benefit a community.

Clements is CEO of Los Angeles-based Freestar Media, which fights "abusive" government. "This is not a prank," he said in a news release on the Freestar Media web site.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

In Case you Need More Convincing

Here's an interesting video that may startle a few of the W, Rove and Co. faithful. Well, come to think of it, they won't click here, now will they.

Oh, and here's another I pulled off the same url on War Crimes.

Hat tip to Pia at Courting Destiny for the link embedded in another fansastic post about nine eleven.

Good Points

This from a brother of a fallen Marine who died fighting W, Rove and Co's occupation of Iraq:
One was from the brother of a fallen Marine, who said he did not want Mr. Bush to say the war should continue in order to keep faith with the men and women who have died fighting it. "We do not need more justifications for the war. We need an effective strategy to win it," he wrote
Also, connecting Iraq and the Nine Eleven disaster is not only irresponsible, but a reprehesible ploy to move people politically.

Incidentially, how many more terrorists are in Iraq now that we are there?

I have two 2:24 PM Post Scripts:

I found the Libertarian Party position surfing blogexplosion. The have an exit plan and put it plainly:
The Libertarian Party strongly disagrees with President Bush’s unclear mission: We are not “hunting down the terrorists.” We are enabling them and providing Iraqi insurgents with a common enemy. And we are not advancing freedom. Instead we are advancing chaos in the Middle East.
And the Cranky Liberal, being Cranky, puts it more forcefully:
What I heard was a litany of things that are improving in Iraq. Schools and housing are being rebuilt. Electricity is almost back to pre-war levels. We heard about how the Iraqi’s are drafting their constitution, how we are training their security forces, and how other nations are starting to trickle aid into Iraq to help the Iraqi people.

These are good things.

One day they may be the beginnings of a free and democratic Iraq. Let us pray that happens. But a free Iraq is not the question. We gave our grudging OK to war not to free Iraqi children, but to protect our own. The issue three years ago, three months ago, and three minutes ago is whether or not invading Iraq was justified. Would an overtly offensive war on our part make the Middle East, America and the world a safer place to live in.

We know now the answer is no. Invading Iraq has not made America safer. Indeed we have all but ensured that we will face another terrorist attack in our country. We have turned Iraq into the bootcamp for modern guerrilla warfare. Already thousands of our enemy have slipped across the border to learn how to fight us. Enemies that were not in Iraq before we invaded...

...Beyond stupidity, beyond unrealistic spin, was a more fundamental betrayal in the Presidents speech - the continued linking of 9/11 to the Iraqi war. Once again this Administration is hell bent on blurring the line between the outrageous attack on America and our unjustified war in Iraq. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. There was no link no connection, no threat. There is now. The terrorists are threatening Iraqi civilians now because WE brought them there. It is the consequence of our actions that Iraq is fertile ground for terror, not the other way around. Continuing to distort the truth isn’t just disrespectful, it’s disgusting.

Even more disgusting than his blatant begging for young people to join the military as their patriotic duty.

The Canadians Take One More Step in the Right Direction

Still waiting for a credible explanation as to why or what it is about marriage that heterosexuals require federal intervention for protecting. Incidentially, the Canadians are way ahead of us on this issue. In time the US will follow.

We are affirming once again our world-wide reputation as a country that is open, inclusive and welcoming," Alex Munter, a spokesman for Canadians for Equal Marriage, said after Parliament voted late on Tuesday to make gay marriages legal across the country.

Closing the Gap

Looks like the fed is not completely full of nut jobs afterall, and a smattering of folks actually have their thinking caps on.

Forty-two members of the Republican rank and file in the House sent a powerful message to their leaders last week when they joined with Democrats and voted to close an outrageous loophole that allows lenders to skim billions of dollars from loans that should be going to needy college students.

At issue is a special category of student loans for which the government guarantees lenders a gargantuan return of 9.5 percent, even though the prevailing rate charged to students is lower than 3.5 percent. The loans, backed by tax-exempt bonds, were created in the 1980's, when interest rates were high, to keep lenders in the college loan business. Congress tried to phase out the high-interest loans in 1993, when rates declined and federal subsidies were no longer needed. But the lenders have contrived a series of bookkeeping tricks that have kept the system going, despite damning reports by the Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Budget Office and outside advocacy groups. More recently, the House Republican leadership has seemed determined to keep the gravy train running for the banking industry.

The amendment, sponsored by Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, is likely to be tied up in a rules dispute. But the Republicans who broke ranks to support the bill put leaders on notice, and set the stage for a very public battle over the issue that should begin after the July recess. The leadership should read the writing on the wall.


If an article is only just now being published in a peer reviewed journal, the information is already about two to three years old. Any one who regularly writes in scientific journals knows the lag between pulication and actual finding credible results is lenghty (two to three years is not uncommon).

When the administration talks about wanting to win the war on terror, they should be thinking two to three years in advance, not on retrospectively relevant information that no doubt, those who would wish to do us harm already know. Remember the whole Tylenol situation low two decades or so ago? What about the whole anthrax situation in 2001? No culprits found responsible/guilty in either case, now is there?

Disregarding a request from the federal government, the National Academy of Sciences published a paper on Tuesday that describes how terrorists could kill tens of thousands of people by dropping a few grams of botulinum toxin into a milk truck or storage silo.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences had planned on publishing the paper, by two Stanford University researchers, a month ago, but the academy balked when it received a letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The letter described the paper as "a road map for terrorists" and said that "publication is not in the interests of the United States" (The Chronicle, June 17).

But after meeting with government representatives, the academy's leaders decided that the benefits of publishing the paper outweighed any threats it posed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Tepid - Like someone draped a wet blanket over my soul, slowly sapping the warmth

My initial reaction to the talk delivered by W: Tepid, and no real answers: Just more of the same. I suppose those on the other side of the issue will be hailing W as the next best thing since Ronald Reagan. But, the speechifying left me feeling empty and disapointed.

Incidentally, I thought there was at least one other "higher calling" than enlisting in the armed forces, but I suppose the President and I will have to disagree:
I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you. And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces.
Here's a smattering of the various locations you get by typing in "higher calling" into google: a hymn, morning star rising, OCU, Francis Asbury Society, higher calling ministries, and you get the idea...not a single one on enlisting.

"It is Worth it"

I am a bit mystified as to how an AP reporter can already be reporting on what W has said when he is not scheduled to speak until 8:00 PM Eastern. Also, blogs for bush has an excerpt of the text of the, either some folks in the know are privy to information before it is dolled out to the general public, or something else fishy is going on. Ah, you have got to love the propaganda war.

Anyway, if you don't want to listen or watch live, you can already read the review of it here:
"Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying and the suffering is real," Bush said, according to excerpts released ahead of time by the White House. "It is worth it..."
Now correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't W also said that killing is wrong?
"The killing of a human being that cannot be justified no matter how vast the potential benefits"
Now of course, he is not referring to Iraq here, but isn't there some kind of moral dilemma embedded in these statements? Should I be outraged about the bloodthirsty nature of his commentary and hypocrisy?

Rhetoric and the W, Rove and Co

I posted this comment over at Shea's location. Thought it would make a fitting first entry for today in anticipation of the forthcoming rhetorical Rovewashing of hands that will take place later today at Ft. Bragg.

As Radar O'Reily would say..."Wait for it..." and the helicoptors rumble over the hills carrying more wounded and nearly dead GIs on our behalf and at the behest of the W, Rove and Co.
Blood spills on many soils, and souls lost number more than souls saved by the W,Rove and Co.

I love it when they trot out the old nine eleven gambit as an excuse for the war in Iraq. I do remember, and if I am not mistaken, nine eleven happened on their watch.

And it is funny, you know. It seems like a direct correlation. As the morass gets deeper, the rhetoric more simple. Brace yourselves for a healthy dose of Bushspeak later this day.
P.S. here's another great link provided by a friend via EMail:
Look for more good stuff here: In 1999, George W. Bush criticized President Clinton for not setting a timetable for exiting Kosovo, and yet he refuses to apply the same standard to his war. George W. Bush, 4/9/99: “Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.” VERSUS Donald Rumsfeld, 11/10/03: “But let me be clear. The goal is not to reduce the number of U.S. forces in Iraq. It’s not to develop an exit strategy.” -- A liar needs a good memory. The net never forgets.

Set for More Corporate Wellfare

While the media is sidetracked by the forthcoming speech by W (and the mixed sentiment about Iraq), we should all notice that Corporate America (like Walmart - hat tip to Shea for the link) is getting set for another big windfall in the form of concessions to Big Oil (no surprise there) and nuke companies (no surprise there either), oh, and coal cos. too (not surprised there either, are you?). So, the W, Rove and Co is only against wellfare when it goes to poor folks, I suppose. Oh, and they are set to further screw the Veterans - the very GIs the W, Rove and Co so shamefully use as a backdrop for political gain.

Slice 1:
The US Senate overwhelmingly passed a controversial energy bill that gives billions of dollars in incentives to the oil and nuclear firms, but which critics say does not go far enough to encourage conservation....The public interest group Taxpayers for Common Sense estimates that the tax credits for the nuclear energy industrty will total some 278 million dollars over the next 10 years, while the coal industry will garner some 2.25 billion dollars....

Free Information, At Least for Now

Don't know if Congress will button this up any time soon. But, for now, anyone can have a look at what your reps read before they make a vote. No doubt, the Reps don't read the whole bill and may actually only skim over many of these pamplets.

A Washington research group has created a Web site where the public can read, submit and download the difficult-to-find public policy briefs members of Congress use to get up to speed on issues.

The Center for Democracy and Technology has created an online database of Congressional Research Service reports that anyone with an Internet connection can now tap free of charge.

The often-coveted but elusive reports are produced by CRS, a public policy research arm of Congress. CRS, which boasts hundreds of analysts and a $100 million budget, churns out hundreds of briefs each year on a wide range of topics. It recently issued one, for example, called "U.S. Treatment of Prisoners in Iraq: Selected Legal Issues." Another was titled, "Gasoline Prices: Policies and Proposals." A third was "Immigration: Policy Considerations Related to Guest Worker Programs."

The reports have long been praised as nonpartisan, concise and readable. But they are reserved for members of Congress, committees and their staffs. A member of the public can get one generally only if a lawmaker chooses to release it.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Two camps in this country at this point: A - those who want to know if W, Rove and Co lied to us and manufactured the reasons to go to war with Iraq, and B - Those who don't.

I, for at least one, would enjoy an investigation to clear up all this nonesense once and for all. If need be, it's time for the W, Rove and Co. house of cards to tumble.

Do you want to know?

That's the only popular division that matters in the United States today: Those who want to determine once and for all if President Bush knowingly ``fixed the facts'' regarding Iraq, thereby misleading Congress and the American people into supporting an unnecessary war, and those who will cover their ears and hum loudly in order to maintain their belief that Bush and his advisors remain above reproach.

You're in one camp or the other. Either you want to know if you've been lied to, or you don't.

The American public is inching tentatively toward a reckoning unlike any this nation has ever experienced. The oh-so-clever Bush administration strategists and their quasi-media acolytes, who have kept the reckoning at bay with a deft combination of we're-at-war patriotic fervor and fear-the-evil-liberals rhetoric, are running out of parlor tricks.

Slice 2 - file this under things that make you go hummmm:

THE American general who commanded allied air forces during the Iraq war appears to have admitted in a briefing to American and British officers that coalition aircraft waged a secret air war against Iraq from the middle of 2002, nine months before the invasion began.

Addressing a briefing on lessons learnt from the Iraq war Lieutenant-General Michael Moseley said that in 2002 and early 2003 allied aircraft flew 21,736 sorties, dropping more than 600 bombs on 391 “carefully selected targets” before the war officially started.

Hat tip to Marie over at Words Light Fires for the links.

Monday, June 27, 2005

What are you Looking At?

copyright windspike, 2005
This gorilla really didn't look like s/he enjoy the job. Snapped thic pic at our local zoo and thought y'all might enjoy it. I'm not a big fan of zoos, but it's a heckuva lot cheaper than going to Africa.

GIs are Genuinely Ripping Pissed

Prof. Marcus and Anon in the Nine Eleven post shoot us a fantastic blog that allows real service men and women to point out their own powerful views about Karl Rove and the W, Rove and Co. (Taking the Fight To Karl). I am blog rolling the location and I urge all other bloggers to do the same. The site is very powerful, and if you want to know what the GIs are thinking, go there.

I am a 23 year veteran Senior NCO with more days in tents drawing imminent danger pay than our current president has in verifiable drill days in the TANG.

This administration has pushed me to the left, just to distance myself from the lying the profiteering and hypocrisy of what has become the Republican Party. I’m not here to send war stories, and I am not a trigger puller by trade, but working in the medevac arena these last 4 years has shown me the effects of the evil that Mr. Bush has unleashed on the world.

Teaching is Not Easy to Love

More proof that, unfortunately, the general public is not willing to pay teachers what they are worth. This is particularly sad given that, after parenting, teaching is the second most valuable job that anyone can do. So, no child left behind is working?

This is a bizarre and unsettling time in the lives of students, parents and teachers. It is a time when school lets out, and hundreds of thousands of teachers start their second jobs to keep their rents and mortgages paid. One day they're shaping minds, a moral force in the lives of the young people they teach and know, and in some ways the architects of the future of the nation. The next day they're serving cocktails and selling plasma TV's at the mall...

Most teachers love teaching, but teaching is often not so easy to love. True, the profession is gaining respect: in 2003, 49 percent of adults thought teaching was a profession with "very great" prestige; in 1977, only 29 percent thought so.

But teachers' salaries are well below what similarly educated professionals expect. The average salary for a teacher in 2003 was $45,771. A teacher with a master's degree might get an additional stipend of anywhere from $500 to $2,000. Across all professions, however, the average beginning salary for those with master's degrees is $62,820 - about what a teacher might earn with 15 years of experience. It is no surprise, then, that in a Public Agenda study, 75 percent of teachers considered themselves "seriously underpaid."

Meanwhile, President Bush's education law known as No Child Left Behind insists that by 2006 all teachers be "highly qualified." A laudable goal, clearly beyond debate. But while school districts must find increasingly qualified teachers, the legislation does not provide enough money to substantially increase teachers' earning potential...

There's almost something darkly comic about it all. We place the highest demands on a profession, and not just through the teacher-quality provisions of the legislation. We have unarticulated expectations that teachers be morally and ethically unimpeachable, possessed of dynamic, compelling personalities and agile minds and capable of guiding the learning, for example, of 35 hormonally charged 13-year-olds right after lunch.

After asking that of them, we pay them so little that they have to find work selling electronics and cleaning our houses. Is it any surprise that 45 percent of new teachers leave our schools within the first five years?

Stopping the Insurgencies, or Not.

How would Rummy know how long it will take to stop the insurgents in Iraq?
"Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years. Coalition forces, foreign forces are not going to repress that insurgency. We're going to create an environment that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi security forces can win against that insurgency." DEFENSE SECRETARY DONALD H. RUMSFELD.
Humm...5,6,8,10, 12...In other words, he would be better off not saying anything becuase he is just guessing. And so, it looks like we are going to be stuck with a yearly tab of many billions upon billions of dollars for what?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Still Feeling Like This

I originally posted this print a few days ago after reading through a bunch of blogs regarding the morass Rove stuck his mouth in. Unfortunately, this is how I am feeling still. Anyone else?

Nine Eleven

Pia over at Courting Destiny - being from NYC and living through the whole Nine Eleven Tragedy in person - has a very revealing take on the whole Rovewashing of hands by Karl (the kingpin of obfuscation).

Jet at Bring It On and God Dem (a double post whammy) really has put her finger on it. Karl was intentional and is intentional about everything he does. The reason why he spoke the words he did the other day was to divert the public's attention from the Downing Street Memo and others that support the idea that the public was gravely lied to and misled intentionally to get us to support an unjust war with Iraq. Let's not let the buggers in the W, Rove and Co off the hook simply because they are good at obfuscation. Demand federal intervention and impeachment hearings.

Here's my reply to Pia's post:

Great post Pia,

On 9/11, I went to work although it was challenging to peel myself away from the scene playing out live on my television. At the time I left to make my commute to my job, we didn't know it was a terrorist attack, and there was still a hint that this could have been one tragic accident. Then the second plane hit. No, this was not an accident.

Ironically, my job was in a classroom. All the kids were wondering what they should do - and all of them were accounted for, by the way. We still had class. It was challenging to think about chemistry at that time and by the time we had finished word came round that classes had been canceled and everyone should return home.

I headed back to public transit after fishing around the net for more information - no luck. All the circuits were tied up.

The public transit system was on a "holiday" schedule and the tube was eerily quite. There were more cops in riot gear than there were passengers on the platform.

From that moment forward, I wanted heads to roll (off the tip of a blade preferably, but certainly by any means necessary) and was ready to support actions, not policy making. There was a unique window of opportunity that was entirely squandered by the W, Rove and Co where unity was present. We were acting as one - lest we forget that.

But that "political" capital is lost and awash in the lies and deceit that moved us to Iraq for baseless revenge and oil barons' wealth building. It is time for the "right" thinking majority in our world (be they republicans or democrats or some other political persuasion) to step up and demand accountability and expect and demand that our elected representatives seek restitution - and I, as you, believe it should end with nothing short of impeachment and certainly warrants jail time for certain upper echelon folks in the W, Rove and Co.

Let's see how long they last behind bars.

Anyone interested in deciphering all US Citizens' library records?

Why does the W, Rove and Co. want to know about everyone's library records? I don't see the point. So, you check out the Koran, so what? Is that worse than checking out the Bible? So you check out the Lord of the Flies, so what? Is that different than checking out the Lord of the Rings?

The potential swath of data collected under some kind of "Patriot" act dictum has to be, perhaps, the most dull, mundane, boring, and sanitary forthcoming set of data that could be analyzed. I wouldn't want that job, would you?

At least one Senator is making sense in the cacophony:

Libraries should be "sanctuaries of learning where we are free to read and consider what we please without the fear that 'Big Brother' may be peering over our shoulder," Obama said in the keynote address at the American Library Association's annual conference..."I hope we can pass a provision, just like the one that the House of Representatives passed overwhelmingly, that would require federal agents to get search warrants from a real judge in a real court, just like everyone else does," Obama said.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Do You Think Halliburton Folks are on This List?

I'm not allowed to bet - gambling problem, and my spouse would kill me. That said, if I were in a betting mood, perhaps this would be a safe one. Do you think some of our good friends from the many tenticles of Halliburton would be on this list of tax cheats?

Another contractor, which last year provided security guards for the Department of Homeland Security at a cost of $200,000, owes more than $400,000 in unpaid taxes. Its owner has repeatedly failed to file individual income taxes and has diverted his employees' payroll taxes to a foreign bank account to pay for building a home abroad.

Outrageous as these examples are, they are just the tip of a very large iceberg. Some 33,000 federal contractors together owe the Internal Revenue Service more than $3.3 billion in back taxes.

The scale of this boondoggle came to light last year when the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, with the dogged help of the Government Accountability Office, found that 27,000 Defense Department contractors owed more than $3 billion in unpaid taxes. In its investigation, the G.A.O. determined that the government's program to subtract unpaid taxes from payments made to the companies, the Federal Payment Levy Program, simply was not working. In 2003, the levy program should have collected $100 million; it collected only $680,000.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Flagellating Karl - Sub Tittle: There Must be a Special Place in Hell for These Folks

No tears here for Mr. Rove (sponsored by yours and my tax dollars - oh, and no, we didn't elect him. He came as part of the package). He's such and easy target. I suggest you visit, Moxie Grrrl, Cranky Liberal, and review the lively discourse in the comment areas. Here's a slice or two or three from the primary posts:

Moxie Grrrl Says:
This is the inherent problem with Bush and his stupid cronies. Let's go in and blow the place to shit, make a half assed attempt to look like we're "getting the bad guys" and have no fucking plan whatsoever. AND FOR FUCK'S SAKE - IRAQ HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11!!!
Kid Bastard over at Moxie Grrrl elaborates:
The 9/11 victims were all people. Just people. They weren't saints or icons or symbols of American ideals, they were just people. For every loving father, devoted wife, flag-waving patriot and hard worker in those towers, there were just as many slackers, abusive spouses/parents and flag-burning rebels. You know how I know? Because they were people. And in any group of people you have sweethearts and you have assholes, saints and sinners and all points in between. To suggest that these people would all speak with one voice from beyond the grave is as foolish as suggesting they all spoke with one voice while they lived. They didn't, they don't, and to suggest otherwise is absurd at best and offensive at worst.

To seek justice for their murders is an admirable goal, and one that both parties should have no trouble getting behind. But to drape oneself in their corpses to lend credence to a partisan agenda is an affront to their memories, and a slap in the face to those they left behind. I call on leaders of both parties to stop this sort of rhetoric, and pledge not to do it again.
Cranky Says:
Now don’t get me wrong Karl, I’m all for going in and killing every bastard who wants to hurt my family. I just like knowing the bastard I’m killing deserves it. Maybe that’s the big difference Karl, Liberals looked at the savagery of 9/11 and prepared to fight the enemy. You looked at the savegery of 9/11 and decided to make new ones.

Here's my Comment posted at the Cranky Liberal:

I love the last two lines. Just about sums it up, except for an amplification of the point of the killing of thousands of ordinary, innocent Iraqis (you know, collateral damage) in the process, which is about a good a ticket to hell as any.

At least the W, Rove and Co will have lots of company - and I couldn’t imagine a more horrific hell than having to consort with the W, Rove and Co and their ilk for eternity.

8:30 PM P.S.
International Rock City points us to another person who quite easily points out the Rove hypocrisy:
But remember, Rove is neither insane nor a mere criminal. You figure out what he is. But remember that he seems to hate our liberties and way of life.
25 June - 1:48 PM Update - More on Rove by James Wolcott:
No, Hanson is doing what Rove is doing what Rush is doing what Coulter is doing what Michelle Malkin is doing what O'Reilly is doing what they're all doing: trying to erase any distinction between suicide feces bombers and liberals who enjoy the occasional latte, smearing everybody with the same slime brush. Well, they've been doing it successfully for years but, as Billmon suggests, their arms are beginning to flail and the spatter effect is a Jackson Pollock of desperation.

What amazes me is that more Americans now blame Bush for provoking the war with Iraq than blame Saddam Hussein. That's not an argument I've heard anyone make on cable talk or on the op-ed pages. Somehow Americans drew that conclusion all on their own! The tide of popular opinion turning against the war is washing away walls we didn't even know were there.

In Case You Didn't Notice

It's another bad day for military recruiters everywhere.

Slice 1:
A suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. Marine vehicle in the city of Falluja, killing six American troops in one of the deadliest single assaults on U.S. ground forces in Iraq, the U.S. military said on Friday.

In Washington, President Bush vowed insurgents in Iraq would be defeated. "The way ahead is not going to be easy," Bush told a White House news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari.
End slice:

Last I checked, there were some sons and daughters of our political leaders that could step up to the plate and lead by example enlisting today.

Incidentially, I thought W was a "culture of life" type that suggested the death of one human being would never be worth any goal.

Is it Time for Rummy to Resign?

I would have thought the W, Rove and Co would have had Rummy resign after the whole Iraqi Prison scandal, but no. They are no doubt grooming him to be the fall guy for the whole Iraqi flop if it should go south in a hurry.

Dr. Forbush asks some good questions:
Let’s forget about the incompressible stupidity of getting involved in Iraq in the first place. Let’s forget about the Lies that were told to influence the opinion of the American people. For a few minutes lets imagine the we have 140,000 soldiers in Iraq and no one is responsible for how they got there. Let’s forget about any old mission ideas and lets look at the reality of the situation. So, what do we have?
Sen. Kennedy asks another interesting question:
U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) called for the resignation of Rumsfeld during his questioning asking 'Isn't it time for you to resign?,' citing what he called 'gross errors and mistakes' in the U.S. military campaign in Iraq.
Certainly, as Nedhead (who really needs to get his own blog as Ned's got a lot to add to the discourse) commented over at Moxie Grrrl:
Lies in the past do not justify lies in the present. Lack of past debate does not preclude debate on the current. Inflexibility at the onset does not forbid a change midcourse. Poor initial planning does not mean lack of planning must continue.
Rummy (and the whole of the W, Rove and Co.) sure did get our country into a jam here. I think he should be left to his own devices to prove to the naysayers wrong, that this was the right thing to do, and work to get our troops home safely. Frankly, I think a solution is beyond Rummy and this administration, which is why they obfuscate as much as they do. I've said this before, as Iraq goes, so too does Rummy.

I Thought the Republican Party was Against Big Government Expenditures that Waste Taxpayer Dollars

Perhaps the cash paid out for W, Rove and Co's extension of Ronald Reagan's Star Wars fantasy could have been better spent equipping our troops in the fight against terror. Or, at least given those in harms way better armor.

Slice 1:
A Pentagon panel of outside rocketry experts was too polite to use the phrase "pie in the sky," but they might as well have in excoriating the rush to deploy an unworkable antimissile system in time for President Bush's re-election campaign. Although clearly bedeviled by test failures and unproven components, the first antimissile stations in this fantastic $130 billion-plus windfall for the defense industry were officially deployed on the West Coast last fall - just in time to cover Mr. Bush's vow in 2000 to have the system up in four years.
Slice 2:
An outside panel chartered by the Pentagon has concluded that the rush to deploy a national antimissile system last year led to shortfalls in quality controls and engineering procedures that could have better assured the system would work, according to the panel's final report.

Bent on meeting President Bush's deadline to install the first elements of the system by the end of 2004, Pentagon officials put schedule ahead of performance, the report says.

Among risky shortcuts that were taken, the panel says, were insufficient ground tests of key components, a lack of specifications and standards, and a tendency to postpone resolution of nettlesome issues.
Back to the first article:
Dozens of retired admirals and generals have urged the president to cut taxpayer losses and shift money to the more imminent threat of low-tech terrorism at the nation's vulnerable ports, borders and nuclear weapon depots. This advice has been ignored, and even now Congress is dishing up another year's $7.6 billion for missile defense.
Sounds like good advice. Why does it appear that the W, Rove and Co continue to follow faulty intelligence rather than sound advice?

Is anybody out there listening?

The W, Rove and Co. propaganda machine is in full trumpet as I type. The "news" conference is being broadcast live, of all places, on public radio (which incidentially wasn't cut because of the outpouring of support for it)! But it all seems like rhetoric to me, and more of the same W, Rove and co. McMessage.

No real hardball questions by the "media." I remain unrequited.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Which are you?

This from page 462 of my copy of Moby Dick (yes, I know it is taking me a while to read this book, but with two small children to care for, it is hard to find time to read):
Seat thyself sultanically among the moons of Saturn, and take a high abstracted man alone; and he seems a wonder, a grandeur, and a woe. But from the same point take mankind in mass, and for the most part, they seem a mob of unnecessary duplicates, both contemporary and hereditary.

All is Well, Remain Calm

I got another Email from MoveOn dot org (okay, it's an automated process), and had a flashback to the scene in Animal House at the tail end of the movie where the ROTC dude is blowing his whistle, holding his hand up and shouting at the rushing crowd, "all is well, remain calm," and ends up flattened by the onslaught.

W, Rove and Co. are trying to sell us on the idea that all is well in Iraq and that we just need to buck up and remain calm, and of course, pony up more hard earned taxpayer bux to fund more outsourced work to our good friends at Halliburton.

Next week, President Bush is expected to give a speech in which, despite the chaos and car bombs and rising daily attacks by insurgents, he'll argue that everything is going well in Iraq and we should stay the course. It's clear that the president is out of touch with reality—as Republican Senator Chuck Hagel said, "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

We believe that it's time to stand up to him and demand that Congress begin bringing our troops home, while doing what we can to support a stable Iraq. We got into this war the wrong way, and it's time to get out the right way.
End slice:

It must be challenging to come up with an effective exit srtategy. I have no idea how that would be executed. I think we should have never started bombing Iraq in the first place. But, I do think that the W, Rove and Co aught be held responsible and accountable for extricating our troops, the "right way." It's their mess, and they should clean it up.

High Quality Republican Leadership

Meanwhile, Tom DeLay's feet dangle in water that moves from tepid to hot. Why the republicans put up with this from their leaders is beyond me:

Slice 1:
"This shows how easy it is for interest groups, lobbyists or politicians to manipulate or redirect money into whatever avenue is dark and free of roadblocks, and the average person never sees any of it," Cooper said.
Slice 2:

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, now under criminal investigation, told the Coushatta Indian tribe, a client, to cancel its checks to the DeLay groups in 2001 and 2002 and route the money to more obscure groups that helped Republicans on Medicare prescription drug legislation and Christian voter outreach.

DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority and Americans for a Republican Majority never reported receiving any checks from the Louisiana tribe to federal or state regulators, their reports show. The donations, however, are recorded in memos and ledgers kept by the tribe.

Slice 3:
Lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his partner created tax-exempt groups to funnel money to themselves from Indian tribes trying to build political support for their casinos, according to documents released at a Senate hearing Wednesday.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, described it as a scheme to bilk millions of dollars from the tribes. "Today's hearing is about more than contempt, even more than greed," he said. "It is simply and sadly a tale of betrayal."

More Obfuscation from the Kingpin Obfuscator Himself

Rove in true form, doing what he does best. Unfortunately, we get in spades what the repubs voted for:

Rove, in a speech Wednesday evening to the New York state Conservative Party just a few miles north of Ground Zero, said, "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Conservatives, he said, "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."

He added that the Democratic Party made the mistake of calling for "moderation and restraint" after the terrorist attacks.

During the 2004 campaign, Bush dismissed the notion of negotiating with terrorists and said, "You can't sit back and hope that somehow therapy will work and they will change their ways."

Rove's comments quickly escalated the bitter divide between the parties that could get worse as Congress prepares for what may be a drawn-out political fight, possibly this summer, over a Supreme Court nominee.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer said Rove "took something that is virtually sacred to New Yorkers" — the tragedy of the Sept. 11 attacks — "and politicized it for political, opportunistic purposes."

"Karl Rove is not just another political operative," added New York's other Democratic senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton. "He sits in the White House, a few doors down from the president."

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday, Clinton urged Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to repudiate the "insulting comment."

Rumsfeld replied that it "is unfortunate when things become so polarized or so politicized."

End Slice

But, in reality, using various wedge issues and obfuscation, the whole point is to polarize the American Population. That's the goal, but as to why, you would have to ask the current leadership. The burden of the current climate in America rests heavily on the shoulders of those in power. If they are not using it for positive aims, they then should be held responsible and accountable. Again, I say, honest republicans should be working to decapitate their organization and do a find and replace to find some people with gallons more integrity and a shred of trustworthiness.

Said in Jest

I was at a local baseball game with a friend and he said two things in jest, but upon consideration, weren't so funny.
1) Gee, that umpire behind home plate has more body armor than our troops in Iraq.

2) And come to think of it, the contractors in Iraq have more body armor than the enlisted folks...and they get paid upward of 3 to 6 times more than the GI doing the exact or essentially the same jobs.
We chucled, but then frowned. Truth hurts, sometimes. We spent the rest of the time talking baseball stats, and game at hand. Incidentially, our team won, which always makes for a better trek home.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

More on Family Values

Coincidentially, Ken over at Common Sense has a well thought out statement about family values posted yesterday that flows nicely with my earlier post on "Bad Boys."

So what exactly is this family whose values we are longing to support? The simplest definition of a “family” is probably the best one to use, but it is also the first thing people will disagree about. No matter. For purposes of clarity and by reason of Common Sense, a family consists of two committed adult parents and at least one child. Without a child, or children, you are only a couple, or even a single. It is with the addition of children that the family unit is formed. The exception to this definition would be the single-parent family, but despite studies and findings that may disagree, two parent families are both more practical and better suited to the purpose of families in general. That purpose is really quite simple: it is to raise the child(ren) to adulthood, having taught them to become a responsible, productive, and hopefully happy member of the society. If society is the total combination of individuals and their actions, then the family is our training ground.
End Slice:

Here's the last pargraph of my comment over there:
Politicians who play the family values card in a means to foist themselves on our lifestyles and as a political ploy to get elected should be placed in a time out, indefinately (or at least until their actions correspond to a positive and inclusive definition rather than an exclusive and descriminatory one)!

Bad Boys?

Are these two people bad men because they are gay, or great men because they are raising two wonderful kids that no one else seemed to want to adopt?


Washington -- Olivier De Wulf is from Belgium. Steve Boullianne is from Los Angeles. Thirteen years ago they met, and now they live in San Francisco with their two adopted boys, Laurent, 5, and Reece, 4.

If they were straight, they could marry, and De Wulf would be granted U.S. citizenship. If they lived in Belgium, they could get married, and Boullianne could become a Belgian citizen.

But their two boys could not stay with them for more than 90 days because of a quirk in Belgian law designed to prevent mass immigration from the former colony of the Congo. Even California's liberal domestic partnership law is of no help when it comes to federal immigration law.

That leaves them with a dilemma. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., introduced the latest version of a bill Tuesday to equalize immigration rights for gay and lesbian couples, the Uniting American Families Act.

Nadler acknowledges that it has little chance of passage, but he hopes to build support for the idea.

"A lot of people believe that because domestic partnership exists in California, bi-national couples can stay in California, and it's simply not true," De Wulf said Tuesday. "They think this is already solved, and it is not. "

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

If there is a Line in the Sand, Where do you Stand?

There has been interesting line of commentary over at Dr. Forbush. One point that the professional obfuscators continue to raise is a comparison between W and Clinton, and the fact that Clinton was impeached and W, is not.

I was thinking about this particular argument on my morning run. There is a substantial difference between blood spilled in the various sandy points across the globe under false pretense and cum stains on a blue dress. Which one a person believes is a more impeachable offense says a whole lot about the person behind the belief.

While it is up to congress to do the impeaching, at least we can vote the bastards out.

Post Script:

Dr. Forbush has an excellent post for today about the Downing Street Memo that folks aught have a look at if there are any doubts that the document is grave cause for concern, if not justification for some kind of investigation of the W, Rove and Co.

So, when the Downing Street Memo was published the US media was already primed with the expected stonewall of the administration. The US media didn’t realize that this document and subsequent documents were different.

Up to this point the evidence that the Bush administration was fixing the intelligence around their policy was mainly circumstantial evidence. One could look at the facts that were know and assume that the administration was either a bunch of dunderheads, or the CIA was a bunch of dunderheads or the administration was working with the CIA to create evidence to take the country into war. Well, many Americans would much rather believe the first two options rather than the third...

...The three days before the Congress voted on going to war George W Bush, and Condi Rice each made the famous statement, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” They were referring to Iraq’s capability to build a nuclear weapon and supposedly have a terrorist group explode it in the US. These words were designed to frighten Congress into voting for the Iraq War. Many of the Republicans were already on board, but the larger the margin the stronger the mandate, so the President wanted the largest margin possible. We know that this was a fear tactic, because this statement wasn’t used after the vote. The statement was clearly designed to get some of the Democrats to vote for the bill so the President could brag that the Iraq War was a bipartisan decision...

...The Downing Street memo is a secret memo written in July 2002, well before the invasion of Iraq. It was information about a meeting where a British diplomat traveled to Washington in order to find out what the Bush administration was going to do about the Iraq situation. This British diplomat told the Prime Minister that the Bush administration was fixing the intelligence in order to justify the war. This is known as documented evidence...

...Hopefully the American people will ask questions too.

Trash for Cash

Why anyone would buy or even read this book is beyond me. There are many better books to dive into. I do like the Clinton camp's reply:
"We don't comment on works of fiction, let alone a book full of blatant and vicious fabrications contrived by someone who writes trash for cash," said Philippe Reines, a spokesman for the senator.

Two days to Convict

Justice has been served.


An 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman was convicted of manslaughter Tuesday in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers — exactly 41 years after they disappeared.

The jury of nine whites and three blacks reached the verdict on their second day of deliberations, rejecting murder charges against Edgar Ray Killen.

Killen showed no emotion as the verdict was read. He was comforted by his wife as he sat in his wheelchair, wearing an oxygen tube. Heavily armed police formed a barrier outside a side door to the courthouse and jurors were loaded into two waiting vans and driven away.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Obfuscators, Beware

There are a number of folks on the reichwing who suggest that the Downing Street Memo is somehow something that is a figment of our imagination because all they have seen is some "copy" of it and not the original. Poppycock. The reason they suggest this is to cast doubt upon the authenticity without presenting any evidence to the contrary as a means to confuse the public and move the people toward a particular line of thinking: That the left is not right, but wrong and moreover, the reichwing is indeed right. More poppycock.

Take a gander at the link provided above and the post over at God Dem and see for yourself. The DSM is indeed, for real, and what is more, it is a synopsis of the minutes to a British Cabinet meeting. Can't get any more real than that. If asked or forced to produce said minutes, I am sure that they will be there, well that is unless W, Rove and Co. get a hold of the original minutes and doctor them up as they have demonstrated an uncanny ability to fix "intelligence" in the past.

...By the way, the "Downing Street Memo" is actually the minutes of a British cabinet meeting. In the meeting, British officials – having just met with their American counterparts – describe their discussions with such counterparts. I mention this because that basic piece of context, a simple description of the memo, is found nowhere in Milbank's article.

The fact that I and my fellow Democrats had to stuff a hearing into a room the size of a large closet to hold a hearing on an important issue shouldn't make us the object of ridicule. In my opinion, the ridicule should be placed in two places: first, at the feet of Republicans who are so afraid to discuss ideas and facts that they try to sabotage our efforts to do so; and second, on Dana Milbank and the Washington Post, who do not feel the need to give serious coverage on a serious hearing about a serious matter – whether more than 1700 Americans have died because of a deliberate lie...

Morality Cloak Shredded

The original title to this post was "QED" to make referrence to yesterday's post linking up with Kid Bastard at Moxie Grrrl. The media/news always seems to provide us with yet another example of W, Rove and Co's morality cloak getting shredded by their actions and rhetoric.

Mr. Bush does not deny the greater potential of embryonic stem cells: he says his decision was compelled by his belief that retrieving stem cells from the embryo destroys it, thereby resulting in the killing of a human being that cannot be justified no matter how vast the potential benefits.
End slice:

"...thereby resulting in the killing of a human being that cannot be justified no matter how vast the potential benefits" is the phrase that gets my britches in a twist. If that is what he truly believes, why can't he work on a building a timeline for getting our military out of harms way sooner rather than later? Or, more importantly, why did he put them in Iraq in the first place?

Again, the ROI (or 'potential benefit') is not, was not, and never has been worth the outlay. Forget about morality, what I would enjoy is just one shred of integrity from this administration.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

"There's a Reason We Oppose Him." Subtitle: Moxie Grrrl Rant Deluxe!

We are still wrapped up in the hetero-committment ceremony deal this weekend with the follow up cook out this afternoon. I won't be on line all day. I suggest you read Moxie Grrrl's post for today. She hits many nails on the head.

Fire it up Grrrl. The Mox nocks the sox off many a blogger. Blog on Sister.

I oppose an administration that wraps itself in the cloak of moral values and shows itself to be anything but moral.

7:10 Update - It looks as though this post over at Moxie Grrrl is really authored by Kid Bastard (whom I think is her husband? who guest posts every so often). All in the family over there - blog on.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

New Thinking on Freedom Fries

Found this cartoon by Mike Luckovich in the local rag today - a few days later than the actual publish date. We have a nice hetero-commitment cermony to go to this day so I will be vigorously avoiding the computer today.

Friday, June 17, 2005

More Good Christian Behavior?

If you were a African-American Woman, deeply Christian, who just started a new job (in a predominantly white/Caucasian populated office space) yesterday and found a wooden cross neatly placed on the center of your desk today (your second day on the job), what would you think? There was no note. No person there with an explanation. Just a plain, small, wood cross placed in the center of an otherwise barren desk.

Being the thoughtful and forgiving individual you are, you think that perhaps a custodian had come in that evening and found it dislodged on the floor and perhaps placed it on your desk thinking it was yours. But you know it wasn't as you hadn't had time to decorate your cubicle. So you set it on the side rail of the cubicle in case the real owner might see it, pick it up and be happy someone found it.

Instead, on the next morning, the same cross was placed neatly on your desk. Directly on the center. Again, no note, nary an explanation.

A friend of mine related this story to me yesterday evening about her office mate, so this is not a hypothetical. Four Questions:

  1. What are you to think?
  2. How do you interpret this?
  3. What should you do?
  4. Is this good Christian behavior?

Skewering the Pigs

Well, at least two capitalist pigs are going to do "hard" time for their crimes. That is, unless of course, their fancy-pants attorneys can get them off (I wouldn't want to be paying their legal fees).

Now what is happening to Kenny Boy hands-in-W's-front-pockets Lay?

Kozlowski, 58, and Swartz, 44, were each found guilty of 22 counts of grand larceny, conspiracy, fraud and falsifying business records. Both former executives were found not guilty on one charge of falsifying documents.

The two were grim-faced but stoic as the convictions were read. Kozlowski's wife had tears in her eyes.

"We are disappointed and will deal with this on appeal," said Swartz's attorney, Charles Stillman. Kozlowski's lawyer, Stephen Kaufman, affirmed that his client would also appeal. Asked whether he was surprised by the verdict, Kaufman said, "surprise would be the understatement."

Both men could be sentenced to 25 years in a state prison on the most serious charge of grand larceny. Judge Michael Obus set a follow-up hearing for Aug. 2 to discuss sentencing.

Swartz and Kozlowski will remain free on bail, and are not considered a flight risk, according to the judge.

"This verdict is an endorsement of the principle of equal justice under the law," said Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. "Crimes committed in corporate offices will be treated according to the same standards as other crimes."

Plausible Deniability

Found a decent read for those interested in the tactics used by those who idolize and worship Ronald Reagan. Sure it's academic and published in 1996, but still salient for understanding the Rovian stratagem executed by W, Rove and Co..

This article examines the normative structure of certain distinctive types of arguments that use techniques of plausible deniability to evade fulfillment of legitmate requirements of burden of proof. Understanding how such techniques are used in everyday argumentation is shown to be crucial to ganining insight into how informal fallacies work as effective tactics of deception when two parties reason together...Jamieson (1992, p. 84) cites a technique of "veiled attack" used in recent political campaigns where a "double message" buries a "taboo" proposition in a socially acceptable surface (coded) text of discourse. The goal is to achieve "plausible deniability..."This factor of plausible deniability is very important in helping us to understand how the major informal fallacies actually work as credible tactics of deception in every day argumentation

Deception and Bullies

Moxie Grrrl has got the goods on the whole Git-mo situation. You can read the congressional record if you are curious, but I am of the same mind as Mox on this one:

His statement speaks to the treatment of prisoners in our custody, regardless if they are innocent or guilty. When this description of how we treat prisoners is absorbed by the world at large, it bolsters the perception that the US is just the mean bully on the block with too much power for its own good. Durbin really didn't need to say it, since a lot of the world already thinks it.
Statements such as Sen. Durbin's hurt because they are plausible (as in Reagan's now famous phrase "plausible deniability'). That is, because truth is a slave to perception, if the world thinks it is so, then it must be true. Our reputation cannot be further tarnished because some one simply reads a statement that can be widely gotten. The damage was done before Sen. Durbin spoke.

As it is long over due, there needs to be some serious house cleaning done by the repubs if they want to earn back any respect at all.

Vegetarianism is next to Godliness?

I was driving mid-evening yesterday and saw the side of a truck plastered with the slogan: "Honoring God's Creation..." I never knew that there was a Christian Movement that gave biblically justified reasons for going vegetarian, but then I wondered how they explained all the sacrifices and the feasts that riddle the bible they purport to follow and thought, perhaps this was another kind of cult. I wonder what omnivore Christians think of this organization.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Here's a Debate I'd Like to See

Given the recent news about the poor, unfortunate political football, Terri Schiavo, I still think we need to resolve the issue. Let's set the stage for a fun debate to see which side would be victorious.

The Right-To-Lifer or the Sanctity-of-Marriage Proponent?

Who would win? You decide.


W, declaring elections unfair? Ironic? Well, one thing is for sure, he aught to know based on the Y2K Florida debacle. It's always nice to have brothers in high places in key states.

Posthumous Problem for Recruiters

Saddly, more Marines get rubbed out in the Iraq folly. Recuitors are having a hard time getting kids to enlist.

Slice 1:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A roadside bomb attack killed five U.S. Marines, and gunfire killed an American sailor in a western Iraqi town, the U.S. military said Thursday.
Slice 2:
What I was not able to find in the handbook was anything remotely like the startlingly frank comments of a sergeant at Fort Benning, Ga., who was quoted in the May 30 issue of The Army Times. He was addressing troops in the seventhweek of basic training, and the paper reported the scene as follows:

"'Does anybody know what posthumous means?' Staff Sgt. Andre Allen asked the 150 infantrymen-in-training, members of F Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment.

"A few hands went up, but he answered his own question." 'It means after death.

Some of you are going to get medals that way,' he said matter-of-factly, underscoring the possibility that some of them would be sent to combat and not return."

10:31 update - another news clip fills us in that six more GI's will be coming home in a flag covered box. How many more GIs must die before it is one too many?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

99.9% Pure Coward

I don't usually visit Daily KOS as they have so many comments it is difficult to track any kind of dialog. Even so, some of the comments, such as this one, are very enticing:
Let us suppose that 10,000 Americans joined the army last month (it's less than that).

Let us suppose that they were all Republicans (it's less than that).

Let us suppose that only 10,000,000 Americans voted for Bush (it's more than that).

That means that at least 999 out of every 1,000 Bush voters once again took a pass on joining the army last month, even though the army really needs them, and even though they say they support the troops and agree with what they're doing in Iraq.

Bush voters are 99.9% pure coward.

Wacko for Jacko

Okay, I wasn't going to post anything about our good friend Mr. Jackson (hey, I still own a copy of Thriller). But I found this video clip on IFilm surfing blogexplosion (sorry to the person who posted origninally as I couldn't navigate back to your location for some reason). Anyway, this was quite funny. Enjoy.

Meanwhile, the Repubs have no trouble raising funds for themselves

Typical. All these folks slapping their fat tummys and greasing the skids for more cuts in wonderful things like PBS. The loot collected for campaigning ratches up for various folks and wonderful republican leaders like Tom Delay, etc...

Slice 1:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, accepted more than $400,000 in donations last year to help fight the various ethical allegations against him, but still owes three law firms at least $125,000 for his ongoing legal expenses.

Financial disclosure forms released Wednesday show that the Texas Republican took in $439,300 in contributions to his legal expense fund in 2004 when the House ethics committee investigated him and rebuked him for his conduct. Separately, DeLay faces questions about his ties to a lobbyist under federal criminal investigation, Jack Abramoff.

Other reports show that $254,250 of those contributions came to DeLay's legal defense fund during the last three months of 2004. He still owes three law firms between $125,003 and $315,000 combined for his legal expenses, and three major companies who have in the past given to his fund — American Airlines, Verizon and Nissan North America Inc. — have said they will no longer contribute.
Slice 2:
Republican members of Congress have an additional $23 million in the bank, thanks in large part to the efforts of President Bush. GOP leaders spent much of Monday and Tuesday entertaining campaign donors, but it was Bush's speech at a gala Tuesday night that drew the people who shelled out $2,500 per ticket.

Bush reiterated his favorite recent themes, calling for an overhaul of the tax code, a national energy bill and permanent tax relief. He accused Democrats of trying to block all of them.

"Political parties that choose the path of obstruction will not gain the trust of the American people," he said. "If leaders of the other party have innovative ideas, let's hear them. But if they have no ideas or policies except obstruction, they should step aside and let others lead."

The fundraiser brought in $14 million for House Republicans and $9 million for GOP senators. More than 5,000 people filled the Washington Convention Center to hear Bush speak.

End Slice:

Humm, obstruction versus obfuscation? Which is worse - people from the minority working to protect a majority of the populations' interests? Or, people in the so called majority obfuscating and fixing the facts to support war with Iraq so that a small number of capitalists can fatten themselves up even more? You decide.

Gutting Big Bird and Friends

I suppose that the reichwingers enjoy getting their news from commercial sources like Fox, etc...but I for one really do believe in public radio and broadcasting in general. It is simply refreshing to have news stories presented in snips as long as 10 minutes rather than be subjected to the battering ram of commercial television.

Having contributed to public radio and the like for a long time, I have put my money where my mouth is, but I certainly think that keeping the "public" in PBS is a great investment (and paltry at that in comparision of some other government spending; e.g. prisons, war, etc...).

Filet of Big Bird is on the plate for the repubs and it looks like they are, in short order, serving us shotgun-pellet-laced fowl for dinner instead.

Do little boys and girls out there know how to spell "spite"? For those who don't, the House Republicans who voted last week to gut federal support of public broadcasting - from "Sesame Street" to well beyond - are offering a graphic demonstration as they attack one of the nation's more valued institutions. The Appropriations Committee voted not only to end taxpayers' support for next year's children's shows on public radio and television (yes, "Clifford the Big Red Dog" and "Postcards from Buster," too), but also to close out entirely the $400 million in federal support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - the aid funnel to local stations - across the next two years.
End Slice:

You can help, by supporting your local stations with cash contributions or signing the pettition over at Moveon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

How Much can you Accomplish in 9.77 seconds?

Asafa Powell covers 100 meters to break the world record shaving off two hundreths of a second off the old mark: That's smokin'.

Signs of Success in Iraq - Sub Title: Making Things Worse Slowly or Quickly

I found this shot on the AP wire adjacent to a report of yet another suicide bombing in Iraq. Are we winning this war, or have we done just about all we can do there?

Here's an intersting slant authored by James Dobbins, Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at Rand:
The recent American presidential campaign has had the perverse effect of postponing any serious national debate on the future U.S. course in Iraq. Electoral considerations placed a premium on consistency at the expense of common sense, with both candidates insisting that even with perfect hindsight they would have acted just as they did two years ago: going to war or voting to authorize doing so. The campaign also revealed the paucity of good options now before the United States. Keeping U.S. troops in Iraq will only provoke fiercer and more widespread resistance, but withdrawing them too soon could spark a civil war. The second administration of George W. Bush seems to be left with the choice between making things worse slowly or quickly.

The beginning of wisdom is to recognize that the ongoing war in Iraq is not one that the United States can win. As a result of its initial miscalculations, misdirected planning, and inadequate preparation, Washington has lost the Iraqi people's confidence and consent, and it is unlikely to win them back. Every day that Americans shell Iraqi cities they lose further ground on the central front of Iraqi opinion.

Meanwhile, Here's what's on the President's Plate for the Day

I was searching to find proof that the W, Rove and Co. will be addressing the Future Farmers of America some where in PA today flogging their Privitization of SS ideas to kids who might be swayed. Alas, I couldn't find it, even though it was reported on NPR. If there is any blogger out there who was at such an address, I would be curious as to your impressions.

Meanwhile, I found this "press gaggle" report provide at the whitehouse web location. If you are curious, here's the whole of a fun and engaging five minutes that took place in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania - funded in part by your tax payer bux. It's short, so I'll post the whole thing:

Press Gaggle by Trent Duffy
Private Residence
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

11:04 A.M. EDT

MR. DUFFY: Are you all ready? I'll just go through the schedule. The President had his normal intelligence briefing. Obviously, we're in Bryn Mawr for a fundraiser for Senator Santorum. Senator Specter, obviously, as you saw, was on Air Force One. I believe that Senator Santorum, Senator Specter and Congressman Peterson will be returning with us to D.C. And I think Senator Santorum is going to fly from here to Penn State.

God bless you. Jennifer Loven. (Laughter.)

Today is the 36th event, by our count, and 28 different states if you count D.C. And then later tonight, the President is going to be making remarks at the 2005 President's Dinner. And one programming note for planning purposes, we anticipate the Senate to vote on Judge Griffith today, and if they do that we would anticipate issuing a statement later this afternoon -- so just so you know that.

That's all I have.

Q How much cash are we raising today?

MR. DUFFY: This is not a presidential event, so you'd have to ask the Santorum folks or -- that's an NRCC event tonight, you'd have to ask them.

Q Do you know how many fundraisers it's been so far this year for him?

MR. DUFFY: I don't, off the top of my head. Obviously, there's the Senator Talent event he did and then this one. We can find out; you might check with the RNC, but I'll see if I can find out, Caren.

Q With the Senate taking up energy policy today, what does the President think about the need for MTBE provision in the bill? Does he think that that should be in the bill?

MR. DUFFY: Caren, the President is glad that the Senate is taking up the energy bill today. He believes it's long overdue; we've got to do something about a long-term comprehensive energy policy that brings down gas prices. As you mentioned, the Senate is just taking it up -- we'll see what happens. And, you know, the President just wants to work with the Congress to get an energy bill that does what he's outlined needs to be done: long-term incentives for better efficiency, more technology, as well as increased domestic exploration and lowering our dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Q Trent, when you said earlier that this is not a presidential event, were you responding to my question about whose home we're in?

MR. DUFFY: Oh, I didn't hear you.

Q Okay, can you tell us?

MR. DUFFY: Let me see what I can find out on that. I'll add it at the end.

Q But because it's not a presidential event, does that mean that the RNC pays for all of the costs related to this, or -- in terms of his transportation and --

MR. DUFFY: Typically, on fundraisers what happens is, is that the host, if you will, picks up the political travel and political activity associated with the event, and then official funds are used for other official costs and that sort of thing. It's a similar breakdown that we obviously follow whenever the President travels.

Q Okay.

Q Trent, can you talk about the story today saying that the Defense Department was opposed to an independent inquiry into the Uzbekistan --

MR. DUFFY: Sure. The administration has made its view known that it wants the government of Uzbekistan to allow a credible, independent international investigation into the events at Andijon. The administration is speaking with one voice on that, and both the Defense Department as well as the State Department have made those views known to the government of Uzbekistan. So that's what the administration's policy is.

Q So was there some confusion in the Defense Department about what that policy was?

MR. DUFFY: No, the Defense Department, as I said, has issued the same request to the government of Uzbekistan, as has the State Department and other administration officials, that we want a credible, independent investigation into the Andijon events.

Anything else? Enjoy your brunch.

The host of today's event is Mitchell Morgan.

Q Normal spelling?


END 11:09 A.M. EDT

P.S. Does anyone know why they would be blessing Jennifer Loven (and laughing about it)?

This I Believe

I've been thinking about tossing my own thoughts into the NPR project, "This I Believe." This is right up a bloggers alley. Far better minds than mine have already tossed their hats into the ring:
“What is moral is not of the divine, but rather a purely human matter, albeit the most important of all human matters.”
Here's the rest of the article by Einstein collected in the archive:

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the Mysterious -- the knowledge of the existence of something unfathomable to us, the manifestation of the most profound reason coupled with the most brilliant beauty. I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, or who has a will of the kind we experience in ourselves. I am satisfied with the mystery of life's eternity and with the awareness of -- and glimpse into -- the marvelous construction of the existing world together with the steadfast determination to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature. This is the basis of cosmic religiosity, and it appears to me that the most important function of art and science is to awaken this feeling among the receptive and keep it alive.

I sense that it is not the State that has intrinsic value in the machinery of humankind, but rather the creative, feeling individual -- the personality alone that creates the noble and sublime.

Man's ethical behavior should be effectively grounded on compassion, nurture and social bonds. What is moral is not of the divine, but rather a purely human matter, albeit the most important of all human matters. In the course of history, the ideals pertaining to human beings' behavior towards each other and pertaining to the preferred organization of their communities have been espoused and taught by enlightened individuals. These ideals and convictions -- results of historical experience, empathy and the need for beauty and harmony -- have usually been willingly recognized by human beings, at least in theory.

The highest principles for our aspirations and judgments are given to us westerners in the Jewish-Christian religious tradition. It is a very high goal: free and responsible development of the individual, so that he may place his powers freely and gladly in the service of all mankind.

The pursuit of recognition for their own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice and the quest for personal independence form the traditional themes of the Jewish people, of which I am a member.

But if one holds these high principles clearly before one's eyes and compares them with the life and spirit of our times, then it is glaringly apparent that mankind finds itself at present in grave danger. I see the nature of the current crises in the juxtaposition of the individual to society. The individual feels more than ever dependent on society, but it is not felt in the positive sense, as an organic connectivity or a sense of security, but rather more as a type of endangerment to his natural rights, or even his economic existence. His place in society is further from that advanced and cultivated by his own egotistic driving factors, nonetheless hindering the weaker social driving forces to a large extent.

It is my belief that there is only one way to eliminate these evils, namely, the establishment of a planned economy coupled with an education geared towards social goals. Alongside the development of individual abilities, the education of the individual aspires to revive an ideal that is geared towards the service of our fellow man, and that needs to take the place of the glorification of power and outer success.