Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Victory Imminent or Is it Just More Spin from the W?

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't W declare victory and "Mission Accomplished" long ago on an aircraft carrier that he "flew"on to at great taxpayer expense?
"I want to defeat the terrorists. And I want our troops to come home, but I don't want them to come home without having achieved victory. "PRESIDENT BUSH

I'm just asking - were the terrorists in Iraq before or after we got there? Certainly, he is comforable with GIs coming home in square pine boxes and with limbs dismembered.

Oh, incidentially, here's a good question posed in Scotty's press briefing today:
Q Secondly, about the speech, couldn't people fairly ask why it is that the President hasn't had a strategy for victory before November 2005?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's inaccurate.

Q Okay. Well, then, what is this document, other than spin --

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me mention --

Q -- in a political document? This looks like something you would put out --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, it's a --

Q -- in the 2004 campaign. Is that not a fair criticism?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it's absolutely unfair.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Oh, By The Way

Another couple of good questions for Scotty:

Q And one more, do you have any comment on Ramsey Clark joining Saddam Hussein's defense team?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think the -- Saddam Hussein is facing Iraqi justice for his crimes against humanity, and that's the way it should be. And there should be due process afforded to all leaders of the regime. And we've worked with the Iraqi special tribunal to set up a legal process and have assisted them from a technical standpoint. And this is an Iraqi justice system. And the Iraqi people -- Saddam Hussein and his regime leaders will face Iraqi justice.

Q So it doesn't bother you that there's an American over there defending Saddam Hussein?

MR. McCLELLAN: It's not something I've discussed with the President. I'll see if there's anything more.

It bothers me. Does it bother anyone else out there in the blogisphere?

Pins and Needles

If you aren't already moist with anticipation, you will no doubt be on pins and needles with the news that the W, Rove and Co are poised to release their "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." That is, after stumping for a compatriot and placating a family that lost their GI in this noble cause:
...Following that, he has a meeting with one family of a fallen soldier, and then we'll be returning back to D.C. this evening.

Q Iraq or Afghanistan?

MR. McCLELLAN: Iraq, yes. In terms of tomorrow, it's an important speech. It's the first in a series of speeches that the President will be making between now and the December 15th elections about our plan for victory in Iraq. We are pursuing a comprehensive strategy to defeat the terrorists and those trying to prevent democracy from advancing in Iraq. And the President believes that the American people should have a clear understanding of our strategy. And that means how we see the enemy and how we define and achieve victory. So as part of the speech tomorrow, we are going to be releasing a document called the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." It's an unclassified version of the plan that we've been pursuing in Iraq, and it will be made available to the American people. I think we'll also be posting it on our website, as well.

Any bets as to if this document will be the next best seller on Amazon?

P.S. Mommy and Daddy Send Their Love

Looks like Congresswoman Musgrave is taking the W political gamble as well. Let's see if she gets the nod from folks outside of her fundraising circle. Here's some more drivel from our campaigner-in-cheif:
And I want to thank you all for coming to support her. I want to remind you, it's one thing to support a person with your hard-earned wages; it's another thing to support a person with your time and efforts. So when the time comes, I hope you're dialing the phones and knocking on the doors and helping defeat the special interests that are trying to drive her out of office. (Applause.)

I appreciate Marilyn because she's a hard worker. You know, some of them get up to Congress and they take it easy, take things for granted. Not this Congressperson. She's home in her district because she cares about the people of Colorado. I know she cares about the people of Colorado because every time I see her she says, I want to remind you about the values that are important in Colorado. (Laughter.)

She's not only a hard worker, she brings common-sense values to Washington, D.C. And that's a town that needs some common-sense values. (Applause.) In order to keep this country safe, in order to keep this country strong, we need people like Marilyn Musgrave in the United States Congress. (Applause.)

By the way, Laura agrees with me. (Laughter.) I'd like us to hang around for lunch, but I've got to head back to Washington and have dinner with her -- and my mother and dad, by the way, who send their love, as well, to the Congresswoman. (Applause.)

It's a good thing W has so much spare time that he can stump for the rubber chicken party circut. Not only that, but I sure wish he would follow up on his words with some actions in the positive direction:
Good thing about Marilyn, she also understands Washington has got to be wise about how we spend your money. We're working on a lean budget up there, and it's good to have strong fiscal conservatives in Washington, D.C. to fight off the tendency of Washington to spend too much.
How big is the National Debt, and how much is it increasing daily? Is W suggesting that he is a a fiscal conservative or a fiscally irresponsible republican? Methinks it's the latter.

Concerned Yet?

Thanks to the W, Rove and Co, we've Got Fear - in spades. Have we Got Concern yet? If Col Lawrence Wilkerson does, perhaps we should too:
Lately, I'm growing increasingly concerned because two things have just happened here that really make me wonder.

And the one is the questioning of Sheikh al-Libby where his confessions were obtained through interrogation techniques other than those authorised by Geneva.

It led Colin Powell to say at the UN on 5 February 2003 that there were some pretty substantive contacts between al-Qaeda and Baghdad. And we now know that al-Libby's forced confession has been recanted and we know - we're pretty sure that it was invalid.

But more important than that, we know that there was a defence intelligence agency dissent on that testimony even before Colin Powell made his presentation. We never heard about that.

Follow that up with Curveball, and the fact that the Germans now say they told our CIA well before Colin Powell gave his presentation that Curveball - the source to the biological mobile laboratories - was lying and was not a trustworthy source. And then you begin to speculate, you begin to wonder was this intelligence spun; was it politicised; was it cherry-picked; did in fact the American people get fooled - I am beginning to have my concerns.

The Benevolence of the W, Rove and Co


Fun programatic options from the W, Rove and Co. Interesting, pics found via Move On. I challenge all bloggers to identify any single program that was developed, fostered, or put into place wholly by the W, Rove and Co that benefits every one. Please identify said program and explain why you think it serves everyone or the greater good.

Not Just For Jesus


Interesting. Found this pic on Jesus' General. I wonder what The Big Dick Cheney's position is on the matter.

Col Lawrence Wilkerson accused Mr Cheney of ignoring a decision by President Bush on the treatment of prisoners in the war on terror.

Asked by the BBC's Today if Mr Cheney could be accused of war crimes, he said: "It's an interesting question."

"Certainly it is a domestic crime to advocate terror," he added.

"And I would suspect, for whatever it's worth, it's an international crime as well."

...He said that he laid the blame on the issue of prisoner abuse and post-war planning for Iraq "pretty fairly and squarely" at Mr Cheney's feet.

"I look at the relationship between Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld as being one that produced these two failures in particular, and I see that the president is not holding either of them accountable... so I have to lay some blame at his feet too," he went on.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Drivel

No doubt, Jon Kyl is betting his Senate seat that W doesn't foul up his campaign like he did for the Gubernatorial races last November. But really, I am getting very tired of the usual Bush drivel. Who writes this shit? Is the average IQ of a Bush believer a little above a squirrel in the park?
He also married well. (Laughter.) And so did I. Laura sends her love to Jon and Carol. (Applause.) Plus I had the privilege of driving in the limousine with Arlene Kyl, Mom. And I want you to know that Jon Kyl, United States Senator from Arizona, still listens to his mother. (Laughter and applause. That's a pretty good sign, isn't it?
Really, it is altogether too bad W didn't listen to his Father about Iraq, no?

The Word of God

I was having an interesting conversation with a friend today regarding such religious books as the Bible and the Koran. Just wondering, are such books to be regarded as 1 - quite literally the word of God, 2- interpretations of the word of God by fallible men, or 3 - books written by men who wanted to either change the course of power and authority, or conversely, maintain the status quo?

A secondary line of our conversation threads another line of query: If people claim to be fundamentalists, what does it say about these folks if they only follow certain tenets of such biblical works and not the whole of the work?

Doing Good By the USA in Iraq - Sub Title: How Do These Guys Get Their Contracts to "Work" in Iraq?

Crooks and Liars has a shocking "trophy" video clip of "private security" teams snuffing out random Iraqi citizens - you know, nice people who are simply driving behind them on the road. Just wondering how they get hired and who gives them their orders. Anyone know?

The GOP Modus Operandi

Ever since the W, Rove and Co took/stole the throne in Y2K, I can't help but think that bribery and kickbacks have become the modus operandi for the GOP and anyone involved in the defense industry. Why is that?
Cunningham, 63, an eight-term congressman and decorated Vietnam War veteran, had been under federal investigation for his ties to Washington-based defense contractor MZM Inc. since the summer.

"I am resigning from the House of Representatives because I've compromised the trust of my constituents," Cunningham said after the court hearing.

He entered guilty pleas in San Diego federal court on Monday to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion. The last charge stemmed from the underreporting of his income in 2004.

Cunningham, who in July had denied any wrongdoing, said he was deeply sorry. "I broke the law, concealed my conduct and disgraced my office. I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family," he said.

Remember, it takes two to tango - when will the other shoe drop on the folks at MZM?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Another Reason Al Queda Members Like to Blow Themselves Up

I'm convinced of at least two reasons why folks in Al Queda are willing to blow themselves up for the miniscule results they espouse to attain. 1) And, I have stated this before, they don't surf. After being astounded and blown away by attending a Cirque Du Soleil performance last evening, here's another. 2) They've never seen anything by a Cirque Du Soleil troop. Instead, they choose to spend their wealth inhabiting deep and forbidding locals like the outer edges of Afganistan and Pakistan, abstain from using alcohol, and want to have their women shrouded in cloaks. Perhaps a better way to battle Al Queda (and substantially cheeper) would be to buy them all tickets to a Cirque Du Soleil performance. Their lives will be forever changed.

More Value for Your Taxpayer Dollars

Humm. With increased calls from both sides of Congress for the W, Rove and Co to step up and explain their Iraqi War plans, they seem intent on using taxpayer dollars to defend the dictator they blew the shit out of Bagdad to remove. Does anyone else sense the deep and foreboding irony in this?
Iraqi police arrested eight Sunni Arabs in the northern city of Kirkuk for allegedly plotting to assassinate the investigating judge who prepared the case against Saddam Hussein, a senior police commander said Sunday. The announcement came as former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark arrived in Baghdad, airport officials said, apparently to aid in Saddam's defense.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi police commander said four aid workers, including two Canadians and a Briton, were kidnapped. Brig. Hussein Kamal, the deputy interior minister for intelligence, refused to discuss any details.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Last One to Die In Iraq, Turn the Lights Off

Here's an interesting article:
The last man or woman to die in any war almost surely dies in vain: The outcome has been determined, if not certified. And he or she might die happier thinking that death came in a noble cause that will not be abandoned. But if it is not a noble cause, he or she might prefer not to die at all. Stifling criticism that might shorten the war is no favor to American soldiers. They can live without that kind of "respect."

Blue Collar Mythology

Bruce Springsteen may have risen from the lower strata, but is not even close to being remotely blue collar at this point in his life. He has more in common with folks getting upper level tax breaks from the W, Rove and Co. than most. So, why did the repugs rebuke the Boss for some recognition handed out like candy to three year olds during Halloween (ie: Carrie Underwood of American Idol Fame, Chris LeDoux -a rodeo champion and musician, Michael Campbell - a golfer from New Zealand, and Siegfried and Roy.)? Spite.

Goes to the heart of the Rovian-style GOP modus operandi - clear and simple: Disagree with us, and we are going to smite and spite you to the fullest extent of our ability. Sounds like the party for America? Good old fashioned American Values? Good Christian behavior? Nope. Just more division from the espoused "uniters."
So why was he denied this honor?

That's a rhetorical question, of course. Does anybody on either side of the political aisle really believe that the Springsteen resolution was turned down for any reason other than political payback for backing John Kerry?

We are so shameless now, so openly hostile to one another, that we don't even pretend otherwise. Here is how the senate power structure works: the resolution sponsored by Senator Gordon Smith, Republican of Oregon, honoring that golfer from New Zealand passed unanimously - but commending one of the seminal albums and musicians of the past 30 years gets nixed right away? Come on.

What happened to embracing diversity of opinion in this country? What happened to the idea that a healthy opposition is good for us, that it helps clarify our own views, that only when one idea is shown better than another does it truly strengthen? And when did we stop listening to the other side, if for no other reason than it's polite, humane and hey, it helps us hone our own viewpoint?

I don't love it when musicians or actors (or novelists, for that matter) get on their soapbox. I know my friend Chris doesn't agree with everything the Boss says. Neither do I. But we listen. Part of the paradox here is that many of Mr. Springsteen's characters - the factory worker, the soldier, the working stiff seeking release, the Friday-night racer looking for escape - would vote Republican.

But it doesn't matter to the Boss that his own creations may disagree with him. He loves them anyway. Maybe he loves them even more because of it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving By The Numbers: 34:34:40:3:1

Out on my AM Run, round about 8:00AM, I took the usual route through the park trails. Here's what I saw in the approximately 34 minutes it took me to do the loop:

At least 34 homeless folks - this is an underestimation as if there were clumps, I only counted heads, not lumps on the ground covered with sleeping bags and/or cardboard.

At least one 40 oz beer being shared for breakfast between two homeless folks.

Three Hell's Angels riding their expensive machines down the street.

Also spotted a candle light vigil spot in the park with flowers and pics and the like celebrating a good samaritan who was killed warning a woman about a man with a gun.

Don't know what to make of these numbers, but as we stuff ourselves silly, it would be well to remember those less fortunate than us - perhaps there is something we can do about it:
We often find it hard to be as thankful as we should be these days. For so many Americans, it is no longer a question of having too little or having enough. It's the difference between having too much and having way, way too much.

It is too easy to forget, amid this abundance, that all across America a different kind of Great Depression is still going on. The old stories would have been told very differently - if they were told at all - if they had been tales of growing up poor in the midst of wealth. There was no shame in the collective poverty of the Great Depression. There is no shame in the poverty Americans suffer today. The shame adheres to those who do nothing to change it.

The Left Leaning Blogger's Thanksgiving Tool Box

Out for my AM run on Thursday, after a long night of taking care of a feverish 1.5 year old, I got to thinking...

For those of you left leaning bloggers out there who have nestled themselves in their safe, insulated, communities, coming home for the holidays takes on that familiar knot-in-the-stomach meaning when you, once again, have to come face to face with Uncle Bagadoughnuts (or some such reichwinger relative - just imagine if you were Dick Cheney's Daughter, yes, the Lesbian one) who hasn't taken a bath since last thanksgiving, but is perfectly willing to give you advice on how to handle your "faggot" friends. So, I thought together, you, I, we - well, all of us bloggers could cobble together a compendium of advice on how to handle such wingnuts. In a very real and grassroots way, this is our opportunity to stare down the face of the red devil and stick him/her in the eye just to see what he/she does.

So, in the comments below, post your case scenareo and suggested solution, so that when/if we are confronted in a similar way, we will know how to respond. That is, as we learn from each other, we may be better prepared for the most outlandish of affronts. This could be hypothetical, but is more powerful if it was an exerpience you indeed had. You could also post the response you executed, and then at the end, post the response given the hindsight, you wish you would have executed.

This could be fun. Blog on friends.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Small World Boat Captains for Truth

Found this vid via Martian Antropologist. Jesus v. GWB - who'd win the smack down campaign?

Woke Up From a Dream

More like a nightmare. All this terrorist fear mongering by the W, Rove and Co must be getting to my subconscious, I suppose. Don't ask me why, but in this dream, I had gotten on the wrong train and didn't realize it until it was too late. In the haste to exit and redirect my ride, I left a whole bag of groceries on the train -never to see them again.

I wondered into a school - some high school youth grabs me and turns me around, like he was trying to pick a fight. "Strong, eh?" he says. I agree. He keeps moving. I head round the school.

On the horizon, I see a burgeoning black cloud of smoke, choked with cinder, nano-sized shards of glass that burned the skin, tearing it open. It looked not unlike the tumult of smoke, blood and cinder spilling from the world trade center. It was inescapable.

For some reason, I found myself up in one of the dormitory towers in a room fool of teenagers. We had the television on, but no one was reporting anything on the black cloud. I was trying to ring up my family on the cell with no luck. Each of the kids begged me to try my phone, but it was no use.

The black cloud pushed over the building and it was like the darkest of nights in winter. No relenting, this is when I woke up.

I put on my running gear and headed out the door. Perhaps the most surreal thing about the whole dream/nightmare was how normal everyone was conducting their daily routines - heading to work, walking the dog, etc... It took me about four miles to shake the dream.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Veep's Speech - Just Like Pissing Into the Wind

Sunk by pissing in the wind and into their own boat, the W, Rove and Co has shrunk to a new rhetorical low. They are busy passing out blame - as in the game we are not supposed to be playing - in a rhetorical war that has them confused and distracted. More aptly, instead of providing evidence as to their position and an explaination - which the American People so rightly deserve - they are providing enough vitriol to fill the beltway with political gamesmanship and bullshit.

Frankly, I'm not buying the rhetoric. Stick to the issues and the facts, and America -the resiliant and powerful ship - will right herself. Facts, not rhetoric set the history in stone - we all lived through it, which makes it even more troublesome for them to suggest revisionists at work. Instead of a mushroom cloud, we get more smoke and mirrors from our pissant in the Veeps office, the Big Dick:
"This is revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety. It has no place anywhere in American politics, much less in the United States Senate," Cheney said....

...Cheney acknowledged that "flaws in the intelligence are plain enough in hindsight." But Cheney added: "Any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped, fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false."
Let's take a romp through the Veep's speechifying for kicks and giggles:
What is not legitimate -- and what I will again say is dishonest and reprehensible -- is the suggestion by some U. S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of his administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence.
Let's see - what about the DowningStreet Memo?
...Some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, we simply stirred up a hornet's nest. They overlook a fundamental fact: We were not in Iraq on September 11th, 2001 -- and the terrorists hit us anyway. The reality is that terrorists were at war with our country long before the liberation of Iraq, and long before the attacks of 9/11. And for many years, they were the ones on the offensive.
The terrorist weren't there before we got there, were they?
... Believing they could strike us with impunity and that they could change U.S. policy, they attacked us on 9/11 here in the homeland, killing 3,000 people. Now they are making a stand in Iraq -- testing our resolve, trying to intimidate the United States into abandoning our friends and permitting the overthrow of this new Middle Eastern democracy...
Is anyone else tired of them trying to connect 9/11 with Iraq? Isn't that a fabrication of the revisionist kind? Who opened the lemonaide stand for terrorists in Iraq in the first place? The terrorist are using GIs for target practice. What happens when the terrorists train their Iraq gained skills against US civilians on US soil?
...In light of the commitments our country has made, and given the stated intentions of the enemy, those who advocate a sudden withdrawal from Iraq should answer a few simple questions: Would the United States and other free nations be better off, or worse off, with Zarqawi, bin Laden, and Zawahiri in control of Iraq? Would we be safer, or less safe, with Iraq ruled by men intent on the destruction of our country?...
How does he know that these terrorists would gain control in Iraq if we left? For an administration that seems reluctant to predict the future about how particular Supreme Court nomanies might sway the court, they sure to suggest a lot about what the future of Iraq would be if we left. Not all Iraqi's are terrorists.
It is a dangerous illusion to suppose that another retreat by the civilized world would satisfy the appetite of the terrorists and get them to leave us alone. In fact such a retreat would convince the terrorists that free nations will change our policies, forsake our friends, abandon our interests whenever we are confronted with murder and blackmail. A precipitous withdrawal from Iraq would be a victory for the terrorists, an invitation to further violence against free nations, and a terrible blow to the future security of the United States of America.
Excuse me, but which retreat from the terrorists is the first one? Suggesting that there would be another must mean there was a first. Can anyone identify the first retreat? How does the Veep know so well the mind of the terrorists in the second place?
...So much self-defeating pessimism about Iraq comes at a time of real progress in that country. Coalition forces are making decisive strikes against terrorist strongholds, and more and more they are doing so with Iraqi forces at their side.
Since when is valid criticism, dissent, and demand for answers "self-defeating pessimism?"

Abandonment in the Aftermath

Enigma, over at Watergate Summer has a very fine post regarding one of the victims of the gross negligence of our government's response to Katrina. As I have suggested before, the straw should drop soon, and the avalance of wrongful death lawsuits should submerge the W, Rove and Co for good - and the deserve it.
Ethel Freeman was finally laid to rest this week,Today. It is now seven weeks since Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. She was a strong woman with a frail body , she survived the Hurricane with the aid of her capable son, but she did not survive the Abandonment of the Aftermath. She was a fine woman and mother of Herbert Jr. "Junior" was known for taking beautiful care of his mother with love and attention to details. Matter of fact he had taken care of her for many years. She lost her Herbert Senior in 1976, so he has been the man of the house for many years. She was a grandmother and a great-grandmother. She had lived in New Orleans for many years, many of her neighbors knew her for 30-49 years. She was a humble quiet woman that was a part of the neighborhood in an gentle unassuming way. She worked for many years at the Tulane Medical Center, so she definently understood the importance of people recieving good medical care. In 2000 she broke her hip and within monthes her health slipped rapidly with heart problems that needed correction with a pacemaker,and also a feeding tube for her nutritional and hydration needs.

Katrina barreled into New Orleans and people battled it out at the Superdome, on roofs and in the Streets. They took care of their granbabies and their granmommies. We should hold these people with the greatest respect and admiration , and as I posted earlier in October there are STILL more than 12,000 MISSING OR DEAD ADULTS AND 2661 CHILDREN. ( please see post dated 10-10-05, and it lists PDF that is issued by the government). The Government' Silence and Lies is not honoring of these dead families.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Candidate for the Worst Idea Yet by the Religious Right

Okay, this has to be a joke. Rev. Falwell is pissing mad and its becuase he feels there is a damper being laid on the Christmas Holiday in our Country. He must have his head so far up his ass that he can't hear the musak ringing carols for the past month. And Target Stores are, ah, you guessed it, a target for him and his crack team of christian warriors lawyers?

Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to remember boxes of Christmas bricabrac being unloaded into Target stores hot and heavy even before Halloween. If you ask me, he should be litigating to stop people from further comercializing the spirit of the holiday. Now, that would make sense. Stop the forthecoming sale and deluge of of cheep ass chinese-made christmas junk to deck our halls.

Come on - and to top it off, these bastards are undermining the educational system by using this catchy jingle to push their agenda:
We'll try to educate. But if we can't, we litigate.
Now, where's the uproar from the W, Rove and Co about frivolous lawsuits here?

How about we pay a little more attention to Thanksgiving instead?

GW Sums it Up Quite Nicely: "My position is very clear: It does not make sense."

Taken out of context, the title of this post says a whole lot about GWB. He did say that. Just for fun, it would nice to leave this post at the quote from the W's "press briefing" earlier today in China:
W: ...My position is very clear: It does not make sense.
That about sums it up, in my view - Couldn't have said it better. However, putting the sentence back into context, we would have to disagree. For a President who is supposed to be running a diplomatic mission to Asia, he and his staff sure are spending a lot of time talking about his political troubles back here in the good old US of A. The title as well as the above quote was taken from the following text. Have a look:
There's also an important debate underway back in Washington about the way forward in Iraq. I particularly want to discuss the position that Democrat Congressman John Murtha announced this past week. Let me start off by saying that Congressman Murtha is a fine man, a good man, who served our country with honor and distinction as a Marine in Vietnam and as a United States Congressman. He is a strong supporter of the United States military. And I know the decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops by Congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way.

I disagree with his position. An immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq will only strengthen the terrorists' hand in Iraq, and in the broader war on terror. That's the goal of the enemy. They want to break our will in Iraq, so that we leave and they can turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a safe haven for terror, a place where they can plot and plan attacks against America and freedom-loving countries around the world.

Our military strategy is aimed at targeting the terrorists and training the Iraqis. Iraq authorities have made clear they want us to help them. They want us to help them defeat the terrorists, and they want us to train their own security forces, which is what we're doing.

I also recognize that the Iraqi people look forward to the day when Iraqi forces can secure their country and defend their freedom. It's only natural that the Iraqi people look forward to the day when they're fully prepared to defeat this enemy. I look forward to the day when the Iraqis are fully prepared to do that.

And we're making good progress. More and more Iraqis are taking the fight to the enemy, and day-by-day, they're assuming more responsibility for their own security. And as the Iraqi security forces gain strength and experience, we can lessen our troop presence in the country without losing our capability to effectively defeat the terrorists. A reduced presence of coalition forces will clearly demonstrate to the Iraqi people that we have no ambitions to occupy their country. As I've often said, we'll stay as long as necessary, but not one day more.

Yet, leaving prematurely will have terrible consequences, for our own security and for the Iraqi people. And that's not going to happen so long as I'm the President.

This is a debate worthy of our country; it's an important debate. It does not have to be a partisan issue. Fine Democrats like Senator Joe Lieberman share the view that we must prevail in Iraq. Bipartisan majorities in the House and the Senate rejected calls for immediate withdrawal. My decisions in Iraq will continue to be guided by the sober judgment of the military commanders on the ground in Iraq. Those elected leaders in Washington who do not support our policies in Iraq have every right to voice their dissent. They also have a responsibility to provide a credible alternative. The stakes are too high, and the national interest too important, for anything otherwise.

...Q It used to be that it was said that politics stopped at the water's edge. On this trip, clearly, the debate over Iraq has followed you. Were you at all disappointed by that? And why do you think it is that the Iraq debate in the last week has been so intense?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm not surprised that people are talking about Iraq. Iraq is a vital issue for the United States of America. And it's -- we're at war, and people, of course, have got strong opinions about war. On the trip here, by the way, I was most pleased that many of the leaders at the APEC conference understood the stakes in Iraq, that a democracy in the heart of the Middle East will make the entire world more peaceful.

It's -- this is a worthy debate, and I'm going to repeat something I've said before. People should feel comfortable about expressing their opinions about Iraq. I heard somebody say, well, maybe so-and-so is not patriotic because they disagree with my position. I totally reject that thought. This is not an issue of who's patriot and who's not patriotic. It's an issue of an honest, open debate about the way forward in Iraq.

I am confident we will succeed in Iraq. I'm confident that the Iraqi forces will be trained; I am confident the political process will slowly, but surely, marginalize those that are trying to stop the march of democracy. And I also know that we have got to make sure that Iraq does not become a safe haven for terrorists. It's very important for -- during this debate to listen to the words of Zawahiri, who's the number-two man of al Qaeda, where he has made it very clear that his intention, and the intention of his henchman, Zarqawi, is to drive us out of Iraq before we have completed the mission.

And there's a reason why he wants us out of Iraq; because he wants Iraq to be a safe haven. He wants to be able to find a place where he and his forces can plot and plan against the United States of America. They were -- the al Qaeda, the enemy was able to do just that in Afghanistan. They plotted and planned a monstrous attack on the United States of America. And that attack of September the 11th is a lesson we should never forget.

Secondly, a democracy in Iraq is going to send a clear example of what is possible to other reformers in the region. There are people in Iran that are interested in freedom. And when Iraq succeeds, the people in Iran will see what is possible; that it's possible to have a government that actually listens to the people and responds to the needs of the people. A free Iraq will send a clear example to the Palestinians of what is possible in the Middle East. I believe there will be a Palestinian state that is democratic in nature and at peace with its neighbor, Israel. Lebanon is an example of a society which is shedding itself of a -- of its neighbor, Syria, and it's strengthening its democracy.

You know, it's interesting here in the Far East that we have this discussion about Iraq, and it's an appropriate place to think about the stakes in Iraq, because, after all, Japan was our sworn enemy. And after World War II, the Japanese adopted a Japanese-style democracy, which yielded a peaceful partner, an ally. It's amazing to think that in 60 years Japan has gone from enemy to ally in keeping the peace. The spread of democracies here in the Far East have made this part of the world a peaceful region.

And so the stakes are enormously high in Iraq, and I can understand why there's a debate. And I suspect there's going to be a debate for a long time coming in Iraq, as there should be. This is a serious matter of national concern.

Let's see -- Suzanne.

Q If I could follow up on your comments on Congressman Murtha. You said that he was a fine man and that he probably made this in a thoughtful manner. Congressman Murtha has also used the fact that neither you, nor the Vice President has served in combat as part of his criticism of Iraq policy, as well as the administration's campaign to defend it. Do you believe that that is relevant to the debate? And is there any concern that the attacks on either side are becoming overly personal?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't think the Vice President's service is relevant in this debate. And I would hope all of us in this debate talk about the policy and have an honest, open debate about whether or not it makes sense to immediately withdraw our troops. My position is very clear: It does not make sense. It will make America less secure. Iraq is a battlefront in the war on terror, and it's vital that we succeed in this particular battle in the war on terror.

And our strategy is proceeding. There's a political strategy, and as I said the other day, I said a couple of times, the progress in Iraq is amazing when you think -- the political progress. I mean, they've gone from tyranny to the election of a transitional national government, to the ratification of a constitution. And they're about to have elections again. And all this took place in two-and-a-half years. When you compare it to our own history, our road was quite bumpy getting to a constitution. And so the progress is strong.

The other progress that's being made is the training of the Iraqi forces. And more and more of the forces are more capable of taking the fight to the enemy. And as that happens, and as our commanders on the ground inform me that Iraq's security can be maintained by Iraqi troops, we will adjust accordingly.

Let's see -- Mike.

Is it me, or was the whole strawman vote taken earlier this week conducted just so W could claim that there was "bi-partisan support" and not be called on the bluff?


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Poetry

Gun-Toting Liberal has a great poem posted today. Go have a look. Here's the last two lines:
...Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

The Mushroom Cloud

It doesn't matter that the president suggests he has evidence of communiqu├ęs between terrorists. This is the same man who used faulty intelligence to suggest there was WMD in Iraq. So, the mushroom cloud is no longer a threat of atomic weapons detonation, but the fuzzy realization that anything the W, Rove and Co presents is manufactured for political gain, and in fact may be completely and wholly fabricated out of cheep cloth brought from the Chinese at 1/2 cent per yard (at the expense of American Jobs and the wholesale foreclosure on our children's future in the form of an astronomical National Debt).

Recently, the world learned of a letter written by al Qaeda number two leader, a man named Zawahiri. He wrote this letter to his chief deputy in Iraq, the terrorist Zarqawi. In it, Zawahiri points to the Vietnam War as a model for al Qaeda. He writes, "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents is noteworthy."

The terrorists witnessed our response after the attacks of American -- on American troops in Beirut in 1983, and Mogadishu in 1993. They concluded that America can be made to run again, only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences. The terrorists are mistaken; America will never run. We will stand and fight, and we will win the war on terror. (Applause.) The terrorists state their plans. They want to use the vacuum that would be created by an American retreat to gain control of a country, to build a base from which to launch attacks on America and to conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments.
This would be an interesting finding to share if we could believe him. Do you? Incidentially, Murtha surved in Vietnam - volunteered -Did W? Where was W, anyway? Did we get closure on that issue?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Republican Sour Grapes

Is it me, or are the Republicans in the Congress turning into a bunch of three year old cry babies? Partisan hacks to say the least. Here we have the Boss - Bruce Springsteen - pouring out his soul; entertaining the greater part of America for about 40 years. And the Repugs fail to advance an initiative to honor the man? Sour grapes, indeed:
The chamber's GOP leaders refused to bring up for consideration a resolution, introduced by Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine, that honored Springsteen's long career and the 1975 release of his iconic album, "

Born to Run.No reason was given, said Lautenberg spokesman Alex Formuzis. "Resolutions like this pass all the time in the U.S. Senate, usually by unanimous consent," he said.

Telephone calls to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Lautenberg said he couldn't understand why anyone would object to the resolution."Even ifthe Republicans don't like (Springsteen's) tunes, I would hope they appreciated his contributions to American culture," Lautenberg said.
Not only that, but we see that Dick Cheney should be wagging his blamming finger (you know, as in we are going to say we are not going to play the "blame game," but we actually do GOP types) at the Congress as well. Partisan hacks, Indeed! A two year old can see through this strawman ploy. They really must think we are idiots. Another reason to vote the bastards out
this time round:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a maneuver designed to discredit Iraq war critics, the Republican-led House of Representatives overwhelmingly defeated a resolution on Friday to pull U.S. troops immediately from Iraq.
Didn't work on me - did it work on you?

Standing Up and Standing Down

This just in from Korea - Incidentally, is it me or is it astonishing how much domestic flack the W, Rove and Co is needing to deal with when they should be focused on Asia:
Q Do you think that Congressman John Murtha is out of the mainstream with the Democratic Party with regard to Iraq? He is somebody I assume that you know pretty well in terms of his position on defense issues. Do you think he's out of the mainstream?

MR. HADLEY: He's a veteran, a veteran congressman, and a great leader in the Congress. On this issue, the President believes he's wrong. And it was interesting that just two days ago the Senate of the United States, in voting on the Levin amendment, had an opportunity to reject the position of deadlines or immediate pullout of troops. So we think it's the wrong position. We do not see how an immediate pullout contributes to winning the war on terror, bringing stability to Iraq, how it makes America, the United States more secure. It doesn't seem to achieve any of the objectives that we have. And so we simply believe that the Congressman is wrong on this issue.

If you listened to Your Call, today on NPR, you would have heard a fine set with Robert Fisk, who knows a thing or two about the Middle East. He suggests that the denigration of the various ethnic populations in Iraq is really the wrong way to go. Sunnis, Shiites - they are not all that different from each other, like the difference between Congregationalists and Baptists.

I was out for my AM run today and got to thinking about the conundrum that has us stuck in Iraq. There is this whole trick the W, Rove and Co is playing with us by equating a pull out of our troops with loosing the war on terror. Not all Iraqis are terrorists. In fact, most of the terrorists gravitated to Iraq after we arrived. Indeed, pulling out is the whole goal of the occupation no? So, some one suggesting we pull out is not the same as suggesting we give up on terrorist and terrorism.

Really, the W, Rove and Co show their true aims about not wanting to ever leave when they suggest that pulling out is equivalent to loosing the war. In fact, there is no room for the New Iraqi Army to stand up, until the US stands down. Which comes first is more than just a chicken and egg question. It has to do with the fundamental flaw with the W, Rove and Co policy (as if there was just one). They would have you believe that the US will stand down when the Iraqi police, etc...will be ready to stand up. Unfortunately, one may not precede the other.

Murtha suggested we stand down in Iraq and redeploy to a more aggressive attack on individuals rather than smiting whole populations simply because of religious affiliation. We might do well to follow his advice. And, with several dozen, specially trained, small teams of terrorist hunters, we may be more effective at routing out and smudging terrorist cells and those who organize them.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Meanwhile, Republican Defections Grow

Well, if it were true, the title would be more powerful, but goodness me, it must be very challenging to hang on to the repuplican party under this leadership - particularly with those longstanding GOP members who maintain an independent moral/ethical foundation not tained by the lies of the W, Rove and Co. Sure, Murtha's a democrat, but he was/is respected on both sides of the congress. Read on...

I found the following post by the "Whitehouse Press Secretary" and imediately became curios what led to the W, Rove and Co's feeling they needed to headline it a day early (or tomorrow as it already is in Asia). It was the first - large and bolded - of three posts when I clicked on the whitehouse dot gov location under current news:
Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party. The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists. After seeing his statement, we remain baffled -- nowhere does he explain how retreating from Iraq makes America safer.
The W, Rove and Co indeed must be simultaneously shaking in and defecating on their own shoes.

Here's what Congressman Murtha said/says:
Washington D.C.)- The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We can not continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.

General Casey said in a September 2005 Hearing, “the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency.” General Abizaid said on the same date, “Reducing the size and visibility of the coalition forces in Iraq is a part of our counterinsurgency strategy.”

For 2 ½ years I have been concerned about the U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq. I have addressed my concerns with the Administration and the Pentagon and have spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. A few days before the start of the war I was in Kuwait – the military drew a red line around Baghdad and said when U.S. forces cross that line they will be attacked by the Iraqis with Weapons of Mass Destruction – but the US forces said they were prepared. They had well trained forces with the appropriate protective gear.

We spend more money on Intelligence than all the countries in the world together, and more on Intelligence than most countries GDP. But the intelligence concerning Iraq was wrong. It is not a world intelligence failure. It is a U.S. intelligence failure and the way that intelligence was misused...

...Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. [emphasis added] U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign jihadists. I believe with a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraqi security forces will be incentivized to take control. A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops, and about 45% of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.
I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy. All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free. Free from United States occupation. I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process for the good of a “free” Iraq.

My plan calls:

To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq

This war needs to be personalized. As I said before I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.


Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our OBLIGATION to speak out for them. That’s why I am speaking out.

Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME.

You get the idea, but should read more on his location.

If you think the W, Rove and Co. are going to be able to smear this guy, have a look at his background:

U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha has dedicated his life to serving his country both in the military and in the halls of Congress. He had a long and distinguished 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel in 1990; and he has been serving the people of the 12th Congressional District since 1974, one of only 131 people in the nation's history to have served more than 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and one of only 224 Members of Congress who have served 30 or more years.

...He was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal by the Marine Corps Commandant when he retired from the Marines.
Correct me if I am wrong, but no where in his speech did Murtha suggest we "surrender to the terrorists" as Scotty did in the opening salvo. Well, he may be setting himself up for a run for the whitehouse, but hey, I could give him a big kiss right about now. The W, Rove and Co. have got to have shit stains in their shorts over this one.

Moonbats and Masturbators

Reviewing a recent critique of an LA times op-ed article, I found a wonderful sentence. The whole article is over at DailyKOS and is quite enjoyable if you are even offended by the term "moonbat," which by the way is wholy the creation of folks who needed to come up with a better term than wingnut (which is a reference to themselves) as a derogatory (as if they need others) word for liberal types. Anyway, without further ado:
In the end, the Los Angeles Times, as with every other paper in the nation, has a basic decision to make. What is the purpose of editorial content? Is it meant to educate readers? To debate issues? To provide new, original ideas that cannot or will not be presented by the politically powerful? To attack? Or simply as masturbatory fodder for those few readers who treat their political affiliations with the all-encompassing fervor that they treat sports franchises, less concerned with either education, debate, knowledge or accuracy than with half-drunken taunts at the opposing team [emphasis added]?
That last sentence was beautiful - ten points from my book to theirs.

I Thought The President Gets All the Cards, Not Just The Same Ones We Had

True, birds of a feather do flock together. But when you president admits he had the "same" level of intelligence when making his decision to bomb the shit out of another country, frankly, I'm a bit disappointed. My impression was that the president had ALL the information that was available to make an effective decision. Back when we didn't know as much about the prelude to war, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Not any more. I don't believe him, not in the slightest. Now I see him as a partisan political hack who is trying to further divide the country based on simply those who agree and those who disagree with him and his ilk. These folks are not only cowards, but disingenuous. Check out this Q & A from South Korea:
Q Mr. President, Vice President Cheney called it reprehensible for critics to question how you took the country to war, but Senator Hagel says it's patriotic to ask those kinds of questions. Who do you think is right?

PRESIDENT BUSH: The Vice President.

Q Why?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, look, ours is a country where people ought to be able to disagree, and I expect there to be criticism. But when Democrats say that I deliberately misled the Congress and the people, that's irresponsible. They looked at the same intelligence I did, and they voted -- many of them voted to support the decision I made. It's irresponsible to use politics. This is serious business making -- winning this war. But it's irresponsible to do what they've done. So I agree with the Vice President.

Q -- (inaudible) --

PRESIDENT BUSH: I think people ought to be allowed to ask questions. It is irresponsible to say that I deliberately misled the American people when it came to the very same intelligence they looked at, and came to the -- many of them came to the same conclusion I did. Listen, I -- patriotic as heck to disagree with the President. It doesn't bother me. What bothers me is when people are irresponsibly using their positions and playing politics. That's exactly what is taking place in America.

Hide and Go Secret

Another fun vid from Mark Fiore.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pernicious Opportunist - Yup, That'd Be our Veep!

Cheney called Democrats "opportunists" who were peddling "cynical and pernicious falsehoods" to gain political advantage while U.S. soldiers died in Iraq.
Does anyone else find this appalling?

Not only that, but he is doing it on the Taxpayer dime. Name calling, opportunist? Take a look at these remarks from the same speech:
I'm sorry that we couldn't be joined by Senators Harry Reid, John Kerry, or Jay Rockefeller. They were unable to attend due to a prior lack of commitment...

Returning to the purpose of this gathering, I want to thank Frontiers of Freedom for asking me to participate. And I want to thank all of you for supporting this organization. Frontiers of Freedom is an active, intelligent, and needed presence in the national debate. Washington is a city with many short-term perspectives and narrow interests competing for attention. Frontiers of Freedom offers something different - a perspective shaped by the broad interests of the nation, and by principles that are relevant in every time. By advocating a strong defense, limited government, and the protection of individual rights - and doing so in a way that is factual, honest, and well argued - you are making a tremendous contribution. And I thank you for it.
Oh, and who are these Frontiers of Freedom folks? Well, from their web location, we know they have ten tenets. No wonder Cheney spoke here - not a contrarian eye in the audiance:

We Believe...

1. The most basic moral obligation of the federal government is to defend America, which requires military and economic preparation and strength. The only proper use of the military is to protect America's homeland, citizens, borders, and vital interests.

2. Property rights and economic freedom are the fertile soil in which all other rights grow and thrive. The environment is best protected and preserved where free markets thrive, capitalism is robust, and property rights are respected.

3. The Constitution's enumerated and limited powers, checks and balances, federalism, separation of powers, and guarantee of basic rights are the foundation of America's freedom.

4. "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" and each of the other rights guaranteed in the Constitution are necessary to the foundation of freedom - including the right to bear arms and to not be deprived of property without just compensation.

5. The courts have a constitutional duty to faithfully and strictly interpret the law and the Constitution and may not invent or create new law.

6. Justice is the equal treatment of all individuals regardless of ethnicity or religion. Fabricating group rights undermines individual freedom and civil rights.

7. Taxes may be legitimately imposed only to the extent necessary to pay for the essential and constitutionally permitted activities of government. To tax more than this is a form of tyranny and extortion.

8. Government mandates and regulations too often exceed constitutional authority, waste resources, erode freedom, diminish property rights, and produce harmful unintended consequences.

9. To remove sound science from public policy is legislative and regulatory malpractice. To employ junk science in public policy is unethical and irresponsible.

10. Basic standards of morality and civic virtue are essential to maintaining America's economic strength, military might, and freedom. Parents and families, not government, are responsible to rear and educate their children.

But really, shouldn't FF be holding the W, Rove and Co.'s feet to the fire on many issues -not the least of which is the budget busting debt that grows by the billions daily?

Check Out These Duds

Springsteen, in anticipation of a re-release of his Born To Run album has a multi-media presentation via the NYTimes (which really borders on an infomercial, but Boss fans will love it). It really demonstrates for me, how timeless good song writing can be, but thank goodness, the fashion goes - and let's hope these threads don't come back. No doubt, the songs will remain as fresh as ever:
In the spring of 1974, Bruce Springsteen was a skinny, tousled 24-year-old Jersey Shore songwriter about to make his third album. He was under pressure. Although he was an East Coast club sensation and a rock critics' favorite, his first two albums hadn't sold enough to convince his label, Columbia, that he wasn't a flop. It could have been his last chance.

Yet he went into the studio not to make a commercial hit, but to make a masterpiece. "We had ambition to burn," said Jon Landau, who is now Mr. Springsteen's manager. He produced the album with Mr. Springsteen and his manager at the time, Mike Appel.

"We knew exactly what we wanted," Mr. Landau recalled in an interview last week. "We were not in it to do something average. We were not in it to get any particular song on the radio. We were in it to do something great."

By my measure, that is indeed exactly what they did.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What is the Difference Between Lying and Misleading?

While I head to bed for more rest, here's a couple articles for you to cogitate:
A one:
MANIPULATING INTELLIGENCE....Did the Bush administration mislead the country during the runup to the Iraq war? It's true that they turned out to be wrong about a great many things, but that doesn't answer the question. It merely begs it. Were they sincerely wrong, or did they intentionally manipulate the intelligence they presented to the public in order to mask known weaknesses in their case?
And a two:
Marty McNett of Burlington (Letters, Wednesday) believes there is no proof that President Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so we should lay off claims that he did.

I refer McNett and anyone else who is laboring under that misconception to read "Iraq On The Record: The Bush Administration's Public Statements On Iraq," prepared by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform -- Minority Staff Special Investigations Division, March 16, 2004.

This 36-page report goes into great detail about outright false and deceptive public statements by Bush (55 misleading statements), Vice President Dick Cheney (51), former Secretary of State Colin Powell (50), former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (29) and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (52) on the subject. These 237 misleading statements were made in a variety of forums (53 interviews, 40 speeches, 26 news conferences and briefings, four written statements and articles and two appearances before Congress) beginning at least a year before the war began, and their frequency peaked at key decision-making points.

Ordinarily, I would search out the document suggested in this second article, but I don't have the energy. I did find the following web location with a simple google serach.

Some Bug Has Given Me the Smack Down

Been out of it as I think I caught some kind of bug - been unable to do anything but sleep the last few days. Will have to catch up when I have more energy. In the meanwhile I suggest you scan some of the bloggers listed in my blog roll. They are on top of the bastards.

Blog on

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Let's See: What's Good About The W, Rove and Co? - Sub Title: The Sunday Blogger Challenge

They are in the midst of fixing Medicare? Nope:
"I have a Ph.D., and it's too complicated to suit me."WILLIAM Q. BEARD, 74, of Wichita, Kan., on Medicare's new prescription drug plan...

...The drug benefit, estimated to cost $724 billion over 10 years, is the biggest expansion of Medicare since its creation in 1965 and is often described as Mr. Bush's biggest achievement in domestic policy.
I haven't read the text of the new plan, but it sounds to me like another way to abscond with a person's social security benefit:
The new prescription drug coverage will benefit people on Medicare in three important ways. First, it will help all seniors and Americans with disabilities pay for prescription drugs, no matter how they pay for their medicine now. Seniors who have no drug coverage and have average prescription drug costs will see savings of at least 50 percent. And seniors who have the highest drug costs will receive special help. Starting in January, once a senior has spent $3,600 in a year, Medicare will cover 95 percent of all prescription costs.
This got me to thinking. Is there really anything put into motion by the W, Rove and Co clan that is any good? I couldn't think of any so I thought I would post a challenge - call it Windspike's Sunday Blogger Challenge: Can anyone come up with something good wholly sponsored, planned, or implemented by the W, Rove and Co? If so, what is it and explain why it is good. This is, of course, based on your opinion.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Utopian Cowards - Sub Title: Let's You and Him Fight

Every so often, a blogger types out a brief, insightful comment that is post-worthy (not unrleated but different than sponge worthy). After my post about W's reprehensible Veterans Day speechifying, one anonymous poster (proving the value of allowing folks to post anonymously) had this to say and I felt it was worth elevating to post level, as I think others may well want to comment as well. More precisely, I like the brevity as well as the connection from Osama to W - not much different than connecting Saddam to Al Queda, right? Have at it:
The leadership didn't support the troops before the war and they don't stand behind them now

... their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. - G W Bush

Unarmored Humvees, Vietnam-era body armor, radios and rifles. No raising taxes to pay for the venture. No reinstating the draft. No provision for an adverse reception, (flowers in the gun barrels, etc.). No use of CS gas.

Let's you and him fight. GWB is a utopian coward. Same as Osama.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans Day

Ken, over at common sense has the best post about today that I have found thus far. Here's a taste to get you over there:
As we remember those who have fallen and those who are still fighting on this Veteran’s Day, we must try to separate the conflict from the men and women who go off to fight it. We must remember that these people did not create the wars they are sent to fight. They do not decide what weapons to use, what enemy to target, what building to destroy. They operate on orders from our civilian leaders, funneled through the military command. They just do what they are told to the best of their ability. They do it because they have to. They do it out of honor. They do it for us.

More Preaching to the Choir and some Chutzpah on the Part of Our Esteemed President

W proves he still has some chutzpah left in him in today's Veterans Day preaching to the choir in PA.
While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. (Applause.) These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.) And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory. (Applause.)

Excuse me, but I do think it is legitimate to question the pretext we were fed to go to war. Questioning is not anti-patriotic, but is indeed, fundamentally patriotic. We demand the truth, and the answers, not more rhetoric backed up with fanfare from a screened out and sympathetic audiance.

On another note, if you do bother to review the speech, it looks as though he has some very crafty speech writers working for him. I don't trust them either.

In Cold Blood

If you haven't seen the 1967 verson of the film, In Cold Blood, it's worth a look. I haven't read Capote's book, but no doubt it is better. Even so, this film is an excellent statement on the use of the "eye for an eye" strategy to deter further crime. In other words, using murder to stop murder seems like it won't ever work - more than likely, "it never has." This is a lesson the W, Rove and Co is selecting to learn repeatedly in Iraq, no?

I had not known that Robert Blake starred in the film. Given his current brush with the legal system, we see again that reality is indeed more powerful than fiction. The irony had escaped me until I watched the film last eve via Netflix.

Bill O'Reilly is a Terrorist

Seems like, O'Reilly is a perfect candidate to be shipped to Gitmo, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars under the ruse of clear and propper use of the Patriot Act. If you didn't think so already, here's proof the guy is a nutball:
"You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium and I say, 'Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds,' " O'Reilly said Tuesday on his radio show as San Franciscans were approving the two measures.

Perhaps, he didn't realize that he'd be speaking mostly to foreign tourists and suburbanites if he were standing in Union Square. "Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead," O'Reilly went on. "And if al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."
Now, conversely, why isn't O'Reilly salubrious over the passage of the San Francisco measures as evidence that Democracy works? Of course, O'Reilly is all about selling the Almighty Commercial Airtime - which is all television and radio is really about [baring Public stations]- selling airspace to make a buck. Hot Air - Judge for yourself via this link to the video? Humm, it seems to cross a line when a person suggests that terrorism is bad, unless of course, it works to their advantage.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

If it is Wrong, Is it Still Intelligence?

What a tangled web the W, Rove and Co has woven into a blindfold over all our eyes (points to those who can identify the lyric I bent this sentence from). So, we are hosting Iraqi dignitaries as diplomatic emesaries, even though they may have sold us a bill of goods we didn't wan to own. What great fun:
Q Can I just do one follow on the intelligence? You said the prewar intelligence was clear. It was also wrong.

MR. HADLEY: Which clear?

Q You said the prewar intelligence was clear.

MR. HADLEY: Right.

Q It was also wrong, wasn't it?

MR. HADLEY: I said it was, I believe, a strong case -- a strong case was what I said in answer to the earlier question. And a lot of it --

Q You said the intelligence was clear.

MR. HADLEY: -- and a lot of it turned out to be wrong.

Q A lot of it turned out to be wrong.

MR. HADLEY: We know that.

Q Why -- I'm sorry, I didn't --

MR. HADLEY: Is there a follow-up? Can this be the last follow-up?

Q This will be the last follow-up.

MR. HADLEY: Good.

Q If that's the case and you're talking about lessons learned, then why is it that Ahmed Chalabi, who was thought by this government to be one of the main pedlars of intelligence that turned out to be flat wrong, why is he now welcomed at the highest levels of this administration?

MR. HADLEY: He, as you know, saw many senior officials. He did not meet with the President. He was received here because of what he is. He is the -- one of the deputy prime ministers of Iraq. He came here representing the Iraqi government. And we are representing -- we are receiving a number of officials from the Iraqi government -- I'll give you an example. In terms of the recent months, we have seen Ali Alawi, Massoud Barzani, Hashim Hasani, Prime Minister Jaafari, Mowaffak Rubai, Barham Salih, Jalal Talabani, the President -- we're seeing a lot of Iraqi government officials.

He is one. And we're seeing a lot of them because this is a critical time in Iraq going into the elections, and it is very important that these elections produce an outcome, that it reflects the will of the Iraqi people, that results in a government -- that is broadly based, drawing from all elements of the Iraqi society, that gets stood up quickly and is a strong government that can take the kinds of difficult, economic and security decisions that the new government is going to have.

I will say on the specific intelligence, this, as you know, is something that was looked at very hard in a number of the studies I've talked about. And their judgment is that intelligence that came from the INC had a minimal impact on any judgments of the intelligence community in preparing the intelligence that went forward to the President and to others.

When the President Tests It and Probes It

History will show that when the W "tests it and probes it" (the it being intelligence here), we are in for some deep shit. Take a look at this exchange with the press on the part of our National Security Advisor, Steve Hadley. This should give you the willies and also forshadow how the W, Rove and Co is going to spin any negative spin on WMD, Iraq Attack rationale and the like:
Q The statement you volunteered about prewar intelligence assessments speaks fine to those Democrats who supported the war. But what do you say to the Democrats who opposed the war, who said if we had not rushed into it, we would have had the benefit of better intelligence and perhaps a broader international coalition, a more substantial international coalition than the one we have now?

MR. HADLEY: That's a different issue. The issue I was addressing was an issue of the notion that somehow this administration manipulated the intelligence. And those people who have looked at that issue, some committees on the Hill in Congress, and also the Silberman-Robb Commission have concluded it did not happen. So what we are left with is a body of intelligence that was developed over a long period of time, was looked at by the prior administration. They reached the conclusions that they reached.

Congress, in 1998, authorized, in fact, the use of force based on that intelligence. And as you know, the Clinton administration took some action. It was the basis by which, as I said, over 70 senators from both parties voted in 2002, noting specifically in their resolution the presence of programs for chemical weapons, biological weapons, and an effort to reconstitute a nuclear program.

So the point I was trying to make is, we all looked at the same intelligence, and most people, on the intelligence, reached the same conclusion. And it was the basis for actions by our Congress, action by two administrations, and was concluded by intelligence services and leaders around the globe.

The issues you raised are a different issue, and we can go back to the history. I guess the point I would make is, if you recall the arrangements under which the inspectors were operating, they were very much constrained by Saddam Hussein, and they were not getting a whole lot of intelligence.

And finally, on the issue of diplomacy, this is something that was a charge raised at Tony Blair, and he answered I think very clearly, and he basically said, the diplomacy was active in Iraq over a period of over 12 years; 17 U.N. Security Council resolutions, and we were going for yet another when it became clear -- based on statements from another -- leaders who had seats on the U.N. Security Council that there would be no consequences for non-compliance with these resolutions. And the President at that point, as he said, very clearly, words of the United Nations have to have consequence.

And I would also remind people that when we talked about the rationale for going to war, it was more than just weapons of mass destruction. If you look at those 17 Security Council resolutions which reflected the judgments of the international community, they talked about weapons of mass destruction, they talked about support for terror, they talked about threats to his neighbors, they talked about his oppression of his own people, and the nature of the regime he ran, and finally, the issue of defiance of the international community over a period of 17 resolutions in 12 years. So it's a broad case, a broad case.

Q It was, however, the weapons of mass destruction that was used to justify the urgency, and that, of course, is what my question dealt with.

MR. HADLEY: The intelligence was clear in terms of the weapons of mass destruction, and after 9/11, what we learned was that the coincidence between a rogue regime that was -- supported terror and pursued weapons of mass destruction was a serious risk that the United States needed to deal with. Having tried for 12 years and 17 resolutions to address it through diplomacy, and continuing to try to address it through diplomacy, trying to maintain the international consensus, once it was clear that that international consensus had broken down, the President had no alternative. (emphasis added)

Peter.

Q Do you believe now even if the intelligence was not manipulated that perhaps in the White House it was assessed with pre-conceived ideas or not enough skepticism? In hindsight looking back at that, what lessons do you draw from that? What mistakes were made?

MR. HADLEY: Well, there have been a lot of lessons from that. And you can look at the Silberman-Robb Commission. You can look at what the DNI is doing -- you can look at what the DNI is doing. And some of the things that the DNI is doing is reflecting that.

One of the reasons you have a DNI is so that when he comes into the White House, he is bringing intelligence not just from the CIA, but from other elements of the intelligence community. And the President now gets that. And he will have pieces that come from CIA, come from FBI, come from DIA, come from INR over at State. That is a good thing, and it shows a broader range.

Obviously, what comes into the Oval Office, again, is an effort to provide a consensus judgment. But I think one of the things we've all learned from that is that it is important, also, to be clear about dissenting opinions and make sure that dissenting opinions also are given visibility; that we need more competitive analysis and to have products that come to the President. This is one view; this is another view.

And we're starting to see those products as part of what we've learned from this -- these events, as part of what we've learned under the Silberman-Robb Commission, 9/11 Commission, and others. And you're beginning to see that happen in terms of how intelligence is coming to the President.

Q But Silberman-Robb didn't address how the White House used the intelligence, specifically tried to address what the intelligence community did in providing it. Do you think now, as you -- as a participant at the time, do you think now that you, for instance, looked at this, and other people looked at this, and say -- brought in your own preconceived notions?

MR. HADLEY: Preconceived notions -- you try and test intelligence. But in the end of the day, the President looks to his senior intelligence officials for their judgments on the intelligence. That's how it should be. You test it, and you probe it. The President tests it, and the President probes it. (emphasis added)

But as you know, the case that was brought to him, in terms of the NIE, and parts of which have been made public, was a very strong case..

Are you buying this line of reasoning and the notion that the President really had no other alternative? I'm not.