Wednesday, August 31, 2005

T-Shirts for Katrina Survivors

Perhaps we aught send some "My President wanted to fight an illegitimate war in Iraq and all I got was a broken levee" t-shirts to all survivors in New Orleans.

Even the right wingers think W is falling down on the job (hat tip to Moxie Grrrll for pointing us to this article)

AS THE EXTENT of Hurricane Katrina's devastation became clearer on Tuesday millions without power, tens of thousands homeless, a death toll unknowable because rescue crews can't reach some regions.

President Bush carried on with his plans to speak in San Diego, as if nothing important had happened the day before. Katrina already is measured as one of the worst storms in American history. And yet, President Bush decided that his plans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of VJ Day with a speech were more pressing than responding to the carnage.

A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource to rescue the stranded, find and bury the dead, and keep the survivors fed, clothed, sheltered and free of disease.

The cool, confident, intuitive leadership Bush exhibited in his first term, particularly in the months immediately following Sept. 11, 2001, has vanished. In its place is a diffident detachment unsuitable for the leader of a nation facing war, natural disaster and economic uncertainty.

Wherever the old George W. Bush went, we sure wish we had him back.

Oh, W did not do nothing - he did have a fly over at about 1700 feet.

GW Lesson 1 - If you Start A War, it is Good for Troop Morale if your Children Also Enlist

Eleanor Roosevelt writes in her book "This I Remember" this historical lesson that the W, Rove and Co seem to have forgotten (page 19 of my copy). That is, if you are going to start a war you truly believe in, perhaps you aught let, suggest, and encourage your offspring to enlist:

Perhaps it is well at this point to clear up a story that has come back to me at various times: that our youngest son, John, was a conscientious objector and a pacifist and did not want to go into the service. Like every other young man I know, he was not, in the years before we were attacked, eager to go to war. He was working hard and getting on well and his own life absorbed him. Once we were at war, however, there never was any question for him, any more than there was for any of our other sons. Whatever had to be done for the war had to be done, and none of them dreamed of being a conscientioius objector or a pacifist.
Many have asked, if this war in Iraq is so righteous, why haven't the twins signed up? I second that question.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Peace Takes Courage/Demand the Truth

Moxie Grrrl links to another convincer, in case you need more convincing.

More Rhetoric on Spreading Freedom

Did anyone else read the text from today's heaping load of flagrent propaganda from the W, Rove and Co? So, can anyone fill me in as to why W expects us to believe him that the war in Iraq was , before the invasion, about fighting a war on terror and connected to 9/11? Now, of course the terrorist are flocking to Iraq in droves to practice hitting our troops like skeet out on Cheney's Wyoming Ranch and elsewhere. Pull! Bang! Vidoe Tape Evidence to Al Jazeera.

Oh, and if indeed "the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of democracy is the spirit of liberty," how and why is it that we are supposed to fight a war on a specific ideology with guns, bombs, etc?

Today we must not forget the lessons of the past, and the lesson of this experience is clear: The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of democracy is the spirit of liberty...

...As freedom advances across a troubled part of the world, it is once again opposed by fanatical adherence of a murderous ideology....
In the next day or so, I'm going to be dusting off a few "lessons from the past" that our president is neglecting.

Speaking Up For Those Who Cannot Speak For Themselves

Do you think Mr. Helms spoke with equal fervor for the Iraqi Children who were killed in the name of spreading freedom?
Jesse Helms, writing with the same passion that made him the archconservative of the U.S. Senate for 30 years, renews his criticism of abortion in a memoir being published this week, comparing it to both the Holocaust and the Sept. 11 attacks.

"I will never be silent about the death of those who cannot speak for themselves," the former senator wrote in "Here's Where I Stand," which is scheduled for release Tuesday.

Ah, Nothing Like a Good Old Fashioned Tax Shelter

No wonder folks in the Whitehouse think it's okay to lie. They are following the lead of our "great" Capitalists:
Eight former executives of KPMG were indicted Monday as the Big Four accounting firm admitted it had set up fraudulent shelters to help rich clients dodge billions of dollars in taxes...

The Department of Justice called it the largest criminal tax case ever filed and said the KPMG scam allowed the firm's clients to avoid paying $2.5 billion in taxes.

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark Everson said the firm's conduct had exceeded "clever lawyering and accounting" and amounted to plain theft from the people.

"Accountants and attorneys should be pillars of our systems of taxation, not the architects of its circumvention," he told reporters in Washington, D.C.

Monday, August 29, 2005

America's "Great Generation" Is About to be Co-opted by the W, Rove and Co

You know that the W, Rove and Co are in serious trouble when they are working to steer allusions and comparisons of their Capitalist Venture in Iraq away from Vietnam and toward co-opting one of the greatest triumphs of the past Century, WWII and Vets of that War. As Radar O'Riely said, "Wait for it." The delivery happens tomorrow in another shower of propaganda set against a patriotic backdrop in San Diego. If I were a veteran of the WW II, I would be prepared to get pissed of while getting pissed on and maligned as W does his best to make himself look good at these heroes expense.

Incidentally, knowing that a number of bloggers are out there in San Diego, perhaps we will get some eye witnesses to blog about the forthcoming spin cycle out of the W, Rove and Co.


Q Scott, can you look ahead a little bit to tomorrow, to what the President is going to talk about in San Diego?

MR. McCLELLAN: It might be better for me to do a little bit more on that later today. I mean, just as a very general matter -- you're asking about the remarks, or you're just asking about the day, or all of the above?

Q Mostly remarks.

MR. McCLELLAN: First, on the remarks, tomorrow's remarks are really focused on commemorating our World War II veterans and it's a commemoration of World War II. Now, in the context of the remarks, the President will draw some historical comparisons between the war that we were fighting then and the war that we are fighting -- the global war that we're engaged in now. So I think that there will be some comparisons there between the murderous ideology that we were -- that we joined together to defeat back in World War II and the murderous ideology that we're working to defeat today. But it's -- the remarks really are focusing on commemorating World War II and our veterans and all those who sacrificed -- made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of freedom.

Q It's at a Navy base. Will there be a Naval audience?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, it's a Naval station there, and so it will be military personnel who will be the primary audience. I think, and I'll double check all this and try to get you more information later in the day, but when the President gets there, I think he's going to be visiting with a number of doctors and medical personnel that are there. Then he'll make the remarks following that. Q Will he be meeting with any families of war dead?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me just double check. Let me just double check that. There might be -- I think there are some wounded troops that are there, but let me just double check that. I'll get you more information on that later today. And I'll try to give you a little bit more of a preview. He's still been working on the draft for tomorrow. That's why I didn't want to go too much further into it. But, I mean, I think you should look at it overall as a commemorative speech.

Q Is it at the Coronado Naval Air Station or is this going to be at the Naval base itself? MR.

McCLELLAN: It will be the Naval Air Station -- the Naval Air Station. Anything else?

As luck would have it, I am currently reading Churchill's tome "Triumph and Tragedy." The comparison, correlation of any parallels draw by W will no doubt ring hollow. [some of my comments follow as I posted on Blue Collar Poltics, the blog that alerted me to this passage - hat tip] The W of W, Rove and Co is not nearly the stature of the leaders of yesterday. Making comparisons is not only, not fair, it is not appropriate, and is morally reprehensible. They stoop to no new lows, but dig themselves a path way to hell - do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.

Unlike W, Churchill, when his term was up did not profess to having finished the job or make media stunts proclaiming "mission accomplished." Here's the last bit from the last paragraph of his "Victory Broadcast" starting on page 766 of my copy read to the public on 13 May 1945:

I told you hard things at the beginning of these last five years; you did not shrink, and I should be unworthy of your confidence and generosity if I did not still cry: Forward, unflinching, unswerving, indomitable, till the whole task is done and the whole world is safe and clean.

No doubt Bush will try and draw the parallels, but the test will be whether the public eats the pudding without gagging on the product. In my view, by drawing these connections, he adds nothing but shame upon his house and more fuel to the flames that burn it down.

Oh, on another brilliant stroke of nepotism, we find out that Scott McMessage McClellan's brother also has a nice sweet Taxpayer supported gig with the W, Rove and Co. Did you know Dr. McClellan is on our payroll? Just read the press briefing and Scottyboy fesses right up. Nice to know the W, Rove and Co. Friends and Family Gravy Train is running smoothly.

Knowledge Production is Not Sexy

Crisis? Oh, I don't know. The trouble with education across the board is that it is an antiquated delivery system that people seem to want to invest most heavily in the oldest standard of measure - testing - as opposed to pedagogical experimentation and innovation. Kids, in a capitalistic society, understandably are driven to high-status, high-pay aspirations and the limelight certainly only shines dimly on most academics. In fact, the number of famous academics that can serve as role models is vacuous. Can you name one that is alive today? The pursuit of fame and fortune is not harmonious with the pursuit of new knowledge.

An education task force established by the center and the institute noted the following:

"Young low-income and minority children are more likely to start school without having gained important school readiness skills, such as recognizing letters and counting. ... By the fourth grade, low-income students read about three grade levels behind nonpoor students. Across the nation, only 15 percent of low-income fourth graders achieved proficiency in reading in 2003, compared to 41 percent of nonpoor students."

How's that for a disturbing passage? Not only is the picture horribly bleak for low-income and minority kids, but we find that only 41 percent of nonpoor fourth graders can read proficiently.

I respectfully suggest that we may be looking at a crisis here.

The report, titled "Getting Smarter, Becoming Fairer," restates a point that by now should be clear to most thoughtful Americans: too many American kids are ill equipped educationally to compete successfully in an ever-more competitive global environment.

Cartoonish characters like Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton may be good for a laugh, but they're useless as role models. It's the kids who are logging long hours in the college labs, libraries and lecture halls who will most easily remain afloat in the tremendous waves of competition that have already engulfed large segments of the American work force.

Let's Pave Over Yosemite

Let's see. The W, Rove and Co. had promised to be "environmental," and we were to believe this was to be a good thing. They have no morals, and do things in secret because they know the public won't and shouldn't stand for things like this:
Recently, a secret draft revision of the national park system's basic management policy document has been circulating within the Interior Department. It was prepared, without consultation within the National Park Service, by Paul Hoffman, a deputy assistant secretary at Interior who once ran the Chamber of Commerce in Cody, Wyo., was a Congressional aide to Dick Cheney and has no park service experience.

Within national park circles, this rewrite of park rules has been met with profound dismay, for it essentially undermines the protected status of the national parks. The document makes it perfectly clear that this rewrite was not prompted by a compelling change in the park system's circumstances. It was prompted by a change in political circumstances - the opportunity to craft a vision of the national parks that suits the Bush administration.

Some of Mr. Hoffman's changes are trivial, although even apparently subtle changes in wording - from "protect" to "conserve," for instance - soften the standard used to judge the environmental effects of park policy.

But there is nothing subtle about the main thrust of this rewrite. It is a frontal attack on the idea of "impairment." According to the act that established the national parks, preventing impairment of park resources - including the landscape, wildlife and such intangibles as the soundscape of Yellowstone, for instance - is the "fundamental purpose." In Mr. Hoffman's world, it is now merely one of the purposes.

Mr. Hoffman's rewrite would open up nearly every park in the nation to off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and Jet Skis. According to his revision, the use of such vehicles would become one of the parks' purposes. To accommodate such activities, he redefines impairment to mean an irreversible impact. To prove that an activity is impairing the parks, under Mr. Hoffman's rules, you would have to prove that it is doing so irreversibly - a very high standard of proof. This would have a genuinely erosive effect on the standards used to protect the national parks.

The pattern prevails throughout this 194-page document - easing the rules that limit how visitors use the parks and toughening the standard of proof needed to block those uses. Behind this pattern, too, there is a fundamental shift in how the parks are regarded. If the laws establishing the national park system were fundamentally forward-looking - if their mission, first and foremost, was protecting the parks for the future - Mr. Hoffman's revisions place a new, unwelcome and unnecessary emphasis on the present, on what he calls "opportunities for visitors to use and enjoy their parks."

There is no question that we go to national parks to use and enjoy them. But part of the enjoyment of being in a place like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon is knowing that no matter how much it changes in the natural processes of time, it will continue to exist substantially unchanged.

There are other issues too. Mr. Hoffman would explicitly allow the sale of religious merchandise, and he removes from the policy document any reference to evolution or evolutionary processes. He does everything possible to strip away a scientific basis for park management. His rules would essentially require park superintendents to subordinate the management of their parks to local and state agendas. He also envisions a much wider range of commercial activity within the parks.

In short, this is not a policy for protecting the parks. It is a policy for destroying them.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Utter Bankruptcy - Sub Title: Can we afford Several Billion Dollars a Year (for 100 years) to Prop up Democracy in Iraq?

Iraq is our generations' Vietnam - one our country swore never to repeat. Frank Rich says:
It isn't just Mr. Bush who is in a tight corner now. Ms. Sheehan's protest was the catalyst for a new national argument about the war that managed to expose both the intellectual bankruptcy of its remaining supporters on the right and the utter bankruptcy of the Democrats who had rubber-stamped this misadventure in the first place.

When the war's die-hard cheerleaders attacked the Middle East policy of a mother from Vacaville, Calif., instead of defending the president's policy in Iraq, it was definitive proof that there is little cogent defense left to be made. When the Democrats offered no alternative to either Mr. Bush's policy or Ms. Sheehan's plea for an immediate withdrawal, it was proof that they have no standing in the debate.

...And what exactly is our task? Mr. Bush's current definition - "as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down" - could not be a better formula for quagmire. Twenty-eight months after the fall of Saddam, only "a small number" of Iraqi troops are capable of fighting without American assistance, according to the Pentagon - a figure that Joseph Biden puts at "fewer than 3,000." At this rate, our 138,000 troops will be replaced by self-sufficient locals in roughly 100 years.
As I was watching David Letterman the other day he had a poignent joke - which rang true as all good jokes do - Well, we don't really know what to do. Should we try Saddam or just put him back in power and get the hell out? This is a paraphrase and the delivery is lost in print, but you get the idea.

Another Good Question for Cindy's List

Went for a nice long run this AM, in the woods, thankful I was out and able to finish the loop 10 minutes faster than usual. Even so, I got to thinking. Do you think W slept well the night he authorized the bombing of Iraq low these few years ago? Do you think he sleeps well now?

For some reason, I wish to think that he didn't sleep well and agonized over the decision to bomb the Iraqis with such gravity that his gut hurt for sixteen hours in a row and to this day. Unfortunately, his cavalier attitude and trite rhetorical spin about the "war on terror" and the "spreading of freedom," makes me think otherwise.

So, this leads me to another couple of good question for W (and no doubt the Rove and Co as they usually provide him with his answers) to add to Cindy's list should she ever recieve an audiance with W - that is, if he were to sprout balls some day in the near future that would give him the courage to face someone of her stature:
How well do you sleep, and can you explain the difference between how well you sleep versus how well the parents of children serving (or have served, but are now dead) in harms way sleep?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Press Bends Over for W

Cindy can't get a word in edge-wise, but W is busy entertaining the Mainstream Media Propaganda Machine - no dout to thank them for not asking hard questions, and to thoroughly lubricate his anus from all the butt kissing so he's ready to return to work later this week.


Iraq, it turns out, is the one branch of American government that the Republicans don't control.

W. had a barbecue for the press on Thursday night. (If only the press had grilled him instead.) He mingled over catfish and potato salad with the reporters, who had to ride past Cindy Sheehan's antiwarencampment to get to the poolside party.

Dan Froomkin wrote on the Washington Post Web site that many of the reporters "fawned over Bush, following him around in packs every time he moved." W. chatted about sports and the twins, still oblivious to the culturalshift that is turning 2005 into 1968.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Thinking For the Weekend

I finally got back to my volume of Winston Churchill's WWII tome (last in a series) Triumph and Tragedy. He defines the theme for the book as follows. I thought it would be good fodder for thinking over the weekend given our current pugilistic leaders pushing us to every front on this so called "War on Terror" as if this is a war that could be won.

Theme of the Volume

How the Great Democracies
and so
Were able to Resume
the Follies
Which Had so Nearly
Cost Them Their
Interestingly enough I finally caught up on the movie front and saw War of the Worlds last weekend. Tom Cruise shenanigans aside, it was Tim Robbins character (not so out of character for the real Mr. Robbins) was the one to point out that, "Occupation doesn't work. History has taught us that over a thousand times."

Indeed, we are destined to repeat history if we ignore lessons from the past. Again, I find myself wishing the W, Rove and Co had paid attention during that part of their respective educations, or at least brushed up on it before ignighting in the Iraq conflagration.

Where Courage is Violence

In the last installment of the series, Mr. Penn has an interesting perspective to consider:
As the Iranian government strives to keep the people in the dark, consider the outside world and our perception of this ancient, now strongly conservative culture. What we know of Iran comes largely from news sources. But if news sources can't track the current whereabouts of an actor-journalist, can we depend on the accuracy of the information we are receiving about Iran? These questions relate to accuracy of information. So what of the spin? Look at it, more than 1,800 young Americans have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 10,000 maimed and wounded. Numerous contractors dead. Human aid workers dead. U.N. staffers blown out of their lives by a truck bomb, and of course, the untold numbers of civilian casualties unspecified in a war justified, not by persuasion but by fear. Our nation seems under a spell where courage is violence, and the archives will show in television coverage and newspaper print, both through spun journalism and even more dominantly, editorial restriction, a consistency of media support for the casting of that spell. And with Iran now in the crosshairs of the nuclear debate, we might note that the most costly and competitive arms race in the world is taking place right here at home, between Los Alamos and Livermore laboratories. Those facts, above all, seem to me to dictate the importance of accurate and truthful reporting, on all sides of the world debate.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A New Question for Cindy

With all the spin emerging from the President's vacation abode, it's a wonder we are not more confused than we already are. Every day the president and his ilk make some kind of comment, another interesting question should be added to Cindy's arsenal should W every sprout balls enough to talk with her. He remains a coward, to this day, but here's another question I suggest Cindy file away for her meeting.

What's the difference between the War on Terror and The War in Iraq? Here's an interesting statement:
When America takes a single step backwards in the face of terrorism overseas, it brings the terrorists 50 steps closer to our own shores.
Now, this statement is supposedly paraphrased from the 9/11 commission report. Just wondering, why 50 and not, say, 51 or 49? And excuse me for being slow on the uptake as I have not read the full report, but don't we know for sure that there are terrorist sleeper cells already on our shores (remember Lodi California in the news recently, not to mention the garden variety nut jobs like Tim McVeigh)? So, why is it the whitehouse press staffer bringing this up?

Another good question would be do you think the Attack on Iraq was a step forward or a step backward?

"Religion Could Kill Us All"

This looks like a book I'll have to put on the reading list:
“What became immediately motivating to me, and bewildering,” says Harris, ’89, “was that this event, caused by the religious convictions of its perpetrators, simply redoubled our commitment to faith-based talk and thinking and drove us into the arms of the very thing that was motivating our enemies.”

In The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (Norton, 2004), Harris calls religious beliefs “antithetical to our survival.” Cataloging passages in the Bible and Koran that support martyrdom and the killing of nonbelievers, he warns that those who consider such texts literal truth now have access to weapons of mass destruction.

“.Our world is fast succumbing to the activities of men and women who would stake the future of our species on beliefs that should not survive an elementary school education,” he writes. “That so many of us are still dying on account of ancient myths is as bewildering as it is horrible, and our own attachment to these myths, whether moderate or extreme, has kept us silent in the face of developments that could ultimately destroy us.”

Isn't it that Babies Speak the Truth?

Got this video off the Moxie Grrrll location. Have a look.

More entertaining paragraphs from Mr. Penn

I liked this half a paragraph today (third in a series):
This is a guilty admission, but when you have come to a place that is unfamiliar, with the intention of gaining a familiarity, absolutely nothing is more seductive than to see its darkest sides. I am an optimist. I can always look up. But to see down is to be down. We headed down to the demonstration.
At least we know that he enjoys a good traffic accident when he has the opportunity to look at it.

No Exit in Sight

When W says, "So long as I'm the president, we will stay, we will fight, and we will win the war on terror," there appears to have never or ever will be an exit strategy for Iraq, a place where no terrorists practiced their craft before we went in.

Incidentially, I went to a baseball game last night and the friend I went with suggested that there were, perhaps, three instead of two camps in America today: A) those who want the liars and their lies exposed and have those people held accountable, B) those who don't wish to know that they were lied to, and the new camp is, C) those who belive the lies are justifiable and necessary to perpetrate the agenda. When you think about it, how are we to justify honesty to our children and teach them good, ethical and moral behavior when the very role models inhabiting the upper echelons of our government are in the third camp?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Target Practice

Looks like there aren't enough allies in the coalition of the willing. So, we have to pony up 1500 more red blooded Americans to line up as targets for the terrorists.

More words of wisdom from the W:
"One of the most important battle fronts in this war on terror is Iraq," Bush said to an audience of about 9,500, including members of the Idaho National Guard and other military branches.

"The stakes in Iraq could not be higher. The brutal violence in Iraq today is a clear sign of the terrorists' determination to stop democracy from taking root in the Middle East," Bush said.
Unfortunately for the pending KIA, The man's ideology befuddles a failed political policy (afterall, war is politics by force and killing). Instead of winning a war on terror, we just are sending out troops into harms way to help these jihadist practice up for the movement into America. If you were not worried before, perhaps every day we stay in Iraq we aught become more frightened. If they can kill heavily armed US Military members quite effectively, who is to say they won't be better at killing average US Citizens when the killing starts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fighting Terrorists

No doubt many have heard or read the words of W stipulating that we won't give up on the fighting of terrorists. Sometimes a blogger hits the nail on the head in a post, and other times in a comment. Today, I found Kn@ppster hitting it again in a reply to some other reichwingers commentary:
Comment: The terrorist's will not stop killing us, even if we quit fighting them.
Kn@ppster Reply: I never suggested they would. As a matter of fact, I've suggested we START fighting them, instead of fighting everyone else.
Good point. Too bad we decided to kill so many Iraqis instead of an equal number of terrorists.

And Marriage Too

Enticing decision by the California Supreme Court. No doubt folks on the right fringe will call them "activists" with all the rancor and vitriol the term deserves. And, I say, let them be married if they so choose.
"We perceive no reason why both parents of a child cannot be women"

Burning Bush Instead of the Flag

Cindy Sheehan may be taking care of her ill mother, but still has some time to Burn Bush as opposed to burning the flag. [Which reminds me of a quote over at Moxie Grrll's right-side box - "I would rather someone was wrapped in the Constitution burning the flag than wrapped in the flag burning the Constitution."]

Flames from the keyboard:
I think the Camp Casey movement is taking a hold and growing because America is sick of the status quo. We are sick of needless death and suffering on both sides. We are sick of paying for a war with our taxes and with our lifeblood that is not making our country more secure. George: your employers cannot tolerate the status quo, either.

"On Sheehan, the grieving mother who has camped near his ranch since Aug. 6, the president said he strongly supports her right to protest. "She expressed her opinion. I disagree with it," Bush said. "I think immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake," he said. "I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States."

This is the biggest smokescreen from him yet. I didn't ask him to withdraw the troops, I asked him what Noble Cause did Casey die for. I am still waiting for one of the press corps to ask him that. I am still waiting for that answer. First, we were told WMD?s: false. Then we were told Saddam=Osama: false. Then we were told Saddam was a bad man to his own people and we had to get rid of him: he?s gone. Then we were told the Iraqi people had to have elections: they did. Now we are spreading "freedom and democracy" but we are building 14 permanent bases, some the size of Sacramento, Ca. To me that indicates that we are spreading the cancer of imperialism and usurping THEIR natural resources.

Good point. If you read the press briefings, you will see the Mainstream Media Propaganda Machine really just pitched softballs at W today - slow, easy to hit ones.

More From Mr. Penn - An Appropriate Name for Some One On a Journalist Visa to Iran

Looks like this is going to be installment two in a whole series of articles from Penn's June journey to Iraq. I don't know if you wil, but I kind of liked his opening paragraph. It's entertaining:
We were sitting in Nayeb restaurant in central Tehran. I’d been holding a piss through the hours of prayer service. So after I ordered my lunch, I excused myself to the men’s room. “Men’s” was written in Farsi above, and “Manly” in English below. I stepped into the water closet, grateful to just have a piss. If I’d had more serious business there, it would’ve been a squat job with no hook for one’s jacket. Now, that would’ve been manly.

Check out the video clip from Penn and what passes for fiddle playing at the Grand Bazzar in Tehran.

Monday, August 22, 2005

One Intersting Sentence

In the NY Times today - check out this sentence. Do you agree?
The 2000 election is still an open sore on the body politic.

Camp Casey Campers with a Message

An interesting proposition

Spin Masters

The W, Rove and Co have graduated to spin experts, only hoping that the interpretation goes their way. If you read the press briefing from the whitehouse today, one gets the idea that the president is thinking just a bit differently about protests over his "foreign policy" foibles versus whatever they think the protests are all about. Painting all protestors with one very large brush, such as the W, Rove and Co have done, is about as good as saying all republicans love G.W.Bush.

Listen to the words of their press officer, substituting for Scott McMessage McClellan:
Q Is the White House concerned about the protests that are planned in Salt Lake City today?

MR. DUFFY: The President addressed that directly. He can understand that people don't share his view that we must win the war on terror, and we cannot retreat and cut and run from terrorists, but he just has a different view. He believes it would be a fundamental mistake right now for us to cut and run in the face of terrorism, because if we've learned anything, especially from the 9/11 Commission Report, it is that to continue to retreat after the Cole, after Beirut and Somalia is to only empower terrorists and to give them more recruiting tools as they try to identify ways to harm Americans.
Now correct me if I am wrong, but I do believe that there is a fundamental difference between the war on Iraq and the War on Terror. See anything related to the Downing Street Memo. It will be interesting to see how the Mainstream Media Propaganda Machine purveys this to an adoring population in the AM.

Why is There No Remorse from the W, Rove and Co?

Unfortunately, the cemetary is growing

Straight Out of the Scouts Mouth

Burning the flag, apparently, isn't the worst thing a person can do.
"If you're respectful in the way you do it, and it's proper, than anybody can."

There's a War on, Let's Party

Wahoo. Compasionate Conservatives on the March. A friend sent me the link to this article. Here's what he said:
Bush Astroturfing celebration emulating grass-roots concern over Iraq. ''There's a war on / Let's Party!'' This is grotesque.
Here's a slice:
The Bush administration has announced plans for a Freedom Walk on Sept. 11, which will start at the Pentagon and end at the National Mall, and include a country music concert. The event is an ill-considered attempt to link the Iraq war to the terrorist attacks of 2001, and misguided in almost every conceivable way. It also badly misreads the public's mood. The American people are becoming increasingly skeptical about the war. They want answers to hard questions, not pageantry.

It is perfectly appropriate for the Defense Department to organize a memorial for Americans who died on Sept. 11, since many were Pentagon employees. It is also fine to pay tribute to the sacrifices being made by the troops in Iraq. What is disturbing is the Bush administration's insistence on combining the two in a politically loaded day of marching and entertainment.

Having failed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the administration has been eager to repackage the war as a response to Sept. 11. The Freedom Walk appears to be devised to impress this false connection on the popular imagination.

Attack on Iran will be a Nice Diversion for the 2006 Elections

Come to think of it, the Iraq Attacks were a nice political ploy to get the W, Rove and Co. the sympathy vote in 2004. Could they be lining up the "facts" to support an invasion into Iran?

Love him or hate him, Sean Penn is daring to go where others won't. There is a nice Quicktime Video clip showing the grounds of a university there, that is not another picture of some Cleric insighting followers to the "Death To America" flag burning chants. Incidentially, how many millions of dollars a day are we sending to Israel?

After getting our official credentials, we headed off to Friday prayers. Security was very tight around the stadium of Tehran University where the faithful assemble for Namaze Jumeh or Friday Prayers. We surrendered all metallic objects after going through a series of metal detectors. I was subjected to an upper body search, triggered by a cash pouch around my waist. (The interest on credit cards is against Islamic doctrine and therefore, one carries and pays in cash.) Then we were escorted to the press balcony.

The stadium was hung with banners. One translated, "We shall always support the Palestinians." Another, "Resistance against the conspiracies of America and Israel will disappoint them to predominate over Iran's nation." This phrase is attributed to "the grand, great leader." Bit by bit, the stadium filled until 10,000 worshipers created a sea partially of white and black turbans (the black represents the Seyed or direct descendent of the prophet Mohammed) pale and dark shirts. Chanting echoed throughout the building. Government officials fill the front rows. Military arrived in groups, in the belief that their prayers will be answered in multiples. Many, as simple conscripts, seemed less focused on the proceedings. And behind them, the sea of the devout.

The opening sermon was delivered by a low-level cleric, Ayatollah Mesbehi, and focused on economic morality. With every bow, and only backs showing, the bodies of worshipers created the illusion of an undulating Persian carpet. The women were sequestered in an entirely separate area, all but unseen from the press balcony. The hard-line cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati arrived to deliver his sermon. He leads the six-man Guardian Council, the controversial and largely considered fundamentalist body that governs state decisions over and above those made by the president or parliament (Majlis).

In an apparently direct targeting of centrist candidate Rafsanjani, he preached against the dangers of nepotism in government. Rafsanjani was known to employ many of his relatives in his cabinets, and represented a power and following that directly threatened that of the Guardian Council. As Jannati transitioned toward international policy, he reminded what was largely considered a reluctant voting public that every vote is a shout of death to America. He goaded the crowd to join the chanting calls for "Death to Israel!", "Death to America!" Ten thousand strong of voice. I was struck by the familiar: a cleric guiding his followers in their politics, and toward particular candidates away from others.

It has been my observation that this kind of invective speech is common, not only in Iran but in the Arab states as well. According to many with whom I spoke, it had always been clear from the Iranian point of view, that the call is related to American foreign policy and does not intend to target the death of the American people. However, when the supposed purpose of a 10,000-person rally is in the prayer and scruples of Islam, I can say that as an American (a half Jew, by the way), the chant demeans both intent and any religion that aspires to a core of love and reduces it to a cheap political threat of violence.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Rovian Surrogates

I call them Reichwing Fairies. Frank Rich calls them surrogates. You be the judge:
Once again Mr. Bush was in his bubble, ensuring that he wouldn't see Ms. Sheehan coming. So it goes with a president who hasn't foreseen any of the setbacks in the war he fabricated against an enemy who did not attack inside the United States in 2001.

When these setbacks happen in Iraq itself, the administration punts. But when they happen at home, there's a game plan. Once Ms. Sheehan could no longer be ignored, the Swift Boating began. Character assassination is the Karl Rove tactic of choice, eagerly mimicked by his media surrogates, whenever the White House is confronted by a critic who challenges it on matters of war. The Swift Boating is especially vicious if the critic has more battle scars than a president who connived to serve stateside and a vice president who had "other priorities" during Vietnam.

Let Freedom Ring

Got up early for the AM run (before the crack of dawn), so I have been thinking. There is a large and fundamental difference between letting freedom ring and letting freedom reign. One puts forward our country as an example and role model for others to follow. The latter suggests we push our brand of freedom on others, not unlike "spreading freedom."

Two questions:

1) Which one (freedom ring or freedom reign) is best for improving the global attitude toward our Nation?
2) Should the USA be in the business of spreading freedom or allowing our domestic actions to speak for us?

If we are to be role models for a global democracy, freedom and liberty, who is to decide which components are worthy of replication in other countries abroad? Like attitudes, being contagious, we have to ask is our brand of democracy worth catching?

We certainly have been spending a great deal of cash pushing our brand of democracy on Iraq and the rest of the world. But really, if we are interested in stopping terrorism, perhaps we invaded the wrong country. If I remember correctly, most if not all of Al Queda were Saudis - the reason we didn't invade Saudi Arabia is that, perhaps, we sold them too many of our F-16.

Rather than continuing on our merry empire building quest as pushers for the American brand of Democracy, I suggest we work on fixing what's wrong internally and ring the bell for freedom letting it peal as a resounding example for others to follow should they choose.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

And Now, a Message from Our President

More propaganda (see 20 Aug radio address, it's short) and fear mongering. Doesn't the "taking it to the enemy (which didn't exist in Iraq before we got there by the way)," mean give terrorist more practice at killing our troops, which they get better at every day? Like a virus that mutates to defeat the latest vaccine, I think we should be worried more that the terrorists and their ilk are learning to be better killers of our best defense.

In this war, our nation depends on the courage of those who wear the uniform. During the coming weeks, I will meet with some of the brave men and women who have been on the front lines in the war on terror. Next week in Idaho, I will visit with some of the fine citizen soldiers of the Idaho National Guard. I will also see the men and women of the Mountain Home Air Force Base who played a leading role in the air campaign in Afghanistan after the September the 11th attacks. I will thank all of them for their service in the war on terror and I will thank the families who make their essential work possible.

Our troops know that they're fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to protect their fellow Americans from a savage enemy. They know that if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets, and they know that the safety and security of every American is at stake in this war, and they know we will prevail.

At least now we know one of the espoused reasons for going to Idaho is to visit troops and talk with families. No doubt, Cindy Sheehan isn't on the "must talk to" list for W so he has to make it look like he is compasionate some how. Just wondering what the real reason is behind his trek to Idaho - I mean, there are National Guard Units in Texas too. Why go all the way to Idaho?

Meanwhile, he should be saddling up and heading out for a nice romp around the Crawford Ranch with Lance.

For Your Listening Pleasure - Let's Pretend

Found this on the Crawford Update. A tune by Charlie Anderson he calls "Let's Pretend" -Enjoy.

In another version, here's a snip from the NYTimes:
As we approach the 2,000 mark of coffins coming home that we're not allowed to see, it doesn't even look like a war. It looks like a lot of kids being blown to smithereens by an invisible enemy.
Another article asks is it still worth it in another way:
THE human cost of the more than 2,000 American military personnel killed and 14,500 wounded so far in Iraq and Afghanistan is all too apparent. But the financial toll is still largely hidden from public view and, like the suffering of those who have lost loved ones, will persist long after the fighting is over...Even by this simple yardstick, if the American military presence in the region lasts another five years, the total outlay for the war could stretch to more than $1.3 trillion, or $11,300 for every household in the United States.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Warm Fuzzy Feelings

The good folks of the W, Rove and Co shouldn't be feeling warm and fuzzy over the pending CNN program about the fabrication of the house of cards built to get America on board with their Iraq Attack plans. Hat tip to Moxie Grrrll for pointing to the article.

A former top aide to Colin Powell says his involvement in the former secretary of state's presentation to the United Nations on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was "the lowest point" in his life...

...After searching Iraq for several months across the summer of 2003, Kay began e-mailing Tenet to tell him the WMD evidence was falling apart. At one point, Wilkerson says, Tenet called Powell to tell him the claims about mobile bioweapons labs were apparently not true.

"George actually did call the Secretary, and said, 'I'm really sorry to have to tell you. We don't believe there were any mobile labs for making biological weapons,'" Wilkerson says in the documentary. "This was the third or fourth telephone call. And I think it's fair to say the Secretary and Mr. Tenet, at that point, ceased being close. I mean, you can be sincere and you can be honest and you can believe what you're telling the Secretary. But three or four times on substantive issues like that? It's difficult to maintain any warm feelings."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

How Much Do You Pay for a Gallon of Gas?

I live close to about three major refineries, but am dumbfounded as to why it costs so much per gallon of gasoline given that they only need transport it a scant few miles to the pump after it has been distilled.

Did you know it costs drivers in Iraq about 5 cents a gallon?

What are you paying at the pump?

Wouldn't it be patriotic to conserve rather than increase use of the automobile?

Is it Still "Worth It?"

Four more GIs get tossed in the never-going-to-be-able-to-vote-agin pile of "it's-worth-it-but-you-are-dead" noble causes. Today's cartoon by Ann Telnaes hits all the hot buttons:

North of Baghdad, four U.S. soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb, raising the U.S. death toll to more than 1,850 since the war in Iraq began. Insurgents appear to have developed more powerful bombs able to pierce newly armored U.S. vehicles.

Talks on the constitution, which broke down before the previous deadline on Monday, prompting an extraordinary session of parliament to amend the law and allow a week longer, remained divided over three fundamental issues -- federalism, the role of Islam and the distribution of revenue from natural resources.
So, the longer we stay in Iraq, the better the terrorists get at killing our guys. And the rationale for staying longer over bringing our troops home sooner is what?

No Telling Why W is Headed to Idaho

What's in Donnelly? Well, we know the Prez will be there.

Unfortunately, Lance Armstrong, for some strange reason is going to be a willing tool of the W, Rove and Co. propaganda conglomerate. Check out this dialog from today's press gaggle. It appears that they will be on private property for their ride on Saturday so there won't be any other bikers allowed on the course. I wonder if Lance will give him an earful or toss him the usual yes-man bones.See the appropriate cartoon for commentary.

Q What are the coverage plans for Lance Armstrong's visit on Saturday?

MS. PERINO: It is closed press. The White House will release a photograph. Discovery Channel has an exclusive to tapes and video.

Q So Discovery Channel is doing filming?


Q I can't hear a thing. That was Lance Armstrong?

MS. PERINO: Lance Armstrong will be here on Saturday to --

Q That's closed press?

MS. PERINO: It is closed press.

Q No pool, nothing?

MS. PERINO: No pool.

Q They're going to be biking entirely within the confines of the ranch. Is that true?

MS. PERINO: That's my understanding, yes.

Q And Discovery Channel has an exclusive what? How are they doing that?

MS. PERINO: To shoot some video.

Q Can you repeat what -- I couldn't hear Dick. Your understanding is what about the biking?

MS. PERINO: He asked if they riding within the confines of the ranch boundaries, and I think that's true.

Q Dana, do you have any reaction -- does the President have any reaction to the vigils last night? Did he see anything on television?

MS. PERINO: I don't have an update as to whether or not he saw anything on television. We were -- I was aware of the vigil and I think that many Americans were, but I have nothing to add from before.

Q There's no reaction from the White House to the vigils?

MS. PERINO: The President has said that he sympathizes with Ms. Sheehan. He has met with her before. He appreciates the opportunities that he has to meet with families of the fallen or -- and families that have men and women, sons and daughters, and mothers and fathers that are serving in the war on terror. He's listened to their -- to views of people like Ms. Sheehan and he respects them, but he disagrees.

Yes, Kelly.

Q Some of the moms today are planning to have letters delivered to Mrs. Bush. Do you know if there will be a procedure for her to actually receive those?

MS. PERINO: I don't know anything about -- that's the first I've heard of that, and I'll have to see. There are proper channels in order to get letters.

Q They're going to try to deliver them to the Secret Service.

MS. PERINO: I'll have to check into that. I don't know. Yes, Mark?

Q Dana, has the President decided that he will not meet again with Cindy Sheehan? Is she wasting her time?

MS. PERINO: The President has said she has a right to peacefully protest and to be there and to express her views, but he has met with her before and there's no change in the schedule.

...Q Are there any details on the Idaho and Utah trip next week?

MS. PERINO: There's no public events on the Tuesday. But if that changes, I'll let you know.

Q Back to Lance Armstrong for a minute. Will he spend a night, Friday to Saturday night, at the ranch?

MS. PERINO: I don't think so.

Q What was that?

MS. PERINO: He asked if Lance Armstrong was staying the night at the ranch, and I don't believe so.

Q Dana, can you yet not say what the President is doing on Tuesday in Donnelly?

MS. PERINO: I just don't have an update. There's just no public events.

Is that all?

Q Will he be riding his bike in Idaho?

MS. PERINO: I don't know.

Q Senator Schumer is proposing today to extend and strengthen tariffs on China to make up for what he says is their undervalued currency and the problems that that causes with our dollar. Have you seen this, and do you have any --

MS. PERINO: No, that's the first I've heard of it, so I'd have to check into it for you. You might want to check with Treasury.


Q How is the President spending his day?

MS. PERINO: I know that this morning he got his normal briefings.

Q And recreation?

MS. PERINO: I don't have an update for you on that. Okay?

Q Can you give us an update on recreation?

MS. PERINO: I'll work on it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Spreading Freedom

As the term "Spreading Freedom" has been adopted as common vernacular by our erudite president, I have been ruminating on the phrase for a while and wanting to post. But alas, I have been stumped up until now. I have been wondering if spreading freedom is much like tilling a field and spreading manure - good for ya, but sure stinks.

While our fair President heads to Idaho to relax and recuperate, My thoughts on this "noble" justification for the tragedy in Iraq end in one question. Perhaps others in the blogisphere will have thoughts to add in the comment area.

Is it better to "spread freedom" by instigating war in foreign places, or by letting corporations like Wal Mart (in China) gentrify entire countries?

Supporting the Troops

Every so often, another blogger hits it right on the barrel head. Knapster nails it today and the first comment is worthy of redistributing far and wide. I'm linking up and blog rolling him.

Here's a slice and the comment. Slice
So yes, I can -- and do -- "support the troops" while opposing both the war and the monster who has sacrificed nearly 2,000 of those troops to the neoconservative Moloch. I support the troops because I've been one of them, because I know the pickle they're in, and because I want to see them return home alive and safe, where they will hopefully be put back on the job they signed up to do.

In the spirit of such arguments, however, I do believe that it is time and past time to question the motives of those who support the war on Iraq, and their claims to "support the troops."

To support the war is to objectively align one's self with al Qaeda and Iran -- since the war has redounded to their benefit versus the benefit of the United States -- and to place one's self in opposition to the safety of America's troops and to their mission to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States. Those who support the war from outside military ranks are free to correct themselves at any time without fear of reprisal, and the failure of many to do so (many, not all -- a majority of Americans now realize that invading Iraq was a monumentally bad idea) cannot be made up for with a yellow magnetic "ribbon" on one's bumper or a box full of butterscotch candies and paperback books.
As a troop, I must say that I agree that we don't need to be in Iraq and our president is a liar and not worthy of my trust. That being said, shut the fuck up with the I support our troops shit. Not you in particular, but to the american people as a whole. What the hell does sticking a little magnet on your car do for me? Jack Shit. You just put another dollar in the pocket of the Chinese guy that owns the factory the made it. Support our troops. Send me a dollar so I can feed my kids.

Greed - Sub title: Ken Gets Pithy

If you haven't visited Ken over at Common Sense, you are missing out. The posts are lengthy, but worth the read as he does some real thinking about difficult issues. And, he actually bothers to read all comments posting replies. Sometimes the comments are more pithy and powerful than the actual post.

Here's a taste of his reply to one of my comments on his recent start to some dialog about economics:
I too am a fan of The Lorax, having carefully tended to many a Truffula Tree myself over the years.

And I never did see a Thneed I might need, but the greed of our breed is a bad creed indeed, and one that I hope from which we'll be freed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ever Wonder Who is Really Winning the War in Iraq

Still no idea where the Big Dick Cheney is at this moment - Halliburton Fans, any idea?

What's in Donnelly Idaho?

Just wondering if the folks at Camp Casey have the wherewithall to chase the Prez to his next vacation destination Donnelly Idaho? Looks like he is spending taxpayer bucks to do some fishing, or whatever - the spokesmodel for the administration didn't have any idea nor was he indicating that the Big Dick would be there as well.

Sad news is that Lance Armstrong is going to be at the Ranch and going for a ride with the president on Saturday. I wonder, if they ride past Cindy Sheehan, will Lance do the magnanamous thing and stop off to wish her well, or simply pass them by?

Here are the snips from the press briefing today:
For next week, a couple of you have asked for some specifics. On Monday, August 22nd, the President will make remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention that's being held in Salt Lake City, Utah; open press. He will remain overnight in Donnelly, Idaho.

Tuesday, there are no public events, still he will be in Donnelly, Idaho. And Wednesday, August 24th, the President will make remarks on the war on terror, and that's in Nampa, Idaho. And then he'll return to the ranch that night.

With that, I'll happily take your questions.

Q What's in Donnelly? What's he doing in Donnelly?

MS. PERINO: I'll see if I can get some more on that. I don't know.

Q Is that a recreational stop, Donnelly?

MS. PERINO: I'll see what I can find for you. I don't have it right now.

Q Does the President have any plans at all to meet with Cindy Sheehan? And what did you think about the latest, you know, thing where the crosses were destroyed along the road?

MS. PERINO: The President said in his -- last Thursday, when he spoke to you all after the defense meeting, that he sympathizes with her, he has met with her before. He said that one of the most cherished rights in America is the right to free speech and that she has a right to express her views. He does not agree with her views, but he says he respects her right to peacefully protest. But, other than that, I have nothing more to add.

Q When President Bush signed the energy bill last week he said it was going to do nothing to immediately impact gas prices. But now you've got the prices up to $3 a gallon in some places. Is there nothing that the federal government can do to help Americans who are feeling it at the pump?

MS. PERINO: You're right, the energy bill was signed a week ago, on Monday. The President has long said that this is a problem that took decades to develop, it's not going to be solved overnight. The energy bill gives us an opportunity to get at the root causes of high energy prices. The energy bill he signed last week will help us diversify supply, so we'll be able to look for more supply here in America, as well as diversify supply, which is important, as we look for alternative and renewable fuels that will provide different types of fuel, as well as cleaner burning types of fuel, which will have a better impact on the environment.

...Q Will there be any press opportunity or photo opportunity on Saturday when the President is going to bike ride with Lance Armstrong?

MS. PERINO: I'll need to get back to you in terms of the press component, if there is any. But the President does look forward to Lance Armstrong coming to the ranch. He's a great friend of the President, has been a friend of his for many years. The President has said that Lance is an incredible inspiration to people from all walks of life, that he's a true American champion. So I think they'll enjoy their visit on Saturday.

Q It will be the President and Lance Armstrong, or other people involved? How is it going to be organized?

MS. PERINO: Right now, I believe it's just the President and Lance Armstrong, but I will have to see if there's any more I can get. I have a request in.

Q Do you expect them to race or just ride leisurely together?

MS. PERINO: I don't know. I think they do a little bit of different types of riding.

Q Dana, can you tell -- I'm sorry, the overnight is Donnelly, Idaho, on Tuesday night, or Monday night?

MS. PERINO: On Monday and Tuesday night.

Q In the same place, Donnelly, Idaho. Do you know how far that is from Boise?

MS. PERINO: I don't know how far that is from Boise, but I can -- we can look at a map and try to figure it out.

Q I am, I can't find it. Okay. And Tuesday, he has no public schedule in Donnelly?

MS. PERINO: No, ma'am.

Q Well, he must be doing something. Is he fishing with the Vice President?

MS. PERINO: This is all the information I have right now, and I can see if I can get you some more.

Q Is there a vice presidential component to this trip? You don't know.

MS. PERINO: The Vice President? No, I don't believe so. I think -- no. Yes, Mark.

Oh, It must be the Huckleberry Festival that is bringing W to Donnelly!

Donnelly is located 13 miles south of McCall on HWY 55

2002 marks Donnelly's 50th year of incorporation!

Located next to 21-mile long Cascade Reservoir between East and West Mountains, Donnelly offers great fishing for rainbow trout, coho salmon, perch, and world class deer and elk hunting. And with average summer temperatures of 75 degrees F, you'll enjoy perfect weather for a barbeque, huckleberry picking, skiing or sailing.

An annual Donnelly tradition every August!

Gotchya Larry

No doubt we are all in favor of innocence until proven guilty, but it's looking a lot like Larry's been a very bad boy.

Would you trust this real estate agent with buying or selling your home? Not me.

I wonder which way reichwingers will hail him as a hero or someone who disrespects the flag and the dead GIs the crosses represent?

Late Monday night, a man, described as being in his late forties or early fifties, decided to run over the over crosses at Camp Casey that serve as a memorial to the soldiers who have died in the war in Iraq...
If you click on the comments section you can find Larry's address, email and other business information if you care or dare to flame him. I won't because the shame of being prosocuted shoud be enough. Here's the Truthout Video Clip of the damage - you can see some of the flags mixed in with the broken crosses.

Where's Dick? and other Intersting Questions

There were two intresting letters to the editor in the SF Chronicle this AM. These citizens raise intersting questions. Does anyone have answers?

Boarded up for summer
Editor -- I confess I'm a bit anxious these days. President Bush is spending a leisurely five-week vacation in Crawford, Texas -- clearing brush from his ranch and dodging Cindy Sheehan. God only knows where Vice President Dick Cheney is, and Karl Rove is reportedly spending the summer in his Florida home. Who's minding the store? Has the White House been boarded up for the summer?
[What would happen if W's Neigbhor was Mexican?]
Editor -- What would happen if a poor Mexican or African American shot off a few rounds near the president's vacation home while a group of grieving mothers marched by ("Bush's neighbor fires shot near protesters," Aug. 15)?

Does anybody really think all that would happen is that the shooter would be given a good talking to by local police, not to mention the Secret Service or FBI? It's amazing what you can get away with if you are a well-off, white conservative male. And not just in Texas.

When a Judge Decides Against You

It appears that those on the extreme reichwing feel like Activist Judging is all about those who make disagreable decisions [from their religiously wrapped perspective]. Fortunately, Justices are given the freedom to decide based on the law instead. Justice Sunday is a farce, no?

As if the first Justice Sunday weren't disturbing enough, the extreme right produced an angry sequel last Sunday - another church-based rally railing against judges. It was offensive on many levels, from the inflammatory and inaccurate attacks on "activist" judges to the fact that it was held in a tax-exempt church. If the event's speakers ever got control of the legal system, the nation would be in real trouble.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Meanwhile, we add more to the "It's Worth It" Pile

Look, the numbers just keep going up, and the answers from the W, Rove and Co more perfunctory. Still, we wait for answers as to why we went into Iraq. The two camps become even more painfully obvious - A) Those who want to hold the W, Rove and Co responsible and expose the lies told to get us to support the war in the first place, and B) those who don't.

Meanwhile, we toss more limbs onto the heap of W's "It's worth it" pile of individuals sacrificing while people still buy SUVs with ratings well below 20 MPG and W clears brush from his toy ranch.

Bobby Rosendahl, a 24-year-old Army corporal (and avid golfer) from Tacoma, Wash., was literally blown into the air last March 12 when an improvised explosive device detonated beneath his Stryker armored vehicle. He remembers landing on his back, with fuel spilling all around him and insurgents firing at him from the roof of a mosque.

Ms. Olson, during an interview in Washington, D.C., where Corporal Rosendahl is being treated at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, quietly cataloged her son's wounds:

"Both of his heels and ankles were crushed. He had a compound fracture of his femur in two places. Three-quarters of his kneecap was missing. His thigh was blown away. He had many, many open wounds, which all have closed except four right now."

She paused, sighed, then went on: "His left leg was amputated three weeks after he arrived here. He's not willing to give up his right leg. He's hoping to save it. All he wants to do is golf again. But we don't know. He's had 36 surgeries so far."

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Cindy Sheehan for President

Accountablity - holding the President's feet to the fire! Sounds like a great idea, but why is it that the apologists and W, Rove and Co sympathisers find wrong where it is unduly warranted and placed? Instead of trying to use Rovian tactics to discredit an upstanding American, perhaps we should work to find out what went wrong with the current administration and force him and his cracker reichwingers out before we are in a bigger pickle than we are already in.

This is George Bush’s accountability moment. That’s why I’m here. The mainstream media aren’t holding him accountable. Neither is Congress. So I’m not leaving Crawford until he’s held accountable. It’s ironic, given the attacks leveled at me recently, how some in the media are so quick to scrutinize -- and distort -- the words and actions of a grieving mother but not the words and actions of the president of the United States.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Civil War

I was out last evening with a bunch of the spouse's old work buddies and we got to talking about the whole situation in Iraq. One person had an interesting suggestion, "If the Iraqi's want Civil War, why should we stop them? Let's declare victory, pull out the troops and let them have at it."

Now, given that we, US Taxpayers, have sponsored a fair amount of the devastation in the country, I think we are responsible for some of the clean up. But, then again, if they want Civil War, and it seems inevitable no matter when we get out troops out of harms way, then why not get our GIs home sooner rather than later.

In another striking thought, this person said, "Yeah, it's like we are giving the terrorists lots of practice bombing the crap out of the world's best military. That can't be good since they are getting better at it, not worse." Again, another case for bringing the troops home.

Well, we had our Civil War and our Country came out stronger and better for it (unless of course you ask some folks who still fly the rebel flag). Perhaps a Civil War might be good for Iraq. Not to mention safer for our troops.

But then again, maybe the war is more than just about "spreading freedom," and the capitalistic claws of Halliburton really don't want to relinquish the dollars that come with the clean up projects and oil revenue.

I wonder, how much do the American Taxpayers shell out to protect Halliburton contractors who are doing their jobs at 10 times the expense of the GIs. If this is what "spreading freedom," looks like, I am not so sure I want any more to do with it.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dying for a Noble Cause

What is Noble about the Iraq Conflagration?

Think you know about Cindy Sheehan, view this Truth Out Video Interview not shown on Major Media outlets.

Can you intimidate this woman? No.
As for Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Matt Drudge, etc...nothing you can say can hurt me or make me stop what we are doing. We are working for peace with justice. We are using peaceful means and the truth to do it. I guess the truth frightens people. It frightens them so much, they have to resort to telling lies to rebut my arguments. They are despicable human beings and not even worth our concern.
Those critical of Sheehan and her supporters remind us that there are two camps here. As I said in a comment over at Moxie Grrrll, those two camps become painfully obvious. A) Those who want to know if they were lied to in order to get us to invade Iraq, and B) those who don't care if they were lied to at all.

If they did lie to get us there, those of us in camp A would like those who did they lying to be exposed and held accountable.

Those who don't care if they were lied to or not tend to be grand apologists for the W, Rove and Co. and in some respects have become reichwing fairies doing Rove's work over various media outlets to discredit anyone with the balls that W obvoiusly doesn't posess.

We are all, in a sense, dying to know - What is the noble cause?

P.S. Here's a nice set of paragraphs from the NYTimes today:
The news coming out of Iraq yesterday was that several more American soldiers had been killed. August's toll so far has been mind-numbing. For American troops, it's been one of the worst periods of the war. And yet there's still no sense of urgency within the Bush administration.

The president is on vacation. He's down at the ranch riding his bicycle and clearing brush. The death toll for Americans has streaked past the 1,800 mark. The Iraqi dead are counted by the tens of thousands. But if Mr. Bush has experienced any regret about the carnage he set in motion when he launched the war, he's not showing it.

Writing about Vietnam in the foreword to David Halberstam's book "The Best and the Brightest," Senator John McCain said:

"It was a shameful thing to ask men to suffer and die, to persevere through god-awful afflictions and heartache, to endure the dehumanizing experiences that are unavoidable in combat, for a cause that the country wouldn't support over time and that our leaders so wrongly believed could be achieved at a smaller cost than our enemy was prepared to make us pay."

"Pull Out Now" Sounds Suspiciously like the Rhythm Method

If we were properly styled up prophylactically, and done our homework rather than fix facts to justify a war we didn't want or need, we wouldn't need to use the tried and true rhythm method to prevent nasty situations. Unfortunately, the rhythm method is bad practice for prevention of all kinds of dangerous predicaments.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Cindy Sheehan's position is larger and more broad than simply, we need to "pull out now." His ears are there, but he is not hearing.

"I also have heard the voices of those saying: 'Pull out now!' " he said. "And I've thought about their cry and their sincere desire to reduce the loss of life by pulling our troops out. I just strongly disagree."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Finished - Subtitle: I Sure Wish Our President Read

Well, it took me a lot less time (as opposed to Moby Dick) to finish "The Secret Life of Bees," by Sue Monk Kidd. Here are some of the final quotes that resonated for me. Enjoy, and let us know what you think in the comments:

From Page 167:
The sting shot pain all the way to my elbow, causing me to marvel at how much punishment a minuscule creature can inflict.
From Page 178:
The man holding the shovel handle walked right up to the truck bumper and stared at the boys with that same half smile, half sneer I had seen on T. Ray's face a thousand times, the sort of look conjured from power without benefit of love...
From Page 277:
People, in general, would rather die than forgive. It's that hard. If God said in plain language, "I'm giving you a choice, forgive or die," a lot of people would go ahead and order their coffin.
From Page 278:
I wished she'd been smart enough, or loving enough, to realize everbody has burdens that crush them, only they don't give up their children.
From Page 279:
It is the peculiar nature of the world to go on spinning no matter what sort of heartbreak is happening.
From Page 286:
May caught her killing a roach with a flyswatter. She said, "Deborah Fontanel, every living creature on the earth is special. You want to be the one that puts an end to one of them?" Then she showed her how to make a trail of marshmallows and graham crackers.
I don't know about you, but this last one makes me sure wish that our president bothered to read. All these quotes bend around our current situation like a double edged, serrated blade.

Toss Another Four Onto the "It's Worth It" Heap.

Is anyone else out there as frustrated about the daily tally inching up to 2K KIA? One question I would ask W, Rove and Co should I have the audiance would be: At which number of dead and wounded American GIs does the whole Iraq conflagration become no longer worth it?

Cindy Sheehan has a good point, no matter her words over a year ago. And the volume increases as the days march on.

Nagasaki Gets Short Shrift

Our bombs laid on Japan 60 years ago seem to be the WMD that keep on D-ing. With Hiroshima being first, Nagasaki tends to get short shrift in the recognition and remembarences categories. I have actually walked the hills of Nagasaki and thought it to be a very beautiful city. I have seen the twisted metal, bent shrine, and Peace Park with my own eyes. Unlike visiting Auschwitz, which feels like a mausoleum without any speck of warmth, Nagasaki has been rebuilt and thrives teeming with life.

Indeed, we might do well to also remember the long term affect of our leaders' aspirations and actions:
Fumie Sakamoto, a junior high school student home for lunch when the bomb struck Nagasaki, spoke to the crowd with resolve and anger. "The world around me was lost in a cloud of dust," she said, and she ran for shelter in the forest. "

People, clothes ripped and torn, with gaping chest wounds, whose hearts were exposed and could still be seen twitching; people burned so badly one could not tell front from back," she said. "The wood was full of such people."

Sakamoto, dressed in a deep purple kimono, her eyes and voice sharp and clear, said doctors had told her she was bound for death and not worth treating. She somehow survived over a "long and painful road."

"Yet war still persists on this Earth and, far from abolishing nuclear arms, I have heard there are even plans to develop nuclear weapons with new capabilities," she said. "We have devoted our lives to demanding that there never be A-bomb victims again, but why are our voices not heard?"

Nagasaki Mayor Iccho Itoh chastised the United States for continued nuclear proliferation and Japan for taking cover in America's nuclear fold. "The nuclear weapons states, the United States of America in particular, have ignored their international commitments and have made no change in their unyielding stance on nuclear deterrence," Itoh said. "We strongly resent the trampling of the hopes of the world's people."

Now, it Really is a Band Wagon

With Sir Mic Jagger getting in on the fun, we know that trashing the W, Rove and Co is really become the rage. I love the lyric from the Rolling Stones' forthcoming album slated for release in September:
"You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite
You call yourself a patriot. Well, I think your are full of shit!
... How come you're so wrong, my sweet neo-con."
No doubt the same folks who were trashing Springsteen and the like when they came out before the election against the W, Rove and Co will be all over the Stones for this one. But for me, I say Rock on Brothers, Rock On.

It's time for righteous republicans to take back their party from the people mucking it up for us all. To quote Dylan:
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Meanwhile, the Terrorists have the latest and greatest technology deployed: - Sub Title: the Terrorist Wack-a-Mole

This is disturbing (view the video). Can we just track down how the various computer and handicam retailers are able to get the latest technology to various terrorists? Ha, if only it were that easy.

It seems like the whole war against terror is only working to generate more, sophistocated terrorists not unlike the wack-a-mole game at your county fair. Hit one down and several more pop up, as big, bold and badder than the last one you killed.

On June 29, the new release hit the Internet. "All Religion Will Be for Allah" is 46 minutes of live-action war in Iraq, a slickly produced video with professional-quality graphics and the feel of a blood-and-guts annual report. In one chilling scene, the video cuts to a brigade of smiling young men. They are the only fighters shown unmasked, and the video explains why: They are a corps of suicide bombers-in-training