Thursday, March 30, 2006

G-men, Economic Hit Men and Jackals, Oh My!

Well, I'm off to Joshua Tree NP very early in the AM and plan to be out of touch for the duration of my holiday (helping celebrate a friend's 40th B-day). Thanks to John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt, really, for starting the National Parks long ago, btw.
We do not intend our natural resources to be exploited by the few against the interests of the many.
It is entirely shameful that so few have headed their words - not the least of which are members of our current governmental incarnation I call the W, Rove and Co.

So, I thought I would leave you all with some excerpts from the book I just picked up - Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - to discuss whilst I'm away:

From Page xii:
The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq while the United Nations estimates that for less than half that amount we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitation services, and basic education to every person on the planet.

And we wonder why terrorists attack us?
From page xvii:
That is what we EHMs do best: we build global empire. We are an elite group of men and women who utilize international financial organizations to foment conditions that make other nations subservient to the corporatocracy running our biggest corporations, our government, and our banks. Like our counterparts in the Mafia, EHMs provide favors. These take the form of loans to develop infrastructure - electric generating plants, highways, ports, airports, or industrial parks. A condition of such loans is that engineering and construction companies from our own country must build all these projects. In essence, most of the money never leaves the United States; it is simply transferred from banking offices in Washington to engineering offices in New York, Houston, or San Francisco...

...the loans are so large that the debtor is forced to default on its payments after a few years. When this happens, then like the Mafia we demand our pound of flesh. This often includes one or more of the following: control over United Nations votes, the installation of military bases, or access to precious resources such as oil or the Panama Canal. Of course, the debtor still owes us the money - and another country is added to our global empire.
From page xx:
The subtlety of this modern empire building puts the Roman centurions, the Spanish conquistadors, and the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European colonial powers to shame. We EHMs are crafty; we learned from history. Today we do not carry swords...

...We are on the record, in the open. Or so we portray ourselves and so we are accepted. It is how the system works. We seldom resort to anything illegal because the system itself is built on subterfuge, and the system is by definition legitimate.

However - and this is a very large caveat - if we fail, an even more sinister breed steps in, ones we EHMs refer to as the jackals, men who trace their heritage directly to those earlier empires. The Jackals are always there, lurking in the shadows. When they emerge, heads of state are overthrown or die in violent "accidents." And if by chance the jackals fail, as they failed in Afghanistan and Iraq, then the old models resurface. When the jackals fail, young Americans are sent in to kill and to die.

Blog on All and I'll be typing more upon my return.

Economic Hit Men: Alive and Kicking

I finally picked up my reserve copy of the "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins from the local library (no doubt doing so put me on some NSA list somewhere as soon as the scanner registered my library card. C'est la vie). As W gallivants down to Mexico to hobnob with the other "rulers" of a "free" North America, I thought it would be interesting to post Perkins' first paragraph as he opens up in the preface (page ix):
Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign "aid" organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet's natural resources. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization. I should know; I was an EHM.
It seems as though Perkins left some items off this list. For one example, what about war? Still believe the W, Rove and Co are here to protect you? Me neither, but then again, I never did.

ITMFA, no?

Here's an interesting web location: ITMFA, no?

"If Love Was A Drug, I Guess We're All Sober"

Found a great video posted by Steve O over at BIO. Take a gander and let me know what you think. It's about the best resolution of a streaming quicktime video I have seen thus far. Oh, and the lyrics and video are powerful.

Blog on All.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Freedom Is Contageous"

Do you buy these two sentences articulated in some very long speechifying by the W?
Freedom is contagious, by the way. As liberty begins to spread in the Middle East more people will demand it.
Here's a question for all you historians out ther: When was the last time liberty was spread by the freedom contagion?

The Eleven Minute Shrill Call Of the Shill: Making Life Easy for the Big Dick.

In case you didn't notice it, the Veep (Big Dick Cheney) was "interviewed" today by Tony Snow. With interviews like this, they don't need a catapult to launch the propaganda. I'm just reprinting the Qs from the Q & A and you can tell the straw men were full loaded and ready to be blown over so easily even Monica could have done it. Review these and then tell me something about the "liberal" press and the "mainstream" press' bias. Holy shit, have a look:
11:45 A.M. EST

Q Welcome back. Joining me now the Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney. Mr. Vice President, thanks for joining us.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hello, Tony. It's good to talk to you.

Q So the Democrats now have a plan. They call it Real Security: The Democratic Plan to Protect America and Restore Our Leadership in the World. As far as I can tell, there is nothing in here that actually talks about attacking the bad guys. But let's talk about some of the things that at least have been mentioned in recent days and weeks by Democrats -- number one, the idea of strategic withdrawal from Iraq in order to "strengthen our position in the region."

My question to you is, is there any difference in your mind between strategic withdrawal and retreat?

Q You mentioned bin Laden who likes to talk about strong horse versus weak horse. He has predicted that the United States would become a weak horse. Are you saying that the Democrats, rather than as they have promised to do, to capture bin Laden, that they'd be giving in to him instead?

Q I've talked to a number of people who have been in Iraq. The same stories keep coming back, which is that Iraqis increasingly are taking responsibility for military and police actions. Do you think it's conceivable or even likely that by the end of this year, there will be fewer American troops on the ground in Iraq?

Q Today's release by Democrats contains a lot of second-guessing about what led up to the war and the early execution of it, including the notion that it was based on faulty security. Recently a number of documents that had been retrieved from Iraq have been translated, and what we're starting to get is a picture of Saddam Hussein actively involved in training terrorists, and even talking about weapons of mass destruction. Is it possible that we actually underestimated Saddam's involvement in the international terror network?

Q Including Osama bin Laden?

Q I want to be clear because I've heard you say this, and I've heard the President say it, but I want you to say it for my listeners, which is that the White House has never argued that Saddam was directly involved in September 11th, correct?

Q Democrats also argue that they're going to improve intelligence gathering, at the same time they have opposed the National Security Agency's previous program of trying to conduct surveillance on electronic communications from al Qaeda -- known al Qaeda operatives, whether they're abroad or in the United States, and people within the United States. If that program had not been in place, would Americans have died?

Q Would you like to see Senate leaders go ahead and call Senator Feingold's bluff by bringing his censure resolution to the floor for a vote?

Q The other thing -- one of the other striking things of the Democratic plan is that they would get bin Laden. Do you think they know how to do it?

Q But you don't seriously think they've got a secret plan for getting bin Laden?

Q Okay. A couple of things, I think a couple of minutes ago -- I want to make sure -- you said Osama bin Laden wasn't involved in 9/11 planning. You meant Saddam Hussein, correct? That Saddam Hussein was not involved in September 11th?

Q Okay.

Q Yes. Well, otherwise we'd have a whole lot more stories to deal with.

Q Some radioactive stuff got across the border the other day. We were doing a test, and it turned out that somebody faked some paperwork. Are you confident that we are going to be able to put together security measures that make it impossible -- or make it at least unlikely that somebody is going to be able to bring into this country the stuff necessary to create either a dirty bomb or a nuclear bomb?

Q Exactly.

Q What do you make of proposals to put up a wall between the United States and Mexico? For it or against it?

Q Mr. Vice President, got a half a minute, the last question -- do you think Democrats are playing with fire in this? Do you think this attempt to come up with a security strategy is going to backfire on them?

Q All right, Mr. Vice President.

(Sound bite is played.)

Q Thanks for joining us.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right. Good to talk to you.

END 11:56 A.M. EST
No shit it was good for The Big Dick Cheney to talk to this man - there wasn't a difficult question to be found at all. Tony sets them up, and The Big Dick fires all his guns at the specified target. You might have just as well had Karl Rove ask him the questions directly and stop this charade.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Desperately Seeking The Geopolitical G-Spot

With this morning's news that Andy Card is stepping down, one has to wonder will the American public care? Doubt it. How many average American's are sitting there listening to the news scratching their heads saying, "Andy who?"

Perhaps the bigger subtext of the W's latest political parlor trick is the reason why Karl Rove was not promoted to take his supervisor's place. Sure we can never know that rationale explicitly. But, it left me thinking on my morning run as to how the W, Rove and Co tends to operate - basically, since stealing the election in Y2K they have been desperately seeking the geopolitical G-Spot. What's that you ask? Well, I'm glad you did.

The Geopolitical G-spot is that place, if found and fondled, triggers the ultimate climax for those in charge. This climax, when reached, is a time where all is copasetic domestically and internationally. This is a political nirvana where, as the W, Rove and Co might define it, an administration receives not only a near unanimous approval rating, but they also are able to move their agenda forward as if they were passing out cotton candy to four year olds at a birthday party instead of pushing laws that restrict, for example, a woman's right to control her own body, or where invasion of privacy is ignored yielding to the blind allegiance of the faithful patriots. When finally hitting the geopolitical g-spot, the administration's stars align and they open a whole new utopia where no one in the press feels misled and asks only softball questions, and reports nothing but "good-"spoon-fed news.

Unfortunately for the W, Rove and Co and the American people, what has been going on almost continuously since the outset of this administration has been a lot of groping and tongue play, that feels a lot like the misguided foreplay of an 18 year old Christian teenager who thinks that sticking their tongues (and other things)in various places is still abstinence. But for the W, Rove and Co the consequences are much more grave (involving large numbers of dead people instead of pregnant teen girls).

Desperate in their quest to find the Geopolitical G-Spot, they end up doing damage both emotionally and physically that is irrevocable: Just like you can't become a little bit pregnant. The more they try, the more damage they do as they miss over and again. Then for a short bit, they think they have found it, but really, it was America and the world faking it (not unlike Sally did with Harry, when they met). Or, they don't know they missed because they surround themselves with people who say the polls don't matter and there is no civil war in Iraq.

With the news about Andy Card today, one wonders what kind of damage this latest political maneuver will play out. Will the press fall for this latest attempt to hit the geopolitical G-Spot, or will they stand up and do their jobs, slapping this administration again and again? Only time will tell, but I for one, suggest the W, Rove and Co. stop their desperate attempt to find the Geopolitical G-Spot. Stand down, step aside and let some one else try. It couldn't get any worse if they did, could it?

Blog on All (cross posted at Bring It On).

"Freedom is Universal"

Fortunately, the foreign press is periodically allowed to interview our president. When you read through this answer to a very important question, ask yourself the following question. Is "freedom universal," and what exactly does that statement mean in terms of trying to prove any point at all?
Q President -- Iraq. You've been telling people the U.S. is going the right way. But the polls -- and you've said you don't follow the polls -- the polls say people don't agree with you. Could it be that they're right and you're wrong?

THE PRESIDENT: History will prove whether I'm right. I think I'll be right, because I do believe freedom is universal. I remember it wasn't all that long ago that 11 million Iraqis went to the polls in the face of terrorist threats, in the face of potential assassination, and said, we want to be free. That was last December.

That sentiment still exists in Iraq. The enemy has got -- those who want to stop democracy have got one weapon, and that is the ability to kill innocent life to get on the TV, to shake our will. And my will is not going to be shaken. You cannot have a President make decisions based upon yesterday's polls. You must have a President who believes in certain principles and is willing to lead based upon a vision for a better future.

And I believe my vision for a better future entails having a democratic Iraq as a friend and an ally, and to prevent the stated goals of the enemy from taking place. They want us to leave Iraq so they can establish a safe haven from which to launch attacks on our people again. And I take their goal seriously, and I will use all resources at my disposal in order to protect the American people.

What About The Man Named Karl?

Just wondering, given the Andy Card resignation, what's to become of one of Card's underlings, Mr. Rove? No hints from Scotty today, but maybe by 15 April we will have an answer. Could it be the W, Rove and Co house of cards (pun intended) is in its "final throes?"
Q And one further on Andy Card's move. Should we assume that the current deputy chiefs of staff are staying in place?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, David, I think it's premature to talk about any future decisions that may or may not be made, and so I would discourage you from doing that. First of all, Josh is going to have plenty of time to transition and get in place. And he has the full confidence of the President and his authority to manage the White House staff and to look at personnel issues throughout the administration and within the White House. And if there are any discussions about future decisions that need to be made regarding personnel matters, those are discussions that the President and the Chief of Staff will -- new Chief of Staff will have, and they'll move forward based on those discussions...

...Q Scott, back to his Chief of Staff. Josh Bolten once worked in Congress. Would you expect, or would it be reasonable to expect further changes, say, in the congressional liaison staff, or other places to improve --

MR. McCLELLAN: As I said earlier and as I indicated in previous questions, I think it's premature to get into any sort of speculation.

Q Okay, you're not ruling anything out yet?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not ruling anything in. I'm saying that Josh Bolten will be the new Chief of Staff. He will start on April 15th, and he has the confidence of the President to do what he needs to do to help him advance his agenda and make the decisions that are in the best interest of the American people.
Yadda, yadda, yadda - "good for the American people" isn't always what's good for the whitehouse and vice versa, now is it?

Incidentially, here's what the President had to say about the possible "shake up:"
Q Thank you for the interview. A very busy day at the White House, so I have to ask you, you accepted the resignation of Andrew Card today -- is this a sign of a major shakeup at the White House?

THE PRESIDENT: No, it's a sign of a fellow who has worked five-and-a-quarter years, he's here every morning early in the morning, he stays late, and he put his heart and soul in the job. And he came to me about two-and-a-half weeks ago, or two weeks ago, and said, I think it may be time for me to go on, you know, I've given it my all. And I thank him for his service. I consider him an incredibly close friend. And, obviously, I picked Joshua Bolten to take his place. And now Josh's job is to design a White House staff that meets the needs of the President, which is one of the key -- most important needs is to make sure I get information in a timely fashion so I can make decisions.

Q Any more changes coming up?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Josh has just begun to take a look at the White House structure. And I haven't had a chance to talk to him about the future yet. But right now I'm honoring and celebrating the service of Andy Card.
And here's some final advice Scotty delivers to his pals in the press corps:
R. McCLELLAN: No, I think that's another tendency of this town to overanalyze things, and I would discourage that.

Q Thank you.

MR. McCLELLAN: Thank you.
Perhaps that is one thing we are suffering from: An administration that doesn't do enough analysis (e.g. the intelligence used to start the Iraq conflagration in the first place).

Blog on All. Blog on.

The President Commits Rhetorical Suicide Again

If you are distracted by the Andy Card situation and his replacement by some one not named Karl, you might have missed this announcement after the president's cabinet meeting:
Tomorrow I'm going to deliver a third in a series of speeches about the situation in Iraq. During Saddam Hussein's brutal rule he exploited the ethnic and religious diversity of Iraq by setting communities against one another. And now the terrorists and former regime elements are doing the same -- they're trying to set off a civil war through acts of sectarian violence. But the United States and our Iraqi forces cannot be defeated militarily. The only thing the Iraqi insurgents, as well as the terrorists, can possibly do is to cause us to lose our nerve and retreat, to withdraw.
So, from this short paragraph we learn many things:
  1. The president's propaganda catapult is armed and ready for another spin round the ex post facto justification for the Iraq folly tomorrow. Read: WMD and Smoking Gun = Bait - Removing Evil Dictator = Switch. I can't wait and am giddy with excitement.

  2. It's not our fault if it looks like civil war in Iraq: It's the damned if we do damned if we don't situation the Clash put in their song - "Should I stay or should I go?"

  3. To whom does that much maligned, much misunderstood, and frequently bombed Iraq Army belong when the President says "our Iraqi forces?"

  4. Are we losing our nerve or are we just getting smarter? One thing is certain, it's not OUR nerve that got us into this mess, Mr. president.

Monday, March 27, 2006

How Do You Explain Peace To A Four Year Old?

This came up today in our house. I don't have a good answer and need some advice. Any help will be appreciated. Given the actions of the W, Rove and Co and the constant barrage of war-time images in the MSM, how should a good parent here in these United States of America, explain the concept of peace to a four-year-old?

Leave your thoughts in a comment to this post. Thanks and Blog on All. Blog on.

With Wars Like These

All Images Copyright Windspike (2006)

With wars like these, all we get is sadness.

It's hard sometimes to sort out who's killing who. MAJ. GENERAL RICK LYNCH, an American military spokesman, on sectarian violence in Iraq.

What Iraqi Government?

Does anyone find this exchange as disturbing as I do?
Q Could the Iraqi government's version of events be very different?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know what you're referring to when you say, "Iraqi government." I don't know what you're referring to there.

Q Well, there are statements from the U.S. saying it wasn't a mosque, and the Iraqis --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's right. And the military statement that was put out said that this was a special -- Iraqi special operations forces that was involved in this, and the United States was simply providing an advisory and supporting role.
So, the WMD bait and switch is getting more complicated and the reasons for us being in Iraq are what Scott? I thought we are now all about installing a viable democratic government. What do you mean you don't know what the reporter is refering to?

Oh, and simply becuase we were "providing a supporting role" in tearing apart a mosque do you think the Arab world is going to forgive us for it? Shit.

Garbage In = Garbage Out: Did the President Prematurely Decide To Invade Iraq?

Helen Thomas and some other reporters take some good swings at the garbage the W, Rove and Co is trying to feed us and find only that there is more garbage than they expected. Witness Scotty McMessage McClellan's spew and dance maneavers to try and weasel out of answering some very good questions:
Helen, go ahead.

Q In a follow up for -- from this morning's briefing, I said that the President was aware in the run-up to the war that there were no weapons -- no weapons -- unconventional weapons had been found, and you sort of denied that it was in the memo.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, this morning you said that the President was aware there were no weapons of mass destruction. And that is not what that article spelled out.

Q This is what it -- the memo says: The President and Prime Minister acknowledge that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq in the run-up to the war.

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, let me remind you and take you back to that time period, because there was a U.N. weapons inspection team that was looking at these issues. And that team put out I think some sort of interim report back in December of '02, and that report showed that the regime was not coming clean. And we said at that time that the regime was continuing its pattern of non-cooperation and that if they continued --

Q They also said they didn't find any weapons.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- if they continued down that path, then we were prepared to use force. The President pursued a diplomatic solution. That's why we went to the United Nations. That's why we passed a 17th resolution that called on the regime to disclose or face serious consequences.

Q The memo says he wanted a war, basically that he was determined, and there were no weapons found.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, Helen, that's not an accurate assessment, and you know it. Because you covered --

Q Is this memo wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you covered us at that time period. And let me remind you, go back to that time period, look at the public comments that were made, look at the numerous statements that were made by the President of the United States. We were continuing to pursue a diplomatic solution, but we recognized that it was necessary to prepare and plan accordingly in the event we would need to use force, and that's what we were doing at that time, as well.

But Saddam Hussein was given every opportunity to comply, and he continued to defy the international community -- even when he was given one final opportunity, or face serious consequences. So let's not rewrite history. It was very clear what was going on at the time.

Q Is this memo correct?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't -- I haven't seen that memo, Helen.

Q You haven't seen The New York Times' memo?

MR. McCLELLAN: I've seen The New York Times.

Q Well, let me just follow on that. There's nothing in there that suggests that this is not an accurate reflection of a conversation that the President had with Prime Minister Blair, right?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that our public and private comments are fully consistent.

Q And therefore the guts of this appears to be accurate?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know what you're talking about "guts" of. Let's be specific in what we're talking about.

Q Well, comments made about the inevitability of war, the President's feeling about that at one --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President was making numerous public comments at the time, David. You covered those comments. The use of force was a last option, but we recognized that it was necessary --

Q It was his mind frame, though.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- to prepare and plan, and that's what we were doing at the time. And if you go and look at the public comments at the time, going back to late in the fall and winter period of 2002, on into 2003, we were making it very clear what the regime needed to do. And if it didn't do it, we were prepared to enforce the Security Council Resolution 1441, which called for serious consequences.

Q It didn't call for going to war.

Q Let me ask you a more fundamental question. The President -- according to this report of this memo -- said to Prime Minister Blair that he didn't expect that there would be any sectarian violence. That's obviously proven -- he was disproven. That is, in fact, the case that there is sectarian violence. Some worry about the prospects of civil war.

My question, though, is the President's judgments, this administration's judgments about the war that did not come to pass, that created a credibility problem with the American people with regard to how they view this war, does that not hurt the President when he now says, we need patience and we have to persevere?

MR. McCLELLAN: First of all, you made a very long statement there, and I'm not accepting the premise of the beginning of your question that that's an accurate reflection of things. We've talked about what we anticipated and what we didn't anticipate and what we prepared for.

And I think credibility is about doing what you say you're going to do. We did what we said we were going to do. Tyrants around the world know that we mean what we say, because we followed through on the resolution that was passed at the Security Council and held Saddam Hussein's regime to account. And he has been removed from power. The world is better off because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power.

We are working to transform a troubled region of the world, and that goes directly to our own security. The Middle East has been a breeding ground for terrorism. We had a false sense of stability because of previous foreign policies of previous administrations. This President made the decision after September 11th that we were going to take a comprehensive approach to the war on terrorism, and that we were going to work to spread freedom.

Q You're getting off point.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, it's very much on point.

Q Well, if I was too long-winded, let me just -- let me just be more precise.


Q The President assumed incorrectly, hindsight tells us, that there would not be sectarian violence after the invasion. Is that correct?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there were certain things that we anticipated, and certain things that we didn't anticipate. The President has talked publicly about what some of those were. And we've also worked to adapt and adjust to circumstances on the ground. Any time you're engaged in a war -- and the President talked about this issue last week -- things aren't going to go necessarily according to the plans. You've got to be flexible, you've got to be able to adapt and adjust to the circumstances on the ground. And that's exactly what we have done.

We know that the terrorists have made this the central front in the war on terrorism. They want to spread sectarian violence and create civil war. But the Iraqi political leaders and Iraqi religious leaders have come together, and they said, we need to move forward, we need to continue to move forward on forming a government that represents all Iraqis. The Iraqi army has held together. They have shown that they can perform well and help restore calm and restraint. And that's important, too. Now, there are certain areas where they didn't. But I think you have to look at the full picture. And just to make comments like that doesn't take a look at the full picture.

Jim, go ahead.
Well, when Scotty says "I think that our public and private comments are fully consistent," do you believe him?

By the way, does anyone else remember the massive set of documents that Saddam's administration tossed our way before the invasion of an otherwise peaceful country? Does that constitute not being forthcoming? If Saddam's claim in those documents were that he didn't hold any weapons of mass destruction, and our evidence now points to that as being quite true, why didn't they believe him?

But wait, there's more:
Q Scott, had the President decided on the 31st of January to go to war with Iraq regardless of whether there was a second U.N. resolution, and regardless of whether weapons of mass destruction were found?

MR. McCLELLAN: We were preparing in case it was going to be necessary, but we were continuing to pursue a diplomatic solution in that 2003 time period. And all the -- there was a lot of public comments made at the time, leading up to the decision to go in and use force, and remember, even 48 hours before we began Operation Iraqi Freedom, Saddam Hussein and his sons were given one final opportunity to leave the country and avoid serious consequences.

Q So would you dispute what's in this memo, which says that, in fact, that decision had been made by January the 31st, and say that the President had not decided to go to war?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think I was asked that earlier, and I think I addressed that when I just said we were continuing to pursue a diplomatic course. You can go back and look at all the public comments at the time. The President made numerous public comments. You can look at other officials in the administration and what we were saying, but Saddam Hussein -- that's why I pointed back to -- remember, there's a December report, or interim report by the weapons inspector, the United Nations weapons inspector, and it showed that the regime was not coming clean.

We said that they were continuing their pattern of non-cooperation at the time. And we also made it very clear that war was the last option, but if the regime was not going to come clean, then we were prepared to move forward and use force.

Q Did the President talk about several ways to provoke a confrontation with Iraq?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think I addressed that question when Ed asked his question.

Go ahead.
On point of curiousity, here's the article that stipulates the details of said memo:
But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

"Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," David Manning, Mr. Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and six of their top aides.

"The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March," Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. "This was when the bombing would begin."

What Drives A Man To Ask Questions?

I always find Les' questions entertaining. But really, why do I get the feeling that there is some kind of subversive agenda laced through out his questions? Even so, inquiring minds want to know what these nut bags are thinking. Don't you?
Go ahead, Les.

Q Scott, a two-part. I'd be very grateful if you could give us a clarification of the President's statement in Cleveland, "I made it clear, I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally, Israel." And my question: This does not mean that we will withhold such military might until after Israel is nuclear-bombed, does it?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Les, I think that if you're bringing up the issue relating to Iran and its pursuit of nuclear weapons, we are pursuing a diplomatic solution to that matter. I think you're jumping way ahead of things at this point --

Q No, the clarification -- we will protect Israel, we won't wait until after they're bombed.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think there's anything to clarify. The President has made that very clear before. They are a great friend and good ally, and the President --

Q So it will be before they are bombed.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- has publicly expressed that view before.

Q Two months before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 in the case of Lawrence vs. Texas, laws against sodomy are unconstitutional, Senator Rick Santorum told the AP, if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual gay sex in your home, then you have the right to bigamy, incest, and adultery, you have the right to anything. And my question: Does the President disagree with this Republican Senator and will he ask the Justice Department to oppose the pro-polygamy lawsuit, Bronson vs. Swenson, or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, you might want to check with the Justice Department on what involvement they may have in any particular case. I don't know about --

Q I want to know what the President -- does he agree with Santorum?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you've heard the President's views.

Use At Your Own Risk

All Images Copyright Windspike (2006)
Use at your own risk

Not feeling much like in a writing mood today. I took these three shots posted today over the weekend. Blog on All.

Broken Dreams

Just what happened to that old Datsun anyway?
All Images Copyright Windspike (2006)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

History Will Show That Simple Simon Was The President

Why is it that this President continues to think that solutions to complex problems only require simple rhetorical solutions?
To keep the promise of America, we must enforce the laws of America. We must also ensure that immigrants assimilate into our society and learn our customs and values -- including the English language.
I, for one, will be voting for people who actually say something that is not reducible to a sound bite that Simple Simon the Pie Man could recite. Duh, enforce the laws of America is your job, Mr. President. Why don't you hold yourself to the same standard, Mr. Bush! Utill you can abide by the law yourself, perhaps we aught not take you on your word that it is something you believe in?

On the immigration issue, I think we are only strengthened by our diversity. This is a nation built on a foundation of immigrants. Speaking as a third generation American, I sure wish that my family continued to use our native language instead of chucking it for English. Then, I might have been fully bilingual, which in and of itself would be a positive trait in a shrinking global village. The notion that folks abandon their culture to adopt "ours," is really an ancient and antiquated idea that smacks of isolationism, not embracing the worlds’ cultures.

What is "our" culture anyway? Anyone who has been to El Paso Texas will note that families are divided by the river/rio. It seems rather unnatural to do that. What are borders for anyway?

Friday, March 24, 2006

QED: Why We Need A New President, Post-Haste

Dust off your thinking caps. I found snazzy paragraph to further support the idea that we need a wholesale replacement of the current administration; who are busilly using the authority vested in the Whitehouse to whip our government into a mono-theocracy. Really, what we need is a rational, thinking president that bases decisions on facts and truth versus the current incarnation.
If nothing further were at stake, I should not be particularly concerned about whether we believe in a rule world or an unruly one, for, not prizing the purity of our affirmations, I am not afraid that we might hold false beliefs. The problem is that our beliefs about the structure of the world go hand-in-hand with the methodologies we adopt to study it. The worry is not so much that we will adopt the wrong images with which to represent the world, but rather than we will choose wrong tools with which to change it.

- Nancy Cartwright, 1999.

The Gunk Under Our American Skin: Truth - The Only Salve That Will Save Us

There's an interesting post over at BIO by pjordansr that spured a comment I left over there. This is one of the intersting components of the blogisphere - you never how far the ripple goes out after you cast a stone into the pond. Here's what I was thinking after reading PJ's post:
Yup, you called it PJ. Some one from the W, Rove and Co is committing rhetorical suicide on a daily, if not hourly, basis. But why are they still alive and kicking? Because the deadened nerve endings of the American populace are soothed, sedated, and corroded by the terrorist warnings and fear mongering catapult that would have them believe they are indeed safer than they were five years ago. It’s their hope that the faithful fall in behind them as evidenced by numerous questions by “average Americans” gathered like cattle to the slaughter in carefully groomed auditoriums where speeches are delivered at great Taxpayer expense.

Hook, line, sinker, and pole go down into the deep pits of hell as the faithful follow leaders who lead by faith, not fact. Is it wishful to think that people might judge for themselves, or is this situation simply reflective of the inherent danger of theocracies - If you live your life by faith alone, and you lead by faith, you expect your followers to swallow the faith-based pill and simply believe you. But what other choice do they have? Bush says, "I am optimistic," about Iraq.

But indeed, what would/could he say to the contrary? Not much, because the unvarnished truth - which is different from contrived and manipulated fact (or withheld information for that matter) - would seriously damage their faith/ideological driven administration powered by the one man who may have crossed the fine line between genius and insanity a long time ago: Rove.

Another symptom that proves we are being led by lousy leaders is that they work ambitiously to hide the truth from us. Why else would they try and hid pictures of tortured Iraqis, and flag draped coffins from us? Indeed, they think we can’t handle the truth. But they are oh, so wrong; very and disturbingly wrong. What America needs now is a serious dose of the truth - it's the only salve that will save us: And it must be delivered in spades, unvarnished, and wholesale.

While the W, Rove and Co. demands faith, they never return it. It’s a one way street – which is one of the many fundamental flaws with these people in charge. “Oh, ye of little faith?” Right, but if you don’t have faith in the American people enough to trust we can handle the truth, you deserve exactly what you dish out.

America was built on strife, struggle, and handling some very powerful truths. It’s what sent our troops in droves over to Europe to defeat Hitler. But the comparisons and equivocations that Iraq and Japan are similar are not only misplaced, they serve as no fair comparison whatsoever. Just look at the number of presidential offspring enlisted in the military. What’s the difference between WWII and Iraq? 100% - that is, all Roosevelt’s eligible offspring served in WWII. None of the Bush offspring are serving in the “war on terror.”

Anyone who has been in a bicycle or motorcycle accident will know - it's the gunk that gets under the skin that is most painful to clean. But to heal, the cleansing is 100% necessary. I suggest the W, Rove and Co is the gunk under our American skin. The wound has been inflicted – deep as it was drawn over the course of 6 years (I include the run up to the stolen Y2K election in the count), but it has not been cleaned and dressed.

We need to peel out the cinders (customarily done with a wire brush – or in this case I'll call it impeachment) from the wounded America. Cast them aside, but beware, it's a painful process to pull out the rouge elements causing us more pain and wedging themselves deeper into our American flesh. We must dress this gash with some plain old fashioned truth - Indeed, the American people can handle it - we wait for someone to administer the cleansing. Once that is initiated, let the healing begin.

Say What, Mr. President?

Again, it looks as though the President thinks he's talking to a bunch of sycophants and idiots. Certainly, he spends a great deal of time politically defaming those would disagree with him, but that doesn't mean we should shirk our responsibility and not call W a liar when he lies. Have a gander:
The problem we have is that we've got people who want to -- who want to spend more money in Washington. That's why we need fiscally sound people like Mike Sodrel in the United States Congress. And we also must show some political courage when it comes to the budget. The main reason the budget goes up is because of mandatory spending increases. Those would be your increases in Social Security and Medicare.
Excuse me, but methinks the president's beloved "war-on-terror" and his reorganization and puffing up the government to even larger sizes (witness new departments within Homeland Security as well as the whole of itself) are the culprits here.

Social Security should be self sustaining, and if it is not, it should be corrected, not abolished. And Medicare is getting bigger because he's the one putting into place the new prescription drug "benefit." So, it seems the president has ensnared himself in yet another rhetorical noose, complete with his pants down and on fire.

What, Can't You Tell There's A War On From the Curtailed Expenses In The Whitehouse?

Here's another menu from the ever-scrimping Whitehouse in their effort to trim big government - well, wait, wait, don't you think holding fetes like these in the best interest of the American people (or just a small slice of the American People who got to enjoy this feast)?

Yes, you do...I know you do. Oh, and don't you just enjoy the lighthearted quotes from Poor Richard's Almanac? Don't you wish they would follow some of them in the Whitehouse instead of just espouse them?

This soire was held on 23 March 2006. What did you have for dinner then?

Dinner Menu for the Celebration of the 300th Anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's Birth

Gratin of Oysters
Shaved Virginia Country Ham
"If you would have guests merry with cheer, be so yourself, or so at least appear."*

Elysian Fields Lamb
Bordeaux Reduction
Macaroni with Minted Peas
"Great beauty, great strength, and great riches are really and truly of no great us; a right heart exceeds all."*

Tom Thumb Lettuce
Pickled French Radishes
Shallot-Cider Vinaigrette
"Hunger is the best pickle."*

Strawberry-Rhubarb Fool
Almond Tuile Keys
"The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of a wise man is in his heart."*

* Poor Richard's Almanack

Meanwhile, Signing Into Law We Get...

These laws recieved the President' signature today:
On Friday, March 24, 2006, the President signed into law:

H.R. 4826, which extends through December 31, 2006, the Army's authority to accept and expend funds contributed by non-Federal entities to expedite the processing of permits.

S. 1184, which waives the passport fees for certain relatives of deceased members of the Armed Forces traveling abroad to attend a funeral or memorial service for such members.

What do you think? Are these going to give us bigger or smaller government?

Look Children, Another Lesson In Insincerity From Our Beloved Leader

Is it me or does it seem like the man in charge is operating without one iota of sincerity?
Thank you for inviting me to help celebrate the 185th Anniversary of Greek Independence. America is a better country because of Greek Americans. It's something about the passion, the verve for life, the willingness to serve. I am blessed by having Greek Americans in my administration, two of the most important of whom have joined us, Your Eminence: John Negroponte, the Director of the National Intelligence -- (applause) -- and the Homeland Security Advisor, Frances Fragos Townsend. (Applause.)
Maybe I'm over analyzing the text here, but he sure seems patronizing. Just for the sake of quality object lessons for our children we aught be for removing this president from public life.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Legislating By Fact or Faith?

The trouble with the W, Rove and Co is that they don't have any proof or evidence for the policy decisions they make. Which is it Scotty?
Q Scott, I've seen studies that say we need PhDs from overseas for Silicon Valley, but I've also seen studies that say that the illegals coming across the border are taking jobs from Americans and they're depressing wages in industries like construction. So when you say that there's an economic need, who are you citing?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President met with a very diverse group of people, people from the -- that represent the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, represent agricultural interests, people that -- religious leaders and faith-based leaders. So he had a diverse group of people he met with earlier today. You've got the list of the people that he met with, and you saw them when he spoke earlier.

But what he's referring to, in terms of a temporary worker program, is jobs that Americans are not filling. That's specifically what he was talking about earlier. These tend to be unskilled or lower-skilled jobs. And that's the economic need that needs to be met -- when there's a willing worker and a willing employer, trying to match those people together.

Q So you don't have a study, you're just citing anecdotal information from interest groups?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, this is actual facts. This is hearing directly from people on the ground. The President was governor of Texas; he knows firsthand the situation when it comes to our borders and people coming here to work and they're illegal. He knows firsthand this issue very well and it's been a top priority for him a long time. But I dispute your characterization, because you can go around the country and talk to people and they'll point out the need that is not being met here.

Q I've talked to contractors; they tell me that the wages in their industry are being depressed by illegal --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I would point out to you that we've got a very strong economy because of the policies that we've put in place. This is a growing economy. And there are a lot of high-paying, high-growth jobs that are becoming available. And so --

Q I don't dispute that --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I know, but I think it's important, if you're going to bring up the economic aspect of this. What we're talking about -- I think we may be talking past each other a little bit here -- what the President is talking about is jobs that Americans are not filling, whether they're jobs in the agricultural sector, the hotel sector, or what have you. That's what the President is referring to.

Trying To Find Out Where The Buck Stops Because the GOP Is Hemorrhaging American Taxpayer Dollars

Helen takes a few more licks at Scotty with the Cast Iron Skillet, just doing an honest day's work trying to find out if the President is going to shirk his war-time responsiblities once again:
Q At what point did the President decide that during his watch there would be no major withdrawal from Iraq? And what did he --

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think that's what he said.

Q What?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think that's what he said.

Q Well, he said, future Presidents will have --

MR. McCLELLAN: In fact, a couple of things. First of all, the President was asked a very specific question, when will there be zero or no troops in Iraq. So he was responding to that specific question. But we are already seeing a reduction in our troop levels. Our commanders on the ground -- the President has made it very clear repeatedly that our commanders on the ground will make the determinations about our troop levels, based on conditions. And General Casey, just the other day, talked about how we're in the process of coming down from around 138,000 to 130,000 or so, and he also talked about how he expected, as we move forward into 2006 and then into 2007, that we would continue to see a reduction in -- hang on -- in troop levels.

And now, he said that he would evaluate it based on conditions, and continue to do that. And that's what's important. The President is looking to his commanders, the people who are on the ground, to make those determinations. The other aspect of this is the reason why General Casey was saying he expects those troops to continue to come down, the reason why is because the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces is going well. They are showing that they can help provide for the defense and security of the Iraqi people. They are taking more of the lead in the fight, they're controlling more of the battle space. And so that's why it's so important that we continue to move forward on the training of the Iraqi army, as well as the Iraqi police, which is where a lot of effort is being focused these days, too.

Q Well, my point is at what point -- I mean, what has been the reaction? The headline was that we were going to stay there well into another presidency, possibly.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't write the headlines, and I think it's wrong for any --

Q This is the impression the President left.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, no --

Q You say no?

MR. McCLELLAN: I disagree. There were some articles that put it in -- in some of the coverage -- that put it in the full context. If you look at exactly what he said and exactly what he was asked --

Q -- future presidencies and new Iraqi --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's what I'm getting to, Helen. It would be wrong to suggest that he was saying that there would still be a substantial number of troops in Iraq after he is out of office. That's not what he was asked. That's not what he was talking about. What he emphasized again was that troop levels will be based on the decisions of our commanders who will look at conditions on the ground.

Q I'm not talking about troop levels. I'm talking about American presence. And we certainly will have troops there, and he certainly indicated that well beyond his own presidency we'd be there.

MR. McCLELLAN: We're in Afghanistan -- we've been in Afghanistan since 2001. There's still troops there, but it's substantially down from where it was initially.

Q The political process has now dragged on for three months in Iraq. Should the President get more personally involved in trying to get a government there?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me correct you a little bit, first of all. You say it's dragged on for three months. This is a new and emerging democracy. This is a country that has been under the brutal fist of a dictator for some three decades. So this is a country that is learning how to compromise, learning how to engage in politics through a democratic system, and really learning the habits of democracy. This is a new thing for the people of Iraq and so they're learning all those aspects.

Remember, way back, three, four months ago, we said that after the elections take place, that they will move forward on putting a government in place, and that there would be a lot of political debate, there would be a lot of back-and-forth -- we're seeing that go on. But we also said that it's going to require some patience and that it will take some time.

Now, I think in the aftermath of the sectarian strife that we've seen of recent weeks, the Iraqi leaders recognize the importance of coming together, setting aside their political differences, setting aside their religious or ethnic differences, and forming a government that represents all Iraqis. And they recognize the importance of moving forward as quickly as possible. That's what they're working to do. And we are continuing to urge them to move forward as quickly as possible, because as you move forward on the political process, it helps improve the security situation on the ground, as well.

Q Should the President get more personally involved in it?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, our Ambassador has been very involved in supporting the efforts of the Iraqi political leaders and helping them to come together and discuss how to move forward as quickly as possible. And he's been -- he has expressed how he has been encouraged by the discussions that have been going on over the recent days. And the President has heard directly from him. And that's why you also hear the President here at home continue to urge that the political leaders in Iraq move forward as soon as they can to form that government.

Q But they're not operating under any specific deadline.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think, though, it's important to recognize what they have said. They've talked about how they looked into the abyss and they didn't like what they saw in the aftermath of some of the attacks. And so they recognize the importance of coming together and working to move as quickly as possible to form a government of national unity. And that's what they are doing.


It's an interesting movie. Watched it last eve, via Netflix. If you can stand reading sub-titles, it's a good one for political bloggers out there. The film carries a strong statement about the psychosis of war. Makes you wonder how any one who has had experience with war could ever send troops into it with out provocation.

But wait! Those flogging the Nine Eleven Monkey to lead others into the Iraq Conflagration all dodged any real war time action. That's a telling fact, no?

March Madness Hits Home

Okay, I have not been following the tourney, and specifically don't play any particular office pools mainly becuase I have never won one and can't see tossing good money after bad (unlike our current administration - sorry for the political comment for a really fun post).

But as luck would have it, Gonzaga is playing in the Oakland set of games this evening and I had friends in the area that went to the open practice. Lo and behold, they managed to get themselves on television. Have a gander at this uplifting video - those of you with diabetes (juvinile or any other sort) may be especially interested.

Long ago, I helped bring this little girl's mother to the hospital for her original birthday. That was almost ten years ago. Now, I'm just proud of them.

Take a look by clicking on the GU Mania Hits California video clip, here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Did The President Do What The President Says He Did, or Is All This Speechifying Just More Horse Manure?

Interesting question, and a shame to have to ask it, but those of us above the age of 10 all were cognizant of what happened to spark the frenzy for war. More importantly, we know what the president did (or at least the actions we were able to witness that were not top secret and have yet to be leaked). The question then becomes, did the president do what he says he did? You be the judge:
And so for anybody out there in West Virginia who thinks it's easy to commit troops -- it's hard. It's the last option of the President, not the first option. The first option is to deal with things diplomatically; is to rally the world, to send a clear message that the behavior, in this case, of Saddam Hussein was intolerable. And we did that.
Excuse me, but does anyone have a clue what the president means to say here:
I mean, this is -- it's hard to put ourselves in the shoes of the folks in this town that had been traumatized. But the strategy of clear, hold and build, began to create a sense of confidence. And what's interesting is, I can say that -- I got one datapoint that I can share with you -- the vote in the January '05 election was the second-lowest vote in the -- as percentage of voting population, in the country, and the last vote, 85 percent of the eligible voters voted. In other words, people had a sense of security and hope.
How does what he just say prove his conclusion?

And what happens at the Q & A? We get more softballs pitched right from the very the outset (he sure does luck into these kinds of audiences). Do note that I have excluded much of the political speechifying because I don't want to help catapult the propoganda. Click over to the text if you want all the gory glory glop:
Q Mr. President, I have a son that's special forces in Iraq. And I have another son -- (applause.) I have another son that's in the Army. He left college to join the Army. He's out in Hawaii. He's got the good duty right now. (Laughter.) But I thank God that you're our Commander-in-Chief. And I wouldn't want my boys -- (applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, thanks.

Q Again, I thank God you're our Commander-in-Chief. You're a man for our times. And I'm supporter of yours. And I think it's good that you come out and tell your story. And I think you need to keep doing more of it, and tell the story and the history of all this. And God bless you. And I thank you for your service...

Q Sir, thank you for being in West Virginia. I'm the recruiting commander of the West Virginia Army National Guard. And there are a lot of National Guardsmen here with you in Wheeling today. West Virginians are a proud and very patriotic people. I'd like for you to share with us what you would say to a young person today who would like to join the National Guard, and maybe give some encouraging words in that respect...

Q President Bush, I'm a professional firefighter here in Wheeling, West Virginia.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir. (Applause.)

Q And back during 9/11, I lost over 300 of my brothers in New York. And I was glad that you were our President at that time and took the fight to the terrorists. But as I see you, I said earlier about the guy in Afghanistan that is going to convert to Christianity, he may get killed over there for doing that. Do you have an army of sociologists to go over there and change that country, or are you hoping that in a couple decades that we can change the mind-set over there?...

Q Do you like living in the White House?...

Q I have a comment, first of all, and then just a real quick question. I want to let you know that every service at our church you are, by name, lifted up in prayer, and you and your staff and all of our leaders. And we believe in you. We are behind you. And we cannot thank you enough for what you've done to shape our country. (Applause.)

This is my husband, who has returned from a 13-month tour in Tikrit.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, yes. Thank you. Welcome back. (Applause.)

Q His job while serving was as a broadcast journalist. And he has brought back several DVDs full of wonderful footage of reconstruction, of medical things going on. And I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, for a solution to this, because it seems that our major media networks don't want to portray the good. They just want to focus -- (applause) --

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, hold on a second.

Q They just want to focus on another car bomb, or they just want to focus on some more bloodshed, or they just want to focus on how they don't agree with you and what you're doing, when they don't even probably know how you're doing what you're doing anyway. But what can we do to get that footage on CNN, on FOX, to get it on headline news, to get it on the local news? Because you can send it to the news people -- and I'm sorry, I'm rambling -- like I have --

THE PRESIDENT: So was I, though, for an hour. (Laughter.)

Q -- can you use this, and it will just end up in a drawer, because it's good, it portrays the good. And if people could see that, if the American people could see it, there would never be another negative word about this conflict...

Q I'm a senior at the local high school, Wheeling Park High School, and I just want to know what your views are on what type of America my generation will lead...

Q Mr. President, thank you again for coming. My question -- I believe that one of our greatest resources is our self-sufficiency. And as you drive down the road, you'll see that our community is dying because of the importation of cheap steel. I'd like to know what your plans are to help alleviate this...

Q Mr. President, I want to say it's a privilege and a blessing to be here with you.


Q And thank you for having integrity since you've been in office, and character.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir. (Applause.)

Q I'm statewide field director for the campaign for Hiram Lewis for U.S. Senate. And as you close -- I appreciate what you had stated earlier about politicians. And as you close today, I did two years of volunteer work for the Republican Party while I worked a full-time job, and it paid off for me in this position now. And I see folks that are increasingly discouraged with the status quo, because the difference --

THE PRESIDENT: No campaign speeches.

Q No, sir, I'm not.


Q My only question is, what would you say to those, whether Democrat or Republican, how could you encourage those that are dissatisfied with the status quo?
My goodness, make it stop. The only really interesting question asked in the bunch was by a school age kid. But it really wasn't a hardball. Again, do you think the President gives an adequate answer? Have a look:
Yes, you got a question? Are you in school?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Did you use me as an excuse to skip school?

Q Of course. (Laughter.) Mr. President, I was wondering actually how you felt about America's double standard on nuclear energy, as far as countries like Iran, India, and Israel go?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I appreciate that. I may ask you to clarify your question of "double standard."

Q Well, how we don't allow Iran to have nuclear energy, yet we're supporting India.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, no, I got it, good, good, good.

Q And Israel's nuclear weapons --

THE PRESIDENT: I wouldn't -- I wouldn't necessarily -- well, first of all, let me explain the policy and then you can draw whatever conclusion you want. First of all, it's in our interests that India use nuclear power to power their economic growth because, as I told you, there is a global connection between demand for fossil fuels elsewhere and price here. And so I went to India and I said -- actually, it's a very sophisticated question, by the way -- but I said, we ought to encourage you to use nuclear power.

Now, the difficulty with that issue, and that Congress is going to have to deal with, is that India has heretofore been denied technologies from the United States because of previous decisions they made about nuclear weaponry. My attitude is that over 30 years they have proven themselves to be a nonproliferator, that they're a transparent democracy; it's in our interest that they develop nuclear power for -- to help their economy grow -- they need power and they need energy to do so -- and they're willing to go under the safeguards of the IAEA, which is an international forum to make sure that there are certain safeguards.

Iran -- the Iranians are a nontransparent society. They're certainly not a democracy. They are sponsors of terrorism. They have joined the IAEA, and yet we caught them cheating. In other words, they weren't upholding the agreements, and they started to try to enrich uranium in order to develop a weapons program. India is heading to the IAEA; the Iranians are ignoring IAEA.

And so to answer your question about potential conflict of civilian energy power, I have said that I support the Russian proposal that says the Iranians should have a civilian nuclear industry, however Russia and other suppliers would give them the enriched -- the product necessarily to power their industry and collect the spent fuel, but not enable the Iranians to learn how to enrich in order to develop a weapons programs. That's I think how -- hold on for a second -- oop, oop, oop. (Laughter.) That's how we addressed the inconsistency on the power side, apparent inconsistency.

However, in that the Iranians are nontransparent, in that they are hostile to the United States and hostile to allies, we've got to be very careful about not letting them develop a weapon. And so we're now dealing with this issue diplomatically by having the Germans and the French and the British send a clear message to the Iranians, with our strong backing, that you will not have the capacity to make a weapon, the know-how to make a weapon. Iran with a nuclear weapon is a threat, and it's dangerous, and we must not let them have a weapon. (Applause.)

How much did this little PR Propoganda junket cost us taxpayers? Fuck.

Meanwhile, The Big Dick Cheney Speaks To Another Stacked Audiance

Anyone else getting tired of the Veep and POTUS spanking their favorite monkey: The Nine Eleven Monkey? While everyone is trying to decipher what the President was telling us in yesterday's "press conference," Mr. Cheney said this:
Every American serving in this war can be absolutely certain that the people of our country do not support a policy of passivity, resignation, and defeatism in the face of terror. The United States will never go back to the false comforts of the world before September 11th, 2001. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness. (Applause.)
But didn't the president also say yesterday: "Excuse me, excuse me. No President wants war."

Does the Veep's words seem like he reflects that sentiment? Right, that's exactly what I thought. This doesn't sounds like a group of people who don't care to go to war if they can at all avoid it?

Windspike's Deep Philosophical Question For The Day

Just a quick poll for the blogisphere. When magazines and newspapers foist their own "blogs" on us, are they truly blogging? Do they qualify as real bloggers?

The Truth Sneaks Out from NOLA

I don't think anybody cares, really. New Orleans is kind of like at the bottom of the country, and they just forget about us. ROBERT RODRIGUE, of Metairie, La.
.That about sums it up, eh? Thanks W, Rove and Co. I suppose the republican answer would be, Mr. Rodrigue needs to help himself out of this. No legs up for anyone, well, that is unless you are recieving no bid contracts and are pals with the folks in high places.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Organized Religion

I found this pic on a yahoo news page - don't remember the link so I apologize for not hot synching it for you. I didn't take this shot - probably some AP person. These pictures show up every year about this time - for some kind of religious ceremony. Now, I'm not a big fan of organized religion, but this tradition would rule out this one for me. How about you?

When Lies Rest Upon Lies

Fortunately for America's children, there is at least one lesson they can glean from the current administration. More specifically, the W, Rove and Co presents us with a very troubling, but ever so tangible philosophical lesson. That is: When lies rest upon lies or what is purported to be fact percolate from lies, how do we know what is true? The result is that none of the propaganda set forth by the W, Rove and Co is remotely believable. The object lesson for the children of America is thus: : When a liar's credibility is shredded by reality, their ability to command trust is substantially diminished.
This is not good. The people running this country sound convinced that reality is whatever they say it is. And if they've actually strayed into the realm of genuine self-delusion -- if they actually believe the fantasies they're spinning about the bloody mess they've made in Iraq over the past three years -- then things are even worse than I thought.

Here is reality: The Bush administration's handpicked interim Iraqi prime minister, Ayad Allawi, told the BBC on Sunday, "We are losing each day an average of 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is. Iraq is in the middle of a crisis. Maybe we have not reached the point of no return yet, but we are moving towards this point. . . . We are in a terrible civil conflict now."
As to why anyone would believe the daily spew from the spin doctors of the W, Rove and Co is beyond me. We need to do a global find and replace this Novmember. Voting the bastards out is not enough, we need to call in the cleaners - I'm thinking we need someone like the Harvey Keitel character in Pulp Fiction.

Do You Like The President's Answer?

No time this AM to get into much analysis, I've got a quasi-job interview to dash out to for the lunch hour. But I thought it was important enough to get this post out. Loooks like Helen hits the President with the same Iron Skillet she uses on Scotty this AM. Do you like his reply?
Q I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet -- your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil -- quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?

THE PRESIDENT: I think your premise -- in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist -- is that -- I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect --

Q Everything --

THE PRESIDENT: Hold on for a second, please.

Q -- everything I've heard --

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. No President wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true. My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We -- when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. Our foreign policy changed on that day, Helen. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I'm never going to forget it. And I'm never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people.

Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that's why I went into Iraq -- hold on for a second --

Q They didn't do anything to you, or to our country.

THE PRESIDENT: Look -- excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where al Qaeda trained --

Q I'm talking about Iraq --

THE PRESIDENT: Helen, excuse me. That's where -- Afghanistan provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where they trained. That's where they plotted. That's where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.

I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council; that's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences --

Q -- go to war --

THE PRESIDENT: -- and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.

Q Thank you, sir. Secretary Rumsfeld -- (laughter.)

Q Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: You're welcome. (Laughter.) I didn't really regret it. I kind of semi-regretted it. (Laughter.)

Q -- have a debate.

THE PRESIDENT: That's right. Anyway, your performance at the Grid Iron was just brilliant -- unlike Holland's, was a little weak, but -- (laughter.)


Q Secretary Rumsfeld has said that if civil war should break out in Iraq, he's hopeful that Iraqi forces can handle it. If they can't, sir, are you willing to sacrifice American lives to keep Iraqis from killing one another?

THE PRESIDENT: I think the first step is to make sure a civil war doesn't break out. And that's why we're working with the leaders there in Baghdad to form a unity government. Obviously, if there is difficulty on the streets, the first line of defense for that difficulty will be the Iraqi forces, which have proved themselves in the face of potential sectarian violence, right after the bombing of the mosque in Samarra. The forces are -- part of our strategy for victory is to get the forces the skills and the tools and the training necessary to defend their own country, whether it be against Zarqawi and the killers, or whether it be those who are trying to spread sectarian violence. And they have proven themselves.

And so our position is, one, get a unity government formed, and secondly, prepare the Iraqi troops, and support Iraqi troops, if need be, to prevent sectarian violence from breaking out.

Yes, sir.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Wild Predictions Sprung From the Presidential Propaganda Catapult

You know, what strikes me as odd is that the W, Rove and Co are keen to keep their mouths quite when they know something and can speak as authorities about particular situations (like Scooter Libby's problem and the like). But, when they have no clue or are out there playing parlor games and politics, they are very happy to make wild and crazy predictions about the future. Here's one from today:
As Iraqis see the benefits of liberty, they will gain confidence in their future - and work to ensure that common purpose trumps narrow sectarianism.
Wow. That's one grand leap. There have been many in the past. What's your favorite wild wooly prediction that has sprung from the Presidential Propaganda Catapult?

It's Not About the Oil

I came to this realization while surfing around my blog roll favorites. Perhaps, the reason for invading Iraq has not so much to do with the oil. Indeed, it may have to do with the fact that Saddam didn't get the job done with Iran. That is, its all about payback for not demolishing Iran long ago when Rummy, Cheney et. al. were working for other Administrations.

So, what the W, Rove and Co is really doing is settling a score with Saddam, and setting us up to do the dirty work he didn't finish: Bombing the shit out of Iran. What better location to mount an Iran attack from permanent bases well established in Iraq, atop a large resevoir of cheep oil? It's too bad, for us and the Iraqis, that Saddam didn't complete the job when Rummy was shaking hands with him long ago. Now the American Taxpayer has to pick up the larger tab for it. And, what a large price we have paid for it.

Sincerity Is Not The President's Forte

Okay, when was the last time you wished everyone a happy Nowruz? I suppose when the president does it, that will boost our severely tarnished image with the Arab nations of the world:
I send greetings to those celebrating Nowruz.

Nowruz is an ancient celebration marking the arrival of the New Year. For millions of people around the world who trace their heritage to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, India, and Central Asia, Nowruz is a celebration of life and an opportunity to express joy and happiness through visiting family and friends, exchanging gifts, and enjoying the beauty of nature.

Our Nation is blessed by the traditions and contributions of Americans of many different backgrounds. Our diversity has made us stronger and better, and Laura and I send warm regards to all Americans celebrating Nowruz.

Best wishes for peace and prosperity in the New Year.

Wishing for peace but not acting in peace is the modus operandi for the W, Rove and Co, now isn't it? But hey, little old me, here at Ed Whisper would like to do the good Christian thing and give all those celebrating Nowruz a shout out and peace, love and happiness, as long as you are not communicating with Al Quesadia.

Sincerity Is Not The President's Forte

Another Stacked Adience For Mr. Bush?

Just how do people get on the roster to attend a lecture where Bush is going to get grilled (perhaps a better question is why do people show up)? According to Scotty, the W, Rove and Co. didn't have much control over this bunch:
Q Is there any screening process on this audience? Or is it just this club and the membership?

MR. McCLELLAN: It's their members, or whoever they -- and whoever they invited.
And, you can tell. Have a look at some of the questions and see if you think Bush answered the best question of the day adequately. The first one is a doosy:
Q Thank you for coming to Cleveland, Mr. President, and to the City Club. My question is that author and former Nixon administration official Kevin Phillips, in his latest book, American Theocracy, discusses what has been called radical Christianity and its growing involvement into government and politics. He makes the point that members of your administration have reached out to prophetic Christians who see the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism as signs of the apocalypse. Do you believe this, that the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism are signs of the apocalypse? And if not, why not?
You can surf on over to the link for W's answer, but he slips out of that noose.

The second question tries to pin the slime on the W. Did it work? you be the judge:
Q Mr. President, at the beginning of your talk today you mentioned that you understand why Americans have had their confidence shaken by the events in Iraq. And I'd like to ask you about events that occurred three years ago that might also explain why confidence has been shaken. Before we went to war in Iraq we said there were three main reasons for going to war in Iraq: weapons of mass destruction, the claim that Iraq was sponsoring terrorists who had attacked us on 9/11, and that Iraq had purchased nuclear materials from Niger. All three of those turned out to be false. My question is, how do we restore confidence that Americans may have in their leaders and to be sure that the information they are getting now is correct?

THE PRESIDENT: That's a great question. (Applause.) First, just if I might correct a misperception. I don't think we ever said -- at least I know I didn't say that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein. We did say that he was a state sponsor of terror -- by the way, not declared a state sponsor of terror by me, but declared by other administrations. We also did say that Zarqawi, the man who is now wreaking havoc and killing innocent life, was in Iraq. And so the state sponsor of terror was a declaration by a previous administration. But I don't want to be argumentative, but I was very careful never to say that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks on America.

Like you, I asked that very same question, where did we go wrong on intelligence. The truth of the matter is the whole world thought that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. It wasn't just my administration, it was the previous administration. It wasn't just the previous administration; you might remember, sir, there was a Security Council vote of 15 to nothing that said to Saddam Hussein, disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences. The basic premise was, you've got weapons. That's what we thought.

When he didn't disclose, and when he didn't disarm, and when he deceived inspectors, it sent a very disconcerting message to me, whose job it is to protect the American people and to take threats before they fully materialize. My view is, he was given the choice of whether or not he would face reprisal. It was his decision to make. And so he chose to not disclose, not disarm, as far as everybody was concerned.

Your question, however, the part that's really important is, how do we regain credibility when it comes to intelligence? Obviously, the Iranian issue is a classic case, where we've got to make sure that when we speak there's credibility. And so, in other words, when the United States rallies a coalition, or any other country that had felt that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction is trying to rally a coalition in dealing with one of these non-transparent societies, what do we need to do to regain the trust of not only the American people, but the world community?

And so what I did was I called together the Silberman-Robb Commission -- Laurence Silberman and former Senator Chuck Robb -- to take a full look at what went right and what went wrong on the intelligence, and how do we structure an intelligence network that makes sure there's full debate among the analysts? How do we make sure that there's a full compilation of data points that can help decision-makers like myself feel comfortable in the decision we make?

The war on terror requires the collection and analysis of good intelligence. This is a different kind of war; we're dealing with an enemy which hides in caves and plots and plans, an enemy which doesn't move in flotillas, or battalions. And so, therefore, the intelligence-gathering is not only important to make a diplomatic case, it's really important to be able to find an enemy before they hurt us.

And so there was a reform process they went through, a full analysis of what -- of how the operations worked, and out of that came the NDI, John Negroponte and Mike Hayden. And their job is to better collate and make sure that the intelligence-gathering is seamless across a variety of gatherers and people that analyze. But the credibility of our country is essential -- I agree with you.

Yes, sure.
Then the softballs get pitched:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Welcome to Cleveland. It's an honor to have you here. I represent the Cleveland Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary --

Q Thank you. (Laughter.)

Q Mr. President, in the interest of free speech if you'll indulge me, I have to give a little context of my question. On this third anniversary of your -- I consider -- courageous initiative to bring freedom and basic human dignity to the Iraqi people, the image of the statue of the tyrant Saddam falling in Baghdad was very reminiscent of another statue, another tyrant, Josef Stalin, who fell in Budapest 50 years ago at the hands of many young Hungarian freedom fighters who were seeking to overthrow the tyranny of Soviet communism. Mr. President, just like our brave fighting men and women today, and many Iraqi people, those young Hungarian patriots paid a very heavy price for a few days of freedom. But they lit the torch that eventually set the captive nations on the path to achieving liberty. And so, Mr. President, our Cleveland Hungarian community is planning a major event in Cleveland in October -- (laughter) --

Q Right.

Q Just like you came for the children's game in 2004, we hope to have you hear for that, as well. Mr. President, just want to let you know, to win the war on terror we feel that what was started in 1776, and continued in 1956, must be remembered in 2006.

Q I'm at the question now. Thanks for your indulgence.

Q My basic question is, how can we help you, from the grassroots level, how can we help you promote the cause of freedom and liberty for all peoples throughout the world?

Q I'm a Marine mom --

Q My son signed up after 9/11, and I didn't raise a terrorist. And let's face it, there's a continuum and a lack of clarity about who's violent and who's a terrorist. And we really do want to use the word "enemy" in a meaningful way. I think your speech has been very brave and very important and very clarifying. And in the interest of clarifying the purpose of our country to fight preventive war, which we know does involve violence, it's very important for us to understand what you're saying about your model community in Iraq. And my question is that you are killing the bad guys, and that's very important that's the entire story of the battle. And we want to know who the bad guys are. Do you feel that Iraq is like a honeycomb, and that we can draw the al Qaeda there so we can stand and fight them there? I'm really asking for clarification.
But then we get an interesting question from a high school student that gets a rather lack luster answer:
Q Mr. President, with the war in Iraq costing $19,600 per U.S. household, how do you expect a generation of young people such as ourselves, to afford college a time like this, when we're paying for a war Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well -- hold on for a minute. Hold on. We can do more than one thing at one time. And when you grow your economy, like we're growing our economy, there is an opportunity to not only protect ourselves, but also to provide more Pell grants than any administration in our nation's history, and increase the student loan program. So if you take a look, I think you'll find that we're robust in helping -- at the federal level, helping people go to college. And it's essential you go to college. It's essential that there be a group of youngsters coming up that are well-educated so that we can maintain our economic leadership position in the world. We've got a robust program to do just that.

But it's also essential that we keep policies in place that keep the economy growing. This economy of ours is strong, and it's -- it is, in my judgment, growing stronger. But it is possible to put policy in place that would weaken it, such as raising taxes. I think we got to keep taxes low to keep the economy moving. It's possible to put policy -- (applause) -- it's possible to put policy in place that would hurt this economy, like protectionist policy. It's possible to -- if we keep suing our people trying to risk capital, it's conceivable, we won't be the leader. That's why we need good tort reform. We got to make sure that -- (applause.)

My point to you is economic growth enables us to do more than one thing. And that's what we'll continue to do.

Yes, sir. Right. No, no, hold on for a minute. Hold on for a minute.

Q Thank you, Mr. President.
Oh, and what about the wiretapping?
Q Could you explain why living within the legislation that allowed your administration to get a warrant from a secret court within 72 hours after putting in a wiretap wouldn't be just as effective?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I appreciate the question. He's talking about the terrorist surveillance program that was -- created quite a kerfuffle in the press, and I owe an explanation to. Because our people -- first of all, after September the 11th, I spoke to a variety of folks on the front line of protecting us, and I said, is there anything more we could be doing, given the current laws? And General Mike Hayden of the NSA said there is. The FISA law -- he's referring to the FISA law, I believe -- is -- was designed for a previous period, and is slow and cumbersome in being able to do what Mike Hayden thinks is necessarily -- called hot pursuit.

And so he designed a program that will enable us to listen from a known al Qaeda, or suspected al Qaeda person and/or affiliate, from making any phone call outside the United States in, or inside the United States out -- with the idea of being able to pick up quickly information for which to be able to respond in this environment that we're in. I was concerned about the legality of the program, and so I asked lawyers -- which you got plenty of them in Washington -- (laughter) -- to determine whether or not I could do this legally. And they came back and said, yes. That's part of the debate which you're beginning to see.

I fully understood that Congress needed to be briefed. And so I had Hayden and others brief members of the Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, House members and senators, about the program. The program is under constant review. I sign a reauthorization every -- I'm not exactly sure -- 45 days, say. It's something like that. In other words, it's constantly being reviewed. There's an IG that is very active at the NSA to make sure that the program stays within the bounds that it was designed.

I fully understand people's concerns about it, but ours is a town, by the way, in Washington, where when you don't connect the dots, you're held up to Congress, and when you do connect the dots, you're held up to Congress. I believe what I'm doing is constitutional, and I know it's necessary. And so we're going to keep doing it. (Applause.)
But Mr. President, you can get a FISA warrant after the fact, can't you?

Here's an interesting question:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Your comments today about Iraq have been, for me, very enlightening. And I greatly appreciate the level of clarity that you've provided. But my question is about domestic policy. Today, in our neighborhoods there are terrorists. Children cannot play in some of our neighborhoods. Today, we've got -- when you see post-Katrina, our country was startled at some of the images around poverty in some of our cities. Can you be as clear about your domestic policy to address those kinds of things?
How many of you are living next to terrorists? Not me. Then the softballs keep coming:
Q Sorry about that. Mr. President, I just finished Ambassador Paul Bremer's book, and one of the things I just wanted to say to you and to Ambassador Bremer is thank you for protecting us.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

One Picture Worth A Thousand W, Rove And Co. Lies

Found this collage over at Neil Shakespeare's location. It's all his work - original blog as art. This one about sums it up for me. Here's a slice to tease you over to his location and comment there, or here if you like:
"Hi, I'm Jessica Simpson and I'd like to say a great big 'Happy 3rd Birthday' to the Iraq War! And a hearty 'Thank You' to the 2,322 U.S. soldiers killed...well, they probably can't hear me but thank you anyway for the opportunity you have given me to shake my tits and ass in movies and in television commercials! And a specially big thank you to the 17,400 wounded, as they have provided many opportunities for doctors to practice their plastic surgery!

"And I would like to thank President Bush for the opportunity he gave these young men and women to die so I can use this American Flag as a strap-on. These colors don't run! But they sure squirt and dribble!
Hey Mr. President. Can we get a do over in Iraq; as in turn the clock back 1095 days or so and not bother? But really, Mr. President, how do we put out your Iraqi Conflagration?