Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Another Clue That Iraq Is A Complete Mess

We already know that Iraq is in the shitter because of the W, Rove and Co. making it the "central front on the war on terror." Just ask yourself how frequently the power and water was turned off before we got there. And, don't hand me that bullshit about Saddam being a brutal dictator and killer, because you can't say that we are not just as bad a set of murderers as well. I'm just wondering how long it's going to be before we get to flush the sonofabitches that caused it.
Q Tony, can I ask you about Iraq? It was a year ago today that Vice President Cheney said that the insurgency there was in its last throes, and now we have this latest Pentagon assessment saying that the insurgency is going to remain steady, the strength will remain steady through the rest of this year. How does the administration reconcile --

MR. SNOW: Well, there was a time when -- and I don't want to try to back-interpret what the Vice President said, but let me just offer at least one view on it, which is, for a long time, when we talked about insurgency -- that is, "we," generally, Americans -- we thought of al Qaeda. And I think it's pretty safe to say that the al Qaeda and the foreign fighters remnant presence in Iraq has been dramatically reduced, such that, at least, in the opinions of people there, it is no longer the major factor when it comes to what's going on. Now you do have former members of the Saddam regime and you do have Iraqi citizens who are in entrenched opposition and are using terror and other tactics to try to derail democracy.

Again, I don't want to try to back-interpret what the Vice President said. But I do think that one of the significant changes from the weeks and months after the end of major combat activities in Iraq and today is that that al Qaeda presence has been dramatically, very dramatically reduced -- but it does mean that we still do have opposition within former elements.

13.69, 50.35, 21.9, 47.64, 1:53.1, 16:44, 2.15 and 7.16.

What kind of times can you turn in?
Tell him an 18-year-old boy did all this,'' a reporter asked a translator sitting next to Liu at a news conference. In order, the marks represent performances in the 110 hurdles, 400 hurdles, 200, 400 and 800 meters, 5 kilometers, high jump (7-03/4) and long jump (23-6).

"He's very good,'' said Liu, 22. "Some of the times are better than when I was 18.''

David Klech's marks from recent high school track and field competitions reflect a rare body of work from an unlikely source: a gangly, effusive teenager raised in a comfortable, nurturing environment by parents Bill and Yvonne Klech in the Contra Costa County suburb of San Ramon. No gritty triumph-over-adversity story here.

"He's wired differently than 99 percent of the other athletes out there,'' said Mark Karbo, Klech's track coach at California High School. Make that 99.9 percent.

"He's an American original, not just a guy who runs fast,'' said UCLA coach Art Venegas, who, in the fall, will be the beneficiary of Klech's surpassing, and often surprising, talent. "He's unique in the way he expresses himself.''

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"Piquancy," "Contemptuousness," and "The American Enterprise," Oh, My!

The subtitle for this post might just have well been: "Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It's been five days since my last press briefing” Right off the bat, Tony the Snow-job is proving that he has a flair for entertainment; not what you want in a Press Secretary I might suggest to the President. But, he sure is a whole lot more fun than Scotty McMessage McClellan ever was.

At the outset, as you can tell if you read on through, it was Helen Thomas swinging her iron skillet at another press secretary's head that sparks the fire. Enjoy this slice and we will move on to more fun and games in today's post-Memorial Day press washing:
Q Why did the President pick a man who is so contemptible of the public servants in Washington to be his Domestic Advisor -- saying, "People in Washington are morally repugnant, cheating, shifty human beings"? Why would he pick such a man to be a Domestic Advisor?

MR. SNOW: You meant contemptuous, as opposed to contemptible, I think.

Q Pure contempt.

MR. SNOW: Well, I'm not sure it's pure contempt. I know Karl Zinsmeister pretty well, and he is somebody who expresses himself with a certain amount of piquancy -- you're perhaps familiar with that, aren't you, Helen? And so, as a consequence, from time to time he's going to say -- he'll have some sharp elbows.

Q If this is his attitude toward public servants --

MR. SNOW: No, I don't think it's his attitude toward public servants -- it may have been toward the press. Just kidding. No, I -- look, if you look at the bulk of what Karl Zinsmeister has done at The American Enterprise and elsewhere, I think you're going to find somebody who's done some pretty meaty and interesting research on a variety of topics. The reason he's being brought in is that he's --

Q Do you agree with his assessment of Washington?

MR. SNOW: I'm not -- there's one sentence the guy wrote, and perhaps you may recall -- yes?

Q Arrogant, morally repugnant, cheating, shifty -- come on.

MR. SNOW: That's a lot in one sentence, isn't it? He just packed it right in.


Q So what is the attitude toward --

MR. SNOW: The attitude is we're glad to have a guy on board who has breadth of knowledge, who has breadth of interest and of experience, and is going to bring --

Q No tolerance for other human beings.

MR. SNOW: Helen, tell you what, why don't you get to know Karl, because I think you're going to find out that to judge somebody --

Q Bring him on. (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: -- on the basis of one sentence is probably a little unfair.

Q How could it be unfair?

MR. SNOW: He'll charm you.
Okay, stop laughing. Really, this is the type of person the W, Rove and Co. loves. But, this man sounds like a raw, stinging nettle sandwich to me.

But what of today's announcement by Secretary Snow?
Q I don't want to get in the way of this. (Laughter.) Let me ask you about this morning's statement and announcement of the President's choice for the new Treasury Secretary. The President called it a hopeful time, and listed some economic statistics that makes the administration's case for the economy being in good shape. If the economy is humming along so well, why the need for a change?

MR. SNOW: Because the outgoing Treasury Secretary, John Snow, had made it clear that he wanted to move on. So if you have somebody who is vacating -- if you've got somebody vacating the office, you need to fill it.

Q So if he didn't want to leave, he would still be serving, it would have been fine with the President if he rode it right on out to the end of the term?

MR. SNOW: I am not going to try to prejudge that because I honestly don't know the answer. But it's pretty clear, and I think many people in the room had gotten wind of it, the Treasury Secretary was eager to leave and move on to something else. I honestly can't tell you, Jim -- you're asking me a hypothetical question for which I don't have an answer, and I'm not sure there is an answer.

Q So Washington's most repeated rumor, that the administration wanted Secretary Snow to go, was sort of baseless and just --

MR. SNOW: Again, I just -- you're asking a guy who has jumped in midstream, and I can't give you any kind of answer on that.
Sounds like more rats off the currently sinking good ship America the republicans have filled full of leaks, if you ask me. As to why some one would want to join up is beyond me as well. Getting folk to "volunteer" for the privledge to serve in the remaining years of the W, Rove and Co has got to be as hard as trying to get the right-wing faith-based apologists to sign up to go serve in Iraq.

Except, you do have to think about what this Paulson character has to gain if he is able to swindle the American people out of their social security dollars. Take a look at the shining qualification that Mr. Snow-job points out before making the leap that Paulson is perhaps the one person singularly responsible for keeping our economy rolling:
Q Well, on that point, it's well-known that the White House senses that the President is not getting enough credit for good economic facts. Why does he need a guy like Hank Paulson now?

MR. SNOW: Well, you don't bring in a Treasury Secretary as a PR man, you bring in the Treasury Secretary as being one of your key economic aides. I'll just repeat what he said -- although he does say he's a chief spokesman, he also says "a leading force on the economic team." You want somebody who's capable. And I think you can agree that the chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Group would probably fall into that category, somebody who is familiar with the workings of the economy and how to keep it humming along.

Q Right, but I mean, the reality is, as the President pointed out, he does need a PR guy. He needs somebody to be able to sell it. He needs that on a number of fronts right now. So what does this change mean? Why does he need --

MR. SNOW: What this -- well, you missed the earlier question, which is he's coming --

Q I'm sorry --

MR. SNOW: Well, no, no, no. It's in response to filling a vacancy. What you do in a situation like this is that you reach out and try to get the best person you can get. Now, judging from the early returns, you've got Democrats and Republicans all thinking it's a sensational choice. You look for the best man for the job, and I think the President feels that he got that.
Keep it humming along for whom? Oddly, this qualification has me thinking, "Gee, what kind of crook did they get to take over this job?" Anybody out there read Liars Poker?

Of course, it is getting harder to snow the American people because they are paying attention (well, okay, some of us are paying attention). Just ask yourself the following: What is the difference between why Snow left his job and what W, Rove and Co said were the reasons for his departure? Which one seems more plausible, that he resigned or he was fired? Either case, why change now?
Q I'm a little bit confused on the tick-tock. You said that the job was offered to Mr. Paulson on May 20th, and they accepted the process on the 21st.

MR. SNOW: That is correct.

Q So we're talking more than a week ago. The President last week, when he was asked if he was -- how he was going to deal with Mr. Snow, said, well, I guess -- he said, he's going to offer his resignation to me, and then went on to say he's a -- good job. This was something that was in play obviously before that, so in terms of its filling a vacancy, which is how you characterized it a minute ago, it wasn't a vacancy, it was switching a person, wasn't it?

MR. SNOW: No, he said, he's not talked to me about resignation. That does not mean that there were not other discussions. I mean, it was artfully worded. But on the other hand, the one thing you do not want to do in a situation like this is to start speculating about changes before the changes are ready to be made. Those do have impacts on markets, and you have to be responsible and cautious in the way you deal with them. Again, at that point, Hank Paulson -- you've got to make sure that you've got all the clearances taken care of.
It's all about the politics and mid-term elections, isn't it? Some how, the W, Rove and Co has to turn around it's poll numbers before the Americans cast our most valuable polling mechanism know as the vote.

Now we move on in the news laundering. Here's an interesting situation: You have a sitting president - supposedly the leader of the free world - entertaining the King of Jordan and claims it was a "private" affair. Since when do two heads of state meet over caviar and vodka shooters and not discuss anything of import worthy of reporting to the American people? Shouldn't we rise up an suggest he not have these kinds of meetings for his personal gain in our Whitehouse and at great taxpayer expense?
Q Tony, the President met last night with King Abdullah of Jordan, and I wonder, did the King push him at all to have more direct talks with Iran?

MR. SNOW: It was a private dinner and we've got no readout for you on that.

Q Why was that not put on the schedule, or why didn't you alert anyone?

MR. SNOW: Again, it's a private dinner and I'm not in a position to give any kind of a readout on it.
See now, further down in the transcript we get a glimpse of the real reason Paulson was hired. My prediction is that we all need to keep a sharp focus on the prize. In other words, keep your eyes on the "privatization of social security" as a good thing agenda item pushed by the W, Rove and Co. Like some one (was it Deep Throat?) once said, "follow the money:"
Q You had said that the Treasury Secretary is a key economic advisor, not a PR guy. The economy is doing so well. Can you name a specific policy that the new Treasury Secretary will advise on?

MR. SNOW: Number one, you've got -- let's let the Treasury Secretary be confirmed before we start talking about policies that will be pursued. That would be presumptuous. And number two, as I've said a number of times, I'm not going to engage in market-moving speculation from the podium. Obviously, a number of issues will arise during Senate confirmation, and we'll have to see what they say, but the most important thing is he's going to be the point man for the President's economic policies.
Incidentally, does anyone listen to the presidential speechifying any more? Is it me or am I the only one who thinks these PR junkets are a complete waste of taxpayer dollars?
Q What can we expect on the immigration speech coming up on Thursday? Will the President be making any suggestions on how the two chambers might bridge the wide gaps?

MR. SNOW: I think what the President is going to do, once again, is to reiterate the five principles he laid out in his speech before the nation, and encourage Congress to approach this in a comprehensive manner. That, in and of itself, does provide a basis for both sides to negotiate. So what you will see is the President, now, taking the next step. We have always said, let's wait until the Senate gets a bill done. Now the Senate has a bill done. It's time to figure out ways -- you're absolutely right -- to get both houses to work together, but to do it in a comprehensive manner.
Well, it's with great dissapointment that I report to you that Mr. Snow-job finally blows his cover as some one of substance when he starts to shovel the company line by flogging the Nine Eleven Monkey after Helen trots out her cast iron skillet one more time:
Q Tony, General McCaffrey has been somewhat critical of not only troop deployments in Iraq, but also the leadership of Secretary Rumsfeld. Was that subject raised in the meeting?

MR. SNOW: No. And what's also interesting -- because I spoke with the General a couple of weeks ago, he dropped by my office and spoke, and he's put together a paper, portions of which have been published -- at this point, he's not ventilating any agreements or disagreements with the Secretary of Defense. He's actually highly complimentary of what's going on there. But he also has some practical concerns, especially as regards to --

Q -- today?

MR. SNOW: I'm sorry, what?

Q Has he read the papers today, if he's complimentary --

MR. SNOW: I'll get to your question, because it's a good one to take up, but permit me to finish -- because I do like the question, Helen.

But he's been complimentary of the men and women who are doing the fighting. And as a result -- and, also, some of the developments he sees on the ground. General McCaffrey, he had some disagreements about what happened in the immediate aftermath in the spring of 2003, but I think you're going to find that he's been quite supportive.

Now, Helen, as to your question, nobody expects the war is going to be easy, and one of the things that is very obvious is that the President takes this very seriously, and so do the people in that room. You had a number of former military officers who do not take lightly the loss of life, or property, or anything else in Iraq. And it's, frankly, one of the points, I suppose, of pride in the United States of America that we really do care about this. We care not only about our people, but also the people in Iraq, and that did come up.

Q So why is the killing going on?

MR. SNOW: Because it's a war, and unfortunately, that's what happens in wars. If there were some -- if there were some way --

Q Why does he think we're going to win?

MR. SNOW: Because -- a couple of things. The President has faith in the power of freedom, not only as an idea, but also as a guiding principle. He also has faith in the men and women who are doing the fighting. Anybody who saw the speech that he gave yesterday at Arlington understands that he not only has faith, but a deep respect and admiration. He gets choked up every time he talks about it, because these are young men and women -- like the group at West Point -- these are all people who decided that they would go to the U.S. Military Academy after September 11th, 2001, knowing that it would be a time of war, possible peril to them, and they did it.

Q But Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

MR. SNOW: Are we going to just hopscotch across these? I mean, the point here, Helen, is real simple.

Q You're making points that --

MR. SNOW: I'm not making points about --

Q We all know they're serving with great faith. The problem is, this killing goes on for three years and the President still cannot give a basic reason why we're there.

MR. SNOW: Yes, he can, and he's made it many times.
Is Tony the Snow-job an insensitive prick, not much different from the kinds of folks the W, Rove and Co. like to hire for work in our Whitehouse (see the opening salvo in this post)? Who is doing the "hopscotching" here? Why anyone follows these leaders-by-faith-rather-than-fact is beyond me.

And again, we see the W, Rove and Co. modus operandi exposed - something I suggest you need teach your children the antithesis well - lying is a justified means if you deem that the outcome of answering truthfully may or may not hurt some thing. Who was it that said you can't predict the future...could it be, perhaps, the president on more than one occasion?
Q Just one other follow-up on Carl about Secretary Snow. When the President was asked, when he was standing next to Prime Minister Blair, and millions of people watching, he was telling the American people that "I've got no indication the Secretary is going to resign" --

MR. SNOW: No, no. Here's -- "No, he has not talked to me about resignation." I mean, it was very carefully worded, but, again, what you didn't want to have, I think, is it appearing at a time when you don't have -- when you haven't finished doing your clearances for the Treasury -- the person you want to fill that position. You don't want to have chaos in the markets. It was --

Q He's already offered it to somebody, he's got to have had -- I mean, you offer these positions all the time and wait for FBI background searches that sometimes take a long time. I mean, the Supreme Court nominees take six weeks, but you still announce to the public when you pick somebody.

MR. SNOW: But, you know, again, Hank Paulson, at that time, you don't announce somebody that hasn't been pre-cleared; you haven't finished the clearance process, you don't announce it, period. I mean, it's just not --

Q If not even announcing him, you could have at least -- you could have been direct and said, we're expecting --

MR. SNOW: With all due respect, I think there was some concern, again, about how something like that affects the markets. If you have uncertainty for an extended period of time, which would have been at that point four or five days, I think that is something that you've got to worry about and you've got to be responsible in dealing with it.
And finally, another means by which we can assess the quality of the human beings in the W, Rove and Co: What is it exactly that they regret? Dead GIs? Dead Iraqi Civilians? Nope, none of these tings. And, if they could have one, what is it that they would do differenlty if they could have a do-over? Forgedabout it: In fact, the President has stipulated in public that if he was given a do-over, knowing now what he knew then, he would ivade Iraq because it was worth it.

What exactly do the W, Rove and Co regret? Getting caught with their pants down. I suggest they need to get used to being exposed in this way.
Q Tony, on his joint news availability with the British Prime Minister, the President said he regretted Abu Ghraib, and, yet, no one was killed at Abu Ghraib. And we are on the edge here, apparently, of seeing the worst massacre since My Lai back during the Vietnam years. What kind of damage control are you and the President getting ready to put forward? And the second part of the question is, did the discussion of Haditha come up at that experts meeting today?

MR. SNOW: Second question first, Haditha did not come up at the experts. You don't do damage control; what you try to do is find out what the facts are. And that's what's going on right now at the Department of Defense. And rather than trying to leap to any conclusion from the podium, let's all wait. We're all going to see this, and we'll all be able to draw conclusions and we'll all be able to learn from it. But I don't even want to get into discussing such things as damage control. I think it's all premature.

Q A follow-up. In addition to the President obviously being concerned and watching the outcome of the investigation -- and there are two, as we understand it, one for the possible killing, and two, about the possible coverup -- what is his personal mood as he talks to you and the other staff members? I mean, is this --

MR. SNOW: We have not -- Ken, we need to find out what the facts are. So there have not been any long talks about this particular thing. Everyone wants to find out what happened. I mean, that's the first thing, you want to find out what happened. And that's true for everybody. I mean, we've all seen sort of the same stuff leaking out. But keep in mind, you're getting little pieces here and little pieces there. We're going to get a full picture, and then my guess is that you'll get -- I'll be able to give you a pretty clear readout on where the President thinks we ought to go.
Whew, that was a doozy of a press "briefing," wasn't it? Hence my secondary title.

Blog on friends. Blog on All.

In Memorial Day's Aftermath

I think the two best sentencies I read over the weekend about Memorial Day were typed by Patricia, over at the AM Martini. I'm linking up, but tell me what you think.
Remembering those who fought and died to give us what now is being taken away.
And, regarding the speechifying by Rummy and actions of W at Arlington:
You can’t cover up a grave with pretty words.

I Forget: Is It As They Stand Up, We Do What?

What was it that the W, Rove and Co talking heads were saying about standing up and standing down? Or am I getting things mixed up with some kind of artificial time lines that I created in my own head?
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Some 1,500 more U.S. troops have arrived in
Iraq to help with the war against Sunni Arab rebels, including al Qaeda Islamist militants, in the western desert province of Anbar, the military said on Tuesday.

"Two battalion task forces of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division have moved into Iraq to assist in re-establishing the conditions necessary to enable effective local and provincial governance and providing additional security for the people of Al Anbar province," it said in a statement.
This can't be a good development on the road to democracy and peace can it?

I'm Sorry, Since When Do Laws Only Apply To "Certain" People?

Oh, I see, only when republicans are offended?
H.R. 5037, the "Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act," which prohibits certain demonstrations at cemeteries under the control of the National Cemetery Administration and at Arlington National Cemetery, and provides for punishment of such demonstrations as misdemeanors.
What does he mean by "certain demonstrations" exactly?

If You Are Pushing To Privitize Social Security, Who Would You Appoint To Be Your Treasury Secretary?

Why, some one with deep connections to the industry that will benefit most, Hank Paulson:
To all these tasks, Hank brings a record of achievement and excellence. He grew up on a farm in Illinois. He went to college at Dartmouth. He starred on the field as an all-Ivy football player and in the classroom as a Phi Beta Kappa student. He earned an MBA from Harvard. He served in the Pentagon and here at the White House. He started at Goldman Sachs in 1974, and rose to its top office after 24 years of distinguished work at the firm...

715 and The Veneer Of Honor

Those of you who follow baseball know Barry Bonds hit 715, surpassing Babe Ruth on the homerun docket leaving only the Henry Aaron target. But those who would detract from this milestone need to also train those skeptical and cheat spotting eyes toward the W, Rove and Co, no?

I know what Barry should say to those who suggest his 715th homerun of the season is problematical. "I'm just following my role models in the W, Rove and Co." It's just that the veneer of honor for the republicans is a bit thicker.

Scratch beneath the surface and you find that all that "notoriety" and "gain" washes away with some form of lying or cheating or both. How do we "teach our children well" when potential role models suggest the ends justify the means when the means lack the very basic ingredients such as honor, valor, and integrity?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Stealth Kommando Deployed Last Evening

Stealth Kommando
Image Copyright Windspike (2006)

Those of you familiar with the grassroots protest I've been having some fun with, will be happy to know I managed to sneak my last trooper into a local pub last evening. Should have many friends there as it is known home to many leftist radicals. We shall see if anyone reports troop activity from that location over at the Kommando Project.

My troops, now, are fully deployed and my barracks dry. May need to go out and purchase some contracted mercenaries for future deployments. Word on the street is that I could sell some government bonds to China in order to cover those costs. Any one know about how to run that one past the American people?

Duh! That's What The Republicans Hope Americans Don't Figure Out

Lots of us have been blogging about the growing problem and debt induced by the big budget spenders of the W, Rove and Co. Finally, the NY time editorial staff has gotten on that old and tired bandwagon:
By definition, federal borrowing eventually results in a transfer of income from American taxpayers, whose taxes go to pay the interest on the debt, to the investors who hold the Treasury bonds. As long as the bonds are owned by Americans, the transfer is simply from one group of citizens to another. Bond holders may get richer, while taxpayers who don't own bonds get poorer, which could add to troubling disparities in personal wealth. But shuffling the income between the two groups doesn't reduce America's overall wealth.

Today, however, 43 percent of the United States' publicly held debt of $4.8 trillion is held abroad, mainly by central banks in Japan, China and Britain and by offshore hedge funds. That's up from a 30 percent share in 2001, an extraordinary increase. Indeed, during the Bush years, 73 percent of new government borrowing has been from abroad.

Paying the interest on the foreign-owned portion of the debt will be a burden on future Americans, draining their wallets and siphoning off the nation's wealth.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

More Proof That Advice Is Easier To Give Than To Follow: For Once I Agree With The Vice President

I was reading the Big Dick Cheney's commencement address at his old High School (from yesterday, which wasn't all that different from the one he delivered at the Naval Academy). I know, I know...what kind of fool am I? But hey, I always like my data fresh and first hand. And usually, when the Veep speaks, he delivers some thing where we wish he sure followed his own advice. This time is no different.

As I stumbled across this particular paragraph, I couldn't help but think of the whole WMD charade and agree with the Veep here - wishing that they did a little more research on the facts rather than going to war on faith:
Wherever life takes us, it's also good to keep an eye out for people who can give you advice, or give you a hand, or simply be trusted to help you think and figure out a problem. In this world there is information and opinion -- and then there is knowledge and wisdom. And a lot turns on knowing the difference.
Further down, he makes my point for me:
We're always better off if we seek out people who know more than we do, and ask them questions, and take their good advice.
Certainly, don't you wish they spent a little bit more time verifying whether or not there were WMD in Iraq? I do.

Indeed there is a difference between information and knowledge. But there is a substantially larger difference between opinion and wisdom. The fact that the Veep strings those concepts together may be a substantive clue as to why they have led us into the deep quagmire they are leaving us with at the end of their reign. Indeed, it may have been the very straw that broke our camel's back.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend Celebration Challenge

There is a bit of a heated debate going on over at the Bring It On location that involves some commentators disagreeing as to how to honor and celebrate the Memorial Day Holiday on Monday.

I am suggesting that we rearrange the deck chairs on the sinking republican ship called America to shift the debate toward focusing on what might be an appropriate way to celebrate the holiday. Certainly, as president of the United States, W shares more of the burden of the responsibility for generating more dead GIs to include in our memories. Shouldn't he be doing something different from the rest of us this weekend? So, let's call this:

Windspike's Memorial Day Presidential Holiday Suggestions
  • If you could suggest one way for the President to best honor the Memorial Day National Holiday, what would you have him do an why?

The Trouble Lies In the Lack of Correlation Between Cause And Effect

Is it me, or is any one else getting tired of the President drawing correlations where there is no way to tell that there is a connection between cause and effect?

Certainly, if I shout at my children and they cry, it is I who caused the problem. But, if I close my car door and it starts to rain, does that mean I caused the rain?

Have a look at these bold correlations that have no justification or could ever demonstrate some kind of causal relationship as stipulated by the W at today's WestPoint graduation ceremony (proving once again that he will use just about anybody to make political statements):
In this new war, we have helped transform old adversaries into democratic allies. Just as an earlier generation of Americans helped change Germany and Japan from conquered adversaries into democratic allies, today a new generation of Americans is helping Iraq and Afghanistan recover from the ruins of tyranny. In Afghanistan, the terror camps have been shut down, women are working, boys and girls are going to school, and Afghans have chosen a president and a new parliament in free elections. In Iraq, the people defied the terrorists and cast their ballots in three free elections last year. And last week, Iraqis made history when they inaugurated the leaders of a new government of their choosing, under a constitution that they drafted and they approved. When the formation of this unity -- with the formation of this unity government, the world has seen the beginning of something new: a constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East. (Applause.) Difficult challenges remain in both Afghanistan and Iraq. But America is safer, and the world is more secure, because these two countries are now democracies -- and they are allies in the cause of freedom and peace. (Applause.)...

...We're still in the early stages of this struggle for freedom and, like those first years of the Cold War, we've seen setbacks, and challenges, and days that have tested America's resolve. Yet we've also seen days of victory and hope. We've seen people in Afghanistan voting for the first democratic parliament in a generation. We have seen jubilant Iraqis dancing in the streets, holding up ink-stained fingers, celebrating their freedom. We've seen people in Lebanon waving cedar flags and securing the liberty and independence of their land. We've seen people in Kyrgyzstan drive a corrupt regime from power and vote for democratic change. In the past four years alone, more than 110 million human beings across the world have joined the ranks of the free -- and this is only the beginning. (Applause.) The message has spread from Damascus to Tehran that the future belongs to freedom -- and we will not rest until the promise of liberty reaches every people and every nation. (Applause.)

Now the Class of 2006 will enter the great struggle -- and the final outcome depends on your leadership. The war began on my watch -- but it's going to end on your watch. (Applause.) Your generation will bring us victory in the war on terror. My call to you is this: Trust in the power of freedom, and be bold in freedom's defense. Show leadership and courage -- and not just on the battlefield. Take risk, try new things, and challenge the established way of doing things. Trust in your convictions, stay true to yourselves -- and one day the world will celebrate your achievements. (Applause.)
Indeed the war began on his watch, and so the terrorist strikes on Nine Eleven happened on his watch as well. But simply because you say it will end on this graduating class' watch, won't make it so. Nor do the actions in W's "War" on terror have any bearing on the developments in Kyrgyzstan. The list goes on.

The ultimate test is his statement, "But America is safer, and the world is more secure, because these two countries are now democracies -- and they are allies in the cause of freedom and peace." To W, I say, prove it. I certainly do NOT feel safer today. In fact, I feel less safe.

Moreover, when the balancing scales measure out the distribution of freedom, sure, there may be a miniscule amount freedom now in Iraq and Afghanistan, but on the home front, we have given up some of ours (illegal wire taps, phone records collected, etc...). Is that a fair trade?

TAPS: Reprise

Last year, about this time, I wrote a blog entry called TAPS. Given that the only thing the President is suggesting we do to ameliorate the current war situation is to "pray for peace" over the weekend, I thought I would dust off that post and repost it.

As regular readers of my posts will notice, I don't usually do this. But today and over the weekend, I think it is important to think more about the sacrifice of those who have died protecting our freedoms than the geopolitical and domestic trouble the current incarnation of war (Iraq attack etc...) has generated; particularly over the course of the tenure of the W, Rove and Co.

Incidentally, those of you who wish to do more than pray, there is a small and growing grass roots political action brewing that allows those of us who are waging the "war against war" to make a statement by exercising our First Amendment Rights. Without further ado, here's the original TAPS post:
Out on my AM run, I got to thinking, here we are, just over two weeks away from the Memorial Day Weekend. In my high school days, I lived in a town that actually had a parade - still does I'm sure - to mark the occasion. I played taps as the flag was lowered to half staff (here's a link for those of you unfamiliar with the tune).

Then, I was a hard core trumpet player. I practiced every day and my chops were good enough to get me to the double "c" in the upper register. I played in the symphonic band, the jazz/big band, in the pit orchestra for the various yearly musicals, and the marching band.

It was the marching band that I hated the most, mainly because of the hot uniforms we would put on regardless the weather - wool, dickeys, funky hats with feathers, know the look. We did earn one fateful trip to march down the main street in Disneyworld one year, but beyond that, the practice and rigor of marching was not all together my cup of tea.

Where I took the most pride and where I felt the most important as a musician and a trumpet player was at the tail end of the parade. All the town's folks gathered on the town green and all bands were assembled around the Fallen Heroes monument and the requisite plugged howitzer (which it seems like every town in our area had), and after the benedictions, the prayers and the first selectwoman said a few words, we usually played a hymn or the National Anthem which was always followed by a 21 gun salute ("ready, aim, fire" - 7 guns, usually M-16s - three reports) followed immediately by the playing of Taps.

I started as the echo. A more senior player did the up front report of taps. I followed, playing about 100 meters away using the middle school wall to get the full acoustical echo. When I was a senior, I graduated to playing the first report and another kid played the echo. I always got teary just after the last echo reverberated of the wall. Most everyone on the green walked back to their cars or to their home a little bit sad and who knows feeling what else.

For me, I was as proud as ever to be an American and realized how grateful I was that people were willing to put their lives on their line for our freedom. As they say, freedom isn't nor ever is free. But as we head into this somber time of Memorial Day, perhaps some of us should hang our heads a bit lower as the burden of responsibility for some recent military deaths hangs heavy around the necks of our leadership.

Me, I choose to look skyward, reach back to the deeper depths, and be thankful for those that have gone before and for me - From the real Minutemen (not the incarnation on the Mexican border) that fought the Redcoats back in the 1700s to the families that lost sons on both sides of the argument in the civil war, to the veterans of WW I and WWII that fought obvious tyrants, for the Marines, Air Force, Army, Navy, and the Coast Guard men and women who have lost their lives in the pursuit and protection of our lives and liberty, I give thanks.

As we move into another of America's heavily commercialized holidays, let us resolve to toss out the trappings, remember our fallen heroes and give thanks. May all our heroes rest in peace.
Cross posted at Bring it On and the Kommandos Project.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend Kommandos Deployed: Veni Vidi Vici

Here's a pictoral story of the deployment of our Kommandos fully engaged in the War Against War at this time. Real time action and activity reports should be found at the Kommandos Project location. Fight On All:
Modified Urban deployment vehicle

Our first outpost

Going underground


Tourists are fair game

End of Market Street Outpost

These boys didn't last

Lying in wait to ambush homeward bound ferry passengers

Underneath the boot

The Lonely East Portal Outpost

East Portal Sentries

Guarding the fountain

On the emerald escalator, charge

Defenders of mass transit

Ghandi would have been proud

At the feet of greatness

You never know who you will meet on the subway - he gave me permission to take the pic, btw.

All Images Copyright Windspike (2006)

And What About W's Thoughts On His Pal Kenny Boy's Conviction?

If you are wondering whether or not W has any thoughts about one of his top donors and good buddies getting convicted, look no further. The question came up in today's press washing at the Whitehouse by way of Tony the Snow-job.
Q Tony, the President often mentions corporate crime in his speeches, as recently as yesterday. We've had the Enron convictions now over the noon hour. Any comment from the White House?

MR. SNOW: Well, any comment is that the Justice Department -- you know, we congratulate the Justice Department on successfully concluding a highly complex conviction, a set of legal proceedings that led to the convictions today in the Enron case. I mean, the administration has been pretty clear there is no tolerance for corporate corruption. And furthermore, the Justice Department has been going aggressively after those who are involved in corporate corruption.
Will the President pardon Kenny? Anone taking bets out there? He can do this you know...

Just Wondering: Which of the President's Statements Is the Truth?

Just wondering: Which of these statements by W from today's "press availability" should we believe? I know, let us let the President dethrone himself!
If Saddam Hussein were in power today, his regime would be richer, more dangerous and a bigger threat to the region and the civilized world.
...what you're seeing in Iraq could happen all over the world if we don't stand fast and achieve the objective.
Listen, I want our troops out, don't get me wrong. I understand what it means to have troops in harm's way. And I know there's a lot of families making huge sacrifices here in America. I'll be going to a Memorial Day ceremony next Monday paying tribute to those who have lost their life. I'm sure I will see families of the fallen. I fully understand the pressures being placed upon our military and their families. But I also understand that it is vital that we -- that we do the job, that we complete the mission. And it has been tough, it's been really tough, because we're fighting an unconventional enemy that is willing to kill innocent people. There are no rules of war for these people. But make no mistake about it, what you're seeing in Iraq could happen all over the world if we don't stand fast and achieve the objective.
So yes, I can understand why the American people are troubled by the war in Iraq. I understand that. But I also believe the sacrifice is worth it and is necessary, and I believe a free Iraq is not only going to make ourselves more secure, but it's going to serve as a powerful example in the Middle East.
Yes, because he is not dead (or in harms way), nor are any of his family members dead (or in harms way) because of this illegitimate Iraqi Conflagration.

Now here's the kicker. It took me a while to find this statement from the President (stipulated numerous times over the years, particularly when politically advantageous. And it has been regurgitated by the Veep Mr. Big Dick Cheney a number of times as well), but here's where the President gets all tangled up in the reality of the matter- and where making such bold predictions about what might have been or could be are not as unequivocal as he would have us believe:
No one can predict every turn in the months ahead, and I certainly don't expect the process to be trouble-free.
Bingo-another classic case of rhetorical suicide. Which statement should we hold the W to?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ain't Them Thar Immigrants Fun?

Here's another fun video from Mark Fiore. Enjoy.

Just Whom Are We Talking About Here?

_________ is a brave man, a generous man, who loves his people very much and has committed no legal or humanitarian errors...
Sound striking familiar? No, this is not the W, Rove and Co. faithful talking about their fearmongering W. It's Tariq Aziz talking about Saddam Hussein.

Remember the above phrase. Becuase, when the W, Rove and Co. go on trial for war crimes, Constitutional violations of the highest order, and violation of the rights of "detainees," no doubt it will be repeated ad nauseum. Anyone else sense the grand irony of it all?

Forget About Justice Sunday: Let's Call This Justice Thursday

Skilling and Lay get what they deserve. Let's hope the jury files these asswipes away for a long time, and extract all our hard earned dollars lost on their extortion from their estates. Finally some good news:
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A jury found former Enron Corp. chief executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling guilty of lying about the company's financial troubles in a verdict on Thursday that could send them to jail for years.

The convictions in a business scandal that sent shockwaves to Wall Street and Washington were a major victory for U.S. prosecutors intent on sending a message that corporate America must clean up its act.

Lay, 64, was convicted of six counts of conspiracy and fraud and faces up to 45 years in prison.

Skilling was found guilty of 19 counts of conspiracy, fraud, insider trading and making false statements which, combined, carry a maximum sentence of 185 years. He was not convicted on nine criminal counts.
Of course, they are going to pull out all the stops to appeal these decisions. They have the cash to hire the very best liers (oop, I mean Lawyers)...let's hope they get what they deserve instead of what they can afford.

Tony the Snow-job's Not Just Another Pretty Face, Or Is he? Subtitle - Let Me "Vamp Here For A Second"

As of this moment in time, there was no new "news" to view at the whitehouse web location. But yesterday, Mr. Tony the Snow-job was in fine form as the presidential spokesmodel. After reviewing the text, I began to ask myself: Is Tony nothing more than another pretty face - or is he the lipstick on the pig? Then he opened his mouth and confirmed my suspicions. Why the press puts up with the charade of a whitehouse delivered "news briefing" is beyond me. Have a Look:
MR. SNOW...Just a second. A couple of other items, Helen. You know I knew I would leave something -- can somebody bring me the DPC stuff, please? We do have a personnel announcement to make, and I left that on my desk. So I will vamp here for a second.
What?!? "Vamp for a second?" First of all, you are supposed to know the answers to questions, and then deliver them. You know the Press Secretary is in trouble when he defers to the press for answers:
Q State visit, or official visit? How do you characterize it?

MR. SNOW: State visit? Official visit? Do we have a characterization?

MR. JONES: Well, he's not the head of state, so it would have to be an official visit.

MR. SNOW: That's right, official visit.

Q Big dinner?

MR. SNOW: Terence, we will pass on all details as soon as they become available to us.

Q He's angling for an invite.

Q Ain't gonna happen.

MR. SNOW: Ain't gonna happen.
When you say that you are not going to comment further, why do you continue?
MR. SNOW...And while they continue to look, let me just make an announcement, that Karl Zinsmeister will be the head of the Domestic Policy Council. Karl has a very long and storied career in the journalism business, as well as others. His first job -- thank you, do you have the big, old, fat -- he's got a 48-page resume --

Q Can you spell his name?

MR. SNOW: Yes. Z-i-n-s-m-e-i-s-t-e-r. He is presently the editor-in-chief of The American Enterprise Magazine. He's actually been editing it from his home in New York state, where he's been raising his children. Karl is a J.B. Fuqua Fellow at The American Enterprise Institute. He has been editor-in-chief of The American Enterprise, I believe, since 1994.

Q "Karl" with a "k"?

MR. SNOW: With a "k." I will make no further comment.

But in any event, he started working on the staff of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan some time ago. His other accomplishments include having written two books on the war in Iraq. He's been embedded on two different occasions. He's been a film producer, he's been a weekly commentator on Radio America, on the board of advisors of the Department of Education's National Fund for the Improvement and Reform of Schools and Teaching; he's been a research director for the working seminar on Family and American Welfare Policy. As I said before, he was an LA to Senator Moynihan, also received a bachelor's degree from Yale University. Somebody who has been toiling in the vineyards for quite a while, and we're --

Q What will his role be, exactly, Tony?

MR. SNOW: He's going to head the Domestic Policy Council.

Q So he's the President's chief Domestic Policy Advisor?

MR. SNOW: That would be correct -- I suppose if that's how we describe it, yes. And --

Q Did he take the place of Claude Allen?

MR. SNOW: That is correct, that's Claude Allen's --

Q Does he have basically the same responsibilities? Has the job been expanded or contracted?

MR. SNOW: That I do not know. I have not asked about specific responsibilities. I know Karl from my previous life, and I think he's a terrific hire.
But of course, we know he is genuine, because he says that he isn't about to blow smoke at us:
Q Are you concerned that people who speak up for your nominees are getting slapped down --

MR. SNOW: No, I just -- I literally don't have an answer. I will go take a look, but I have absolutely no comment, because I -- I won't blow smoke.
I see, you won't blow smoke when you don't have an answer, but you will blow smoke up our collective American skirts when you do? When Tony suggest that he really doesn't know an answer, I believe him, actually. Perhaps the newest strategy of the W, Rove and Co is to keep Tony in the dark so that he won't have to report any news....another way to promote a culture of secrecy and dark secrets that is the W, Rove and Co. world. If the Press Secretary is kept in the dark, so to are the American people.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rant Du Jour

Shea, over at Constantly Amazed has a wonderful rant today. Have a click over and enjoy:
I am fed up with these poor whining asinine cry-me-a-river "conservatives" who spent twenty-plus years spewing bile about how fucking superior they are, how all their ideas come directly from God, how all their candidates are divinely infallible, how they and only they know what is right and what is wrong and what patriotism is and what treason is and what lies are and what character is and what matters.

Gee Folks, What's the President Up to Today?

Just in case you were wondering, instead of participating in a full scale drill for responding to another Katrina-style natural disaster, he's going to load up the presidential propaganda catapult for another round of speechifying (read: wasting taxpayer dollars, which has become the modus operandi for the W,Rove and Co: campagning when they don't have to):
MR. SNOW: ...Also, there is going to be today a Cabinet-level hurricane exercise, so if you see members of the Cabinet coming in here, it is because they are going to be gathering in the Executive Office Building to participate in what is called a table-top exercise on hurricane preparedness, to focus on the federal government's readiness and response to a catastrophic disaster. These exercises are created at the direction of the President and intended to simulate the Cabinet's role responsibility and authority in responding to a catastrophic disaster. It's the third such exercise in the last six months. The first, December 10, 2005, was on pandemic influenza; the second on March 18, 2005, on smallpox.

Today's mock scenario, a category five hurricane that will have a landfall on the greater New Orleans metropolitan area. Secretary Chertoff had a press conference on this yesterday. There will be a readout -- at least we're going to try to give you information afterward about how it went. This is going to go from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Q Will the President be involved at all?

MR. SNOW: I don't -- no, I don't believe -- the President, as a matter of fact, is traveling. He will be doing an event --

Q Telephones and everything --

MR. SNOW: Well, yes, but the answer is, no. The Cabinet members will be talking about their roles.

The President is doing an energy event today in Pennsylvania. He'll be making remarks about energy policy. He'll be focusing on nuclear power because he will be getting a tour of the Limerick Generating Station.

Talking With Iran, but Mixing It Up With Iraq

So, when a person - say, a Press Secretary - is asked a very good question about Iran, why is it that he mixes that country up with Iraq?
Q The President apparently has gotten several messages, underground, back-channel and so forth, through intermediaries for direct talks with Iran. Surely he is not going to blow a -- speaking of opportunities with Iraq, this is an opportunity to talk directly to Iran. And why doesn't the President do it? And don't give me the -- I'm sure the three other allies and so forth would be very happy if we talked directly to Iran.

MR. SNOW: Well, if you don't wish me to answer the question, then I'll just move to the next questioner.

Q I want you to answer after I've told you what my premise is. (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: This from Secretary of State Helen Thomas. The position has always been clear. We are not going to divide --

Q If elected I will serve. (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: Boy, that's going out everywhere today. (Laughter. The position has always been the same, which is if Iraq, in fact, proceeds with -- we think that Iraq -- Iraq -- Iran -- thank you very much -- needs to be very serious about suspending all enrichment and reprocessing of uranium. They have to agree to do it. They have to do it in a verifiable and credible manner and a permanent manner. When that happens, all right, then there may be some opportunities. But the first precondition right now -- and we've been working with our allies on this -- is to make sure that Iran does nothing in terms of advancing its ability to build nuclear weapons.

Now, we also are not going to divide up the coalition by trying to engage in side conversations with Iran. We have said that we will work with the P5; we have said that we will work with the EU3. And that is not going to change.

Anything -- Iran -- what Iran is trying to do, I think it's safe to say, is -- there are a couple things going on. Number one, the Iranians clearly are feeling some pressure here. This is the sort of thing that would not have happened if Iranians were not feeling pressure both from the international community and economically. I think it's also safe to say that we still believe that Iran has to take that fundamental step when it comes to enriching or reprocessing uranium. They've got to suspend all activities. Until they do that, there's going to be no change in the administration's posture and the President's posture when it comes to one-on-one negotiations. We will continue to use appropriate international forums and work with, and through, our allies when it comes to dealing with the government in Iran.

Q Why don't we sound out whether these are true opportunities, or not?

MR. SNOW: Well, again, Iran -- I mentioned before --

Q -- lay down laws for everybody else. This is true negotiation.

MR. SNOW: This is more an argument than a question, Helen, and I'm not going the engage in arguments about what constitutes or doesn't --

Q No, it isn't. It isn't. I'm asking you, why don't we take advantage of these feelers?

MR. SNOW: You are assuming -- I am not going to tell you each and every thing this government is doing diplomatically when it comes to Iran. I'm not telling you that there are --

Q -- you're more amenable to them?

MR. SNOW: I am telling you that nothing happens, the position has not changed. Iran has an obligation -- what Iran is trying to do is to negotiate through the press right now.

Q -- no --

MR. SNOW: Sure, it is. And you're doing an able job of it, Helen. So what's going on here is that Iran, in responding to pressure, is trying to change the subject. And we're not going to let them change the subject. The subject --

Q It isn't changing the subject --

MR. SNOW: Of course, it is.

Q -- it wants direct talks with the United States.

MR. SNOW: But it already knows what the preconditions are for American talks.

Q Are they, in fact, putting out these feelers that Helen is talking about?

MR. SNOW: I cannot advance you beyond anything that's been in the press. The answer is, Steve, I don't know. I have not been briefed on what they have or have not been doing. It's pretty clear that they have been talking with our allies, and we've obviously had the letter from President Ahmadinejad. So to that extent, I suppose you could catagorize it as a feeler. I don't know about -- I can't give you any insight.

Q When you say there may be some opportunities if they take some steps, what are you talking about?

MR. SNOW: I'm going no further. I think what we've always said is that there is simply -- the first precondition of Iran is renounce the enrichment and reprocessing of uranium. Just stop. Stop doing that -- of nuclear materials. What Iran is now trying to do, as I said, in a response to pressure -- I think it's very clear the pressure has begun to pay off -- that they want to change the subject. And we're not going to let them.

Q It's the same subject. You are -- you're right, they are responding to pressure. They're probably really fearful --

MR. SNOW: You know what -- if and when they meet their obligations before the international community of suspending the production or enrichment or reprocessing of uranium, we'll --

Q So you're laying down the law to them, really, that they have to do that, or there's no negotiation? No running room.

MR. SNOW: -- and we'll see.
Really, I understand why he is obfuscating now. he doesn't know the answer. The real reason they brought in Tony the Snow-job is that they need some one to BS the press and duck from the truth by simply not telling him anything...and for the first time, I find myself believing the guy. When he indicates that he doesn't know, my bet is that they are keeping him in the dark for very political and secretive, perhaps the imminent war with Iran.

Add Another Uncle Karl To The Roster

Looks like this could be a precursor to another round of "Fitz-mas;" the one in which Uncle Rove gets indicted.
MR. SNOW...And while they continue to look, let me just make an announcement, that Karl Zinsmeister will be the head of the Domestic Policy Council. Karl has a very long and storied career in the journalism business, as well as others. His first job -- thank you, do you have the big, old, fat -- he's got a 48-page resume --

Q Can you spell his name?

MR. SNOW: Yes. Z-i-n-s-m-e-i-s-t-e-r. He is presently the editor-in-chief of The American Enterprise Magazine. He's actually been editing it from his home in New York state, where he's been raising his children. Karl is a J.B. Fuqua Fellow at The American Enterprise Institute. He has been editor-in-chief of The American Enterprise, I believe, since 1994.

Q "Karl" with a "k"?

MR. SNOW: With a "k." I will make no further comment.

But in any event, he started working on the staff of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan some time ago. His other accomplishments include having written two books on the war in Iraq. He's been embedded on two different occasions. He's been a film producer, he's been a weekly commentator on Radio America, on the board of advisors of the Department of Education's National Fund for the Improvement and Reform of Schools and Teaching; he's been a research director for the working seminar on Family and American Welfare Policy. As I said before, he was an LA to Senator Moynihan, also received a bachelor's degree from Yale University. Somebody who has been toiling in the vineyards for quite a while, and we're --

Q What will his role be, exactly, Tony?

MR. SNOW: He's going to head the Domestic Policy Council.

Q So he's the President's chief Domestic Policy Advisor?

MR. SNOW: That would be correct -- I suppose if that's how we describe it, yes. And --

Q Did he take the place of Claude Allen?

MR. SNOW: That is correct, that's Claude Allen's --

Q Does he have basically the same responsibilities? Has the job been expanded or contracted?

MR. SNOW: That I do not know. I have not asked about specific responsibilities. I know Karl from my previous life, and I think he's a terrific hire.
Who, by the way, the bleep is Karl Zinsmeister or Claude Allen for that matter? Good Questions. Well, the new Uncle Karl is a part of the American Enterprise Institute, a liberal - whoops, hell no, GOP friendly think tank. He's the one who wrote, "It's worth the sacrifice" regarding Iraq. So, no wonder they hired this guy. He agrees with the W, Rove and Co. They get more of the dualistic rhetoric:
Yet I believe it would be wrong to surrender to the jaded and cynical view that Iraqis don’t really want, and don’t really deserve, the freedoms and opportunities we have offered them.
Essentially, he will be telling them exactly what they want to here - just what you need in a domestic policy advisor. Here's more from his essay that seals the deal for him:
Our resources are not limitless, and when the time comes for us to launch Iraq on its own course (relatively soon), we will know. But when we do let go it will be a satisfaction to know that our efforts in this land were not for oil, land, gold or glory, not for the things that man has mostly fought over since the days of Abraham. Instead, we have been fighting a war of principle, for self-determination, to make a grim part of the world more humane and thereby less threatening, so that our children--and Iraq’s--can grow up to enjoy God’s dignity and freedom.
Gee willikers Karl, that would be all fine and dandy if we weren't sold on the WMD and Terrorist Ties Bill of Good for going in the first place.

Oh, and by the way, he's another Yale Bulldog...could he have been in the Skull and Bones like his employer? There's no way to tell from his CV, but if I were a bettin' person, no doubt, good money would be won betting that way.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Kommandos Ready For Friday's Deployment

Tunes to Ruck up to: Hole - Live Through This and Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory.

Half an hour to ruck up. Good to Go for Friday's Deployment.

Slogans read:

On the GIs - WMD? Follow Me! & W's Lies Kill GIs
On the tanks - same as above & TANKS For The Endless War W.

What About Pakistan?

It's a large effort, because the terror network has cells in countries all over the world. Yet bit by bit, by diplomacy, through intelligence cooperation, police work, and the spread of democratic institutions, we are acting to shrink the area in which the terrorists can operate freely. We have also enforced a doctrine that is understood by all: Governments that support or harbor terrorists are complicit in the murder of the innocent, and equally guilty of terrorist crimes.
Just wondering about Pakistan? Isn't OBL hiding out there, Mr. Veep?

"Democracies Can Be Fractious Things"

Sub title this one, more signs the W, Rove and Co is having trouble with his own party:
Q Tony, the House today passed overwhelmingly the Palestinian Antiterrorism Act, which cuts off aid to many NGOs in the West Bank and also denies visas to members of the Palestinian Authority, presumably including Mahmoud Abbas. What is the administration's view of this? Will you veto it if it gets through the Senate?

MR. SNOW: Well, we did not support that measure precisely because it does tie the President's hand in some of the activities that I was talking about just now, which is providing humanitarian aid. We think it unnecessarily constrains. This is an issue that we are pretty certain is going to come before a House-Senate conference, and we hope that those differences will be resolved there.

Q You don't look for it especially for it to happen today, a Republican House to pass it on the same day he's telling Olmert he needs to talk to Abbas?

MR. SNOW: I think that President [sic] Olmert understands that democracies can be fractious things, and members of the legislative branch don't always tailor their activities for the convenience of those in the executive branch.
Don't expect a veto from a man who is asking for line item veto powers, but has not issued a single ordinary veto.

War With Iran Imminent?

Is it on or off the table? On, I think:
Q Tony, you said that if Iran attacked Israel, we'll come to the aid of Israel. I wonder if you'd be a little bit more specific. Would we be supporting them in their retaliation against Iran, or would we ourselves be retaliating against Iran?

MR. SNOW: I don't -- I'm not going to give you a specific answer because I've given you a general answer to a hypothetical question. I cannot give you a specific answer to a hypothetical question.

Q Do you have any kind of specifics --

MR. SNOW: No, I don't. I really don't, because what you're asking about is the categorization of -- I mean, if there's an attack it could take any number of forms, and a response could take any number of forms. And for me to begin trying to list them, again, would be, A, above my pay grade, and I think, B, irresponsible. I think just leaving it with the general statement that the President has given -- I can't go beyond what the President has said, and I'm not going to try.

Q Would you say then that nothing is off the table?

MR. SNOW: We've always said that.

Q Okay.

MR. SNOW: Let me put it this way: The use of force is off the table. All right? Let me be specific. That is what the President has said. Is that not correct?

Q Is off, or is not off?

MR. SNOW: I'm sorry -- is not off the table. Thank you. (Laughter.) Yes, it's on the table.

Palistine, Israel and Spin

Helen goes after Tony the Snow-slick. I can't quite figure out what to make of this exchange, can you?
Q Is the U.S. going to emphasize to Israel that the Palestinians also have a right to exist? And is the President aware that you cannot annex occupied land under international law?

MR. SNOW: The President is fully aware of all the legal complexities involved in the situation --

Q How do you know that?

MR. SNOW: How do I know that? Because I've talked with him about it. I've been in the room when the President talks about this, Helen. And he is not only fully aware of it, he is also aware of the challenges that work on both sides.

As you know, President Abbas has his own difficulties dealing with fractured -- factions within the Palestinians. And what we are trying to do is, this government has been trying to do for a long time, is to come up with a two-state solution that is going to provide safe and sovereign boundaries for both countries.

Q Does that mean apart from Abbas, the President will urge Olmert to move away or abandon his convergence plan?

MR. SNOW: Well, at this point, again, I'm not going to tell you what he is going to say in upcoming talks with the Prime Minister. That would be inappropriate --

Q But you said you've been in meetings with him, so, to date, in meetings with him, has he expressed an interest in Olmert's --

MR. SNOW: I've not been in those meetings with him today, so I will not try to blow smoke on you. I will repeat what I've said before. What we have tried to do is to talk about the importance of working toward a two-state solution; to have a two-state solution you have to have people on both sides talking toward doing this. And so I'm not going to address the specifics of the convergence plan.

Q What's the U.S. role in all this?

MR. SNOW: Well, the U.S. role is one of working with Israel and, when possible, with the Palestinians to try to generate a peace -- the same it's always been, Helen --

Q Then why is it bankrupting the Palestinians?

MR. SNOW: The Palestinians are not being bankrupted, Helen. What's happening, as you know, is that there is -- Hamas is a terrorist organization. We do not give money to terrorist organizations. What has happened is that this government has tried in a number of ways to make humanitarian aid available to the Palestinian people. We draw a distinction between Hamas, which is --

Q And they were democratically elected.

MR. SNOW: They were democratically elected and they're still a terrorist organization.

Q By your designation.

MR. SNOW: Yes. Thank you very much, Helen. They are, in fact, by the designation of this government, this administration, and prior administrations. So let me continue my answer.

Q Go ahead.

MR. SNOW: Thank you. (Laughter.)

Q You're welcome.

MR. SNOW: By the way, that's a nice apple, and congratulations on the book. I want to get all that done. But, look --

Q Here. (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: Come here. (Laughter.) Whoever thought Helen Thomas would kiss up to me. An apple for the teacher. (Laughter.)

Q Hardly. Hardly. (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: Now, where was I in this? Okay, what we --

Q Still spinning.

MR. SNOW: -- what we are trying to do is to make humanitarian aid available to the Palestinian people, because they need it. They need food aid, they need medical aid, they need money for other basic needs, and we're trying to make that available to them.

Q Then the follow-up, is it possible to pursue both the convergence plan and a two-state solution simultaneously?

MR. SNOW: Again, I will leave that to the heads of state and key negotiators.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Grandmothers Try To Enlist In The Place Of Their Grandsons

I know this story is a bit old by blogisphere standards, but I just heard about it on the radio last week. Wanted to post about it, but was away for the weekend. Have a look at the rest of the pics at this location.
Eighteen grandmothers were arrested and face charges of disorderly conduct after they showed up at a military recruiting center and said they wanted to enlist, a protest group said.

Police arrested the women, ranging in age from 49 to 90, Monday afternoon after they sat down in front of the Times Square recruiting station to protest the war in Iraq, police said.

When the 18 women, including Marie Runyon, who is 90 and blind, tried to enter the station, they found it locked, said Joan Wile, 74, director of Grandmothers against the War.

"We tried to ring the bell at the booth, but no one answered," Wile said. "I saw a head poke up from behind the counter every once in a while and then duck back down. I don't know what they were afraid of. Maybe they don't know how to deal with a bunch of grannies."

The women were taken into custody after they sat down in front of the recruiting station and began to chant, "We insist, we want to enlist."

What Did You Do Today, Swim From Alcatraz to San Francisco?

Yesterday was Bay-to-Breakers. Nearly 65K people did that seven point whatever miler.I did an almost two hour trail run yesterday (not by choice, a trail I was following evaporated into a leathal patch of brush and poison oak so I beat a half hour retreat back up the hill), but I still feel like a sloth. Why? Today, some seven year old kid swam the 1.4 miles from Alcatraz to SF. Amazing...simply amazing.

What sort of adventure did you have today?

Speechifyin' And The Livin's Easy: Nary A Challenging Qeustion As The W Dishes More About War In Front Of The National Restaurant Association

Before the Bush Administration, the US of A did not have a doctrine of preemptive war. We fought, only when provoked - a fundamental eye-for-an-eye proposition. Vietnam taught us that preemptive war is folly. But really, lessons from Iraq continue in the same vein. Just how many wars have we started by invading Iraq, instead of focusing on Al Qaeda and OBL?
The terrorists did not lay down their arms after three elections in Iraq, and they will continue to fight this new government. And we can expect the violence to continue, but something fundamental changed this weekend. The terrorists are now fighting a free and constitutional government. They're at war with the people of Iraq. And the Iraqi people are determined to defeat this enemy, and so are Iraq's new leaders, and so is the United States of America. (Applause.)

The path to freedom is always one of struggle and sacrifice. And in Iraq, our brave men and women in uniform have accepted the struggle and have made the sacrifice. This moment would not be possible without their courage. The United States of America is safer because of their success, and our nation will always be grateful to their service. (Applause.)
By the president's own words, it looks as if we have started multiple wars on multiple fronts. Some questions need to be asked: 1) might not the "terrorists" be, in actuality, freedom fighters (like Reagan bestowed upon El Salvador) or Minutemen (like those who fought the redcoats in 1776)? 2) What sacrifices have the American people made to support this war (beyond going into debt up to and surpassing our starts and stripes)? And, what sacrifices have the W, Rove and Co made, in particular? Were the "terrorists" at war with the people of Iraq before we illegitimately invaded Iraq?

Instead of great and challenging questions from the crowd, we get more capitulation from an audience that seems like they were pre-prepped and paid by the GOP to ask irrelevant questions. Here they are (and I am not making this up). I'm posting just the questions and not the ensuing propaganda catapulted by the W.
Q I was just wondering, being a small business owner, one of the things we really appreciate about your administration was the tax cuts for small business. And I was just wondering, are those going to be permanent?

Q Mr. President, my daughter's name is Jamie. She's a 16-year-old girl. What advice or recommendations would you give to her and to other youth of our country to help make our country a better place?

Q Thank you, Mr. President. First, I want to tell you, thank you, how much we love your brother.

Q He has been very good to the restaurant industry.

Q You said that, not me. (Laughter.) Mr. President, with mandated health care beginning to sweep the nation, and we're seeing it pop up on the state level, do you see the association health plan passing, hopefully, before you're out of office? And where do you see mandated health care going for the business industry?

Q Good morning, Mr. President. My name is Robert Carter from Toronto, Canada, and my question is regarding border restrictions between our two countries. Given the impact on tourism, do you feel that it's necessary to continue increasing border restrictions between Canada and the U.S.?

Q President Bush -- from Crown Point, Indiana. First of all, I want to say you're doing a fine job.

Q My question is, is there a realistic, yet aggressive timetable and strategy to get our reliance off of Middle East oil and go to a different fuel source, or ways that the United States can prosper?

Q Thank you. Alana Foster (ph), Westport, Connecticut. Speaking of oil-producing countries that are not friendly to the United States right now, I'm very concerned about what's going on in Venezuela and Bolivia and all, the coalition of Hugo Chavez. I wondered what your strategy was going to be, or what you're working on in that respect.

Q Hi -- Orlando, Florida. Let me first say, it's an honor to hear you speak. And I'm a proud supporter. I just had a quick question. Yesterday, at the keynote address, Ted Koppel mentioned that there is a growing lack of trust between government and the American people. How would you address this statement?

Q Yes, he did.

Q I'm from Munster, Indiana. I was wondering, sir, if we were to be attacked by a biological weapon, or if there was an outbreak of the avian flu, would we be prepared?

Q Arlington, Texas.

Q Home of your Texas Rangers.

Q They're in first place, that's good. My question is about --

Q My question is about health care reform.

Q You mentioned health care reform, catastrophic health care reform, Americans with Disabilities, as well. Under the umbrella of that, it doesn't seem that there is much addressed in terms of dental care, even though that is part of health care, I would think. And the second part of that question is, will you see Al Gore's new movie? (Laughter.)

Q Thank you. On behalf of -- I'm from Tampa, Florida. And on behalf of all the cooks and chefs in our country, I have to say you're running it the way a chef would run the country, and we're proud of you, first of all.

Q You have created a lot of jobs, and our industry is just, like you said, it's cranking, and we're loving every minute of it. My biggest concern, sir, is 2008 is coming. Do you have a plan for -- to keep your policies in place and keep them going? And would Jeb ever consider -- we like him -- even though we're the home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, we don't have everything, but would Jeb ever consider --

Q Hell no. (Laughter.) For our country. For our country, sir.

But as usual, the president gets all tangled up even answering softball questions:
My quote in the speech was this guy's words -- democracy will be a setback. That's why I said, the formation of this government, under a constitution drafted and approved by the Iraqis, is a setback, because it's -- they said, we will defeat this democracy. But they're not going to defeat the democracy. The only way they defeat the democracy is if we -- is if we let them defeat the democracy, we don't stand with this young government.
What the bleep?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Standing Up, Standing Down

Many have heard the recent news that the Iraqis have formed a coallition government (with all of four women in the lot). Just two quick questions - does this constitute standing up so we can stand down? Or, is W still reigning president of Iraq?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Wasting Taxpayer Dollars = Reiterating "What He Said Before"

I was just wondering why the president goes to places like Yuma, AZ to deliver essentially the same message he has iterated before. It must be because he loves wasting taxpayer dollars to fly his whole entourrage all about the USA. Don't the W, Rove and Co belive that, with the internet, there is no need to waste taxpayer dollars to "reiterate what he said before?"
Q Do you think anything new in the speech, or mostly the same message with a new backdrop?

MR. SNOW: Basically the same message. The President is going to reiterate what he said before.
Aparently, the answer to my question above is a resounding "nope!"

By the way, would any one hazard a guess as to how many American Taxpayer Dollars this photo op cost us?

Don't Worry, Be Happy

And so what I really want to share with you is, I understand that there's some uncertainty and worries because of circumstances today, but you've got a President whose -- I've got no doubt in my mind that the world is headed toward peace and that this country is going to remain the economic leader of the world. We just can't lose our confidence. America shouldn't fear the future, because we're going to shape the future.
Can some one explain to me why the president's view about what he should be doing is so completely different than what the American people think he should be doing?

Three Year Old Arguments Are Valid When The Questions Have Never Been Answered

Helen hits Tony over the head with another Cast Iron Skillet of a question. Of course, he doesn't answer it:
Q The new Italian Prime Minister says that the President's invasion of Iraq was a grave error. As the new kid on the block, can you give me the latest rationale the U.S. has for invading Iraq?

MR. SNOW: There has only been one rationale, as you know, Helen, and this that Saddam Hussein had resisted -- what is the proper number, 17 United Nations resolutions -- and had refused repeatedly to permit weapons inspectors to do their work, and consistent with that. And also we had cited other concerns in terms of democracy and human rights. That case has never changed.

Also the case laid out and voted by the United States Senate --

Q He finds that as a justification to invade a country where we had choke-hold sanctions, satellite surveillance --

MR. SNOW: Helen, I'm not going to get in another argument about the -- this is a three-year-old argument and you're trying to re-argue the case. The President made his case back then. The United States Senate voted overwhelmingly.

Q He did not make the case.

MR. SNOW: Well, in your opinion he didn't make the case. He made the case. He laid out his reasons.

Q He made the case, in your opinion?

MR. SNOW: Yes.
I know the attention span of republicans is rather short, but really, we need to know why there was a WMD bait and switch executed to get the congress to back the president on his Iraq Attack. Oh, wait, I answered the question.

Building Descrimination Into The Constitution

Sounds like the repubs are fully on board with the irrational fear of gays and gay marriage:
Q After the vote yesterday on the gay marriage amendment, does the President consider this a priority and would he urge the Hill to move forward on this?

MR. SNOW: He supports it; I don't know whether you want to get into priorities. You know, if I get into the business of prioritizing, I think what you'll let the Hill do, is that they schedule their votes, they schedule their debates, but the President does support the amendment...

...Q Following on the marriage amendment, when the President was running for reelection, at every stop he was talking about his commitment to family and to marriage, the sanctity of marriage.

MR. SNOW: Right.

Q Yet far and few between times since he's been reelected does he talk about it unprompted, except for occasions like at the RNC speech the other night, where it was a political speech. I'm just trying to gauge what the level of commitment the President has for this amendment?

MR. SNOW: Again, a question like level of commitment, or the President's concern, those try to -- I don't have a yardstick for that -- I can't say, six on a scale of 10. So it's in many ways an unanswerable question, except for this: The President has been consistent. He says he believes marriage is -- he wants to defend marriage as an institution and protect it, an institution that involves a man and a woman. I don't think he could be any more clear about that, and that he supported the measure before Congress. There are a lot of things going on, and he will talk about a lot of things.
Still waiting for the secular answer as to what is it about heterosexual marriage that requires federal protection. Any one...any one...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ruckin' Up For The War On War

All Images Copyright Windspike (2006)
As a part of hisBlogiversary, Kvatch is preparing to launch a War on War. I thought I would join in and here's the battalion I managed to purchase at Walgreen’s today. I didn't really want the tanks, but you go to war on war with the Army you can afford, not the Army you wish you could afford. The idea has gotten much bigger it seems, and some folks have gathered together a new blog location for those interested.

The mission, should you choose to accept it, is to affix a tag to each of your Kommandos' legs with a snazzy political message. And on the appointed day, 26 May, or somewhere thereabouts, you deposit said troopers in conspicuous locations as you go about your usual business.

Shouldn't be too hard. As we ruck up here, I'll keep you posted as to our troops' readiness and our ability to outfit the boys (as to why there aren't any women in the bunch is a whole other question now isn't it) to the best of our ability.

Blog on, and know that in the War on War there are only winners.

Windspike's Kommandos will be fighting to the death.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Holy Shit, Did He Just Say That?

My goodness, there is so much wrong with W's concluding paragraph to the republican conference, I just have to post it and let y'all have at it:
I believe we're laying the foundation of peace; I truly believe that. I believe history is going to look back at this time and say, thank goodness we had people in the United States Congress and the House of Representatives, good strong Republicans -- (applause) -- people that stay true to our values, that when the times got tough, we didn't try to take the easy course, that we understood that there's universal truths and we didn't back off of them, and that we understood to keep this economy strong and America hopeful, that government must always trust the American people.
What do you think? Let us know.

Blog on everyone, blog on.

"Pray For Peace"

This is an age old question, but deserves rehashing given the latest proclamation by the W. Can you simultaneously pray for peace and wage war and expect anything but more war?
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 29, 2006, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer.
Well, something tells me the prayer won't work, but that's just me reflecting on the president, yet again, asking us all to participate in a national charade. Leading by faith is not enough for me. I require my president to lead by decisions to action based fact, not fiction. Is that so much to ask?

Some one refresh my memory. What's that lesson from the bible that suggests you get what you give?

Why Are They Collecting The World's Most Boring Data Set?

I was out on my AM run thinking about how the W, Rove and Co continues to tread on our civil liberties and constitutionally guaranteed rights. Then it hit me: Is it me or does it seem like the collection of tens of millions of phone records sound like the world most boring data set? Think to yourself, how many calls go just like this:
  • Ring Ring (or some fancy downloaded jazzy ring tone)

  • Caller 1 - Dude. Where you at?
  • Caller 2 - Yo dude, I'm headed your way. Be there in a sec, K?
  • Caller 1 - Oh, I see you.
  • Caller 2 - Where you at?
  • Caller 1 - I'm over hear...see me waving?
  • Caller 2 - Oh, there you are.

  • clap, clap - simultaneous clamshells close.

Mundane, right? Why do we need this giant pool of data? Moreover, If it's just like the President suggests (keep in mind, this is the man who said unequivocally that there were WMD in Iraq and that they were prepared to help in the Katrina aftermath), then we are really only talking about a small number of terrorists here. So, collecting such a large set of useless data is like taking down a six year old holding a b-b gun with a howitzer.

I wouldn't want the job of analyzing this data set, would you? What a snoozer of a gig. This brings me to:

Windspike's Wednesday Question du Jour:

What makes you more angry, the fact that they are trampling on our rights to get the worlds most boring data set or that they are wasting taxpayer dollars on such a frivolous collection of data?