Sunday, December 31, 2006

3K, 22K, & 52K

These numbers sound like wonderful foot race distances don't they? How I wish that were the case.

3000 GIs KIA in Iraq.

22032 GIs wounded in Iraq.

52297 Civilians killed in Iraq.

And unfortunately, there appears to be no end in sight.

Meanwhile, W continues to feign grief for political reasons:
"The president believes that every life is precious and grieves for each one that is lost," said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel. "He will ensure their sacrifice was not made in vain."
Here, we see the standard propaganda catapult reply where the Whitehouse attempts to use dead GIs to lever their agenda. Moreover, simply because the latest presidential spokesmodel says the president grieves doesn't make it so, now does it?

Tears of the parents who have lost their son or daughter to the slaughter speaks volumes:
“It was the type of injury you rarely recover from; in past wars you wouldn’t have gotten out of theater,” said his father, Bill Hess, a Boeing engineer and retired Air Force man. “So that was a blessing, that he could talk to us. He mouthed words and we were able to say we loved him. There is a lot to be said for that.”

Unfortunately, I don't have a more uplifting post for the new year.

Blog on friends, blog on all.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Swinging With Saddam

By now, you all know that Saddam was executed yesterday. The grim news really does not portend great things for Iraq, America or the rest of the world.

Although Hussein has been in captivity for a great while, there has been no let up in the extremist violence. It seems that much like the carnival whack-a-mole game , when you knock one down, several more extremists pop up in their place.

While Hussein was hung, we know that our illustrious President was busy clearing brush, avoiding tornados, and generally playing about his toy ranch in Crawford Tx.. The president, with irrepressible swagger, spills more of his dualistic rhetoric to peddle the fear he and his administration are want and capable experts at selling the American people:
"Many difficult choices and further sacrifices lie ahead," he said in a statement released Friday night from his Texas ranch. "Yet the safety and security of the American people require that we not relent in ensuring that Iraq's young democracy continues to progress."

The threat of violence comes at a time when Bush is completing his weeks-long effort to change U.S. policy in Iraq.

The president's statement had a sober, measured tone that contrasted with his offhand remark after U.S. troops found the deposed Iraqi dictator in an underground hideout in 2003.

"Good riddance," Bush said then. "The world is better off without you, Mr. Saddam Hussein."
Therein lies the irony: We are better off without you Saddam, but the threat of violence continues. So, the broader question remains, are we really better off now that Saddam is gone?

And we are left with an even more troublesome query: How much of and what parts of America swung with Saddam on the gallows yesterday?
There was a time, however, when the U.S. government tolerated, even facilitated, Hussein's inhumanity toward his neighbors and his own people -- most notably when Iraq was at war with Iran in the 1980s.

Friday, December 29, 2006

When Saddam Swings...

No doubt, you will be able to tell a great deal about a person based on her or his reaction during the first few moments after Saddam swings like a pendulum in the Poe's pit.

It is arguable as to whether Saddam's murder will be good for America. Time will tell, but I'm leaning toward not.

Do you think W is pushing for a particular day to let him swing? If so, why? What do you think your reaction will be?
Q On the timing of Saddam Hussein's execution, noting that it's within 30 days, is there any communication with the U.S. government and pressure to make it sooner rather than later?

MR. STANZEL: That is a matter for the Iraqi people, and we are observers to that process. They are a sovereign government, and they will make their own decisions regarding carrying out that justice.

All right, thank you all very much.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Just One Question

Is killing Saddam going to be good for America? Explain:

Q And there are some threats from Saddam's Baath party over in Iraq, related to Saddam's execution. Would Saddam's execution in any way complicate President Bush's formulation of the new Iraq policy, because if it leads to more violence or anything along those lines --

MR. STANZEL: Well, I think, Toby, the enemy has always used just about any excuse they could find to foment violence, and that is not new. As we said yesterday, the Iraqis deserve praise for continuing to utilize the institutions of democracy to administer and pursue justice.

But in terms of potential violence resulting from the carrying out of that justice, certainly that's something that the multinational forces are aware of and Iraqi forces are certainly aware of. So we've seen in the past that the enemies have worked to use any excuse to foment violence and that's something that we're monitoring, for sure.

Q So does that mean that you're expecting some -- you're anticipating, or the administration is anticipating some sort of breakout of violence as a result of the execution?

MR. STANZEL: I think we're always aware of the situation and we're always knowledgeable that terrorists and former Saddamists have used various excuses to foment violence, and certainly the goal of the multinational forces, the goal of the Iraqi security forces is to provide security for the Iraqi people, and they will do that going forward.

Q Let me follow up, then. Has the military made any preparations for anticipated violence --

MR. STANZEL: I'd refer you to the multinational forces in Iraq, in terms of any preparations that they may be making. But like I said, the enemies of freedom and the enemies of the institutions of democracy have used excuses before, and conversely, have not needed excuses to attack. So the security situation is something that is an ongoing concern in Iraq.

Just The Kind Of "Surge" The W, Rove And Co Needs

...To boost support for their "war" on drugs...
The amount of high-quality heroin available throughout the United States is surging because of an increasing supply from Afghanistan, and with it comes the fear that record-breaking poppy harvests after the U.S. invasion are fueling more addictions and overdose deaths back home.
Make that two wars we "not winning, but not losing," eh?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Meanwhile, It Sucks For The Families Of These GIs KIA On Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas to the Grinch in the Whitehouse. Can you hear his heart breaking?
Some 12,000 Iraqi policemen have been killed since the ouster of
Saddam Hussein, the country's interior minister said Sunday, as clashes, a suicide bomber and weekend explosions killed more than a dozen Iraqi officers and four American soldiers.

Fun Snaps From Yesterday: Enjoy

Use Your

Dust in the wind



Dr. Suess Gone Awry

All Images Copyright Windspike (2006)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Wishes

Any good ones? Post away.

Have We Got The Terrorist Bull By The Horns, Or Is The Bedouin Camel Eating Us Alive?

It appears to me that the time is right to do a comparative analysis to settle a burning question that has been blogged about repeatedly on many an established or not-so established web location. Specifically, is the world a better place now that Saddam is set to be swing some time soon?

In scientific experiments, design dictates that there be a set of givens and hypothesis about a particular treatment. Then you set up a control group (one that gets no treatment or a placebo) and the experimental group (the one that gets the full treatment that you believe will cure the ill). Then you execute your experiment with the main purpose to prove that your hypothesis is either correct or incorrect.

In the case of Iraq, we know what the givens were and what the hypothesis was. Problematically, there is no control group because the experimental dose was applied wholesale. Even so, because we can look back in history, we can use Iraq before the invasion as the control and post invasion as the experimental group. So, let's set up the equation for analysis and have at it.

Oh, by the way, incase you are already thinking this, lets forget the facts that the givens at the time have now proven false. That's a subject for another post. What we want to do is set up the experiment so that we can conduct a fair analysis with the articulated givens of the day, before the experimental does was applied.

Pre-Invasion Givens:
  • Given 1 - We were in eminent threat of danger of terrorist attack because Saddam was in power in Iraq.

  • Given 2 - Saddam was accruing weapons of mass destruction.

  • Given 3 - Stopping terrorism as a primary goal necessitated the war be broached on two fronts, Afghanistan and Iraq.
W, Rove and Co Hypothesis - Invading Iraq would remedy the Iraqi threat and nullify terrorism on a global basis.

Post-Invasion Givens:
  • Given - A - We have been at war in Iraq for nearly 4 years.

  • Given - B - Saddam is set to be executed and is in captivity.

  • Given - C - The end to this engagement is no where in sight.
  • Question 1 - Has the hypothesis been proven false?

  • Question 2 - Given what you know about pre- and post-invasion Iraq, is America better off?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Nearing 3K KIA in Iraq, Almost The Same Number Killed In the WTC: What's Wrong With The President?

Today, the President and his wife were busy trying to prove they care about the misery the W, Rove and Co has caused with their illegitimate war in Iraq.
We've also just come from Walter Reed. I got to tell you, it's a remarkable experience to go through the hospital. It's remarkable because of the unbelievable compassion and care of the people who work at Walter Reed. And it's also remarkable to me, these men and women who have volunteered to serve our country, who've received terrible wounds, but whose spirits are strong, their resolve is strong, and their dedication to our country remains strong.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, we are nearing the 3000 KIA mark, at which point the we will have hit the 1/1 ratio of number of those killed in the Trade Centers versus those killed in Iraq.
The deaths brought the U.S. toll in Iraq to 2,960, creeping closer to the 3,000 mark and adding more pressure on President Bush to find a strategy that will allow the eventual withdrawal of 135,000 U.S. troops.
Bear in mind that not everyone in the WTC were of US origin. Thus, this number is a bit spurious. You see, if we only count American GIs KIA versus American's killed in the WTC, we probably surpassed the 1/1 ratio and are now heavy in the numerator. Trouble with this equation is that there seems to be no end in sight, for very little return.

What's wrong with our President?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

President Caught In His New Clothes Again: Just Because You Say Your Heart Breaks Doesn't Make It So

I love it when the President decides to go in front of the press. Unscripted, he exposes himself for who he really is.

Let's have a serious look at some of the more troubling comments he raised today.

We will start with the scripted segment first:
This war on terror is the calling of a new generation; it is the calling of our generation.
Excuse me, but it's not my calling. If it really were a calling, might we not see volunteers running to recruiting stations like they did in WW II to stop Hitler? If it were a calling, might not his daughters head this call?
We have an obligation to ensure our military is capable of sustaining this war over the long haul, and in performing the many tasks that we ask of them.
Really? Then why didn't you do that from the outset? I believe that there are still some troops who need their Humvees plated and are absent appropriate body armor.
I've asked Secretary Gates to determine how such an increase could take place and report back to me as quickly as possible.
So, there's to be a "surge." How do they expect to come up with new troops when they can't outfit the existing troops?

And what of the troops?
We'll never lose sight that on the receiving end of the decisions I make is a private, a sergeant, a young lieutenant or a diplomat who risks his or her life to help the Iraqis realize a dream of a stable country that can defend, govern and sustain itself.
Do you believe him?

Let's see what the press gets out of him. First up, are we winning the war?
Q Mr. President, less than two months ago at the end of one of the bloodiest months in the war, you said, "Absolutely we're winning." Yesterday you said, "We're not winning, we're not losing." Why did you drop your confident assertion about winning?

THE PRESIDENT: My comments -- the first comment was done in this spirit: I believe that we're going to win; I believe that -- and by the way, if I didn't think that, I wouldn't have our troops there. That's what you got to know. We're going to succeed.

My comments yesterday reflected the fact that we're not succeeding nearly as fast as I wanted when I said it at the time, and that conditions are tough in Iraq, particularly in Baghdad. And so we're conducting a review to make sure that our strategy helps us achieve that which I'm pretty confident we can do, and that is have a country which can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself.

You know, I -- when I speak, like right now, for example -- I'm speaking to the American people, of course, and I want them to know that I know how tough it is, but I also want them to know that I'm going to work with the military and the political leaders to develop a plan that will help us achieve the objective. I also want our troops to understand that -- that we support them; that I believe that tough mission I've asked them to do is going to be accomplished, and that they're doing good work and necessary work.

I want the Iraqis to understand that we believe that if they stand up, step up and lead, and with our help we can accomplish the objective. And I want the enemy to understand that this is a tough task, but they can't run us out of the Middle East, that they can't intimidate America. They think they can. They think it's just a matter of time before America grows weary and leaves, abandons the people of Iraq, for example. And that's not going to happen.

What is going to happen is we're going to develop a strategy that helps the Iraqis achieve the objective that the 12 million people want them to achieve, which is a government that can -- a country that can sustain itself, govern itself, defend itself, a free country that will serve as an ally in this war against extremists and radicals.
If W, is not willing to predict what is going to happen in 2007, why is he so confident that we will win this thing? Because he has no other choice. It's such a gigantic sunk cost, he has to believe this. What's the alternative?

But for a man who suggests he doesn't speak in hypotheticals, we have to call him on this bluff, because it's simply not true. He speaks in hypotheticals when it's politically advantageous to do so. Have look:
...we're in the beginning of a conflict between competing ideologies -- a conflict that will determine whether or not your children can live in peace. A failure in the Middle East, for example, or failure in Iraq, or isolationism, will condemn a generation of young Americans to permanent threat from overseas.
How can he be so certain about what might happen? What happened when Brittan pulled out of India? What happened when we pulled out of Vietnam? There are cases where people have pulled their troops out of loosing situations and the countries have flourished. Why wouldn't this happen in the Iraq case?

This is the trouble with ideological struggles: You can't win them in the hypothetical. But W insists on trying:
But I also don't believe most Americans want us just to get out now. A lot of Americans understand the consequences of retreat. Retreat would embolden radicals. It would hurt the credibility of the United States. Retreat from Iraq would dash the hopes of millions who want to be free. Retreat from Iraq would enable the extremists and radicals to more likely be able to have safe haven from which to plot and plan further attacks.
Prove that this would be the case, Mr. Bush. Simply because you say something doesn't make it so. Are you not talking about hypotheticals, for which you purposefully suggest is wrong to do?

And here's the kicker for me, of today's speechifying. I heard it on NPR this AM and these words have been haunting me all day:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, Lyndon Johnson famously didn't sleep during the Vietnam War, questioning his own decisions. You have always seemed very confident of your decisions, but I can't help but wonder if this has been a time of painful realization for you as you, yourself, have acknowledged that some of the policies you hoped would succeed have not. And I wonder if you can talk to us about that. Has it been a painful time?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, thanks. The most painful aspect of my presidency has been knowing that good men and women have died in combat. I read about it every night. My heart breaks for a mother or father, or husband or wife, or son and daughter; it just does. And so when you ask about pain, that's pain.
I simply don't fucking believe him. If this man had a heart, he would have died of a broken heart about two years ago. Certainly, you cannot convince me that this man grieves for the losses he has created, not to mention the multitude of wounded walking about today.

And here is the bigger kicker - where he uses the families of those who have died in his war to amplify political support for the war that got their loved ones killed:
I reach out to a lot of the families, I spend time with them. I am always inspired by their spirit. Most people have asked me to do one thing, and that is to make sure that their child didn't die in vain -- and I agree with that -- that the sacrifice has been worth it.

We'll accomplish our objective; we've got to constantly adjust our tactics to do so. We've got to insist that the Iraqis take more responsibility more quickly in order to do so.
No remorse there - just leveraging the opportunity to make a political point. That's a fine how-do-you-do. But he adds emphasis to the lie:
But I -- look, my heart breaks for them, it just does, on a regular basis.
Bullshit or prove it! If you ask me if the man's heart aches or breaks, I would say he's got the heart of a Grinch, but two sizes smaller.

And here's how we know there is no remorse:
Q But beyond that, sir, do you question your own decisions?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I haven't questioned whether or not it was right to take Saddam Hussein out, nor have I questioned the necessity for the American people -- I mean, I've questioned it; I've come to the conclusion it's the right decision. But I also know it's the right decision for America to stay engaged, and to take the lead, and to deal with these radicals and extremists, and to help support young democracies. It's the calling of our time, Sheryl. And I firmly believe it is necessary.

And I believe the next President, whoever the person is, will have the same charge, the same obligations to deal with terrorists so they don't hurt us, and to help young democracies survive the threats of radicalism and extremism. It's in our nation's interest to do so. But the most painful aspect of the presidency is the fact that I know my decisions have caused young men and women to lose their lives.
There is an underlying assumption laced in these paragraphs - that we are better off without Saddam in charge, but we now have a before and after comparison, and I think it looking more and more like I was better off with Saddam in charge, but this question is for another post.

In the end, why should we follow a man to the ends of the Earth when he gives up on his own administration? Remember, he pledged a long while back to find out who was causing leaks in his administration and punish them? Well, it looks like he's given up tying to find out:
Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, did you or your Chief of Staff order an investigation of the leak of the Hadley memo before your meeting with Prime Minister al Maliki? And if the leak wasn't authorized, do you suspect someone in your administration is trying to undermine your Iraq policy or sabotage your meeting with Prime Minister al Maliki a few weeks back?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm trying to think back if I ordered an investigation. I don't recall ordering an investigation. I do recall expressing some angst about -- about ongoing leaks. You all work hard to find information and, of course, put it out for public consumption, and I understand that. But I don't appreciate those who leak classified documents. And it's an ongoing problem here, it really is -- not just for this administration, but it will be for any administration that is trying to put policy in place that affects the future of the country.

And we've had a lot of leaks, Mark, as you know, some of them out of the -- I don't know where they're from, and therefore I'm not going to speculate. It turns out you never can find the leaker. It's an advantage you have in doing your job. We can moan about it, but it's hard to find those inside the government that are willing to give, in this case, Hadley's document to newspapers.

You know, there may be an ongoing investigation of this, I just don't know. If there is -- if I knew about it, it's not fresh in my mind. But I do think that at some point in time it would be helpful if we can find somebody inside our government who is leaking materials, clearly against the law, that they be held to account. Perhaps the best way to make sure people don't leak classified documents is that there be a consequence for doing so.
Yes, and why have you not done so, when promised, is a good question?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

While It Gets More Bloody In Iraq, The Whitehouse Has A Different Brand of Shenanigans

A friend sent me to the Wonkette for a preview, and I found this gem on youtube. Enjoy:

Will A "Surge" Do It For Iraq?

Those of you who pay attention and track former W, Rove and Co officials who now disagree with his/her former employers know that Colin Powell doesn't think it's going well in Iraq.
Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell said yesterday that the United States is losing what he described as a "civil war" in Iraq and that he is not persuaded that an increase in U.S. troops there would reverse the situation. Instead, he called for a new strategy that would relinquish responsibility for Iraqi security to the government in Baghdad sooner rather than later, with a U.S. drawdown to begin by the middle of next year.
But the Whitehouse is talking about some kind of "surge" that will be necessary to restore order that really never was attained:
Q You said today that a troop surge in Iraq was something that's being explored. Is the idea of a troop cutback something that's also being explored?

MR. SNOW: What the President is asking people to explore are ways to victory in Iraq, which would mean an Iraq that can sustain, govern and defend itself, where the Iraqis, themselves eventually assume full control for the responsibilities of government: security, political, economic, diplomatic and so on. Anything that fits into that description the President will consider. And, therefore, there are a number of ideas that are being discussed and the President is leaving all options open.

Q Well, you confirmed the surge -- how about the cutback?

MR. SNOW: No, I confirmed that there are ideas and I have given you the proper metric. So if people think that that will contribute to the long term goal of victory, it would be reasonable to assume that it would be something under consideration.
But if you ask Colin Powel what he thinks, he would suggest the following:
Before any decision to increase troops, he said, "I'd want to have a clear understanding of what it is they're going for, how long they're going for. And let's be clear about something else. . . . There really are no additional troops. All we would be doing is keeping some of the troops who were there, there longer and escalating or accelerating the arrival of other troops."

He added: "That's how you surge. And that surge cannot be sustained."

The "active Army is about broken," Powell said. Even beyond Iraq, the Army and Marines have to "grow in size, in my military judgment," he said, adding that Congress must provide significant additional funding to sustain them.
I see. Whom shall we believe is right when it comes time to decide if we indeed are going to surge?

Let's see if Helen Thomas can get a bit more clarification out of Tony the Snow job. fans of Helen will love this cast iron frying pan slap around that she gives him:
Q Can I follow on that? The President had said in the past that he doesn't set the troop levels, that the commanders in the field -- has that changed?

MR. SNOW: What the President does -- let me put it this way: What the President does is he sets the mission. And then combatant commanders figure out how to conduct the mission. And when they ask for resources, he provides them. And that's how it works.

Q And so the President would go with their -- would still go with their advice on troop levels?

MR. SNOW: Yes. But, again, keep in mind the President sets the mission. So you define the mission, then you figure out what resources are adequate. This, I think, again, mirrors comments that General Conway has made and also Colin Powell has made, which is you -- when people were talking about surges, the answer is, if it fits into a military plan and you have a good plan for it, then maybe it would be appropriate. I am not commenting on surge; I'm just telling you that regardless of what happens in terms of troop posture or equipping forces or deploying forces or moving or redeploying -- any military decision obviously is going to have to be made in concert with the goal, which is to win in Iraq.

Q Does public opinion enter into his review at all, in terms of the election and --

MR. SNOW: The President -- in this sense, Helen, the President understands that you cannot win the war without public support. And it is important to continue -- because it's going to be a long war and it is going to need the determination of the American people --

Q Why is it going to be a long war?

MR. SNOW: Because as far as we can tell, terrorists don't have any desire to stop entertaining thoughts of terror any time soon. And that the global war on terror, which is not confined to Iraq or Afghanistan, but instead has people who are still committed to committing acts of violence on our shores. The President outlined some of those this fall when he was talking about particular operations that had been intercepted as a result of intelligence that we had gleaned from planners of attacks, that they have no desire to back away, that there's an ideology of hatred that involves not only destroying the United States of America, but also the notion of personal freedom.

So that being the case, it is going to require a commitment over a long period of time to make sure that we deal with the problem effectively. And that's not just militarily -- it means diplomatically, it means economically, it means by example, so that if you have a democracy that demonstrates to people in the Middle East you can practice your faith, you can pursue your future, you can vote for the people who are going to govern you, you can have control over your destiny -- these are things that have not been -- that people in the Middle East have not been able to take for granted. And when they see that they have those options, that in and of itself will probably be the most powerful discouragement to terror imaginable.

Q Why can you identify all the Iraqi resistance as terror?

MR. SNOW: I didn't.

Q We are the occupiers, do you realize that? And do you realize what an occupation is?

MR. SNOW: Do you also realize -- I do -- I think people not only understand occupation, people in Iraq also understand --

Q Your broad brush everything.

MR. SNOW: And that was a precise characterization you just gave me?

Q I am saying that you --

MR. SNOW: No, you just used a broad brush on responding. If you wish to get into colloquialism, I'll be happy to go along.

Q Do you think that people are resisting our occupation?

MR. SNOW: I think that there are some people -- as a matter of fact, if you take a look at Saddam rejectionists, they're absolutely resisting the occupation. As a matter of fact, their avowed goal -- it's right here in the 90/10 report -- that says that their avowed goal is to push Americans out. Why? Because they want to reestablish the kind of supremacy they enjoyed during the days of Saddam.

There are many people who want to end the occupation and, in many cases, they want to end the occupation because they, themselves, want to restore or to create their own tyranny over the Iraqi people. They do not want to support the goal of a democracy in which the human rights of all are protected and --

Q What gives you the right to impose anything on them?

MR. SNOW: I think what we're -- you know, what's interesting is the government of Iraq and people of Iraq look upon us not as imposing. I don't know how you impose liberty. I think what you do is you -- you impose tyranny and you relieve tyranny by creating the possibility for freedom.
Well, perhaps the most important line in this exchange is the following: "you cannot win the war without public support." If what we are experiencing today constitutes support, I would hate to see what lack of support looks like. Is it me, or do the folks of the W, Rove and Co have their heads some place where reality is absent?

Monday, December 18, 2006

CLANG! The Sound of Helen's Cast Iron Fry Pan Hitting Tony's Head One More Time

You know I love Helen Thomas. She's one tough cookie.

Periodically, she wips out her cast iron fry pan and smacks the presdential spokesmodel over the head with interesting questions. Today was no different.

Helen's good at not letting Tony the Snow job off the hook. Have a look at this wonderful exchange where she holds Tony's feet to the fire and you see him piss all over his shoes:
Q Has the President factored in any of how many people will die?

MR. SNOW: Helen, you ask that question every day, and I don't know how I can --

Q It's a very valid question.

MR. SNOW: And it's a question he thinks about every day.

Q And does he care about it? Does it matter how many die?

MR. SNOW: Yes, it does. Absolutely.

Q Well, you have a benchmark now -- this fall has been so lethal.

MR. SNOW: And the people who have been killing will kill even more if we walk away. I would turn you to The New York Times op-ed page today, where a Marine Major talks about --

Q Written by a Marine.

MR. SNOW: I'm sorry, does that make it suspect that he's on the ground trying to save lives?

Q No, that doesn't. But, I mean, he has to take the military attitude.

MR. SNOW: Well, you might want to read it, because the military -- the military attitude is, warriors don't like to be engaged in war if you can have peace, and generals don't like to send people into battle unless they have to. The people who are instigating the violence in Iraq are ones who are determined to kill.

Q You don't think our occupation is a factor?

MR. SNOW: I think the biggest factor right now -- if you take a look at what's going on, who are they killing? They're killing Iraqis, aren't they? They are primarily killing Iraqis. And what they're trying to do is to destroy hope and peace and democracy.

Q How do you know all that? I mean, why do you think people would want to do that? In the first place, they don't like an occupation.

MR. SNOW: Could it be they're suffused with hatred? Could it be that people, in fact, who are in unoccupied lands, who have been slaughtering, also do so because they hate people? The question is --

Q Do we hate them? Are we killing any of them?

MR. SNOW: Yes, we are.
Just wondering: Is Tony lying again about whether or not the President thinks about people getting killed in his wonderful freedom spreading Petry dish he calls Iraq?

A War Nobody Wants To Pay For

I thought the following was an interesting read, grabbed from a link posted by an anon contributor to the comments of another post:
Now we know that the decision to put the war on a credit card is not simply a moral question. The administration's failure to acknowledge the real costs of the war -- and to pay them -- has put it in a corner.

The president's options in Iraq are severely constrained because our military is too small for the foreign policy he is pursuing. Sending more troops would place even more excruciating burdens on members of our armed forces and their families. And the brass fears that an extended new commitment could, quite simply, break the Army.

Yet, instead of building up our military for a long engagement and levying the taxes to pay for such an enterprise, the administration kept issuing merry reports of progress in Iraq. Right through Election Day this year, the president continued to condemn anyone who dared suggest that maybe, just maybe, we should raise taxes to pay for this war.
If you want to really know why the war on Iraq was started, you just have to "follow the money." Who is profiting from this situation?

Really, the war was not for freedom, democracy, liberty, and justice for all, now was it? It was mainly about making gigantic sums of cash for the warmongering profiteer pals of those in the W, Rove and Co. And that's a gift that will keep on giving to those people for generations to come, while they suck the cash right out of your unborn great-grandchild's wallets even before they are born.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Will Mary Cheney And Her Partner Make Great Parents?

Well, Mary Cheney must have the republicans' underwear in a twist over her recent announcment. We know what the president thinks:
Q Tony, in an interview with People Magazine, the President was asked about Mary Cheney's pregnancy, and said he's confident -- he believes she'll be a loving soul to her child. In the past, he said that he believes the ideal is that a child be raised in a married family with a man and a woman. Does he still believe that's the ideal?

MR. SNOW: Yes, he does, but he also believes that every human life is sacred and that every child that comes into the world deserves love. And he believes that Mary Cheney's child will, in fact, have loving parents.

Q Does he believe that children who are raised by gay and lesbian parents are at a disadvantage?

MR. SNOW: He does not make comments on that, and nor will I.
It is what W says in private and how he acts that already lead us to know what he thinks in that last bit, no?

What do you think, will Mary Cheney and her partner make good parents?


Helen Thomas is always good for some interesting questions.

Every so often she wips out her cast iron fry pan and smacks Tony the Snow job over the head.

What do you make of these?
Q I have two questions. Since the President knows how many Iraqis were killed in the two months period, how many were killed in the four years of war?

MR. SNOW: Two things; I know you asked the question in the gaggle. What you had was the President had a briefing on how many people were killed in combat activities. The Iraqi government, itself, compiles its own statistics on those who have died in the violence. I am sure that there is a briefing paper that has that exact number on it, or at least their best guesses on it.

Maybe the one important number is the nearly 27 million Iraqis no longer have to live under the terror and despotism of Saddam Hussein. They have an elected government, which many of them risked their lives to vote for. It's a unity government. And one of the chief aims, as we've just pointed out, is to get rid of the violence that is claiming lives unnecessarily and to allow that democracy to move forward peacefully.

Q That isn't an answer.

MR. SNOW: Yes, it is.

Q Why? Why can't you count the number who were killed in four years?

MR. SNOW: Well, apparently it's a difficult task, and I would refer you to the government of Iraq.

Q How do you know 5,900 were killed in two months?

MR. SNOW: I'm telling you, those are the confirmed kills on the battlefield as passed on by commanders.

Q And what about going after ACLU, when you didn't go after the Hadley memo --

MR. SNOW: We do not talk about any ongoing court activities. You know that, Helen.

Q But you are going after the ACLU, aren't you?

MR. SNOW: As I said, we don't -- you could chase me around the table as many times as you want on it, but we do not comment on ongoing court activities.

Q That's not fair.

MR. SNOW: It may not be fair, but it's the policy of any administration not to talk about ongoing court activities.

Q As a former newsman --

MR. SNOW: As a former newsman, I know when to stop chasing somebody around the podium. This is a case where it has always been the standard of administrations, Democratic and Republican, that you do not talk about ongoing court issues.
...well, we only talk about on giong court issues when it's to our political advantage, right Tony?

Still Awaiting The Bright Shinny Day When The President Follows His Own Advice

Okay, admit it: You wouldn't even know the President has a weekly radio address if you didn't click on this blog entry.

Does anyone actually listen to the President of is it a waste of taxpayer dollars for him to do this?

This week, we see the President preaching about being fiscally responsible as you finish up your holiday shopping. How many people out there would wish that the W, Rove and Co would follow their own advice?
When you decide how to spend your paycheck, you have to set priorities and live within your means. Congress needs to do the same thing with the money you send to Washington. That was one of the clear messages American voters sent in the mid-term elections. And one of the best ways we can impose more discipline on federal spending is by addressing the problem of earmarks.
If you ask me, the cost of one Iraq war is really fiscally irresposnsible. Might that cash has been better spent elsewhere? Oop, I forgot, W has put our stars and stripes in hock to pay for his illegitimate war on Iraq. He's not even paying for it up front, now is he? This means more taxes will have to be imposed some time in the future.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

When Is It Appropriate To Announce The Truth?

On Tuesday, I identified another of what looked to be another in the long line of lies told by the W, Rove and Co for political gain. When Tony was asked directly about the possibility of troop level boosting in Iraq, he dutifully said:
Q Is it possible that the President does not want to announce the deployment of thousands of more U.S. troops to Iraq before the holidays?

MR. SNOW: No, it has nothing to do with that. Cynical, but false.
Of course, it's not a boldfaced lie. It's one of those morally and ethically slippery slope kinds of positions. Tony doesn't really say much about troop levels, but comments specifically on the idea that the W thinks the American people don't want the truth. The subliminal message is that we can't handle the truth.

But as the news evolves, it looks more and more likely that we are going to be sending more troops into harms way.
Military planners and White House budget analysts have been asked to provide President Bush with options for increasing American forces in Iraq by 20,000 or more. The request indicates that the option of a major “surge” in troop strength is gaining ground as part of a White House strategy review, senior administration officials said Friday.
I don't know why they play these moves so close to the vest and then more and more information gets leaked or discovered. If the press can find out this kind of information, so too can the terrorists. The only ones that suffer are the American people - as they are the last one's to the game, and it certainly looks like the President and his staff are purposefully misleading the public for political rather than logical reasons.

I'd rather know what kind of trouble the W, Rove and Co has gotten or will get us into sooner than the terrorists, and in clearer detail. There's nothing transparent about the W, Rove and Co, now is there? Sure the truth can hurt, but it's the only way to a common solution. It leads to another frustration of mine, those who ask for solutions to complex problems, but don't give all the information so that we can make an informed suggestion.

But I digress - If the truth shall set us free, no wonder the W, Rove and Co are so reluctant to share it with us.

Oh, and in the odd chance you are wondering where the hell the Pentagon is going to come up with said troops, you wouldn't be the only one:
Warning that the active-duty Army "will break" under the strain of today's war-zone rotations, the nation's top Army general yesterday called for expanding the force by 7,000 or more soldiers a year and lifting Pentagon restrictions on involuntary call-ups of Army National Guard and Army Reserve troops.
I forget, didn't the W, Rove and Co promise not to draft anyone? What, then, is an "involuntary call-up?"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


FYI, Mozart's 250th is coming up and you can view his scores on line. I found my favorite piece - the Requiem - as it is fun to cue up the music and listen as you read the score. I think they have all the work Mozart did located there, as long as you don't profit off the material it's free to everyone.


Freedom Means: To Be Able To Make Your Own Mistakes, Learn From Them, And Fix Them Too

I thought this was an interesting quote from today's NYTimes:
The nature of the American military is that they won’t let go. I understand it because they do it much better than we do. But we have to stand alone. We have to wean ourselves off the coalition and make our own mistakes and learn from our own mistakes. - MOWAFFAK AL-RUBAIE, Iraq’s national security adviser.
As of late, I don't see a lot of standing down while the Iraqis stand up as promised by the W, Rove and Co, do you?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

President Set To Increase Troops In Iraq? Subtitle: Will Tony's Statement Prove to Be Yet Another Politically Motivated Lie?

The President wanted to launch the propaganda catapult regarding the Iraq situation some time before Christmas, but his staff won't let him. Of course, there is a tremendous amount of speculation as to why that might be.

One reason might be that the man has no clue which direction to go. As was articulated by a number of people, the situation in Iraq has no good options, only bad choices.

Another reason is that, perhaps, the American people "don't have the stomach for it" given that we are in full blown holiday season gorging ourselves in capitalistic abandon. May be some truth to that, eh?

Here's one more:
Q So just to get this clear, the reason for the delay is, number one, the complexity of the Iraq issue, and not because the President learned something in the last week that changed his mind?

MR. SNOW: That is correct. There are also even other considerations that I've not yet mentioned. For instance, we'll be swearing in a new Secretary of Defense next Monday. The Secretary of Defense is in the process not only of getting his arms around what's going on within the Department of Defense proper -- and now, as you know, Bob Gates did attend today's SVTS, and he will be shadowing meetings from now until the time he does assume office -- but also he has made it clear that he plans to visit the region and to, as one of my colleagues put it, kick the tires, to get a sense of what's going on. All those things are necessary, too, because his input is not only going to be valuable, but necessary as a man who is going to be responsible for implementing a large part of this.

That is not the single factor that is influencing this. But again, there has not been a single development, it's not Baker-Hamilton-driven. It is simply driven by the fact that as the President moves toward a decision on this, he still has facts that he wants people to examine. He wants policies that he wants people to take a look at, and he has assigned tasks to try to make sure that things are feasible, that everything is lined up in the proper way, that it meets the conditions of being able to work with the Iraqis, that we've addressed all of the regional concerns, that he's tried to take care of every possible consideration and concern before announcing the way forward.

Q Is it possible that the President does not want to announce the deployment of thousands of more U.S. troops to Iraq before the holidays?

MR. SNOW: No, it has nothing to do with that. Cynical, but false.
Here's where I think Mr. Snow is getting himself tangled in yet another politically motivated lie. Certainly, as I have suggested before, as well as other bloggers, the solution to Iraq may mean substantial increases in troop presence. In fact, the only way out of Iraq may be to saturate the country with US troops - particularly given that our "coalition of the willing" is becoming less a coalition and less willing.

One thing is for sure, the hand of the devil is involved in these kinds of decisions:
Q Tony, could you tell us specifically what the Vice President's role, as well as Karl Rove's role, are involved in this listening tour, as well as gathering information --

MR. SNOW: Well, number one, it's not a listening tour. And number two, we don't discuss internal deliberations.

Q -- tell us if the Vice President is involved?

MR. SNOW: As I've said, you've seen -- the Vice President has been in meetings and we have announced people who have been in the meetings. And I'm not going to get -- I'm just not going to get into --

Is Any Blog Going To Be Worth 52 Bucks A Year To Read?

Get this: Tom DeLay thinks he has something new to offer the bogisphere. And for 52 bucks a year, you can glad hand him over the internet.

No doubt, he will get some suckers. My bet is that there is a giant sucking sound around his URL as there is a void of clicks his way.

Check out the name of his "new" blog:
Now, he's back with a revamped Web site, a new blog and a "Grassroots Action and Information Network" that he pledges will shape politics in federal, state and local races and help Republicans reclaim their lost majority in Congress.

"If the past two election cycles have taught us anything, it's that a strong, focused and activated grassroots network is key to achieving victory," DeLay said in a statement Monday. "This entire operation is designed around finding conservative individuals in each congressional district and motivating them to act on behalf of our principles."

For $52 a year, members of the network will have access to the latest intelligence in the conservative movement and a chance to build an alliance that will flex its muscle in all 435 congressional districts, DeLay says...

"So now, he wants to save conservatives from what he set in motion?" Ornstein asked. "I don't know if there is a Texas word for 'chutzpah,' but whatever it is, he's got it."
Chutzpah, indeed!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Perhaps Some GOP Members Are Starting To See The Light: Iraq "May Even Be Criminal"

A friend sent me this link and I thought I would share it:
"I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal," declared Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), a 10-year veteran of the Senate, in a speech last night.
The link provides another link where you can listen to Senator Smith's speech. Here's a slice from the same link above:
The Iraq Study Group has given us some ideas. I don't know if they are good or not. It does seem to me that it is a recipe for retreat. It is not cut and run, but it is cut and walk. I don't know that that is any more honorable than cutting and running, because cutting and walking involves greater expenditure of our treasure, greater loss of American lives.

Many things have been attributed to George Bush. I have heard him on this floor blamed for every ill, even the weather. But I do not believe him to be a liar. I do not believe him to be a traitor, nor do I believe all the bravado and the statements and the accusations made against him. I believe him to be a very idealistic man. I believe him to have a stubborn backbone. He is not guilty of perfidy, but I do believe he is guilty of believing bad intelligence and giving us the same.

In case you were thinking, huh, maybe a republican can talk some sense in to the W, Rove and co, have a look at what Tony the Snow Job has to say about this speechifying by the Senator:

Q Okay. Republican Senator Gordon Smith, last week, said, "Our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day, it's absurd. It may even be criminal," and that he can no longer support this. What is your reaction to a Republican senator saying that what's going on right now in Iraq is criminal?

MR. SNOW: Well, we dispute the "criminal" part, obviously, and at the same time, understand the senator's concern. We share the concern about not doing well enough fast enough. But do not assume that people are simply being blown up. They are on missions. And as General Chiarelli said last week, "There's not an engagement our people have lost, but it is still important to continue the work of building greater capability and capacity on the part of the Iraqi government and helping them out."

People on both sides are going to have disagreements, much as Joe Lieberman, formerly a Democrat, apparently run out of his party for disagreeing with what was seen as orthodoxy at that time, but Gordon --

Q Republican Senator Smith is challenging the strategy. What he basically said yesterday, as well, was, when you do the same thing over and over again without a clear strategy for victory, that is dereliction, that is deeply immoral. Such is the dispute. He's saying what the President is doing is immoral.

MR. SNOW: Well, then we disagree.

Q Tony, first of all, the --

Q You're just going to blow it off? A Republican senator is saying the President's policy may be criminal and it's immoral, and you're just saying, we just disagree?

MR. SNOW: And what would you like me to say? Should I do duels at 10 paces?

Q Don't you think you should answer for that? You're saying -- you've said from this podium over and over that the strategy is a victory, right? And you have a Republican senator is saying there is no clear strategy, that you don't have a strategy.

MR. SNOW: Well, let's let Senator Smith hear what the President has to say. We understand that this is a time where politics are emotional in the wake of an election. And you know what? Senator Smith is entitled to his opinion. But I'm not sure exactly what you would like --

Q Well, how about answering the central thrust about the strategy, not about, like, politics --

MR. SNOW: Okay, the strategy is pretty simple. If you take a look, for instance -- if you take a look at the Baker-Hamilton commission report, what do they talk about? They talk about building greater capability on the part of the Iraqis so that you can have an Iraqi government that governs itself, sustains itself, defends itself, who's ally in the war on terror is a democracy.

I don't think it's immoral to be a democracy. I don't think it's immoral to have a state that is able to stand up and defend itself against acts of terror. I don't think it's immoral to defend the Iraqi people against acts of terrorism aimed at Muslims.

Q The Senator is not saying that's immoral. He's saying that the U.S. -- he's saying, of course democracy is a great goal --

MR. SNOW: You know what, Ed? Ed, I'll tell you what. You're engaging in an argument and you're trying to fill in the gaps in a --

Q It's not an argument. It's a Republican senator saying it, not me. It's a Republican senator saying it, and he's not --

MR. SNOW: Then tell me exactly what --

Q -- of course he's in favor of democracy.

MR. SNOW: Tell me --

Q Are you saying Republican Senator Smith is not in favor of democracy?

MR. SNOW: Well, I don't know. You just said he said it's immoral; when I listed the elements of the policy, you said that's not what he was talking about. So please tell me what he was talking about.

Q He's saying that day after day, that now U.S. soldiers are patrolling the same streets, that they're caught up in the middle of a civil war -- not about the government there --

MR. SNOW: Okay, here's what's immoral: the killing of American soldiers. We agree.
Nice...but wait, there's more. I particularly enjoy the line "republicans feeding on rebulicans:"
Q I just wanted to ask you, I'm trying to get at the central point. Senator Smith also said, in his speech, yesterday on ABC, "Let's cut and run or cut and walk, but let us fight the war on terror more intelligently than we have." He's also saying you're not fighting the war on terror smartly.

MR. SNOW: Well, I'm just not sure what he's saying, because I don't know what the specific proposals are. What you have given me -- the blanket use of the term "immoral" tells me nothing because when I outlined both the stated aims and the procedures, you said that wasn't what he was talking about. So I'm not sure exactly what he is talking about, other than the fact that Americans are dying, which I think if you want to talk about the targeting of Americans, you bet that's immoral, and furthermore, so is the targeting of Iraqis.

But there is -- look, the President has made it pretty clear, he's not satisfied with the tactics that have been employed, and therefore we're taking a close look at it. So here's what we ought to do: Let's go ahead and go through this period -- because Senator Smith has said what he's going to say for now -- let's take a look at the review, and let's see if we can have more specific critiques if he wishes to give them.

But on the other hand, this is also -- as tantalizing as it is to see Republicans feeding on Republicans, the more important challenge right now is to build a consensus around success. Now I think you've accepted democracy is -- of course I don't want to make you speak for Gordon Smith -- if democracy is a goal, if an Iraq that can sustain, govern and defend itself is a goal, if turning power over to the Iraqis and building capacity is a goal, and all of those are acceptable, then the question is, how do we work together as a nation to achieve those so that in the end we can be proud of an Iraq that has achieved democracy in the face of terror strikes aimed at citizens regardless of their backgrounds, designed to blow up the country so that terrorism may in fact continue to afflict the lives of people throughout the Middle East and suppress their democratic desires?

And if succeeding in that noble aim becomes a national mission, which we think it should and is, and is thoroughly consistent with American traditions and values, then there's an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to work together to achieve this in a way that American people can support.
Nice tap dance Tony.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

When You Use The Same Politicians That Your Father Did, All You Get Is More Of The Same

Here's an editorial by Daniel Pearl, confirming that bad intelligence is followed by more bad intelligence:
THINGS that start badly seldom end well. And the Baker-Hamilton findings start badly, with the commission’s wholly unproven assertion that Iran and Syria have an “interest in avoiding chaos in Iraq.”

It is astonishing that not a shred of evidence is advanced to support this seminal statement. That may be because all the evidence is to the contrary: from the beginning, Iran and Syria have been undermining American and Iraqi efforts to bring order and stability to Iraq.

The matter is important, because an approach to the dictators in Iran and Syria would be seen throughout the region, and especially in Iraq itself, as a sign of American weakness and resignation. A hat-in-hand plea for help from our adversaries will only confirm their belief that a policy of fueling the insurgency with weapons, money, intelligence and foreign fighters is working.

Missing from the report is any serious reflection on the president’s goal of encouraging the development of representative government in the despotic Arab world, an objective that would be scuttled by the report’s proposed “diplomatic offensive.”

President Bush has said to the world, “If you stand for freedom, we stand with you.” In pushing for deals with the dictators in Iran and Syria, the study group has said to Mr. Bush, as James Baker once shamefully said to those pleading for intervention in Bosnia to stop the genocide of defenseless Muslims, “We don’t have a dog in that fight.”

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Who Paid For Rummy's Secret Trek To Iraq, And What Was It For?

Believe it or not, some one thinks that Rummy needed to take a farewell tour of Iraq this weekend. The not so secret trek to Iraq, "leaked" to the press.

Wondering two things:

1- Did the American Taxpayers foot the bill for that trek?

2- What the hell was it for?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made a secret farewell trip to Iraq, a senior Pentagon official confirmed on Saturday.

Rumsfeld's trip, first reported by ABC News, was his 13th unannounced visit to the country. It came one day after he gave a farewell address at the Pentagon and nine days before he is replaced by Robert Gates.

No other details of Rumsfeld's trip or whether he was still in Iraq were immediately available.

Does Every Secret Need A Leak, And Is Ignorance Really Bliss?

Out on the morning run, you never know when inspiration will hit. Mid-stride bounding over a pile of dog shit. Jumping another homeless man rolling up his bed on the trail he decided to camp on last evening. Plowing down the usual sidewalks dodging early AM commuters on a rush to jobs they hate. Avoiding the SUV driver who insists that she has the right of way even though the walk signal is brightly luminescent with the walking figure; and she attempts to flip you off but fumbles her phone in the process as she had it clamped to her ear with her shoulder, one hand on the wheel, and the other reaching to the back seat trying to stuff a binky into the mouth of her wailing child stuffed into the five point safety seat.

But the truth of the matter is that I’ve been ruminating on the following questions for a good while. The W, Rove and Co, if nothing else, have presented us with a fair number of deeply philosophical conundrums. I’ve jumped into a few of these from time to time. For example, my discussion of the problematical surrogate for debate the propaganda masters created that effectively eliminated debate by presenting only two dualistically opposing sides where one is their position and the other is as palatable as those fresh red capped mushrooms pulled by your neighbor and cooked up as a delicacy.

It comes to this: A fundamental discussion about why the W, Rove and Co insists on having so many secrets and then relying on leaks to disseminate information. It appears to be a backdoor method for information dissemination where the subliminal message is that they just don’t trust the American people enough to fill them in on the details; like we can’t handle the truth. This is not unlike the evangelical minister not wanting to expose the reality of their indiscretions for fear that they may do harm to the flock.

Like many a deposed or defrocked minister, we may find that the reality is not going to be fun for the W, Rove and Co because, when we actually pull back the curtain, the truth is going to be ugly, but not for the right reasons. Indeed, if the W, Rove and Co. had been upfront and honest about numerous things, we might have a distaste them (Abu Ghraib) or may be morally offended and disgusted that such things would be perpetrated by the administration. But, had they actually opened the door and freely discussed the realities of what we were facing, perhaps they might have more support for their position.

I would like to pose a few questions – to amplify those in the title of this post – that have been percolating in my brain and see what the rest of the blogisphere has to say about them. I’ll present this as a quasi-logic proof for fans of high school geometry problems.

  1. Given: The terrorists know what they are planning to do.
  2. Given: The terrorist may even know, or have some idea about what the US and others will be doing to counter those plans.

  3. Given: The W, Rove and Co. claim they have intelligence that suggest they know what the terrorists are planning.

  4. Given: The W, Rove and co thinks it knows what it is doing will work to mitigate the threats

  5. Given: The American people are left in the dark about all of the above.

This boils down to a hand full of questions:

  • Why is it that a steady stream of leaks from the Whitehouse is used to alleviate this pressure created by the dissonance between what they know and what they want us to know about terrorist activities and mitigation strategies?

  • Is the W, Rove and Co afraid that

  1. we cannot handle the facts?

  2. they don’t really know the facts (WMD) and want us to think otherwise?

  3. Or are they ashamed of what would be discovered once the facts were revealed?

If the truth about how the W, Rove and Co has been operating over the last, almost 6 years, were to come out, will we be appalled or ally ourselves around them embracing them as global saviors?

Certainly, you could argue that it’s not the known unknowns, but the unknown unknowns that will come back and bite us in the ass. Even so, don’t you think the American people can handle the truth, work through it together, and come together to solve the situation when they are presented with the details rather than sheltered for what might be considered for our own good?

It's time to peel back the curtain and see what's behind the smoke and mirrors. I, for one, believe we as a people are strong and able to confront any evil that resides beneath shroud woven by the W, Rove and Co and rise through it even stronger than we are today.

Who Is Doing What To "Foment Hatred?"

In my opinion, "fomenting hatred" is in the eye of the beholder. W and his pals suggest he is "spreading freedom," and it's the "terrorists, sectarianist, sadamist, and whatever sundry -ists you can tack a suffix on to.
The violence is not ... an accident or a result of faulty planning. It is a deliberate strategy. It is the direct result of outside extremists teaming up with internal extremists -- al Qaeda with [the] Sunni insurgents, [and Iran with] Shia militia -- to foment hatred and thus throttle at birth the possibility of non-sectarian democracy.
Certainly, those on the other side of our rifles can make the same case against us. This is the fundamental problem of using violence to subdue violence - it begets more violence. The painful lessons are unfolding before us in Iraq.

Of course, just like the W, Rove and Co. issue signing statements affixing parameters around laws they have a distaste for, they are only articulating the parts of the Iraq Study Group's report that is politically advantageous.
If we leave and Iraq descends into chaos, the long-range consequences could eventually require the United States to return.
Certainly that is a rather wild predictive statement isn't it - this from an administration that suggest it is not up to prognosticating or discussing hypothetical situations. By the way, it pretty much looks like Iraq is in chaos while we are there, could it get worse? Sure, but will it most certainly gets worse?

What would be more troublesome would be to suggest that perhaps the opposite outcome is possible as well - that if we leave, might it also have a chance to go toward peacefulness? Wouldn't that outcome be like a giant egg on the face of the W, Rove and Co and their supposedly powerful pack of allies?

Whom Shall We Blame If Real Terrorists Must Be Cut Free?

I said this a long while back, but it seems as though the W, Rove and Co. has placed America at great legal peril.

What if, based on the very real actions of the W, Rove and Co, they were found in violation of the law, the Constitution, the Geneva Conventions and who knows how many other laws that are out there? Would we then be forced to empty our jails because of it?

Really, I think Moxie Grrl was the first person I heard this phrase from, but because of very real Presidential malpractice, we could be forced to release real terrorists because they actually violated the rights of many innocents.

Rummy may be the first domino to fall in such a case:

A federal judge on Friday appeared reluctant to give Donald H. Rumsfeld immunity from torture allegations, yet said it would be unprecedented to let the departing defense secretary face a civil trial.

"What you're asking for has never been done before," U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan told lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The group is suing on behalf of nine former prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lawsuit contends the men were beaten, suspended upside down from the ceiling by chains, urinated on, shocked, sexually humiliated, burned, locked inside boxes and subjected to mock executions.

If the suit were to go forward, it could force Rumsfeld and the Pentagon to disclose what officials knew about abuses at prisons such as Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and what was done to stop it.
So, you see: The folks who claim to have been doing all they can to "protect" the American people actually seem to be placing us deeper and deeper in jeopardy. As to why the

Oil For America: Profits For Whom?

So, they big oil interests are winning the right to drill off the Florida Coast. I'm wondering how much the Bush family and their pals stand to profit from this move. The article is not clear about the connectivity between individuals who support drilling off the coast of Florida and who stands to profit.

I have three questions:
  1. Does the environment win?

  2. Who really wins?

  3. How much is this initiative really going to cost taxpayers in the long run?

Congress gave final approval this morning to legislation to open 8.3 million acres of federal waters west of the Florida coast to oil and gas drilling, a victory for business interests who lobbied for the bill and four Gulf Coast states that would receive billions in new oil and gas royalties.

But even drilling supporters admitted it was just a tiny fraction of the publicly owned area they had hoped to open during 12 years of Republican rule of Congress. Efforts to drill in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts were defeated and are likely to be mothballed in the new Democratic Congress.

...Opponents said the measure would be a boondoggle for the Gulf Coast states, robbing as much as $170 billion over the next 60 years from the federal treasury, which could have paid for education, health care or cutting down the national debt.

"It's a great deal for these four states, and I can certainly understand why they would support it. But what I can't understand is why my colleagues from the other 46 states would agree to it," said Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara. "This country has record deficits as far as the eye can see, and it's simply irresponsible to add billions more in new debt."

Calling all editors: Fixing our Schools One Pro-Ball Player At A Time

Dear Editors,

The fact that Barry Bonds is getting 16 million dollars to swing a stick at a small ball for one year is emblematic of all that is wrong with our society. Certainly, this demonstrates that our value system is inverted, placing emphasis on entertainment over much of every thing else. Even more troubling is the fact that many of your readers believe that doing so is good for the Giants, and thus, good for everyone.

What if, one day, we turned the pay structures upside-down and paid our teachers like we do professional baseball players and gave professional baseball players the salaries we are currently giving to teachers? Might that kill two birds with one stone, turning our values system right-side up and improve one problem with our public schools?

Friday, December 08, 2006

13,000, Civil War, & "You Break It You Buy It"

Here's another fun Mark Fiore vid: Enjoy.

Why Is America Unwilling to Invest In High Quality Teaching?

High quality teachers that students duly deserve are not cheep, but you can't get better quality by paying teachers less than they get now. Like Iraq, a "stay-the-course" strategy only gets you more of the same.
It’s impossible to brand No Child Left Behind as a failure, because its agenda has never been carried out. The law was supposed to remake schools that serve poor and minority students by breaking with the age-old practice of staffing those schools with poorly trained and poorly educated teachers. States were supposed to provide students with highly qualified teachers in all core courses by the beginning of the current academic year. That didn’t happen.

Trouble is there is a gigantic gap between what people are willing to pay teachers, who do valuable work every day, and what others earn for less valuable work. Take for example how much people get paid to hit baseballs.
The deal, according to the Associated Press, includes performance bonuses that could push it to $20 million.
What if Barry Bonds and people like him - wage earners that make more than say five million a ear - would take his 16 million and use it to pay 15 new teachers a million bucks apiece and keep the other million for himself? Might that not attract better teachers for schools that deserve them?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"You Be W, I'll America"

Here's a cute RATED R political video a friend forwarded to me today. Enjoy:


Be sure to turn down the volume if you are at work!

Expecting The Biggest Flip Flop Of All?

Don't hold your breath for a real change in Iraq policy from the W, Rove and Co. I just have one questions for the blogisphere today:

Which is worse, "Cut and Run," "Shuck and Jive," or the old political "Duck and Cover?"

"Presidents have been known to change their minds. He's been known to change his," Baker, who served as a top aide to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said in an interview with ABC News. "It may be that you will see some mind-changing, but you may not."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Will Recent Developments Provide A Solution For The Iraq SNAFU, or Provide More Opportunities For The W, Rove And Co To Ignore Reality?

Sometimes you have to wonder if the press in the Mainstream media is all about asking foolish questions.

Most certainly, we know the reason why the W, Rove and Co would want to mislead the American people: Because it is politically astute to do so.

Have a look from this exchange from a couple of days ago:

Q I have a question about the Rumsfeld memo. At the time when he was saying to the President, in this memo, that things aren't working in Iraq, the President was saying two things publicly: One, that we're winning in Iraq, absolutely; and he was also lashing Democrats, saying that criticism was not a plan for Iraq, and that we -- the administration -- have a plan for victory in Iraq. So why wasn't the President leveling with the American people?

MR. SNOW: Actually, at the time that this came --

Q Why wasn't he saying publicly what top members of this administration who were running the war were saying privately?

MR. SNOW: Well, there are a couple of things. First, at that very time, he was actually saying, things are not getting well enough fast enough. That was a formulation he was using at the time. If you take a look at the Rumsfeld memo that was printed in The New York Times, what you end up having is what the President I think has made it clear that he wants, which are people thinking creatively and exhaustively about ways of getting better results in Iraq.

And this is not -- other than at the very beginning, he says, clearly U.S. forces -- it's not working well enough or fast enough, what they're doing. That is a phrase that the President had adopted and had been using. And I don't know whether it comes from Secretary Rumsfeld or from the President. And then you have a list of options.
So I don't think you've got a case where the President was saying one thing and advisors were saying another.

What the President was saying is that you've got a sovereign government with the government of Prime Minister Maliki that is pursuing what it needs to pursue, but obviously needs to be doing so more effectively and more rapidly. And that would include security. It would include reconciliation. It would include economic measures. It would include things like the hydrocarbon law. So certainly we weren't trying to wrap it up into a neat little bundle, because it's a very complex situation.

Q But doesn't it strike you that at the same time that you and others in this administration were accusing the likes of John Murtha of cutting and running by suggesting redeployment of forces to the periphery of Iraq or to nearby Kuwait, that the Secretary of Defense is suggesting similar options?

MR. SNOW: What Mr. Murtha had suggested was -- he was never quite that specific, and I think I'd let him speak for himself, but I believe when he came on "Meet the Press," he was talking about redeploying to Okinawa. What you have in here is a description of possibly having forces --

Q But that's not the -- he talked about redeploying to Kuwait. You say you don't want to talk more, but you're not talking accurately.

MR. SNOW: No, here's what he says, is, "You can withdraw forces from vulnerable positions -- cities, patrolling, et cetera -- and move forces to a quick reaction force status operating from within Iraq and Kuwait." Now, it is one of many options that are described here. What it means is the administration is trying to take a look at every suggestion, as I think would be incumbent.

Q Wait a second. You're not really answering the question. You're trying to parse what Murtha's position was.

MR. SNOW: No, I'm not --

Q Wait a second, let me just finish.

MR. SNOW: Okay.

Q Isn't it striking that this administration was accusing the likes of John Murtha and other Democrats who suggested course correction, including phased withdrawal, of cutting and running --

MR. SNOW: No, let me --

Q -- at the same time that the Defense Secretary was suggesting just the same option?

Q You don't see hypocrisy there?

MR. SNOW: No, because you're talking about apples and oranges. If you take a look at --
Q Really?

MR. SNOW: Yes, really -- because there is no suggestion in here that things be done without regard to developments on the ground. What the President has already said is, what you try to do is, obviously, we want U.S. forces to be withdrawing based on what is going on, on the ground in Iraq. And there is still a significant difference.

Now, I think what's interesting is that we have now gone from an election season, where there was some criticism of the White House, to one in which Democrats are going to have responsibility in the House and Senate. And as they take a serious look at the business of going ahead and building up a government of Iraq, so that you have a democracy, so that the United States has the kind of victory that the President has discussed -- which is an Iraq that can defend, sustain and govern itself, and can be an ally in the war on terror -- I think you're going to see people working more constructively. And a lot of the kind of rhetoric that got heated up during a political campaign, including those who had been saying some pretty tough stuff about the President. I think that's going to give way to what we hope will be constructive efforts to get the job done.

Q So this White House is playing it straight with the American people?
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Can we call bullshit here or what? We were misled for political reasons. This doesn't make lying to the public acceptable nor morally justified, but no one should be surprised as this is W, Rove and Co politics as usual. They want to have it both ways – when the Democrats to do it, it is wrong and reprehensible. When members of the GOP do it, it is right and proper. Typical.

Is there any remorse laden in this administration at all for the situation they have placed us in? Helen Thomas whips out the cast iron frying pan one more time:
Q Ten Americans were killed Sunday in Iraq, or on the weekend. Is there any impact on the President? Does it affect him at all that there's a growing consensus in Iraq and America to get out now?

MR. SNOW: Well, it's interesting -- I don't know if there's a growing -- what we hear from the Iraqis is, we want to have the capability so that the Iraqi security forces can assume the lead. And it is also the case that they say that they need more. And we are working with them --

Q You're hearing that from people who want to stay in power, believe me --

MR. SNOW: No, wait, look --

Q -- not the people.

MR. SNOW: I don't know, Helen. It's very difficult.
Today, we see that there are more of his pals that suggest things are not going well at all. Why did he have to wait to hear this bad news from people he likes instead of balking at similar sentiments from folks he doesn't like? Is he really listening?
Questions. Helen.

Q Is the President contemplating a way out of Iraq?

MR. SNOW: The way out of Iraq is to have an Iraq that can sustain, govern, and defend itself, to be an ally in the war on terror and also an example to the region that democracy can succeed. So that is the way out.

Q Does he really think he can achieve such a thing?

MR. SNOW: He believes the Iraqi people can achieve it, and it is our goal to help them develop the capacity to do so.

Q To follow on that for a second, it sounds like the job -- he's not leaving until the job is finished. And the job is defined as an Iraq that can sustain, govern, and defend itself. Last week you said --

MR. SNOW: And be an ally in the war on terror.

Q And be an ally in the war on terror. Is the Baker report and the internal reviews that accompany the Baker report over the next couple of weeks an opportunity for the President to redefine what the job is?

MR. SNOW: No, I don't think so. I think it's an opportunity to take advantage of the help of a number of people who are assessing the situation. But, no.
Well, whatever that may be, do we trust that the president won't just let this document collect dust on his nightstand?
I told the members that this report, called "The Way Forward," will be taken very seriously by this administration. This report gives a very tough assessment of the situation in Iraq. It is a report that brings some really very interesting proposals, and we will take every proposal seriously and we will act in a timely fashion.
But, what about Murtha's and others? Why must it come from their friends?
The country, in my judgment, is tired of pure political bickering that happens in Washington, and they understand that on this important issue of war and peace, it is best for our country to work together. And I understand how difficult that is, but this report will give us all an opportunity to find common ground, for the good of the country -- not for the good of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, but for the good of the country.
Well, it takes two sides to tango as well as to bicker. For the W, Rove and Co. it usually means "you change, we stay the same" and we can all get along better. There is never any ownership to their contributions to the divisiveness they fostered, now is there?

The clock ticks, the body count ratchets up, and are we getting a solution any time soon? Time will tell, and tempus fugit.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

To Call It A Civil War Or Not Call It A Civil War, Either One Is A Political Position

I love it when the President or one of his propaganda shills suggests that there is only sectarian struggle versus full blown Civil war in their favorite sand filled Petry Dish, freedom spreading experiement called Iraq. It seems the Main Stream Media is finally catching up with the blogisphere and now calling a spade a spade, much to the chagrin of the the W, Rove and Co.

Even so, Steve Hadly is still blowing smoke up our skirts about how well it's going. Speaking in halftruths is a Rovian specialty.

Have a look:

"We have not failed in Iraq," Stephen Hadley said as he made the talk show rounds. "We will fail in Iraq if we pull out our troops before we're in a position to help the Iraqis succeed."

But he added: "The president understands that we need to have a way forward in Iraq that is more successful."
We have not failed? But it sure isn't going well. The second sentence is not really one hundred percent true, now is it? Can they really predict what will happen if we pull out in an intelligent and well though out way? Nope. And I thought the W, Rove and Co was unwilling to predict outcomes or the future based on hypotheticals.

Sure the above statements aren't completely true, but they aren't completely false as well. Even so, they don't get us to a solution about Iraq sooner than later. But what of the meeting between W and the Iraqi Primeminister?

"It's unconscionable," he said. "It's an effort to embarrass those two leaders. It could have cast a pall over this meeting."
Well, I don't think it is possible to cast a pall over anytying if the participants in some meeting aren't already doing so themselves.

But do you think that the Iraq Study Group is going to yield any concret changes and toward a more powerful and positive solution for Iraq?
"Nothing has changed," said Sen. Dianne Feinstei, D-Calif., about the president. "He said he'll continue to be flexible. But he hasn't been flexible. He doesn't listen. And that's just a fact."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

How About We Export The W, Rove and CO to Iraq In 2009?

"I know there´s a lot of speculation that these reports in Washington mean there´s going to be some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq. This business about a graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever. We´re going to stay in Iraq to get the job done as long as the government wants us there."
Who's "We" white man? This quote doesn't bode well for a resolution to the Iraq conflagration any time soon.

Well, we know that the W, Rove and CO is totally committing us to staying in Iraq indefinitely. I suggest that if there is no resolution to the disaster before they leave office that we export our "leaders" to Iraq so they can be more closely linked to fixing the problem they built.

Who's with me? I vote we send GW and the whole of the W, Rove and Co over to Iraq in 2009, once they are removed from office so that they can finish the job they started. And, we should not let them return until there is peace in Iraq.

Interesting Snips From Today's Rags

I found a couple of interesting articles that may or may not make it to the AP wire and thus be spread as news at the usual watering holes.

Seems like there is a fair amount of agreement on this first point:
The administration has too often operated under vague legal guidelines, pursuant to secret legal opinions generated by few and vetted by almost none.
Certainly, the indiscretion of the W, Rove and Co has tarnished the reputation of America as a whole and sullied our nation to such a degree that we have lost face over and over again:
...The term 'war on terror' is a misnomer," Harman said. "Wars are fought and won with military power; but the era of terror will not be ended by military force alone. In addition, the very designation of the struggle against terror as a 'war' enables the president to invoke commander-in-chief authorities to circumvent Congress, legal precedent and many constitutional requirements."

She added: "How we treat people in U.S. custody says a lot about us and what we're fighting for. Holding detainees for years with no status determination, or using interrogation practices that go over the line, erodes our moral authority and ultimately harms our effort in the struggle for the hearts and minds of the moderate Arab and Muslim world."
There are those who would say, "Screw the Arab and Muslim world." And I would say that's a rather narrow focus for a shrinking global community. But if you need another reason to have a serious distaste for the W, Rove and Co, how about looking at their willingness to violate our rights:
Harman also took a parting jab at the National Security Agency's secret wiretapping program of suspected terrorists' phone calls, which she had defended in January as "essential to U.S. national security."

"Let me be clear," she said Friday. "I want the intelligence community to intercept the communications of terrorists. But it is not exempt from following the law and the Constitution."

In another article, we see that there are some in Congress that could be a beacon of hope and willing, starting in January, to make a stand:
At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

James Webb, Virginia Democratic senator-elect, says he's "not looking to simply be a renegade."

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Friday, December 01, 2006

World AIDS day - Lighting the cyber candle

A friend of mine forwarded this link. I thought it was interesting and educational given that this is world AIDS day. Light a cyber candle if you have some time.