Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Selling Fear The W, Rove and Co Way: "Showing Us The Same Person Twice And Calling Them Twins"

The audacity of the W, Rove and Co fear mongers will not relent.


Keith Olbermann spells it out quite plainly. The trouble is the American people don't question much out of the mouth of the president. As the old folk lore says, "you will never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

But, as I have written numerous times, simply because the President says something doesn’t make it true – despite how strongly he believes he’s telling the truth (e.g. WMD in Iraq).

Blog on friends, blog on all.

How Small We Are: Windspike's Wednesday Surfing Diversion

Maverick’s this time of year gets big. Reminds us how small we are.

Enjoy the trailer for 100ft Wednesday DVD put out by mavfilms.com.

When you ask a Mav’s rider what they eat for breakfast, no doubt the answer is nails mixed with sea salt, followed by a briny cocktail chaser.

Btw, if you search on Youtube or some other video provider, you will find large quantities of other Mav's shots. Here's one for fun:

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Government Is Not A Faith-Based Organization

I don't care what your religious creed is. Nor do I care if your moral code comes out of a crackerjack box or the Koran. Government in the USA is not, nor has ever been, a faith based organization.

But with the introduction of the W, Rove and Co to our beloved and treasured institution known as the Executive Branch, there has been a systematic deconstruction of the supposed, albeit theoretical, wall between Church and State. This degradation of the system our forefathers so bravely interdicted into the Constitution is neither righteous nor appropriate. But how did I get on this rant?

Turns out, Mr. Bush is asking us once again to lead by faith alone and trust him that his way is the "right" way. I don't know about you, but I'm getting dramatically tired of people suggesting that I swallow leadership by faith over fact and public policy set in the ether rather than driven by real concrete evidence and proper planning. How about you?
...But all Mr. Bush really asked for was the authority to set mileage standards in a different way. Rather than requiring companies to meet an average fuel-efficiency standard, balancing gas savers against gas guzzlers, he would assign targets model by model, based on factors like size and weight.

As for what those new targets might be, Mr. Bush would leave it to his secretary of transportation to decide. And he asked the country to take it on faith that this new measurement system, combined with technological advances, would lead to annual mileage improvements of 4 percent a year.
Follow the money and you will find who benefits from increased CAFE standards - middle class Americans or Big Oil and Auto interests? Funny, I seem to remember that the Model T used to get about 25 mpg. Why are we not getting 100 mpg these days?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

When Laughter Is Not The Best Medicine

The Whitehouse web location reveals that The Big Dick Cheney just gave yet another interview to the MSM.

Here's another window into the soul of Cheney and the whole of the W, Rove and Co. Too bad the Newsweek reporter didn't go after him with some Helen Thomas style questions.

Even so, I think that Cheney's answers give us a broad sense that this man only really cares for himself and his friends.

Have a look:
Q So you don't think Senator Hagel -- and now you dodged completely responding to his comments -- but they're not helpful to the cause and to the mission?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Let's say I believe firmly in Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican. But it's very hard sometimes to adhere to that where Chuck Hagel is involved.

Oh, and if you think this is an administration that will take care of the messes they made, guess again. Regarding Iraq:
It's a problem that I. think will occupy our successors maybe for two or three or four administrations to come
Well, that's just fine and dandy. This Iraq mess has cost us over a trillion dollars in debt to China - a hidden tax on future generations.

But of course, The Big Dick Cheney is going to want to hide behind Nine Eleven and flog that monkey one more time:
...There might have been a time when we could retreat behind our oceans and feel safe and secure and not worry about what was happening in other parts of the globe. But that day passed on 9/11....
Excuse me, but when we have caused more innocent Iraqi Civilian deaths than the Nine Eleven terrorists - who are mostly dead, except for OBL, btw - we lose that marker to the house as a justification to prove the need to proceed in the wrong direction. But The Big Dick has been playing those same cards for a great long while, so he is going to be reluctant to fold the bad Iraqi hand.

What do you think of our Vice President?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- or the newspapers. If you've been around -- by the time I leave here, it will have been over 40 years since I arrived in Washington, and I've been praised when I didn't deserve it, and probably criticized when I didn't deserve it. And there aren't enough hours in the day for me to spend a lot of time worrying about my image....
The converse is true as well, Mr. Veep. No?

But here's an interesting dodge:
Q One other question. Bob Woodward reported that President Ford thought you had justified the war wrongly, and that he agreed with Colin Powell that you developed a fever, I think was the word, about Saddam Hussein, about terrorism. Did you feel that was accurate? Did it surprise you?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I've never heard that from anybody but Bob Woodward.
President Ford was simply posthumously joining a growing list of people that don't think this Iraq thing is correct, proper, or being executed well:
Q And other comments that -- criticism from Scowcroft about not knowing you anymore -- people have got quite personal, people you worked with before. You wouldn't be human if it didn't have some reaction.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm Vice President and they're not. (Laughter.) ...
The laughter speaks volumes to me. What say you blogisphere?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Looks Like Some Of The GOP Are Finally Comin' To Jesus re: Iraq Suggesting "There Is No Plan!"

While many of us have been saying this a great long while, looks like some of the GOP faithful are finally setting aside the W, Rove and Co crack pipe and suggesting the emperor is indeed naked.

This is rather interesting from Republican Senator Chuck Hagel:
Looks like "trust us," just ain't goin' to work for the W, Rove and Co much longer.

Can You Stomach Another Post About The State Of The Union

No doubt,along with the MSM, the blogisphere is abuzz and atwitter about last night's State of the Union address by Mr. Bush.

I don't have much to thrash him over the coals about here because this week has been a particular busy at work, and I was at the office until about 9:00 PM last evening. I missed the thing entirely.

However, I did bump into some one who did hear the speechifying and had this short quip:
Well, there's just one thing the whole state of the union speech proved: That there is no such thing as white supremacy. And Bush is clearly a prime illustration of that fact.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Truth Is A Slippery Beast

Truth is
A slippery beast
Slave to perception

Minus perception’s laces
It’s dangerous
To seek

Will it
Set you free or
Kill you first

Some may argue
That truth
Is the key, but

Truth is
More than the
Pathway to freedom

It is
The backdoor
Home to power

Be wary of
Those who would
Subtract

The truth
And substitute
Their own reality

That
In turn becomes
The new and only truth

Monday, January 22, 2007

Perfunctory Speeches: "Like A Drawer Full Of Diamonds?"

Every day we blog away, it's rare that I have nothing to say. Just when you think there is nothing fun to poke at the W, Rove and Co. they roll out the red carpet out for you.

Of course the whole of the W, Rove and Co would have you believe that everyone's aghast in anticipation of the W's forthcoming "State of the Union" speechifying.

Okay admit it. Raise your hands high out there: how many of you are planning your SotU speech party? Picked up your wide screen 1080 HD flat panel monster screen television just for the occasion?

Roll out the invitations. Invite your friends over. Bust out the cold cuts, chips & dip. Get that 30 pack of brews for your pals and belly up. The W, Rove and Co never disappoints. Why, they are about to roll out a whole "drawer full of diamonds" for us, and you are not going to want to miss it.

Q Have you seen it?

MR. SNOW: Yes.

Q Is it any good?

MR. SNOW: Yes, of course it's good. (Laughter.)

Q Does it have anything new in it?

MR. SNOW: Yes, it does.

Q What's the best part?

Q Really? I mean --

MR. SNOW: You know, it's difficult to say. It's like looking in a drawer full of diamonds. (Laughter.)
Ah, a drawer full of diamonds. The laughter is telling, no?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Americans: "As Stupid As The Russians?"

With more American GIs spilling their blood in the sand for no real justifiable reason, one wonders why we are not winning this "global war on terror."

I found a very interesting article in today's Sunday paper. Here are three paragraphs that may answer the above question.

Have a look:
...The fighters are confident about the conflict's outcome. "The American troops move slowly, they carry pounds of body armor and equipment," Hamid said. "You can't win if you can't move on these mountains. Their helicopters are the only real danger for us, but we have learned how to hit them, even without Stingers..."
Didn't David conquer Goliath with a simple stone and sling?
..."You must understand," Musa Khan said, "that one Arab is worth 10 Afghans in terms of religious zeal. They truly hate the West and all Westerners, without exception. They would never allow the press on these mountains. They are not fighting our war, but their own personal jihad. Protecting their own people and achieving martyrdom are their first priority..."
When the W, Rove and Co. suggests that we are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here, really, we are fighting wealthy Saudis who would rather die than surrender. Shall we nuke Saudi Arabia along with Iraq and Afghanistan to solve this problem?
..."It's just a matter of how many corpses the American public will need before realizing that 'Enduring Freedom' was definitely a bad idea. It took 10 years for the Russians, and you are already halfway through. Do you really want to be as stupid as the Russians?"
In five years, when we are still stuck in this quagmire, will we be considered as stupid as the Russians? Perhaps, perhaps...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Presidential Egos Need Big Libraries

Rather than the usual political diatribe, I thought I'd take a stab at something fun. For those of you who don't know, SMU is in the market to host the GWB presidential library.
Whether one supports or opposes the Bush policies, there is no question that they have been momentous for the country and the world. Precisely because of the controversial nature of this presidency, the question of how George W. Bush made his decisions begs for scholarly research and discourse. The library will be a gold mine for scholars, and its location on a university campus symbolizes the need for study.
Really? In the past several years since the W, Rove and Co were selected to lead our country, the egos have become immeasurable, for sure. I have several questions for the blogisphere. Call this

Windspike's Weekend Presidential Bibliotheca Query:

  1. How big should the GWB library be?

  2. Will GW's Ego fit through the front door or will it need an airplane hanger door?

  3. What will be contained in the library?

  4. If you were to study the contents, what will be your most shocking discovery?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Catapulting The Fear

The Republicans have been, at least, very good at one thing: Catapulting the fear. Those of us that swing left in the blogisphere have been saying this for a long while. In harmony with the terrorists, the W, Rove and Co. has been able to leverage fear to their own advantage. Have a look at this BBC documentary and see what you think (be warned it’s near an hour long).



In the end, all the republican fear mongering has lead to the demise of some very hard fought and won freedoms here at home. More importantly, it has severely diminished and the American Sprit and exacerbated our will to be hopeful, optimistic and positive.

Fortunately, with the Dems in charge of Congress, we see a small trickle of optimism seeping over the deep chasm and the wedge that the W, Rove and Co has worked so diligently at cleaving a divided America. We have Nancy Pelosi leading that change:
In the past two weeks, we have delivered on change. We have shown that the House is not a place where good ideas go to die.
In the next few months, perhaps we will see a nation that sneaks closer together rather than amplifying the polarization that the Republicans have so deliberately been rubbing to push people apart. But that may be just me being slightly optimistic here. Should we be waiting for the other shoe to drop (but as you can see, the fear of it is difficult to resist)?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bush's Impossible Challenge Places Us In A Rhetorical Stalemate

In true W, Rove and Co fashion, W sets up another rhetorical stalemate that serves to do nothing more than divide us further.

During Saturday's Presidential Radio Address (admit it, you listen in a closet so no one else knows you do), we see W, present yet another rouse designed to deflate his political adversaries, and leave no wiggle room for opponents of his "new way forward (which, incidentally, it is arguable that this plan really isn't a new way forward at all, but simply more of the same)."
Members of Congress have a right to express their views, and express them forcefully. But those who refuse to give this plan a chance to work have an obligation to offer an alternative that has a better chance for success. To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible.
Look, the President of the United States usually operates with better intel (baring a few outstanding and outrageous intel failures like WMD in Iraq), more information, and complete access to the big picture. To suggest that those without equal access to that kind of information come up with a better plan in a "put up or shut up" rhetorical argument is to effectively shut down any one with a viable alternative.

But really, are there no other alternatives? Didn't the President spend the better part of the last month or so listening to alternatives? Aren't most of the Democrats in Congress presenting alternatives? Really, the argument presented by the President is nothing more than smoke and mirrors designed to lead again by faith over fact.

The President's weekly radio address proves once again that he, and the whole of the W, Rove and Co, is not listening (to those with better ideas and true new ways forward, and the American people in general).

Thank you for the stalemate Mr. President: Are you satisfied?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Tap Dancing With Tony

Here's a fun question from one of Tony the Snow job's press briefings this past week.
Enjoy:
Q Tony, we haven't talked about Jack Abramoff in a long time, and there's a new photo showing him with the President.

MR. SNOW: The President said he didn't know Abramoff, wasn't buds, and my guess is there are plenty of photos around town with Jack Abramoff and Democrats and Republicans.

Q What about the change in interpreting entrance records to the White House as being the property of the White House and not of the Secret Service?

MR. SNOW: That is a fairly abstruse issue, and I will see if I can get you guidance from the Office of Legal Counsel. I don't want to tap dance around that. I'll try and get you a straight answer.

Thank you.

It's Time To Move From Accepting Leadership by Faith to Holding The Administration Accountable For The Facts

Given the mixed reaction, well slightly skewed (toward outright rejection) reaction, by many (of all political stripe) to the President’s “new way forward” for Iraq, I thought it might be interesting to ask ourselves a few questions here. After all, vibrant debate and erudite commentary is what built this country.

Certainly, with the volume of speechifying amplified by the presidential propaganda catapult (read Condi et al.), we have every reason to carry forward with an objective and serious look at what the W, Rove and Co spokes models are saying with a critical eye. Over the last few days, I’ve had a chance to do just that. This is a long post, so bear with me.

Why, just Tuesday, Tony the Snow job asked us to wait and see what the president has to say regarding "the way forward" for Iraq. We Americans are a patient people. However, our patients are wearing thin, no?
Q Tony, this goes to your previous acknowledgment that the President is aware of public anxiety about the situation in Iraq. What would your guidance be to a public that has seen the President stand under a "Mission Accomplished" banner, proclaim an end to major combat operations, the Vice President talking about the "last throes" -- how should the public go into viewing this speech tomorrow?

MR. SNOW: I think the public ought to just listen to what the President has to say. You know that the "Mission Accomplished" banner was put up by members of the USS Abraham Lincoln. And the President, on that very speech, said just the opposite, didn't he? He said it was the end of major combat operations, but he did not say it was the end of operations. Instead, he cautioned people at the time that there would be considerable continued violence in Iraq, and that there would be continued operations for a long period of time. That single episode has been more widely mischaracterized than just about any aspect of the war.

Q We can debate whether the sign should have been there, whether the White House should have not had it there, but the fact is he stood under it and made the speech.

MR. SNOW: You're right, after people had been on a 17-month deployment, and had said "Mission Accomplished" when they're finally able to get back to their loved ones, the President didn't say, take down the sign, it will be bad. Instead what he did is he talked about the mission. And I would direct you back to the speech he gave then, Peter, because the President --
Q No, I know --
And so we waited to be requited, listened, patiently, and with great anticipation for Wednesday's speechifying to lift the veil of concern about how the way forward might remedy the current Iraqi situation.

The trouble is, with the raft of errors and missteps that have been perpetrated by the W, Rove and Co over the last five or so years, their trustworthiness and credibility are shot to hell. One wonders if we should have ever had W installed as president given his pathetic history of running organizations like his baseball franchise.
Q I'd like to ask you a question -- we've danced around this a little bit -- the question here about "mission accomplished." Does the President worry at all about his own personal credibility as the messenger, as the person carrying this message? He has given a number of speeches, all of which were designed to tell the American people, I have a plan for victory. And I think that hasn't worked out the way he had hoped, and you're asking them to, again -- almost hear him again to say much the same thing.

MR. SNOW: Well, let me ask you -- I'll turn it at a different angle. If you had asked any other President in American history during a time of war whether they had a credibility problem because they had not foreseen changes on the battlefield, you probably would have had plenty of cause. I mean, Abraham Lincoln constantly guessed from Manassas straight through until the final months of the war. You had George Washington going from defeat to defeat to defeat to defeat to victory, and there was considerable consternation.

So there's the notion here that it is incumbent upon a President to have perfect knowledge of what the conditions on the battlefield are going to be. It's important for a President to have the determination to succeed. Winston Churchill -- was Winston Churchill responsible for the Blitz? What Winston Churchill did was talk about the conditions for victory. And the President, adjusting to constant changes on the battlefield, is adjusting and talking about conditions for victory, and that's the most important thing to do.
Really, is there any one else out there getting tired of Tony trying to equate Bush with such historically heroic and substantially and substantively different figures?

Oddly, the W, Rove and Co. plan is to increase troops that we don't have, and in a tragic mistake we see them inviting dead GIs to re-up:
Q The AP reports that the U.S. Army sent letters to 75 officers who were killed in action encouraging them to reconsider -- to consider returning to active duty. And while General Richard Cody has apologized for this computer error, there's no report of anyone being disciplined for this. And my question: What does the Commander-in-Chief of the Army have to say about this horrendous error, and about what else such computer errors could do?

MR. SNOW: I'd refer that to the Pentagon, Les.
Sure, that's a computer glitch but emblematic of the troubles with trying to generate over 20K more bodies to occupy the Iraqi space.

We would all be justified in asking for more detail and why the President and his cronies deserve another shot to fix the mess they will no doubt be leaving to another president to remedy. But ask yourself as you read this next spin a couple of questions:
  • Do you have faith that the W, Rove and Co way is the right way forward in Iraq?

  • Will we get an opportunity to actually look at the plan to make a qualified judgment, or is it more leadership by faith over fact being requested of the American people?
Q Tony, were you, were other senior White House officials dismayed about the plan's reception on Capitol Hill yesterday and today? What's the reaction, the feeling behind closed doors?

MR. SNOW: I don't think we're terribly surprised. I mean, you knew going in that there was going to be opposition, and you knew that a lot of people had made public statements about the commitment of additional forces to Iraq. But on the other hand, what we now expect is people actually look at the plan.

Americans -- I think if you say, if things have been going along as before and you just put more troops into the situation and into a strategy that we said wasn't working, we wouldn't support it. But, instead, the President's proposal involves a whole series of changes that are designed to make the Iraqi efforts not only more effective, but also more prominent, so that Americans are going to have confidence that the Iraqis themselves are stepping up and taking lead roles in everything from combat operations to reconstruction to diplomatic outreach. That has to happen, and Americans want to see it -- and if there wasn't some doctrinal change in the way in which we conducted counter-insurgency efforts, but there is. So now comes a time when members of Congress are going to have an opportunity to look at it.

Let me also add, Bret, that funding for the forces and to dispatch them to the region, it's already in the budget. So we're going to proceed with those plans. And what's going to be interesting is the members of Congress are going to have an opportunity to see how things are working in the next months ahead. And at that point, they'll also be able to make judgments as we get closer to the time to look at some real legislative effort.

Q Well, on that point, Secretary Gates was asked repeatedly yesterday and today, when will we know whether this is working. And his answer was, in about two months we should know whether the Iraqis are really meeting up with their commitments. So in two months' time, will this administration kind of do another review to see if what they've done is actually working?

MR. SNOW: I think we've tried to make the point that we continue to do reviews all the time. And so there is constant monitoring of the situation. It's not as if you say, okay, we're going to sit back and just wait for two months. We talk every day with the embassy in Baghdad, there is constant interaction with the commanding general and others on the ground. So I think it's important to realize that there is consistent and constant monitoring of the situation, and we'll continue to make adjustments.

And let me also reiterate what we've been saying all along with members of Congress. Most members of Congress come to the White House and said, we think it's vital to succeed in Iraq. They understand what the stakes are. And they also say, we want there to be success for the Iraqi government. If they don't think is the best way to do it, we do want to hear what they have to say. We have listened to and analyzed proposals throughout the entire range of possibilities. And we will continue to listen to people, because the chief objective here is to succeed in Iraq. And if people are proposing things in the spirit of good will and constructively, that's going to be an important addition. And those who think they have a better way, I think have an obligation to step up and share it.
This leads us to another pressing question. Given the history of how the Iraq conflagration has been fueled by the W, Rove and Co, should we trust them in the Iran and Syrian fronts as well?
Q And one more, on urban myth number one. You're not saying that there are not currently battle plans available to the Pentagon for Syria and Iran?

MR. SNOW: I just don't know. There's lots of war gaming. What I'm saying is that this notion that somehow what the President was announcing was a precursor to planned military action -- a planned war against Iran, that's just not the case.

Helen.

Q In that connection, did the President give orders to invade the offices of the Iranians and to go into Somalia? And what right do we have to do that?

MR. SNOW: Number one, we don't comment about ongoing military operations. There have been --

Q Is it ongoing, or is it over?

MR. SNOW: You're talking about where?

Q In the case of Iran.

MR. SNOW: Well, I think what you have was -- what has been reported are actions -- and I'm not going to comment beyond what's been reported publicly -- there have been actions in the northern part of Iraq against something that was originally misreported as an official government facility for the Iranians, and it was not.

Q What was it?

MR. SNOW: It apparently was sort of a liaison place where some Iranians would occasionally come.

Q Well, if it was official liaison for Iran --

MR. SNOW: No, it was not an official office, and that at least has been the characterization we've gotten out of Iraq.

Q Aren't you splitting hairs?

MR. SNOW: I don't think so. There's a big difference.

Q And what right do we have to do this?

MR. SNOW: Well, the real question, Helen, is, do you want somebody to intercept those who are trying to kill Americans in Iraq?

Q I'm asking you, what right do we have to be there --

MR. SNOW: I've just answered your question.

Q -- and I don't think it's right for you to turn around --

MR. SNOW: Okay. Then I'll answer the question. It's important to go after people who are trying to kill Americans.

Q Is that their purpose? I mean, or are they in Iraq to help Iraqis?

MR. SNOW: People have made considered judgments about this, and apparently --

Q Why do you keep saying everybody wants to go kill everybody.

MR. SNOW: I think you're the one -- what do you mean, everybody wants to kill everybody? We're not saying that. But we are saying that when somebody gets intelligence that there are efforts to place in jeopardy the lives of Americans, the lives of Iraqis and destabilize the government, that's an important consideration.

Q How about the Somalia announcement?

MR. SNOW: That I can't comment on.
Really? I’m not surprised by these statements. Are you?

Certainly, the debate about whether the President's way forward is really moot.
Q Tony, by pointing out that the money is already in the budget and you're going to go ahead, it seems to be saying, we're just going to go ahead with our plan for the rest of the year. So what relevance does the administration attach to the congressional debate and the public debate?

MR. SNOW: Oh, we think it's very important, and we welcome the debate. Look, if you take a look at the congressional debate, there actually is a substantial amount of agreement. It seems to me that the locus of this agreement is, do you put 20,000, 21,500, do you put the troops in or not. If you ask the question, do you need to succeed, the answer is yes. If you ask the question, should the Iraqis be taking the lead, the answer is yes. Should the Iraqis be pushing for greater political reconciliation, in terms of the hydrocarbon law, de-Baathification reforms, parliamentary reforms, the answer is, yes, we're pursuing that.
The W, Rove and Co, it seems, is continuing business as usual. That they suggest there is room for debate and critique is only a political ploy to make us feel like we have a say in the way forward. In reality, they have continually and still to this day ask us to follow them based on faith over fact.

Unfortunately, the facts tip the scale, and it's the Iraqi and American people that will be paying a heavy price. And, it will be the new GIs, and their families, they suggest they will be recruiting that will eventually pay the ultimate dues.
Q Thank you. Tony, Defense Secretary Gates wants 92,000 more soldiers and Marines. Where is he going to get them? And is there any desire to bring back the draft?

MR. SNOW: The answer to the second is no. And the answer to the first is, you recruit them.
Will the Bush twins finally pony up, enlist and then become the face of the new Army by posing in uniform on recruitment posters? How many of you will be signing up for this? Don't worry. I’m not holding my breath.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Windspike's Wednesday Pre-Presidential Planning Announcement Question Du Jour

I was surfing about my blog roll, as I am want to do from time to time, and this question popped into my brain and thought I would pose it here:
When the new Iraq counterinsurgency plans run counter to the original W, Rove and Co plan of action, does that not counter the notion that the plan to begin with was a winning strategy?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

More Or Less Safe: You Be The Judge

Today's Whitehouse press briefing was more of the same: Press members trying to wring details about the President's forthcoming announcement out of Tony the Snow job. For the most part, Tony remained frozen, refusing to speculate.

But again, we see the audacity of the W, Rove and Co willingness to predict the future when it comes to leveraging political gain. Bear in mind that when ever it is not politically advantageous to do so, the W, Rove and Co will suggest that you are crazy for asking them to talk about hypotheticals.

Have a look at today's example:

Q The results have been more deaths. We went in supposedly to stop the war on terror -- I mean, to stop terrorism around the world, as a result which stemmed from the 9/11 issue. And everyone is saying now, look, you have more people dying than they did in 9/11, and you have more U.S. soldiers dying and the world is not as safe.

MR. SNOW: I'm not sure the world is less safe. The world is -- I guarantee you the world is less safe if the United States withdraws and leaves a vacuum in Iraq. I guarantee it. And I guarantee everybody in this room is going to be less safe, and everybody in this country is going to be less safe. And that is the challenge the President faces, and it is worth explaining that to the American people.

You see, I think Americans believe in liberty, believe in this nation's destiny as a country that does advance the boundaries of liberty not simply because it is a good and noble thing, but because it is good for us and it is good for future generations. And the President will talk about how this advances that not only noble goal, but one that is of great interest to everybody who worried about their kids on September 11th, as you and I did, and who worries about how our families are going to be secure in the future.
This again proves that Tony's making guarantees that he can't prove. What's to say that it doesn't go the opposite way? Or even worse, the terrorists follow the US troops no matter where they retreat to?

So you be the judge. Are we more or less safe today than we were before we invaded Iraq? Explain.

Are Stupid Questions Allowable In the Whitehouse Press Briefing?

Press briefings are always interesting. You never know if some Whitehouse Beat Reporter has a hidden (well, somewhat hidden) agenda when posing particular questions. Monday was no different.

Sometimes there are good questions, some times not. Here we have perfectly foolish question that Tony the Snow job pastes with the usual veneer.

If I were voting, I'd put this question at the top of the useless question list. Of course, you may think differently.
Q I guess the challenge would be who besides the President thinks that the war is winnable at this stage?

MR. SNOW: I think millions of Americans believe that this war is winnable, and I think, furthermore, that it's important to rebuild the sense of political unity. One of the things the President has often said is, the only way we lose if we lose our will. And it is clear that there have been political debates in this country.

And it's also interesting because, again, I've heard a lot of Democrats saying, we want to succeed in Iraq. And, therefore, the question for them is, that's great, we agree, so let's find out what your ideas are, if you think you've got a different or a better idea; let's find out how you'll support the military in this endeavor. That's worth doing. And, frankly, done the right way will reassure the American people that all of Washington is serious about doing the right thing and doing it in the right way. And so we've got an opportunity here I think of getting thoughtful debate.
Further into Monday's press briefing, we actual find a decent question. In the answer we see obviated one more time which way the W, Rove and Co leans when interpreting political events: to their benefit.

Can it always be that a political turn of events, no matter the outcome, works in your favor? Have a look:
Q The President, obviously, though, did not read what happened November 7th as a mandate to start bringing troops home.

MR. SNOW: The President believes that -- if you take a look, Jim, at the elections, you can read any number of messages -- I mean, when people were asked in exit interviews what was their top concern, Iraq was number four, corruption was number one. And guess what? You had 10 members of the Republican caucus who had problems, and they all lost. So you can read a lot of results. There is an understandable -- people don't want to be at war; we don't want to be at war, the President doesn't want to be at war. But the fact is you've got a situation where terrorists and a terror network is determined to try to do whatever it can to destabilize this country and other parts of the world --

Q But the President is comfortable, then, with saying to the American people, I saw what happened November 7th -- actually, you're upset about corruption?

MR. SNOW: No, I think, Jim, people would be a lot less upset if he didn't take seriously his obligations as Commander-in-Chief.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Does The W, Rove and Co Know What Direction Is The Proper "Way Forward?"

With all this talk about a "new way forward," and the President turning out the folks who have gotten us thus far, can we trust that the W, Rove and Co knows how to get us out of the Iraq mess that they got us into in the first place?

have a look at this reply from Friday's Whitehouse Press briefing and see if you think the W, Rove and Co has a firm handle on the Iraqi Bull or are we going to be eaten alive by the Bedouin camel?
Q Tony, Senator Reid this afternoon said that the President needs to hear from people who tell him something that he wants to hear; obviously Generals Abizaid and Casey are not telling him what he wants to hear, and they're out. Can you respond to that?

MR. SNOW: That's inaccurate. That's just flat inaccurate. General Casey is now going to be the Chairman -- I mean, he's going to be the Army Chief, the Chief of Staff for the United States Army. General Abizaid is somebody whose counsel we will continue to value and will listen to.

What you do have is a situation where, as you develop a new way forward, you had the situation in which you also had a couple of guys whose billets were going to come up within a period of time. And the answer is, once you're started on a new way forward, do you change then, or do you change now? And it makes sense to go ahead and make sure that you're going to have your command team that is going to be in place as you're working on this new way forward and enacting it. And I think there's -- he has found very able and capable individuals. Secretary Gates and the President are very happy with the people they are now going to be proposing.
"You're doin' a heckuva job" is not the accolade I'd like the president to hoist upon me, given the track record of folks he's fed that line.

Have they got a real clue how to get us out of this mess is a legit question. Even more revealing is this: Do you trust the W, Rove and Co to lead us out of the Iraq conflagration they started?
Q Has he nailed down which way he's going?

MR. SNOW: Not entirely. If he had, we wouldn't be doing consultations. Again, the President has some notions about where he wants to end up, but he's made it clear to everybody he has not made a final decision. And you often hear him and others referring to it in the course of meetings.
Is the man lost? He needs a new compass (of the real and moral variety).

Here's A Disturbing Statistic

Nary a concern peeped out of the W, Rove and Co about a very disturbing ratio. Both the numerator and the denomenator are troubling, no?

THE NEW YEAR brought with it the 3,000th American death in Iraq. But what's equally alarming — and far less well known — is that for every fatality in Iraq, there are 16 injuries. That's an unprecedented casualty level. In the Vietnam and Korean wars, by contrast, there were fewer than three people wounded for each fatality. In World Wars I and II, there were less than two.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Are We Comparing Apples To Oranges Or Can We Contrast Civilians Killed By Saddam To Civilians Killed Since George W. Bush's Invasion Of Iraq?

Well, I'm certain that by posting this, some will suggest I'm comparing apples to oranges, but what the heck; here it goes.

When asked, Thursday, about his personal reaction to the taunting of Saddam on the gallows here's what the W said:
Q Sir, do you have a personal reaction, though --

PRESIDENT BUSH: My personal reaction is, is that Saddam Hussein was given a trial that he was unwilling to give the thousands of people he killed. He was given a fair trial -- something he was unwilling to give thousands of Iraqi citizens, who he brutalized. I wish, obviously, that the proceedings had been done in a more dignified way. But, nevertheless, he was given justice; the thousands of people he killed were not.
My next question would have been, were I the reporter:
  • Q Mr. President. You suggest that Saddam never gave justice to the people he killed. Why do you not hold yourself to that same standard in regards to the number of Iraqi civilians that have been killed by American weapons and caused by your war in Iraq? Moreover, do you feel that you should receive the same punishment?

When Laughter Hurts

I don't know about you, but I'm offended by this interchange that occurred between one Whitehouse beat reporter and Tony the Snow job, W's presidential spokes model.

This Q & A closed Thursday’s briefing. Have a look and tell me what you think:
Q Is this nation ready for a black or female President, be it Democrat or Republican?

MR. SNOW: Of course. (Laughter.)
It's the laughter that screws with my inner psyche. True, sarcasm is hard to read in textual form, but sarcasm is never funny if there is no truth buried in the joke. Beneath the veneer, there is nothing but pure racism.

Why Do You Suppose GW Fired His Lawyer?

With all the fuss and hoopla in the form of praise and support raised by the W, Rove and Co. during the supreme court nomination revolving around Harriet Meyers, why do you think she's taking leave (as in probably getting the boot)?
MR. SNOW: Hello. A couple of business items before I take your questions.

As you now know from wire reports, Harriet Miers has tendered her resignation as White House Legal Counsel, effective the 31st of this month. She informed the President yesterday, and he has regretfully accepted her resignation. We have copies of her letter available in lower press if you need to get copies.

Q Why is she leaving?

MR. SNOW: She's been here for six years. It's hard duty. Yes, it really is.
No Shit. Being legal counsel for GWB has to be like an ethical rollercoaster ride to Hell with no return ticket paid for.

Let's see how deep a pile of manure Tony the Snow job shovels during Thursday's Whitehouse Press Washing of the news:
Q So have some other people.

MR. SNOW: I know. Well, as I told you guys, one of the things that -- look, Harriet is a very special person in this White House. She is beloved not only because she is a really good human being, she's an extraordinarily wonderful human being, but also somebody who is a very careful and scrupulous lawyer, a ferocious defender of the Constitution, and somebody who was also deeply loyal to the President, and just somebody who is a delight to work with. So it is one of these things where everybody really -- it's very bittersweet, and you can get that from the tenure of the -- tenor of her note. She has decided that it's time to move on. She and Josh Bolten have had a series of conversations in recent days about this, and she made her decision yesterday.

Harriet, with great regret, and a lot of people are going to miss her -- we are fortunate that she's going to be around until the end of the month. We do not have a successor. The search is, obviously, on. And one of the things that she has cited -- she told senior staff today that she wants to stay around until the 31st to make sure that she can do everything in her power to make sure that the transition within the office is smooth.

Let me also add, I have nothing further to add today in the way of personnel announcements. No details. And for those who are speculating about any others within the White House proper, I am aware of none and expect none. So just trying to take care of those questions before they arise.
You know what they say about lawyers that can be described as "scrupulous?"

Well...I'll let you fill in the punch line for your version of that quip.

Q Is it White House burnout? Is that what you're just clearly saying, White House burnout, after six years?

MR. SNOW: No, I'm just -- I'm not going to do a shorthand for it. I just think, again, Harriet has decided it's time to move on. And I'll let you -- her letter is pretty eloquent, and I'll let you read it. And if you have further questions, call me on it.
So, is this another rat jumping the ship or this a termination by any other euphemism?

Padilla: Terrorist or Emblematic of All That Is Wrong With The War on Terror?

I haven't spent much time thinking about Jose Padilla, or even doing research on his case. Even so, Jose Padilla has been in the news as of late because his "trial" is coming up. I just have one question for the blogisphere today:

Is Jose Padilla a terrorist or emblematic of all that is wrong with the W, Rove and Co's "war on terror?"

Have a gander at one snip from a local Valley rag:
To understand the difficulty of identifying a singular truth, look at the case of alleged terrorist and U.S. citizen Jose Padilla. As I drove to work this morning, his story was profiled his story on NPR. In 2002, Padilla was arrested in Chicago and transferred to a jail in Miami after being identified as a potential terrorist by federal investigators. Meanwhile, Padilla's mental state, due to his solitary confinement and other treatment, began to break down. Now, according to the NPR report, there is progress towards a trial, but Padilla is as passive as a piece of furniture. He is too scared and paranoid to assist lawyers in his own defense (he thinks they work for the government) and psychologists have compared his condition to Stockholm Syndrome (when a hostage sympathizes with a captor).

At the same time, the federal government has changed their story at every possible turn, first accusing Padilla of planning to detonate a dirty bomb and now saying that he was trying to bomb apartment buildings. Where is the truth in this story? Is there one? Padilla is now so mentally damaged that he doesn't trust his own lawyers. Is that justice? Was he even planning a terrorist attack or was he the victim of a post-911 witch hunt? Hearing about Padilla's plight this morning, made me realize that truth is a journey, not a destination.


The New York Times has an editorial on the subject today as well:
His criminal trial, scheduled to begin late this month, will feature none of the initial claims about violent plotting with Al Qaeda that the government cited as justification for detaining Mr. Padilla without formal charges for three and a half years. Those claims came from the government’s overseas interrogations of terrorism suspects, like Abu Zubaydah, which, the government said, Mr. Padilla corroborated, in part, during his own questioning in a military brig in South Carolina.

But, constrained by strict federal rules of evidence that would prohibit or limit the use of information obtained during such interrogations, the government will make a far more circumscribed case against Mr. Padilla in court, effectily demoting him from Al Qaeda’s dirty bomber to foot soldier in a somewhat nebulous conspiracy.

The initial dirty bomb accusation did not disappear. It quietly resurfaced in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The government filed the dirty bomb charges against Mr. Padilla’s supposed accomplice, an Ethiopian-born detainee, at about the same time it indicted Mr. Padilla on relatively lesser offenses in criminal court.
What troubles me is that we may be forced to let some real terrorists go becuase of the poor and downright illegal treatment of innocent people at the behest of W, Rove and Co.