Saturday, December 31, 2005

It’s New Year’s Eve, What’s New?

The Justice Department has started a criminal investigation into the National Security Agency’s illegal wiretaps. Trent Duffy, a Crawford, TX flunky said, "The fact is that Al Qaeda's playbook is not printed on Page 1, and when America's is, it has serious ramifications. You don't need to be Sun Tzu to understand that." Cute. Duffy was talking about the Prez being pissed at the New York Times for disclosing the NSA illegal wiretaps on December 16th. Sun Tzu, the Chinese warrior who wrote “The Art of War”, famously said, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." This piece of advice George W. Bush has assiduously ignored. Bush only keeps nannies Karen Hughes and Condoleezza Rice close. And even they are not in evidence as the President of the United States goes about the most important thing on his agenda on New Year’s Eve of 2005: Clearing brush down in Texas. So that’s it, folks. The last day of 2005 and George W. Bush is obsessively whacking away at underbrush to show he’s a real man at age 59. And why not? George W. Bush has nothing to worry about. Even though he will go down in history as the worst President the US has ever had, even though his war in Iraq is the most ill-advised war the US has ever waged, even though the Bush administration has increased our national debt to $8,100,000,000,000 and the US is on the brink of financial ruin, even though 1.00 is worth only .84 euros, even though aid for the poor and old is being cut while the rich get tax benefits and richer, even though the entire world despises the US due to the Bush administration, even though the Bush administration has lied, deceived, broken laws and the whole caboodle may be impeached, the president has only one all-encompassing motivation on this, the last day of 2005. The President of the United States is cutting down underbrush on his ranchlet in Texas to prove he can still cut the mustard, which he can’t. Nero fiddled. Bush whacks.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Here’s What I Don’t Understand

The Bush administration claims that what it wants more than anything else in the whole Christian world—the Christian world being the only world--is for the Iraqis to have a democratic society. The Bush administration wants that for the Iraqis even more than it wants Republicans in the US to get rich and stay rich and more than it wants to punish the poor and elderly for being poor and elderly. The Bush administration wants the Iraqis to enjoy an American-style democracy so much that it is willing to go on killing thousands of American soldiers to see that the Iraqis get it. So now the Iraqi people have voted exactly the way the Bush administration allowed Americans to vote in the last two elections. That is to say, the Iraqis have kept certain factions from voting, have committed voter fraud, have intimidated, threatened and used bogus ballots. And the trumped-up American-style Iraqi election results say the Iraqis want to be a theocracy and want to be ruled by Shiites. But that’s not the way the Bush administration thought the free and democratic election should go even though the Iraqi people had been advised by bombs and gunfire on how to vote. So now the Americans are sending thousands of “special advisers” to Iraq to show the Iraqis that the American military is the only military that is going to force anyone to do anything in Iraq now that they’ve had their free and democratic elections. See, I don’t understand that. The Americans don’t approve of the rulers the Iraqis elected because the Shiites will rule by coercion, murder and intimidation. So the Americans are increasing the number of “American advisers” in Iraq to coerce, murder and intimidate the people into understanding who should rule Iraq. A story in the NYT this morning by Dexter Filkins (“G.I.'s to Increase U.S. Supervision of Iraqi Police”) which was posted yesterday from Baghdad, reports that “The plan to increase the number of American advisers is a significant departure from the overall American strategy of giving the Iraqis the lead role in fighting the insurgency…Under the new plan, which would be put in force in and around Baghdad, all the Iraqi units would get American advisers, and the advisers' total number would be increased by several hundred, said the commander, who spoke to reporters in Baghdad only on condition of anonymity. ‘The commandos and the public order brigades sort of grew like Topsy, very quickly, without much control, and without much training, but with lots of influence from the Ministry of the Interior and the Sciri-Badr organization,’ the American commander said. ‘The exact roles and responsibilities of those units is not clear to us.’ Indeed, the commander painted a troubling picture of security in Baghdad, where some armed militias appear to act with the backing of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defense.” Now I grant you, it is indeed troubling that armed militias have taken control of Iraq and are returning the country to the same theocratic rule by force and atrocities that Iraq had before the US decided to make it a 51st state. But what did the Bush administration expect? And what’s all the bullshit about free and democratic elections? And why is our murdering and intimidation better than theirs? See, that’s what I don’t understand.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Another Idiotic Op/Ed Piece in the NYT

Darrin M. McMahon has an editorial in this morning’s New York Times titled "In Pursuit of Unhappiness". Mr. McMahon is a professor of history at Florida State and is the author of the forthcoming "Happiness: A History." This is the time of year when we order each other to have a Happy New Year, McMahon says. But he cautions us not to be too happy, because, he says, “As Carlyle put it, ‘The prophets preach to us, '”Thou shalt be happy; thou shalt love pleasant things.”’ But as he well knew, the very commandment tended to undermine its fulfillment, even to make us sad.” Sort of more of the same philosophy as my Grandmother’s when she used to say, “Laugh before 11:00, cry before 7:00.” And it’s true, the pursuit of giddy eternal happiness is not a worthy aim of life and probably will ensure unhappiness. But my cavil is not that I think McMahon is wrong. My objection to the article is that this year of all years we do not need to be cautioned against feeling TOO HAPPY. Nor indeed do we need to be cautioned against feeling too optimistic about the coming year. And we certainly don’t need to be told, “In these last days of 2005 I say to you, "Don't have a happy new year!" Not having a happy coming year is pretty much guaranteed. Most of us are glad to see 2005 end. But the same folks who brought us the disasters of this past year are still sitting in their exalted seats of government. And if left unchecked, they will bring us more disasters in 2006. How is it possible to feel happy in the extreme? Either we will have to fight unrelentingly and continuously to bring down the Bush administration, or we will succumb to its out-of-control spending, aims to rule the world, oppression of the poor and elderly and aggrandizement of the rich. The last thing we need to be told is that being happy is an unworthy aim and that we should pursue unhappiness. If the GOP remains in power, unhappiness is a given.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

If Limbo Is Out, What’s In?

The NYT reports this morning that the Roman Catholic Church is on the verge of ridding itself of the concept of Limbo, which has been a popular bit of RCC lore since the church said it was The Church. Pope Ratz loooooves St. Augustine and Augustine started the whole idea of Limbo. But Ratz said way before he became pope that the concept should be dropped. See, back in the 4th century Augustine made up the idea of Original Sin out of whole cloth. He decided that since Adam and Eve sinned, they passed their sin on to all of us. Augustine called his fanciful notion of inherited sin, Original Sin. According to Augustine, the only way to be saved from the eternal hell of Original Sin was to be baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. Ergo, unbaptized babies went to hell. Later on, Augustine decided the hell that unbaptized babies lived in was a mild hell. During the middle ages St. Thomas Aquinas opined that the hell of unbaptized babies should be called “limbo”, which was not exactly heaven, but it wasn’t hell either. Or, as Pope Pius X said in 1905 "Children who die without baptism go into limbo, where they do not enjoy God, but they do not suffer either." That certainly sounds like the Roman Catholic Church had accepted the concept of Limbo as fact. But The Church says, No. The Church says Limbo was never official church doctrine. In the 1960’s the Second Vatican Council advanced the idea that the redemptive power of Christ could save everyone, baptized or not. But Ratz is not a fan of Vatican II or Pope John XXIII who was responsible for it. So if Pope Ratz boots out Limbo, where do unbaptized babies go? This is a particularly important question for the RCC to answer since the RCC is growing in Africa and Asia where the rate of infant deaths is high. Come to that, where do aborted fetuses go? The Church hasn’t decided. It’s important for the RCC to claim that the Church never officially accepted the concept of Limbo. Because now that The Church wants to rid itself of Limbo, it doesn’t want to put the infallibility of Popes in question, or be accused of change. "Limbo has never been a definitive truth of the faith," Ratz said when he was a Cardinal. Well, that clears that up. For a minute, it looked like St. Augustine, St.Thomas Aquinas, Pope Pius X and John Paul II had all, one way and another, been wrong. Never. There are shades of the truth in the RCC: Kind of true, unofficially true yesterday but officially not true today, definitively true, more or less true, not true but not untrue. That sounds so familiar. True is false, false is true, illegal is legal, we may not be right but we’re never wrong. Oh yeah, right. It’s the litany and cant of the lying, deceiving, ungodly Bush administration.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Oh…Here We Go!

A couple bright lights contributing to the NYT this morning explain it all to you. David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey published an op/ed piece telling why George W. Bush’s illegal wiretaps are legal: “Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks,” they said, “President Bush ordered surveillance of international telephone communications by suspected members of Al Qaeda overseas, even if such calls also involved individuals within the United States…The program's existence has now become public, and howls of outrage have ensued. But in fact, the only thing outrageous about this policy is the outrage itself.” Add to the list of outrage caused by Bush acting like a two-bit dictator, articles such as this one. Messrs. Rivkin and Casey claim that Bush had the authority to order the wiretaps because Congress had okayed the US attack on Iraq. Sorry…it doesn’t scan. The sentence the boys claim gave the Prez the power to order the National Security Agency to wiretap American citizens is that the President was authorized "to use all necessary and appropriate force" against those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks "in order to prevent any future attacks of international terrorism against the United States." The Congressional authorization spoke only about “force”. Wiretapping was never mentioned and did not come into the equation. And…the Supreme Court struck down a similar end run by President Truman during World War II. Salon.com’s David Cole explained that, in spades, in his “Bush’s Illegal Spying” article on December 20, 2005. The Courts have NOT authorized a President to act secretly and unilaterally to get around the Constitution…war or no war. It’s illegal. Oh I forgot. Republican tinhat warmongers and their goose-stepping apologists don’t understand the concept that certain acts are illegal. Perhaps Nixon’s Counsel, John Dean, can explain it to them.

Monday, December 26, 2005

What’s Better Than Having It Both Ways?

In the Bush administration, the only thing better than having your cake and eating it too, is loudly proclaiming wrong is right and defeat is victory. 1. Yesterday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said on ABC’s “This Week” that President Bush could have easily gotten warrants for the wiretaps he illegally ordered without warrants, but doing it illegally was legal. Powell said, “My own judgment is that it didn't seem to me, anyway, that it would have been that hard to go get the warrants. And even in the case of an emergency, you go and do it. The law provides for that…for reasons that the president has discussed and the attorney general has spoken to, they chose not to do it that way. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the president authorizing these kinds of actions." 2. On December 19, 2005 President Bush said, "To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor, and I will not allow it." He said the US would not “cut and run”. Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday on "Fox News Sunday" that the Pentagon had a plan to reduce troops in Iraq in the coming months. 3. President Bush called the December 16th elections in Iraq "a major step forward in achieving our objective” and that U.S. officials hope a broad-based government will be able to quell the bloodshed. The NYT reported this morning “Demonstrations by Sunni Arabs over the (December 16th election) results have broken out in several Iraqi cities, including two on Sunday, in Baquba, a city north of Baghdad, and Falluja, to the west. A police official in Baquba said by telephone that insurgents clashed with the police after the protest, leaving four police officers dead and 15 wounded. Shiites also demonstrated on Sunday in Baghdad in a show of support for the Shiite alliance. In all, at least 17 people were killed in violence across Iraq on Sunday, including two American soldiers, who died in separate incidents involving homemade bombs, the military said.“ Yep, the National Security Agency tapping phones is patently illegal, but it’s okay for President Bush to do it. We’re not going to pull our troops out anytime, anyway, nohow, except we’ve started the pullout already. The Iraq election for members of Parliament will end the insurgency and bloodshed, except more civilians and American soldiers have been killed because of it and it’s increased the likelihood of civil war.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

White House Forked-Tongue Policies Carry On

The NYT tells us this morning that 90 Candidates for the Iraqi Parliament have been disqualified because of their ties to Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party. Now that’s interesting. Apparently the Iraqi Court has done what the Bush administration has been unwilling to do. The Baathists were Saddam’s henchmen and have been credited with more than three decades of violence and intimidation. On May 12, 2003, General Tommy Franks made a big show of announcing that the Baath Party had been abolished in Iraq and that one-party rule was over. "The Iraqi Baath Socialist Party is dissolved," Franks said. Then, in a stunning show of two-faced double-dealing, the White House immediately requested that former high-ranking Iraqi government officials, most of whom were Baath members, report for work as usual. Now, the political party in Iraq that the US favors, the Sunni Party, is the party with the former Baath members who have been disallowed by the Iraqi court. And it’s the Sunni Party that is accusing the Shiite party of ballot-box stuffing, and irregularities and is calling for new elections. So let’s see. The Bush administration attacked Iraq and have killed 2,165 American soldiers to rid Iraq of a vile, evil, murderous dictator and his Baath Party that carried out his vile, evil and murderous intentions, and to give Iraq the gift of democracy. But now the Bush administration is pissed off that its favored Iraq party, the Sunnis--which put in power members of the Baath Party who did the bidding of vile, evil murderous Saddam Hussein--did badly in the election. And the Sunnis are pissed off because they say the Shiites committed fraud in the election. And the Bush administration imparted to all Iraqi parties alike the American way of running elections. I think that about sums it up. Meanwhile, back on the torture front, the Bush administration's double-think policies march forward undaunted, and unfazed. The US Pentagon, White House and military commanders are at this very moment, even on Christmas Day, vociferously fighting for the right to torture detainees and prisoners. But this morning the NYT reported that, “The commander of American-run prisons in Iraq says the military will not turn over any detainees or detention centers to Iraqi jailers until American officials are satisfied that the Iraqis are meeting United States standards for the care and custody of detainees.” The NYT article went on to report, “The comments by General Gardner come in the aftermath of two recent raids of Iraqi government detention centers that uncovered scores of abused prisoners.” So what does General Gardner really mean? If the Iraqis meet the US standards, then the Iraqis can torture the detainees to their hearts’ content, right? Then again…who knows? Gardner is a White House-sanctioned American military commander. And it’s impossible to know which side of his mouth he’s speaking from…not to mention trying to translate nonsense spoken around the forked tongue of a Rumsfeld man.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Christmas the GOP So Richly Deserves

Let’s take a look at how the Repub’s woeful state of affairs came about. Back in 1999, the GOP was willing to do anything to regain control of the three branches of US government—executive, legislative and judicial. The Project for the New American Century had laid out its plan for world domination in 1997 and the time was right for putting the Bush dynasty back in power. The people who signed the PNAC mission statement were cronies of Big Daddy Bush. By fraud, the GOP put one of the cheating Bush brothers in the President’s chair. And George W. Bush, it is odd to realize now, was the least odious of the Bush sons and the most electable. Jeb Bush had helped a Cuban con man bilk Medicare out of millions of dollars. A business partner of Jeb’s, Camilo Padrera, was indicted for drug dealing, gunrunning and embezzlement. That is, until the Bush family claimed that Padrera was a CIA agent on a covert assignment. Neil Bush was on the Board of Directors of Silverado, the Savings and Loan company that had a $1 billion dollar collapse because of the gross negligence, schemes and abuses of its directors. Marvin Bush was a director at a security company called Stratesec from 1993 to 2000. Stratesec originally was named Securacom and was capitalized by the Kuwait-American Corporation. KuAm provided security at New York City's World Trade Center, Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., and United Airlines between 1995 and 2001 The two planes hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001 were United Airlines planes, and another took off from Dulles International Airport. Two crashed into the World Trade Center. The attack was planned by Saudis. Marvin Bush's last year on the board at Stratesec coincided with his first year on the board of HCC Insurance, formerly Houston Casualty Co., one of the insurance carriers for the World Trade Center. He left the HCC board in November 2002, Dubya’s failed businesses, shameful record with the National Guard, religious fanaticism and mental problems seem almost benign compared to his brothers’ chicanery and dubious connections. But the main point with the GOP was to get the Bush clan back in power. And by voter fraud and the cheating of Governor Jeb Bush in Florida, the GOP got what it wanted…twice. And then the most horrendous act of terrorism, the attack on the World Trade Center, catapulted the Bush family’s underachiever into worldwide prominence. And PNAC seized the moment to put into action its plan for world dominance. The Bush administration had the excuse it needed to begin its plan to overtake oil rich countries in the Middle East. The US attacked Iraq. The last five years of GOP rule have been a perfect metaphor for the consequences of hubris, arrogance, overreaching and totalitarianism. So there it is. The GOP got what it wanted, the White House is in shambles, the majority of people in the US can’t wait to get rid of the Bush clan once and for all, the world thinks the US is shitful and George W. Bush is drinking again. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Three More Slaps In The Face For King George

1. No sooner had the Senate passed a six-month Patriot Act extension and raced home for its Christmas snooze, House Judiciary head, James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) threatened to throw a monkey wrench in the deal. With only John Warner (R-VA) left to vote, a four-minute session was held and the six-months extension was changed to five weeks. 2. The Dems got Senate Republicans to give up the oil-drilling plan in Alaska, which was attached to the defense budget. Also written into the Arctic oil-drilling bill was language that cut assistance for home heating for the poor. When the oil-drilling bill was abandoned, the home heating cut went with it. 3. On Thursday, Dem leader from California Nancy Pelosi said in effect, “Not so fast” to the $40 billion budget-cutting measure, also passed by the Senate on Wednesday which cut aid to the poor and elderly. Her move forces the house to take up the budget again when it’s back in session next year. Dems-3, Scrooge-0.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Senate Robs the Poor, Runs Home For Holiday

What a shameful display for the world to see. The US Senate was so anxious to get home for Christmas that it hastily voted on Wednesday to cut the budget by curtailing aid to the poor and elderly. In a scene straight out of The Christmas Carol, VP Dick Cheney broke a 50-50 tie when he voted in favor of the spending cuts. Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? Next the Senate voted to give the Patriot Act another six months. With that, the Senators broke for the Christmas recess and quickly scuttled to their hearths and homes to engage in heartwarming celebrations devoted to lip service about peace, good will and charitable acts. Meanwhile, back at the war…GI’s are away from their families at Christmastime for the third year. Two thousand one hundred and fifty nine American soldiers have died in George Bush’s unnecessary war. GWB claims these deaths were the only way to properly show respect for the 3,000 civilians who died in the World Trade Center attack. When elections roll around in November 2006, it may finally dawn on the craven ninnies who voted to curtail aid to the poor and elderly, that screwing the poor is not a vote getter. And just when the Republican Party is going to need good press and powerful political arguments in its favor, the Patriot Act will come up next summer for another look-see and another vote. It’s the specter of the future that George W. Bush, like Scrooge, should fear more than the constant reminders of his past follies. Because unless Bush mends his ways, the shadows of what may happen will become fact as surely as Condoleezza Rice will tell more lies on Meet the Press. And the fine irony is that George W. Bush cannot mend his ways. Nor can he change in any way because he promised God he would remain steadfast and true to all the things the Prez believes God wants: Ridding the world of non-Christians, enthronement of the rich, persecution of homosexuals and debasement of women.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Main Point in the Wiretap Brouhaha

David Ignatius highlighted the real issue about Bush’s wiretap shenanigans in his WaPo article “Revolt of the Professionals” this morning. Ignatius said: “The national security structure that the Bush administration created after Sept. 11, 2001, began to crumble this month because of a bipartisan revolt on Capitol Hill…President Bush has bristled at these challenges to his authority over what has amounted to an undeclared national state of emergency. But the intelligence professionals who have daily responsibility for waging the war against terrorism don't seem particularly surprised or unhappy to see the emergency structure in trouble. They want clear rules and public support that will allow them to do their jobs effectively over the long haul, without getting second-guessed or jerked around by politicians. Basically, they don't want to be left holding the bag -- which this nation has too often done with its professional military and intelligence officers.” Further on in the article Ignatius said, “Agency employees don't want their careers ruined by future congressional or legal investigations of actions they thought were authorized.” And that’s been the besetting sin of the Bush administration since 2000. The White House has made a habit of end-runs around rules. They get their clever flacks to write sophistries on why rules don’t apply to George W. Bush, why the Bush administration doesn’t have to get Congress to declare war before going to war, why the BushMen don’t have to abide by Geneva Convention rules, why torture is legal, why vote tampering isn’t vote tampering, why fixing elections isn’t fixing elections and why secretly ordering wiretaps of Americans is actually required by the Constitution. And seeing George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice or even Colin Powell on TV defending the lies, deceit and wrongdoing of the Bush White House is tiresome and maddening. But the real offense is that a handful of politicians believed they could form a totalitarian government and intimidate their minions and the press into silence. Yes, of course, I get great pleasure seeing the White House daily sink deeper into the morass it has created. But that very comeuppance that is so delicious to watch has been the worst possible scenario for the United States. At this point, it wouldn’t even be helpful for the president to say, "I was wrong." The only thing that will begin to heal the wounds the Bush administration has inflicted on this country is for Congress to defeat the GOP’s plans for empowering the rich and impoverishing the nation. If our laws need to be changed for the USA to be adequately safeguarded against terrorism, then that orderly process should be started. But all efforts of the Bush administration to covertly turn the USA into a dictatorship must be thwarted by Congress and by the voting public. We have three more years of Bush rule. Impeaching Bush, Cheney, Hastert, Stevens and Rice would not solve the problem. However, Congress can defang these snakes and keep them from engaging in more criminal acts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Early Election Results in Iraq

Lookit that! It appears that even though the thugs in the White House wanted the secular-coalition head Ayad Allawi to beat out the religious factions in Iraq, Allawi is a big loser. The early election returns show that I could not have been more wrong about the White House influence in Iraq. The Sunnis may have come out in droves to vote in this election, and they may have felt bad that they stayed home for the last election, but they turned the tables and voted for the coalition that demanded President Bush set a timetable for the US military to get out of Iraq. And now, after the Bush representatives in Iraq taught the Iraqis everything they know about voter-fraud and how to throw elections in a democracy, the Iraqis are using the info against the Bush-backed coalition. The Allawi group has been whining that the Shiites have used “underhanded tactics”. What nerve, right George? What unmitigated gall. You try to teach these people about the democratic process, you try to show them that they have the right to vote for the people they want to run their country, and look at the thanks you get. The ingrates don’t vote the way they’ve been told to vote. And the Iraqis have no doubt learned a lesson or two about democracy from George W. Bush this past week also. Three years ago the Prez went to then-White House Counsel and present Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to find out if he could thumb his nose at the Constitution and break the law. GWB wanted to order wiretaps on Americans without warrants. Gonzales, who wrote a memo in August 2002 that approved the torture of US prisoners, told the Prez that, yes of course, Bush could do anything he wanted to because he didn’t have to abide by the Constitution or the rule of law. Then the President went to the ultra-conservative lawyer that the GOP had bought and paid for, John Choon Yoo, and asked him if it was okay to violate the Constitution and to break the rule of law about wiretapping without warrants. Yoo, who had written a brief about the Geneva Convention not applying to the US and its prisoners, said the president could do anything he wanted to do because George W. Bush was The Great I Am. With the go-ahead from torture advocates Gonzales and Yoo, President Bush secretly ordered the National Security Agency to surveil and wiretap US citizens without warrants. When the President was outed last Thursday about the wiretaps, he said he wouldn’t discuss it. Then on Saturday he said he had done exactly what he was accused of doing. On Sunday he gave a 15-minute speech justifying his secret wiretaps because of the heinous activities of dictator Saddam Hussein. On Monday the Prez said whoever had revealed his secret wiretaps had committed a “shameful act”. And when queried about his use of "unchecked power" the president said, "to say ‘unchecked power’ basically is ascribing some kind of dictatorial position to the president, which I strongly reject.” Or as Nixon said just before being proved he was a crook, “I am not a crook.” One thing has to be said about the Iraqis. They learn fast. Or perhaps it’s that with their past experience with dictators, they know one when they see one.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What’s With Bush’s Hands?

I think I know, my fellow citizens. And by the way, Franklin Delano Roosevelt plotzed in his grave when he heard the White House moron paraphrase his “My Fellow Americans”, but I digress. I’m sure they pulled the camera back last night and showed the Prez moving his hands and making meaningless gestures in the hopes we would be distracted and not listen to the nonsense coming out of his mouth. His Anusness spoke for 15-1/2 minutes. The White House must have figured that’s all he needed to talk his way out of the three-year hell he’s put the world through in Iraq and to put a smiley face on the whole mess in time for Christmas. Wrong. And I’ll tell you why: On the first day of Christmas the President gave to us Some garbage in a trashcan. On the second day of Christmas the President gave to us Two broken laws And some garbage in a trashcan. On the third day of Christmas the President gave to us Three dumb plans Two broken laws And some garbage in a trashcan. On the fourth day of Christmas the President gave to us Four monstrous lies Three dumb plans Two broken laws And some garbage in a trashcan. On the fifth day of Christmas the President gave to us Five corrupt scribes Four monstrous lies Three dumb plans Two broken laws And some garbage in a trashcan. On the sixth day of Christmas the President gave to us Six judges lying Five corrupt scribes Four monstrous lies Three dumb plans Two broken laws And some garbage in a trashcan. On the seventh day of Christmas the President gave to us Seven cheating kinfolk Six judges lying Five corrupt scribes Four monstrous lies Three dumb plans Two broken laws And some garbage in a trash can. On the eighth day of Christmas the President gave to us Eight male hookers Seven cheating kinfolk Six judges lying Five corrupt scribes Four monstrous lies Three dumb plans Two broken laws And some garbage in a trash can. On the ninth day of Christmas the President gave to us Nine hackers hacking Eight male hookers Seven cheating kinfolk Six judges lying Five corrupt scribes Four monstrous lies Three dumb plans Two broken laws And some garbage in a trash can. On the tenth day of Christmas the President gave to us Ten perjured experts Nine hackers hacking Eight male hookers Seven cheating kinfolk Six judges lying Five corrupt scribes Four monstrous lies Three dumb plans Two broken laws And some garbage in a trash can. On the eleventh day of Christmas the President gave to us Eleven jailed lawyers Ten perjured experts Nine hackers hacking Eight male hookers Seven cheating kinfolk Six judges lying Five corrupt scribes Four monstrous lies Three dumb plans Two broken laws And some garbage in a trash can. On the twelfth day of Christmas the President gave to us Twelve indicted cronies Eleven jailed lawyers Ten perjured experts Nine hackers hacking Eight male hookers Seven cheating kinfolk Six judges lying Five corrupt scribes Four monstrous lies Three dumb plans Two broken laws And some garbage in a trash can. So Merry Christmas me not, George. And you should find a better place for your empties. I found them in that trashcan.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Ever-Despicable John Choon Yoo

The comment yesterday by Barry Schwartz about John C. Yoo having been Clarence Thomas’s law clerk belatedly jogged my memory: Oh yeah, that’s right…the Yoo toad is constantly on TV making pronouncements and declarations from his exalted position as an ultra-conservative far-right law professor. He not only advocates torture, unlimited powers for the president, but also was a firm supporter of the Supreme Court’s fraudulent decision that gave the 2000 election to George W. Bush. It’s easy to find out Yoo’s every move since he graduated from Harvard in 1989 and went on to Yale Law School where he graduated in 1992 and was articles editor of the Yale Law Review. He clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit. He joined the University of California Boalt faculty in 1993. He clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court. He served as general counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee from 1995-96. From 2001 to 2003, he served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked on issues involving foreign affairs, national security and the separation of powers. He’s been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago and the Free University of Amsterdam. He’s received research fellowships from the University of California, Berkeley, the Olin Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. He’s a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He’s received the Paul M. Bator Award for excellence in legal scholarship and teaching from the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy. He has testified before the judiciary committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and has advised the State of California on constitutional issues. And this camera-loving, party-line spewing, GOP flack and propaganda agent is only in his mid-30’s. But finding out anything about John C. Yoo’s personal life other than the fact that he’s Chinese-American is nearly impossible. When Yoo was a Justice Department aide in January 2002, he wrote a legal brief claiming that fighters captured by U.S. troops in Afghanistan are not covered by the Geneva conventions. This brief convinced President Bush that al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, do not qualify as prisoners of war and therefore that they have no right to lawyers or a trial. At the time, Yoo said, "I'm a conservative professor, so I'm used to people objecting to my views." John Yoo is more than just a conservative law professor. He was Co-Chair of Law Professors for Bush/Cheney in 2004. And this past Thursday we found out Yoo is the one who gave the Prez the rationale in 2001 for illegally authorizing the National Security Agency to wiretap Americans without warrants. An interesting post appeared in the “Florida Politics” blog of July 31, 2005: “What exactly was Mr. Roberts' role in Florida 2000? Maybe it's a case of collective amnesia but for nearly a week none of the current or former members of Gov. Jeb Bush's administration, and many of President Bush's former legal team, could remember the exact role U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts played in the 2000 presidential recount. Even the governor (Jeb Bush), whose steel-trap memory can recite specifics on such things as a negative campaign ad that Tom Gallagher ran against him in 1994, couldn't recall much. The White House is acting as if it has something to hide: Some questioned by The Herald openly admitted they wouldn't talk about Roberts and the recount at the request of the White House. “John Choon Yoo, the University of California law professor who allegedly accompanied Roberts at a meeting with the governor in November 2000 promised to respond to Herald questions. Then, a day later, he sent this answer: "Unfortunately, I have to say no comment to these questions." Here’s what you can count on: If it is reprehensible and ugly, if it is criminal and illegal, and if it has to do with Republican politics, John Choon Yoo will be in the center of it giving legal opinions on why it is righteous and totally permissible under the Constitution.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Just When Bush Thought He’d Be King Again

Now we find out that the Prez secretly and illegally authorized the National Security Agency to wiretap Americans to search for terrorists. "I was frankly astonished by the story," national security law maven William C. Banks told the New York Times. “My head is spinning,” he added, referring to the news on Thursday that President Bush had authorized secret wiretaps of Americans shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Banks said that even given the Bush administration’s over-reaching in the past, the new revelation was a shock. It was a shocker to everyone who read it. The idiot-puppet in the White House actually signed a presidential order in 2002 that allows the National Security Agency to monitor, without warrants, the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of potentially thousands of people inside the United States. The NYT reported this morning that John C. Yoo who was deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel of the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003 was thought to have helped write the justification for these illegal NSA wiretaps. He wrote a memo on September 25, 2001, which said “no statute passed by Congress can place any limits on the president's determinations as to any terrorist threat, the amount of military force to be used in response, or the method, timing and nature of the response." The NYT said Yoo wouldn’t comment on the story. But Bradford A. Berenson, who was associate counsel to President Bush from 2001 to 2003, said Bush felt “it was incumbent on him to use every ounce of authority available to him to protect the American people." Oh brother! Don’t you feel safer knowing that George W. Bush who has mental problems gave hackers in the NSA the unlimited power to listen in on your phone calls and track your e-mail? Now, of course, dick Cheney and the White House waterboy, Karl Rove, will say that ordinary citizens and their ordinary messages were never the target for this wiretap authority. Which isn’t the point. As soon as the twit-twats in the NSA received the green light to do wiretaps, they could do anything they wanted. And if you think for one moment the NSA ever exercises restraint, forget about it. And the good news? On Friday, the Senate blocked the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, which gave the government unprecedented snoop and search powers after 9/11. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another, right George? Have a drink.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Add This To “Mission Accomplished”

"This is a major step forward in achieving our objective,” President Bush said, referring to yesterday’s election in Iraq. He went on to explain that our objective is ”…having a democratic Iraq, a country able to sustain itself and defend itself, a country that will be an ally in the war on terror and a country that will set such a powerful example to others in the region, whether they live in Iran or Syria." Another premature Bush ejaculation. Just when will Iraq be a democratic country and not a country on the brink of civil war? When will Iraq be able to sustain and defend itself without mega infusions of money, arms and soldiers from the United States? When will Iraq be anything other than a spawning ground for terrorism? And when will Iraq set a powerful example of anything other than a broken, impotent, weak, terrified, nation that has been overrun and destroyed by the imperialist United States of America? All indications are that these objectives won’t be attained in George W. Bush’s lifetime, if ever. And who is going to protect the Iraqis from the Bush administration’s lies? The White House favored the Sunni faction in the election because the insurgency is Sunni-led. The strong turnout from the Sunni’s caused George W. Casey Jr., the top US military commander in Iraq to boast that the US can now look forward to the insurgency being gradually reduced. Well, don’t hold your breath. Juan R.I. Cole, a University of Michigan expert on Iraq told the NYT that, "The steady grind of this guerrilla war is going to go on. The elections are not relevant to it, and that's what is going to matter to the American people." Even the smallest newspapers in the US are reporting this morning that President George W. Bush was surrounded by six smiling Iraqis in the Oval office who proudly displayed their ink-stained fingers after yesterday’s vote. Where did these latest human props for a George W. Bush photo-op come from? Who flew them in? What did they get for their appearance? What happens to them now? Do they go back home and resume their lives in George W. Bush’s war-ravaged Iraq? I mean, how ya gonna keep ‘em down in Baghdad after they’ve seen DC? Just asking.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

“Free-Fall Over” Department

Mark Murray, Political reporter for MSNBC said this morning, “Since his second inauguration in January, President Bush has seen a steady decline in his overall job performance, the economy, and Iraq. But the free-fall appears to be over, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.” Murray went on to say, “an overwhelming majority backs Bush’s stance that the United States should not immediately withdraw all of its troops from Iraq.” Wishful Thinking Section The new NBC/WSJ poll says 39 percent of the people polled are “more confident the war in Iraq will come to a successful conclusion”. However, as we all are becoming increasingly aware, answers depend on how questions are asked. “More confident” does not mean, “I am convinced”. Bush’s approval rating is up one percentage point since the last NBC/WSJ poll. For the White House to crow over the fact that 53% percent of the people in the United States DISAPPROVE of the way the President is performing his role, is looking for the pony when a pile of horseshit is found in the living room. It was only a year ago that the wishful-thinkers in the White House claimed Bush’s narrow percentage point win (fraud) over Kerry was a “mandate”. Now, the White House has thrown all its hopes for Bush to save his presidency on the war in Iraq. Today’s elections in Iraq are more important to the Bush administration (according to the White House reckoning of priorities) than the upcoming elections in the US in 2006. It is imperative to the White House that the Sunnis win today. CNN reported this morning, “Last January Sunni Arabs, who were in power under Hussein, stayed away from the polls, paving the way for a government dominated by Shiite Arabs and Kurds and disliked by Sunni Arabs…U.S. and Iraqi officials are hopeful that greater Sunni participation in a post-Hussein government will quell the Sunni-dominated insurgency.” Today we’re hearing a lot of quotes from the top US diplomat in Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, not so much from the Iraqi transitional President Jalal Talabani. Khalilzad said “the Sunni Arab participation appears better than during the January election and the constitutional referendum in October…people arrived to polls with families ‘almost like going to a wedding.’ But the BIG little quote from Khalilzad was this one: Khalilzad noted that "the success in integrating the Sunni Arab community into the political process was a factor that would contribute to the start of a (US troop) pullout.” AHA!!!!! There it is. If the Sunni’s win, we can begin to pull the troops out of Iraq and then the President Bush can have it both ways. As Jimmy Durante sang in the “The Man Who Came to Dinner” movie, “Did you ever have the feeling that you wanted to go, and still have the feeling that you wanted to stay?” Christiane Amanpour, reporting for CNN, said “the people (Sunnis) are saying they made a mistake by shunning the January election and want their voices to be heard.” So whaddaya think? The White House wants the Sunnis to win so the US can begin a pullout, will the Sunnis win? Oh you can bet your sweet yellow-dog Democrat ass on that and take it to the bank. But will that save Bush from a political fate worse than death? Not a chance.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Major Ben Connable Is a GOP Tool

Connable wrote an article for the WaPo this morning called “The Truth On the Ground”. A note at the bottom of the article says he’s a Major in the Marine Corps. What the note doesn’t say is that he’s a foreign-area officer and intelligence officer with the 1st Marine Division and he’s been writing propaganda pieces for the Pentagon since he was a Captain. He writes well but he always says the same thing. Like…“64 percent of U.S. military officers think we will succeed if we are allowed to continue our work”. That part I believe because officers have a vested interest in keeping us in Iraq. It’s their living. But it’s the troops getting killed and wounded while their families are starving on a non-com’s pay that I take seriously. And the troops tell us the Pentagon has not supplied them with proper equipment, the war has been fought on the cheap and they are not sure we should be in Iraq at all. Their words on what’s going on in Iraq is a better gauge of the truth than a professional military toady's pretty prose. Sure, officers are in the line of fire…but they are management. You can’t believe management. Management invariably ends up lying to grunts, whether it’s in industry or the military. Management covers its ass. Management protects management. And it’s management that sends the workers out to fight its battles. Connable says, “We know the streets, the people and the insurgents far better than any armchair academic or talking head. As military professionals, we are trained to gauge the chances of success and failure, to calculate risk and reward. We have little to gain from our optimism and quite a bit to lose as we leave our families over and over again to face danger and deprivation for an increasingly unpopular cause. We know that there are no guarantees in war, and that we may well fail in the long run. We also know that if we follow our current plan we can, over time, leave behind a stable and unified country that might help to anchor a better future for the Middle East.” What a load of crap. When the tin-soldier Marine Majors leave their families, they leave them with benefits, a place to live and an on-going salary. When the Privates and other non-coms leave their families, the wives and moms have to fend for themselves. And now we hear that when these soldiers come home in a coffin, it’s sent as freight, not as the honored remains of an American hero. Connable keeps flogging the notion that he is a professional. We the people are know-nothings. We hear only the horror stories. And war correspondents are know-nothings. We should only believe what the propaganda tin-soldiers tell us. Connable says, “For every vividly portrayed suicide bombing, there are hundreds of thousands of people living quiet, if often uncertain, lives. For every depressing story of unrest and instability there is an untold story of potential and hope. The impression of Iraq as an unfathomable quagmire is false and dangerously misleading.” Well Major Connable, I think you have sold your soul to the warmongers and that you are a dangerously misleading propaganda flack. You are a press agent for the GOP’s unnecessary war in Iraq and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bush: Here’s What I Think Is True

Yesterday, at the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia, President Bush once again acted as cheerleader for his unnecessary war in Iraq. And once again, he spoke in terms of what he prefers to believe is true rather than what in fact is true. After the speech, he was asked by a member of the audience why he keeps affirming that the attacks on 9/11 justified invading Iraq when, "no respected journalist or other Middle Eastern experts confirm that such a link existed." Bush said, "There was a serious international effort to say to Saddam Hussein, 'You're a threat,' and the Sept. 11 attacks extenuated that threat." Mr. Bush added that "knowing what I know today, I'd make the decision again." Or to paraphrase the Prez, “I wanted to link Saddam to September 11, it worked, and I’d do it again.” When a woman asked, “Since the inception of the Iraq war, I'd like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed, and by ‘Iraqis,’ I include civilians, military police, insurgents, translators,“ Bush said, “I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and ongoing violence against Iraqis.” When GWB says, “I would say”, he means: “This is what I believe to be true, it does not matter what is really true." A study released in October 2004 by the Brit medical journal, The Lancet, surveyed Iraqi households and compared death rates before the invasion to those after the invasion. The conclusion a year ago was that 100,000 civilians have probably been killed because of the US military action. With regard to the upcoming parliamentary election in Iraq set for December 15th, Bush said it “won’t be perfect” and that reconciling Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds who have feuded for centuries would be a problem. However, Bush added, "Oh, I know some fear the possibility that Iraq could break apart and fall into a civil war but I don't believe those fears are justified." See, President George W. Bush doesn’t give credence to the idea that there may be civil war in Iraq, therefore those fears are not justified. President George W. Bush is confident, President George W. Bush believes, President George W. Bush thinks, President George W. Bush feels…whatever. But the truth is, President George W. Bush is living in a fantasy world and has not consulted with anyone who is not invested in shoring up his grandiose insane vision of himself. According to George W. Bush, God placed him where he is, and what George W. Bush believes to be true is what is true. Nevermind information from the real world. So endeth another lesson from The Great I Am: George W. Bush.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Viveca Novak: “I Don’t Remember”

Viveca Novak (no relation), the Time mag reporter who testified to Patrick Fitzgerald December 8th re her conversations with Karl Rove’s lawyer Robert Luskin, said in an on-line article yesterday: "’I don't remember’ is an answer that prosecutors are used to hearing, but I was mortified about how little I could recall of what occurred when.” Well excuse me, but I don’t buy it. Judith Miller couldn’t remember why she wrote Valerie Plame’s name in her notes as "Valerie Flame”. Bob Woodward said maybe he told Libby about Plame and her work for the CIA but couldn’t remember. Baloney! We forget insignificant things. We don’t forget things that could inflict major damage on ourselves or someone else. And we don’t need to take notes to remember these things. We just remember. Ms Novak said she had a drink or lunch with Robert Luskin maybe five times. “Toward the end of one of our meetings,” she said, “I remember Luskin looking at me and saying something to the effect of 'Karl doesn't have a Cooper problem. He was not a source for Matt.' I responded instinctively, thinking he was trying to spin me, and said something like, 'Are you sure about that? That's not what I hear around TIME.' He looked surprised and very serious…I was taken aback that he seemed so surprised. I had been pushing back against what I thought was his attempt to lead me astray. I hadn't believed that I was disclosing anything he didn't already know. Maybe this was a feint. Maybe his client was lying to him. But at any rate, I immediately felt uncomfortable. I hadn't intended to tip Luskin off to anything. I was supposed to be the information gatherer. It's true that reporters and sources often trade information, but that's not what this was about. If I could have a do-over, I would have kept my mouth shut; since I didn't, I wish I had told my bureau chief about the exchange. Luskin walked me to my car and said something like, ‘Thank you. This is important.’” Psst, you’re spinning like a dervish, Ms. Novak. As a reporter, there is only one reason for Novak to say, “That’s not what I hear around Time”, and that‘s to get the man to spill something. When Novak realized she was the one who had blabbed, I am sure she truly wished she’d kept her mouth shut. But her reason for not telling her bureau chief about the gaffe is not that it was unimportant, it’s that she didn’t want to fess up to breaking the reporter’s first commandment: Give quid only AFTER getting quo. And so now, ala Judith Miller, we’re getting blah-blah-blah as Novak tries to explain it all away. Her whine at the end of the online piece is so tacky: “Luskin is unhappy that I decided to write about our conversation, but I feel that he violated any understanding to keep our talk confidential by unilaterally going to Fitzgerald and telling him what was said.” He hit me first, Mr. Fitzgerald. It’s only a matter of time until Viveca Novak is booted out of Time mag. Maybe she and Judith Miller can start a reporter’s support service: Life After Fitz.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Cockle-warming Evangelical Christmas Story

The Evangelical Christian community has what it calls mega-churches. These are churches like the Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL that attract upwards of 20,000 worshippers on any given Sunday morning. Guess what some of these mega-churches have decided to do this Christmas? Since Christmas day falls on Sunday, many of these huge evangelical churches have decided to have no Christmas day services. The New York Times reported this morning that The Willow Creek outfit is handing out a DVD that features “a heartwarming contemporary Christmas tale” which can be watched in the comfort of one’s home on Christmas day instead of having to go to the trouble of getting dressed and going to church. This may be the ne plus ultra as far as commercializing Christmas: Get rid of that annoying tradition of gong to church and free up the entire day for opening gifts, eating and watching the tube. But there is a nice symmetry to it. The evangelical mega-churches have returned December 25th to the pagan celebration from whence it came. Jesus was not born in the winter, else the shepherds would not have been “abiding in the field keeping watch over their flock by night”. He was probably born in the fall or spring. And historians have also pointed out that Caesar Augustus would not have forced everyone in the Roman Empire to return to their home cities during the cold season for purposes of taking a census. Emperor Constantine started the practice of celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25th. Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 AD and forced his followers who had worshipped the pagan sun god Mithra (among other gods and goddesses) to convert to Christianity. Constantine’s followers were not at all happy about his edict and he needed to calm their protests. Mithra’s festival was December 25th with traditions of eating, drinking and gift giving. Since Constantine believed Jesus Christ was also a sun god, Jesus’ festival day became December 25th. The commemoration of Christ’s birth has been edging back toward total paganism since the first Christmas trees were sold commercially in the US in 1850. Now that the evangelical Christian mega-churches have completely knocked Christ out of the box on December 25th and no one even thinks about New Year’s Day as the day to celebrate Christ’s circumcision, can we look forward to the canonization of the Easter Bunny? That would get rid of that depressing Good Friday stuff and we could just concentrate on new clothes, Easter eggs and feasting.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Harold Pinter is So Truthful It Hurts

Famous, old and ailing British playwright, Harold Pinter, nailed the US and UK in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech yesterday. The 75-year-old author of 32 plays, 22 screenplays and works of prose and poetry, made his living as an actor under the pseudonym, David Baron, before writing his first play, “The Birthday Party” in 1960. Pinter was diagnosed with throat cancer a number of years ago. His doctors would not permit him to travel and his speech was delivered via a video recording that was played yesterday at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm. Pinter has been increasingly anti-American in recent years and he has not kept his views to himself. In a report about the Pinter speech in the NYT this morning (“Playwright Takes a Prize and a Jab at U.S.”), Sarah Lyall quoted Pinter saying that the US had lied to justify the war in Iraq and "supported and in many cases engendered every right-wing military dictatorship" in the last 50 years. "The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis,” Pinter said. "I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road,” Pinter said, “brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be, but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self-love." Pinter said American leaders anesthetize the public. "It's a scintillating stratagem…language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable." He accused the United States of using torture in Guant├ínamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, and called the invasion of Iraq (he also said Britain was responsible) "a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law." He said Prime Minister Tony Blair should be tried before an international criminal court. It’s the duty of the writer to hold an image up to scrutiny, Pinter said, and the duty of citizens "to define the real truth of our lives and our societies…if such a determination is not embodied in our political vision, we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man.” The man is right.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Choice Bits From WaPo’s Dan Froomkin

Yesterday, the Washington Post's Dan Froomkin said Bush would deliver a speech today to “several hundred members of the Council on Foreign Relations” but that he would not allow questions afterward. At least at this venue in the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC there will be no handpicked military sycophants or intimidated worker bees to loudly applaud. Although, Froomkin said, the Council on Foreign Relations members have good manners and are respectful, so they no doubt will applaud politely when pauses indicate applause is expected. Other Froomkin items of note: “Plame Watch: Richard B. Schmitt writes in the Los Angeles Times: 'Valerie Plame, the diplomat's wife whose secret resume was exposed in a newspaper column that eventually led to the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, is leaving the CIA on Friday, people familiar with her plans said.' “Woodstein Speaks: Raja Mishra writes in the Boston Globe: 'The Watergate-era reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein offered a spirited defense yesterday of anonymous journalistic sources, at a Harvard forum that explored the parallels between the Nixon administration they covered as young reporters and the current Bush presidency.’ "Here, Bernstein was much more openly critical of Bush, while Woodward said his books, which he described as 'neutral,' offered a sufficiently detailed glimpse into the White House without being overly didactic. "But Bernstein, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair magazine, said the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy resembles the presidency that the two reporters helped topple more than three decades ago. He suggested that the Bush administration's scrutiny in the CIA leak case also was similar to the problems faced by Nixon as the Watergate scandal unraveled. "'I think it is, in a little different way, happening again,' Bernstein said.” “Twins Watch: Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts write in The Washington Post that the First Twins were spotted ‘dining at Dino in Cleveland Park Saturday night.’ “Just last week, the New York Post spotted Barbara Bush ‘snapping up a pair of Beja Boots for $300 at the Terra Plana shop on Elizabeth Street.’ “But wait. According to a recent Associated Press story about their dad getting summoned for jury duty in Crawford, State District Judge Ralph Strother told reporters that ‘one of Bush's twin daughters, Barbara, received a jury summons for his court a month ago. Someone called to reschedule her jury service, saying she would be out of the country for the next six months, the judge said.’" “Out of the county, maybe.” Froomkin said.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

WaPo’s Richard Cohen Raps Rumsfeld

Cohen’s Op/Ed piece today, “Let Rumsfeld Go”, is right on the money. “If there has been a worse secretary of defense,” Cohen wrote, “it could only be Robert McNamara.” McNamara told President Lyndon Johnson the Gulf of Tonkin lie that got us into the war in Vietnam. Cohen went on to say, “Under Rumsfeld's plan, the United States never had enough troops on the ground -- still doesn't, actually. It was Rumsfeld who thought the United States would get into Iraq and then swiftly get out -- leaving nation-building to the United Nations and similar agencies, maybe the Boy Scouts. He dismissed the looting that stripped Iraq bare following the war, setting the stage for the chaos and lawlessness that persist to this day. He made Jay Garner the viceroy of Iraq and then replaced him with L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer, who sacked the Iraqi army and much of the bureaucracy -- a huge mistake. Under Rumsfeld, just about nothing has gone right.” Yesterday, Rumsfeld said the press was too concerned with the death of soldiers in Iraq and not concerned enough with the positive things that are happening in Iraq. Since there is so little to crow about in Iraq, and since our soldiers are dying in an unnecessary war that over-the-hill tin soldiers like Rumsfeld promoted because war is so much fun, Rumsfeld is off base (again), not the press. Cohen’s tag line summed it up nicely: “When it comes to Iraq, if the United States is going to stay, then Rumsfeld has to go.”

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Troop Pullout Will Start Before January 1

Who says? Everyone who takes the voice of the people seriously. Which is, of course, everyone interested in politics except the President himself. One of the Little Mommies—Karen Hughes or Condi Rice—will have to tell GWB that whether he likes it or not, the troop pullout is a fait accompli because it’s what the people want. In any case, the withdrawal will probably have begun before Prez Bush is informed of it. He’ll be injected with a load of anti-depressants, handed a speech to read, and that will be that. But the interesting thing will be the rhetoric the White House adopts to say that the withdrawal of troops is not a withdrawal of troops. And that we are staying the course even though we're pulling out. For five years, the White House practice has been to call failure by another name: Success. One can only assume the pullout speech will claim that since victory has been achieved in Iraq, the troops can now come home. Admittedly, everything the neocons have been saying about our troops needing to stay in Iraq if Iraq is to be stabilized is true. But the thing that the war merchants, including John McCain, have never understood is that the majority of Americans don’t care whether Iraq is stabilized or not. The attempt to make the American public feel guilty about abandoning Iraq has failed. What the American people know is that we are vulnerable to terrorist attacks now. That will not change whether our troops stay in Iraq or not. The idea that, yes, we attacked Iraq for our own selfish reasons but now that we are there, we must stay, has never resonated with most Americans. What the majority of US citizens feel is that we were lied into the war, the American Congress never declared war, it’s the Bush administration’s war, 2,130 of our soldiers have died for no good reason, the war has cost over $200 billion, and so what if Iraq is in shambles. Let’s cut our losses and get the hell out is the considered opinion of the people. An immoral administration that lies, cheats and deceives can hardly get any political mileage out of guilt-tripping the people into concern over stabilizing Iraq. Right or wrong, at this point the majority of Americans really don’t care. And all those pious sermonizing politicians who moralized about bringing freedom and democracy to the heathen in Iraq are now only interested in getting votes in 2006 and 2008. What will the new partyline be? Bring the troops home before they’re forced to convert to Islam? That might sell.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Mr. Ratfucker Sounds a Note of Caution

Mr. Ratfucker hasn’t weighed in with an opinion since Ratfuck Diary changed its name to Ratbang Diary. At that time, Mr. Ratfucker made it clear that he felt the name change was unnecessary and ill advised. Still, Mr. Ratfucker can be flexible. And now he has a thing or two to say with regard to certain persons in the news. Which includes twerps who would like to be in the news but whose balls are so vestigial they can only yap and squeak like Pomeranians on a short leash. Mr. Ratfucker feels it is not only futile but bears diseased fruit to try to answer the ranting of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and the little squawking ignoramuses who want to be noticed. Mr. Ratfucker believes that these people are sociopaths. Their sole reason for being is to make comments that enrage. Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly have no deep-seated political beliefs or convictions. Their purpose is to make people mad. They will lie and say anything no matter how offensive on any subject in order to get a response. Having gotten a response they then feel justified in going for the jugular and indulging in character assassination. They lash out indiscriminately like serial killers but use words as their weapon of choice. Mr. Ratfucker would like to caution thinking people against responding to these sociopaths who have no desire to amuse, inform or to engage in meaningful dialogue but who simply want to turn the spotlight on themselves by making people angry. Mr. Ratfucker feels it is not only pointless to respond to these people but that it feeds their pathology. Mr. Ratfucker is of the opinion that the best course to follow is to ignore these famous hatemongers as well as their lesser silly babbling ilk.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

US Says Putting Paid Ads in Iraq Press Is Okay

The reason it’s all right for the US military to plant propaganda in the Iraq press is because it’s the US military doing it. When the Iraqis do it, it’s wrong, immoral and evil. After the news broke on Thursday that the US military was planting paid propaganda in Iraq newspapers, the White House, Pentagon and military sources said it wasn’t true and if it was true it was righteous and a good thing to do. On Friday, the US military admitted that “news articles written by American troops had been placed as paid advertisements in the Iraqi news media” and “they were not always identified” as paid ads. That’s the military’s way of saying the paid ads were made to appear as though they were impartial news stories. Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said on Thursday that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born head of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, was using the news media to advance his terrorist goals but that “the American military was disseminating truthful information”. Oh right! Truthful, like the lie Prez Bush handed out to the Annapolis midshipmen on Wednesday? Bush told the midshipmen that Iraqi security forces had primarily led the recent assault on Tel Afar. Time Mag reporter Michael Ware, who is embedded with the U.S. troops in Iraq and who participated in the Tal Afar battle, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Bush's description was completely untrue: “I was in that battle from the very beginning to the very end,” Ware said. “I was with Iraqi units right there on the front line as they were battling with al Qaeda. They were not leading. They were being led by the U.S. green beret special forces.” President Bush’s baldfaced lie in Annapolis gives a pretty fair idea of the kind of so-called truthful information being larded into the Iraq newspapers. A lie is a lie is a lie, no matter who tells it. And just to put things in proper perspective for all those lying warmongers who love to quote what God thinks is an abomination, let’s see what Proverbs 6:17 says about lying: “There are six things which the Lord hates; seven which are an abomination to him: Haughty eyes, A lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood; A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that make haste to run to evil, A false witness who breathes out lies, And a man who sows discord among brothers.”

Friday, December 02, 2005

Yikes! Paid Disinfo in Iraq Press? No Kidding!

The NYT says the chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee called in top Pentagon officials and asked for an explanation about the reports that a secret military campaign is planting paid propaganda in the Iraqi news media. The Pentagon says it’s heard nothing from the generals in Iraq about this. “Senior Pentagon officials said on Thursday that they had not yet received any explanation of the program from top generals in Iraq, including Gen. John P. Abizaid, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, the three most senior commanders for Iraqi operations,” the NYT report said. The White House is “very concerned about the reports…we have asked the Department of Defense for more information," a spokesman said. Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said the Iraqis do this sort of thing but that the American military was disseminating truthful information. "We don't lie. We don't need to lie.” General Lynch said. It was just about there in the NYT story that I fell off my chair laughing. Is there anyone in the United States over the age of five who does NOT believe the White House, the Pentagon and the American military are all in cahoots to plant paid propaganda in the Iraqi press? Since when do the White House, the Pentagon and the US military NOT need to lie? And if they don’t need to lie, why are they lying? It’s amazing these guys don’t choke on their baloney: "I am concerned about any actions that may undermine the credibility of the United States as we help the Iraqi people stand up as a democracy," Senator John W. Warner (R-VA), head of the Armed Services said in a statement. "A free and independent press is critical to the functioning of a democracy, and I am concerned about any actions which may erode the independence of the Iraqi media," the statement said. "The State Department is working with journalists in Iraq to help them develop the skills that you all have in terms of reporting and journalistic ethics and practices," the State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, told reporters on Thursday. That's a joke, right? The GOP’s State Department has systematically muzzled the free and independent press for the past five years. They don’t need to lie? The foundation of the GOP political ideology is that they don’t need to tell the truth. The White House, Pentagon and tin soldiers running the US military say they can’t believe that propaganda is being planted in the Iraqi news media. Right back atcha, guys. The American people can’t believe the bullshit you’re planting in the US news media. Here’s the point. These gangsters know we don’t believe their lies. They know The Great Oz has been unmasked. Claiming innocence and denying is simply what criminals do. They don’t expect to be believed. The question is: What happens now? That's simple. We vote the lying, cheating, murdering bastards OUT!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

What the American People Know

The politicians in Washington keep belaboring the point that if we don’t do this or that or the other in Iraq, we will have failed. The people of the United States know one thing. We HAVE failed in Iraq. And the Iraqis know that the only reason the US ever had an interest in Iraq was OIL. If there were no oil in the Middle East, the US would have been content to let everyone in the entire area kill each other off, commit rape and whatever other atrocities they could think up, and we never would have lifted a finger. The world knows this is true because this is the stance the US has taken regarding despotic regimes in Africa and every other area of the world that is of no economic use to the United States. The US got involved in Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1991 and produced the Gulf War because of oil. And fool that Saddam was, he gave the US a perfect excuse to disguise its preoccupation with Iraq’s oil when he refused to cooperate with UN weapons inspectors. According to InfoPlease, US and British bombers began daily attacks on Iraqi targets in 1999. The hope was that the constant barrage would weaken Saddam Hussein’s grip on Iraq. Jan. 29, 2002-In President George W. Bush's state of the union speech, he identified Iraq, along with Iran and North Korea, as an "axis of evil." He vowed that the U.S. "will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." (Iraq had never threatened us.) June 2, 2002-President Bush publicly introduced the new defense doctrine of preemption in a speech at West Point. In some instances, the president said, the U.S. must strike first against another state to prevent a potential threat from growing into an actual one: "Our security will require all Americans…[to] be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives.” Jan. 28, 2003-In his state of the union address, President Bush announced that he was ready to attack Iraq even without a UN mandate. March 19, 2003-President Bush declared war on Iraq. What the people of the United States know is that we are not in Iraq to bring democracy to the people. We are spending 5.8 billion a month and 2,114 American soldiers have been killed because Iraq had a huge resource of oil the US wanted to control and Saddam Hussein decided he controlled Iraq’s oil. What the American people know is that all the words and speeches and daily rewrites by the Bush administration are bullshit. We are not in Iraq to implement the glorious vision of bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people. The war in Iraq was over trying to gain control of Iraq’s oil and the war has failed. Not only that, we have failed the Iraqi people. And we have failed our troops. All the rhetoric and rose petals in the world cannot cover up this truth. The American people know what’s going on. It will take awhile for the politicians to catch up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"National Strategy for Victory in Iraq"

Another speech, another spin. Or as the “Kiss Me Kate” lyrics have it: “Another Op’ning, Another Show In Philly, Boston or Baltimo’, A chance for stage folks to say hello. Another op’ning of another show, Another job, that you hope at last will make your future Forget your past. Another pain where the ulcers grow, Another op’ning of another show.” And Bush’s speechwriters surely hope that finally, his speech today to the Midshipmen in Annapolis will make us forget the past. The strategy is to call the hopeless debacle in Iraq a victory and then to get the hell out. It’s not unlike what we did in Vietnam. “We won!” we said, and then we left. "I want our troops to come home, but I don't want them to come home without having achieved victory," Bush said. Well that’s easy for the geniuses running our country. Just say, “Victory achieved”. Maybe a nice bright red, white and blue “Victory Achieved” banner flying over the White House will convince the world. But then there’s that pain thing. What will make that go away? Jesus Juice…yeah…that’s the ticket.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

So What Have We Got?

We’ve got a President who has become so nutty and isolated that people (AmericaBlog) are talking about invoking the 25th Amendment (Presidential Vacancy, Disability, and Inability) to get rid of him. And we’ve got Seymour Hersh in the December 5th issue of The New Yorker who is once again telling it like it is. Hersh says, “Bush’s closest advisers have long been aware of the religious nature of his policy commitments. In recent interviews, one former senior official, who served in Bush’s first term, spoke extensively about the connection between the President’s religious faith and his view of the war in Iraq. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the former official said, he was told that Bush felt that ‘God put me here’ to deal with the war on terror. The President’s belief was fortified by the Republican sweep in the 2002 congressional elections; Bush saw the victory as a purposeful message from God that ‘he’s the man,’ the former official said...The President is more determined than ever to stay the course,” the former defense official said. ‘He doesn’t feel any pain. Bush is a believer in the adage ‘People may suffer and die, but the Church advances.’” The President has “become more detached” the former defense official said, “leaving more issues to Karl Rove and Vice-President Cheney. They keep him in the gray world of religious idealism, where he wants to be anyway.” Hersh says that even though the Prez may be adamant about no troop pullout from Iraq, the Pentagon has contingency plans. And the most frightening of these plans is, “American troops will be replaced by American airpower. Quick, deadly strikes by U.S. warplanes are seen as a way to improve dramatically the combat capability of even the weakest Iraqi combat units.” The danger of that, the experts told Hersh, is that “while the number of American casualties would decrease as ground troops are withdrawn, the over-all level of violence and the number of Iraqi fatalities would increase unless there are stringent controls over who bombs what.” Meaning, there is a very real possibility that the Iraqis would use our air power to settle their old scores. As one senior Pentagon consultant put it when he spoke to Hersh, “Who is going to have authority to call in air strikes? There’s got to be a behavior-based rule.” So what we’ve got is a President who is a blithering nutcase ranting about how he was chosen to implement God’s divine purpose. We’ve got Rove and Cheney using the blithering nutcase to advance their agenda to rule the world. We’ve got a bitch-goddess Secretary of State who can’t wait to start more wars and cause more bloodshed. We’ve got a Pentagon that plans to unleash full-scale air attacks on Iraq as soon as our troops are drawn down. And we’ve got military experts who are so lily-livered and protective of their jobs that they won’t tell the White House dogs of war that their plans are shit-brained and will only increase the numbers of insurgents and terrorists. We’ve got a mess that the real Jesus Christ would have a hard time putting to rights even if he didn’t have to contend with the lunacy of Little Jesus from Texas. AmericaBlog’s John Aravosis printed all the sections of the 25th Amendment, which outlines the process when a president becomes disabled. So if the VP and a majority of the officers of the executive departments inform the President pro tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House that George W. Bush is totally bonkers and boozed up, we’d still be stuck with Cheney as Prez. If Cheney drops dead or resigns rather than going to jail, we’d get Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert who is no bargain. If Hastert were indicted, we’d get the President pro tem of the Senate, Ted Stevens, whoever the hell he is. Although, how bad could Ted Stevens be? The very next person to succeed if Stevens resigned or dropped dead would be Condoleezzafucking Rice. And Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt has probably handed out cyanide pills to the Cabinet in that horrendous event. You know it's a mess when the best hope for the United States is for the President to be committed to a rest home, the Vice President to be indicted, the Speaker of the House to resign and the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State to vanish without a trace.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Raspberry’s Powell Whitewash Doesn’t Wash

WaPo’s William Raspberry said this morning in his “We're Past Politics With Iraq” article, “Colin Powell, who -- unwittingly, I believe -- passed along some of the cooked evidence, is on record as having changed his mind. As Powell told Barbara Walters in September, when he made his dramatic show-and-tell presentation before the U.N. Security Council, there were "people in the intelligence community who knew at the time that some of these sources were not good and shouldn't be relied upon, and they didn't speak up. That devastated me. . . . It's a blot . . . [that] will always be a part of my record.” Raspberry went on to say, “Powell is nobody's flip-flopper. People who wanted a certain conclusion gave him bad information and he passed it on -- to his regret. Can't members of Congress who believed the bad evidence enough to vote us into war also experience regret?” I am sure Colin Powell regrets every minute of his pandering to Republican Party politics, but his complicity in the lies that pushed us into the Iraq war is a little more than passing along information. The Colin Powell treachery in front of the UN is on tape. He dramatically held up a bogus vial of poison to illustrate Saddam Hussein’s ability to use chemical warfare. But please note that he did not refer to the Nigerian uranium. Later, he said the story "had not stood the test of time.” On February 24th, 2001, Colin Powell said "Saddam Hussein has not developed any significant capacity with respect to weapons of mass destruction…he is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." When Colin Powell told the world that George Tenet had misled him, it was total baloney and he knew it was baloney. Colin Powell had always been well aware that there were no WMD’s in Iraq. However, that said, I am becoming more convinced as each day passes that Mr. Four-star General Colin Powell was not the big powerful alpha male figure in the first Bush administration that he has been portrayed as being. I believe that Powell was little more than National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice’s errand boy. It was Rice and political strategist and WHIG member Mary Matalin who cooked up the “smoking gun…mushroom cloud” rhetoric that was seized on by the BushMen and used as a major justification for attacking Iraq. Raspberry’s defense of Colin Powell does not stand up to scrutiny. Powell willingly told lies to justify a war in Iraq in order to curry favor in the Republican Party. And it probably was because Powell had eyes on running for President. But Powell does not come close to having the power-mad driven amoral qualities of now-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. When casting about for “Official A” who leaked the Plame info, I would bet on Condoleezza Rice. She is one bloodthirsty war-mongering bitch. And of all the people in the White House or with ties to the White House that I would not want to encounter in a dark alley at midnight, Condoleezza Rice and Mary Matalin are high on my list.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Allawi Says Bush’s Iraq Equals Saddam’s Iraq

Iraq’s one-time Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, the UK citizen that the Bush administration pressured the Iraq Governing Council to accept prior to legislative elections, who is a relative of the thieving, lying bosom buddy of the Bush administration, Ahmed Chalabi, has now come out and said, according to an AP report in the NYT today, “Human rights abuses in Iraq are as bad now as they were under Saddam Hussein and could become even worse.” "People are doing the same as Saddam's time and worse, "Allawi told The Observer newspaper. "It is an appropriate comparison." "People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same thing," he said. True, Allawi is badmouthing his own Shiite peers because he’s running separately from the usual Shiite suspects in the December 15 election. And true, he’s appealing to Sunnis who say they’ve been abused by the Shiite security forces. But still…where is George W. in all this? Allawi is the man who told British Intelligence that an Iraqi officer said Iraq could position its weapons of mass destruction in "45 minutes". This claim was used by the Brits to get support for our invasion of Iraq. Yo! President Bush, would you like to respond to Allawi’s latest claim? You and the UK’s Prime Minister Tony Blair had so much faith in Allawi’s knowledge of Iraq’s internal affairs that you justified going to war based on his info. Tell me again, President Bush, why are American soldiers dying in a country that the Bush administration turned over to the same corrupt dictators that destroyed it in the first place? Two US senators are arguing on Meet the Press this morning about how long we should stay in Iraq and how many troops are needed to stabilize the area. That’s the wrong issue. First, the American public needs to know why we are in Iraq when we have done NOTHING to eradicate the corruption that we supposedly were fighting against.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Why Did They Vote For Bush?

An NYT article by Kate Zernike (“Even Supporters Doubt President as Issues Pile Up”) tells why people in Columbus, Ohio and across the country voted for George Bush in 2004. Seventy-five people were interviewed for the story. Leesa Martin voted for GWB because she admired how he handled the terrorist attacks in 2001. Dave Panici called his vote for Bush “a vote for security”. Mark Briggs said "There is the notion of leadership and sticking with the plan, which I believe in." George Bush is “clear and consistent," he said. Kacey Wilson said she felt Bush spoke the truth. She liked “his cut-and-dry, take-no-prisoners style…I think people are used to more spinning." How people could be used to more spinning than the Bush spinmeisters cranked out, I cannot imagine. But hey, these are Repubs talking. Was Leesa Martin actually aware of what Bush did when he handled the 9/11 attack? Did she process the facts that Bush immediately got his Saudi friends out of the US even though he knew it was the Saudis who had attacked us? He insisted (lied) Iraq was involved in the attack. He claimed (lied) that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction and since he had lied and said Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attack, he started a war to wipe Iraq off the earth. What’s to admire? And how about Panici’s vote for security? By Election Day of last year, Bush’s war in Iraq had empowered monumental numbers of terrorists around the globe. What security? Now these people are beginning to have doubts. Even so, Mark Briggs said he “did not want to believe that the president ‘manipulated’ intelligence leading the country into war”. The Republicans in Ohio and elsewhere are disappointed and they are having doubts. And as Georgia’s Vicky Polka said, she is even starting to think that “something's not going right here”, but these people will never vote for a Democrat. George W. Bush may be an incompetent, lying, boozed-up idiot, but 37% of the country is as stubborn and convinced they are right as their incompetent, lying, boozed-up idiot leader. Today, Bush and Cheney would lose an election. But the same folks who found reasons to vote for the Bush/Cheney ticket in 2004 will find reasons to vote for any candidates the GOP puts up in 2008.

Friday, November 25, 2005

How Bush Will Pull His Nuts Out of the Fire

WaPo’s Dan Baltz reported yesterday on President Bush’s strategy for saving his presidency: “Bush plans to use the time before the December elections in Iraq to talk about the U.S. stake and make the case that he has a strategy that is working, beginning on Wednesday with a speech in Annapolis that will focus on what the administration says is clear progress in training of the Iraqi security force. Other speeches will follow as White House officials attempt to use the final weeks of this year and early next year to shape public opinion.” That reminds me of one of Shel Silverstein’s cartoons. Two guys are shackled hands and feet to a concrete wall in a dungeon with no door or window and one says to the other, “Now here’s my plan.” President Bush is going to turn his lead-balloon government into the spun gold of Christ’s second coming by giving more speeches about an Iraq strategy that never existed. The White House blueprint for getting out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves is to have their boozy leader go out and charm the natives. The White House believes that a few more speeches will change public opinion from “Bush is the biggest asshole ever” to “We’re behind you, O Great I Am”. According to the Balz article, the White House is committed to the PR approach. White House counselor Dan Bartlett said White House officials don’t think people will continue to view Iraq in a negative light. "When you're in a tough spot -- and we're in a tough spot because of the nature of the enemy and the debate at home -- the snapshots will reflect [negative] public opinion," Bartlett said. "But we don't think they're permanent." So the plan is not to stop the violence in Iraq or withdraw troops. The plan is to have George W. Bush make speeches about how well the war in Iraq is going. And if you need any proof that the people in the White House are insane, Baltz reported “One White House official, who was willing to talk candidly about internal strategy only without being identified by name, acknowledged that 'those numbers are troubling' in recent polls but expressed confidence that they will recover because the public fundamentally regards Bush as 'a person of honesty and integrity'." The latest polls say that 60% of Americans do not believe George W. Bush is honest and trustworthy. Nevermind. Now here’s their plan.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving

I’ll be going to a feast with friends today where there will be only one disgusting-type Republican attending. For that, I am truly thankful. The last time I was in his company he said, “I just don’t know why they don’t load up all those people who supposedly are homeless and jobless and take them to Atlantic City where they can work for tips.” He’s the quintessential well-off white guy and while he laughed at what he thought was a clever remark, he was also serious. And the worst part of his comment is that he doesn’t believe people are really homeless or jobless. He believes they are running scams to bilk the government and that they should be glad to work for minimum wage because, What can they expect with no education? In all our thanks giving, there is always the underlying thought of Psalm 40:11: Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. But some people, through no fault of their own have not been preserved from want and need, and have not received even the most basic mercies. These are the people who must be protected from the Bush adminstration and the other disgusting-type Republicans. And I must say, from the bottom of my heart: Thank you God for letting me live amongst Democrats.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Vatican Rules: You’re Out If You’re Out

The official Vatican document that excludes gays from the priesthood will be released on November 29th. But a leaked version has been circling the globe for weeks. The NYT reported this morning that an Italian reporter who saw the Vatican document two weeks ago attests that the leaked version is the real deal. The document, only five pages with footnotes, bans “candidates who are actively homosexual, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called 'gay culture.'" And there don’t seem to be any loopholes, except of course, the loophole which has always been favored by the RCC: lying. But the Vatican seems very sure that no Roman Catholic candidate for the priesthood would ever lie, and certainly not about his sexual orientation. Right? Right. The document is clear about active gays. They are not welcome. But exactly what are "deep-seated homosexual tendencies”? The term was not defined. However, a deep-seated tendency seems to be the opposite of what the Vatican calls a “transitory” tendency. A transitory tendency allows a candidate to be ordained if it was “overcome” at least three years before ordination. So okay. Pope Ratz wants to purify the RCC priesthood. Will this Draconian edict accomplish his aim? Some statistics say that 25% percent of the RCC priesthood is gay. Some statistics put the figure at 50%. And most RCC gay-counters agree that two out of three are in the closet. Richard Sipe, a retired priest and psychotherapist opines that 30 percent of RCC priests are gay. He says banning gays from the priesthood is "like a gay bar refusing to serve homosexual patrons. It doesn’t make any sense." In addition to the obvious problem that Pope Ratz’s gay-squad will have in separating deep-seated tendencies from transitory tendencies, there are two enormous difficulties the Vatican’s document does not address: 1) The flap that started this gay purge is that pedophile priests are molesting little children. But most pedophiles are heterosexual not homosexual. 2) The Vatican has no plan for dealing with its gay bishops, archbishops and cardinals. Obviously, the RCC has no intention whatsoever of ridding itself of one-third to one-half of its workforce. It simply wants to seem to be stamping out a life-style that it actually promotes and needs. And the RCC wants to deflect attention away from its pedophile and homosexual hierarchy by claiming the problem will go away if they ban gay candidates. Funny how the Republican Party and the Roman Catholic Church have come to the same conclusion about how to solve their problems: Protect the top dogs and lie.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Re Woodward, It’s Worse Than We Thought

Bob Woodward has sold his soul in order to write his books. He probably is a GOP shill. So, that too. But while watching him on Larry King last night trying to excuse his cowardice in reporting his complicity in the Wilson/Plame case, I saw a Bob Woodward who cuts corners, tells lies and ingratiates himself with the power elite because these acts of dishonesty make it possible for him to get published. Apparently, Bob Woodward thinks the ways in which he has allowed himself to be corrupted is okay because he’s a journalist. It’s okay because it’s in service of getting the story. And getting the story has become more important than personal integrity to Woodward. Woodward made an interesting admission at the time Mark Felt said he was Deep Throat. All during the thirty years Woodward and Carl Bernstein refused to divulge the identity of Deep Throat, Woodward said he had told no one Deep Throat’s identity except Ben Bradlee. Then, when Felt outed himself, Woodward mentioned in passing that he had told his wife Deep Throat’s real identity. That’s interesting because it’s a clue to the Woodward persona. When Woodward lies it isn’t a lie, it’s a right he grants to himself. Woodward denied on Larry King’s show on October 27th (the night before Fitzgerald’s press conference about Scooter Libby’s indictment) that he had a “bombshell”. He said that night that he didn’t even have “a firecracker”. Last night Woodward refined his denial. He said, “On the night of October 27th I was telling you the exact truth that I did not have a bombshell or any story for the next day's paper.” So now he says he didn’t have a bombshell for the next day. Last night Woodward told Larry King that when his source said Plame was an undercover agent for the CIA, it was “offhand and casual”. At that point, Woodward said, “on your show I didn't know what that meant at all because it was such a casual offhand remark.” If that is true, why was he so afraid of being subpoenaed that he decided not to tell his editor he had privileged info? Last night, he said he was “focused on getting the book done…you know the significance of this is yet to be determined….” You have to marvel at the man’s ability to excuse himself. Even now, after Libby has been indicted and has resigned because of the Wilson/Plame case, Bob Woodward still claims, as he has done for the past two years that the significance of White House officials outing Valerie Plame is yet to be determined. He even said that he doesn’t think Valerie Plame was undercover. King asked, “Did the source indicate whether Mrs. Plame was an undercover agent or a desk analyst?” Woodward said, “Good question. And specifically said that -- the source did -- that she was a WMD, weapons of mass destruction, analyst. Now, I've been covering the CIA for over three decades, and analysts, except -- in fact, I don't even know of a case. Maybe there are cases. But they're not undercover. They are people who take other information and analyze it.” So what we’re left with, after having seen Woodward on Larry King last night, is that Woodward doesn’t think the Plame outing is significant, he doesn't think Plame was undercover, he doesn’t think his role in the White House attempt to slime Wilson and his wife is significant, and he thinks the whole investigation pales in comparison to his having access to the White House and to writing his books, He said, “I've been able to interview President Bush for the last book "Plan of Attack" for three and a half hours over two days, no limitations on questions, no practical limitation on time". Later he said, "You know, I am protecting not a person but a relationship and the information I get for my newspaper and books and that's the vital lifeline.” People do not change. They only get more like themselves. Bob Woodward is, after all, only Bob Woodward. He cut corners when he was reporting on Watergate but back then he had Ben Bradlee to keep him in line. But like the folks in the White House, Woodward is listening to no one now.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Point Is

We were lied into a war by the Bush administration that used faulty intelligence and knew it was faulty intelligence. The Bush administration put an old (71) and incompetent politician, Donald Rumsfeld, in charge of the planning and execution of the war in Iraq. Rumsfeld bungled every facet of the war. As of November 20, 2094 American soldiers have died in the Iraq war and 15,568 American soldiers have been wounded. We have been told that we would be betraying the Iraqis if we pull out of Iraq. We have been told the war was about ending terrorism and bringing democracy to the Iraqis. The truth is that terrorism only started in Iraq after our unprovoked attack and bringing democracy to the Iraqis was a fiction to rationalize our attack. The Bush administration says we owe it to the Iraqi people to kill and wound more American soldiers in a war that the Bush administration lied us into and that was badly planned and botched at every turn by an old fool. We the people owe nothing whatsoever to Iraq or to the Iraqis. The war has made the world less safe from terrorism. The Bush administration and Donald Rumsfeld owe everything they have or ever will have to the Iraqis because it is the Bush administration and Donald Rumsfeld who have betrayed the Iraqi people. But the citizens of the United States owe nothing to the Iraqis. We have already paid too much. The terrible irony is that while George W. Bush is publicly saying he will never leave Iraq until the war is won and that we must stay the course, the White House is planning right now to withdraw our troops because the war has become political poison. The final betrayal to Iraq, to the world and to the people of the United States is that the Bush administration will fix a date for a phased-out US withdrawal from Iraq starting in January. The fact (and it is a fact) that the Bush administration is planning to pull our troops out of Iraq is a good thing. But we must NEVER ALLOW the White House to claim that we pulled out because the war was over and we won. NO ONE HAS WON ANYTHING IN IRAQ. And most of all the Iraqis have gained only pain, deprivation and civil war.