Sunday, April 30, 2006

No Cause For Alarm

What would make the Generals and Army Corps of Engineers view the situation in Iraq as a cause for alarm? That phrase—no cause for alarm—may be the single most loaded and weasel-worded string of words put together by the US warmongers in Iraq. A headline in this morning’s NYT screams: “100,000 Families Are Fleeing Violence, Iraq Official Says”. But half-way down in the article General Rick Lynch says "Some of them truly are moving because they're concerned about their own personal security or their family's security, I'm sure of that…some of them are moving for economic reasons. Some of them are moving to be with their families. But we're not seeing internally displaced persons at the rate which causes us alarm." Now we finally know when the Pentagon and the Generals running the show in Iraq will recognize the mess they’ve made. It will be when they see the state of affairs as a cause for alarm. And that may be the day after Armageddon. Then again, probably not. The Army Corps of Engineers, which has blown every job it has ever had including “correcting” the Mississippi River in 1879, has blown it again in Iraq. But apparently the corps sees no cause for alarm. The NYT reported this morning: “A $243 million program led by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to build 150 health care clinics in Iraq has in some cases produced little more than empty shells of crumbling concrete and shattered bricks cemented together into uneven walls, two reports by a federal oversight office have found.” The NYT says that the reports released yesterday “detail a close inspection of five of the clinics in the northern city of Kirkuk as well as a sweeping audit of the entire program, which began in March 2004 as a heavily promoted effort to improve health care for ordinary Iraqis. The reports say that none of the five clinics in Kirkuk and only 20 of the original 150 across the country will be completed without new financing.” The NYT article goes on to say, “Lax oversight by the Army corps is responsible for the failure of the overall program. Cowed by security fears that the reports suggest may have been overblown, the corps sometimes inspected the work only through what it called "windshield surveys" — hasty drive-bys.” But what the hell, folks. Relax. Feel good about giving more money to the Army Corps of Engineers for them to misappropriate, mismanage and steal. Feel good about doddering Donald Rumsfeld killing more US soldiers in Iraq. Rest in the knowledge that everything is going well in Iraq because the President, the Generals, Halliburton, Cheney, The Army Corps of Engineers and the guys recruiting more na├»ve and ignorant soldiers for the US Army see no cause for alarm.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The White House and the Gas Crisis

At any point during the last six years, the Bush administration could have headed off the current gas crisis and it chose not to. Remember the Prince Bandar/George W. Bush handholding when Bandar said he would hold the oil price down to $40/barrel? That, of course, was grandstanding and political nonsense on both sides. Neither Bandar nor GWB had any desire to hold the price of oil down. It is currently hovering around $70-75/barrel. When the price of crude hits $75/barrel, the price at the gas station hits $2.90/gallon. And that makes oil producing countries happy, the oil industry happy, sellers of fuel to the military happy, the Bush administration happy and the Bush family happy. Lest we forget, the Saudis and the Bushes have been in the oil business since the Saudis and Bushes crawled out of their caves. Letting the oil industry make huge profits is in the Bush family’s best interest. And George W. Bush is not above screwing the entire world to put a dollar in his pocket, and incidentally proving to his family that he’s not the inept oilman they always thought he was. Being one-up on that score is very important to the Little Decider. But one sentence in the NYT’s gas crisis report this morning shows what has been equally important to the GOP: “The Republican proposal also called for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil production, a provision sure to draw opposition from many Democrats and even some Republicans.” It may be hard for us little folks to understand, but our government makes decisions based on granting personal gain to the men in power, and exacting revenge against the opposition that hasn’t gone along with enriching the men in power. Now you tell me, how is the Bush administration’s modus operandi regarding making rich Republicans richer any different from what dictators and kings do to put gold in their personal coffers? Our government doesn’t kill people to enrich the men in power, you say? Our government has killed 2,396 American soldiers in Iraq. Our government has maimed 17,469 American soldiers in Iraq. Our government has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and maimed and tortured thousands more in Iraq. And that war is over oil.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Army Says It Absolutely Needs Our Help

Army Writing Contest: "Countering Insurgency" Call for Papers Date: 2006-04-01 (Archive) Date Submitted: 2005-11-10 Announcement ID: 148567 The U.S. Army absolutely needs to understand more about counterinsurgency (COIN)—nothing less than the future of the civilized world may depend on it. If you have something to contribute, submit it to the Combined Arms Center Commanding General’s 2006 Special Topics Writing Competition: “Countering Insurgency.” Submissions should be 3,500 to 5,000 words long. First prize is $1,000, featured publication in the Combined Arms Center’s Military Review, and a certificate of recognition signed by the commanding general. Second prize is $500, publication, and a signed certificate. Third prize is $250, publication, and a certificate. Fourth prize is $250, special consideration for publication, and a certificate. Submit essays not later than 1 April 2006 to Military Review, ATTN: COIN, 294 Grant Avenue, Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027-1254, or via email to milrevweb@leavenworth.army.mil (Subject: COIN). For additional information, visit militaryreview.army.mil or call (913) 684-9330. I am so sorry I neglected to let you know about this contest to save the civilized world. And now the deadline has come and gone. Oh well…maybe the army will hold another contest to save the uncivilized world. God knows there are hundreds of topics the Army needs advice on: The Army Needs to Know How to Fight a War Without An Army The Army Needs to Know How to Fight a War Without Decent Equipment The Army Needs to Know How to Bamboozle Kids into Enlisting Why the Army is Run by Assholes in the Pentagon Why Generals Defend Assholes Like Donald Rumsfeld in the Pentagon And here’s the top topic the Army absolutely needs to understand and therefore should run a contest to find out: Why has the Defense Department paid Rendon Group $50-$100 million to sell the Iraq war to the public, but won’t spend the money to give our troops the equipment they need to fight the war? Please see “The Man Who Sold the War” by James Bamford in the December 1, 2005 issue of Rolling Stone. I have queried milrevweb to see if the April 1 deadline can be extended. There are millions of us who support our troops and stand ready to tell the Army everything it absolutely needs to know. We applaud the Army for seeking our advice.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Josh Bolton Picks Fox News Tony Snow

CNN reported last night that it’s all but a done deal for Fox News political analyst Tony Snow to become the next White House press secretary. Apparently Josh Bolton wants to sew up this appointment as quickly as he can. The official announcement may be made as early as today, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reported. Since Scott McClellan’s resignation as press secretary came about before the White House had nailed down a replacement, McClellan obviously quit and was not fired. The word is that Bolton talked to Snow about the press secretary job a few weeks ago. That would be about the time McClellan told the White House what it could do with its White House toady-and-asswipe position. The Tony Snow appointment surely is in keeping with George Bush’s penchant for being surrounded by his father’s cronies. Although Snow is only 51, he was a speechwriter for George Herbert Walker Bush in 1991. Snow has been an editorial page editor of The Washington Times and a columnist for USA Today. His doctor says his prognosis is good but his colon cancer certainly must be a huge negative despite all the positives that accrue from being an alumnus of Rupert Murdoch’s Little White House on TV. The other Snow still in the news is Treasury Secretary John Snow. The White House seems to be having a hell of a time finding his replacement so that they can boot him out. CNN reported that US ambassador to India David Mulford is the latest candidate to be offered the job. Maybe the White House headhunters should go back to Fox News to find a Treasury Secretary. Fox News already has the Bush administration lie and deceive style down pat.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

NYT Gives Rick Santorum Another Free Pass

Robin Toner’s New York Times article this morning, “Pennsylvania Senate Campaign Tests Democrats' Abortion Tack”, sounds as though she believes Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) is a rational sane person. And he is not. Rick Santorum is a screaming Jesus freak. He not only adamantly opposes abortion, which is his right, but he is a rabid creationist. He believes the world and everything in it was created 6,000 years ago and he admires the fanatic Opus Dei cult. Santorum has publicly fought for capping pain and suffering lawsuits at $250,000. But his wife sued her chiropractor in a pain and suffering case for $500,000 and won $350,000. Santorum has six children. He enrolled his school-age children in a school that was open only to Pennsylvania residents, even though the Santorums live in Virginia. He only removed the kids from the Pennsylvania school when a school board member raised a stink about the illegal arrangement. Last May 24th I said, “It is a total mystery to me exactly how major articles on Republican political candidates are placed in the MSM. But what is just as plain as white cotton panties is that Michael Sokolove's article on Rick Santorum in the Sunday (May 22) New York Times Magazine was planted by the GOP.” That article presented Rick Santorum as a religious, reasonable Mr. Nice Guy. Robin Toner has done the same thing. Her article is about the upcoming Pennsylvania Senate race that pits Democrat Bob Casey against Santorum. Toner presents Santorum as a sound and levelheaded alternative to Bob Casey. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Santorum is a far-right religious zealot. On April 7th, 2003, he said in an Associated Press interview, “If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.” Later on in the interview, he went ballistic and ranted about “man on dog” sex. On May 18th, 2005 he expounded on the Senate filibuster fight and equated those who were against changing the way judges are confirmed with Hitler. He said, “It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942, 'I'm in Paris. How date you invade me. How dare you bomb my City? It's mine.'” Why does the New York Times insist on presenting Rick Santorum as a reasonable option in the Pennsylvania Senate race? The man is not reasonable. He’s a far-right fanatic and a bigot. He makes hateful intemperate remarks and only regrets them when he sees they have hurt his chances at the polls. Former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey once wondered whether Santorum is "Latin for asshole.” Santorum sees himself as President of the United States in 2008. If the election for Prez were between Rick Santorum and Richard Nixon, the reasonable, sane, law-abiding, truth-loving, congenial best man would be Nixon.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ship of State Leaking Like a Sieve

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is being accused of leaking national defense info to pro-Israel lobbyist Steven Rosen. The lobbyist’s defense team is calling the leak by another name though. It’s a “backchannel exchange”, they say. On the day a CIA intelligence analyst got fired for having unauthorized contacts with the media and disclosing classified information to reporters, Condi Rice is accused of doing the same thing. But when Rice does it, it’s a backchannel exchange and it’s just part of political life in DC. At least that’s how the sleaze-meisters are defending it. WaPo reported the nut of the case this morning: “The indictment against (pro-Israel lobbyists) Rosen and Weissman alleges that three government officials leaked sensitive and sometimes classified national defense information to the two, who subsequently revealed what they learned to the press and to an Israeli government official.” A federal judge has granted a defense request to issue subpoenas for Rice and the other government officials who blabbed to Rosen and Weissman. Of course Rice and the White House consiglieries will fight the Rice subpoena. And U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said yesterday he’s thinking of dismissing the charges on the grounds that the law used to prosecute the lobbyists is vague. However, if it does come down to a fight, no doubt a key argument against Rice being deposed will be that it would jeopardize national security for her to give testimony about how she jeopardized national security.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bolton May Can Harriet Miers…Who Cares?

The odd thing about the report of another ineffectual change by Bolton is that the New York Times is treating it as though it’s newsworthy. As a matter of fact, the New York Times is treating Bolton as though he’s newsworthy. Note this morning’s headline: “Bush Counsel May Be Next in White House Shake-Up”. Shake-up? What shake-up? Note the follow-up paragraph: “Moving Ms. Miers would be a strike at the heart of Mr. Bush's emotional bonds in the White House and would eliminate another Texan from the circle he has kept close to him in Washington. Republicans who talk regularly to senior West Wing advisers say the president has been unhappy and on edge about the staff changes that he nonetheless sees as necessary for revitalizing the West Wing.” What a load of crap! Harriet Miers is political poison. And President If-You-Can’t-Improve-My-Approval-Ratings-Fuck-You is only too happy to be rid of her. What staff changes have made the Prez unhappy and on edge? Scotty McClellan? Bush cannot wait to get Fox News Tony Snow on his staff to replace McClellan. Or failing that, Torie Clarke, another ass-kissing loyal female. If the Prez is unhappy and on edge it surely isn’t about staff changes--because Bolton has made no changes. Bolton is letting interchangeable people move into and out of interchangeable positions. And he’s letting people leave that cannot stand one more minute in the White House. It’s all window dressing to set the stage for the big event. And the MSM is providing a very useful service to the White House by treating Bolton as though he’s making important changes. It’s been decided that Donald Rumsfeld has to go and the staff change commotion has been leading up to that ONE, and only one, change. Is the Prez unhappy and on edge about getting rid of Rumsfeld? Of course not. He thinks it will improve his numbers. Now who do you think is behind getting rid of Andy Card to put a ringer like Bolton in place to set the stage for bogus staff changes which aren’t going to happen except for this single very important change? Could it be Karl Rove who has made it look like even his job is in peril? Could it be Karl Rove in cahoots with Dick Cheney? What an extravaganza! Seven generals say Rumsfeld has to go. Then the Military gets its knickers in a wad and says he has to stay. And the Prez says he has to stay, though he wants him to go, and Bolton starts acting like he’s making changes when he isn’t. And the whole thing has been in order to get rid of an old Pentagon hack who never should have been in charge of the war in Iraq in the first place. And why, you may ask, was Rumsfeld put in charge of George W. Bush’s unnecessary war in Iraq? Because GWB felt comfy with the old gang who had worked with his dad. And the GOP felt comfy because the old gang knew GWB was a silly twat. So…how have all these Machiavellian moves worked out? Rumsfeld is going to get the axe. Rove is under investigation. The Scooter is singing his lungs out. Cheney is sick as a dog. The GOP is in chaos. The war is in the toilet. Bush’s approval ratings are at 33 and he’s still a silly twat.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

THE DECIDER

Oh yes I’m the great decider (ooh ooh) Deciding that I’m doing swell (ooh ooh) I know I’m a lush and I’m out of touch I decide fast but truly not well Oh yes I’m the great decider (ooh ooh) But I live in a world all alone I act the part but I know in my heart Karl decides what’s best on his own Too real is this feeling of fantasy Too real ‘cause I want to play God Can’t you see? Ooh Ooh yes I’m the great decider (ooh ooh) I decide jackshit as you know (ooh ooh) Karl decides what’s best (not me) And it breaks my heart into bits Knowing that he’s still around Yeah ooh hoo He’s the decider, I know in my heart Can’t you see? Ooh Ooh yes I’m the great decider (ooh ooh) I decide jackshit as you know (ooh ooh) Karl decides what’s best (not me) And it breaks my heart into bits Knowing that he’s still around

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Beyond Brainless Flag-Waving

If you took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test in high school and signed a waiver that allowed the US Army to use the information, the results of your test were sent to local recruiters in the form of the ASVAB Recruiter Service Printout. The printout is a list of students who took the test, their scores, contact information (name, grade, sex, address, and phone number), and information about the students' plans after graduation. The ASVAB shows the areas a student has excelled in or has already received training in, not the areas the student would be good at if given training. The ASVAB is not an aptitude test. It does not plumb a student’s potential. It shows where the student has been, not where he could go. Therefore, women who don’t get good scores in math or mechanics will be unlikely to receive training in these areas in the military even if they have an innate ability in those areas. Similarly, if a student has never done mechanical work and doesn’t receive a good score in that area, he will be unlikely to receive training in the Army in jobs requiring mechanical ability, even if he has potential in that area. You don’t have to take the ASVAB test although many schools do not tell you that. If you take the test you can request that the scores not be sent to the military. Although, since the ASVAB is useless for gauging career potential, its only real purpose is as a military recruiting tool. Ergo, it’s silly to take the three-hour test for any reason other than having it used by the military. If acing the ASVAB is really important, countless Internet sites provide courses in how to pass the ASVAB with flying colors. There is a clause (SEC 9528) in the No Child Left Behind Act that states, “Each local educational agency receiving assistance under this Act shall provide military recruiters the same access to secondary school students as is provided generally to post secondary educational institutions or to prospective employers of those students." This means that the military is given all personal information on all students in schools that receive No Child Left Behind funds. However, you can fill out an opt-out form and the information will be withheld from the military. And let’s take a look at some facts about Selective Service. People are scared to death the draft will be reinstated--and with good reason. The Department of Defense and the US military has so bungled the war in Iraq that our volunteer army has been depleted and ill-used. These are the facts about the Selective Service: The Selective Service System is an independent federal agency operating with permanent authorization under the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.). It is not part of the Department of Defense. But its reason for being is to provide emergency manpower for the Military by drafting untrained men and personnel with professional health care skills when so directed by Congress and the President in a national crisis. It also has a mission to be ready to provide an alternative service program, in place of military service for those who are classified as conscientious objectors. The Selective Service System calls itself “America's proven and time-tested hedge against underestimating the number of active duty and Reserve Component military personnel needed in a future conflict.” During peacetime, the Selective Service depends on “part-time personnel and volunteers throughout the United States to keep viable the Nation's ability to conduct a draft that would be timely, fair, and equitable in a crisis.” But, the Selective Service info says, “As a part of that readiness, virtually all men in the U.S. are required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Men must be registered to be in compliance with federal law and stay eligible for student loans and grants, government jobs, job training, all security background clearances, and U.S. citizenship for immigrants. “Today, the Selective Service System continues to satisfy its statutory obligations while providing the only time-tested mechanism to backup the all-volunteer military when needed.” With the Bush administration in a quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan, and threatening to nuke Iran, it is not unreasonable to assume that the draft will be reinstituted. The SS says it’s a hedge against “underestimating” the number of personnel needed “in a future conflict”. Our government has done nothing but underestimate everything about the war in Iraq. And certainly the number of personnel needed is the most egregious underestimation of all. Every seventeen-year-old needs to inform himself about every aspect of the US military: From shady recruitment practices, to being a conscientious objector. And since failure to register with the Selective Service will prevent a person from receiving federal financial aid, federal job training, up to $250,000 in fines and five years in jail, it probably behooves a man to register. The draft is not only a possibility, but if John McCain becomes president, you can count on the draft being reinstituted. Oh…and about that sex change. If you were born a female and had a sex change you don’t have to register. But all persons born male, whether they still have their equipment or not, have to register with Selective Service. Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t peek, don’t freak!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Josh Bolton’s Plan To Refresh & Energize

Here it is folks: The new Chief of Staff’s astounding strategy for change in the Bush administration. Are you ready? Ta-da! Oh wait! He’s going to do what? Let people quit? As it turns out, Bolton’s actual plan seems to be on the girlie-side of passive-aggressive office management. He makes an announcement that heads will roll, tells people to quit while they have the chance, and then what? He’ll no doubt fire someone right away who is already out the door (Treasury’s John Snow is the designated hittee in that arena), he’ll announce the appointment of his replacement, fill the posts of people who’ve been put in jail. And maybe fire some of the White House secretarial pool. That’s it. That’s the plan. John Bolton is not your straight-ahead brass-balls kind of guy. But the style of the Bush White House has always been underhanded and sneaky, which is characteristic of the weak. The Bush administration plots and schemes and tells lies, starts rumors and ruins reputations. It gives itself to thugs and prates about morals. It sells itself for money and calls it patriotism. The Bush administration is a cathouse operating out of a ladies sewing circle. And unless Josh Bolton fires the entire Bush cabinet including Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, nothing is going to change. Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, "The president has given him (Bolton) the full authority to do what he needs to do, and what he believes is in the best interest of this White House and this president." That says it all. Those are Rove/Cheney words, not the Prez's, because Bush can't put together a simple declarative sentence. And Rove/Cheney believe it’s in the best interest of the Bush administration to let the disloyal quit and to keep everything else in place. And that is exactly what Chief of Staff Bolton is going to do--nothing more.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Those Army Recruiting Ads on TV

It’s hard to imagine how the US Army could have come up with more obnoxious ads. First, of course, the idea that they exist at all is loathsome. The US Army should be apologizing to the world for the mess in Iraq not trying to gull stupid youngsters into enlisting so they can die for the glory of Donald Rumsfeld. Second, it’s galling that the US Army is promoting the fiction that a disadvantaged kid can join up and not find himself in Iraq immediately and for the foreseeable future. But the tenor of the ads is the most maddening thing about them: There’s the mother who seems to preface life with a sigh and an expectation that once again she’s going to be disappointed. (Which, dejected and depressed as she is, she probably will be.) Then there’s the kid who apparently believes the army training will equip him for something other than staying in the army and he parrots that boloney to his dumber-than-grass father. But the winner of the Most Crass Army Ad Award is this one, which I quote: Father to young man who is probably his son: You’re a changed man. Shook my hand then looked me square in the eye. Where’d that come from? Implication 1: The son was a snot-nosed brat the father couldn’t control. Implication 2: The father had done such a piss-poor job of raising the kid that the kid ran off to the Army. Implication 3: The numnut father hadn’t even taught his kid to shake hands properly and to look people in the eye when doing so. Implication 4: The father couldn’t understand how his kid had learned to do anything right, since it sure as hell hadn’t come from him. Implication 5: Send your uneducated, badly raised, untrained children to the US Army and it will shape them up before getting them killed. The CCCO (Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors) says: Most students don't know that: * Two-thirds of recruits don't get any college money. * To qualify for college money recruits have to pay $100 per month for a year. * Most people in the military do not have time to attend college while in the service. * The unemployment rate for veterans is three times higher than the national average. * People who sign up with the Delayed Entry Program are told they can't change their minds, but getting out is as simple as writing a letter. * The enlistment contract is for eight years. * There are other ways to finance college, like federal financial aid, private scholarships, going to community college or joining AmeriCorps. But finally, the question must be asked: Why would the Army want a recruit who is so stupid that he falls for these TV recruitment ads unless the Army’s only use for such a recruit is to send him to Iraq to get killed?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I Repeat…

The following was originally posted on Ratbang on October 1, 2005. It deserves to be said again. HERE'S THE THING Let's say, for argument's sake, that the New Testament stories of the Last Supper are fairly accurate. Let's say that, in spite of all the magical nonsense, political propaganda and editing and rewriting, the basic story of that last Seder is true. Let's say that back in that day, a man named Jesus wanted to reform some of the practices of Judaism, and the theocracy in power was dead-set against him. Let's say that Jesus knew a ratfink mole from the tradition-bound theocracy had wormed his way into Jesus' band of friends. Let's say Jesus knew he would not be alive to honor another Shabbat after Passover. Let's say Jesus called his friends together so they could have their Seder together, knowing that Judas had sold him out. Let's say Jesus took a loaf of bread, said a prayer of thanks and passed it around, then took a chalice of wine, said a prayer of thanks and passed it around and then said, “Look, I know one of you has given me up to them, I even know who it is, but remember what we stood for, guys. Every time you eat and drink, think of me and then just keep on keepin' on.” Let's say Jesus said something like, “When you do this, remember me”. Here's the thing: There is not one single account that reports that Jesus said, “It's not kosher for you to eat bread and drink wine and remember me unless a guy in a dress gives you permission, says some mumbo-jumbo and decides whether you are worthy to think of me while having a teaspoon of wine and eating something called a wafer that doesn't even resemble stale matzo brei.” See…the thing is, Jesus never said that. All he said was, “When you do this, remember me.” So you know what? Why not just cut out the middleman? Whoever you are, if it feels right to remember a man who had integrity, wanted to fight injustice and wasn't afraid to die for his beliefs, then go ahead, have some supper, drink a glass of wine, and remember that man because all the stories say he was good, kind, just and honorable. And that is more than can be said for the pompous assholes in the Vatican who are more diabolical, self-serving and greedy than the worst fanatics who wanted Jesus dead.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Rumsfeld’s Iced Underwear

Cannonfire’s Joe Cannon has a link today to a post by Martin Random that ran on the Awful Forums blog. Claiming to have insider White House info, Random says the Prez and his anti-depressant addiction have rendered him impotent and that Rumsfeld has to wear iced underwear to alleviate his uncontrollable long-term erections. So you read it and chuckle. And you think about all the shenanigans and preposterous stuff the White House has pulled since 2000, and the allegations don’t seem that fanciful. I mean, Cheney probably does fart all the time and have horrific bad breath. And the dick probably was dead drunk when he shot Harry Whittington. And maybe there was a half-ton block of cheese sealed in a room in the White House for 30 years. Even the Tom Ridge stuff is possible. Maybe right-side-out socks do frighten him. Maybe he is paranoid about being poisoned. Maybe he is terrified of animals with hair longer than one-inch. It could happen. Because how crazy is it that doctors would put ice in Rumsfeld’s knickers when Sy Hersh tells us that the Bush administration has plans to nuke Iran? What’s more unbelievable? That the White House has decided the way for the US to control all the oil in the Middle East is to drop nuclear bombs on the countries that protest? Or that the man who claims nuclear warfare is safe wears icewater panties? There is a point where Martin Random does go too far though. That’s when he says Condi Rice is completely balanced and normal. Come on, Mr. White House Insider, we weren’t born yesterday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What Were They Thinking?

Back in 1998 when the GOP mavens decided Texas Governor George W. Bush should be the 43rd President of the United States, what prompted the Republicans in power to make the worst decision ever made in American politics? The GOP had already decided in 1998 to initiate its plan of so-called pre-emptive strikes on oil-rich and vulnerable countries in the Middle East. Why didn’t they choose a strong and intelligent man to run for president? Why pick an under-achieving addiction-prone learning-disabled ne’er-do-well? George W. Bush was made to order for the job. George W. Bush was and is easily manipulated, vain, absolutely without ethics and totally corrupt. He is profoundly ignorant. He questions nothing and investigates nothing. However George W. Bush is personable. And his main attribute in the eyes of his handlers is that he believes God wants him to rule the world. He is a perfect dupe. The men who run the GOP are arrogant and have a 1950’s mindset. They are unable to understand that cover-ups will come to light and that lies will be found out. When given the chance, they always got away with their plots and schemes before. They are 20th century warhorses incapable of changing their modus operandi. And they too are without ethics and totally corrupt. When a fraud had to be perpetrated for GWB to win the 2000 election, the GOP may have realized it had made a terrible mistake, but evenso, the GOP has never deviated for one second from its avowed purpose. It would be interesting to know exactly when George W. Bush unalterably became damaged goods. By all accounts, he actually carried on a cogent debate with Ann Richards in 1994. Those who have watched the debate tape have said GWB acquitted himself well. Atlantic Monthly writer James Fallows said in the July-August 2004 issue that George W. Bush was articulate and forceful and that he spoke well. Sometime between the age of 48 and 58 George W. Bush suffered a serious breakdown of some sort. I favor the idea that he started using cocaine again to ramp up his macho-mojo and had a stroke…but who knows? The first time the GOP elevated a personable flawed dork to President of the United States, that bigoted know-nothing developed Alzheimer’s and faked it as president for the next seven years. Because of the limits of technology of the time, most people didn’t know the difference. The passage of twenty years has repaired that information gap. The fact that the United States has a mentally impaired idiot for president who has a messiah complex is impossible to conceal. But the original plan of those who pushed George W. Bush into the presidency has not changed since 1998. That plan has always been to control the entire Middle East and its oil by military means. Even though the Commander-in-Chief is a madman and a nuclear war in the Middle East would destroy us all, the White House and Pentagon neocons are undeterred. Republican apologists are still flogging the old complaint that at least the Bush administration has a plan for its war in Iraq and the Democrats have no plan. Wrong. The Democrats do have a plan. The plan of the Democratic Party is to keep informing the public about where the White House has been leading us, and to effect a regime change in the United States starting with the elections this year. But exposing the truth about John McCain as a warloving global aggression conservative is the most important job the Dems have. John McCain is Dick Cheney with wit and a smile. You can’t get more dangerous than that.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Garry Wills Tells Us What Jesus Meant

It’s not that Garry Wills doesn’t have the gravitas, requisite alphabet behind his name or the scholarship to opine about Jesus. He is adjunct professor of history at Northwestern University. He got a Ph.D. in classics from Yale. He writes about God, the Pope, Roman Catholicism, being a Catholic, St. Augustine, not to mention Abraham Lincoln, and John Wayne. And he has just authored a book titled “What Jesus Meant”. But the Op/Ed piece in the New York Times this morning by Garry Wills, “Christ Among the Partisans”, is irritating. Garry Wills purports to explain Jesus by doing exactly what the men who wrote the New Testament did. Garry Wills has an agenda and uses the stories that have come down to us about Jesus Christ as though they are facts that support his agenda. The Gospels of the New Testament are opinion pieces written at the earliest, 50 years and more after the death of Jesus. And although Wills’ main thesis is that Jesus had no political agenda, the men who wrote the gospels about Jesus certainly did have a political agenda. One of the most oft-repeated quotes attributed to Jesus is “Let Caesar have what belongs to him, and God have what belongs to him" (Matthew 22:21). This quote is used to show that Jesus believed in the separation of religion and state. That may be so. And yet, in the part of the world where Jesus lived and died, religion made the rules. Religion and state were one and the same entity and everything written was written from the perspective that religion called the shots. Garry Wills maintains that Jesus was apolitical because no one knew what he was going to do next. He bases the fact that no one knew what he would do next on the many conflicting and varied stories about Jesus that have come down to us in the Bible. And yet, the stories are conflicting because different men wrote from different perspectives about a man they had never met. And all of these writers had a political agenda. There are a few phrases and parables attributed to Jesus that appear in all four New Testament Gospels. Jesus probably did say something like these few quotes. But most of the quotes Wills uses are in dispute among historians as to whether Jesus said what is claimed he said. In many cases, a man living at the time Jesus lived would not have used the words and locutions it is claimed Jesus used. In other cases, it’s doubted Jesus would have been so arrogant as to say what is claimed he said. What Garry Wills can safely profess is that he absolutely believes in a mythic figure presented in the New Testament as Jesus Christ. Fine. That’s his prerogative. But he cannot claim that the words passed down to us in the Bible were the actual words and beliefs of a man called Jesus Christ who existed in history. Did Jesus say this: “My reign is not of this present order. If my reign were of this present order, my supporters would have fought against my being turned over to the Jews. But my reign is not here" (John 18:36)”? I don’t know and neither does Garry Wills. Wills has a hope. He has a belief. He has a religion. But he does not and cannot know if Christ said it or if the writers of the New Testament just made it up out of whole cloth to advance a religious bias of the time. I am in total agreement with Wills on one thing however: No one knows what Jesus Christ would do in any given circumstance at any given time.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Big News: Prez Leaked, But Not That Leak

The LA Times reports this morning that White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said. "Because of the public debate that was going on and some of the wild accusations that were flying around … we felt it was very much in the public interest that what information could be declassified, be declassified. And that's exactly what we did." So the info that President Bush authorized Libby to leak was a summary of the National Intelligence Estimate and it was supposed to refute the claims of pesky White House critic Joe Wilson. Okay. And Libby testified that he leaked this classified info to New York Times reporter Judith Miller after Bush gave Cheney his personal authorization for the leak. Okay. And McClellan further said, "Declassifying information and providing it to the public, when it is in the public interest, is one thing. But leaking classified information that could compromise our national security is something that is very serious." Okay. McClellan meant that when the Prez leaks classified info it’s good, but leaks about the President’s illegal wiretaps are very bad. But why did the President leak the National Intelligence Estimate info when ten days later he released the info publicly? The Prez authorized the leak to NYT reporter Judith Miller on July 8, 2003 because at that time he did not know whether its public release would violate national security. He was hedging his bets. And lest we didn’t catch the nuance of the Libby rat-out: Libby did not say that the Prez authorized the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s undercover CIA status. Which, of course you and I know he did. But nevermind. Okay…okay…okay. We get the message. The stance of the Bush administration is that the President can do whatever he likes, whenever he likes and it will never constitute anything but a good and necessary action in the public interest and for national security. Which we all know is boloney and we know the White House knows it’s boloney. Here’s the thing: If it’s on Page One, it is NOT the Big Story. Trust Sy Hersh. The New Yorker’s Sy Hersh knows where the Big Story is. And when Sy Hersh says in the April 17th issue of the New Yorker that the White House is planning to use nukes on Iran, believe it. Nukes and what the US plans to do with them worldwide is what we should be concerned about. The White House Monkey on a Chain can’t even pronounce the word nuclear, you don’t think he's told anything about anything, do you?

Friday, April 07, 2006

So What Exactly Did Libby Say?

I. Lewis Libby Jr. said in grand jury testimony that was disclosed Wednesday that in July 2003 he was authorized by President Bush through Vice President Cheney to disclose parts of a classified pre-war intelligence estimate regarding Iraq. However, Libby did not say that the Prez or the Dick had authorized him to divulge the name of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson. The leak to reporters occurred after Joe Wilson’s article had appeared in the New York Times which reported that it was "highly doubtful" that Iraq had tried to get nuclear fuel in Africa. Meaning that the Bush administration had lied about the case against Saddam Hussein. Cheney was incensed anyone would doubt his word or the President’s word. The leak was supposed to prove that according to the best info the White House had at the time, the Bush administration believed Iraq had tried to buy nuclear fuel in Africa. Libby said that since the president can declassify any material he sees fit, Bush declassified the up-to-then classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) re Iraq in order to squelch the firestorm Wilson’s article had started. The Prez through Cheney gave Libby the okay to talk to reporters about the NIE information. As the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Jane Harman (D-CA) said, "If the disclosure is true, it's breathtaking. The president is revealed as the leaker in chief." In September, 2003 Bush said, “I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action." In October, 2003 Bush said, “I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. Now, this is a large administration, and there's a lot of senior officials. I don't have any idea. I'd like to. I want to know the truth. That's why I've instructed this staff of mine to cooperate fully with the investigators -- full disclosure, everything we know the investigators will find out. I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is.” In June 2004, Bush replied "yes" when asked if he would fire anyone who leaked the agent's name. We know everyone in the Bush administration lies every time they open their mouths. This latest example of mendacity is not much of a surprise. But what is astonishing is that Bush and Cheney have had total faith that either through loyalty or through fear no one in the White House would rat them out when the going got tough. Now that Rat One has fingered George W. Bush as Leaker A, the GOP pushing and shoving to get publishing house book deals, legal representation and information on witness protection is going to look like B-movie crowd-scene cattle calls.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Oh How Funny! Bush Thinks He’s President

Deluded and grandiose as he is, George Bush seems to believe he actually is President of the United States. Yesterday he said, “I told Josh (Bolton, Andy Card’s replacement) that he is — will organize the White House in such a way that he is comfortable with and that meets my needs. And my needs are to have good, crisp information so I can make decisions on behalf of the American people." Back in October 2005, by the way, this acting president said, "I just can't tell you how important it is for us to guard executive privilege in order for there to be crisp decision-making in the White House.” Bush gets wedded to words. Like other mentally challenged adults trying to fake it in a complex world, George W. Bush believes that if he uses a word, he owns the attribute. In any case, it will be a relief when the Bush minders start making crisp decisions. We’ve been waiting for six years and haven’t seen any yet. One of the mysteries surrounding the Bush cabinet is why Treasury Secretary John Snow hasn’t resigned. He isn’t happy. He’s made it clear he isn’t happy. And yet there he is, apparently waiting to be kicked out. Last month, the names on every short list re Treasury Secretary were Henry M. Paulson Jr., chief executive of Goldman Sachs; John J. Mack, chief executive of Morgan Stanley; and Richard D. Parsons, chairman of Time Warner. Apparently, Mack and Parsons quickly said No thank you, because only Paulson’s name is still being bandied about. Stanley O’Neal, chairman and chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch is now being touted as a possible Snow replacement. O’Neal has the added appeal of being black, having come up the son of a cotton picker and having been a factory foreman at General Motors. However, I feel sure the reason Snow is still Secretary of the Treasury is that no one wants the job no way no how. You have to realize that Merrill Lynch boosted O’Neal’s salary to $37 mil in 2005. That would be hard to give up. I still can’t get over Bush saying he needs to have crisp information to make decisions for the American people. He had some pretty crisp information the day the planes slammed into the World Trade Center. He did absolutely nothing for five minutes. He got some very crisp info that more troops were needed in Iraq. He decided more troops were not needed in Iraq. His crisp info said to fire Rumsfeld. He did nothing. He had really crisp information the day Katrina hit. He did nothing. Apparently he can’t handle crisp information. Oh okay. I got it. He’s dyslexic. He saw a memo that said Here’s the prick’s information. Now that makes sense.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The DeLay Legacy

Richard Cullen, Tom DeLay's criminal defense lawyer, said last night that his client had been pondering a withdrawal from the race for some time and that "it had nothing to do with any criminal investigation." "The decision had absolutely nothing to do with the investigation," Mr. Cullen said. "It was a very personal decision and a political one." Uh huh. Just wanted to spend more time with his family. Before he goes to jail. Tom Delay is generally considered to be the most corrupt politician in Washington, DC today. When his former deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy, pleaded guilty to corruption charges, DeLay realized his particular jig was up. However, he just can’t keep from running the long con. It’s a compulsion. "I can continue to be a leader of the conservative cause. I can do more to grow the Republican majority, rather than spend the next eight months locked down in running a campaign," he said. But the big story isn’t about Tom DeLay. Tom DeLay is yesterday’s Texas cowpie. The big story is that John Boehner, DeLay’s majority leader replacement, plans to pick up where Tom DeLay left off. Boehner said Delay was “one of the most effective and gifted leaders the Republican Party has ever known." Boehner said of his predecessor, "He was a tireless advocate for his constituents, the state of Texas, and all Americans who shared a commitment to the principles of smaller government, more freedom, and family values.” There you go. Family values Texas style: Lie, cheat, coerce, defraud, bribe, swindle and conspire. DeLay just passed the baton to John Boehner.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Dear New York Times:

I love your lead paragraph in this morning’s “Endgame in Iraq” editorial. Let me quote it. “Iraq is becoming a country that America should be ashamed to support, let alone occupy. The nation as a whole is sliding closer to open civil war. In its capital, thugs kidnap and torture innocent civilians with impunity, then murder them for their religious beliefs. The rights of women are evaporating. The head of the government is the ally of a radical anti-American cleric who leads a powerful private militia that is behind much of the sectarian terror.” Can it be you are unaware as to why Iraq is “sliding closer to open civil war”? Can it be that you are ignorant about why “thugs kidnap and torture innocent civilians with impunity”? But no, later, you say, “Unfortunately, after three years of policy blunders in Iraq, Washington may no longer have the political or military capital to prevail.” And further on, you say, “That may be hard for Americans to understand, since it was the United States invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and helped the Shiite majority to power. Some 140,000 American troops remain in Iraq, more than 2,000 American servicemen and servicewomen have died there so far and hundreds of billions of American dollars have been spent.” Now it’s clear: You are not unaware and ignorant, you simply have your collective head up your mainstream media ass. The point you make that the US invaded Iraq, helped the Shiites come to power, and have killed 2,330 American soldiers is exactly what Americans find easy to understand. You say “The stories about innocent homeowners and storekeepers who are dragged from their screaming families and killed by those same militias are heartbreaking, as is the thought that the United States, in its hubris, helped bring all this to pass.” HELPED bring it to pass? HELPED? What Americans find easy to understand is that the Bush administration, in its hubris, single-handedly BROUGHT ALL THIS TO PASS. And it was not to aid the Iraqis in throwing off the shackles of a despotic, corrupt and sadistic ruler, nor was it to bring democracy to an oppressed people. We have proof via a memo written by PM Tony Blair’s chief foreign policy advisor David Manning in 2003 that President Bush was determined to find an excuse to attack Iraq despite the fact that his plans were illegal, unethical, and lacked sound judgment. And the reason the White House was willing to tell lies, to attack without a second UN resolution, to attack without getting Congress to declare war even now is murky. It may have been because Iraq was an easy first step in a US global aggression scheme, or it may have been to solidify American power in the Middle East, or perhaps safeguarding American oil interests in Iraq was, after all, what the war was about. But the Bush administration made a decision to own Iraq by military means. And now the Bush administration owns Iraq. It owns all the strife, all the killing, and the civil war. Most of all, New York Times, I love your editorial’s send-off: “It is conceivable that the situation can still be turned around,” you say. Following it with, “Mr. Khalilzad should not back off. The kind of broadly inclusive government he is trying to bring about offers the only hope that Iraq can make a successful transition from the terrible mess it is in now to the democracy that we all hoped would emerge after Saddam Hussein's downfall. It is also the only way to redeem the blood that has been shed by Americans and Iraqis alike.” Who the hell is that “we all” who hoped democracy would emerge in Iraq? Let me go on record, you gnat-brained editorial morons, it was never a remote dream or hope of mine that democracy would emerge from the mess we caused in Iraq. I never thought it would be possible. I never believed the Bush lies. I never thought the Iraq people could embrace democracy overnight after centuries of dictatorships. And I never thought it was a good idea to push the concept of democracy onto the Iraqis. I am not alone. There are millions of people who sat in dismay and felt hopeless for Iraq and its people when the Bush administration, in its incredible hubris, decided to attack and then force fed democracy and Christian precepts down the throats of a Muslim nation that for centuries only knew and understood autocracy. There is absolutely no way to “redeem the blood that has been shed by Americans and Iraqis alike.” And certainly, calling our vicious and illegal attack of Iraq an act of kindness, does not effect redemption. This morning’s inane editorial sounds like the propaganda dished out by the White House disinformation department. They think that calling something by another name changes the nature of the thing in question. It doesn’t. They think that couching bad policy in new rhetoric changes bad policy to good policy. It doesn’t. This morning, the New York Times said we all hoped democracy would emerge after Saddam was ousted from power. No we didn’t. This morning, the New York Times said the situation in Iraq could be turned around. No it can’t. This morning, the New York Times said that bringing democracy to Iraq would redeem the blood the Bush administration has shed in Iraq. No it won’t. Wishing does not and never will make it so.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Oh Please, LA Times, Knock It Off!

“It's been a while since a major American news organization treated an important national issue as irresponsibly as CNN now does immigration,” an editorial in the LA Times claimed this morning. Well, it hasn’t exactly been that long a while, even the Times had to admit, when it likened Lou Dobbs and Company to Fox News. “’Fair and balanced’ is already taken, so one supposes that Dobbs' slogan will have to be ‘bully and bluster’.” The Times’ long suit is not wit. As an example of Dobb’s irresponsibility, the Times cited the following: “One of the things that frustrates many of us who care about our country and the truth," Dobbs wrote on CNN's website Friday, "is the rampant barrage of misinformation, disseminated by such vociferous special interests, whether they are ethnocentric social activists, labor unions, the Catholic Church or Corporate America. The truth is, advocates of amnesty, guest-worker programs and open borders are unconcerned about the 280 million American citizens, the men and women of this country who work for a living and their families." First, it’s the irresponsibility of the US government that has landed us in the pickle we are in with between 11 million and 20 million illegal immigrants in the US today. Cheap labor and pandering to the Latino vote has lead to little or no security at our borders. And now illegal immigrants who do not pay into Social Security, who do not pay taxes, but avail themselves of all of our social services and are causing problems in our public schools, overloading our health care services, and welfare departments and costing the government mega-bucks are making demands. ILLEGAL is a definable word. An illegal immigrant is someone who broke the laws of our land to get here and continues to break the laws of our land to live here. If we were only talking about Emma Lazarus’s sentimental concept--"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”—it would be one thing. But we are talking about what happens when the federal government in order to pander to corporate greed—that is, cheap labor—and in order to get votes condones breaking the law. No matter what the LA Times, the Bush administration and the Roman Catholic Church may argue, illegal immigrants got here illegally and are staying here illegally. That’s what our laws say. What must be addressed and seriously is this: What can we do NOW that the US government has dropped the ball for the last 20 years? When President Ronald Reagan and his administration granted amnesty to illegal immigrants in 1986, they did so with no concern for the dire lasting effects. We are now seeing those lasting effects. Repeating the same mistakes that caused the problem will not solve the problem. Because amnesty did not work in the past, because illegals were not sent back in the past, because cheap labor and the Latino vote was more important to legislators than enforcement of our laws, almost any action taken now is unworkable. Lou Dobbs and his complaints are not wrong. Our government is wrong. Our government has been wrong about illegal immigrants for 20 years.