Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cheney Targeted? Oh Please!

For starters, no one knew Vice President Cheney was in Afghanistan. He made the secret trip in order to have a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai about the spring offensive against the Taliban. Yesterday, a suicide bomber struck the main entrance at the Bagram air base where Cheney was waiting to be flown to Kabul. Cheney told reporters, "I heard a loud boom…the Secret Service came in and told me there had been an attack on the main gate." Maj. William Mitchell said it did not appear the explosion was intended as a threat to the vice president. "He wasn't near the site of the explosion," Mitchell said. "He was safely within the base at the time of the explosion." ABC News said, “Cheney was apparently never in any danger at any time on a trip that had been marked by intense secrecy and high security.” Only after the Taliban found out Cheney was in the area did they claim Cheney was the target and that the Taliban was responsible. The bomber never got near Cheney. About two hours after the blast, Cheney flew as scheduled to Kabul for his meeting with Karzai. Karzai’s office said 23 people were killed and 20 wounded by the suicide bomber. Last night during Larry King’s interview with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Pelosi said, “I don’t know the facts, but there are four layers of security between where the break in security occurred and where the vice president was.” She said she was familiar with the air force base in Bagram because she had just been there. Translation: There was no plot, you morons. It has suited the Taliban and the White House to promote the idea that Vice President Cheney was the target of an assassination attempt by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. And the MSM has more than willingly obliged with headlines shouting that the Taliban tried to kill Cheney. But the facts do not bear out that scenario. And it’s a precarious tightrope for the White House to walk. While trying to install Cheney into the same exalted club as Presidents Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan, the White House also has to make clear that the security surrounding Cheney protected him from harm. For the Bush administration to hype a suicide bomber’s attack on an Afghan air force base as an assassination attempt on Cheney is from the same playbook as Homeland Security hysterically screaming DANGER! DANGER! to deflect attention from White House malfeasance and bungling. And what is the result of this latest episode from the White House fiction department? The lifeless body of Anna Nicole Smith is of more interest to everyone in the world than whether Dick Cheney lives or dies.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

When The Idiots Are On Your Side

Once again, the lunatic fringe is on my side where religion is concerned. And I wish they were on the other side. The mounting brouhaha over the upcoming documentary “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” on the Discovery Channel is a continuation of the furor caused by “The Da Vinci Code”. I absolutely agree with the premise of that book about Jesus of Nazareth’s private life and I absolutely believe everything in the book about the Roman Catholic Church’s cult, Opus Dei. And yet, Dan Brown is such a bad writer that he turned the main plot and silly subplot into one extended yawn. The executive producer of the Discovery Channel’s documentary is “Titanic” director, James Cameron. A more self-serving, egomanical asshole never existed. This morning, the New York Times quotes Cameron saying he had been “trepidatious” about getting involved in the Discovery Channel project. However, the NYT says, Cameron claims he got into it, “out of a great passion for a good detective story,” and not to offend or cash in. Boloney! James Cameron doesn’t do anything not to cash in. And even though it well may be true that this time his motives are pure as the driven snow, his behavior in the past casts doubt on his actions in the present. The documentary’s director, Simcha Jacobovici, is an Israeli-born Canadian who has some impressive documentaries in his resume. (The Exodus Decoded, Deadly Currents, James: Brother of Jesus, to mention a few.) But when asked why certain DNA testing had not been done on the burial boxes claimed to have contained the Jesus family's bones, he said, “We’re not scientists. At the end of the day we can’t wait till every ossuary is tested for DNA…We took the story that far. At some point you have to say, ‘I’ve done my job as a journalist.’ ” Or, put another way, at some point you have to say, Let’s cash in now. The story is that in 1980 an area in the East Talpivot neighborhood of Jerusalem was being excavated in order to build a new building. Ten burial boxes were found in a tomb at the site. Six of them had inscriptions. All archaeologists agree that there is no possibility the inscriptions were forged because they were catalogued and kept in storage in the Israel Antiquities Authority. The Discovery Channel documentary claims that the crypt contained the bones of Jesus of Nazareth and that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that the couple had a son, named Judah, and that all three were buried together. Of course, if true, these claims would mean that Jesus did not rise from the dead but stayed buried in his crypt like any other normal mortal man. Which, of course, is a big problem for the Christian religion. To call yourself a card-carrying Christian you have to believe in Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Since I have no belief that Jesus rose from the dead or that Jesus is God, I have no problem with the idea that Jesus was a really good man who was married, had children and was crucified because he challenged the Jewish beliefs of the time. I have no problem with the ideas posited by “The DaVinci Code”. And I have no problem with the ideas posited by “The Lost Tomb of Jesus”. I have a problem with the guys putting forth these ideas. I don’t think they’ve been thorough or responsible, or honorable or creditable. But I have to say, I am not hoping that undeniable proof comes along to further my personal convictions. I believe that having proof that the whole Christian religion is based on fraud would be a tremendous disaster for the entire world. The Discovery Channel documentary, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" will be presented on March 4th at 9:00 PM.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Trouble With Amateurs in the Middle East

And let’s face it, the Bush administration is a nest of amateurs with regard to warfare, with regard to diplomacy, and particularly, with regard to dealing with the Arab world. Rank amateurs. Seymour Hersh has another revealing article in the March 5th issue of The New Yorker. It’s called “The Redirection” and it can be downloaded now. The article is 8100 words long and is comprehensive and complicated. It tells everything you ever wanted to know about how the White House has been outsmarted at every turn by all factions in the Arab world, while at the same time the White House believes it has been so very smart and wily. The main problem with the Bush administration is that no one in the Bush administration, or the Pentagon, or the US military has the knowledge or brains to deal with even the lowest of the low functionary in the Middle East, let alone how to deal with a high level mullah, prince, imam, president, prime minister or army commander. Right now, today, our government is supporting the Shiites in Iraq but it believes it’s supporting the Sunnis. We’re spreading money around as though it were stacks of newsprint in order to buy support. But the money is going to the wrong people who are using it to facilitate terrorists who despise the US. We have no idea who our friends are, if we have any, in the Middle East. And we have no idea if the people and causes we are supporting will benefit US goals or if the people will turn around and kill us. And now we’re starting the same covert ops that failed during the Reagan administration’s Iran-Contra scandal. The Bush Administration has publicly pledged Lebanon Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s government a billion dollars in aid. A senior intelligence official told Hersh, “We are in a program to enhance the Sunni capability to resist Shiite influence, and we’re spreading the money around as much as we can.” But the former official said, “The money always gets in more pockets than you think it will…in this process, we’re financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. We don’t have the ability to determine and get pay vouchers signed by the people we don’t like. It’s a very high-risk venture.” In other words, the money is going to Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. In addition, the money is going to Sunni jihadists called Salafis. A former Saudi diplomat told Hersh, “Salafis are sick and hateful, and I’m very much against the idea of flirting with them...they hate the Shiites, but they hate Americans more. If you try to outsmart them, they will outsmart us. It will be ugly.” Saudi’s Prince Bandar is leading the US around by the nose because his family and the Bush family have been in bed together for decades and decades. Bandar is shoveling horseshit about Shiites/Sunnis that goes back, if you can believe it, to a feud that started in the seventh century. Frederic Hof, a retired military officer and an expert on the Middle East, told Hersh, “The Saudis still see the world through the days of the Ottoman Empire, when Sunni Muslims ruled the roost and the Shiites were the lowest class.” Hersh said, “If Bandar was seen as bringing about a shift in U.S. policy in favor of the Sunnis it would greatly enhance his standing within the royal family.” We’ve got a cast of fools in the Bush administration who feel like big-time cloak and dagger undercover operatives. When the truth is, they are behind the times in fuck-your-neighbor maneuvers to the tune of 13 centuries.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Real News Couldn’t Be Worse

And yet, most Americans, me included, are more interested in the Oscars tonight or whether Anna Nicole Smith’s various cosmetic implants will biodegrade by the year 6050, than in listening to or reading more hogwash from the White House. One could argue that we Americans are so shallow and self-absorbed that our only concern is fun, games and entertainment, and that we have tuned out regarding the woeful state of the world. Or, one could argue that Americans have been so lied to by the Bush administration that we no longer believe anything we hear that is remotely called news. Or, one could argue that the Bush administration is so concerned with saving face and its own aggrandizement that it refuses to listen to intelligence reports that run counter to Bush administration propaganda. And in any case, the Bush administration has no intention of disseminating the truth even if it could recognize it. This morning Frank Rich said in his New York Times Op/Ed article that we are back to the Bush administration’s MO of 2001. The White House refused then to believe information it received about terrorist plots against the US. Rich says, “The White House doesn’t want to hear it now, either. That’s why terrorism experts are trying to get its attention by going public, and not just through The Times. Michael Scheuer, the former head of the C.I.A. bin Laden unit, told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann last week that the Taliban and Al Qaeda, having regrouped in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 'are going to detonate a nuclear device inside the United States' (the real United States, that is, not the fictional stand-in where this same scenario can be found on '24'). Al Qaeda is 'on the march' rather than on the run, the Georgetown University and West Point terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman told Congress. Tony Blair is pulling troops out of Iraq not because Basra is calm enough to be entrusted to Iraqi forces — it’s 'not ready for transition,' according to the Pentagon’s last report — but to shift some British resources to the losing battle against the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.” Is the White House so bent on rewriting history that it is putting the US in jeopardy? Rich thinks so. “This is why the entire debate about the Iraq 'surge' is as much a sideshow as Britney’s scalp. More troops in Baghdad are irrelevant to what’s going down in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The surge supporters who accuse the Iraq war’s critics of emboldening the enemy are trying to deflect attention from their own complicity in losing a bigger battle: the one against the enemy that actually did attack us on 9/11. Who lost Iraq? is but a distraction from the more damning question, Who is losing the war on terrorism?” Rich concludes by saying, “Five years after 9/11, the terrorists would seem to have us just where they want us — asleep — even as the system is blinking red once again.” I believe that the people in the White House Insane Asylum are so malevolent and crazed that they have made it inevitable for terrorists to use a nuclear device against us right here in the US. In which event, they can say they have been predicting all along that Al Qaeda will fight us here if we don’t win the war in Iraq. I believe the WHIA is capable of inviting an Al Qaeda attack just so it can say it was right. Are we asleep as Frank Rich suggests? No. The citizens of the US are not asleep. And the Bush administration is not asleep. It’s worse than that. The citizens don’t know what to do about its leaders being treasonous madmen. And the treasonous madmen are maniacally awake to the worst-case scenario involving Al Qaeda because they are behind it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Dishonorable Senator John McCain

Maureen Dowd said today in an Op/Ed piece in the New York Times, “So some guy stands up after John McCain’s luncheon speech here yesterday to a group of business types and asks him a question. ‘I’ve seen in the press where in your run for the presidency, you’ve been sucking up to the religious right,’ the man said, adding: ‘I was just wondering how soon do you predict a Republican candidate for president will start sucking up to the old Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party?’ “Mr. McCain listened with his eyes downcast, then looked the man in the eye, smiled and replied: ‘I’m probably going to get in trouble, but what’s wrong with sucking up to everybody?’” The audience laughed. McCain has been quoted in print that Bush listens too much to Cheney and that Cheney and Rumsfeld mismanaged the war in Iraq. Yesterday Cheney said, “John said some nasty things about me the other day…and then the next time he saw me, ran over to me and apologized.” McCain told Cheney he had been quoted out of context. What’s wrong with sucking up to everyone? What’s wrong with saying nasty things and then groveling and whining that you’ve been quoted out of context? For starters, it’s unmanly and gutless. But in addition, it’s unctuous, sneaky, spineless, cowardly, weak and fraudulent. And this is Senator (R-AZ) John McCain’s modus operandi. A person does not suddenly become a dishonorable human being. How did McCain get through five years as a Prisoner of War in Vietnam? You tell me.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What Keeps Cheney Alive?

Why hasn’t Vice President Dick Cheney dropped dead from angst? Why hasn’t the vitriol that courses through his veins not killed him? Wherever Cheney goes, a complete hospital goes with him. How come he’s still alive? My mom would have said he’s too mean to die. Cheney’s first heart attack was in 1978 at age 37. Heart attack two was in 1984, heart attack three was in 1988, and heart attack four was in 2000. He’s had coronary bypass surgery. A coronary stent was implanted. He’s been treated for abnormal heart function, unstable angina and coronary heart failure. He’s had coronary angioplasty. Cheney’s other problems include esophagitis, which most often is caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn). He’s allergic to pomegranates. Cheney was shot in a hunting accident and he shot a friend in a hunting accident. He’s had gout, skin cancer and one of his medications (or perhaps it’s apnea) makes him sleepy at inappropriate times. He’s obese. He’s had a history of smoking to excess. Not even God himself could find out what medications Cheney has to take. And yet, here he is jetting to Japan and Australia in his flying hospital ostensibly to meet with the few people in the civilized world who agree with the Bush administration’s war in Iraq. But instead of sounding clear-headed and forcefully making George Bush look like a leader, Cheney has made an ass of himself by carrying on an internecine snitfit across the continents with John McCain. And, instead of meeting with Japan’s defense minister (who is having second thoughts about the war in Iraq), Cheney decided to play kissy-face with a Korean couple whose daughter was kidnapped by North Korea decades ago. The president of the United States is certifiably insane and the Vice President is exhibiting all the signs of a man who has lost his mind because he is so ill with heart trouble that oxygen is not reaching his brain. It’s no wonder the Republicans are doing everything they can to discredit Nancy Pelosi. We’ve still got 697 days left of the Bush/Cheney term of office. That’s just shy of two years. With the President and Vice President in precarious mental and physical health, anything could happen to both of them in 697 days. And Nancy Pelosi would be president. It's enough to give a neocon Republican Vice President seizures. You know what I'm thinking? I'm thinking there's a Central Casting site with world leader look-alikes. So that when a big mahoff kicks off, he can be seamlessly replaced with no dire effects to the world. I'm thinking the Castro and Cheney look-alikes have already been called into service.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tony Blair’s Reason for Withdrawing Troops

Great Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair announced today that Great Britain will withdraw its troops from Iraq. The plan that has been rumored for some time is that about 7000 troops will be withdrawn from southern Iraq by this summer, beginning with 1500 going home in the coming weeks. So has Blair seen the light? Is he properly embarrassed by his sycophantic lapdog role with President Bush? Does he regret the lies he told in order to support the Bush administration’s illegal and unnecessary war in Iraq? Of course not. As a matter of fact, Blair made his own “Mission Accomplished” announcement. The public reason Blair used for his plans to withdraw troops is that the Brit’s code-named “Sinbad” operation in Basra has been successful and is now complete, therefore the Brits can pull out their troops. But the private reason Blair will withdraw British troops is that Blair is going to step down soon (read, step down before getting unceremoniously booted out) after ten years of being Prime Minister and he doesn’t want his legacy to be soiled by leaving troops in Iraq. Heartwarming. And ridiculous. As though the Brits and the world will look at Blair’s involvement in the war in Iraq in a more kindly way because he withdrew troops before stepping down. Although, Blair’s hope for a positive critique by writers of history is not quite as preposterous as George Bush’s belief that the writers of history not only will judge him in a positive light, but will see his war as anything but stupid and criminally insane. As CNN said, no matter how the Bush administration spins this news from Blair it’s a big blow for the White House. And questions are already being floated. Like, what happens when Blair’s mission accomplished in Basra turns out to be as big a joke as George Bush’s mission accomplished extravaganza on the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003? How will the US handle having to replace the 7000 British troops in Basra with US troops? Tony Blair can write his pullout scene any way he likes, but the fact is, the rats have deserted the White House Insane Asylum’s sinking ship. It really doesn’t matter any more what Crazy George says. It doesn’t matter any more how Cheney spins the latest news or in what way Tony Snow once more sounds like a ranting idiot. Because the main point is how voters will vote. And right now, this morning, the Republicans are done for in 2008. And that’s the bottom line, base and ugly as that may be. The fact that our soldiers are being killed day after day for no good reason in Iraq is not going to end this war. Americans planning to vote against the Republican Party will end this war.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Crazy George Has Another Grandiose Episode

This time, the Prez was at George Washington’s estate in Mount Vernon, VA to commemorate Presidents’ Day. In the past, George Bush has been fond of comparing his puny, illegal and unnecessary attack on Iraq to World War II. He has seen himself as the liberator of mankind from the onslaught of the axis of evil, which axis keeps changing in line with the particular virtual reality dreamscape the Prez is envisioning at the moment. But yesterday, our deranged president likened himself to George Washington. And now the war in Iraq was like the Revolutionary War. Bush said that America is engaged in “a new war to defend our liberty and our people and our way of life.” Even the New York Times this morning could not figure out whether Bush was talking about the war in Iraq or the war against terror. And it really doesn’t matter, since the man was off in his own dream of glory, which had no basis in reality anyway. As the NYT said, the Prez has compared himself in the past to Truman and Lincoln. Now it was George Washington’s turn to spin in his grave. Bush said of Washington, he “stood on the brink of disaster many times” and “his will was unbreakable”. Even though George W. Bush and George Washington may share those two descriptions, as far as we know, George Washington was not an alcoholic, lying, ignorant, draft-dodging, psychopath like his latter-day counterpart. And although president Bush claims to be reading about George Washington, it is doubtful he has read “George Washington's Rules of Civility”, the 110 maxims our First President lived by. Or if George W. Bush has seen Washington’s Rules of Civility, it is certain he would never feel they apply to him because GWB is not governed by the civil, legal or ethical laws observed by ordinary men. George W. Bush knows in his heart he is THE GREAT I AM.

Monday, February 19, 2007

So the Bush Successes are What? And Where?

Two days ago, Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-MalikiMaliki said the crackdown in Baghdad was a “dazzling success”. Today, two car bombs killed over 60 people in a Baghdad market. Another headline in the New York Times reported, “Al Qaeda Chiefs Are Seen to Regain Power” and the lede paragraph says, “Senior leaders of Al Qaeda operating from Pakistan have re-established significant control over their once-battered worldwide terror network and over the past year have set up a band of training camps in the tribal regions near the Afghan border, according to American intelligence and counterterrorism officials.” In addition to the above, as if to put George Bush’s claim in a cocked hat that his main interest is the well being of our soldiers, yesterday the Washington Post published its first article on “Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility”. One of the horrible stories about how badly our returning wounded vets are treated was the experience of Sgt. David Thomas: WaPo said, “Perks and stardom do not come to every amputee. Sgt. David Thomas, a gunner with the Tennessee National Guard, spent his first three months at Walter Reed with no decent clothes; medics in Samarra had cut off his uniform. Heavily drugged, missing one leg and suffering from traumatic brain injury, David, 42, was finally told by a physical therapist to go to the Red Cross office, where he was given a T-shirt and sweat pants. He was awarded a Purple Heart but had no underwear. David tangled with Walter Reed's image machine when he wanted to attend a ceremony for a fellow amputee, a Mexican national who was being granted U.S. citizenship by President Bush. A caseworker quizzed him about what he would wear. It was summer, so David said shorts. The case manager said the media would be there and shorts were not advisable because the amputees would be seated in the front row.” When the invitee list to the ceremony came out, Sgt. Thomas had been disinvited. My first thought on this Presidents Day was that George W. Bush’s name should be stricken from the list of US presidents, since his two elections were fraudulent and over 50% of the voters in the US don’t consider him to be our president. Or at the very least, in any future listing of US presidents, George W. Bush’s name should have an asterisk in order to explain that he was never elected president in an honest election. But on sober reflection, I have come to believe that George W. Bush’s name should be in the list of US presidents. And that is so that a full accounting of his crimes, lies, frauds and bad decisions can be rendered in complete and hideous detail for the edification of future generations. Plus, if his name is in the list of US presidents, it can be made fully clear that George W. Bush was the worst president in the entire history of the United States up to and through 2008.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

How About a Game of Solitaire, Mr. Bush?

Frank Rich has a great teaser for his February 18th New York Times Op/Ed piece, “Oh What a Malleable War”: “The team that once sold the country smoking guns in the shape of mushroom clouds has completely lost its mojo.” Rich later says, “For all the sloppy internal contradictions, the most incriminating indictment of the new White House disinformation campaign is to be found in official assertions made more than a year ago. The press and everyone else seems to have forgotten that the administration has twice sounded the same alarms about Iranian weaponry in Iraq that it did last week.” But the spin factory is dithering and unsure without the sure hand of Karl Rove. It’s so out of kilter that the White House is not on the same page with the Pentagon and the Pentagon is not on the same page with Congress. And press secretary Tony Snow has to make so many contradictory assertions his eyeballs are revolving in opposite directions. Rich puts the lie to Bush’s claim, “My job is to protect our troops. And when we find devices that are in that country that are hurting our troops, we're going to do something about it, pure and simple.” Rich points out that the problem with our troops not having proper gear or armor to fight a war has been going on since 2003 and Bush has done nothing about it. Rich gives a number of reasons why Bush would claim to “do something” by lying about Iran. 1) “His real aim is to provoke war with Iran, no matter how overstretched and ill-equipped our armed forces may be for that added burden. By this line of thinking, the run-up to the war in Iraq is now repeating itself exactly and Mr. Bush will seize any handy casus belli he can to ignite a conflagration in Iran.” Or, 2) The Bush administration needs to “distract the public from reality that runs counter to the White House's political interests.” This distraction ploy has been the modus operandi of the White House since 2000. When the going gets tough, scare the shit out of folks. Or, 3) Since Congress has within its power to cut funding for the war in Iraq, provoking war with Iran is the Bush administration's last ditch effort to prolong the war in Iraq. Since reasons Number 1 and Number 3 are so patently insane, does Frank Rich give any logical explanation why the Bush administration wants to prolong a war it can’t win in Iraq by promoting another war it can’t win with Iran? Rich does give an explanation. But it cannot be termed logical since the men who are building a case for staying in Iraq and going to war with Iran are out of their minds. Rich points out that the politicians in Iraq that the Bush administration has endorsed are the very men who have made an alliance with Iran. Rich says, “When you have a president making a big show of berating Iran while simultaneously empowering it, you've got another remake of 'The Manchurian Candidate', this time played for keeps.”

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Funding for the Troops

George W. Bush’s big argument against the House of Representatives non-binding resolution that repudiates the troop surge in Iraq is that it may lead to binding resolutions to stop funding the war in Iraq. The Prez says he’s going to be be “very aggressive” about his war plans because his highest concern is for the troops. Dear President Numnuts: That is the worst possible talking point you could bring up at this particular point in time. On Friday, we were told that three top auditors came before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and said the Bush administration has spent more than $350 billion on the Iraq war and the reconstruction effort. The auditors found that the Bush administration has squandered over $19 billion and the auditors still have $300 billion in Iraq spending to review. It's expected that more high-level flim-flam will be uncovered. The GOP has already wasted and/or siphoned off for the private use of top-level Republican politicians billions of dollars of Iraq money. The GOP has already cheated the entire population of the United States by allocating funds for reconstruction to VP Cheney’s own company, Halliburton. Which company and its variously named subdivisions have been found to be the prime culprits in wasting government money. David M. Walker who is the head of the auditing department of Congress said, “There is no accountability. Organizations charged with overseeing contracts are not held accountable. Contractors are not held accountable. The individuals responsible are not held accountable.'' Walker said GAO (Government Accountability Office) investigators can’t get basic details about spending in Iraq because Pentagon divisions don’t track the spending and don’t fully report the spending. The appearance of the auditors before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee comes just as Congress is gearing up for a showdown next month with the Prez over his budget request of nearly $100 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When George W. Bush talks about funding for the troops, he’s talking about money that can be put in the pockets of defense contractors. George W. Bush doesn’t give a damn about the troops. Our troops don’t have proper gear and armor to defend themselves. The Humvees that our troops drive in Iraq lack the armor any vehicle must have if used in a war zone. And when our soldiers come home from Iraq without arms and legs and with severe mental disturbances, they have to wait for months for treatment in VA hospitals. If George W. Bush had one working braincell, which he doesn’t, the last bit of overblown hyperbole he would use is, “funding for the troops”.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Everyone Supports US Troops Except….

Turns out, everyone in the United States supports our troops in Iraq, with the exception of the Department of Defense, the Pentagon and the Bush administration. All that high-decibel hysterical shrieking from the Republican Party about Iraq war dissenters not supporting the troops in Iraq is an unsuccessful effort to outshout the increasing evidence that our own Pentagon and warmongers in the White House have not supported our troops. On Monday, a Washington Post article, “Thousands of Army Humvees Lack Armor Upgrade”, related how badly equipped our soldiers in Iraq have been and will be through this coming summer. Today, an editorial in the New York Times, “Not Supporting Our Troops” makes the same assertion. It cannot be said often enough: The Bush administration has short-changed and cheated our troops every step of its blunder through Iraq. As the NYT says this morning, “It’s bad enough that these soldiers are being asked to risk their lives without President Bush demanding that Iraq’s leaders take any political risks that might give the military mission at least an outside chance of success. But according to an article in The Washington Post this week, at least some of the troops will be sent out in Humvees not yet equipped with FRAG Kit 5 armor. That’s an advanced version designed to reduce deaths from roadside bombs, which now account for about 70 percent of United States casualties in Iraq.” The United States is planning to resettle at least 5,000 Iraqi refugees in the US by this coming summer. This is as it should be considering the United States illegally and unnecessarily attacked Iraq and brought down a hell on earth on innocent Iraqis. However, for the United States not to properly equip its soldiers and not to properly treat its wounded war veterans is the modus operandi of fascists. The entire population of the United States respects and supports its soldiers except for the criminally insane men who started the war in Iraq. And it's that criminally insane faction that is determined to keep on marauding and killing in Iraq because, presumably, that's what real men do.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Two More Hot Ones from Hogwash Central

Get this! The White House Insane Asylum Says Muqtada Al-Sadr is so scared of the Bush administration’s planned puny surge of badly trained troops that he’s fled to Iran shaking in his boots. Al-Sadr is a hard-ass unflappable Shiite cleric. He and his Mehdi Army militia have been blamed for most of the violence in Baghdad. He’s scared of a few more badly-equipped US troops? I don’t think so. Last night CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked correspondent Michael Ware--the one person in Baghdad who would have the knowledge, the perspective and the judgment to make an assessment about the Al-Sadr story--what his thoughts were on 1) why the US was making the claim, and 2) what were the chances of the claim being true, Ware said: “So right now, it's only speculation that Muqtada has left. Has he left? If he did, did he flee, if so, for what reason? We have no idea right now, Wolf. Indeed, we were speaking to Muqtada's office in Najaf just a few days ago. They were certainly saying he was still in Iraq in Najaf…. Is he running in flight for fear of the Baghdad security plan? I think that's most unlikely… I don't think Muqtada himself, his personal safety or freedom is really threatened politically or militarily by the Baghdad security plan. Indeed, if he does go to Iran, does it weaken his power base? I suspect that if Muqtada has gone to Iran for whatever reason, for whatever period, we'll not see the end of the Mehdi militia or the Sadr political movement…. He coordinates with other leaders, and he coordinates with his various sponsors, including those who are in Iran. So is he here, is he not? Has he fled, has he gone of his own volition for what purpose? Totally up in the air. Let's go back and ask the White House and these unnamed sources, come clean, give us the facts.” BLITZER: “Michael, you were at that briefing over the weekend when military sources -- U.S. military sources in Baghdad suggested that the highest levels of the Iranian government were behind the introduction of these sophisticated munitions that were going into Iraq over the past couple of years, killed about 170 or so American troops. And now we're hearing from the top U.S. military officer, General Peter Pace, saying he's not convinced that the highest levels of the Iranian government are behind it. He's not sure who is behind it. Are you surprised by this latest twist in this story?” WARE: “Well honestly I'm not surprised by anything that comes out of the U.S. military these days, Wolf. I mean you know even when they have a song sheet, often it's -- they're not all on it. I mean let's look at the most recent helicopter crash. They're out there telling us it was a mechanical failure. The next minute, it was shot down. I mean there are so many contradictions in the U.S. message. I mean that's one of its great failings, so no, I'm not surprised. There's a lot of disconnects here.” And the other ROTF, Laugh-a-Minute Aviso regarding WHIA personnel is that Scooter Libby’s defense attorney, Theodore V. Wells, Jr. told the judge presiding over Libby’s perjury trial that the defense would not call either Libby or the guy who told Libby what to do, VP Dick Cheney, to the witness stand. The Hogwash Central reason for this defense decision is that Libby’s lawyers are so confident of their case; they don’t need Libby and Cheney. The Real World reason is that the defense took a long look at the damage Libby and Cheney would do to each other, to the Bush administration and to the perjury trial and decided to keep both men from telling more lies and looking like idiots under oath. Let’s see, what other funny stuff is there? Oh yeah, the army is recruiting criminals because it can’t get people who have not committed crimes to join up. Oh right. That’s nothing new. If you aren’t a criminal when you join the army, you probably will commit war crimes and crimes against humanity during your tour of duty, so that you’ll be a criminal when (if) you come out of the army. Oh! Oh! I forgot this one. The Bank of America is giving credit cards to illegal aliens. BofA is saying to horrified citizens and legal immigrants who have to go through proper channels, credit checks and waiting periods: Don’t take it personally, it’s just business.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ignore the Pentagon, Listen to Michael Ware

Last night on CNN’s “Situation Room”, Wolf Blitzer asked CNN’s correspondent from Baghdad, Michael Ware a few questions. The answers were illuminating. BLITZER: And joining us now from Baghdad, our correspondent, Michael Ware -- Michael, why now? Why is the U.S. military briefing reporters about this -- this Iranian connection to the war in Iraq right now, since you yourself have reported it's been going on for at least a year or two? MICHAEL WARE: If you listen to the military, they say it's for two reasons. One, in the last six to eight months of 2006, there was a massive upsurge in the number of attacks and casualties among coalition troops as a result of these explosive devices coming from Iran's Revolutionary Guard core. The other reason, they say, is that it's taken them time to develop the kind of evidence that the public expects, that will persuade the public. It then took even longer to declassify this information, protecting sources and methods. So that's the military's story. (But here’s the best part.) MICHAEL WARE: But none of this is happening in a vacuum. You see that there's a number of levels of competition between Washington and Tehran. One is in the ether, the environment of the U.N. Security Council, where they're wrangling over Iran's nuclear program. Here on the ground, it's being fought in blood and armor with bullets and bombs. This is very much a real rivalry. BLITZER: And some would suggest, Michael, it sort of sets the stage, potentially, for another war, this one between the United States and Iran. Are there any indications you're seeing that that, potentially, is in the works? WARE: Actually, Wolf, I see quite the opposite. Obviously, I'm reading a lot of speculation about that, that what the intention behind this briefing and the leaks of other information regarding Iran is really softening the ground in preparation for the next war or the last war of President Bush's administration. Quite frankly, Wolf, I know that this is not going to happen. BLITZER: Why? WARE: Because -- not just because the American public no longer has the stomach for it. Nor is there political will for it in Washington. Simply, the American war machine cannot cope with it. It's already straining. The men and machines are at breaking point fighting the wars that are currently underway. Get that? From the real eyes and ears in Baghdad—Michael Ware—A WAR WITH IRAN IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN BECAUSE THE UNITED STATES CAN’T GET IT UP. And even the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace won’t back up the State Department, the Pentagon and the National Intelligence office’s bullshit that the Iranian government is behind the Iraqi insurgents. In a report on Voice of America, Pace said from Australia, “It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it’s clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit.” So once again, it’s the putzes in Washington, DC who have never gone to war, have never fought in a war, have never shot a gun except at caged quails or at unsuspecting friends who are running around rattling sabers and talking trash. Everyone else in the world knows the United States military is such a joke that it can’t end the war it started four years ago. The world knows the US humvees in Iraq don’t have the armor needed for proper defense. The world knows our troops in Iraq don’t have the equipment they need. The world knows the US VA hospitals are incapable of treating returning Vets because of apathy and mismanagement and that some of our vets have had to wait so long for a bed that they have committed suicide. The world knows it’s the Republicans who have no plan for Iraq and who do not give a damn about our troops. The world listens to Michael Ware. And three-quarters of the voters in the United States live in the world of Michael Ware’s reality, not in the virtual reality of the White House Insane Asylum.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cheney On the Hot Seat

VP Dick Cheney is expected to be on the witness stand in the perjury trial of his former chief of staff, Scooter Libby. Veteran prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will do the cross-examination. The New York Times quoted George Bush’s former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson saying, “Fitzgerald is a remarkably thorough, meticulous and careful guy with a tremendous memory of the facts”. “This could be great theater,” Ohio State law professor Peter M. Shane said. Shane added that anything Cheney says for the defense becomes “fair game” and will be picked apart by the prosecution. A former federal prosecutor who spoke on condition of anonymity told the NYT, "If Cheney said anything that’s contradicted in the record, though I think that’s unlikely, Pat will slam him…he’ll (Fitzgerald) do it respectfully, but I have no doubt he’ll do it.” So, If Cheney tells the truth, it will be damaging to himself, Bush, Libby and the whole Bush administration. If he doesn’t tell the truth, it will be damaging to himself, Bush, Libby and the whole Bush administration. Recently, in an interview with Cheney on CNN, Wolf Blitzer told Cheney, “Some of your good Republican friends in the Senate and the House are now seriously questioning your credibility because of the blunders, of the failures.” Cheney said, “I don’t accept the premise of your question…I think it’s hogwash.” In other words, using Adam Savage’s line on “Mythbusters”, “I reject your reality and I substitute my own.” I think Cheney will get on the witness stand believing that no one can touch him, that no one will dare ask him hardball questions, and that, in any case, he is above the law. I believe Dick Cheney will be as arrogant to Fitzgerald as he was to Wolf Blitzer. I believe Dick Cheney has no comprehension that he is vulnerable and that his testimony will damage Libby, the Bush administration and himself. Cheney has had no experience that would allow him to think he can’t bullshit his way out of the Libby trial, intact and in total control. Peter Shane said Cheney’s testimony could be great theater. And it surely would be great if Cheney falls apart like Captain Queeg in “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial”, which he won’t. But it will be fun watching Vice President Dick Cheney do his Bush-is-in-charge act while letting it be known that Cheney is in charge and that Bush is a puppet. And at the same time, Cheney will have to tell lies that support Libby’s lies while indicating that Libby is an incompetent jerk who did things Cheney was not aware of, even though only Cheney has the power to do things on his own. However, Cheney never does bad things, only underlings do bad things on their own hook, at Cheney’s direction, of course, but not really. In any event, Cheney has to maintain the fiction that he is not in charge, Bush is in charge, even though Cheney’s subtext will be that Cheney is in charge. Oh yes indeedy, Cheney on the witness stand is going to be watchable.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


I can’t tell you how much I hope Joe Biden’s (D-DE) remark about Barack Obama puts Biden's run for the presidency in the Not Gonna Happen column. When Biden said, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy…I mean, that’s a storybook, man,” it showed he has the mind-set of a certain group of old guys. Biden at 65, is an old guy. These old white guys don’t even know how racist they are because it’s in their hardwiring. But that’s not why I hope Biden’s run for the presidency is doomed. I don’t like Joe Biden. He’s not only an old guy. He’s an old fool and an old pol. He’s been in the game too long. He’s traded too many horses. Every time he speaks, it’s a filibuster, he yammers. Also, he had brain surgery. In February 1988, Biden was hospitalized for two brain aneurysms. I don’t vote for people who have been prisoners of war and whose minds have been fucked with by professionals and I don’t vote for people who’ve had brain surgery. Oh, and Biden had hair transplants. I don’t vote for people who’ve done the hair-plug thing. You don’t think Biden did the hair plug thing? He did the hair plug thing. (Yuck! Gack! and Eeuww!) But back to Obama. Frank Rich interviewed Obama and he writes about the interview in his Sunday morning New York Times Op/Ed piece today, “Stop Him Before He Gets More Experience”. Rich said he can’t swear to Obama being clean because it was a telephone interview, but he said “Obama was definitely articulate…he doesn’t yet sound as completely scripted as his opponents.” Obama said with regard to the impact of the war in Iraq on the elections in 2008, “Ultimately what’s going to make the biggest difference is the American people, particularly in swing districts and in Republican districts, sending a message to their representatives: This is intolerable to us.” Obama has seen and understands that the elections coming up in 2008 for seats in the House and Senate will dictate what happens in Iraq and they also will dictate how the election for president turns out. Rich said, “In the Senate, even the rumor of a tough opponent is proving enough to make some incumbents flip overnight from rubber-stamp support of the White House’s war policy to criticism of the surge. Norm Coleman of Minnesota started running away from his own record the moment he saw the whites of Al Franken’s eyes. Another endangered Republican up for re-election in 2008, John Sununu of New Hampshire, literally sprinted away from the press, The Washington Post reported, rather than field questions about his vote on the nonbinding resolution last week.” Rich continued, “My own guess is that the Republican revolt will be hastened more by the harsh reality in Iraq than any pressure applied by Democratic maneuvers in Congress. Events are just moving too fast. While senators played their partisan games on Capitol Hill, they did so against the backdrop of chopper after chopper going down on the evening news. The juxtaposition made Washington’s aura of unreality look obscene. Senator Warner looked like such a fool voting against his own principles (“No matter how strongly I feel about my resolution,” he said, “I shall vote with my leader”) that by week’s end he abruptly released a letter asserting that he and six Republican colleagues did want a debate on an anti-surge resolution after all. (Of the seven signatories, five are up for re-election in 2008, Mr. Warner among them.)” A lot of voters, along with a lot of politicians, were fooled into believing the war in Iraq was the right course to take. And yet, those same voters who were pro-Iraq war are not going to be sanguine about their Senators and Representatives having voted in favor of the war. And no matter how they shake and dance, that Yea vote is a big strike against Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and John McCain. Barack Obama told Frank Rich that at the time of the authorization for the war he was an Illinois state senator who didn’t have access to intelligence reports and therefore he recognized the hype about Saddam Hussein for what it was. Obama said in a speech in Chicago, “I don’t oppose all wars…what I am opposed to is a dumb war.” Barack Obama is lucky he hasn’t been in the inner circle in Washington. But he’s also smart and he sees the big picture. The big picture shows all the sycophants, toadies, ass-kissers and political hacks in Washington, DC doing whatever they have to do to get re-elected. The big picture shows the voters dictating the course in Iraq. The big picture shows Republican incumbents jumping ship and adopting whatever policies they have to adopt that will put them back in office. The big picture shows that any candidate for any office in 2008 that can demonstrate they’ve always been against the war in Iraq will be in the catbird seat come the elections in 2008. That is, if they can beat out Anna Nicole Smith who may be running for president posthumously by then.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Give Them Credit for Keeping a Straight Face

No one said, “Are you fucking KIDDING me?” No one said, “Let me get this straight...” No one said, “You did WHAT, you asshole?” Although Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) did say, regarding cash that Ambassador Paul Bremer shipped to Iraq during a 13-month period in 2003-2004, "Who in their right minds would send 360 tons of cash into a war zone? But that's exactly what [this government] did." Ambassador L. Paul Bremer was administrator for the U.S.-led occupation government in Iraq from May 6, 2003 until the handover of political power on June 28, 2004, at which point Bremer ran out of Iraq like his pants were on fire. Waxman’s committee questioned Bremer this past Tuesday. Bremer said the stacks of cash were flown to Iraq on wooden pallets aboard giant C-130 military cargo planes. Contractors were told to bring big plastic bags, which were then filled with shrink-wrapped bundles of 100-dollar bills. In some cases, Bremer said, the cash was dished out from the back of a pick-up truck. “We were in the middle of a war and there was no banking system and it would have been impossible to apply modern accounting standards in the midst of a war,” Bremer said. In defending his record, Bremer said the money was actually Iraqi money that was supposed to “jumpstart the economy after the invasion.” Representative Dan Burton (R-IN) said, “We are in a war against terrorists, to have a blame meeting isn't, in my opinion, constructive.” A blame meeting? Blame? How about having a sanity meeting? How about holding a hearing to determine if in fact anyone in the Bush administration (including Dan Burton and all NASA personnel) is in his/her right mind? On the same day that Bremer was queried about the wisdom of his shipping cash to Iraq and handing it out from the backs of pick-up trucks, and keeping no track whatsoever on where it went, Astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder. Her cross-country run from Houston, TX to Orlando, FL in a failed plot to kidnap and murder a romantic rival featured her wearing NASA diapers in the car so she wouldn’t have to stop to go to the bathroom. Astronauts wear diapers during launch and re-entry. Can she also be charged with theft of government property? Recently, psychiatrist Justin Frank who wrote, “Bush on the Couch”, suggested that George W. Bush submit to a psychiatric evaluation. How about every politician in Washington, DC submitting to a psychiatric evaluation? How about everyone who ever went about with “I intend to run for political office” on his lips submitting to a psychiatric evaluation? How about everyone who administers psychiatric evaluations to astronauts submitting to a psychiatric evaluation? No. I got it. How about using those C-130 military cargo planes again? This time, we bring all our troops home. Then we load the C-130 planes with the whole Bush administration and the geniuses who ran the Iraq operation from the get-go and we let them run Iraq in whatever way the Iraqis allow. And then the rest of us can get on with the business of running this country.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Which Religious Claim Seems Most Fantastic?

1) Sometime around the year 5 Before Christ in Bethlehem, Palestine, a virgin named Mary gave birth to a mortal she named Jesus who was also God. The God/Man/Son of God was crucified when he was 33, but He arose from the dead and sits in heaven next to his father, God. At her death, the Virgin Mary was assumed bodily into heaven. 2) In 1823, in western New York, an angel named Moroni gave golden plates to a local con man and scam artist named Joseph Smith. Angel Moroni also gave Smith two magical stones, Urum and Thummim, which enabled Smith to translate the gibberish on the golden plates into English. It took Smith six years and 20 visits from the angel to produce The Book of Mormon. After the plates had been duly translated and put into book form, Smith gave the plates back to Angel Moroni and Moroni returned to the land of angels. Smith claimed the Garden of Eden is in Missouri. 3) In 1952, a science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, wrote a book called “Dianetics”. It was a self-help system and Hubbard claimed Dianetics was a new religion. The practices outlined in the book were later called “Scientology”. Hubbard said the brain works like a computer. This computer in our heads could be made more efficient if our clogged memory banks were cleared of all inhibiting and negative memories called engrams. Hubbard said these engrams in our computer brain had been caused 75 million years ago when the evil alien ruler Xenu kidnapped a bunch of aliens called Thetans from all over the universe. Xenu brought the Thetans to earth in golden DC-8 space planes and then blew them up in volcanoes with hydrogren bombs. The souls of these aliens attached themselves to our ancestors and subsequently the Thetan souls came all the way down to us. By using L. Ron Hubbard’s system of auditing, the engrams caused by the Thetan souls could finally be cleared out of our computer brains. Hubbard also claimed that he and his wife Alexis Valerie Hubbard were the parents of the only baby who had ever started talking at the age of three months and who was totally free from all phobias. Hubbard eventually said Dianetics/Scientolgy had been a total hoax, but that, oddly, everything he had written also turned out to be true. 4) On February 7, 2007, the self-confessed lying and deceiving homosexual head of the New Life Church and ex-president of the National Association of Evangelicals claimed that he was now 100% heterosexual after three weeks of intensive therapy. Yeah, I know, it’s a close call.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Lion or Weasel?

Last July, First Lt. Ehren K. Watada was charged with “missing a movement” and “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman”. Watada had refused to go with his unit, the Third Brigade, Second infantry, when it was sent to Iraq. Watada asked to go to Afghanistan instead. When his request to be sent to Afghanistan was denied, Watada tried to resign. That request was also denied. He says the war in Iraq is illegal. Watada is being court-martialed. The trial started yesterday. Watada was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1978. His father, Robert Watada, refused to serve in the Vietnam War. However, Ehren Watada joined the US army in March 2003. He said he joined because he “had a desire to protect our country”. Watada received his officer’s commission in December 2003. Watada is being hailed as a hero. People are saying more soldiers should stand up and be counted like Lieutenant Watada. People are saying Watada is a fine brave example. On one thing, I will agree. Ehren Watada can certainly point the way for patriotic young fools who might be tempted to join the Army. Watada’s example clearly says, DON’T DO IT! But to claim that Watada’s act of defiance is righteous and good is ridiculous. Ehren Watada joined the Army in 2003 at the age of 25. (I can’t find an exact birth date, but it was somewhere in 1978.) He was a graduate from Hawaii Pacific University. He was not drafted. He joined the Army. He received a commission. It is no doubt true that Watada believed the bullshit coming out of the Bush administration about Weapons of Mass Destruction and that the United States of America was more in peril by the hour and that America needed its valorous young men to join the army and defend America’s honor in Iraq. But Watada’s gullibility is no more a reasonable defense than any other after-the-fact whine would be a defense in a court martial. What Watada did is not a good and beautiful thing. Even though I certainly cannot blame him for doing it. Still, it is not brave, commendable or virtuous. Ehren Watada willingly joined up. He knew the rules. He knew his ass was grass and the Army was the lawn mower. He knew silly Lieutenants couldn’t demand deployment to areas of their choice. It would not be long before Lieutenant Watada knew that George W. Bush is an asshole, knew Rumsfeld had mismanaged the war and knew he’d been lied to. Watada had two options. He could stay in the Army and suck it up. Or he could do what he did and suck it up. He chose to defy the Army. Now he faces up to four years in prison and will be dishonorably discharged if convicted on all counts. Watada is a grown man who made a grown-man’s choices. So be it. But may every young person who even has a thought of joining the Army take a look at the Watada saga, and may they run as fast as possible from the United States Army, Marines, or Navy. Watada can lead the way. DON’T JOIN THE US ARMED FORCES!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Why Torture Victims Should Not Run For Prez

We are seeing the reason that victims of torture should not run for President. It’s John McCain. No one in the United States over the age of four is not aware of the John McCain legend: he spent five-and-a-half years in a Prisoner of War camp in Vietnam from 1967 to 1973, where he was repeatedly beaten and tortured. John McCain is a hero. He lived to tell the tale. His father and his grandfather were United States Admirals. He himself went to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. In 1976, McCain became the Navy's liaison to the Senate. In 1982 he was elected to the US House of Representatives to represent Arizona’s 1st district. He was elected to the US Senate in 1986 where he’s been ever since. He’s in his fourth term in the Senate. John McCain is a walking time bomb. It is impossible to have been tortured and not be damaged. There are those who will say that the experiences McCain had and prevailed over during the Vietnam War show he is made of stern stuff. By me, he was damaged and bent and has been plotting and scheming for thirty years to run the world the way it should be run. That is, by force and intimidation. Because that’s the way McCain was handled in Vietnam. Amazingly, this morning, the New York Times tells us that John McCain has characterized as “good people” the folks who brought us the Swift Boat ad that smeared John Kerry’s war record in 2004. This time around they are good people because McCain has hired them to run his 2008 campaign for president. I cannot deny I have a mental image of John McCain throwing off his nice-guy suit after he’s elected president and emerging as a ranting hate-spewing pod-person from hell ala a “South Park” segment. So far, McCain is still performing his annoying bland impersonation of the reasonable man. But just look at what he’s doing. He’s telling lies. He’s hiring the best dirty-tricks professionals in politics and he’s pushing for all-out war with Iran. John McCain is already acting like a pod person from hell.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Three Stories Caught My Eye Today

1) BuzzFlash posts New York Times Op/Ed writer Frank Rich’s articles on Sunday mornings, even though the NYT TimesSelect policy is to force readers to either buy the paper or pay through the nose to read their columnists. (Yay! BuzzFlash!) 2) Last Tuesday, President Bush went to the Sterling Family Restaurant, a diner in Peoria, Illinois to wow the locals. And no one gave a damn. The Prez was reduced to saying things like, “Sorry to interrupt you, ladies”, and “How’s the service?” to get attention. Diners kept reading their newspapers. 3) John McCain has hired the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth bunch (Stephens Reed Curcio & Potholm) to work on his 2008 presidential campaign. In 2004, McCain called the Swift Boat ads against John Kerry “dishonest and dishonorable.” No matter. He has hired the outfit that made those spots, and which also worked on his 2000 campaign, to work for him again. Of the three stories, the NYT article this morning by Jim Rutenberg about McCain, “McCain’s Advisers Once Made Ads That Drew His Ire”, interests me the most. I was so interested, in fact, that I dredged up McCain’s article from May 14, 1973 that ran in US News & World Report, “How the POW's Fought Back” by Lieut. Commander John S. McCain III, U.S. Navy. It was called an “inside story” at the time. And it is one riveting article. He tells it all. He tells about the torture and the beatings. He tells about tapping out the alphabet on the wall to get messages to his comrade Ernie Brace and how Brace kept sobbing. And he tells about Mike Christian making American flags so Christian could recite the Pledge of Allegiance. And even though Christian got beaten and the flags were destroyed, Christian would make another flag. And the article told about how McCain could understand Capt. Dick Stratton caving in and capitulating to the enemy but of course McCain never did. For five-and-a-half years in a POW camp, McCain was strong and true. Low-key and unassumingly strong and true, mind. But strong and true. What am I saying? Do I doubt McCain’s words from 1973? Not exactly. Well, sort of. What I am saying is that people do not change. People who will do anything to get what they want will do anything to get what they want. And people with the Do Anything gene do get what they want, whether it’s staying alive under dire circumstances, or campaigning time and again for president. People who will DO ANYTHING to get what they want, DO ANYTHING to get what they want. That’s all I’m saying. Um…not exactly all. I am also saying that I would not trust McCain to lead me safely out of a forest in the middle of the United States if…IF by leading me out he endangered his run for president. Oh, and I am also saying that McCain’s POW record should be checked-out. But how can it be checked out? The only records we’re likely to find are the records we’re likely to find. Okay. That’s all I’m saying.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Now Isn’t That Cute?

Last night on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, Robert Gates (Rumsfeld’s replacement) was seen saying “there are four wars in Iraq”. Then he listed the four wars that Mchael Ware listed in his report, “Hidden Wars”, on CNN’s Anderson Cooper, 360 Degrees on January 31. Then Lou Dobbs said that was the first time he had heard the war in Iraq characterized that way, and flack Jamie McIntyre concurred. As I said yesterday, the entire government needs to watch Ware’s report on Iraq. Or at least read the transcript. Apparently the Defense Department has read it. Although, just as apparently, Lou Dobbs has not read it or even heard of it. In any case, Gates isn’t giving Ware the credit due. As you might imagine, I have sent a complaining email to Dobbs about this. Will he read it at all, on air or not? I doubt it.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Want to Know What Is Really Going on in Iraq?

Read the transcript of the Report from CNN’s Baghdad Correspondent Michael Ware. Anderson Cooper’s interview with Michael Ware, “The Hidden Wars”, was first broadcast on Cooper’s “360 Degrees” news show on January 31 at 11:00 PM. It was rebroadcast on “360 Degrees” on February 1st. If we are lucky it will be broadcast again. In any case, you can read the transcript on the CNN Transcript site. Ware has been in the thick of the war in Iraq since it started. Unlike hairy John Burns who was so-called embedded with the troops and seems to report from the safety of the Green Zone, Ware ‘s reports are from the troops’ vantage point. Ware says there are hidden wars in Iraq. There are actually four wars going on: 1) the Sunni war, 2) the rise of Al-Qaeda, 3) the civil war, and 4) the proxy war with Iran. Ware was captured at one point by the Al-Qaeda. It was only because it was in Al-Qaeda’s best interest at the time not to start a mini-war with the mid-ranking Iraqi insurgent in the vehicle with Ware, that “through gritted teeth” the Al-Qaeda let Ware go. “COOPER: So when did this first war, these Sunni insurgents start to become more radicalized? WARE: As we saw strains put on the insurgents' flow of finances and funding, we saw a growth in the power and influence of al Qaeda and other Islamists. And also, don't forget, what we now see as a civil war has pushed people on both sides to the extremes. So we're now seeing nationalists being herded towards al Qaeda. More and more we started seeing foreign fighters appearing in Haifa Street, to the point where by the end, Zarqawi's organization, which later became officially al Qaeda, was able to display its banners along the length of Haifa Street, to take ownership of it over the Iraqi nationalists. (CROSSTALK) COOPER: Al Qaeda and Iraq could actually put its banners on a street in Baghdad, in central Baghdad? WARE: Yes, they did. And this was a symbolic passing of power here in the center of the capital. Now, I personally experienced this. Just days after a blazing battle with U.S. forces that left a Bradley armored fighting vehicle in flames, Zarqawi supporters were on top of it waving his flags. What happened is al Qaeda said, well, we now own this. So I went in there to document this, to see if it was true and to try and show this. COOPER: Are you nuts? WARE: Well... COOPER: Do you ever ask yourself that? WARE: Yes, often, actually. But this is -- this is... COOPER: I mean, that's a dangerous thing to do. WARE: It is an extremely difficult thing to do. But, I mean, this is a part of the nature of this, like every war. The fog of war. What's true and what's not. There's so much that we're told by all sides. I mean, this is one of the universal features of this war as in all others, is that everybody lies. But I went in there and sure enough, I found the banners. Sure enough, lining the streets were Zarqawi's fighters, these men who soon became fully fledged al Qaeda. Now, what happened is that in the end, these men intercepted my vehicle and with grenades, with the pins pulled so that they were live, hauled me from the car, and with my own video camera, they were preparing to film my execution. So as far as we're aware, after that day on Haifa Street, I'm the only Westerner that we know of who's been in the control of Zarqawi's organization, al Qaeda, and to have lived to tell the tale.” As Ware says, what is true in this war, is true in all wars: EVERYONE LIES. But the thing I cannot figure out, is this: Does the Bush administration not know what is really going on in Iraq? Or does the Bush administration not care what is going on in Iraq? Michael Ware has no solution to offer to this terrible thing that has been brought down on Iraq. What he does say is that when the US attacked Iraq, we played into the hands of the Zarqawi faction. We gave the Iraqis an enemy to hate. And right now, we are playing into the hands of Iran. Ware doesn’t see any good strategy. He says, “It just doesn't seem that there's any road forward that does not involve the spilling of so much innocent blood or the abandonment of so many of the principles that we of the West hold dear.” But our pulling out, Ware says, is not going to accomplish anything good. Read the transcript. It’s the only way any of us poor mokes (and maybe even the entire government) will find out what is actually going on in Iraq.