Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Wheeeeee! and I'm off to the Coast this weekend with the Goddess for some much needed time away from the pollen. It's been some time since we went anywhere besides Albertsons together, and while she's doing her thing all day Friday, I'll be doing my thing on the beach.

On the downside, I'll not be blogging for three days. On the upside, I'll have lots of swell new pictures to post with the other pictures.

Back on Saturday
Much thanks to Jo Brooks at Thousand Yard Glare for giving the Skeptic a plug this afternoon. I appreciate it very much.

Oh and it's the central Oregon high desert, Jo. Specifically, Bend........

Somebody call Jay Leno.....

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

I didn't know Buddy had been run over by a car.

A tribute.

Robert Scheer's latest:

Are We Numb or Dumb?

It is frightening in the extreme when lying matters not at all to a free people.

Forget truth. That is the message from our government and its apologists in the media who insist that the Iraq invasion is a great success story even though it was based on a lie.

In the statement broadcast to the Iraqi people after the invasion was launched, President Bush stated: "The goals of our coalition are clear and limited. We will end a brutal regime, whose aggression and weapons of mass destruction make it a unique threat to the world." To which Tony Blair added: "We did not want this war. But in refusing to give up his weapons of mass destruction, Saddam gave us no choice but to act."

That claim of urgency — requiring us to short-circuit the U.N. weapons inspectors — has proved to be a whopper of a falsehood. Late Sunday, the U.S. Army conceded that what had been reported as its only significant WMD find — two mobile chemical labs and a dozen 55-gallon drums of chemicals — "showed no positive hits at all" for chemical weapons.

But we now live easily with lies. "As far as I'm concerned, we do not need to find any weapons of mass destruction to justify this war," writes Thomas L. Friedman in the New York Times. The pro-administration rationalization holds that the noble end of toppling one of the world's nastier dictators — assuming that the Iraqi people end up freer and not ensnared in an Iranian-type theocracy — justifies the ignoble means of lying to the world. Or, as Friedman puts it, "Mr. Bush doesn't owe the world any explanation for missing chemical weapons (even if it turns out that the White House hyped this issue.)"

Hyping? Is that how we are now to rationalize the ever more obvious truth that the American people and their elected representatives in Congress were deliberately deceived by the president as to the imminent threat that Iraq posed to our security? Is this popular acceptance of such massive deceit exemplary of the representative democracy we are so aggressively exporting, nay imposing, on the world?

It is expected that despots can force the blind allegiance of their people to falsehoods. But it is frightening in the extreme when lying matters not at all to a free people. The only plausible explanation is that the tragedy of Sept. 11 so traumatized us that we are no longer capable of the outrage expected of a patently deceived citizenry. The case for connecting Saddam Hussein with that tragedy is increasingly revealed as false, but it seems to matter not to a populace numbed by incessant government propaganda.

The only significant link between Al Qaeda and Hussein centered on the Ansar al Islam bases in the Kurdish area outside of Hussein's control. That's the "poison factory" offered by Colin Powell in his U.N. speech to connect Hussein with international terror. But an exhaustive investigation by the Los Angeles Times of witnesses and material found in the area "produced no strong evidence of connections to Baghdad and indicated that Ansar was not a sophisticated terrorist organization." Moreover, the purpose of this camp was to foster a holy war of religious fanatics who branded Hussein as "an infidel tyrant" and refused to fight under the "infidel flag" of his hated secular regime.

The embarrassingly secular nature of the government was summarized in another Los Angeles Times story on the status of women: "For decades, Iraqi women — at least those living in Baghdad and some other big cities — have enjoyed a degree of personal liberty undreamed of by women in neighboring nations such as Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf emirates."

Those freedoms — to drive, study in coeducational colleges and to advance in the professions — are now threatened by the fundamentalist forces unleashed by the invasion. The former U.S. general now governing Iraq has stated that he will not accept a reversal of those freedoms, but our long history of cozy relationships with the oppressive Gulf regimes can't be reassuring to Iraq's women.

Such issues would be less compelling had the claim that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction posed an imminent security threat to the U.S. proved true. Our goal, the destruction of those weapons, would then have been clear, and once that goal was accomplished, an expeditious U.S. withdrawal would have been justified.

But in the absence of such a threat, the U.S. role in Iraq becomes inevitably stickier. For "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to be more than a catchy propaganda slogan assumes an enduring obligation to provide the content of freedom to the Iraqi people that Americans claim to believe in. It is hoped that will include the election of a leader who tells the truth.

If this had been Bill Clinton telling these lies, the media and the Republicans in Congress would be demanding an investigation. When the dust from this Iraq adventure settles I would hope that the Dems have the balls and courage to start asking a lot of pointed questions about the lead up to this war.
The Skeptic has been told to "go fly a kite" on numerous occasions, so this coming weekend he will.

It's been forever since me and The Goddess went down to The Coast for a weekend of beach walking and frolicking, and I'm looking forward to getting outta Bend for a few days. Ms. Skeptic has a dental convention of sorts to go to, so while she's off learning new hygene techniques I'll be hanging out looking for Keiko.
Is Osama's niece a hottie?

Osama bin Laden's niece, Waffa, is launching a pop singing career in London. According to London's Sunday Telegraph, she's become "a fixture on the London club scene after moving to the [city] six months ago" and "drinks alcohol, smokes cigarettes, and wears mini-skirts and designer clothes by Versace." This doesn't seem likely to enhance her uncle's affection for the West.

Well at least we know where she is........

Monday, April 28, 2003

Hey while we're about bombing the bejesus out of Third World countries and overthrowing brutal, remorseless, mass-murderer type dictators, all in our National Interest of course, how's about we save a few ALCM's and fly them up this guy's butt:

Idi Amin - once known as the "Butcher of Uganda" - has lived quietly in Saudi Arabia since his overthrow in 1979.

I get the warm fuzzies deep inside when I think that one of our closest "allies" has been sheltering this scumbag for 24 years, all the while knowing he is responsible for slaughtering +/- 300,000 human beings, give or take a few thousand.

Looks like his son, Hajji Ali, is bucking for the new Iraqi Information Minister job, which just opened up:

Hajji Ali, says, "He has done nothing. My father is completely innocent."

The Skeptic is speachless........
A special thanks to and for adding HDS to their bloglinks and recognizing our existance.

It's very much appreciated. (=
Funny stuff from the

Depressed about the state of the Union? Down in the dumps about America's headlong plunge into corrosive, paranoid fascism? Our current Administration's lying; greedy, destructive, bigoted, vindictive ways have you mired in malaise? I'm here to apply some therapeutic balm to your spiritual and psychic wounds.

I feel better already.......
This time, absotively, posilutely, US troops find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq:

The mobile labs were definitely "not labs," Captain Cutchin said. The vehicles MET Bravo found were "probably for decontamination or some kind of fuel filling, consistent with the rockets found at the site," he said.

DAMN!! And my local Fox News station assured me that this was IT, the SMOKING GUN had been FOUND!!!! Why else would they have missiles on that site but to protect the chems, said they....

No problem. We have the best military in the world with the best equiped teams out sniffing around to find dem bad, bad WMD's, right?

But team members who asked not to be identified said the MET's lack almost everything. Vehicles to take the teams to suspect sites are in short supply. Helicopters are often grounded by weather and poor maintenance. The teams have repeatedly requested radios to communicate with one another, which they still do not have, and there are no systems through which they can file encrypted reports from the field.

Oh dear. Well I'm sure they'll have it all worked out before we invade Syria.......
An excellent overview of where those damn neo-cons come from, and where they get all that cash to keep the wheels turning:

Somewhere between Mr. Kristol’s ideas and Mr. Murdoch’s muscle, the modern neocon economy was built, complete with speakers’ bureaus, think tanks, magazines, newspapers, a television news network and, not to be coy, an official state residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I'll be getting my new DirectTV bill in the mail shortly. I'm sure not going to feel too good paying Rupes the increased fees knowing where it might end up.......
Ahhhhh, remember the good old days way-back-when we were busy bouncing the rubble in Afghanistan? Just a reminder.......

It's the wretched Central Asian country that became a haven for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, which attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon a year and a half ago. When U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan to drive out the Taliban, al-Qaida's hosts, President Bush promised that Americans would make a sustained commitment to helping the country rebuild. And then he forgot about it.

Let the fun begin anew. Soon enough we'll be seeing the warlords and terrorists taking back the country, and I'm sure we'll be treated to cool pictures of public executions and women getting beaten with rubber hoses.

God bless America........
Saturday's White House Correspondents' Dinner sounds like it was a joyless affair:

President Bush cracked no jokes at the dinner, instead honoring journalists who were killed in the line of duty in Iraq. No one, it seems, was in much of a clowning mood. Take the exchange we heard about between comedian/smartass Al Franken and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz:

Franken: "Clinton's military did pretty well in Iraq, huh?"

Wolfowitz: "Fuck you."

Well fuck you too, Wolfie.........
Where, oh where, has our little Shrub gone?

George Bush, Jr. will never be confused with the totally confused Ronald Reagan, The Great Communcator himself, but I find it a little odd that Dubya hasn’t made a speech to the Nation after his “victory” in Iraq. The only time I’ve seen him on the tube lately has been when he gave a speech to an armed forces group (with the troops standing behind him, naturally) a couple weeks ago, or the speech in Ohio last week.

I mean, we’ve gone from war to taxes to gay bashing and he hasn’t said one public word about Iraq. He hasn’t even mentioned those looted national archives and museums in Baghdad, much less apologized for it. So far, he’s let Donald Shock and General Awe do all the talking.

If he’s supposed to be this great leader, shouldn’t he be on national television giving us some kind of update as to how things are going in Iraq, and where we’ll be going from here? I would think that he’d be simply full of gloat and smirk right now, and wild horses couldn’t keep him off the air to explain to his rapt audience what a wonderful job he did smashing up another country and bringing democracy to those desert heathens, even if a couple hundred thousand Iraqi’s are too dead to hear him.

Now, I’m not really complaining because he usually loses me right after the “My fellow Americans” part and I’ve gotten into turning the sound down when he talks. In keeping with the Presidential Theme I slip a Dead Kennedy cd into my player and turn it up REAL LOUD, because he always says basically the same thing over and over anyway, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything thing important.

Not that he ever says anything important……

I’m guessing he’s going to wait until some WMD turn up, then he’ll ring up the networks and deliver his Victory Speech just to remind us that he was RIGHT and the rest of us were WRONG, and maybe let us know that his daughters haven’t been arrested in a while…….

Sunday, April 27, 2003

More from Howard Dean

On day one of a Dean Presidency, I will reverse this attitude. I will tear up the Bush Doctrine. And I will steer us back into the company of the community of nations where we will exercise moral leadership once again.

The more I read, the more I like....
Howard Dean BLASTS President Fuckhead today in a piece at

George W. Bush ran for President on the promise that he would be ``a uniter, not a divider.'' Nothing could be further from the truth. Earlier this week, Senator Rick Santorum, the third highest ranking Republican in the Senate, compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. On Friday, President Bush praised Santorum as ``an inclusive man.'' With his praise, this President has once again demonstrated his willingness to follow the extremist Republican tradition of dividing our country for political gain. The President knows that his defense of Santorum's inflammatory words deeply offends millions of gay and lesbian Americans, their family and friends; his praise also raises grave concerns about this Administration's commitment to civil rights and civil liberties.

A Democratic candidate finally comes forward to tell it like it is. This dude has charisma......
In the wake of United Airlines continued shitty service after filing for bankrupcy, I've been looking for a new carrier to fly.

I may have found one.
Now this is something you can really sink your teeth in to........
As if killing a couple hundred thousand Iraqi's wasn't enough, now The Shrub is busy killing whales!

Will nothing stop this madman?
Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean has an excellent blog.

The more I read about this guy, the more I like.......

Saturday, April 26, 2003

USA diplomacy with North Korea marches on! Maybe I should go build a bomb shelter......

The meetings come just days after a senior U.S. official said North Korea claimed in talks this week in Beijing to have atomic weapons that it might test, sell or use, depending on U.S. actions.

Might sell? Did the NK's say that, or is this something that the Bush Admin added to make it's case? Hell I might load up my car with Fizzies® and drive downtown and dump them into a fountain, but that doesn't mean I'm going to. It also doesn't give the cops the right to come confiscate my Fizzies® stash, just in case I might do something stupid like that. But then again, the Syrian's might have WMD, so we better get out the whuppin' stick.....

In Washington, the White House said it would confer with allies about possibly seeking U.N. sanctions against the North. In the past, North Korea has said it would consider international sanctions a declaration of war.

Now wait a second. Didn't the US just spend the last three months telling the world that UN sanctions don't work and used it as a justifcation for war against Iraq? Is this the same country that basically gave the UN the finger because it refused to act? Now they want to go back to the UN and use sanctions to starve an already starving populace in the name of OUR national interest?

I'm sure the French, Germans, and Russians will be more than happy to help us out.

Oh great. Let's poke an already dangerous and unpredictable country who's leader is about half-crazy to start with, and see what happens. I'm sure the South Koreans sleep well at night knowing that their long-time ally has their best interest at heart......
I think this dude had it just about right:

"Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes, would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we do it? Will you hazard so desperate a step while there is any possibility that any portion of the ills you fly from have no real existence? Will you, while the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones you fly from--will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake?"

Abraham Lincoln's First Inaugural Address - March 4, 1861
Are you listening, George?
Heeeeeeee's baaaaaaack! And here I thought Newt was dead:

On Tuesday, Gingrich slammed the State Department for "ineffective and incoherent" diplomacy in the lead-up to the war against Iraq and turning the world, including allies in Europe, Turkey and South Korea against US efforts to topple Saddam Hussein

For once, I agree with this twerp. The State Dept, under the usually reliable and trustworthy Colin Powell, has turned the world against us. This whole ugly Iraq affair has been a total failure of American diplomacy, which can be laid squarely at the feet of Powell and Bush.
"Newt Gingrich does not speak in the name of the Pentagon and what he said is garbage," Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Elizabeth Jones told the paper. "What Gingrich says does not interest me. He is an idiot and you can publish that."

OK, Liz, I will. Needless to say, I couldn't agree more.
More stupidness from President Fuckhead. Molly Ivins latest column at

Boy, there is no shortage of creatively terrible ideas from the Republican Party these days. Those folks are just full of notions about how to make people's lives worse -- one horrible idea after another bursting out like popcorn -- and all of them with these sickeningly cute names attached to them.

Consider the Family Time and Workplace Flexibility Act (Senate version) and the Family Time Flexibility Act (House version). The Bush administration is leading the charge with proposed new rules that will erode the 40-hour workweek and affect more than 80 million workers now protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

To hear the Republicans tell it, you'd think these were family-friendly bills, something like Clinton's Family Leave Act, designed to help you balance the difficult combined demands of work and family. With such a smarm of butter over their visages do the Republicans go on about the joys of "flexibility" and "freedom of choice" that you would have to read the bills for maybe 30 seconds before figuring out they're about repealing the 40-hour workweek and ending overtime.
Brady Kiesling, the US diplomat in Greece who resigned from the State Dept over Dubya's decision to go to war in Iraq has a very thoughtful piece about the repercussions in Athens:

Few in Europe will be quick to forgive us for blighting one cherished prospect. Inspired, perhaps misled, by the miracles of EU membership in expanding democracy, justice, prosperity, and security in Greece and in Europe generally, a surprising number of Greeks saw the world as an improvable and improving place. Our current leaders, however, have declared the planet a pit of beasts to be cowed. Whether America has become more secure through its conquest of Iraq will not be judged soon, and certainly not from the streets of Athens. From the streets of Athens, however, the world feels a grimmer, less hopeful, and far more dangerous place.
Here's one way to help fund the federal govt: cut down on Dubya's tax-cheating friends:

One appropriate way to begin paying the tab would be to crack down on corporations deserting the country in a time of trouble. The IRS estimates that US corporations and rich individuals cost the country about $75 billion a year by setting up phony headquarters or residences in offshore tax havens like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Majorities in both houses of Congress voted for legislation sponsored by the late Senator Paul Wellstone to bar these companies from bidding on homeland security contracts, but Republicans stripped the measure from the homeland security bill in closed conference. Among the corporate tax haven users have been Harken Energy, which set up an offshore tax dodge while Bush was on its board, and Halliburton, which under Vice President Cheney's leadership went from nine to at least forty-four offshore tax dodges.
I don't usually associate Arianna Huffington with the far left, but lately her column has shown a definate pink tinge:

It's important to remember that the Arab world has seen a very different war than we have. They were seeing babies with limbs blown off, children wailing beside their dead mothers, Arab journalists killed by American tanks and bombers, holy men hacked to death and dragged through the streets. They were seeing American forces leaving behind a wake of destruction, looting, hunger, humiliation, and chaos.

Right on, Arianna. I'm starting to like you.......
Three cheers for our brave librarians!

At public libraries in Skokie, Ill., and Killington, Vt., for example, there are signs warning that the government could demand access to patrons' reading records and the library could not refuse. At other libraries, such as in Santa Cruz, Calif., and Spokane, Wash., records of who checked out what books are being purged from computers as soon as books are returned, so if federal agents ask for information, there will simply be none to give. Some booksellers, too, are purging their computer files of anything that could be used as evidence of what their customers are buying.

My question is: when are the Democrats going to stand up and start fighting the provisions in the Patriot Act that have helped erode our rights to freedom of thought?

According to a story in todays Guardian, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton had several meetings in the weeks leading up to the Iraq War:

Mr Blair and Mr Clinton met at least three times to discuss the war, underlining the extent to which Mr Blair rates Mr Clinton's analytical powers, despite the bond of trust he has also formed with the Republican White House.

That's one of the things that I like about Tony Blair. He has enough sense to get opinions from lots of different people instead of just listening to one narrow view.

Like the Smirking Monkey does........

William Rivers Pitt at has an interesting take on the causes of the 9/11 attacks in New York and the Bush Admin's attempts to keep the truth from coming out:

"The fact is that the Bush administration has labored mightily and long to make sure no such answers are coming. They fought the creation of an independent investigative body because they wanted to be able to choose the chairman. Once they were gifted this privilege, they abused it with the appalling nomination of Henry Kissinger. If you want a fair and open examination of facts, regardless of shadowy loyalties and compromising corporate connections, you do not choose Kissinger. If you want the master of the black bag and the black op, the undisputed heavyweight champion of Washington insiderdom, the gold standard for cover-up and cover-your-ass, you cannot do better than Henry. This choice told us everything we need to know about the Bush administration's desire to get to the bottom of 9/11."

Dubya's resume.

I'm so proud to be an American.........


Friday, April 25, 2003

The Brits seem to understand how biased the US media is in covering the war in Iraq:

"We are still surprised when we see Fox News with such a committed political position."

Now all we have to do is get the people in this country to understand. Ted Turner gets it.......
The first 300 reasons why The Simpsons is so cool......
I know for a fact that some women like older men, but this may be taking it too far.......
I wonder if Rummy's house is untidy?

He needs a thesaurus........
I always thought Diane Sawyer was an idiot.....

Can we do in Iraq what we've done in Afghanistan? I hope not:

"International workers in Kandahar don't feel safe anymore and some have been moved from the Kandahar region to safer areas, said John Oerum, southwest security officer for the United Nations. But Oerum is trying to find a way to stay in southern Afghanistan. To abandon it would be to let the rebel forces win, he says."

We've also welched on our promise to help bring Democracy to the Afghans. Warlords rule, just like they did before we went hunting for Osama.

Where is he, anyway? He must be out partying with Saddam.....
This bothers me more than just a little:

"Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President."

EIGHT MORE YEARS?? It's already bad enough that the remainder of my life will be spent cowering under the bed, afraid of terrorists and Republicans........
Eric Alterman, who has fast become one of my favorite writers and observer of today's America, tells it like it is in his column at The Nation.

"Even in a time of war--a war that seems oddly unrelated to the terrorist threat--the Bush administration isn't serious about protecting the homeland. Instead, it continues to subordinate U.S. security needs to its unchanged political agenda."

We have the same problem out here in Oregon. Homeland Security wants to add about $500 million worth of new security measures and so far has not sent a dime to implement, preferring to let the state handle the costs. I got news for Bush: we can't afford it on our own. We are running about $340 million shortfall in state funding already, and Portland schools have chopped three weeks off the school year and laid off a whole bunch of teachers. Here in Bend, the school board has already dipped into a bond fund (that was set up for new school construction) in order to repair a couple of the existing high schools which were falling apart. There is NO MONEY for these new HSA demands without the Bushies ponying up some dough.

The Govt found money to go bomb the shit out of Afghanistan and free Iraq, but they don't have money to fund the new policies for our OWN protection. It's unfair, and it's going to be disasterous.

John Moyers and Elizabeth Ready wrote a nice piece at Alternet about the Newly Awakened:

"An irresponsible war of choice, launched by an arrogant administration with shifting justifications and heedless of world opinion, has sparked a new wave of activism in the United States. Millions of Americans have hit the streets since last fall to protest George Bush's push for preemptive war against Iraq. But Mr. Bush wouldn't listen. He dismissed protestors and their concerns. Would he listen any better if everyone who has attended a march pledged to vote in 2004? Or if, in addition, everyone who carried a sign, made a speech, sent an email, wrote a letter or lit a candle for peace committed to register one new American voter every month between now and the next presidential election? Would he get the message if a groundswell of new peace voters went to the polls in 2004 and showed how regime change can happen peacefully?"

That's exactly what I'm planning on doing over the next year and a half. I've already decided to take my head out of the sand where it's been for the last 25 years and try and DO SOMETHING to get rid of this most dangerous of Presidents. It's hard to believe but I was never particularly political before this war. I just sorta cruised along figuring that whoever was in the WH could only do so much harm, and if it didn't effect me I just didn't care because there was nothing I could do about it anyway.

With this illegal and immoral war in Iraq, that has all changed for me. I'm now willing to do whatever it takes to get the Smirking Chimp out of office and back to his Ranch....

William O. Beeman over at has an interesting story about who IS in charge in Iraq and who WANTS to be in charge:

"Arab leaders in the region as well as the CIA have continually warned the White House that he [Ahmad Chalabi, self-appointed head of the Iraqi National Council] is a thief, a charlatan, an incompetent and a poser. He first appeared as an opposition leader following his embezzlement trial in absentia in Jordan in 1989. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison for stealing $250 million from a series of businesses he controlled for the Petra Bank, Jordan's third largest bank. Despite this criminal background, he is the poster child for the Bush theory of Iraqi reconstruction."


Thursday, April 24, 2003

John Dolan over at The Exile has a mainly depressing post about the state of the US political system:

"When you elect a President because he talks about “walking with God” more loudly and shamelessly than his rival, then you suffer—because you’ve voted for the more shameless candidate. That’s one reason the Right will always win: because they have no sense of shame. Thus they can invoke Jesus as a personal friend in front of a large audience and assert that God likes our country more than any other. It’s very difficult for anyone with a brain or conscience to do that. And the electorate has made it clear it won’t tolerate anyone who won’t share its delusion enthusiastically."

He also has a few very frightening things to say about the Russians and how they feel about The Schrub and his War, something I will touch on in a piece tomorrow.
Just a little something from the far left.

"The New York Times reports that George W. Bush will spend $200 million on his campaign for election in 2004, and employ the use of 3000 Americans murdered by terrorists on 9/11 as human shields against opponents' focus on the failed Bush economy."

"The plan, according to the Times, is to hold the 2004 GOP convention as close in time as possible to the commemorative events surrounding the third anniversary of the September 2001 attacks, in order to maximize the benefits of exploiting the victims of those horrific attacks by claiming their deaths ushered in a need to advance the Bush Regime's radical right-wing domestic agenda and insane foreign policy agenda."

"For two years, George W. Bush has destroyed the most fundamental American values at home, as well as waged wars that reward campaign contributors but benefit terrorists worldwide. If that were not enough, he has done it all in the name of those tragic victims who lost their lives in September 2001."

"But the deceased cannot stop Bush from declaring them martyrs for this unelected, out of control regime's power ambitions. It's up to New Yorkers and Americans around the country, who must organize en masse in that city at convention time, and speak up for their fellow Americans and New Yorkers who can no longer speak for themselves. They must forcefully oppose this morally bankrupt, un-American regime that continues to crassly and disgracefully exploit victims of anti-American terrorists."

One of these days this country will stop basing it's foreign policy on what happened in New York City a year and a half ago, but I doubt very seriously that the Bush Admin is going to let us forget. A scared populace is a compliant populace......
Words of wisdom.......

'Shut Up' - Or Else

"Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can't do that, just shut up.

Americans, and indeed our foreign allies who actively work against our military once the war is underway, will be considered enemies of the state by me.

Just fair warning to you, Barbra Streisand and others who see the world as you do. I don't want to demonize anyone, but anyone who hurts this country in a time like this, well. Let's just say you will be spotlighted.

Talking points invites all points of view and believes vigorous debate strengthens the country, but once decisions have been made and lives are on the line, patriotism must be factored in."

- Bill O'Reilly

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Is it time to start thinking about impeaching The Schrub? Robert Scheer at WorkingForChange thinks so.

Did Bush deceive us in his rush to war?

Now that the war has been won, is it permissible to suggest that our emperor has no clothes? I'm not referring to his abysmal stewardship of the economy but rather the fig-leaf war he donned to cover up his glaring domestic failures.
President Bush went to war with Hitler's Germany and found another Afghanistan instead. After comparing the threat of Hussein to that of the Führer, it was odd to find upon our arrival a tottering regime squatting on a demoralized Third World populace.

Now the pressure is on for Bush to find or plant those alleged weapons of mass destruction fast or stand exposed as a bullying fraud.

Of course, our vaunted intelligence forces knew well from our overhead flights and the reports of U.N. inspectors freely surveying the country that Iraq had been reduced by two decades of wars, sanctions and arms inspections to a paper tiger, but that didn't keep the current administration from depicting Baghdad as a seat of evil so powerful it might soon block the very sun from shining.

And while Emperor Bush piled on the fire-and-brimstone rhetoric, his bespectacled vizier for defense presented a mad-hatter laundry list of Iraq's alleged weapons collection, as long and specific as it was phony and circumstantial.

Secretary of State Colin Powell's now infamous speech to the U.N. Security Council employed "intelligence" cribbed from a graduate student's thesis, documents later acknowledged as fakes, and a defector's affirmation of the existence of chemical weapons while excluding his admission that they had subsequently been destroyed.

Having taken over the country, we now know with a great deal of certainty that if chemical or biological weapons were extant there, they were not deployed within the Iraqi military in a manner that threatened the U.S. or anyone else.

Likewise, Bush's fear-mongering about Iraq's alleged nuclear weapons program has proven baseless. There was no reason to hurriedly yank the U.N. inspectors out of Iraq.

Even Bush's only real ally outside of Washington, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, is worried that the fearsome weapons will not turn up — or that a skeptical world will believe they were planted as an afterthought. "Some sort of objective verification" of weapons finds would be a "good idea," he said last week.

However, the refusal of the U.S. to permit the return of U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and his team to continue their work is damning evidence of our fear that the weapons simply do not exist, at least in any usable quantity or form. It also raises the suspicion that Iraqi scientists now held incommunicado in U.S. captivity will be squeezed until they tell us what we want to hear. Whatever happened to the prewar demand that those same scientists be given the freedom to tell their story in a non-intimidating environment?

Bush may fear the truth because the still-AWOL weapons present a potential sticky situation for this administration. Undoubtedly the U.S. will find mixed-used chemical precursors for weapons, as was claimed only this week, but that is a far cry from being an "imminent threat."

As Joseph Cirincione, a top weapons expert at the Carnegie Endowment, put it, the purported existence of those weapons "was the core reason for going to war with Iraq and the reason we had to go now If we don't find fairly large stockpiles of these weapons, in quantities large enough to pose a strategic threat to the United States, the president's credibility will be seriously undermined and the legitimacy of the war repudiated."

That concern is largely absent in the U.S. media, where "liberation" is now a code word that smoothes over any irritating questions one may ask when a Christian superpower invades the heart of the Muslim world. Its partner phrase, "the building of democracy," is also all the rage, as if real democracy was something you could create with Legos or SimCity software.

At this point, though, we can only hope it will all turn out for the best, and that a retired U.S. general will figure out how to use the country's natural resources to end poverty, build excellent schools and provide crime-free streets and an electoral system where positions of power don't go to the highest bidder. Then he can come back and apply this genius at home, where we've got plenty of unwelcome violence, poverty and on-the-take politicians.

However, in the unlikely case this fantasy comes true, albeit at an untold price in money, lives and human suffering, it should be remembered that this was not the justification for war given to the American people.

And, in a more sober mood, one must still ask the embarrassing yet essential question: Did our president knowingly deceive us in his rush to war?

If he did, and we are truly concerned about our own democracy, we would have to acknowledge that such an egregious abuse of power rises to the status of an impeachable offense.

CLAP CLAP CLAP!!!! If Bill Clinton can get impeached for getting a blow job then why not George Bush for lying about the reasons for this stupid, illegal war that has killed a couple hundred American and British soldiers, not to mention (and nobody ever does at the WH) the over 100,000 Iraqi's killed.........

US troops caught liberating more than just Iraqi citizens:

"US military detectives have begun investigating five US troops for the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from an Iraqi money cache, a commanding officer said today."

"US troops have recovered more than $US600 million ($A967.9 million) from hiding places near Saddam Hussein's palace complexes in central Baghdad, said Lieutenant Colonel Philip DeCamp, commander of the 4th Battalion, 64th Infantry Regiment."

"But along the way, US troops apparently tried to stash hundreds of thousands of dollars, in $US100 bills, for themselves, DeCamp said."

"We've recovered just about all the money we thought was taken, we're still looking into it," DeCamp said."

"US troops stumbled over several aluminum cases filled with $US100 bills in an empty house on Monday and officers estimated the total worth at more than $US500 million ($A806.58 million). When looking into the containers, it became obvious that someone had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars, and officers began looking for that money."

First Fox News, now the US Army gets caught stealing the wealth of Iraq. Can oil be far behind?
Can't we all just get along?

See what happens to countries who ignore the "You're with us, or against us" form of diplomacy practiced by the Bush Administration?:

"Mr. Powell spoke by telephone today to Mr. Villepin and made it clear that France's opposition to the war would have consequences, said the State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher. But Mr. Boucher said that the France and the United States remained allies and would continue to cooperate "wherever we find it in our interest to do so."

"When asked during the television interview whether France would face consequences over Iraq, Mr. Powell replied simply, "Yes." He then added, "We have to look at all aspects of our relationship with France in light of this."

"Jeremy Shapiro, associate director of the Center for the United States and France, at the Brookings Institution, said that the administration's approach appeared to be "a policy more of revenge and retaliation than of working toward the future."

Instead of mending fences and moving back into the world community, the Bushites are doing everything they can to isolate us further.
Can't wait to see what Fox News has to say about this.

American customs officials said yesterday that they had uncovered evidence of looting and "souvenir hunting" by US citizens in Iraq, including an attempt by a television news engineer to bring home paintings and monetary bonds in contravention of international law.

The officials said they had caught several travellers returning to the United States with paintings and even weapons in their luggage.

Benjamin Johnson, the news engineer, is the subject of a criminal complaint filed in court last week. He faces an initial hearing on Tuesday.

According to the complaint, Mr Johnson, who was "embedded" with US troops as part of a Fox News cable channel team, turned up at Dulles International airport outside Washington with a large cardboard box containing 12 paintings of Saddam Hussein and his son Uday, as well as 40 Iraqi monetary bonds.

Fox News, which has raised eyebrows during the war for its gung-ho support of the Bush administration, responded by firing Mr Johnson, who had worked for the station as a satellite truck specialist.

So like why didn't Fox News fire Geraldo when they had the chance?
Something I was thinking about....

What happens to all those big reconstruction contracts given out to Bechtel and Halliburton if the new Iraqi government decides to get their own contractors?
A very interesting article in this morning's WaPo about the the Bush Admin's inability to see the obvious:

"As Iraqi Shiite demands for a dominant role in Iraq's future mount, Bush administration officials say they underestimated the Shiites' organizational strength and are unprepared to prevent the rise of an anti-American, Islamic fundamentalist government in the country. As the administration plotted to overthrow Hussein's government, U.S. officials said this week, it failed to fully appreciate the force of Shiite aspirations and is now concerned that those sentiments could coalesce into a fundamentalist government."

"Some administration officials were dazzled by Ahmed Chalabi, the prominent Iraqi exile who is a Shiite and an advocate of a secular democracy. Others were more focused on the overriding goal of defeating Hussein and paid little attention to the dynamics of religion and politics in the region."

"It is a complex equation, and the U.S. government is ill-equipped to figure out how this is going to shake out," a State Department official said. "I don't think anyone took a step backward and asked, 'What are we looking for?' The focus was on the overthrow of Saddam Hussein."

"Complicating matters is that the United States has virtually no diplomatic relationship with Iran, leaving U.S. officials in the dark about the goals and intentions of the government in Tehran."

"Some U.S. intelligence analysts and Iraq experts said they warned the Bush administration before the war about vanquishing Hussein's government without having anything to replace it. But officials said the concerns were either not heard or fell too low on the priority list of postwar planning."

"We're flying blind on this. It's a classic case of politics and intelligence," said Walter P. "Pat" Lang, a former Defense Intelligence Agency specialist in Middle Eastern affairs. "In this case, the policy community have absolutely whipped the intel community, or denigrated it so much."

"They expected a much warmer reception, and as a result it would be unnecessary for them to deal with some of these issues," said Kenneth M. Pollack, a Brookings Institution scholar, who was one of President Bill Clinton's top Iraq specialists. "That flawed assumption is at the heart of some of the reasons they are scrambling now."

Well that's just great. The Bushites toss out Saddam and then have no clue what to do just in case things don't go as planned.
Nice quote in this morning's Miami Herald:

"There's little dialogue left in this country. No one is listening. There's only a monologue, a battle cry. It's a wonder that talk radio and TV can fill their time. These are fearful times -- and not just on the war front."

Say what you want about the merits of this war, but there can be no argument that it has divided this country like the VietNam War did. In no way can that be seen as constructive......
When it comes to being patriotic, "a lot of people are willing to talk the talk," says sociology professor Charles Moskos of Northwestern University. "But if you really want to walk the walk, then donate blood or enlist in the military."

I could not agree more.....

If I criticize this president and question why we're at war in Iraq and how decisions got made without Congress or the United Nations, people accuse me of violating the Constitution, rather than honoring it. My patriotism is questioned, the taunts and bullying begin -- bullying being the official stance of many over on the Right these days.

I have nothing to be ashamed of or to apologize for. Let the flagwavers gloat about the easy military victory over an army that was essentially de-clawed twelve years ago. The easy part is over.

The hard part of nation building has just begun and I have zero confidence that this Administration, who has already shown an inability to think on it's feet when conditions change, will be able to build the neo-Iraq bill-of-goods we've been sold.

He who gloats last, gloats best.....