Saturday, March 08, 2003

Every night you've been away
I've sat down and I have prayed
That you're safe in the arms of a guy
Who will bring you alive Won't drag you down with abuse

In the silk sheet of time
I will find peace of mind
Love is a bed full of blues

(from "I Got The Blues"/Jagger-Richards)
Personally, the primary reason (I've figured out) why I ever watch Fox News is for the women. Piggy, pitiful but true. I love those long shots of short skirts and great legs. Hey, I'm a leg man.

Kiran Chetry forever.

(She's no PGOAT but who is?)
The National Review reports that "big money" is behind the anti-Estrada movement. Makes sense to me. Sometimes I feel really sorry for those poor, poor conservatives with nothing but their massive hard money advantage, network of think tanks, and proprietary cable station with which to make their case. Honestly, how are they supposed to compete against the Ford Foundation's financial juggernaut. It boggles the mind.

Yeah, poor babies, Matt.
He clearly fixed the blame, but not on the company that installed flammable soundproofing or the inspectors who missed it or the owners who didn't control what happened in their building. He blamed instead the ambitions of performers, with which he associated himself. The victims in Rhode Island may have been killed by men with long hair and rock 'n' roll dreams, but in a larger sense they were destroyed by vanity, ambition, memories of past glory and the blind carelessness that accompanies desperate yearning for success.
President Bush’s budget would produce unyielding deficits through the next decade totaling $1.82 trillion, Congress' top budget analyst said Friday in a report that could help lawmakers trying to shrink Bush's plan for fresh tax cuts.
Details about the intercept, which came to light after military officials interviewed the flight crew, suggest that the more than 15 Americans aboard faced greater peril than was previously known. Ignoring a fighter pilot's order to land, even in international airspace, could have led to the plane's downing, military officials said today.
"Clearly, it appears their intention was to divert the aircraft to North Korea, and take it hostage," the official said.
Though lawmakers, even those in Bush's party, often chafe at the administration's hard-nosed tactics, the letter underscored the unusually raw feelings that have developed among House Republicans since Bush began blaming them for inadequate homeland security funds. Democrats have long criticized Bush for inaccurate statements on spending and other matters, but this is the most prominent case of a Republican accusing Bush of falsehoods.
The conspiracy theory appears in several variations, ranging from malignant to merely cynical, but it goes something like this: A cadre of pro-Zionist zealots within the Bush administration and among its media chorus (the "amen corner," as the isolationist Pat Buchanan crudely called them last time we threatened Iraq) has long schemed to make the Middle East safer for Israel by uprooting the hostile regime of Saddam Hussein. They have finally succeeded, the theory goes, in pushing their agenda up to the desk of a gullible president.
The Bush administration appears to be a partner in the Turkish plan. To persuade its NATO ally to provide it with bases and easy access to northern Iraq, the United States has discussed letting the Turks into the Kurdish zone. The Turks say they will move in -- reports from Turkey say troops and equipment are already moving toward the border. The purpose, Turkish leaders say, is to prohibit refugees from flowing into Turkey, keep the Kurds from declaring independence and disarm the pesh merga.
One Democratic strategist said: "I think the party is torn between dealing with a post-9/11 world and its fundamental distrust of this president. Even those that believe Iraq could pose a future threat to the U.S. through the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, even those who support that view are fundamentally uncomfortable about the way this White House has gone about prosecuting that effort."

I empathize.
A French company has been selling spare parts to Iraq for its fighter jets and military helicopters during the past several months, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

It's Gertz and the Moonie Times, but, another hmmmm ...
The French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, scornfully rejected the new resolution. "By imposing a deadline of only a few days, would we merely be seeking a pretext for war?" he asked. "As a permanent member of the Security Council, I will say it again: France will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the automatic use of force." The Russian and Chinese foreign ministers followed suit.

I hate this fro -- er, guy.
Knowledgeable sources familiar with the forgery investigation described the faked evidence as a series of letters between Iraqi agents and officials in the central African nation of Niger. The documents had been given to the U.N. inspectors by Britain and reviewed extensively by U.S. intelligence. The forgers had made relatively crude errors that eventually gave them away -- including names and titles that did not match up with the individuals who held office at the time the letters were purportedly written, the officials said.

"We fell for it," said one U.S. official who reviewed the documents.

Hmmmmmmm ...
Seeking to break the impasse, the United States, along with Britain and Spain, today modified their proposed resolution authorizing force so that it set a March 17 deadline for Iraq's compliance. A senior administration official told reporters in Washington that the United States would be "closing the diplomatic window" on that date.

Friday, March 07, 2003

A chemical plant which the US says is a key component in Iraq's chemical warfare arsenal was secretly built by Britain in 1985 behind the backs of the Americans, the Guardian can disclose.

... which is sorta like:

Among the people instrumental in tilting U.S. policy toward Baghdad during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war was Donald H. Rumsfeld, now defense secretary, whose December 1983 meeting with Hussein as a special presidential envoy paved the way for normalization of U.S.-Iraqi relations. Declassified documents show that Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad at a time when Iraq was using chemical weapons on an "almost daily" basis in defiance of international conventions.
So have we really been transported back to the 12th century A.D. with
Bush as Richard the Lionhearted and Osama/Saddam as Saladin, in a replay
of the Third Holy Crusade? We'd better hope not, because although medieval
prophets convinced Richard that recapturing Jerusalem from the Muslims would
bring about the Second Coming and usher in the millennium, he dragged back
to England defeated in 1192.
Which suggests that if U.S. attackers do end up racing to Baghdad, they should encircle the city and stop, waiting for those within to yield. There is a historical precedent for this in Iraq. It worked for Nabopolassar at the gates of Nineveh in 612 B.C. It might work again this spring.

And God save us from armchair generals, too.
My family was destroyed by alcoholism and the abuse, neglect, and destructive behavior it incites.
I've never seen a pothead smack around the wife and kids, spend the grocery money on grass, or drive like a maniac. '
Heads are usually too busy cleaning out the snack cabinet and laughing at The Powerpuff Girls to do harm to others.
Bums in the gutter don't ask you for a quarter to buy rolling papers. They want a bottle of Thunderbird.
You don't hear news blurbs about the two stoned guys who got in a fight over a card game and shot each other, or, "Totally fried teens trash new nightclub!"
Six months after The Threatening Storm's publication, however, Pollack's book reads as much like an indictment of the Bush administration's overeagerness to go to war as it does an endorsement of it. A more appropriate subtitle for the book would have been The Case for Rebuilding Afghanistan, Destroying al-Qaida, Setting Israel and Palestine on the Road to Peace, and Then, a Year or Two Down the Road After Some Diplomacy, Invading Iraq. In interviews and op-ed articles, Pollack himself still supports the war, saying that now is better than never. But it's fair to say that his book does not—or at least not Bush's path to it.
Another cheery quote from den Beste; which may well be true:

We are fighting World War IV. World War IV began on September 11, 2001. And like the other three world wars, this one will be fought everywhere on the planet and will involve most of its nations and peoples in one way or another before it's through.
But this article says that for the next step, when the time comes to take on Iran, British support will become vital. A combination of American presence on Iran's border, the simple fact of momentum, and British contacts inside Iran would then be used to bring about revolution there and boot the mullahs. Iran's been ripe for revolution for a long time now; the vast majority of the people chafe at the restrictions placed on them by the mullahs and violate them at every opportunity.

God save us from the Napoleonists.
"A rash of 9/11s?" Could a more horrific possibility be imagined? Yet our government is willing to risk it in order to "democratize" the Middle East and make the world safe for Israel.
It would be difficult to exaggerate the growing mixture of anger, despair, disgust, and fear actuating the foreign policy community in Washington as the attack on Iraq moves closer, and the North Korea crisis festers with no coherent U.S. policy. We get the phone calls and e-mails from all over this Administration, Capitol Hill, the think tanks, and even fellow scribblers. We've never seen anything like it, and we've been here since 1966.
We like to think the peasant revolt currently underway at the UN is simply a matter of formerly-significant states trying to stack up on top of each other, Transformer-like, to create a single powerful-but-evanescent entity to thwart the US for fun and future Iraqi oil revenues. But it has just as much to do with an absolute distaste for Dubya and his administration's methods. Let's be honest enough with ourselves to admit it takes a special kind of stupid to drive otherwise largely rational allies to prefer to be seen to side with a gleefully genocidal murderer than with you.
Whether or not reporters were quietly "prepped" for their questions by the White House propaganda staff may never be known. What we do know is that the White House press corps "heels" when it is told to heel and "sits" when it is told to sit. Ever since Ari told a reporter who dared to ask a challenging question that his insubordination "was noted around the White House," the media lapdogs know that they better toss the Dim Son soft balls or they will be exiled to covering oil spills in Armenia.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

The Air Force has identified 54 cases of rape or sexual assault in its investigation into impropriety at the Air Force Academy and there are likely many more cadets who will not come forward, Air Force Secretary James Roche said Thursday.

I heard some freak on AM talk radio say that this is further proof that “women shouldn’t be there”. In other words, it’s the WOMEN’s FAULT, according to this freak. Sadly, I’m afraid this misogynistic view is widespread. I used to have a friend (the PGOAT, in fact) who called these pigs “penis heads”. They remind me of the Tom Cruise character in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia”; remember the guy from “seduce and destroy”?

Hey, it’s the woman’s fault. They shouldn’t look and smell and taste and feel so good. Sure. Pigs can’t help themselves. Just by being there, the girls bring it on themselves. Right. Let's not be officers and gentlemen; let's just be pigs who can't control their urges.

Sorry bastards.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

About half of those ["human shields"] have already left the country in frustration, angered that the Iraqi government demanded they leave low-risk targets, such as hospitals, and instead cluster around electrical plants, water-pumping stations and communications centers, which serve significant military as well as civilian purposes.

More fucking idiots.

Idiocy is very prominent on the world stage these days.
But Mr. Bush also has some dangerous blind spots. Every day he asks us to ignore more and more troubling facts, and every day it seems more and more that Mr. Bush has mustered not a coalition of the willing, but rather, as one wag put it, "a coalition of the billing." It is very disturbing that so many of our "allies" have to be bribed or bludgeoned into joining this war.
Envoys for the new South Korean president, Roh Moo Hyun, shocked Bush advisers in Washington recently when they said they would rather have a nuclear North Korea than a chaotic collapse of the government there, according to sources in Seoul.

Idiots. Complete and utter fools.
"This vision stands in stark contrast to the government-run health care ideas; the ideas in which the federal government decides care, the federal government rations care, the federal government dictates coverage a vision which, in my judgment, will stifle innovation, stifle quality, and run up the costs on the patients of America," Mr. Bush said.

And it wouldn't make shitloads of money for my insurance company and drug company campaign contributors, either. Gotta make sure all those guys can afford that 3rd Lexus for weekends at the coast.
According to Pakistani and U.S. officials, Mohammed is beginning to crack after three days of unspecified rough treatment by Pakistani interrogators.

Squeeze that left testicle a little harder with those pliers and let's see what happens then.
"There is a code of conduct that all talk show hosts have to follow," someone else at NBC told me, and apparently Savage may have already broken it. Whether MSNBC dumps him or grins and bears it—hoping for those big ratings—remains to be seen. But it’s clear that MSNBC’s desperation has brought it down into the mud, and it’s only going to sink deeper.

... and found on (ugh):

"We don't want people who just read the New York Times, we've got plenty of those types. We want people who read and understand National Review, the Drudge Report and"
- MSNBC producer explaining their new direction

Again, WHAT fucking liberal media?

McCain was speaking before the Magazine Publishers of America yesterday and was asked whether he believed religious conservatives have too much influence in the Republican Party. He recalled the speech he had given during his 2000 presidential campaign attacking Pat Robertson and the Rev. Jerry Falwell as intolerant and warning that they were trying to lead the GOP in the wrong direction. "Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell on the right," McCain said in that speech.


Hell, I wish McCain would switch parties.
Of all the pro-war candidates, Lieberman has been the most steadfast in his support of getting rid of Saddam. His campaign has focused on general election themes and admirably refused to pander to Democratic constituencies. Like Edwards, he hopes standing on principle will gain him some respect in the long run. And, like Dean, he uses his consistency to take shots at unnamed candidates who waffle on the war: "I think I'm at a point in my career where I've got to do what I think is best for our country's security, for the security of the American people, and hope that, even if some Democrats disagree with my position, as I know some do, [they] will respect me for being truthful and for not trying to have it both ways."

Of the announced candidates, I suppose Lieberman would be my first choice as of now. The others don't impress me.
As part of an expansion announced Tuesday, Google will draw upon its sophisticated search technology to display the Web links of advertisers peddling products and services related to the content displayed on a Web page.
But the magazine's decision to run it reflects the media's absorption with all things Bush – his thought process, his style, his values, his religion, his good-versus-evil world outlook. Even his scribblings might provide a clue. To a degree almost unimaginable when he won a contested election, Bush is now the dominant figure in the world, fueling endless media efforts to deconstruct the Dubya persona.
Presumably the Administration had determined that the timing would be more propitious for passage--meaning less propitious for reasoned debate--after we go to war with Iraq. But it is one thing to play politics with the timing of a farm bill; it is another matter to do so with a bill that would radically alter our rights and freedoms.

The Republican congress will steal billions from ordinary working people under the cover of war. Just watch.
A striking generational gap also has emerged over the issue of war. But contrary to conventional wisdom, it is older Americans who are the most opposed to an Iraq war, recent Post-ABC News surveys have found. In the latest survey, 60 percent of all 18- to 34-year-olds favor military action, compared with 49 percent of those 65 or older.
The Administration is also finalizing separate deals for Israel, Egypt and Jordan. Israel is seeking a multiyear deal involving $4 billion in new grants and $8 billion to $10 billion in US-government guaranteed loans. Jordan is slated to receive an additional $1 billion in aid, and Egypt is seeking new aid beyond its current $1.3 billion, plus a free-trade deal similar to the one Jordan already has with the United States. In exchange for the increased aid, Jordan is hosting US special forces and engaging in joint intelligence gathering. Israel has shared intelligence and helped train US forces for urban combat, but the biggest "contribution" sought by the Administration is for the Sharon government to refrain from retaliating in the event of an Iraqi attack, to avoid regionalizing the conflict. Sharon has so far refused to make any such pledge. From Egypt, a key Arab ally whose population is overwhelmingly against the war, Washington is seeking a statement of political support and the use of some air bases.
Diplomats are now predicting a Security Council vote on or shortly after March 13, six months after Mr. Bush spoke at the United Nations to seek international support for the disarmament of Iraq. The White House, as Mr. Fleischer indicated, might yet forgo a vote, if it proves unable to amass the nine votes needed; the threat of a veto would not necessarily deter the United States if it could use the nine votes to claim a moral victory. It might now be pressing for a vote as part of a high-stakes gamble to force wavering council members — none of them eager to alienate the United States — to take sides.
On the eve of this war, the White House asked those who have enlisted in the nation's military to prepare to sacrifice all, including possibly their own lives, while asking the most fortunate and advantaged of American citizens to sacrifice nothing at all, other than to patriotically accept one more tax cut.
All this appears to be a recipe for a Kurdish-Turkish conflict within the U.S. war with Iraq. Word of a proposed Turkish intervention has aroused passions among the Kurds. It is common to hear them say they prefer Hussein, despite his repeated assaults on them, to the Turks.
Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declined to give details. But other military officials have said the plan calls for unleashing 3,000 precision-guided bombs and missiles in the first 48 hours of a short air campaign, to be followed quickly by ground operations.
The US now says that it will keep flying those spy planes and give them fighter escorts. Given the North Koreans' provocation that is the only possible response. However, we are moving into extremely dangerous territory here. The North Koreans are masters of brinksmanship. But as I once saw former Clinton administration official Wendy Sherman say in a TV interview, "they don't know when to stop."
The statement seemed to reflect a concern in the White House that within weeks it could be dealing with simultaneous crises. "This is all about the recognition that North Korea may decide that the next few weeks are their best shot at starting to build a nuclear arsenal and getting away with it," a senior official said today. "That's what we've got to stop — if we can figure out how."

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Taken word for word from NRO's The Corner:

EAST ST. LOUIS [Jonah Goldberg]
I haven't fact-checked this, but it's pretty funny if true. From a reader:
East St. Louis makes anybody's short list. In the mid-70's, an arsonist was arrested....he just happened to be the Chief of the city Fire Department. City Hall was privately-owned in the 1980's--the city used it as collateral in a lawsuit over an accident in the Drunk Tank and lost. The Mayor of East St. Louis at one time lived not far from the riverfront.......across the river in St. Louis, MO. How bad is that? They've got river boat gambling, but that's the only safe attraction on the river. During a campaign several years ago for Mayor, one of the candidates was shot at by opposition supporters at a speaking engagement. Like he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:"This is is East St. Louis. This ain't Disneyland."

The fact that pig-boy Jonah thinks this is "funny" says quite a lot about him and his type of Republican. Poor people -- mostly African-Americans -- have to live and somehow get by in East St. Louis. Jonah thinks their plight is "funny". He thinks it's a fucking minstrel show.

Take note.

The bastard has turned her into a fucking pincushion.

Mindfucker and Pincushion. That'll look good on the tombstone, yeah.
Patients who sign up with private insurers, including health maintenance organizations and other managed-care plans, would get much more extensive benefits, the officials said. For example, a patient might be covered for the remaining cost of drugs after paying a co-payment, a monthly premium and an annual deductible.

Democrats attacked Bush's plan before it came out. Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark (Calif.) denounced the provision for traditional Medicare patients as meager. "This is basically turning an entitlement into a voucher plan," Stark said.

Oh, by all means, let's give more money to insurance companies and HMOs! Same old Republican shit.
Senior members of Turkey's ruling party said today their government would probably try again to get parliament to approve a U.S. request to base troops here for a war against Iraq. The leaders said the body could take up the matter later this week or next week, and urged Washington in the meantime to strengthen its offer of economic and political support.
While they won't say it in public, White House officials privately admit the plan is to take over Iraq, plain and simple. The Administration likes to call it liberation. But it would mean a full-fledged, old-fashioned occupation by U.S. forces, which would run the country until it was ready to be given back to the Iraqis. Top officials say the plan calls for strong military control, under the overall authority of invasion commander General Tommy Franks. "The only thing that's up for question now," says a State Department official, "is how long that governorship will last."
A mother lode of goodwill fostered in the decades after the defeat of Nazi Germany has been reduced to dust in recent years. A growing number of foreigners see some of the United States' political decisions (pulling out of the Kyoto Treaty on global emissions) and personal choices (Americans' penchant for gas-loving SUVs) as at best unilateral and at worst selfish. The confrontation over Iraq is just more fuel on a bonfire. From Spanish plazas to Parisian metros, American tourists are being quizzed, grilled and even spat on by people who do not approve of the Bush administration's drive for a war against Saddam Hussein.
The Turkish stock market is voting that the Parliament has its head up its ass. In the last couple of weeks their market had been assuming that a deal would be made which would include huge amounts of direct US aid and even more loans as a quid pro quo for letting us stage troops north of Iraq. Now the prospect of such an aid package seems bleak indeed, and in the first seven minutes of trading on Monday the market dropped 10%, and interest rates on their bond market skyrocketed.
Josh Marshall has this about Elliott Abrams (God help us they let him back in government) firing those who disagree with him. Iran-Contra on a grander, more disastrous scale? We will see.

Career civil servants aren't the be-all and end-all. But without them, the policy-making process can become an echo-chamber of over-confident ideologues, confirming each others' preconceived notions, and blundering into ridiculousness and disaster.
Sound familiar?

As a centrist Democrat, Mr. Hamilton agrees with Mr. Bush's larger goal of disarming Iraq, but as a politician, Mr. Hamilton believes there are other considerations affecting the timing. "I think Bush has come to the conclusion that he cannot really exit the path toward war without severely damaging his own political standing," he said. "And I don't think he can go into the next presidential election with Saddam Hussein still in power."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mr. Kissinger's longtime rival in cold war strategizing, argued in a joint appearance with Mr. Kissinger that the crisis America is facing arises from how it treats the rest of the world, telling nations to "line up" as if they were part of some "Warsaw Pact."

"The issue of Iraq is a complicated issue," Mr. Brzezsinki said, and the United States has "never been so isolated globally, literally never, since 1945."

Also true, and distressing.
But the Bush administration declared that Mr. Hussein was, by his action, admitting that he lied in a declaration to the United Nations in December. "Here's the Catch-22 that Saddam Hussein has put himself in," Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said today. "He denied he had these weapons, and then he destroys things he says he never had. If he lies about never having them, how can you trust him when he says he has destroyed them?"


The Pentagon ordered about 60,000 more troops to the region, bringing to over 250,000 the number of American forces deployed on land, sea and at airfields within striking distance of Iraq, officials said today. That has long been considered a magic number — the quarter-million troops the military would like in place before any invasion begins.

This happens before the Ides of March. End of next week. I'm taking bets.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Four North Korean fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane over the Sea of Japan and one used its radar in a manner that indicated it might attack, U.S. officials said Monday.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announced Monday that Charlotte Beers, who was hired by his department to improve the United States' image in the Muslim world, is resigning. Although Beers has come in for some harsh criticism from commentators and indicated at a Senate briefing last week that she found her job very daunting, Powell said she was leaving for health reasons.
Now, in another step toward tamer pursuits, the material-turned-maternal girl is creating a series of illustrated children's books. Madonna has signed a five-book distribution deal with Penguin, while in the United States the books will be published by independent imprint Callaway Editions.

The Iraqi leader has a two-to-one chance of still being in power by the end of June but it is three-to-two that he will be either captured by the US or dead. Those, at least, are the odds offered by online bookmakers Tradesports.
Britain and the United States have all but fired the first shots of the second Gulf war by dramatically extending the range of targets in the "no-fly zones" over Iraq to soften up the country for an allied ground invasion.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Sorry, it's been another shitty weekend. P.G.O.A.T.-obsessed. Still. Sigh ...
Howard Fineman on "Bush and God". Interesting reading.
So if I thought that opposing the war had a chance of hurting Bush's re-election, it would probably be all the nudge I'd need to actually switch sides and oppose it. I've never thought that Saddam Hussein posed an immediate threat, so postponing war for a while would have little downside, while getting rid of Bush would have a big upside.

This is just unacceptable, Kevin, and I thought you'd be above it. Shit or get off the pot.