Saturday, March 22, 2003

The war in Iraq and the tighter homeland security are also adding to a $250 billion deficit. And this time there are no allies promising to foot part of the bill. Some wonder if the nation can afford this war … and everything else on the president's agenda.
Says Hormats: "We can afford a war, we can afford domestic programs and we can afford tax cuts. The problem is we probably can't afford all of them at once."

American special forces were reported to be in Baghdad last night as thousands of elite troops still loyal to Saddam Hussein prepared for a final bloody showdown in the Iraqi capital.

The prospect of coalition forces fighting street by street for control of Baghdad came after thousands of Iraqi troops withdrew to the city following a day of sweeping advances by US and British soldiers pushing north from Kuwait.

Apparently current.
His convictions of right and wrong extend to the right and wrong investments. On Wednesday he participated in a Goldman Sachs conference call to advise clients on investment opportunities arising from the war, titled, "Implications of an Imminent War: Iraq Now. North Korea Next?"
Maybe Mr. Perle should remove the laurel wreath from his head and replace it with a paper bag.

For now, the Bush administration is seeking money under a supplemental appropriation expected to be submitted to Congress shortly, according to administration officials. It may face some heat from lawmakers upset that the administration is moving so swiftly to sign deals with private companies without consulting Congress first. The companies that have been invited to bid on the work include some of the nation's largest and most politically connected construction businesses. Among them are Halliburton, where Vice President Dick Cheney served as chief executive from 1995 until mid-2000; the Bechtel Group, whose ranks have included several Republican cabinet alumni; and Fluor, which has ties to several former top government intelligence and Pentagon procurement officials.
The New York Times has a provocative story that surprisingly has not been receiving much attention. The story quotes media critics who contend that the news media, as much as the Bush Administration, is responsible for the current war in Iraq. The argument: the media did not ask the Administration the tough questions and therefore gave the Administration the ability to distort facts and use misinformation to gain public support for the war.
No, there is no massive retreat here from the position staked out by the French government and public opinion against the war in Iraq. But the angry chasm this has opened between Paris and both London and Washington has shocked many people here and prompted some to ask whether France went too far. The title of the latest cover story in the French newsmagazine Le Point said it all: "Have They Gone Overboard?" The "they" are President Jacques Chirac and his foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin.
BRAHIMI: The only other thing that we were able to do was to go out. We were taken, in fact bused, it was an organized bus tour by the Ministry of Information, to a couple of places. One of them was an electricity plant, a power plant, where we were introduced to the minister of electricity, and the point of the visit seemed to be to show us that the electricity network was still up and running and also to show us the human shields that were still there despite the bombing having started and being well under way.

Passion is a dangerous thing to control. So is moronic behavior. Both together are off the map.
Again: Pro-war, Pro-troops, Anti-Bush.
"And in 1882, fiery radical Chester A. Arthur instituted the merit-based civil-service system for federal employment. Dubya, who limits himself to only three month-long vacations per year, wants to end civil service requirements by 'contracting out' as many as half of all civilian jobs.
"This is only a sample of highlights almost certain to pass. Dubya has indicated he will sign all. Besides, what's really wrong with indentured servitude?"
Do most Americans understand that even as we are launching one of the most devastating air assaults in the history of warfare, private companies are lining up to reap the riches of rebuilding the very structures we're in the process of destroying?
Companies like Halliburton, Schlumberger and the Bechtel Group understand this conflict a heck of a lot better than most of the men and women who will fight and die in it, or the armchair patriots who'll be watching on CNN and cheering them on.
It's not unpatriotic to say that there are billions of dollars to be made in Iraq and that the gold rush is already under way. It's simply a matter of fact.
The top National Security Council official in the war on terror resigned this week for what a NSC spokesman said were personal reasons, but intelligence sources say the move reflects concern that the looming war with Iraq is hurting the fight against terrorism.

"Hardly a surprise," said one former intelligence official. "We have sacrificed a war on terror for a war with Iraq. I don't blame Randy at all. This just reflects the widespread thought that the war on terror is being set aside for the war with Iraq at the expense of our military and intel resources and the relationships with our allies."
Today the House of Representatives will vote on a resolution that if passed will devastate the Veterans Administration's budget and severely reduce its medical, disability, and benefit programs. On the verge of war in Iraq, the Republican Paty has placed in its cross-hairs American veterans from earlier wars.

Nearly a third of the Gulf War veterans have submitted claims to the Veterans Administration for disability, this is about 209,000 veterans. Gulf War II may have as many or more requesting VA assistance, but with a Veterans Administration that will be smaller and with less resources.
As we all know, in times of war we're supposed to support the troops. As Matt Bivens notes, however, the GOP doesn't seem to big on supporting veterans:
Top search terms on Yahoo in the 15 minutes after Bush's speech were: "Iraq," "George W. Bush," "world map," "Ari Fleischer," "Saddam Hussein" and "war."

Ari Fleischer?

The media silence about the HIV status of recently deceased photographer is disturbing. The current media myth portrays the idea that AIDS is no longer the killer it once was. While it is true that drugs have made things much much better for the HIV+ people who can get access to them, the failure to report that people - particularly high profile people - still die from this deadly disease is a troubling development.
The arrangement has prompted accusations from Democrats and government watchdog groups that the role of Hughes improperly blends politics and government business. Democrats complain that the presence of Hughes gives an inherently political tinge to the war effort. "George Bush should be focused on winning this war and making sure our troops are safe, not on how his partisan campaign hacks are going to score political points in the aftermath," said David Sirota, spokesman for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee.

Government watchdog groups said the arrangement essentially allows Hughes to serve as White House official without being subject to its ethics rules, such as disclosure of income sources. Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said that "in effect they're having the RNC paying her salary so she isn't paid by the White House and doesn't come under the ethics rules of the White House." Noble said the arrangement "is a way to avoid disclosing outside income."
White Americans, on the whole, have not experienced terrorism. You listen to them, there has been no terrorism in the United States. They don't immediately identify with the terrorism of lynchings.

-- Walter Mosley

King pointed to Cumulus, which has 42 country stations, as the loudest voice in the chorus against the Chicks. The company reportedly sent a memo to Monument Records, the Sony-owned label for the Chicks, stating that a personal, public apology by Maines -- as opposed to a statement via news release -- will be required before the chain will reconsider its moratorium of Chicks songs.
I've noticed the same thing myself. Bush seems to have an almost pathological desire for obsequious loyalty, and when he says "either you're with us or you're against us," he means he expects you to be with him on everything. The result, though, as Democrats learned last year and Republicans are learning now, is that there's not much payoff for supporting Bush unless you're willing to toe the line as thoroughly as Waylon Smithers donating a kidney to his boss. If you're not — well, you might as well be Al Gore as far as Bush is concerned.
And there's a lesson here that goes beyond fiscal policies. On almost every front the outlook for the United States now seems far bleaker than it did two years ago. Has everything gone wrong because of evildoers and external forces? In the case of the budget — and the economy and, yes, foreign policy — the answer is no. The world has turned out to be a tougher place than we thought a few years ago, but things didn't have to be nearly this bad.
If you scratch a conservative, its a good bet that you will find the Myth of the Liberal Media not too far under the skin. No matter how wellrefuted, no matter how many examples of conservative bias, no matter how many times you point out the utter and complete domination of conservative voices in radio and on TV, they will still insist that the media is liberal. It is an essential part of their world view - an excuse for their failings, and a reason to feel under siege. Giving that myth up would require a complete reevaluation of their entire internal belief system.
Glenn Reynolds is writing about something or other and he concludes with "And it's headlined in The Guardian, of all places." One hears that line fairly frequently from conservative bloggers. Indeed, one hears it so frequently that they ought to stop saying it. See, the thing about the Guardian is that while it has a left-wing take on the news, they're primarily a newspaper and try to do their best to break interesting stories and to publish interesting commentary (to wit: the many pro-war op-eds they've run). Unlike the conservative press, they're not just a bunch of propagandists who'll do or so anything if it'll advance their cause.
You've just summed up Alterman's "What Liberal Media" in one paragraph. Awesome!!!!!
Posted by: pontificator on March 21, 2003 09:00 AM
"We are going to be in such a fix when this war is over, or before this war is over.
Our grandchildren's grandchildren are going to be paying for this war. I look at
our future as, I'm sorry, being very, very dark."
--Walter Cronkite
The White House is vowing a strong retaliatory response after the BBC aired live video of President Bush getting his hair coiffed in the Oval Office as he squirmed in his chair and practiced on the teleprompter minutes before Wednesday night's speech announcing the launch of military operations against Saddam Hussein.

Supposedly, the White House is also very angry about video taken of Shrub playing with his dogs on the afternoon before the 'get out of Dodge' speech. I heard this on ABC radio news coverage of the war. If anyone has hard copy, email it.
The votes left Bush in a commanding position to get most if not all of what he wants later this year when Congress passes tax legislation to carry out the budget requirements. The president is calling for a $396 billion cut in taxes that investors pay on corporate dividends, plus an acceleration of previously approved rate cuts, which would cost $300 billion over 10 years.

Nickles responded that Congress rarely if ever provides funding for wars until military operations have begun. But the war has begun, Feingold noted later in a conversation with reporters. "It's a slap in the face of the American people to pretend it isn't [going to be] costly," he said.

Picking your pocket under cover of war. And I support it (the war, not Bush).
As it pushed to finish work on the 2004 federal budget, the Republican-led Senate voted 62-38 against a bid by a bipartisan group of moderates to limit the tax cut to $350 billion.
Democrats had accused Republican leaders of trying to rush through the budget and the tax cut this week before the White House sends Congress an emergency spending request -- expected to total $75 billion or more -- to help pay for the war.

"Well let them tell us that first, and then let's complete action on this massive tax cut," said West Virginia Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd.

Those who voice them don't even believe them, though perhaps in the pitch and puerile frenzy of protest they persuade themselves that they do. But when it comes to action, they know quite well the distinction between them and us. In fact, they presume it.

Consider their protest marches, which the less provincial and spoiled among them know would be impossible in any truly tyrannous country, where freedoms of speech and assembly are squelched with cudgels and guns.

Consider too their deployment of themselves as human shields, a strategy they know has a chance of succeeding only when the "aggressor" is a democratic country mindful of the rules of engagement, respectful of human rights.

A human shield works only against an enemy who is reluctant to kill those who stand in its way. Obviously, that is why there are human shields in Gaza and Baghdad and none in Jerusalem and New York City.
There is a word for this. It's called militarism.

Although spared the classic Teutonic symptoms -- among other things, we prefer cheering the troops on from afar to actually donning a uniform -- Americans have succumbed to a strain of that disease. The present war against Iraq -- justified in part by preposterous expectations that, having delivered Iraqis from their oppressor, the United States will bring liberal democracy to Iraq and then all the Arab world -- makes this unmistakable.

Seduced by images of war rendered antiseptically precise, we have lost our bearings. We have deluded ourselves into believing that the best hope of safety and security lies in dispatching the cadre of military professionals whom we proclaim to be "our best and brightest" on a mad undertaking to transform the world -- or, if need be, to conquer it.

In Iraq, President Bush has opened up yet another front in his war against evil. Committed, we must win. But the long march to Baghdad should give Americans pause: Exactly where is this road leading us?
Democrats voiced long-held suspicions the Bush administration was deliberately delaying an emergency defense spending request -- expected to total $75 billion or more -- in order to avoid stoking opposition to the tax cuts at a time of rising federal budget deficits. "It appears to me that maybe there's a rush to go through with the budget because maybe people are going to start asking questions about how much this war is costing," said Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.
"I've heard it could be up to $100 billion," Reid said in a speech on the Senate floor. "And yet we're marching through with these tax cuts to satisfy the wealthy of this country. That's what this budget thing is all about."
It is a difficult thing - squaring the thought of rich Americans reaping lots of money from the federal till - especially while the country is hurting, at war, and in deep deficit. The only conclusion left to draw is that George Bush has also declared war on the American working class.

As bombs drop on the people of Baghad, give some thought to playing a role in what's left of American democracy. To that end, pick up the phone and dial the congressional toll-free number at 800-839-5276, and tell your representatives that you're opposed to funding their neverending corporate war, and that you'll have their hide if they vote to hand over federal dollars to rich folks who don't need it.
In fact, while you have them on the phone, you might want to suggest that these politicians and their affluent friends, with their off-shore accounts, defense portfolios and lust for battle, step up to the plate and do the Right Thing.

Atrios gets bitchy.
Josh marshall gets bitchy:

(Just as a personal note, Dick. I know we've exchanged some words and all. But I do appreciate this, because I'm trying to take a few days of sort of light duty after finishing the manuscript. And this is a great help. So thanks. Or 'mega-dittos.' Or whatever it is you guys say.)

''I'm on the periphery of a lot of despair, of course,'' he said. ''You'd have to be stupid not to be. I have my moments when I'm not too thrilled about this whole deal. But at the same time, the songs have never come like this, so I'd have to feel more gratitude than anything else. I'm probably in the intensest creative period of my life.''
Zevon and his longtime bassist and collaborator, Jorge Calderon, have been writing whenever ideas strike them -- including, Zevon says, via cellphone conversations ''from the aisle of the health-food store. I have to move fast, because I don't know what's going to happen.''

On the peripherey of a lot of despair ... I hear that. The man could always turn a phrase.
I was given to understand this was a pro-Iraq war song. Yet it only mentions bin Laden. What gives? I don’t usually listen to modern country music; I like old country music, though.
What saved French honor after the war was the myth of "the resistance" -- the idea that the French had liberated themselves from the Germans. That was nonsense, of course. In reality, it was the D-Day landings and American and British tanks that drove the Nazis back into Germany. But the myth of a powerful indigenous resistance movement was the cornerstone of postwar French cultural and political life. It allowed France to believe in itself.
The Prime Minister told MPs on Tuesday that France had acted "unreasonably".
He described its stance as misguided and profoundly dangerous, stressing that this had ultimately benefited Saddam Hussein. John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, claimed that without French opposition Saddam could have been disarmed "without a shot being fired".
There is a mad logic at work. The goal is to turn weakness into strength: Hussein's last hope will be to manipulate international revulsion over massive Iraqi losses into pressure on Washington to halt the campaign short of his overthrow. He will not protect the regular army troops any more than he did in 1991, when he ordered commanders and most staff officers out of Kuwait while leaving their troops behind.
The extent of damage will take time to sort out. So will the impact of this expanded broadcast technology: Will it desensitize viewers to the horrors of war or give a new appreciation of those horrors? In the meantime it's worth recalling that this new live coverage gives an amazing picture but far from a complete one -- gives such intimate visual knowledge that we may be deluded into thinking we actually know and feel what's going on.

I still say those imbedded reporters have Stockholm Syndrome. Not a totally bad thing; go fight win America and all that, and I'm on the same side, of course. Yet where's the objectivity?
"Look at it this way," he said with a hint of exasperation in his voice. "You try to kill the man's daddy. Then the man, who just so happens to be the president of the United States and a macho man from Texas, gives you 48 hours to get out of the country. Now, that strikes me as a fair warning. The way I figure it, 'fair warning' is fair play."

I like this guy. I like this barber shop!
What's most striking about this war so far is the extremely heavy reliance on multifaceted psychological warfare and propaganda. Every war uses psywar as one of its elements, but seldom I think has it been so integral to the effort. This whole effort about the fate of Saddam is of course a key point. For the US, if he's dead, great. If the US can get the word out that he might be dead, also great -- since it spreads doubt about the power of the regime. If the US can coax Saddam out into the open to prove he's alive, that's still good -- since it gets him out in the open for the US to take another hit at him.
Trading was brisk as televisions flashed images of enormous explosions around Baghdad, part of the aerial bombardment known as "shock and awe" to reflect the goal of forcing Saddam Hussein to capitulate. Analysts said the developments fed investor confidence about a swift victory.

I'm a capitalist myself, but sometimes ... it can get real ugly.
It would be far better to recognize, as many are belatedly doing, that victory in Iraq will come not from fighting alone but rather from what happens afterward. And for this we must gather legitimacy from institutions such as the United Nations and NATO. We will need a substantial international military presence there for years. We need resources to rebuild the state structures of Iraq with new faces and skills. And we must exercise the patience to allow democracy to emerge slowly. Above all, we must not use our presence in Iraq as a launching pad for self-glorification, imperial pretenses or further expeditions but as an opportunity to strengthen the international institutions that we have spent more than 50 years developing and nourishing.

I like Wesley Clark. I heard he's a Democrat.
Tony Blair played a key role in stopping President George W Bush from ordering military action against Iraq immediately after the September 11 attacks, and convincing him to take a longer diplomatic road to war, British sources disclosed yesterday.

After the September 11 attacks, hardline members of the administration, such as Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, called for Iraq to be included immediately as a target of the "war on terrorism".

But Mr Blair backed more cautious figures, such as Colin Powell, the secretary of state, who said that uprooting al-Qa'eda from Afghanistan should be the first priority.

Follow the war from the left ...

... And from the right. Some might say far right.
President Bush reviewed the latest reports of fighting along the Iraqi frontlines on Saturday and warned Americans the war could be "longer and more difficult" than some thought.

Three days into battle, Bush cautioned against overconfidence given the apparent success of the mission and lack of serious resistance so far.

"A campaign on harsh terrain in a vast country could be longer and more difficult than some have predicted," said Bush, who spent the first weekend of the war at Camp David.

Hmmmmmm ...

Friday, March 21, 2003

Glad Kevin Drum is back. My thoughts exactly. It's overwhelming.

This is bad news for everyone actually fighting the war, of course, but also bad news for blogging — on this blog, at least.
I mean, let's get serious: if you want war news, tune in to CNN or Fox or NBC or CBS or ABC or just about any other channel, all of whom seem to be covering the war 24/7. But don't come here, where all I can do is regurgitate what some "embedded" reporter just told us via an artifact-ridden-two-frames-per-second videophone report from a desert alleged to be in Iraq somewhere. And analysis of how the war is going? Don't make me laugh
Have been glued to television the past couple of days. Some truly extraordinary pictures being broadcast from Iraq, the advance of the 3rd Infantry Div. being particularly riveting. (Although, don't those "embedded" reporters seem to be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome or something?)

Things appear to be going miraculously well. Knock on wood, but it looks like Saddam was whacked around 8:31 pm CST Wednesday night. Clearly the Iraqi command and control has been seriously damaged. It looks like Saddam's stormtroopers may be on their own with no idea as to what to do. We will pray it continues to go well. We are all so lucky to live in these United States, as opposed to Iraq, say.

George W. Bush has led a charmed life. It would appear his luck continues. Which is, of course, good for us all; at least in the geopolitical sphere. I do not support him politically (see this statement), of course, being a member of the loyal opposition; yet I marvel at the man's apparent midas touch.

Blogging will be light as I watch the war on TV and we open the 2003 Little League campaign tomorrow. We're coaching Ethan and the Expos this year, boy's 11-12. Tara is 3rd-basekid on the White Lightning girl's softball team, 9-10, which we are cheering for but not coaching.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Mitchell then "raped or attempted to rape her, or commit forcible sexual abuse against her," with Barzee's help, Yocom said. At some point, the girl was restrained with a cable around her foot that was tethered to a tree, he said.

I hope this bastard is raped repeatedly in prison and, at some point, has his balls handed to him on the blade of a very dull knife.

He’s not a religious zealot. He’s not crazy. He is a pedophile. Period. That was his motive.

His ex-wife has given interview after interview in which she’s stated that she believes him to be primarily a pedophile and all his silly religious shit merely a cover for it. She’s right. The concept of polygamy comes in very handy for a sexual predator.

Both the ex-wife and her oldest daughter (who is not Mitchell’s natural child) have stated many times that he sexually abused the daughter when she was still a child. And you should see the daughter now! Hideously dyed blonde hair, whory makeup ... he made her what she is, which sadly happens all too often. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so. These abused girls get it in their heads that the only way they can get attention from daddy --nay, from all men -- is to look and act like a whore (I'm sorry, it's true). The abuser creates a monster. Porn "actresses" and/or whores are mostly abused kids, grown up. And they believe it was their fault! So they keep acting out in sexually inappropriate ways. To punish themselves because they believe it was their fault they were abused, and to depressingly scream out for attention in the only way they know how, the only way they got attention as children, (not their fault) which is sexually. And to punish "daddy" or whoever it was who abused them, by not being HIS whore. 'Look what I've got but you can't have it.' It's so SAD! Self-destruction born out of revenge born out of abuse. It's NOT their fault they were abused by a freak! Anyway, this girl, abused by Mitchell as a child, looked like a painted whore ... If she's not, then I apologize. But I've seen this before.

The Smart family will no longer answer questions from reporters about what happened to Elizabeth, Thomas said.

Good for the Smarts! Protect that child! If the whores in the press or the Jerry Springerish cult of sex-obsessed sleazoids in our sick modern culture want to play their twisted little games of “what happened?”, attempting to drag you and Elizabeth down into the gutter with them, let them eat silence!

Protect Elizabeth. Love her. It's not her fault.

I pray the sleazoid press nor Mitchell's lawyers nor a sicko public never manage to put it in that child's head that it was her fault some pedophile couldn't keep his dick in his Jesus robe. I don't want her to grow up to be ... one of those sad little girls, giving it all up for a little attention, a little "love". "Look at me, love me". It's soooooooo sad, and such a waste.

Protect Elizabeth from this vicious cycle. Don't let her be dragged down into the gutter with the slime.

We're not all perverts out here. Some of us know the meaning of Decency. And the difference between sex and abuse and rape. And the difference between sex and love.
Last night I listened to radio maniac Michael Savage for a little while. It wasn't easy.

He started off on Daschle (rightly so) and then used the South Dakota connection to slam the other senator from South Dakota's reelection mini-scandal over supposed ballet-box-stuffing. Savage (not his real name, BTW) couldn't think of the other senator's name, or so he said, but he slammed him up, down and sideways, even, at one point, questioning the man's patriotism since he is, of course, a Democrat.

That "other" senator's name is Tim Johnson, Democrat, S.D., and is the ONLY fucking member of BOTH houses of Congress to have a child in the armed forces who will see action in Iraq. And, Tim Johnson voted FOR authorizing Shrub to use whatever force he thought necessary in Iraq; thus sending his own son to war.

And Michael "Savage" questions his patriotism.

FOLLOWING A SURREAL timetable, the Senate and House are apt this week to approve budget resolutions that would lock in huge tax cuts without setting aside a penny for war in Iraq. Then the administration would unveil a "supplemental" spending request -- and demand that a check be cut immediately.
We believe that prosecuting this war is necessary, and a commitment to postwar reconstruction will be crucial. But that doesn't mean Congress should stick its head in the budgetary sand and ignore the war's price tag. As it works on the budget, it should heed John Maynard Keynes's advice: Better to be "vaguely right than precisely wrong." To approve a budget plan including large tax cuts without attempting even to estimate the cost of the war would be breathtakingly irresponsible.

The Bush administration wants to prosecute a war AND give tax cuts to the wealthy.

This is impossible.

It is stunning evidence of how stupid the Bush administration believe YOU are, if you buy it.
Despite the heightened alert status and the existence of regional and local emergency preparedness plans in place since Sept. 11, 2001, one individual, who may or may not pose a real threat to public safety, has demonstrated that federal and local officials do not have adequate escape plans in place for people who need to leave town. And Mr. Watson pulled off his feat in an open park area as the nation's capital was preparing for a possible war, with security supposedly having been tightened near federal buildings and monuments. Not reassuring.
The confidential F.B.I. memorandum, issued on Monday night after President Bush gave Saddam Hussein a 48-hour ultimatum to leave Iraq, warned that "the intensity and scope of opposition to a U.S.-led war against Saddam Hussein has grown to levels that far exceed any such opposition that existed in 1991," and that "Al Qaeda may be in the last stages of planning for large-scale attacks."
Daschle should have shut his mouth and let Friedman say it for him:

The president says he went the extra mile to find a diplomatic solution. That is not true. On the eve of the first gulf war, Secretary of State James Baker met face to face in Geneva with the Iraqi foreign minister — a last-ditch peace effort that left most of the world feeling it was Iraq that refused to avoid war. This time the whole world saw President Bush make one trip, which didn't quite make it across the Atlantic, to sell the war to the only two allies we had. This is not to excuse France, let alone Saddam. France's role in blocking a credible U.N. disarmament program was shameful.
The hawks of Bush II are not afraid of disorder in the pursuit of American dominance. They have no interest in any coalition — except their own. They see the international "we" as an impediment to joy — and to destiny. The Bush doctrine is animated by "the big I." That self-regarding doctrine, concocted by Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle back when W. was still merely a presidential gleam in Karl Rove's eye, preaches preventive pre-emptive preternatural pre-eminence.


We'll never know from the ultrasecretive vice president whether he also touched base with oil industry types, since Halliburton and other big construction companies that give to Republicans now stand to make millions in contracts for reconstructing Iraq and reviving its oil industry.

Telephone bugs have been discovered at offices used by France, Germany and Britain in the building where European Union leaders are due to hold a summit this week, an EU spokesman said on Wednesday.

Hmmmmm ....
Poised at the brink of war, the difference between American and European public attitudes on Iraq are as deep and wide as the Atlantic Ocean, with Americans rallying strongly behind President Bush while most Europeans still remain sharply critical of Bush and his foreign policy, according to surveys released on Tuesday.

Gee, I wonder if that could be because America is the primo target for terrorism and Europe is not. Well, duuuuuuuhhhhhhh ...
''Fermez la bouche, Monsieur Daschle,'' House majority leader Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas, said in a written statement. Translated from the French, the remark roughly means: Shut your mouth.

Oh, fuck you, Exterminator. Go back to your district and inhale toxic fumes.

In coordinated rebuttals -- and bolstered by polls suggesting that more than 60 percent of Americans back a war even without UN approval -- Republicans and Bush advisers said Daschle had overstepped his bounds and was nearly taking sides with Saddam Hussein. Their attacks bore shades of a battle with Democrats last year, when Republicans accused critics of Bush's foreign policy approach of being unpatriotic.

These Republican assholes are certainly not above playing politics in a time of war. Take note!

That said, I'd like to see Daschle resign his leadership position. Hell, I wanted him to resign back in November, after the disastrous mid-term elections. He is a bane to the party of the Democrats. He's ineffective, inept, too liberal and, in occurences such as this, an embarassment. Talk about lousy timing! If Daschle had said what he said last week, then OK. But to say it on the day it became clear American troops were going into battle in a foreign land can only serve to piss swing voters off at the Democratic party and cost votes!

Silly. Stupid. Dumb. I want him out and replaced my someone with better sense, better political skills and more moderate views.

I don't know who I'd like to replace him but I'll think of somebody.

Pelosi was a mistake. Keeping Daschle was a mistake.

I refer you to Brother Digby: I hope that the Democrats face up to the reality that national security is going to be the foremost issue in the coming Presidential campaign and find a way to deal with the fact that we are considered to be complete losers on the issue. This is a HUGE problem and it's not going to magically disappear no matter how badly they manage to fuck up the economy. They are going to keep asserting that the economy is in the ditch because of the "war" on evil and there is nothing to be done but to keep cutting taxes and invading countries that might threaten us someday. They are committed to this and they aren't going to budge.
And we are going to lose if we don't find a way to answer the charge that Democrats are pussies.

Testify, Brother Digby, testify!

Tony Blair: 1441 is a very clear resolution. It lays down a final opportunity for Saddam to disarm. It rehearses the fact that he has been, for years in material breach of 17 separate UN resolutions. It says that this time compliance must be full, unconditional and immediate. The first step is a full and final declaration of all WMD to be given on 8 December.
I won't to go through all the events since then - the house is familiar with them - but this much is accepted by all members of the UNSC: the 8 December declaration is false. That in itself is a material breach. Iraq has made some concessions to cooperation but no-one disputes it is not fully cooperating. Iraq continues to deny it has any WMD, though no serious intelligence service anywhere in the world believes them.
For the first time, French publications, reporting on the disarray of political analysts, are now asking: Who are we against, Saddam or Bush? Or: Where was the sense in Chirac's promising a veto of a new UN resolution when such a gesture was not an absolute necessity? And even: How did France manage to reject British revisions to its draft resolution last week hours before Iraq did? .

"Have They Gone Overboard?" this week's cover-story in Le Point, a center-right newsmagazine, wondered over a picture of Chirac and Foreign Minister Dominic de Villepin. Its lead editorial's response was mostly yes, noting viperishly that France was rather good at accommodating itself to any detestable status quo. But that hardly signaled some kind of special unease, no more than the middle-ground financial daily La Tribune did in saying Tuesday that France would pay dearly for its gratuitous threat of a veto.

.Instead, the notion that a botch may well be at hand for France came in a well-researched article in the current issue of the left-populist magazine Marianne, normally a font of anti-American tweaks and bellows, which analyzed recent French diplomacy under the title, "Visionary Policy or Operetta-Style Gaullism?" .It said France always sought if possible to propel its own policies with a European motor but found that its disagreement these days with many of the EU's members and candidates about the French desire for a Europe defined by its opposition to America eliminated any hope of a common policy.
Senate Republicans rebuffed a pair of Democratic efforts Tuesday to derail President Bush's planned new tax cuts, including one proposal to delay them until after he details the likely costs of combat with Iraq.
The near party-line votes underlined a determination by majority Republicans not to let an imminent war alter their plans for boosting the economy with tax cuts. Democrats dubbed their amendment to delay the tax reductions the ``Patriotic Pause,'' arguing that with troops poised to enter battle, now was not the time for tax cuts that they said would go primarily to the wealthy.

And so it begins.

Repeat. Keep an eye on the Republican congress. They will try to steal as much of the common folks' money under cover of this war as possible. You watch! They did it immediately after 9/11. They will try to do it now.
Changing the regime is not the biggest problem. It's what happens afterwards … you're dealing with an uncontrollable event ... the physical analogy to Saddam Hussein's regime is a steel beam in compression. This is an extremely repressive regime. Even to say those words doesn't do it justice. When it breaks ... it'll give off absolutely no sign at all that it's about to fail ... [and then] Ka-Wammo! And it just goes crazy. That what's gonna happen here. You may have control over how the things start ... There are a variety of ways to do [it] ... You may have a horse you're going in with. But that guy isn't gonna survive first contact.
Josh Marshall: But there are still two very important issues that hang in the balance that deserve serious attention. The first, though more long-term, is the necessity of as rapidly as possible restoring our relationships with our historic allies and beginning to repair our standing in the world. This makes the 2004 election far more important than it was before. But we'll get into that later.
The second is the one that deserves your serious attention. Despite the certainty of war, this administration remains divided about the purpose and aftermath of this war. One camp sees this as a fairly limited, surgical effort to get rid of Saddam, put a reasonably democratic government in its place and then move on. Another camp sees this as only a first step. After this comes Iran, Syria, perhaps also Southern Lebanon, and more. And I don't mean calling them names. I mean, taking them out.

From what the Army has told us, we'll be operating under generous ground rules this time. As long as we don't include operational details that could be helpful to the Iraqis, we're being given pretty much of a free hand.

We shall see.

Of course, some people will get off to this. And the ratings will be boffo, won’t they? Stock up on that popcorn, America!

Related: If I were Gen. Franks, the first thing I would do would be to pull the plug on Al Jazeera. It's right there in his backyard in Qatar.

Mr de Villepin also issued an oblique warning to the US about post-war Iraq, saying that no one country could rebuild it, and that only the UN had the legitimacy to take on such a task.

I hate this guy.

Again, what came raining from the sky at the end of "Magnolia"?
Allied forces today moved into the demilitarised zone straddling the Iraq-Kuwait border in preparation for the imminent attack on Iraq, Kuwaiti security sources cited by Reuters said.
Convoys of British and US tanks and fighting vehicles have been snaking through sandstorms in the Kuwaiti desert, making their way towards the Iraq border.
Meanwhile, US officials have denied rumours that the Iraqi deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, had given himself up and defected to northern Iraq, or been shot while trying to flee.

Bill O'Reilly, on his radio show, just called Walter Cronkite "an arrogant, self-important man". This, kiddies, is the textbook definition of the phrase, "takes one to know one".
In the American classic film "Citizen Kane", a young, idealistic Charles Foster Kane takes over operation of a newspaper with a "statement of principles". A basic set of beliefs. In these difficult times, with war looming and certain classless, politically degenerate individuals wielding the concept of Patriotism as a sword, I thought it might be timely to publish my own "statement of principles" or beliefs. It is a partial list, open to amendment (and probably will be amended), but here it is.


I support Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I believe disarming Saddam Hussein by force – if necessary – is a good idea.

I believe, as an American citizen, this is an act of self-defense; not an act of aggression.

Although I hate and deplore war and violence, I believe there are times when war and violence are necessary. Violence is, regretably, the only language some people, such as Saddam Hussein, understand.

I support our troops.

I want to see Osama Bin Laden’s head on a pole on prominent display somewhere in the U.S.A.

I am a centrist/liberal Democrat of the old JFK/FDR school.

I don’t like Republicans even though some of them are friends of mine; I am not so much a “yellow dog Democrat” as an “anti-Republican dog Democrat”. I will never vote for a Republican as long as I live.

I tend to see the Republican party as the party of the rich and the Democrat party as the party of the little guy. I believe this assessment to be largely true.

I believe most major elections in the United States are bought rather than won.

I believe that there is a sizeable, extremely naïve contingent of the American political left who wouldn’t recognize danger if it were sitting on top of them.

I believe far left liberals are just as dangerous as far right conservatives. I do not like ideologues and do not suffer fools gladly.

I strongly oppose George Walker Bush politically and will continue to do so.

I support the President of the United States with regard to Iraq.

I have very little respect for George Walker Bush personally, although I hold his office in highest regard. (The respect I do have for him is for his fortitude in quitting drinking, as I am an alcoholic myself and know it takes courage, strength and humility.)

I do not believe George Walker Bush is a humble man.

I believe George Walker Bush is an arrogant, shallow, classless, empty suit of a man who was handed everything he’s gotten in life on a silver platter. I believe he is an eastern aristocrat rich boy frat boy in the almost exclusive service of powerful American big business interests. I believe he is more of a puppet than a man and is easily swayed and influenced. I believe he is unqualified and ill-prepared to be President of the United States.

I don’t consider George Walker Bush to be a “real Texan” although he served as the state’s governor. He was born in Connecticut, educated at eastern boarding schools and Ivy League colleges where I believe he was given a bit of a free pass due to his family name. He likes to play at being a Texan and wears a pair of fine boots but he is not the real deal.

I believe Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks made a personal assessment of character; not an unpatriotic statement. George Walker Bush is President of the United States, not King George. That said, she was pandering to her audience, which is not a crime.

I don’t believe George Walker Bush was fairly “elected” President of the United States of America although I accept him as such and cede to him all the respect due that office since Al Gore dropped all legal challenges voluntarily and Bush took the oath of office; George Walker Bush is the President of the United States of America, clearly and legally. I believe he wields all the vast powers of that office legitimately.

I believe George Walker Bush, his political advisors, most members of his administration and most prominent, elected public office holders in the Republican party, as well as their prominent supporters in think tanks, the media, radio talk show hosts, etc. have shamelessly and consistently exploited the tragedy of 9/11/01 to their own advantage.

I am a loyal, patriotic American citizen, whose favorite sport is baseball, who stands and holds his hand over his heart when the National Anthem is played at public events.

I would defend the United States of America with my life should it ever be invaded.

I personally hate – no, abhor – Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” and believe it to be exploitive, cynical and probably written for the money rather than patriotism.

I cried while watching “Black Hawk Down”.

I am not comfortable being a hawk.

God Bless America and may God have mercy on us during these trying times.


I believe the promotional statement, “Fair and Balanced”, used by Fox News Channel to describe their content, is a ridiculously transparent, bald-faced lie. I further believe that Fox News adherents know full well that it is a ridiculously transparent, bald-faced lie.

I believe that establishing a friendly regime in Iraq will serve a number of useful purposes. A) No WMD, B) Hopefully, it will allow us to move bases out of Saudi Arabia and into Iraq. One of the main issues which set Osama bin Laden off in the first place was the presence of American “infidels” in Saudi, the home of Mecca and Medina. Fine, we’ll get out and base those planes and troops in Iraq, which is a far better, strategically-located position, anyway. If one looks at a map, Iraq borders Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan and Turkey. It’s in the fucking MIDDLE of the mideast! Iraqi bases will make those countries think twice before getting out of line. And access to Iraqi oil will undercut the Saudis and help to get them to behave w/r/t financially supporting terrorists under the table. OPEC might even crash and burn.

I believe that oil IS an American interest.

I believe that George W. Bush’s “tough guy” big mouth made the situation w/r/t our traditional allies worse. Same with Donald Rumsfeld. Teddy Roosevelt said to “walk softly and carry a big stick”. I believe in the big stick. But these arrogant morons chose to walk (and talk) loudly and carry a big stick, thus alienating most of the world.

I believe that the right to dissent and protest is one of our most sacred rights; and that any American who tells you otherwise holds beliefs that are far more fundamentally anti-American and dangerous than any he/she/it claims to oppose.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

She says she just wants to be loved. And that’s true; I’ve never seen a more neurotic attention junkie.

But she wants the money, too. And if it came down to the love or the money, she'll take the money. Then she would die in luxury bitching about being alone and unloved, not having a clue that she blew the choice. Or even knowing she had a choice.

That’s the essential tragedy of her, you see? She is self-destructive. It goes so deep she’s not even consciously aware of it.

I weep for her most every day. It’s so sad. And so unnecessary. Tragic.

When she is loved, she doesn’t understand how anyone could love her, because she doesn’t love herself. So she twists out of it, and always makes the wrong choice. Always choosing the one which will justify her basic belief that’s she is bad and unloveable. She would rather have the money and be demeaned; controlled; used. She knows nothing else. Real, pure, genuine love scares her, because she feels she doesn’t deserve it.

What this means pretty clearly is that we cannot claim that Resolution 1441 gives us any basis for doing what we're about to do. The White House has sort of had it both ways on this -- on the one hand saying we're bagging the UN process and on the other saying 1441 gives us sanction. Clearly, it doesn't give us sanction since at the very least the expressed understanding of 1441 at the time was that only the Security Council could judge when 1441 had been be violated.
The Bush administration's audacious plan to rebuild Iraq envisions a sweeping overhaul of Iraqi society within a year of a war's end, but leaves much of the work to private U.S. companies, Monday's Wall Street Journal reported.

We tear it down and our campaign contributors rebuilt it.
The Vatican said on Tuesday countries that decide to wage war on Iraq without a global consensus must take responsibility before God and history -- making clear the Pope would not endorse their actions.

Which has O'Reilly trashing the Pope.

After all, the Pope is merely the vessel of God on earth. O'Reilly IS God, or so he believes.
I knew this would happen: Limbaugh has spent the first hour on Daschle.

Saddam Hussein is not the enemy. Hollywood actors, The Dixie Chicks and Democrats are the enemy. Haven't you heard?
Proponents of the law, known as McCain-Feingold, predicted it would force politicians to reach out to ordinary Americans who might give $50 or $100 to a campaign. But at least in the short term, the law is prompting both major parties to search diligently for upper-income people who might give amounts approaching the new maximum for an individual's donations to a national party: $57,500, in increments of as much as $25,000.

But once the shooting stops, it's likely that the debate will intensify, at home and abroad, over the Bush administration's vision of how America should project power and advance its aims in the world. And, as Cheney's comments make clear, that debate may involve the most sweeping reconsideration of America's commitment to traditional alliances and multilateral institutions since Acheson's time.
Every military conflict comes equipped with its own lexicon, if only to explain the food -- from hardtack to K-rations to MREs (meals ready to eat). And already, the impending war with Iraq has spawned its own shorthand, which differs slightly from war jargon of the past in that it's preemptive and seemingly instantaneous.
 Where does it end? Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has laid out the road map, with Iran, Libya and Syria next on the list: "These are irresponsible states, which must be disarmed of weapons mass destruction," he told visiting U.S. congressmen, "and a successful American move in Iraq as a model will make that easier to achieve."
Undersecretary of State John Bolton agrees. Last month, he said in meetings with Israeli officials that "it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterward."

Go read this. It's very good and very sobering. We can't say "screw you" to the entire world.

The Arrogant Empire
America’s unprecedented power scares the world, and the Bush administration has only made it worse. How we got here—and what we can do about it now
by Fareed Zakaria

Given this situation, perhaps what is most surprising is that the world has not ganged up on America already. Since the beginnings of the state system in the 16th century, international politics has seen one clear pattern—the formation of balances of power against the strong. Countries with immense military and economic might arouse fear and suspicion, and soon others coalesce against them. It happened to the Hapsburg Empire in the 17th century, France in the late 18th and early 19th century, Germany twice in the early 20th century, and the Soviet Union in the latter half of the 20th century. At this point, most Americans will surely protest: “But we’re different!” Americans—this writer included—think of themselves as a nation that has never sought to occupy others, and that through the years has been a progressive and liberating force. But historians tell us that all dominant powers thought they were special. Their very success confirmed for them that they were blessed. But as they became ever more powerful, the world saw them differently.
From The Moonie Times:

Mr. Coors also was a visionary in other areas as well, said Lee Edwards, a distinguished fellow in conservative thought at Heritage who interviewed Mr. Coors in the mid-1990s.
In the early 1970s, Mr. Coors founded Television News Inc., (TVN), a television network designed to counter what he saw as liberal bias in the media. The company closed a few years after its founding because cable and other needed technology was not yet available. But the publicist whom Mr. Coors had hired to be news director was Roger Ailes, who went on to become head of the Fox News Channel.

Now wait a minute! This implies that Fox News was founded “to counter what he saw as liberal bias in the media” by citing the fact that Coors hired Roger Ailes as news director of his “visionary” television network. Further, the author implies that Fox News is “conservative” by (rather bluntly) implying that Joe Coors’ 70’s venture was a precursor to Fox News, and since Coors and Ailes were/are right-wingers then TVN and Fox News were/are both conservative in nature.

But this can’t be true! I’ve heard the ads! “Fair and balanced!” “We report, you decide.” They can’t be “fair and balanced” and ideologically driven at the same time. Can they? Is the Moonie Times calling Shep Smith a liar?

A parody, although the facts are true:

And most important of all, I realize that it's wrong for a celebrity to voice a political opinion, unless they're Charlie Daniels, Clint Black, Merle Haggard, Barbara Mandrell, Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, Travis Tritt, Hank Williams Jr, Amy Grant, Larry Gatlin, Crystal Gayle, Reba McEntire, Lee Greenwood, Lorrie Morgan, Mike Oldfield, Ted Nugent, Wayne Newton, Dick Clark, Jay Leno, Drew Carey, Dixie Carter, Victoria Jackson, Charleton Heston, Fred Thompson, Ben Stein, Bruce Willis, Kevin Costner, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Bo Derek, Rick Schroeder, George Will, Pat Buchanan, Bill O'Reilly, Joe Rogan, Delta Burke, Robert Conrad or Jesse Ventura.
Via Ted Barlow. Liquored up rednecks out of control in Houston. And I'm a loyal American and I HATE that damn song. So there.

With some 15,000 to 20,000 folks at the rodeo drinking beer and having fun, things can get a little out of hand at times. It happened when a tape of Lee Greenwood's song Proud To Be An American was playing. Some rodeo fans were standing and others were sitting down. Felix Fanaselle and his buddies chose to remain seated.
"This guy behind us starts yelling at us (because) we're not standing up," said Fanaselle. "He starts cussing at us, telling us to go back to Iraq."
The 16-year-old said the man seated behind him started spitting at him and spilling his beer on him and his friends.
"By the end of the song, he pulled my ear. I got up. He pushed me. I pushed him," said Felix. "He punched me in my face. I got him off me."
When the dust settled, Fanaselle had been handcuffed and released. He and John McCambridge were cited for "mutual combat" and fighting in public. That's a $200 fine. Fanaselle's lawyer says you don't have to stand for a country and western song.
He said it therefore falls to the United States, as the world's lone superpower, and whatever coalition the U.S. can muster, to remove Hussein and prevent another recurrence of the kind of terrorist attack that occurred on Sept. 11. As he put it last night, "The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, we will rise to ours."

And I agree with the guy wholeheartedly on all that ...

The toughest words came from Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), who said the president had "failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're forced to war."

I wish Daschle had kept his mouth shut. I really do. Lousy timing.

But now, Mr. Bush's allies — and his political advisers — have decided that the [cowboy] image may have its advantages.
"As a Westerner, I don't think that's necessarily a bad idea," his vice president, Dick Cheney, said on television on Sunday. "He's exactly what the circumstances require."

... and

But as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, put it succinctly today, "that is not a sure shot." In moments of candor, even some of Mr. Bush's most senior national security aides say they have no idea what they will find after they lift the top off a dictatorship.

"If it's not post-war Japan — if it's more like post-war Yugoslavia — we will have a huge and expensive problem on our hands," one of those advisers conceded recently. "And I can't honestly tell you we are prepared for that, because there is no way to prepare for that."

The Jeanne Meserve piece made me remember this piece from a couple of days ago:

In New Mexico's desert and Russia's Ural Mountains, U.S. and Russian experts are experimenting with simulated ``dirty bombs'' to see how such radiation weapons and potential terrorist tools might work, officials of the two countries say.

For the past six months teams at the U.S. Energy Department's Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico have been experimenting with basic designs of RDDs, said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Using materials that simulate the characteristics of the radioisotopes - except for the radioactivity - they have been exploding the devices to test the reach of the radiation effect as a result of blast and wind, he said.

BROWN: On we go. Not more than a minute or two after the president stopped talking, the other shoe dropped, as we said. This being the season for dropping shoes, it wasn't entirely unsuspected. The Department of Homeland Security raised the alert level from Yellow to Orange, unwelcome yes, unsettling, absolutely.

Unexpected? Well, it is the new normal. Here's CNN's Jeanne Meserve.

MESERVE: Aaron, sources tell CNN the intelligence community believe that there is a "near certainty of al Qaeda attack" and that the group is in the final stages of planning a large-scale terrorist attack overseas. The secretary of homeland security says their planning includes the use of chemical, biological and/or radiological weapons, and that there is a risk of multiple attacks abroad and at home.

Homeland security sources say in this country there is particular concern about buildings, subways and enclosed areas, as well as critical infrastructure. And that an attack would likely try to inflict mass casualties, economic hardship, psychological damage and have symbolic value. In addition to al Qaeda, there is fear of retaliatory action by Iraqi agents who specialize in assassination, kidnappings and bombings, and by others who sympathize with Iraq. The intelligence comes from a large volume of reporting, some of it from highly reliable sources. In a statement, Secretary Ridge notes that in recent months there have been reports of suspicion activities in and around military facilities, ports, waterways, bridges, dams, generating facilities and symbolic targets.

In response, he is launching Operation Liberty Shield to bolster public health preparedness, as well as increased security at the borders, in the transportation sector, and around critical infrastructure. Among the specific steps being taken, asylum applicants from nations where al Qaeda, al Qaeda sympathizers and other terrorist groups are known to have operated will be detained for the duration of their processing.

New temporary flight restrictions have been put in place over certain cities, including Washington and New York City. National emergency response teams are being pre-positioned to enable quick deployment anywhere in the country. Governors are being asked to deploy National Guard or additional police forces at critical locations. In addition, Iraqi-born individuals in the U.S. may be invited to participate in voluntary interviews to elicit useful information.

It was widely anticipated that the nation would move up to Orange when hostilities approached, but the information shared tonight shocked some state officials and made it clear this Orange alert will be more intense than the two that preceded it -- Aaron.

BROWN: Jeanne, thank you. It didn't just shock state officials. I think the tone of it all was shocking. Thank you for your work tonight.

"The intelligence community believes that terrorists will attempt multiple attacks against U.S. and coalition targets worldwide in the event of a U.S.-led military campaign against Saddam Hussein," said Tom Ridge, the homeland security secretary, in announcing the heightened alert. "There are many recent indications that Al Qaeda's planning includes the use of chemical, biological and/or radiological materials."
The members of the Bush team don't seem bothered by the enormous ill will they have generated in the rest of the world. They seem to believe that other countries will change their minds once they see cheering Iraqis welcome our troops, or that our bombs will shock and awe the whole world (not just the Iraqis) or that what the world thinks doesn't matter. They're wrong on all counts.
The national price for regular unleaded gasoline averaged a record $1.728 a gallon, up 44 cents from a year ago, based on a weekly survey of service stations by the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration.
Eschaton has gone poetic. I liked this one, though.

by Stuart Stark

Who is this wailing victim,
hard done by,
who bares no wounds?

Who counts his sins as virtues,
and others’ virtues, sins?

Who wallows in his ignorance,
and revels in the wallowing?

Who spits the word “professor”
like his lips and tongue are outraged
at their being forced to speak it?

Who thinks a lack of bias, in itself,
is proof of bias?

Who’s convinced himself
that everyone is doing unto him
that which he plots now
to do to them?

Whose freedom most regarded
is the freedom
to deny another’s freedom?

Who values more the symbol
than that which it signifies?

This Royalist.

This Loyalist.

This taker up of pitchforks
in the service of his Church.

This proud and faithful licker
of the robber baron's boot.

This ceaseless complainer
at the holes in the wall
who strikes the hammer home
with his own hand.

Screaming curses
at a mirror
at his very own reflection
which he fails to recognize.

This conservative.

Stu Stark | Email | 03.18.03 - 1:28 am |

Monday, March 17, 2003

From 'Supergirl', over at Eschaton's comment board:

G.W. Bush Speechifying and War Making Drinking Game

--"NU-CU-LAR" - one drink
--Exploiting the memory of 9/11 - two drinks
--looks drugged - slam the whole bottle
--bites lip - one drink
--smirks - one drink
--camera pans over to displeased Democrats who voted for the resolution to invade - one drinks
--camera pans over to Senators/Congressmen who appear to be falling asleep - two drinks
--Cheney actually in attendance - one drink

Any other ideas?

Supergirl | 03.17.03 - 5:50 pm |

No, thanks. Gave it up 5 years ago. Although I am tempted to start again. Not over the war, though. Over her.
French officials on Monday dismissed suggestions that Paris had knowingly helped Iraq obtain biological weapons, but conceded Baghdad may have had ulterior motives for scientific cooperation dating back two decades. The New York Times reported that Iraq had identified a Virginia-based biofirm and France's prestigious Pasteur Institute as suppliers of 17 types of biological agents that were used in weapons programs.
It's hyperbole to argue that the Bush administration wants to invade Iraq only for the benefit of its friends in the corporate world (though some people no doubt believe that). For some businesses -- most notably the airlines, which fear billions in losses if there is a war -- an invasion will likely be terrible for the balance sheet. But, as in the Gulf War, some companies will make a bundle from an attack, and one doesn't have to be very conspiracy-minded to notice that these are the very same firms that have intimate ties with the Bush administration. Is it unreasonable to think that the high-minded goal of bringing freedom to Iraqis exists, in this White House, alongside many less noble political calculations -- for instance, old-fashioned corporate opportunism? Or, making sure that the spoils of war stay out of the hands of the troublesome French? In the waning days of the Gulf War, estimates for the cost of rebuilding Kuwait, which had been plundered by Iraq's occupying forces, ranged in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Construction and oil-services firms saw the country as a bonanza. Even before the exiled Kuwaiti government had been fully restored, it was welcoming reconstruction bids from foreign companies. American executives were the most assiduous deal makers, visiting Kuwaiti royals at their base in Taif, Saudi Arabia, and beating European firms to multibillion-dollar deals.
I'm gonna get this out of the way before hell is unleashed.

All Natalie Maines said is that she was ashamed that this president is a Texan. And she (Lubbock, now Austin) is. So am I.

From the official White House bio: President Bush was born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, and he grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He received a bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1968, then served as an F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. President Bush received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1975.

Texan?!? The girl's conclusion was based on faulty information. IMHO.

Matt Yglesias has a shitload of war doings over at his place.
I knew this thing was "on" when I read this the other day:

Finally, another bit of news serves to kindle these war-as-show-biz concerns. Word comes from the Middle East that Hollywood set designer George Allison has whipped up a $200,000 stage upon which military briefers will deliver news of the conflict to gathered reporters and a worldwide television audience.

According to the Army Times, the glitzy, high-tech set is half as wide as a basketball court and features a soft-focus blue-and-white map of the world as its backdrop. Hanging from steel girders will be five 50-inch and two 70-inch plasma screens that will be able to display video, computer images, maps and "just about anything else" officers in the Central Command might want to show.

It's so ... American!
The top Marine commander in the region predicted today that war was "just a few days away" and suggested that it would begin with a three- or four-day bombing campaign intended to wipe out half the Iraqi defenders at the border before U.S. and British land forces are sent in.

The message being, of course, that those dudes better back off that border unless they want to be toast. I'll bet they're inundated with leaflets.
A generation of young clubbers is risking long-term brain damage by taking the drug ecstasy, according to new research published yesterday. Academics are now warning that taking only one or two pills can lead to lasting depression.
"During the school year, you talk to people it has happened to, even upperclassmen, and they all say the same thing," Ms. Fullilove, 23, said in an interview here, where she is attending the University of Arizona. "They tell you to expect getting raped, and if it doesn't happen to you, you're one of the rare ones. They say if you want a chance to stay here, if you want to graduate, you don't tell. You just deal with it."
HACKWORTH: Supporters claim Bush is doing God's work. Detractors compare him to a farmer charging off to stomp a rattlesnake in the south 40 while the kitchen is on fire. The problem is, the paranoids from Pyongyang might burn down our house before we can “cut off the head of the snake,” as Colin Powell promised to do to Saddam in 1991 before he and Poppy Bush blinked.
Saddam Hussein "has brought back almost all his significant resources into a heavy defense of Baghdad," Maj. Gen. Dan Leaf, the chief Air Force officer in the headquarters of the allied land commander, said last week. "It is a hornet's nest right now. There is nothing subtle about it."
De Villepin and Powell got along well and spoke frequently throughout the fall. But Powell, according to numerous accounts, felt ambushed by his French counterpart at a Jan. 20 meeting of the Security Council. The meeting, nominally about terrorism, took place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Powell was in great demand at events around the U.S. and attended the U.N. session reluctantly at De Villepin's urging, according to Parmentier and others.

Powell grew tense as France and Germany turned the forum into a discussion of Iraq. He was furious when De Villepin used a news conference afterward to declare France's determination to oppose war plans, according to sources.

In delivering Hussein an ultimatum -- essentially, leave now or face war within days -- the Bush administration has come full circle in stating its goal in Iraq. It began almost a year ago by talking of "the removal of Saddam" or the more polite "regime change." But administration officials realized that to win U.N. and international support, they would do better if they spoke of their goal as "disarmament." Dropping "regime change" for a while, they said that a disarmed Hussein could remain in power, because, in one artful phrase, it would mean "the regime will have effectively changed."
When he does so, Mr. Bush will have a final chance to level with Americans about the huge commitment his administration is making in the Middle East, and its likely costs. These will come not only in the lives of American military personnel but also in the potentially enormous burdens of seeing Iraq through a transition to the representative government Mr. Bush has promised.

Why should this guy level with people when he can fall back on patriotism? And he has enough of them bamboozled, already. Dream on.
George W. Bush has a mean streak, which his father did not have. I think a leader has to have a mean streak. If he lets it dominate him, that's a bad thing. But it has to be there somewhere.

Clearly buying into the argument that Jimmy Carter was a failure because he is a good man.
The aim of the onslaught is to achieve "rapid dominance" psychologically and militarily. Ullman added: "The idea is to replicate the shock and awe created by a nuclear bomb, but using conventional weapons."
For a brief moment -- when the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441 -- it was possible to believe that the UN intended to stand with the world's superpower and enforce its own directives after all. But it is clear now that France, and perhaps China and Russia, never viewed 1441 as anything but a way to buy more time -- time for the antiwar movement -- and for that matter Saddam himself -- to work at undermining the US effort. The UN could have chosen to take part in bringing down one of the world's most brutal tyrants. It chose instead to shred the last few strands of its own legitimacy.
Walter Russell Mead, a distinguished historian of American foreign policy, compared this moment to the birth of the Cold War around 1948, and before that to the Spanish-American War of 1898, which established the United States as a world power. "We're definitely in a period of major change," he said.
"The plan is probably one of the most risky in our history as it launches us off into terra incognita for the U.S.: our first preemptive or preventive war; our first attempt to democratize an Islamic state; and establishment of a very narrow beachhead in the midst of a billion undefeated Muslims," he said.
We have an administration that has offered no plan to pay for this war; that has inteferred with the professionals planning the war; cut their troop requests short; bungled the diplomacy that should have us in a position of broader world support, and run up deficits because they believe they can have all that and keep their ill advised tax break for the rich, too.
On the eve of a potential U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Army’s top two leaders and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have intensified a long-running feud that underscores a bitter rift between the military’s largest branch and the Pentagon’s civilian boss.

Critics have charged that the Bush administration is downplaying war costs and the number of troops required to occupy Iraq. The Army is providing the bulk of U.S. forces and will called upon for much of the peacekeeping.

At Camp Virginia in Kuwait, an aide to General Wallace compared the rolling start to beginning a chess game without all the pieces on the table, then adding a knight or two after a few moves. In this case, the knights are forces from the 101st Airborne Division, which are just arriving and getting ready for combat.
Lord knows, I don't diminish the threats we face, but for 18 months all we've been doing is exporting our fears to the world. Virtually all of Mr. Bush's speeches are about how we're going to protect ourselves and whom we're going to hit next. America as a beacon of optimism — America as the world's chief carpenter, not just cop — is gone. We need a little less John Wayne and a little more J.F.K. Once we get this Iraq crisis behind us, we need to get back to exporting our hopes, not just our fears.
If I were to suddenly flip out and and start bopping around the country murdering wingnut talk show hosts (I know, that's redundant), Mike Gallagher would be at the top of my list. I know, Rush does far more damage, but this is my list. Get your own list.

Doesn't Gallagher look like he has Down's Syndrome? Not that there's anything wrong with that. Well, there is, but ... Oh, fuck it.

Update: Apparently, Gallagher believes the U.S. is about to go to war with the Dixie Chicks. Judging from the amount of time he's spent on the matter, that would be the conclusion. I just had to turn it off.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Ramblings On The Azores "Summit"

As I write this, neither Shrub nor Blair has shown up yet. Their planes are literally still in the aether, en route. Yet the press conference has been moved up a couple of hours, from 2:30 CST to 12:30.

What the hell is up with this? They will have an hour, hour and a half tops, to "discuss" things. It would appear that decisions have been made already. Hmmmm ...

Update: Den Beste says they go tonight: So if they need to stand next to each other when making the announcement, then having both of them travel to a neutral location is the best choice, and it is noteworthy that this is the first such major meeting at a neutral location in Bush's presidency so far as I know. The Azores belong to Portugal, which will not be present at the meeting. And there's an American air base there, which can provide security; it's a very good choice on all accounts.

I doubt it. Friday or Saturday at the latest, though, I think.

Update Redux: Cheney on "Meet The Press" -> "Clearly the president is going to have to make a very, very difficult and important decision in the next few days."

Well, there it is. This week.

Too Late: French President Jacques Chirac said Sunday he was willing to accept a 30-day deadline for Iraq to disarm, provided the move was endorsed by the chief U.N. weapons inspectors.

Pretty sure it's too late.

JOSH MARSHALL: I'm not the first to note it, but this summit in the Azores really does capture our diplomatic isolation perfectly. In a certain poetic sense at least this is what's become of our grand Atlantic alliance: not the combined strength of the great north Atlantic democracies, but three men on a tiny fleck in the middle of a great ocean.

Our arms have never been stronger. And we're about to show that. But we're gravely diminishing the deeper sources of our power.