Saturday, April 12, 2003

Corporal Mager watched, and appeared lost in thought. Then he looked up, with a sadness that was beyond affectation, and asked that a message be passed to the Iraqis, a message for himself, and for America. "Tell them the fact that I pulled the trigger that killed some of these people makes me very unhappy," he said. "Tell them that America did not want things to happen this way. Tell them that I wish that Iraqis will live a better life."

Made ME cry ...

CRASH: Relax, all right? Don't try to strike everyone out. Strikeouts are boring. Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls -- it's more democratic. So relax, let's have some fun, OK? It's fun dammit!

NUKE: Democratic? What does democracy have to do with anything these days? When the current president stole the election? When the presidency was decided not by the voters but by politically appointed judges? When Florida blacks who would have made the difference in the final vote were denied access to the polls?

CRASH: Shut up and pitch, meat.
In which Mr. Rove contradicts himself:

"It raises a question: How much polling is too much?" he said. "When does it all begin to take away from the story and overwhelm all of us with too many numbers in too short a period of time?"

then ...

"Observations," he concluded, "shared by 68.5 percent of registered voters in a survey conducted by the Pew Charitable Trust."

Such a classy guy.

As the war in Iraq moves toward a conclusion, the expectations are that the end of the war will bring at least a pause in international tensions. We do not believe this will be the case. Given U.S. war goals, crises -- inside Iraq, with nations along Iraq's border and between Europe and the United States -- can be expected to flow directly from war termination, whenever it comes. As we have said, Iraq is a campaign in a much larger war and not a war in itself. We now will see what that means.
And concerning DynCorp's contract, some in Congress are wondering why State would issue a sole-source bid to a company that has had some "recent" problems overseas in similiar roles. For example, last year alone was not only sued but paid large settlements to two former employees who blew the whistle on corporate managers and employees who engaged in sex trafficking in Bosnia?

Recall that former DynCorp employee Ben Johnston described one of his DynCorp colleagues as a 45-year old man who "owned a girl who couldn't have been more than 14 years old." Johnston also recalled the machinations he went through to enlighten his DynCorp superiors: "At first I just told the guys it was wrong, then I went to my supervisors, including John Hirtz, although at the time I didn't realize how deep into it he was."

and ...

Half a world away from the bedlam in Iraq, just outside of Forth Worth, Texas, police recruiters are currently manning the phones for Dyncorp, a multi-billion dollar military Contractor. For Dyncorp the turmoil that is emerging in Iraq could mean a boom in business.

"When the area is safe, we will go in. Watch CNN. In the meantime fax us a resume if you want a job," Homer Newman, a Dyncorp recruiter told Corpwatch. But Chuck Wilkins, a company spokesman in Virginia, said: "The contract hasn't yet been awarded."

Yet a website has been offering Dyncorp jobs to "individuals with appropriate experience and expertise to participate in an international effort to re-establish police, justice and prison functions in post-conflict Iraq."

Fernandes said he endorsed Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha's recent comments that India had "a much better case to go for pre-emptive action against Pakistan than the United States has in Iraq.

Sinha also argued that Pakistan was "a fit case" for US military action, because it had weapons of mass destruction and terrorists.

A Pandora's box?
The findings reinforce the FBI theory that the mailed anthrax was probably produced by renegade scientists and not by a national military program.

Curious timing.
Specifically, the gore of war is less likely to pop up in the U.S. then it is abroad. CNNI [CNN International] showed far more of Al-Jazeera's footage of U.S. prisoners of war being interrogated than the U.S. CNN did. "All the American channels are less bloody than most European, Asian and Arabic channels," says Mr. Sesno.
In a demonstration of brazen hypocrisy, the leaders of France and Germany both "hailed" the fall of Iraq. After months of saying that war is always wrong and can never lead to anything except tragedy and is always a failure, suddenly they've decided that it was a good thing after all.
It's far from the case that everyone applauded what they saw. But it seems hard to find man-on-the-street interviews that don't carry a large measure of shock and in many cases something very like awe. (Yesterday I discussed an interview with a neoconservative in which he described the great hope of this invasion as the confrontation that it could bring about between testimonials of Iraqi liberation and the pieties and orthodoxies of anti-American arab nationalism. It was an on-the-record interview. So I can say that the neo in question was David Frum. And yesterday was a pretty good day for David's predictive ability.) What I take most from these man-on-the-street interviews is the mix of surprise and humiliation. From Jordan there are a slew of interviews with Jordanians expressing contempt for the Iraqis dancing in the streets in Baghdad. There is something very like a sense of betrayal.

Beyond that, in these various interviews from yesterday, you see questions like: What happened to the Republican Guard? Why were we so weak? Were we lied to? We supported Saddam in spite of ourselves, knowing he was a bastard because we thought maybe he could take the Americans down a notch, strike a blow for Arab pride, and so forth. Now we're doubly humiliated. Why are they celebrating? What happened? Why was there so little resistance? Why did Baghdad fall so quickly?

It's not an analogy. But the image it brings to my mind is of slaves at the end of Civil War who headed out onto the roads looking for relatives who they'd been separated from.
By the way, this is an example of what I'm talking about when I suggest that the subject of gay rights has some possibilities as a secondary issue in a presidential campaign. Events like this, I think, show liberals in the best possible light — protecting ordinary people against the intolerance of fundamentalist conservatives — and might very well appeal to moderate voters while at the same time causing cracks in the Republican party. If George Bush were miraculously forced to take a stand on this, for example, what choice does he have? Side with the ACLU, in which case he really pisses off his Christian right base, or back the school district, in which case he's exposed as a narrow-minded bigot. That sounds like a corner that it's worth at least trying to back him into.
So for what it's worth, it looks like the demonstrations were actually counterproductive. I don't suppose that means they shouldn't have taken place, but it's too bad there wasn't a better way to appeal to all those centrists who were uncertain about the war in order to gain support for a more patient, multinational effort.
Lawrence Kaplan, TNR’s house neocon, assured us that it is not. Unfortunately, he does this not with insider information indicating that the Defense Department has no intentions of marching on Damascus, but rather by listing a series of reasons why invading Syria would be a bad idea. I agree, of course, that invading Syria would be a bad idea, but just about everything in the Bush team’s economic agenda has been a bad idea and that hasn’t stopped them from doing it.
Voluntary security measures are not security measures. Decent companies are already doing as much of this as they can, while others place profits over security. All this bill will do encourage the secure companies to give up their measures. Since the rules are not required, companies that do not follow them may be able to use their savings to undercut those competitors that actually are concerned about security. In order to survive, those competitors may very well feel compelled to lower their own security standards. This is too important an issue to leave to the boardroom - where, after all, they are required to maximize profit, not security.
The war against Iraq has become one of the clearest examples ever of the influence of the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned against so eloquently in his farewell address in 1961. This iron web of relationships among powerful individuals inside and outside the government operates with very little public scrutiny and is saturated with conflicts of interest.

Where is Thomas Pynchon when one needs him?
The world keeps searching for deeper meanings in current US foreign policy, without realising that US foreign policymaking groans under the weight of extremism, cynicism, ignorance and the obsession over Iraq. Not only Bolivia but also much of the rest of the world is in peril as a result.
There are no official civilian death figures for the current war, but estimates in today's newspapers range from 600 to 1,100. That includes people killed or used as shields by Iraqi troops. The number of civilians killed by errant coalition bombs or missiles could be half of that. It could be less; it could be more. Either way, it's well below the figure for the Gulf War and way below the figures for previous wars.

Simply put, the number of innocent people who are dead because we ousted Saddam is dwarfed by the number of innocent people who are dead because we didn't. The use of American force is on one side of the ledger, and mass killing is on the other. Trends in military and media technology make this dilemma increasingly likely where belligerent murderers rule. You can keep your hands clean, or you can keep many more people alive. It's up to you.
Yeah, that's a thorny question - whether an FBI agent's relationship with a Republican activist and fundraiser compromised the investigation of Clinton's crotch.
Proving once again that It's Okay If You're a Republcan. Fine. Next time a democrat says something idiotic and bigoted I'm just going to call him/her a "good person." Take it up with House Speaker Hastert.
"She seemed to have a working relationship with F.B.I. agents in the same way she had a working relationship with elected officials, community leaders and Chinese-American leaders," said Ben Wong, a city councilman in West Covina, Calif., who attended the Hong Kong event. "She was someone who always seemed to know a lot of people."

Oh, I’ll bet …

Why can’t John McCain and Chuck Hagel defect to the Dems?
But after the triumph, when it comes time to take care of what they've won, their attention wanders, and things go to pot.
The most obvious example is Afghanistan, the land the Bush administration forgot. Most of the country is back under the control of fundamentalist warlords; unpaid soldiers and policemen are deserting in droves. (Remember that the Bush administration forgot to include any Afghan aid in its latest budget.)

I’m not too worried about our deserting Iraq (see: Afghanistan). There’s simply too much money to be made – much of it via government contract – in rebuilding the country. Most of them will be American companies, some British, some Australian, maybe even a few Poles. Coalition of the willing and all that. And most of the American companies who make a bundle rebuilding Iraq will have deep ties to the Shrub administration. That’s just a fact. If I’m wrong, I’ll say so; but I won’t be wrong.

And then, of course, there is the oil, which Afghanistan does not have. That, too, is just a fact. And a vital American interest.

We won’t desert Iraq.

Speaking of oil:

In the short term, oil revenues must be used to provide for the humanitarian needs of a population that has suffered from almost 13 years of sanctions and more than three weeks of wartime dislocation. They should not be used to pay for the costs of the war, but should be used to help build a livable peace. In the longer term, the future of the Iraqi oil industry, including its possible privatization, must be decided by the Iraqi people themselves once a legitimate, internationally recognized new government has been established.

Why not a liveable peace AND pay for (at least partly) the costs of the war?

Nevertheless, it is also clear that Vincent Brooks did not enter this world to please reporters. He was born to an Army family in Anchorage, Alaska, and led an itinerant Army life. Vincent grew up in California, became a star basketball player, and decided to follow his brother to West Point, where he became "first captain," or leader of more than 4,000 cadets in his senior year. He was later a National Security Fellow at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
And the impact is reverberating far beyond Iraq's borders, stunning ordinary Arabs and their leaders across the Middle East.
As they digested the news of Baghdad's unexpectedly swift fall on Thursday, and watched TV replays of Saddam Hussein's statue toppled by a US Marine tank recovery vehicle, many Arabs saw not the dusk of Iraqi dictatorship, but the dawn of a frightening new world.

Friday, April 11, 2003

The Expos (Ethan's Little League team -- 11 and 12 yr. olds -- which I coach) won their 4th straight game last night, 7-2 over the Cardinals. We're now 5-2 and a game out of first. Damn, I'm good. Longest hair of any coach out there, too, which I enjoy.
Oh. Speaking of war (I was FOR it! Damn! Get over it.) and protest ...

I bought my very first (I'm a loud guitar rock kinda guy) Dixie Chicks CD yesterday and I'm feeling quite good about it. Tossed it up on the counter at Waterloo Records and smiled my little self-satisfied smile and the chick behind the counter smiled back and said, "Counter-protest?" ME: "I felt somehow obligated." HER: "Cool! We've sold a LOT of them lately. People like you pissed off at Bush and his imperialist war." ME: "Oh, I was all for the war."

The look on her face was priceless: a combination of surprise, revulsion, confusion and wariness. Me with the self-satisfied little smile again. HER: "Weird." ME: "I know. Thanks."

Again, I felt good about it.

And I felt good about this, too, for some damn weird reason, even though it was a bit over-the-top. I will support the Dixie Chicks but not Nuke and Annie Savoy. They pissed me off. Too smug and self-righteous (which is different from self-satisfied smiles); abominably naive, as well.
Opponents of the drilling, who include Democrats and moderate Republicans, said the refuge was a national resource that needed protecting. They said the drilling vote was particularly wrong-headed given that lawmakers defeated an increase in auto gas mileage standards that its authors said would save more oil than the refuge could produce.

"What right do we have as human beings and what sense does it make as a nation to open a pristine area to drilling when we are not willing to take basic steps toward conservation?" asked Representative Sherwood Boehlert, Republican of New York.

The Republican/corporate/big business rape of this country moves into its next phase, all under the cover of war.* Shameful. Remember, these are the same guys who, 2 days after 9/11, tried to ram through elimination of the capital gains tax and other presents to their corporate and/or wealthy masters. They have no shame. They are far more dangerous to the working people of this country than a few measly, misguided war protestors ever were; but try to convince your average American angry white working slob of that fact. These guys do propaganda far better than Baghdad Bob. Well ... who doesn't?

* And I was FOR the fucking war, so don't give me shit about that.

Addendum: Actually, drilling for aaawwwwwl in Alaska is a lot like the warrior mindset of some out there. Let's go wreck something -- pristine this time! -- and make a lot of money! It's the American way. (Can anybody breathe in Tom Delay's district?) And in Iraq, we can make money tearing it down AND make money building it back up again!

Fuck it. Go read "Gravity's Rainbow" for an explanation. It's a simple little book.

Related: Baghdad Bob's Blog and Baghdad Bob's Soundboard !

(Personally, I think B.B. was the CIA's rat. Just an opinion.)

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the GOP-written plan "a national disgrace" for the huge deficits it envisions, saying, "It is no wonder Republicans want to bring the budget to the floor in the dark of night."

Indeed. What are they trying to hide? Aren't they riding high these days?

I don't care much for Pelosi but she's got this nailed right.
Among the attacks that had a strong political edge were those on the German Embassy and the French cultural center, both in east Baghdad. Few Iraqis were unaware, in the weeks preceding the war, that France and Germany were leading international efforts to force President Bush into accepting an extension of United Nations weapons inspections here, and to delay military action against Mr. Hussein.

The French and German buildings were stripped of furniture, curtains, decorations, and anything else that could be carried away.

Heh heh.
— Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.

The man states the motive right there: "to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open"!!!! The almighty fucking dollar was the sole (or at least main) motive for not reporting the horrors of the Hussein regime. They wanted to keep a camera in Baghdad. Period. Shame, shame CNN. For shame.

Let's see: For 24-hour cable news, we news junkies have:

CNN - The morally bankrupt network.

Faux/Fox - The Republican rubber-stamp network, where "journalism" is a dirty word.

MSNBC - The news-for-morons network which is, of late, attempting to ape Faux's wingnut success.

God Bless America! No wonder nobody votes anymore.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Lawmakers and people fighting a cap on malpractice suit verdicts are angry about comments a Columbia doctor made about a Wisconsin woman who lost her breasts because of a medical mistake.

"She did not lose her life, and with the plastic surgery, she'll have breast reconstruction better than she had before," Dr. Harry J. Metropol told a House Judiciary subcommittee last week.

Fucking asshole.
via Stratfor: Units from the 4th Infantry Division -- including 44 of the latest Abrams M1A2 tanks and 18 Paladin howitzers -- will be in position for an assault Tikrit as early as April 14, The Times of London reports, citing defense officials. Officials at the Pentagon reportedly told CNN that Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bombs had been deployed to the area as well, but declined to comment on whther they would be used in Tikrit. The report also indicates that missing members of the Iraqi regime are in Tikrit, which is being reinforced with elements of the Republican Guard and by regular army units.
via NYTimes: The Pentagon contract given without competition to a Halliburton subsidiary to fight oil well fires in Iraq is worth as much as $7 billion over two years, according to a letter from the Army Corps of Engineers that was released today.
The RNC is using the cover of war -- 'using' isn't too strong a term, though 'exploiting' may be better -- to set a standard in which any critical comment about the president uttered by a political rival is greeted by an overwhelming fusillade. The idea is to set the standard for criticism extraordinarily high and scare any Democrat from criticizing the president at all as long as the war or probably even the reconstruction of Iraq goes on. It's reminiscent of the cheap bullying Dick Cheney tried to pull in the months after 9/11.
Nearly eight in 10 Americans now accept the Bush administration's contention — disputed by some experts — that Hussein has "close ties" to Al Qaeda (even 70% of Democrats agree). And 60% of Americans say they believe Hussein bears at least some responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — a charge even the administration hasn't levied against him.
According to what is shown on Fox, the Iraqi people are the only oppressed people in the world. The network doesn't call on the government to free the subjects of the regimes of China, North Korea, Syria and Burma, nor does it express amazement about that contradiction in American foreign policy. There are no contradictions. Operation Iraqi Freedom is a gift granted by America, even at the price of its own soldiers, to the Iraqi people, as a gesture of goodwill. The world according to Fox: America always helps oppressed people wherever they are, to free them of their shackles. America has no economic interests; no cynical, instrumentalist realpolitik guides it. America is good and only has moral interests. The Iraqi soldier is called "the bad guy" on Fox. It's that simple.
Damage is said to be extensive making it difficult to determine if Saddam and his sons were inside.
Witnesses in Baghdad said at least 14 civilians were killed when a bomb crashed into a residential area of the al-Mansur neighbourhood.

The explosion left a crater eight metres deep and 15 metres wide and destroyed four houses off Ramadan 14th, a main commercial artery, they said.

I thought this war was a good idea, but is it morally OK to shoot if a bad guy is hiding behind women/children? Is it OK to kill the shield to get at the target? Is it really?
I've just watched George Bush, in his latest press conference with Tony Blair, say he grieved for the American dead, and the British. He paused, and I hoped he would mention the Iraqi dead, too. He didn't.
Anyway, what defines patriotism? Talk is cheap; so is putting a flag in your lapel. Citizens prove their patriotism when they make sacrifices for the sake of their country. Mr. Kerry, a decorated veteran, has met that test. Most of his critics haven't.
"I think they're cowards," Boggs said of the parents or Fedayeen paramilitaries who send out children to the battlefield.

"I think they thought we wouldn't shoot kids. But we showed them we don't care. We are going to do what we have to do to stay alive and keep ourselves safe."

Boy, did this ever bring a tear to my eye ... So very sad.
Child soldiering is very likely the next level of barabarism we'll see coming out of a certain area of the Middle East bordering a democratic nation called Israel.

State or proxy raised children are about as close to the drugged-up super soldier of science fiction that you can get. They have very little human interaction outside thier handlers and have no conscience. They have boundless energy. They follow orders. There appears to be a good supply of mothers willing to participate.

Every citizen of a Western democracy that ever defended or rationalized a teen age suicide bomber "because they don't have F-16s" is an enabler.
Among the nations that come in for criticism are a number of members of President Bush's Coalition of the Willing for the invasion of Iraq — embarrassing company in a campaign whose aims include liberating the Iraqi people from dictatorship. Uzbekistan routinely tortures detainees and some have died in custody. Eritrea has ended freedom of the press and restricts religious freedom. Azerbaijan arbitrarily detains dissidents and rigs elections. Significant violations are noted in such other coalition members as Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Macedonia, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia. In all seven, the overall human rights situation was rated as poor.
To everyone who thought this war was bringing freedom and self determination to the Iraqi people, you have been sold out. Taken for a ride. Rolled. Conned. Lied to, because Iraq has just become a part of the neocons empire. No nation - even one that is allowed to hold democratic elections - can be said to be self determining if control of its most important economic resource is taken out of its hands - which is what these plans do. Iraq will not be free to negotiate favorable deals with foreign oil companies, and Iraq will not be allowed to decide how much of its oil it will sell, in order to control its revenue. Iraq will receive less than it should have from its oil, and American companies will profit. And all this has been decided by the United States State Department, and a small group of US appointed Iraqi exiles, most of whom have not set foot in their country for years, if not decades. That is not self-determination.

We will see.
At a time when the United States is promising a reconstructed democratic postwar Iraq, many Afghans are remembering hearing similar promises not long ago.
Instead, what they see is thieving warlords, murder on the roads, and a resurgence of Taliban vigilantism.
Den Beste claims that our enemy in the "War on Terror" is the Arab Culture, or Imperial Islam as others have called it. He claims that the failure of Arab Empire has instilled a great inferiority complex in the Arab people, resulting in an overwhemling need to destroy America -- the shining example of Infidel Success.

Den Beste ends up calling for what some call "cultural genocide" -- the complete destruction of Islamic culture. Think of Russia's occupation of Poland and the outlawing of all Polish culture and language. That's what Den Beste is talking about. He's talking about invading and occupying all of Arabia, outlawing Arabic and forbidding the studying of the Koran.

It has another resonance as well, an apocalyptic religious one, of interest as the president is said by some to see his presidency within the context of the biblical narrative of the end of days. He certainly thinks of the United States as the vessel of mankind's salvation.
In another view, they are a group of opportunistic hawks -- often Jews and evangelical Christians -- whose support for Israel underpins and colors their thinking about U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Some administration critics say preemption represents a major shift in U.S. policy, and that it was embraced without enough public discussion. Others say the policy too often and too predictably mirrors the policy of Ariel Sharon, leader of the right-wing Likud Party and prime minister of Israel.
On April 2, Woolsey made headlines by telling students at UCLA that the Iraq war was part of "World War IV." Speaking at a teach-in sponsored by campus Republicans and Americans for Victory Over Terrorism, a pro-war-in-Iraq group founded by William Bennett, Woolsey remarked, "This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War." He cited three enemies: the religious leaders of Iran, the "fascists" of Syria and Iraq, and Islamic extremists like Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. He called for the United States to back democratic movements throughout the Middle East, which "will make a lot of people very nervous," particularly Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the Saudi Arabia oligarchs. "We want you nervous," he said. "We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, this country and its allies are on the march and that we are on the side of those whom you--the Mubaraks, the Saudi Royal family--most fear: We're on the side of your own people." In other words: crusade, anyone?

Pish posh, David, the threat will do nicely.
Unfortunately for the French, George Bush is a bully too, and the United States has a history of being every bit as intransigent as France. Jacques Chirac must have figured that he could stare us down, as he and his predecessors have done so often within Europe, but he couldn't. In other words, he fucked up.
Punishing France for its opposition might be childish and shortsighted, but punishing Britain and Australia is just perverse. What are these guys thinking?

Life is a business deal, Kevin.
On March 4, according to a source at CNN, the brass in Atlanta knew it was happening March 19 and wasn't being too tight-lipped about it. The source, who requested anonymity, told The Chronicle on March 4 that executives there said the war "had been scheduled" for March 19 and plans were under way.
Digby simply has too much good stuff …..
Some hawks inside the administration are convinced that Iraq will serve as a cautionary example of what can happen to other states that refuse to abandon their programs to build weapons of mass destruction, an argument that John R. Bolton, the under secretary of state for arms control and international security, has made several times in recent speeches.

The administration's more pragmatic wing fears that the war's lesson will be just the opposite: that the best way to avoid American military action is to build a fearsome arsenal quickly and make the cost of conflict too high for Washington.
To the victors go the spoils, Kos.
Where were the big point headlines screaming "President Falsely Ties Saddam to Bin Laden?" Where were the big point headlines screaming "Bush lies about IAEA report?" When did the media manage to convey even the slightest possibility that not everything we were being told was true - which would've caused the public to look at this undertaking with a bit more skepticism? Never. They were busy questioning the patriotism of anti-war protesters and repeatedly inviting Janeane Garafalo on their shows so they could ask her why on Earth they should be inviting her on their shows.
We could have taken a different path. Rather than claiming that Saddam’s troops would surrender en masse, hawks could have made the more politically perilous claim that war might prove bloody and protracted but was worth it anyway. Once upon a time, conservatives scorned the Clinton administration for waging only cheap wars that cost little in blood and treasure. But, in the end, this much more ambitious war was also advertised largely as a sacrifice-free affair. I can’t think of a single influential conservative who suggested that, to pay for it, Congress should scrap the tax cut. And I can’t think of a single influential hawk who defended the military’s more pessimistic estimates about the number of troops and the length of time the war would require.
The amendment in the House budget bill was proposed by Congressman Mark Kennedy who said firms from countries that opposed the war should not be allowed to benefit from post-conflict reconstruction projects to be paid for by the United States.

"None of the funds made available in the bill for reconstruction efforts in Iraq may be used to procure goods or services from any entity that includes information on a response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) that indicates that such entity is organized under the laws of France, Germany, the Russian Federation, or Syria," the amendment said.

Damn straight.
To say one attacks neoconservatives because they are Jewish is false, and Goldberg knows this. Neoconservative is a term that has been used for some time, and it has never been used exclusively for “Jewish conservatives.” The most ardent may be evangelical Christians like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, and some are Catholics like William Bennett and Michael Novak — the designated ‘neocon theologian’ when needed to lecture Pope John Paul II on the Catholic definition of a just war. Newt Gingrich, a non-Jew, was the most visible spokesman before his own self-destruction, and the neocon strategy is often laid out in the pages of National Review and The Weekly Standard, whose columnist include both Jews and non-Jews.
"A filibuster is absolutely an option," said Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island. "I can't imagine giving an exemption like this to one industry, especially this one. Toys are more heavily regulated than guns, and there's no immunity for the toy industry against litigation."
This is the nucleus of the Bush administration's new Iraqi government. One of the faraway masters, in the minds of many here, is someone known fondly, or not so fondly — depending on one's political orientation — as Wolfowitz of Arabia.
And so we've done a pretty good job on splitting NATO, the most successful military coalition in history. And so we've reduced our friends and multiplied our enemies in the political run-up to this, and that I think has enormous strategic consequences.
Remember, we never lost a battle in Vietnam, we just lost the war because the politics of it was so clumsily done.

It is un-American to implement the most far-reaching, reckless, dangerous change of course in foreign policy ever contemplated without so much as a debate or even bothering to let the public know what it is exactly that its government is up to. It is un-American to use evidence that has been conclusively proven to be fake, to gain the consent of the people’s elected representatives in Congress to wage an unlimited, undefined and potentially catastrophic war. It is un-American to erode the personal freedoms and liberties that are our common inheritance from the most enlightened revolution in the history of man.

I saw George Bush addressing the troops in Florida yesterday. Their enthusiastic response to this snake oil salesman nearly broke my heart. I would say that it was like the chickens applauding Col. Sanders, but there was nothing chicken about the people in that audience. Unlike the empty suit behind the tele-prompter. Right now, these folks don’t have a clue about the horror that is waiting for them over the next ten or twenty years if the Fedayeen Neocon gets its way. Thousands of them will be killed. Perhaps millions of foreigners. If we are lucky, maybe the next election could be about this instead of who you’d rather have a beer with.
"Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes," the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, blithely told CongressDaily.
Woolsey has been named in news reports as a possible candidate for a key position in the reconstruction of a postwar Iraq.
He said the new war is actually against three enemies: the religious rulers of Iran, the "fascists" of Iraq and Syria, and Islamic extremists like al Qaeda.

Woolsey told the audience of about 300, most of whom are students at the University of California at Los Angeles, that all three enemies have waged war against the United States for several years but the United States has just "finally noticed."
"As we move toward a new Middle East," Woolsey said, "over the years and, I think, over the decades to come ... we will make a lot of people very nervous."

Sounds fine by me.
The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

The simpleminded, the Know-Nothings, the John Birch-style über-patriots like to create a "slippery slope"--a classic logical fallacy--to support their contention that the president equals the troops, which equals the flag, which equals the Constitution, which equals freedom. There's no daylight, no wiggle room, between any of them--as long as it's their guy in power.
North Korea's diplomatic standoff with the United States over its nuclear programme has the potential to develop into war, the United Nations envoy to Pyongyang said on Thursday.

"There is a real potential for this escalating into conflict," Maurice Strong told a London news conference. "I think war is unnecessary, unthinkable in its consequences, and yet it is entirely possible."
On this score we're with Richard Ackland who wrote the following in Friday's SMH: "You can forget any semblance of journalism from Mr Murdoch's Fox News because it is so far embedded that its performance is positively unhygenic".
But Fox News exudes patriotism to a far greater degree. Nationalism pervades the remarks of Fox's reporters and anchors, not just its commentators. And that tone has played well. Fox News' ratings continue above those of its cable competitors, notably CNN. Through a spokesman, Fox executives declined to be interviewed.
So Fox News Channel unleashed a promotional spot that showed Mr. Arnett's Iraqi TV interview as an announcer said: "He spoke out against America's armed forces; he said America's war against terrorism had failed; he even vilified America's leadership. And he worked for MSNBC."

Alluding to an old branding campaign in which MSNBC called itself America's News Channel, the advertisement went on to say, "Now, ask yourself, is this America's news channel."
Then, the spot flashed the Fox slogan, "Real Journalism, Fair and Balanced."
In and of itself, diversity is good. But as a new study by some social scientists suggests, its benefits have been oversold. Whatever the case, if diversity is so crucial that it justifies racial discrimination by majority-white institutions, then why isn't it just as important at majority-black colleges? The answer has nothing to do with diversity and everything to do with giving blacks an advantage. This is typical when it comes to defending affirmative action. A worthy societal goal is constantly being defended by well-meaning people who simply will say almost anything in its defense. The first step, almost always, is to deny that an affirmative action program exists. The second is to say it does not entail quotas, and the third is to exalt diversity -- the ultimate justification of the unjustifiable.
In recent days, the Congressional Budget Office, under the command of an economist who just left the White House, has dealt a double blow to the administration. The CBO said the effect on the economy of Bush's budget, including his tax plan, "is unlikely to be dramatic," and possibly could be negative. The CBO also gave estimates of the cost of war that were slightly higher than some administration figures, and it warned of the possibility of "substantial costs in later years" and "occupation" costs of $1 billion to $4 billion per month.
Rep. King commented on the "river of malcontents" that paraded past his location at Pershing Park by saying, "If you remove the communists from the march, then the socialists, then the radical Islamists and their sympathizers, then the pacifist liberals, the stream would be dry."

King cited that the primary sponsor of the march was A.N.S.W.E.R., a group with direct ties to the socialist World Workers Party. King declared, "These are not mainstream Americans."
A point that several people have made is that the conservative fringe works with the conservative mainstream, while the liberal fringe works against the liberal mainstream. That's true to a certain extent, though it's easy to get bogged down in definitions over what's "mainstream" and what's "fringe" to see it all clearly sometimes.
A reevaluation of U.S. policy toward Pakistan is imperative. Forcing Pakistan to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure within its borders and put a tight lid on its nuclear proliferation activities is more likely to fortify short- and long-term U.S. national security interests than is an invasion of Iraq. There is also a need for contingency plans to rapidly secure and extract Pakistan's nuclear weapons in case of a coup by Islamic radicals.

All of these developments have been shuffled down the ladder of importance thanks to commitments in Iraq, a fact reinforced by the recent resignation of senior National Security Council official, Rand Beers.

A bunch of shit I've clipboarded in the past week or so, beginning with:

The war in America’s streets is not about “peace” or “more time for inspections.” It is about which side should lose the war we are now in. The left has made crystal clear its desire that the loser should be us. Even if the left had not made this explicit, a “peace” movement directed at one side makes sense only as an effort to force that side to retreat from the battle and lose the war. Which is exactly what the Columbia professor said. If this is patriotism, what is treason?

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I'm just not into blogging lately. Lots of reasons. War. Baseball. Writing. Heartbreak/2 years. Mindfucking. Later.

Come home, Beauty. It's such a waste.

Sway (Jagger/Richards)
Did you ever wake up to find
A day that broke up your mind
Destroyed your notion of circular time

It's just that demon life has got you in its sway
It's just that demon life has got you in its sway

Ain't flinging tears out on the dusty ground
For all my friends out on the burial ground
Can't stand the feeling getting so brought down

It's just that demon life has got me in its sway
It's just that demon life has got me in its sway

There must be ways to find out
Love is the way they say is really strutting out

One day I woke up to find
Right in the bed next to mine
Someone that broke me up with a corner of her smile

It's just that demon life has got me in its sway
It's just that demon life has got me in its sway

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Pfc. Michael Meyer, 18, of Elgin was shot eight times Saturday when his unit, India Company of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, was ambushed south of Baghdad by a group of well-trained fighters from Syria, Egypt and perhaps other countries, his parents said. Meyer called his family Monday from his hospital bed in Lundstahl, Germany.

Monday, April 07, 2003


As I stand by your flame
I get burned once again
Feelin' low down, I'm blue

As I sit by the fire
Of your warm desire
I've got the blues for you, yeah

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

And I've got the blues for you
And I've got the blues for you
And I'll bust my brains out for you
And I'll tear my hair out
I'm gonna tear my hair out just for you
If you don't believe what I'm singing
At three o'clock in the morning, babe, well
I'm singing my song for you

It's hell having principles. Must be nice, in a perverted way, not to.

I feel sorry for her more than anything else, to tell the truth ...

Sunday, April 06, 2003

This life can be so very cruel. NBC's David Bloom, who had been doing some of the best and most memorable war coverage from atop his "Bloommobile" careening across the Iraqi desert, has died of a pulmonary embolism. A mere 39 years old. To my mind, he had been one of the top media stars of this conflict, at the height of his journalistic career.

I guess we just never know what's ahead of us. So, love someone today. Carpe diem.

Update: The kind of guy David Bloom was. This was quite a moment, just the other day.