Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bush on North Korea: "Oops"

Remember how all the conservatives blew a gasket when some evidence came to light that North Korea was looking at going behind the back of the agreed framework of 1994 with a uranium enrichment program. We warned the Bushistas to not pull out of the agreed framework because any uranium program was likely decades away from producing a nuclear weapon. We urged them to not be idiots and lose sight of the bigger picture --- the Agreed Framework's effective measures preventing production of plutonium based nukes.

Well, of course, as in all things, Bush took the route of the complete fucking idiot.

Now the New York Times is reporting that American intelligence officials are backing away from assessments made in the early years of the Bush administration and "admitting to doubts about how much progress the uranium enrichment program has actually made." In the article, Senator Jake Reed hints that the Bushies confused ambitions with accomplushments. Of course, in doing so, the stop gaps on the plutonium program were removed and it's uniformly believed that North Korea has cranked out a slew of plutonium bombs.

Operation Sitting Duck

The Washington Post has this story up about the execution of the new plan that installs American soldiers in small outposts among the Baghdad citizens.

Here are the guts of the piece:

Informed by counterinsurgency theory that calls for placing units full-time among the people they want to sway, U.S. troops are using their new bases to work with their Iraqi counterparts, uncover more battlefield intelligence and reinforce, by their sustained presence, the message that they will not allow militants unfettered freedom of movement.

But along with these advantages, American soldiers say these outposts pose new risks to their own safety and require pulling soldiers off patrols to protect their lodgings. The threats became apparent this month when a car bomb exploded at a U.S. outpost in Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, killing two U.S. soldiers and wounding 29 others.

At the outpost featured in the article, there have been numerous drive-by shootings and at least four bombings outside the entrance.

The hope of the soldiers is that the conditions will get better as the neighbors become familiar with the daily presence of the U.S. troops. My fear is that those who wish to cause us harm - who are admittedly surveiling the outpost - will be more effective with their attacks the longer they observe us.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blogger Gets 4 Years In Prison For "Insulting" President Mubarak & Islam

Recently, I ran a post on the arrest and scheduled trial of Egyptian Blogger Abdel Karim Nabil. He was charged with writing posts "insulting" to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Islam. As I noted then, this case is not an isolated incident in Mubarek's Egypt but reflects a common tactic being employed by Mubarek to stifle moderate, pro-democracy voices.

By accident, I discovered what has become of Nabil. Buried in this piece by CBS news, a piece on allegations of torture made by the Egyptian cleric purportedly kidnapped from Italy by CIA officials who then rendered him to Egypt, is this blurb:

The blogger was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison by an Egyptian court. Abdel Kareem Nabil received three years in prison for insulting Islam and one year for insulting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

From the Bush Administrtion, we can expect a pro forma tut-tut from the State Department ... and then, nothing more.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Magazine Crews

Ever wonder about the young folks that show up on your doorstep peddling magazines. I have. I get one such person, usually a minority, about every six months.

Well ... the New York Times has this great piece about the grimey lives of the exploited individuals who fall into these magazine crews.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Patterico Steps In The Shit Twice More

In the comments to the post "My Defense To Patterico's Dishonest Attack," Patterico claims I lied about not deleting comments on my blog.

His smoking gun proof is this comment from I post I did on July 26, 2006, which states:

This post has been removed by the author.

By Adam S., at 11:41 AM

That's right. This guy really is that dumb and fevered. He spent all sorts of time weeding through 7 months of comments and then misreads the single sentence notation that "the author" chose to delete his own comment. The author in this case was some guy named Adam S. - whoever the hell that is. It wasn't me. Maybe he's too dumb to understand that this blog allowed commenters the freedom to not only comment but to remove their comments if they so chose. Regardless, here's evidence - once again - of a stone, cold lie by Patterico about me.

Patterico has also made the unequivocal statement that I and webhub are the same person because we entered his blog through the same ISP address. As his readers are well aware, nothing gives Patterico a woody like throwing out an allegation of sockpuppetry.

But once again, facts intruded on Pat's fanatical theorizing. Both webhub and I debunked his sockpuppet fetish and, in his journey through my comments thread, he probably saw all the comments by webhub which would leave no doubt in any sane person's mind that he is definitely not me.

Of course, Pat - the proud man of principle - can't admit he was wrong on this charge. He now goofily states, "we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt." No thanks.

Pat's been proven out-and-out wrong three times in the course of a couple of days.

It's Pat who - as evidenced by these posts - has the history of dishonesty and a lack of principle.

Patterico Backpedals Like A Motherfucker

Hey everybody, it looks like all the fun of the blog wars will continue for, at least, one more goofy day. Patterico tries to respond my post yesterday, fails miserably and then makes two more idiotic claims about me.

Let's start with my challenge to him yesterday. First I challenged to show me where I "admitted" reading Carlito's statement about the tragic death of his sister. Here's his response as to this issue (as I'm not afraid of his words, as he is of mine, I've included his full comment, as the first comment to this thread:

You admitted reading the comment thread, saying:

I don’t what’s funnier - the rewritten post, Pat’s preening and posturing about caning (or was it caneing) all the guest bloggers or the Tort-Reform righties claiming a lawsuit should be brought over this.

The argument that a lawsuit should be brought was made further up that comment thread — the same comment thread where carlitos said his sister had died. You admitted reading the comment thread — yet you claimed that the comments about carlitos’s sister were funny.

So I didn't "admit" it. He simply "assumed" I read the whole comment thread because I saw a comment threatening a lawsuit. To make it sound more nefarious, he states the lawsuit comment and Carlito's comment were both further upstream from mine.

Let's not be so general, Pat. There were 48 upstream comments covering 19 screenshots. This was a lengthy comments thread. Carlitos comment is more than 6 screen shots above my comment.

And the comment about lawsuits is this one:

Carlitos, I hope you have the opportunity to raise your hand at a civil trial when you sue the pants off this sick group.

And where is that comment located? Pat isn't going to tell you. But I will. It is comment No. 47 - just two above mine, and it would've been right on my screenshot as I typed in my comment (on Pat's site, comments are typed in at the bottom of the comment thread). Pat doesn't tell his readers that the comment I remarked about was staring me in the fucking face as I prepared my own comment. As one of my pet peeves is how quick "tort reform" righties are to threaten a lawsuit, I sure as hell mocked that comment. I couldn't avoid but seeing the damn thing.

But what you can see is that it takes a very twisted mind to take that fact - the fact that I did read Comment 47 - and then "assume" that means I read the whole lengthy comment thread and then take it even a step further and state as unequivocal fact that I "admitted" to reading the whole comment thread.

One must wonder how often this guy must get laughed at by judges and juries? The judges must say to each other: "Hey, Who's got crazy Pat today? I wonder what wild accusations he'll be throwin' out now? What a laugh riot!"

Second, I challenged the fact that he has not cited a single of the "vicious lies" he claims I made and which justify a banning. He still has not been able to cite one --- not one. The reality is he banned me because I kept proving him wrong and exposing his faulty logic and false posturing. My comments caused this thin-skinned man embarassment and he couldn't stand it.

He claims he did not delete the quick, short comment I shot out in my defense; that the comment would've appeared on my screen like it posted but would've been caught in a moderator he had, at sometime in the past, placed on my comments. He admits knowledge of its content which leaves the inescapable conclusion that he knew I was defending myself but purposefully withheld that defense from his readers.

Whether he deleted it or refused to post it, the result is the same - he knew I was challenging the accuracy of his charge against me but prevented his readers from knowing that fact. That's some pretty low shit by just about any standard.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Defense To Patterico's Dishonest Attack

A rightwing blogger named Patterico - ironically, in real life, he's a prosecutor - blew a fuse admidst two debates we were having and banned me from his site while also deleting my last comment there. No big deal, right? It's a typical tactic righties employ who can't take the heat of an open debate. But Patterico didn't just ban me and delete my comment. He decided that he had to lie about me in a manner meant to demonize.

Here’s Patterico’s lie about my banning:

I have banned one person in the last 24 hours: Macswain. There’s a long history there of lies and vicious insults, but the final straw was when he admitted that he read through a comment thread in which carlitos said his sister had died — and *then* MacSwain declared “funny* a comment about carlitos having disgusting sex with her.

He claims a long history of lies - in fact, he has repeatedly called me a liar - yet, he has never cited a single lie or even a false statement. What I really have is a history of proving Pat wrong and, unlike Pat, I don’t make these bold claims without evidence. Here is a post and comment thread where I proved Pat was smearing John Kerry by suggesting Kerry did not fully release his Vietnam era records. He’s held a grudge ever since and has been searching for away to silence my legitimate criticism. Here's a link (See Comments 74 & 98) to our latest dust-up where I called bullshit on any suggestion that he was, as a matter of principle, opposed to the Edwards bloggers losing their job.

He claims vicious insults. This is almost comical given he usually answers my posts with name calling completely devoid of substance. Trash talk exists on his blog and he partakes in it freely. He is simply a thin-skinned hypocrite who can’t handle the better trash talk that comes back at him. I’ve never cried about his weak efforts at trash talk or name calling directed toward me. Really, if he wants to whine like a little bitch about trash talk, he shouldn’t throw mud at others.

Most importantly, Pat outright lies when he states “[I] admitted that [I] read through a comment thread in which carlitos said his sister had died — and *then* MacSwain declared “funny* a comment about carlitos having disgusting sex with her.” I challenge Pat to post this admission.

The only post he can be referring to is Comment No. 49 to Pat’s initial post attacking The Liberal Avenger. I said in total:

Too funny.

I just want to know which of you righties read the rewritten comedy and didn’t get that it was a prank.

I don’t what’s funnier - the rewritten post, Pat’s preening and posturing about caning (or was it caneing) all the guest bloggers or the Tort-Reform righties claiming a lawsuit should be brought over this.

Thanks, Pat, for highlighting this - you once again scored for great comedy.

Where do I admit reading Carlito’s post? Nowhere - Pat is simply lying when he says I made this admission (or he’s delusional in believing such an admission exists). The fact is I had not read carlitos statement about his sister and only became aware of the tragic death of Carlito’s sister when Pat posted that fact at the bottom of my comment No. 49.

Then, the first line of my next comment (No. 50) says: Now if they knew about his personal tragedy, I would agree with you. Huh? What’s that? I actually agreed with Pat that the prank wouldn’t be funny if someone had foreknowledge of Carlito’s tragedy. Why would I say that if, as Pat claims, my position was that, even knowing about the personal tragedy, the comment is funny? The fact is that was not my position and that irrefutable sentence directly contradicts Pat's false claim.

Pat simply attributed to me an outrageous position - a strawman - to try and justify a banning and now he continues to lie while preventing me from defending myself. What’s worse - and what this despicable man has completely omitted from his explanation as to my banning - is that when he made his charge that I knew about Carlito’s tragedy and, then, stated that he was going to ban me, I got a comment up before he could get the ban in place. My comment said he was wrong as to his assumption of my knowledge and that he was banning me on false facts.

Guess what this defender of the sanctity of comments did: PATTERICO DELETED MY COMMENT. He didn’t want anyone to know my defense so that he could continue his false smear.

I don’t run away from debates and will debate Pat anytime, anyplace - using logic and evidence as above - without threats of bannings or deletion of comments.

"Not 4,000"

Liberals opposed to our ongoing war in Iraq need to set a goal and have a rallying cry.

I heard a listener's call-in to NPR recently inwhich the listener argued that we should not allow ourselves to reach 4,000 dead American troops in Iraq.

Given Bush's stubbornness on pursuing this continuing strategy, it is a difficult goal to set. However, it sets forth a noble challenge.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

SAMs Over Baghdad

With 6 copters going down in Iraq over roughly two weeks, the military rushed to quell any fear of a major new danger to our troops. They attributed al but one of the downings to mechanical failure or small arms fire. Only one, they claimed, was downed by a surface-to-air missile. The increase was the result of changing tactics by the insurgents.

Were we really supposed to believe they didn't direct small arms fire at copters before?

Well now a video has come to light through some nutjob insurgent-lovin' website of one of the copters downed, as the military claimed, due to mechanical failure. The only problem is that you can see what appears to be a missile striking the copter. In fact, the military has now backtracked and admitted the cop[ter was not downed due to mechanical failure.

So the question must be asked: Are the insurgents now obtaining and using SAMs so as to decrease our ability to use helicopters over Iraq? If so, where are they coming from - black market? Iran (not likely if its Sunni insurgents)? Or even Saudi Arabia?

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Return of the Agreed Framework with North Korea?

One of the things Bush did early on in office was to gut the "agreed framework" with North Korea --- a deal which allowed for the presence of nuclear monitors in North Korea in exchange for heating fuel and help in creating other energy sources including nuclear energy. The right hated it - as it does all things Clinton. It was derided as "appeasement" and "extortion."

Yet, it was very effective in halting a North Korean nuclear weapons program. Since its been gone, there can be little doubt but that NK's nuclear weapons technology - especially with regard to plutonium - has grown.

Facing that growing danger, the Bush administration has apparently reached some form of tentative deal with North Korea. And while all the deatails of the "tentative" deal are yet to be released, it does appear to once again have us providing them with energy resources.

Does anybody not thiink it would've been a good idea to have worked within the confines of the agreed framework all along and have kept North Korea's nuclear technology in a much more undeveloped state?

Grammy's Rock Again!


A few years ago someone at the Grammys got the bright idea to really focus on musicianship and well-prepared presentations.

This year, we had another show jam-packed with great performances.

The night got off to the right start with The Police reunited and the Dixie Chicks (did anyone else catch Will Farrell playing drums for both the Chicks and Chili Peps?). A lil later, Mary J. Blige finally, finally delivered on all her promise and gave the performance of her career --- what I thought at the time would be the standout of the night.

It wasn't it. Someone had the brilliant idea of having Christina Aguilera sing James Brown's "This Is A Man's World." Her over-the-top histrionics fit the song perfectly. With film clips of Brown in the background, Aguilera came through with a stunning and transcendent rendition of the classic.

Justin Timberlake exceeded my expectations and the Chili Peps didn't meet them.

The only real lull in the show came in the middle where - in what surely must have been a pandering gesture to the "Country" crowd - Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flats were allowed to combine for four painful long songs. Underwood started out with a Bob Wills piece that would have been a hit --- IF WE WERE WATCHING THE OPENING ACT AT THE COUNTY FAIR! The primped and preened Flats' boys followed with a karaoke version of the Eagles' signature hit "Hotel California." Unfortunately, the Eagles tribute was not done. The Flats and Underwood were then coupled together so that Underwood could deliver a soul-less and affected version of "Desperado." Then to show they could have fun, the Flats and Underwood kicked up their heels with a version of "Life In The Fast Lane." It only served to lift the whole shebang to the level of drunken karaoke.

I thought order would be restored when Smokey Robinson took to the stage --- but the dude showed up with the greenest fucking eyes to ever exist on the planet. In fact, it made him look like some alien not of this planet. Unbelieveably, it took Lionel Richie to bring us back by not oversinging the bittersweet ballad "Hello."

The show fully returned to its greatness when 17 year old Chris Brown stomped the shit out of the yard with an incredible, awe-inspiring dance number.

Oh ... and Shakira was there too.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

NEWSFLASH: Adult Diaper Sales Are Up ...

among stalkers.

Bush Administration Picks Up Where UN Oil-For-Food Scandal Left Off

Remember how the wingers well all cuckoo for cocoa puffs over the corruption involved in the UN Oil-for-Food program.

Funny how silent they are when nearly $12 billion of Iraq's oil money cannot be properly accounted for once Paul Bremer's CPA took control over the Iraqi oil funds. The cash, mostly in stacks of $100 bills, weighed 363 tons and was flown into Iraq on wooden pallets aboard cargo planes.

It was just handed over to Iraq government officials and the Americans cannot detail where it went.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What The Hell Happened To This One?

How do you go from this ...

to this?

UPDATE: I'm betting it's not long 'til Nowak blames drugs or alcohol.

Iraq Finally Connected to AntiAmerican Terrorism

Remember the righties efforts to connect Saddam's government to anti-American terrorism. Well the dots have finally been connected but the connection has been made to the new Iraqi government.

CNN reports:

A man sentenced to death in Kuwait for the 1983 bombings of the U.S. and French embassies now sits in Iraq's parliament as a member of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's ruling coalition, according to U.S. military intelligence.

Jamal Jafaar Mohammed's seat in parliament gives him immunity from prosecution. Washington says he supports Shiite insurgents and acts as an Iranian agent in Iraq.

Thanks righties!!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mystery Solved In Gavin Newsom Affair

He's going in for alcohol "counseling." I guess that is short of rehab ... you get the political distraction without the hassle of hunkering down over the sob stories of other alcoholics.

Well done, Mr. Newsom. It's that Ol' Debil Alcohol to blame.

And for those counting, ODub provides tis convenient list:

* Mel Gibson had rum turn him into a raving anti-semite!
* Lindsay Lohan was attacked by alcohol and it disrupted her film "work"
* Al-cohol agents are at the top of the suspect list for Isaiah Washington's latest bout of homophobia
* Miss USA turned into a skanky slut just after liquor touched her pouty lips
* Al-Cohol agents forced Mark Foley into a life of sin and lust

Don't forget Bob Ney. And I'm sure there's more.

James Fallows on Iran

"War with Iran would be a catastrophe that would make us look back fondly on the minor inconvenience of being bogged down in Iraq."

Via Josh (& David Kurtz).

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Da Bears

I'm going for the upset. I like the grass field and I am hoping for rain. Those factors help the Bears and I'm taking them to win 24-21. Vinateri will miss a 48+ yard field goal that would have sent it to OT.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Gavin Newsom Dogs Out His Buddy, Sleeps with Buddy's Wife

Stupid Headlines

This just came up on the Yahoo In The News ticker:

"Rice says Mideast violence shouldn't postpone peace talks"

I'm guessing its a terrible paraphrase because why would you need peace talks if everybody was ... well ... peaceful.

Stick 'Em Up

Word is the Bush administration is asking Congress to add another $100 billion to the $70 billion already approved for spending in 2007 for Iraq and Afghanistan. They are asking for $145 billion for 2008 ... and there ain't nobody who will take my bet that they won't be back for more for 2008.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

"We've lost one of our defenders."

I jacked the quote from the Rude Pundit's tribute to Molly Ivins. Read it.

Molly, you done good ... rest in peace.

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Free Egyptian Blogger Karim Amer

The Guardian reports that Egyptian authorities have put blogger Karim Amer on trial for posts they claim are critical of Islam, fundamentalist rioters and Hosni Mubarek. He faces up to ten years in prison.

This is not an isolated instance of Hosni Mubarek regarding free speech or speech critical of his authoritarian rule. Mostly, he has directed his war against moderate voices in favor of more freedom and democracy. He allows the Islamic fundamentalists much more latitude as he needs there presence as an extortive threat against the west --- that is, its either me or the acolytes of Osama and Zawahiri.

If I remember correctly, Egypt receives a shitload of American aid, second only to Israel. Yet, recent reports are that the Bush administration - and Condi Rice more specifically - have toned down pressure on Mubarek for democraticization. Yet, in doing so, we lose the benefit of having followed a principled approach on human rights.