Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Tale of Two Pictures: August 30, 2005

I got the pics from the Salto Mortale Blog.

UPDATE: Johnny America did some sleuthing and discovered the song Bush was singing. Apparently, he's a Go Go's fan. Here are the lyrics:

All I ever wanted
Had to get away
Meant to be spent alone

The Horror

The news out of the Big Easy, Mississippi Delta and the Gulf Coast keeps getting worse and worse.

Here's one woman's heartwrencing story regarding the death of her husband and her efforts to get his body out.

I fear there are thousands of such stories.

Yeah, I Got A Great Life, But ...

So does Tony Parker.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"What kind of fucktarded plan have we been half-assedly executing?"

This is a quote from a blog post by Sgt. Thomas Strickland aka Rev. Wayfarer, an American soldier in Iraq. Sadly, Sgt. Strickland died the other day in Iraq when the truck he was in overturned during combat.

Read his full post & the comments to the last couple of posts. Truly heartbreaking.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Governor Ernie Fletcher: The Rule of Law Does Not Apply to Republicans in Kentucky

In the ongoing corruption parade on the right, Governor Fletcher pardoned everybody except himself in the ongoing criminal investigation into violations of Kentucky's merit system rules. Josh has the details including an excellent link to the BlueGrassReport. Many on the left are suggesting Fletcher made a mistake as those pardoned can no longer invoke the Fifth Amendment to keep from testifying against Fletcher. However, they are overlooking the fact that the prosecution actually loses the more critical tool in investigations like this, the ability to cut plea deals with the smaller players to get the person at the top --- Governor Fletcher himself.

There can be no doubt this trade off was carefully considered.

Now those pardoned can stand up and take the blame for any violations and face no consequence while distancing Fletcher from the violations. Who really doesn't think these people won't do this to save the very same man who saved them?

Being a Republican in this day and age is not about principles, its about being a team player. Play by those rules and the rewards will flow. Violate them and be cast out and smeared unmercilessly.

Follow Up: 36 Dead Iraqis Allegedly the Work of Government Death Squad

Though it doesn't involve a blond woman, I'm sure Nancy Grace and Greta Van Sustern will have reports on tonight about the 36 Iraqi men who were killed execution-style in a mass slaying. Certainly the rightwing blogosphere will be abuzz given their new found abhorrence of mass killings in Iraq.

Just to lend a hand, here's the latest fromthe Associated Press on this case:

A leader of Iraq's largest Sunni political group blamed Shiite-led security forces Monday for the deaths of 36 Sunnis found shot in the head and said such acts could have unforeseen consequences.

Tarek al-Hashimi, secretary-general of the Iraqi Islamic Party, said the Sunnis were abducted by squads in police uniforms from Baghdad's northern neighborhood of Hurriyah. Their bodies were discovered last week in a dry riverbed south of the capital.

Is this the humanitarianism the right is so proud of bringing to Iraq?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Are You Ready for Some Football??? NFL Version

If your head is still spinning from the Iraqi constitutional crisis (or not), we are fortunate to have our bountiful distractions in this country. One of mine is the NFL in general and the Minnesota Vikings in particular.

The beauty of the NFL's salary cap structure is that prevents the long-term pooling of talent on any one team and, unlike any of the other major sports, gives each team's fans the hope that the few off-season moves or a year of maturity is all they needed to become a contender this year.

The Vikings were one of the busiest teams in the off-season acquiring 6 new probable starters on defense. We Vikings fans have felt for the last few years that improved defense would get us over the hump to our long-destined Super Bowl Championship. I expect that it will take a few regular season games before the defense gels, but then, we should have a top-ten defense. A huge improvement given a defensive rating near the bottom of the league in recent years. The biggest change comes with the addition of Fred Smoot at cornerback. He will complement our other corner & best defender - Antonio Winfield - creating one of the best corner duos in the league.

On offense, we lost Randy Moss, a player who cannot be fully replaced. But our problems in the preseason have not been with the passing game. Daunte appears ready for an MVP season. The underrated Nate Burleson is stepping nicely into the No. 1 WR position and new additions Travis Taylor and Troy Williamson have shown signs of brilliance.

The early worries concern the running game. Onterrio Smith has been lost for the season due to a seemingly incurable bout of stupidity and our All-Pro center, Matt Birk, will also be MIA due to injury. Seemingly all the other RBs have gotten nicked up in the preseason and the running game has thus far been anemic. Coach Tice's strength is working with the offensive line and I expect him to get the problems with the running game solved now that a definitive starting line has been determined.

I'm predicting first place in the NFC North and an 11-5 record for the Vikes.

Any quick takes on other teams or early trash talk?

Punk'd 3 in 3D

Iraqi woman who Bush used as prop at the State of the Union speech now realizes she was punk'd.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

PUNK'D: Did Al-Hakim Just Burn "W"?

I was shocked to read this in the New York Times about activities surrounding the Iraqi constitutional crisis:

Talks over the Iraqi constitution reached a breaking point on Thursday, with a parliamentary session to present the document being canceled and President Bush personally calling one of the country's most powerful Shiite leaders in an effort to broker a last-minute deal.

Mr. Bush intervened when some senior Shiite leaders said they had decided to bypass their Sunni counterparts, as well as Iraqi lawmakers, and send the document directly to Iraqi voters for their approval.

As anyone who follows American diplomacy knows, it is a huge step for an American president to become personally and directly involved in a negotiation. Presidential prestige is put on the line and, for this reason, a president only becomes involved on a matter of huge importance, only if his involvement is absolutely needed in a final push to solve a problem and only if the presidential advisers are damn certain the president's involvement will bring about the desired result.

Failure after presidentiial involvement can be highly damaging to America's international diplomacy. Thus, its important for the parties to understand that failure to heed the President's intercession face significant consequences.

Yet, immediately after Bush's push to get the Shiites to compromise, not only did the Shiites not offer a compromise but they completely bailed on a planned negotiating session with the Sunnis. As the LA Times reported:

Thursday's talks at the Green Zone residence of Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani broke down around 10 p.m. when Sunni negotiators walked out, according to participants. The Sunnis had been waiting for the powerful Shiite parliamentary bloc to present a counterproposal on federalism but left when the top Shiite leaders didn't show. "What negotiations? There were no negotiations," said Iyad Samaraie, a senior Sunni negotiator.

We then learned that, as of the close of business on Friday, the Shiites and the Kurds were pushing forward with their "winner-take-all" attitude and would not compromise with the Sunnis (and, though unstated in this article, Sadr's Shiite faction as well) but will attempt to bypass them by taking the draft constitution directly to the October 15 referendum.

What's happened here isn't being missed. Maureen Dowd shoved this mistake down Bush's throat with her late Friday night post:

[Bush] did do a few minutes of work this month, calling a Shiite leader in Baghdad a few days ago to lobby him to reach a consensus with the Sunnis, so Iraq doesn't crack apart. But the Shiites and Kurds ignored the president and skewered the Sunnis.

Iraq, it turns out, is the one branch of American government that the Republicans don't control.

You can almost hear the collective "Ouch!" being shouted by our diplomatic corps and in Washington.

Today we learn that the Shiites have finally made another offer to the Sunnis. I don't know what means were left after a direct call from the President; begging I suppose, because, in fact, it appears the new proposal contain only meaningless changes that do not substantively address the Sunnis concerns. As such, it appears to be more of a face saving move than an attempt at reaching a legitimate compromise. Indeed, the Sunnis quickly rejected the new proposal offering a 13 point counterproposal.

Al-Hakim blatantly thumbed his nose at Bush. So the only question is what, if any, consequence will there be? A united States draw down is the only thing I can think of any value. But if Bush is unwilling to do that (as he professes to be), what leverage did he have to place any pressure on Al-Hakim or the Southern Shiites. The fact that Bush took such a high risk gamble on this matter smacks of one thing --- desperation about Iraq in the Bush camp.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Zarqawi Scandal: RightwingClueless Replays Disingenuous Iraq War Justification

In the comments to this pathetic post, RightwingClueless suggests that the invaision and occupation of Iraq is justified by the presence of terrorists in Iraq before the war. Yes, there were terrorists in Iraq before the war. But this argument blew up in the face of war supporters once the facts were learned. In Northern Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi had a terrorist camp in the no-fly zone and outside of Saddam's control.

Scandalously, Bush refused three requests from the military to take Zarqawi and his bases out. Bush allowed Zarqawi and his band of thugs to escape so as to kill US troops and those Iraqis who side with us. For political purposes, Bush decided he needed Zarqawi's presence in Iraq more than he needed Zarqawi's death. Sadly its our troops and Iraqis supportive of our efforts who pay the price in blood.

Our presence is the fuel driving Zarqawi's attacks. Once we are gone, there can be little doubt that the Baathist Sunnis will turn on Zarqawi in a heartbeat.

Wall Street Watch

On January 19, 2001, the Dow Jones closed at 10,855.

The next day George Bush took over the reins to the White House.

4 and 1/2 years later, we are at 10,445. That's only a return of 3 percent. Oh my bad, negative 3 percent.

Certainly you've heard about this from the so-called liberal media. Haven't you?

Heellllloooo! Calling Nancy & Greta

We got a crime that needs investigating. 36 dead bodies were discovered on a road leading from Baghdad to Iran.

None, however, were white, attractive women (Rightwing yawn No. 1).

Mass killings continue in the new "Humanitarian" Iraq (Rightwing yawn No. 2).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Punk'd - Iraq Version

Hmmm ... Who You Gonna Believe When It Comes to Women's Rights in Iraq?

On August 15th, RightWingClueless shouted out the good news ... it has been settled, women will have equal rights in Iraq.

Dr. Raja Khuzai - who actually lives in Iraq and prematurely called Bush "my liberator" - has a different view ... now that she realizes how Bush punk'd her.

Regardless of what any document might say, we already know that in practice in Southern Iraq "women's rights" means not much more than the right to wear a burqa.

Cover Your Eyes, Chickenhawks

"This is a war the Bush administration does not want Americans to see." So says Gary Kamiya in this piece in Salon today with a number of photographs showing the death & devastation in Iraq.

Kamiya doesn't just blame the Bush administration for the near blackout on photos of the devastation:

[T]he media is also responsible for sanitizing the Iraq war, at times rendering it almost invisible. Most American publications have been reluctant to run graphic war images. Almost no photographs of the 1,868 U.S. troops who have been killed to date in Iraq have appeared in U.S. publications. In May 2005, the Los Angeles Times surveyed six major newspapers and the nation's two leading newsmagazines, and found that over a six-month period, no images of dead American troops appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Time or Newsweek. A single image of a covered body of a slain American ran in the Seattle Times. There were also comparatively few images of wounded Americans. The publications surveyed tended to run more images of dead or wounded Iraqis, but they have hardly been depicted in large numbers either.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Twins Win!!!

Incredibly, the Twins got only 1 hit in tonight's game against the White Sox ... AND WON!!!

Jacques Jones blasted an eighth inning homer while Johan Santana continued his annual post-All Star mastery by pitching eight shutout innings.

The Twins remain 2 1/2 games behind the Indians and Skankees for the AL wild card. But we have won 10 of our last 12 and are on a roll.

Both leagues are shaping up for an exciting end.

Media Blackout on Media's Failure to Cover Genocide

Think Progress has the story on how the media is refusing to air this ad from

Public airways, my ass.

Rightwing Whackjob Pat Robertson Calls for Murder of Democratically Elected Leader; Rightwing Blogosphere Remains Silent

Remember when the Right was all in a tizzy about Ward Churchill, the leftwing whackjob who's audience consists of three drunks and one dog.

Well, time and time again, righties with much greater audiences and greater media access make horrendous comments without the same degree of criticism from the right as they heaped on the obscure Churchill.

The latest is Pat Robertson who calls for the assasination of Hugo Chavez. The fact that Chavez was elected twice - the second time in a landslide in an internationally monitored election - also seems to escape Robertson who calls Chavez a "strong-arm dictator."

You see - to guys like Robertson - it is not about democracy; it is about fealty to conservative Christian America.

So how is the right responding; here's a rundown of some of the righty blogs that ran Ward Churchill pieces and what they have to say about Robertson's latest:

Michelle Malkin --- nothing
Powerline --- nothing
Wizbang --- nothing
Say Anything --- nothing
Rightwingsparkle --- nothing

Hate speech by a man with a cable channel and an audience estimated at a million pales in comparison to that of someone no one even heard of until the right decided to falsely spin him as representative of the left.

RightWingClueless Tells Cindy Sheehan to Shut the Fuck Up!!!

Of course, I'm paraphrasing. RightWingClueless is much more disingenuous as to how she phrases her call for Cindy to stand down from her protest. You see, it's because she cares so much about the damage being done to the country and even Cindy herself.

Are you finished booting?

It is not Cindy Sheehan that is damaging this country. It was the Bush administration's deceptions regarding WMD that damaged our credibility. It was the Bush administrations failure to properly plan for war and equip our troops that caused untold death to our soldiers as well as Iraqi civilians. It was Bush's failure of imagination that is leading to the establishment of an Islamic Republic with new human rights abusers taking the place of the old ones. It is Bush that has created a quagmire that is the poster child for increased terrorist recruitment putting us in further danger.

Cindy Sheehan has finally broken through the media embargo against the liberal viewpoint on Iraq that has been in place since 9/11. That's what is driving the right's smears against her. They can't stand to hear the arguments that Bush was and continues to be wrong in how he has handled the war on terror.

To many on the right, politics is like sports. It is not about principles but an unquestioning fealty toward your team ... well, that is, unless they have to make some personal sacrifice themselves. That is where they will draw the line.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Spin Doctors: New York Times Version

Apparently, the New York Times jumped the gun early when the put out a story under this headline today: Iraqi Leaders Reach Agreement On New Constitution.

Clinking on the link now leads to the revised headline: Iraqi Leaders Report Agreement, but Key Issues Remain.

The revised story also contains this humorous sentence: In a legal sleight of hand, a small group of Iraq's senior political leaders handed in a draft of the constitution shortly before midnight, contending that by doing so they had met the deadline they had set for themselves.

It fails to mention that it was the NYT that bit on this obvious sleight of hand.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Stupid Pet Tricks: Senator George Allen Version

Guest blogging at Talking Points Memo, Michael Crowley gives us this excellent post on Republican Senator George Allen's response to the Washington Post's piece on unaccountable factional militias take over of policing in Iraq:

When Republican senator/presidential hopeful George Allen was on ABC's This Week today praising the Bush administration for its training of Iraqi security forces, George Stephanopoulos suggested that the Post's story has some pretty troubling implications for that utterly essential element of our success there. Not to worry, Allen said -- factional divisions are nothing new:

[Y]ou have that even in our United States. We have local police, we have state police, and you have the FBI.

Got that? Bloodthirsty Shiite militiamen really aren't so different from, say, Virginia state troopers. To which a startled-looking Stephanopoulos objected: "They're not militias going out and killing people outside the law!"

It's amazing, come to think of it, that Stephanopoulos didn't burst into laughter. There may be reassuring responses to the Post's story, but Allen's certainly wasn't one of them. Let's hope someone in the White House has a better answer.

"[A] climate of fear that many see as redolent of the era of former president Saddam Hussein"

The Washington Post has a must-read on how factional militias have taken over in the policing of Iraq and the picture isn't pretty.

Here's the lede:

Shiite and Kurdish militias, often operating as part of Iraqi government security forces, have carried out a wave of abductions, assassinations and other acts of intimidation, consolidating their control over territory across northern and southern Iraq and deepening the country's divide along ethnic and sectarian lines, according to political leaders, families of the victims, human rights activists and Iraqi officials.

While Iraqi representatives wrangle over the drafting of a constitution in Baghdad, forces represented by the militias and the Shiite and Kurdish parties that control them are creating their own institutions of authority, unaccountable to elected governments, the activists and officials said. In Basra in the south, dominated by the Shiites, and Mosul in the north, ruled by the Kurds, as well as cities and villages around them, many residents say they are powerless before the growing sway of the militias, which instill a climate of fear that many see as redolent of the era of former president Saddam Hussein.

But read the whole thing as it sheds light on the whole humanitarianism angle of our invaision and occupation of Iraq.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

All Noodles, No Shrimp: Bush's "Chinese Menu"

An aide to Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, gives up the fact that prior to Powell's UN Speech (remember the one the media heralded as an Adlai Stevenson moment ... Ha Ha Ha), the White House gave Powell a sheaf of documents to use in making his presentation. Wilkerson states: "It was anything but an intelligence document. It was, as some people characterized it later, sort of a Chinese menu from which you could pick and choose."

He then adds:

"There was no way the Secretary of State was going to read off a script about serious matters of intelligence that could lead to war when the script was basically un-sourced," Wilkerson says.

But that is exactly what Powell then proceeded to do. Wilkerson tries to provide an amusing out for Powell. He suggests that Powell only made the presentation after spending 4 days & nights in conferences with Tenet at the CIA. Implicit in this spin is the suggestion that Powell was not naive enough to rely on representations from the White House. Think about how funny that is for a moment.

Powell can't get off that easy. One thing I've never accused Colin Powell of is stupidity, and he is not going to get away with playing dumb now. If he knew, as is implied here, that the White House was pushing bogus info, couldn't he assume the same pressures that were being brought to bear on him to play the loyal soldier were being brought to bear on Tenet as well.

Most importantly, this story is just further evidence as to how the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the intelligence" by the Bush Administration. THIS IS THE SCANDAL THAT DESERVES AN INVESTIGATION ABOVE ALL OTHERS.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Democracy, My Ass

Paul Krugman has a piece out today calling out election in malfeasance by the Republicans in the last three elections and warning of further trouble due to the lack of accountability which has generally covered such voter suppression efforts.

What I find most disturbing is how few Republicans will call bullshit on these tactics.

Abstinence Only in Swaziland: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The King of Swaziland ended early a five-year ban on sex for teenage girls. Apparently, the ban didn't fit his own desires:

The king fined himself a cow for breaking the ban by marrying again.

He took a 17-year-old girl as his ninth wife just two months after imposing the sex-ban in September 2001, sparking unprecedented protests by Swazi women outside the royal palace.

About 40% of the population has HIV.

We know, from Uganda for example, how successful an aggressive condom promotion campaign can be in reducing HIV.

Please, please, please ... get off the abstinence only trip. Encouraging abstinence is OK, making it the foundation of your program is a disaster.

The New Boss Same As The Old Boss

Saddam's human rights record was often measured by the number of extra-judicial killings that occurred. Here is yet another report of opposition party leaders - Sunnis in this case - being summarily executed.

Is this the triumph of humanitarianism that the right has proclaimed for Iraq?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Things Fall Apart (Version Afghanistan)

A Spanish eyewitness in the second helicopter has apparently confirmed that a helicopter which crashed in Afghanistan killing 17 Spanish peacekeepers assigned to NATO had come under attack.

More bad news in that two more American soldiers were killed by an IED north of Kandahar.

It's time to face the fact that we can't do Afghanistan on the cheap. We need to set the timetable on Iraq and refocus our efforts on Afghanistan. We should have Marshall Planned it from the get go.

Liberal Humanitarianism & Iraq

Rightwingsparkle poses one of the stupidest and most insulting questions I've ever seen on the blogs: Of liberals, she asks: Why is the suffering in Rwanda and Sudan so much more important to stop than the suffering of the Iraqi people? To make sure the issue is clear, she again states in her comments section: We wanted to know why the bleeding hearts care so much about the people of Sudan and not of Iraq.

Of course, she has created a strawman. Where is the mythical liberal that places greater value on African life than Iraqi life? To create such a beast, RWS's question relies on the simple minded misconception that support for Bush's war is the sole evidence by which one shows compassion for the people of Iraq.

The lack of logic is mind-bending when one considers that there is no equivalence to be drawn with Rwanda and Sudan because no liberals I'm aware of have advocated full scale invasions and occupations of those countries.

We liberals are not so simple minded. We do believe humanitarianism is an important element of foreign policy. An idea conservatives have loathed for decades and only now seem to be paying lip-service to upon the evaporation for their pre-war WMD rationale for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

We liberals analyze issues of humanitarianism quantitatively and qualitatively. Where can we have the greatest impact at the least cost. We understand that humanitarianism can be achieved by means other than full-scale invasion and occupation. We focus on effective means toward humanitarianism rather than means that can be spun to make certain political constituencies back home feel good or tough.

In Africa, we have called and will continue to call upon the Bush administration to take human rights issues seriously. The problems in numerous African countries can be, but aren't being, addressed through means that involve minimal commitments of troops and far less money and lives than are being expended in Iraq. The resulting saved lives would be, at least, in the tens of thousands, and possibly as high as millions.

None of the actions necessary to aid Africans require the commitment of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, the sacrifice of thousands of their lives as well as tens of thousands of civilian lives or the spending of hundreds of billions of US taxpayer dollars.

We liberals knew Iraq was different. Going back to the Eighties, we had chastised Saddam Hussein as a human rights abuser only to be poo-pooed by the right. When the slaughter of some 5,000 Kurds at Halabja occurred, the right claimed it was the Iranians. Yet, we liberals, after some excellent research by Human Rights Watch, said Saddam was to blame. The right only joined us when it became convenient politically to demonize Saddam.

We were the ones critical of Schwarkopff's decision to allow Saddam the use of his helicopters to crush the Shiite rebels in 1991. We supported the policy of containment with its no-fly zones and the eventual implementation of sanctions. Sanctions we were seeking to make "smarter" when 9/11 occurred. In fact, the containment policy was not only effective in preventing Saddam's WMD programs but also caused a significant decline in human rights violations. In 2001, extra-judicial killings were in the hundreds and, in 2002, reduced further to "scores."

As even a single abuse of human rights is unacceptable, it was important to keep the heat on Saddam. But the justification simply did not exist --- from a humanitarian standpoint --- for a full-scale invasion and occupation. If conservatives truly believed that standard, they would be pushing a long list of countries with repressive dictators for invaision. We liberals will continue to push to hold all responsible for trheir human rights abuses even if they're Bush buddies like Islam Karimov, Pervez Musharaff, the House of Saud, etc.

The money and effort spent on Iraq could have undoubtedly prevented much more death and suffering if it were focused on places like Niger, Sudan, the Congo, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan, just to name a few places.

The human rights catastrophe that has ensued is as bad, and probanbly worse, than existed under the latter day Saddam. Shiites and Kurds, as well as Sunnis, are engaged in syatematic human rights abuses right now. The government is moving toward an Islamic republic which will not be a democracy in the sense we know and will not provide the protections of minority rights we believe are moral. As one example, the new Iraqi government has been explicit in its desire to continue to discriminate against Jews by denying them any right of return or repatriation. As to women's rights, the new Iraq is undoubtedly worse.

This effort by Rightwingsparkle to create a phony moral equivalence is just the standard m.o. for many rightwing bloggers. Smear the left regardles of the facts.
Lets face it, there are those on the right that, if Jesus Criticized Bush, would be screaming about how Jesus once threw a tantrum in the temple.

In fact, her post reeks of projection. Why are righties so quick to dismiss human rights abuses everywhere in the world, including those being committed by our Iraqi allies, except for those committed in prewar Iraq and by Sunnis postwar?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Iraq War Veterans Write Letters

This one is from Perry Jeffries, a retired Sergeant who served in Iraq, written to the jerk (pictured on the right) that ran over the memorial crosses at Camp Casey.

On a related note, President Bushes had these words of condemnation for the jerk:



Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Your Homeland Security $$$ At Work!!!

Al Qaeda apparently has been turning to infants to do its dirty work.

Particularly be on the lookout for those infants sporting shirts with red poppies. Not too subtle a cover if you ask me.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The "Noble Cause" to Establish an "Islamic Republic"

The Washington Post prints a story on the Bush Administration's effort to lower expectations for Iraq.

Not only is Iraq nowhere near a self-sustaining economy, but the Administration also seems to admit the Iraqi Constitution will not guarantee democracy much less protection for women or minority rights.

"We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic," said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity. "That process is being repeated all over."

The piece notes how the Shiites and the Kurds view the situation as winner-take-all. As both have already displayed, you can expect the new bosses to be as bad as the old boss.

So Mr. President, please answer Cindy Sheehan's question --- what was and is the noble cause our soldiers have died and will die for?

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Sun Almost Didn't Rise!!!

Tiger Woods just made the cut in the PGA Championship.

Win or lose, I was looking forward to Tiger being in the mix down the stretch in yet another major.

No doubt the TV ratings will suffer.

"We'll stay this long."

Bush: "We'll stay this long."
Press: "How long is that?"
Bush: "As long as necessary."
Imaginary Press with Balls: "What the fuck does that mean?"
Bush: "That when we pull out, I'll tell you that's how long I've always told you we'd stay."

This picture was jacked from The Left Coaster. Go check out that excellent site.

The Iraq War Playas Starring the Bush Ensemble, Judith Miller and ...

Raw Story has posted a great piece of analysis on the role Senator Pat Roberts played in fixing the intelligence for the Iraq war.

In keeping with The Sopranos theme, Roberts has a bit of an Uncle Junior look going, don't ya think?

The unstated part of the story is how badly Jay Rockefeller performed as the opposition party watchdog.

Start Singin'

The Sopranos will have 12 episodes in its final season set to begin in March 2006 and will have 8 bonus episodes that will air beginning in January 2007.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Media "Lined Up For These Lies" Spun By the White House

Editors & Publishers gives us a tantalizing preview of Michael Wolff's upcoming Vanity Faire piece in which he trashes the media for its duplicitous handling of the Plame Affair.

But its not just the Plame lies the media lines up for. The media trades off the public interest for greater access to the White House. They spin and even lie for the White House in exchange for the occasional scoop that allows them to sell themselves as real journalists and keep their millionaire lifestyle with all the invites to the right cocktail parties.

A New Version of Mission Creep?

American casualties continue to rise in Afghanistan.

Face it ... Bush failed to do the job right.

Republicans Heart Voter Suppression

Josh Marshall has big news on the New Hampshire phone jamming case in which two Repugs have been convicted and in which big fish James Tobin has been indicted. It appears that the Republican National Committee has paid some $700,000 in Tobin's legal fees. I guess loyalty among Republicans is priceless. Its ceretainly valued above integrity.

But where is the outrage at the long list of Republican disenfranchisement efforts?

In 2000, we had widespread voter irregularities in Florida which favored Repugs. In 2004, the Repugs attempted their dirty tricks again only to be caught red-handed.

But what do we get from the right? You get pieces from bloggers like Rightwingsparkle claiming voter suppression by Republicans is just a myth. Ironically, the piece is titled Just Repeat the Lie and contains this doozy of a lie:

In fact out of the six-month investigation by the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights and also an investigation by the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Dept. They found there was absolutely no truth to any of those allegations, not one person who was intimidated or had their vote stolen. There was no disenfranchisement, no truth to any of those allegations. You didn't know that??? Well that's exactly what the democrats wanted. Better for them to spread dishonest rumors than to be happy that no suppression was found.

Well ... uhmm ... actually ... the Civil Rights Commission found widespread irregularities and disenfranchisement including specifically detailed instances (as contained in the link above regarding Florida 2000).

So I pointed out Sparkle's misrepresentation in her comments section and received this reply: Macswain, your link showed nothing but the material the commission looked at.

Of course, this is a blatant falsehood that leaves one to ponder whether she is dishonest or delusional?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Will TV's Inspector Clouseaus Investigate ...

the death of LaVena Johnson?

Hide The Heroes!!!

While the chickenhawks are engaged in their disgusting smears of Cindy Sheehan and their channeling of what her dead son Casey would think, news of other heroes is starting to leak out.

Thanks to Attytood for bringing us the story of Gennaro Pellegrini, Jr. -- a 31-year-old Philly cop and up-and-coming boxer. He was forced against his will through the backdoor draft to fight and die for the chickenhawk's war.

The Washington Post also brings us the story of Terry Rodgers who refused to meet President Bush while recovering from an injury suffered in Iraq. Rodgers stated:

"I don't want anything to do with him," he explains. "My belief is that his ego is getting people killed and mutilated for no reason -- just his ego and his reputation. If we really wanted to, we could pull out of Iraq. Maybe not completely but enough that we wouldn't be losing people -- at least not at this rate. So I think he himself is responsible for quite a few American deaths."

Fortunately, Mr. Rodgers didn't die because if he did there could be no doubt that the right wing chickenhawks would annoit themselves his spokespeople.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Hiroshima & Nagasaki 1945: The Loss of Moral Authority

Whenever you hear of a suicide bomber entering a pizza parlor and blowing himself up amongst civilians. The same refrain is repeated over & over: "You do not intentionally target civilians and, to do so, is an act of cowardice." The rule is stated as an absolute by both the left and the right. There is no cost benefit analysis to be had and anyone who even considers such an analysis is deemed to be a terrorist sympathizer. The rule is a bright line not to be crossed.

Yet, in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and then on Nagasaki, three days later, the United States deliberately and intentionally dropped the most awesome bombs ever used on large civilian populations killing tens of thousands immediately and probably hundreds of thousands over time. To this date, Americans on both the left and the right debate the necessity of Truman's decision and the debate almost always involves speculative cost-benefit analyses.

This is especially the case for those who support Truman's decision even though those same people are vocal advocates of the absolutist line in condemning attacks on civilian populations by other political movements.

Not only did the bombings open a pandora's box regarding the direct use of WMD, but, more importantly in my mind, it detracts from the moral authority to absolutely condemn all acts of violence deliberately aimed at civilian populations for political gain.

Damn, Its Good To Be A Gangsta

Two of the Michael Jackson jurors who voted "not guilty" have now miraculously seen the light and contend Michael Jackson is, in fact, guilty.

Oh ... BTW ... they both have book deals and a media consultant whose helping them steer through these troubled times.

Was it the $$$ or the onslaught of the Gracies that changed their view? Probably both.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Iraqi Security Forces - Just A Few Missing Parts

The NYT has the latest assessment on the training of the Iraqi Security forces.

Here's the key graph:

"What are lacking are the systems that pay people, that supply people, that recruit people, that replace the wounded and AWOL, and systems that promote people and provide spare parts," said a top American commander in Iraq, who asked not to be identified because his assessment of Iraqi abilities went beyond the military's public descriptions.

WTF??? What parts are not lacking?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Lil Macswain No. 2

The blogging's been light because I've been busy preparing for and then bringing in for a soft landing Lil Macswain No. 2.

He was born on Friday, July 29, 2005, at 4:36 pm. He weighs 9 lbs 7 oz and I've started him on his way toward total world domination.