Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Another Illustration of Partisan Values

In My Left Wing, Malacandra has posted screen grabs from today of the home pages of the Democratic and Republican parties. Half of the Democrats' home page is devoted to encouraging people to donate to hurricane relief. The Republicans' home page features merely a link to "American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund", with no explicit reference to helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Y'know, it reminds me of the parable of the Good Samaritan. The people who were most self-satisfied about their righteousness walked right on by a man desperately in need of help; the person who rescued him was the equivalent, in the eyes of the "moral majority" of Jesus' time, of a Volvo-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, latte-drinking, sin-tolerating Godless Librul.


Digby Speaks

Listen up.

We are in the middle of a great culture war in this country in which liberals are continually accused of being immoral and indecent by people who profess to hold strong religious beliefs. These morals, however, are almost exclusively confined to personal sexual matters and seem only to apply to the conduct of individuals in their private lives. They seem to have nothing to say about our government conducting itself without regard to morality whenever it is convenient.... After the last election I read many pieces in which religious people advised that Democrats had to begin speaking in religious terms and appeal to voters on a moral basis. It was immediately assumed that this should be done in exactly the same way that the Republicans do, using their definition of morality. But I would suggest that we should make our own case for moral values --- as a government and a nation. It is there that we will find common ground among truly religious people and non-religious people of all stripes. And it is there that politics and morality are appropriately and necessarily linked in a free and democratic society. ...If Democratic politicians want to run on restoring moral values in government they can count me in. I'm a proud member of that moral values crowd and I'll happily hold hands with any religious person who wants to join me.


Day 1758: America held hostage

To paraphrase the NYT: JUDYJUDYJUDY has been held for 57 days! To paraphrase me: "Pffft!" (doing my best Bill the Cat imitation). Now here's a First Amendment "crusade" worthy of the Gray Lady's attention: A cameraman for Reuters in Iraq has been ordered by a secret tribunal to be held without charge in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison until his case is reviewed within six months, a U.S. military spokesman said on Wednesday. ...Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani was arrested by U.S. forces on August 8 after a search of his home in the city of Ramadi. The U.S. military has refused Reuters' requests to disclose why he is being held. He has not been charged. His brother... said they were arrested after Marines looked at the images on the journalist's cameras...Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill said... Mashhadani would be entitled to a review of his case within 180 days and would be held at Abu Ghraib. Rudisill said he would not be allowed to see an attorney, his family or anyone else for the first 60 days of his detention. ...Rudisill said he was aware of five journalists for major news media in detention...Journalists for other major international organizations have recently been released without charge after many months in custody." PS: I think any calendar for when America's kidnapping should begin with Election Day, 2000 and hence the 1758 number.

Grover Got His Wish, Sort Of

"My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." - Grover Norquist, May 2001 Grover got his wish a bit sooner than he expected, but not quite the way he described. It's not the government that drowned because of Grover Norquist and his revenue-slashing cronies. A major port city is drowning and an as-yet-unknown number of people are dead because the Busheviks wouldn't provide the funding to strengthen New Orleans' defenses against a natural disaster that experts had repeatedly warned was inevitable. Daily Kos has the details. What's happening in New Orleans is a tragedy – and it's a crime. Hold them accountable.


A Message from Howard Dean

I received an email message from the DNC this morning:

This week millions of Americans fled Hurricane Katrina. Across the South families abandoned their homes and businesses, not knowing what would be there when they returned. Many stayed behind and suffered devastating loss and injuries -- nearly a hundred have died that we know of, and hundreds of thousands need our help. America is at its best when we realize that we are one community -- that we're all in this together. That means that each one of us has the responsibility to do what we can to help the relief effort. The Red Cross is a great place to start: They are already moving people and resources into the region to help. Donations will provide clean water, food, and shelter for disaster victims. The Red Cross web site also has important information for victims and their relatives across the country. Many local Red Cross chapters are organizing volunteers to travel to affected areas -- doctors and nurses to provide medical care, workers to build shelters, first responders to assist in rescue operations. You can find your local chapter here to learn what you can do: We are still learning the full story of the devastation, but there is no time to wait. Please do something now. Thank you. Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
My informants who are on the RNC mailing list tell me they're still waiting for a comparable message from Ken Mehlman.

The Cluephone Is Ringing... many Democratic politicians will answer it?


This Didn't Have To Happen

Steve Gilliard is right: This is worse than 9/11. New York City was able to function, and function well, after 9/11. But New Orleans, Biloxi, and several other Gulf Coast cities no longer exist in any real sense of the word. The only reason reported death tolls aren't yet in the thousands is simply because the medics and rescue personnel are too busy trying to save the living to count all the bodies that have been floating past them in the floodwaters. With most of the National Guard in Iraq, there's a severe lack of people trained to deal with catastrophes like this. Efforts to sandbag the breached levees in New Orleans were fatally hampered by the lack of manpower -- and by Bush's inexplicable, maddening refusal to send in proper help. Oh, and could someone please tell Michelle Malkin that this is definitely one case where a government that wasn't starved to the point of helplessness could actually do a lot more good on the ground than any of her favorite hate-objects?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Disaster Relief

As Howard Dean says, "We're all in this together." Give what you can to help the relief efforts in the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. Red Cross Episcopal Relief and Development Salvation Army Catholic Charities It's not just people who are left homeless by the hurricane. Noah's Wish and the Emergency Animal Rescue Service rescue pets stranded in disaster areas. They'll need your financial help, too. <update> This post in Daily Kos has a more extensive list of relief organizations, with links for making donations online.


Election-Year Kabuki

What, you didn't think the 2006 election season had started yet? Silly people. Here's the scoop: Minnesota Public Radio announced this morning that former state education czar (and creationist/IDer) Cheri Pierson Yecke, who had been laughed out of her czardom when the DFL Senate let Governor "Thirty-Two-Percent" Tim Pawlenty know that there were limits to what they could stomach, was moving on to become the new education czar in Florida under Jeb Bush. (Sorry, that's actually Katherine Harris' role. But I digress.) Anyway, the most important part of the story was right at the very end of the broadcast (the website text version actually goes into more detail):

She has been running for Congress in Minnesota's 6th District, but will now abandon those plans. "It came down to being one of five people who might get the nomination or taking the for sure thing as being the only person that Jeb Bush wanted to see in this position and I'm not a gambling person so I went with the sure bet," she said. Yecke said her new position begins in October.
Translation: She wasn't the person the local Republicans want as their candidate to replace Mark Kennedy as he goes off to get slaughtered by either Patty Wetterling or Amy Klobuchar in the fight for Mark Dayton's Senate seat. My only question is if Jeb Bush had been planning to offer her the education-czar gig all along, or if this was the state GOP's bigwigs going to great lengths to buy her off.


"Bushes let other Americans do the dying for them."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported on the difficulties military recruiters are having meeting their quotas. The report began with a vignette that clearly illustrated the reason:

It was a large home in a well-to-do suburb north of the city. Two American flags adorned the yard. The prospect's mom greeted him wearing an American flag T-shirt. "I want you to know we support you," she gushed. [The recruiter] soon reached the limits of her support. "Military service isn't for our son. It isn't for our kind of people," she told him.
This BuzzFlash editorial makes the point that the extended family of George Walker Bush shares that attitude. While military recruiters are using any means necessary to provide cannon fodder for Bush's War, no member of the Bush family since George Herbert Walker Bush has volunteered for active duty. (You should all know by now that when Dubya was draft age, his daddy got him into the National Guard to keep him out of Vietnam, and even a champagne unit was too much responsibility for him.) BuzzFlash has a petition demanding that Bush's own family support Bush's "noble cause" by committing themselves to warfare instead of leaving it to the lower classes. You know what to do.

Monday, August 29, 2005


The Conservatives' Eliminationist War On The Brain

Earlier today, Atrios wondered why so many right-wingers are so eager to defend ridiculously indefensible pseudoscientific works such as The Bell Curve:

Finally, I'm often curious about what Bell Curve supporters, many of whom are clearly mostly unaware of what's actually in the book, think the book has "proven." Why do they get so upset when people point out it's full of crap? Which empirical results, logical conclusions, or policy recommendations found within do they support? It's weird, because they rarely discuss it in those terms. They seem to mostly believe the book supports some particular view they have, whether or not it actually does.
Steve Gilliard goes for the most obvious answer: It's because they're racists. But while that is indeed part of it, it's not all of it. They have the same weird-ass reactions with regard to that other great pseudoscientific scam, Creationism/"Intelligent Design". Seriously: Look at the language used to defend both of these scams. People who attack them are called intolerant and chided for not being fair and having an open mind. I keep thinking back as well to how the conservatives hate a truly fair and independent media, and how vicious attacks similar to those used against science and scientists were used to bludgeon the US media into submission:
The Gannon scalping is different from the Jordan and Rather controversies in two very important ways. First, whereas the conservative bloggers were out to destroy journalists with distinguished careers who'd made serious missteps, the liberal bloggers on Gannon's trail were seeking to expose an out-and-out fraud. Second, while some of the conservative bloggers going after Jordan and Rather were mistaken for regular citizens by the mainstream media, the liberal bloggers were very much out in the open. (...) But there's another a key difference between the effort against Gannon and conservative blog firestorms: The targets of the liberal blogosphere are conservative activists; the target of the conservative blogosphere is the free and independent press itself, just as it has been for conservative activists since the '60s. For the Republican Party, pseudo-journalism Internet sites and the blogosphere are just another way to get around "the filter," as Bush has dubbed the mainstream media.(...) But unlike traditional news outlets, right-wing blogs openly shill, fund raise, plot, and organize massive activist campaigns on behalf of partisan institutions and constituencies; they also increasingly provide cover for professional operatives to conduct traditional politics by other means -- including campaigning against the established media. And instead of taking these bloggers for the political activists they are, all too often the established press has accepted their claims of being a new form of journalism.
I think that the conservatives are pissed off because they keep trying the same well-financed shrieking and bullying tactics on the academic and scientific worlds that they used to cow into submission the media and political worlds -- and they're not working. (Or at least, not as well as they'd hoped.) Furthermore, as the practitioners of legitimate science are building ever-more evidence that shows the ill effects of the conservatives' way of being (global warming, pollution, the utter lack of justification for race prejudice, the helpfulness of communitarianism in aiding humanity and the planet, etc.) -- and even as Bush's contempt for immutable facts that don't say things he likes is well-known throughout the scientific world -- the disconnect between the conservatives and the scientific community grows larger, as does the disdain the conservatives feel for actual science and scientists. The link between creationism and eliminationism -- and between anti-science thought and eliminationism -- is pretty darned strong, methinks.


Post Turdles

We all know about post turtles. You find a turtle on top of a post, you know it didn't get there by itself. So... what about smelly little items that appear in the premier newspaper in the nation's capital? Following on PW's post below, the WaPo has just published a pathbreakingly idiotic defense of so-called "Intelligent Design," such that Atrios has suggested that this could be the most stupid thing he has ever read. While I am glad to hear that he has never read, for example, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page, I have to admit this is not the stupidest thing that I have ever read. But it certainly would get into the semi-finals. It says, for example, "The sports section would not seem to be a place to discuss intelligent design, the notion that nature shows signs of an intrinsic intelligence too highly organized to be solely the product of evolution." If one were looking to narrowcast to rubes, the sports section might be exactly the place that someone who was genuinely stupid would try. "Intelligent design," of course, is a hoax. While a variety of people get attracted to it, it's repackaged creationism. Science involves testable hypotheses. How would the proponents of ID test their hypothesis? Create one world with God and another without God to do parallel longitudinal surveys? ID claims that the level of complexity in living things is too great to be explained by evolution. As anyone who has tried will tell you, proving negatives is almost impossible. No way? Way! How did this article happen to be placed in The Post? The writing is awful. It skips incoherently from anecdote to anecdote. It makes monumental assertions (notably, "ID is unfairly confused with the movement to teach creationism in public schools") based entirely on bluff and not on understanding the dynamics of the ID movement. Jenkins is a sports columnist, but this column is fundamentally political. On a quick glimpse, I can't find any connections between author Sally Jenkins and the far right. She defended Soros's attempt to buy the Nationals baseball team, and even remembered some history (about Fred Malek) that a lot of Republicans would like to forget? She certainly doesn't seem to be on the GOP team. But she also seems to be about the last person to be writing about "Intelligent Design." So, who put this article on The Post?

Creationists Using Touchy-Feely Language They Once Spurned In Order To Trick People Into Accepting "ID"

Rosa Brooks, writing in the Los Angeles Times, has the scoop. The money passages:

It's the new relativism: when scientific truth can't be squared with your religion or ideology, wax eloquent about the value of pluralism and intellectual diversity. The new relativism marks quite a shift from the arguments normally employed by the right. Remember the "culture wars" of the late '80s and early '90s, when conservatives in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, such as William Bennett and Lynne Cheney, inveighed against the "relativism" that allegedly dominated the thinking of American intellectuals?... So it's a tad ironic that conservatives and the religious right are now arguing that intelligent design should be taught on the grounds of intellectual pluralism. Needless to say, from the perspective of virtually all reputable scientists, evolution isn't just one theory among many, it's the only scientifically proven account of the origin and development of life on Earth. Denying evolution isn't merely "another perspective." It's like insisting that the sun revolves around the Earth, or that the moon is inhabited by little green guys. Whatever happened to truth?... If the right is sincerely dedicated to supporting pluralism and openness, surely they'd have no further objection to sex education classes that urge condom use, for instance, as long as abstinence-only arguments get equal time. And presumably they wouldn't mind if teachers tell kids that homosexuality is a legitimate form of human behavior, as long as teachers also explain that some people consider it a sin. Nor would conservatives have any basis to object to education about abortion rights, as long as their perspective is also represented…


"Balance" -- Or Appeasement?

Charles Dodgson (via Atrios) discusses the New York Times' handling of certain issues, particularly those pleasing to Bush, such as creationism (oops, I meant "intelligent design") and the invasion of Iraq.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


PSA: Katrina Approaches

I've been, once, to New Orleans. I've been in Jackson Square and the French Quarter. It's lovely and fragile, and at this moment, poised to bear the brunt of a hurricane that has already caused tremendous havoc in Florida. Over at DailyKos, there's a thread for folk in the area who can offer to put up NO residents. Another thing you can do: Donate blood. You can do it through the Red Cross or America's Blood, a network of independent non-profit blood banks. Or even through your local hospital. (Even if the blood doesn't reach New Orleans, you're still doing a good deed.) My thoughts and prayers to those hundreds of thousands trapped there without cars or any other way to leave, save on foot.


Freeper Meltdown In Crawford!

Let's see: Peaceful, well-behaved Gold Star Mothers, war veterans and their friends camp out for a month to try to get Bush to talk to them. The only violence comes from Bush backers who oppose their presence, and consists of a few shotgun blasts and an idiot with a pickup truck who desecrates a memorial to the fallen in Iraq. Then raucous Bush supporters -- most of whom were brought in by the GOP front group Move America Forward -- show up, and all hell breaks loose in a hilarious sort of way: Note to Protest Warriors: Your ideological allies are too stupid to understand irony and too mean to care. Note to Kristinn Taylor: Your ideological allies are too stupid to understand public relations techniques and too bigoted to care. (Oh, and by the way: Yes, Kristinn is a guy.)


Stand With Cindy

The Bring The Troops Home Tour is taking Cindy Sheehan's vigil from Crawford to Washington DC. Check the web site to find out whether one of the buses is stopping in your city (the westernmost stop is in Kansas).

Saturday, August 27, 2005


The Gladiators

Richard McCartan has an excellent piece on mercenaries serving in Iraq Excerpts: * one rough estimate is that 60 to 80 companies, operating under DOD contract, have provided at least 25,000 armed soldiers to assist the U.S. military in Iraq. *pay their American employees $400 to $700 per day. Many of the soldiers hail from third-world countries (and are paid considerably less). * While no officials figure exists, about 160 to 200 of them are believed to have died fighting *the private security companies, while receiving boatloads of U.S. cash, operate independently; for example, the U.S. does not prescribe training standards or rules of engagement, or require background checks *the high pay scale for mercenaries' pay in Iraq has bred intense resentment within the low-paid military Anyone who knows their history knows that mercenaries are what failing empires use, because they can't get their own citizens to fight for causes that are innately wrong.

Bushco legal advisor Rotunda absolves Roberts for wrong Rotunda participated in. Rotunda lies by omission to Senator.

Just read it. There are no words for this sort of moral bankruptcy. Except maybe "hitherto unexplored territory."

Charles Murray, Crossburner

In all the recent hullaballoo over the not-so-subtle efforts by Andrew Sullivan and other right-wingers to rehabilitate him, let's not forget that Charles "Bell Curve" Murray is also a known cross-burner. As City Pages editor Steve Perry wrote back in the last century:

...Near the end of his high school days in Newton, Iowa, Murray and some of his pals went out one night and burned a cross next door to the police station. To my knowledge, the reams of coverage accorded Murray for his pseudo-scientific apologia on behalf of racism have produced only two mentions of this incident. One was in a 1994 New York Times Magazine profile, the other a bit later on the Donahue show. In both instances Murray protested that he had no idea as to the racial significance of cross-burning. There were only two black families in Newton in those days, an old school chum of his added in the Times piece. Well. As it happens, I grew up just 30 miles away from Murray's central Iowa hometown, in an even smaller farming town with no black families at all. But somehow I managed to learn what cross-burning meant by the time I finished high school, and I expect Murray did too.
Please keep this in mind whenever you see any attempts to pretend that Murray isn't a racist pig.


Non-toxic Christianity

One can't beat bad Christianity with good logic. It takes good Christianity. I'm doing a few pieces of Bible study that I think that regular readers of this blog might find interesting. Briefly, I note major contradictions in the story of David and Saul in the first book of Samuel. Then, I show how genuine fundamentalists, scriptural liberals, and genuine atheists misuse text, that there is an way to read the Bible literally but not stupidly. I also distinguish between fundamentalists and many people who call themselves fundamentalists but do not actually believe scripture is inerrant. Similarly, many people who call themselves atheists but believe, totally against evidence all around them, in the core elements of the Judeo-Christian tradition: "the arc of history is long but it bends toward justice," "love is what makes the world go 'round", truth rises though felled many times. By the end of Sunday, I should even have the scripture study done. That, unlike political analysis, actually takes time. ------------------- (What, you were expecting me to close the HTML? Blogwhoring *never* ceases.)

Friday, August 26, 2005


From MoveOn.Org: Save The Estate Tax!

Bush keeps saying that we're at war. Well, last time I checked, wartime meant that everyone had to make sacrifices and do their fair share. But Bush and the GOP want to make sure that the rich, who already avoid sending their sons and daughters to fight for our country, never have to make any financial sacrifices, ever again. As soon as the Congressional recess ends next week, they're going to try it. Let's head this off at the pass. We can do it if we start now.


Newsflash: Republican Party Breaks Campaign Laws

FEC Investigation Finds Reason to Believe that Michigan GOP Acted Illegally in 2004 Campaign

An investigation by the professional, nonpartisan staff of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) into a complaint filed by the MDP concerning the Michigan Republican Party's efforts to place Ralph Nader on the 2004 Michigan ballot has found reason to believe that the GOP made an excessive contribution to the Nader for President campaign and failed to report and misreported its expenditures for that effort. "The investigation by the FEC's staff completely vindicates our complaint that the Michigan GOP broke the law in its desperate effort to help Bush win Michigan in 2004 by placing Ralph Nader on the ballot," said MDP Chair Mark Brewer. "Not only did their election ploy fail, but they have now been found to have acted illegally as well." "We are satisfied with [the] investigation and have no objection to the FEC's decision [to] not pursue the matter any further, given that the election was over nearly ten months ago and that the GOP's illegal conduct was irrelevant to the election's outcome, and proved to be a waste of their time and resources," continued Brewer. "It should be noted that the architect of this illegal scheme was then GOP-Executive Director Greg McNeilly, who is now Dick DeVos' campaign manager." This finding is the latest in a series of FEC audits and investigations of the MIGOP during the last 10 years, revealing millions of dollars in illegal and/or unreported expenditures.


Today is Women's Equality Day

It's a good day to remember the last words Susan B. Anthony spoke in public: Failure is impossible.


The Martyrs of Martissant, Haiti

More mass murder in Haiti The U.N. mission in Haiti recently launched an inquiry into the massacre of at least 20 people last weekend in the Port-au-Prince slum of Martissant. During a soccer game on Saturday funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the US-backed interim Haitian government, hooded police and men with machetes attacked people they called "bandits." This according to Reuters. ... JOHANNA BERRIGAN: ...[T]he story is that there was a soccer game for young adults where there were three to four thousand people in attendance. And at the halftime, police came into the soccer field, ordered the DJ to announce that everyone should get down, and police began firing into the crowd, the Haitian National Police. With them were individuals who were armed bandits but were able to identify for the police, for reasons we’re not sure of, who should be killed. So as the police shot into the crowd, people were trying, it became mayhem, people were trying to climb over the walls and as people were escaping some of them were actually cut down with machetes....[T]here was no intervention on behalf of the UN at the time of this massacre. And it would be impossible to not know what was happening.

Does Department of "Justice" get terror leads from commercial databases?

Mercury Rising Bank Letter Sent to “Bomber” JP MorganChase bank has launched an investigation after sending a credit card offer addressed to the name "Palestinian Bomber" to a Palestinian-American man. Sami Habbas received the unsolicited letter from the credit card arm of the bank. He says that when he telephoned the company to complain, two operators who took his call referred to him as "Mr Bomber". The bank says the information on the letter was obtained from a list purchased by Chase from a vendor. You. Can't. Make. This. Stuff. Up.

Friday Cat Blogging

Alex, hanging out

Lady Lightfoot, the Sphinx


Radical Cleric Robertson: As Usual, Jon Stewart Nails It

Crooks and Liars has the video.


TreasonGate: Bleep Me, Mr. Rove? No, Bleep You!

After being forced out of the BushCo empire for not being totally corrupt and amoral, Colin Powell gets a little of his own back.


Why Chavez Scares Bush (And Conservatives Everywhere)

This excellent Guardian piece lays it all out. Short version: Chavez frightens the élite precisely because, friendship with Castro aside, he can't be dismissed as a wild-eyed ultralefty. Capitalism flourishes side-by-side with his "Bolivarian" efforts at aiding the poor.


Next On BBC One: David Irving Says The Holocaust Never Happened

Atrios found this horrifyingly bad BBC article on known racist pseudoscientist pig Richard Lynn. Atrios then provided the appropriate cite with information on Lynn that the Beeb saw fit to ignore. Contact the Beeb here.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Cartoonists Take On Radical Cleric Robertson

Sheer brilliance.


Why Close Walter Reed?

Atrios poses that question. Other folks in the comments thread have tried to answer it. But really, folks, when asking questions like that, you can't ever assume that the Bushies make decisions like this for purely practical reasons, either for keeping or closing it. This is BushCo we're talking about -- EVERYTHING has a political calculation behind it. So, to return to the question, "Why are they closing Walter Reed?" Simple. It's so Ellsworth Air Force Base can stay open, and Thune doesn't look like a total ass -- only a partial one. (Remember, he eked out a win over Daschle last year by promising to protect Ellsworth from harm.) There you go.


The Malignant Narcissism of the US press

To follow on to PW's mention of Scott Peck's People of the Lie, one of the current memes in the business press is that oil prices are high because there market speculation over "instability in Venezuela." This sort of flagrant public hypocrisy would be bad enough coming from any individual, but coming from people who are providing investment advice, they amount to malfeasance. Consider these points that might weigh in judging the stability of a country stable: 1. Government. The legitimacy of the vote for Hugo Chavez is almost unquestioned. The legitimacy of the vote for George Bush is widely questioned. Chavez handily survived a recall election in which his opposition had a huge media advantage. Could George Bush do the same? 2. Financial. Venezuela has balanced its budgets. The US is running massive government deficits. Venezuela has a huge trade surplus, becoming a creditor nation. The US is running a huge trade deficit and is becoming a debtor nation. 3. Social. Chavez is loved by the 70% of the population that is poor and hated by the 10% of the population that is wealthy. Bush's disapproval is approaching 60%, while his approval may have fallen below 40%. 4. Global. Venezuela is at peace. The United States is in an intractable war. Venezuela is widely admired among its peers in Latin America and is building ties to Asia. The US is increasingly disliked among its European peers, and is on a path to confrontation with Asia. Calling Venezuela "unstable" amounts to up-is-downism. It is Washington, DC that is unstable, so unstable that they want to assassinate an elected leader (and indeed overthrew him several years ago, but were checkmated by his superior planning). Financial advisors who obey their fiduciary duty should be advising investors to move investments out of this most unstable of nations, not printing what amounts to Administration propaganda.

Pollkatz Does It Again

One of the lines on this graph represents Bush's approval ratings. The other line represents the price of oil, inverted. Notice how nicely they track each other?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


In Which I Beat Charles To The Punch With An M. Scott Peck Reference

...and I'll even mix in a Monty Python reference, too. See, even though we have film footage of Dinsdale Piranha nailing Stig's wife's head to a coffee table Pat Robertson calling for Hugo Chavez' assassination, Robertson actually has the Bush-like gall to deny he did it! The M. Scott Peck reference is, of course, to his famous tome The People of the Lie.


This Would Have Been Even Better If It Was On The Editorial Page...

...but I'll take it anyway.


Hold Them Accountable

From an AP article about antiwar protests in Idaho:

At least three Boise broadcasters have agreed to air a controversial advertisement from the group Gold Star Families for Peace in which Sheehan accuses Bush of lying to the American people about the war in Iraq.... Jeff Anderson, general manager for CBS affiliate KBCI-TV, said his station believes the advertisement to be factually inaccurate and so refused to run the spot. He declined to elaborate.
The station web site doesn't list an email address for Mr. Anderson. You might, however, send an email to with "Attention: Jeff Anderson" in the subject line and ask, politely, whether it aired the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" ads.

Hugo Chavez Cracks Me Up Sometimes

Chavez' response to Mullah Robertson's fatwa? Why, to offer to sell Venezuelan gas at affordable prices to America's poorer classes. This is a brilliant slap in the face to Bush and his anti-Chavez plots. Which is why I doubt we'll see this on network TV. Hugo Chavez, I salute you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Smoking Gun on Iran Vanishes in a Puff of Purple Smoke

::John Wayne as George Washington McClintock imitation:: I should read the Washington Post. I should. The h--- I should: This news on Iran: the Washington Post is reporting that a group of U.S. government experts and other international scientists have determined that traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came from contaminated Pakistani equipment and are not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program. One senior official said, "The biggest smoking gun that everyone was waving is now eliminated with these conclusions." The Bush administration had pointed to the material as evidence that Iran was making bomb-grade ingredients. The Post really does deserve a pop in its collective mouth after having helped push this nation to the brink of-- and maybe over the brink of-- war with Iran.

The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee

On August 11, Our Charles said:
Her district is not so very far from Crawford. She has signed onto the demand that the president address the Downing Street Memo, even mentioning Cindy Sheehan and using Sheehan's picture at the hearings that John Conyers held. Most tellingly, she occupies the district and claims the mantle of the legendary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. She knows that her presence could help to prevent the president's bullyboys from pushing the protestors around. The one Democrat who absolutely, positively ought to be in Crawford with Cindy Sheehan, willing to go to jail with Sheehan if necessary, is The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee.
Charles, you'll be happy to know that Ms. Lee heard the call.
Monday 22 August 2005 11:07 PM Camp Casey had a surprise guest tonight. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee gave a powerful speech from the stage. She announced that she is having a town meeting in Houston on Thursday. I spoke with her after the speech and she ended by saying she would see me in Washington on September 24th. I asked her if she was in support of Immediate withdrawal from Iraq and her response was "Absolutely, It was wrong to go in and it is wrong to stay."


Has Bush Lost Utah?

After reading this eyewitness Kos diary (complete with pics) showing how Bush was received in the Beehive State today, one has to wonder.


Well, no, Mr. Milbank. But you win an Ugly American Award.

Since Atrios only gives one Wanker of the Day Award, we need to establish another award just for the "liberal media". Call it the Ugly American Award: [Dana] MILBANK: Well, I think you have to look at Cindy Sheehan this way. She could go one of two ways. Is she Rosa Parks or is she Lyndon LaRouche, who's just sort of a perpetual crazy? Or perhaps I'll now get sued for calling Lyndon LaRouche a crazy. You know, brave heroine or thug and convicted criminal. It's hard to tell the difference between the two if you're a member of the DC media. How low will they go? No, lower.

Riverbend Gone Missing?

I was going to see what Riverbend over at Baghdad Burning thought of having her rights stripped away by Iraq's new "democratic" constitution. But she hasn't been posting since July 15. In addition to the content of her blog, the posting frequency is a good indication of how things are going in her chunk of Baghdad. When she started her blog two years ago, she often did a post every day. Now, for various reasons (chief among them being the growing inability to get reliable electricity), she goes for weeks without posting.


The G-8 Debt Relief Scam

One of the biggest scandals is how little wealthy governments give to poor nations. Few Americans have a clue how bad it is. It just got worse First, in recent evidence to the Treasury committee, Gordon Brown made the astonishing admission that the aid increase includes money put aside for debt relief. So the funds rich countries devote to writing off poor countries' debts will be counted as aid. Russia's increase in "aid" will consist entirely of write-offs. A third of France's aid budget consists of money for debt relief; much of this will be simply a book-keeping exercise worth nothing on the ground since many debts are not being serviced. The debt deal is not "in addition" to the aid increase, as Blair claimed, but part of it...Far from representing a "100%" debt write-off, the deal applies initially to only 18 countries, which will save just $1bn a year in debt-service payments. [for three years]...The deal also involves debts only to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Development Bank, whereas many countries have debts to other organisations. I hope there's enough space in the warmest seats in hell for people who pretend to give to the poor and then steal it back.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Venezuela horning in on US turf

At last, a clear victory in the drug wars! Authorities from Venezuela and French Guiana seized 3.3 U.S. tons of cocaine aboard a Venezuelan-flagged fishing boat 400 miles east of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean sea, according to the Associated Press.... But not all is well. Cooperation has all but ceased between the US and Venezuela: President Chavez accused U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials operating in Venezuela, of spying and of over-stepping their authority. U.S. officials rejected the accusations, charging instead that Venezuela was not cooperating well with DEA agents. Last Monday, Venezuelan Vice-President José Vicente Rangel said that his country would no longer give diplomatic immunity to DEA agents in Venezuela, and that it might deny visas to U.S. citizens. Now, a cynic might say that the US is sore because Venezuela is interfering in US financing of insurgencies and paramilitaries. Like it or not, it's impossible to read Inspector General Fred Hitz's report on drug smuggling in Iran-Contra and not conclude that drugs were to flow north as a payoff to people smuggling guns south. But even the worst cynic would find it hard to believe that the executive director of "an association of publishers and editors with 1,380 members, including some of the largest dailies in North and South America" would respond to the question Q: [D]o you support freedom of the press to participate--in other words, publishers or TV journalists or owners of the media ... --participate in plotting with the military in overthrowing a democratic government? with A: Yes. The interview is bizarre, and worth reading. Extracting the substance from the rest of what the cow was fed: Q: What is the position of the IAPA on the media support for the coup in Venezuela? with A: In the case of Venezuela we ... feel ... that the freedom of the press is under attack, is under threat from the government. ... Q: I'm not talking about positions, I'm talking about plotting with the military to overthrow a democratic government. A: Well, yes, of course. I don't see anything wrong with any particular person that can have opposition against a military government. Q: Excuse me, I'm talking about plotting with the military to overthrow a democratically elected government. A: Can you reword your question because I don't follow you... And of course, there's the obligatory linkage between IAPA and Animal Farm... er, I mean, Freedom House. Reading this kind of stuff, one gets the sense that what the US establishment hates most about Chavez is that he's actually doing the stuff the US claims to be doing... and in the process, actually prosecuting the drug war and preventing oil companies from committing state-sponsored socialism. Update: and now Pat Robertson has called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez. When last heard from, he was advocated using nuclear weapons against the American Congress. It's a shame that the FBI is off chasing "ecoterrorists," since Robertson precisely fits the definition of a terrorist, i.e., someone who attempts to alter government actions through threats against civilians. And unlike bin Laden and other terrorists, he has unprecedented access to media.

Krugman Speaks

You listen.


The Eliminationist Rhetoric Of The Conservatives

Dear Reader: 1) Go read this post by The Poor Man. 2) Try to imagine any of these people being allowed to exist in polite society if their targets were Bush and his family and friends. The right wing loves to fling around eliminationist rhetoric and has got away for years flinging it, so much so that they've long since stopped worrying about being called to account for it by our national corporate media.


What Was That Again About Freeing Iraqi Women?

So far, nearly four dozen US women soldiers have died so that their Iraqi sisters can have the freedoms of the past eighty years taken away from them. Gee, it makes wanna break out in song. And, thanks to B1 Bummer, I can: At the time that I was born, Iraqi women could wear short skirts. They could graduate from school. Now they're cast down to the dirt. And back home it's getting worse, Mullah Dobson is on the march. It's The Handmaid's Tale made true: No blows to women are too harsh. We all live in an Islamist regime, an Islamist regime, an Islamist regime . . .


Free Fall

American Research Group has just released a new poll.

Bush job approval  Approve  Disapprove  Undecided  
July 2005            42%        52%         6% 
Aug 2005             36%        58%         6% 
Bush's approval rating has been dropping all this year, but only a point or two per month. Now we see a six-percent drop since right about the time Bush started his five-week vacation and made it clear that his own resting heart rate is more important to him than soldiers' lives. Coincidence? <on edit> It is a coincidence that Phoenix Woman and I posted the same info at almost the same time. I found out about the poll from a post in Salon's Table Talk discussion forum.

Red Alert, Indeed

Atrios has the goods on Bush's plummeting approval ratings -- ratings that now sit at 38% for registered voters and 36% for all Americans, and ratings that are dropping in spite of the perception that the economy is doing better. No wonder why people like Limbaugh -- whose own numbers are dropping along with Bush's -- are doing the most asinine things lately. Which makes the DLC's spinelessness all the more irritating. They keep abasing themselves before Moloch's Mortal Deputy, spend more time and passion attacking other Democrats than they do Republicans, and then they wonder why we call them DINOs?


The Discreet Spinelessness Of the DLC

Even as people such as Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean, Republican Senator from Nebraska Chuck Hagel and Democratic Senator from Wisconsin Russ Feingold are all saying that we need to get the hell out of Iraq ASAP, and even as a previously-unknown Democratic congressional candidate running on a "get the hell out of Iraq ASAP" message damn near beat his Republican "stay the course" opponent in Ohio's reddest district, the chickenshit chickenhawks over at the Democratic Leadership Council -- which still is deeply in bed with the media and the Beltway power structure -- are trying to (and worse yet, succeeding in) convincing most leading Democrats that they mustn't dare speak up about Iraq. Armando over at Kos dissects this attitude much better than I can.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Able Danger in danger

As PW knows, I have held my fire on this story, on the theory that Curt Weldon has been wrong on so much, the odds had to be with him. But of course that's a gambler's myth, and now is the time to start looking for the "Paid" Stamp on his allegation that the Pentagon withheld specific information about the 9/11 hijackers. Via Laura Rozen's always excellent WarandPiece Hosenball(Newsweek): Former Able Danger member Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer told NEWSWEEK that he and other officers remember seeing charts that included most of the 9/11 hijackers. However, former officials of the 9/11 Commission say the Able Danger claims about 9/11 don't hold water. And the Pentagon spokesman said that Defense investigators so far haven't found any pre-9/11 documents with Muhammad Atta's name on them. This is one of a long series of contradictory statements that participants have made. The always readable (if there were only two more hours in the day!) Suburban Guerrilla links a Multinational Monitor piece that suggests that big money might be at stake, with a SAIC facility for data mining in Weldon's district. And Schaffer is getting beat by a Drum over at Washington Monthly, thanks to articles appearing in the righty press. This from Time: Meanwhile, another possible gap in the 9/11 report has emerged. The panel found that hijacker Khalid Almihdhar had left the U.S. from the summer of 2000 until two months before the attacks. But USAID Systems, a Florida ID firm, confirmed last week that he was issued a card—reproduced in a book last year—in New York or New Jersey exactly six years before its expiration date of Dec. 30, 2006. Kean says there was solid evidence that Almihdhar was out of the U.S. at that time but any indication to the contrary "would be important to follow up." "In New York or New Jersey" sounds consistent with the tone of the rest of the Able Danger allegations. Not that it really matters. With 11 million (if I recall correctlythe figure Ed Schultz put forth) people illegally in the United States, it's not like it would have been a big deal to drive down from Montreal or even fly in under a different passport. But why is this information emerging so long after the 911 Commission?

Vietnam on Steroids

Let's see if we can exercise our "reading between the lines" skills here: Army Planning for Four More Years in Iraq English Translation: Army Praying for a Democrat to Enter the Oval Office in 2009. This comes right on the heels of a NYT article wherein several Republican officeholders and political operatives 'fess up to worrying about the Iraq debacle's dragging down the GOP in 2006 and 2008. The announcement of Four More Years In Iraq isn't going to calm these folks' nerves any.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


The Decline Of Hate Radio

Earlier today, I made a post on how conservative radio talkers are losing market share in the Twin Cities. Guess what? It's a nationwide trend -- and especially strong in Rush's own home base of Florida, where progressive radio is getting stronger as Rush's ratings tank. Maybe there is hope for this country after all.


The Second Battle of Fallujah

Everyone has their hobbies. One of mine is warfare. Not that I presently indulge, you understand. But warfare is such an essential part of human history that I think everyone should study it, if only a little. So I find myself now and then going over the specifications for fuel-air weapons, watching Mail Call, and otherwise understanding the astonishing variety of means by which human beings with emotions, aspirations, faiths, cultures, and families as individuated and dazzlingly complex as snowflakes are turned into shreds of rapidly decomposing meat. Today, between bites of lunch, I found myself watching vignettes re-enacted from the "Battle for Fallujah" on HNN. The Marines showed incredible bravery. In one instance, they had to enter a building in which their opponents, who held strong positions at the skylight and stairwell, had already shot one Marine. Several more Marines were wounded or killed in the rescue. One sergeant, though so badly wounded he was in and out of consciousness, stood off the Iraqi fighters with a pistol. The tactics the Marines use are impressive. Even taking into account this is a re-enactment, the squad-level coordination is amazing, especially as firefights unfold in a matter of seconds or minutes and coordination must be done under intense fire. (The anti-mine hoses described here are another example of very clever tactics and if one wants to read an after action report, the following purports to be a description of the tactics used by Marines in Fallujah But the one thing that most struck me was a statement by a Marine captain at the end. The Marines had gone in division strength against a smaller force consisting mostly of green volunteers. The Marines were supported by tanks, artillery, AC-130 Spectres (the great grandchild of Puff the Magic Dragon), and jet aircraft, while the heaviest weapons their opponents had were grenades, light machine guns, and mortars. The Marines were heavily armored over their heads and torsos, while their opponents had nothing but cloth to protect themeselves. If a Marine was wounded, he had doctors, hospitals, and a a pension system to sustain him, while the Iraqis had none of those. Finally, the Marines were leveling someone else's home. The Iraqis were leveling their own homes. This Marine captain said of the Iraqis, "They didn't have the moxie to stay and fight." I don't think any single statement I have heard, besides "Mission Accomplished!" better explains why we seem to be losing this war. Perhaps the captain was referring only to the seemingly-mythical Zarqawi. I don't think so. But if I had his command, I would not disrespect an enemy willing to face jets, tanks, and heavily-armored Marines with light weaponry and a prayer.

Twin Cities Limbaugh, Hannity Radio Ratings Halved, Even As Al Franken's Rises

The Strib has the scoop:

Twin Cities listeners have been tuning out political talk radio. Locally, conservative-talk icon Rush Limbaugh's show has lost 43 percent of its audience among 25- to 54-year-olds in the past year. Sean Hannity's show is down a whopping 63 percent. The shift is serious enough that "we're weighing where these shows fit for us in the future," according to Todd Fisher, general manager at KSTP (1500 AM), which carries both syndicated programs. [...] Locally, listeners tuned into sports in greater numbers this spring. Weekday ratings at sports-talk station KFAN (1130 AM) are up 37 percent among listeners ages 25 to 54 compared with a year ago, while KSTP-AM is down 33 percent. A look at individual shows reflects much sharper contrasts. Limbaugh's show, which airs Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m. on KSTP, dropped from a 7.6 percent share of listeners ages 25 to 54 in spring 2004 to 4.3 this spring. Sean Hannity's 6-8 p.m. show dropped from 6.3 to 2.3 percent. In contrast, KFAN has seen its afternoon lineup of Dan (Common Man) Cole, Chad Hartman and Dan Barreiro post audience gains of 24 to 32 percent. Both WCCO (830 AM) and KFAN have made gains in the 26 to 29 percent range during the 6-8 p.m. time period.
By the way: Dan Cole is a liberal and is not afraid to say so. His show has been KFAN's best-rated show for years.
What may be of particular concern to KSTP executives is the impact on shows such as Joe Soucheray's popular "Garage Logic," which airs after Limbaugh's show and has dropped in the ratings as well. Local partisan talker Chris Krok, whose show follows Hannity's, has less than 1 percent of the age-25-to-54 audience, too low to even register a rating point. "We are giving a lot of consideration to the nationally syndicated shows like Rush and Hannity," said KSTP's Fisher. "We have really become concerned with what I would call their tight play list of topics revolving around politics. We respect them and they've done well for us, but we're really in a quandary here."
The ratings shift hasn't affected partisan radio stations such as WWTC (1280 AM), known as the Patriot, or KTNF (950 AM), home to Air America programming, including Al Franken's weekday show. Both have maintained relatively stable, if small, audience shares of about 1 to 1.5 percent. Franken is an exception, however. Locally, the Minnesota native has increased his audience share to 2.4 percent of listeners ages 25 to 54, compared with 1.3 last year.
Note well: KSTP is as right-wing as they come. One of the Hubbards is notorious locally for his Nazi memorabilia collection. For them to consider dumping Limbaugh and Hannity is like you or I considering sawing off our left legs. Joe Soucheray is the Lead Local Lord of Loud. He's got a column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he uses, along with his radio show, to beat up on anyone to the left of Attila the Hun. Now, some of the radio persons quoted in the article are trying to say that people aren't interested in listening to nationally-produced political shows, and want to listen to local shows. But the big shift is not from centrist shows (such as Don Shelby's and Dave Lee's on WCCO) or liberal shows (such as Dan Cole's on KFAI, which is as much about politics as it is about sports) -- those have all GAINED listeners. No, the big shift, whether talking about local or national talent, is away from the conservative talkers.


Musical Political Correctness, WSJ Style

It's long been held -- or at least used to be held -- in the news world that while The Wall Street Journal's editorial staff is worthless, their newsroom and feature writing is pretty good. Which is why it's interesting to see that the WSJ sent notorious right-wing political culture enforcer Dave Shiflett to cover the nation's premier old-time music festival in Clifftop, Virginia -- and that he was so busy looking for ways to mock and chastise the Clifftoppers (including one who died at the event) for their failure to be sufficiently right-wing that he didn't bother to make sure he got his facts right. Other examples of Shiflett's politically-correct conservative blovatings can be found here, here, and here. His NRO bio is here.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Friday Cat Blogging

A One Black Cat with one white whisker
My black cat Lady Lightfoot in three-quarter view, showing one white whisker

"Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."
My black-and-white cat Alexander's harlequin face, with his little pink-and-black nose

Latin American crisis deepens as troops occupy Ecuadoran oil provinces

Latin American crisis deepens Ecuador troops move as protest hits oil exports By Hal Weitzman in Lima Published: August 19 2005 08:36 | Last updated: August 19 2005 17:12 Ecuador’s defence minister resigned on Friday, shortly after the country sent in the military to occupy its Amazon region and declared a state of emergency due to attacks on installations by community groups. The attacks have cut oil production in the oil-rich region by about 65 per cent....PetroEcuador, the country’s biggest producer, suspended all production after some of its installations were occupied by protesters. EnCana of Canada shut down its output in Orellana on Wednesday. Iván Rodríguez, the energy minister, said protesters had sabotaged the company’s oil pipeline, causing about 1,000 barrels of crude to seep into the river near the town of Tarapoa ..Occidental, the country’s biggest private producer, is mired in a legal dispute with the government, which has accused the California-based company of breaking its contract. EnCana, the second biggest private producer, is desperate to leave Ecuador and is trying to sell its assets to Asian investors...Local groups began protesting last Sunday, calling for higher wages, more jobs for locals, and the construction of schools, roads and health clinics. They have also been demanding the immediate exit from the country of EnCana and Occidental and the expulsion of Petrobras of Brazil from the Yasuni National Park. Argentina. Columbia. Bolivia. Venezuela. Now Ecuador. Have I missed any South American country that our policies are serving to destabilize?

Myers Warns Against Release Of New Abu Ghraib Pics

Yes, indeed. This is a tacit admission that the photos are every bit as bad as Sy Hersh says they must be. (Oh, and Myers should know full well that this will truly be seen by the world, including the Dar al-Islam, as an admission that this is so.)


Hollinger: The Fraud Goes Beyond Conrad Black

The news that a Chicago Sun-Times functionary and buddy of Connie Black's stands accused of siphoning tens of millions from the company should surprise absolutely no one who's been following the slow, elegant collapse of Lord Black of Crossharbour's house of cards. And it couldn't happen to a more deserving right-wing butthead. (Well, it could, but it's nice to see it happening to Black.) For more on David Radler's ties to, and importance to, Lord Black, click here. For more on Black himself, click here.


"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes... "

Most of the noise in the mainstream media about John Roberts, nominee for the USSC, is over culture wars issues. Quoting a memo from 20 years ago in which a guy sounds like a character from A Handmaid's Tale is, though, not gripping political drama. Well below the fold, one runs across this in the WaPo, "Roberts, in a February 1983 memo, agreed that the proposals [barring advocacy by groups receiving federal money] were too broad, but worried more about the hit that government contractors would take. "It is possible to 'defund the left' without alienating [defense contractors] TRW and Boeing, but the proposals, if enacted, would do both," Roberts opined. So, now we encounter one of the architects of the "defund the left" movement. Now, let's make it clear what this is not about. * It is not about the feds giving money so that they can be lobbied. That's certainly wrong, whether done by Boeing or by ACORN and was probably illegal under law extant in 1983. * It is not about traditional patronage or "spoils." Denounce the Republicans, if you like, for hypocrisy in rolling out the porkbarrel after having gained power by promising to end it, but be awarer that "who gits" is what politics is about. * It is not about causes I like vs. causes I don't like. But suppose that the maker of a military jet is chosen not because the company is offering low cost or high quality, but because of ideology. If so, lives and the national security are put at risk. Taxpayer dollars are squandered on shoddy hardware... and for what? Solely to entrench the ruling party. The same principle applies, less dramatically but no less accurately, if money is given to an incompetent but ideologically-correct charity that feeds the poor. Traditional pork is self-limiting, because if you don't give some highway projects to certain districts, you alienate your supporters in those districts. The traditional Democratic "tax and spend" politics, programs like Social Security and Medicare, benefited everyone, supporters and opponents alike. But what Roberts is talking about in this scheme to "defund the left" is not pork or "tax and spend" politics. It is a classic abuse of power, in which ideology is the sole criterion to decide how federal dollars. Such people say in effect "To h--- with the lives of soldiers or the poor, to h--- with the taxpayers, to h--- with the national good, and to h--- with the safety of the nation. All that matters is hanging on to power". This is the stuff of tyranny. Now we know that the foundations to create this little annex to the house of tyranny were laid no later than 1983, that the Reagan Administration was mixing the concrete, and that the current nominee for the Supreme Court was pouring it. Why wasn't this the lede?

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Greetings from the Culture of Life

The following comments were collected from posts made clearly after the announcement that Cindy Sheehan's Mom suffered the stroke, from threads whose headline announced the stroke. Several things are clear. First, many of these people purport to be religious by offering to pray for the mother. Second, many clearly are not Christians (not that I am blaming any other official religion for them) because they reject the clear New Testament injunctions to pray especially for those with whom one has a grievance. Christians understand that this is simple self-protection. The enemy is not any human being, but anger, pride, greed, and so on. Focusing one's constructive energies onto one's opponents is self-protective. There are a few posts that express genuine Christian sentiments, but these are a few sheep among many wolves. Third, these angry, hateful sentiments are the norm among the posts. They outnumber posts that express some human concern, some awareness of how dreadful strokes are by perhaps 5:1. Finally, the posts weren't even the most hateful part of the comments. There are graphics that are even more offensive. For example, depicting Cindy Sheehan as Yassir Arafat amounts to eliminationist rhetoric even more extreme than the verbal stuff. From the Huffington Post comments: God, won't be long before someone on this site accuses Karl Rove Dick Cheyney, or Halliburton of causing the poor woman's stroke.Posted by: Anonymous on August 18, 2005 at 05:44PM We need reporters to verify this story. I want to know from the doctors what caused this stroke. Was it shame brought about from her daughter trashing her grandson's memory?Posted by: jc on August 18, 2005 at 05:50PM CIA agents under the orders of Herr Bush were successful in their operation to give Cindy's mom a stroke. CIA havent said they didnt do this proving that they in fact have. The Demon Bush must be stopped, this reign of terror by he who must not be named must be stopped!Posted by: Anonymous on August 18, 2005 at 06:49PM I wonder if this stroke is "karma". Posted by: Oarsman on August 18, 2005 at 09:36PM for your info. i hate that ugly bitch cindy. i hate her just because she's so damn ugly. her son too.Posted by: X1 on August 18, 2005 at 09:33PM From Crawford Update: Anonymous said... Cindy, read the following and read it carefully, slowly, and more than once so that it sinks in. ...Saddam Hussein is a disgusting example of human vermin. Cindy Sheehan, you disgust me even more....6:58 PM CDT Anonymous said... good job giving your mom a stroke 7:13 PM CDT Anonymous said... move out of the usa if you dont like it here, get over it 7:22 PM CDT Anonymous said... buh-bye! 15 mins up. Get help. Your lefty friends used you like a condom 7:32 PM CDT coach said... She left? What a bunch of fools you suckers were that went to Camp Casey. Congrats, Bush for winning the face off! 7:47 PM CDT And no post on mindless hate would be complete without a sample from the devil's playground To: Nighthaven Lets find out where she's going..home? we can protest the fact that she won't meet with our President. 5 posted on 08/18/2005 2:26:14 PM PDT by samadams2000 (Pitchforks and Lanterns..with a smiley face!) To: Nighthaven I can't believe the Jews would resort to giving her mother a stroke, just to end all the bad PR Sheehan was making for their war on behalf of Israel. Some things are just beyond the pale. 7 posted on 08/18/2005 2:26:22 PM PDT by thoughtomator (Just call me Mr. Zero Diversity Points!) To: Nighthaven intense feelings of embarrassment and shame can be tough on the old ticker. 8 posted on 08/18/2005 2:26:22 PM PDT by getitright (There's no peace in appeasement.) To: Nighthaven Stick a fork in the Sheehan protest in's done. 19 posted on 08/18/2005 2:27:44 PM PDT by Snardius To: Nighthaven My sincere condolences to her. My mother would have driven to Crawford and shot me if I was doing what she is up to. 27 posted on 08/18/2005 2:28:35 PM PDT by mmercier (Bungee jumping into the abyss) To: Nighthaven Maybe now all the media attention given to the moonbats will die down. Normally, I would have prayers for Ms. Sheehan -- maybe I will for her mother, but not for her. 58 posted on 08/18/2005 2:34:48 PM PDT by fatnotlazy These are not unusual. To: Nighthaven God works in mysterious ways. I don't trust myself to say anything else. 72 posted on 08/18/2005 2:35:58 PM PDT by McLynnan To: Nighthaven As they say in the airport: "Buh-Bye" 92 posted on 08/18/2005 2:37:44 PM PDT by benjaminjjones Over 500 comments were posted on this thread as of the time of the post. Savaging a woman who may be about to lose her mother is apparently one of the top priorities of the right wing at this moment.

Uglier and Uglier:

The personal assault on Cindy Sheehan reached a new low on NPR. On this day when Cindy's mother suffered a stroke, she left Crawford and her political struggle to tend to a human being. But All Things Considered thought this was the time to broadcast an opinion piece by Stephen Mansfield that accused her of blackening her son's name, among other very unpleasant things. NPR's spokesjellyfish can be contacted at the indicated link. The names of the Board Members who can be contacted directly by e-mail: Cephas Bowles: Bruce Haines: Ellen Rooco: JoAnn Urofsky: Carol Cartwright: Howard Stevenson: The others, with one exception, can probably be reached through their organizations. See the list of Board Members" Listen to it and vote on how what percentage vulture Mansfield is in comments below. Notes added: In fairness, Mansfield probably cut the tape before the stroke was announced. But ATC went ahead and broadcast it. And as my post above shows, even if Mansfield didn't take pleasure in the fact that Cindy's mother had a stroke, lots of Republicans did. I've corrected the spelling of Mansfield's first name. Listening to the segment, and the treacle about how soldiers are "sacrificed on the altar of their nation and their god," I cannot help but think of Moloch worship. Truly there is something satanic in the worship of death one sees on the right.

Serfin' USA: The Right's Phony Rhetoric on the Takings Clause

You've heard the story. A Connecticut town decides it wants land for a project. The landowners disagree that the city has the right to do so and argues its case in court. The courts say, after five years of procrastination, that the city can do this, as long as it compensates the landowners. So far, there's nothing out of the ordinary. But today, via Atrios and Max Sawicky, we learn of a small outrage and a large one. The small outrage is that the city doesn't want to pay what the land is presently worth: "The New London Development Corp., the semi-public organization hired by the city to facilitate the deal, is offering residents the market rate as it was in 2000, as state law requires. That rate pales in comparison to what the units are now worth, owing largely to the relentless housing bubble that has yet to burst." So, in other words, homeowners could be reduced to homelessness through an accounting gimmick. That's bad, but that's not the worst: "NLDC sent the seven affected residents a letter indicating that after the completion of the case, the city would expect to receive retroactive "use and occupancy" payments (also known as "rent") from the residents. In the letter, lawyers argued that because the takeover took place in 2000, the residents had been living on city property for nearly five years, and would therefore owe rent for the duration of their stay at the close of the trial. An NLDC estimate assessed Dery for $6,100 per month since the takeover, a debt of more than $300K. One of his neighbors, case namesake Susette Kelo, who owns a single-family house with her husband, learned she would owe in the ballpark of 57 grand. "I'd leave here broke," says Kelo. "I wouldn't have a home or any money to get one. I could probably get a large-size refrigerator box and live under the bridge." " And this does not even account for these people's legal bills! This is a coldblooded attempt to financially destroy people who were law abiding and used the courts to argue their case. It is an attempt to reduce them to the status of serfs for having dared to try to defend their rights. Why should people use the courts and try to abide by the law if the result is that they are destroyed? Why should they not take the law into their own hands, if the game is so outrageously rigged? I'm not recommending it. But remembering Shay's Rebellion, which happened just a little way up the Connecticut from New London, I am asking. Sawicky has links to register a protest.

Reviving The Plot To Destroy Social Security: FOX's Role

Cutting back on caffeine has consequences. For instance, when I first saw (via Atrios) this Media Matters takedown of FOX's efforts to attack Social Security, I laughed because it was so ridiculous. Then I remembered that as soon as Congress comes back from its August recess, Jim McCrery (R-LA) is pushing a Trojan Horse bill designed to destroy Social Security under the pretense of "saving" it. And that I myself had blogged about it last week! In other words, the Bushistas and the RNC sent out the word to FOX via Roger Ailes: "Do some work on softening up Social Security before we make our move next month." Time to rev up our engines to counter this, boys and girls.


$100.00 A Gallon For Gas?! In Iraq?! (Yes, Children, Halliburton Is Involved.)

My friend Charles got me reading Business Week online awhile back, as it's often in the better bizmags where the real news is lurking. But I've been lax in my bizmag reading of late, and thus missed this little fact (hat tip to The Liquid List for finding it and putting it into its proper context):

With the U.S. Army spending $100 a gallon to buy gasoline and lug it to Iraq and Afghanistan for Humvees, the brass wants to cut its fuel costs. One possible solution: the Army National Automotive Center's push to boost the market for hybrid engine technology. In April, Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc. (QTWW ) in Irvine, Calif., gave the Army the first of two jeep-like electric hybrids.
And of course, who's charging the Army $100 a gallon for gas being used in Iraq -- even as gas at the pump in Iraqi gas stations costs only six cents (that's right, cents) per gallon? Why, Halliburton, of course. They're the ones who sell gas to the US Army. They used to charge "only" $1.59 per gallon, back in October of 2003, and that was sufficiently outrageous to get a lot of people accusing Halliburton of price-gouging. Now, they charge over sixty times as much. Ai-yi-yi. Is it noon somewhere? I could really use a drink right now.


What's The Difference Between A "Grief Pimp" And A "Noble Mother Whose Child Made The Ultimate Sacrifice"?

Answer: The "grief pimp" doesn't support Bush's policies in Iraq, while the other mother does. It's sad that both mothers lost their sons in the meat grinder known as post-Saddam Iraq. But isn't it interesting that the Bush-questioning mother's motives are called into doubt, whereas the Bush-supporting mother's motives are automatically taken at face value? (UPDATE: Steve Gilliard has a good post on the very different reactions of two Bush supporters to the field of memorial crosses set up at Crawford.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Attack on Sheehan originates from lying, racist Israeli spy. (but only if you use his standards)

David Horowitz's is achieving new lows in its attacks on Cindy Sheehan. The basic idea behind Horowitz's Networks is that if you ever appear with anyone, you are part of a conspiracy with them. By his criterion, Bush is a terrorist because he campaigned with Sammy Al-Arian and invited him to the White House.. Not to mention the drug dealer, name since forgotten, and Ahmed Chalabi. By this sort of flabby reasoning, Sheehan is also an FBI agent, since Coleen Rowley has headed for Camp Casey. David Horowitz is living proof that you can make this stuff up. Anyway, the basic story that Horowitz's site is putting out is this: "According to Kaplan's account, Sheehan's rhetoric that evening could as easily have been written by the "Blind Sheikh" [and 1993 World Trade Center conspirator Abdul Ahmed Rahman] himself; she, too, regarded America as the "Great Satan": "America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for." So, we have the word of Lee Kaplan. That's it. The quote marks around the words "Great Satan" almost certainly amount to a lie. There's no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt on the other quotes. See, Kaplan is an interesting guy. Very interesting. He is an activist-journalist (sort of like Jeff Gannon, but without the sex angle), and the chief editor of Dafka, also spelled Davka. Dafka stands for "Defending America For Knowledgeable Action. "[I]n modern Hebrew slang it means 'in your face!'." Davka states as its mission "to proactively fight the propaganda and indoctrination campaign currently being waged on US campuses by proactively providing the truth and information about the Arab and militant Muslim war being waged against a fellow American ally, Israel." "Proactively providing the truth" sort of sounds like preventing anyone with a different view from speaking. Would misquoting Cindy Sheehan be a means of "proactively providing the truth?" Dafka claims that "the Arabs are simply too primitive to make any viable lasting peace." While it doesn't claim there is a genetic basis for this, it certainly makes it sound as if it's pointless to do anything except kill Arabs. Dafka also makes some very strange ideas about what makes for an extremist. Included in its so-called Rogues Gallery are Michael Lerner of Tikkun. An interesting choice from an interesting activist-journalist. However, the report of a link of Dafka to a death threat seems to have been in error. The associations that Dafka has are also interesting. AIPAC, accused of spying on the US. Little Green Footballs. MEMRI, which makes a point of translating and publicizing every crackpot statement by any Arab. WorldNetDaily. If Kaplan were held to the same standards he holds Sheehan, he'd obviously be a lying, racist, Israeli spy. Fortunately, the only sort of people trying to convict people by who they associate with and silence dissent through "proactive truth" are Horowitz and Kaplan. By the way, if Kaplan's writing leaves you wondering who Lynne Stewart is, has a pretty good description of the case This certainly looks like an example of overzealous prosecution. The charges were filed two years after the infraction and involved a government approved translator and ironically involved letting Rahman tell the Islamic Group to keep on fighting with one another. Uhhh... isn't that what we want? Stewart almost certainly deserved to have been disbarred for disregarding court instructions. Had it rested there, it would have hurt her very deeply. But calling this a terrorism prosecution, as Networks and Kaplan did, is to confirm the sense that justice was not done.

The WaPo's agenda-driven journalism: the miracle of the missing Roberts papers . And ethics.

From Smith and Becker in the WaPo: A file folder containing papers from Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.'s work on affirmative action more than 20 years ago disappeared from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library after its review by two lawyers from the White House and the Justice Department in July, according to officials at the library and the National Archives and Records Administration. This is a serious issue because it could, in theory, represent an impeachable offense. Deliberately suppressing papers requested by the Congress through deceit qualifies. If the White House refuses a congressional demand it can, of course, openly refuse. If members of Congress so decide, it goes to the courts and the issue is argued out. But mislaying papers on purpose damages the process of governance. Now, how do we know that the documents were returned? "[T]he attendant does not recall seeing the affirmative action file in question put back, [but] the marker was not in the box after the lawyers departed..." So, basically, the marker is missing, too, and so S&B tell us that proves that the file wasn't stolen. Put me down as skeptical. The real problem is that Roberts has a record of deficient ethics and so missing papers can only add to doubts this man is qualified to sit on the highest court. From Vanderhei" "Judge John G. Roberts Jr. was interviewing for a possible Supreme Court nomination with top Bush administration officials at the same time he was presiding over a terrorism case of significant importance to President Bush...The US code says only that judges should disqualify themselves from 'any proceeding in which . . . impartiality might reasonably be questioned.'" To blenderize a couple of sitcoms, "Sahprayz, sahprayz, sayprahz, Sergeant Schultz".

Yet Another Thing That Won't Be On The Evening News, 08/17/05 Edition

From Seeing the Forest, via Eschaton:

This NY Times story, State Dept. Says It Warned About bin Laden in 1996 ends with this:

"The thinking was that he was in Afghanistan, and he was dangerous, but because he was there, we had a better chance to kill him," Mr. Scheuer said. "But at the end of the day, we settled for the worst possibility - he was there and we didn't do anything."
It accidently forgot to include this:
Clinton strikes terrorist bases

THE United States launched cruise missile strikes in Afghanistan and Sudan yesterday against centres allegedly linked with the terrorist bombings of two American embassies.

More here,
With about 75 missiles timed to explode simultaneously in unsuspecting countries on two continents, the operation was the most formidable U.S. military assault ever against a private sponsor of terrorism.

... Clinton and his national security team linked both sites to Osama bin Laden, the exiled Saudi millionaire tied by U.S. intelligence to the twin bombings on Aug. 7 in Kenya and Tanzania. The bombings killed 12 Americans and nearly 300 Africans.

... The president made no apologies for ordering the strikes without permission from Afghanistan or the Sudan, saying, "Countries that persistently host terrorists have no right to be safe havens."
... Clinton presented several reasons for the decision to act swiftly and forcefully, rather than to punish bin Laden through the means of diplomacy and law. Repeatedly he said bin Laden presented an imminent threat, quoting his pledge this week to wage a war in which Americans were "all targets."

Oops, the Times accidentally left that part out...

Update - Never forget that the Republicans reacted to Clinton attacking bin Laden by accusing him of doing it for political "wag the dog" reasons. (And here.)

Oh, yes: Wanna know where the whole "wag the dog" thing came from? It came from a movie called "Wag The Dog", which was made during the Clinton Era. But the story is from a book by Larry Beinhart called American Hero, which is all about how the FIRST Bush staged an overseas war (paging April Glaspie!) solely to boost his approval ratings. The GOP/Media Axis, of course, decided to spin the story 180 degrees, so it could be used to falsely attack Clinton.


John Hinderaker, Professional Homophobe And Gynophobe

Despite the public evidence of his Bolton-esque neo-psychotic meltdowns (such as this one and this one), Hindrocket likes to present himself as Mr. Oh-So-Sweet-And-Calm-And-Nice-And-Sensible-Compassionate-Conservative. But, as his Wikipedia bio shows, he's hooked into the most virulently anti-gay, anti-female, anti-sanity-in-general groups around:

John H. Hinderaker is a lawyer and a blogger at the Power Line weblog, as well as a fellow at the Claremont Institute... Hinderaker is an advisory board member of the North Star Legal Center, the legal arm of the Minnesota Family Council/Institute; the NSLC also is "instrumental in giving definition and professional credibility to the conservative pro-family legal position in Minnesota." Hinderaker is a 1971 graduate of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and completed Harvard Law School in 1974.
My, my. How Taliban-like of him in his kindness. Kinda makes you think of Commander Fred of The Handmaid's Tale, eh? Fred thought he was being kind to his sex slave because he let her read.


The Next Time Somebody Mentions "The Oil-for-Food Scandal"...

...we should make it a point to bring up this:

WASHINGTON — It weighed 28 tons and took up as much room as 74 washing machines. It was $2.4 billion in $100 bills, and Baghdad needed it ASAP. The initial request from U.S. officials in charge of Iraq required the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to decide whether it could open its vault on a Sunday, a day banks aren't usually open. "Just when you think you've seen it all," read one e-mail from an exasperated Fed official. "Pocket change," said another e-mail. Then, when the shipment date changed, officials had to scramble to line up U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo planes to hold the money. They did, and the $2,401,600,000 was delivered to Baghdad on June 22, 2004. It was the largest one-time cash transfer in the history of the New York Fed. Disclosure of the frantic transfer in the final days of U.S. control over Iraq came during a daylong hearing Tuesday that indicated growing worry from Congress over U.S. oversight of spending in Iraq. Both Republicans and Democrats appeared taken aback by the volume of cash sent to Iraq: nearly $12 billion over the course of the U.S. occupation from March 2003 to June 2004, said a report by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), who had reviewed e-mails and documents subpoenaed from the bank. The cash — a total of 363 tons, generated mostly from oil revenues — was Iraqi funds that had been held in trust by the Federal Reserve under the terms of a United Nations resolution. The June 2004 money transfer was needed to run the country as the interim Iraqi government took over from the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, officials said. Rep. Christopher Shays ( R-Conn.), chairman of the House national security subcommittee, criticized the Pentagon's handling of the money known as the Development Fund for Iraq. "It's very clear that … we didn't have systems in place to account" for the funds, he said. "It doesn't mean they weren't spent well, but, given my sense of human temptation, I suspect some of it was, frankly, taken," Shays said. "I can't believe that all this cash just floating around all went perfectly to the right place."
And of course, it didn't. But as immense as that shipment was, it pales in comparison to the $9 BILLION that remains "unaccounted for" from Bremer's one-year reign. Meanwhile, Hussein probably got $1.7 billion -- barely one-fifth the $9 billion that Bremer's crew just couldn't account for -- during the eight years from the time that the Oil-for-Food Program was in existence, which turns out to be a lot less than what he got from oil smuggling that the US didn't lift a finger to stop. And it turns out that Saddam's biggest accomplice in ripping off the UN is David Bay Chalmers, the Houston, Texas oil man who runs BayOil.


Theofascists deny Supreme Court is a co-equal branch of government

The New York Times reports:

Mr. DeLay, the highest ranking of six Republican congressmen who participated, questioned the Supreme Court's power to strike down federal laws it deemed unconstitutional. The Constitution assigned Congress the power to make laws and limited the federal courts to applying and interpreting those laws, Mr. DeLay said, but "this fact, understood by every high school civics student, has been forgotten in recent decades by too many members of the American judiciary, including, most notably, the United States Supreme Court itself."
DeLay wasn't the only one to deny the existence of Marbury v. Madison:
Speaking at the Justice Sunday telecast, Phyllis Schlafly, the veteran Christian conservative organizer, asked: "How do the judges get away with such outrageous decisions? By asserting that Supreme Court decisions are the supreme law of the land. But you know that is not true. That is a terrible heresy."
"Heresy" is dissent from or denial of religious doctrine. Mrs. Schlafly just dropped a big fat clue that the "Justice Sunday" view of government is that of the Taliban, not of the people who wrote our Constitution.

Oh, Goody! Another Gold Star Mother For The Wingnuts To Trash!

Tip o' the hat to David (Austin) over at his Supreme Irony blog for finding this tidbit:

The day after burying their son, parents of a fallen Marine urged President Bush to either send more reinforcements to Iraq or withdraw U.S. troops altogether. "We feel you either have to fight this war right or get out," Rosemary Palmer, mother of Lance Cpl. Edward Schroeder II, said Tuesday.
Counting down to the first wingnut to call the Palmers "grief pimps"... 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Chris "Baghdad Bob" Matthews

Kos Diarist Sharon Jumper shows us what a real journalist looks like. Chris Matthews presented the wife of a VOA "reporter" as a typical Iraqi. She just happened to show up in Crawford to tell Cindy Sheehan to stop her protest. What a coincidence! We haven't seen this sort of seamless and shameless piping of propaganda from government into the so-called "free press" since Baghdad Bob's briefings about how the American Army had been stopped cold by Saddam's military genius. Matthews can be contacted at or at Be polite, but not so polite that Matthews doesn't understand what a bad boy he has been.

You read Fisk here first

Everyone knows the real issue behind the constitution: will it allow Iraq's three princip[al] communities - the Shias, the Sunnis and the Kurds - to form their own federal states? And if so, will this mean the break up of Iraq? The Sunnis, the only one of the three whose homes do not sit on oil reserves, are naturally against such a division which would, incidentally, allow the Americans and the other Western nations, who still claim to have liberated Iraq for "democracy", to reach oil deals with two weakened entities rather than a potentially united Iraqi nation. Add to all this Kurdistan's demand that the future demography of Kirkuk - the Arab population injected by Saddam, the Kurdish population of the city exiled by Saddam and its minority Turkomans - be settled before the constitution is written, and you get a good idea why even the Americans are beginning to lose patience. The Kurds want oil-rich Kirkuk to be the capital of Kurdistan - a state which already exists although no Iraqi seems to be prepared to admit this - and thus further cut away at the frontier between " Arab" Iraq and "Kurdish" Iraq. From Fisk via Info Clearing House. I think Fisk misses two important tricks here, but just because of space limitations, not because he doesn't know these things: there are Kurds in Iraq and Turkey who would like to be part of Kurdistan. Both nations would do almost anything to prevent that, even perhaps go to war with the United States. Second, part of the reason things are so dicey is because the US appears to be stirring up separatism on the part of the Irani Kurds and Azeris. We complain about foreign fighters in Iraq, but the Iranis may see Khalq as US foreign fighters. But Fisk has hit the high points. There is a possible solution, if the US will permit it. Readers of this blog saw it months ago. I'm pessimistic. Bushco seems to be determined to keep those bases.

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