Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Some remnant of a meaningful media still exists

Jimmy Breslin serves it up old school:

The Army Times, a civilian newspaper that is sold mainly on military bases and thus reaches the prime wartime audience, uses eight pages of its year-end review, out now, to run photos of all those who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, except 35.

I usually don't refer to other publications, for I have enough trouble with my own. But this issue of the Army Times is so extraordinary and gives hope that it will provide some leadership in the news industry.

There were 506 killed by the time the newspaper closed last Friday. Since then, another seven have died. The newspaper has said this is the deadliest year for the U.S. military since 1972, when 640 were killed in Vietnam.

In introducing the pictures, under the headline "Faces of the Fallen," the Army Times said: "More than 500 service members died in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in 2003, a group that represents the full, rich face of American diversity.

"They grew up in big cities like Chicago and New York and small towns like Layton, Utah, and Cross Lanes, West Virginia. Ten were women, the youngest six 18-year-olds barely out of high school. The oldest, Army Sgt. Floyd G. Nightman Jr., was 55.
The chilling photos run at a time when the government tries to describe the war as a civic venture, and nearly all of the news industry doesn't know how to object. This probably is the worst failure to inform the public that we have seen. The Pekingese of the Press run clip-clop along the hall to the next government press conference.

"We started on the issue three or four weeks ago," Hodierne said. The paper has been running pictures of the dead every week.

"We had 75 percent of the photos. We had to make the best effort we could to go after the others. We went to families and hometown papers. The military doesn't give out so many photos of the dead. People here were upset by the gaps in the rows of photos."

One who was bothered was Anna Pozzie, who scanned the photos into a computer. It was slow, painful work. She became saddened by the pictures. The ages of the dead young men were wrenching.

Steve Zelfers, the photo editor, said, "You stare at the photos and see the cost of the war."
The complaint about the military holding back pictures is one part of the attempt to make you as unaware as possible that soldiers are dying in Iraq. They have this Bremer who stands in his jacket, shirt and tie and talks about the new Iraqi government that we have set up.
He doesn't seem to know about death.

He doesn't know that every time we try to put our democracy into one of these totalitarian countries, the scum comes to the top. They have been living elsewhere and rush back to lick American boots and get positions in the great new government.

The government folds and the imams take over.

And the dead are brought back here almost furtively. There are no ceremonies or pictures of caskets at Dover, Del., air base, where the dead are brought. "You don't want to upset the families," George Bush said. That the people might be slightly disturbed already by the death doesn't seem to register.

The wounded are flown into Washington at night. There are 5,000 of them and for a long time you never heard of soldiers who have no arms and legs. Then the singer Cher went into Walter Reed Hospital and came out and gave a report that was so compelling she should walk away with a Pulitzer Prize.

Finally, a couple of television stations and a newspaper here and there began to cover these things. There are miles to go.

Let Dean be Dean-- whatever that is

Dean's positions can be hard to keep up with. A few days ago he even found Jesus and promised to evoke his Holy name in the South, even though he has said Southerners should not base votes on God, guns and gays. As drastic as his position changes can be, he truly outdid himself on the timing of this flip-flop. As much as I dislike Holy Joe, his comment that Dean has a "rapid retraction team" was actually quite humorous-- and apt.

Dean: Bin Laden guilt best determined by jury

(CNN) -- Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean will not pronounce Osama bin Laden guilty before a trial, he said in an interview published Friday.

New Hampshire's Concord Monitor reported that Dean said he would not state his preference on a punishment for bin Laden before the al Qaeda leader was captured and put before a jury.

"I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found," Dean said in the interview. "I will have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials."

Dean added he is certain most Americans agree with that sentiment.

Later, Dean released a statement clarifying, "I share the outrage of all Americans. Osama bin Laden has admitted that he is responsible for killing 3,000 Americans as well as scores of men, women and children around the world. This is the exactly the kind of case that the death penalty is meant for.

"When we capture Osama bin Laden, he will be brought to justice and treated in the same manner that President Bush is recommending for Saddam Hussein."

When you cite Bush as the standard are you being Bush-lite, or Bush-full strength?

If you don't hear from me for a while...

I expect a knock on the door, or perhaps a knocked-down door, any minute now. A search of sales records will reveal to the FBI that I am one of the more consistent readers of almanacs. And I am not a farmer. Admittedly, I have long referred to this handy source to remind myself of voting patterns as I plotted the possible take-over of the government from the Republicans. At least it is warm in Guantanomo.

FBI urges police to watch for people carrying almanacs

WASHINGTON -- The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning.

In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

How were you taught to treat the servants?-- And where did your live-in nurse stay?

Momma Dean recently registered as a Democrat, presumably so she can vote for Howie. She has an interesting defense of her son's upbringing not being that of a blueblood-- at least by her standards. Perspective is everything, I suppose.

The Park Avenue building where Howard Dean grew up has a neurologist's office on the ground floor and a church just behind. His mother, Andree Maitland Dean, is eager to emphasize that the family's three-bedroom apartment there is not luxurious.

"Look around," Mrs. Dean said in a recent interview, gesturing at the quarters where her boys grew up. "Howard didn't have the least bit of a glamorous upbringing."

Explaining that every time she had a baby, the dining room would serve as a bedroom for the newborn and his nurse, she concluded, "I don't think we could even keep up with the Bushes."
Mrs. Dean sees her son's unpretentiousness as something he learned at home, pointing out that her own parents taught her to treat people in an egalitarian way.

"When I was growing up," she said, "we didn't even treat the servants like servants."

Years later, he remembers, his parents were immediately accepting of his decision to marry Judith Steinberg, even though it was highly unusual for someone from his family background to marry a Jew.

In fact, his mother said, she and his father discussed Ms. Steinberg's heritage, but decided they really liked her and felt she would have a calming effect on their determined but sometimes scattered son.

"We decided, well, he was never going to belong to the Maidstone Club, anyway."

To the Governor's credit, sounds like they concluded he was a lost cause, so-to-speak.

Solid, but impulsive

From Med School:

"Howard is a very solid resident, a good teacher, intellectual in his approach, who performed well in his third year," said the doctor who evaluated him in 1981. "His major problem continues to be one of impulsiveness."

Some things do not appear to have changed.

Dean threatens to take ball and go home

Well, actually he would ask the ball to stay in the game, but the ball might not listen.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Howard Dean said Sunday that the hundreds of thousands of people drawn to politics by his campaign may stay home if he doesn't win the Democratic presidential nomination, dooming the Democratic Party in the fall campaign against President Bush.

``If I don't win the nomination, where do you think those million and a half people, half a million on the Internet, where do you think they're going to go?'' he said during a meeting with reporters. ``I don't know where they're going to go. They're certainly not going to vote for a conventional Washington politician.''

Well, gee, Howie, if they hate Bush as much as you claim to, and they have a brain, I assume most of the them will vote for the Dem nominee. But if you're right, the Dem party and everyone else who sees the importance of prying Dubya's grip off of the White House needs to plan to do it without them. I would rather go after disenchanted Libertarians, Republicans and Independents than voters linked to a particular personality.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Bush ain't afeared of no brain wastin' disease

As Clark supporter, and fellow Rhodes Scholar, Kris Kristofferson once said, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

Bush Still Eating Beef Despite Scare, Aide Says

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush, the former governor of the nation's top cattle state, has no plans to stop eating beef despite growing worry about mad cow disease, a White House spokesman said on Friday.

"He's continued to eat beef," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters traveling with the president to his ranch. The U.S. food supply is safe and public risk from the discovery of the disease is low, McClellan added.

The president had had beef "in the last couple of days," McClellan said.

Economic stakes in the U.S. mad cow scare rose as Venezuela and Egypt joined some two dozen nations that have halted imports of U.S. beef. Food company stocks and cattle prices tumbled as investors worried that U.S. consumers could begin to eat less beef.

The U.S. Agriculture Department quarantined a second herd of cattle in Washington state as the $27 billion U.S. cattle industry came to grips with its first case of the deadly, brain-wasting disease, first found in the United States in a dairy cow in rural Washington state.

Bush says, "Until they find it in a state I can find on a map, I ain't worrying about it."

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Wouldn't it be cheaper just to go to fantasy baseball camp?

Anyone who follows politics has heard the phrase, "This smacks of desparation." Well, this is what it actually looks like. An impressive senator is starting to look pathetic.

Kerry Takes a Mortgage of $6 Million on His House

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 — Senator John Kerry has borrowed $6.4 million against his house in Boston in an effort to finance his campaign in the early presidential primaries, according to mortgage papers filed on Tuesday and a campaign official.

The money will allow Mr. Kerry, who is lagging behind Howard Dean in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, to spend more in those crucial states, where he must have a strong showing to sustain his campaign.

This is how Howard Dean makes nice?

From the New Democrats Online

Just when we were ready to mix up some eggnog and forget about politics for a week or so, Gov. Howard Dean chose to favor the DLC with one of the more peculiar party unity appeals in recent memory. At a campaign appearance in New Hampshire, Dean said this, according to the Los Angeles Times:

"One of the reasons I wish the other guys running for president would tone it down a little bit is that at the end, we're all going to have to pull together in order to beat George Bush. Even the Democratic Leadership Council, which is sort of the Republican part of the Democratic Party -- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party -- we're going to need them too, we really are."

Maybe Gov. Dean should take his own advice and "tone it down a little" himself. He should know how it feels to be on the receiving end of the insulting charge of crypto-Republicanism, since it was hurled at him by self-styled Democratic "progressives" in Vermont throughout much of his tenure as governor.

Anybody who disagrees with Dean is a Republican-- that's right, NRA approved, Howard Dean. He just can't help himself. You are either with him or against him. Who does that sound like?

Rush discovers right to privacy

Not previously known as a defender of the rights of suspected criminals, Rush Limbaugh has discovered his "liberal" side. Of course, it only applies to him.

Rush then:

I agree with the view, best articulated by Judge Robert Bork, that there is no basis in the Constitution for the privacy right which was announced as the foundational basis for the constitutional right to abortion.

Rush now:

It's not up to me to prove my innocence by giving up my right to privacy. I have to give up my right to privacy now in order for the state who is, in effect, just casting a line out there, hoping to hook something. They've got to invade my privacy to do this.

Must be something mighty interesting in those records. The relevant inquiry, however, is was Rush "Doctor shopping"-- a felony in Florida. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he's innocent until proven guilty, but I'm willing to be my entire Christmas haul that he was.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Kerry has no money, less real support

Clark continues to position himself well to emerge early next year as the clear choice against Dean. He has the support of two of the most recognizable African-American political leaders and he has enough grass roots support to easily exceed the number of signatures to be placed on the South Carolina ballot. John Kerry on the other hand, opted to pay the $2,500 filing fee instead of getting the requisite number of voters' signatures, even though he recently had to mortgage his house just to stay afloat in the campaign.

Young stands by Clark in S.C.

COLUMBIA -- With former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young at his side, retired Gen. Wesley Clark on Sunday presented 4,000 petition signatures to qualify for South Carolina's Democratic presidential primary ballot.

Clark became the second of the nine candidates for the Democratic nomination to file for the Feb. 3 ballot. Campaign workers for Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts gave the state Democratic Party a check for $2,500 last week to qualify.

Dem Wrestling Federation

A Daily Kos reader posed the question of, "Who could beat up who in the Democratic Presidential field?" Well no one knows for sure, but here's one possible scenario.

The Smackdown

Kucinich would be the first to go, followed by Lieberman who would whine as he was taken out of the ring. Edwards would be too tentative, concerned that his hair might be mussed, and would run from the ring after a menacing glance from Sharpton. Edwards would then file a suit against Al for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and try to find a way to add Kerry to the suit due to his deep pockets.

Gephardt would try to bore the others into submission, but Sharpton would finally have enough of his monotone and bitch-slap him out of the ring. CMB, who earlier had sat on Lieberman and pinned him, would charge Sharpton from behind while he was haranguing Holy Joe, who was now sitting in fourth row insulting the rest of the field as being "unelectable", and both would go flying into the third row where they would continue an unsanctioned bout. Kerry would talk a lot of smack in the ring, but as the battle raged on, he would run out of steam and be disqualified when he tried to engage in an illegal tag team with his wife Teresa.

It would, thus, come down to Dean and Clark. Trippi would get a warning for coaching from the corner. Trippi would then leave the building and coach Dean via his Blackberry. Dean would be scrappy and put up a good fight, showing flashes of brilliant rage that electrified the crowd. As it wore on and his Blackberry battery ran low, Dean would start to feel it slipping away and bite Clark while in a headlock. Clark would look to the referee and ask for a point reduction, but after the ref claimed not to have seen the bite, Clark, saying negotiation had not worked, would get really pissed and drop his signature Body Bomb on Dean. Clark would then get Dean in a full-nelson and insist that in lieu of crying "uncle", that Dean say to him, "You have the power."

Dean refuses, and while not able to pin Dean, Clark maintains him in a hold from which he can't escape and runs out the clock to win on points.

Of course, that is only one possible scenario.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

You have the power, Al Gore...

to make America safer by yanking junior's car keys.

Gore's son charged with pot possession

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The son of former Vice President Al Gore was arrested Friday night on a marijuana possession charge after police stopped the car he was driving for not having its headlights on, according to a news release from the Montgomery County, Maryland, Department of Police Services.

Albert Gore III, 21, was behind the wheel of a Cadillac driving in downtown Bethesda at 11:30 p.m. EST Friday when it was spotted by a unit with the Montgomery County Police Holiday Task Force, the statement said.

After he pulled the car over, Officer Robert Cassels noticed all of its windows and the sunroof were opened despite the freezing temperature, and he "smelled the odor of marijuana coming from inside the car," the statement said.

A search of the car found "a partial marijuana cigarette" and "a cardboard cigarette box with a baggie containing suspected marijuana," the police statement said.

In addition to Gore, police charged two male passengers in the car with a misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana. The three were released from jail, pending trial.

Gore, a Harvard University student, has had previous brushes with the law. He was ticketed for reckless driving by North Carolina police in August 2000 when he was clocked going 94 mph. Military police arrested him for drunk driving near a military base in Virginia in September 2002.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Pity the poor rich and powerful

Thurmond Family Struggles With Difficult Truth

COLUMBIA, S.C., Dec. 19 — After Essie Mae Washington-Williams told the world this week that she was Strom Thurmond's mixed-race daughter, she walked away "completely free" of a burden she had borne privately for decades.

Now members of Mr. Thurmond's sprawling family, a well-connected dynasty in South Carolina, say they are the ones struggling.

The sudden, very public arrival of Ms. Washington-Williams to the family has stirred a mix of frustration, curiosity, discomfort and shame, several relatives of the late Mr. Thurmond said today, speaking about the news for the first time.

Mary T. Thompkins Freeman, a niece of the late senator, who died at 100 in June, said Ms. Washington-Williams's announcement "was like a blight on the family."

Like others, Ms. Freeman heard rumors for years that her uncle, a legendary politician in the South who rose to fame as a fiery segregationist, had fathered a child with a black maid. But she never had to confront the truth, not like this.

"I went to a church meeting the other day and all these people came up to me and you could tell they didn't know what to say," Ms. Freeman said. "For the first time in my life, I felt shame."

Ms. Freeman also said that had the secret daughter been white, "it would be a whole other situation," because public criticism would not have been as harsh.

"Strom rose to such stature, you just wonder how in the world this could have gone on," said Ms. Freeman, 64, a retired teacher in Lugoff, S.C. "My family always had help around the house. But it just seems Strom would have been above that."

James Bishop, a nephew, said the publicity had been "embarrassing and awkward."

"The man's dead, and he can't speak for himself," said Mr. Bishop, 59, a horticulturist in Marietta, Ga. "I don't know why this lady is doing this."

Poor Strom. He's dead and can't speak for himself. Of course, the lucky bastard lived to be 100 and lived off the public dole most of his life. He had 78 years to speak to this issue, Mr. Bishop. He took the coward's way out until the very end. That is ultimately his legacy. Lived one hundred years and NEVER developed the courage to speak the truth. Sad. Tragic. Pitiful.

Poor Strom. Took advantage of a 15-16 year old who worked as a maid in the Jim Crow South. Never acknowledged his daughter publicly. Never acknowledged his gross hypocrisy. Poor 'ol Strom. You know a man once said if we'd elected him President back in 1948 we wouldn't have had all these problems. Not sure to which problems he was referring. An epidemic of llegitimate births, perhaps. Absentee fathers run rampant. Lowlife sonsabitches unwilling to live up to their responsibilities. Strom woulda nipped those problems in the bud, you betcha.

How dare this woman speak the truth. Must've gotten that trait from her mother.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Ask Bush to make the case against Saddam

Bush is walking around with a special swagger in his swagger, and it's not just the bum knee. Dubya think's he has killed the Ghost of Bush-one-termers Past by capturing the guy his dad compared to Hitler, and then left in power as if 'ol Flyboy Bush were some yellow-bellied French appeaser. A mindless media seems to agree-- the Dems are doomed!

Bush's approval ratings bounced, but so what? Iraq needs to get a whole lot more pleasant in the coming months, and why would any reasonable person anticipate that just because Saddam was found in a hole the size of some Japanese hotel rooms? If Americans are still dying and still paying a hefty bill for Iraq in 10 months, will they really give a rats ass that Saddam is on trial somewhere? Well, they might if Shrubya can deliver on his BS and innuendo.

Bush, with the help of a spine-less, cajones-clipped media, has convinced a majority of Americans that Saddam Hussein had a significant role in 9/11. Well now is Dubya’s chance to seal his electoral fate. Let’s bring the SOB back to America, after a lengthy pit-stop in Gitmo, of course, and put him on trial for 9/11. If Ashcroft’s “Justice” Dept. fails to convict him, he would go free, but hell, with enough "evidence" to justify a costly and deadly war, surely we can easily convict the guy, right?

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Has there ever been more arrogance and hubris in the oval office?

Next time someone poses the question, "Why do people hate Bush?", they should start with this article.

Remember 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'? For Bush, They Are a Nonissue

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 — In the debate over the necessity for the war in Iraq, few issues have been more contentious than whether Saddam Hussein possessed arsenals of banned weapons, as the Bush administration repeatedly said, or instead was pursuing weapons programs that might one day constitute a threat.

On Tuesday, with Mr. Hussein in American custody and polls showing support for the White House's Iraq policy rebounding, Mr. Bush suggested that he no longer saw much distinction between the possibilities.

"So what's the difference?" he responded at one point as he was pressed on the topic during an interview by Diane Sawyer of ABC News.

To critics of the war, there is a big difference. They say that the administration's statements that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons that it could use on the battlefield or turn over to terrorists added an urgency to the case for immediate military action that would have been lacking if Mr. Hussein were portrayed as just developing the banned weapons.

"This was a pre-emptive war, and the rationale was that there was an imminent threat," said Senator Bob Graham of Florida, a Democrat who has said that by elevating Iraq to the most dangerous menace facing the United States, the administration unwisely diverted resources from fighting Al Qaeda and other terrorists.

Is Condolezza ready for her closeup?

Shrubya and company have done an excellent job of hiding truly scandalworthy goings on from a public weary of the manufactured scandals from the Clinton years. This may be one matter they can't keep from the light of day.

9/11 Preventable?

(CBS) For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

"This is a very, very important part of history and we've got to tell it right," said Thomas Kean.

"As you read the report, you're going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn't done and what should have been done," he said. "This was not something that had to happen."

Appointed by the Bush administration, Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, is now pointing fingers inside the administration and laying blame.

"There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed," Kean said.

To find out who failed and why, the commission has navigated a political landmine, threatening a subpoena to gain access to the president's top-secret daily briefs. Those documents may shed light on one of the most controversial assertions of the Bush administration – that there was never any thought given to the idea that terrorists might fly an airplane into a building.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile," said national security adviser Condoleeza Rice on May 16, 2002.

"How is it possible we have a national security advisor coming out and saying we had no idea they could use planes as weapons when we had FBI records from 1991 stating that this is a possibility," said Kristen Breitweiser, one of four New Jersey widows who lobbied Congress and the president to appoint the commission.
Asked whether we should at least know if people sitting in the decision-making spots on that critical day are still in those positions, Kean said, "Yes, the answer is yes. And we will."

Kean promises major revelations in public testimony beginning next month from top officials in the FBI, CIA, Defense Department, National Security Agency and, maybe, President Bush and former President Clinton.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Joe Loserman probably hates this article

Clark's Jewish support

Jewish supporters say Clark is best positioned to stanch what some fear might be a massive Jewish defection to President Bush’s camp in November 2004. Clark’s solid pro-Israel pronouncements and history in uniform, they say, are the best Democratic bet against Bush’s tough-on-terror image and his rapport with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

One New York City fund-raiser with Jewish supporters in October netted over $1 million for the campaign, a Clark spokesman said.

“There wasn’t a candidate that could beat Bush until Clark,” says Michael Hoffman, a Chicago Web designer who started Jews for Clark. “He has a niche. Some of the other candidates, especially Dean, worry a lot of people, especially when it comes to fighting terrorism.”

Doing Saddam's Dirty Work

I wonder if Osama lit up a cigar when Saddam was caught. Being the type of secular leader Osama hates, they weren't exactly fast friends. Saddam's an evil bastard. Brutal enough to keep just about anyone out of his Iraq he didn't want there. The door's open now. But there are so many targets elsewhere.

Saddam Is Ours. Does Al Qaeda Care?

WASHINGTON — While President Bush was careful to remind Americans that even with Saddam Hussein behind bars, "we still face terrorists," the White House and Pentagon have characterized the arrest as a major victory in the war on terrorism. But is Iraq really the central battleground in that struggle, or is it diverting our attention while Al Qaeda and its confederates plan for new strikes elsewhere? There's strong evidence that Osama bin Laden is using Iraq the way a magician uses smoke and mirrors.

The calls to arms by Al Qaeda only intensified after the fall of Baghdad, when its intermittent Web site, Al Neda, similarly extolled the virtues of guerrilla warfare. In urging Iraqis to fight on, the site invoked prominent lessons of history — including America's defeat in Vietnam and the Soviet Army's in Afghanistan.

But as useful as Iraq undoubtedly has been as a rallying cry for jihad, it has been a conspicuously less prominent rallying point, at least in terms of men and money. The Coalition Provisional Authority may be right that thousands of foreign fighters have converged on Iraq, but few who have been captured have demonstrable ties to Al Qaeda. Nor is there evidence of any direct command-and-control relationship between the Qaeda central leadership and the insurgents.

If there are Qaeda warriors in Iraq, they are likely cannon fodder rather than battle-hardened mujahedeen. In the end, Qaeda's real interest in Iraq has been to exploit the occupation as a propaganda and recruitment tool for the global jihadist cause.

While America has been tied down in Iraq, the international terrorist network has been busy elsewhere. The various attacks undertaken by Qaeda and its affiliates since the occupation began have taken place in countries that are longstanding sources of Osama bin Laden's enmity (like Saudi Arabia) or where an opportunity has presented itself (the suicide bombings in Morocco in May, Indonesia in August and Turkey in November).

In fact, Saif al-Adel, the senior Qaeda operational commander who was credited with writing the "Shadow of the Lances" articles, is widely believed to have been behind the May attacks that rocked Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but he has yet to be linked to any incidents in Iraq.

Lieberman transformed? I still think a better haircut could do wonders.

Can we get the Queer Eye Fab Four on this guy?

Gore Rejection Sends Jolt of Life Into Lieberman's Bid

In the span of a week, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman has become a man transformed.

I dunno. Still seems like the same whiny jerk to me. How 'bout you?

Monday, December 15, 2003

Mass graves may have many culprits

Throughout this whole debacle in Iraq, Lunaville has done an excellent job tracking US casualities. Today that site has a great post regarding other facts that might come out at Saddam's trial for war crimes. An excerpt:

First, from Human Rights Watch and the rebels themselves;
The rebels slaughtered thousands of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds; some by execution, by slitting throats, by hanging, by shooting...all were dumped into those mass graves.

"It was a revolution," says one Basrawi rebel. "It was glorious. There were demonstrations and shooting. There were bodies all over the place."

Then some excellent witnesses from the US Government;

"I'm not sure whose side you'd want to be on," then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney said as the uprisings began.

Colin Powell, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the Shiites, as well as the Kurds in the north, "never had a chance of succeeding, and their success was not a goal for the administration."

"Our practical intention was to leave Baghdad enough power to survive as a threat to an Iran that remained bitterly hostile toward the United States," Powell said in his book, "My American Journey."

Marlin Fitzwater, the White House spokesman at the time, said the "administration felt no guilt for refusing to aid the rebels."

Gen. COLIN POWELL: "The only issue that came up is, "Should we do something about the Iraqi helicopters? "It had never been one of our objectives to get involved in this kind of civil uprising between factions within Iraq and the Iraqi government. And so it was not clear what purpose would have been achieved by getting ourselves mixed up in the middle of that."

Pres. GEORGE BUSH: [April 3, 1991, Florida] "I do not want to push American forces beyond our mandate. We've done the heavy lifting. Our kids performed with superior courage and they don't need to be thrust into a war that's been going on for years." ...

And a whole lot of those bodies in the 1991 graves that weren't put there by the rebels were put there by the USA.

Thousands of Iraqi troops were buried alive in their trenches, with US troops bulldozing over top of them;

"Many Iraqi soldiers were killed by the simple expedient of burying them alive: in one report, American earthmovers and ploughs mounted on tanks were used to attack more than 70 miles of trenches. Colonel Anthony Moreno commented that for all he knew, 'we could have killed thousands'.

One US commander, Colonel Lon Maggart, estimated that his forces alone had buried about 650 Iraqi soldiers.

"What you saw was a bunch of buried trenches with peoples arms and things sticking out of them,' observed Moreno.

The US Pentagon defended this atrocity, saying there was a "gap" in international law that allowed for burying the troops alive.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Dubya finds common ground with the French

Bush demands that Clark's testimony be secret and scrutinized

PARIS, Dec. 13 — Washington has agreed that Gen. Wesley K. Clark, the former NATO commander and a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, can testify in the war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic. But the Bush administration has demanded the right to edit videotapes and transcripts of the sessions before they are made public.
Closed sessions are routinely held at the United Nations tribunal that deals with Balkan war crimes, but usually to protect witnesses's safety. The conditions of General Clark's appearance are new.

The court agreed to give the United States government 48 hours to review the testimony and to ask judges to suppress any it regards as sensitive. Two government lawyers will accompany the general.

"The review is to ensure there was no inadvertent disclosure of sensitive, classified information," said Pierre-Richard Prosper, the United States ambassador at large for war crimes issues, in a telephone interview from Washington. During the Balkan wars, he said, General Clark "obviously had seen a substantial amount of intelligence." But, he added, "we feel fairly confident that the bulk of the testimony and videotapes can be released."...

Among the 280 witnesses who have already testified at the trial, there have been many high-profile witnesses and many senior military officers from other nations. Only France is known to have insisted that its top military officers testify behind closed doors.

Anti-Deaniacs with a budget, here you go...

Dems aren't that good with negative ads, even against each other. Dan Conley has an alternative to the current anti-Dean offering that would work better.

Whoever these guys are, give me an hour playing around on iMovie and I'll come up with a better anti-Dean ad than this ... and I won't even charge you for it.

How's this for a concept ... you start with George McGovern saying "this war was wrong from the start" cut to the crowd cheering, then you superimpose Dean's face over McGovern as you cut back to the podium. The voiceover says "third two years ago, Democrats nominated anti-war candidate George McGovern. We lost 49 states."

Now you cut to Walter Mondale saying "both Ronald Reagan and I will raise your taxes. He won't tell you, I just did." Cut to crowd cheering, cut back, superimpose Dean's face on Mondale. Voiceover: "20 years ago, Democrats nominated a candidate who promised to raise our taxes. We lost 49 states."

Voice over: "Howard Dean thinks his campaign is making history. But this is no time for us to suffer another historic defeat." Cut to shot of Dukakis in the tank, with Dean's face superimposed on Dukakis. "We can't give George W. Bush four more years. Let's get serious Democrats. If we nominate Dean, we re-elect Bush."

Friday, December 12, 2003

Let them eat MREs

More details about Dubya's duplictous photo op. Oh yeah, I mean the one with the turkey. No, I don't mean Dick Cheney, I mean the pretty unedible one on the tray.

MREs for Thanksgiving

...Stars and Stripes is blowing the whistle on President Bush's Thanksgiving visit to Baghdad, saying the cheering soldiers who met him were pre-screened and others showing up for a turkey dinner were turned away.

The newspaper, quoting two officials with the Army's 1st Armored Division in an article last week, reported that "for security reasons, only those preselected got into the facility during Bush's visit. . . . The soldiers who dined while the president visited were selected by their chain of command, and were notified a short time before the visit."

The paper also published a letter to the editor from Sgt. Loren Russell, who wrote of the heroism of his soldiers and then added: "[I]magine their dismay when they walked 15 minutes to the Bob Hope Dining Facility, only to find that they were turned away from their evening meal because they were in the wrong unit. . . . They understand that President Bush ate there and that upgraded security was required. But why were only certain units turned away?"

Russell added that his soldiers "chose to complain amongst themselves and eat MREs, even after the chow hall was reopened for 'usual business' at 9 p.m. As a leader myself, I'd guess that other measures could have been taken to allow for proper security and still let the soldiers have their meal."

The 1st Armored Division officials told Stars and Stripes that all soldiers had the opportunity to get a proper Thanksgiving meal -- possibly more than the newspaper's editors will get in Guantanamo next year.

Don't you feel better being ripped off by Halliburton instead of a damn Canadian company?

The Shrub thinks we should reward Halliburton because young Americans with no affiliation to the company risked their lives in Iraq. As one of those taxpayers Dubya was talking about yesterday, I would rather pay a Canadian, German or, dare I say it, a French company $61 million less.

Cheney's old company gouges US taxpayer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Pentagon audit has raised questions about whether a subsidiary of Halliburton -- an oil services company once run by Vice President Dick Cheney -- overcharged the U.S. government $61 million for gasoline imported from Kuwait to Iraq.

The Pentagon said Thursday a routine review turned up the potential overcharge by subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, which was awarded a no-bid contract in March to rebuild Iraq's oil industry.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Republican Parables, Republican Myths

I received this "joke" in an email recently. Pardon me for being analytical, but I think one must buy into the underlying premises to find it funny. I don't.

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat and was for redistribution of all wealth. She felt deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican.

One day she was challenging her father on his beliefs and his opposition to higher taxes on the rich & more welfare programs. In the middle of her heart-felt diatribe based upon the lectures she had from her far left professors at her school, he stopped her and asked her point blank, how she was doing in school.

She answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain. That she had to study all the time, never had time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend and didn't really have many college friends because of spending all her time studying. That she was taking a more difficult curriculum.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Mary." She replied, "Mary is barely getting by", she continued, "all she has is barely a 2.0 GPA" adding, "and all she takes are easy classes and she never studies." But to explain further she continued emotionally, "But Mary is so very popular on campus, college for her is a blast, she goes to all the parties all the time and very often doesn't even show up for classes because she is too hung over."

Her father then asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your 4.0 GPA and give it to your friend who only had a 2.0." He continued, "That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair equal distribution of GPA."

The daughter visibly shocked by the fathers suggestion angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! I worked really hard for mine, I did without and Mary has done little or nothing, she played while I worked real hard!"

The father slowly smiled and said, "Welcome to the Republican Party!"

This is a typical Republican parable parading as a joke. The analogy assumes most of the rich are self-made people who have not benefitted from connections. People who believe that probably also believe Dubya got into Yale based on grades and standardized test scores. They also believe that his daddy's friends funded his failed oil business because they were impressed with his smarts, experience and business savvy. And they probably also believe he was allowed to become a minority owner in the Rangers because of his business experience and baseball knowledge and didn't even realize he was "that George Bush."

As has been said before, Dubya is like his daddy. Born on third base, convinced he hit a triple. In fact, he seems far worse than his father on that score.

This analogy also assumes that everyone that is struggling to keep their head above water is in that situation because they are irresponsible and refuse to work hard. Even worse, they struggle because they are shameless, hedonistic libertines.

The message: Republicans are hardworking folks who’ve earned everything they’ve got and should not be required to share with the lazy, shiftless riff-raff that comprise the Dem party.

There are other sub-messages. Of course, there is the tired notion that ultra-liberal professors indoctrinate the young to become hard-left Democrats. This belief persists despite the fact that the number of people self-identifying as liberal has declined over the years. Another ridiculous assertion is that Dems believe that Bill Gates should be taxed until he has no more than a drunk on the street. Everything must be equalized—you get a 3.0 GPA, I get a 3.0 GPA.

John Edwards has probably made the best economic argument thus far in the campaign. Bush favors policies that favor wealth, not hard work. People who've never worked a day in the life may benefit from receiving a capital gains tax cut. One can sit by the pool and drink themselves silly and receive a tax cut. Paris and Nikki Hilton have fared very well under Bush and they seem to do little else but jet set from party to party. Dick Cheney received a bonus every year from Halliburton even though he never actually met the performance standards spelled out in his contract that were supposed to determine his bonus. He received a form of "social promotion", so to speak. Didn't earn it, but what the heck. He was also rewarded with the same severance he was promised if he worked a particular length of time, even though he left two years sooner than he was supposed to get it. Most Republicans don't even recognize the contradiction. In fact, most people don’t. These myths create our perception of reality, even when that perception cannot survive meaningful scrutiny.

Compassionate Conservative Parenting

I was reading over Dubya's 2000 acceptance speech at the Repug convention. Of course, there were the lies, falsehoods, distortions, half-truths, etc. I expected and mostly remembered that. But this section caught my eye.

To our daughters, Barbara and Jenna, we love you, we're proud of you, and as you head off to college this fall ... ... Don't stay out too late, and e-mail your old dad once in a while, will you?

And mother, everyone loves you and so do I.

Okay, saying everyone loves Barbara was a lie, too. I can't stand her. But, "Don't stay out too late..."? I know he was busy that summer, but I wonder if this served as his send-off to his daughters? And e-mail only? Can't you afford a weekly phone call? At least nights and weekends on the cell phone?

He's a Jerk, but he has more guts than Shrubya

Of course, so does Hillary and a 140,000 American troops.

Defense Secretary Visits Iraq to Meet Troops

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in Baghdad on Saturday that a program to train and deploy Iraqi security forces should be accelerated as Washington works to return sovereignty to the Iraqi people.

Rumsfeld was speaking after arriving in Baghdad from the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk where he began a first-hand appraisal of political and military conditions in Iraq.

Republican Party Branches Out to Brazil

Brazilian Mayor Bans Gays

The document signed by Berti on Tuesday bans homosexuals from taking up residence and staying permanently in Bocaiuva do Sul. The decree cites the need to push up birth rates and "preserve respect and family atmosphere" in the town of 10,000 people.

Somewhere, a wingnut is trying to connect this to Clinton

Haley, Convicted in Whitewater Probe, Dies at 72

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Reuters) - John Haley, a Little Rock attorney who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after being swept up in the Whitewater investigation of former President Bill Clinton, was killed on Thursday in the crash of his private plane, his family said on Saturday.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

South Carolina a better measure of the Dem base than Iowa or New Hampshire

Watch for Clark to really take off in the coming weeks.

In South Carolina, Democratic Race Up for Grabs

"The field organization that is starting to come together here is Clark's. He is beginning to gain traction, at Edwards' expense," former state party chairman Dick Harpootlian said.

Keep those lies a comin'

Ever have someone lie to you when you knew they knew you knew they were lying? Didn't you think they must be some kinda sick puppy?

U.S. Says Retaliation Threat Not a Factor on Steel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said on Thursday that the decision to end steel tariffs was based on studies showing the tariffs were no longer needed rather than out of fear of retaliation.

Speaking to reporters at the White House after the Bush administration announced it was scrapping steel import tariffs 16 months earlier than scheduled, Zoellick said the decision stemmed from the administration's analysis that they were no longer needed rather than on a World Trade Organization ruling that they were illegal.

"What I'm saying is this process was independent," Zoellick said. "In other words, the decision that the president made was (based) on an independent analysis."

Bush thinks it's just more fun when you lie

Nothing this White House likes better than a good lie. Things Bush is most thankful for: Kobe, Scott Peterson, Columbo, Michael Jackson, a disengaged electorate.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush's flight plan was falsified last week to hide his Thanksgiving Day visit to Iraq, the White House said on Thursday, in another example of the extraordinary -- and deceptive -- steps taken in arranging the battle-zone trip.

Critics have said admitted deceptions over the trip threaten Bush's credibility, which has also been challenged on larger issues such as his assertions Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction that have not been found. ...

But David Wise, author of the 1973 book "The Politics of Lying," said, "The trip certainly I'm sure gave a morale boost to the troops, but that's almost beside the point."

"The question is, should the government engage in lying in order to essentially ... protect a photo op? The answer is, no it shouldn't," he said. "It's a serious business when government lies, and eventually it does hurt a government and a president's credibility."

And even the photo op was a lie.

What happened to "Bring 'em on."?

So Dubya found a war he didn't want to fight.

Trade War Averted After Bush Drops Steel Tariffs

TOKYO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Japan and Europe dropped threats of tit-for-tat trade retaliation after President Bush scrapped controversial steel tariffs ahead of schedule, risking a political backlash at home.

Despite possible political damage ahead of next year's presidential election, Bush offered little to cushion the blow to U.S. steel makers and workers, who accused the Republican president of "capitulating to European blackmail."

In announcing the decision Thursday, Bush did say he would keep in place an existing system to license and track steel imports so that he could "quickly respond to future import surges that could unfairly damage the industry."

Minutes after Bush's about-face, the European Union suspended plans for retaliatory sanctions against $2.2 billion in U.S. goods, including politically sensitive products such as citrus fruits from Florida.

Japan also said it would drop a threat to impose retaliatory tariffs on $458 million of U.S. goods, but added that it wanted to make sure the U.S. tracking system did not impede trade.

"We hope that the United States will continue to abide by World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and play a leading role in maintaining free trade," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told a news conference Friday.

Rush embraces victimhood

Forget Limbaugh's signoff before going into rehab. Now he is claiming to be a victim. How many shows would he have gotten out of these same facts if the perpetrator had been a prominent Dem or liberal?

(CNN) -- Criminal investigators are searching doctors' offices for evidence that conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was "doctor shopping" for controlled substances, according to search warrants filed in the clerk's office of the Palm Beach County, Florida, State Attorney's office.

"His actions violate the letter and spirit" of Florida law, criminal investigators said.

The term "doctor shopping" commonly means a patient -- who may or may not have a legitimate physical ailment -- goes from doctor to doctor with the objective of improperly obtaining multiple prescriptions for prescription painkillers.

Limbaugh allegedly received doctors' prescriptions for more than 2,000 pills -- including the prescription painkillers oxycontin, lorcet and hydrocodone -- according to the search warrants.

The court papers indicate those drugs were sometimes obtained in the same week, less than a month apart.

Limbaugh returned to the airwaves last month after a five-week rehabilitation program to help him overcome his addiction.

Limbaugh's lawyer, famed criminal defense attorney Roy Black, denounced the searches of Limbaugh's physicians' offices and the seizure of his medical records.

"What these records show is that Mr. Limbaugh suffered extreme pain and had legitimate reasons for taking pain medication," Black said in a statement read by Limbaugh on his talk show.

"Unfortunately, because of Mr. Limbaugh's prominence and well-known political opinions, he is being subjected to an invasion of privacy no citizen of this republic should endure," he said.

The court documents state that Limbaugh used multiple doctors "to obtain excessive amounts of controlled substances to support his addiction."

Investigators say they have searched two doctors' offices in Palm Beach County and have a search warrant for a third office in that area. A law enforcement source said there is also a search warrant for a fourth doctor's office in the Los Angeles area.

Black said the four doctors whose offices were searched had "treated Rush Limbaugh for serious medical conditions and the pain resulting from them.

"Let us make our position clear: Rush Limbaugh is not part of a drug ring. He was never a target of a drug investigation. He became addicted to a prescription drug during legitimate medical treatment. He has publicly admitted this problem and has successfully sought treatment, which continues today.

"We won't speculate on why the State Attorney's Office is handling Mr. Limbaugh's case the way it is. But what should be a responsible investigation is looking more and more like a fishing expedition," Black said.

The Whitewater investigation was a fishing expedition, Mr. Black. This is a wealthy criminal that the "old Rush" thought should be sent up the river.