Saturday, June 26, 2004

A head for a head

Well, Dubya just couldn't wait to let "our guys" start loppin' of heads and hands:

But following a recent string of fatal attacks on Iraqi officials by the insurgents, Iraqi Minister of Defense Hazim Shaalan tells Newsweek that "we will hit these people and teach them a good lesson they won't forget. Americans and allied forces have certain restrictions we won't have." He declined to be more specific, except to say, "It's our country, its our culture and we have different laws than you do." (A few days later, after yet another suicide bombing, he was more blunt: "We will cut off their hands and behead them.")

Cutting off their hands and beheading them seems a little gratuitous, don'tcha think? I mean, even our Supreme Court might think it was cruel and unusual to cut off their hands when you plan to turn right around and behead them anyway.

So Iraq is now in "control"-- well, of the really nasty stuff, anyway:

The handover of power in Iraq is being brought forward to today.

A formal announcement will be made later today, Tony Blair said.

The informal announcement was made by Iraq's foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari.

The handover of power to an interim Iraqi government was supposed to take place on June 30.

Mr Zebari said the deteriorating security situation in the country was one of the reasons why the date had been brought forward.

Well, Mr. Accountability is finally gonna see that "heads will roll." Glad to see democratic government finally coming to the Middle East.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Paging Dale Carnegie

Dubya is in Europe to mend fences, win friends and influence people. Hell, let's poke 'em in the eye first to make it more of a challenge.

“Most of Europe supported the decision in Iraq. Really what you're talking about is France, isn't it? And they didn't agree with my decision. They did vote for the UN Security Council resolution. ... We just had a difference of opinion about whether, when you say something, you mean it.”

Translation: "I'm a man of my word and the French are bunch of cowering, mealy mouth little weasels, that's all. Little difference of o-pin-ion. How 'bout commitin' some troops now, fellas?"

Please learn to shut your mouth-- better late than never

Monica says she has tried to get on with her life-- by trading on the celebrity she gained from performing oral sex on the President, saving a semen stained dress and telling her "friend" Linda Tripp all about it. Grow up already. He's responsible for what he did, you're responsible for what you did. You are not the only one who suffered. Neither is he.

Destroyed' Lewinsky Speaks Out on Clinton Memoir

Jun 25, 7:50 AM (ET)

By Jeffrey Goldfarb, European Media Correspondent

LONDON (Reuters) - Monica Lewinsky says she feels betrayed by Bill Clinton's failure to acknowledge how he destroyed her life in his newly released memoirs.

In an interview with British broadcaster ITV to be shown on Friday, the former White House intern best known for her affair with the 42nd U.S. president says she was disappointed at how their relationship is addressed.

"I really didn't expect him to talk in detail about the relationship," she said, according to a partial transcript of the interview provided by ITV.

"But what I was hoping, and did expect was for him to acknowledge and correct the inaccurate and false statements that he, his staff and the (Democratic National Committee) made about me when they were trying to protect the presidency," she said.

In response to Clinton's recent remark to U.S. news show "60 Minutes" that he had the affair "for the worst possible reason -- because I could," Lewinsky said she "was really upset" when she first heard it.

"I have spent the past several years working so hard to just move on, and to try and build a life for myself," said Lewinsky, 30, who has been a spokeswoman for diet company Jenny Craig and host of the reality TV show "Mr. Personality."

Lewinsky, who told her own account of the affair in the 1999 book "Monica's Story," said she reluctantly spoke out about Clinton's tome "My Life" because he tried to rewrite history.

"He says he was proud of the way that he defended the presidency, at my expense," she said....

Lewinsky insists during the ITV interview that she had a relationship with Clinton even though he never uses the word in the book, instead opting for "inappropriate encounter" on page 773 of the 957-page autobiography.

"This is something that I never wanted to talk about publicly and I know he wished had never become public. But this was a mutual relationship, from the way it started all the way through," Lewinsky said.
ITV will broadcast excerpts of the interview during its lunchtime, evening and late-night news. There also will be a half-hour special, "Monica Lewinsky: My Side of the Story," at 2200 GMT on ITV1.

Noble Ryan refuses to face brutal, scorched earth campaign

And that's just from his own party (And perhaps some apolitical pissed off Trekies). Obama hadn't said a word, and likely wouldn't. He didn't need to. Ryan's own Republican Party, on the other hand, were questioning his integrity and credibility.

Jack Ryan Says He's Quitting Senate Bid

Jun 25, 3:34 PM (ET)


WASHINGTON (AP) - Illinois Republican senatorial candidate Jack Ryan, his candidacy in turmoil over sex club allegations, decided to quit his quest for Congress on Friday. "I am today withdrawing from the race," he said in a statement prepared by his campaign.

"It's clear to me that a vigorous debate on the issues most likely could not take place if I remain in the race," added the statement, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

"What would take place, rather, is a brutal, scorched-earth campaign - the kind of campaign that has turned off so many voters, the kind of politics I refuse to play."

Jackie don't play that. And Jeri don't play what Jackie wants to play.

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Family Values Party's Swinging Good Time

Well, the long awaited divorce papers of the Ryan's have been revealed, and they're pretty juicy.  While I believe what two consenting adults do in private is their exclusive business, it would appear that would-be Senator Ryan has a preference for public places and that the misses didn't exactly consent.  In any event, I wouldn't particularly care if a candidate and his/her spouse had such kinky inclinations, but if her allegations are true, he's a bit of a selfish jerk and a hard sell to the Republican "base."

Its a long way to November, but I think Obama can at least chill the champagne.

Ryan papers contain allegations he pressured wife for public sex

Monday June 21, 2004


CHICAGO (AP) Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan pressured his wife, actress Jeri Lynn Ryan, to have sex in clubs while others watched, she charged in divorce documents released Monday.

The ``Boston Public'' and ``Star Trek: Voyager'' actress said she angered Ryan by refusing. She did acknowledge infidelity on her part, which she said took place after their marriage was irretrievably broken.

In the documents Ryan denied the allegations, saying he had been ``faithful and loyal'' to his wife.

Jeri Lynn Ryan charged during a custody hearing that Ryan took her on surprise trips to New Orleans, New York and Paris in 1998, and that he insisted she go to sex clubs with him on each trip.

She said that after going out to dinner with Ryan in New York, he demanded that she go to a club with him.

``It was a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling,'' she said. She said Ryan asked her to perform a sexual act while others watched, and she refused.

She said they left and Ryan apologized to her and said it was out of his system. But then, she said, he took her to Paris and again took her to a sex club.

She said she cried and became physically ill at the club, and her husband got angry with her. She said she could never get over that incident.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

The gang that couldn't shoot straight

The incompetence of this administration is truly mind boggling. This should be getting tons of play. No wonder we can't gather intel. We can't even gather statistics.

Terrorism up, not down in 2003: State Department Report States

WASHINGTON — The State Department acknowledged today it was wrong in reporting terrorism declined worldwide last year, a finding that was used to boost one of President George W. Bush's top foreign policy claims — success in countering terror.

Instead, both the number of incidents and the toll in victims increased sharply, the department said. Statements by senior administration officials claiming success were based "on the facts as we had them at the time; the facts that we had were wrong," department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

The report, issued in April, reported attacks had declined last year to the lowest level in 34 years and dropped 45 per cent since 2001, Bush's first year as president.

Among the mistakes, Boucher said, was that only part of 2003 was taken into account.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said today the errors were partly the result of new data collection procedures. "I can assure you it had nothing to do with putting out anything but the most honest, accurate information we can," he said.

"Errors crept in that frankly we did not catch here," Powell said of the report, which showed a falloff in the number of attacks worldwide in 2003 and the virtual disappearance of incidents in which no one died.

Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said this week the administration had refused to address his contention that the findings were manipulated for political purposes. Waxman had written Powell asking for an explanation.

Boucher said a reply to Waxman was in preparation. "We wanted to make sure that we give the congressman the best and most accurate picture of what we know and what's going on as we can," he said.

He said the errors began to become apparent in early May. "We got phone calls from people who were going through our report and who said to themselves, as we should have said to ourselves: `This doesn't feel right. This doesn't look right.' And who started asking us questions," he said.

One of Bush's major foreign policy claims is that his post-Sept. 11 strategy to counter terror was showing success.

Ken Mehlman, the president's campaign manager, said in April, "Ultimately the most important thing that people want to see on the war on terror is, what is your vision for dealing with it and what is your record."

"Obviously one of the most important issues in this election is the question of how do we continue to fight and win the war on terror so we keep our homeland safe," Mehlman said.

At the same time, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Mehlman have questioned whether Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was qualified to conduct a war against terrorism.

When the annual report was issued April 29, senior administration officials used it as evidence the war was being won under Bush.

J. Cofer Black, who heads the State Department's counterterrorism office, cited the existence of only 190 acts of terrorism in 2003 as "good news" and predicted the trend would continue this year.

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said at the time, "Indeed, you will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight."

His office did not respond today to a request for a statement in light of disclosures some of the findings in Patterns of Global Terrorism were inaccurate and understated.

"When we are sure we have the new facts, the right facts, we will prepare an appropriate analysis and give you our assessment at that moment," Boucher said.

They were quick enough to cite it as good news. Maybe a Dem intern could fact check next time. Amazing.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Bush spreads Freedom around the world

Of course, that's "freedom" in the Bushspeak, 1984 kinda way. Spreading the GOP "no protest" policy to the European continent should be interesting. Do they ever tell French farmers not to strike? Metro workers? Could an attempted protest lead to mass arrests? C'est la vie.

Paris bans protests ahead of Bush's visit

Demonstrations have been banned in central Paris throughout this week to ensure no hostile protests are in evidence to disturb President George W. Bush's brief presence in the French capital on Saturday, where he will be dining with President Jacques Chirac.

This blanket ban cannot conceal the groundswell of French hostility to the US president and the unpopularity of his policies on Iraq and the broader Middle East.

It nevertheless underscores Mr Chirac's determination to make Mr Bush's stay in France for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day celebrations a friendly occasion and a chance to improve the chilly state of Franco-American relations.