Monday, November 03, 2003

Pentagon keeps dead out of sight

Bush team doesn't want people to see human cost of war
Even body bags are now sanitized as `transfer tubes'

Americans have never seen any of the other 359 bodies returning from Iraq. Nor do they see the wounded cramming the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington or soldiers who say they are being treated inhumanely awaiting medical treatment at Fort Stewart, Ga.

In order to continue to sell an increasingly unpopular Iraqi invasion to the American people, President George W. Bush's administration sweeps the messy parts of war — the grieving families, the flag-draped coffins, the soldiers who have lost limbs — into a far corner of the nation's attic.

No television cameras are allowed at Dover.

Bush does not attend the funerals of soldiers who gave their lives in his war on terrorism.

If stories of wounded soldiers are told, they are told by hometown papers, but there is no national attention given to the recuperating veterans here in the nation's capital.

More than 1,700 Americans have been wounded in Iraq since the March invasion.

"You can call it news control or information control or flat-out propaganda," says Christopher Simpson, a communications professor at Washington's American University.

"Whatever you call it, this is the most extensive effort at spinning a war that the department of defence has ever undertaken in this country."

Simpson notes that photos of the dead returning to American soil have historically been part of the ceremony, part of the picture of conflict and part of the public closure for families — until now.

"This White House is the greatest user of propaganda in American history and if they had a shred of honesty, they would admit it. But they can't."

Lynn Cutler, a Democratic strategist and former official in Bill Clinton's White House, says this is the first time in history that bodies have been brought home under cover of secrecy. more

If I Were Bush's Speechwriter ... by Andy Rooney

Years ago, I was asked to write a speech for President Nixon.

I didn't do that, but I wish President Bush would ask me to write a speech for him now.

Here's what I'd write if he asked me to - which is unlikely:

My fellow Americans - (the word "fellow" includes women in political speeches):

My fellow Americans. One of the reasons we invaded Iraq was because I suggested Saddam Hussein had something to do with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. No evidence that's so, I wish I hadn't said it.

I said we were going to get Saddam Hussein. To be honest, we don't know whether we got him or not. Probably not.

I said we'd get Osama bin Laden and wipe out al Qaeda. We haven't been able to do that, either. I'm as disappointed as you are.

I probably shouldn't have said Iraq had nuclear weapons. Our guys and the U.N. have looked under every bed in Iraq and can't find one.

In one speech, I told you Saddam Hussein tried to buy the makings of nuclear bombs from Africa. That was a mistake and I wish I hadn't said that. I get bad information sometimes just like you do.

On May 1, I declared major combat was over and gave you the impression the war was over. I shouldn't have declared that. Since then, 215 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. As the person who sent them there, how terrible do you think that makes me feel?

I promised to leave no child behind when it comes to education. Then I asked for an additional $87 billion for Iraq. It has to come from somewhere. I hope the kids aren't going to have to pay for it - now in school or later when they're your age.

When I landed on the deck of the carrier, I wish they hadn't put up the sign saying MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. It isn't accomplished.

Maybe it should have been MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.

I've made some mistakes and I regret it. Let me just read you excerpts from something my father wrote five years ago in his book, “A World Transformed.”

I firmly believed we should not march into Baghdad ...To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant, into a latter-day Arab hero …

This is my father writing this.

...assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerrilla war.
We should all take our father's advice.

That's the speech I'd write for President Bush. No charge.

Report Links Iraq Deals to Bush Donations

Companies awarded $8 billion in contracts to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan have been major campaign donors to President Bush (news - web sites), and their executives have had important political and military connections, according to a study released Thursday. The study of more than 70 U.S. companies and individual contractors turned up more than $500,000 in donations to the president's 2000 campaign, more than they gave collectively to any other politician over the past dozen years.

The Center concluded that most of the 10 largest contracts went to companies that employed former high-ranking government officials, or executives with close ties to members of Congress and even the agencies awarding their contracts.

Major contracts for Iraq and Afghanistan were awarded by the Bush administration without competitive bids. The top contract recipient was the Halliburton subsidiary KBR, with more than $2.3 billion awarded to support the U.S. military and restore Iraq's oil industry.

Haliburton, by the way, is Vice President (term used loosely) Dick Cheney's former company. Cheney still receives money from them.

And this cronyism suprises you why? story

Will ‘Reagan Democrats’ revolt?

Since Reagan’s 1980 election victory, the votes of manufacturing workers and their families, unionized or not, have trended increasingly Republican in presidential races. This predominantly male, Roman Catholic, Rust Belt constituency cheered the New Deal but rejected the Democrats in droves during the 1970s and 1980s.

This year, however, after a loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past several years and no indication that the economic recovery is reversing that trend, political analysts on both sides of the aisle believe the Democrats have a shot at winning back the hearts and minds they lost to Ronald Reagan.

“I think to so-called Reagan Democrats are more up for grabs now than at any time since the 1970s,” says Lee Edwards, a conservative political analyst at the Heritage Institute. “I don’t see an easy way out of this for Bush.” more

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Wesley Clark: ""There is no way this administration can walk away from its responsibility for 9-11!"

Democrat Wesley Clark on Tuesday blamed President Bush for the intelligence failures that contributed to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"There is no way this administration can walk away from its responsibility for 9-11," Clark told a conference, titled "New American Strategies for Security and Peace," "You can't blame something like this on lower level intelligence officers, however badly they communicated memos with each other. ... The buck rests with the commander in chief, right on George W. Bush's desk."

Clark argued that Bush has manipulated facts, stifled dissent, retaliated against detractors, shown disdain for allies and started a war without just cause. He said Bush put Americans at risk by pursuing war in Iraq instead of hunting for Osama bin Laden and other terrorists, pulling a "bait-and-switch" by going after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein instead of al Qaida terrorists. link

"George Bush isn't in control . . . the country's been hijacked..."

A former Pentagon officer turned whistleblower says a group of hawks in the Bush Administration, including the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, is running a shadow foreign policy, contravening Washington's official line.

"What these people are doing now makes Iran-Contra [a Reagan administration national security scandal] look like amateur hour. . . it's worse than Iran-Contra, worse than what happened in Vietnam," said Karen Kwiatkowski, a former air force lieutenant-colonel.

"[President] George Bush isn't in control . . . the country's been hijacked," she said, describing how "key [governmental] areas of neoconservative concern were politically staffed".

Ms Kwiatkowski, who retired this year after 20 years service, was a Middle East specialist in the office of the Undersecretary of Defence for Policy, headed by Douglas Feith.

She described "a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress", adding that "in order to take that first step - Iraq - lies had to be told to Congress to bring them on board". more

Quagmire: U.S. Mulls Shifting Experts from Iraq Arms Hunt To Cmbat The Intensifying Resistance

The Pentagon, in an obviou effort to save their asses, is considering shifting intelligence personnel in Iraq from the so-far fruitless search for weapons of mass destruction to strengthen efforts to combat the intensifying resistance, officials said on Wednesday.

You can read more of this story here. I predeict this is the first move that will eventually lead to the total abandonment of the search for WMDs.

A Fable
by John Liechty

Once upon a time there was a place known as The Greatest Country In The World. This place had forgotten its true name. Grandparents had told children had told grandchildren had told great-grandchildren for so long now: “You live in The Greatest Country In The World (and incidentally that makes you The Greatest People In The World),” that the true name of the land had been lost.

Predictably, the Greatest Country In The World was led by The Greatest Government In The World in turn led by The Greatest Emperor In The World. The Emperor was selected every four years and was to be an individual uniquely suited to lead – a person of great integrity, practicality, courage, wisdom, intelligence, discernment, eloquence, generosity, compassion, honesty, humility, and even-handedness. By lucky coincidence, or perhaps as some insisted by Divine Intervention a certain Rich Young Ruler, son of a former Emperor, announced a desire to be the Anointed One. “I shall lead you by popular demand!” he vowed to The Greatest People In The World, and opened so many bags of gold that they very nearly demanded him. Not quite, but it didn’t matter in the end. The Rich Young Ruler finagled an unorthodox anointment, and head bowed in humility, ascended the throne with a retinue of grand viziers.

At The Greatest Expense In The World, The Greatest Country In The World maintained The Greatest Army In The World and The Greatest Armaments. This weaponry was capable of annihilating the world’s people a couple of dozen times over. A greater boon to Civilization could hardly have been imagined.

“It’s a lucky thing we control The Greatest Armaments In The World,” confided The Greatest Nation In The World to the less great nations. “Otherwise some Rogue Nation might get them and turn out to be a Threat To Freedom.” The less great nations had several options. They could nod their heads in vigorous agreement, pretend to nod their heads in vigorous agreement, immerse their heads in the sand, or indulge in the foolish option of defiantly sticking their necks out, thus risking Liberation.

Out of the blue one day and in spite of its Greatest Army and Greatest Armaments, The Greatest Country In The World was attacked. Many people were killed and the whole world was watching. “Who has done this thing?” cried the people, turning to their Emperor for guidance. “Why? What can we do?”

“It was one man,” answered The Rich Young Ruler with absolute certainty, and he told the people of an evil crackpot/ rogue billionaire living in a remote cave of the roguest nation of them all. “As for the why, that’s simple. He envied your freedom. We must declare War on Evil at once and bomb this threat away.” The grand viziers nodded wisely as The Rich Young Ruler explained to The Greatest People In The World (who were being quietly invited to cough up the gold for a War on Evil) that their freedom was beyond price. And many were persuaded. For the people had been assured for a very long time that in addition to being The Greatest they were The Freest People In The World. Often as not this meant they were free to grow as obese and indolent as they liked, free to live in fear and paranoia, free to make pornography a leading industry, free to buy goods they didn’t really need or want thanks to the cheap sweat of the less great world’s children, free to say anything they liked so long as it didn’t matter, free to run like rats in a maze or sell their own grandmothers in deference to the Greatest Economy In The World, free to build bigger prisons and occupy them, free to produce and sell and consume any snake oil under the sun so long as it made money. But Free they were, and many were persuaded.

Every day the rich young ruler conferred with his divinity (The Greatest Divinity In The World, not too surprisingly). Every day his trusty viziers wheeled in the sacred mirrors and kindled the holy smoke that together might allow the Anointed One a tête-à-tête with his divine confidante. One day the Greatest Leader In The World felt moved to declare: “God is my Favorite Philosopher!” And some of the people purred. “One Nation Under God!” clamored the more strident among them. “God Bless The Greatest Country In The World!”

After several consultations with his favorite philosopher, the Rich Young Ruler announced that capital punishment, prison, corporate irresponsibility, debt, war, and a more thoroughly gelded media were The Divinity’s Delight. His viziers smiled and purred, and so did some of the people. One day the Vizier of War wheeled in a massive mirror. It wobbled on its steel carriage, and waited. The Vizier of War struck a match and a plume of smoke rolled toward heaven. “O Favorite Philosopher,” the Rich Young Ruler addressed the mirror, careful not to look too closely into it. “What do I do next?”

“Declare pre-emptive war,” replied God without a moment’s hesitation. “Do unto others before they do unto you.”

“I hear and obey O Favorite Philosopher,” replied the Emperor, humbly lowering his head while a throng of select eunuchs converged with their cameras. Mirrors and viziers came and went. Flashbulbs shone, the smoke rolled. At the end of the day, when the Rich Young Ruler had jogged and dined and was debating whether to turn in early or take in some of the Monday Night Game, a strange thing happened. The fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the palace wall just as they had in the palace of King Belshazzar. But unlike Belshazzar’s, the Emperor’s color did not change, his thoughts did not alarm him, his limbs did not give way, his knees did not knock together.

“What the devil?” he cried in a tone more than halfway contemptuous. “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN?? Sounds greek to me.” And so the Greatest Leader In The World of The Greatest Country In The World went to bed without even trying to read the writing on the wall, merely making a note to himself that in the morning he would inform The Greatest People In The World that he had decided to take a month off.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

Democrats Need Route From Political Trap

Here's an article that is about 10 months old that I think we all missed. Thiugh parts of it are now outdated - it alludes to some things that have not comt to pass and won't such as a Tom Daschle predential run - it's main focus is how the Republican smear machine is sure to kick into high gear as the demnoms head into the primary stretch.

Whoever emerges from the Democratic field will not only have to overcome Bush and his overwhelming advantage in campaign funds, but also take on a combination of the well-financed right-wing attack machine, which has refined its skills over the past decade, and a mainstream national news media that has demonstrated its proclivity to fall in line with the conservatives. Since at least the 1980s, mainstream journalists have found it very helpful to their careers to "prove" they're not liberal by joining in trashing Democrats.

The Democrats had better expect a lot of mud – and ridicule – to be heaped on their "fresh face" candidates.

A Future Guide

If the past is any guide, Democrats should expect that:

-- The attacks will be personal, not issue-based. Personality quirks or flaws will be used to "define" the Democrats so these traits can be easily transformed into laugh lines for the pundit programs and the late-night comedy shows.

-- The attacks will be thematic, rather than specific. For instance, the Democratic challenger will be described as "Clintonian" -- or in John Edwards's case an "ambulance chasing trial lawyer" -- rather than someone who supported or opposed a specific policy initiative.

-- The attack machine will be relentless. Every utterance by the eventual Democratic nominee will be examined to see if it fits one of the thematic patterns that have been chosen as effective attack lines.

-- Statements or issues that fit a "theme" will be repeated again and again in every media venue, from Web sites to radio to TV pundit shows to newspaper columns. Every right-wing pundit – and many mainstream commentators – will use nearly identical language until the "theme" becomes "conventional wisdom."

-- The mainstream press will incorporate the attack lines into regular news stories by using the objective-sounding criticism that the Democrat has failed to counter the attack and committed the political sin of letting his enemy define him.

-- Most importantly, it will not matter who the Democratic nominee is. No one is immune. The attack machine will find a thematic pattern for each potential nominee and will pound the Democratic candidate into the ground with it. more

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Bush Support Down - WAAAAY Down - Amid Terror Attacks

Bush Support Down - WAAAAY Down - Amid Terror Attacks

In 1969, the band Blood, Sweat, and Tears, released a song called "Spinning Wheel" with lyrics that read "what goes up must come down..." There is no better song today for George W. Bush.

According to USATODAY, Independent voters, who some say are key to President Bush's re-election hopes next year, are losing confidence in his leadership in Iraq as attacks there continue, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll has found.

In the poll, 39% of independents approve of the way the Bush administration has handled things in Iraq since Bush declared an end to major combat six months ago; 57% of independents disapprove. In the public overall, the poll found, 47% approve.

That is a substantial deterioration from late April, when it was assumed that U.S. troops had secured the country. At that time, when 80% of the public approved of the conduct of the war, 73% of independents approved.

In late April, 69% of independents favored the war — about the same level as the general public. Now, 48% of independents support the war, which is 6 percentage points below overall support.

Independents are less inclined to vote for Bush next year than to vote for a Democrat; 35% of registered independent voters choose Bush and 42% choose an unnamed Democrat. Among all registered voters, Bush leads the unnamed Democrat 46%-43%, which is within the 4-point error margin. See the complete poll results here.

Republican Columnist John McCaslin Ponders If Bush Will Lose The Military Vote In 2004

A popular green-camouflage button reads: "Support the military, vote Republican in 2004." Yet on the flip side, one wonders now if armed forces stationed in Iraq could be the next swing voters? Some pundits say yes — President Bush will certainly lose military support at the polls.

Meanwhile, a panel discussion to be held Nov. 5, sponsored in part by the New America Foundation, will address whether the Republican Party as a whole could lose the military vote in 2004.

Republican Representative Mark Souder Wants To Remind Everyone What It Means To Be Conservative

In the Washington Times today, the question is asked: How does a person today define conservatism? The same way they used to, says five-term Rep. Mark Souder, who encourages Americans to dust off the 1953 book "The Conservative Mind."

1953, huh? Leave It To Beaver conservatism! Actually, by encouraging people to adhere to a 50 year old book, Souder pretty much confirms the very definition of "conservative."

con·ser·va·tive: ...tending to oppose change.
(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

When it comes to conservatives,though, I rather like the findings of the UC Berkeley study.

According to the study, Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:

* Fear and aggression

* Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity

* Uncertainty avoidance

* Need for cognitive closure

* Terror management

"From our perspective, these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination," the researchers wrote in an article, "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition," recently published in the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin.

Assistant Professor Jack Glaser of the University of California, Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy and Visiting Professor Frank Sulloway of UC Berkeley joined lead author, Associate Professor John Jost of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, and Professor Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland at College Park, to analyze the literature on conservatism.

The psychologists sought patterns among 88 samples,involving 22,818 participants, taken from journal articles, books and conference papers. The material originating from 12 countries included speeches and interviews given by politicians, opinions and verdicts rendered by judges, as well as experimental, field and survey studies.

Ten meta-analytic calculations performed on the material - which included various types of literature and approaches from different countries and groups - yielded consistent, common threads, Glaser said.

The avoidance of uncertainty, for example, as well as the striving for certainty, are particularly tied to one key dimension of conservative thought - the resistance to change or hanging onto the status quo, they said.

The terror management feature of conservatism can be seen in post-Sept. 11 America, where many people appear to shun and even punish outsiders and those who threaten the status of cherished world views, they wrote.

Concerns with fear and threat, likewise, can be linked to a second key dimension of conservatism - an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.).

Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. Hitler,Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way, the authors commented in a published reply to the article.

This research marks the first synthesis of a vast amount of information about conservatism, and the result is an "elegant and unifying explanation" for political conservatism under the rubric of motivated social cognition, said Sulloway. That entails the tendency of people's attitudinal preferences on policy matters to be explained by individual needs based on personality, social interests or existential needs.

The researchers' analytical methods allowed them to determine the effects for each class of factors and revealed "more pluralistic and nuanced understanding of the source of conservatism," Sulloway said.

While most people resist change, Glaser said, liberals appear to have a higher tolerance for change than conservatives do.

As for conservatives' penchant for accepting inequality, he said, one contemporary example is liberals' general endorsement of extending rights and liberties to disadvantaged minorities such as gays and lesbians, compared to conservatives' opposing position.

The researchers said that conservative ideologies, like virtually all belief systems, develop in part because they satisfy some psychological needs.

The researchers found conservatives to be intolerant of ambiguity and this intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes, the researchers advised.

The latest debate about the possibility that the Bush administration ignored intelligence information that discounted reports of Iraq buying nuclear material from Africa may be linked to the conservative intolerance for ambiguity and or need for closure, said Glaser.

Conservatives don't feel the need to jump through complex, intellectual hoops in order to understand or justify some of their positions. "They are more comfortable seeing and stating things in black and white..." Glaser said.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

The Wal-Mart Blues

I'm really beginning to despise Wal-Mart. Other than their unfair and illegal labor paractices and their pandering to the religious right, it generally takes longer to pay for what you're getting than it does to actually for it. Would you open another damn checkout lane?!?!?!?! I'm serious about this - though the checkout lines stretching back to the produce section is really only a minor issue to me.

Over the past year, we have seen Wal-Mart remove magazines (Maxim, Stuff) that dare show pictures of hot women and cover up the covers of such supermarket standards as Cosmopolitan and Glamour - all the while selling the hell out of Gun magazines.

At Wal-Mart, you can't buy the latest CDs that have the word "fuck" in some of the songs but you can buy loads of firearms and ammo.

And now, according to this article, you can get your very own George W. Bush poster, courtesy of Wal-Mart! But all that STILL isn't the worst of it.

You might recall hearing last week that several Wal-Marts were raided for hiring illegal immigrants as cleaners. Folks, those were jobs that unemployed Americans (thanks, Mr. Bush!) needed! But do you want to know the truly disgusting part of that? The cleaning crews did not receive health insurance and were paid below the minimum wagesometimes as little as $2 a day!!

2 fucking dollars A DAY!

Wanna know why Wal-Mart, the country's leading retailer, is so successful?

2 fucking dollars A DAY!

Why are the owners of Wal-Mart some of the richest in the world?

2 fucking dollars A DAY!

Why couldn't YOU get a job at Wal-mart? They told you you were over qualified when you desperately needed a job. What they meant was you probably wouldn't work for... 2 fucking dollars A DAY!!!!

Remember this when you do you Christmas shopping (provided that after spending three years in George Bush's America you can afford Christmast this year.) link

Monday, October 27, 2003

note: I had a HUGE update today. Large. Major! And then, just as I published it, blogger burped and I lost it all. I simply can't reconstruct it today, so you get the stripped down version. Tomorow, I'll give the delux version!

Bush administration Faces Subpoenas From 9/11 Panel

The chairman of the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks said that the White House was continuing to withhold several highly classified intelligence documents from the panel and that he was prepared to subpoena the documents if they were not turned over within weeks.

The chairman, Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, also said in an interview that he believed the bipartisan 10-member commission would soon be forced to issue subpoenas to other executive branch agencies because of continuing delays by the Bush administration in providing documents and other evidence needed by the panel.

"Any document that has to do with this investigation cannot be beyond our reach," Mr. Kean said on Friday in his first explicit public warning to the White House that it risked a subpoena and a politically damaging courtroom showdown with the commission over access to the documents, including Oval Office intelligence reports that reached President Bush (news - web sites)'s desk in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks.

"I will not stand for it," Mr. Kean said in the interview in his offices here at Drew University, where he has been president since 1990.

"That means that we will use every tool at our command to get hold of every document." more


I rather enjoy being mentioned on other blogs. Sometimes the comments are good. Sometimes they're bad. Sometimes they're just... there.

A few days back I got mentioned in an old friend's blog. He was writing about General Wesley Clark being my candidate for the democratic nomination. For the record, he is in Howard Dean's corner.

He wrote something, though, that I wasn't aware of:

"Dean has said straight out he would openly endorse any of the other candidates should they get the nomination."

I haven't heard that Dean has said that. I do know that Dean has hinted that his followers will NOT automatically vote for the democratic candidate should it not be Dean. And given what is at stake for 2004, I think that is a bit dangerous.

Quote: "I really do believe — and I think about this — I want to get this nomination, and if I don’t . . . these kids are not transferrable. I can’t just go out and say, ‘Okay, so I didn’t win the nomination, so go ahead and vote for the Democrats.’ They’re not going to suddenly just go away. That’s not gonna happen.” link

Put it into this perspective, if this is indeed a pespective worth considering:

On Democratic Underground, polls are conducted at least weekly on the democratic candidates - asking various questions. These are usually done by supporters trying to prove whose candidate actually is leading.

One recent question was, "If your candidate does not get the nomination, will you support the candidate who does?" or something along those lines.

Dean supporters overwhelmingly said "NO."

Scary, huh?

The blogger in question went on to voice his agreement with a recent Daily KOS entry where it was expressed that the national polls mean absolutely nothing at this stage in the game. The only polls that matter, he says, are the local primary polls. Once the nomination has been gained, then we can start paying attention to the nationals.

Whaaaaa? Polls revealing who has the best chance in beating Bush mean nothing?

I have a small problem with this. Yes, Dean leads in all the primary states that have thus far taken polls. However, nationally, some polls show Dean trailing Bush in the general election. These same polls show Wesley Clark either beating Bush or statistically even with him.

What does this say? It says Clark is garnering support from more than just the democratic base - and with the country seemingly divided right down the middle, the democrats need more than the democratic base to win.


If winning is the most important thing.

Again, let's examine Ruy Teixeira's, co-author of "The Emerging Democratic Majority," analyzes of an October Gallup poll to discern "The Demographics of Clarkism":

"While Clark receives more support than Dean among both men and women, his margin over Dean among women is just 3 points (16 percent to 13 percent), but an impressive 12 points among men (29 percent to 17 percent)," Teixeira points out. "He also beats Dean in every region of the country, but especially in the South (25 percent to 8 percent). Also intriguing is how well he does among low income voters (less than $20,000), clobbering Dean by 26 percent to 5 percent. In fact, Clark bests Dean in every income group up to $75,000. Above $75,000, Dean edges Clark, 26 percent to 25 percent."

Might I also add that Clark's impressive military record is wooing the so-called "Reagan Democrats," Democrats that bolted the party and voted for Reagan in 1980 and '84.

Let me say before I wrap this up that I am above all things an ABBer (Anybody But Bush.)

If another candidate's national numbers and broad appeal were as phenomenal as Clark's, I'd be in his corner.

And what good will it do to win the nomination if you are already behind Bush nationally?

I will gladly and rabidly support Dean if he is the Demnom. But I can't help but feel, based on the words and actons of Dean's supporters and Dean himself, that this is an ego thing with Dean. His victory in the primaries is more important, it seems, than the ultimate victory of the democratic party. Remember how Ted Kennedy acted in 1980 when Carter won the nomination? He embarassed the party. Will Dean have one of his famous temper tantrums should he not get the nomination?

Doesn't any of this sicken you?

Michael Moore on Wesley Clark

Short, small MP3. Funny yet enlightening. Click here.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Rumsfeld Admits "War OnTerror" Isn't Going So Well!

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said in an internal memo last week that more than two years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks it remains unclear if the United States is winning the war on terrorism or whether the ranks of Islamic militants are growing faster than the US government can stop them.

In the memo, Rumsfeld acknowledged U.S. forces would be in Iraq and Afghanistan a long time. "It will be a long, hard slog," he wrote.

Slog, Mr. Rumsfeld? I think the word you're seeking is quagmire.

Among Rumsfeld's observations in the two-page memo:

• The United States is "just getting started" in fighting the Iraq-based terror group Ansar Al-Islam.

• The war is hugely expensive. "The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' cost of millions."

More on this here.

Seems to me the "war on terror" is much like the "war on drugs." If the government continues to do it the wrong way, it will never end.

In a world where we've all but abandoned Afghanistan, and our servicemen are trying to survive up to 35 attacks daily in Iraq, something is clearly wrong here.

Now, I'm not one of those democrats that just complains and never offers a solution. So here, for the first time, is RightwingSlayer's plan for the war on terrorism.

1. Get bin Laden. Period. Forget Saddam. He hasn't done anything to us. If the people of Iraq hate him so much, they'll string him up. Yes, bin Laden should be the target. Remember him? He's the dude who we believe orchestrated 9/11, and the Cole bombing, and the African embassy bombings. All Saddam did to us was... ummm... was... oh, could it be nothing? Continue a concerted manhunt to get the ones who struck at us.

2. Rebuild Iraq. Bring the UN in, of course, but we have to pay for it. We broke it. We gotta fix it!

3. Apologize to the world for being such asshole. Considering the hell we went through on 9/11, some of the world might understand. If we want the rest of the world to like us again, too, vote democratic and get Bush and his thugs out of the Washington.

4. Sink mucho resources into developing alternative fuel sources to lessen and eventually eliminate our dependency on middle east oil. Don't give a flying rat's ass how many fat cat rich Bush cronies get put out of work because of it. Let THEM see how it feels.

5. Send food, supplies, and humanitarian assistance for the Afghani people, including those in refugee camps in Iran and Pakistan. Do the same for the people of Iraq. Do the same for the the people of all poor undeveloped countries.

When possible, make sure the the people actually get the provisions. Use the military for that. If we can go in illegally and drop bombs, we can go in illegally and give out food and medical supplies.

The point is to get the people on our side. Then, they'll eventually revolt against their leaders.

6. Make Christian proselytizing to these people a felony. They have their own religion and it isn't the business of the United States to trade their superstitions for ours.

7. Slowly pull our military presence out of the middle east. Being there pisses them off.

US Soldiers to America: ''Bring us home now; we’re dying for oil and corporate greed!'' - By Jay Shaft

This is a fascinating 5 part series on the opinions and attitudes of our men and women in Iraq

I had the unique opportunity to interview five US military servicemen who just got back from Iraq, or in the case of two men, corresponded with their wives so that I could ask questions of these soldiers by mail. When the two I corresponded with came back just last week, I was able to complete the interviews I started several months ago with some new details on how the war is actually going.

I was shocked and angered when I found out how many of the service men hate being in Iraq and want nothing to do with rebuilding and policing the devastated nation. From the conversations I had, many soldiers never wanted to go over to Iraq and fight, and the ones who had were now convinced of the awful crime that had been committed against Iraq and our own troops. I was told very few soldiers now believe in staying in Iraq, or want to stay in the country and serve any more days. more

Excellent article on Wesley Clark at

Howard Dean is not the only Democratic candidate who has inspired an army of followers. Wes Clark's ranks are growing, and they include Bush deserters.


Clark stirs something even in people who usually don't fall for mawkish campaign rhetoric. On Oct. 14, Harold Bloom, the venerable Yale humanities professor, cultural conservative and defender of the Western canon, published a remarkable encomium to Clark in the Wall Street Journal's ordinarily right-wing editorial page with the portentous title "Cometh the Hour." In it, he references Edmund Gibbons "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," and writes, "It is not at all clear whether we are already in decline: bread is still available for most and circuses for all. Still, there are troubling omens, economic and diplomatic, and a hint or two from Gibbon may be of considerable use ... We need, at just this time, a military personage as president, one who is more in the mode of Dwight Eisenhower than of Ulysses Grant. In Wesley Clark, we have a four-star general and former NATO commander who is a diplomatic unifier, an authentic hero, wise and compassionate. That Gen. Clark saved tens of thousands of Muslim lives in Bosnia and Kosovo is irrefutable, despite current deprecations by worried supporters of the president. They are accurate only in their anxieties."

Many of Clark's followers say that while Dean speaks to their rage, Clark, four-star general, intellectual, humanitarian and war hero, speaks to their longing for something higher. "He's obviously the best man at this time in history," says Alexandra Richards, a New Jersey stay-at-home mother with a 2-year-old child and an unemployed husband. Figuring that their economic prospects are unlikely to improve as long as Bush is in office, Richards and her husband are considering selling their house and moving to Clark's home base in Little Rock to volunteer for the campaign full-time. "Dean makes me angry about the present," Richards writes in an e-mail. "Clark, on the other hand, gives me HOPE for the future. Hope feels better than anger."

Richards, like several other Clark supporters, was a Deanie until the general entered the race. There's no statistical evidence showing that Dean's supporters are peeling off in favor of Clark, but anecdotes abound. "Dean has a whole year on this guy, but I can tell you this, the Dean supporters I know, I've suggested that they watch Clark," says Christopher Dale, a 34-year-old San Diego public relations executive. "When they have checked him out, he's won all of them over."


Many Clark supporters are grateful for Dean's steadfast bravery in challenging the president on Iraq when few others were willing, and they appreciate his pugnacity, but they find him exhausting and can't imagine him charming those who disagree with him. "The thing about Dean, a lot of people could find him unreasonable and a bit shrill," says Moritz. "He reminds me a lot of the guys I marched with during the antiwar marches. You want to listen to what they're saying, it's invigorating, but you also know they are turning off a lot of people by their intensity."

Dean promises to fight back against the right's vicious partisanship. Clark's supporters see their man as someone who can transcend it. "Dean's rhetoric is not appealing to people who want a healing of the government, a healing of the American people from all this partisan warfare," says Richards. "I give a lot of credit to Dean for raising the alarm about Iraq, but in order to be elected president, you have to have some sort of credibility with all Americans, not just angry white liberals."

According to Ruy Teixeira, co-author of "The Emerging Democratic Majority," Clark's followers are right to suppose that their man's appeal is demographically broader than Dean's. In a post on the Emerging Democratic Majority blog, he analyzes an October Gallup poll to discern "The Demographics of Clarkism":

"While Clark receives more support than Dean among both men and women, his margin over Dean among women is just 3 points (16 percent to 13 percent), but an impressive 12 points among men (29 percent to 17 percent)," Teixeira points out. "He also beats Dean in every region of the country, but especially in the South (25 percent to 8 percent). Also intriguing is how well he does among low income voters (less than $20,000), clobbering Dean by 26 percent to 5 percent. In fact, Clark bests Dean in every income group up to $75,000. Above $75,000, Dean edges Clark, 26 percent to 25 percent."

Furthermore, unlike Dean, Clark seems to have significant support from black voters. He's been treated gently by Al Sharpton and endorsed by Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y. "When Charlie Rangel speaks up for somebody like General Clark, it speaks volumes in the black community," says Brazile.

Brooks-LaSure, an African-American who plans to work on communicating Clark's message to black communities nationwide, points out that when Dean spoke at a black church in South Carolina, the audience was primarily white. Clark, he insists, will appeal to black voters. "The general's experience growing up in Little Rock, and then in the military, where they boast of having more African-Americans in positions of management and leadership than any other organization in the world, you can tell [working with black people] is not something new for him," Brooks-LaSure says.

Finally, Clark has support among a constituency that doesn't relate to Dean at all -- those who think that Bush is a basically decent man who's doing a bad job as president.


Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Sorry, folks! No update today.

Wednesdays I see a nutritionist to help me shed some weight.

I've gained 80 pounds since Bush took office. (Fast food is my comfort.)

I've lost 51 of them.


Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Republicans have their panties in a wad of new Reagan movie

In a new movie, CBS portrays former president Reagan as mean, spiteful bigot. Good! They speak the truth.

According to the Drudge Report, The film depicts Nancy Reagan as a pill-popping control addict, who set the president's schedule based on her astrologer's advice and who had significant influence over White House personnel and policy decisions.

Also the truth. I remember the news items about that well.

It stresses Reagan's moments of forgetfulness and his supposed opinions on AIDS and gays, [they were STRONG feelings to be sure!)

During a scene in which his wife pleads with him to help people battling AIDS, Reagan says resolutely, "They that live in sin shall die in sin" and refuses to discuss the issue further.

Hey, who remembers the famous Reagan "sand nigger" quote?

And Reagan as a homophobe? So it ain't so! We would have never guessed it based on his words and deeds!

Speaking of the Reagan years, conservatives in general, and AIDS, the book Reagan's America sums the AIDS epidemic up well in regards to Reagan:

Not only was AIDS mysterious, without a known cause, but it mainly affected "promiscuous homosex-uals," which the New Right had been warning since Reagan's election would be the cause of terrible disasters for America. The problem was, explained the National Review, that homosexuals had recently broken their pact with all of us to stay out of sight and not stir up our homosexual feelings. "Homosexuals committed to fighting openly for their civil liberties are asking for it," they said.(43) Homosexuals who dared to demonstrate for more help for AIDS victims soon found themselves faced with anti-homosexual counter-demonstrations, with frightened, angry people carrying signs saying "DON'T DESTROY AMERICA WITH YOUR LUST." Soon the fantasy that AIDS was contracted from "contaminated blood" spread around the country,(44) reaching the deepest fear anyone can have, a fear which goes all the way back to the time in the womb when each of us was actually poisoned from time to time by the inability of our own placenta to cleanse the waste in our bloodstream .(45) link

Let's hope CBS doesn't bow to the pressure of the republinazis and shows the true story of Saint Reagan.

Former weapons inspector exposes “Big Lie” of Iraqi WMD

Former United Nations chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter’s latest book, Frontier Justice: Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Bushwhacking of America, is a scathing critique of the Bush administration’s main pretext for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Excellent review here.

Voters Describe Ideal Nominee

Majorities of likely Democratic voters in three states with early primaries or caucuses say they prefer a presidential nominee who supported military action against Iraq but criticized President Bush for failing to assemble international support over a candidate who opposed military action from the beginning, according to new polls conducted by the liberal Democracy Corps.

The polls, taken in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, also show a Democratic electorate sharply divided over Bush's request for $87 billion to fund military and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next year. Congress is preparing to vote on the president's request this week.

The findings in the new polls suggest that the divisions over Iraq within the party are less clear-cut than some strategists and candidates believe, or that support for U.S. action to remove former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein from power is a serious handicap in the battle for the Democratic nomination.

Democrats surveyed in the three states also listed foreign policy and national security experience as the most important attribute they are looking for in selecting a nominee. They rated that characteristic over such other choices as experience in Congress, being a decorated combat veteran, being a Washington outsider or having a blue-collar background.

So, take this into account when considering the nine democratic candidates. link

Monday, October 20, 2003

Study: Sexual Identity Hard-Wired by Genetics; Conservatives in Deep Denial

It must be a pain in the ass to be a conservative - always on the losing side of scientific debate.

Sexual identity is wired into the genes, which discounts the concept that homosexuality and transgender sexuality are a choice, California researchers reported on Monday.

"Our findings may help answer an important question -- why do we feel male or female?" Dr. Eric Vilain, a genetics professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, said in a statement. "Sexual identity is rooted in every person's biology before birth and springs from a variation in our individual genome."

"Our findings may explain why we feel male or female, regardless of our actual anatomy," said Vilain. "These discoveries lend credence to the idea that being transgender --- feeling that one has been born into the body of the wrong sex -- is a state of mind. link

If you would like to express your condolences to the Republican party for their failing political platform and their pandering to the religious right, here is their address:

Republican National Committee
310 First Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Might I suggest a nice fruit basket?

Are we expecting something.... big?

Top constitutional law scholars and political scientists will huddle in the Senate Judiciary Committee room all day next Monday to weigh the unfathomable: A nuclear device in Washington kills the president, vice president and everyone in the line of succession.

Along with members of Congress, the analysts will seek to determine whether the current system of presidential succession is adequate for the post-September 11 world ?— and if not investigate reforms to the system. Washington Times

Bin Laden Vows More Suicide Attacks

(Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has vowed to carry out more suicide attacks within the United States and against U.S. targets outside America to punish Washington for its "oppression", the Arabic satellite television Al Jazeera says.

"We, God willing, will continue to fight you and will continue martyrdom (suicide) operations inside and outside the United States until you abandon your oppression and foolish acts," said the text of an audio tape purportedly by bin Laden made available to Reuters by Al Jazeera.

Two observations. Now that Bush's approval ratings are in a steady decline, we need to be scared again to keep us in line. After all, there are attack plans for Iran and Syria and the good people in the US need to fall back in line...

And... why in the hell is Osama still a threat? Why is he still out there to make these threats? Oh, I remember, Bush though Saddam was more dangerous. link

The Howard Dean Hype Machine...

After I revealed last week that Wesley Clark is my choice for the Demnon, I received several e-mails from Howard Dean supporters trying to sell me on their man.

First of all, an endorsement from RightwingSlayer isn't at all coveted. I think any of the candidates will do well without it. Trust me.

But the tone of a few of the e-mails was almost confrontational, as though I had turned my back on the democratic party by not being in Dean's corner.

Well, I'm pretty disgusted with a small minority of militant Howard Dean supporters. I didn't say I was disgusted with Dean. Dean is a politician above anything else and he is not immune or above scrutiny, especially in light of what is at stake in 2004. He is a close third in my choice for demnom.

However, there is a little contingent of Dean supporters who can be downright vile in their support of this candidate. I recall reading somewhere that many of Dean's supporters are new to the political game and have never paid attention to politics until recently. I also personally heard a handful of supporters say this about themselves at the one Dean meet-up I attended. This might explain why some Dean supporters are so thin skinned when it comes to any critiques of him.

Josh Marshall at talkingpoints memo said it best:

There is an awfully distressing tendency among a minority of Dean supporters to serve up no end of lacerating comments about other candidates and then to react with a sort of stunned and outraged shock when anyone criticizes their guy. It's the flip side of seeing the race in such heroic, if not messianic dimensions.

The primary is actually not concluded yet. And, pace John Calvin, I assume the outcome is not predetermined. So it is still permitted to criticize Mr. Dean and not be an enemy of democracy.

Look. I'm tired of the game. I will support Howard Dean in a heartbeat if he gets the nod but I'm not fooled by him. He isn't the man many of his followers have made him out to be.
And although I appreciate the rabid support he has, some of these supporters can be downright funny when defending his record for something.

It typically goes like this on democratic message boards: Someone mentions something about Dean that contradictss the Dean myth. These Dean supporters swoop in with their spin machine and tell us exactly what Dean meant or was thinking when he said something. This hypothesis is then spread among the Deanie masses so when the original point comes up again, they say, "That has already been debunked."

Well, no, unless you can read Howard Dean's mind or have afternoon tea with him on a daily basis, the point hasn't been debunked. It has been spun.

Case in point - Dean's supposed anti-war stance. It's a myth.

The record shows Dean thought Saddam had WMDs and supported taking him out...

"I don't want Saddam to stay in power with control over those weapons of mass destruction. I want him to be disarmed."

"Every day that goes by, we destroy more of Saddam's weapons or the inspectors do."

"I think Iraq is automatically an imminent threat to the countries that surround it because of the possession of these weapons." link

Russert: ...and I'll show it to you. You said in January, Governor, "I would be surprised if (Saddam) didn't have chemicals and biological weapons."

Dean: Oh, well, I tend to believe the president. I think most Americans tends to believe the president.

Russert: What did you think of Senator John Kerry's comments that President Bush misled the country.

Dean: Well, I thought it was Senator Bob Graham that said that and I agree with that. And Bob Graham is in a position to know. He's a senior senator on the Intelligence Committee and...

Russert: No, John Kerry said the president misled us and...

Dean: Well, I wasn't aware that Senator Kerry said it. I knew Senator Graham had said it in Iowa. But I believe that. I think we were misled. link

So here is the setup. In these quotes, Dean believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction at one point, and then admits he was midled. Fine.

But then Dean hypocritically attacks John Kerry for claiming people had been misled:

"A bunch of the people who voted for this war are now saying, `Well, we were misled,' " said Dean. "The fact is you can't afford to be misled if you are running for president of the United States."

What's that called?

OK, let's take it further.

On January 31, Dean told Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times that "if Bush presents what he considered to be persuasive evidence that Iraq still had weapons of mass destruction, he would support military action, even without U.N. authorization."

And then on Feb. 20, Dean told that "if the U.N. in the end chooses not to enforce its own resolutions, then the U.S. should give Saddam 30 to 60 days to disarm, and if he doesn't, unilateral action is a regrettable, but unavoidable, choice."

Again, this was on January 31. A month or so later (see Dean quotes above), Dean appears to fully believe Saddam has WMDs. Apparantly, Dean (like a lot of people) believed Bush's false evidence.

Now, let's tie this up. We have Dean, fully believing Bush's false evidence, calling for military action even without U.N. authorization.

Dean, fully believing Saddam has WMDs, amends his view on February 20 by stating the US should give Saddam 30 to 60 days to disarm if the UN chooses not to enforce it's own decisions.

Sorry, people, Dean may be anti-war now, but he hasn't always been, and the belief that he was is one of many Dean myths.

But let me defend Dean a little bit.

Dean didn't propogate these myths. His supporters did. Supporters so desperate for an anti-Bush candidate they essentially created one.

I know I'll get e-mail on this - many pointing out the flaws my choice for demnom, Wesley Clark, has. Go ahead if you want. I've seen them all.

And diverting from Dean to Clark isn't a valid defense, anyway.

If you have been under the impression Dean was this big anti-war candidate, just admit that he was not. It doesn't have to change your other opinions on Dean.

However, if you really want an anti-war candidate, vote for Dennis Kucinich.

View the new DNC ad against the Bush administration by clicking the above picture... then go here and help put this puppy on TV!

Friday, October 17, 2003

God put Bush in charge, says the general hunting bin Laden!

If there was ever a defining moment showing just how whack this current administration is, we've arrived at it! The general leading the hunt for Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein (and doing an extraordinary job... NOT!) has publicly declared that the Christian God is "bigger" than Allah, who is a false "idol", and believes the war on terrorism is a fight with Satan, it emerged yesterday.

Investigative reporters from the Los Angeles Times and NBC television have dug up two years' worth of seemingly incendiary comments from Lt Gen William "Jerry" Boykin, the newly promoted deputy undersecretary of state of defense for intelligence.

Gen Boykin has repeatedly told Christian groups and prayer meetings that President George W Bush was chosen by God to lead the global fight against Satan.

He told one gathering: "Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. He's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this."

He also emerged from the conflict with a photograph of the Somalian capital Mogadishu bearing a strange dark mark. He has said this showed "the principalities of darkness. . . a demonic presence in that city that God revealed to me as the enemy".

Huh? Do they actually let this guy have guns? Did he leave his meds back in the states?
This guy sounds like a character from one of the Omen movies! more

Bush's War Plan Is Scarier Than He's Saying

The Widening Crusade

People close to the president say that his conversion to evangelical Methodism, after a life of aimless carousing, markedly informs his policies, both foreign and domestic. In the soon-to-be-published The Faith of George W. Bush (Tarcher/Penguin), a sympathetic account of this religious journey, author Stephen Mansfield writes (in the advance proofs) that in the election year 2000, Bush told Texas preacher James Robison, one of his spiritual mentors: "I feel like God wants me to run for president. I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. . . . I know it won't be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it."

Mansfield also reports: "Aides found him face down on the floor in prayer in the Oval Office."
The author concludes: " . . . the Bush administration does deeply reflect its leader, and this means that policy, even in military matters, will be processed in terms of the personal, in terms of the moral, and in terms of a sense of divine purpose that propels the present to meet the challenges of its time."

In his new book, Winning Modern Wars, retired general Wesley Clark, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, offered a window into the Bush serial-war planning. He writes that serious planning for the Iraq war had already begun only two months after the 9-11 attack, and adds:

"As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan. . . . I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned."

A five-year military campaign. Seven countries. How far has the White House taken this plan? And how long can the president keep the nation in the dark, emerging from his White House cocoon only to speak to us in slogans and the sterile language of pep rallies? more

The Nazis in Dubya's closet

If you're lucky enough to live in the Atlanta area, we have a great alternative newspaper called Creative Loafing which isn't afraid the print the stories that most media outlets won't. This is one such story...

Christiane Amanpour, CNN's fleet-footed foreign correspondent, committed the unthinkable a few weeks ago. She said what any observant person already knows: "Television and perhaps to an extent, my station, was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did."

The media -- not only TV but the daily press, too -- did indeed cower and cringe before the Bushies and the Fox stormtroopers.

Fox News adopted a strategy right from the playbook of Hitler aide Hermann Goering, who said during the Nuremberg trials, "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." A Fox spokesman responded to Amanpour with an adaptation of the Reichsmarshall's thoughts: "It's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."

Adolf Hitler wasn't entirely a German phenomenon. The rise of fascism had gleeful fans throughout Europe -- and in America. Henry Ford was one, as were many members of the British aristocracy.

And so were Dubya's grandfather, Prescott Bush, and his great-grandfather, George Herbert Walker. Walker was president of Union Banking Corp., and Prescott Bush was a board member. On Oct. 20, 1942, the federal government seized the assets of Union, declaring that it was "trading with the enemy." The bank was actually doing much more for the Nazis: It was a front for Germany's Thyssen financial conglomerate, the economic engine for Hitler's rise to power. Later, a variety of other Walker-Bush companies -- at least one a front for German espionage -- were also seized by the government.

While Walker and Bush probably deserved a firing squad, they were able to recover many of their assets after the war. The $1.5 million that Prescott pocketed was the foundation of the family's current fortune. more

Senate Defies Bush On Iraq Assistance

Jesus wasn't in Bush's corner this time, huh?

Defying weeks of intense White House lobbying, a narrowly divided Senate voted last night to convert half of President Bush's $20.3 billion Iraq rebuilding plan into a loan that would be forgiven if other donor nations write off the debt incurred by the ousted government of Saddam Hussein.

The Senate vote was a rare defeat for Bush in the GOP-led Congress, and it came after his intensive personal involvement. It indicated the depth of misgivings about the request among lawmakers of both parties and the constituents who have flooded them with protest letters and calls. Bush has maintained that a loan would confirm Middle Eastern suspicions of U.S. motives in Iraq, but Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said no amount of money is going to change the minds of those who believe the administration invaded for Iraq's oil.

"I don't want to give in to a great lie. You can't buy your way out of this problem," said Graham, one of the five Republican co-authors of the Senate's loan provision. "You can't take $10 billion of taxpayer money, [while] people are losing their jobs, to buy your way out of a great lie. It would be terrible if the people of this country who have sacrificed so much wound up not getting a dime back." more

Hey! You guys paying attention?

Looky looky at the two top stories on Yahoo! News...

Oh, the irony!!!!

Comments? Suggestions? E-mail me here...

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Ex-Aide: Powell LIED To Americans!

Good googly moogly! Anyone see 60 Minutes II last night? The guest was Greg Thielmann, a former expert on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Thielmann, a foreign-service officer for 25 years, said that key evidence in the speech Colin Powell gave to the United Nations to make the case for the invasion was misrepresented and the public was deceived.

Thielmann's last job at the State Department was director of the Office of Strategic Proliferation and Military Affairs, which was responsible for analyzing the Iraqi weapons threat for Secretary Powell. He and his staff had the highest security clearances, and everything – whether it came into the CIA or the Defense Department – came through his office.

In other words, he was tight with Colin and says Colin LIED!

How many dumbasses fell for it? Remember those stupid-ass maps they showed with the funny shapes that they said were trucks and laboratories and stuff? Lies. All lies.

“We were told we were going to the site to look for refrigerated trucks specifically linked to biological agents,” says Allinson. “We found 7 or 8 of them I think in total. And they had cobwebs in them. Some samples were taken and nothing was found.”

The really hysterical thing is that after all the evidence to the contrary in the past 9 months or so, some people still believe that Iraq had WMDs.

Hell! I got death threats for daring to suggest that Bush and his thugs were lying about this! But here it is all spelled out. Read the CBS 60 Minutes II story here...

And, as an extra bonus, here is a handy dandy little video of Powell and Condolezza Rice both saying in 2001 that Saddam was NO THREAT and he had no WMDs!

Pass this one around to all of your friends!


The Sins of September 11 By William Rivers Pitt

I am beginning to despise reading. I have lost count of the number of times I have read some passage in a politically-oriented book, and then been uncontrollably motivated to hurl said book against a wall or across the room in fury. My library looks like someone took a weed-whacker to it; all the dust-jackets have taken a fearsome beating.

The book currently on my desk has begun to retain a damaged appearance. Sidney Blumenthal's "The Clinton Wars" is a meticulously researched and foot-noted tour de force through the last ten years of the brainless savagery of American politics. The retelling of the contrived scandals clarioned by a media establishment which abandoned any pretense of journalistic integrity, pushed by a cabal of House members and right-wing activists whose worshipped altar was the desire for raw power, and the sad and sorry tale of the impeachment itself, is a difficult but necessary review of a truly pathetic time in our history. Blumenthal manages to bring his readers back to that tar pit, and keep them enthralled, with an excellent and deft literary touch.

Since I have read most of the other books on the scandal-gasm and impeachment, there was not much through the middle of this book that brought me up short, though Blumenthal does present interviews and perspectives of players on both sides of that aisle which are not present in the other histories (It was amusing to read Congressional impeachment warrior James Rogan speak of being "On the wrong side of history" regarding the trial in the Senate). No, the book began to take its obligatory pounding when I reached page 656, and the second part of the chapter entitled "The Twenty-First Century."

The astounding level of blunt ignorance within the American populace about the events surrounding the attacks of September 11 cannot be easily quantified. In a nation with thousands of newspapers, thousands of radio stations, and a ceaseless data stream from CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS and PBS, some 70% of the population believed as late as a month ago that Saddam Hussein was centrally involved in and personally responsible for the attacks which destroyed the Towers and struck the Pentagon. Beyond that, what most people know about the single most important event in American history does not go much beyond "evildoers" who "hate our freedom."

That is, simply, incredible. It is also not an accident. This ignorance has a great deal to do with the stunning mediocrity of the television news media, that empty well where most Americans go to become informed. This ignorance also, and far more importantly, has a great deal to do with the Clinton-era actions of a large number of conservatives, many of whom are in positions of power today, many of whom are now making careers out of September 11.

The two great myths that have settled across the nation, beyond the Hussein-9/11 connection, are that Clinton did not do enough during his tenure to stop the spread of radical terrorist organizations like al Qaeda, and that the attacks themselves could not have been anticipated or stopped. Blumenthal's insider perspective on these matters bursts the myths entirely, and reveals a level of complicity regarding the attacks within the journalistic realm and the conservative political ranks that is infuriating and disturbing.

Starting in 1995, Clinton took actions against terrorism that were unprecedented in American history. He poured billions and billions of dollars into counterterrorism activities across the entire spectrum of the intelligence community. He poured billions more into the protection of critical infrastructure. He ordered massive federal stockpiling of antidotes and vaccines to prepare for a possible bioterror attack. He order a reorganization of the intelligence community itself, ramming through reforms and new procedures to address the demonstrable threat. Within the National Security Council, "threat meetings" were held three times a week to assess looming conspiracies. His National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, prepared a voluminous dossier on al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, actively tracking them across the planet. Clinton raised the issue of terrorism in virtually every important speech he gave in the last three years of his tenure. In 1996, Clinton delivered a major address to the United Nations on the matter of international terrorism, calling it "The enemy of our generation."

Behind the scenes, he leaned vigorously on the leaders of nations within the terrorist sphere. In particular, he pushed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to assist him in dealing with the threat from neighboring Afghanistan and its favorite guest, Osama bin Laden. Before Sharif could be compelled to act, he was thrown out of office by his own army. His replacement, Pervez Musharraf, pointedly refused to do anything to assist Clinton in dealing with these threats. Despite these and other diplomatic setbacks, terrorist cell after terrorist cell were destroyed across the world, and bomb plots against American embassies were thwarted. Because of security concerns, these victories were never revealed to the American people until very recently.

In America, few people heard anything about this. Clinton's dire public warnings about the threat posed by terrorism, and the massive non-secret actions taken to thwart it, went completely unreported by the media, which was far more concerned with stained dresses and baseless Drudge Report rumors. When the administration did act militarily against bin Laden and his terrorist network, the actions were dismissed by partisans within the media and Congress as scandalous "wag the dog" tactics. The TV networks actually broadcast clips of the movie "Wag The Dog" to accentuate the idea that everything the administration was doing was contrived fakery.

The bombing of the Sundanese factory at al-Shifa, in particular, drew wide condemnation from these quarters, despite the fact that the CIA found and certified VX nerve agent precursor in the ground outside the factory, despite the fact that the factory was owned by Osama bin Laden's Military Industrial Corporation, and despite the fact that the manager of the factory lived in bin Laden's villa in Khartoum. The book "Age of Sacred Terror" quantifies the al-Shifa issue thusly: "The dismissal of the al-Shifa attack as a scandalous blunder had serious consequences, including the failure of the public to comprehend the nature of the al Qaeda threat."

In Congress, Clinton was thwarted by the reactionary conservative majority in virtually every attempt he made to pass legislation that would attack al Qaeda and terrorism. His 1996 omnibus terror bill, which included many of the anti-terror measures we now take for granted after September 11, was withered almost to the point of uselessness by attacks from the right; Jesse Helms and Trent Lott were openly dismissive of the threats Clinton spoke of.

Clinton wanted to attack the financial underpinnings of the al-Qaeda network by banning American companies and individuals from dealing with foreign banks and financial institutions that al Qaeda was using for its money-laundering operations. Texas Senator Phil Gramm, chairman of the Banking Committee, killed Clinton's bill on this matter and called it "totalitarian." In fact, he was compelled to kill the bill because his most devoted patrons, the Enron Corporation and its criminal executives in Houston, were using those same terrorist financial networks to launder their own dirty money and rip off the Enron stockholders.

Just before departing office, Clinton managed to make a deal with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to have some twenty nations close tax havens used by al Qaeda. His term ended before the deal was sealed, and the incoming Bush administration acted immediately to destroy the agreement. According to Time magazine, in an article entitled "Banking on Secrecy" published in October of 2001, Bush economic advisors Larry Lindsey and R. Glenn Hubbard were urged by think tanks like the Center for Freedom and Prosperity to opt out of the coalition Clinton had formed. The conservative Heritage Foundation lobbied Bush's Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill, to do the same. In the end, the lobbyists got what they wanted, and the Bush administration pulled America out of the plan. The Time article stated, "Without the world's financial superpower, the biggest effort in years to rid the world's financial system of dirty money was short-circuited."

This laundry list of partisan catastrophes goes on and on. Far from being inept on the matter of terrorism, Clinton was profoundly activist in his attempts to address terrorism. Much of his work was foiled by right-wing Congressional conservatives who, simply, refused to accept the fact that he was President. These men, paid to work for the public trust, spent eight years working diligently to paralyze any and all Clinton policies, including anti-terror initiatives that, if enacted, would have gone a long way towards thwarting the September 11 attacks. Beyond them lay the worthless television media, which ignored and spun the terrorist issue as it pursued salacious leaks from Ken Starr's office, leaving the American people drowning in a swamp of ignorance on a matter of deadly global importance.

Over and above the theoretical questions regarding whether or not Clinton's anti-terror policies, if passed, would have stopped September 11 lies the very real fact that attacks very much like 9/11 were, in fact, stopped dead by the Clinton administration. The most glaring example of this came on December 31, 1999, when the world gathered to celebrate the passing of the millennium. On that night, al Qaeda was gathering as well.

The terrorist network planned to simultaneously attack the national airports in Washington DC and Los Angeles, the Amman Raddison Hotel in Jordan, a constellation of holy sites in Israel, and the USS The Sullivans at dock in Yemen. Each and every single one of these plots, which ranged from one side of the planet to the other, was foiled by the efforts of the Clinton administration. Speaking for the first time about these millennium plots, in a speech delivered to the Coast Guard Academy on May 17, 2000, Clinton said, "I want to tell you a story that, unfortunately, will not be the last example you will have to face."


Clinton proved that Osama bin Laden and his terror network can be foiled, can be thwarted, can be stopped. The multifaceted and complex nature of the international millennium plots rivals the plans laid before September 11, and involved counter-terrorism actions within several countries and across the entire American intelligence and military community. All resources were brought to bear, and the terrorists went down to defeat. The proof is in the pudding here. September 11, like the millennium plots, could have been avoided.

Couple this with other facts about the Bush administration we now have in hand. The administration was warned about a massive terror plot in the months before September by the security services of several countries, including Israel, Egypt, Germany and Russia. CIA Director George Tenet delivered a specific briefing on the matter to the administration on August 8, 2001. The massive compendium of data on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda compiled by Sandy Berger, and delivered to Condoleezza Rice upon his departure, went completely and admittedly unread until the attacks took place. The attacks themselves managed, for over an hour, to pierce the most formidable air defense system in the history of the Earth without a single fighter aircraft taking wing until the catastrophe was concluded.

It is not fashionable these days to pine for the return of William Jefferson Clinton. Given the facts above, and the realities we face about the administration of George W. Bush, and the realities we endure regarding the aftermath of September 11, the United States of America would be, and was, well served by its previous leader. That we do not know this, that September 11 happened at all, that it was such a wretched shock to the American people, that we were so woefully unprepared, can be laid at the feet of a failed news media establishment, and at the feet of a pack of power-mad conservative extremists who now have a great deal to atone for.

Had Clinton been heeded, the measures he espoused would have been put in place, and a number of powerful bulwarks would have been thrown into the paths of those commercial airplanes. Had the news media been something other than a purveyor of masturbation fantasies from the far-right, the American people would have know the threats we faced, and would have compelled their Congressmen to act. Had Congress itself been something other than an institution ruled by narrow men whose only desire was to break a sitting President by any means necessary, we would very probably still have a New York skyline dominated by two soaring towers.

Had the Bush administration not continued this pattern of gross partisan ineptitude and heeded the blitz of domestic and international warnings, instead of trooping off to Texas for a month-long vacation, had Bush's National Security Advisor done one hour's worth of her homework, we probably would not be in the grotesque global mess that currently envelops us. Never forget that many of the activists who pushed throughout the 1990s for the annihilation of all things Clinton are now foursquare in charge of the country today.

These are the sins of September 11. Thank you, Sidney. I'm sorry I broke your book.

Oooh! Here is an interesting footnote to the above story...

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton warned President George W. Bush before he left office in 2001 that Osama bin Laden was the biggest security threat the United States faced, Clinton said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a luncheon sponsored by the History Channel, Clinton said he discussed security issues with Bush in his "exit interview," a formal and often candid meeting between a sitting president and the president-elect.

"In his campaign, Bush had said he thought the biggest security issue was Iraq and a national missile defense," Clinton said. "I told him that in my opinion, the biggest security problem was Osama bin Laden."


Space set to become war zone, warns US general. pssst! everything is a war zone for the current unelected fraud and his thugs in the white house...

Space may become a war zone in the not-too-distant future, a senior US military officer said today, hours after China became only the third country after the US and the former Soviet Union to put a man in space.

"In my view it will not be long before space becomes a battleground," Lieutenant General Edward Anderson, deputy commander of US Northern Command, said in response to a question at a geospatial intelligence conference in New Orleans.

"Our military forces ... depend very, very heavily on space capabilities, and so that is a statement of the obvious to our potential threat, whoever that may be," he said. story

Uh oh! Someone has the panties in a wad because China is making great progress in their space program. So, naturally, now space will become a little turf war for the Bushies (as though space had oil!)

Earlier in the day, Rich Haver, former special assistant for intelligence to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, said he expected battles in space within the next two decades.

"I believe space is the place we will fight in the next 20 years," said Haver, now vice president for intelligence strategy at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.

Damn! Can't you just hear John Williams' "Darth Vader's March" as you read that? Duh duh duh duh duhuh duh duhduh!

"There are executive orders that say we don't want to do that. There's been a long-standing US policy to try to keep space a peaceful place, but ... we have in space assets absolutely essential to the conduct of our military operations, absolutely essential to our national security. They have been there for many years." Haver said.

Oh, yeah? Since when did rules designed to promote peace ever stop you guys?

As always, email me here with comments....

Sorry! No updates today. Busy busy busy. Catch me tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I can't find an overwhelmingly big story to lead off with today so I guess I'll mention this...

The Bush administration is telling us Saad bin Laden, one of Osama bin Laden's oldest sons, has emerged in recent months as part of the upper echelon of the al Qaeda network.

I can believe that. No reason not too, right? Just makes sense. However, here is where the believability factor gets a little, shall we say, stretched.

They say this small group of al Qaeda leaders are managing the terrorist organization from Iran.

Are we seeing a pattern here? First, we're told Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Now we're told they're harboring al Qaeda.

I might be more inclined to believe this if we weren't fed a very similar story about Iraq. Which, by the way, has turned out to be completely bogus.

If anyone backs an invasion of Iran, they're dumbasses. Don't e-mail me whining about mushroom clouds and other republican talking points. We are being lied to, have been before, and will be again.

Mr. Bush needs to concentrate on our real enemies - North Korea and Saudi Arabia - the former of which actually has nukes and hates us and the latter of which has already caused us the most damage.

Speaking of the military, Bush is selling out our armed services again!

It would be comedic if it weren't so sad. AWOL Bush, who was supposed to be strong on the military, is preparing to sell them out again!

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is planning to close at least 100 of the nation's 425 military bases — more than in the four previous rounds of base closures combined — beginning in 2005, Pentagon insiders said Monday.

Rumsfeld is expected to submit to the congressional Base Closure and Realignment Commission a plan to shutter as many as one-third of Army bases, one-quarter of Air Force bases and a smaller fraction of Marine Corps and Navy bases, a senior defense official said on condition of anonymity.

(Gotta fund World War III, yesireee!)

Such a proposal would guarantee a political firestorm on Capitol Hill, where members jealously protect the bases in their home states or districts. I can't wait to hear how the republican house and senate spins this one!

Blackbox Voting - Electronic Voting Machine Tampering

If you read me much last year, I wrote a few times about electronic voting machines and how they've been manipulated to give republinazis victories in congressional races. Well, the story - and book - is finally out. And it is very scary.

Instead of giving too much away, I'll let you read about it yourself. Here are the first 7 chapter of the excellent book, Black Box Voting:

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7

Check this site out daily for more updates and information.

Look for more updates throughout the day...

Monday, October 13, 2003

Many soldiers, same letter!

Well, I'm sure by now you've seen this story. Its the same old rightwing propaganda ploy. First, you write a well articulated letter, then you have individuals send that letter in to newspapers with their name's listed as the author.

In this instance, the letter is designed to give the impression that things are going well in Iraq. A Gannett News Service search found identical letters from different soldiers with the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, also known as "The Rock," in 11 newspapers!

Here is an example. Here is another. And another.

This shouldn't surprise you. You might recall (if you followed Rightwing Slayer last year) that there was a similar incident where over 20 identical letters signed by different people appeared in newspapers from Anchorage to Atlanta.

Oh, them silly silly republicans! BUSTED again!

Yep! Things are going so well in Iraq that the Army is investigating a rash of soldier suicides!

First, I'm not making a joke about this. I think it is terrible. But it kinda puts the above story into perspective, huh?

Alarmed by the number of suicides among soldiers in Iraq, the Army has asked a team of doctors to determine whether the stress of combat and long deployments is contributing to the deaths.

"The number of suicides has caused the Army to be concerned," said Lt. Col. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, a psychiatrist at the Army's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. Ritchie is helping to investigate the suicides in Iraq. " Is there something different going on in Iraq that we really need to pay attention to?"



Monkeys Control Robotic Arm With Brain Implants

Ooh! Check this one out:

Scientists in North Carolina have built a brain implant that lets monkeys control a robotic arm with their thoughts, marking the first time that mental intentions have been harnessed to move a mechanical object.


Well, this story has it wrong! I know on good authority that this technology was developed deep inside a republican think tank in the year 2000!

E-mail E-mail!!

I am so glad to see your back in track. I honestly thought something had happened to you (either "they" had killed you, or you had killed yourself eating too much fast food writing your blog). Anyway, keep up the good job...

greetings from brussels, belgium (the "chocolate makers" - and we're damn good at it too!), "old europe"


Yo, Jamie! Happy to be back!

Welcome back. The Repugs need some serious smacking and your timing is excellent.


Hey, Mark! I intend to do all I can do!

Glad to see that you are back! You are so good at what you do with this site. I am sure there are many of us out there who pleased with your return.

Can't wait to keep up with the site again.


Everyone, meet Heather. She's on my payroll. (Just kidding!)

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Edna Miller

Edna, you been talking to my wife?

The Daily Mislead - Bush Tried to Take Funds from Military School Kids to Pay for Iraqi-Afghan Policies

President Bush attempted to slash money from the program that pays to educate the children of military men and women even while saying, "Our men and women in uniform give America their best and we owe them our support."

At the same time the President lauded the "great courage" of the soldiers he sent to Iraq, he requested major cuts in the Impact Aid program that provides funds for the schooling of the 900,0004 children of military families. Bush tried to take $172 million from Impact Aid and shortchange its funding by $583 million under the No Child Left Behind Act. The cutbacks would have directly affected children of troops currently deployed in Iraq.

The cutbacks were part of Bush's budgetary effort to find $87 billion for his policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, which include $40 million for school programs to benefit Iraqi children.

Congress defied the President on his cutbacks, however. The House added $223 million to Impact Aid, and the Senate slightly less. Apparently, Bush will accept the funding rather than resort to a veto. Link

BUSH CLASS GOVERNMENT- BY GREED By Stephen Crockett and Al Lawrence

The Bush Class is best thought of in economic terms as the wealthiest 1% of the American public. The Bush Class is a convenient way of describing the politically active Republican Right Wing element that dominates this group. The Bush Class designs political programs, policies and procedures as ways of increasing the wealth and power of their group. In political terms, the group is self-servicing- and economically powerful! Money has given the Bush Class control of most major media outlets (radio, TV, newspapers, magazines), political organizations, think tanks, universities, publishing companies, our large corporations and, for the most part, our government.

Under George W. Bush, the Bush Class has been in a feeding frenzy at the expense of the public treasury. They have been gorging themselves on the taxpayers?’ dollars. Bush Republicans have completely turned against the traditional conservative devotion to a balanced federal budget. They now seek massive private profit for themselves from the federal treasury. They gave themselves massive income, capital gains and inheritance tax cuts. Payroll income taxes (Social Security, Medicare, etc.), which are largely paid by the working poor and middle class Americans, were not cut. The Super Rich pay a lower percentage of their total income in payroll taxes than working Americans. The richer they are the lower the percentage they pay.

These tax cuts for the wealthy are largely made possible by borrowing from the Social Security Fund and by government borrowing back the same money (with interest) from the Super Rich.

The Bush Class has used the War on Terrorism and the conflict in Iraq to steer government funds into the hands of their Corporate financial backers. ?“No bid?” contracts to Haliburton, large Republican campaign donors and firms involved in questionable voter purges call for Independent Federal Prosecutors and public Congressional hearings.

Efforts to break unions are rampant in this Republican Administration. Moves to privatize government services are designed to punish unions who oppose the Corporate political agenda and to reward Corporate backers with government money. Assaults on our national parks by timber, mining and oil interests are part of the Bush Class political agenda. The collapse of effective environmental and anti-monopoly regulation under the Bush Republicans will permanently hurt our environment and economy for the personal profit of a few.

OK, folks - more later!