Saturday, June 24, 2006

Should The "Coalition Of The Willing" Withdraw From Iraq?

Moot point for many because several countries have decided to do just that. But here's my take on this.

The decision to start this war was black or white (it was black). Now the situation is anything but.

Withdraw immediately? Withdraw immediately with residual troops? By "residual troops" I mean with additional cannon fodder and deaths. Withdraw when asked by the Iraqi government? Redeploy nearby? Stay? Reduce troops?

All these options should be explored, argued and considered. Who's doing this? Certainly not the GOP. The "divided Dems" are the ones discussing the different possibilities. To me it cries out CHOICE.

With the GOP you have one choice...stay indefinitely and guarantee many more troops and Iraqis killed and maimed. Stay indefinitely and kill many more innocent Iraqis, including women and children. Stay indefinitely and drive our own troops insane and into committing more heinous acts. Stay indefinitely and assure the US is completely bankrupt. Stay indefinitely and destroy America's standing in the world for many years.

The GOP is unified, but unified around a policy that will kill thousands more. To hell with that unified position.

Boy Repugs Are Morons Without A Script

Maybe the Repugs should dis-allow Cheney to speak without a script in addition to the idiot.
Vice President Dick Cheney, in town Friday for a political fund-raiser, defended the Bush administration's surveillance of phone calls and international bank transactions, saying the programs were "absolutely essential" to protecting Americans against future terrorist attacks.

"The fact of the matter is that these are good, solid, sound programs," Cheney said. "They are conducted in accordance with the laws of the land. They're carried in a manner that is fully consistent with the constitutional authority of the president of the United States."

'Terrible idea' to leave Iraq now

Cheney said the finance tracking program, which started soon after the Sept. 11 attacks and was disclosed by the New York Times on Friday, is designed to monitor the movement of funds related to al-Qaida and other groups.

He lambasted the media for breaking the story, "thereby making it more difficult for us to prevent future attacks against the American people. That offends me." [emphasis mine]

Bullshit. Dim Son is acting "consistent with...contitutional authority" has not been established because Bushco kills any attempt by anyone to challenge that assertion in court by claiming "state secrets".

I don't know about you, but the term "state secrets" makes my skin crawl. State and secret in the same sentence make me think of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Tito and many others for whom I hold no admiration.

And he's killing another messenger. Jesus H Christ on holiday these people are repugnent. The NY Times has broken a few stories the US really needed and each time they were attacked as if traitors.

Quit your fucking crying. When your actions are exposed, defend them or shut the fuck up. Stop attacking the news media who are calling you out. If you aren't cowards you should stand up and offer explanations for your decisions.

These chickenhawks are disgusting.

(read more)

The Next Few Weeks Should Be Exciting

Apparently the SCOTUS likes to finish with a bang. They've reserved some pretty explosive cases for the end of their session and these are biggies.
The Supreme Court has had divisive rulings this year on the environment, police power and whistleblowers, and the justices are not even through with their hardest cases.

The high court is on a tight deadline to finish before July, when justices begin a three-month break that provides time for traveling, teaching classes, writing books and relaxing.

As usual, justices have left some of the most significant cases to the very end. There are 10 rulings left, on issues from a president's wartime powers, capital punishment, Texas' political boundaries and the insanity defense.

The old SCOTUS does have a sense of the dramatic, huh?

So, how do you think the votes will go? I'd predict, but just don't have enough knowledge about the cases. Maybe Christy Hardin Smith, the artist attorney formerly known as ReddHead, at Firedoglake or Jerilyn Merrit of TalkLeft could shed some light on these issues.

Saudi Arabia Doesn't Understand How Its Done

What's wrong with the Saudis? Where are the bombers with 500 lb bombs? Where are the RPGs?
Forty suspected Islamic militants have been arrested in raids across Saudi Arabia, according to state television.

It said four suspected terrorists including an Iraqi were arrested at their hideout in the northeastern town of Hafr al-Baten. That raid led to the arrest of nine other Saudis.

Another 27 men - 24 Saudis, two Somalis and an Ethiopian - were detained in other parts of the country.

Then there's the 2005 story from Australia.

Couple those with the story of the 7 alleged terrorists arrested in Miami and it becomes very clear. Human itelligence and solid law enforcement work is the way to end terrorism. Ferret out terrorists at the planning stage and eliminate the threats before they coalesce. Attacking countries and killing its citizens, including the innocents, is criminal.

You might have noticed no references to Bushco and how they invade rather than do the hard work. Consider it implied.

Note: That picture is of the Australian raid which netted 17 suspected terrorists.

Cat Blogging

Such a cute smile.

You Are In Danger!

I lifted this comment from Agitprop by Divajood.

This is a quote from Nazi leader Herman Goering: "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to do the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

And, I might add, it always pays to scare the people fairly close to election time to be sure they keep the bad guys in office.

All true, but I want to take a different tack on this story.

The problem is the left grabbing this to yell the sky is falling. Come on now. This is what you pay the intelligence communities and law enforcement organisations to do. I'm sure many more terrorist plots are thwarted all the time. Out of 250 million people, there have to be a hefty number of screwballs who are sitting around "planning" to attack something. And I'm certain of that because Bushco has continually whipped the populace into a fearful frenzy. Those near the edge begin to fall over it.

So its fair to blame the Bushcos for catapulting this story out here for US to salivate over, but give the intelligence and law enforcement people props for doing a good job. In this case it makes perfect sense to shoot the messenger (only).

Friday, June 23, 2006

This Is Just Too Damn Funny

Saddam Hussein on "extended" hunger strike.
Saddam Hussein ended a brief hunger strike after missing just one meal in his U.S.-run prison, a U.S. military spokesman said Friday.

The former Iraqi leader had refused lunch Thursday in protest at the killing of one of his lawyers by gunmen, but the spokesman said he ate his evening meal.

I've often gone 4-5 days without eating. I just didn't get hungry. But Saddam can't compete with me I guess. What a wimp.

H/T NTodd

The Truth About Minimum Wage

Raising the minimum wage will cost jobs. I don't believe that, but many people do. It seems like common sense, right? Well read on.
Suppose that the senators who support a quick withdrawal from Iraq got in the habit of saying that the United States should get out of Iraq because losing 100 U.S. soldiers a day is an unacceptable price for the occupation. Would the media simple report this claim without comment? Or, would they point out that these senators apparently don’t realize that the fatality rate is approximately 2 per day?

My guess is that every story that noted the claim that 100 soldiers a day are being killed would correct this assertion based on an authoritative source on the causality count. The media would probably also run numerous stories that reported on the fact that the proponents of a hasty withdrawal have no idea what they are talking about. This would be good journalism.

The question is why it is not applied to the debate over the minimum wage. Reporters routinely quote claims from politicians opposed to raising the minimum to the effect that it would lead to a large loss of jobs and will slow economic growth. Well, we have evidence on this one. Economists have done numerous studies of the impact of modest increases of the minimum wage, like the one currently being debated. Berkeley economist David Card and Princeton economist Alan Krueger have done some of the most famous studies, but many other economists have approached the topic from different angles (including my colleague at CEPR John Schmitt [sorry, not available on-line]), and nearly all of them have found that the minimum wage has little or no effect on employment. [emphasis mine]

Case closed.

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Yeah, Things Are Really Getting Better In Iraq

There's just no end to the uplifting horrific stories coming out of Iraq. Like this one.

(Update below)
Iraqi forces have found five bullet-riddled bodies of government employees abducted two days ago as the top US military chief in Iraq accused Iran of fomenting terror in the war-torn country.

The bodies of the five industry ministry employees, believed to be Shiites, were found at Mishada, north of Baghdad and brought to Kadhimiyah hospital in the capital, an interior ministry official said Friday.

More than 60 employees of factories owned by the ministry were kidnapped Wednesday by masked gunmen as they were heading home after work at Taji, 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Baghdad.

The kidnappers on Thursday released almost half of the hostages who were Sunnis, highlighting the crime's sectarian nature. [emphasis mine]

Folks, the people fighting and bombing in Iraq don't need any fomenting from Iran. They can foment themselves.

Or this story (Courtesy link. This is the whole article.).
At least 10 people were killed and 18 others wounded in a suicide car bomb attack in Iraq's southern city of Basra, police have said.

Police said Friday the suicide bomber's car exploded near a service station in the centre of Basra city at about 1200 noon (0800 GMT).

The British military, whose forces are based in southern Iraq, said it had no information on the attack.

Have found no stories about schools being painted. These two stories are about as good as it gets right now.

Update: It seems this is gonna be a very bad day in Iraq.
At least 12 people have been killed and 20 others wounded when a roadside bomb went off outside a Sunni mosque north of Baghdad as worshippers were leaving Friday prayers.

The bomb went off a few meters from the Sunni Hibhib Al-Kabir mosque in the village of Hibhib, close to the restive city of Baquba.

The bomb was placed close to the rear door of the mosque, police said, adding that the front gate of the shrine was closed for security reasons.

On June 7, US forces killed Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Hibhib.

(Courtesy link. That's the whole article above.)

They're People, People

Even if this is a correct ruling according to the law, it isn't justice. Yes he broke the law, but he was only 16 years old at the time.
In the years after he settled in the United States, Humberto "Bert" Fernandez-Vargas lived the American dream. He worked hard, paid taxes, fell in love and had a child.

But after more than three decades, he ended up where he started from: Mexico. On Thursday, Fernandez-Vargas' hopes of returning any time soon to his adopted home and reuniting with his family were crushed by an opinion handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The high court said the former Ogden trucking company owner - who was sent back to his native Mexico in 2004 - is covered by a law that allows a 25-year-old deportation order against him to be reinstated. The decision means Fernandez-Vargas will have to wait at least 20 years to return to Utah unless he receives a waiver from the U.S. government.


"Unfortunately, this case demonstrates the harshness of the immigration laws," said Barbara Hines, a University of Texas law professor who oversees the school's immigration clinic. "The decision will affect many hardworking immigrants and needlessly separate families."

J. Christopher Keen, an Orem attorney for Fernandez-Vargas, said in a written statement that the opinion potentially could affect thousands of people, especially immigrants in the nine states that make up the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which previously had ruled differently from the Supreme Court on the same issue that arose in the Fernandez-Vargas case. Ninth Circuit states include California, Arizona and Nevada.

"Before, they could adjust their status, and now they can't," Keen said. "This illustrates the tragedy of the immigration system and how immigration laws tear families apart. There doesn't seem to be any room for mercy."

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US Pushing SKorea and China To Help With NKorea

The US is trying to stop NKorea from launching their ICBM.
South Korea and China were urged to take a tougher line on North Korea when Washington warned that Pyongyang would pay a price if it launched a ballistic missile. [emphasis mine]

Let's see. What other countries has Bushco made pay a price. Oh yeah, Afganistan and Iraq. And those prices have been dear.

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Bush Undeniably Knew Bin Laden Would Attack

If Ron Suskind is correct in his new book that is.

I've always said I thought the look on the idiot's face after the 9/11 attacks was shock. Not because the attack on the WTC happened. He knew an attack was imminent, but he was shocked by the enormity of what happened. His pea brain probably thought something on the order of the bomb at the Federal Building in Oklahoma was coming.
The book’s opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush’s Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president’s attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US.” Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.”

We do know from other sources, like CNN, how Bush was briefed on the likelyhood of an attack and its reasonable to believe, having seen Bush do nothing, the CIA made absolutely sure he was given the info personally.

If this is true, you can thank the idiot-in-chief for allowing it. Guess you could call the moron an enabler.

Via Pandagon.

Just Spread This Everywhere

Ann Coulter on Cavuto's show.
Cavuto: You know there is talk about him maybe bolting to a third party and that-seeds are there for a third party movement.

Coulter: I think he [Lieberman] should just come all the [sic] and become a Republican. He wouldn't be our best Republican...

He's doing a pretty fine job acting as a Republican at this point... [emphasis mine]

Via Crooks and Liars who has the video.

Another Stolen Records Story

I've posted before, but can't find it, about how every organisation, company and government agency should give strict orders that no one's personal information is to be taken home on a laptop. If the info is needed for work at home, it should be put on a thumb drive or other removable storage device and never left with the laptop.
First the Department of Veteran Affairs. Now the Federal Trade commission. Laptops from government agencies are a hot item.

The agency today said two FTC attorneys' laptops containing the personal information of 110 people were stolen from a locked vehicle last week.

The theft was announced one month after a laptop containing the personal information from millions of veterans was stolen from an employee of the Department of Veteran Affairs.

The FTC laptops included names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and financial account numbers gathered in law enforcement investigations for defendants in current and past FTC cases.

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A Fine Post Over At Bad Attitudes

Wayne Uff at Bad Attitudes does a good job of shooting down the Repugs' "you are for the war or you are for defeat" bullshit. Use this info, Dems.

Wayne finishes with this.
So no, Democrats, you are not "against the war on terror" if you vote to get out of Iraq eventually. In fact, that is a vote to start - five years too late to be sure, but better late than never - a real war on the murderers of 9/11.

Not So Surprising

(Update below)

There's a pretty good chance you'll see more of this between now and November.
Seven people were arrested Thursday in connection with the early stages of a plot to attack Chicago's Sears Tower and other buildings in the U.S., including the
FBI office here, a federal law enforcement official said.

As part of the raids related to the arrests, FBI agents swarmed a warehouse in Miami's Liberty City area, using a blowtorch to take off a metal door. A neighbor said the suspects had been sleeping in the warehouse while running what seemed to be a "military boot camp."

The official told The Associated Press the alleged plotters were mainly Americans with no apparent ties to al-Qaida or other foreign terrorist organizations. He spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt news conferences planned for Friday in Washington and Miami. [emphasis mine]

Before the wingers grab this and start screaming 9/11!, 9/11!, 9/11! take note these are independents and not Osama's people. I repeat, they are not part of al-Qaeda.

But the wingers will run with this because "this is why tapping our phones is good" or "even non-Arabs can be terrorists" or "we have to spy on Americans too".

The details are sketchy for now, but what I've read tells me chances are this plot was uncovered the way most law enforcement is accomplished... human intel (snitches). Perhaps the neighbors tipped the police because they saw "strange behavior".
Residents living near the warehouse said the men taken into custody described themselves as Muslims and had tried to recruit young people to join their group, which seemed militaristic. [emphasis mine]

Damn I wish they hadn't said they're Muslims. More fuel. And I doubt very much most Muslims would agree these people are true Muslims.

(read more)

Update: Yep, I was right. It was an informant.
The suspects believed they were dealing with an al Qaeda operative but the person was actually a government informant, the sources said.

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The End Of Pork?

I seriously doubt this bill will do what lawmakers want. What will happen is, Bushco or successors will try to kill riders which shouldn't be killed and the pork will continue to flow.
President Bush would receive greater power to try to kill "pork barrel" spending projects under a bill passed Thursday by the House.

Lawmakers voted to give Bush and his successor a weaker version of the line-item veto law struck down by the Supreme Court in 1998, despite a recent series of lopsided votes in which they've rallied to preserve each other's back-home projects. The new power would expire after six years.

The idea advances amid increasing public concern about lawmakers' penchant for stuffing parochial projects into spending bills that the president must accept or reject in their entirety.

The House passed the bill by a 247-172 vote. Thirty-five Democrats joined with most Republicans in voting for the bill; 15 Republicans opposed the measure and others voted for the bill despite private reservations.

The measure must still pass the Senate, and that's by no means a certainty.

Someone will tack on a desperatly needed piece of legislation on a bill that is assured passage but which Bushco would refuse to allow if it were a bill in its own right.

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A Death In The "Family"

Jane Hamsher's mother has died. Christy announced it. Please drop by and pay your respects.

More Lazy Blogging, But You Need This

Three cheers for Kenneth Cole.

Hell, three cheers for Watertiger while we're at it, OK? So that's 6 cheers. Start now.

Molly Ivins Time

Have I mentioned how good Molly is? Thought so.

I link to Molly Ivins here so you don't forget to read her.

Its also a really lazy way to blog.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Net Neutrality Is Imperative

Do you want your website to get prioritized? Do you want to pay your ISP to ensure hits? Yeah, I thought not. But internet access and freedom are being challenged unmercifully.
If you're unsure about how the Net Neutrality goes, here's the down & dirty talking point. The big Telcos (AT&T, Bell South, Verizon, etc.) claim that unless they can run the internet their way, innovation is dead, and the internet will suck forever. The big Telcos are calling Net Neutrality "regulating the internet".

What a crock of shit. What the big Telcos want to do is create a monopoly for themselves, rake in money on services that are currently free (by setting up "toll booths" for those services - such as blogging, video streaming, etc.) and potentially determine which content will be provided to users. In order to argue this, McCurry and the Telcos have resorted to outright lies, claiming that Net Neutrality is an issue advocated by the far left and that if the Net Neutrality amendment passes, traffic on the internet will bog down in an increasingly overwhelmed network.

Contact your Congress critter now. They'll vote on Friday. Check the right sidebar of this site under "USEFUL LINKS" to contact your Congress critter. All contact info is linked except for the "omnibus" phone number.

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A Simple, Lazy Post

Arlen Specter

You can Google Arlen Specter to see why I'm making this post. The fact is he talks the walk and then sits down. He's a complete fool. How does anyone so ridiculous ever get elected to office?

Due credit: That is really Cooky the Clown. Thanx Cooky for the pic.

Dye Your Hair Black And Move If You Want To Work

I read this headline and followed up with a Google search. It seems like most all companies worldwide are announcing such cuts or offloads. I was right. Shit! I got 10,200,000 hits.
Insurer Allianz to Cut 7,480 Jobs


If the jobs aren't being eliminated completely, they're being moved to India, Taiwan or the Philippines. Ya better be ready for a world economically dominated by South Asia.

Of course such a change in world economic domination will undoubtedly be an improvement. The West hasn't been handling things all that well lately now have they?

NKorean Missile Can Reach US

(Update below)

We've all read that over and over lately. The NKoreans are going to test a missile capable of reaching the US. Now what did you picture? They can nuke Los Angeles CA, Seattle WA, maybe Las Vegas NV? Well, think Juneau AK.
To say that the Bush Administration is exasperated by North Korea's provocations is an understatement. After all, the only thing worse than watching a charter member of President Bush's "Axis of Evil" thumb its nose at the international community, is not having an effective means to respond. And despite all the tough talk emanating out of Washington, the U.S. has few good options for responding to the latest bit of saber-rattling from the hermit Stalinist regime in Pyongyang, this time involving an all-too-real saber: A Taepodong 2 long-range missile, which some analysts believe may be capable of hitting Alaska, while others suggest its range may be far more limited. The U.S. has warned North Korea against test-firing the missile, and has hinted that it may even consider trying to use its own missile-defense interception system to bring it down — although both technical and geopolitical considerations militate against such an action. [emphasis mine]

I posted about this before and, as far as I could tell, Alaska was the maximum reach they had. I explain in that post and included the graphic from it above. But when you're objective is to frighten people and bang the war drums, "reach the US" is much more ominous. I bet some people thought Washington DC was a potential target.

I encourage you to check the TIME article. Its very good.

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Wanna see Juneau? It's beautiful. I've lived there and would really hate to see it obliterated.

A new report says this missile has a range up to 6,700 km. The outer ring on the graphic above is 4,000 km, so this missile is capable of reaching Alaska, but not capable of reaching any of the lower 48 states. That's really little consolation, but it isn't a doomsday scenario either. Unless it is shot at Alaska. It obviously would be a doomsday scenario for residents there.

Bloggers Aren't Real Journalists

See the thing is, you can trust "real" journalists with, ya know, editors and all. Them bloggers are just loose cannons who answer to no one. No links to back that up. You've read it many times.

This from
At the same time, he [Dim Son] offered a restrained answer to Iran's announcement earlier in the day that it would wait until late August to respond to the most recent proposal from the United States and five other nations. The proposal offers economic, political and technological incentives if Iran suspends its nuclear program. The United States and its partners fear that Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon; Iran insists that its pursuit of uranium enrichment is solely for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

"It shouldn't take the Iranians that long to analyze what is a reasonable deal," Bush said.

I'll admit that is a restrained answer. Most reasonable people would respond in such a manner. Now here is how that same thing was reported in the Boston Globe.
Though he received the European leaders' support on Iran, Bush expressed frustration with Tehran's slow reaction to an offer of incentives and negotiations to resolve the nuclear issue. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced yesterday that Iran would not respond to the offer until Aug. 22.

"It seems like an awful long time for a reasonable answer," Bush said. "It shouldn't take the Iranians that long to analyze what is a reasonable deal. I said weeks, not months." [emphasis mine]

Those are a hell of a lot different takes on exactly the same item, eh?

My guess is most lefty bloggers would never have reported that as a "restrained answer" and we are only reading the words. We weren't there to hear how The Idiot™ punched those words. I'm sure he didn't whine or pout. That picture is most likely his expression at the time.

This Isn't Exactly The Reaction al-Zawahiri Was Going For

He released a video to urge Afgans to fight foreign troops in Afganistan and got his hand slapped instead.
Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has urged Afghans to fight foreign troops in their country.

The three-minute internet video, which was posted on Thursday on a website often used by pro-al-Qaeda groups, showed Osama bin Laden's right-hand man speaking directly to the camera with an automatic rifle propped up behind him.

There was no indication when the video was made, but its posting coincides with some of the deadliest fighting in Afghanistan since US-led forces toppled the Taliban government in 2001, with about 1,000 violent deaths this year, including 47 American troops and 18 other foreign soldiers.

Al-Zawahiri said: "Muslim brothers in Afghanistan, and especially in Kabul, stand as one with the mujahidin (Muslim fighters) so that the invading forces might be expelled.

"Do not trust these infidel invaders or their agents who want to transform you into oppressed, enslaved people."

Karzai responds

But Afghanistan's president called al-Zawahiri "the enemy of the Afghan people" and blamed him for his country's massive suffering.

"He is first the enemy of the Afghan people, and then the enemy of the rest of the world," said Hamid Karzai on Thursday.

"He killed Afghans for years, thousands, and then he went to America and destroyed the twin towers," Karzai said. "We in Afghanistan want him arrested and put before justice."

Karzai said the Egyptian-born al-Zawahiri "is the one who destroyed our mosques and schools, vineyards and orchards."

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US Is Threat To Countries Of The World

You could see this coming from two days away. What did the idiot-in-chief think would happen? He'd be hailed as a saint?
President Bush, eager to counter the perceived threats of Iran and North Korea, instead found himself yesterday passionately defending the United States against suggestions that it threatens world security with its own foreign policies.

``That's absurd," Bush said at a news conference yesterday in historic Hofburg Palace, where European reporters pressed the president about declining European public opinion toward the United States.

``We'll defend ourselves, but at the same time we're actively working with our partners to spread peace and democracy," Bush said.

Its quite clear that everyone in the world outside the Bushco bubble is mistaken. They live in some fantasy world that has no connection to the "real" world of Bushco.

There's more. The Repugs really need to prevent Bush from talking without a script. Its amazing how stupid he can sound.
``You might be aware that in Europe the image of America is still falling," said Raimund Loew, Washington bureau chief for the Austrian Broadcasting Corp., who asked Bush why he had failed to win the ``hearts and minds" of Europeans.

``I thought it was absurd for people to think that we're more dangerous than Iran," Bush said .

``I'll try my best to explain to the Europeans that, on the one hand, we're tough when it comes to the war on terror," Bush said. ``On the other hand, we'll help feed the hungry. I will do my best to explain our foreign policy. On the one hand, it's tough when it needs to be. On the other hand, it's compassionate."

Sadly Dim Son really believes what he's saying. I'm sure he's too stupid to fake it.

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Minimum Wage And The Senate

This is a blog post in full from a lobbying group.
By National Association of Manufacturers on Politics

This week the Senate is expected to take up the Defense Authorization bill, S. 2766. However, because there is no requirement in the Senate that amendments be germane to the underlying bill (remember, this is also the place that requires a super-majority — 60 votes — to cut off debate), Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) will reportedly be offering an amendment to raise the minimum wage. A few points:– As a rule of thumb, the minimum wage almost always comes up in a year divisible by 2, i.e., an election year. It is more prevalent still in years divisible by 4. It is not an economic issue, but rather a political issue.

And just why can't it be both economic and political? Lots of things in Congress have a 2 year life cycle. Its the nature of politics.
– You will read in almost any MSM commentary that the current minimum wage worker doesn’t earn enough to pull a family of 4 out of poverty. That’s correct. However, it’s fair to ask, “How many minimum wage earners are the sole breadwinners of families of 4?” Answer: Not many.

Hmmm. Just how many families of 4 are we keeping in perpetual poverty? Well it seems to me one is too many. I've known some and its a horrible existence. And "not many"? How many is "not many". I majored in math and don't remember the value of "not many" and I'm damn sure "not many" would not have been acceptable as an "answer" to any question.
– You will hear that minimum wage workers “haven’t gotten a raise” in X number of years. This is an old (albeit effective) rhetorical trick. It assumes the minimum wage population is a static universe. It is not. The minimum wage population tomorrow is different than the minimum wage population today, a dynamic group.

Agreed the makeup of the population mostly changes, but see my reference above to having known some such families. For the years I knew them (I've since moved) they stayed right where you wanted them. They stayed in poverty. What proof do you have that all in the minimum wage population are not in that population the next year or the next?
– The minimum wage is meant to be a bottom rung, from which people can climb to higher earnings. Try this test: How many people that you know (including yourself) ever made the minimum wage? Almost all, no doubt. How many make it today? Probably very few, if any.

Agreed that most people started at the bottom and are not there now, but not all advance. One burger joint doesn't need 50 managers. And "probably very few" is a stunning statistic. Bring the numbers next time.
– The fact is that raising the minimum wage costs jobs. It does every time it’s raised. Those marginal jobs at the bottom rung just get eliminated.

I just don't believe you on that one. Perhaps fewer bottom rung jobs are created, but I doubt very many are eliminated. Please bring me the facts because you undoubtedly have greater access to the numbers than I. Prove me wrong.
– For those who cry crocodile tears about helping the so-called “working poor” (most of whom make far in excess of the minimum wage), there is a direct correlation between skills and education levels and wages. If you want to lift people out of poverty, support efforts (as we do) to train workers and give them the skills they need to succeed in this 21st century workforce.

This is your best argument. I agree completely. However, this has almost nothing to do with the debate.

Let's assume all minimum wage earners are educated. To make it easy to see my point, let's help them all get a bachelor of arts degree. Who flips the burgers now? Silly example because all of them, I would guess, won't get a degree regardless how much assistance their given. There will always be workers at the bottom and they need to live and eat.
In any event, keep this primer handy as the debate plays out this week. You’re not likely to hear these points in the media coverage of Sen. Kennedy’s biennial effort.

That's because they aren't good arguments. We won't read in the MSM that raising the minimum wage will cause skin cancer either because its not true.

OK, maybe probably the National Enquirer© will publish that stuff about skin cancer.

Haven't tried writing like this before. It was kinda fun.

Important: A Blog Post From Nancy Pelosi On Student Loans

In case you didn't know it. Nancy Pelosi often blogs.

By House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Politics

Higher education is the single best investment our young people can make in themselves. Higher education is the single best investment families can make in the success of their children. Higher education is the single best investment our nation can make in its future. Yet financial barriers will prevent 4.4 million high school graduates from attending a four-year public college over the next decade, while 2 million high school graduates will attend no college at all.


On July 1, the interest rates on outstanding federal student loans are going to rise to 7.14 percent-the highest rate in six years-and the rate on outstanding federal parent loans will rise to 7.94 percent. College students and their parents should seriously consider consolidating their loans before June 30th. House Democrats have a New Direction for America that includes a plan to cut student loan interest rates in half. But until we can pass legislation that will reduce the burden on our young people, America’s working families remain at the mercy of the student loan industry and their Republican allies here in Congress.

To see how much you would save under the Democratic plan, click here.

At the same time, Congress is cutting funding for student loans.

And I chose that photo for a reason. Minorities are the ones hardest hit by any cuts in student loans. In addition women, because they are usually paid less than their male counterparts, will find it more difficult to pay off student loans.

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What The Hell Was I Thinking?

In this earlier post I wrote about NKorea's leverage in effecting talks between themselves and Bushco because they have an ICBM Bushco doesn't want them to launch. Then this.
The United States ruled out direct talks with North Korea over test firing a long-range ballistic missile as worldwide concern intensified over Pyongyang's readiness for a launch.

North Korea has offered talks with Washington over its plans but US President George W. Bush said the Stalinist state must honor agreements against testing missiles.

"This is not the way to do business in the world," Bush said while at an EU summit in Vienna.

"The North Koreans have made agreements with us in the past and we expect them to keep their agreements, for example on test launches," Bush said. [emphasis mine]

Of course Bushco doesn't want to talk and won't. And, of course they expect NKorea to abide by agreements they've made with US because Bushco honors all the agreements and international treaties we're parties to. Hahaha.

I guess breaking the law and treaties is reserved for our king only.

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Poor Little Ricky

At 6:13 PM AMERICAblog posted Rick Santorum was claiming we found WMD long ago in Iraq.

At 8:04 PM they posted the Department of Defense denied Santorum's claim.

Man, things happen fast don't they?

Hey, Where You From?

In the past I posted about the referrals I get and listed some of the sites. They are interesting. As a follow-up, here are some of the latest. I've no idea what's going on unless they are clicking on the upper right corner of Blogger to go to "next blog".

Is that last one someone who loves Pandagon? And last, but far from least.

Gotta check that one out. It really tweaks my curiousity cells.

Yep, Getting Better Every Day

Why doesn't Bushco pull the troops out of Iraq? I mean things are going so fucking well there, right?
Iraqi police and a witness say about 85 workers have been abducted as they left their jobs at an industrial plant north of Baghdad.

The witness says militants nabbed the workers near the plant's parking lot. An engineer at the plant says gunmen in cars intercepted workers leaving the site on the plant's buses and a minivan.

The workers are thought to be mostly Shiite. The plant is in a mostly Sunni area.

Sorry, my mistake.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Check This Out

You're welcome. Exit strategy post.

Well That Didn't Take Long At All

This from an idiot GOPer, Fla. GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Iran has been buying time, using diplomacy to build-up its nuclear facilities. [emphasis mine]

In my last post I said this was coming. I even used the "buying time" phrase.

Behold the new Nostradamous. Stand up. You are worthy.

Iran To Respond By Mid-August To Offer

I"m gonna jump right in here and pre-empt this. I expect many bloggers are going to attack this info. At first blush, it looks suspicious. Is Iran stalling so they can enrich uranium further? Are they buying time?
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday his country will respond in mid-August to the package of incentives on its nuclear program offered by the West. "We are studying the proposals. Hopefully, we will present our views about the package by mid-August," Ahmadinejad told a crowd in western Iran in a speech broadcast live on state television.

The offer, presented by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana during a June 6 visit, provides a range of incentives for Iran to impose a moratorium on uranium enrichment, a process that can produce material for nuclear generators or for weapons.

Anyone who's worked in a big corporation knows 9 weeks is the equivalent of a couple hours for a personal decision by you or I at home. June 6 to mid-August is a reasonable length of time for a government to respond to something of this magnitude. Just saying.

Sorry. Forgot the link.

Red Cross Crescent Crystal

This is an old story, but updated. Back in December the Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations came under fire because their logos were seen as "religious". To my mind the red cross logo wasn't really "Christian", but that may just be me. Anyway the Red Crystal is now being adopted as a logo of a completely impartial, non-threatening nature. It looks good and is easily recognized although not yet as a medical/emergency response sign.
The new third symbol proposed for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements would offer 'greater protection' for all who might use it, it was claimed Tuesday.

The Swiss Foreign Minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey, said the introduction of the red crystal would end a long running debate on the emblems used by the movement.

It would also pave the way for new members, in particular the Magen David Adom Society in Israel and the International Federation of the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

'The possibility of national organizations being able to turn, without any prejudice towards the existing symbols, to a new emblem, free of all religious, national, political or ethnic connotation can only strengthen the protection owed to all victims of conflicts,' Calmy-Rey told delegates at the Movement's International Conference

The red crystal, which appears as a red frame in the shape of a square on its edge, on a white background, was chosen in December and is expected to be fully endorsed during the two day meeting.

In time I'm sure it will take on the same meaning to people as the cross and crescent have today. A sign of a non-aggressive group out to help.

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NKorea Has US By The Balls?

This is all we're allowed to read unless we subscribe to the WSJ and I don't. If you do I've supplied you the link. Don't worry. The reason for that picture will become obvious.
It is no accident that North Korea has allowed U.S. intelligence to take note of its apparent preparations for firing a newer, longer range missile that might be capable of carrying nuclear warheads to U.S. soil. What we have been allowed to observe -- and our alarmed reactions to what we think we have seen -- are part of a strategy North Korea will play out carefully in the months ahead. Even if the Taepodong rocket is never launched, the next few months will see American interests subjected to significant strains.

Chuck Downs, the author, is probably exactly right. Pyongyang has pulled its coat back to reveal the handgun (and a "really big" handgun at that). Unfortunately, Bushco seems to think they're Dirty Harry and may be intimidated enough to pull out their big guns.

Waaaay off topic. In the html code for the link provided above I noticed "Farticle". That's all. It just made me laugh.

Come to think of it, I suppose a farticle would be any article written by Assrocket, Malkin or Coulter.

We have to get this word into the lexicon. Its too good to waste.

Oops! For Your Amusement

Slight language problem here methinks. This is the headline.
Huge waves hit US coastline, many homes damaged

And here's the story. Emphasis mine.
June 21, 2006, 07:45

Huges waves have hit the Central American coastline, damaging dozens of homes and properties in four countries. The waves were caused by a storm thousands of kilometres away in the South Pacific. The National Hurricane Centre in Miami said the Pacific storm had formed waves up to 4 metres high.

The high seas hit thousands of kilometres of coastline, from south-west Mexico to Panama. Reports say at least 20 homes and a small hotel had been swept away in Guatemala and Nicaragua. In El Salvador, about 30 homes and properties were flooded and two families evacuated.

Experts say these swells can travel great distances, explaining that the storm's origin could be as far away as New Zealand.

Apparently the headline writer saw "Central America" and, coupled with "Miami", took it as the US. And they didn't notice the "four countries" and the "south-west Mexico to Panama" bits or they are pretty bad at geography.

Note: That is the whole story so I won't link. Besides, I don't want to identify the source. They'll get ribbed enough as it is. If you're dying from curiosity, you can Google the headline.

However, I will say the mistake is more understandable if you know it is an African news source. And in most of the world America = US.

Another Atrocity Of War In Iraq

This is just horrible. Although the Army says this sort of thing is "extremely rare", one wonders if it will become less so.
Two California soldiers shot to death in Iraq were murdered by Iraqi civil-defense officers patrolling with them, military investigators have found.

The deaths of Army Spc. Patrick R. McCaffrey Sr. and 1st Lt. Andre D. Tyson were originally attributed to an ambush during a patrol near Balad, Iraq, on June 22, 2004.

But the Army's Criminal Investigation Command found that one or more of the Iraqis attached to the American soldiers on patrol fired at them, a military official said Tuesday.


"When they come I have my list of questions ready, and I want these answers and I don't want lies," McCaffrey's mother, Nadia McCaffrey, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Soldiers who witnessed the attack have told her that two Iraqi patrolmen opened fire on her son's unit. The witnesses also said a third gunman simultaneously drove up to the American unit in a van, climbed onto the vehicle and fired at the Americans, she said.

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Oh Yeah, They're Gonna Believe Bush

This is almost hilarious. Almost. With all the evidence to the contrary, why would anyone believe this bullshit?
The United States will pledge to respect human rights in its "war on terror", according to the draft of a final statement prepared for a European Union-United States summit on Wednesday, at which the Europeans are expected to complain about US treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

The draft of the joint statement by American President George Bush and European Union leaders says: "Consistent with our common values, we will ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply fully with our international obligations, including human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law.

"We attach great importance to our ongoing in-depth dialogue and our common fight against terrorism and our respected domestic and international legal obligations," according to extracts of the text made available to reporters. - Sapa-AFP

Torture is humanitarian. War is Peace.

Courtesy link. This is the whole story.

NKorea Offers US Olive Branch

This via Agence France-Presse (AFP).
North Korea has offered the United States talks on its missile launch plans, indicating it might put off a flight test that has raised tensions and drawn sharp international warnings.

The number two diplomat at North Korea's UN mission was quoted saying the secretive state was open to talks with Washington, where there were reports that the US missile defence shield had been activated in case of a launch.

"The United States says it is concerned about our missile test launch," Han Song-Ryol told South Korea's Yonhap news agency. "Our position is, 'Okay then, let's talk about it.'"

But he underlined the North's position that it had every right to develop, deploy and test-fire missiles.

Let us hope Bushco has enough smarts to agree to such talks. This nuke rattling is getting tiresome.

WTF Is Going On Here?

I guess I never realised Congress did this stuff, but why are they wasting time on such things. This seems like it should be a USPS administrative function.
Bill: H R 5504

Vote description: To Designate the Facility of the United States Postal Service Located at 6029 Broadmoor Street in Mission, Kansas, As the “Larry Winn, Jr. Post Office Building”

Result: Passed, 305-0, with 127 not voting.

Bill: H R 5540

Vote description: To Designate the Facility of the United States Postal Service Located at 217 Southeast 2nd Street in Dimmitt, Texas, As the “Sergeant Jacob Dan Dones Post Office”

Result: Passed, 306-0, with 126 not voting.

You Feeling Secure? Well Don't #9

This from Salon via Truthout.
Two former AT&T workers have told Salon that the telecom company has maintained a secret, highly secured room in a St. Louis network operations center where, the two workers were told, employees have been “monitoring network traffic.” Salon’s security experts say the operation has all the hallmarks of an NSA operation.

Image stolen from Truthout who stole it from Salon. Serial theft again.

This Should Ruffle Some Feathers

Via Crooks and Liars we get this.
Ron Suskind appeared on "The Situation Room" today to talk about his new book "One Percent Solution," and said that the US took out Al-Jazeera office in Kabul purposefully.

Something Fishy About This IMHO

This from TPMmuckraker.
When he was chief of the Homeland Security Department's Federal Air Marshal Service, Thomas Quinn spent $22 million on a system of handheld computers that were supposed to help air marshals log suspicious behavior, ABC News reports.

It was a waste of money, most air marshals complain now. The technology is useless.

Maybe so -- but not for Quinn. Just weeks after leaving the top Air Marshal post earlier this year, Quinn signed up to be a consultant for the Datamaxx company, the producer of those PDAs.

Nah, I'm probably wrong. Its likely all aboveboard.

Note: That is a courtesy link. I've posted the whole thing.

US Considering Shooting Down NKorean ICBM

First off, of course they are. The Pentagon would be completely negligent if they weren't preparing for that.
The Bush administration is weighing responses to a possible North Korean missile test that include attempting to shoot it down in flight over the Pacific, defense officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Because North Korea is secretive about its missile operations, U.S. officials say they must consider the possibility that an anticipated test would turn out to be something else, such as a space launch or even an attack. Thus, the Pentagon is considering the possibility of attempting an interception, two defense officials said, even though it would be unprecedented and is not considered the likeliest scenario.

The officials agreed to discuss the matter only on condition of anonymity because of its political sensitivity.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said he could not say whether the unproven multibillion-dollar U.S. anti-missile defense system might be used in the event of a North Korean missile launch. That system, which includes a handful of missiles that could be fired from Alaska and California, has had a spotty record in tests.

Although shooting down a North Korean missile is a possibility, the Pentagon also must consider factors that would argue against such a response, including the risk of shooting and missing and of escalating tensions further with the communist nation.

Even if there were no attempt to shoot down a North Korean missile, it would be tracked by early warning satellites and radars, including radars based on ships near Japan and ground-based radars in Alaska and California.

Robert Einhorn, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said a U.S. shootdown of a North Korean missile on a test flight or a space launch would draw "very strong international reaction" against the United States. He saw only a small chance that the U.S. would attempt a shootdown.

OK, a "small chance" that would happen would normally be true, but this is Bushco. And, being Bushco, its entirely possible they will try to shoot it down in which case 2 things are possible.

1) They'll miss, thus making the US look incompetent. Which Bushco already does come off as.

2) They'll hit it and destroy a satellite or, sans satellite, it will still greatly increase tensions between US and NKorea. And it will horrify what few allies we still have.

If that missile isn't aimed at the US, and our allies will know if it isn't, then Bushco had damn well better not shoot at it.

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Pictures Of The Two Kidnapped/Killed Soldiers

They aren't just "numbers". May they find eternal peace. Their families won't.

OK, I'm Losing Patience Here

What do I have to do, come over there and smack you up side your head? Read/bookmark/link to Molly Ivins. She's tremendous.

If you already do read her, please disregard this harangue.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

We Feel You...But Not In "That Way"

This is very interesting. Did you know your emotional state was being captured for analysis? Me too.
Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been harvesting human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world’s newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling". When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the "feeling" expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved.

The result is a database of several million human feelings, increasing by 15,000 - 20,000 new feelings per day. Using a series of playful interfaces, the feelings can be searched and sorted across a number of demographic slices, offering responses to specific questions like: do Europeans feel sad more often than Americans? Do women feel fat more often than men? Does rainy weather affect how we feel? What are the most representative feelings of female New Yorkers in their 20s? What do people feel right now in Baghdad? What were people feeling on Valentine’s Day? Which are the happiest cities in the world? The saddest? And so on.

Courtesy link.

Welcome To Cold War II

Jesus H Christ on vacation, Bushco has to do as much damage as possible before he drags his sorry ass out of town?
The United States has moved its ground-based interceptor missile defense system from test mode to operational amid concerns over an expected North Korean missile launch, a U.S. defense official said on Tuesday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed a Washington Times report that the Pentagon has activated the system, which has been in the developmental stage for years.

"It's good to be ready," the official said.

We must always be at war. It's an imperative. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. Otherwise defense contractors would have to close up shop, right? All hail George Orwell.

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Finally I Found It

I read Bush had signed an executive order allowing him and former presidents to hide evidence of what they had done by sealing presidential papers in perpetuity.
When the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in 1996 released all of the records created by the Carter administration, presidential historians such as Vanderbilt University's Hugh Graham used the documents to bolster a three-day conference the following year analyzing the work of the 39th president.

And as the scheduled Jan. 20, 2001, release of some 68,000 documents from the Reagan administration approached, the historians hoped to create a similar program delving into the successes and problems during the two terms of the nation's 40th president.

"We figured we would be seeing some good documents," Graham said. "It takes about a year to look at the documents, so we had scheduled a conference for February 2002."

But a Nov. 1 executive order signed by President Bush placed the conference on hiatus. And now historians and open-government advocates fear the order effectively could allow former or sitting presidents to close unclassified presidential records indefinitely.

According to the five-page executive order, both the sitting president or a former president have a right to withhold the former president's papers from the public. Even if the former president wished for his records to be released, the incumbent could stop it.

"Basically, they are attempting to do what Nixon failed to do and that is take complete control over access to the papers forever," Graham said.

Finally I found a source.

Can you say fascist state? Yeah, I thought you could.

Is That A Rocket In Your Pocket?

Rice is warning NKorea. Don't test that ICBM.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned on Monday that North Korea's test-firing of a long-range ballistic missile would be a provocation. Rice also said the missile test would abrogate Pyongyang's missile moratorium in 1999 and a renewed pledge in 2002.

“It would be a very serious matter and indeed a provocative act should North Korea decide to launch that missile. We will obviously consult on next steps, but I can assure everyone that it will be taken with utmost seriousness." Rice said. Rice added the possible test launch would clearly be saber-rattling, showing that North Korea is determined to deepen its isolation and not take a path of compromise.

This probably will be as effective a deterrent as telling a 3 year old to stay out of the cookie jar.

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They found the kidnapped soldiers.
The bodies of two US soldiers who were captured by insurgents on Friday have been found in Yusifiyah, south of Baghdad, General Abdul Aziz Mohammed of the Iraqi defence ministry said.

"The two US soldiers were found in the Yusifiyah area near the power station and unfortunately their bodies show that they had been tortured and then killed viciously," the general told a news conference.

The two soldiers Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Thomas L. Tucker, 25, had gone missing after they came under attack at a traffic control point near Yusifiyah Friday. [emphasis mine].

They reaped what Bushco fucking sowed.
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Iraqi Forces Will Never Be Able To Defeat The Insurgents

The withdrawl of US troops is always predicated on handing things over to the Iraqi military, but it will never happen. Or at least not to Bushco's liking.

Do I Detect A Trend Here?

Is there a wave of change coming? My last post was a speech by a GOP congress critter and then I came upon this.
Since the beginning, I have thought that this war went against every traditional conservative principle I know. Millions of conservatives across this Nation believe this war was unconstitutional, unaffordable and worst of all, unnecessary.

- Tenn. GOP Rep. John Duncan Jr.

I will be quick to admit not all Repugs are pugs. Some are patriots. But I still think they're spineless for rubber stamping everything Bushco.

Courtesy link.

This Is A Speech People Should Applaude

Regardless your political bent, this guy nails it.
Mr. Speaker, I requested this Special Order to read a statement that I earlier placed in the Record during the debate on the Iraq war resolution.

I did not request time during the debate because it was obvious that the chairmen controlling the time, all good friends of mine, wanted only speakers who support the war, and I did not want to place them in an uncomfortable position.

I did not request time from the Democrats because many of my colleagues in the minority were using this debate in a bitterly partisan way. Surely, war should be the last thing that should become partisan.

Yet 80 percent of the House Republicans, including me, voted against the bombings in Bosnia and Kosovo when President Clinton was in the White House. I believe 80 percent of Republicans would have opposed the war in Iraq if it had been started by President Clinton or Gore, and probably almost all the Democrats would have then been supporting it, as they did the bombings in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Much of the resolution that was just passed by this House contains language that everyone supports, especially the praise for our troops. Our troops do a great job everywhere they are sent. And it is certainly no criticism of them to criticize this war.

In August of 2002, two months before Congress voted for the war in Iraq, Dick Armey, then our Republican majority leader, in a speech in Iowa said, "I don't believe America will justifiably make an unprovoked attack on another nation. It would not be consistent with what we have been as a nation."

Jack Kemp wrote before the war, "What is the evidence that should cause us to fear Iraq more than Pakistan or Iran? Do we reserve the right to launch a preemptive war exclusively for ourselves, or might other nations such as India, Pakistan, or China be justified in taking similar action on the basis of fears of other nations?"

Mr. Kemp said, based on the evidence he had seen, there was not "a compelling case for the invasion and occupation of Iraq."

William F. Buckley wrote that if he had known in 2002 what he knew then in 2004, he would have been against the war. Last year, he wrote another column against the war, saying, "A point is reached when tenacity conveys not steadfastness of purpose, but misapplication of pride."

The very popular conservative columnist Charley Reese wrote that this war was "against a country that was not attacking us, did not have the means to attack us, and had never expressed any intention of attacking us. … [A]nd for whatever real reason we attacked Iraq, it was not to save America from any danger, imminent or otherwise."

Many years ago, Sen. Robert Taft expressed a traditional conservative position: "No foreign policy can be justified except a policy devoted to the protection of the American people, with war only as the last resort and only to preserve that liberty."

Millions of conservatives across this nation believe this war was unconstitutional, unaffordable, and worst of all, unnecessary. It was waged against an evil man, but one who had a total military budget only two-tenths of 1 percent of ours.

We are not going to be able to pay all our military pensions, civil service pensions, Social Security, Medicare, and all the other things we have promised if we are going to turn the Department of Defense into the Department of Foreign Aid and attempt to be the policeman of the world.

This is contrary to every traditional conservative position on defense and on huge deficit spending. The conservative columnist Georgie Ann Geyer wrote, "Critics of the war against Iraq have said since the beginning of the conflict that Americans, still strangely complacent about overseas wars being waged by a minority in their name, will inevitably come to a point where they will see they have to have a government that provides services at home, or one that seeks empire across the globe."

-Rep. John J. Duncan Jr.
June 16 2006

Yup, he's still drunk with power...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Truly Must Read

If you read James Wolcott, you know how good he is, but here he chooses excellent writing of others for you.

A small enticement.
"Both the Russians and the English lost everything to Afghanistan, but it doesn't have to end that way for us. After all, the same thing happened to us in Vietnam, our first Afghanistan, but we survived it. True, our economy was never the same. Undeniably, it replaced an American Century with postmodern alienation and ironic detachment. But if those estimates are correct and this war is costing a mere billion bucks a month, we ought to tally our dead, write up our losses, and count ourselves lucky to still be called a superpower."

Is the US a superpower? It looks less and less like one daily and Bushco is doing everything they can to make sure it isn't.

7 U.S. Troops Wounded Looking For Comrades

I read that headline and realised something was perverse. A headline reading that [only] 7 troops were [only] wounded is good news.
The U.S. military said Monday that seven American troops have been wounded, three insurgents have been killed and 34 detained during an intensive search for two missing American soldiers.

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, said fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles and dive teams had been deployed to find the two men. The men went missing Friday during an attack on their checkpoint in the volatile Sunni area south of Baghdad that left one of their comrades dead.

Be thankful for what wasn't, I guess.

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Fucking Protectionism

Sorry for the headline, but this sucks. The EU wants to limit Vietnamese shoe imports and will probably cause 500,000[!] Vietnamese to lose their livelyhood. Way to help the "little guy", EU.
The anti-dumping duties the European Union (EU) has recently imposed on Vietnamese leather-upper shoes have put half a million of direct workers in the local footwear industry and a large number of employees in related industries in the danger of losing jobs, an organization said here Monday.

"A decision of the provisional anti-dumping duties that could not change the weak situation of the EU producers but entirely make hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese workers unemployed is unacceptable," Phan Van Ngoc, country director of ActionAid Vietnam, was quoted in a press release by the non-governmental organization.

Read more and then boycott European footware. What's good for the goose...

Prosecution Seeks Death Penalty For Saddam

That's the headline and says it all. For details, look here.

New Blood!

Not a report on Iraq. No siree.

If you look over at the right sidebar you'll notice a new contributor, KAYINMAIN.

I'm sure you'll enjoy my requesting her as a contributor. She posts very informative info, is a good writer and provides much more analysis than do I. Her posts are not unlike Jill's with respect to those qualities. She also is rarely wrong in what she thinks which is to say I agree with her opinions.

Enjoy. Hahaha. She slipped in two posts before I could tell you she's coming.

Arianna Huffington sums up Rove in a martini glass

Some troops will be leaving Iraq at the end of next month

The new prime minister of Iraq is asking British, Japanese, and Australian troops to leave his country by the end of next month, so Iraqi forces can take over. I think that is great news for the time being and let's hope Bush gets his act together and comes up with a REAL timetable for withdrawl that prime minister Maliki has asked him for. This will be the real test for the republican party, because last week they were gloating as they brought forth a war resolution to stay the course to make the democrats look soft on the war, but in reality, the Iraqis want us to get the hell out. Democrats know that and feel that and as usual....the republicans are out of touch on the situation as they are all situations! So, it seems for now the republicans little scheme last week has backfired. Ha ha. Good.

Mass. Soldier Dies In Attack By Insurgents

Now that's the way to write a headline. The above is from the Boston Globe. The story includes the fact two soldiers were kidnapped, but the immediate concern is the death. The person who wrote that headline knows how important that fact is.

Missing US Soldiers

According to this report, they've been kidnapped by the insurgents.
An Iraqi farmer said Sunday that he saw seven heavily armed gunmen capture two American soldiers during an attack on a road checkpoint south of Baghdad, while U.S. troops search for their comrades for a second day.

Another Iraqi said the Americans were offering $100,000 for information leading to the abductors, but the U.S. command denied that. The White House promised to do everything it could to find the soldiers and said it had a message for anybody who may have taken the two men: "Give them back."

The Defence Department identified the missing men as Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, and Pfc. Thomas Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore. It said Spc. David Babineau, 25, Springfield, Mass., was killed in the attack.

The purpose of this post is to identify these men. They are people and not just "numbers".

Sorry, but Army privates don't have pictures that Google can find.

Looks Like North Korea Will Fire Their Missile

According to this report, they've finished fueling the missile.
North Korea has finished fueling a long-range missile, moving a key step closer to a test launch, the New York Times reported late Sunday.

US officials concluded that North Korea had completed the fueling of the Taepodong 2 missile believed capable of reaching the United States after examining satellite images, the Times wrote on its website.

"Fueling a missile is generally considered an irreversible step" toward launch, the Times said.

Osama Bin Laden Tape About WTC

I'm very late to this, but hadn't seen it before nor read anything about what's on this tape.

The story isn't dated so I can't tell you when this tape was discovered and broadcast. They mention November 9 so it might be 2001. It's a tape of Osama bin Laden gloating over the WTC attacks.
Reveling in the details of the fatal attacks, bin Laden brags in Arabic that he knew about them beforehand and says the destruction went beyond his hopes. He says the attacks "benefited Islam greatly."

Bin Laden -- branded by U.S. authorities as the mastermind behind the attacks -- indicates during the recording that he knew for several days that September 11 would be the date of the attacks.

He says he turned on his radio in advance to listen to coverage of the attacks and that he underestimated the damage that would be inflicted on the World Trade Center.

"I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only," he said, according to a U.S. government translation. "This is all that we had hoped for."


Bin Laden says on the tape that while the hijackers knew they were on a "martyrdom operation," some did not know anything about the plot until just before they boarded the planes. He also says those who were trained to fly didn't know the others.

Bin Laden's associates heap praise on him, fawning over his leadership and insisting that the attacks would draw hundreds of new followers and help showcase Islam.

Even as he showers compliments on bin Laden, one man apologizes for even speaking in bin Laden's presence.

"You have given us hope," said the lieutenant, identified as Shaykh, who apparently hosted a visit by bin Laden at a guest house in Kandahar, according to U.S. officials, who also told CNN he was a Saudi.

Bin Laden talks in detail about the hijackings, saying "Mohamed from the Egyptian family" -- presumed by the U.S.-hired translators to be a reference to alleged hijacker Mohamed Atta -- was in charge of the group. Translators described that as a reference to the Egyptian cell of bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network.

The jovial, carefree nature of the conversation captured on the videotape contrasts with the gravity of the subject matter. As bin Laden and his colleagues talk about the collapse of the twin towers, they appear to take delight in the destruction. "Allah be praised," said one man, a phrase repeated throughout the tape. "Overjoyed" is how bin Laden describes the reaction of others.

An elder congratulates bin Laden on the attacks, stating: "The elderly ... everybody praises what you did, the great action you did, which was first and foremost by the grace of Allah. This is the guidance of Allah and the blessed fruit of jihad."


Before the attacks, bin Laden said some associates had dreams about tall buildings in the United States.

"At that point, I was worried that maybe the secret would be revealed if everyone starts seeing it in their dream," bin Laden said.

Officials said the approximately hour-long tape, dated November 9 and made in Kandahar, was not shot in chronological order. The later part of the meeting is seen first, followed by unrelated shots of a downed U.S. helicopter and then the first part of the meeting that bin Laden had with associates. [emphasis mine]

Here's my take on this which could be entirely wrong:

Bin Laden either 1) Ordered a massive terrorist attack on the US, but not specifically the WTC and his lieutenants planned and executed it or 2) He was not aware of the plan until the last minute and it may not even have been al-Qaeda.

My reasoning is this. How long does it take to pull this off? Why would he know only "several days before", the date for the attack?

To accomplish something like this you start with the planning. Extremely detailed planning. Planning which would all be geared toward one date. That's how you plan a project. You pick your necessary completion point and work backward or you put together all the details chronologically and determine what your final target will be. Either way, you know at the planning stage what your target date will be.

Next you recruit. This is probably the easiest task and quickest to accomplish.

The planning included long lead time because pilots had to be trained.

Then you lay out all the logistics of getting the recruits into the US well ahead of your target date.

Just the training time alone dictates the planning was completed many months before September 11 and possibly years earlier. If bin Laden had planned all this, he would have known more than "several days before", what that target date would be.

As you read above, one man apologized for even speaking in bin Laden's presence. Now if bin Laden is just letting everyone believe he planned all this and basking in the glory, no one there would dare point out his limited or non-exsistent participation.

Maybe this is why this headline over at TRUE BLUE LIBERAL.
FBI Says, It Has “No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden To 9/11”

What do you think?

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