Friday, October 28, 2005

A Departure's Lasting Damage

EJ really nails the hypocricy. It's worth going to the link and reading the full opinion piece.

The damage President Bush and the conservative movement have inflicted on their drive to pack the Supreme Court with allies will not be undone by Harriet Miers's decision to withdraw her nomination

In picking such a vulnerable nominee, Bush single-handedly undercut the conservatives' long-standing claim that the Senate and the rest of us owed great deference to a president's choice for the court. Conservatives displayed absolutely no deference to Bush when he picked someone they didn't like. The actual conservative "principle" was that the Senate should defer to the president's choice -- as long as that choice was acceptable to conservatives. Some principle.

Cheney, Libby Blocked Papers To Senate Intelligence Panel

I wonder if this tidbit will be included in our Fitzmas stocking?

Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, overruling advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to Bush administration and congressional sources.

Among the White House materials withheld from the committee were Libby-authored passages in drafts of a speech that then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell delivered to the United Nations in February 2003 to argue the Bush administration's case for war with Iraq, according to congressional and administration sources. The withheld documents also included intelligence data that Cheney's office -- and Libby in particular -- pushed to be included in Powell's speech, the sources said.

The new information that Cheney and Libby blocked information to the Senate Intelligence Committee further underscores the central role played by the vice president's office in trying to blunt criticism that the Bush administration exaggerated intelligence data to make the case to go to war.

...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

2000

We reached another milestone of morbidity in Iraq today (story at the link above). 2,000 Americans have now died to stop a nonimminent threat to our National Security. We might want to look back at some of the statements made leading us to war.

Nov. 14, 2002 Donald Rumsfeld, Sect. of Defense
"I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won't last any longer than that."

Nov. 15, 2002 Donald Rumsfeld, Infinity Radio call in show
"The idea that it's going to be a long, long, long battle of some kind I think is belied by the fact of what happened in 1990," he said on an Infinity Radio call-in program. "Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."

May 1, 2003 Mission Accomplished
G.W. Bush: "Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

Feb. 7, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy: "It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

March 4, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a breakfast with reporters: "What you'd like to do is have it be a short, short conflict. . . . Iraq is much weaker than they were back in the '90s," when its forces were routed from Kuwait.

Ken Adelman, (he was part of the Defense Policy team that advised war)
Notes: “I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.” - Washington Post, February 13, 2002

RIP Rosa

My good friend Pacelines wrote this sentiment, and it sure speaks for me:

She displayed amazing courage in incredibly difficult circumstances when she had absolutely no power at all. Through her nonviolent actions she helped change the culture of the United States for the better.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Noe transferred coin cash before giving to politicians

This is getting interesting. It seems that Tom Noe, stole from the state pension fund, and used at least part of that theft to fund Republicans in Ohio.

COLUMBUS — Tom Noe often transferred tens of thousands of dollars from the Ohio rare-coin funds he managed to his personal business before bankrolling Republican candidates and causes with contributions and loans.A Blade examination of the accounting records from Mr. Noe’s $50 million rare-coin
venture shows a pattern of large sums of money moving from the coin funds to his personal business, Vintage Coins and Collectibles, in the days and weeks before the coin dealer and his wife, Bernadette, made contributions to Republican
candidates ranging from President Bush to U.S. Sen. George Voinovich and Gov. Bob Taft down to Lucas County Auditor Larry Kaczala.

Mr. Noe typically listed the payments from the coin funds to Vintage Coins as "profit distributions" or "coin purchases."But both of those explanations have been assailed as fraudulent by
Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, who has branded Mr. Noe a thief and accused the former Toledo-area coin dealer of running a Ponzi scheme and making questionable coin trades with the state fund.



There's more to the story at the link.

Friday, September 30, 2005

1/10th of One Percent.....

That's the percentage of the Iraqi population that General Casey claims represents the insurgency. According to the CIA World Factbook Iraq has a population of 26,074,906. The math says that the US Administration is claiming that there's only 26,075 insurgents.

WTF are we doing there?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

My Response To Ben Stein

In his American Spectator column, Stein really talks up some shit. It's been almost 8 years since I made their enemies list, as "Nuck Fewt", so I figure I'll start a small shit storm and see what happens.

As always your insults and flames are welcome.

"1.) The hurricane that hit New Orleans and Mississippi and Alabama was an astonishing tragedy. The suffering and loss of life and peace of mind of the residents of those areas is acutely horrifying."

Almost as horrifying is the lack of preparedness. Airlines, trains, and buses were pulled out of service 24 hours before the hurricane hit, and this new fast thinking FEMA blamed the residents for not evacuating.

"2.) George Bush did not cause the hurricane. Hurricanes have been happening for eons. George Bush did not create them or unleash this one."

George Bush cut the budgets to the Corps of Engineers who predicted this event and were building up the levee system to minimize its impact.

"4.) There is no overwhelming evidence that global warming exists as a man-made phenomenon. There is no clear-cut evidence that global warming even exists. There is no clear evidence that if it does exist it makes hurricanes more powerful or makes them aim at cities with large numbers of poor people. If global warming is a real phenomenon, which it may well be, it started long before George Bush was inaugurated, and would not have been affected at all by the Kyoto treaty, considering that Kyoto does not cover the world's worst polluters -- China, India, and Brazil. In a word, George Bush had zero to do with causing this hurricane. To speculate otherwise is belief in sorcery."

There is overwhelming evidence that global warming is a man-made phenomenon. There are also well paid pundits and psuedoscientists who are in the pockets of the oil companies that dispute the simple reality that we are in a man-made caused greenhouse effect that makes storms like Katrina more likely and more potent. To blame the third world for this fact is plain ignorant. We are 4% of the worlds population and produce over 20% of the greenhouse gases. You want third world crapholes to revert to their 1990 CO2 levels (near zero) before our nation does anything? That's not only wrong, it's ignorant.

"6.) George Bush had nothing to do with the hurricane contingency plans for New Orleans. Those are drawn up by New Orleans and Louisiana. In any event, the plans were perfectly good: mandatory evacuation. It is in no way at all George Bush's fault that about 20 percent of New Orleans neglected to follow the plan. It is not his fault that many persons in New Orleans were too confused to realize how dangerous the hurricane would be. They were certainly warned. It's not George Bush's fault that there were sick people and old people and people without cars in New Orleans. His job description does not include making sure every adult in America has a car, is in good health, has good sense, and is mobile."

So what is FEMA about? He had no problem doling out FEMA relief to Florida prior to the election. New Orleans evacuation plans depended on having a full National Guard contingent, and promised federal assistance in the evacuation. Louisiana doesn't have the authority to tell Amtrak or American Airlines to evacuate residents. The only one, under the Patriot Act, with that authority is Bush.

"7.) George Bush did not cause gangsters to shoot at rescue helicopters taking people from rooftops, did not make gang bangers rape young girls in the Superdome, did not make looters steal hundreds of weapons, in short make New Orleans into a living hell."

Wow, there's a clue. How about when an infrastructure goes to hell, and people are trying to just survive, and every resource in Louisiana's first priority is to save lives, that some small groups of morons are going to take advantage. It reminds me of our response to the lawlessness and looting in Iraq. Why isn't Rumsfeld out there claiming that this is just a free people expressing themselves.
Is your point that we should let those in New Orleans rot in ovens of stadiums because there's knuckleheads out there? Isn't one of FEMAs responsibilities to preserve law and order?

"8.) George Bush is the least racist President in mind and soul there has ever been and this is shown in his appointments over and over. To say otherwise is scandalously untrue."

Yeah, if you suck up and play his toady he's very colorblind. If you speak out against one of his policies, he'll ruin you and your family regardless of their color. He'll even go so far as push poll your "colored child" if you're John McCain.

"9.) George Bush is rushing every bit of help he can to New Orleans and Mississippi and Alabama as soon as he can. He is not a magician. It takes time to organize huge convoys of food and now they are starting to arrive. That they get in at all considering the lawlessness of the city is a miracle of bravery and organization."
As soon as he can? He should have propositioned food and aid 72 hours before the storm hit, and sent Federal aid to assist in the evacuation. He didn't even finish his vacation until three days after the tragedy, and only after screwing up a simple G chord in California.

Is this his new and improved FEMA? Now under Homeland Security to improve the response time to disasters?

"10.) There is not the slightest evidence at all that the war in Iraq has diminished the response of the government to the emergency. To say otherwise is pure slander."
Slander my ass. When you take away 30-40% of trained first responders, stuff happens. When you take away high water vehicles, stuff happens. For someone who made a buck of trying to get people to take your money, you don't really seem to have a grasp of the simple math.

"11.) If the energy the news media puts into blaming Bush for an Act of God worsened by stupendous incompetence by the New Orleans city authorities and the malevolence of the criminals of the city were directed to helping the morale of the nation, we would all be a lot better off."

The only way he seems to get off his ass is to shame him into it. He wasn't even going to support an investigation into what went wrong prior to 9/11, until public opinion forced Karl Rove to change his mind. How the hell can you blame New Orleans authorities when every resource they had was working 16-20 hour shifts doing all they could to rescue people? How can you blame New Orleans authorities when they were warning the federal government for years of the risk to the levee system that Bush underfunded?

"12.) New Orleans is a great city with many great people. It will recover and be greater than ever. Sticking pins into an effigy of George Bush that does not resemble him in the slightest will not speed the process by one day."

Perhaps we have a different view of acceptable loss of life. People, six days after the tragedy still haven't been evacuated by our new and improved FEMA. Like father like son. Appoint toadies who don't know the first thing about emergency management, and have them go on Wolf Blitzer and blame the victims. Do you think Brown also blames those victims in nursing homes and hospitals that weren't evacuated?
"13.) The entire episode is a dramatic lesson in the breathtaking callousness of government officials at the ground level. Imagine if Hillary Clinton had gotten her way and they were in charge of your health care"

Hillary wouldn't have gone fishing during a disaster. If Hillary Clinton had gotten her way in health care, at least the upcoming cases of typhoid and dysentery would be covered.

Ben Stein, you were one of Richard Nixon's chief apologists to the end. At least wingnuts like PJ O'Rourke have some redeeming value in their comedic talent. You are, were, and will always be a nonthinking partisan toadie.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Bush's Obscene Tirades Rattle White House Aides

While President George W. Bush travels around the country in a last-ditch effort to sell his Iraq war, White House aides scramble frantically behind the scenes to hide the dark mood of an increasingly angry leader who unleashes obscenity-filled outbursts at anyone who dares disagree with him.

“I’m not meeting again with that goddamned bitch,” Bush screamed at aides who suggested he meet again with Cindy Sheehan, the war-protesting mother whose son died in Iraq. “She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned!”

Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them “motherfucking traitors.” He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore “bullshit protectors” over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to “tell those VFW assholes that I’ll never speak to them again is they can’t keep their members under control.”

White House insiders say Bush is growing increasingly bitter over mounting opposition to his war in Iraq. Polls show a vast majority of Americans now believe the war was a mistake and most doubt the President’s honesty.

“Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say,” he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. “I’m the President and I’ll do whatever I goddamned please. They don’t know shit.”

Bush, whiles setting up for a photo op for signing the recent CAFTA bill, flipped an extended middle finger to reporters. Aides say the President often “flips the bird” to show his displeasure and tells aides who disagree with him to “go to hell” or to “go fuck yourself.” His habit of giving people the finger goes back to his days as Texas governor, aides admit, and videos of him doing so before press conferences were widely circulated among TV stations during those days. A recent video showing him shooting the finger to reporters while walking also recently surfaced.

...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Torture Orders Came From The Top

I had been hesitant to speak out before because this Administration is so vindictive. But now I will ... Anybody who confronts this Administration or Rumsfeld or the Pentagon with a true assessment, they find themselves either out of a job, out of their positions, fired, relieved or chastised. Their career comes to an end.

-- Janis Karpinski, interview with Marjorie Cohn, August 3, 2005