Sunday, May 30, 2004
the daily outrage:
by Matt Bivens (the Nation)
Matt's last column for the Nation. Think about thisone next time the Bushies start yapping about more nuclear weapons.
To launch a Minuteman in those days, one had to "unlock" the missile by dialing in a code -- the equivalent of a safety catch on a handgun. However, Blair reports, the US Strategic Air Command was worried that a bunch of sissy safety features might slow things down. It ordered all locks set to 00000000 -- and in launch checklists, reminded all launch officers like Blair to keep the codes there. "So the 'secret unlock code' during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War," Blair says, "remained constant at 00000000."
And there's more ...
Prose & Cons
A comparison of writing from the Left and writing from the Right.
Prose: A Shadow on the Land
by Douglas O'Rourke
A great little liberal rant:
They've brought America to its knees. They're a ruthless band of fundamentalist religious fanatics that respect no international laws and seem destined to cause only death, misery, and destruction. They strike without warning using stealth, torture, lies, and deception to rain down violence without regard to innocent lives lost. They cynically exploit the World's media. They constantly invoke the name of their God, to justify every cruel act for their holy cause. They'll use and sacrifice innocent believing kids as warriors. Most of the world already hates and fears them, and no country on Earth is safe from their rage or terror.

They are the new evil in the World.

So much for the Bush folks. Those al-Qaida guys are no picnic either.

Also contains perhaps the best short answer yet as to why the administration went to war in Iraq:
The Republicans apparently made war on Iraq just because they could.

YAHOO! News:
By Ann Coulter
The bitch godess of the criminally insane. Talk about rewriting history!
Abu Ghraib is the new Tet offensive. By lying about the Tet offensive during the Vietnam War, the media managed to persuade Americans we were losing the war, which demoralized the nation and caused us to lose the war.
Coulter really needs an M-16, a Humvee (no plating, of course), and a one-way ticket to Iraq.

To be fair to Coulter however (while I hold my nose), this idea about Tet is hardly hers. It was this very idea, that we only lost Vietnam because we lost our will, that led to the creation of the Neocons shortly after that war's conclusion. The idea of course is false. We didn't lose Tet, and it wasn't reported that way.

The real problem with Tet was that we had been told for so long how we were winning the war that it should have been impossible for the Tet offenesive to even have been launched. That the Viet Cong alliance was strong enough to launch it immediately put the lie to the earlier reporting, and it was that recognition that caused the drop in public support. In that sense, Abu Ghraib was not Iraq's Tet offensive; Fallujah was.

Anyways, this is a fun article (unless you're dead set against self-flaggelation). There's hardly a sentence in it where Coulter isn't flipping history on it's head. They only thing I can't understand is why the editors don't put it where it belongs -- in the Comics Section.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words:
State of the Union: Laura Bush and special guest Ahmed Chalabi

State of the Union: Laura Bush and special guest Ahmed Chalabi
[Chalabi is directly behind the First Lady (clapping)]

See the rest of the Chalabi Photo Gallery at The Liberal Conspiracy.

[ Via daily KOS.]
Saturday, May 29, 2004
Hey, look! They're talking about us.

All the standard stuff. Nadar offers the best:

"There are antiwar Democrats who will fume and still vote for Kerry," Mr. Nader said, adding: "I don't think Democrats should give their candidate a pass on the war. If Democrats are so freaked out by Bush that they are, like, 'Do anything you want, John, we'll support you,' well, as I told him in our meeting, he's not going to be left with a mandate."
"He's listening to Shrum," said Mr. Nader, referring to Mr. Kerry's senior political adviser, Bob Shrum. "He's listening to all the cautious advisers. They are saying don't cater to these antiwar people, they have nowhere to go. They are going to vote for you. You know the old game."
Conventional wisdon, of course. DLC-style. The same crap that lost the Dems the last two elections.

While I've been away from writing for a while (personal problems), I haven't been away from the rumblings on the Left, and they are not quiet. For the time being, Bush is self-destructing, and that is the only reason Kerry is getting a pass. But come September, he'd better start singing, because id he doesn't, there will be nowhere for us to go ... on Election Day, that is. We'll just stay home.

Bush's Forgotten War:
US troops killed in Afghanistan
Four US soldiers have been killed in action in southern Afghanistan, the US military says.
'Taleban insurgency'

The deaths represent one of the biggest losses for American forces since they began operations in Afghanistan more than two years ago.

The attacks have been blamed on remnants of the former Taleban regime.

Now, let me get this straight. "The remnents"? "One of the biggest losses for American forces"? Impressive "remnents", I'd say.
Sydney Morning Herald:
Who killed Nick Berg?
Conspiracy theories about how the kidnapped American died in Iraq are flying around the world. Richard Neville explores the explanations.
A review of a lot of the "conspiracy" analysis surrounding the Nick Berg video. Though hardly all-inclusive if you've been following this (it is a mainstream article, after all), fairly interesting, and Neville smells a rat also.

One interesting item from it that I hadn't run into before comes from La Voz de Aztlan (who has been following this closely). The article in question there has a short background soundtrack from the Berg video in which someone seems to be saying in English(!), "How will it be done?" [Note: If you want to save this audio clip, look for "berg2.wav" in your Internet Temporay Storage.]

... a rapacious elite that regards itself &#034appointed by God&#034  ...Chris Floyd:

"Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going." -- William Shakespeare, "Macbeth"

In January 2002, official White House legal counsel Alberto Gonzales warned George W. Bush that he faced the possibility of execution under the U.S. War Crimes Act for the "new interrogation procedures" and other "flexible measures" he had authorized for the "war on terror," Newsweek reports.

However, because Gonzales regarded himself as the consigliere for the Bush crime family and not a public servant sworn to uphold the Constitution, instead of denouncing Bush's policy of state terrorism -- torture, kidnapping, indefinite detention, hostage-taking, assassination and aggressive war -- Gonzales urged Bush to abandon the international Geneva Conventions and use weasel words to cover up his deliberate violations of U.S. law.

This dereliction of duty comes as no surprise. ...

What's more, Bush and his warlords knew they were constructing a blatantly criminal operation; why else dig up legal dodges to shield the top conspirators from prosecution? Lower down, of course, it's a different story.

[ As always, lots of good links.]

The NYU Speech:
Al Gore
Wednesday, May 26th
Al Gore is on FIRE!
This is an hour of absolutely must listen Gore!
Audio Link   [MP3, 13 MB]
Curteousy of  White Rose Society
& Mark Levine's RadioInsideScoop

Read Along
Curteousy of  The Randi Rhodes Show

New York Times:
An Outraged Gore (Kerry, Take Note)
Letters to the Editor on the Gore speech

Saturday, May 22, 2004
Marc Perkel Rantz:
Berg Video - SMOKING GUN?
Unfortunately, Perkel doesn't source this claim, so it is impossible to check out, but if the claim is true (or if even such "watermarking" technology is used), this certainly would be big news.
There has been a semi-secret government initiative to add digital signatures to various digital consumer products. Photocopiers and digital cameras store an encrypted signature to identify the unit that made the video. This digitial signature is totally inique to each device and is more unique than a fingerprint.

Today new pictures were released of prison torture at Abu Ghraib prison. But not just still pictures. Today video was released showing prisoners being tortured by Americans. Aparently Kodak film experts are Kodak Park in Rochester New York have compared the digital watermarks of the turture video and the beheading video and have determined that one of the cameras used in the Nick Berg beheading is THE SAME CAMERA that took the prison torture video.

If this turns out to be true then there is NO DOUBT that Berg was killed by Americans at Abu Ghraib prison.

Friday, May 21, 2004
Winning hearts and minds ...
It's time to go ...
The wedding feast was finished and the women had just led the young bride and groom away to their marriage tent for the night when Haleema Shihab heard the first sounds of the fighter jets screeching through the sky above.

It was 10.30pm in the remote village of Mukaradeeb by the Syrian border and the guests hurried back to their homes as the party ended. As sister-in-law of the groom, Mrs Shihab, 30, was to sleep with her husband and children in the house of the wedding party, the Rakat family villa. She was one of the few in the house who survived the night.

Oh, my God!
Village Voice:
The Jesus Landing Pad
Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move
Leaked e-mail shows White House takes Israel policy from Rapture Christians.
But now we know.

"Everything that you're discussing is information you're not supposed to have," barked Pentecostal minister Robert G. Upton when asked about the off-the-record briefing his delegation received on March 25. Details of that meeting appear in a confidential memo signed by Upton and obtained by the Voice.

Wonderful. Just fucking wonderful.

By Paul Campos
Suppose that early last year, when President Bush retreated to his prayer closet to commune with the Lord, the Almighty had given the Somewhat Less Mighty the straight dope on Iraq. Such a conversation might have sounded something like this.

"W, I'm not going to beat around the burning bush: You're headed for a Texas-sized disaster. First off, I know you won't believe this even coming from Me, but you'll never guess who's right about Iraq: Hans Blix! That's right -- all that stuff about how the U.N. inspections process is working, and just needs more time to get the job done? It's actually true.

re's another shocker: Saddam has already gotten rid of his weapons of mass destruction. He's being intransigent not because he's hiding weapons, but because he thinks he can't afford to lose face by caving in to foreign threats. This is a huge miscalculation on his part, but hey -- he doesn't have the benefit of My advice. You do, so listen up.

you invade Iraq, you're going to win the easiest of military victories. The Iraqi army is a fraud. At this point, Iraq barely poses a threat to its neighbors, let alone to America. That's the good news. But it's also the bad news.

"I know it's tempting to knock over an evil dictator who has a fake army and imaginary weapons of mass destruction. After all, Karl Rove is whispering that your approval rating will go through the roof, and that, as an extra added bonus, it's also the right thing to do. How often does that happen anyway -- that the politically expedient course also happens to be the morally right one? Not very often, let me tell you what.

"And it's not happening here, either. Invading Iraq is going to be a foreign policy fiasco. Remember, there are no WMDs, so you're going to have to invent another justification for the war after the fact. Your advisers will come up with a doozy: liberating Iraq from the contemporary equivalent of Hitler, so as to turn it into a model democracy, thereby creating an entirely new historical dynamic that will eventually transform the entire Middle East into a stable, peaceful region.

"Sounds downright Messianic, doesn't it? But wait, I haven't even gotten to the best part. They're going to try to convince you that all this can be done on the economy plan. There will be no need to bring back the draft, or even raise taxes: Since Iraq can be conquered with a relatively small military force, all you'll have to do is shock and awe the Iraqis with a few thousand smart bombs, pull down some statues of Saddam on live network television, and presto: You're on the road to world historical transformation at bargain basement prices!

"If all this sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. W, we've known each other for quite awhile now, and if there's one thing I've tried to get into your head it's that doing the right thing is never cheap or easy.

"Doing the right thing in Iraq might mean continuing the often frustrating work of containing and undermining Saddam's regime through the U.N. sanctions and inspections process. Or it might mean undertaking the sort of massive military and economic project that would have a real chance of transforming the region -- a project that would require real sacrifices on the part of the average American voter.

"I'm not going to tell you which path to take. But I will tell you this: What your advisers are planning won't work. And one last thing: Remind your friend Karl for me that the road to Hell is paved with focus group poll data."

Deep down, these guys are nothing but cheap hoods, two-bit chiselers hustling for loot, thug-brained goons  ...Chris Floyd:
Matters of great moment are suddenly in the air all around us: stark evidence of war crimes by the leaders of the West; the growing certainty of a humiliating geopolitical defeat inflicted on the world's greatest power; terrorism and torture as the mirrored emblems of the age, a deadly double helix giving rise to a hideous global reality.

It's tempting in such times to inflate the image of those in the forefront of events, painting them, for good or ill, in the colors of legend: bold, outsize figures, Great Ones playing dice with nations, characters whose roiling depths -- tragic, evil or heroic -- transcend the puny limits of the common herd. Although on rare occasions this viewpoint might hold true, the squalid history of our ill-cobbled species provides endless examples to the contrary.

And they don't come any more squalid than the crew now steering the American boat straight into the shoals of disaster. For despite all the grandiose political rhetoric and world-historical perturbations emanating from the Bush Regime's imperial project, we should never lose sight of one simple fact: Deep down, these guys are nothing but cheap hoods, two-bit chiselers hustling for loot, thug-brained goons with no more grandeur about them than the meanest pack of Mafia knee-breakers. ...

That's how they operate, these cheap hoods. Like Saddam, like Osama, they mouth great pieties, they strut and preen on the world's stage. But underneath they're still nothing but witless, murdering, money-grubbing goons.

[ As always, lots of good links.]

Bob Herbert:
'Gooks' to 'Hajis'
Killing the village to save it.
"Imagine being in the infantry in Ramadi, like we were," he said, "where you get shot at every day and you get mortared where you live, [and attacked] with R.P.G.'s [rocket-propelled grenades], and people are dying and getting wounded and maimed every day. A lot of horrible things become acceptable."

He spoke about a friend of his, a sniper, who he said had shot a child about 10 years old who was carrying an automatic weapon. "He realized it was a kid," said Sergeant Mejia. "The kid tried to get up. He shot him again."

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
As you by now know, I am off blogging for a bit at least. I did want to post at least something on Abu Ghraib. My letter to John McCain:
Senator John McCain:

You were held as a prisoner of war for five years. I am sure that nothing I can imagine would come close to what that experience was like for you. I am equally sure that that at least some if not most of what you experienced was not in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

I am writing you today regarding the revelations of Abu Ghraib. Have we really sunk this low? Sexual torture? Is this what we have become in our zeal to avenge 9/11?

Senator, did anything like this happen to you? I certainly hope not. But if it did not, it means that the Geneva Conventions, as poorly as they can be implimented, are better than any alternatives.

We have an administration that has tossed the Geneva Conventions aside as an inconvenient restaint; an administration that does not understand that we adhere to the Geneva Conventions not because we so care about our captives, but rather because we wish for our own captured to be treated in an honorable fashion. I know you understand this.

I am not a proud American today. I am ashamed of my country, and I don't like that one bit. I am better than that, Senator, and WE are better than that.

Thursday, May 13, 2004
Media Matters for America is a new and quite professional website that is closely tracking right wing media pundits, documenting their errors and outrageous claims. There is new content there on a daily basis, with their special focus on Rush Limbaugh, a fact that even Rush has noted on his program.

Apparently they are quite well financed (a new version of Center for American Progress?), as they are releasing a TV ad for their website targeted at the Washington, DC area. The ad is short, but well worth a download (high-speed (2.5 MB), dial-up (600 KB)). What's it on? Rush Limbaugh, of course. His "frat pranks" crap. Check it out.

Friday, May 07, 2004
Sunday, May 02, 2004
A message to all whom I love:
I've not been publishing much lately, being very much in the dumpster over a love perhaps lost, but one that I very much cherished. I have been spending my time writing to my beloved, hoping to patch the rift that has occurred.

My beloved would not let me talk about politics to her, which obviously limited my own conversations therein. I am intensely political, and she is not. She has other things on her mind, and rightly so. I won't get into them here because she deserves her privacy on this.

I did however want to share with you a bit of text that I've written to her regarding my passion for politics, trying to explain to her why I have this passion:

I know that you hate it when I talk about politics, so forgive me this brief instance.

We live in a country that is half crazy. We coddle ourselves with lies while we are being taken to the cleaners. We support things that are directly against our own self-interests, ignoring the glaring facts as we go.

I am very afraid, but I am not afraid for myself. If I died tomorrow, I’d go out saying, "Wow! That was cool." You object when I answer you, "Oh, well" to something significant, but there really is a reason behind that. I grew up a poor boy, and JFK put me through an Ivy League university. That alone enabled me to live a fabulous life. Yes, I am close to the bottom today, but I would not have traded a second of my life for anyone else’s. I have been First Mate on a yacht, I’ve been a white-glove waiter, I’ve been "The Poet" of Mackinac Island, I’ve been a high powered and priced computer consultant, and I was known as "Mr. Calculation" at the largest group insurer in the world. I can also dig a ditch better than anyone else I have ever met, and when the plumbing explodes, they call me to fix it. So I really have had a quite marvelous life, and I wouldn’t even trade my jail time for a different one.

But I am very afraid. Not perhaps even for you. You too, like me, have lived a good deal of life, and in your more reflective moments, you too, like me, perhaps would also say, "Wow! That was cool."

No, I am not afraid for you and I. I have this theory, you see, that life begins at 13 years old. Before then, everything is about toys and home. It is only when a child reaches 13 that they begin to see the world as part of themselves. They in effect "leave home" at that age and begin for the first time to see themselves as a part of something much larger. A part of the world.

So I am afraid for your daughter. Not just her, of course, but for all of those who are her age. You and I have tasted life well, but they have not. They are just beginning to get their taste of this. They deserve for their flavor of this to be at least as good as ours was. And we have failed them.

We have screwed this whole thing up. We have sat and watched our TV’s, buying into the pabulum they present to us. We have bought into the obvious lies there because it was easier to do so then spend the time to find the truth. We largely did this all just to make a few more dollars, convinced that by doing so, we would make this whole thing better for our children. While that is indeed laudatory, it has not worked out that way.

We have screwed this whole thing up, and I am outraged. How dare we pass this mess that we have created by our own blindness onto your daughter? She and those like her deserve so much more from us, and we have failed them.

So if you want to know why I do what I do, I am doing it for your daughter and those like her. I sat by for years and let this all happen, and to tell you the truth, I am ashamed of myself for that. I am simply trying to correct that mistake.

Saturday, May 01, 2004
Kirwan returns!
From time to time, I receive e-mails containing quite excellent articles by writers somewhat to the left of me. I like to publish these because I have a very foreboding sense that they may be right.

Meet Jim Kirwan, in perhaps the best article I have read of his yet.

Enough of This Hypocrisy!
by Jim Kirwan
The Winds of War have finally shifted, and the stains of death and dying are beginning to mar the starched fatigues of even the most zealous of our "commanders" in the field.

Elements of "the Alliance" are beginning to completely come apart, as nation after nation can no longer escape the crimes we are committing, by simply being there. The Bush Cabal has been de-cloaked, and nothing now can begin to restore that pristine passion we possessed, when first we launched this Bush-form of the crimes in those old Crusades--against Iraq.

However, the seven-headed Hydra, that we are seen to be within the Middle East, is not yet paralyzed; we have only dealt ourselves some deadly body blows, to what we say we came to do.

By the numbers:

We strong-armed the United Nations, the Atlantic Alliance and NATO, to win approval for this folly:

We failed, on every count! Our strong-armed arrogance, and our miserably managed invasion, has yet to triumph. Nor we are not likely to persuade the UN to go along with anything that we’re now forced to plead for; now that all our macho proclamations are now just dust upon the desert wind.

We unilaterally launched the brutality of Shekhinah against the unresisting people of Iraq, to devastating effect. With a vengeance seldom equaled, we burned and looted that country, with an eye to taking all that had been theirs for us, and leaving only the rubble for those who survived the violence of George W. Bush, the man who says he does God's word.

Having changed our stated reasons for this war crime, at least three times—it is now impossible to convince the surviving population of the either the sanity or the sincerity of our intentions. Add to this the torture of some of the over 10,000 prisoners that we hold, without charges, and the writing begins to appear on the broken walls of that country. Over 70% of the population wants us out - NOW.

We staked out what we really came for, which was the oil and water, and the land itself, in order to control pipelines throughout the Middle East. Iraq was to have given our military a permanent launching pad from which to begin to crush all the other Arab nations in the region.

But we can’t even control the highways, much less the pipelines in Iraq. We are the failures, that we're seen to be in the region and the world. Moreover, our troops cannot protect themselves, much less the population. Still the Bush administration tries to paint this crime against humanity as another victory, in his march toward world control. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Finally, Cheney-Bush-Sharon is still looking for miracles to save their failed Crusade. But they haven't the ability; the people to plan it; or the personnel to pull it off. The number of mercenary thugs has increased now to 20,000, but even if that figure goes to 50,000 they will never be able to complete this theft, because the people who are fighting us are not a bunch of indoctrinated thugs, they are the people of Iraq, in all their diversity – and they are fighting for their homes, their families, and their country after all.

Bush wanted this war to be about terrorism and it is--it's just not what he was thinking of. We brought the real terror, to both Iraq and us. Some say we've killed more people in Iraq that did Saddam, so how is it that they're better off?

We are face of the enemy in Iraq, and we are proving to be everything that we have said we're not!

Bush said he came to liberate the people from Saddam. We killed his sons, and we say we've captured him, yet we're still there! We said that we would bring Iraq into the modern world, but we can’t provide the water needed, for even our own troops, much less for the people of that place. Electricity, the restoration of a normal civil life, all of that is only wishful thinking, there's nothing normal now within that nation or in Palestine, that was also going to benefit from this crime against humanity. This all comes at a massive price that will be paid by all of us and by the next several generations, in continued blood and treasure.

Couple the above with or plans to force a puppet government upon the unwilling and undefeated people, and anyone can see the reasons clearly burning, even in the light of day, for the revolution that has started. The Iraqis see our plans to place a recycled cretin in charge of every aspect of their lives and they want no part of that.

We've declared that the Iraqi people are free and democratic, but they can't pass laws, they can’t pick the people they might choose to lead them, without the farce of our permission—nor can they, under any circumstances get rid of us. So of course they say "Get OUT!"

This would probably work in the growing police state that we're building here, but the people of Iraq have been trampled underfoot for over a year now, and they want nothing more to do with us or with what we say we’re going to “give” them – anymore!

We lost people in the hundreds in a public fit over the deaths of four mercenaries. That cost us hundreds of our own, and several thousand Iraqis, yet all Bush cared about was that no coffins should be seen here. We still have not revealed what happened in Fallejuh.

All of that was hubris an arrogant denial of what is true within the country.

All of this was all foretold; well before this "War" that has only been an excuse for many other things. This administration doesn't listen or care about the truth. When they have the facts they change them, to justify what they really want to do, so they never see disaster coming. These thugs of ours, at the top of this administration are not warriors in any sense, and because of all that blood of all those troops, along with all the other dead in this misbegotten war, answers have to be found to the questions that people everywhere are asking yet again: About the horror of these facts upon the bloody grounds that have marked the Bush Regime.

Our image in the world is broken. That facade like all the rest has failed. All that has to be decided now is when we're leaving, there is no longer any IF. The days of trials and accusations must begin, because the world has had enough of simple George and angry Ariel to last a dozen lifetimes.

Enough of this hypocrisy, let's find some sanity within the world, some justice, who knows with the Bandits gone, maybe even peace. The US under Cheney-Bush-Sharon has only spoken hate and fear and terror while they've tried to hide their shabby deeds from a wronged and angry world. It's way past time for all of this to end, because we've seen what happens when we hesitate to act, we're living it now!