Saturday, May 22, 2004

Good People Beget Good People (continued) 


The son of the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, faces drunken driving and related charges after being arrested early on Wednesday. The son, William Harrison Frist Jr., was pulled over at 1:35 a.m. for passing illegally and failed a balance test, the police said. He was given a blood alcohol test that showed his level to be over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Mr. Frist, 21, a Princeton University sophomore, was driving a sport utility vehicle when he was stopped. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 24. Senator Frist, a Tennessee Republican, is a 1974 Princeton alumnus and in 1998 supported a bill lowering the legal blood alcohol limit from 0.10 percent to 0 .08 percent. (AP)

This Is Going to Be War (cont'd.) 

From The Nation:
Last week the antiwar coalition United for Peace and Justice's applicationfor a permit to rally on the Great Lawn in Central Park in Manhattan on August 29th was denied. The rally is planned to be a key part of what organizers (and police) expect to be a massive demonstration on the day before the 2004 Republican National Convention begins. UFPJ's attorneys appealed that denial. Earlier this week the appeal was also denied.

Far from a radical cause, the city's refusal to grant the permit has sparked editorial condemnation from three of New York City's newspapers as well as criticism from municipal labor unions and numerous members of New York's City Council, all of whom are calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reverse the decision and allow the march to lawfully proceed.

UFP is asking people to contact Bloomberg to politely protest the city's denial of our right to rally in Central Park on August 29.

See ActNow, The Nation's activist weblog, for info on how you can help:

A Kind of Truth 

More fun stuff at this site.

Pelosi Fights for Freedom 

Pelosi: ''The results of his action are what undermine his leadership, not my statements,'' she said. ''The emperor has no clothes. When are people going to face the reality?''
Pelosi Accuses Bush of 'Incompetence' on Iraq
Republicans Say Democratic Leader Went Over the Line

WASHINGTON (May 20) - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi lashed out at President Bush on Thursday, saying his Iraq policies show incompetence and the only conclusion to draw is that ''the emperor has no clothes.'' ''I believe that the president's leadership and the actions taken in Iraq demonstrate an incompetence in terms of knowledge, judgment and experience,'' the California Democrat told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference.

Republicans swiftly responded by defending the president and assailing Pelosi for crossing the line for political gain. Marc Racicot, the chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign, described Pelosi's comments as a ''reprehensible attempt to blame America for the actions of terrorists,'' and called on Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to repudiate her remarks. The criticism of Bush - harsh even by the highly partisan standards in Washington - came as the president traveled to the Capitol to rally Republican lawmakers around his Iraq plan at a time of increasing violence in Iraq and outrage over Iraqi prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers.
What a brave way to handle the situation! Cut out the Democrats! Don't bring both parties together to discuss solutions: just go "rally Republican lawmakers," read a printed statement, recieve applause from sycophants, and leave. What leadership!
Bush told congressional Republicans he is sticking to a June 30 date for handing partial governing authority to Iraqis and that the Iraqis are ready to ''take the training wheels off'' by assuming some political power.
Right--the "little brown ones" have had enough punishment; they can now be allowed to come out of their rooms.
Democrats, including Kerry, have been critical of Bush's stewardship of Iraq, but Pelosi's comments were the strongest to date. ''This president should have known ... when you decide to go to war you have to know what the consequences of your action are and how you can accomplish the mission,'' Pelosi said. ''There was plenty of intelligence to say there would be chaos in Iraq following the fall of Baghdad.''

Bush's policy ''of ignoring his own State Department about what would happen after the fall of Baghdad and ignoring the intelligence as to the chaotic situation that would exist ... carries with it a responsibility for all of the costs of war,'' she said. ''And that's not only the president, that is all of us any time we vote to send our young people into harm's way. ''The results of his action are what undermine his leadership, not my statements,'' she said. ''The emperor has no clothes. When are people going to face the reality?'' House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.,
aka, the Cretinous Bespectacled Oaf
said Pelosi's comments ''were meant to inspire her political base.
Unlike the president's "trip" to the Capitol, which was meant to find real solutions.
But who else do they inspire? If we followed Mrs. Pelosi's advice, Saddam Hussein would still terrorize the citizens of Iraq. We would still be waiting for the U.N. to make any decision regarding our national security.'' Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said if all Pelosi could offer is taunting U.S. troops ''by saying they are dying needlessly and are risking their lives on a shallow mission, then she should just go back to her pastel-colored condo in San Francisco and keep her views to herself.'' A Pelosi spokeswoman said that the congresswoman lives in a red-brick house.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Blue, White and Red 

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The Jesus Landing Pad  

From the Village Voice:
The e-mailed meeting summary reveals NSC Near East and North African Affairs director Elliott Abrams sitting down with the Apostolic Congress and massaging their theological concerns. Claiming to be "the Christian Voice in the Nation's Capital," the members vociferously oppose the idea of a Palestinian state. They fear an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza might enable just that, and they object on the grounds that all of Old Testament Israel belongs to the Jews. Until Israel is intact and Solomon's temple rebuilt, they believe, Christ won't come back to earth.

Abrams attempted to assuage their concerns by stating that "the Gaza Strip had no significant Biblical influence such as Joseph's tomb or Rachel's tomb and therefore is a piece of land that can be sacrificed for the cause of peace."
More fun.

A Fake Macedonia Terror Tale That Led to Deaths  

Crazy. crazy shit. From the New York Times:
KOPJE, Macedonia, May 14 - Roughly two months after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, a group of high-level officials met here in Macedonia's Interior Ministry to determine how their country could take part in the United States-led campaign against terror.

Instead of offering troops to support American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, as other countries in the region had done, senior officials and police commanders conceived a plan to "expose" a terrorist plot against Western interests in Skopje, police investigators here say.

The plan, they say, involved luring foreign migrants into the country, executing them in a staged gun battle, and then claiming they were a unit backed by Al Qaeda intent on attacking Western embassies.

New School Event 5/26 

This takes place at the New School in NYC
Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12 Street


President Bob Kerrey will discuss a new critical biography about John F. Kerry with the authors on Wednesday, May 26 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., at Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12 Street. David Plotke, chair and associate professor of political science, at the Graduate Faculty and the authors of the book, Michael Kranish, Brian C. Mooney, and Nina J. Easton, will participate in the discussion. John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography (Public Affairs), the first full and in-depth book about the candidate's life, is based on a highly regarded series on Kerry published in the Boston Globe, plus years of additional reporting. Who is the man who will become the Democratic party's nominee for president in 2004, and what kind of leader will he be? The event is free and open to the public. Book sales will be available throughout the program, and a book signing will follow the discussion. To reserve a seat, call 212-229-5747 or e-mail calendar@newschool.edu.

For Democrats to Win, the Troops Must Lose 

I've been repeating this line to myself all week; it's from May 7, and just too damn good not to reprise here:

"In a calculated and craven political stunt, the national Democrat Party declared its surrender in the war on terror," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican. "But at least — or perhaps, at most — the Washington Democrats finally have taken a position on the war. And that position — that baseless, partisan, shocking position — is that American troops aren't up to the job."
See, this stunt was calculated and craven precisely because the Democrat Party knows that there's no better way to score political points than declaring its surrender in the war on terror. The only question is: why didn't the Repugs think of it first? Uh, hello: calling Mr. Rove!

By the way, here's the context for DeLay's remark. Please note how "baseless, partisan," and "shocking" it is:
"The direction's got to be changed or it's unwinnable, in my estimation," said Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, a Vietnam veteran and the widely respected top Democrat on the military subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Mr. Murtha said the United States must either commit tens of thousands more troops and spend the money to supply and retrain them, or pull out of Iraq.

"I was struggling with this for six weeks, trying to figure out something else to do. And the only conclusion I can come to is either mobilize or get out," he said, speaking alongside House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, who invited him to her weekly press briefing. "So far, I'd prefer the mobilization side of it. Of course, that would take a lot more money and would be very difficult to accomplish."
"So far, I'd prefer the mobilization side of it"...shocking!!

Monday, May 17, 2004

Back on Thursday 

Bush's Job Approval Drops to Record Low 42%; Kerry Up By 5 Points Over Bush 47%-42%; Iraq Disapproval Rate Rises to 64%; Majority Says US Headed in the Wrong Direction and "It's Time for Someone New" New Zogby International Poll Reveals
And note this:
In the Blues States, those that were won by former Vice-President Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election, Kerry receives 49.1% of support, as compared to Bush with 38.4%. In Red States Kerry and Bush are statistically tied with 45%.

...and the "president" was elected. 

US military now trying to buy abused prisoners

At the Camp War Horse detention centre in Baguba, north of Baghdad, it is a surreal scene: US soldiers handing out cash to freed prisoners along with a note saying "You have not been mistreated."

Desperate to limit the damage from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, the US military has launched something of a charm offensive surrounding their detention centres.

Iraq by Proxy 

From Saturday's Wall Street Journal:
Behind the Scenes, U.S. Tightens Grip On Iraq's Future

Or 'How Iraq Came To Be Ruled By A Brutal Dictator The First Time Around'.

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Haider al-Abadi runs Iraq's Ministry of Communications, but he no longer calls the shots there.

Instead, the authority to license Iraq's television stations, sanction newspapers and regulate cellphone companies was recently transferred to a commission whose members were selected by Washington. The commissioners' five-year terms stretch far beyond the planned 18-month tenure of the interim Iraqi government that will assume sovereignty on June 30.

The transfer surprised Mr. Abadi, a British-trained engineer who spent nearly two decades in exile before returning to Iraq last year. He found out the commission had been formally signed into law only when a reporter asked him for comment about it. "No one from the U.S. even found time to call and tell me themselves," he says.

As Washington prepares to hand over power, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer and other officials are quietly building institutions that will give the U.S. powerful levers for influencing nearly every important decision the interim government will make.

Torture, Schmorture! 

Finchy writes:

Colin Powell is putting his foot down.

He is very, very upset that the Arab world has not been very, very upset about the beheading of Nicholas Berg. From CNN:
Powell said that there was "no comparison" between Berg's killing and the revelation of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison by American soldiers.

"All this kind of behavior is unacceptable in the modern world," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "Torture of any kind is unacceptable."
Hmm! Bit of a contradiction there? So which is it, Colin? Is there "no comparison" between the two incidents of torture, or is "torture of any kind" in fact "unacceptable," which would in fact establish equivalence between the killing and the abuses?

CNN neglected to report on Powell's remarks a few moments later, as he attempted to clarify himself:

"Let me explain. It's like apples and oranges. They're different. But they're both pieces of fruit. And both edible."

When pushed for further clarification, Powell mused:

"You need to understand. Let's say I was to sodomize Donald Rumsfeld with a plantain. That would be torture. But the torturer would be a decorated general of the United States military. And Rummy would appreciate that; he'd get through it, with the same moxie and determination that he's using to get through this current controversy. Now let's say an Iraqi insurgent did it; poked around in there. Totally different situation. First of all he's breaking the law. Second of all, this is the kind of thing that Arab countries should be concerned about. Moral individuals in modern societies just don't do this sort of thing. And that's precisely why it's okay if I do it! I'm from the United States of America. And proud of it."

Sy Hersh, Terrorist 


How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib.

The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.
So what is this guy getting at?

Time's Up! 

Finchy writes:

During a satellite interview with Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" today, one of Colin Powell's aides unexpectedly duct-taped the Secretary of State's mouth, causing a catastrophic backup of the excrement that had been steadily flowing from the orifice only seconds before. The decorated general's head reportedly swelled to twice its size prior to a hasty and life-saving drainage procedure conducted by local physicians.

The Bush Effect, cont'd. 

Scats writes:

Spain, India, South Korea and now...

Blair on the chopping block. Now for Berlusconi and then El Presidente.
Tony Blair was last night furiously resisting mounting pressure to hold a new Commons vote on Britain's military commitment in Iraq as it was revealed that defence chiefs are privately discussing "strategic failure" in the war.

Petition: Demand a Paper Trail in Ohio 

Sign the petition. Here's the text of the petition:

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell
Members of the Ohio Controlling Board
Columbus, Ohio

We, the undersigned, in the name of democracy, ask that you mandate all manufacturers of electronic voting equipment – Diebold and others – to equip each machine with a paper record of all votes.

Every vote in Ohio must be counted. We’ll be watching.

Men and Women: It is Time 

Register for the draft now.

You have to. If you don't, you will be punished under the law.

The shit-friendly face (hole) of punk rock 

Puto passes along this way-cool article from the BBC:
George W Bush: Punk icon?

It sounds unlikely, but there is a surprising new subculture emerging in the United States: Republican punk rockers.

In his knee-high Dr Martens and with his head shaved, Michale Graves is the Bush-friendly face of punk rock.

He is the front man for the band Gotham Road, which has just kicked off its US tour.

On stage he belts out angry, obscure lyrics, but offstage he is also known for his conservative rants and raves.

"The leftist radical agenda seems to be resonating loudly from within pop culture and we are at war on many different levels," he wrote in one of his columns at conservativepunk.com - one of several new web sites for Republican punk rockers.


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