They’ll fire the answer through the door—You’re out to die tonight

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Except for the die hard right-wing most Americans realize that when conservatives use certain buzz words or phrases they are speaking in code. "Pro Business" for example. Conservatives are pro business in the way that Tony Soprano is pro business, Ex-Bush aide convicted in D.C. corruption case

A jury Tuesday convicted a

Safavian was convicted on four of five felony counts of lying and obstruction. He had resigned from his White House post last year as the federal government’s chief procurement officer.

The verdict gave a boost to the wide-ranging influence peddling probe that focuses on Abramoff’s dealings with Congress.

In the Safavian case, prosecutors highlighted the name of Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio. They introduced a photograph of the congressman and Abramoff standing in front of a private jet that whisked them and other members of a golfing party for a five-day trip to the storied St Andrews Old Course in Scotland, and a second leg of the journey to London.

It's just business right? Doing what they've always done, practice a perversity of free market capitalism. Senate's Abramoff Report Disputes Rep. Ney

The report includes new details about some of Abramoff's activities, including his collaboration with former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed and conservative strategist Grover Norquist. The Senate report recommended that the Senate Finance Committee investigate the use of tax-exempt organizations "as extensions of for-profit lobbying operations."

Ney's comments to the panel could add to his problems with the Justice Department. Federal prosecutors have secured guilty pleas from Abramoff and three former associates implicating Ney in a string of official acts allegedly performed in exchange for favors such as a golf trip to Scotland and campaign contributions.

These are some illustrious members of the party of values. The values of gangsters apparently.

Not being a psychiatrist I'm not familiar with the clinical terms used to describe the conservative phenomenon whereby America becomes Bush and Bush becomes America. This merging of alternate realities is not unherad of at this point since the fringe right still merges Bin Laden, Saddam, and 9-11. For the average person Bush and America are not the same thing, to criticize a guy that has displayed a life long tendency toward avoiding responsibility and never having accomplished anything on his own I'm forced to conclude that some clinical malady exists that precludes conservatives from differentiating an alcoholic prep school elitist from America. For example this cartoon after which the first comment reads,

There you have it, the cartoon says it all. According to the liberals, the United States is no better than Al Qaeda. Can it be made more plain to see?

This is a red letter day for liberalism, it’s like coming out of the closet, so to speak. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for clarifying this for all to behold.

No matter how much cartoon boy warmed to this “idea,” even if it helped him to achieve an anti American erection, there are very few normal people that will consider this even remotely funny.

Unless they got there heads up the MoveOn’s a-ss like most of these pinkos do.

Pandering to the party lunatics at the expense of our security.

The cartoon is in fact critical of certain policies. Those policies are not by law the policies of the United States, they are W's policies. The right-wing commenter like most modern conservatives can't tell the difference bewteen the dull minded opportunist in the Whitehouse and America. Bush's policies on torture are illegal and immoral. To be against Bush's policies is by definition to be pro- United States. To be a liberal is to be pro country of values and the rule of law, to be pro civilized behavior even when the enemy is not. ( Conservatives time and again can't seem to post a comment on the "internets" without reference to some deranged sexual imaginery, but hey freedom of expression and all that). Gregory D. Foster suggests that what we need is a kind of score card so we can tell the real patriots from the conservative nationalists, We Need a Patriotism Index

Strident warrior talk—especially red-faced, vein-distending, temple-pounding references to hunting down and destroying evildoers, invading rogue states, or strengthening defense—also would be worth big points.

And, since

Finally, there would be a scale of deeds that would distinguish loyal from disloyal acts and take motives and intentions into account. Conformity, compliance, and obedience would be weighted heavily; non-conformity, heresy, and dissent not at all. Sacrifice—especially the unintended loss of privilege and prestige—would receive big points. Service to country would be weighted more heavily than service to humanity. Special points would be awarded for intentional refusal to abet or enable weak, unfit interlopers and parasites who undeservedly seek to appropriate American plenty and protection. Once we are all assigned documentable patriotism scores, we will have in place a rigorous method for purifying ourselves and sanctifying our claims to greatness.

Heavily laced with snark, but point made nonetheless.

7 Linked to Nascent Terrorist Plot Are Arrested
The story that Yahoo is running said that there didn't appear to be any ties with Islamic terrorism, yet in this story from the LA Times one of the neighbors said something that would seem to contradict that,

"They would come out late at night and exercise," she told the paper. "It seemed like a military boot camp that they were working on there. They would come out and stand guard."

She said she had talked to one of them about a month ago.

"They seemed brainwashed. They said they had given their lives to Allah," Rose said.

The sky is like a heavy lid
Out here beyond the door tonight.
What’s that? A mutter down the street.
What’s that? The sound of yells and feet.
For what you didn’t do or did
You’ll pay the score tonight.

No use to reek with reddened sweat,
No use to whimper and to sweat.
They’ve got the rope; they’ve got the guns,
They’ve got the courage and the guns;
And that’s the reason why tonight
No use to ask them any more.
They’ll fire the answer through the door—
You’re out to die tonight.

There where the lonely cross-road lies,
There is no place to make replies;
But silence, inch by inch, is there,
And the right limb for a lynch is there;
And a lean daw waits for both your eyes,
Blackbird.

from The Bird and the Tree by Ridgely Torrence

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Yesterday This Day’s Madness did prepare – Tomorrow’s Silence, Triumph or Despair

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GOP Rebellion Stops Voting Rights Act

But many Southerners feel the law has achieved its purpose and become more nuisance than necessity in several respects. They have aired those arguments for years, but yesterday they got a boost from Republicans scattered throughout the nation who are increasingly raising a different concern: They insist that immigrants learn and use English.

Let's see, conservatives want to either not renew the Voting Rights Act because it is a nuisance or tie the renewal of the Act to English only ballots. This is the kind of under the door racism that plaques a party that keeps swearing it is the party of the average person. If there is no class war as conservatives insist there isn't then why are Americans being constantly required to meet conservative litmus tests. You must be white, you must be fluent enough in English to exercise your right to vote, and if you didn't manage to snag a cushy job serving on the board of directors of Exxon then why do you deserve a wage that comes anywhere near keeping up with the cost of living, Minimum-Wage Increase Fails

Democrats noted that the minimum wage has not been adjusted for inflation in nine years, despite soaring gasoline and energy prices and rising housing costs. Workers receiving the current minimum wage earn only $10,700 a year, "almost $6,000 below the poverty line for a family of three," Kennedy said.

Just last week, the House rejected an effort to block a $3,300 annual increase in the base salary for a member of Congress. If the raise goes through, rank-and-file members will earn $168,500 — a $31,600 increase since the last minimum-wage increase was enacted in 1997.

If you actually work for a living and make $11,000 a year you should be thankful, if conservatives were to raise that to a wage that someone could reasonably be expected to live on then businesses that need workers just will not hire anyone. On the surface it all sounds like and really is a form of economic blackmail, but it's actually worse then that. We could never expect the conservative mindset to question a system where workers earn so little in comparison to the people that employ them. The system appears to be broken and conservative seem to take pride in the fact that we have an economic minority who are literally wage slaves. This is justified for among other reasons because wage slavery is a kind of right of passage for young workers on their way to bigger and better things. An attitude indicative of a political movement that lives in a bubble and has little to no concept of real working life in America. A $193.00 check doesn't go very far and in no way provides for a family. The formula used to be that you spent a quarter of your income on rent. Where in America can you find a decent place to live for $193 a month. Even at the new proposed minimum wage of $7.25 that mean mean a rent of about $295(gross) a month. Then where is the money for utilities, food, gas, car payments.maintenance, clothing etc.

Fringe right-wing conservatives like Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) regardless of party affiliation have a responsibility to be truthful in their dealings with the public. That is they are to at the very least meet ethically bound to meet minimum standards as regards the facts and to not interpret or stretch the facts to bolster their agenda, Republican Congress members claim that evidence of Saddam's WMD have been identified

"While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991," the Iraq Survey Group reported in 2004. "There are no credible Indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered."

"The chief weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, has now issued a comprehensive report that confirms the earlier conclusion of David Kay that Iraq did not have the weapons that our intelligence believed were there," said President Bush in October of 2004, as cited at Think Progress.

Iraq Survey Group Final Report

While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.

* The scale of the Iraqi conventional munitions stockpile, among other factors, precluded an examination of the entire stockpile; however, ISG inspected sites judged most likely associated with possible storage or deployment of chemical weapons.

Iraq’sCW program was crippled by the Gulf war and the legitimate chemical industry, which suffered under sanctions, only began to recover in the mid-1990s. Subsequent changes in the management of key military and civilian organizations, followed by an influx of funding and resources, provided Iraq with the ability to reinvigorate its industrial base.

As of this writing it is a little odd that the only people carrying the story are Fox and the far right-wing blogs. Both sources of so many lies on behalf of Bush and the unhinged conservative movement that credibility isn't much of an issue, they lie all the time about everything under the sun. Some of those lies are clearly to advance an agenda, but in some instances like this, one gets the feeling that they're just lying because they enjoy it. It is kind of a battle against reality; can their lies repeated so often that those lies become the big brother-like narrative. Reality becomes whatever they say it is. The repercussions are a little disconcerting as we as a nation move toward basing policies on beliefs rather then rational justifications. Gunmen abduct 100 Iraqi workers
I think I might be coming around to the conservative POV on staying the course in Iraq. By lets say 2010 most of the Iraqis that conservatives say they care so much about saving will be dead, we declare victory and name a golf course near the oil fields after Dick Cheney.

POET
Still among the myriad microwaves, the
infra-red messages, the gigabytes of ones
and zeroes, we find words, infinitesimally
small, byte-sized now, tinier even than
science lurking in some vague electricity
where, if we listen we can hear the solitary
voice of that poet telling us,
"We are no other than a moving row
Of Magic shadow-shapes that come and go
Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern hold
In Midnight by the Master of the show."

POET'S VOICE (o.s.)
"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it."

POET
"Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare;
Tomorrow's Silence, Triumph or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where."

from the screenplay TWELVE MONKEYS David Peoples & Janet Peoples

Scientists beg to differ

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 Relatives of Soldiers Killed in Iraq Mourn
Another sad story that except their family and friends, will for the most part fade into the nation's collective memeory of many tragedies caused by an unnecessary war war based on lies. Pfc. Kristian Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker are already being used by the right as bloody tokens of of their self righteous hypocrisy. These soldiers were killed by terrorists that were able to occupy Iraq for one reason that should never be forgotten, George Bush's lies and incompetence at dealing with both terrorism and Iraq. It is unfortunate, with the deepest respect for his memory and sacrifice that Tucker and his family believed that he was in Iraq protecting America. As far as threats go Iraq was and is a more of a threat to itself and its own people then the United States. It is not and never could have been the "front" in the war on terror". There is no front when you're facing a transnational organization. THEY, the terrorists are simply out there. Seeing Iraq in terms of winning something there that will end Islamic terrorism is just an illusion or rather its a product that has been packaged and sold to the American public like a sick gag gift. Iraq has created more terrorists, more terrorism and drained our resources from tracking down terrorists and building diplomatic bridges to those that would much rather live in peace then constant fear. These two soldiers did not die for nothing; because of Bush's hubris and incompetence there are troops in Iraq and they have daily missions to complete and despite some pretty awful incidents the mass of those soldiers and marines have acted with honor and courage; everyday that Bush and his unhinged supporters insist on continuing on the same course that has caused so much unnecessary death and hardship for so many, is just another day that we risk losing some more good citizens not because the terrorists are winning, but because Bush and his right-wing echoes do not know how to win. Since they have insisted on winning something that they cannot define and following the same wrong headed strategy over and over again one can only assume that there is something deeply disturbed about these neocons, these pretend patriots. Something that if it is not madness is all too close to madness.
Like most American's of every political shade I supported going to Afghanistan after Bin Laden and while Bush and Company managed to blow that too ( too many bombs hitting too many women and children, plus letting Bin Laden get away) I was still willing to give Bush something like a pass. The kind of pass I'd give anyone. We're all human we all screw-up now and then, but if any country was ripe for nation building it was Afghanistan, a country that is relatively isolated from the hectic deep divisions of the middle-east, but in large part because Bush and his conservative cheerleaders wanted to move on to Iraq, Afghanistan was left as the poor stepchild and we continue to pay the price for that, Revived Taliban waging 'full-blown insurgency'

Four and a half years after they overthrew the Islamic militia that had controlled much of Afghanistan, U.S.-led forces have been forced to ramp up the battle to stabilize this impoverished, shattered country. More than 10,000 U.S., Canadian, British and Afghan government troops are scouring southern and eastern Afghanistan in a campaign called Operation Mountain Thrust.

Even before fighting heated up this spring, Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, warned Congress that the insurgents "represent a greater threat" to the pro-U.S. government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai "than at any point since late 2001."

News like this should, in a rational world make even Bush supporters, largely the far right fringe at this point pause and wonder about the neocon crews tactical competence. We are now basically fighting the second war in Afghanistan because Bush couldn't get the first one right daisy cutter bombs and all.
If in 2000 or 2004 we put a two dozen high profile conservatives in a room and picked one at random what are the odds that a more incompetent pathological liar could have been chosen as president then G. W. Bush, The Shadow War, In a Surprising New Light

One example out of many comes in Ron Suskind's gripping narrative of what the White House has celebrated as one of the war's major victories: the capture of Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in March 2002. Described as al-Qaeda's chief of operations even after U.S. and Pakistani forces kicked down his door in Faisalabad, the Saudi-born jihadist was the first al-Qaeda detainee to be shipped to a secret prison abroad. Suskind shatters the official story line here.

Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and

Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda's go-to guy for minor logistics —

Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. "I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress,

No one that is concerned, genuinely concerned about terrorism and the loss of life can support these mad men. We're way beyond hyperbole in describing the cretins that run this country. I have these old fashioned ideals about political discourse as many Americans still do even in this age of Rovian character assassination, but how do you engage in rational discourse with mad men, and supporters that seem even more rabid. This post from Unclaimed Territory points out some of the problems we face, Why respond to Malkin?

As a quick example of the process of transmission, let's look at Malkin for a case in point. Michelle claims that conservatives "zealously police their own ranks" to guard against extremism. I already wrote a post about her apologetics for Coulter's extremism, but what about Malkin herself? Does she transmit extremist views? Yes, she does. As Alex Koppelman has noted, Malkin keeps in her blogroll VDare.com, an organization that has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group with ties to white supremacism and which runs Malkin's syndicated columns.* The interesting thing about Koppelman's link is that he frames his post with a rant from Bill O'Reilly about how "far left" extremists are allowed on television to push their views but right-wing extremists like the KKK aren't, followed by O'Reilly bringing on Michelle Malkin who gives extremist views a

Hume's Ghost does a very nice job of explaining why the cultish likes of Malkin-Coulter-O'Reilly need to be confronted. It is not enough to leave comments on posts calling them names. For those that write blogs or send e-mails and faxes, you have to get at the grist of what they are spouting and say why and how it is wrong. If you're one of those people that is good at injecting a clever retort or humor into your rebuttal that's great, but just calling them hate mongers, which they are, is not enough.

This woman who has the nerve to assert that God endorses her politics alone has apparently never read Exodus 20:16: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." She asserts that "liberals" are "godless". Apparently, Jimmy Carter, possibly the most devout President in US history, didn't get the memo. She asserts that evolution is a "liberal" religion which has no evidence supporting it. Scientists beg to differ.

The party of puritanical hypocrites appears to be running on the adultery platform in 2008, The Good Husbands

Steve Benen of the Carpetbagger Report has an interesting piece in the latest issue of The Washington Monthly, noting that three of the top potential Republican candidates are admitted adulterers.

and a direct link to Steve, High Infidelity

Lurking just over the horizon are liabilities for three Republicans who have topped several national, independent polls for the GOP's favorite 2008 nominee: Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce). Together, they form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history.

and in his joy, made bigger and bigger stitches

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Distribution map of the world's religions.
Considering their large land distribution it is interesting that the world hears so little cultural noise from the Eastern Orthodox and Buddhists.

Interesting story from The Jerusalem Post, US rejected Iranian overtures in 2003

Officials in US President George W. Bush's administration turned down a 2003 Iranian offer to begin talks with the US, recognize Israel, and end support of Palestinian terror organizations, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

The proposal, which arrived via fax along with a letter of authentication by a Swiss ambassador, was ignored. Reports have circulated in the past that Iran had extended its hand to the US, but the document itself was only recently obtained by the Post – reportedly from Iranian sources – and confirmed as genuine by both American and Iranian officials.

And this last bit from a conservative that now holds the office once held by Thomas Jefferson. A lesson in how history is full of irony,

"What the Iranians wanted earlier was to be one-on-one with the United States so that this could be about the United States and Iran," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who when Teheran faxed its proposal was serving as Bush's national security adviser. "Now it is Iran and the international community, and Iran has to answer to the international community. I think that's the strongest possible position to be in," Rice said.

Is Rice saying that the international community wasn't concerned about Iran three years ago. Or is she saying that the United States is too weak to deal with Iran on its own. Obviously when you have conservatives extremists dealing with the world with their candy colored wing tipped notions of how the world works that creates a huge obstacle to getting anything constructive done, but just as big an obstacle is their deep and unabiding incompetence. Then there is the propaganda snowball that they feel they must roll over everyone and the ensuing bitterness when they see that not everyone is buying.

3 U.S. Soldiers Accused of Murder and Death Threat

All three soldiers, assigned to the Third Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division, were placed in pretrial confinement in Iraq last Thursday to await hearings to determine whether they will face courts-martial, officials said.

The charge sheets list 12 separate instances in which the suspects threatened a specific private first class with death if he assisted investigators.

The charge sheets quote the suspects as saying, " 'I will kill you if you tell anyone,' or words to that effect," and " 'You better not talk or I will kill you,' or words to that effect."

Military officials said over the weekend that the allegations of wrongdoing were brought to light by an enlisted soldier.

Bad apples and good apples still adds up to tragedy. One of the reasons, and there are many, that this latest apparent war crime is tragic is because it serves as an excuse for the other side to act even more brutally and reject mercy, US vows to search for kidnapped soldiers, al-Qaeda claims abduction

'Over 8,000 US military and Iraqi army and police are working together, conducting an intensive search operation to determine the status of these soldiers. We are using every means at our disposal,' Major General William Caldwell said in a press statement.

Caldwell said the US army is stepping up intelligence and surveillance efforts and is conducting extensive raids in search of the two soldiers, during which three suspected insurgents were killed and 34 detainees held.

No telling what hell these guys are going through and their fate may well have been sealed regardless of Haditha or the alleged killings by the three members of the Airbourne, but incidents like those give the enemy the upper hand in terms of the psychological war. When the Haditha story broke Rep. John Murtha said that one of the consequences of these long and frequent deployments was the stress that it puts the soldiers and marines. So the trail of responsibility always leads back to the same place, Rumsfeld, Bush, and Cheney. Pro war or anti-war, once boots were placed on the ground in Iraq we owed those troops the best leadership that America has. Its obvious to all but the right-wing fringe that the current leadership has failed our armed forces and our country.

He laid the bread near him, sewed on, and in his joy, made bigger and bigger stitches. In the meantime the smell of the sweet jam ascended so to the wall, where the flies were sitting in great numbers, that they were attracted and descended on it in hosts. “Hola! who invited you?” said the little tailor and drove the unbidden guests away. The flies, however, who understood no German, would not be turned away, but came back again in ever-increasing companies.

from The Valiant Little Tailor by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.

0f course, the working-classes should be represented

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I'm a little late with this story as June 16 was the 102nd Bloomsday, THE INJUSTICE COLLECTOR Is James Joyce’s grandson suppressing scholarship?

Over the years, the relationship between Stephen Joyce and the Joyceans has gone from awkwardly symbiotic to plainly dysfunctional. In 1988, he took offense at the epilogue to Brenda Maddox’s “Nora,” a biography of Joyce’s wife, which described the decades that Joyce’s schizophrenic daughter, Lucia, spent in a mental asylum. Although the book had already been printed in galleys, Maddox, fearing a legal battle, offered to delete the section; the agreement she signed with Stephen also enjoined her descendants from publishing the material. Shortly afterward, at a Bloomsday symposium in Venice, Stephen announced that he had destroyed all the letters that his aunt Lucia had written to him and his wife. He added that he had done the same with postcards and a telegram sent to Lucia by Samuel Beckett, with whom she had pursued a relationship in the late nineteen-twenties.

“I have not destroyed any papers or letters in my grandfather’s hand, yet,” Stephen wrote at the time. But in the early nineties he persuaded the National Library of Ireland to give him some Joyce family correspondence that was scheduled to be unsealed. Scholars worry that these documents, too, have been destroyed. He has blocked or discouraged countless public readings of “Ulysses,” and once tried unsuccessfully to halt a Web audiocast of the book.

Amazing article and lets just say that Stephen is not exactly pro Commons when it comes to copyright law. I thought the original twenty-eight years was plenty of time to make personal profit, but as it is now, anything with a traditional copyright will likely not become available without restriction in your lifetime. And this is sad, I had thought that Ireland had considered Joyce a source of pride,

And then there were the Irish. If he ever had the energy, he said, he would write a book on “the shitty treatment my grandmother and grandfather got from their country of origin.” Nora had contemplated reburying Joyce’s body on native soil—he had been buried in Zurich during the Second World War—but Irish officials rebuffed the idea. Worse, when Joyce died, Ireland did not send a representative to his funeral. Stephen had been almost nine, and he saw the family’s dismay. “I will never forgive that,” he said.

I sympathize to some degree, and I mean only some with Stephen Joyce's antipathy toward those that would dissect his grandfather's work down to the bone, sometimes infusing it more with their own flights of imagination that what the work actually was intended to mean, but Stephen should understand that whether it is allowed now or later, whatever analysis the academic world or avid fans of Joyce's work want to do will be done. You can't stop people from discussing literary work, interpreting it or misinterpreting it. Maybe Stephen should realize that the more they're discussing his grandfather's work the more that work becomes part of our culture. I would think that a more fitting tribute to his grandfather.

Why people did what they did or didn't do in history is sometimes open to interpretation, but what they did is sometimes so well documented that interpreting certain events or twisting them to one's ideological ends just makes you look less then bright; Tony Snow is fitting right in with the right-wing conservative's weekly attempts to twist history.Bush's Abuse of History, Snow's Battle of Bilge

SNOW: "The president understands people's impatience — not impatience but how a war can wear on a nation. He understands that. If somebody had taken a poll in the Battle of the Bulge, I dare say people would have said, wow, my goodness, what are we doing here?

Tony would best serve the nation by "dare say" something that resembles the truth,

So let me get this straight. The NYT editorial says, "This state of affairs calls not merely for watchfulness on the part of the allies but also for the recovery of the general control of strategy as soon as possible."

So Tony Snow thinks a poll would have shown that the US public was shaking in its booties at the Battle of the Bulge? He thinks the New York liberal press was calling for an abandonment of the war? What a steaming crock!

I dare say that Tony and George bite their toe nails and its the toughest job that've ever tackled and they probably can't do that right either.

AP Enterprise: 9/11 Thefts Not Prosecuted

A disaster relief company that took supplies that were supposed to go to Sept. 11 rescuers at the World Trade Center escaped punishment after the government discovered its own employees had stolen artifacts from ground zero, once-secret federal documents show.

Kieger Enterprises (KEI) of Lino Lakes, Minn., managed a Long Island warehouse for the government that was filled with supplies donated by Americans for the rescue workers.

The FBI developed evidence from whistleblowers that the company had dispatched trucks to the warehouse and loaded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donated bottled water, clothes, tools and generators to be moved to Minnesota in a plot to sell some for profit, the records show.

Dan L'Allier, a Kieger supervisor at the time, told The Associated Press he witnessed 45 tons of the New York loot being unloaded in Minnesota at his company's headquarters. He and a colleague, Chris Christopherson, complained to a company executive but were ordered to keep quiet.

They went instead to the FBI. The two whistleblowers eventually lost their jobs, received death threats and were blackballed in the disaster relief industry. But they remained convinced their sacrifice was worth it to make sure justice was done.

Let's see a company steals, isn't prosecuted for that, and the people that reported the crimes received death threats and are blackballed. Gosh, who or what kind of people would do such things. People with values? People that are patriots? People that care about their country? People with high moral standards? No, the conservative culture of corruption and cowardice. Edward Kieger of Kieger Enterprises is listed on Political Money Line as a Republican Party contributor. Maybe Ed and company thought that stealing those supplies had something to do with the Battle of the Bulge. That may sound ridiculous to the average person, but then the average American doesn't think like a conservative. I wouldn't suggest trying to think like a conservative, the ritual from what I understand involves killing quite a few brain cells, lots of kool-aid, and some kind of deal with the underworld. Or maybe it just seems like that's the case.

"It is because Colgan's a working — man you say that? What's the difference between a good honest bricklayer and a publican — eh? Hasn't the working-man as good a right to be in the Corporation as anyone else — ay, and a better right than those shoneens that are always hat in hand before any fellow with a handle to his name? Isn't that so, Mat?" said Mr. Hynes, addressing Mr. O'Connor.

"I think you're right," said Mr. O'Connor.

"One man is a plain honest man with no hunker-sliding about him. He goes in to represent the labour classes. This fellow you're working for only wants to get some job or other."

"0f course, the working-classes should be represented," said the old man.

"The working-man," said Mr. Hynes, "gets all kicks and no halfpence. But it's labour produces everything. The workingman is not looking for fat jobs for his sons and nephews and cousins. The working-man is not going to drag the honour of Dublin in the mud to please a German monarch."

from Ivy Day In The Committee Room by James Joyce

And there’s still a helluva lotta people out there who wanna believe …

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Bruce Schneier has a way of shaking things up when it comes to the conventional wisdom on national security, TALES FROM THE CRYPT(OGRAPHER)

What's wrong with this enormous aggregation of data?
It's very troubling, because it goes to the heart of liberty and individuality. The right to do things while not being watched is very fundamental to humanity, whether we sing in the shower or have private conversations with friends. If we are constantly under gaze, we can't experiment as human beings. When we know we're being watched, our lives are altered, even if we're doing nothing wrong … Amazon.com can collect my data—actually, I like it when they present me with books I might want to buy—and we gladly trade data for convenience. What we don't like is when we lose control over it, when it goes into the hands of data brokers and is used for things we're not aware of.

What's the biggest threat to our privacy?
The confluence of corporate and government interests. Right now, data that is illegal for the government to collect, they buy from corporations. And data that corporations can't possibly get, they buy from the government. So there's this confluence. And it's not because someone is being malicious. It's because that's where technology is leading us. Corporations are not public charities. They will do whatever will make them the most profit that's legal.

I'm just impressed with how down to earth and practical the guy is. There is an inherent amount of BS in every facet of an increasingly complex society it is probably in our best interests to put a premium on people that are able to break through some of the smoke and mirrors.

It is probably far past time that the so-called "conservative" party declare themselves for what they are. They are not patriots, they are ultra-nationalists. They are anything but conservative, they are the radical right fringe. While the christianists only make up about 24 percent of the radical right, Wall St. right-wingers have formed an unholy alliance with them and are thus enablers of a movement that resembles the Taliban more then the Minutemen. That a few people are rejecting the label "patriot" is testament to the success that the ultra-nationalists have had in giving patriotism a bad name. I still think of myself as a patriot, but I have to admit to a general irritation at those that have wrapped their garbage in the flag ( Bush, Malkin, O'Reilly, Coulter, Dobson, etc.) and then tap it down with their bible. On the perverse ideological scale there isn't much difference between them and the worse authoritarian movements of the last 100 years. The last Republican president we had was Dwight Eisenhower. He actually believed in small government, in compassionate effective government. Look behind the curtain on every domestic issue and there is a right-winger that wants big government intruding into the most personal aspects of your life. On every foreign policy issue the fringe right demands every American's lock step obedience; if you dare exercise your first amendment rights you are a traitor ( It seems that a rational person would see lying a nation into war as treachery). That deeply dangerous rigidity of thought resembles nothing even close to American values. If these people reject America's core values how can they call themselves patriots. If moderate minded Americans stepped back and let the right-wingers of the modern Republican Party have their way there would be nothing left of America, there would be just another authoritarian state doomed to failure. For a party that fully embraces Armageddon and its inherent nihilism that assertion probably doesn't bother them in the least since in their view we're all doomed anyway.

I link to this with reservations. I fall in the habit like many of calling non-extremists Muslims moderates. Inherent in all organized religions is an element of the non-rational. As such people that are very religious may never be truly moderate in their thinking. On the other hand many spiritual people are committed to helping others and are generally non-violent. Seeing the current state of the world those that are making some attempt to reach out to "moderate" Muslims should be welcomed and encouraged if only for pragmatic reasons. At least pragmatic for those of us not on the far right fringe, the fringe that seems addicted to the porn of war. U.S. Muslim Clerics Seek a Modern Middle Ground

They say that Islam must be rescued from extremists who selectively cite Islamic scripture to justify terrorism. Though Mr. Yusuf and Mr. Shakir do not denounce particular scholars or schools of thought, their students say the two are challenging the influence of Islam's more reactionary sects, like Wahhabism and Salafism, which has been spread to American mosques and schools by clerics trained in Saudi Arabia. Where Wahhabism and Salafism are often intolerant of other religions — even of other streams within Islam — Mr. Yusuf and Mr. Shakir teach that Islam is open to a diversity of interpretations honed by centuries of scholars.

Mr. Yusuf told the audience in Houston to

"That's not Islam,

He asked the audience to pray for the victims of kidnappers in Iraq, saying that kidnapping is just as bad as American bombings in which the military dismisses the civilians killed as "collateral damage."

HAIG
You've never been a greater example to
the country than you are now, sir, but
… but you need to get out more, sir,
and talk to the people. No one I know
feels … close to you.

Nixon looks at him, moved by his concern.

NIXON
I was never the buddy-buddy type, Al.
You know, "Oh I couldn't sleep last
night, I was thinking of my mother who
beat me" — all that kind of crap, you
know the psychoanalysis bag … My
mother … The more I'd spill my guts,
the more they'd hate me. I'd be what
… pathetic! If I'd bugged out of
Vietnam when they wanted, do you think
Watergate would've ever happened? You
think the Establishment would've given
a shit about a third-rate burglary?
But did I? Quit? Did I pull out?

He stares, waits.

HAIG
No, sir, you did not.

NIXON
Damn right. And there's still a
helluva lotta people out there who
wanna believe … That's the point,
isn't it? They wanna believe in the
President.

from the screenplay NIXON By STEPHEN J. RIVELE, CHRISTOPHER WILKINSON AND OLIVER STONE

And I’ll keep kicking the crap till it’s gone

kick_ouch.jpg
Yea OK, there is some speculation or rather thinking out loud here, The Zarqawi docs… seriously, now.. Nothing wrong with speculation or at least that is the impression I get from the right, ranging from The Weekly Standard to the Op-Ed page of The WSJ. It is all too often the case that the fringe conservative right's speculation today becomes urban legend tomorrow. So when Mr Aardvark speculates that all may not be well as far as the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi documents cache, he may not be completely wrong. After all Bush and Crew did play around with the wording on the National Intelligence Estimate and that is not speculation, that is a liberal bias for the facts. Aardvark points us to this piece in WaPo, Maliki Aide Who Discussed Amnesty Leaves Job

The authenticity of the document, which closely echoes accounts of insurgent strategy offered by Iraq's Shiite political leaders, could not be independently verified. It was written in a style different from typical statements issued by al-Qaeda in Iraq, which refer to Shiites as "rejectionists" or "dogs" and to U.S. forces as "crusaders."

It may turn out that most of the documents found have yielded some real actionable intelligence and even if they do not I would still mark it up to a psych-ops victory for all the parties involved from the CIA, Army, etc. Good for them for getting a bad guy and throwing a little scare into Al-Queda.

For those that would like more options, join the Pirate Party

With a name like The Existentialist Cowboy for your blog you run the chance of not living up to high expectations, but Len manages very well in this post about Bush and the dumping down of America's moral center, How America lost its moral authority throughout the world

I am frankly surprised that Bush maintained the pretense when he has since arrogated unto himself the power to define terrorists. "Terrorists" are what Bush says they are. Bush is the judge and jury. Detainees are never charged and, by Bushs' own words, "suspects" are caused to be "…no longer a problem". Others are "terrorists" not because they are "terrorists" but because Bush —the decider —says they are. Some may be combatants. Some may be "evil doers". Others may be innocent. No matter. Bush —the all powerful decider —has thrown them all in the same wire cage, the same suicide factory.

No one thinks that known terrorists should be set free, the disturbing part is that we don't know which of the detainees at Gitmo are innocents that have been caught just being in the wrong place at the wrong time or are truly enemy combatants. Since Bush's supporters have a knee jerk habit of accusing anyone that questions the decider-in-chief's decisions of being pro terrorist it is little wonder that many Americans are questioning whether Bush and conservatives, our current ministers of power, are rational enough to decide who is a terrorist and who isn't. ( Paige calls NEA 'terrorist organization'). There is that mindset that thinks along the lines that anyone arrested/taken into custody must have done something wrong, combined with a blind faith in Bush's infallibility, and maybe the inability to feel compassion for some nameless faceless guy in Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, or some other prison speaks to a moral vacuum in America. A cadre of political partisans that is all too willing to give into their most base instincts for reasons that cannot be justified in terms of humanity or strategy.

I don't know quite how to describe this site, an interesting mix of parody, music and a grab bag of assorted goings-on, DailySonic

I'm much better off, the way things are
Much much better off, better by far
So keep on calling me names, keep on, keep on
And I'll keep kicking the crap till it's gone
If you keep on killing, you could get me to settle
And as soon as I settle, I bet I'll be
Able to move on
How can I fight, when we're on the same side
How can I fight beside you
So keep on calling me names, keep on, keep on
Ans I'll keep on kicking the crap will it's gone
If you keep on killing, you could get me to settle
And as soon as I settle, I bet I'll be
Able to move on
lyrics from The Way Things Are by Fiona Apple