Heresy is another word for freedom of thought

I saw John Gibson on Fox blow a gasket over this editorial which any American with a brain larger then a walnut can consider high praise, Putting 9/11 into perspective

IMAGINE THAT on 9/11, six hours after the assault on the twin towers and the Pentagon, terrorists had carried out a second wave of attacks on the United States, taking an additional 3,000 lives. Imagine that six hours after that, there had been yet another wave. Now imagine that the attacks had continued, every six hours, for another four years, until nearly 20 million Americans were dead. This is roughly what the Soviet Union suffered during World War II, and contemplating these numbers may help put in perspective what the United States has so far experienced during the war against terrorism.

This way of looking at 9-11 is no doubt a modern heresy much like Galileo’s assertion that the earth is not the center of the universe. Its a heresy that we need to come to grips with despite the never ending shrill paranoia of the fringe Right. Though we shouldn’t confuse the personal devastations inflicted by 9-11 with 9-11 as a national tragedy. The personal closure that comes with dealing with any loss due to that day are just that personal and deserving of our empathy. On the other hand as an event that happened to us as a nation it is time to stop the rage and self pity. The rage in some Americans says that we cannot ever stop feeling the rage that “they” must be stopped. About 3000 people were killed on 9-11 who came from various countries and held a variety of religious beliefs it was mostly, but not  exclusively an American tragedy. So who are “They”. Historically Islamic and Christian fundamentalists have been with us for thousands of years. It jars the rational mind to think that by occupying Iraq or Afghanistan for years if not decades will stop the relatively small minority of radicals. We are more then capable of defending ourselves, but we should see threats to America through the lens of our own national murder rate, one of the highest in the world. We have meet the real enemy, the statistically most probable threat to the average American’s life is another American.

Yet as the comparison with the Soviet experience should remind us, the war against terrorism has not yet been much of a war at all, let alone a war to end all wars. It is a messy, difficult, long-term struggle against exceptionally dangerous criminals who actually like nothing better than being put on the same level of historical importance as Hitler — can you imagine a better recruiting tool? To fight them effectively, we need coolness, resolve and stamina. But we also need to overcome long habit and remind ourselves that not every enemy is in fact a threat to our existence.

We would be better off as far as bitter political acrimony and national security if we saw actual terrorists as international criminals rather then some enemy that can be eventually subdued if we do enough nation building and sacrifice enough American lives in urban street warfare in the middle of a civil war.( some people laugh at the old quote about WW I being the war to end all wars, why would we think that Iraq would be the war to end all terrorism) That the John Gibson’s and George Bush’s don’t want to see it that way is a tragic and dangerous political and psychological phenomenon that will only increase recruitment for terrorists. Since the Right has gone to such extreme lengths to fuel the fires of contention in the middle-east one can’t help but think that prolonging and inflaming conflict is exactly what they want – they seem to have something akin to abusive parent syndrome. Come to think of it that is exactly what the Osama Bin ladens of the world want too.

The case for plagiarism? Well someone had to eventually getting around to defending it ‘The Little Book of Plagiarism’ by Richard A. Posner

Such distinctions, however, are ultimately less interesting to Posner than the notion that the current obsession with plagiarism stands at the precise intersection of the cult of celebrity and what he calls “the cult of originality.” Indeed, he complains about “the absurd idea that ‘copying’ is inherently bad” and the “growing belief that literary, artistic, and other intellectual goods are not really ‘creative’ unless they are ‘original.’ ” Although he never condones the kind of unacknowledged quoting or paraphrasing that got Viswanathan and Kearns Goodwin in trouble, he suggests that copying the works of other authors is an old and honorable tradition.

Thus, for example, Posner points out that T.S. Eliot’s masterpiece “The Waste Land” is “a tissue of quotations (without quotation marks),” a fact that Eliot himself seems to have acknowledged when he elsewhere observed: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”

In they lie all the time about everything department we had this front internet page from WaPO yesterday ( the press is like an addict they just can’t give up the habit of reporting things that Bush says without question) Iraqi Forces Showing Initiative, Bush Says , Professor Cole points out,

Attempts are being made to knock down all kinds of stories about the Najaf uprising. Bush expressed happiness that the Iraqi Army (actually the Badr Corps fundamentalist Shiite militia) acquitted itself well against the rebels. But in fact, the Iraqi security forces were surrounded, cut off and nearly destroyed by heavily armed cultists–and had urgently to call in US troops, tanks and close air support.

I’ve said this before, but I think that Senator McCain(R-AZ and a member of the One Last Chance Great Surge Club) is a very personable guy. He tries to present a civil demeanor and we should give him credit for that, but we should not ever think that good table manners pass for a substantive moral philosophy, Feingold, Obama, and Senate Republicans

Sen. John McCain – October 19,1993

There is no reason for the United States of America to remain in Somalia. The American people want them home, I believe the majority of Congress wants them home, and to set an artificial date of March 31 or even February 1, in my view, is not acceptable. The criteria should be to bring them home as rapidly and safely as possible, an evolution which I think could be completed in a matter of weeks.

Meet the real John McCain who can double-talk as well as any conservative.

“Heresy is another word for freedom of thought.” – Graham Greene

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things

I’m not being cynical at all when I question whose side conservatives are on. How does this Bush details plans to curb Iranian influence fit with this, Senator targets surplus sales to Iran

WASHINGTON – A Democratic senator wants to cut off all
Pentagon sales of surplus F-14 parts, saying the military’s marketing of the spares “defies common sense” in light of their importance to
Iran.

Sen. Ron Wyden (news, bio, voting record)’s bill came in response to an investigation by The Associated Press that found weaknesses in surplus-sale security that allowed buyers for countries including Iran and China to surreptitiously obtain sensitive U.S. military equipment including Tomcat parts.

The Oregon Democrat’s legislation would ban the Defense Department from selling surplus F-14 parts and prohibit buyers who have already acquired surplus Tomcat parts from exporting them. Wyden’s bill, the Stop Arming Iran Act, is co-sponsored by the Senate’s No. 2 lawmaker, Democratic Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois.

The surplus sales are one of the first national security issues to be addressed by the new Democratic-controlled Congress.

Incompetence is the word that immediately comes to mind, but its more then that. There is some kind of two handed two faced malevolence at work. From putting all the pieces together after three years of this kind of crap it is easy to see why there is such a large segment of the public that believes Bush and his dead ender supporters are just enjoying the occupation of Iraq and the prospect that they can keep it going for years. You’d think that would be enough of Bush and by proxy his supporters to accomplish in their continuing efforts to wear as many masks and engage in as much double-talk as they can fit into any 24 hours, but no, Iraqi Forces Showing Initiative, Bush Says ( this is called the loser seal of approval, President Misssion Accomplished thinks they do’n real good) and yet Equipment For Added Troops Is Lacking

Boosting U.S. troop levels in Iraq by 21,500 would create major logistical hurdles for the Army and Marine Corps, which are short thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment needed to supply the extra forces, U.S. officials said.

The increase would also further degrade the readiness of U.S.-based ground forces, hampering their ability to respond quickly, fully trained and well equipped in the case of other military contingencies around the world and increasing the risk of U.S. casualties, according to Army and Marine Corps leaders.

Years ago, and I’m sure some still do, Republicans used to talk about running government like business. I’ve never known a business to allow someone to screw up so badly and so often and not fire them. But wait that smirking loser’s last name is Bush and he’s a Republican so we have to support him no matter how many unnecessary deaths he causes, Sunday Yak About Iraq

3) Criticism of the policy emboldens the enemy.

The enemy is about as emboldened as it can get. “Shock and Awe” tactics from the mightiest nation in human history didn’t defeat them, and there’s no indication that it ever will.

As Jim Webb said on Face the Nation, “Who is the enemy?” The conflict in Iraq had more sides than the Pentagon, if not more. To say that open debate on policy and strategy in a supposedly free society will “embolden” a nameless, faceless enemy is to concede that that enemy–who or whatever it is–has already won.

4) Any anti-escalation resolution passed by Congress will send a negative signal to our troops.

This argument is the latest variation of the “support the troops” canard. Hopefully, you’ve notice that with the exception of John McCain, opponents of the escalation strategy actually served in the military and or have experienced war up close and personally, and proponents of it had “other priorities” when it was their time to serve in a bad American war.

More importantly, though, regardless of who does or doesn’t support the escalation, we don’t decide policy and strategy based on what the troops like or don’t like.

There’s more from Commander Huber at the link.

Contractor deaths in Iraq nearing 800

Statistics kept by the Labor Department indicate fatalities among civilian contractors working for American firms escalated rapidly late last year, with at least 301 dying in Iraq in 2006 — including 124 in the final three months.

U.S. military deaths totaled 818 during the year, the Defense Department has reported.

Despite the danger, job seekers continue to flood contractors’ offices with résumés.

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter F. Drucker

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words

Kerry Backs Up Iran’s N. Rights

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Former US presidential nominee John Kerry voiced full support for the Islamic Republic’s right to use civilian nuclear technology on the basis of the rules and regulations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NTP).

How reliable FARS News Agency is I don’t know. Still the fact remains that Iran is a signatory to NTP and has the right under that agreement to develop a nuclear energy program. Whether that is a prudent path for them to take to supply their future energy needs is another matter. It is also a fact that India, Israel and Pakistan are not signatories to the NPT have have expanded their nuclear programs under a Republican president and a Republican Congress. Even secret nuclear developments do not mean automatic expulsion from the NPT and as of 2006 the IAEA had not found that Iran was using its nuclear technology to develop nuclear weapons. It does appear that Iran is serious about the need for and development of energy from nuclear powered plants ( State radio also said Russia pledged to complete Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power station on schedule this year.) If one listens to the Right’s view of Iran’s nuclear ambitions you would think it all started yesterday or at least with the infamous “axis of evil” speech, but the simple historical truth is that Iran has had a nuclear energy program underway for years and the United States helped them start it thirty years ago. Is Iran Building Nukes? An Economic Analysis (Part 2)

The furor in Washington over possible nuclear weapons development in Iran is fueled in part because Bush administration officials claim that Iran doesn’t need to generate nuclear power. They assert that Iran’s nuclear energy program is unnecessary given its oil reserves. Therefore, officials say, its nuclear plants must exist for weapons production.

In fact, for Iran, generating nuclear power makes sense. Moreover, the plans to do this were started decades ago, and with American approval.

From the first part of this series, Is Iran Building Nukes? An Analysis (Part 1)

The testable part of the claim — that the Bushehr (Iran) reactor is a proliferation threat — is demonstrably false. There are several reasons, some technical, some institutional.

–The Iranian reactor yields the wrong kind of plutonium for making bombs.

–The spent fuel pins in the Iranian reactor would, in any case, be too dangerous to handle for weapons manufacture.

–Any attempt to divert fuel from the Iranian plant will be detectable.

–The Russian partners in the Bushehr project have stipulated that the fuel pins must be returned to Russia, as has been their practice worldwide for other export reactors.

Just as there are many different kinds of nuclear reactors, there are different forms of plutonium, distinctions that are almost never made in public discussions of nuclear proliferation.

There are two different kinds of reactors, heavy-water or graphite-moderated reactors; and pressurized, or “light water” reactors (PWRs). The Dimona nuclear power plant in Israel is an example of the former. The Bushehr plant is the latter.

The Israeli plant is ideal for yielding the desirable isotope of Plutonium (Pu 239) necessary for making bombs. The Iranian plant will produce plutonium, but the wrong kind. It will produce the heavier isotopes, Pu240, Pu241 and Pu242 — almost impossible to use in making bombs.

Much of what we’re hearing about Iran now is reminiscent of the exaggerations about Iraq’s WMDs in the run up to our current occupation. There are legitimate concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. While the truth seized to matter to America’s fringe Right decades ago it still matters to fair minded Americans that prefer that life and death decisions be made based on the truth rather then zealotry. The conservative movement has run up against a wall of its own making they run around yelling the sky is falling so often that normal people can’t trust anything they say even when their concerns might dovetail with those citizens that are more clear headed and rational about the same foreign policy issues. ‘No proof’ of Iran nuclear arms

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has not found conclusive evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, a US magazine has reported.

Veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, writing in The New Yorker, cites a secret CIA report based on intelligence such as satellite images.

Correspondents say the alleged document appears to challenge Washington’s views regarding Iranian nuclear intentions.

The article says the White House was dismissive about the CIA report.

The US and Europe say Iran is pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons programme – a charge Iran has strongly denied.

‘Hostile’ response

The CIA assessment, according to unnamed officials quoted in the article, casts doubt on how far Iran has actually progressed to making a nuclear weapon.

The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Mr Hersh wrote.

It says the agency based its conclusions on technical intelligence, such as satellite photography and measurements from sensors planted by US and Israeli agents.(emphasis mine)

So once again Senator Kerry stated something as obvious and un-news worthy as the sky is blue and the Right has its little chicken hawk feathers ruffled for no other reason then they simply enjoy whipping up hysteria when there should be calm thoughtful consideration. This story speaks to the Right’s doublethink manipulation of the public and how they try to shape public opinion through false statement, distortions, and exaggerations, Ex-Cheney aide details media tactics

After that much exposure, Cheney, Libby and Martin spent the next week trying get out word that Cheney did not know Wilson, did not ask for the mission to Niger, never got Wilson’s report and only learned about the trip from news stories in 2003.

Cheney personally dictated these points to Martin. She e-mailed them to the White House press secretary for relay to reporters.

When the story did not die, Martin found herself in a bind because Cheney’s office was known for disclosing so little.

“Often the press stopped calling our office,” Martin testified. “At this point, they weren’t calling me asking me for comment.”

So she had to call National Security Council and CIA press officers to learn which reporters were still working on stories.

Once Martin got names, Cheney ordered his right-hand man, Libby, rather than lowly press officers, to call – a signal of the topic’s importance.

Top levels of the Bush administration decided that CIA Director George Tenet would issue a statement taking the blame for allowing Bush to mention the Niger story. Cheney and Libby worried Tenet would not go far enough to distance the vice president from the affair.

Libby asked Martin to map a media strategy in case Tenet fell short.

A Harvard law school graduate, Martin had succeeded legendary Republican operative Mary Matalin as Cheney’s political and public affairs assistant. Matalin had brought Martin to Cheney’s office as her deputy and trained her.

Martin offered these options in order:

-Put Cheney on “Meet the Press.”

-Leak an exclusive version to a selected reporter or the weekly news magazines.

-Have national security adviser Condoleezza Rice or Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld hold a news conference.

Persuade a third party or columnist to write an opinion piece that would appear in newspapers on the page opposite the editorials.(emphasis mine)

“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.” – Philip K. Dick

Senator Kerry gets an internet lynching by the rabid Right

Senator Blasts Administration For Failing To Properly Address Foreign Policy Issues

CBS/AP) Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry slammed the foreign policy of the Bush administration on Saturday, saying it has caused the United States to become “a sort of international pariah.”

The statement came as the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee responded to a question today at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where the tumult in Iraq and the Middle East took center stage.

Kerry was asked about whether the U.S. government had failed to adequately engage Iran’s government before the election of hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005.

Kerry said the Bush administration has failed in addressing a number of foreign policy issues.

“When we walk away from global warming, Kyoto, when we are irresponsibly slow in moving toward AIDS in Africa, when we don’t advance and live up to our own rhetoric and standards, we set a terrible message of duplicity and hypocrisy,” Kerry said.

Everything that Senator Kerry said was true and who did he say it front of? Former President of Iran Mohammad Khatami. After which Khatami probably rolled his eyes and told himself that if he ever said something that was not approved by the ruling council of Iran he’d have hell to pay. Khatami will never admit it of course, but he secretly admires the that American politicians and the American people have the right to speak out against their leaders and their leaders disastrous policies. Well we have some freedom, now Senator Kerry has the pleasure of being lynched by the rabid right-wingers of the internet.

From Nixon and Kissinger and their handling of Vietnam to Reagan-Poindexter-North and the whole Iran-Contra fiasco that reads like a bad political thriller where the bad guys get there’s at the end rather then cushy jobs and retirement benefits conservatives have betrayed America at every turn. Now in a choice between supporting Senator John Kerry and supporting Iran they have decided to support Iran. They think that war hero and terrorists fighter Senator Kerry should act like a good little Iranian mouthpiece and simply parrot the official political line of the prep school frat boy in the Whitehouse, Bush the current leader of America’s very own unthinking cult of authority deserves unquestioned obedience kust like Iranian leaders expect of their representatives. Its just another day for the Right. Get up, put on jack-boots and find a good American to demonize. That their leader lied us into a war goes unquestioned. That the pathological liar George Bush didn’t connect the dots when it came to winning the peace once we were in Iraq and assigned rebuilding efforts to political cronies goes without remark – when will the self-righteous hypocrites of the Right acknowledge all the American deaths caused by Bush’s negligence..

DNC: The Real Newt Gingrich: Special Interest Shill

Last weekend, the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that Gingrich has been using his health care think tank to promote the business interests of one of its corporate backers. [Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/21/07] Later in the week, the Washington Post reported that Gingrich’s new 527 group, American Solutions for Winning the Future, took a $1 million contribution from casino CEO Sheldon Adelson, a long-time donor to the Republican Party. Adelson’s contribution “dwarfed” all other checks to the group, which totaled just $60,000. [Washington Post, 1/23/07] Finally, Fortune magazine noted that Gingrich’s post-Congressional career is “making him rich” as he travels the country collecting “lecture fees of $50,000 a speech, at the rate of about 60 [speeches] per year.” [Fortune, 1/22/07]

“Given the huge speaking fees he draws and the shadowy network of financing for his think tanks and non-profit groups, Newt Gingrich should start tomorrow’s speech with a disclaimer,” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. “After all, Gingrich’s audiences have a right to know whose ideas he’s shilling, so they can see that he’s just another overpaid pundit trying to attract bigger contracts.”

From Speaker to Shill in Just Eight Years

— Newt’s Corporate Speaking Fees, Think Tank “Making Him Rich.”

“Eight years after stepping down as House Speaker, Gingrich runs a for- profit think tank, the Center for Health Transformation, that promotes his ideas while ensuring a handsome living for the former public servant. [T]he center offers policy ideas to companies that want to get health-care costs off their backs but oppose government-imposed, universal-health-insurance plans as costly and burdensome. The center’s roster of 75 clients is impressive, including insurers Blue Cross & Blue Shield and GE Healthcare, providers like the American Hospital Association, and employers like GM and Ford. Clients pay fees ranging from $10,000 to $200,000 a year. Along with lecture fees of $50,000 a speech, at the rate of about 60 per year, Mr. Speaker’s new career is making him rich.” [Fortune, 1/22/07]

— Gingrich Using Health Care Think Tank to Shill for Corporate Backers.

The Philadelphia Inquirer highlighted Gingrich’s use of his health care think tank to promote the business interests of one of its corporate backers. Through his Center for Health Transformation, Gingrich has been calling for the creation of a national electronic medical network that would, in his words, contain an “electronic health record for every person” that would “start with prenatal care and end with analytics after you passed away.” As the Inquirer pointed out, the center is backed by Siemens, who has been “trying to boost its presence in the electronic-medical-record market.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/21/07]

— Newt Took $1 Million Check from Casino Exec. for 527 Group.

According to the Washington Post Gingrich’s new 527 group, American Solutions for Winning the Future, took a $1 million contribution from casino CEO Sheldon Adelson last November. A long-time Republican donor, Adelson’s contribution “dwarfed” all other checks to the group, which totaled just $60,000. Despite Gingrich’s claim of bipartisanship, the group “is clearly courting conservatives” by proposing “private savings accounts for
Social Security, ‘patriotic education’ in public schools and the appointment of judges who understand the ‘centrality of God in American history.'” “Kent Cooper, a former
Federal Election Commission official, said: ‘A check of this size could either bankroll the start of a new organization or underwrite the exploration, traveling and contacts of a potential presidential candidate.’ Adelson’s check underscores the uncomfortable position that Republicans face on the issue of gambling. The party rose to power under Gingrich in the early 1990s on the strength of social and religious conservatives, and many of the latter oppose gambling on moral grounds. ‘The problem is the income comes from what we call a vice, and that is an issue,’ said the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the
Traditional Values Coalition, which has long been a powerful voice on social issues inside the GOP.” [Washington Post, 1/23/07]

Yep its just another day of conservatives wrapping their stinking rot that passes for patriotism in the flag.

Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it’s addressed to someone else

Life is full of conundrums. If Bush attacks Syria where will he send innocent people to be tortured, Leahy to Admin: Explain Arar Stance

“The question remains why, even if there were reasons to consider [Arar] suspicious, the U.S. Government shipped him to Syria where he was tortured, instead of to Canada for investigation or prosecution,”

Canada compensates man U.S. deported to Syria, Which is a little unfair to Canadian taxpayers. Why not take the nine million dolars out of Bush, Cheney and Rice’s government retirement benefits.

All the resolutions are fine. In politics symbolism is all too often more important then substance, but when it comes to trying to get BushCo to start listening to reason rather then the little voices in their heads the only real way to stop the madness is to draft a new AUMF. House majority leader threatens revised resolution authorizing force in Iraq

“Possible vehicles” include spending bills for military and diplomatic activities in Iraq “and possibly a revised authorization for the use of military force in Iraq that more accurately reflects the mission of our troops on the ground,” he said.

Next week, the Senate is expected to pass a bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq, and, Hoyer said, the House will likely pass an identical bipartisan resolution.

“Beyond this resolution, though, our goal in the House is to conduct the kind of oversight of the president’s policy that has been sorely missing during the nearly four years of this war. Democrats intend to hold this administration accountable,” the Maryland Democrat said. “I believe the administration’s Iraq policy is the most incompetent implementation of American foreign policy in my lifetime.

“Frankly, it is time for the president to accept that we are no longer involved in a nation-building exercise, we are involved in conflict resolution.”

The American public already sees Bush as out of control and clearly in over his head when it comes to sane foriegn policy. If Democrats are planning to make anything other then a revised AUMF a priority they’re way off track. Bush has lost Iraq and Afghanistan and conservatives did absolutely nothing to put the breaks on. Iraq and Afghanistan are their failures now and for the rest of history – not withstanding a rewrite by Victor Pangloss Hansen. Bush and Cheney whose history everyone should be familiar with by now have lead lives of utter cowardice. Neither has ever taken a risk that might hurt their purses much less a hair on their smirking heads. At no time have they exhibited even the slightest moral courage. This is why they have little remorse over their bloody botched efforts and have no qualms abouts sending more Americans to die in an internal conflict that has little to do with America’s national security. A Growing Military Credibility Gap?

At the very moment we are surging troops into Baghdad, who will be scattered in small outposts throughout the city and will have to rely on Iraqi soldiers to protect them, we learn belatedly that someone in Iraq is dressing up in US military uniforms, carrying US weapons, and speaking English like a gringo. You know what this means? U.S. soldiers who were already skeptical about the trustworthiness of their Iraqi counterparts will now also have to question whether the U.S. soldier coming towards them is really a U.S. soldier.

The planning evident in this operation is sophisticated and points clearly to the uncomfortable fact that someone within the Iraqi military, who was knowledgeable about the meeting, tipped off the bad guys.

Interesting background piese on the most culturally rabid right-winger to be running for president, Sam Brownback, American Taliban

He stands poised to succeed where Pat Robertson, Alan Keyes and Gary Bauer failed before him and lead that network of politicians, religious leaders, “faith-based” organizations and (literally) their amen corner who are working overtime to make a particularly onerous concept of Christianity the de facto law of the land. Armed with the Bible in one hand and the Patriot Act in the other, would-be Bush successor Brownback and his GOP jihadists threaten to fundamentally change the role of government in monitoring Americans’ lives, liberties and even bodies. Americans would need not travel to Kandahar to learn about the perils of theocratic rule.

Though it is a mistake to underestimate John McCain’s willing to debase himself with the lowest levels of pandering.

Quiz time. Who made the following statements:

He described a letter criticizing Al Qaeda in Iraq as “surprising” because “the man who wrote it” — Islamic Society of Nevada director Aslam Abdullah — “is a Muslim.”

He has said that “[t]he Middle East is being overrun by 10th-century barbarians” and “[i]f they take over … we’re going to have to nuke the whole place.” ( This would of course include Saudi Arabia where the royal family affectionately calls George Bush “Bandar” and Jordan a country that the CIA relies on for quite a bit of its mid-east intelligence).

has referred to “those who were left in New Orleans [during Hurricane Katrina], or who decided to stay” as “scumbags.”

After airing a clip from the documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, in which former Vice President Al Gore describes that global warming could cause many highly populated coastal areas to be submerged by seawater — including the entire city of Shanghai —- responded: “This is what would happen to Shanghai. Does anybody really care? I mean, come on. Shanghai is under water. Oh, no! Who’s gonna make those little umbrellas for those tropical drinks?”

Ann Coulter? Dick Cheney? Sean Hannity? No. They were all made by the MSM’s new darling who has his own radio and TV show and makes frequent appearances on ABC’s Good Morning , Glenn Beck.

When it comes to economic equality one can’t expect perfection. Because of all the very human factors in play perfection just isn’t in the cards. Yet it is reasonable to expect fairness. Fairness in laying face down in the gutter gasping its last breath thanks to conservative leadership on the economy, Jim Webb and Economic Reform

When one looks at the health of our economy, it’s almost as if we are living in two different countries. Some say that things have never been better. The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared. When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it’s nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day.

This disparity, the one that allows Bush to state in his own speech that the economy is “growing” and “on the move,” is all too apparent in the lives of most people. American workers are not blind to the widening gap between those who work, and those who rule the corpocracy.

I have enough real world experience with men that wear $2500 suits and women that wear $400 designer shoes to know that while some of them are pleasant enough, absolutely none of them are worth what they’re paid. They do not possess some special intellectual or business skills. They could almost all be replaced with someone smarter and more ethical. They’re American’s modern aristocracy and these are the people that conservatives think need continued tax breaks as the country swallows in debt. Conservatives and their perverse values, they’re terribily afraid that they’ll have to trade in the Bently and be reduced to driving a BMW.

“Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it’s addressed to someone else.” – Ivern Ball

The omission of good is no less reprehensible than the commission of evil

O’Reilly Attacks Alexandra Pelosi Documentary: Friends Of God

Alexandra Pelosi’s Documentary, Friends of God, premiered tonight on HBO and O’Reilly jumped at the opportunity to use the film to inflame his base with divisive rhetoric about Christian persecution and also smear Nancy Pelosi through her daughter. 1/25/07

I just happened to catch a few minutes of this. It was like watching a big bully crying about one of his victims kicking him back in the knee. The ever so poor persecuted Christians (Remember that Bill O’Reilly’s copy of the Ten Commandments has the special falafel exemption) . There’s a war against them. The only thing is that judging from the local cable programming it isn’t much of a war. I looked today and everyday for the Temper Your Religion with Rationalism Show, The Atheism is Great Hour, Agnostics Make Better Citizens Show, The Stop The Dogma and the Madness News, or Fundie Muslims and Christians Could Use Some Liberalizing Hour, but damn if they were on today or any day. I did find over twenty hours of programing just for Catholics and over forty hours of various programming for various sects of Christianity. There were zero hours of Native American Indian religion programming and the same goes for Muslim religious shows. There are 5 multi-million dollar Baptist’s churches, one modest Seventh Day Adventist church, no synagogues, no temples, no Buddhists chapels within a ten mile radius. Americans United for Separation of Chuch and State is not a religious organization, but it isn’t of of O’Liely’s favorite organizations. There is a chapter one city over and most of its members believe in a creator. Bill also didn’t bring to his audiences attention that your tax dollars regardless of your beliefs go to pay for religious based government programs. If Christians are America’s poor defenseless victims then the word victim has lost any real meaning. And that is probably a good portion of Fox and O’Reilly’s message that only paid up conservative dogmatic Christianists are allowed the privilege of victim-hood. Victim-hood is their exclusive club and only they can belong or decide who does.

Dick Cheney and George Bush victims of democracy, Senate Panel Rejects Bush’s Plan for Iraq

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 — One day after President Bush implored Congress to give his Iraq strategy a chance to succeed, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution on Wednesday denouncing the plan to send more troops to Baghdad, setting up the most direct confrontation over the war since it began nearly four years ago.

The full Senate is poised to consider the nonbinding, yet strongly symbolic, repudiation of Mr. Bush as early as Wednesday. Democratic leaders agreed to tone down the language in the resolution, hoping to make it more acceptable to Republicans in an effort to send a strong, bipartisan rebuke to the White House.

“This is not designed to say, ‘Mr. President, ah-ha, you’re wrong,’ ” said Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Delaware Democrat and chairman of the committee. “This is designed to say, ‘Mr. President, please don’t go do this.’ ”

Even as the White House delicately worked to persuade some Republicans to consider the president’s approach, the administration also said Congressional action would not interrupt the plan to send more than 20,000 American troops to Iraq. In a television interview on CNN, Vice President Dick Cheney declared, “It won’t stop us.”

The Foreign Relations Committee approved the resolution by a vote of 12 to 9, with a Republican senator, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, joining 11 Democrats in supporting it. But even Republicans who opposed the resolution, including Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, expressed deep doubt about whether the troop increase could succeed and suggested it was time for a new direction.

Hagel appears to an aberration among conservatives. The rest wriggle up the brows of their steep low foreheads and make noises of grave concern then do nothing.

We’re all familiar with the Jamil Hussein story. The idea was that true or not the death by kerosene story proved that the MEDIA was full of liberals distorting the news ( yawn) from Iraq. It looks like the MEDIA is actually holding back on the bad news out of Iraq, Helping Lara Logan

The segment in question–”Battle for Haifa Street”–is a piece of first-rate journalism but one that only appears on the CBS News website–and has never been broadcast. It is a gritty, realistic look at life on the very mean streets of Baghdad, and includes interviews with civilians who complain that the US military presence is only making their lives worse and the situation more deadly.

“They told us they would bring democracy, they promised life would be better than it was under Saddam,” one told Logan.
“But they brought us nothing but death and killing. They brought mass destruction to Baghdad.”

Several bodies are shown in the two- minute segment–”some with obvious signs of torture,” as Logan points out. She also notes that her crew had to flee for their lives when they we were warned of an impending attack. While fleeing, another civilian was killed before their eyes.

Logan’s email, with the one-word subject line of ‘help’, was sent to friends and colleagues imploring them to lobby CBS to highlight that people are interested in seeing the piece. In it, Logan argues that the story is “not too gruesome to air, but rather too important to ignore… It should be seen. And people should know about this.”

There is a link to Lara’s video at MediaChannel, but it requires Real Player.

01/25/07 Reuters: Two rockets hit the international Green Zone in Baghdad
Two rockets hit the international Green Zone in Baghdad, prompting alarms to sound and warnings urging people to take cover. The U.S. military said six people had been wounded, five of them slightly, but little damage was caused to buildings.
01/25/07 Reuters: Iraqi soldier killed, 3 wounded in Baghdad’s Yarmouk district
An Iraqi soldier was killed and were three wounded in a clash with gunmen in the Yarmouk district of western Baghdad, a police source said. Officials at the Defence Ministry were not immediately available for comment.
01/25/07 Reuters: Mortar rounds kill one, wound 4 in northeastern Baghdad
BAGHDAD – A mortar round exploded in the Ur district of northeastern Baghdad, killing one person and wounding four, police said.
01/25/07 Reuters: 40 bodies found in Baghdad
Police in Baghdad recovered the bodies of 40 unidentified people, most shot and tortured and apparently the victims of death squads, in the 24 hours to Thursday evening, a police source said.

Not to worry the MEDIA just made all this up and if they didn’t after three years of leadership by the utterly brilliant commander-in-chief Bush, the The Great Surge will make Iraq safe for the Dick Cheney Golf and Country Club to be built by Halliburton. We should listen to the Right and maybe learn a lesson or two, they are somewhat clever about and very determined to manipulate information, Rockefeller: Cheney applied ‘constant’ pressure to stall investigation on flawed Iraq intelligence

In the 45-minute interview, Rockefeller said that it was “not hearsay” that Cheney, a leading proponent of invading Iraq, pushed Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., to drag out the probe of the administration’s use of prewar intelligence.

“It was just constant,” Rockefeller said of Cheney’s alleged interference. He added that he knew that the vice president attended regular policy meetings in which he conveyed White House directions to Republican staffers.

Republicans “just had to go along with the administration,” he said.

“The omission of good is no less reprehensible than the commission of evil.” – Plutarch

Back at the ranch where Bush and Cheney are still dead wrong

Lame Duck Soup Bush’s tepid State of the Union speech.

Bush’s most important request of the night was for more time to let his Iraq strategy work. Yet while he was asking for support, he was also showing who (he believes) is boss. He made it clear that his surge was already under way and pressured Democrats. “I ask you to support our troops in the field—and those on their way,” he said. He was playing hardball because Democrats are terrified of being on the wrong side of the troop issue (which is why having Jim Webb give the Democratic rebuttal was so smart), but when he plays hardball on the tough issue of the day, he undermines his effort to reach out.

It was the usual boiler plate. Democrats should work with him to continue policies that have been failures Bush should not feel he should work with Democrats to mitigate some of the damage that Bush has done to America. It is the quintessential elite frat boy mentality that he can do no wrong and has nothing to make up for. Bush’s answer to making bad decisions is to simply turn up the volume – make those decisions bigger and more disasterous. Horrible decisions that Americans and Iraqis will pay for for years, but not Bush. He continues his lifelong easy ride through life immune from the consequences of anything he does. He Still Doesn’t Understand the WarBush whiffs on Iraq again during the State of the Union

What a dispiriting State of the Union address! So many disasters, so little time left to repair them, so few insights into what caused them or what to do about them now.

President Bush may not have felt obligated to discuss Iraq in detail, having laid out his new plan in prime time less than two weeks ago. But to the extent he talked about the war, his words were at best puzzling, and at worst, maddening.

For example, the president did nothing to clarify the “surge”—the deployment of 20,000 more U.S. combat troops over the next few months. It’s unclear whether even this administration believes in the plan or knows how it will work. The new defense secretary, Robert Gates, has said in recent days that the surge might be needed only through the summer, after which withdrawals might begin. However, at hearings this morning before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lieut. Gen. David Petraeus, the new commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, stressed the need for patience. The new troops will need time to get to Iraq; more time to understand the neighborhoods they’ll be securing; more time to conduct operations and secure the area; and still more time to build on the security. These tasks, he said, will be “neither quick nor easy.”
Click Here!

So, which is it: a short-term augmentation, as Secretary Gates tries to assure us—or a very long haul, as Gen. Petraeus (who will be running the operation) tries to warn us?

“I ask you to give it a chance to work,” the president (uncharacteristically) pleaded tonight. In service of this support, he proposed to set up a “special advisory council on the War on Terrorism, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties,” to “share ideas for how to position America” to meet today’s challenges and to “show our enemies abroad that we are united in the goal of security.”

The thing is, there already are advisory councils. They’re called the congressional committees on foreign relations, armed services, and intelligence. President Bush had his chance with the ideas of a bipartisan council, the Iraq Study Group headed by James Baker and Lee Hamilton. He dismissed them out of hand. Now he has to deal with the normal constitutional arrangements. That’s democracy.

Why does anyone listen to Bush or take anything he has to say seriously. he like the crazy shut-in down the street , you make sure that he’s feed and gets to his doctors appointments ,but you don’t give his inane ramblings any credence. If Bush worked for the private sector he’d be told to clear out his desk and escorted to the door by security. If Bush is sane we have arrived at an incredibly low threshold for what constitutes sanity. Meanwhile Back At The Ranch

Tuesday, January 23rd at 2PM, Senators Gerald Ortiz y Pino D-ABQ and John Grubesic D-Santa Fe introduced their resolution to impeach President George Bush and Richard Cheney. Based on a resolution crafted by Phil Burk of impeachbush.tv and the national impeachment movement, the resolution made four charges, three of which are violations of the US Constitution.

WHEREAS, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney conspired with others to defraud the United States of America by intentionally misleading congress and the public regarding the threat from Iraq in order to justify a war in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 371; and

Joseph Biden(D) while frequently correct on national security issues can be a bit grating in his presentation, but he has joined the John Murtha-Chuck Hagel Club of those who get it, Sen. Joe Biden Finally Gets It Right: “The Vice President Doesn’t Know What’s He’s Talking About”

CHRIS WALLACE: “Senator Biden, I know that this is not your intent, but, in fact, wouldn’t your resolution send a mesage that would embolden our enemy and discourage our troops in the field?”

SEN. BIDEN: “Absolutely not. Not only does Carl Levin and Joe Biden and Senator Hagel and Senator Snowe, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Iraqi Study Group – every single person out there that is of any consequence thinks – knows – the Vice President doesn’t know what’ he’s talking about. I can’t be more blunt than that. He has yet to be right one single time on Iraq. Name me one single time he’s been correct. It’s about time we stopped lstening to that ideological rhetoric and that bin Laden and the rest. Bin Laden isn’t the issue here. Bin Laden will become the issue. The issue is there’s a civil war, Chris. I said way back in November – speaking of last year – speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, I said: ‘Does anyone support using American troops to fight a civil war? I don’t and I don’t think the American people do, but if we fail to force a political consensus, that’s exactly what we will have.’ That’s what we have. That’s what the President has to deal with and he’s doin’ it the exact wrong way and he’s not listening to his military. He’s not listening to his old Secretaries of State. He’s not listening to his old friends. He’s not listening to anybody but Cheney and Cheney – is – dead – wrong.”

China’s Test and War in Space

The template is the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, a visionary pact developed by the U.S., United Kingdom and Soviet Union to prevent what 40 years ago was already feared as the weaponization of space. It bans nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in space. What China, Russia ­- and our friends to our north, Canada -­ have been doing is trying to broaden that to all weapons.

It’s high time that be done and it must done be soon.

The U.S. has the technology to move into space with weapons. Believing it will end up the only nation up there with arms if it does so is a huge and tragic mistake. China and Russia ­- and who knows what country next ­- will follow us up. And, no nation will have an advantage. Meanwhile, vast amounts of financial resources will need to be expended for space weaponry by the people of these countries­money desperately needed for medical care, education, the environment and all the other great needs on Earth.

The U.S. must join with the nations of the world now on an agreement (that includes a system of verification) providing the heavens not become a place for war.

Just a side note about the media punditry’s take on this. Some Bill O’Reilly wannbe named Glenn Beck went off on the tired silliness that President Clinton and technology sells as the whole reason behind China’s recent test. Glenn, Glenn please don’t share the fact that during the Bush administration IBM sold its notebook computer division to China and neither the administration or a far Right Congress raised any objection. Don’t tell your audience that Reagan, Bush Sr, and Junior all have been very pro technology trade to China and that Congress must approve all technology sells. America needs a better pundit class and Beck sure isn’t the answer.

There is a Republican site called Newsbusters ( apparently one of Beck’s bookmarked sites) that claims to be media watchdogs, keepers of the ultimate truth as it were. Only they have a record of propagandizing the news that would make Joseph Stalin proud. They been caught lying before – here and not shy about making bold statements even when they don’t seem to be able to comprehend the isses – here.  They continue their tradition of near zero credibility – Media conservatives hype discredited NewsBusters post on background foliage in Clinton video

Following Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-NY) January 20 launch of her presidential bid, numerous media conservatives, like CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck, a new regular commentator for ABC’s Good Morning America, have touted a discredited post by Mark Finkelstein on the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters weblog to baselessly claim that Clinton recorded her announcement video months before actually announcing. The January 20 post, which immediately followed Clinton’s announcement, questioned when the video was shot by pointing to the foliage in the background of the video and asking: “Did Hillary have this video in the can during all those months while she was claiming to be making up her mind? Was it a carefully staged artificial background?” The post was later updated with the following: “A national-level reporter whom I respect informs me that the video was produced last week in DC. The reporter does not know whether the background is natural.” Further, according to Newsday, Clinton’s announcement video was filmed in her Washington, D.C., home the previous week, and National Public Radio senior correspondent and Fox News contributor Juan Williams reported on the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends that the video was filmed January 18 “[a]t her [Clinton’s] D.C. house, which is actually near Rock Creek Park.”

Beck is also a part-time clown – “OK, besides, you know, the staged, cozy living room scene, there’s a window there with, gosh, doesn’t it look like an awful lot of green trees behind her? Now, I’m no arborist, but I am a thinker. And it doesn’t seem like trees should have their leaves in January in New York or Washington, unless — unless it’s that damn global warming again. My gosh, that stuff just won’t let up.” Beck will continue to make millions as a media pundit, you know those supposedly smart people that are there to help America by providing insight and truth. The only thing Beck has given much thought to is the ratio of right-wing noise he has to generate to put the most cash into his bank account; doing right by America is the last thing he will ever think about if he thinks at all.