An age is called Dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it

If I cover my eyes and ears and hide under the bed I could almost swear that Bush’s escalation in Iraq is going great. Soon we’ll have the opening of the Michelle Malkin-Glenn Beck Luxury Hotel and Country Club opening downtown Baghdad, Dozens killed in revenge attack in Iraq

BAGHDAD – Shiite militants and police enraged by deadly truck bombings went on a shooting rampage against Sunnis in a northwestern Iraqi city Wednesday, killing as many as 70 men execution-style and prompting fears that sectarian violence was spreading outside the capital.

Which was in revenge for this,

The revenge killings among Shiites in the religiously mixed city 260 miles northwest of Baghdad were triggered by truck bombings in Tal Afar on Tuesday that killed 80 people and wounded 185.

Iraqi Widow Saves Her Home, but Victory Is Brief

Ms. Saadoun was a Sunni Arab living in a Shiite enclave of western Baghdad. A widowed mother of seven, she and her family had been chased out once before. This time, she called American and Kurdish soldiers at a base less than a mile to the east.

The men tried to drive away, but the soldiers had blocked the street. They pulled the men out of the car.

“If anything happens to us, they’re the ones responsible,” said Ms. Saadoun, 49, a burly, boisterous woman in a black robe and lavender-blue head scarf.

The Americans shoved the men into a Humvee. Neighbors clapped and cheered as if their soccer team had just won a title.

The next morning, Ms. Saadoun was shot dead while walking by a bakery in the local market.

NY Times ignored polls contradicting GOP declaration that public “is willing to give … troop buildup a chance”
The thing is that if your spouse , son or daughter dies during the escalation there is no oops sorry can we have a redo, maybe we should have stayed out of Iraq and focused on you know like fighting terrorism.

Contrary to the aides’ assertion that the public “is beginning to see improvements on the ground in Iraq,” a March 27 USA Today/Gallup poll found that 65 percent of respondents felt the increase in the number of U.S. troops in Baghdad is either “not making much difference” or making the situation there “worse.” Moreover, a March 17 Newsweek poll found that 61 percent of respondents think the U.S. is “losing ground in its efforts to establish security and democracy in Iraq.”

Opposition to the War Growing Among Troops

The Appeal for Redress is a confidential online petition to Congress asking for an end to the Iraq war. Because the Uniform Code of Military Justice expressly permits members of the military to petition their representatives, the Appeal is 100 percent legal, and since its unveiling in late 2006 the Appeal has gathered over 1,700 signatures.

Private Follan hadn’t heard of the Appeal before, but says he thinks he’ll sign it. “I can’t see any reason why I wouldn’t,” he says, explaining he hasn’t heard a single good reason for the Iraq war. “If there are good reasons, I haven’t been told them yet. Maybe I’ll find out some more reasons when I get there.”

Follan is dressed in desert camouflage fatigues and is with a couple of friends. He’s 18 years old, and he joined the Army last July. He’s young and really earnest. He explains that despite his objections to the war, he doesn’t mind going. “I’m hoping to do the right thing,” he says. “I have no problem going and helping in any way I can.”

Pfc. Richard Jones was having lunch with Follan. He’s quieter, just as young and just as earnest. He’s a cavalry scout, with less than a year in the military. He expects to be deployed in May as well, but isn’t sure. He’s well aware of the complexity of the arguments both for and against the war.

“Nobody should go to war. War’s not a good thing at all. But if that’s what has to be done, then I guess that’s what has to be done to protect your country and your people. It would be a lot worse if they were over here saying if you don’t believe in our religion, and if you speak against it, we’re gonna kick down your doors, then we’re going to kill your family. That’s not good. I wouldn’t wish that on Iraqis either.”

Enron the gift that keeps on giving, SEC charges two ex-Enron lawyers with fraud

Securities and Exchange Commission has charged two former in-house lawyers at Enron Corp. with securities fraud.

Jordan Mintz, former general counsel of Enron’s global finance group, and Rex Rogers, former associate general counsel, were charged in connection with a fraudulent scheme to make material misrepresentations or omissions in Enron’s public filings, the SEC said on Wednesday.

“An age is called Dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.” – James Michener:

Advertisements

It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter

Ernest Hemingway and actress/singer Marlene Dietrich exchanged letters for 30 years. Maria Riva ( Dietrich’s daughter) is making them available to the public for the first time through the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Romance and Friendship Mix in Rare Dietrich, Hemingway Letters Set for First Public Viewing

Dietrich told Hemingway of her affair with actor Yul Brynner, and he wrote of his chronic infidelity in one letter, saying he had a “seven-year monogamy plan” that didn’t work out. She replied that she, too, had given up on her monogamy plan.

Valerie Hemingway recalls seeing the author surrounded by beautiful women as his wife stood by their marriage. “There were beautiful women around and Mary was — she tolerated — but always with a smile,” she says, “with a certain amount of underlying sarcasm. She knew she could wait out any of these people.”

That included Dietrich, who writes to Hemingway in August 1952: “I want to put my arms around you and my heart. I want to kiss you forever and a day for the beauty that is in you … I can’t love you more than I do or deeper or longer … ”

Romance aside, the Hemingway letters also reveal the quirkiness of the famed novelist. They are typed with several spaces between each word including punctuation. Putnam speculates this was for editing purposes, so Hemingway could go back and handwrite any changes.

I knew a little more about Hemingway then Dietrich. My impression of her made almost solely on her films and a few interviews I’ve seen was colder and more emotionally detached then she comes across in these excerpts ( they read more excerpts of them on ABC’s Nightline then they make available on-line). Hemingway for all his womanizing comes across as far more sentimental then I had previously thought. All of what I heard on NL and read on-line is so personal that I felt a little like a voyeur. Still for those that take a deeper then average interest in Hemingway or Dietrich the letters do provide some insights into sides of their personalities that we might not have seen otherwise. Not to gauze over their personal indiscretions they both come off as warmer, more human, tragic and in some ways vulnerable in a way that one would expect in an exchange of letters between teen pen pals. Coincidently Cuba recently undertook a renovation of Papa’s old home, Castro’s government has spent $1 million to restore Hemingway’s shabby baronial estate to its old glory

The writer and his fourth wife, Mary, sailed from Cuba July 25, 1960, leaving behind the “silver, Venetian glassware, eight-thousand books … and Ernest’s small collection of paintings, one Paul Klee, two Juan Gris, five Andre Masson, one Braque …” along with 70 cats and at least nine dogs.

Hemingway never returned. He killed himself with a double-barreled shotgun blast July 2, 1961, at his other home, in Ketchum, Idaho.

There are pictures of Hemingway with Castro, but as the article mentions E.H. wasn’t a big fan of communism. The Cubans don’t seem to hold it against him though, “The Old Man and The Sea ” is still read in schools there.

There are plenty of arguments to be made for and against compromise. Still, life being full of realities it is inevitable that we make them on occasion. The last I heard people with genuine values and a modicum of maturity realized the value of the occasional compromise two dimensional movie action figures aside, Pelosi and Reid Call on President to Work with Congress

Mr. President, this is the time to sit down and work together on behalf of the American people and our troops. We stand ready to work with you, but your threats to veto a bill that has not even been presented to you indicate that you may not be ready to work with us. We hope that is not the case.

Of course Bush isn’t going to compromise. In this case it isn’t even a compromise it is a way for Bush to back away from his craven behavior and save face. Being reasonable just isn’t in the cards for a president who sees the president’s role as ruler rather then a civil servant of the people and thinks he is on a mission from God. I’m honestly not sure what the Right’s problem with terrorism is. If their problem is that it kills innocent people then the Right’s perverted since of what the war on terror should look like has an incredible resemblance to the very thing they say they hate, Saddam Hussein, as bad as he was, managed to kill at most 290,000 people during his quarter-century in power — less than half of Bush’s four-year death total. Of course a good part of what fuels the true jihadists like al-Queda is what is seen as the ever threatening specters of modern culture and Jeffersonian democracy – both phenomenon that are hated by the Right as well. Part of modern culture that isn’t so modern is corruption. It is a truly despicable part of this or any culture – it rewards the greedy, connected and powerful at the expense of the average Jane and Joe, who begin to believe that they are no longer partners in this democracy based on egalitarian ideals. They come to believe that they are at the mercy of the powers that be. In the Horn of Plenty that is Republican irony, conservatives that have tried their best to claim the mantle as the every man’s party, but have embraced corruption as the status quo. As cynical as I might at times come across on this blog I keep thinking that there will be an end – I have a pretty good memory for at least the cursory details and I have reached the over load point where I have trouble keeping track of every conservative assault on basic American values. I thought the 2006 elections would at least slow down the Conservative Steamroller of Corruption, only they just keep coming. The only difference now is that with each new one, we get a new investigation, The Republican Mystery

The truly astonishing thing about the latest scandals besetting the Bush administration is that they stem from actions the administration took after the November elections, when Democratic control of Congress was a fait accompli.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ hour-long meeting on sacking federal prosecutors took place after the election. The subsequent sacking took place after the election. The videoconference between leaders of the General Services Administration and Karl Rove’s deputy about how to help Republican candidates in 2008, according to people who attended the meeting, took place Jan. 26 this year.

During last year’s congressional campaigns, Republicans spent a good deal of time and money predicting that if the Democrats won, Congress would become one big partisan fishing expedition led by zealots such as Henry Waxman. The Republicans’ message didn’t really impress the public, and apparently it didn’t reach the president and his underlings, either. Since the election, they have continued merrily along with their mission to politicize every governmental function and agency as if their allies still controlled Congress, as if the election hadn’t happened.

The environment has always been the poor step child of American culture and politics and that continues as the Iraq war votes and pathetic liar Alberto Gonzales continue to take center stage, Inside the secretive plan to gut the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is maneuvering to fundamentally weaken the Endangered Species Act, its strategy laid out in an internal 117-page draft proposal obtained by Salon. The proposed changes limit the number of species that can be protected and curtail the acres of wildlife habitat to be preserved. It shifts authority to enforce the act from the federal government to the states, and it dilutes legal barriers that protect habitat from sprawl, logging or mining.

I know what you’re thinking, how can Bush and his minority Congressional handmaidens do this. That’s a pre-Bush pre-9-11 mindset back when we had a marginally functional democracy where Congress made the laws and the President was bound by an oath of honor to enforce them.

“It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.” – Marlene Dietrich

The dead know only one thing: it is better to be alive

Whatever Iraq is, it is not the road that leads to the defeat of the kind of terror attack that America had on 9-11. So when the war-bloggers and woefully unenlightened pundits of the Right insist that Iraq is a war that must be won in order to defeat terror, we ‘re really not having a debate. We’re dealing with people who cannot face reality and who are trying to wiggle out of responsibility for sending an average of 2 Americans a day to their deaths for reasons composed of myths about WMD, connections to al-Queda and some bizarre notions about making over the middle-east in their image. We actually lost the political war in Iraq ( not the military war – we can still kill more Iraqis for what ever that does for the war on terror) the same day Iraq was invaded. Iraq is the weapon the neocons are using to shoot America in the foot – al-Queda in their wildest dreams could not have thought of a better more deadly and useless quagmire. Iraq is now the boogie man, a nebulous cloud of doom that must be defeated for reasons that continue to be defined in nonsense – we must show the jihadists that we’re not weak. There is a very glaring problem with that thinking here as we note the five year anniversary of occupying Iraq – that as many as 600,000 Iraqis may have been killed and despite the incoherent “straight talk” of Senator McCain Iraq is nowhere near being stable and the presence of U.S. troops doesn’t seem to help, The Iraq War In Numbers

DAILY VIOLENCE: Average number of insurgent attacks over four years – 108 per day. Average for August 2005 to January 2006 – 81.1 per day. Average for November 2006 to February 2007 – 148.9 per day. Number of kidnappings of Iraqis – currently 30 to 40 per day. Number of foreign nationals kidnapped in four years – 300, including 54 killed. Estimated number of Iraqi insurgents – 20,000 to 30,000. Estimated number of foreign fighters – 800 to 2,000.

IRAQ OPINION: 38 per cent of Iraqis believe the situation is better now than before the invasion; 50 per cent think it’s worse.

fox_legislatingdefeat.jpg

photo by way of DailyKos

The number of insurgent attacks ( most insurgents are not terrorists) thanks to the Right’s great commander-in-deciding is actually increasing. Special Issue: Voices of the Fallen‘Any day I’m here could be the day I die,’ wrote Travis Youngblood, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class

— 2005: Democracy: The White House focused on turning Iraq into a showcase of Middle Eastern democracy. For U.S. troops, mission fatigue began to set in. “There will be heightened security for elections. I expect to be busy around that time, just because these people feel safe whenever we are around. I wonder why?” wrote Marine Cpl. Kyle Grimes. “I usually get so incredibly bored whenever we are working with civilians. But you also can’t trust any of them. I am getting tired of not being able to trust average people. But I really have no choice with this place and an enemy like this. One thing is for sure. I know men that I can trust my life with. That is a great feeling.”

— 2006: Civil War: Soldiers are finding themselves in the middle of a civil war. “[In] Mosul we were bring attacked everyday,” wrote Army Sgt. Kraig Foyteck. “Out here we are not the targets. It’s one religion against another, we are just caught in the middle. However, if we are in the way, they will attempt to get rid of us as well.”

Obviously there are issues at play in regards to tribal and religious affiliations that the U. S. military is ill equipped to deal with. Here we are five years in and now one of the brilliant ideas – a day late and over 3000 lives lost and Secretary Rice wants a middle-eastern summit. Except it will not as of today include Iraq and Iran. ‘War on Terror’?

The culture of fear is like a genie that has been let out of its bottle. It acquires a life of its own — and can become demoralizing. America today is not the self-confident and determined nation that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful words “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”; nor is it the calm America that waged the Cold War with quiet persistence despite the knowledge that a real war could be initiated abruptly within minutes and prompt the death of 100 million Americans within just a few hours. We are now divided, uncertain and potentially very susceptible to panic in the event of another terrorist act in the United States itself.

That is the result of five years of almost continuous national brainwashing on the subject of terror, quite unlike the more muted reactions of several other nations (Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, to mention just a few) that also have suffered painful terrorist acts. In his latest justification for his war in Iraq, President Bush even claims absurdly that he has to continue waging it lest al-Qaeda cross the Atlantic to launch a war of terror here in the United States.

Such fear-mongering, reinforced by security entrepreneurs, the mass media and the entertainment industry, generates its own momentum. The terror entrepreneurs, usually described as experts on terrorism, are necessarily engaged in competition to justify their existence.

A large part of why we as a nation are still having this non-debate is the Right’s delusional narratives about why we’re still there and dressing it up in meaningless terms like winning and losing – Eumerica

On the other hand, Republican support is contracting to a base of about 25 per cent of the population whose views are getting more extreme, not merely because moderate conservatives are peeling off to become Independents, but also because of the party’s success in constructing a parallel universe of news sources, thinktanks, blogs, pseudo-scientists and so on, which has led to the core becoming more tightly committed to an extremist ideology.

The Right is not in its last throes – for a variety of reasons the Right and its social darwinistic world view will always be appealing to a few, but it is suffering from a kind of public breakdown as it takes on this kind of bunker mentality that the world will just fly into pieces if we stand in the way of their unfocused self-defeating behavior in regards to national security threats real, imagined and provoked.

Poll backs subpoenas of Bush aides

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday-Sunday, respondents said by nearly 3-to-1 that Congress should issue subpoenas to force White House officials to testify.

I find this a little disappointing. It should be more like 99% favor an immediate investigation and Whitehouse and DOJ staff supeonaed. Seeking A Grand Unified Theory of Wankery; The Rise of the Booboisie

The evidence suggests that McKay and Iglesias, at minimum, were removed from their jobs in large part — and that “in large part” is itself being exceedingly generous to the administration — because they refused to file politically motivated indictments against Democrats intended to help Republicans skew election results.

Despite befuddled mutterings to the contrary, that’s a big deal. Corrupting a foundational principle of our democracy — that the police forces of a state will not be used as political weapons against the opposition? Demanding that prosecutors hound your political rivals or be fired?

Private Joker: “The dead know only one thing: it is better to be alive.” – Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Get out of my way son, you’re usin’ my oxygen

I watched Nightline’s profile of Senator John McCain(R-AZ) last night – There is a bief story and video here, John McCain: ‘I Haven’t Changed’ . Unfortunately ABC doesn’t provide free transcripts of the show. The theme, repeated several time was that McCain was a “maverick”. Why does the media insist on trying to sell this all hole and no donut version of McCain. McCain is to “maverick” what white bread is to mayonnaise. In the past I’ve given him credit for at least being a civil right-winger, but lately he’s decided to channel Dick Cheney and Ann Coulter,

McCain angrily ripped into the House bill passed last week that set a timeline for withdrawal, calling it the “most shameful that I have seen in the 24 years I have been in Congress,” and describing Democrats as “more interested in guided tours of the Capitol building than caring for American military men and women that are on their tours overseas.”

If McCain cared about the troops he’d be more concerned about them dying for lies about Iraq as an “urgent threat” or Iraq as the first building block in spreading democracy across the middle-east, and since he made at least occassional visits to Walter-Reed he can stop the fake sentimentality about how the troops were treated – he and his party knew and did nothing. The fact is that like the vast majority of Republicans in the Senate and the House he votes fringe Right – he has a terrible record on human rights, civil rights. women’s rights, civil liberties, and despite his long winded speeches on pork and spending he has voted for almost as much pork as other Conservatives. McCain thinks its awful to desecrate the flag – well most of us do, but in a choice between defending the constitution and putting two or three flag burners in jail a year, old John thinks that its more important to send the flag burners to jail. There is a certain irony there since the flag is a symbol of our country, but the Constitution is the actual substance. By the time a man reaches 70 he should have gathered enough wisdom to differentiate between substance and symbols and adjust his priorities accordingly, but not that “maverick” John McCain. Last, but hardly least – while the Senator has voted for some pro solar power bills his over all record on the environment and energy policy is one of the worse – keep America dependent on foreign oil and non-renewable fossil fuels. Like many Republicans he has mastered the art of doublespeak exploiting hot button cultural issues, wrapping incredibly irresponsible foreign policy in the flag and just plain fabricating an image that doesn’t match his abysmal voting record. It is aggravating that a huge media outlet like ABC is all too ready to help McCain continue the charade.

Even for those that take little interest in politics and just glance over the headlines between bites of their bagel will have a hard time reconciling these two stories, Gonzales aide to invoke Fifth Amendment

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ liaison with the White House will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, citing her Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said Monday.

“I have decided to follow my lawyer’s advice and respectfully invoke my constitutional right,” Monica Goodling, Gonzales’ counsel and White House liaison, said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

and Gonzales: Firings were not improper

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales: Let me begin with the attacks on my credibility, which really have pained me and my family. You know, I have grown up — I grew up with nothing but my integrity. And someday, when I leave this office, I am confident that I will leave with my integrity. The United States attorneys that were asked — to resign — were appointed by this president, they serve, like me, at the pleasure of the president.

I asked for their resignation not for improper reasons. I would never have asked for their resignations to interfere with a public corruption case or in any way to interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Alberto went to the Bush-Rove School of Integrity where in just three short weekends you too can start a career as the Play Dough of U.S. Attorney generals. Just testify under oath Alberto; it will be unfamiliar territory having to tell the truth and I won’t lie, it may hurt, it may even hurt a lot, but it will be good for you to experience the act of truth telling once in this lifetime.

Fox wussies can’t get the story about Senator Jim Webb’s aide and the hand gun straight, but Taylor Marsh can, Webb’s Gun. A Democrat with a gun? Didn’t he know that he was supposed to live up to that 70’s stereotype of the anti-gun liberal.

Ann Althouse is one of those, you know, ever so civil and sane Republicans – well for maybe five or ten minutes a week anyway, Late Nite FDL: Lethal Levels of Peroxide and Petulance. Ezra Klein has some background and some links to video on Ann here.. In everyday conversation and on blogs for that matter its common practice to throw out a little hyperbole about someone’s mental state, but if Althouse has any friends, seriously – no hyperbole – see about getting her to at least take a few sessions with a therapist.

Those little video games with quizzes might actually make you smarter or probably more like exercise your mind so that at least it works better if not smarter.

McMurphy:” Get out of my way son, you’re usin’ my oxygen.”
from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

“Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”

Bergman admits Nazi past

Bergman describes his father as being ultra right-wing and his politics rubbed off on the whole family.

“The Nazism I had seen seemed fun and youthful,” he admitted to the author. “The big threat were the Bolsheviks, who were hated.”

The book also documents an attack by Bergman’s brother and friends on a house owned by a Jew. The group daubed the walls with a swastika – the symbol of the Nazis.

But the director has confessed to being too cowardly to raise any objections.

“I did not want to believe my eyes”
The maker of Fanny and Alexander and The Seventh Seal retained his admiration of Fascism right up to the end of the war.

“When the doors to the concentration camps were thrown open, at first I did not want to believe my eyes.”

“When the truth came out it was a hideous shock for me. In a brutal and violent way I was suddenly ripped of my innocence.”

Bergman officially retired for directing after the success of 1983’s Fanny and Alexander – which won the best foreign film Oscar. He continues to be an active writer and stage director.

Like many college students I went through my Bergman phase. All the angst and existentialism. Maybe that nausea that Bergman felt and later portrayed in his films was realizing the tragic consequences of believing in an ideology that proclaimed to be about values, but was absent of any morality.

Is FOX News’ Foreign Affairs Analyst A Former Terrorist

Jafarzadeh’s name first appears in the media in a Houston Chronicle article dated December 24, 1986, where he is described as a spokesman for the MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq). In the article he denied US State Department claims the MEK was a terrorist organization responsible for the assassination of at least six Americans in Iran. Jafarzadeh was the public spokesperson for the National Council of Resistance of Iran until its office in Washington was closed by the US State Department in 2002 on the grounds that it was a front group for the MEK, by then listed as a terrorist organistion.

A 2002 article in National Review, said:

A 1994 State Department report indicates that the Mujahedin has trained and fought alongside Iraqi troops on a number of occasions, and that “Saddam Hussein has been one of [its] primary financiers, providing weapons and cash totaling an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The way it works is that the Right forgives everyone and everything as long as you join the Right. If this guy would have decided to become a liberal he’d be getting the Swift-boat treatment.

New Phenomena on the Sun

It’s enough to make you leap out of your seat: A magnetic vortex almost as big as Earth races across your computer screen, twisting, turning, finally erupting in a powerful solar flare. Japan’s Hinode spacecraft recorded just such a blast on Jan. 12, 2007.

Photo and video at the link.
Hagel says Bush too dismissive of Congress on Iraq

“We have clearly a situation where the president has lost the confidence of the American people in his war effort,” he said. “It is now time, going into the fifth year of that effort, for the Congress to step forward and be part of setting some boundaries and some conditions as to our involvement.”

Once again Hagel says the right thing, but will he follow through with actual action. Politically the guy has nothing to loose; not only is Bush gone in less then two years, but conservatism as a movement will take at least another ten if not twenty years to regain the trust of the majority of Americans. The only people that seem to really support Bush are the rabid war-bloggers and right-wing christianists that seem to want to add war on top of war. Suicide Bombers Kill Dozens Across Iraq. At the five year anniversary of Bush’s Iraq debacle in which none, but the dead enders see an end in sight and the rabid Right thinks they should be trusted with more wars – The Crazy from the Failure Six Years Post 9-11 Mentality. I can be something of a hard ass when it comes to justice my self, but we’re at the point where Bush has let Afghanistan spiral into as nearly as much chaos as Iraq – the death toll there in over 5000 and estimates range as high as 25,000 wounded in contrast to the 3000 that died on 9-11 – the ratio of deaths to justice is clearly out of whack. Justice for 9-11 hasn’t been the goal for a years – now it seems to be about death for death’s sake. The Right has spread the focus to having a war on Islam – Islam is the “them” that must be defeated. One can’t help, but note the difference between that attitude and the one toward registered Republican and white Christian Timothy McVeigh – Oklahoma City was at least the second worse single attack on America since Pearl Harbor and no one suggested that we as a country declare war on right-wing Christians and not stop until they were all done away with – that would have a ridiculous idea – yet that is actly what the Right is doing in portraying all of Islam as the enemy.
One continuing theme of the Right is that you cannot be a true Christian and be a Democrat, Limbaugh: John and Elizabeth Edwards “turned to … politics” instead of God after cancer news

Limbaugh said: “[M]ost people, when told a family member’s been diagnosed with the kind of cancer Elizabeth Edwards has, they turn to God. The Edwards turned to the campaign. Their religion is politics and the quest for the White House.” Limbaugh later asked: “If you’re [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL] or [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY], how do you now attack John Edwards?” Limbaugh added: “Not a problem for Hillary, the Clinton [inaudible] will find a way. But Barack, it’s going to be a challenge.”

Just deeply strange. Limbaugh takes a pill , turns on the microphone and just starts some incoherent babaling for which he makes millions a year.

“Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.” – Nora Ephron

“There’s something screwy around here”

The thing about high ranking government officials lying is that besides knowing better it and being arrogant enough to think they shouldn’t be held accountable when caught, is that it speaks to their agenda. The agenda can’t be something ripped from the pages of Thomas Jefferson’s guide to good government or they wouldn’t have to lie. Documents show Gonzales approved firings

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved plans to fire several U.S. attorneys in a November meeting, according to documents released Friday that contradict earlier claims that he was not closely involved in the dismissals.

If what you and your party stand for is something loosely described as values then lying becomes an anachronism. The merits of what you do and believe would stand on their merits regardless of criticism. Alberto’s ease at falsifying, twisting, distorting and generally shirking responsibility comes easily. After all he has had plenty of practice at the side of Bush and Rove. It has taken what seems an excruciatingly long time, but the public is catching on to these scoundrels that hide their fake values and fake patriotism behind a constant barrage of double-talk, Fewer pledge allegiance to the GOP

Public allegiance to the Republican Party has plunged during George W. Bush’s presidency, as attitudes have edged away from some of the conservative values that fueled GOP political victories, a major survey has found.

The survey, by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, found a “dramatic shift” in political party identification since 2002, when Republicans and Democrats were at rough parity. Now, 50% of those surveyed identified with or leaned toward Democrats, whereas 35% aligned with Republicans.

So while there is plenty of reason to be angry at Bush and conservatives for what they have done to America there is also reason to thank them.

The current gap between Republican and Democratic identification — which Pew measured by counting people who said they leaned toward a party as well as those with firm allegiances — is the widest since the group began collecting data on party allegiance in 1990.

As recently as 2002, the two parties were tied, with each drawing support from 43% of those surveyed. But Democrats have gained an advantage over Republicans almost every year since.

Since the Right suffers from O.J. syndrome and loves to repeat the same lies over and over again it doesn’t hurt to repeat the truth once in a while, Novak’s Denial You blew a CIA employee’s cover, Bob. Live with it.
Novak and the rightie pundits still like to pretend they did nothing wrong because according to them and their superhuman x-ray like insights into the inner workings of the CIA Valerie (Plame) Wilson wasn’t covert,

I have met with—personally with General [Michael] Hayden, the head of the CIA, to discuss what I can and cannot say about Ms. Wilson’s service. And I want to thank him for his cooperation and help in guiding us along these lines. … During her employment at the CIA, Ms. Wilson was undercover. Her employment status with the CIA was classified information, prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958. At the time of the publication of Robert Novak’s column on July 14, 2003, Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment status was covert. This was classified information.

So what is the kool-aid kids response to that – General Hayden, a Bush appointee to head the CIA is a Democratic mole. This is the kind of response you would expect from a petulant nine year old, not the political movement that claims to own the copyright on values and truth. If that particular right-wing lie doesn’t fly, that’s OK they have a couple more: the Russians blew Wilson’s cover years ago and then the Cubans did too,

That’s far from clear. According to an October 2003 column by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, the CIA “suspected” Plame was one of the agents whose identity was exposed by American double agent Aldrich Ames, and brought her home after Ames was arrested in 1994. But at the hearing, Plame testified that “[i]n the run-up to the war with Iraq,” she “traveled to foreign countries on secret missions.” Obviously, the CIA either concluded that Ames hadn’t compromised Plame or that the damage was minimal.

the variation of the Russian story that includes Cuba,

A variation on this story by Bill Gertz of the Washington Times was published in July 2004. According to Gertz, Plame’s identity “was first disclosed to Russia in the mid-1990s by a Moscow spy,” whom Gertz does not name, and later, inadvertently, in a document sent to the Swiss embassy in Havana and intercepted by the Cuban government. If the first disclosure occurred in the mid-1990s, as Gertz claims, then it couldn’t have come, as Novak writes, from a “Soviet agent,” because the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991. Again, whatever damage these disclosures may have caused do not appear to have prevented Plame from traveling abroad “on secret missions” a few years later.

It looks like another case of the right-wing fax machine getting special inside information beamed down from aliens with special knowledge of CIA activities and alien calendar dating where only the finely tuned antenna of Rightie tin-foil is able to get the proper reception and no one but them is allowed access. One would think they would have been shouting from the roof tops in the “mid-1990s” if they knew that one our most valuable intelligence assets had been compromised – or at the very least in 2000, or maybe even 2001. Why did the Right supposedly know all about M’s Wilson’s being endangered and her effectiveness as an agent compromised yet waited until Bush administration officials were put under scrutiny by a grand jury before they spoke up.

No wonder the same people that betrayed America and twist themselves into pretzels denying it think that Iraq is paradise, but the big bad liberal media just doesn’t want anyone to know – Iraqi medical crisis as doctors flee

The ordeal continues for victims of Iraq’s violence when they are taken to hospital.

Most of the best medical staff have left after being targeted by insurgents. Many have fled the country just in the last few months.

Drugs and equipment are almost non-existent. The notorious militias target patients inside hospitals, and doctors inside the health ministry.

All this in a country that used to pride itself on the best medical services in the Middle East.

Many of the doctors have gone to neighbouring Jordan. There seem to be many thousands here, all with graphic tales of the horrors they have witnessed.

How the Right loves the military and cares about the Iraqis Part XXII – GAO Faults U.S. Military Over Munitions in Iraq

The U.S. military’s faulty war plans and insufficient troops in Iraq left thousands and possibly millions of tons of conventional munitions unsecured or in the hands of insurgent groups after the 2003 invasion — allowing widespread looting of weapons and explosives used to make roadside bombs that cause the bulk of U.S. casualties, according to a government report released yesterday.

Some weapons sites remained vulnerable as recently as October 2006, according to the Government Accountability Office report, which said the unguarded sites “will likely continue to support terrorist attacks throughout the region.” For example, it said hundreds of tons of explosives at the Al Qa Qaa facility in Iraq that had been documented by the International Atomic Energy Agency were lost to theft and looting after April 9, 2003.

You’re in some kind of trouble – you’re lost in a desert, you’re being held hostage, you’re stranded on a desert island and the Bushies offer to come help you. You had been asking yourself – could things get any worse – yes they can. I’m still waiting for the YouTube video – shot of America – voice over “this is America. Camera shifts to frying pan – America sizzles in pan – voice over “This is America on Conservatism”.

“There’s something screwy around here” – Elmer Fudd

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple

In So Much for the Unitary Executive a reporter at Snowjob’s press briefing and Marty Lederman noted that Snow declared that, “This is a decision that was made at the U.S. Department of Justice.”, but the president himself said, “I’m sorry this, frankly, has bubbled to the surface the way it has, for the U.S. attorneys involved. I really am. These are — I put them in there in the first place; they’re decent people. They serve at our pleasure.” OK so the president claims executive privilege while at the same time claiming that the DOJ side stepped the president.

“MR. SNOW: The President has no recollection of this ever being raised with him. . . .

Q Just to follow, did you say, again for the record, that the President has no recollection of ever being asked about any of this?

MR. SNOW: Yes, the removal — yes, that is correct.

Attorney’s that serve at the president’s pleasure are dismissed not by the president but by the DOJ without his knowledge or approval?

That’s why it’s almost certainly not true. It’s virtually inconceivable that the President did not sign off on the removals (even if he was not intimately involved in the discussions that led up to the final choices). The President, in his briefing, undermined Snow’s subsequent claim:

“These U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President. I named them all. And the Justice Department made recommendations, which the White House accepted, that eight of the 93 would no longer serve.”

If there was no back and forth between the Whitehouse (Miers, Rove, Bush) and the DOJ then there should be no executive privilege to protect. This is putting aside invoking or hiding behind executive privilege in a situation that has nothing to do with national security. Then there is the audacious claim by Bush that he has offered Congress unprecedented cooperation by handing over hundreds of pages of documents. Well if you think that leaving out a month of those important communications is being completely cooperative then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. If you think that allowing Harriet Miers and Karl Rove to testify, but only in private and not under oath is being open and honest then I have a shiny new air craft carrier to go with your new bridge. In a letter to Fred Fielding (Presidential Counsel) Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) writes with incredible understatement,

Some of us have heard that your letter is a “take it or leave it” offer and that you have characterized it as your best and final offer. We cannot accept the limitations and conditions you
seek to impose on the Committee’s investigation in your March 20 letter.

Your proposal would unacceptably constrain our ability to investigate; it would deny us access to relevant information; it would interfere with our ability to learn the truth by pre-selecting only certain documents or witnesses; and it would unduly limit the scope of the investigation by prejudging its outcome.

Moreover, you insist that the interviews with White House staffbe in the nature of off-therecord, private conversations. There have been a number of such informal briefings already and they have all proved unsatisfactory and provided less than the whole truth. (emphasis mine)

It simple, the rule of law matters or it doesn’t. It doesn’t seem to matter to Bush or Republicans.

So much for religion solving all our problems, Religion and good behaviour

So that’s what the British would say, isn’t it? In the United States, where more than 85 per cent of people describe themselves as religious believers, the answer would surely be very different, as it would be in Iran or Mexico. But then I remembered an article that was published a couple of years ago in the Journal of Religion and Society entitled Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look, in which Gregory Paul set out to test the assertion that religion makes people behave better.

If that is true, then the United States should be heaven on earth, whereas Britain would be overrun with crime, sexual misbehaviour and the like. Paul examined the data from 18 developed countries and found just the opposite.

“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, (venereal disease), teen pregnancy and abortion,” while “none of the strongly secularized, pro-evolution democracies is experiencing high levels of measurable dysfunction.”

[ ]…Even within the United States, Paul reported, “the strongly theistic, anti-evolution South and Midwest” have “markedly worse homicide, mortality, sexually transmitted disease, youth pregnancy, marital and related problems than the Northeast, where societal conditions, secularization and acceptance of evolution approach European norms.”

As the most religious country of the 18 surveyed, the United States also comes in with the highest rates for teenage pregnancy and for gonorrhea and syphilis.

I have mixed feelings about religion. many people I know many who believe in some ultimate power or creator if you will, but are not dogmatic or religious in the traditional sense.To just casual observation it would seem that it is certainly possible to have such beliefs, reconcile those beliefs with leading a more rationalist based life and still be a very moral person. Perhaps it is the adherence to very extreme dogma and the intellectual intransigence that comes with that fundamentalist view that leads to problems within both Christianity and Islam.

Better late then never, Intel-Dump’s take on the anniversary of Bush’s invasion, Leaving the cupboard bare

It is difficult to overstate the strategic significance of what Col. Hardy is saying. This is the U.S. military which once stood sentinel over Western Europe and South Korea, staring across those fortified borders at millions of enemy troops on the other side. It was a force designed to fight “the big one” — capable of mobilizing and fielding a force of considerable size. Now, four years into the Iraq war, a war for which more than 160,000 troops have been deployed at any given time, the cupboard is bare. No active-duty or reserve brigade has gone untapped; many have deployed more than once. It is not at all uncommon to meet active and reserve soldiers who have deployed two or three times. And in the Marine Corps, with its shorter deployment cycle, you will find many who have been downrange four times.

Sorry, Republicans cannot treat the military like grist for the mill and then claim to care about them.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” – Dr. Seuss quote