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Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, February 18, 2003

 
Turgid Prose

I think Peggy Noonan may have found her dream man --- a true blue, god fearing' macho Republican named General J. C. Christian

And he's a sensitive poet, too

War

War is a manly game
it's played for fun
it's played for fame
once Saddam is on the run
we'll bomb the Syrians
and take there guns
and if Korea begins to play
we'll nuke Iran
and then we'll pray
We'll thank the lord
for our good fortune
as we eat the hearts
of some poor persian


Thanks to Atrios for the link.



 
Moi?

Thomas Spencer takes the GOP to task for it's little problem with accepting responsibility.

Have you ever noticed, ironically, that the folks who spend so much time talking about “responsibility” are usually the first to try to pass the buck?

Of course, if your entire worldview is based around the demonizing of liberals and claiming that they’re behind everything that’s wrong, that makes the shirking of responsibility a pretty easy thing to do. Nothing is your fault. It’s all the fault of liberals even if you control all three branches of government.

Yes, I have been enjoying watching Tucker Carlson blame Jimmy Carter for creating terrorism and Lyndon Johnson for causing teen pregnancy while acting shocked and dismayed that anyone would dream of pointing out that St. Ronald of Reagan gave Saddam anthrax, George Sr. told the Iraqis to go fuck themselves after the war or that Junior has singlehandedly and in record time turned the economy into a fair imitation of an oversized Argentina.

Of course, Clinton's magnificent member is the fundamental reason for every problem remaining and no one debates that. But, still...





 
A TBOGG Moment

...the "take that hill, hoo-yah" hyperbole that comes so naturally from those who will be watching the war front-row-center on Fox news, with a Zima in one hand and a box of Screaming Yellow Zonkers in the other

You know who you are. Jane. Rod. Stevie. George.



 
Can You Say Intellectually Inconsistent?

Avedon Carol Says:

[...]

And given the Bush Family Empire's performance in America, just how seriously can we take their occasional flights of fancy about creating democracy in Iraq? They are speaking openly of shifting the burdens of taxation almost entirely onto those who must get up every day and work for a living, and even those who cannot make a living, and relieving the rich of any such obligations to society. They speak openly of removing whatever protections America's working people have against unsafe conditions, fraud, and broken contracts so that the wealthiest and most powerful can treat us virtually as slaves - only without the obligation to feed and house us. The administration itself is comporting itself as if it has a divine right of monarchy, and the changes it is effecting in our laws and official culture really do parallel those of the early Third Reich. If these people are so happy to accept - promote, in fact - such measures in the United States, what makes you think they have any real resistance to the idea of tyrannical leadership in Iraq? Certainly their past (and, for that matter, continuing) history in the area doesn't lend credence to their fidelity to the values of liberty for the people, in Iraq or anywhere else.

[...]

Bravo.

Aside from wondering why keeping Saddam in a box, even with sanctions, isn't better than dropping a payload equal to the firebombing of Tokyo on a civilian population, aside from knowing an explosion of terrorism is likely to result from the sight of a massive US army on the ground in the mid-east at this most dangerous moment, aside from being fully aware that the planning for this invasion has been underway for more than a decade undergirded by the same arguments of imminent danger that have not come to fruition, and aside from the fact that the administration has openly and shamelessly cast itself as Ariel Sharon's kindred spirit at a time when such a declaration of solidarity is recklessly stupid...

Aside from all that, the main reason that I cannot support any kind of quasi-unilateral pre-emptive or preventive war is that I am 100% certain that the people who are agitating the strongest for it are hypocritical, incompetent, myopic, twistedly idealistic, mendacious and psychologically crippled.

I think it can wait for another 2 years until smarter, saner people can be put in charge of running the world. I'll support freeing the Iraqi people from tyranny if somebody else is doing the freeing. These guys are far more likely to throw them out of the frying pan directly into the fire. For the sake of the Iraqi people and the people of the world, these people must not be allowed to play with matches.







 
War Planners Speak of the Risks

NY Times

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 — Senior Bush administration officials are for the first time openly discussing a subject they have sidestepped during the buildup of forces around Iraq: what could go wrong, and not only during an attack but also in the aftermath of an invasion.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has a four- to five-page, typewritten catalog of risks that senior aides say he keeps in his desk drawer. He refers to it constantly, updating it with his own ideas and suggestions from senior military commanders, and discussing it with President Bush.

A top advisor to the Secretary of Defense told the NY Times that Mr Rumsfeld's discussions with the President have been frank but mostly positive. The Secretary is quoted as saying, "Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed."

The advisor stressed that despite the hard choices facing the president that Mr Rumsfeld nonetheless was optimistic that US forces could pacify the Iraqi troops and people in a short time, while "keeping a lid" on terrorist recruitment and possible reprisals at home. Still, he was honest in his assessment that the American people would have to accept some vulnerability to terrorist attacks in the coming days. He reportedly told the President, "I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops, uh, depending on the breaks."

Vice-president Dick Cheney, who has taken the lead in preparations for possible biological or chemical attacks in here United States was reported to have insisted upon the smallpox vaccination program for all "first line" emergency workers. According to administration sources, however, his concerns are incresingly focused on possible contamination of the water supply.

At a meeting of The National Academy of Creationist Scientists and Christian Astrologers in January, Cheney was quoted as saying, "It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual, and certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Terrorist works." The orange alert of last week was said by sources in the Office of Homeland Security to have been put in place by Cheney himself when he lost control of his precious bodily fluids during Shania Twain's half time appearance at the Super Bowl.

More




Monday, February 17, 2003

 
Whoopsie Daisy

Connie Chung just mouthed the words "Oh Shit" after mangling the word glucose. Heh.

Speaking of bad language .... My favorite protest signs were:

Stop Mad Cowboy Disease

and

Dick + Bush = We're Fucked



 
New Kidz

Welcome to a very good writer, Glen England at A Brooklyn Bridge.

And

Political Parrhesia a political blog with an interesting point of view.

Thanks to The Lefty Directory for including me.




 
Is It Time For Godwin's Law To Be Repealed?

The Baltimore Sun reports on Ashcroft and his cadre of Federalist ideologues. As with the foreign policy team, the Justice Department is riddled with a bunch of right wing radicals who would be more at home in Pinochet's Chile that the world's oldest democracy.

[...]

"In the Justice Department, one of the great tensions is always between the political appointees at the top and the career lawyers in the middle," said Mark Graber, a political scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park. "This seems to be an administration where the political appointees are far more determined to set policies on more matters than usual."

Michael Greenberger, a professor at the University of Maryland law school, agrees: "From what I can gather, there is a tight circle around the attorney general. There is not a lot of vetting of ideas beyond that. A lot of career attorneys who have served the attorney general through a lot of different administrations have been shunted aside."

[...]

I think what you have within the Justice Department is a small group of very bright, federalist society lawyers who are talking to each other and coming up with ideas that have a superficial attraction -- military tribunals, detaining enemy combatants -- while anybody practiced in the area will tell you this stuff accomplishes absolutely nothing," Greenberg said. "It's sort of like counterterrorism by headline rather than counterterrorism by a scientific analysis of what law enforcement is all about."

Others are concerned about the damage that Ashcroft-sponsored measures, passed under the guise of fighting terrorism, could do to civil liberties. The first Patriot Act, which saw little opposition in the weeks after Sept. 11, lessened restrictions on wiretaps and allowed long-term detention of material witnesses without charges. The draft of the second measure goes further in these areas.

[...]

According to the ACLU's Nojeim, the act "would encourage police spying on political and religious activities, allow the government to wiretap without first going to court and allow it to more readily strip Americans of their citizenship, rendering them stateless in their own country."

Said Warnken: "If you take this to its ultimate conclusion -- and I am only being slightly flippant here -- as long as we are under threat of terrorism you can literally say that the Bill of Rights is de facto repealed until we catch the last terrorist. And that won't be until your great-grandchildren grow old."

You know it's quite difficult to contain the impulse to break Godwin's Law when I read things like this. There is an aggressive and radical global ambition, a total assumption of power in the hands of the executive, an overhaul of the legal system that blatently abrogates fundamental principles and an unprecedented cronyism between big business and government. All that is left is the internal "threat" who must be eradicated.

Oh wait. There is one.

“There are spooky parallels between the way Hussein and American liberals campaign and try to get support. Saddam Hussein is obviously a student of American liberal Democrat politics and Stalin at the same time.”






 
The Mouth That Roared Redux

Atrios links to a story in Ha'aretz in which John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, helpfully (to Osama bin Laden) tells the world that the US will be going in to Syria and Iran next.

If anyone would like to read a little bit more about this fine diplomat and master of subtlety, you can read my post about this putz from last month. This is another one of those wonderful "grown ups" who can't shut his pie-hole no matter how dangerous, ill-timed or counterproductive --- even to his own cause --- it is. He is a fucking menace.

His most memorable quote?

"There is no such thing as the UN"

His political mentor?

Jesse Helms.

Need I say more?

I didn't think so





 
"I don't have to have probable cause. The police have to have probable cause."

Check out Wis[s]e Words on the unbelievable story of the 19 year old kid who got 26 years in jail for selling marijuana.

See, Martin lives in a civilized country, Holland, where things like this make us look like a thundering hoard of Visigoths. It ain't easy being Murican these days....

Martin also, as I'm sure you know, runs Progressive Gold




 
Hahahahahahaha

La Noonan:

She was in a well-tailored dove-gray wool suit, collarless and double-breasted, with a knee-length skirt, dark-gray heels and pearl earrings. Her makeup had been applied with some art, her auburn hair was subtly highlighted, and her nails were professionally manicured, with red-orange nail polish. I mention this because sometimes grooming is a statement. Mrs. Bush said: Don't worry too much, we'll all be fine; if I didn't know this I wouldn't have been able to put on my eyeliner in such a straight line. Good grooming and a cheerful demeanor are sometimes heroic.

TBOGG:

Using this as a barometer, the next time Laura Bush shows up in public with uncombed hair, in a housecoat, with a scotch in one hand and a cigarette hanging off her lip....kiss your ass goodbye.





 
I hear much of people's calling out to punish the guilty, but very few are concerned to clear the innocent.

Daniel Dafoe


Whether or not you believe in the death penalty, I think it's fair to say that nobody believes in executing innocent people. There are those who think our judicial system makes it virtually impossible and, like our President, refuse to acknowledge that if prisoners have been found innocent as close to 48 hours before their execution then it is likely that innocent people have been executed. But even he is unlikely to admit that executing innocent people bears any relationship to justice (unless you are a 3 year old Iraqi, but that's another post.)

So, there is absolutely no reason that everyone in this country shouldn't support the Innocence Protection Act. which allows every prisoner the right to DNA testing, if applicable, after conviction. Now that it's available, the concept of Justice requires that it be used.

Go to The Justice Project to find out what you can do to convince your elected representatives to be reasonable and rational and support this obviously just legislation.

Via Talk Left






 
Wow

If you don't have time to slog the blogs, check out the handy dandy me-zine shortcut to the best of the blogs over on Sysiphus Shrugged.




 
Talent On Loan From The Real Professional Entertainers

Hesiod asks:

Why are a bunch of wealthy liberals going to waste their money on a "liberal" talk radio network? Why? I like Al Franken as much as the next guy. But he belongs on TV. And, I'd prefer it if they spent their money supporting alternative NEWS sources. Not talk radio.

Actually, the reason is pretty simple.

Radio is much less expensive than TV. The estimates to start up a news network like Fox are outrageous, outside of a major media company like NewsCorp that can afford a loss leader for a time. Roger Ailes convinced Rupert that a conservative news network would be successful on the basis of the success of conservative talk radio. And Rupert is naturally, shall we say, sympathetic in the first place.

Viacom, Disney, Time Warner or GE are the only ones who can do it and they aren’t going to unless it’s demonstrated that it can make money. MSNBC’s experiment with Donohue is probably going to be used as an example of why it won’t.

On the other hand, entertaining liberal talk radio, if successful (and not suppressed by the 800 pound chickens like Limbaugh who don't want any competition) could create a new paradigm for political programming that could work its way into television. (Jon Stewart is already there.) During the impeachment farce, I used to listen to Stephanie Miller while miserably stuck on the 405 at rush hour every night. Her impression of Linda Tripp was so funny that I very nearly rear ended the car in front of me every time I heard it.

Those were dark days but Stephanie was a beacon of laughs at the end of the day. She, of course, was booted for whatever reason (probably refused Limbaugh a Lewinsky) and I stopped listening to talk radio (except for the awesome Michael Jackson) altogether. And I had listened to talk radio for many, many years before it was taken over by the cretinous screamers. I’ll go back if somebody offers me something to listen to. I spend a lot of time in my car.

Liberal Talk Radio stars could be the political cartoonists of this era. Making fun of political windbags is a tried and true method of reducing their influence and puncturing their ridiculous high opinion of themselves. Ridicule works. Conde Nast took down Boss Tweed. I think Al Franken could take down President Chimpy. I agree with Sinton, the programmer who's putting the thing together,

"This side has failed by going at Rush, and trying to be Rush — you're not going to beat him at his game," Mr. Sinton said. "What really makes this work is tapping into Hollywood and New York and having a huge entertainment component, where political sarcasm is every bit as effective as Rush Limbaugh is at bashing you over the head."

And, anyway, it isn’t a zero sum game. Liberals need to try to counter the GOP political media dominance wherever they can. Radio is one thing. Maybe Hollywood can start to use some of their muscle to persuade a Michael Eisner or a Sumner Redstone to take a flyer on some explicitly liberal news programming, who knows? These are long term projects --- the wing nuts began back in the 60's.

We've gotta start someplace.

CORRECTION: Reader Dave points out that it was THOMAS Nast rather than Conde. He rightly notes that had it been Conde Nast, they would have done a fluffy profile of Boss Tweed. I'm sure that whoever was the Marjorie Williams of the day would have protrayed him as a "uniter not a divider."




 
Au pays des aveugles les borgnes sont rois

Carpeicthus reminds those brave GI’s like Tom DeLay (who apparently waded ashore at Normandy when he was 2) of some American history. It’s true that France might be speaking German if not for America (although I don't think even the Nazis could have accomplished that) but even more importantly,

Without the French, we'd be eating crumpets right now.

Yes, as embarrassing as it is, without those cheese-eating, chain-smoking, sex-having bastards the United States of America wouldn’t even exist.

On August 14, 1781 Washington and the French general Rochambeau received word from Comte de Grasse, the admiral of the French fleet, that he would be arriving off the coast of Virginia in mid-September. De Grasse would remain in the Chesapeake area for a month, until the expected seasonal heavy weather forced him south again.

Here was an opportunity to trap Cornwallis in Virginia, but to do so meant that not one, but two armies---one speaking English, one French---would have to travel 500 miles over local roads in a coordinated assault with a navy that was, at the time de Grasse's letter arrived, sailing somewhere in the Atlantic.

So, Tom, do you sing "God Save the Queen?" De rien, motha-fuckah.



Update: Via Ampersand and Atrios, a great new blog, VeryVery Happy gives another little history lesson about those hapless French cowards in WWII. The day that Tom and Denny face down the 2nd SS Panzer Division outside their gated community in Sugarland, Texas with a couple of 22 rifles, then maybe they'll be in a position to criticize. 'Course, as we all know, Tom wasn't even allowed to join the service during Viet Nam because all the Blacks and Mezkins stole the good combat slots.









Sunday, February 16, 2003

 
Power consists in one's capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.
Woodrow Wilson


Matthew Yglesias asks anti-war protestors a very good question. The war is inevitable (since August 2002, in my opinion) so what will happen to this “movement” once the bombs start dropping?

I think that you have to ask a different question before you can answer that one, which is, “What are these protests really about?”

I believe that the energy and the commitment that brought average people into the streets in rather impressive numbers yesterday was about mistrust of American power in the hands of this administration. Diplomacy by bludgeon, the flatulent public proclamations of “unilateralism” and “benevolent hegemony” and the ham-handed, ever changing rationales for the invasion have served to confirm in many minds that disarming Iraq is merely afirst step in a much larger global agenda. These documented ambitions (which, granted, most people only sense rather than know,) combined with a dubious election, an eccentric if not downright radical foreign policy team and a President whose childlike rhetoric and blindingly obvious lack of qualifications for the job of world leader make America appear to be slightly unstable and potentially threatening. We are the most powerful country on earth and yet something strange and unnerving is going on with our politics. This worries people.

For 50 years, the United States contained the Soviet Union. What seems to be becoming apparent, at least in terms of the global ambitions and bellicose threats of policymakers in the current administration, is that for 50 years the Soviet Union may also have been containing us.

This, I believe, is what the protests are all about --- a growing movement to counter the aggressive ambition and yet frightening ineptitude of the current American government. If Iraq is the last breath of the neocon fantasy, and there are no more proclamations of American determination to “go it alone” (or conversely pull our troops out of South Korea in a fit of pique) and if Rumsfeld can contain his plans to punish our allies for deigning to disagree with his lordly utterances and if the administration is chastened and becomes mature and reasonable in its thinking, then perhaps the anti-war movement will be just a blip on George W. Bush’s trip to Mt Rushmore.

If, however, we continue on this track, leveling threats of retribution against all who question our absolute authority to wage war (even preventive war), if we persist in believing we have no necessity to exercise our enormous power with discretion, humility and respect for our allies, then we are going to see more than an anti-war protest movement. We are going to see an ongoing Anti-American protest movement.

Here in the United States, for many months it was considered anti-social if not unpatriotic to even broach one’s disagreement with the administration during these troubled times. I believe that yesterday began to fundamentally change all that. Despite some of the unintentionally hilarious commentary by reporters and pundits, who appeared to be gobsmacked by the realization that Junior is not as universally beloved by “normal” Americans as he is by Sally Quinn’s e-mail web ring, it is now quite obvious that Bush is NOT perceived by one and all as a heroic figure of Churchillian proportions, here or around the world. The sheer numbers of the protesters have given people permission to dissent without the threat of broad social opprobrium and if nothing else we are free of the notion that it is unpatriotic to criticize the President.

What’s next? The war with Iraq is a done deal and who knows what the aftermath will be. But, the real issue is this notion of aggressive American hegemony and the pathetic inability of the current administration to explain their goals in a believable fashion, bring our historical allies along or re-evaluate policies in light of changing circumstances. They have failed the test of a decent civilized superpower and they must go.

So, the next move is political. In my opinion, this anti-war movement will likely result in an energized anti-Bush movement in the United States, regardless of the outcome of the war, and continued resistance from allies like France and Germany and former adversaries like Russia and China. The Bush administration has put the world on notice that the United States has become dangerous, not just because of Iraq, but because they cannot be trusted to wield our mighty power with intelligence and integrity. Iraq may turn out ok in the end (I certainly hope so) but I have no faith that the next adventure will.

The other world powers, sadly, now feel they must bind themselves together to contain these strange neocon Imperialists until right thinking Americans can institute a regime change at home. It didn't have to be this way.


UPDATE: Kevin at CalPundit makes a similar point:

...not only does Bush make no effort to persuade the folks on the fence, he actually goes out of his way — whether deliberately or not I don't know — to alienate them. A lot of protesters, both in the U.S. and abroad, are reacting more to Bush himself than they are to deposing Saddam Hussein.

I don't believe that Bush or his key advisors believe that they have the responsibility to persuade (see Kieren Healy's excellent post on collective action.) In their view "leadership" is action and because they have a very loose interpretation of democracy they believe that the American people are required to follow and support simply because they hold the office. Bush himself often makes the mistake of saying that he is Commander In Chief of the American people and I think he actually believes that. Their attempts at persuasion have been half hearted at best and they seem quite confused that citizens and allies believe it is not enough to take their word that they are right in this.

Ultimately, what they fail to understand is that there exists a huge amount of doubt about this President's ability to lead this country and the people who advise him are showing themselves to be erratic and inept. Demonstrably stupid leaders often have trouble inspiring confidence. It's something the Republican establishment should have thought of before they endowed a sub-standard intellect with such power. They are reaping what they sowed.

Forceful Tactics Catch Up With U.S. Efforts to Build Support on Iraq Stymied by Two Years of International Resentment, W. Post 2/16/03

US to Punish German Treachery Observer, 2/16/03







 
Atrios notices the baby elephant just starting to find its legs over in the corner of the room.

The Bush administration filed a brief in support of a city government's attempts to suppress a march which was protesting their policies.

Let's say that again.

The Bush administration filed a brief in support of a city government's attempts to suppress a march which was protesting their policies.

But, you have to understand something citizens. We are under threat from terrorists. The government hasn't got enough money to defend our cities because it needs to cut taxes for the rich people who are the most productive members of our society. Therefore, it is not in the national interest to allow people to gather in these threatened cities and drain the few precious resources we have left.

If you can't shut your mouths, the government will have no choice but to take some duct tape and wrap it around your heads. We're at Code Orange, fergawds sake. It's for your own good.






Saturday, February 15, 2003

 





That's me, just above the right eye.



Friday, February 14, 2003

 
Santeria Works Wonders With Pregnant Teens

Kevin Drum links to an article in the Washington Post about a couple of lawsuits against Dubyah's favorite InnerChange Freedom Initiative, run by evangelist Charles Colson's Virginia-based Prison Fellowship

So, the bottom line is this: the Iowa program gives prisoners special privileges as long as they agree to become Christians.

And that's not a violation of the First Amendment? That's not using coerceive government power to promote one religion over another?

And if it isn't, what is?

I think the Bush argument is that this misses the real point. They say the government has been using the coercive power of the state to discriminate against religion. According to them, by funding this program the government is not establishing a particular religion because if the Muslims or the Moonies want to start a prison outreach program, the constitution is obligated to allow them to “compete” in the marketplace of religious ideas in state institutions. There is no separation of church and state. In fact, the state should be enmeshed with as many different permutations of faith as possible because all people will benefit from some kind of religion. We know this for a fact. (Atheists can piss up a rope.)

In other words, religion has been oppressed by the big bad secular government and the conservatives are going to set it free. It’s an equal protection issue and like so many conservative causes these days it is framed as if Charles Colson is the Rosa Parks of the thoroughly downtrodden oppressed Christians who are just trying to become part of the mainstream.

And once again, the liberal monolith is bent on keepin’ the voices of these minorities down. As with the news media, the “man” works overtime to silence and marginalize the sad, struggling conservatives.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but seeing paunchy millionaires whine about their supposed victimhood just makes my gorge rise.



 
Peace On The Beach

To any of you folks who live in the Santa Monica environs, the above linked peace gathering will feature Ron Kovic and Tom Hayden as speakers.

PLUS:

FORMATION OF PICASSO INSPIRED PEACE SYMBOL
** DARK BLUE OR SOLID COLOR SHIRT WILL HELP AERIAL PHOTO**

The UN recently covered Picasso's "Guernica," a painting depicting the horrors of war, as Powell addressed the Security Council. You can't cover thousands of people on the beach. Aerial artist and environmentalist, John Quigley, will guide and shape over a thousand people on Saturday, as they become Picasso's "Face of Peace.

It's supposed to be about 70 degrees tomorrow...

There are worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon even if you are consorting with a bunch of commie Priests, socialistic soccer moms and Pro-Saddam military veterans.



 
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities

- Voltaire


MWO posts John Breaux's use of the RNC talking points on Lou Dobbs:

BREAUX: Well, Lou, I respect the right of Democrats to filibuster a nominee, but I differ on this particular nominee. I think that at a time in this country when we're under orange alert and we have advice on stockpiling water and buying duct tape and who in the heck knows what's going to happen in North Korea and Iraq, that this is not a time that we should be filibustering a nominee who has been called well qualified, the highest recommendation the American Bar Association can give a nominee...

Doesn't it occur to anyone that maybe it's Bush who should table this nominee while he's trying to rally the country around his cause? Why on earth is the President pushing controversial judicial nominees during a time of national crisis and causing unneeded partisanship? I thought he was going to change the tone.

After all, the Republicans refused to confirm the two Clinton nominees for this circuit on the grounds that it didn't need any more judges. Now, it's so important to confirm this apparently vacant nominee that not even a war will stop them, even if it means that the Senate is tied up in knots on the eve of war. This must be what being a uniter not a divider means.



 
How About A Pageant?

Can't we just pretend to dress up the naked Boy Emperor and his Boyz in some fancy uniforms like Idi Amin and throw a big parade and bow down to their huge swinging machismo and just skip all the actual killing? I'd do it gladly if it would cure these frustrated eunuchs of their need to prove their manhood. Clearly, they didn't get the yellow ribbon treatment after fighting the Battle of Bureaucracy to "win" the cold war, so they desperately need some affirmation that they are the true heroes of their time. Fine.

But what with everything else about this administration being such total bullshit, I'm sure nobody would even notice if we just skipped the war and went directly to the ceremonies and parades. How about we just put on a pageant?


MOSS
What do we have that they want?


BREAN
"Freedom."


MOSS
Why would they want that?


HAKAN
They're Oppressed.


MOSS
No, no, no. Fuck Freedom. No. Fuck Freedom.
They.... They Want... They Want To Destroy the Godless
Satan of the United ... They want to destroy our Way of
Life. Okay, okay, okay, could we ... okay: the
President is in China. He is dealing with a Dispatch
of the B-2 Bomber to Albania. Why?
(HE SHRUGS, HOLDS UP HIS HANDS, TO SAY,
"YOU TELL ME...")


AMES
Alright, well, alright: geopolitically...


MOSS GESTURES FOR SILENCE.

MOSS
We've just found out They Have the Bomb. We've Just
Found Out They Have The Bomb, aaaand... No, No wait a
second, no, no, wait a second, No. The Bomb's not...
it's not there -- because they'd have to have a
rocket and that shit n'they're a buncha wogs-- it's ...
it's a suitcase Bomb. Ooookay. It's a suitcase bomb,
and it's .... in Canada! Eh? Albanian Terrorists have
placed a suitcase Bomb in Canada, in an attempt to
infiltrate the bomb into the USA.


AMES
You know what? This is good. This is terrific, and
I'll tell you why: it's cost effective. This is....


MOSS
(SHRUGS)
It's producing.






Unfortunately, we're going to inflict "Shock and Awe" instead.




BREAN
We remember the slogans, we can't even remember the
fucking wars. Y'know why. Cause it's show business.
That's why I'm here. Naked girl, covered in Napalm.
Five marines Raising the Flag, Mount Suribachi.
Churchill, V for Victory, Y'remember the Picture, fifty
years from now, they'll have forgotten the war. Gulf
War? Smart Bomb, falling through the roof. 2500
missions a day, 100 days, One Shot of One Bomb. The
American people bought that war. M'I getting through
to you? War in the Balkans, don't mean nothing, till
some G.I. flyer, went down, Eating Snakes for Ten days.
It's show business, Mister Moss.







 
He Is The Better Rhetor

Shock & Awe/Build & Heal:
Past and Future Fact in Iraq


As best as I can understand it, the case for war against Iraq rests primarily on what Aristotle—these old Greeks, they understood things—called the argument of future fact, or the possibility that a thing might occur in the future based on events that have happened in the past.

So we are preparing to decimate Iraq based on the possibility that the Iraqi government might in the future provide Al Qaeda or other terrorists with weapons of mass destruction. Iraq has been a bad actor in the past, this argument goes, and it is likely they will continue to be a bad actor in the future. Indeed, they will likely try to kill all of us, hence we should get them first. That is basically the administration’s argument: The U.S. should invade Iraq on the basis of what they might do to us—and to Israel—in the future. The events in the past on which we base these future possibilities are fuzzy and riddled with contradictions, but never mind. The very possibility that Iraq might do something bad is proof enough.

[...]

But here’s the thing. The argument of "future fact" is one you make when the outcome of a path is not certain, and when you are not sure how things will turn out. In such cases, you argue on the basis of the probable, on what’s most likely to happen, given the situation. You strive for the correct and prudent course, even when the outcomes are unclear.

But if we go this way, commit to war, then some things become inevitablly and inescapably certain: Appalling numbers of people will die, and a great many of these dead will be children.

More

In the Manichean world of President Cowpoke and his starry-eyed neocon superheroes, there are only two choices. Us or Them.

We're Good. They're Evil. And, if a huge number of children have to die, well it isn't our fault. That's just the way the world works.





 
But, He Seemed So Helpful

Via Vaara

First there was the plagiarized British "intelligence" dossier, and now this:

"ABC News reports that a key piece of the information leading to recent terror alerts was fabricated, according to law enforcement officials.


The officials said that a claim made by a captured al Qaeda member that Washington, New York or Florida would be hit by a 'dirty bomb' sometime this week had proven to be a product of his imagination.
The informant described a detailed plan that an al Qaeda cell operating in either Virginia or Detroit had developed a way to slip past airport scanners with dirty bombs encased in shoes, suitcases, or laptops, sources told ABCNEWS. The informant reportedly cited specific targets of government buildings and Christian or clerical centers.


But upon subjecting the informant to a polygraph, he flunked. "

Apparently, the interrogations are being run by the cops who interrogated the central park "wilding” gang.






Thursday, February 13, 2003

 
Who Let The Talking Dog Out?

The bad news: North Korea has a nuclear weapons program which may have created one or two nuclear bombs, and it has ballistic missiles capable of hitting the West Coast -- Washington, Oregon, maybe even California. The good news, Mr. President: none of those states voted for you.

AND

Here's something interesting: the first suspect anywhere in the world to actually go through a trial for participating in the 9-11-01 events, Moroccan national Mounir el Motassadeq, is undergoing the completion of his trial in Hamburg, Germany. His lawyers argued that the case against him (which includes handling the financial affairs of 6 of the 9-11 hijackers) was circumstantial and based on supposition. We'll see: what is amazing is the complete dearth of publicity this trial has received in the United States (this is the first I'm seeing of this, and, by American standards, I'm EXTREMELY well informed).

Of course, any mention that Germany was cooperating in the War on Terror might somehow alter American public opinion, which is supposed to resent Germany for its resistance to American positions in the War to Avenge Papa Bush

And check out his ongoing Alphabetized Blog Critique and dog matching series. (I'm a border collie.)





 
"The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it."

Unlike La Noonan, when Paul Krugman writes an open letter in his column he doesn't pretend to be a dead beloved icon to make his point. He puts his own name on it and tells it straight.

And he pretty much tells Alan Greenspan that Little Aynnie wouldn't have ever confused him with that sexy bodice ripping master of the universe, John Galt. That's gotta hurt.

Via Mr.TBOGG



 
Kenny-Boy who???


The BBC writes that the Senate finance committee Enron Report is a blockbuster expose of bribery, greed and "desperation."


"The report reads like a conspiracy novel, with some of the nation's finest banks, accounting firms and attorneys working together to prop up the biggest corporate farce of this century," he said.

The investigation provides the first complete story of Enron's efforts to manipulate its taxes and accounting.

The findings of the investigation, which have been kept tightly under wraps until now, have been described by senators as "eye-popping", "disturbing", and "barn-burning".


He barely knew him. Seriously. Wouldn't even recognize him.





 
Heck, I reckon you wouldn't even be human beins if you didn't have some purty strong personal feelings about nukular combat.

Matthew Yglesias and Hesiod address Insty’s rhetorical question today asking whether France ever called Roosevelt a cowboy seeing as he said, "No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory." The article Insty quotes from, in which the phrase is approvingly cited, also notes that Roosevelt wrote the speech himself.

Is it at all possible that the French call Bush a cowboy not because of his (well-written Michael Gerson) speeches but because of the puerile “Bonanza” babble that bursts from his pie-hole whenever they let him speak extemporaneously?

How about some of these greatest hits?

''I can hear you. And the rest of the nation can hear you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!''

"I want justice. There's an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, 'wanted dead or alive.'"

He's not in charge of Afghanistan anymore. He's not the parasite that's invaded the host. ... Now, he's maybe in control of a cave. He's on the run. We're going to get him running and keep him running and bring him to justice.''

"We will find those who did it, we will smoke 'em out of their holes, we will get them running, and we will bring them to justice."

"As long as there is al-Qaeda influence anywhere, we will help the host countries rout 'em out and bring 'em to justice,"


You just have to wonder where in the hell those damned cheese eaters get their ridiculous ideas…




 

If It Weren't For Woodrow Wilson, We'd Be Colonizing Uranus by Now

David Neiwert points us Lucky Duckies to the predictable news that the Bush team is floating the idea of a national sales tax to replace the income tax. The Armies of Compassion seem to be adherants of the "burn the village in order to save it" school of strategery.

Neiwert mentions one of the sponsors of a bill introducing the measure was John Linder, a brilliant thinker and economic sage. He says:

“If Congress had planned a tax code in 1912 that was destructive of capital formation, punitive against work and savings, and incomprehensible to the very government employees charged with the responsibility of enforcing it, they could not have done a better job than what we ultimately achieved. They also would have been laughed out of town. The code must go!”

Wednesday, August 15, 2001
Rep. John Linder (R-GA)


Boy, has he got that right. Why, if we'd only had the right tax system, who knows how far this country could have gone? We could have even wound up being the richest country on the planet someday! I'll bet we might have even become the world's only superpower. Imagine that.

If only they hadn't saddled us with that destructive, punitive incomprehensible tax system back in 1912 this nation might have accomplished something.

Perhaps it's not too late for us. Pray for a VAT.

Update:

Patrick Nielson Hayden points out in the comments that Democrat Wilson wasn't in the White House in 1912. This is true, but John Linder had the date wrong. Wilson passed the graduated income tax in 1913 as part of the Underwood Tariff act that lowered tariffs on items that could be produced more cheaply in the United States than abroad. They "attached" the income tax to the act in order to make up for the loss in revenues.

('Course, Republican Teddy Roosevelt introduced a federal income tax in 1906, but it died in the congress...)










 
Packs a Merry Canner

Of course it’s about missile defense… and Florida…and hubris…and one supremely unqualified President.

These guys screw up so often and with such potentially catastrophic results that I’m beginning to think that nobody can be this stupid. They must be doing it on purpose. The Bush Doctrine ( aka PNAC’s Rebuilding Americas Defenses aka Cheney Defense Dept review 1992) is for real and the radical neocons are getting what they’ve always wanted. William Kristol was seen recently ordering a martini, shaken not stirred, and it wasn't pretty.

But, in the interest of whatever history may be gleaned from the post-nuclear rubble, let’s be clear about this long range missile threat before Colin and Condi turn it into yet another chuckleheaded link with Al Qaeda and the Cannes Film Festival.

Clinton said when he left office that he thought he’d pitched Bush a diplomatic home run at the very beginning of his term with Kim Jong Il. But, as with everything else, Junior and the Retreads adopted their sophisticated and nuanced policy doctrine known as “I totally like hate Clinton like sooo much.”

On March 5, 2001 Michael Gordon/ NY Times
How Politics Sank Accord on Missiles with North Korea.

1999 through the end of December 2000:

[...]

The episode remains vitally relevant because the North Korean missile threat has been the driving force behind the debate in Washington over missile defenses, and because President Bush has yet to declare whether he plans to carry through or modify the Clinton strategy.

The Bush team has been generally skeptical about North Korea, and it is not clear how much they will use diplomacy to try to head off missile threats, instead of relying primarily on their plans for missile defense.

The South Korean president, Kim Dae Jung, who will meet with Mr. Bush on Wednesday, is expected to press the new administration to engage with Pyongyang. And while the negotiations are still shrouded in secrecy, they apparently made more progress than generally thought.

According to current and former government experts, Kim Jong Il promised in confidential talks not to produce, test or deploy missiles with a range of more than 300 miles. That offer would prevent North Korea from fielding missiles that could strike the United States.

North Korea, the experts said, also offered to halt the sale of missiles, missile components, technology and training. The pledge would ban systems that North Korea had already contracted to provide to aspiring third world powers.

The Clinton Administration had doggedly pursued an accord that would have ended North Korea’s long range missile threat. As you might imagine, this was not a very popular policy with the PNAC and CSP missile defense spin hustlers.

The moment of truth unfortunately occurred during that marvelous exercise in GOP media mastery and incestuous string pulling known as the Florida recount.

[...]

As the weeks dragged on, Dr. Albright and Ms. Sherman kept an anxious eye on Florida. At one point, they were monitoring the Florida events from Mauritius, wondering if the Korea operation would proceed.

After the election was decided in mid-December, Ms. Sherman and the White House Asia expert, Jack Pritchard, briefed Colin L. Powell and Condoleezza Rice. The Bush team made it clear that it would not undercut Mr. Clinton, but not would it endorse a deal, former Clinton aides said. That attitude was one factor that led the Clinton team not to send Ms. Sherman, according to a former ranking Clinton official. The concern was that the new administration would not support or even complete a deal hammered out then.

Finally, the Clinton administration announced on Dec. 29 that there was no longer enough time for its talks.


2 Months later, March 2001
Did Bush bungle relations with North Korea?
Jake Tapper/Salon

[...]

The case study begins March 6, the day before South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung, honored with last year's Nobel Peace Prize, met with President Bush, hoping to influence the new administration's views on the region before any policy had been set in stone.

That day, Secretary of State Colin Powell, during an appearance with European Union President and Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh and others, seemed moderate in tone and tenor when he mentioned that he and Lindh had discussed, among other matters, "how to encourage North Korea to comply with its nonproliferation obligations."

"As I said previously, and especially in my confirmation hearings, we do plan to engage with North Korea to pick up where President Clinton and his administration left off," Powell said. "Some promising elements were left on the table, and we'll be examining those elements."

This enraged GOP hawks, who view Clinton's policy toward North Korea as dishonest and disingenuous, and as coddling North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as he builds up an arsenal. Clinton administration foreign policy experts praised Kim for his steps toward peace. And though Powell called Kim a "dictator" during his January confirmation hearings before the Senate, his remarks about "picking up" where Clinton left off surely raised continued fears that Powell is too moderate.

The next day, the Bush administration's position seemed completely turned around.

[…]

At the joint briefing minutes later, this newer, more hard-line stance against North Korea -- the one advanced in the administration by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- reared its head in comments made by President Kim. Bush had been "very frank and honest in sharing with me his perceptions about the nature of North Korea and the North Korean leader," Kim said, "and this is very important for me to take back home and to consider."

Bush then elaborated on his concerns. "Part of the problem in dealing with North Korea," he said, "there's not very much transparency. We're not certain as to whether or not they're keeping all terms of all agreements." This was not his most carefully enunciated statement of the day. As it turns out, the U.S. has only one agreement with North Korea -- the 1994 plutonium agreement that Wit supervised. So which "agreements" were the president referring to? White House spokesmen told reporters that Bush was speaking about possible future agreements.

"That's how the president speaks," one told the New York Times

July 2001:
U.S. Toughens Terms for Talks with North Korea
Michael Gordon/NY Times

[…]

Just six months ago, American and North Korean diplomats appeared to be closing in on a deal to ban the development, production and sale of North Korean missiles. But now, reacting to the changed signals from Washington, North Korea has also publicly staked out a tough stance.

The two sides have yet to set a date for high-level talks. And Bush administration aides have told the South Koreans that the chances of Pyongyang's agreeing to all of its demands are low.

Some senior Bush administration officials hope that economic pressures will lead North Korea to seek a far-reaching accommodation with the West. But some experts worry that unless both sides indicate a willingness to compromise, the result may be deadlock while North Korea exports medium-range or even long- range missiles. In the face of a prolonged stalemate, they say, North Korea might also threaten to resume testing long-range missiles, thereby developing the means to strike the United States.

The basic position of the Bush administration, worked out after an intensive review, is that an accord that focuses on missiles is no longer sufficient. Only a comprehensive program to limit North Korea's military potential, administration officials say, can serve as a foundation for improved relations with the West. So North Korea must make simultaneous concessions on nuclear issues and conventional arms, and any missile agreement must be subject to extensive verification.

"We need to see some progress in all areas," a senior administration official said. "We are prepared to wait. We don't feel any urgency to provide goodies to them in response to their rhetoric or threats."


That’s exactly the kind of attitude isolated, paranoid Asian dictators respond to. One certainly sees why our dealings with the North Koreans have been so successful. And, it’s just great that our insistence on dealing with them “comprehensively” has led them to "comprehensively" resume their long range missile program AND re-open their nuclear power plant. And they said Clinton was slick...

George W. Bush and his gang of paunchy, wild-eyed Imperialists seem intent upon starting WWIII, one way or another. Since it doesn't look like we can beat them, I think I'll join up for the French campaign. I just love that brie and cheese.



Wednesday, February 12, 2003

 
Brothers In Weltanschauung

"We do not claim to know all the ways of Providence yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life, and all of history. May he guide us now."

In the end, I advise myself and you to fear God covertly and openly and to be patient in the jihad. Victory will be achieved with patience.

I also advise myself and you to say more prayers.

"Our prayer tonight is that God will see us through and keep us worthy," "Hope still lights our way, and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it."

God Almighty says: "Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil."

"There is power -- wonder-working power -- in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people."

Verily, Allah guideth not a people unjust.

"The American people have deep and diverse religious beliefs, truly one of the great strengths of our country. And the faith of our citizens is seeing us through some demanding times. We're being challenged. We're meeting those challenges because of our faith."

God Almighty says: "Oh ye who believe! If ye will help the cause of Allah, He will help you and plant your feet firmly."

"After we were attacked on September the 11th, we carried our grief to the Lord Almighty in prayer."

Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always, and die not except in a state of Islam with complete submission to Allah.

"The role of government is limited, because government cannot put hope in people's hearts, or a sense of purpose in people's lives. That happens when someone puts an arm around a neighbor and says, God loves you, I love you, and you can count on us both."

The jurisdiction of the socialists and those rulers has fallen a long time ago. Socialists are infidels wherever they are, whether they are in Baghdad or Aden

"I ask you to challenge your listeners to encourage your congregations to work together for the good of this nation, to work hard to break down the barriers that have divided the children of God for too long. There is no question that we can rid this nation of hopelessness and despair, because the greatest of America is the character of the American people."

Before concluding, we reiterate the importance of high morale and caution against false rumors, defeatism, uncertainty, and discouragement.

"What I'm saying is, the days of discriminating against religious groups just because they're religious are coming to an end. I have issued an executive order banning discrimination against faith-based charities and social service grants by federal agencies."

Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best disposer of affairs.

"And we are a courageous country, ready when necessary to defend the peace. And today, the peace is threatened. We face a continuing threat of terrorist networks that hate the very thought of people being able to live in freedom."

We also stress to honest Muslims that they should move, incite, and mobilize the [Islamic] nation, amid such grave events and hot atmosphere so as to liberate themselves from those unjust and renegade ruling regimes, which are enslaved by the United States.

"They hate the thought of the fact that in this great country, we can worship the Almighty God the way we see fit. And what probably makes him even angrier is we're not going to change."

Muslims' doctrine and banner should be clear in fighting for the sake of God. He who fights to raise the word of God will fight for God's sake. So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan

"We face an outlaw regime in Iraq that hates our country."

Needless to say, this crusade war is primarily targeted against the people of Islam.

"A regime that aids and harbors terrorists and is armed with weapons of mass murder. Chemical agents, lethal viruses, and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Secretly, without fingerprints, Saddam Hussein could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own. Saddam Hussein is a threat. He's a threat to the United States of America. He's a threat to some of our closest friends and allies. We don't accept this threat."

We are following up with great interest and extreme concern the crusaders' preparations for war to occupy a former capital of Islam, loot Muslims' wealth, and install an agent government, which would be a satellite for its masters in Washington and Tel Aviv, just like all the other treasonous and agent Arab governments.
This would be in preparation for establishing the Greater Israel.


"My attitude is that we owe it to future generations of Americans and citizens in freedom-loving countries to see to it that Mr. Saddam Hussein is disarmed."

This is a prescribed duty. God says: "[And let them pray with thee] taking all precautions and bearing arms: the unbelievers wish if ye were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to assault you in a single rush."

"It's his choice to make as to how he will be disarmed. He can either do so -- which it doesn't look like he's going to -- for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition of willing countries and disarm Saddam Hussein."

Regardless of the removal or the survival of the socialist party or Saddam, Muslims in general and the Iraqis in particular must brace themselves for jihad against this unjust campaign and acquire ammunition and weapons.

"But should we need to use troops, for the sake of future generations of Americans, American troops will act in the honorable traditions of our military and in the highest moral traditions of our country."

Amid this unjust war, the war of infidels and debauchees led by America along with its allies and agents, we would like to stress a number of important values

"In violation of the Geneva Conventions, Saddam Hussein is positioning his military forces within civilian populations in order to shield his military and blame coalition forces for civilian casualties that he has caused. Saddam Hussein regards the Iraqi people as human shields, entirely expendable when their suffering serves his purposes."

"...we realized from our defense and fighting against the American enemy that, in combat, they mainly depend on psychological warfare. This is in light of the huge media machine they have. They also depend on massive air strikes so as to conceal their most prominent point of weakness, which is the fear, cowardliness, and the absence of combat spirit among US soldiers.

"America views the Iraqi people as human beings who have suffered long enough under this tyrant. And the Iraqi people can be certain of this: the United States is committed to helping them build a better future. If conflict occurs, we'll bring Iraq food and medicine and supplies and, most importantly, freedom."

In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. A message to our Muslim brothers in Iraq, may God's peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you.

"We're called to defend our nation and to lead the world to peace, and we will meet both challenges with courage and with confidence."

If all the world forces of evil could not achieve their goals on a one square mile of area against a small number of mujahideen with very limited capabilities, how can these evil forces triumph over the Muslim world?

"Liberty is not America's gift to the world. Liberty is God's gift to every human being in the world."

God, who sent the book unto the prophet, who drives the clouds, and who defeated the enemy parties, defeat them and make us victorious over them.

"There's an old saying, 'Let us not pray for tasks equal to our strength. Let us pray for strength equal to our tasks.' And that is our prayer today, for the strength in every task we face."

...we remind that victory comes only from God and all we have to do is prepare and motivate for jihad.

"I want to thank each of you for your prayers. I want to thank you for your faithfulness. I want to thank you for your good work. And I want to thank you for loving your country. May God bless you all, and may God bless America."

O ye who believe. When ye meet a force, be firm, and call Allah in remembrance much (and often); That ye may prosper. Our Lord. Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the Fire. May God's peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad and his household.

Us, them




 
Onward Christian Soldiers

Does anyone but me find it unbelievable that Reverend Dubya is ratcheting up the holy roller Christian fundamentalist rhetoric just prior to invading a Muslim country loaded with sacred sites ? I realize that we would be nothing but a bunch of useless Old Europeans if we “appeased” the terrorists in any way, but this seems to me to be just a tad over the top stooopid, even for the Preacher in Chief.

Apparently, we are determined that Al Jazeera and the rest of the mid-east media have hours of footage of our President speaking in religious terms that even a battle hardened Arab realist would find provocative. Lucky for us, CNN provides daily coverage of every single canned repetitive public utterance of our Great Leader, so there are endless choices of which call to prayer or faith or God those terrorist recruiters want to use in their videos.

Let’s see. Against the backdrop of seething resentment against the west and their own corrupt leaders, a demographic baby boom, and Intifada II, Al Qaeda declares Holy Jihad against the US and blows up the World Trade Center, all in the name of Allah. The US government decides this is the perfect time to invade a mideast country with whom they have an unrelated bone to pick and even though its purported ties to the perpetrators are laughable, it surely looks to said disaffected, resentful Muslim baby boomers that we just want to kill us some Arabs and we don’t care who they are. And just to make things perfectly clear, they decide that it’s a very smart idea for the President to conflate terrorism and Iraq into a metaphor for Satan using explicitly Christian crusading terms to do it.

I’m quite sure that every one of those billion Muslims around the world understands that President Bush is only talking about God and Jesus all the time because Karl says he has to pacify his base before he can move to the center to capture the swing voters in Pennsylvania and Michigan. There’s no reason to think that anyone could misinterpret his hyper-religiosity as an answer to bin Laden’s explicit call for Holy War. It’s almost primary season, fer-Gawds-sakes. Everybody knows that. Even evil heathens.





 
de l'audace, encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace

So, I come back from hiatus and turn on Fox to find that the biggest news is that Michael Jackson is sleeping with 12 year old boys and Martha Stewart might be designated an unlawful combatant and shipped to Gitmo for interrogation. They also said we are going to have something like a 500 Gazillion dollar deficit that can only be cured by eliminating all taxes on donors to George W. Bush’s re-election campaign; a plan which Neal Cavuto reported had full bi-partisan support in the congress, led by Joe Lieberman and a coalition of the willing. Some guy named Oh Sama something put out a new CD, but it wasn’t very good because he was probably dead when he made it. We are now on Code Orange (coincidentally, I’m sure) the color of a colossal nuclear fireball and Tom Ridge wants us to lay in a big supply of duct tape for some reason.

I’m not entirely sure, but from what I gathered listening to Mort and Fred, North Korea and the whole Iraq thing are up in the air due to the greater threat from Belgium. It sounded like troops are already gathering on the Spanish and Italian borders in preparation for a little coup de main in France while the felicitously named Charles Krauthamer indicated that those German pussies are begging for a little regime change.

Oh yeah. And Bill Clinton got a blow job.



Monday, February 03, 2003

 
Creationism Redux

Natasha at the watch makes some good points about creationism and science curriculum.

Some question if it is important whether a doctor believes in creationism and to me this is really the nub of the problem. Of course it is important because to believe in creationism means that you do not adhere, on an intellectual level, to the scientific method. That's a big nub and a big problem. I could never put my life or the life of a loved one in the hands of a doctor who is not a a man or woman of science.

The bottom line is that science determines how the observable universe around us works. The scientific method is the process by which we observe, hypothesise, test and confirm those findings. Creationism is not science because of its basic teleological nature. It depends upon the proposal that the universe around us was formed by direct creative acts of God during the creation week described in Genesis. No matter what is observed, reproduced or falsified nothing will change that basic belief.

From the The Creation Research Society :

The Creation Research Society is one of the leading organisations researching special creation and claim to have founded their membership from members who are committed to full belief in the Biblical record of creation and early history. All of it’s members must subscribe to the following statement of belief:

The Bible is the written Word of God, and because it is inspired throughout, all its assertions are historically and scientifically true in the original autographs. To the student of nature this means that the account of origins in Genesis is a factual presentation of simple historical truths.

All basic types of living things, including man, were made by direct creative acts of God during the Creation Week described in Genesis. Whatever biological changes have occurred since Creation Week have been accomplished only changes within the original created kinds.

The great flood described in Genesis, commonly referred to as the Noachian Flood, was an historic event worldwide in its extent and effect.

We are an organization of Christian men and women of science who accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. The account of the special creation of Adam and Eve as one man and one woman and their subsequent fall into sin is the basis for our belief in the necessity of a Saviour for all mankind. Therefore, salvation can come only through accepting Jesus Christ as our Saviour.

Any student of science who believes this is rejecting the scientific method because science does not start with conclusions, refuse to change and acknowledge only data that the initial conclusions support. Therefore, anyone who believes this is not a scientist.

It's really that simple.

To those who say that evolution is also a "belief system" I can only point out that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, while persisting for over 140 years, has been subject to many changes. It has absorbed punctuated equilibrium, kin selection, and most of our current knowledge of DNA and genetics (including Mendel's work then unknown to Darwin). Evolutionary scientists do not require faith to predict events. In philosophical terms religious people have faith the sun will rise tomorrow but the true scientist, based on past experience, simply expects that it will.

Creationism truly is a belief system and if people want to teach their children this belief system that is their privilege. But, it is not science and it has no place in a science classroom. If we continue down this silly anti-intellectual road in this country and allow this kind of thing to become subject to "scientific" debate, then our vaunted "benevolent hegemony" will last just long enough for us to be subsumed by irrelevance.



 
Predictably...

I left out one of my favorite odd-blogs, Planet Swank. It's very politically astute, but it's also fiendishly fun.





 
"Don't Worry. I Didn't Study Medicine in the U.S."

Atrios agrees with Dwight Meredith's clever letter of "recommendation" from a professor who is being sued because he refuses to recommend a student for graduate biology studies who does not support the theory of evolution.

In Atrios's lively comments section, commenter Dominion posts a bit from the Texas Republican Party that endorsed and apparently prevailed in allowing public school teachers to voluntarily teach creationism. In another comment someone points out that we don't ask our doctors what religion they practice before we let them treat us.

These two issues present the essence of the problem that we are going to confront if we don't nip this creationist monster in the bud.

I don't currently ask what religion my doctor practices because until recently it was understood that anyone who wanted to be a doctor, or indeed work anywhere in the sciences, would necessarily support the scientific method and, as such, would not support creationism. If this is changing, and this lawsuit would indicate that there are those (including John Ashcroft apparently) who believe that requiring scientists to believe in science is a form of religious discrimination, then we can no longer assume that such a standard exists. If this lawsuit prevails then I will most certainly ask any young doctor I encounter whether he went to school in Texas and make certain judgments based upon what he says. I would never knowingly put my life in the hands of a man or woman of "science" who believes in creationism.

Businessmen in Texas and elsewhere in the Bible Belt had better think long and hard about whether this is good for business. It’s going to be a little bit difficult to evaluate the products and technology of a state that allows its worker force to be so improperly educated that they could emerge from the school system believing that creationism is as valid as evolution. If this extends to higher education, they will be in deep trouble.

And Texas workers are going to start having problems, as well. I doubt that most employers have ever considered whether employees in a scientific field believe in creationism, but if this prevails, they are going to have to. Since it would be discriminatory to ask a candidate about his religious beliefs, I would imagine that they will logically have to develop skepticism about hiring people who are products of the Texas school system (or any of the Bible belt states that are intent upon pushing creationism in the schools) because there is no way of knowing if they understand and apply the scientific method to all aspects of science or if they have been improperly taught that creationism meets that standard.

Our “Texas” president wants to extend this nonsense to the nation as a whole. He is packing scientific panels with religious zealots, removing scientific information from federal sites that conflicts with the tactics of the religious right and has shown no respect for using science as the fundamental foundation for making scientific policy. Just last week, the administration set forth its plan to allow the government to fund drug treatment for religious organizations even though there have been no studies or evidence provided that such programs actually work.

If this continues, it will have the effect of delegitimizing American science everywhere. If we do not insist upon using the worldwide accepted scientific standard then people are justified in not trusting our products, our medicine, our technology or us. At the very least, it will give others an effective marketing tool. (Would you buy a drug/car/cleaner/computer/cosmetic from a country that endorses creationism as a reasonable alternative to evolution in its science classrooms?) And like the employer who has no choice but to look askance at everyone the standardless Texas school system churns out, no matter how many of them are not creationists, the world at large will have no choice but to discount much of American output because we are no longer scientifically reliable.

The funny thing is that this is really a medieval attack on science using post modern argumentation. As usual, the gall of the Right on this is astounding, considering their decades long attack on "relativism." But, in this case, they are also taking some bold steps to undermine the United States’ standing as leader of the world in science and technology.

First they repudiated the Enlightenment, now they are repudiating the Renaissance. But, this really should not be surprising. The Dark Ages, after all, were some of the glory days for Christians.





Saturday, February 01, 2003

 
It's only Blog -n-Roll

I have been terribly remiss with updating the blogroll, but I'll try to begin here, today, now.
Many of these blogs are familiar to eveyone and some are new. And still others are a little bit specialized or a little bit eccentric. Some are even...gasp...illiberal. I like them all for a variety of reasons and encourage everyone to visit and enjoy. In no particular order:

Infomania:

Pennsylvania Gazette
The Note

MediaGoGo:

Punditwatch
Political Pulpit
consortium news
Scoobie Davis
eriposte
spinsanity

Laugh-In:

The Maelstrom
The Poorman
What The Heck

Blog-o-Rama:

Silt
Liberal Oasis
History News Network
Seth D Michaels
Interesting Times
reading and writing
the talking dog
Altercation
David E's Fablog
Musings
Orcinus
The Sacred and the Inane
highwater
skimble
The Hauser Report
Neptune World
busybusybusy
alicublog
political strategy
Testify!
Blue Streak
Unqualified Offerings
A Level Gaze
dr limerick
mousemusings
Hronkomatic
gorilla-a-gogo
beauty of gray
the bloviator
Into the Breach
That Other Blog
Netron
Name of Blog
the watch
raatz
the bog
gamersnook
get donkey
Truth Is a Blog
Democratic Veteran
Shouting 'cross the Potomac
Gail Online
mfinley
Just One Minute
Liberal Desert
Cobb the Blog
Jason Rylander
The Goblin Queen





 
"In The Event Of A Moon Disaster"

A speech drafted by William Safire for President Richard M. Nixon to give to the nation should Neil and Buzz not be able to rejoin the command module and be faced with death on, or around, the moon. This text remained secret for thirty years.

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding. They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of
man. In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.


Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts. For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.


Per Ardua, Ad Astra.
— "To the stars through hardship", motto of the Royal Air Force.

RIP Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark, Ilan Ramon.





Wednesday, January 29, 2003

 
Lemmings

Atrios points to an interview with Kurt Vonnegut in which he points out something so insightful that I think it bears some examination. He says:

What has allowed so many PPs [pathological personalities] to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!

This gets to one of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with this administration. We keep expecting that they will be held accountable for lying, or breaking their promises or misrepresenting their policies or any number of other things we can file under the heading of WTF? But, because they are moving so fast and with such focus we simply cannot assess the damage before they are on to the next item.

They execute, they don’t plan. Their vision is a laundry list. They do not reassess their policy goals, ever, because they do not really have goals. They have an itemized agenda. And, they just keep moving. Like sharks. They don’t have regrets and they never question. They have faith that whatever their team is doing, it must be right and the most important thing is to GET THE JOB DONE.

That’s why this administration is so irrational and incompetent on every single level

These people are not natural leaders. They are natural followers. Like lemmings, they are following their instincts without knowing that they are all jumping off the edge of a cliff. Unfortunately they are taking us and the rest of the world with them.




 
American Reformation

CalPundit links to Devra and others regarding the Catholic church’s recent edict to politicians regarding their positions on abortion.

CAN CATHOLIC POLITICIANS DISAGREE WITH THE CHURCH?....

The bishop's newfound aggressiveness seems to have been partly prompted by a Vatican document released a couple of weeks ago telling Catholic politicians that they are obligated to follow church doctrine on a variety of topics, including abortion. As Jim Capozzola pointed out last week, the Vatican wasn't really saying anything new, but they were trying to re-emphasize existing doctrine, and it seems to have hit home.


I am not a religious person. I try, however, to be sensitive and respectful of others beliefs and I don’t usually cast my political positions in terms of religious faith or my own agnosticism.

But, I really have to ask my Catholic friends how they are able to take seriously moral edicts from the leaders of their church at the present time? I find it impossible to understand how papal infallibility, moral instruction and rampant institutional child molestation and cover-ups can be reconciled through either logic or faith.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I were a member of such a congregation I think I’d be thinking in terms of Schism II. For the hierarchy to be taking political action, in this country at this time just smacks of the kind of hubris that landed this church some serious deep waters a few centuries ago.

Again, it’s really not my business. But, I would be very interested in hearing how rational Catholics are dealing with this.









 
He's a Fine Lookin' Man

The Blogtopian Constitution requires that one designated blogger be at an undisclosed location during the SOTU in case Andy Sullivan or Free Republic spam the internet with hot, breathy descriptions of manly presidential glutes and guts, thus causing all thinking people's brains to explode and ending the blogosphere as we know it. I'm afraid that I was it this year. Therefore, I was mercifully unable to see George Winston Bush deliver his usual masterful oratory last night. I am especially sorry that I missed the final, absolute, I-Mean-it-for-real-this-time case for regime change…er…no disarmament…uh…liberation, yeah that’s right, liberation of Iraq. Thankfully, TBOGG was kind enough to analyze the all the new facts presented and distill it down to the essential fine points for me:


War. What Is It Good For? Absolute Manhood for Chickenhawks: We're going. Americans will die in Iraq and possibly at home in retaliation. The oil companies will get their oil after the US government (us) pays to restore the fields to workability. Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle will share a deep wet kiss...with lots of tongue. Michael Kelly will finally have an erection...his wife won't notice or care. Poppy Bush will finally be avenged, but not in time to stop his moral rot. And little George Walker Bush will get his first pubic hair.
Quick get a camera.....


Julia over at Sisyphus Shrugged does a nice rundown as well and points out another shift in Bush’s usually hawkish rhetoric:

The dictator of Iraq is not disarming.

She says:

I find him rather offputting myself.

Heh.




 
Testosterone Pique

Reader Leah (whom I now have the pleasure to harass about getting her own blog) gives me a heads up to a comment that Ed Harris made about our Fearless Leader, Cowboy Bob:

SHIELDS: Now for the Outrage of the Week.

Bob Novak.

NOVAK: Actor Ed Harris came to Washington this week for a pro abortion dinner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED HARRIS, ACTOR: We've got this guy in the White House who thinks he is a man, you know, who projects himself as a man because he has a certain masculinity, and he's a good old boy, and he used to drink, and he knows how to shoot a gun and how to drive a pickup truck, et cetera, like that. That's not the definition of a man, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) it. (God-dammit was the deleted expletive)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOVAK: It is simply disgraceful for Democrats to associate with this Hollywood sleaze.


Leah adds:

Sleaze? What's sleazy about Ed Harris? I guess in Novak's shock, shock, that anyone might say anything unflattering about a President....especially after the free ride Clinton got.....


Yeah, I just hate it when politicians associate with Hollywood celebrities. Why just the other day, Nancy Reagan was seen hobnobbing with a whole sleazy bunch of them at the Bel Air hotel.

Bitch.






Tuesday, January 28, 2003

 
I'm Sure It's All Just A Happy Coincidence

Punditwatch posted the following exchange:

Both Kate O’Beirne of National Review, on Capital Gang, and Bill Kristol on Fox used almost identical language to describe a suddenly more hawkish sounding Colin Powell: “Colin Powell is now where Dick Cheney was last August, inspections won't work, we cannot disarm Saddam Hussein through inspections.”

Ah, yes. Back in August, Cheney was ready to parachute into Iraq right at that moment, right?
And Powell led Junior from the darkness and persuaded him (with the help of other cool heads like James Baker and Henry Kissinger) to take the case to the United Nations. I cheered. At least we wouldn't be casting aside international law and "going it alone."

All Things Considered from September 13th:


GJELTEN: The US military official speaking on background says war planners in the Pentagon are basically making that same assumption. For military action to conclude by the end of February, preparations, of course, would have to begin well before that. Some senior commanders say as many as 200,000 US troops would need to be deployed to the region to carry out an Iraqi operation with a good chance of success. John Pike does the math.

Mr. PIKE: That would require military buildup of anywhere from two to three months before the ground campaign began, which would mean that American troops would have to start moving into Kuwait sometime around Thanksgiving.

Waddaya know? According to the Detroit Free Press on January 23rd with the headline:

U.S. firepower a growing force in Persian Gulf . Experts say troops total about 200,000

Cheney may have been "here" in August, but he knew they couldn't make a move until February. We've patiently gone along with the UN inspections process and changed our harsh "regime change" language to "disarmament" for the 4 months it took to build up our forces in the region to the level required for an invasion. Colin Powell, the diplomat, at the most propitious moment possible suddenly become fed up with the UN and is "where Cheney was in August." We are poised to invade in February.

Whodda thunk it?





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