Friday, September 03, 2004


Here's part IV of Jeffrey St. Clair's profile of one George W. Bush: High Plains Grifter, running all this week in Counterpunch.

Damn, I wish I could write like that...
Dubya, I Gots Yer MBA Right 'ere

Juan Cole gives the businessperson's argument on the rejection of George W. Bush for another term:

Bush's basic characteristic is not steadfastness, as the convention attempted to argue, but rashness. He is a gambler who goes for the big bang. He loses his temper easily, and makes hasty and uninformed decisions about important matters. No corporation would keep on a CEO that took risks the way Bush has, if the gambles so often resulted in huge losses...

What if the CEO convinced himself that the Mesopotamia Corp. was planning a hostile takeover? What if he had appointed a lot of senior vice-presidents who were either incompetent boobs or had some kind of backroom deal going with crooked brokers, and fed him false information that Mesopotamia Corp. was making a move and had amassed a big war chest for the purpose? And what if, to avoid this imaginary threat, he launched a preemptive hostile takeover of his own, spending at least $200 billion to accomplish it (on top of the more than $400 billion he is already losing every year)? Remember, it was a useless expenditure.

It turns out that Mesopotamia Corp. was a creaky old dinosaur with no cash reserves, and couldn't have launched a hostile takeover of the neighborhood mom and pop store. And, moreover, its arena of operations is extremely dangerous, and nearly a thousand America, Inc. workers get killed taking it over. And it turns out that the managers that the CEO put into Mesopotamia Corp. were bunglers. They adopted policies that made the taken-over employees bitter and sullen and uncooperative. Instead of standing on its own, the wholly owned subsidiary of Mesopotamia, Inc., requires continued infusion of capital from America, Inc. It looks increasingly as though Mesopotamia, Inc., will have to be let loose, and that its new managers will opt for interest-free Islamic banking as soon as they can.

Meanwhile, the real threat of a hostile takeover comes from al-Qaeda, Inc. Because 138,000 employees had to be assigned to Mesopotamia, Inc., there are few left to meet that challenge.

So given this kind of record, do you vote this CEO back in? It is often said that a lot of Americans want to stick with Bush to "see Iraq through." But if you think about him as a CEO, and look at how well he has run things, you can see the idiocy of this argument. The real question is, do you throw good money after bad?

ScaramoucheBlog added me to his blogroll the other day, and I'm returning the favor. He's out on the West Coast, so it's nice to see that people out there don't mind checking in to see what's happening here in the provinces.

If you ever find yourself in this direction, Scaramouche, make sure to check up with the other bloggers here in the Gret Stet--you can often find out what's happening in the big city, or the smaller but really interesting city, or, if you find yourself broke down on the road with no place to go, what's happening here in the capital city.

I'll say this, though--sure, I'm biased, but I really think Louisiana is by far and away the most interesting of the Southern States--um, Stets.
Because I Couldn't Resist

Alas, the mainstream media is doing its best to forget that Zell Miller even attended, much less keynoted the Gross Old Party's gathering. But after hearing about how old Laura Bush made like Zell was the guy sitting on the parkbench in Jethro Tull's Aqualung, I couldn't resist having a little fun.

While I don't mind Jethro, the song that began playing in my mind was an R&B classic, Skinny Legs, by Joe Tex. Poor Zell must feel just like the main character:

Crazy Democrat (to the tune of Skinny Legs)

Say Bush-man, don't walk ahead of that crazy white haired Southern Democrat like he don't belong to you!
Just cause he's got that little narrow mind.
You know,that ain't no way to do.
You didn't act like that when you had them spin doctors talking on them cable shows!
Now you act like you're 'shamed or somethin,
or you don't want nobody to know he's yours.
That's alright,you just walk on mister...
And don't you worry about a doggone thing a'tall, because there's
someone, somewhere, who'll take you mister, narrow mind and all.

Now, Who'll take the crazy white haired Southern Democrat with the narrow mind?
C'mon somebody please take the crazy white haired Southern Democrat!
Now, you all know the crazy white haired Southern Democrat got to have somebody too, now.
Will somebody please take the crazy white haired Southern Democrat with the narrow mind, please?

"Hey, Dems"..
"Yeah GOP?"
"Why don't you take him?
I don't want no crazy white haired Southern Democrat with a narrow mind.
Look here,I thought I might give this man to Laura Bush.
But, no, I know the kinda man Laura likes!
So Karl Rove'll take him. Say Karl?
You got him!!

(horn riff)
Dubya Swaggert

Well, the Dauphin wasn't quite as entertaining as the man from Ferriday last night--I'd liken his performance as closer to James Robison--but the show went on, and I don't recall any particularly atrocious gaffes of the "Abu Guh--rape" variety, although, interestingly, I heard no mention of that OR he-who-must-not-be-named.

Aside: Krugman and I used almost the same language in describing Osama, yet neither one of us experienced a face melting of the variety seen when the Nazi-evil-guy opened up the Ark in Indiana Jones. I figured, though, that George would step gingerly around this, lest he upset the gods.

Double aside: perhaps Dubya dropped a hoodoo bottle or two into the river. This could explain what Oyster called That Texan Wink.

Speaking of religion: I saw that The Rude Pundit thinks the tragedy in Russia, and the potential tragedy in Florida, are a sign that, if there is a god, said deity has simply had it with Smirk. Any thunder Dubya might have gleaned from his time in the spotlight has been taken away by the carnage.

Anyway, getting back to Bush's speech: all in all, there wasn't a whole lot that I found objectionable, per se, in the oration, although the half-truths and outright lies were as much in evidence as they were during every other Rethuglican address. Freedom and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan? Um, perhaps in Dubya's dreams. His series of economic proposals and programs sounded nothing so much as an updated version of an old Christmas wish list, properly adjusted to reflect the fact that the boy no longer needs a box full of toys. As even the otherwise abysmal Mark Shields said last night on PBS (I paraphrase), nice stuff, but how are you gonna pay? Freedom, according to Tommy Franks, et al, isn't free, but neither is government. And if the money is all going down the Halliburton/Carlyle/Iraq War drain hole, you can't expect much to be done stateside. One hopes that Kerry--and, if they can be roused from their quaalude like stupor, the press--will take the Dubya to task on that--and about 50 other things I can think of.

I was glad to see Kerry take off the gloves and look to land some head shots, as it were, even as I wonder about the efficacy of bringing up Vietnam when there's so much additional ammunition out there. I'm thinking of "bring 'em on," "Mission Accomplished," "We found the WMD," "Saddam wouldn't allow inspections," the war crimes and abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere--hell, Iraq could and SHOULD be an entire category where Kerry needs to RELENTLESSLY attack Bush on. There were OTHER options than the short-handed invasion pushed by Rummy, and to listen to the likes of Newt Gingrich and others spew forth such simple-minded thinking in between scurrilous attacks on George Soros is particularly grating--even more so when no response is either forthcoming from the Democrats (or perhaps is there, but not reported by the media).

You might notice that I haven't even mentioned Afghanistan, where the equally simple-minded decisions have left Karzai barely holding onto Kabul while warlords battle for what's left of the rubble elsewhere. And, as I saw over at Balta, Bush is crowing about how over ten million voters are now registered--interesting in a country who's eligible electorate tops out just below ten million.

Other Bush lies-- "the economy is improving," the fat-cat, no bid contracts to Halliburton & the Carlyle Group (no wonder Poppy has such a low profile), Ken Lay/Enron, $480 Billion dollar budget deficits, the politicization of intelligence, the assault on civil liberties, the trashing of the environment, the gutting of the already limited federal expenditures related to public education, the lack of funds available for genuine homeland security, the Bush flip-flops on everything from a 9/11 commission to nation building to veterans benefits to releasing his own military records--every last one of these AND more could be ripe picking for a shrewd campaign manager. And Bush begins to fume and sputter at the slightest loss of control, making for some rather ugly imagery.

Hell, at this point, I think Kerry's campaign manager ought to consider Josh Marshall's tactic: call out Bush on how he told his advisors to "get the hell out of here" when they tried to present the August 6th PDB, or talk about how Bush called Ken Lay up to ask him if they needed to gouge a few more dollars out of California utility customers back in 2001. If someone accuses you of lacking evidence, simply say that "it's just politics."

Nah--on second thought, hit him with what we've GOT--on the record, just waiting for someone to run with it...

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Line of the Day

In part 3 of Jeffrey St. Clair's series at Counterpunch (regarding Doug Feith):

Sometimes even the stupidest motherfucker on the face of the earth can make out like a bandit.
Weapons of Mass Destruction Related Progam Activities

Atrios links to Onegoodmove's Daily Show clip. (Quicktime Video).

Pandagon linked to it first, but honest, it's been sitting on my taskbar since this morning, and I've been trying on and off to come up with a way to work it in.

Well, here's my own post, and here's the graphic. Is it the "best ever?" Hmmm. But it certainly makes several significant points, not the least being that it provides the PROOF for something that I think everyone knew anyway: Karl Rove WILL lie on national television, as he did last night on PBS when discussing the Democratic convention. As I said, I think we all knew that--but I like to have evidence.

I assume someone will track the Dauphin's vocabulary tonight, although it's unlikely to show up in graphic form. Oh well. Bush, unfortunately for him, needs to show a more 'sensitive' side of himself if he wants to wipe away any impression of Zell and Dick's tag-team "Go Fuck Yourself" performance (which, I'll admit, has actually been used only once this campaign season--officially that is. No one seems to keep track of Cheney's more private moments. Meaning it ranks right up with "girly men," "Hussein," and "homeownership." And, that's one more time than "he who's name must never be mentioned," aka Osama bin Laden).

Now, that would make for an interesting office pool--a straight yes/no on whether Osama makes King George the Witless's address, and, if so, how many times (or how many minutes in).
Setting the Record Straight

Just when I'm ready to give up on Slate as hopelessly addicted to Mickey Kaus's bizarre type of thinking, someone like Fred Kaplan manages to hook me in. Today he takes the RNC to task for the lies they and their newest old fart member Zell Miller, and his comrade in phlegm, Dick Cheney, served to the assembled delegates last night:

Cheney made this comment: "Four years ago, some said the world had grown calm, and many assumed that the United States was invulnerable to danger. That thought might have been comforting; it was also false."

Who are these people who thought this? The implication is that it was the Democrats who preceded Bush and Cheney. But it was Bill Clinton's administration that stopped the millennium attack on LAX. It was Clinton's national security adviser who told Condoleezza Rice, during the transition period, that she'd be spending more time on al-Qaida that on any other issue. It was Rice who didn't call the first Cabinet meeting on al-Qaida until just days before Sept. 11. It was Bush's attorney general who told a Justice Department assistant that he didn't want to hear anything more about counterterrorism. It was Bush who spent 40 percent of his time out of town in his first eight months of office, while his CIA director and National Security Council terrorism specialists ran around with their "hair on fire," trying to get higher-ups to heed their warnings of an imminent attack.

"President Bush does not deal in empty threats and halfway measures," Cheney said. What is an empty threat if not the warnings Bush gave the North Koreans to stop building a nuclear arsenal? What is a halfway measure if not Bush's decision to topple the Taliban yet leave Afghanistan to the warlords and the poppy farmers; to bust up al-Qaida's training camps yet fail to capture Osama Bin Laden (whose name has gone unmentioned at this convention); to topple the Iraqi regime yet plan nothing for the aftermath?

The rest of the piece is worth checking out, particularly the last line, where, finishing with a rhetorical flourish, Kaplan suggests that the Veep go to Iraq and see how unilateralism is working out. Of course, Dick's heart probably couldn't take the kind of G forces that go with landings and takeoffs in a hostile fire zone. Which is too bad: perhaps he could finally show his mettle in a combat zone, as opposed to racking up more deferments than John Kerry got medals back in the day.

I guess by now everyone who wants to know is aware that the laundry list of weapons systems Zell pulled out of his tired old derriere to supposedly show John Kerry as soft on defense is thoroughly discredited--just old RNC spin hastily recycled and tacked together. Apparently, though, other parts of the Zell-raising oration were cribbed from the likes of World Nut Daily. Hmmm.

So we've got the World Nuts AND the Larouchies standing behind the curtain that comprises a tent wall of the GOP. Perhaps THAT'S the definition of "compassionate conservatism:" a place for the true nut cases to get their voices heard.

Well, if anyone is their guy, it's gotta be Dubya.

As the Gross Old Party Ate at Zell's

While Zell and Dick--and the people who love them--were letting the bile meter kick into overdrive last night, they kept the blinders on about several things. By way of example, here are a few sobering items, courtesy of Today in Iraq:

Apparently the Bush administration loves the troops so much it will allow them to languish at out of state bases thanks to the fact that there's no money in the $400 BILLION DOLLAR military budget to provide transportation home. Wonderful.

Speaking of no money: The military won't pay additional transit costs for the body of Pfc. Luis Perez, killed in Iraq last week--his remains were flown to New York where a memorial service was held at the behest of his wife, Molly. However, Perez was originally from East Chicago, Indiana, and his family wishes to inter him there.

Fine, says the military--here's the bill. The family is requesting donations to help defray the charges.

You know, Bush, Cheney, Miller--hell, even Dennis "I-pull-facts-out-of-my-ass--well, I-also-get-them-from-Lyndon-Larouche" Hastert could have easily written out a check ON THE SPOT and done the right thing. But nooooo. I'll bet that the four of them, if truth be told, probably cackle about one less soldier around to potentially apply for veteran's benefits.
Giving Zell and Dick the Smackdown

The Rude Pundit lets them have it.

Link via DailyKos. Zell got a little testy--on MSNBC he CHALLENGED Chris Matthews to a duel. I just watched the video feed.

Zell Fell

I watched a fair bit of PBS's coverage of the Hate-Fest on Broadway, aka the Republican National Convention last night. I managed to catch Karl Rove's appearance in the booth, where he showed a Denny Hastert-like ability to pull things right out of his ass, too. In Rove's case, it was a ridiculous statistic--something like "for every one second of positive, there were two seconds of negative at the Democratic Convention," or words to that effect.

Hmmm. I wonder if he had his stopwatch running last night...

My own take on the Zell and Dick hour has, alas, been fortified with a heavy dose of blog reading--this was because I really can't afford to destroy my television. It seems as if the immediate reactions, based on random internet surfing and David Brooks on PBS, who was wearing a shit-eating (in French, mangeant merde) grin, were not good for the Gross Old Party. I DID consider the now-famous Molly Ivins take on Patrick Buchanan's 1992 address--"it sounded better in the original German"--but with the media doing their best interpretation of a puppy dog doing tricks for a Beggin' Strip, I found it comforting that the left bloggers were doing the written equivalent of a high-five, while wingnuts like Tim Graham are reduced to a stance of "it wasn't really THAT bad--was it?"

It was. While I managed to somehow miss Zell's 'spitball' line, I noticed how both he and Cheney quite simply lied--out and out lied--as to several positions of Senator Kerry. In particular, the old John Bircher paranoia about the UN made for a central focus of each wingnut address. The best lines, though, are once again courtesy of Michael Berube, who gave us "Highway to Zell," "Zell-raising," and even "Dick-hardening."

That's about right, no pun intended.

The New York Times managed to deliver it's usual milquetoast, fence-straddling coverage, but I wouldn't be surprised if, in the next few days, something a little harsher comes down the pipe. They'll have a moistened finger in the air, checking the direction of the political wind, while each side offers their spin.

My own take is that if Dubya doesn't really put some cold water on the Zell-fire, there could be a good sized backlash. Already we're beginning to see some rumblings regarding what George was doing at a time when Kerry was demonstrating leadership qualities (answer: not much), while Mr. Bush's war story--the one where he ran like a chicken from possible combat--will air on 60 Minutes this weekend.

I'll grant the Rethuglicans one thing: last night might well have sewed up the genuine yahoo vote. These are the people whose initial reactions to anything involve heavy doses of beer and violence (Girlfriend problems? Get drunk and beat the shit out of her. Money problems? Get drunk and beat the shit out of someone--anyone. Don't like terrorists? Get drunk and talk about how you're going to beat the shit out of someone. Car problems? Get drunk and run the goddamned car into a tree). But, then again, I think the yahoo vote was inclined to go GOP anyway.

Somehow, I don't think most folks would feel their family would be safer with Zell Miller's choices.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

But the Rest of the Play was Wonderful, Wasn't it, Mrs. Lincoln?

The New York Times reports the latest news from Fallujah and Ramadi. It's a long (4 page) article--but if you have the time, definitely read it.

To very briefly summarize--things are so screwed up in the region that the US finds itself occasionally protecting former Baathists, sometimes arresting them, while Islamic militants either kill or co-opt them. Both towns are enemy territory--and both are but a short distance from Baghdad, providing safe haven for resistance fighters.

The pro-war, pro-Bush crowd really doesn't get it. This isn't a football game, where cheerleading is expected, even when the team's down by three touchdowns with only a minute or so to go. War is a serious business, and requires careful analysis. This is no time to get into some sort of dingbat pissing contest. The facts should be looked, and cold, calculated reasoning must be applied. And the facts speak for themselves. Iraq is a massive screw up.

Hell, the clowns running the war didn't even apply the Powell doctrine, which might at least have resulted in enough of a miltary presence to keep a lid on the situation for a while. Now, even IF they could raise the troop level, it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference.

But no one in a position of power has the guts to say anything. And, yeah, this is where I'll put in a good solid crit towards Senator Kerry--even as I know he's constrained by the attack lackeys of Team Bush, who would jump all over any statement to that effect with the zeal of bikers coming across an unguarded crank factory. Jeez, we are fucked.
Lard Waffles

Talking Points Memo notes the Hastert backtrack:

Denny Hastert just sent a letter to Soros in which he writes that groups that support drug legalization, which Soros has helped fund, are "the drug groups that I referred to in my comments on the Fox News Sunday program. Chris Wallace said, 'drug cartels.' I did not."

Marshall has more on the Hastert controversy in other posts. I heard about this the other day, and happened to catch Newt Gingrich gripping the slime ball in his teeth yesterday, repeating the charge on NPR about Soros and drug cartels.

Comparing Soros's funding of lobbying organizations dedicated to ending the idiotic drug war with drug cartels is like shooting someone, then pleading not guilty on the account that the victim would eventually die at some unspecified point in the future. Besides, if you consider the Bush clan's ties to, oh, I don't know, Florida--where drug money apparently is a major source of funding for almost everything (including political campaigns for offices like the governorship)--well, I'm beginning to see why Hastert normally keeps such a low profile. The guy is fat, ugly, AND stupid.

Considering Denny's size, which probably makes using a standard sized toilet a bit difficult, it's not surprising that he's taken to pulling stuff out of his ass.
Freedom Isn't Free

Fubar, over at Needlenose, points out a website called Photo Stamps, where you can create your own LEGAL postage stamps, pay for them, and use them to mail letters.

Unfortunately, even Fubar's very tame choice of imagery was rejected by the Photo Stamp people (check it out on the link above). But I still might give a try this evening with something I photoshopped a while back (the pic is at my home PC). I doubt it'll work, but who knows--it's just obscure enough that it might sneak through. I'll post some details later.
Taking the Low Road

I never thought I'd link to the Moonie-owned Washington Times, but Bad Attitudes found the story, and it's worth passing along:

The word to Republican speakers at the national convention is that bashing Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry is fine.

Unlike Democrats, who put out word that they were editing speeches to tamp down on harsh criticism of President Bush at their convention in Boston in July, the Republicans are not shying away from full-throttle engagement.

Unfortunately, this kind of stuff, well, works. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Lesser-of-two-evils elections make going negative an effective option, and this administration is full of so much shit that it's coming out of their ears. But the Democrats are letting some prime ammunition sit on the shelf--that is, when they're not taking it to the bomb range and blowing it up:

The insufferable Jamie Rubin, top State Department flack in the Clinton years, told the Washington Post that 'knowing then what he knows today' about the lack of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in Iraq, Kerry still would have voted to authorize the war and, 'in all probability', would have launched a military attack to oust Hussein by now if he were president. (Previously, Kerry had only said, with typical forthrightness, that he 'might' have still gone to war.)

In August, with US forces engaged in heavy fighting in Najaf, and American casualties edging inexorably towards 1,000, Rubin apologized to the Washington Post for his 'in all probability' phrase. In more philosophical mode, he now explained that it was 'unknowable whether Kerry would have waged the war. "Bush went to war the wrong way," Rubin said. "What we don't know is what would have happened if a president had gone about it the right way".'

How stupid do you have to be to throw away the Non-Existent WMDs as a stick to beat Bush with?

In the post below, I link to Jeff St. Clair, who concludes one of his bio pieces with a summary of the gang of incompentent crooks running the show these days--he notes, "Even Hunter S. Thompson blazing away on blotter acid couldn't dream this stuff up."

No shit.

I'll grant the Rethuglicans one thing: they're experienced--and good--at hurling slime (I'm envisioning a gaggle of chimpanzees flinging feces). Yes, there is the issue of true slime peddling being beneath the dignity of almost any self-respecting individual. But this isn't some high school election we're talking about, it's for the highest elective office in the land--an office where decisions are made which profoundly affect the lives and well-being of literally billions of people around the world. Now's not the time for squeamishness at the potential for drawing a bit of political blood.

There's not a person in the GOOP leadership who is immune to attack--not even Colin Powell, of whom I'm convinced the Bush team has compromising photos--what else could explain his very public exercises in humiliation, ranging from an all too convincing Village People rendition in Qatar earlier this year to the appalling speech at the United Nations. As for the rest of the gang that can't administrate straight, I say take them all down--Bush is incompetent, Cheney's a crook, Hastert's an idiot, DeLay is another crook (and a chickenhawk), Condi Rice is simply bizarre with her "my husband--I mean my president" flap, etc. etc., and so on. No, it's not pretty to engage in personal attacks, nor is it especially dignified. But it works, and we might as well use the tactic--the other side does.

And, if they complain, then we should tell them what's been their own mantra all this time--"It's just politics--nothing personal." Cat-killer Bill Frist had the gall to tell that to Paul Wellstone's son. To which I say: studies have shown that people who kill small animals when they're young have a tendency to engage in even more devient behavior when they get older. A good example of this is serial killer Ted Bundy, who was known to kill small animals like kittens and puppies when he was a young boy. Hmmm. One of St. Clair's articles notes that a young George W. Bush likewise enjoyed killing small animals. And Frist admits to his feline liquidations.

Any comment, Senator Frist?

Jeffrey St. Clair has an excellent two part series on the life of one George W. Bush (part 1 here, and part two here. They follow an earlier analysis of Bush's psyche that I can't believe I managed to miss.
Bill Frist, Paid Celebrity Spokesperson--and Cat Killer

I watched most of last night's Twilight Zone GOOP fest with the sound down. This was because I was talking on the phone with a very good friend, but also because there's just so much one person can take. I mean, just look at what happened to poor Michael Berube--barely two days in and, sadly, he's joined the dark side with more fervor than a convert to Catholicism.

However, I managed to keep the audio on long enough to catch Bill "I killed a cat--well, actually I killed many cats" Frist offer a Medicare card to qualified applicants. I half expected him to hold up a bottle of Hadacol and extol its curative powers. But Bill was in a true cat killing mood instead, taking the time to attack Kerry and his trial-lawyer-of-a-running-mate John Edwards.

Interestingly, PBS mentioned Frist as a potential candidate for national office in either 2008 or 2012. Well, call me cynical, but I'm pretty sure it would take all of thirty seconds to destroy that possibility:

Opening Shot: Boston Area Animal Shelter--crane mounted camera zooms towards the door, where we cut to the interior. A young Bill Frist, dressed in a suit with white doctor's smock, ernestly nods his head to the person behind the counter, gently stroking a docile, purring orange tabby kitten.

"He's going to have a wonderful home," Frist says as he loads the animal into the pet cage. "I'll take good care of him."

The scene changes to Frist's lab, where alternate shots cut between a wide-eyed, clearly frightened kitten, and shots looking up to a maniacal Frist, who slowly moves his hands towards its exposed neck. Fade to black.

Fade up to a different animal shelter, where the scene repeats. An announcer voice over could finish the job: Bill Frist wants to be your [insert office here]. But can you trust someone who lies in order to kill small defenseless animals?

Fade out.

That's all it would take.
Winning the War Against Pointy Headed Intelecshuals

The Palm Beach Post weighs in on Dubya's recent slip of the tongue:

So by Tuesday, President Bush was back in full "Mission Accomplished," "Bring 'em on" mode. Speaking in Tennessee to the American Legion, he said: "We meet today in a time of war for our country, a war we did not start yet one that we will win." White House spinners, meanwhile, said the president's earlier remark merely was an acknowledgement the war will take a long time to win.

Yes, it will. And the more President Bush inflames the Arab and Muslim worlds by fighting wars that have nothing to do with 9/11 or Al-Qaeda, the longer it will be. On that topic, he reiterated that he would have invaded Iraq even if he knew then what he knows now. Clearly, President Bush intends to win the war against reason.
You Know, Bush Does Sort of Look Belgian...

In this ABC news article about John Kerry's speech to the American Legion, we discover who the REAL waffle-king is:

Bush expressed his doubts [about winning the "war" on terror] during an interview with NBC's "Today" show that was broadcast Monday. He tried to contain the political damage from the statement by telling the American Legion on Tuesday, "Make no mistake about it, we are winning and we will win."

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Failure to Communicate

Via BAD ATTITUDES, I was alerted to a post over at Big Left Outside, Al Goirdano's blog. Alas, Al has been focused on Narco News of late.

However, he delivered a long but good post yesterday. First, his preface expresses ambivalent feelings towards the war in Iraq, which he considers a sham (similar to my own feelings about it being little more than a Bush reelection ploy gone horribly awry), and then he covers the controversy regarding a Naomi Klein article that appeared in the Nation last week, and Marc Cooper's utter misinterpretation of it.

I don't know enough about Cooper to determine if he's still considered a true leftie, or if he's joined the David Horowitz/Chris Hitchen's school of 'youthful' indiscretion (sarcasm, for the humor challenged). But his remarks are way off base. Klien's piece is NOT an endorsement of Sadr by any stretch of the imagination, but instead, a reasoned opinion as to the situation on the ground in Iraq. I'm continually amazed at how people like Cooper, in this case, still believe that somehow our intent in Iraq is wholesome and good--I mean, c'mon--with Allawi as president, and Negroponte as uber-ambassador? As Timshel would put it, Jaysus...

The last thing the left needs (if Cooper is still part of the left) is the formation of a circular firing squad regarding Iraq. I'm aware that Kerry doesn't hold my position regarding the war. I will still vote for him, though, if he has any chance in Louisiana (if the polls show Bush in a walk, though, I'll probably go third party). But to suggest that, one, Iraq is anything but a losing game for the US at this point shows a profound ignorance of the situation in the country, and two, to argue that anyone holding that point of view is sleeping with the enemy is ridiculous. At a certain point, one had to let reason take hold. And the rational analysis is that Iraq is, well, fucked.

If Kerry wins in November, I will continue to push for an end to the war--and I have a strong feeling that he would need to be prodded towards that position as well. We should never have invaded. There were alternatives, and not believing in war does not imply support for Saddam. Besides, considering the lies the war crowd has told (WMD, ties to Al Qaeda and/or 9/11, etc.), how can ANYONE believe them on ANYTHING? Once a liar, always a liar. Kerry needs to be told this over and over again, until he gets the message. Our "victory" in Iraq will be the same as our "victory" in Vietnam--THAT'S the similarity between the two countries, by the way--and rantings like Marc Cooper's do nothing to further what's right, namely, that we who opposed this quagmire were adopting the correct position and those who argued for war are simply wrong (and I'll add that those arguing for war from the comfort of their desks are cowards as well).

Chickens have a way of coming home to roost. Team Bush WILL find that out, regardless of what happens in November...
Or Did Bush Really Mean "Unqualified Failure"

Matt Lavine at BFOP has what should at the very least qualify as a Bushism nominee, if not the Bushism of the day. Iraq, in the pResident's mind, is a "catastrophic success."


Bush then asked for a Perrier and soda.
A True Conservative

William S. Lind pulls no punches in his analysis of the Iraq war, and I've linked to him previously. Lind cuts through the shoulder deep crap the Bushistas and the media pile up with steamshovels regarding the war, those who support it, and those who oppose it.

In a recent article in my excellent hometown newspaper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a University of Michigan professor who specializes in Iraqi Shi'ism, Juan Cole, described them as "a Shi'ite ghetto youth gang." In fighting terms, that is a compliment, not an insult. Gangs will be one of the most important forms of combatants in Fourth Generation war (4GW). As the police in many an American city can attest, gangs are not easy to defeat. And this particular gang has both an endless source of recruits and a religious identity for which dying is seen as worthwhile. Sistani may have the support of most Shi'ites, but Sadr now has the support of most Shi'ite fighters, and that is what is likely to count...

Meanwhile, the U.S. finds itself fighting a two-front war, one front against the Shi'ite Mahdi Army, the other against the Sunnis in Anbar Province. The U.S. Marine Corps has blanked out the news from that front, but the reported toll of Marine casualties seems to be rising. To a student of German military history such as myself, two-front wars can bring unhappy memories...

Professor Cole summed up the situation well. "The Americans will win militarily," he said. "But I think they are losing politically," because by fighting Sadr and his Mahdi Army they "made him a symbol of national resistance." It seems that we are damned if we do fight and damned if we don't. That's just how Fourth Generation war works, folks.

Bush et al will do anything possible to avoid a truly rational discussion of what's happening over in Iraq and Afghanistan. They will accuse anyone opposing their ridiculous and insane strategy of being soft on, or, indeed, supporting, well, take your pick: Saddam, bin Laden, Sadr, or anyone else in the pantheon of evil. By implication, they seek to assert that their way is the only way.

Fortunately, folks like Lind see through this, and point out the fallacies. And the Democrats would be well advised to look at his analysis, and give it due consideration. You don't win elections by promising to do the incumbent's job better (though almost any carbon based lifeform could do better than Dubya)--you point out the blunders.

Bush is despised by a number of true conservative, and with good reason. He's made a mockery of their position. Whether the media will awaken from their slumber before November 2nd remains to be seen...
On Stomaching the Gross Old Party Convention

Gastronomic references seem to be the rule for non Kool-Aid drinkers this week. I've seen several uses of "stomach" as a verb in describing the gathering of "pathetic old geezers and those who love them" at MSG.

Some chose other descriptors though, like in this post by Timshel, who effectively hammered away at the faux points made in last night's look back to 9/11 and lie-fest about the wars. Mr. Prado notes that a quick search on the internet cuts right through the bullshit being marketed as lilacs by the Rethuglicans and their media lackeys. I for one found myself last night considering the through-the-looking-glass quality of the event (minus the times I had to turn away). Ron Silver's crack about a "war we did not seek" had to qualify as the surreal, if not out and out dada line of the night.

I was, not surprisingly, unimpressed with Rudy Guiliani's speech. I thought he sounded tired and disjointed. Augustus Gloop, aka Dennis Hastert, managed to slime John Kerry some six times in a five paragraph speech, while I half expected Silver, no irony intended, to suddenly shout out "ein volk, ein reich, ein W" in the course of what was simply a bizarre rant.

The talking point in Iraq from the GOOP seems to be that it's fair game in the war on terror--which manages, to paraphrase a Bushism, to hit the trifecta: it's dangerous, stupid, AND racist. Funny how bin Laden got such short shrift from the so-called terror warriors, even as Bush qualifies his otherwise blind ignorance when he declared that the "war on terror" won't end at the final buzzer. Hmmm.

Will there be any mention of the fact that Bush has, thus far, failed in EVERY element of the war? I doubt it. David Brooks managed to lie last night when he declared that there hasn't been a terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11--conveniently omitting the anthrax attacks--as he spun like a Battling Top. No one called him on that--and no one mentioned that, if this IS a global war on terror, then perhaps we should think of terrorist actions AROUND THE GLOBE as significant, rather than consigning them to "less than 9/11" status (which confirms to the rest of the world that the US is utterly xenocentric).

Here are the facts: bin Laden is still on the loose. The Taliban are active in Afghanistan. Iraq is a complete mess, we're spending money hand over fist and the only accomplishment seems to be that Halliburton's share price is holding steady in spite of their engaging in wartime profiteering--and what the hell have we accomplished? We have a single despot in custody (and a lot of "enemy combatants" of dubious culpability over at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, with who knows how many becoming victim to US prison practices). We've managed to kill at least 11,000 Iraqi civilians in a year and a half--numbers which qualify as a massacre by ANY definition of the term. Upwards of a thousand US soldiers have come home in body bags, with more sure to follow (of course, remember that the right considers military deaths "acceptable"), at least five times that number have been injured, many severely, AND the odds are that IF a genuinely stable government ever takes root in Iraq, it will be basically a smaller version of Iran. What's not to celebrate?

Which is why, if you ask me, Bush, via proxy, launched the Swift Boat Veterans Who Lie campaign. By using the post Democratic convention period to, in his chimplike fashion, throw feces, he managed to turn the mentally retarded media's attention away from real issues and lead them on an armchair snipe hunt. The inane justification that "Kerry asked for it" holds NO water whatsoever. Yes, there was emphasis on Vietnam during the Democratic convention--why shouldn't there be? The Senator most certainly was affected profoundly by his military service in combat (unlike a certain TANG enlistee who went AWOL). But the pundits must have boxes of rocks in their collective heads if they can't recall a real vision and agenda for the future of the country that Democratic leaders laid out for the country last month. Barack Obama made the best keynote speech of my lifetime, Al Sharpton rocked the house, Bill Clinton spoke eloquently of the past and the future--but all the morons who clog the airwaves can only remember Vietnam...

My nerf brick will be getting a lot of work this week.

Monday, August 30, 2004

And Joe McCarthy was Right...

Reuters has a summary of the "official, but non-binding" Rethuglican Party Platform.

First, the "official, but non-binding" thing: what the hell is THAT supposed to mean? In an era where Clintonian parsing of 'is' drew such derision from the knuckle-walkers on the right side of the aisle, it's now acceptable to draw up a party platform that isn't? Well, considering that Bush has waffled so goddamn much over the past four years that you might as well pour ten gallons of syrup on him, I guess that's part and parcel...

Let's see: there's the resolute support for spitting on our soldiers, also known as "support" for the Iraq war--I wonder if, I don't know, they'll include a plank that might actually provide adequate funding for equipment--or veteran's programs. Nah, probably not. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they adopted the position that not only will they spit on our soliders (they're doing the moral equivalent already), but will also kick the ones who need health care, or money for college, or help in obtaining home financing, etc. etc.--you name it. Their position seems to be "thanks for serving the country--now get the hell away." How compassionate.

And why just spit on the soldiers when they can also do the same to women? Yep, that's right, the GOP's official (but non-binding) position is that women shouldn't be able to control their bodies. The flip side of this coin is that the economic policies they endorse will dramatically increase the number of dingy back alleys...

Then they diss the gays. On that note: I've been spending the day catching up with a week's worth of blog entries, and it looks like the Rethugs have opted for such a charming person to deliver the opening invocation--someone who equates support for gay rights with support for Hitler. Goddamn if they didn't manage to dredge up the spirit of grass eaters like Willie Rainach...

So, I guess all this week there will be a sort of Rethuglican "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" dog and pony show, with prime-time slots for Ahnuld and Rudy and Zell (in my mind, he's already crossed over--the Democrats ought to send him official walking papers), while the low-rated daytime hours are devoted to the Jurassic-age membership of the GOOP--who've apparently been knitting their collective brows in poolhall concentration (to use a Tom Waits line) to actually put together some writin' n' stuff.

Well, as one of my really good friends told me the other day, nerf bricks are for things like watching GOOP TV. Hell, if I can drag myself to work every day, I guess I can devote some time to listening to the other side's pathetic rantings...

And, off topic, but: I noticed something while off line--one, the regular print media, as well as the cable broadcasters, really are full of it. But I also noticed something about my own stuff that troubled me: it seems that I often get caught up in the daily spin, trying to keep up with the latest attack points spread by the Rethugs like so many lit matches in a bone dry forest (while the media follows with gasoline and fans). I'm going to TRY to spend a little less time responding to each non-point of theirs, and a little more time researching, and hopefully have better, if fewer, posts. The GOOP tends to adopt a sort of Mike Tyson approach to political rhetoric--a fury of early round punching, with the hope that the sheer volume alone will generate points. But this style leaves the person using it vulnerable to someone with patience and stamina. If you hold off the fury with good solid counterpunching, they will eventually run out of steam. Then you've got to hit them with all you've got. And, let's face it, they're WEAK. The ridiculous war in Iraq CAN'T be justified, the economic policies of Bush are a joke--listen to their 'defense,' which has more excuses than a college junior filing for a term paper extension, then there's the assault on civil rights, and indeed, the entire constitution. Kerry is at least right on one thing: Bush doesn't have a record to run on--he has a record to run away from.

And that's what needs to be focused on for the next eight weeks or so--four years of Bush is four years too many. The damage is done. But we can at least get the vehicle to the mechanic before it's totaled.
Fortress New York

My overall impression was that the city adopted the "massive show of force" strategy. Cops and soldiers were everywhere, and at least every fifth one was carrying what looked like an M-16. I was a little bummed out that I couldn't make the demonstration--I was watching the MSNBC coverage on JetBlue as the plane took off--but at the same time I'm glad I was able to get out before the true craziness began. Lord only knows what this week will be like.

I forget the names of the correspondents, but they were such goddamned tools. The fifty or so arrests--in a crowd of what looked to me like a quarter million--is remarkable, and speaks well of those of us who are sick and tired of the Bush lies. Then there was the surreal commentary about the "fire," which turned out to be paper-mache flambe. Ridiculous...

As for pre-convention stuff--well, there were plenty of folks around who have no use for the Bush in the White House, and it showed. As noted above, among other things, I managed to make it over to The Experimental Party Disinformation Center to see the Propaganda Hospitality Suite. This was small, but very good. Otherwise, I was on a culture trip, and there's nothing wrong with that--I could spend hours in museums, if it wasn't for the curse of work.

But I've gotta catch up with what I missed. Apologies for not making my regular rounds on the internet last week--access was extremely limited. And, to be honest, I chose to invest time on non-internet stuff--after all, I don't get to the big city all that often.

Back in a bit...