Saturday, July 29, 2006


The paramount neoconservative bottomfeeder “Drudges” a headline from the New York Times:

“Hillary Clinton, Mccain Held Vodka-Drinking Contest...”

Hmmm… By midnight he was witty and she beautiful…

Only on the DrudgeReport would a headline like that lead to a story like this:

“2008 May Test Clinton’s Bond With McCain”

A page full of political filler on a slow day…

But it invites a muse… Want to see the two Parties’ National Committees piss themselves to death? Put these two together on the same Independent ticket.

The dream – I mean nightmare – team…

They could arm wrestle for top billing first time out – then McCain could be President in 2016…  

Monday, July 24, 2006


Conservative and neoconservative proponents of the Patriot Act and similar security measures adopted since 9/11 often insist “potential abuses” cited by civil libertarians are a smokescreen. My blogging colleague Karl over at LSU

has often challenged me and others to demonstrate a situation where these laws have harmed innocent Americans. Well, Karl:

From - hat tip: Huffington Post – we have this:

“Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota
Marshals Say They Must File One Surveillance Detection Report, Or SDR, Per Month”

“You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they're reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.

The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they're required to submit at least one report a month. If they don't, there's no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.

"Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft ... and they did nothing wrong," said one federal air marshal….

Although the agency strongly denies any presence of a quota system, Las Vegas-based air marshals have produced documents that show their performance review is directly linked to producing SDRs.”

Not surprising at all. Police departments have often been accused of giving cops quotas for things as simple as traffic tickets… In fairness, “quotas” - numerically based performance standards, if you prefer – are one of the few metrics that can be applied to independent field personnel. But still:

“What kind of impact would it have for a flying individual to be named in an SDR?

"That could have serious impact ... They could be placed on a watch list. They could wind up on databases that identify them as potential terrorists or a threat to an aircraft. It could be very serious," said Don Strange, a former agent in charge of air marshals in Atlanta. He lost his job attempting to change policies inside the agency.”

Sounds tangible to me… Well, Karl… anyone??? Or will this abuse just be one more on a rapidly multiplying list the right refuses to recognize?

You know, I think Republicans need a new mascot. The Elephant doesn’t describe them properly… The Ostrich would be much more accurate…

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Well, the America haters over at NewsBastards are at it again, bashing the patriots at The New York Times while ignoring illegal government actions:

“New York Times Strikes Again, Reveals Information on Arms Shipment to Israel”

This rant concerns a Times story reporting that the US was shipping bombs to Israel on a “rush” basis… These munitions, long since paid for - I mean, long since ripped off from the US taxpayer, since Israel pays for very little of the arms it receives - were to be requisitioned on an “as needed” basis.

No real news here…

What is news, news that is being ignored by the right-leaning MSM, including the Times, is that these weapons deliveries may be in violation of US law. Newsbastards typifies the party line, insisting “One of America’s allies purchased a variety of weapons last year, and now that it is being attacked by a shared enemy, has asked that the shipment of these arms be sped up to allow it to better defend itself.”

Damn. I didn’t know Lebanese kids were enemies of the US! And just how far have their armies penetrated into Israel?

Common Dreams puts the situation in perspective, noting that the weapons, which have been the proximate cause of the deaths of at least 200 innocent Lebanese citizens, are sold only for use in strictly defensive operations:

“Israel Violates Law on U.S. Weapons in Mideast”

“"Section 4 of the (U.S.) Arms Export Control Act requires that military items transferred to foreign governments by the United States be used solely for internal security and legitimate self-defense," says Stephen Zunes, professor of politics at the University of San Francisco.

"Since Israeli attacks against Lebanon's civilian infrastructure and population centers clearly go beyond legitimate self-defense, the United States is legally obliged to suspend arms transfers to Israel," Zunes told IPS.”

Sneer at the source if you like – it doesn’t change the facts. Neither do the facts change because nobody in the government will recognize them. The rest of the world recognizes them. What other Nation would receive such blindly preferential treatment?

Certainly the Arab world recognizes the facts. As the Times points out, “The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.”

They ought to be angry.

Here’s hoping that when the full consequences of this blind support becomes manifest, Americans get angry too.


A survey recently published by the Union of Concerned Scientists should disturb every American:

“FDA Scientists Pressured to Exclude, Alter Findings; Scientists Fear Retaliation for Voicing Safety Concerns”

The survey, which intended “to examine inappropriate interference with science at federal agencies” was sent to 5,918 FDA scientists, and received 997 responses:

“18.4% of the respondents said that they "have been asked, for non-scientific reasons, to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information or their conclusions in a FDA scientific document."”

“61% of the respondents knew of cases where "Department of Health and Human Services or FDA political appointees have inappropriately injected themselves into FDA determinations or actions."”

“Only 47% think the "FDA routinely provides complete and accurate information to the public."”

“81% agreed that the "public would be better served if the independence and authority of FDA post-market safety systems were strengthened."”

I am aware many conservatives have issues with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Nevertheless, I think it unwise to shoot at the messenger this time – the message is too important. If you study the many cases in which the welfare of the public has been compromised in environmental, public health, or public safety issues, you will find a common thread:

Government action necessary to protect the people’s interests was corrupted by political pressure from special interest groups whose agendas were allowed to trump science.

The pressure can come from anywhere - environmental groups, industry lobbyists, religious groups, or competing government bureaucracies. The resulting action - or inaction - typically rolls over patiently garnered evidence to side with profits, prejudices, or unprovable beliefs.

The direct results can include monies unnecessarily spent, activities unnecessarily curtailed, or prejudices unreasonably reinforced. The practical result is usually a lot of unnecessary human suffering.

In the case of the FDA, the effects are especially poignant: The FDA has approved drugs like Vioxx, later found to be dangerous - just as the suppressed evidence indicated. The FDA has refused to accept overwhelming evidence of the efficacy of drugs like marijuana as an adjunct in the treatment of cancer and AIDS, siding instead with fools who are still confusing “Reefer Madness” with science.

Perhaps the worst example is the political back & forth we have seen over the approval of RU 486. Stalled for years by political pressure from pro-life groups who want to stop all abortions, it was then promoted by the Clinton Administration, which was equally partisan in ignoring safety issues. The ink was barely dry on the relatively liberal September 2000 approval when the GWB administration took over and pressure began to reverse it. The pro-life lobby applied this pressure using the language of the protectionist: Anti RU-486 partisans proposed, in cleverly ambiguous terms, that to be “safe enough” this drug had to have a 100% record of success - something no drug or procedure has ever had - and argued that since it lacked that 100% complication free record it should therefore only be administered by practitioners prepared to cope with the rarest and most extreme of complications, an insistence which would effectively prevent many clinics and physicians from prescribing it at all.

So the argument seesawed between ignoring the complications and obsessing on them - two positions that were equally invalid. Meanwhile uncertainty about the final resolution has retarded the development of a properly expert medical community equipped to use this tool, which is at least as safe as and cheaper than surgical alternatives commonly used…

It shouldn’t matter which side you take on the “rightness” of such a drug. What should matter is the private right of the informed individual who seeks the treatment, and the ability of physicians to manage the treatment and its potential downsides within the context of the alternatives.

Like most bureaucracies, the FDA has a mission statement:

“The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health.”

When the FDA lets political bickering and social agendas interfere with those goals, it fails in its mission, and fails the public.

That should concern all of us – not just the scientists.


Yahoo News relates the strange case of John Curtis Ridgeway, accused of assault:

“Jury acquits man of 'handshake' assaults”

“Ridgeway was seen pulling out a vial of liquid and rubbing his hands with the contents after a December jury trial in which he was found guilty of driving without insurance, authorities said… Ridgeway insisted on shaking hands with the prosecutor, the police officer who pulled him over and a bailiff, authorities said”

“The three got sick within an hour or so, according to testimony. Symptoms, which lasted about 24 hours, included nausea, headaches, numbness and tingling. Two of the three went to the hospital.

Ridgeway told The Associated Press after he was charged that the substance was olive oil. He testified that he used oil to anoint "corrupt buildings" and that it was meant to rid the buildings of demons.”

HMMM… Oil is purported to cast out demons… Oil touches a lawyer and two cops… All three get sick…

If I were religious, I might be drawing a conclusion from this…

But what I really want to know is where I can get some of this stuff… It sounds mighty handy. I bet if you sprayed it inside The Beltway, everybody would melt.

Friday, July 21, 2006


World Tribune is reporting this morning on another iteration in an old miscalculation:

“Israel's military stunned by the failure of its air war”

“Israel's new chief of staff, an air force general, believed that most of Israel's future operations would be conducted from the air.

Military leaders were convinced that with superior communications and air power they did not even need new U.S. "bunker buster" munitions to root out terror leaders in underground hideaways.

Today, this vision of air power as a panacea has been shattered.

"Air power is not the answer here," a senior officer said. 'You have to go from one Hizbullah [weapons] bunker to another. Some of these bunkers are seven meters deep and can't be destroyed by aircraft, even if you could find them."
The air force learned that lesson in Beirut as fighter-jets sought to destroy Hizbullah headquarters, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials acknowledged that 23 tons of munitions failed to penetrate the thick walls of the underground command headquarters constructed by Iran.”

Hermann Goering was surprised when the Luftwaffe was unable to destroy the Dunkirk evacuation… LBJ was surprised when thousands of B-52 airstrikes failed to break the back of North Vietnam… And does anyone remember our air campaign in the Balkans a few years back?

The high-heeled boys never learn… It’s boots on the ground. Now, we’ll see which side can muster more boots.


VIA MyWay News, Mark Sherman of AP reports on testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:

“Gonzales: Bush Blocked Eavesdropping Probe”

“Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that President Bush personally blocked Justice Department lawyers from pursuing an internal probe of the warrantless eavesdropping program that monitors Americans' international calls and e-mails when terrorism is suspected.

The department's Office of Professional Responsibility announced earlier this year it could not pursue an investigation into the role of Justice lawyers in crafting the program, under which the National Security Agency intercepts some telephone calls and e-mail without court approval.”

That’s known as obstruction of justice, an impeachable offense. If the Republican majority weren’t traitors to the Constitution, articles of impeachment would be on the table today.

We have to hand Congress back to the Democrats. It’s the only hope the Constitution has.

Monday, July 17, 2006


The New York Times re-stirred the hornet’s nest with an excellent editorial about GWB’s continuing assault on the Constitution via abuse of power:

“The Real Agenda”


I won’t reiterate the arguments; they don’t need it. But if you cannot stand to agree with the Times even when they are 100% right, try this from FoxNews contributor Susan Estrich:

“The Arlen Specter-Dick Cheney Deal...”,2933,203898,00.html

Same arguments, different advocate…

“The Arlen Specter-Dick Cheney Deal” SUCKS! It is an ass-kissing, servile, unconstitutional rollover to an out of control administration – and a damn good reason why we need Democratic majorities in both Houses, majorities with enough balls to lay down an ultimatum to this renegade President: Follow the law or face immediate impeachment proceedings.

I never thought I’d be calling for a return to the incompetence of Democratic control, but that’s the only choice we have, short of taking up arms. The President has decided the administration is bound by no law, and Congress won’t bind them. The Constitution, which charges Congress with creating the strictures of law and the President with “faithfully executing” them, is now therefore destroyed. All that’s left is the Court, which rightly slapped the administration down hard.


I have to ask, how long before this administration - or a future one – begins ignoring the Court? It will happen unless something is done to remove the Shrub from power, or at least neuter his agenda. Power feeds on itself. We cannot let the beast grow.

A lot of people - a lot of neocon agitators, that is - have spent a lot of ink & bandwidth bashing the Times, calling them traitors, accusing them of aiding the phantom enemy in the terror un-war of unlimited duration.

I think there are a lot more patriots at the New York Times than there are in the Bush administration - where I doubt there are any left at all.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


David Postman over at The Seattle Times blogs an interview with Republican luminary Newt Gingrich, who recently visited Seattle - well, Bellevue – in support of Dave Reichert, Doug Roulstone, and the state party:

“Gingrich says it's World War III”

Gingrich discussed several topics within the strategy of winning in 2006… You can tell right off what caught Dave Postman’s eye… Here’s what caught mine:

“Gingrich said he is "very worried" about Republican's facing fall elections and says the party must have the "nerve" to nationalize the elections and make the 2006 campaigns about a liberal Democratic agenda rather than about President Bush's record.

Gingrich says that as of now Republicans "are sailing into the wind" in congressional campaigns. He said that's in part because of the Iraq war, adding, "Iraq is hard and painful and we do not explain it very well."…

He said that as Democrats make the elections about George Bush, Republicans should make it about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco. He said voters need to be told "how weirdly San Francisco these guys are voting" and Democrats will "collapse in defeat."”

There you go, boys! Mr. Republican says if Republicans run on the Republican record, especially the record of GWB, they’re toast. Instead he suggests ferreting out the most liberal faces in the Democratic Party and trying to build a scare campaign around them!

Vote for us! We’re incompetent bunglers, but the other guys are scary loons!

Anyone for a second amendment party? There’s a few things we need to toss into the bay…

WWIII… My dear honorable [ex] Senator dipshit, we’re still fighting WWI, still cleaning up the mess of a century past. The whole tragic mess in the Middle East represents the result of our arrogant continuation of yesterday’s mistakes. Some historian you are…

We have to find a better way, because if we do it your way, we’re sure to lose.

Meanwhile, I’m reading The Huffington Post so you don’t have to…

Over at Huffpo, and coming from the other end of the ideological spectrum, Gary Hart is blogging along a very different track:

“Welcome to the Hornets' Nest”

You’d think Hart & Gingrich would have more in common… After all, they’re both card carrying members of the “my affair ruined me” club…

Hart could have just said “I told you so.”… His remarks aren’t remarkable, except he’s one more person pointing out the obvious:

“By our justified overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan, though unsuccessful decapitation of al Qaeda, we removed a thorn in Iran's side. By removing Saddam Hussein, we removed a thorn in Iran's other side.
But, inadvertantly and ignorantly, we empowered Iran to undertake a major intervention on behalf of the Shiite majority in Iraq. In response to our insistence that Iran not develop any nuclear capability, Iran and Syria have emboldened Hezbullah in Lebanon to energize Israel's formidable military and Hamas to do the same.”

That seems to be common wisdom, but another HuffPo link offers a different view:

“The Rules of the Game”

Laura Rozen of The American Prospect interviews Mark Perry, who has the advantage of actually being in the middle of the hornets nest: He’s “co-director of the Conflicts Forum, a Beirut-based nongovernmental organization that has, over the past three years, put former senior American and British policy-makers and intelligence officials in talks with Hezbollah and other militant political Islamic groups in Lebanon.”

Read this.

Perry thinks this most recent flare-up in what he sees as a 25 year war between Israel and Hezbollah probably began the way so many other wars started: Local bungling that wasn’t rectified in time by higher-ups. No grand scheme… Just the near certainty that if you have two armies looking for opportunities to shoot at each other across a frontier, occasionally incidents occur…

Which brings us to another HuffPo must-read:

“Shrewd Israeli Objectives May Be to Curb US Deal-Making Options In Middle East”

Steve Clemons asks the question, “Why is Israel pounding most of Lebanon rather than just the South and rather than pinpointing its attack against Hezbollah assets? Why the dramatic bombing of explosive fuel centers? The attacks both in Gaza and in Beirut seem made for Fox News, CNN, and the next Schwarzenegger movie.”

He ascribes this to many factors, some as petty as Ehud Olmert’s and Amir Peretz’s desire to avoid looking “timid,” and others very significant:

Clemons suggests that recent moves by the US in the Middle East are viewed by many Israelis as running counter to Israel’s interests. Israel may have seized upon this latest provocation to deliberately boil the pot, destroying the American peace initiatives in the unholy land and recent American attempts to reach an accommodation with Iran - destroy them once and for all…

Which makes sense, I think: Israel doesn’t want peace with Iran. Israel wants safety from Iran. They’re not interested in an uneasy “MAD” style coexistence, believing that the “MAD” system confers the advantage on the madman.

The Israelis are equally uninterested in attempts to accommodate - or appease, if you prefer - Hezbollah or Hamas; here, they are only interested in decimating hornets…

But if we don’t deal with Iran, probably Israel will be forced to accept what they clearly view as an unacceptable status-quo; bluster aside, they can’t go this one alone.

They need a big fat war now…

At the same time, it’s hard to doubt Hezbollah and Hamas aren’t equally interested in war now… Why??? Why do they think they have a winning hand?

Do they have some of Saddam’s “missing” WMD’s?

Or is it that they are equally afraid of accommodation and mainstreaming? After all, if Iran and Syria’s leaders come to their senses, H & H inc. is finished… Even their own success could doom their more radical elements… Hamas won an election awhile back… Nothing brings on accommodation quite as fast as peace, quiet, and democratic moderation…

All in all, I wish we could just walk away… Away from the curse of our “allies” and “enemies” alike in the region, on both sides of this ancient conflict. But we can’t. This is the price we pay for taking out Iraq while leaving Iran and its little buddy Syria intact, functioning powers. Until a new, balancing, militarily competent regional power emerges - something that may never happen - there are 80 million Iranians and 20 million Syrians standing between our army and home.

Well, at least Newtie is right about one thing: The Republicans shouldn’t try to run on their “accomplishments”…

Postman’s Postscript:

David Postman has published some quotable quotes from Gingrich’s performance today on Meet The Press:

“A different tone from Gingrich on World War III”

On the whole, quite interesting, especially this. Quoting Postman:

“In both interviews he praised John F. Kennedy, though in Bellevue it came with a clear shot at the current leadership of the Democratic Party:

"The old Democratic Party was led by John F. Kennedy who threatened nuclear war over missiles in Cuba; because the old Democratic Party was a very patriotic, hawkish party. It had fought the Second World War, the First World War and the Korean War. It was a tough party.

"The current Democratic Party would say, 'Well, if only if we had abandoned Miami than Cuba wouldn't have any grievances' -- the Howard Dean vision."

On TV Gingrich said only:

"And John F. Kennedy, a Democrat who understood the importance of power in the world, was prepared to go to nuclear war to stop missiles from being in Cuba."”

So in private, we get the old “pick a fight” Newtie… In front of the larger audience, we get the new, kindler, gentler Newtie…

Caveat emptor…

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Today, Drudge links ABC for a report on a new CDC proposal:

“Should Every American Adult Be Tested for HIV?”

Not only no but hell no… I will never comply with a law like this.

That’s what privacy means…

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Huffington Post brought us some fine news for a Sunday morning, via the Salt Lake Tribune:

“Utah film sanitizers ordered to cut it”

“Court ruling: Deleting objectionable language, sex and violence injures artistic expression”

I’m tickled pink by the ruling… Screw moralists and especially moralist censors… But I’m a bit disturbed by the reasoning…

If you haven’t been following this dog, there are a few companies, most of them in Utah, which have been capitalizing on an idea started by a mom & pop video shop, Sunrise Family Video. They offered to edit nude scenes from "Titanic" for $5 for people who purchased the movie.

Well, the “I can’t look at a titty without turning to stone” crowd lined up at the door, and the enterprise took off, spawning copycat copythieves...

Needless to say, movie producers got a little hot about this…

I’d like to see the whole ruling – the Court posts its rulings but the last post is a day before this decision. If you’re interested, go to:

All we have is this snippet from the report:

“"Their [studios and directors] objective . . . is to stop the infringement because of its irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies," the judge wrote in a 16-page decision. "There is a public interest in providing such protection. Their business is illegitimate."”

Artistic expression… How about “it’s mine and I don’t want you to chop it up?” How about “It’s mine and I didn’t authorize you to reproduce it?”

The decision takes the form of an order to CleanFlicks, Play It Clean Video, and CleanFilms, to stop "producing, manufacturing, creating" as well as renting edited movies – and it will be appealed. Ray Lines, chief executive of CleanFlicks, said he plans to meet with his attorneys Monday to discuss the ruling, but vowed to keep fighting Hollywood. "We're disappointed," he said. "This is a typical case of David vs. Goliath, but in this case, Hollywood rewrote the ending. We're going to continue to fight."

So it’s on to the Tenth Circuit, I suppose. Too bad it’s not the Ninth… This would be a good one for them.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


There’s a good case in point for the ACLU haters being discussed today – a good case in point for why we need the ACLU. Via Oregon Live, a report from AP:

“ACLU sues Secret Service and police over 2004 anti-Bush protest”

From the article:

“The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging the U.S. Secret Service and state and local police protecting President Bush during a 2004 campaign appearance discriminated against anti-Bush protesters when they moved to clear the streets outside an inn where the president was eating dinner.

The class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court contends that police acting on orders from the Secret Service used unreasonable force to move some 200 people peacefully protesting against the war in Iraq… while allowing pro-Bush demonstrators to remain standing on sidewalks.”

According to the ACLU, “16 similar instances in 12 other states and at least three other lawsuits have been filed.”

“"We have no quarrel with protecting the president." [ACLU representative] Temple said. "Consistently, the Secret Service has used protection of the president as an excuse for keeping anti-Bush protesters out of the hearing of the president."”

The protesters, who took pains to maintain a peaceful, orderly protest, were assured they would be “OK” if they stayed on the sidewalks – the same sidewalks the pro-shrub crowd used. However, “40 police officers in riot gear brandished clubs and fired paintballs loaded with pepper spray to move an estimated 200 to 300 demonstrators away from the Jacksonville Inn” where the first family dined after a campaign rally…

Not to protect the president’s safety – just to move the demonstrators off the sidewalks and out of earshot of the President…

That says it all, and exposes the core of what is wrong with the Imperial Presidency the Office of the First Servant has devolved into… He is not a king – he does not have the Kingly prerogative of being removed from the complaints of the people he serves.



Today, as a service to the neoconservative pinheads who salivate as they listen to Hannity or Coulter spew their poisonous idiocy about “treason” at the New York Times or similar institutions they just don’t like…

Here’s treason for real, or as close as you will get without a sovereign state on the other side of the war. From The Blotter:

“California Man Revealed as al Qaeda Leader”

Now pay attention, boys and girls… This man, without renouncing his citizenship, has removed himself to the enemy camp and is providing significant aid in levying war…

Assuming you classify Al-Qaeda as an enemy waging war instead of an international crime syndicate, this is in fact treason…

The first two points are often overlooked. You have to be a citizen, and you have to “adhere” to the enemy or levy war. The fact it’s wartime isn’t enough, To quote statute:

“United States Code at 18 U.S.C. § 2381: "whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason”…

The Constitution defines treason but does not create the offence in law…

All of the “well known” convictions for treason in recent times weren’t: The Rosenbergs, Johnathan Pollard, etc. were convicted of espionage, not treason… John Walker Lindh pled guilty to conspiracy to murder… Treason didn’t apply, since he “removed” himself in peacetime.

Bitch Coulter has used the case of Iva Toguri D'Aquino, aka Tokyo Rose, in published remarks on the subject as an example of someone convicted of treason… Of course, she neglects to add the conviction was based of perjured testimony which was later exposed… Iva Toguri D'Aquino was finally exonerated and eventually pardoned… Something Coulter fails to mention…

So here you go, a real live traitor, if you can take him alive… Got to it, dogs of war!


Everybody’s favorite sonofabitch, Robert Novak, brings us four items in today’s dirtbag, two of which I find to be of particular interest:

“Rudy for president?”

I would find the lead item of little note - speculation about Giuliani’s presidential aspirations is cheap - except for this:

“Republican insiders respond to [Giuliani’s high standing in the polls] by saying rank-and-file GOP voters will abandon Giuliani once they realize his position on abortion, gay rights and gun control. Party strategists calculate that if he actually runs, he must change on at least one of these issues”…

So if he’s pro-gun he can be pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage?

Or anti-gun, anti-abortion, and pro-gay marriage?

Or anti-gay marriage, anti-gun, and pro-abortion?

I know… We read stuff like this all the time… But it just makes me want to go find neoconservative Republicans and slap the shit out of them…

If the neoconservative agenda rests on cornerstones like this, they ought to be slapping the shit out of themselves… If it doesn’t, they ought to be slapping the shit out of Republican triangulators who reduce them to such nonsense…

The second amendment is important in the abstract but is in no way threatened; the other two are strictly personal issues no government on any level should ever interfere with.

When will the right realize there are real issues out there?

Speaking of a real issue, the third item in the dirtbag is especially interesting.

“Wooing Hispanics”

In it’s entirety:

“Presidential adviser Karl Rove and Sen. Sam Brownback, two conservative Republicans who favor a guest-worker program for immigrants, will address the left-wing Hispanic advocacy group La Raza in Los Angeles this week.

La Raza was active in increasing participation in nationwide work stoppages and demonstrations April 10 after the House passed a tough border enforcement bill. La Raza in Spanish means "The Race."

Former President Bill Clinton heads the list of speakers for the annual meeting of La Raza's national council. The Rev. Jesse Jackson will appear on a panel.”

What do Karl Rove, Bill Clinton, Sam Brownback, and Jesse Jackson all have in common? They’re all sucking up to the Mexican Black Panthers…

For better or worse, the “old America” - the America of the melting pot, the America founded on a good idea - has been sold out to the globalist pirates for whom borders – and the standards that come with them – are an inconvenient impediment to profits…

If the anti-immigration crowd isn’t ready to use their second amendment rights yet, you have to wonder why…

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Two good local reads on the holiday have come my way today, and have somehow connected themselves in my twisty mind…

They are from people of, I think it’s fair to say, very different ideological biases – yet I find myself agreeing with both of them for the most part.

And it reminds me of what the choice between supporting the left or the right, the Republicans or Democrats, means to me personally - and of their small differences and great similarities…

First, a good short essay from Toby Nixon, a Republican who represents Washington’s 45th legislative district. It’s in the form of an untitled letter to supporters. You can read this at the Representative’s website or at Leaning Straight Up, where the hat tip goes to Karl:

The second piece is by Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Robert Jamieson:

“Blowing up democracy on Fourth of July”

Lacking specific knowledge, I will nevertheless advance the presumption this man votes Democrat…

Republican or Democrat… Hanging or lethal injection…

Or so it often seems to me.

Either way, I can count on the government taking more of my money than I’m willing to give and spending a lot of that in ways I don’t approve of, including some that are downright foolish.

The “R’s” will spend a disproportionate amount of that money on foreign misadventures which perpetuate the cycle of war – job security for the military industrial complex. Of course, the “D’s” get their licks in on this one, too: It was a “D” who escalated Vietnam from a relatively minor police action into a major war…

Beware Texans on the warpath…

The “D’s” will spend a disproportionate amount of my money on social programs, some of which do nothing but perpetuate problems.

The “R’s,” by perpetuating American hegemony, will better secure my prosperity. But if I end up in the poor farm, the “D’s” will take better care of me.

I’m more likely to be either rich or ruined by Republican policies… I’m more likely to be poor and protected by the Democrats.

Neither group advocates protecting my rights the way I think they should be protected. The “R’s” will do a better job protecting my real property and will promote a better operating environment for any business activity I might start. Representative Nixon goes into detail on the hot-button issue of takings in his piece:

“…   Today, our government too often assumes for itself the power to take from us our lives, our liberty, and our property. It may be in the form of a “critical areas ordinance” that takes from each rural landowner the use of 65% of their land, or a U.S. Supreme Court decision that says any local government can take our home from us if they think some other private landowner would pay them more in taxes for it, or a state legislature that says the government should take ownership of a significant part of our assets when we die instead of them being inherited by our children…”

Bravo. It should be noted the GWB administration recently issued an Executive Order which repudiates economic “takings” by the Federal government of the kind allowed by Kelo…


The “D’s” are 90% AWOL on this matter. The majority “D’s” in Washington’s Legislature have given us land use and environmental standards so rigorous that the property right of many is practically void.

The collectivist left does not respect property rights per se - and neither does the Democratic Party.

On the other hand, siding with the “R’s” means accepting a “wink-wink nudge-nudge” theocracy which will seek to marginalize - and support the marginalization of - anyone who chooses to follow a non-traditional lifestyle. This will include sexual and religious minorities, people who eschew traditional marriage, etc…

The “D’s” are more willing to keep their morals out of my home and my life and their religions in their churches where they belong.

So I can protect either my property or my privacy, but not both…

And it’s privacy of a different kind - government secrecy - which occupies most of Mr. Jamieson’s attention in his piece, railing, as he does, against the Bush Administration’s secret programs and what he views as administration efforts to stifle the constitutionally protected free press:

“President Bush recently lashed out against reporters for divulging a secret government program that monitors international banking transactions. He called such newspaper revelations "disgraceful" acts that help terrorists… In Bush's world, the media should be lapdogs for the administration, not watchdogs. Asking questions is rude. Lies aren't lies -- they're examples of "truthiness." And when all else fails just pull out the fear card -- with color-coded terror warnings -- and distract the public.”

Mr. Jamieson quotes Thomas Jefferson “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Old Tom… He really was a fine anarchist… And I would agree with him.

Yet Jamieson should consider a little less personalization here… There has been a lot of “D’s” riding this bandwagon… The President has a lot of bi-partisan support for his “security initiatives”…

Which brings me to the place where the minor distinctions without major differences between “R’s” and “D’s” merge: Both groups crave more power, even if they would wield it differently. And this is why I contend the power grab must stop now. I think GWB has vastly abused his office with unnecessary expansions of power cloaked in the necessity of fighting a “war on terror” - a war with only the most nebulous of goals, a will o’ the wisp enemy, and no definable end…

The powers are contingent on the war and last as long as it does… The war may never end…

Supporters of GWB, do you want a “D” wielding that enhanced power? Would you have been comfortable with Slick Willie having these powers? How about Mrs. Willie? The woman who, despite her only connection to the government being her marriage, nevertheless just happened to get a hold of at least a thousand FBI files… Have you forgotten? Not me.

She could be your next President… And I don’t believe for a minute any “D” - Kerry, Gore, any of them - would have failed to pull the same shenanigans the shrub has…

And a final question: If war powers can be applied to fighting against this will o’ the wisp, can they be used against others???

Every wartime President we have had since Lincoln has abused wartime powers. Our only defense is disclosure.

Which is why I support the New York Times in its recent disclosures of classified government programs. I don’t want the government wielding the power of the secret. I don’t believe programs like the SWIFT requests need to be secret – in fact, I’ll suggest that if they are out in plain view they might go a long way in discouraging wannabees like those fools recently nabbed in Florida…

The real terrorists will expect US to pull out all the stops… The others should be warned.

So, for a last call here’s two more pieces I recommend on Independence Day. The first is The New York Times rebuttal to critics:

“When Do We Publish a Secret?”

And finally, from America’s last honest President, James Earl Carter:

“We Need Fewer Secrets”

And may the Star Spangled Banner continue to wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Monday, July 03, 2006


The assassination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq is old news by now, but the threads of the story continue.

Analysis of the surprisingly large amount of information gained in the aftermath – surprising in the sense it survived an airstrike – certainly continues in intelligence circles, while pundits and reporters scramble to “get the story.” Emerging is a picture of a man whose actions increasingly alienated supporters and potential allies… With perhaps a few very odd twists.

For a good, if very long read on the subject, we have a report from MEMRI:

“Al-Zarqawi Post Mortem: How He Lost His Sunni Allies Prior to His Killing”

To summarize: Zarqawi had many enemies among Iraqis and a shrinking circle of conditional allies due to his playing everyone against everyone, his brutal tactics, and his dogmatic refusal to compromise…

Sort of like Karl Rove but with a gun…

Today, however, there is a fascinating blurb that might provide insight into who some of those allies may have been – and into some surprising enemies:

VIA Huffington Post –the first major American blog to carry the story – Yahoo brings us an account of a story from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica:

“Al-Zarqawi's wife: Al-Qaida sold him out”

From the story:

“Al-Qaida leaders sold out Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to the United States in exchange for a promise to let up in the search for Osama bin Laden, the slain militant's wife claimed in an interview with an Italian newspaper. The woman, identified by La Repubblica as al-Zarqawi's first wife, said al-Qaida's top leadership reached a deal with U.S. intelligence because al-Zarqawi had become too powerful. She claimed Sunni tribes and Jordanian secret services mediated the deal.”

On an unrelated but potentially explosive note, the article goes on to claim the memory of Zarqawi’s cellphone contained “telephone numbers of senior officials” which “included ministry employees and members of parliament.”

FoxNews has published a similar account of the cellphone numbers find.

Fascinating… What a tangled web this may become…

There are a lot of problems with this story, not the least of which are the questions of how and how much does this Jordanian woman know about the Al-Qaeda leadership. But still…

There were already reports of a sellout. The day after the airstrike, IHT ran a story claiming the US found Zarqawi by following his “"spiritual adviser," a man named Sheikh Abd al-Rahman.” IHT went on to claim the tip that allowed the US to zero Rahman came from “an Iraqi informant inside Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.”

“Zarqawi betrayed by Qaeda insider”

At the same time, ABC news “The Blotter” reported the breakthrough came from the Jordanian intelligence service:

“Captured Zarqawi Aide Spilled the Beans”

According to ABC:

“An Iraqi customs agent secretly working with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terror cell spilled the beans on the group after he was arrested, Jordanian officials tell ABC News.
Ziad Khalaf Raja al-Karbouly was arrested by Jordanian intelligence forces last spring.
Officials say Karbouly confessed to his role in the terror cell and provided crucial information on the names of Zarqawi commanders and locations of their safe houses.”

Neither of these versions were confirmed in their entirety by US officials…

Which brings us back to the original… What if??? The accounts of MEMRI, among others, supply the insight that Zarqawi had few friends and many enemies, although the most recent account suggests some surprising friends. Earlier reports - some going back months - had suggested Zarqawi was often at odds with the Al-Qaeda leadership.

What if? What if Osama Bin Laden concluded Zarqawi was too much of a loose cannon to be trusted? What if the dogs were getting too close?

Would he sell one of his own? I find this a reasonable suggestion.

Would we buy?

I wish I could find this an unreasonable suggestion… But I can’t. I wish I could accept that our government has done everything it could to find OBL… But I can’t.

A 49 year-old with a kidney condition who was in a Pakistani military hospital on 9/11/01 has eluded an honest effort mounted by the best army in the world, backed by the best intelligence money can buy?

I don’t believe I’m the only person who finds this hard to believe…

Would we buy? We needed Zarqawi’s head – we needed a victory. The Administration and the party it leads needs political points badly; control of the government likely hangs by a thread in the next election. Would we buy a certain kill with a promise to forebear, at least temporarily?

Would the United States government deal with terrorists, or a “terrorist state” behind the people’s backs, perhaps even in violation of US law?

Do you remember Iran-Contra???

How bad does the Administration want OBL, anyway? After all, if we catch him, if we “decapitate” Al Qaeda, will that not lead immediately to calls to declare the war on terror “won?”

Millions of Americans - dare I suggest most all Americans - want peace; want to go back to “a pre-911 world.” How many are there who don’t want that? And who are they?

Call this a fool’s muse if you dare. But if you do, tell my why. Is it merely that you trust the administration of GWB? I don’t trust them: They have lied too many times already. They have dealt dirty before - as has every administration of the last 40 years except perhaps Carter’s. I can’t accept they wouldn’t deal dirty again.

After all, there is a war to promote… Maybe Zarqawi’s sorry carcass wasn’t the only thing “sold out” this time…

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