Ungodly Politics

"Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh." - Al Swearingen

Friday, May 28, 2004  

From my friend mopaul, one of the funniest .gifs ever:

posted by lazarus | 07:42 | |

Thursday, May 27, 2004  

Bush loves the National Guard:

"Regular Army soldiers in Iraq sleep in fortified accommodations while National Guard troops are in unprotected tents and using filthy showers, according to e-mail messages from several North Carolina soldiers."

posted by lazarus | 09:50 | |

BBC NEWS | UK | Politics | Tory spokesman backing Democrat
My World has just turned upside down.

Tory Alan Duncan has said he is prepared to work for the Democrat campaign of John Kerry to prevent a second Bush term in the White House.
The constitutional affairs spokesman says he is an "instinctive Republican" but is concerned at the influence of Neo-Conservatives in Washington.

He told BBC News Online: "I find myself more at home with Colin Powell than with Donald Rumsfeld."

Mr Duncan first met Mr Kerry in 1982 when the MP was at Harvard.

Traditionally Conservatives in the UK have been more closely identified with Republicans in the US than Democrats, who have had closer links with Labour.

posted by RogueTrooper | 06:38 | |

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Doonesbury at war

For much of middle America, as well as middle England, middle France and very possibly middle earth, the war in Iraq really hit home on April 19 this year. Opening their newspaper comic supplements or turning to the editorial page where some newspapers place the Doonesbury strip, readers were shocked by yet another piece of grisly news from Iraq. And this was news about someone they knew, some for more than 30 years.

BD, aka Brian Dowling, college football star and one of the lead characters in Garry Trudeau's strip cartoon Doonesbury, lost a leg (and, almost as shocking for aficionados, his helmet). The opening frame, a black box with the word "Hey!" in a white bubble, was the first sign that something was wrong. The next frame had a tearful GI saying, "You stay with me, man, you hear me?" It wasn't until two days later that BD was shown lying on a stretcher, his heavily bandaged left leg stopping abruptly at the thigh. Yet while the injury to BD brought home the savage and random nature of the war, the real furore erupted two days later

This is a good article and well worth the read if you have a spare five minutes or so.

posted by RogueTrooper | 02:44 | |

Wednesday, May 26, 2004  

CNN.com - Tom Clancy wrestles with Iraq war - May 26, 2004
Just one snip...

In discussing the Iraq war, both Clancy and Zinni singled out the Department of Defense for criticism. Clancy recalled a prewar encounter in Washington during which he "almost came to blows" with Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser at the time and a longtime advocate of the invasion.

"He was saying how (Secretary of State) Colin Powell was being a wuss because he was overly concerned with the lives of the troops," Clancy said. "And I said, 'Look ..., he's supposed to think that way!' And Perle didn't agree with me on that. People like that worry me."

posted by RogueTrooper | 11:42 | |

Al Gore Speaks. And it's a truly remarkable thing to behold.

posted by lazarus | 11:25 | |

Tuesday, May 25, 2004  

An interesting view that makes me feel better about Kerry's campaign so far.

Guardian Unlimited | US elections 2004 | Bush can't win this election now. Kerry can only lose it: "Whoever said that misfortunes come in threes must have had George Bush in mind these past few days. First the US president falls off his mountain bike and grazes his face. Then Michael Moore's anti-Bush movie gets the top prize at the Cannes film festival. And now, to cap a lousy weekend, it looks as if Bush is going to lose the election in November.
Political professionals - Labour as well as Democrat - still shake their heads. Why has he not exploited Bush's setbacks in Iraq more ruthlessly, they ask? Why has he not focused his message more clearly? Again there are solid answers. Because Kerry is playing a softly-softly long game. Because Bush's record in Iraq is doing Kerry's job for him. Because it isn't smart to attack Bush too strongly now for fear of letting him play the patriotic card.
Much of the more militant anti-Bush opinion is frustrated by Kerry too. They want him to do a Michael Moore, to tear into Bush not just on Iraq but on the Middle East, on civil liberties, on inequality, on the environment and on the spiralling government deficit which the new book Colossus by Niall Ferguson (no Michael Moore he) identifies as the achilles heel of America's global role.
But Kerry is proving smarter than all these people think. Back in September 2001, Kerry was one of the Senate Democrats who supported his majority leader Tom Daschle in the hard but uninspiring decision to keep the party's head down on the war on terror. America's mood was such, they argued, that to attack Bush over Afghanistan, civil liberties or Iraq was to walk into the trap that Karl Rove, the president's strategist, was setting for the 2004 campaign. Rove's strategy was and is to present Bush as a strong and successful wartime leader. Daschle's wily response was to lie low. If the war on terror went brilliantly, Bush would win anyway. If it went badly, Daschle and Kerry were determined not to allow Bush to blame it on the Democrats.
It was a huge gamble. Yet if it looked craven in 2001, it begins to look a lot smarter today. As Bush began his fightback strategy on Iraq last night in Pennsylvania, opening a crucial phase of what the distinguished writer Elizabeth Drew this week rightly called America's "most consequential election in decades", it is Kerry, not Bush, who is now the man to beat."

posted by lazarus | 05:29 | |

Saturday, May 22, 2004  

They're lying again:

"President Bush suffered minor abrasions after falling off a mountain bike on his Texas ranch on Saturday, the White House said. "
Eh, okay. But wait, there's more...
"It's been raining a lot. the topsoil was loose," the White House spokesman noted.

But it hasn't been. According to weather.com, no rain since at least Saturday the 15th.

Now why not just say he hit a rock, or a rut, or something plausible? Why tell such a blatant lie, except because you can?

posted by lazarus | 20:38 | |

Well, this is relatively huge.

Lawyer: Top U.S. Officer Knew of Prison Abuse (washingtonpost.com): "A military lawyer for a soldier charged in the Abu Ghraib abuse case testified that a captain at the Baghdad prison said the highest-ranking U.S. military officer in Iraq was present during some 'interrogations and/or allegations of the prisoner abuse,' according to a recording of a military hearing obtained by The Washington Post.

The lawyer said he was told that Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez and other senior military officers were aware of what was taking place on Tier 1A of Abu Ghraib. The lawyer, Capt. Robert Shuck, also said a sergeant at the prison was prepared to testify that intelligence officers told him the abuse of detainees on the cellblock was 'the right thing to do.' "


"Are you saying that Captain Reese is going to testify that General Sanchez was there and saw this going on?" asked Capt. John McCabe, the military prosecutor.

"That's what he told me," Shuck said. "I am an officer of the court, sir, and I would not lie. I have got two children at home. I'm not going to risk my career."

posted by lazarus | 15:51 | |

Friday night news dump:

"The Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that a U.S.-funded arm of Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress has been used for years by Iranian intelligence to pass disinformation to the United States and to collect highly sensitive American secrets, according to intelligence sources.

'Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the United States through Chalabi by furnishing through his Information Collection Program information to provoke the United States into getting rid of Saddam Hussein,' said an intelligence source Friday who was briefed on the Defense Intelligence Agency's conclusions, which were based on a review of thousands of internal documents."
And the intelligence used by BushCo to force us into war came from Chalabi.

Is Judith Miller out of work yet?

posted by lazarus | 01:49 | |

Remember the big outrage the right had over Clinton's sex scandal?

It all seemed to be summed up in the line, "How am I going to explain this to my children?"

I have no problems explaining to my daughter the ins and outs of sex, the whole "birds and bees" stuff.

But, for the life of me, I still can't figure out how to explain Abu Ghraib to her. I don't understand it myself.

So, conservatives: How are we going to explain this to our children?

posted by lazarus | 01:35 | |

Friday, May 21, 2004  

William Rivers Pitt asked the following on DU recently:

"Do you really think...

...that this kind of thing...

...would have happened, or would ever happen...

...under a President Kerry...

...and a Kerry-appointed Defense Secretary...

...and a Kerry-appointed Secretary of State...

...and a Kerry-chosen Vice President...

...and a Kerry-appointed National Security Advisor...

...and a Kerry appointed Attorney General?

Do you believe that?

Last one for thought:

Rummy in you-know-where.

If you believe it, then speak up. I'd like to hear this."


posted by lazarus | 00:39 | |

Thursday, May 20, 2004  

More pictures from Abu Ghraib.

Check out number 5, in particular. That's liberation.

posted by lazarus | 21:49 | |

Wednesday, May 19, 2004  

Gays aren't a threat to marriage, the US military is. At least in Iraq.

I saw in one report that the young girl mentioned in this article was beheaded. Suppose the right wing is going to get all worked up over her?

Wedding party massacre: "Iraqi officials last night said an American helicopter fired on a wedding party in western Iraq killing more than 40 people, including many children, in another damaging setback for the US occupation.
A senior Iraqi police officer told the Associated Press that a helicopter fired at the party early yesterday morning in a remote village close to the Syrian border, killing between 42 and 45 people.
Television footage showed a truck carrying the bodies of the dead arriving in Ramadi, the nearest big town. Many of the dead were clearly children. "

posted by lazarus | 23:37 | |

Hey, did I scoop my counterpart from across the sea?

Commons suspended: "The House of Commons has been suspended during Prime Minister's question time after what appeared to be purple powder was thrown at Tony Blair.
Mr Blair was speaking at the Despatch Box during his weekly half-hour appearance in the chamber when what appeared to be something like a balloon filled with purple powder hit him on his back.
Commons Speaker Michael Martin immediately interupted the proceedings, saying: 'This House is now suspended.'
The incident comes just weeks after a £600,000 security screen was installed in the Commons. "

posted by lazarus | 04:44 | |

Guardian Unlimited | US elections 2004 | Swell affair at a grand a head as Dad speaks up to boost Bush campaign
One of the problems about the Guardian's coverage of US politics is that it frequently relies on US wire reports for it's information. A policy that has the unfortunate effect of giving it's US election coverage a slightly pro-Bush slant. However, when it is covering politics in the UK it know what side it's partisan bread is buttered.

As every high spending teenager knows, when the overdraft gets big it is best to call in Dad. And so it was that George Bush senior brought a presidential outreach project to London last night in a bid to drum up more dollars for his son's presidential re-election campaign, which has already broken all fundraising records.
Amid tight security, an audience dominated by American expats paid $1,000 (£566) a head to hear the first President Bush appeal for more money for George W at the five-star Landmark hotel in Marylebone, London. The president has so far raised some $200m (£113m) for the 2004 campaign, more than double the record-breaking sum gathered during the 2000 election. In the Landmark's winter gardens, a pianist tinkled the tune of Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You; outside, unheard by Mr Bush, a group of schoolgirls chanted: "Bush, Bush, shame on you, your son is a killer too".

According the crown outside...

US expats among 200 anti-war protesters outside were anxious to show that not all Americans in Britain were backing the Bush campaign.
"People are very polarised in this election," said Luke Robinson, a web developer holding a "Proud of my country, shamed by my president" placard. "A large percentage of American expats are turning against George Bush."
According to the expats outside, those dining with Mr Bush were typically super-rich members of Republicans Abroad who worked for US banks and law firms in the City.

As this event was guarded by members of the UK's security services would this constitute an illegal contribution from a foreign national? I wait, with baited breath, for The Queen's name to appear as a Bush Pioneer.

posted by RogueTrooper | 02:51 | |

Tuesday, May 18, 2004  

Col. David Hackworth on the failure of leadership in Iraq:

"When I was a buck private in Italy, five-star Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower visited my outfit. Of course, there was no television in those days, so there was no globally televised Bob Hope-type spectacle like last week's Rumsfeld-Myers show-of-all-vaudeville-shows at Abu Ghraib prison. Instead, Ike walked through the ranks and talked to every soldier in my reconnaissance company.

He stopped in front of me - 15 years old and quaking - and asked: "How do you like the chow?"

"It stinks, Sir."

"Why?" he asked.

"All we get is Spam."

"Spam? Why?" he roared to his entourage.

A shaky voice replied that the depots were filled with Spam from World War II, and the supply people were getting rid of it.

"Stop it," he snapped. "Feed these soldiers proper rations."

"That take care of it, son?" he asked me.

"Yes sir," I gulped.

I still remember the concern in his voice. And I learned then that if a soldier got to the boss and bitched, the odds were the boss would fix it. I also learned a valuable leadership lesson: A commander must get down on the ground with his troops in order to find out what's really going on.

Had Army leadership been following Ike's example, our nation would not be shamed, and our critical military mission in Iraq wouldn't be jeopardized.

Instead, the chain of command was egregiously AWOL. Army sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors, lieutenant colonels, colonels and at least one brigadier general, one major general and one lieutenant general shrugged off their duty. And the buck stops far higher."

posted by lazarus | 23:03 | |

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | 'War rumbles on' in southern Iraq

The British troops even fixed their bayonets. They say they can't afford to take any chances.

"The Mehdi Army are a very ruthless and determined enemy," said Major James Coote of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment.

"They will use any tactics available including using children to attack us, or to hide behind children, as they have done within the city in the last week or so. Unfortunately they are also very well armed.

"We have certainly won a few battles but we haven't yet won the war."

I think many in the army would settle for things to start getting better.

Even Saddam Hussein struggled to control it - now the British are struggling too.

The mind boggles at that last comment.

posted by RogueTrooper | 09:31 | |

Guardian Unlimited Film | Features | Peter Bradshaw on Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11

It does not have a big "showdown" moment, like Moore's encounter with Charlton Heston, although the director shouts out questions to the president he derisively calls Governor Bush and is rewarded by him with a snarling suggestion that he should get a real job, which takes some effrontery coming from the slacker fratboy head of state who makes Ronald Reagan's workload look Stakhanovite.

Fahrenheit 9/11 cheekily begins with "feed" footage of the major players - Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz - smirking, and preening themselves as they prepare to go on TV. Wolfowitz even has a habit of licking his comb before running it through his hair, which got a deafening "eeeuuuuuwwwww" from the audience.

Here they are, is the implication, the whole corrupt gang who fixed the 2000 election, which began when Bush's cousin John Ellis, a Fox News executive, was instrumental in "calling it" for Bush/Cheney on election night and cowed the other networks into joining in.

From there, Moore sketches out the Texan-Saudi link through the Bin Ladens. This very much involves George Bush Sr, who far from being a retired old gentleman, is a vigorous player in the business and political scene, fully availing himself of the ex-presidential prerogative of receiving intelligence briefings.

Moore has a terrifying and funny sequence when he shows the rabbit-in-car-headlights expression on the president's face when he is told about the second plane hitting the towers while at a children's literacy event. A stopwatch appears in the corner of the screen, as the minutes tick by and the president keeps reading My Pet Goat, not knowing what to do without his advisers to tell him.
Let's hope it gets a distribution deal in time to make an impact on the election.

posted by RogueTrooper | 05:18 | |

Monday, May 17, 2004  

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Baghdad blast kills Iraq leader
It would seem that our Iraqi adversaries have decided to start the week off with a bang...

The current head of Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council has been killed in a car bomb blast near the headquarters of the US-led coalition in Baghdad.
Ezzedine Salim was waiting to enter the compound when the bomb went off at 0530 GMT, killing him and several others.

It is not yet clear whether Mr Salim was the target of what US officials say was a suicide attack.

The US overseer for Iraq, Paul Bremer, condemned the killing as "vile" and vowed to defeat those responsible

In other news...

In southern Iraq, scene of fierce clashes in recent days, there was more fighting overnight as US and Italian forces battled Shia militiamen.

Nine Iraqis were killed in Nasiriya during clashes with Italian troops, hospital officials said.

The Italians were forced to withdraw to their main camp some 10km (six miles) outside the city.

Defence officials in Rome confirmed that an Italian soldier had died from injuries sustained in the fighting.

In the holy city of Karbala, where US troops are pitted against fighters loyal to the radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, five Iraqis died and more than 30 were injured overnight, hospital sources said.


posted by RogueTrooper | 03:49 | |

Sunday, May 16, 2004  

TV Guide brings us the Final Answer. I guess Hume was wrong.

SHOW TITLE: Startling Proofs
SYNOPSIS: Leading scientists and Bible experts discuss the unquestionable signs of God's existence.

I'm curious to know who these "leading scientists" are. :->

posted by lazarus | 21:52 | |

The Observer | Comment | Playing at fantasy politics

When real life just gets too much, it is a common human response to retreat into espousing. As the bulletins from Iraq have become relentlessly grimmer, quite a lot of Labour MPs have been indulging in it. Egged on by much of the media, they have been playing at fantasy politics.

The news is bad for the Labour Party right now and one of the main reasons it is so bad is because of Tony Blair. Labour Party members loathe George W. Bush. They loathe him not just because he is a monster but also because he is a Republican. In the average Labour Party member's pantheon of hate the Republicans come off slightly better than the British Conservative Party and about equal to Israel's Likud Party ( The British Labour Party have long been allied with the Israeli Labour Party and, thus, has a multi-generational loathing of Likud ). Recent UK polling has caused many Labour MP's to start to drink the grassroot's Irn Bru ( Kool-Aid is not sold in the UK ).

This has prompted a second game of fantasy Prime Minister. In this round, the wounded but defiant Tony Blair we've got in Number 10 suddenly morphs into a contrite and changed Tony Blair. This new Blair will express regrets for the Iraq enterprise and divorce himself from the White House. A lot of his MPs, many members of his Government and some of his aides have been urging the Prime Minister to 'put distance' between himself and an American President who is plummeting in the polls. Exactly what those who advocate this course mean by it is not always clear. My impression is that people just want the Prime Minister to sound as rude and angry about Dubya as they feel.

I final Note: I think events are moving much faster than people realise. Watch this space.

posted by RogueTrooper | 12:29 | |

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Comment | A fatal attraction?
Worrying times for the Labour Party.

For the first time, it has become clear just how closely Blair's fate is now intertwined with that of the man his party loves to hate, George Bush. It is not only Iraqi insurgents who are destabilising Blair's domestic popularity, but also the systematic sadism of some American soldiers, which has cost both Bush - and, by association, Blair - the moral high ground. He has become a victim of friendly fire.

MPs expecting a drubbing at the ballot box next month in the local, European and London elections fear for their own futures. Even Ken Livingstone, hardly a Blairite, has seen his poll lead halved after rejoining Labour: MPs have concluded that, as the veteran Labour backbencher Clive Soley puts it, right now 'anyone under the Labour banner is a bit vulnerable'.

This coincides with my own thinking. I have long thought that Tony Blair's will be brought down by his closeness with George W. Bush. I have to say that I thought if George looked like he was going to survive, Tony would too. However, it would see that the Tories are making hay with Tony Blair's troubles...

Tuesday's report in the Guardian - that Blair would go if he was not wanted - coincided disastrously with a Times poll giving the Tories a six-point lead. This was not enough to get Michael Howard into Downing Street, but enough to wipe out more than 100 Labour MPs. Even Education Secretary Charles Clarke would be vulnerable on that kind of swing.

Panic ensued in the tea rooms, with what one whip called 'back-of-a-fag-packet' calculations on who would lose their job. By Wednesday, the mood was nearing hysteria.

Howard drew blood at Prime Minister's Questions by demanding compensation for workers who had lost their pension savings: as he knows, many Labour backbenchers have been pleading for months for Blair to help.

My guess is that the Labour Party will change their leader sooner, rather than later, certainly before the next UK General Election and probably just before the US General Election. Next months local and European elections look like they will be bad for the Party and worse for Tony Blair. Labour Party Conference is about a month before the US General Election and that will most probably be when Gordon Brown becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. I have a feeling that this will have a detrimental effect on George W. Bush's election chances.

posted by RogueTrooper | 11:39 | |

Friday, May 14, 2004  

Curiouser and curiouser:

"The company that specialized in building communications towers never registered with the Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau, said Brian McDonald, spokesman for the state department.
McDonald conducted a search of the bureau's online list of registered businesses, but found no matches.
The same search done by a Daily Local News reporter produced the same results -- several businesses contained the word 'Prometheus' in their names. Only one is located in West Chester, and it is not related to Bergs business.

Companies are not legally required to register with the state, but McDonald explained it is usually the first step an owner takes.
'You'd be very foolish not to register your business with the department,' he said. 'It is nearly impossible to exist without doing it.'
Registering allows an owner to set up his business's tax structure. It also establishes how the business is run, for example, whether or not it is for-profit or nonprofit.
'It is basically the infrastructure by which businesses are set up in the commonwealth,' McDonald said.

McDonald added it is possible the business could be listed in the bureau?s records under a different name.
Searching the statewide yellow pages online found two company names containing the word 'Prometheus' in Philadelphia. One is an Internet consulting business."

posted by lazarus | 11:49 | |

Bush keeps cool in West Virginia, while students sweatl:

"But Brenda Brum, a librarian at Parkersburg South and a former delegate, said Bush's comments fly in the face of the reality teachers, students and parents face every day trying to meet new federal mandates.
'He doesn't think the federal government is responsible for funding local schools,' Brum said. 'My question then is why are they setting all the rules?'"
Brum said that on Thursday one only had to look around the school to see how the expensive No Child Left Behind requirements are affecting students.
"We've got 1,200 students sitting over there in an un-air conditioned auditorium watching this (on television) with fans blowing on them to keep cool," she said. "Here, we've pumped in air conditioning for the President. I resent that. We need to first make sure there's money to provide students with an adequate learning environment."
That's right. His majesty can't take the heat that kids have to face every day.

In yet another demonstration of the liberal bias in today's media, the opening paragraph stated that, "...President Bush faced an audience in a hot, crowded high school gym..."

posted by lazarus | 11:41 | |

My sister and her conservative husband are in town for a couple of days, so things will be lighter than usual. In the meantime, check out the folks to the right.

posted by lazarus | 06:17 | |

Wednesday, May 12, 2004  

How did Nick Berg, who wasn't working for any companies, just on his own, get into Iraq?

Iraq - Consular Information Sheet: "ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: The Iraqi Interests Section of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain is opened only for limited consular services and cannot issue travel documents at this time. The Interests Section is located at 1801 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Phone number at the chancery is 202-483-7500; fax is 202-462-5066.
A person seeking entry to Iraq must appear before an authorized officer of the CPA at a port of entry, border control station, or at any place designated by the Senior Advisor of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, in coordination with the Interim Minister of the Interior, for examination to determine whether the person may be granted entry to Iraq. Officers issue permits valid for up to 90 days, which may be renewed at CPA offices in Iraq. Permits will eventually be issued by Iraqi missions abroad."

posted by lazarus | 17:33 | |

Yahoo! News - Mo. Gov., Guard Question Soldier Drivers: "Missouri's governor and National Guard leader raised concerns Tuesday that some soldiers in Iraq (news - web sites) are improperly being used as drivers for civilian supply contractors.

In a letter to President Bush (news - web sites), Democratic Gov. Bob Holden complained that members of the Guard's 1221st Transportation Company were being directed to drive vehicles for contractors of Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. "
The mind boggles. Every time I think they've gotten as corrupt as possible, something new comes along.

And I'm not even touching the Nick Berg beheading. Way too many questions there.

posted by lazarus | 00:40 | |

Tuesday, May 11, 2004  

This is interesting:

Cell phone cameras are useful for the unusual moment that demands a picture, like when a congressional aide pulled one out of a pocket to get a snapshot of Michael Jackson strolling the halls of Congress.
Some people, however, are using them for nefarious purposes, such as taking pictures beneath women's skirts and posting them on the Internet. Lawmakers want to make taking such surreptitious photos and other illicit uses of video technology a federal crime punishable by up to a year in jail.
"No one should have to go through the embarrassment of being secretly taped by an electronic peeping Tom, or seeing those pictures turn up on the Internet," said Rep. Mike Oxley, R-Ohio, a former FBI agent who is an advocate for the bill.
The real reason: Camera phones were used for a lot of the pictures taken in Abu Ghraib.

posted by lazarus | 22:45 | |

AP Wire | 05/11/2004 | Hoping to cut costs, Navy experiments with civilians on warship

As we have "discovered" in Iraq (for some reason, only the people coming up with this idiocy are the only ones surprised), when the shit hits the fan, you need military, not civilians, on duty.

Notice that our logistics in Iraq have gone to hell, because the civilians can choose to leave when the shooting starts.

posted by lazarus | 16:13 | |

Cheap Sanctimony is now playing on the Mighty Wurlitzer
Josh, Atrios, have been making hay regarding the insane droolings of Senator Inhofe ( R - Fool ). The good Senator was apparently "outraged" by all the outrage regarding the wanton torture of Iraqi Civilians. By all accounts Senator McCain ( R - Decent, Honorable Man ) walked out of the meeting when Inhofe could not keep his brain farts inside his head. I was tempted to write this off as one ( poor excuse of a ) man's witless ranting; however an article in The New York Times makes me think that we may be the beginning of a Republican strategy.

Republicans in Congress will intensify their effort to help the White House in coming days by suggesting that Democrats are politicising the issue, the adviser said. House Republicans in particular have already sought to equate criticism from Democrats with a lack of support for fighting terrorism.

A familiar strategy from the party who put the shame into shameless. I am not sure who this is going to convince Iraq.

posted by RogueTrooper | 12:48 | |

Bush administration has used 27 rationales for war in Iraq, study says: "If it seems that there have been quite a few rationales for going to war in Iraq, that's because there have been quite a few - 27, in fact, all floated between Sept. 12, 2001, and Oct. 11, 2002, according to a new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All but four of the rationales originated with the administration of President George W. Bush.

The study also finds that the Bush administration switched its focus from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein early on - only five months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States."

The full study is available here. I haven't had time to wade through it yet, but I'm hoping a good extract will be available soon.

posted by lazarus | 07:06 | |

Monday, May 10, 2004  

I do not know why I am shocked by this as I knew that this administration would stay true to form and use "The War on Terror" for political gain. I guess I just have a standard a decency my consious will not let me go below.

From Josh

Just to pass on some added information, about which we'll be saying more. There is chatter in Pakistani intelligence circles that the US has let the Pakistanis know that the optimal time for bagging 'high value' al Qaida suspects in the untamed Afghan-Pakistani border lands is the last ten days of July, 2004.

As an optomist I hope John Kerry makes something of this. I doubt it, but I can hope.

posted by RogueTrooper | 11:16 | |

BBC NEWS | UK | US virgins urge UK teen celibacy

A group of US virgins and an evangelist are urging British teenagers to abstain from sex before marriage.
The Silver Ring Thing encourages young people to buy a silver ring and pledge to remain celibate.

The scheme has sold 20,000 of the $12 rings to US teenagers and is planning a British tour, preaching the beliefs and selling the rings for £10 each.

It is funded partly by the Bush administration, which is a strong supporter of abstinence.

"The significance of the ring is that it's a constant reminder on the finger of the young person that helps them deal with the temptation that they face every day with becoming sexually active," founder Denny Pattyn told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Firstly, that is some markup on the cost of the ring. Who are these people? The Money Changers? £10 is nearly $20 at current exchange rates.
Let's all hope they will be going home soon.

posted by RogueTrooper | 08:46 | |

'Action pending on alleged abuse'
Geoff Hoon, Tony Blair's minister of defense, was up in front of the UK legislature this afternoon.

Decisions on whether to prosecute British troops over alleged abuse of Iraqis are pending in two cases, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has said.
In a statement to MPs, Mr Hoon apologised "unreservedly" to any Iraqis who had been mistreated.
The UK had acted immediately on cases raised by the Red Cross, he said.
The minister also said there were "strong indications" a vehicle featuring in photos of alleged abuse had not been in Iraq at the time.
He said further investigations were under way into pictures of alleged mistreatment published by the Daily Mirror newspaper.
Mr Hoon said the Red Cross report, which was given to the coalition officials, had not been seen by ministers until "very recently".
Conservative shadow defence secretary Nicholas Soames said that suggested the government had "lost its grip".

As a political problem, Iraq is quickly spiralling out of control for the Blair Government. I am not about to join the Kremlinologists and pronounce on the impending resignation of the Prime Minister but watch this space.

posted by RogueTrooper | 08:01 | |

New York Daily News - Politics - Pro-choice pol leaving church And still, they say nothing about pro-choice Catholic Republicans Rudy Giuliani or George Pataki.

And why aren't they denying communion to politicians who support the death penalty or the Iraq War, in defiance of the Church?

posted by lazarus | 07:54 | |

Sunday, May 09, 2004  

SignOnSanDiego.com >Welfare programs targeted for cuts: "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants Democratic legislators to cut health and welfare programs that remain among the most generous in the nation, despite four years of record state budget shortfalls. "
Yep. Let's balance the budget on the backs of the poor. After all, they don't donate to campaigns, why give a damn about them?

posted by lazarus | 13:44 | |

Friday, May 07, 2004  

Bush, Wife to Skip Daughters' GraduationsPresident Bush (news - web sites) and first lady Laura Bush will skip their twin daughters' college graduations later this month to avoid creating a distraction at the respective schools, the White House said Thursday.
"There are no plans at this time to attend these ceremonies," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for Laura Bush. "The Bushes felt the focus should be on the students, and not how long the lines are to go through the metal detectors."

Real reason: Bush can't hand-pick the crowd, and would be booed off the campus. Our Great Leader is afraid to face the people.

posted by lazarus | 16:22 | |

Thursday, May 06, 2004  

Miss Authoritiva, a poster on Democratic Underground, made this brilliant observation about "the Dilbertization of the US Government":

"Everything is tasked and delegated but: Nobody reads the memos. Nobody makes decisions. Nobody signs off on projects. Nobody asks for clarification. Nobody follows up. Nobody takes responsibility. "

posted by lazarus | 01:43 | |

Wednesday, May 05, 2004  

Yahoo! News - U.S. Guardsman Probed for Iraq Naked Soldier Photos These are pictures of female US soldiers.

Coupled with all the new pictures coming out today, I've about overloaded on my disgust and outrage.

posted by lazarus | 22:25 | |

Iraq veteran suing company: "A National Guard soldier recently home from Iraq is suing Sykes Enterprises, saying the company's Bismarck, N.D., branch violated a federal law that guarantees returning soldiers will get their jobs back.
Prior to his deployment, Pfc. Ron Vander Wal, 23, a member of the South Dakota Guard's 200th Engineer Company, worked as a telephone customer service technician with Sykes, a company that provides computer tech support for consumers. He is originally from Pollock, but now resides in Bismarck.
'It was a good homecoming but this has been rather disappointing,' Vander Wal said about his problems with Sykes. 'I'm the only member of the unit as far as I know who didn't have a job to come back to. It was pretty disappointing to have to start job hunting again.'"
He goes on to say 'he's mystified by Sykes not hiring back veterans.

"I don't understand what could be their reason," he said. "It's not like it's a high-paying job by any means."'

Well, here's a little more about Sykes, Enterprises that should explain what their reasoning is. The jobs are moving to India. But that's okay, because outsourcing is good for the economy, according to Bush.

Sykes to close Manhattan, Kan., call center
Sykes Enterprises Inc. plans to close its call center here, resulting in the loss of about 400 jobs.


Burnett said "changing clients' needs and market conditions" have led Sykes to consolidate some plants. The company also has announced plans to close its plants in Ada, Okla., Pikesville, Ky., and Milton-Freewater, Ore. It has closed two others, in Klamath Falls, Ore., and Hazard, Ky., since August.

The "changing needs" means these jobs were moved to India, btw:

Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated Investor Relations: "Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated ('Sykes' or the 'Company') (Nasdaq:SYKE), a global leader in providing outsourced customer management solutions and services, today announced the expansion of its global footprint and offshore solution with its entry into Southern India. The Company also announced a new customer care agreement for Sykes to provide customer support services to a leading financial services company via the new operation in India.
Pursuant to the multi-year customer care agreement, Sykes's customer care agents in India will provide the existing financial services client various customer service applications for their credit card holders located primarily throughout the United States.
The Sykes' wholly owned operation in Bangalore, India will have an initial capacity of 255 seats and run multiple shifts throughout the day. The Company expects to have over 100 dedicated agents in India supporting the financial services company by the mid-fourth quarter. The new center, which went live this week, is integrated into Sykes' Private Global ATM Network, identical to its existing offshore operations, providing for seamless voice and data transmission, dynamic call routing and disaster recovery systems capabilities. These new seats in India combined with an expansion currently under way in the Company's Asia Pacific operations will provide for one of the largest offshore networks available in the industry with nearly 2,500 seats across four countries by the end of 2002. "

posted by lazarus | 08:48 | |

Monday, May 03, 2004  

Group Says Kerry Released Edited Version of Military Records (washingtonpost.com) Absolutely disgusting.

Luckily, Joe Conason is all over this one:

"Behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are veteran corporate media consultant and Texas Republican activist Merrie Spaeth, who is listed as the group's media contact; eternal Kerry antagonist and Dallas attorney John E. O'Neill, law partner of Spaeth's late husband, Tex Lezar; and retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffman, a cigar-chomping former Vietnam commander once described as "the classic body-count guy" who "wanted hooches destroyed and people killed."...
In 2000, Spaeth participated in the most subterranean episode of the Republican primary contest when a shadowy group billed as "Republicans for Clean Air" produced television ads falsely attacking the environmental record of Sen. John McCain in California, New York and Ohio. While the identity of those funding the supposedly "independent" ads was carefully hidden, reporters soon learned that Republicans for Clean Air was simply Sam Wyly -- a big Bush contributor and beneficiary of Bush administration decisions in Texas -- and his brother, Charles, another Bush "Pioneer" contributor."

posted by lazarus | 20:54 | |

'Peace and freedom depend upon this election. Prosperity for the people depend upon this election,' Bush said while wrapping up a campaign stop with about 1,200 supporters in Niles, in the southwest corner of Michigan.

Translation, v.1: "So vote for Kerry, 'cause god knows I'm screwing this whole thing up badly."

Translation, v.2: "If you don't elect me, I'm going medieval on everybody. I will use all my influence and power to destroy you."

posted by lazarus | 17:20 | |

Another example of how stupid the people running this shindig are. They don't want frisbees and soccer balls; they want us to LEAVE.

Something nobody's talking about is the reasons behind this uprising. It's not al Sadr, it's not the newspaper's being shut down. Those photos of tortured and humiliated prisoners? They've been floating around Iraq for months. The military has known about the situation for months.

And none of what we saw is nearly as bad as what happened to the women in that prison. A few soccer balls and frisbees isn't going to fix this situation.

KRT Wire | 05/03/2004 | Marines' new strategy in Fallujah fraught with questions: "Somewhere on this base packed with enough firepower to flatten nearby Fallujah, the Marines have stashed thousands of Frisbees and soccer balls.
They might seem frivolous, after weeks of the worst bloodshed since U.S. forces entered Iraq. Yet these nearly forgotten gifts for the people of Fallujah symbolize the failure of the Marines so far to achieve their mission of rebuilding the country and helping to pave the way for democracy after arriving in this area in mid-March. And the prospects for success are as uncertain as ever."

posted by lazarus | 16:48 | |

Just added a site feed. Yeah, I finally discovered RSS/Atom, it's kinda neat.

posted by lazarus | 15:20 | |

Saturday, May 01, 2004  

Bush Cites Racism in Remarks On Iraq (washingtonpost.com)"There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern," Bush said.

"I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren't necessarily -- are a different color than white can self-govern."
Translation: America is a white nation, and there are no white Muslims.

posted by lazarus | 12:01 | |
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