Saturday, April 24, 2004

This cartoon is ALMOST as good as Get Your War On 

Just go. Read it. Laugh.

It's a good one.


A football mentality 

About ten years back, I was listening to a football game on the radio. I am a fan of the perennially-hapless-with-occasional-sparks-of-greatness Missouri Tigers football team. The game I was listening to was the infamous "Fifth Down" game against Missouri's then-first-ranked arch rivals, the Colorado Buffaloes.

Bill McCartney was the CU coach at the time. The game was a wild one, and Missouri was in the lead with seconds left. Colorado had the ball near the goal line, and a touchdown was needed for them to steal a win. A fabulous, fantastic finish, and all Missouri had to do to knock off a Number One team was to keep them out of the end zone one last time.

I don't remember exactly how the sequence of the last set of downs went--but I know this much. At one point, to kill the clock, the Colorado QB spiked the ball. Unfortunately for Colorado, he spiked it on FOURTH DOWN. Even more unfortunately, for Missouri, the OFFICIALS FAILED TO NOTE THIS FACT and give the ball back to Missouri. Granted, if a single Missouri player, let alone their coach, hadn't been caught up in the tenseness of the moment, they might have brought this to the officials' attention, and ended the damn game. They didn't.

Next play, Colorado scores a touchdown and wins the game. On FIFTH DOWN. Later, McCartney admitted that HE knew they'd won on a mistake, but he kept his mouth shut.

Here's my point.

Bill McCartney is a dedicated born-again Christian. He is one of the founders of the Promise Keepers. Telling the truth and doing the right thing are concepts that he pounded into his players; he also makes a shitload of money as a hired public speaker every week, expounding on these ideas as a much-in-demand college football version of Bill Bennett.

But he conveniently forgot to tell the truth when it really mattered--when it would have cost him and his team not just a game, but a share of the National Championship later that year.

He is a hypocrite, and so is any Republican thug who stoops to cheat in order to win and maintain political power in this country. There are many. Many of these think they are doing God's work. They think it's God's will that they lord it over us (Pun intended? Not intended? Who knows? Not me).

For example:

Republicans fined for posing as Democrats


HHS refuses to release Medicare estimates


Catholic leaders call for excommunication of Kerry, but not Ridge, Pataki or Giuliani

See? Hypocrites, every single one who refuses to denounce Bush for his obscene budget deficits, overreaching tax cuts and even Bush's breaking the law to achieve his ends. Hypocrites, every single one.

It's Fifth Down, people. We're screaming at the officials. Are they listening?


Friday, April 23, 2004

Got a minute? 

How can we do our jobs more effectively, both here at the blog and over on the main page of BushWhackedUSA.com?

Stories like "US Majority Still Believe in Iraq's WMD, al-Qaeda Ties" show that there are still millions of people to reach.

Obviously we aren't going to reach that many, ourselves; but we on the left have to make the case effectively to the American people. Bush is still roughly even with Kerry in the polls, even after a month of disastrous news in Iraq and several months of devastating revelations from administration insiders. What can we do to slow him down? How can we make a better case? Where should we go now?

Any thoughts at all will be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Woodward is right 

Who has confirmed Woodward's claims about Saudi Arabia's influence on the White House? The best confirmation Woodward could get, besides Bush himself--

--Prince Bandar.

Read it and weep. Via blah3.com, from the Larry King Show.

KING: We have made the connection. With us on the phone is Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia. Who wants to go first? Do you hear Bob OK, Prince?

WOODWARD: Have you read the book, ambassador?

BANDAR BIN SULTAN, SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: No, but I read snippets of it.

WOODWARD: The parts pertaining to you, and there seems to be some contention about this meeting January 11 in the White House. You know, Don Rumsfeld is on record saying he looked you in the eye and said, "you can take this to the bank, Ambassador, this is going to happen," and the "this" is the war plan. And...

KING: I'll let him respond to that part. Prince, is that true?

BIN SULTAN: Larry, number one, Bob Woodward is a first class journalist and reporter. And ...

KING: OK, and number two?

BIN SULTAN: And number two, I will never contradict Bob Woodward.


KING: So what's number three?

BIN SULTAN: And number three is, what he said is accurate...

Transcript here.


Happy Earth Day, Mr. Bush 

A headline I never thought I'd see:

Church Group Slams Bush

But then, churches come in all shapes and sizes. Just like mosques and synagogues.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

John O'Neill, Liar For Bush 

Bush & CO make Nixon and his dirty tricksters look like PIKERS. And they were, by comparison.

Filth. Utter filth. Not since the days of freewheeling slander on the Senate floor by Joltin' Joe McCarthy have we seen lies like these, spread by the right wing extremist conservative Republicans.

From the Daily Kos, who totally ROCKS:

Who is John O'Neill? The guy who has been blasting Kerry's war service all over the cable news networks.

"I saw some war heroes ... John Kerry is not a war hero," said John O'Neill, a Houston lawyer who joined the Navy's Coastal Division 11 two months after the future senator left Vietnam. "He couldn't tie the shoes of some of the people in Coastal Division 11."

O'Neill claims he is a political independent, but political independents don't clerk for Justice Rehnquist.

A reader pointed me to this, on his firm's website:

[Excerpted] Law Clerk to Justice William H. Rehnquist, U.S. Supreme Court, 1974-1975.

O'Neill was also used by Nixon to try and discredit Kerry's post-service anti-war efforts. Now two Republican presidents have used the guy to try and attack Kerry.

Even better is the c.v. of another of O'Neill's firm's partners: Margaret Wilson:

General Counsel to Governor George W. Bush, 1998-2000

Update: From the Houston Chronicle:

In 1971, O'Neill squared off against Kerry on the Dick Cavett Show in a 90-minute, televised forum in which the two Vietnam War veterans sparred over the U.S. role in Southeast Asia.

President Nixon and top aide Charles Colson had taken a keen interest in O'Neill as part of their effort to discredit Kerry and the anti-war movement, according to memos and tapes in the National Archives. A clean-cut Naval Academy graduate, O'Neill was viewed by Nixon's team as an effective messenger against Kerry, who was causing the administration headaches as the leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

And if you guys want a good dose of irony, let me deliver:

In a series of memos, Nixon aide Colson, who later went to prison for his role in the Watergate scandal, referred to the administration's efforts to promote O'Neill and to challenge Kerry to debate him.

On June 15, 1971, Colson noted that Kerry first turned down a debate offer with O'Neill and that he was "beginning to take a tremendous beating in the press."

"Let's destroy this young demagogue before he becomes another Ralph Nader," Colson wrote about Kerry.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.


Our Noble Mission 

The numbers continue to climb. April's total for US casualties is at 104 (much higher than the previous high of 73 last April), and the total number of US military fatalities in Iraq now stands at 705.

Sure, it's "not at Vietnam levels." Different place, different time. This is only the deadliest US military action in thirty years, with no signs of slowing down. If anything, the pace of killing has picked up considerably. Add to that the 9,000-11,000 Iraqi civilians and untold Iraqi military deaths during the invasion--not to mention all the victims of the terrorist attacks that have swept through Iraq since the invasion and occupation--and you've got a bloody mess.

I wonder if anyone has counted the Iraqi wounded.

This Ain't No Soundbite 

Rabbi Michael Lerner has put together an excellent, interesting analysis of both the democrats' hamstrung approach to defeating Bush and the mainstream media's dismissal of supposedly 'unelectable' candidates, before the electorate ever gets to hear from those candidates.

That media 'savvy' creates a vicious cycle, in which progressive candidates are ignored now because they have been in the past. The resulting search for electability weeds out even relatively moderate candidates like Howard Dean (whose alleged anger about Bush made for an 'unelectable' candidacy), and pushes toward the 'political center' occupied by such relatively milktoast politicians as John Kerry.

Now, now, calm down. If you who think this is Kerry-bashing and thus aid to the enemy, give this a read. (It's a long one.) Rabbi Lerner is stepping back and examining a potentially fatal flaw in the progressive approach to this election.

Anyone But Bush?: The Unbearable Lightness of Liberal Politics

"Anyone But Bush" is a slogan based in fear and in the past, rather than a vision for the future.

Yet, instead of speaking to the deep yearning of Americans for a world of kindness and generosity, for moral goodness and spiritual coherence, the Democrats and their supporters have generated (or some might say capitulated to a media-generated) language of technocratic practicality that will dissipate the very support they so desperately seek in the elections of 2004.

The fact is that you cannot win Americans over to an alternative to the radical ideology of the neoconservative Right that has been the foundation of the Bushites' success by providing them with a variety of cautious half-measures lacking any coherent intellectual foundation or vision. The unbearable lightness of the Democrats—their inability to stand for anything at all—has been with us since the 1990s, when Congressional Democrats were unable to construct a liberal or progressive alternative to Gingrich's very effective (though from our standpoint reprehensible) "Contract with America," which boosted Congressional Republicans to majority status in the 1994 elections. Even in 2002 those Democrats managed to take a perfect moment for re-ascendancy and present themselves as the party that had no unifying theme or message.

It was in reaction to that unbearable lightness that many people became excited about the candidacy of Howard Dean. Because he opposed the Iraq war consistently from before it had begun, Dean seemed to be the one candidate who had the antiwar understanding and backbone to challenge the Republicans. Other Democrats pointed out that Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley Braun, and Al Sharpton all had these same characteristics—that they too had opposed the war consistently and that they had a considerably deeper understanding of the problems facing the country. Yet, when the media told us that Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, and Carol Moseley Braun were not electable, and that therefore we should stop listening to them, many liberals and progressives did. In fact, the media guaranteed that the non-internet–literate crowd would stop listening to them by simply refusing to report what they said. When, after an eight or nine-person presidential debate, the New York Times, Newsweek, and other media reported only what the candidates they deemed electable were saying, liberals and progressives went along with this because there was no point in fighting to hear the words of the unelectable.

That put most liberals and progressives in the camp of Dean, who had creatively used the Internet in the early buildup to the primaries to avoid these dynamics, until in the two months before the Iowa primary the mainstream media began talking about Dean's alleged angry (and hence unelectable) personality. Once Iowa and New Hampshire voters had been convinced that anger at Bush's policies was somehow a character flaw that would block electability, they responded to the call of Anyone But Bush by voting for candidates that the media had made electable. Distorted by constant replay, Dean's concession speech in Iowa took on the appearance of a (now-famous) self-destructive primal scream or yelp, as the media proceeded to do to Dean what it had been doing to Kucinich et al. Suddenly Kerry became the favorite because of media-generated electability. Many progressives and liberals then felt they had no choice but to jump on board with Kerry despite his vote for the war. Perhaps they privately revived fantasies that his days as chair of Vietnam Vets Against the War in the early 1970s might play some role in his consciousness should he ever become president.

If we are trying to decide whether a candidate believes in a coherent worldview that coincides with our own deepest ethical and spiritual truths, we can make that determination ourselves by listening to what they say and have said and done in their public lives. But if we are trying to decide whether they are electable, we give the power to the media and the pollsters to tell us who we should be backing. The result is that many of the candidates who most closely represent the American people's highest ideals can be pushed out of the race, opening up the way for a candidate who fulfills the ideals of those who own and control the media.


A smoking gun admission that Iraq is a quagmire 

I do believe the Bush administration neocon who wrote this memo actually uses the word. Go read it for yourself.

From kos:

CPA memo
by kos
Tue Apr 20th, 2004 at 19:12:43 EDT

The full memo can be found here.

I was going to excerpt the best parts, but it's all good. Such as:

On a micro-level, avoiding the media is my way of addressing what I see as a failure in our strategic communication, which tends to promote American individuals above Iraqis. Iraqis present at the 4 a.m. conclusion of the Governing Council deliberations on the interim constitution were mocking Dan Senor's request that no one say anything to the press until the following afternoon. It was obvious to all that an American wanted to make the announcement and so take credit. Our lack of honesty in saying as much annoyed the Iraqis. Iraqi politicians are savvy enough to understand political posturing, but resent the condescension of our press operation.


We so share culpability in the eyes of ordinary Iraqis. After all, we appointed the Governing Council members. Their corruption is our corruption. When [REDACTED] work to exclude followers of other trends of Shi'a political thought from minister and deputy minister positions, Iraqis blame Bremer, especially because the Governance Group had assured Iraqis that their exclusion from the Governing Council did not mean an exclusion from the process. As it turned out, we lied. People from Kut, for example, see that they have no representation on the Governing Council, and many predict civil war since they doubt that the Governing Council will really allow elections.

In retrospect, both for political and organizational reasons, the decision to allow the Governing Council to pick 25 ministers did the greatest damage. Not only did we endorse nepotism, with men choosing their sons or brothers-in-law; but we also failed to use our prerogative to shape a system that would work. It is true that several Governing Council members have real constituencies, for example, [REDACTED], but what we ignore is that these constituencies are not based on ideology, but rather on the muscle of their respective personal militias and the patronage which we allow them to bestow. We have bestowed approximately $600 million upon the Kurdish leadership, in addition to the salaries we pay, in addition to the USAID projects, in addition to the taxes we have allowed them to collect illegally. I spent the night of March 3 and morning of March 4 watching The Godfather trilogy on DVD with an Iraqi Kurdish contact who had ridiculed me for never having before seen any of the films. The entire evening was spent discussing which Iraqi Kurdish politicians represented which character. It is telling that it's remarkably easy to do -- it was even easy to identify [REDACTED] in the film.

Patronage and oligarchy are the same the world over. Abdul Aziz Hakim receives support from the Iranian government, which long was his host. The ironic thing is that, with proper funding of Iraqi liberals, we could have helped advance them much farther than we did. It is a lesson the Supreme Leader understands in Tehran, Shaykh Zayid understands in Abu Dhabi, and Crown Prince Abdullah understands in Saudi Arabia.

In other words, it's a cluster-you-know-what. And it's clear, reading through the entire memo, that the writer (sources say it's Michael Rubin) truly is a hard-core neocon. No fancy-pants anti-war partisan giving this assessment.


Tuesday, April 20, 2004

You da man, editor 

I'm an editor. I edited my college newspaper, proudly--for $5.15 an hour, ex-ACTLY minimum wage. Lots of people like to SAY they've worked for minimum wage...I actually HAVE, instead of $6.50 or $10 or whatever passes for a non-living wage. But I digress.

So I have to love a guy whose nickname, for whatever reason, is editor. That would be my good friend over at blah3.com.

First class blog. He GETS the scoops, people. I just read 'em and pass 'em along. He's also the brains and talent behind Take Back The Media, and their fabulous streams and animations. I'm very glad this man is on OUR side.

If you linked to me via editor's very kind plug, thank you veddy veddy much. 'Preciate the look, folks.


Freudian slip 

Ever since I read a profile of her in The New Yorker, I've concluded in a sort of perverted way that Condi and Bush are way too close.

Marriage, Texas style, is hereby defined as an institution between a man and as many women as possible.

Political Conversation: Condi’s Slip

A pressing issue of dinner-party etiquette is vexing Washington, according to a story now making the D.C. rounds: How should you react when your guest, in this case national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice, makes a poignant faux pas? At a recent dinner party hosted by New York Times D.C. bureau chief Philip Taubman and his wife, Times reporter Felicity Barringer, and attended by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Maureen Dowd, Steven Weisman, and Elisabeth Bumiller, Rice was reportedly overheard saying, “As I was telling my husb—” and then stopping herself abruptly, before saying, “As I was telling President Bush.” Jaws dropped, but a guest says the slip by the unmarried politician, who spends weekends with the president and his wife, seemed more psychologically telling than incriminating. Nobody thinks Bush and Rice are actually an item. A National Security Council spokesman laughed and said, “No comment.”


Yet another euphemism for lies 

This one hurts.

Fables of the Reconstruction


American Idol 

Yesterday's poll results from CNN/USA Today/Gallup are baffling. After six weeks of devastating revelations about the warped thinking, chronic dysfunction, poor planning and negligent disregard of the Bush administration on virtually every issue that has anything to do with 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq or terrorism, Bush is actually gaining in the polls.

We're not Democratic partisans at BushWhackedUSA; we want Bush out of office. Now. I can't speak for Roger or Augustino, but on his own John Kerry's about as appealing to me as Thurston Howle III from Gilligan's Island. By comparison to Bush, though, he looks competent and sane.

Why on earth is he slipping in the polls at a time like this, with more Americans dying in Iraq than at any time since Vietnam, and with every aspect of the Bush administration's policies being questioned by both the left and the right? Why why why?

Maybe those brain researches (see "Newsflash" below) can tell us.


Republican and Democratic brains function differently.

"Brain imaging offers a fantastic opportunity to study how people respond to political information," said Jonathan D. Cohen, director of the Center for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behavior at Princeton. "But the results of such studies are often complex, and it is important to resist the temptation to read into them what we may wish to believe, before our conclusions have been adequately tested."

In other words, the rumors that Bush's so-called True Believers have little or no brain functioning at all are entirely premature.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Condi Rice: Liar, or incompetent? 

Both, more than likely.

NORAD had drills of jets as weapons

By Steven Komarow and Tom Squitieri, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties.

In a third scenario, the target was the Pentagon — but that drill was not run after Defense officials said it was unrealistic, NORAD and Defense officials say.

NORAD, in a written statement, confirmed that such hijacking exercises occurred. It said the scenarios outlined were regional drills, not regularly scheduled continent-wide exercises.

"Numerous types of civilian and military aircraft were used as mock hijacked aircraft," the statement said. "These exercises tested track detection and identification; scramble and interception; hijack procedures; internal and external agency coordination and operational security and communications security procedures."

A White House spokesman said Sunday that the Bush administration was not aware of the NORAD exercises. But the exercises using real aircraft show that at least one part of the government thought the possibility of such attacks, though unlikely, merited scrutiny.

On April 8, the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks heard testimony from national security adviser Condoleezza Rice that the White House didn't anticipate hijacked planes being used as weapons.

So they are incompetent, or liars. Why even say such a thing? To say that no one could have imagined such a scenario is not only disingenuous, it's nothing but disclaimer. And that disclaimer stinks to high heaven.

What is wrong with these people? I'll tell you. They're just better than the rest of us, that's all. Not only do they NEVER make mistakes--they resent the slightest hint of suggestion of that, and attack ferociously anyone who hints such.



Woodward on 60 Minutes 

We're all dangerously close to Bush Fatigue every day now.

[Saudi] Prince Bandar enjoys easy access to the Oval Office. His family and the Bush family are close. And Woodward told 60 Minutes that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election -- to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day.

Woodward says that Bandar understood that economic conditions were key before a presidential election: "They're [oil prices] high. And they could go down very quickly. That's the Saudi pledge. Certainly over the summer, or as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly."

That sounds like a highly illegal foreign campaign contribution to me.

Woodward says immediately after that, Rumsfeld told Gen. Tommy Franks to develop a war plan to invade Iraq and remove Saddam -- and that Rumsfeld gave Franks a blank check.

"Rumsfeld and Franks work out a deal essentially where Franks can spend any money he needs. And so he starts building runways and pipelines and doing all the preparations in Kuwait, specifically to make war possible," says Woodward.

"Gets to a point where in July, the end of July 2002, they need $700 million, a large amount of money for all these tasks. And the president approves it. But Congress doesn't know and it is done. They get the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved. ...Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this."

This is not just an impeachable offense. It's ILLEGAL, plain and simple. The laws written into the Constitution are to be followed just as forthrightly as the laws of any state or municipality. An impeachment is not the only way to cook Bush's goose. He should be investigated, indicted, tried and found guilty, if this is true. And there's no reason to believe it is not.

This DOES prove one thing--the President can and does act as if he is above the law. And if the only body that can prosecute him is Congress, then that is not enough of a check or balance at this point in our history.

Bush's plan of attack for Iraq was, of course, classified and marked NOFOR--strictly No Foreigners allowed to view. But Bush apparently showed Saudi Prince Bandar the plans to invade Iraq TWO DAYS BEFORE he showed it to COLIN POWELL. This is TREASON. If Clinton did this--conservatives would RIGHTLY be calling for his SCALP. Nothing less than a HANGING would do!

How could Bush be so STUPID as to show the plans he had for invading Iraq to the last ally Saddam had? To someone whose wife aided al Qaeda by funnelling them charity money?

Bush is not fit to be President. And anyone who thinks so is deluding themselves completely.


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