Saturday, May 01, 2004

How about a $500,000 fine? It sure is obscene to ME 

The Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc, has a problem. They are rightwing shills for the Bush administration, extraordinaire.

As you may know, Ted Koppel's Nightline had a special show last night (Friday, April 30, 2004). They had no guests, no commentary, no news stories. Instead, they showed approximately 500 or so U.S. soldiers that had been killed in Iraq in the war so far. They showed pictures, names and hometowns, and maybe some other information--I don't know for sure, I was working that night.

This infuriates the right, for some reason. Whenever someone does this who isn't affiliated with Fox News or NewsMax or the WorldNet Daily, they are instantly assumed to be criticizing the war. This happens whether it's a roster of the dead, or even a simple rendering of the number killed so far. The assumption is: If you bring it to the public's attention, they'll get queasy and start to talk about things--like how many is too many dead American soldiers?

And that is something they consider critical. Subtly propagandizing. Slyly shading the story. Just by reporting the bare facts, and nothing else.

So the Sinclair Broadcast Group decided to take action. In "support" of the President. They decided to make a hairy-assed big deal out of this program, and they refused to run Nightline that evening in all eight of their affiliates under their ownership.

First, if they'd just done nothing but business as usual, it wouldn't have blown up in their faces and made them not just look bad for censoring the show, but also for taking a completely unnecessary stand. The show would have aired, the flak would have settled quickly, and that would have been all.

Nope. They had to take action and side with the rightwing shills who consider anything except the most jingoistic teletype as pure treason. And now they may have to pay for that decision with cold, hard cash.

Dayton urges FCC to probe broadcaster 'Nightline' ban

Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., called on federal regulators Friday to investigate whether one of the nation's largest owners of television stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., unfairly denied the public access to ABC's "Nightline" program.

The company announced Thursday that it had ordered its eight ABC affiliates not to carry Friday night's program, in which anchor Ted Koppel read the names and showed photos of the more than 700 U.S. soldiers and Marines who have been killed in Iraq since the March 19, 2003, invasion.

In a statement, Sinclair said the "Nightline" program appeared to be "motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq."

"Nightline" officials countered that the broadcast was intended as "an expression of respect which simply seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country."

In a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell -- son of Secretary of State Colin Powell -- Dayton said Sinclair's action "highlights the growing danger of media consolidation in this country."

Dayton said it concerns him that a single company can use its public airspace to prevent eight major U.S. markets from seeing politically controversial programming.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.


A Day's Work 

There goes my Saturday!

Hard questions for Bush 

As atrios put it, here's some fine, fine hate:

11 Hard Questions For Bush


Don't they understand it's against the law? 

By proclamation of Viceroy Bremer, any and all counts of Iraqi deaths for the duration of the Occupation are PROHIBITED.

Then how did this happen?

AP: 1,361 Iraqis killed in April


Friday, April 30, 2004

Bush: "If you're not with us, you're a RACIST" 

From Josh Marshall:

Perhaps it is a sign of the more general desperation. But watch how the president now routinely accuses critics of his Iraq policy of being racists.

This is from a brief press availability the president gave this morning with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin ...

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. 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.

There is so much that is wrong-headed and dishonorable in this repeated invocation -- an implicit, churlish claim that the only reason to oppose him is racism -- that it is hard to know where to start.

That's the basic problem with criticizing this administration--

--where to start...


Thursday, April 29, 2004

First it was General Zinni... 

...now the brass are coming out of the woodwork to condemn the Iraq War. From Lou Dobbs' show on CNN, via blah3.com:

DOBBS: My next guest says the United States has failed in Iraq and it should leave immediately. General William Odom directed the National Security Agency under President Reagan, served on President Carter's National Security Council. He is the co-author of a new book called "America's Inadvertent Empire."

And General Odom joins us tonight from Washington, D.C.

General, good to have you with us.


DOBBS: There are many people who know you, who have great respect for your service to the nation, including your military service, who are shocked that you would say, it's time to withdraw from Iraq. Why have you -- how have you come to that conclusion?

ODOM: Well, I reached the conclusion before we went in that it was not in the U.S. interest.

And I actually -- I didn't publish anything. But I at least said to people who asked me that the issue wasn't whether we would be greeted as liberators when we came in, but how we would be treated six months after we're there. And the idea that we could create a constitutional regime that would be pro-U.S. in a short period of time there struck me as pure fantasy.

I must say, I found it hard to believe that the administration internally could make that argument convincingly to themselves. And I've just sort of been quiet since. But it seems now there is enough evidence where I can at least say not that I told you so, but that it really doesn't pay -- I would like very much to be wrong on this, but I don't see how it pays the United States to continue to go down this path.

And to understand that, you have to really I think analyze it at the Iraqi level, the regional level and particularly they international European level.

DOBBS: Well, let's talk about it, if we may, first, from the standpoint -- there are those who will be listening to you say this and say, my God, we've got to support our troops. Irrespective of the ultimate strategic decision about withdrawal and at what point or whether we achieve success and at what point. Are you concerned about this kind of discussion first and foremost having an impact on American troops in Iraq?

ODOM: The word I've heard from what was written about me in the "Wall Street Journal" is that the troops seem to like it, or at least the ones who I have. You know, the troops are not dumb about this business. They were not very happy, if you remember. Some of them even spoke out, naming the secretary of defense last year about his policy there.

And because we have vastly too few army troops to do what the administration wants to do over there, they're really feeling the pain. So I don't think this kind of discussion would create that reaction among the troops. In fact, quite the contrary.


Go read billmon 

Viet Nam on crack.



Just for you, from us.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

This one is so out-there, you may think I just made it up 

But Antonin "Three Fingers" Scalia really did say this:

"I think executive privilege means whenever the president feels that he is threatened, HE CAN SIMPLY REFUSE TO COMPLY WITH A COURT ORDER," Scalia matter-of-factly told a lawyer for the Sierra Club.

I have friends who are deeply conservative, deeply Republican, and in deep denial about Bush & CO. They have claimed that every fact I recite to them, on the few occasions I do, are simply lies. This is incredible but true; I don't even go there any more with my friends. You can't argue with denial. It is too strong, even in the face of proof.

So there will be those who will not believe that Scalia could have actually said these words. I don't know if he said them. I wasn't there to hear him.

But reporters who lie generally lose their jobs--quick. Like Jason Blair and Robert Kelley. They gone.

I believe this reporter. The ability to shock me--and the rest of all Americans--is wearing off, and I truly believe that is exactly part of the plan.

My country is going to shit.


I'm a Pinhead 

Thought I'd share the first piece of negative mail sent directly to my address (annalsofobscurity@yahoo.com), rather than via the BushWhackedUSA editor E-mail address (sender's name omitted):

I suggest you Taliban-rights party pinheads finally get the clue: AWOL isn't a valid charge against National Guardsmen, never was. The worst they face is dishonorable discharge or reassignment to active duty. Duh.

If you're gonna regurge Begala's bull, at least try for half-assed.


Actually, I didn't know who Begala was until just now. I don't watch right-wing news networks like Fox and CNN, I'm afraid.

But more importantly, if a vegetarian like me has "regurge[d] Begala's bull," should I be concerned about mad cow disease?

Gadhafi struts his stuff in Belgium 

Bush's new pal, his tame wolf, his little political pet, is starting to chew on the bars of his cage ALREADY.

Gadhafi visits Europe, offers veiled threat

But he gave up his "nuclear program". Isn't he a nice man now?

Apparently not. But he DOES have female bodyguards in blue jumpsuits...wow!



Complex, indeed.

I've never figured out what the hell my conservative friends are grousing about when they say things like "liberal professors" and "ivory tower liberals." In my collegiate experience (which spans eight and a half years of actual, if spotty, attendance), I've encountered liberal and conservative professors at times, but most of the academics I've known have been, if anything, oblivious to politics.

I found this revealing article by Nick Turse, whose specialty is covering the growing militarization of American society:

The Military-Academic Complex
By Nicholas Turse
The Nation Institute/TomDispatch
27 April 2004
EXCERPT: Since 1961, thanks to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, we've all been cognizant of the "unwarranted influence" of the military-industrial complex in America. Later in that decade, Senator J. William Fulbright spoke out against the militarization of academia, warning that, "in lending itself too much to the purposes of government, a university fails its higher purposes," and called attention to the existence of what he termed the military-industrial-academic complex or what historian Stuart W. Leslie has termed the "golden triangle" of "military agencies, the high technology industry, and research universities."

While we might intuitively accept the existence of a military-academic complex in America, defining and understanding it has never been simple -- both because of its ambiguous nature and its dual character. In actuality, the military-academic complex has two distinct arms. The first is the official, out-and-proud, but oft ignored, melding of the military and academia. Since 1802, when Thomas Jefferson signed legislation establishing the United States Military Academy, America has been formally melding higher education and the art of warfare. The second is the militarized civilian university -- since World War II and the emergence of the national security state, civilian educational institutions have increasingly become engaged in the pursuit of enhanced war-making abilities.

In 1958, the Department of Defense spent an already impressive $91 million in support of "academic research." By 1964, the sum had reached $258 million and by 1970, in the midst of the Vietnam War, $266 million. By 2003, however, any of these numbers, or even their $615 million total, was dwarfed by the Pentagon's prime contract awards to just two schools, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University which, together, raked in a combined total of $842,437,294.


And that's just Turse's introduction. He goes on to give some of the history of military encroachment upon universities. He outlines further DoD funding of our institutions of higher learning and demonstrates that the military's bloated and expanding budget has made it an irresistible force in the academic world. The article is long and, at times, just a bit dry; but it's well worth the read.

Next time you come across a conservative willing to blast those "ivory tower liberals," ask that person if he's aware that the military, itself, has approximately 150 higher learning institutions in the US, and funds others to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars each year -- just so many of those institutions can train people for their post-military careers with "defense" contractors.

How's that Department of Peace coming along, Dennis?

Little things mean a lot 

The story of the disintegration of an entire society is not told in a dozen paragraphs in an overlook History 101 textbook.

It's told in stories like the following, supplied by frequent commenter and my good friend Dan.

NYC D.A. calls political protest "a crime," urges jail for organizers

Georgia city passes laws limiting protests

Secret Service Probes Boy's Art Depicting Bush As Devil

How about that website--electronic intifada? Wow, people, that one hurts.


The Master Plan is Working 


However, the "protecting Americans from terrorism" part still has a few kinks to work out:

US nuclear facilities still vulnerable to terror attacks: Congress

Missile defense system could be put on alert in September even if it fails tests: general


Jet condensation trails may cause climate change: NASA

The moral of this story: beware of headlines with colons!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

General Anthony Zinni is still trying to tell the truth 

Via TBOGG, who is normally a very funny fellow. But this excerpt from his hometown SignOn San Diego newspaper/website is anything but funny.

That never cramps his style,though. TBOGG is one of the best blogs out there.

"I knew the intelligence right up until the day of the war and I knew it wasn't there, the threat."

I was a little bit out of the loop this weekend, but not so out of it that I didn't read this Q & A with Anthony Zinni, Former Commander in chief of U.S. Central command, in the local paper. Here are some of the most important quotes:

Do you think Saddam had any stocks of banned weapons?

I believe there probably might have been some laying around that he wasn't aware of. They would have been obsolete, even dangerous to move around. There might have been some that were destroyed, there just wasn't proper accounting. But he wasn't even focused on that; they (the U.N. arms inspectors) were. So my belief of what was there was the possible, the potential that you had to plan for, of old stocks, artillery shells, rocket rounds. There was probably about two dozen Scuds (ballistic missiles) that were unaccounted for at the outside that could have possibly been weaponized. But as time went on, these things would have been much more difficult to move, much more difficult to upload. If he possessed those tactical weapons, these things would have had maybe marginal tactical effect on the battlefield in the short term. But certainly nothing of a great threat to the United States. So I really did not think this was a major or imminent or grave and gathering or potential threat.

What should we have done, then, in your view?

Continue to contain them. Containment worked. The president has said containment didn't work. I disagree. First of all, containment worked with the Soviet Union, the Cubans, the North Koreans, thus far. Containment was done at very low cost. In Centcom, in my time there when we had the dual containment policy, there were less troops on a day-to-day basis in the entire theater than than report to work at the Pentagon every day in the entire theater.


You said all of the generals were against this war and the civilians were for it. What were the Chiefs of Staff doing? Weren't they doing the planning? How come that stuff that you're recommending wasn't done?

Look, when I was the commander in chief of Central Command, Gen. Hugh Shelton was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He required all the service chiefs and all the CINCS, to read "Dereliction of Duty," written by H.R. McMaster, a young Army major now colonel. It talked about the negligence of the joint chiefs during Vietnam who all knew what was being done was wrong in many aspects. Not only the strategy and policy in Vietnam, but also the way we were fighting the war, decisions like individual rotations rather than unit rotation. And we not only were forced to read the book and told to read it, we had a meeting in Washington where he brought in young McMasters, who addressed us about that negligence. So you ask why? It's a good question. There's going to be another dereliction of duty written in the future.

So you're suggesting the administration came in and said this is what we're going to do, shut up and do it?

The worst-kept secret in Washington is that as soon as this administration came in there was talk about taking down Iraq from day one. It's the worst-kept secret in Washington. There were Cabinet meetings where the deputy secretary of defense and others were pushing this. And certainly after 9/11 it was even more intense.

The truth is ALWAYS music to my ears.



It appears that Big Brother is alive and well, and watching the blogs.

Blog-Tracking May Gain Ground Among U.S. Intelligence Officials

Another head-shaker for the 21st Century. Jeez, these morons probably never heard of a blog before six months ago, tops...

And they ARE morons, if they're the same intel who fired 9 men who spoke Arabic a year or two ago just because they were GAY. If you're paying attention at all, Bush & CO is perfectly inept when it comes to security.



A resounding "NO" from Tony Blair. From the AP wire:

Blair Says U.K. Has Enough Troops in Iraq


How do you send a message to a President who doesn't read, but loves his own image? Offer him a portrait of himself.

Define "Complete" 

The colonists are getting uppity:

Iraqi Argues for 'Complete Sovereignty' (AP)

EXCERPT: Iraqis will need international help with security and building democratic institutions but insist on ``complete sovereignty'' after the United States hands over power on June 30, a member of Iraq's interim Cabinet says.

Nesreen Berwari, the minister of public works, said Monday that Iraqis will welcome U.S. security assistance and seek additional international help through the United Nations.

The shape of a government that will take power from the U.S.-led coalition is still being formulated with help from U.N. special adviser Lakhdar Brahimi, who is scheduled to brief the Security Council later Tuesday on his recent trip to Baghdad.

Berwari said Iraqis must take control of local and national government and make decisions on ``day-to-day life,'' including budgets, and ``how to move the country politically.''

``The situation so far doesn't look positive on the readiness of the world to support Iraqi security. The only country who is committed is the United States, and we're going to take that commitment and we welcome others. We need others to take part of it, too,'' Berwari said.

Next month, the council is expected to debate a new U.N. resolution dealing with the Iraqi government that will take over. Already, a number of potentially contentious issues have emerged, including how much sovereignty it will have and whether it will need to authorize the U.S. force now maintaining security as well as soliciting troops to protect a returning U.N. staff.

``It's very important that the Iraqi people receive complete sovereignty,'' Berwari said. ``What that means is decisions at local level should be done by Iraqi people. National decisions should be done by the national government. There are some issues that the Iraqi people will need support with, like security, like stabilization, and democratization.''


Doesn't he know why we're there?

Monday, April 26, 2004


Bush's Top-Secret AWOL Mission and The BushWhackedUSA Bush AWOL Resource Page are timely again.

(Drop a line or post here if you spot any good articles or commentaries I've missed.)


Treason Time 

As Don at blah3 says, quoting Deep Throat:

Follow the money.

Key Democrats Question Bush on Sept. 11 Funds

Monday, April 26, 2004 4:08 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two congressional Democrats on Monday demanded a full accounting of how the Bush administration used emergency money intended to respond to the Sept. 11 attacks, after a book alleged some funds were diverted to prepare for the Iraq war.

Sen. Robert Byrd and Rep. David Obey, senior Democrats on the Senate and House of Representatives Appropriations Committees, said in a letter to President Bush they had "numerous concerns about the administration's stewardship" of the $40 billion emergency package Congress approved right after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Their letter came after journalist and author Bob Woodward charged in his book "Plan of Attack" that Bush began preparing for war with Iraq within weeks of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, and funded the war preparations with $700 million from the emergency appropriation without consulting Congress.

The administration last week denied any wrongdoing and said no money was used for war preparations until after Congress passed a resolution on Oct. 11, 2002, authorizing the use of force in Iraq.

The Pentagon confirmed $178 million was used from the emergency funds for "supporting the global war on terrorism" in Kuwait, Qatar and other countries in the Gulf months before Congress passed the Iraq resolution, the lawmakers' letter said.

Byrd of West Virginia and Obey of Wisconsin said they had no record of any consultation before this money was spent, "nor is there sufficient detail" in Defense Department reports "to indicate whether funds were used to prepare for the war in Iraq."

Byrd and Obey cited several instances in which they said the White House failed to make required consultations and reports to Congress on the use of the $40 billion.

They said Congress had granted Bush "an extraordinary amount of flexibility" over the money, but the president "was required by law to keep the Congress fully informed through consultation."


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