Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Wait, I Thought...

Wait, did we hand over leadership to the Iraqis?


Iyad Akmush Kanum, 23, learnt the limits of sovereignty on Monday when US prosecutors refused to uphold an Iraqi judge's order acquitting him of attempted murder of coalition troops.

US prosecutors said that he was being returned to the controversial Abu Ghraib prison because under the Geneva Conventions they were not bound by Iraqi law.

I thought we did, but I could be wrong. Silly Iraqis, don't they know we play by our own rules. Viva American Justice!

Just Wow

I'm sorry, but this may be one of the funniest articles I have ever read in my entire life! Just read it and sit back and laugh your butt off. It's... how do you say, perfect.


With thousands of Republicans set to invade the city this summer, high-priced escorts and strippers are preparing for one grand old party.

Agencies are flying in extra call girls from around the globe to meet the expected demand during the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 gathering at Madison Square Garden.

Yep, family-values oriented Republicans sure now how to have a good time. God bless 'em.

Rummy Speaks

I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours?

--Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in a newly revealed 2002 memo on interrogation tactics, commenting on the length of time terrorism detainees could be made to stand.

About as Believable



Just as I suspected.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Right On

A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens.

--Sandra Day O'Connor, writing for the majority (8-to-1) in the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi, a Saudi-born United States citizen seized in Afghanistan in 2001.

Mork, Is That You?



Nanu-Nanu.

The Number Three

Three very interesting things have happened today and I can't really explain any of them. One is common sense, the other is cool and the last is just plain weird. I'll try to describe each of them to you.

First, the Supreme Court ruled


that people being held by the United States as enemy combatants can challenge their detention in American courts — the court's most important statement in decades on the balance between personal liberties and national security.

I'm not going to go too much into detail over it because I really don't have the time tonight, but just realize that it's really important and totally awesome. For some strange reason, all day today (since I read the article before the gym) I've had "Love Train" by the in my head ever since. Hellz yeah.


People all over the world
Join hands
Start a love train, love train
People all over the world
Join hands
Start a love train, love train

Second, people are finding my website all over the place. One person found my website on a Fox News search! Another came up when someone searched "Can we pray for reelection of George Bush?", which was said by Sean Hannity and reported by me several weeks ago. How cool?! And also, someone found my website when he searched for news on Rush's divorce. Totally groovy!

Who knew? Google and Fox News love me! I'm a hell of a guy.

And third, my blog was not up when I checked it this evening. An error came up in my explorer and said that 404-something or other, page could not be found. Weird. All these people found my blog, so it must've just been temporarily taken down or something. No worries, though. I republished the blog and we're back in business. The consipiracy theory lover in me thinks maybe the guy from the Fox News search didn't like what I had to say and pulled strings to take me down!

Aye, Matie! "I'm the Berlin Wall, baby. Try and tear me down!"

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Reactions

Some initial reaction to Fahrenheit 9/11


"We're trying to provide freedom to Iraq by killing the Iraqis?" said Chuck White, 62, a former Republican from Sterling Heights, Mich., who said the president's arrogance had turned him against the party. "We're turning our soldiers here and in Iraq into monsters."

...

And in Pensacola, Fla., Monica Moody, a 20-year-old restaurant hostess who described herself as a conservative Republican, proved to be Mr. Moore's perfect target.

"Oh my goodness, I cried," Ms. Moody said. "I'm still trying to process everything. It really makes me question what I feel about the president. I'm still going to respect him as our president, but it makes me question his motives. Of course, I think that's the whole point of the film, to question his motives. But after watching it, I do question my loyalty to the president. And that's scary for me."

And, again, to those who say that this documentary is incredibly one-sided and only shows what Michael Moore wants you to see: Have you seen a two-sided documentary? The whole purpose of a documentary is to show one side of an issue or event. It's the filmmaker's attempt to voice his opinions using statistics and visual aids. And I'd say Moore does a pretty good job doing so. There's the scene with Bush reading a children's book to a classroom when he gets news that the second Trade Tower was hit. He stays there, looking blankly and continuing to read for seven full minutes -- all of which is captured on tape and in the movie.

In fact, as the Atlantic Unbound writes


Leaders show what they are made of in a crisis. Bush hid in plain sight with those kids. Later, hiding twice over, he used them as an excuse, saying he did not want to frighten them by ending the reading before finishing the book. Later still, and repeatedly, he said he saw the first plane strike the tower that morning (in fact, no one saw that live; the film was not available until the evening) and that he remarked, "That's some bad pilot" -— pure strut. As the Wall Street Journal reported, he also magnified his role in managing the crisis, claiming he gave orders others gave. Conflicting accounts of Bush's communications documented by the 9/11 Commission now raise doubts whether, as he and Cheney told the commissioners, he ordered Cheney to shoot down any hijacked planes still in the air, or whether Cheney, in the White House bunker, acted on his own. Maybe Cheney persuaded Bush to stay away from Washington that day less for Bush's safety than for the country's.

Like a coward.

John Ashcroft

You may have realized that John Ashcroft is the worst Attorney General ever, but did you know that he writes his own music and sings after giving speeches? Hey hey! Very groovy.

Over 1 Million Served

No, not really. But I have reached the 200 unique visitors watermark. Two hundred individual people have read through my blog, most more than once. Who would've thought two hundred people would find my website. Yeah baby, yeah!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Sad, Sad Town



When I found this little snippet from a personal ad in a newspaper, it got me to thinking about all the things around my sad little town that make it unique. I can totally see this ad showing up in my hometown newspaper and many people around here wouldn't think twice about it. (If the man/woman were looking for someone of the same sex, then that would be a different story!)

Anyway, I got to thinking about my town and I smiled to myself as I visualized this house I pass every day to get home after being out and about. It's a fairly nice looking house, otherwise being too close to the main road, and has this really awesome wrap-around porch on the side and front. And this is where the house gets into trouble though.

There's a telephone pole in the corner of the property and attached to the pole is a cardboard sign written in black ink that says


KNIFES
FOR SALE
ON PORCH

First of all, "knifes" is his spelling, not mine. Second of all, is this man really allowed to sell "knifes" on his front porch? Don't you need to be registered or make background checks or anything before you sell someone a knife? And who's he to judge that the person who wants a couple of "knifes" is over 14 or 16 or 18? How old do you have to be to buy and own a knife? This worries me.

But, I'm happy for him. He's in a wheel-chair and only has one leg. He's probably in his late 60s or early 70s and, excuse the really bad pun, on his last leg. So, what do I care what he does with his rather large and extensive knife collection? He's making money and that's all right. I'm guessing that he's turning a profit, of course, because today on my way home I noticed that his sign turned into a piece of plywood with black stencilling. ("Knifes" is still spelled incorrectly, God love him.)

I just thought I'd share a little piece of my hometown with you all.

Mr. Knife-Seller, I salute you.

Shakespeare

It would seem that protesters in Ireland are using Shakespeare to pummel Bush. One banner read


There's the smell of blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.

Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 1, speaking of her once-bloodied, but now washed, hand after murdering the king.

Cheney, Again

New from the Washington Post:


Vice President Cheney on Friday vigorously defended his vulgarity directed at a prominent Democratic senator earlier this week in the Senate chamber.

Cheney said he "probably" used an obscenity in an argument Tuesday on the Senate floor with Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and added that he had no regrets. "I expressed myself rather forcefully, felt better after I had done it," Cheney told Neil Cavuto of Fox News. The vice president said those who heard the putdown agreed with him. "I think that a lot of my colleagues felt that what I had said badly needed to be said, that it was long overdue."

...

"Ordinarily I don't express myself in strong terms, but I thought it was appropriate here," Cheney said on Fox.

Word on the street is that Cheney is going to take this newfound relaxation technique and use it more often. Can I suggest "Back down, bitchass, before I pop a cap in your liberal ass!" and "Shut your pie-hole, Commie!"?

Me Too!



Don't worry Mr. Policeman. I do the same thing when Bush speaks.

Democrat to Speak

A Democrat will speak at the GOP Convention. Oh, I thought, who would that be? But then I realized before the page even loaded: Zell Miller. He's about as much of a Democrat as Bush is a Democrat. Oh well. Might as well let him do what he wants now, I believe he's retiring.


Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, the highest profile Democrat to endorse President Bush for re-election, will speak at the Republican National Convention later this summer, a congressional aide said Friday.

Miller drew a sharp rebuke from the dean of the state's congressional delegation, Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who called the senator's decision "a shame and a disgrace."

...

Miller, who is retiring in January, has voted with Republicans more often than his own party and has been a key sponsor of many of Bush's top legislative priorities, including the Republican's tax cuts and education plan.

Bye, Bye Zell.

But, he does have a humorous side. He did come up with Taxachusetts, or at least one of his speechwriters did. Either way, ha ha ha.

Fahrenheit 9/11, et al.

Associated Press is reporting:


"Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore's assault on President Bush, took in $8.2 million to $8.4 million in its first day, positioning it as the weekend's No. 1 film, its distributors said Saturday.

Based on Friday's numbers, "Fahrenheit 9/11" was on track for an opening weekend that would surpass the $21.6 million total gross of Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," his 2002 film that earned him an Academy Award for best documentary.

"Bowling for Columbine" holds the record for highest domestic gross among documentaries, excluding concert films and movies made for huge-screen IMAX theaters.

Is it propaganda? Perhaps. Is it working? Oooooh, yeah.

And on the topic of propaganda, which its been called by those on the right, how is a movie exposing the Bush administration for its indiscretions any different than a book from conservative authors on the indiscretions of the left? Why is the Right allowed to write book after book after book, bashing Clinton and Kerry and the Kennedys and just about any other liberal/Democrat, but a movie based on fact instead of opinion is called propaganda? I just don't understand the reasoning, other than a movie will reach a much larger audience and the right is worried about the effect of such a damning movie.

To be fair, here are some books written by conservatives who are "informing the public", instead of writing "propaganda."

Ann Coulter has written at least four books ribbing Democrats for just about anything. But she's looking out for your best interest, and keeping those traitors at bay. From a June 23 episode of Hannity & Colmes:


COLMES: Are all the American people that don't support him [President George W. Bush] dumb?

COULTER: No. I think, as I indicated in my last book, they're traitors.

There's Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism (You can buy it used for $3.00!), High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton (You can buy it used for $9.85!), Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right (You can buy it used for $2.50!) and her newest book, How To Talk to a Liberal (No one is ready to throw it out yet, so you must pay the $18.33 for it, sorry.).

And who can forget about Sean Hannity, who wrote Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism (You can buy it used for $10.75!) and Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism (You can buy it used for $3.94!) Is it just me or do you see a pattern here?

On the same darn episode of Ann Coulter's traitor comment, responding to Hannity & Colmes guest Reverend Franklin Graham's comment "I don't think God is a Republican or a Democrat," Hannity quipped, "He's [God] no Democrat, Reverend." God really is a Republican, isn't he? He doesn't care for the poor, or the minorities. I bet God even carries around a modified semi-automatic just because He can.

And, I'll stop after this, there's my favorite Bill O'Reilly. The radio host and FOX News Channel host told listeners on June 17 that he has "no respect for" the Iraqi people; that he thinks "they're a prehistoric group"; that they are "primitive"; and that the lesson from the Iraq war is that "we cannot intervene in the Muslim world ever again. What we can do is bomb the living daylights out of them." You can read this very lovable man's books Who's Looking Out For You? (You can buy it used for $3.99!) and The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America (You can buy it used for $2.40, which is a steal!).

Remember, they're just looking out for you and your family. They don't want any black homosexual immigrants creeping into your hometown and destroying your white-washed life, the sanctity of your marriage, or your jobs at the local burger shack. They are real patriots. God bless each and every one of them.

Bush Spender

It would seem, according the Associated Press and the monthly financial report with the FEC, that President Bush has spent $7 of ever $10 that he has raised to date, more than half going to television ads. And he needs even more!


In a fund-raising e-mail this week, the president declared that Kerry "has certainly got his liberal allies all stirred up to attack me."

...

"I need your help again," Bush wrote. "Your continued support today will mean the difference in a close election. I hope you will make a donation of $2,000, $1,000, $500, $250 or even $100 or $50 today."

Poor, poor pitiful Bush. He's received over 218 million dollars so far and has practically nothing to show for it. According to the New York Times,


When Sen. John Kerry effectively nailed down the Democratic presidential nomination March 2, the White House was waiting. With relentless precision, it began a 90-day campaign to weaken Kerry's candidacy, a blast that included record spending on television advertisements and attacks on Kerry's credentials and ideology.

The Republican spring offensive — unusual in its early timing, its toughness and President Bush's decision to engage his opponent personally so far before November —- effectively ends today, as the Bush campaign suspends its broadcast television advertising until next month.

Three months and $85 million after Bush began, pollsters and independent analysts said he had raised doubts about Kerry, but had not scored as much damage as some Democrats had feared.

And guess what! They're still neck and neck. Either Bush's people aren't doing their jobs, or he's just a really bad candidate. Who knows, it could be a combination of the two!

And in case you need another reason to dislike the Chump in Chief, read this story in the New York Daily News about Bush's recent trip to Europe.


White House aides advancing President Bush's Normandy visit ordered the Pentagon to erect a $100,000 platform for his entry into a U.S. military cemetery, well-placed sources told the Daily News.
American taxpayers picked up the six-figure tab for the red carpet, walkway and artificial island hurriedly built over a memorial pool so that Bush and French President Jacques Chirac could walk in style to the dais for last week's ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Military engineers were given just one day's notice to create the set for Bush's speech at the U.S. cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, these sources told The News.

In addition, White House staffers demanded that bleachers erected for several thousand spectators be torn down, limiting the number of guests who could attend the event. "Some 25-year-old White House kid thought they weren't esthetically pleasing," one administration official complained.

The red carpet price tag wasn't anticipated by Pentagon planners, so the $100,000, which has already been paid out to the civilian contractors who did the work, will have to be scrounged from somewhere else.

"That money will have to come out of some account that otherwise would be spent on soldiers," according to a source familiar with the situation.

And how.

Revolution #1

Here's a preemptive "And how."


You say you'll change the Constitution
Well you know, we all want to change your head
You tell me it's the Institution
Well you know, you better free your mind instead.

The White Album is all-knowing.

Ad Council

I always admired the way the Ad Council works -- bucking against the trend just because helping people better their lives is what it's all about. I was extraordinarily happy when I was reading a magazine and saw this ad from the organization. Let me attempt to give a visual for those who don't feel like clicking the link.

The visual is a test on a piece of paper, on a school desk. The first of two questions is: "Name a character from a TV sitcom," and there is a line for you to print what you come up with. Easy, right?

The second question is: "Name a character from your kid's English class." Not so easy, is it? And that's the point. Everyone knows characters from sitcoms, but who actually reads anymore?

Well, you have the Harry Potter readers of the world (I'm one of them, and proud of it.) but who reads the classics these days? You know, they are classics for a reason, and not just because your old English school marm said so. Do you remember (or ever heard of) Hamlet, Hester Prynne, Macbeth, Polonius, Henry Higgins, Holden Caulfield, Nick Carraway, Ishmael or even the Raven? These are characters from books that have withstood the test of time. These are books worth checking out, or even into.

PS -- Can anyone tell me from whence these names came?

Friday, June 25, 2004

Contribute Today

Bad-to-Worse

I know we're supposed to report more on the good news that's coming out of Iraq than the bad news, but what good news is going to trump this?


Insurgents launched a coordinated offensive against police and U.S. occupation forces in six Iraqi cities and towns Thursday, exploding car bombs and assaulting police strongholds in a string of attacks that killed scores of Iraqi police officers and civilians, as well as three American soldiers.

The attacks, which began at dawn and raged through the morning, were the broadest and among the bloodiest in an insurgency that has intensified markedly in the weeks leading up to the transfer of limited authority to the Iraqi interim government, scheduled for Wednesday.

Reports by the Iraqi Health Ministry, which received tallies from hospitals around the country, and the U.S. military indicated that about 100 Iraqis were killed and about 320 injured.

From bad-to-worse. From bad-to-worse.

Second Term?!

Read this and be afraid. Be very, very afraid. If you want to see in black-and-white just how bad things can get with a Bush second term, read Robert Reich's projection. It's frightening. He's correct in pointing out that if you thought the first term was bad, just wait till you see the second. With no reason to hold back due to no third-term opportunity, Bush & Co. will pull out all of the stops to reward every crony and special interest, tear down those things they don't believe in, try every trick in the book to get things done as they see fit, etc.

Freestyle Evangelicals

Interesting.


Meet the "freestyle evangelicals." Compelled by evangelicalism's conservative theology but averse to the right wing's intolerance and lack of charity toward the poor, they occupy a curious political middle ground. Every four years they independently evaluate the state of the union through the lens of a Jesus-centered faith. But their concerns extend beyond the conservative morality issues of abortion and gay marriage to progressive matters of social justice, America's role in the world, and care for the environment.

...

The Bush presidency's extremism has left many moderate believers looking to the Democrats.

I guess you could call me a "freestyle evangelical" although I'm mostly liberal on social issues and others. What can you do?

New Polls Coming In

I report, you decide.

According to the Associated Press


The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll found that 54 percent of people say the war was a mistake, up from 41 percent who felt that way in early June.


The poll also found that more than half say the Iraq war has made the United States less safe from terrorism. Only a third said it made this country safer.

According to Fox News


Currently 45 percent approve and 49 percent disapprove of Bush’s job performance on Iraq.

So yeah.



Cheney Revisited

I'm not going to say much more on Cheney telling a democrat to either "Fuck off" or "Go fuck yourself", depending on which report you hear, in the Senate. But I will let Rush Limbaugh's brother do it for me!


Senator Kerry, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, let his stiff hair down just a bit too far in response to a question about how his support for the resolution authorizing war against Iraq damaged his campaign.

...

"I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, 'I'm against everything?' Sure. Did I expect George Bush to f--- it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did."

Deborah Orin in the New York Post quoted Brookings Institution presidential scholar Stephen Hess as saying that to his recollection this was the first time a presidential candidate used X-rated language to attack another candidate publicly. "It's so unnecessary," said Hess. "In a way it's a kind of pandering to a group he sees as hip."

Precisely. Democrats must be hip today to appeal to the hipster vote.

...

We're definitely living in a divided America, with one half (and hopefully more) still clinging to those things almost every American once held sacred, and the remainder having "graduated" to become "progressives." The 2004 election will not only be a contest between the presidential candidates, but a referendum on America's values.

Well, I guess it's the Republicans who are pandering to a group they see as hip.

Next on Fox News Primetime: Bush and Cheney: A dialogue

"Whaddup, Cheney-dogg?"
"Aww, nuttin', Homie-Bush. Fuckin' around."
"Coo, coo."

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Unbelievable

Dennis Prager, writing for townhall.com, a politically conservative website full of blah, wrote "On Public Cursing and Other Public Sins" back in January 27 of this year. In it, he wrote:


As for the liberals who think that using the f-word in public is no big deal, it is good to have them say so. Anything that clarifies the massive values-differences between the Left and the Right is helpful. We who are not on the Left think public cursing is a big deal, because we believe that people can pollute their soul, their character, and, yes, their society, just as they can pollute their rivers and their air and their lungs.

So imagine my surprise when I read about this.


Vice President Dick Cheney blurted out the "F word" at Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont during a heated exchange on the Senate floor, congressional aides said on Thursday.

Shock! Horror! A Repubican using swear words? No way! But the "F word", no less. The exchange happened like this, according to Reuters:


According to congressional aides, Leahy said hello to Cheney following the taking of the Senate group photo on the floor of the chamber.

Cheney, who is president of the Senate, then ripped into Leahy for the Democratic senator's criticism this week of alleged war profiteering in Iraq by Halliburton, the oil services company that Cheney once ran.

Leahy and other Democrats have called for congressional hearings into whether the vice president helped the firm win lucrative contracts in Iraq after the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein.

During their exchange, Leahy noted that Republicans had accused Democrats of being anti-Catholic because they are opposed to some of President Bush's anti-abortion judges, the aides said.

That's when Cheney unloaded with the "F-bomb," aides said.

From what I can gather, he either said "Fuck you," or "Go fuck yourself." Neither of which is a good thing to say to a fellow politician, especially at re-election time. And, especially when you're the Vice President and you have a certain degree of honor to live up to. And especially when the Senate is already so sharply divided between Republicans and Democrats.

And in a case of irony,


Earlier on Thursday, before word of the exchange spread, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat, stood in the chamber and spoke of the need to improve civility with what he called the "politics of common ground."

And how.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Spider-Man

In the new Newsweek article on the upcoming Spider-Man movie, the author made a pretty intersting point that just made so much sense to me. Tell me what you think.


Much has been made of the fact that "Spider-Man" was the first post-9/11 blockbuster, and the conventional wisdom is that the film was a phenomenon because America needed heroes again. But maybe it's something more. To the rest of the world, the superhero symbol of the United States is Superman -- broad shouldered, unconflicted, virtually indestructible. For decades, we've preferred to see ourselves that way, too. Spider-Man is none of those things. He's burdened with self-doubt. He wants to do the right thing, but isn't always sure what that is. He's constantly forced to choose between helping others and helping himself. He looks tough, but he's easily injured. In America after September 11, Superman was who we wanted to be. Spider-Man was who were were.

I think this hits the nail on the head, really. We are a country that likes to see itself as "virtually indestructible," but we are a country made up just like any other country. We're humans. We have needs, we have conflicts, we have self-doubt. And that's okay. Nobody in the world expects us to be Superman -- we make others believe we're Superman.

If anything, the adjective for Superman that struck me most was "unconflicted." I think of Bush as unconflicted. He knows what he has to do and he does it, damn the consequences. He seems like a doer, not a thinker. But I believe, now especially, that this country needs a thinker. We need self-doubt, just enough so we're not going full-blast into a situation from which there is no easy end. We need someone who wants to do the right thing, but isn't always sure what that is, or how to go about getting it. I want someone who's all about alternative ways to handling a situation. I was a pluralist cabinet.

I guess what I want is Kerry. Or at least not a cowboy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Deadly Jewelry

While waiting ever so patiently for dinner tonight, I sat in the living room and decided to pass the time by reading. To my chagrin, the only thing close to me that had words in it was the newest Good Housekeeping magazine. "Oh well," I thought to myself and began to flip through it until I came across something quite disturbing.

There in the RECALLS section of the magazine, I read:


Children's Rings sold in vending machines and at grocery and discount department stores from December 2002 to August 2003 for 25 cents. The metal rings, shaped like hearts, stars, and other objects, have a silver background with slashes of different shades of paint.

What, you may be asking, is the problem with these cute little kiddie rings?


The rings contain high levels of lead, posing a risk of poisoning to young children.

Did someone come along after almost a full year and say, "Oops, a severely large amount of lead was accidently poured into the metal mixture before it went into the molds. Sorry for the inconvinience. I hope it didn't kill anyone or proved horribly detrimental to some poor kids health."? Ugh.

And why am I just learning about this now -- June 2004?

Mr. Jack Ryan

If true, another in a series of how-absurd examples of a "family values" Republican (Jack Ryan) acting -- well, non-family-values-like. Oy.


Jeri Lynn Ryan charged during a custody hearing that Ryan took her on surprise trips to New Orleans, New York and Paris in 1998, the year before they divorced, and that he insisted she go to sex clubs with him each time.

In New York, Ryan's former wife described a club "with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling." She said she refused when Ryan asked her to perform a sexual act while others watched.

His explanation:


I did arrange romantic getaways for us, but that did not include the type of activity she described," Ryan said in court papers. "We did go to one avant-garde nightclub in Paris which was more than either one of us felt comfortable with. We left and vowed never to return.

She's the woman from Star Trek: Voyager! Don't demean her like that, Mr. Ryan!

Thanks, Howard

Thanks to Howard Stern for pointing out that religious zealot Senator Brownback (R-KS) is attempting to sneak into a military spending bill an increase in the amount the FCC will be able to fine so-called violators of decency, boosting the amount up to a whopping $3 mil.

In other words, when Kerry votes against this bill because of the increase in the amount the FCC can fine, the Republicans can boo-hoo and say how bad of a senator Kerry is because he doesn't support our troops. But instead, it's Senator Brownback who's the jerk. Republicans... ugh.

Wesley Clark

In The New Republic, Wesley Clark brings up a good point about what Iran & Syria may be up to in the next several months:


In essence, the Bush administration has scared Iran and Syria into believing that, if the United States is successful in its occupation of Iraq, they will be the next targets. To the Iranians and Syrians, the implication is that their survival depends on dragging the U.S. mission in Iraq into failure.

The good news just keeps coming.

Mustache Month

In case you missed the memo, this month is National Heterosexual Mustache Month. Just thought I'd share. The gym kicked my butt this evening so I'm not thinking coherently.

What the...?



In case you can't read the sign, it says


DESTROY THE COMPUTER!!!

A HOMOSEXUAL INVENTION BY
ALAN TURING. WHO CARES IF HE CRACKED
THE GERMAN ENIGMA CODE AND WON
WORLD WAR II.

IT'S A HOMO'S DEVIL MACHINE!

Alan Turing is, of course, one of the great pioneers of the computer field. As a mathematician he applied the concept of the algorithm to digital computers. His research into the relationships between machines and nature created the field of artificial intelligence. His intelligence and foresight made him one of the first to step into the information age. During World War II, Turing used his knowledge and ideas in the Department of Communications in Great Britain. There he used his mathematical skills to decipher the codes the Germans were using to communicate. This was an especially difficult task because the Germans had developed a type of computer called the Enigma. It was able to generate a constantly changing code that was impossible for the code breakers to decipher in a timely fashion. During his time with the Department of Communications in Great Britain, Turing and his fellow scientists worked with a device called COLOSSUS. The COLOSSUS quickly and efficiently deciphered the German codes created by the Enigma. COLOSSUS was essentially a bunch of servomotors and metal, but it was one of the first steps toward the digital computer.

And, he was homosexual. Damn those homosexuals who break down the sanctity of marriage but save mankind with their innovative computer skills!

PS -- Does that sign look hand-written to anyone? If I didn't know any better, I'd think it was done with -- shock -- a computer from Kinko's!

PSS -- If you're nitpicking, you'll notice that there should be a question mark instead of a period after the sentence "Who cares if he cracked the German enigma code and won World War Two?".

Michael Moore Gives It Good

This Today Show interview with Michael Moore is pretty good. You can watch it here, or below is a partial transcript of Moore talking over a very nervous Katie Couric as he manages to get in a wee bit of media criticism. I actually like Michael Moore. We watched one of his earlier movies "Roger & Me" in a Cultural Analysis class at college. Sad to say, his was first documentary that I had ever seen before and while it took a little bit to get used to the different scheme of things, I quickly fell in love with his wit and his use of irony and perfectly placed comments. He's a very funny man who, right or wrong, feels very strongly about certain issues and wants to convey them to the world.

I watched "Bowling for Columbine" after it was released on video -- my small, campus town never showed it in the bitty theater -- and, again, I loved it. Very striking, very logical. Very Moore. And as far as I can tell, he's done it again with Fahrenheit 9/11 (another link). I cannot wait to watch it -- depending on where around here I can go to see it.

A little known fact, two in fact (haha, no word play intended): One, Michael Moore had interviewed Michael Berg, who was later kidnapped and beheaded in Iraq, but deleted the interview from the movie afterwards out of respect for the family. And two, after its official showing at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival the movie was given what has been called "the longest standing ovation in the history of the festival". Although the exact length of the applause is a matter of debate, journalists at the screening have reported it being in the area of 15 to 25 minutes.

So anyway, here's the transcript. You give em hell, Mikey.


COURIC: And wouldn't your movie have been better balanced if you had at least included some about Saddam Hussein's own reputation?

Mr. MOORE: You guys did such a good job of--of telling us how tyrannical and horrible he was. You already did that. What--the question really should be posed to NBC News and all of the other news agencies: Why didn't you show us that the people that we're going to bomb in a few days are these people, human beings who are living normal lives, kids flying kites, people just trying to get by in their daily existence. And as the New York Times pointed out last week, out of the 50 air strikes in those initial days, the--we were zero for 50 hitting the target. We killed civilians and we don't know how many thousands of civilians that we killed. And--and--and nobody covered that. And so for two hours, I'm going to cover it. I'm going to--out of four years of all of this propaganda, I'm going to give you two hours that says here's the other side of the story.

COURIC: In fact, you were highly critical of the media. What do you think was at work there? Why do you believe that the media wasn't more questioning when it came to the build-up to war? Frankly, many of us did try to ask cogent, appropriate, insightful questions. But in general, what do you think was at work there?

Mr. MOORE: I thi--look, to be fair, you--you--we're all Americans and so you wanted to be supportive of the troops and nobody wanted anybody to---everyone wanted them to come back alive. But--but that's a question that really you have to ask the people here at NBC News and the other agencies: Why didn't you ask harder questions? Why didn't you demand the evidence. You know, when I was a little kid I remember President Kennedy going on national television, and with large photographs, with a a pointer showing us, here's the...

COURIC: Well, didn't Colin Powell do that before the United Nations?

Mr. MOORE: No, he didn't. That's my poi--he--he went to the United Nations with cartoon drawings, with computer graphics. The--the--do you remember those little--the mobile labs and all this--they were all--looked like a 7th grade computer class did them, and then they had like two pho...

COURIC: Weren't they satellite photos?

Mr. MOORE: No, they had two photos then of--of, like a couple of, you know, cinder block buildings. Kennedy showed us the missiles.

COURIC: Let's talk...

Mr. MOORE: Where were the--where was the evidence to take us to war? I mean, you guys should have really demanded this. To send our kids off to war--over 800 dead now. If only the questions had been asked, and demanded and said, 'No, wait a minute.' If one of you--any of you--and I don't mean this to you personally--but just if anyone here had just said, 'Wait a minute. These are our children. You're not sending them to war unless you prove to us that our nation is under threat of attack, and that's the only reason we go to war.'

COURIC: Well, I don't want to get into this too much, but certainly with the reported Saddam Hussein, 9/11, al-Qaeda connection and some of the other intelligence information that the press was given...

Mr. MOORE: Which wasn't--now we know--yeah.

COURIC: Well, in hindsight, we know that now...

Mr. MOORE: You were given--I know, but why...

COURIC: ...but at the time we didn't.

Mr. MOORE: So you were given it and then you just reported it as fact. Why didn't anybody just say here, 'Whoa! Wait a minute.' If I just walked in here and said something like that, you'd go, 'Are you crazy? There's a connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam?' But if the administration says it, it's, 'Well, it must be true. It's coming from the White House.' I mean, come on, guy...

COURIC: Let--let me...

Mr. MOORE: We--I'm--I'm--my film is a--is a silent plea to all of you in the news media to do your job. We need you. You--we--you're our defense against this. If--if we don't have you, what do we have? And I just think a disservice was done to the American people. You know--you know what's great about this country? You and everyone else here gets to ask any question you want. Literally, you can ask any question you want. No one can stop you. You...

COURIC: And certainly that is what we try to do every day.

Mr. MOORE: Well--yes, hope...

COURIC: Let me get to an e-mail question, Michael, because obviously if we are the--the voices of the people let's get to some of the things that they want to say.

Mr. MOORE: OK. All right. All right.

Poor Miss Couric. I almost feel bad for the media's pandering ways. How many times did we hear descriptions of a certain semen-stained dress -- over which no one died? And then how many times did the media stand up against the stripping of our rights and the idiotic reasons for war? Poor Miss Couric, indeed.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Rockin'

Just for the record -- Emily, you rock.

PS-- Love the lyrics, though I think you're crazy.


My pokemon cards bring all the nerds to the yard
And they're like "You wanna trade cards?"
And I'm like "I wanna trade cards."
I can beat you, cause I have Charizard.

And how.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

American Mistake

The Washington Post reported today that


In a bloody surprise attack, the U.S. military launched precision weapons into a poor residential neighborhood of Fallujah on Saturday to destroy what officers described as a safe house used by fighters loyal to Abu Musab Zarqawi and perhaps, at times, by the fugitive terrorist leader himself.

Residents said about 20 people were killed, including women and children, despite a cease-fire with U.S. occupation forces that has brought relative peace for the last six weeks to the rebellious city 35 miles west of Baghdad. Images from the site of the blast showed two collapsed houses, with people in white robes picking through the rubble looking for buried victims and lost property.

The killing of innocent women and children, and even innocent men, is beyond barbaric in its own right. We taunt al Qaeda and demonize them (rightfully so, but still) and we speak as if we are any better. We torture hundreds of Iraqis in their own country after deposing a tyrant who did the same thing, and for this reason was deposed. I don't care if they hard, as the president would say, "pretty darn good intelligence" or not.

The Guardian follows up with


Dr Fadhil al-Baddrani said the entire family of Mohammed Hamadi, a 65-year-old farmer, married with two wives, were killed. Among the dead where his wives and children. At least three women and five chil dren were among the dead. "The whole family is gone," said al-Baddrani. "The blast was so powerful it blew them to pieces. We could only recognize the women by their long hair."

Yes this is war, but we are killing innocent people, the very people we claim to be saving. Americans being beheaded by al Qaeda stirs my blood. Al Qaeda is evil and lower than dirt. But it hurts me even more when I see the United States stooping to such a level. We are the world's super power. We are Americans. We hold others to a higher power than we do ourselves. I think we, as Americans, need to take stock of where exactly we are now from four years earlier and wake up.


Worst AG Ever

While doing a little reading in the pieces-I-want-to-read-but-don't-have-time-for pile, I came across a little shocking, but believable, sentence from Paul Krugman at the New York Times. He says, very succinctly and right off the bat,


[N]o question: John Ashcroft is the worst attorney general in history.

While this statement may at first appear to be bold and audacious, it's actually not. Krugman is just telling us a fact, plain and simple. Read his column as he lists several examples backing up his assertion.

Krugman writes


First, there's the absence of any major successful prosecutions. The one set of convictions that seemed fairly significant — that of the "Detroit 3" — appears to be collapsing over accusations of prosecutorial misconduct. (The lead prosecutor has filed a whistle-blower suit against Mr. Ashcroft, accusing him of botching the case. The Justice Department, in turn, has opened investigations against the prosecutor. Payback? I report; you decide.)

Then there is the lack of any major captures. Somewhere, the anthrax terrorist is laughing. But the Justice Department, you'll be happy to know, is trying to determine whether it can file bioterrorism charges against a Buffalo art professor whose work includes harmless bacteria in petri dishes.

Perhaps most telling is the way Mr. Ashcroft responds to criticism of his performance. His first move is always to withhold the evidence. Then he tries to change the subject by making a dramatic announcement of a terrorist threat.

For an example of how Mr. Ashcroft shuts down public examination, consider the case of Sibel Edmonds, a former F.B.I. translator who says that the agency's language division is riddled with incompetence and corruption, and that the bureau missed critical terrorist warnings. In 2002 she gave closed-door Congressional testimony; Senator Charles Grassley described her as "very credible . . . because people within the F.B.I. have corroborated a lot of her story."

But the Justice Department has invoked the rarely used "state secrets privilege" to prevent Ms. Edmonds from providing evidence. And last month the department retroactively classified two-year-old testimony by F.B.I. officials, which was presumably what Mr. Grassley referred to.

[...]

Last week Mr. Ashcroft, apparently in contempt of Congress, refused to release a memo on torture his department prepared for the White House almost two years ago. Fortunately, his stonewalling didn't work: The Washington Post has acquired a copy of the memo and put it on its Web site.

Much of the memo is concerned with defining torture down: if the pain inflicted on a prisoner is less than the pain that accompanies "serious physical injury, such as organ failure," it's not torture. Anyway, the memo declares that the federal law against torture doesn't apply to interrogations of enemy combatants "pursuant to [the president's] commander-in-chief authority." In other words, the president is above the law.

The memo came out late Sunday. Mr. Ashcroft called a press conference yesterday — to announce an indictment against a man accused of plotting to blow up a shopping mall in Ohio. The timing was, I'm sure, purely coincidental.

Okay, so you don't have to read the piece because I wrote most of the work out here, but there's just so much to consider and so many reasons to hate John Ashcroft as the Attorney General of the United States. Hey, this is my country too!

BUT, as if that's not enough, let's read Sen. Patrick Leahy's blistering June 8th opening statement before Ashcroft. He states, "Even those of us who have served through several presidents cannot recall a worse performance record when it comes to responsiveness." And, "We often learn more about what's really happening in the Justice Department in the press than we do from you." I strongly encourage a word-for-word reading of Leahy's stinging commentary -- he's absolutely on-target and it's long-overdue criticism.

Senator Leahy says,


Mr. Attorney General, I must speak frankly about an issue that has emerged as a basic problem during your tenure. There are two words that succinctly sum up the Justice Department’s accountability and its cooperation with congressional oversight on your watch. Those two words are “sparse,” and “grudging.” Even those of us who have served through several presidents cannot recall a worse performance record when it comes to responsiveness.

Too often we on this Committee, on both sides of the aisle, get the sense that under your direction and example, the Justice Department and its agencies consider oversight by Congress to be nothing more than a nuisance.

[...]

Just days ago we learned of Justice Department involvement in devising legal arguments to minimize our obligations under such U.S. laws and international agreements as the convention on torture. Yet a letter I wrote to you last November, well before most of these abuses came to light, went unanswered for months, and when we are lucky enough to get responses, the premium is on unresponsiveness. Few of the answers we get are worth much more than the paper they are printed on. We often learn more about what’s really happening in the Justice Department in the press than we do from you.

[...]

In the 1000 days since the catastrophic attacks of September 11th, we have learned little from our Justice Department. We know this:

• Osama bin Laden remains at large;

• At least three senior al Qaeda operatives who helped plan the 9/11 attacks, including the suspected mastermind of the plot, are in U.S. custody, but there has been no attempt to bring any of them to justice;

• The Moussaoui prosecution has bogged down because the prosecution refuses to let the defense interview witnesses in U.S. custody;

• A German court acquitted two 9/11 co-conspirators, in part because the U.S. Government refused to provide evidence for the cases;

• Three defendants who you said had knowledge of the 9/11 attacks did not have such knowledge; the Department retracted your statement, and then you had to apologize to the court for violating a gag order in the case;

• The man you claimed was about to explode a “dirty bomb” in the U.S. had no such intention or capability, and because he has been held for two years without access to counsel, any crimes he did commit might never be prosecuted;

• Terrorist attacks on Capitol Hill and elsewhere involving the deadly bioterror agents anthrax and Ricin have yet to be solved, and the Department is defending itself in a civil rights action brought by a man who you publicly identified as a “person of interest” in the anthrax investigation;

• U.S. citizens with no connection to terrorism have been imprisoned as material witnesses for chunks of time -- with an “Oops, I’m sorry” when a “100 percent positive” fingerprint match turns out to be 100 percent wrong;

• Non-citizens with no connection to terrorism have been rounded up on the basis of their religion or ethnicity, held for months without charges and, in some cases, physically abused;

• Interrogation techniques approved by the Department of Justice have led to abuses that have tarnished our nation’s reputation and likely given strength and driven hundreds, if not thousands, of new recruits to our enemies;

• Your Department turned a Canadian citizen over to Syria who was tortured;

• Documents have been classified, unclassified, and reclassified to score political points rather than for legitimate national security reasons;

• Statistics have been manipulated to exaggerate the Department’s success in fighting terrorism; and

• The threat of another attack on U.S. soil remains high, although how high depends on who, in the Administration, is talking and what audience they are addressing.

Just ouch. Just... get rid of the whole lot. Vote Kerry in November.

Moving

From last Saturday through the end of the month, I have been and will be in the process of packing every single one of my possessions -- both prized and unneeded -- and shipping them to the new house ten minutes away out in the middle of nowhere. Because of such, I will not be able to post as regularly as I would like, but you can email me at attackzacattack@yahoo.com and keep my posted on the happenings of the world so I can report on them instead of having to search them out.

Have a nice week.

Zachary

You Go, Envoy

According to Bloomberg,


The statement by 27 former diplomats and military officers on Wednesday calling for the defeat of U.S. President George W. Bush may be unprecedented.

"Their prominence and seniority and influence when in their diplomatic or military posts, and their number, is really remarkable," said Richard Kohn, the Pentagon's chief Air Force historian from 1981-1991 and chairman of the University of North Carolina's peace, war and defense curriculum in Chapel Hill.

The group, which includes Democrats and Republicans, said Bush's foreign policy and the war in Iraq have damaged U.S. security.

[...]

"From the outset, George W. Bush adopted an overbearing approach to America's role in the world, relying upon military might and righteousness, insensitive to the concerns of traditional friends and allies, and disdainful of the United Nations," said the group, Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, in a statement Wednesday. They said Bush should be defeated, without explicitly endorsing Kerry, 60.

The group included Jack Matlock Jr., President Ronald Reagan's ambassador to the Soviet Union; retired Admiral William Crowe, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman under Reagan; Charles Freeman, President George H.W. Bush's ambassador to Saudi Arabia; and retired Air Force Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak, who is advising Kerry's campaign.

"I can't remember anything comparable to that," said historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., 86, who was an adviser to President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat. "I can't remember a precedent." Schlesinger won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1965 book, "A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House."

Well no kidding. But I'm glad people are voicing this natural feeling.


CIA, I Salute You

The New York Times has an interesting article on David Passaro, the contractor who was indicted this week for kicking and beating an Afghan prisoner to death last summer.


It hardly surprised David A. Passaro's neighbors or a former wife that he should be arrested for beating an Afghan man in custody last year, becoming the first civilian charged in the American military's widening prisoner abuse scandal.

His first wife said Mr. Passaro, a former Army Special Forces soldier who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan, hit her when he drank too much. His second wife, who is now separated from him, recently filed court papers asserting Mr. Passaro had been "verbally abusive and threatening" to her. His neighbors in Lillington said that after a dispute over their dogs Mr. Passaro fired a bullet through the window of their empty car while their children played nearby.

And in 1990, Mr. Passaro was fired from the police force in Hartford, Conn., after he was arrested for beating a man in a parking lot brawl, officials and relatives said. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and paid a $100 fine.

Now you'd think that kind of background might make the government a little reluctant to put him in a situation dealing with prisoners, wouldn't you?


The C.I.A. conducted a background check of Mr. Passaro late last year while he was working as a civilian medical planner for the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. The examiners concluded that his marital problems and firing from the Hartford Police Department were not serious enough to warrant rejecting his job application.

I can't tell you how encouraging I find it that the CIA doesn't consider beating up two wives anything to get huffy about.

Passaro, by the way, isn't facing murder charges, but two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and two counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. I guess American women aren't the only ones who can be beaten up without anyone taking it seriously enough.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

New Job

The Washington Post gives George W. Bush another job in his presidency.


But even the harshest critics concede that the nation's spiritual leader rallied in the days thereafter.

He's my spiritual leader, eh? Well, God does tell him to do things.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Martial Law

How democratic.


Iraq's incoming government is considering imposing martial law to help stabilise the country after another two car bomb attacks on Thursday killed at least 41 Iraqis.

...

Such laws carry uncomfortable echoes of the legal fabrications used by the former regime of Saddam Hussein and many current Arab governments to justify repressive and totalitarian rule.

...

[Muwaffaq Rubaie, national security adviser] said a new law would need to be passed because the temporary constitution agreed in March as the basis of the new Iraqi state did not include provisions for emergency rule.

Nothing says democracy quite like martial law. Thank you, Incoming Iraqi Government!

So they need to amend their constitution already, huh? Well, they ought to add an amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman now while they're at it so they don't have to go through the trouble in roughly 225 years. It'll be such a hassle by then, but necessary to be sure.

Condi Says Wha?

Do you think anyone runs past these comments before the administration actually uses them? This one, specifically, is so sad it's almost funny. Well, funny until I remember that people are dying because of the charges they make and fail to backup. When will it all end?

From Reuters:


In publishing a report that cited no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, the Sept. 11 commission actually meant to say that Iraq had no control over the network, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Friday.

As the White House strove to curb potential damage to President Bush's credibility on Iraq, his closest aide on international security denied any inconsistency between the bipartisan panel's findings and Bush's insistence that a Saddam-Qaeda relationship existed.

"What I believe the 9-11 commission was opining on was operational control, an operational relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq which we never alleged," Rice said in an interview with National Public Radio.

"The president simply outlined what we knew about what al Qaeda and Iraq had done together. Operational control to me would mean that he (Saddam) was, perhaps, directing what al Qaeda would do."

Intelligence reports of links between Saddam and the group blamed for the 2001 attacks formed a cornerstone of Bush's rationale for the invasion and occupation of the turbulent Arab country, where 833 U.S. soldiers have died after 14 months of violence.

The chairman and vice chairman of the Sept. 11 commission differed with Rice's characterization of their panel's findings in separate interviews with Reuters.

"We don't think there was any relationship whatsoever having to do with 9/11. Whether al Qaeda and Saddam were cooperating on other things against the United States, we don't know," Commission Chairman Thomas Kean said.

Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton said he was unaware of anyone ever claiming that Saddam had directed al Qaeda.

"The word 'control' is new," Hamilton said.

Be an Environmentalist and send a Bush back to Texas.

Saudi Arabia v Iraq

It's really a sad day if Paul Johnson has really been beheaded (and, sadly, it certainly seems likely).

But I really don't want to hear about any stupid person saying "See, this is why we went to war. We're there battling those people who are barbarians and killers and blah blah blah." I don't want to hear it. Paul Johnson was in Saudi Arabia, and his killers were al-Qaeda sponsered. We're in Baghdad putzing around with Iraqi insurgents and the terrorists aren't -- and never were -- there. They're in a "friendly" nation killing off Americans.

Dear Mr. President, can we get back to the war on terror now?!

15 Year Olds

In case you were wondering how Bush is going to win re-election this coming November, here's your answer. He has the backing of 15 year olds. Just check out this blog and find our for yourself. They think he rocks. Here's an example of what they say.


Hi its been a long time my dad got fired from his job becuz of librals and then we had to cut off the internet too but now we're back since my mom and dad both work at mcdonalds opposite shifts plus my dad works overnights at a kinkos store. George Bush is awesome for creating a country where there's so many jobs that people can have two at the same time! I do not know how people complain about the jobs in america because the jobs are like so everywhere if you are not lazy and go look for them and you aren't a girl who doesn't get married and has libral sex and a baby.

Anyway therez some news about how bush kicks ass still. so for ewxample we now have howard deans and sargeant clarkson are out of work so that is good! But the new libral terrist is john kerry who wants to keep saying that bush is not really a soldier who went to iraqi and aphganistan to catch osama and saddam. But that is so stupid becaz after 9/11 bush went to afghanistan himself to go catch osama and he did and then went to ioraqi himself and caught saddam and that was so awesome.

anyway then bush was like "we don't like the gay libral terrorists" which is real good and I am glad because if iwas gettin married to some gay guy I would be real mad because i don't think its cool,. so george bush has protyected me from being gay and that kicks ass so much. Sometimes I think i would be gay for Bush hahahaha just kidding no way would I even kiss george bush I am totally not gay and that is because I am not a libral either. I can't be a gay a libral or terrist cuz I love america too much and when you love america the way Bush does that means you can't be gay libral terrist.

Thank God for "gay libral terrist"s.

From Jesus's General

Dear Senator Graham,

Your recent vote against subpoenaing the torture memos was a wise one. It's important that we respect the founding fathers' intent in regard to the separation of powers--the legislative branch should only subpoena the executive when there is a possibility that our most precious national values are threatened.

That was the case a few years ago when you, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, voted to subpoena Kathleen Willey. It was important for us to learn whether Bill Klinton had asked Willey if he could put his little soldier into her mouth. That knowledge was vital to our continued existence as a free and moral people.

The decision by the current administration to completely disregard international and US laws on torture does not merit such scrutiny. It does not rise to the same level of seriousness as extra-marital presidential fellatio. Your decision to not issue a subpoena in this case is correct.

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Thank You, Putin

If this is true, why has nothing been said about it in the past? This is, if not more, just as interesting as uranium from Africa (which proved false) or Saddam's stockpiles of WMD hidden in his country (which don't exist). The Associated Press is saying,


Russia gave the Bush administration intelligence after the September 11 attacks that suggested Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq was preparing attacks in the United States, President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

...

"After Sept. 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, the Russian special services, the intelligence service, received information that officials from Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist attacks in the United States and outside it against the U.S. military and other interests," Putin said.

Gosh, and yet nothing was said about this -- not in the 2003 State of the Union address, not in Powell's U.N. show-and-tell, not by Cheney or Condi in their stubbornly defiant talk-show interviews, then or since. With all the documents that have been declassified by the Bush administration, nothing about this report has seen the light of day. Curious.

Look, either this report was so laughably implausible that even Tenet and Cheney didn't believe it or it never existed at all, and Putin is just lying to help Bush get reelected.

And really, why wouldn't he? He has to suspect that President Kerry might internationalize the Iraq problem in a way that would put pressure on Russia to help -- whereas Bush's reelection would mean the U.S. would essentially keep its quagmire to itself. It's Realpolitik, and maybe it's revenge -- surely Putin wouldn't mind seeing the U.S. weakened for a few years longer in Iraq, perhaps just as payback for U.S. efforts to bog the Soviet Union down in Afghanistan.

Perhaps it's because, as an article points out today in the Washington Post,


Bush praises Putin as an ally in the fight against terrorism and a man with a vision for Russia "in which democracy and freedom and the rule of law thrive." Rather than speak the truth about Russia's autocratic drift, Bush seems content to maintain his personal relationship with Putin, even if it comes at the expense of his principles -- not exactly Reagan's approach to foreign policy.

So is what Putin told the press today quid pro quo for Bush turning the other cheek on Putin's almost dictatorship role in Russia? Or is there something that's still left unseen. You just can't tell. Secrets, back-rubbing, and secret handshakes.

It won't happen, but reporters should press the Bush administration to reveal what this report said in detail. There's no national-security reason to keep it secret with Saddam in jail, so let's hear it -- what exactly did Putin say, and when? If he said anything at all?

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Bad Taste?



Would it be really bad of me if I slapped her?

Uh huh, Sure

I wish I could believe him. Reuters is reporting


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged on Thursday he ordered the detention of an Iraqi terrorism suspect who was held for more than seven months without notifying the International Committee of the Red Cross, but said the man was "treated humanely."

Rumsfeld, during a Pentagon briefing, said, "I was requested by the director of central intelligence (George Tenet) to take custody of an Iraqi national who was believed to be a high-ranking member of Ansar al-Islam," which the United States has called a terrorist organization.

"And we did so. We were asked to not immediately register the individual (with the ICRC). And we did that," Rumsfeld said.

He did not explain the reasons for the actions, but added that "we are in the process of registering" the man, who he did not identify, with the ICRC.

"He has been treated humanely. There's no implication of any problem. He was not at Abu Ghraib. He is not there now. He has never been there to my knowledge," Rumsfeld added, referring to the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad where U.S. soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners.

And how.


What a Jerk!

I believe Gary Aldrich, the disaffected FBI guy who wrote the Clinton-basing NYT best-seller back in 1996 Unlimited Access, has found the secret source of Hillary Clinton's almost Satan-like powers. He writes


This past Sunday, Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton had a chance to return to the scene of their many crimes - the White House - as President Bush hosted the unveiling of dual portraits of Bill and Hill. I guess it really was a co-presidency.

For the first time ever, a former First Lady is portrayed in a pantsuit - and a black one at that. I found it interesting that she came to the White House on Sunday dressed in a bright pastel – still a pantsuit – but one that would be suitable for a nationwide photo-op.

[...]

The word on Capitol Hill is that Senator Hillary and all her staff, which mainly consists of unhappy-looking young women with perpetually frowning facial masks, have made a pact that all shall wear black pantsuits on a daily basis. This is because today’s enlightened women (read Feminists) can’t be bothered thinking about what to wear as they rise in the morning. They have more important things to think about. For example, like how to take over the world in 2008.

[...]

Hillary, fresh from new attacks on President Bush, some fairly ugly and personal, didn’t turn down a chance to come back to where it all came apart for her and Bill. Did she bring her tape measure to plan for new curtains in the Oval Office? Does she imagine these to be black as well?

And with her pant-suits... No, I'm sorry. And with her black pant-suits, the powers from the far-corners of the earth will combine to make... Super Hillary! Dun dun duuuuun.

In case you forgot, or you just never heard, this is the guy who wrote that the Clintons hung sexually explicit ornaments on the White House Christmas tree. Yeah, he's nice.

Terrorizing Mexicans

Just wow. Slate's Alan Berlow notes that Alberto Gonzales, President Bush's top legal counsel, didn't just start writing documents justifying evasion of international law in the past couple of years -- he did it for Bush when Bush was still governor of Texas.


On June 16, 1997, Gonzales first showcased his proclivity for torturing international law when he sent a letter to the U.S. State Department in which he argued that, "Since the State of Texas is not a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, we believe it is inappropriate to ask Texas to determine whether a breach ... occurred in connection with the arrest and conviction" of a Mexican national. Or, put another way, he asserted that an international treaty just didn't apply to Texas.

The Mexican in question, Irineo Tristan Montoya, was a fisherman convicted of brutally stabbing and murdering John Kilheffer in Brownsville, Texas, in 1985....

The Vienna Convention, ratified by the Senate in 1969, was designed to ensure that foreign nationals accused of a crime are given access to legal counsel by a representative from their home country. In the absence of a lawyer and without access to Mexican authorities, Tristan, who neither spoke nor understood English, signed a confession that he later said he believed to be an immigration document.

Bush and Gonzales apparently believed that international law, as embodied in the Vienna Convention, was somehow inapplicable to Texas.

Why, oh why does he still have supporters?

Have You Forgotten?

An opinion piece in the New York Post comes on the heels of the 9/11 Commissions report that there seems to be no link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, as the Bush administration tried to pass off in the months leading up to the war. And, if your name is Dick Cheney and/or George W. Bush (Saddam "had long-established ties with al-Qaeda" on Monday and "There was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda" on Thursday, respectively), you are still trying to pass off such uncredible insinuations.

To those who believe that the War in Iraq was a distraction to the War on Terrorism, the Post writes


Many seem to have forgotten that the first U.S. military action after 9/11 was to invade Afghanistan and destroy its Taliban government, targeting bin Laden strongholds — and capturing many of his top aides — in the process.

Umm, have you forgotten? I haven't. How this has to do with anything is beyond me as well.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Reagan Lives On

Things Past

I'm not entirely sure why I gain better insight in articles that I reread a few weeks later, but the same thing happened to me again tonight. While I was waiting for a friend to show up for dinner, I was perusing the May 17, 2004 lead article in Newsweek, "No Good Defense", about Donald Rumsfeld and his blame in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. The lead graph reads


Donald Rumsfeld likes to be in total control. He wants to know all the details, including the precise interrogation techniques used on enemy prisoners. Since 9/11 he has insisted on personally signing off on the harsher methods used to squeeze suspected terrorists held at U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The conservative hard-liners at the Department of Justice have given the secretary of Defense a lot of lee-way. It does not violate the spirit of the Geneva Conventions, the lawyers have told Rumsfeld, to put prisoners in ever-more-painful "stress positions" or keep them standing for hours on end, to deprive them of sleep or strip them naked.

After reading this, can you honestly believe Rumsfeld when he sat in front of a Congressional hearing on the torture scandal and claimed that, as written by Newsweek,


[H]e had not seen the actual pictures that appalled the world until eight days after the images first appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes II."

I'm sorry, but I cannot. It was reported that the White House caught wind that 60 Minutes II was going to broadcast the report on the abuse along with the pictures and attempted to block the program. So evidently they knew about the abuse. Of course they knew of the abuse. The Taguba Report was presented to Rumsfeld long before the 60 Minutes II broadcast. If you remember correctly, he didn't see the gravity in the situation because it was words on a page, not color photographs, or this was his excuse anyway.

So what of this? Rumsfeld obviously made a mistake and he's still around. He shouldn't be, but he is and I'll live with that. But something I'm very certain in -- every time the United States loses a citizen in the Middle East, this administration is going to sweat their little heads over what could happen to the detainee.

Lawyers told Rumsfeld that he could skirt around the Geneva Conventions and use these "stress positions" on Iraqi prisoners. Okay. But this country did not sign the Geneva Conventions in order to curtail our own horrid treatment of prisoners. In fact, we did it for the exact opposite reason. We signed the conventions, not out of the kindness of our hearts, but to assure ourselves that other countries could not mistreat our soldiers. This is what it comes down to. We didn't want our soldiers tortured or mistreated. We wanted them treated fairly and returned to us at the end of the conflict in the same, if not better, condition when they were captured.

And yet now, the United States is breaking from this promise. We're straying ever-so closely to the edge of breaking the conventions and yet we have no foresight into what this means to the precedent when our troops are captured. There is no gentlemen-laws anymore concerning war. Bush and his administration have called for an out-and-out war on just about everyone they don't agree with and natural laws do not apply.

American citizens would go berzerk if they realized that our government is mistreating our own people in a maximum security torture-center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The government is, but this hasn't sunk in yet.

All this for the sake of what? Fighting the terrorists? There has been an upsurge of terrorist acts around the world this year, thanks mostly to Bush stirring up the bees nest. Instead of defeating the hive, Bush scattered the bees, all of whom can work independently from the others. If anything, this world is infinitely more dangerous than it was four years ago.

As Clinton said during his campaigns, are you better off than you were four years ago?

No, nobody is.

John Ashcroft was in hot water last week when he potentially placed himself in contempt of Congress by refusing to release a January 2002 memo which says that George W. Bush is above the law and can torture whomever he darn well pleases.

"I believe it is essential to the operation of the executive branch that the president have the opportunity to get information from the attorney general that is confidential," said Ashcroft.

But he didn't invoke executive privilege, so he was basically saying, "Oh, and by the way, I'm above the law too." The memo itself was 56 pages long, and according to Reuters, said that George W. Bush had "'complete authority over the conduct of war,' overriding international treaties such as a global treaty banning torture, the Geneva Conventions and a U.S. federal law against torture." That's right -- Our Great Leader doesn't need to abide by such petty out-dated concepts as "the law" because he's defending our freedoms. Never mind the fact that authorizing torture places George W. Bush in the same league as Augusto Pinochet. Because don't forget -- even though we're doing the same things the evil-doers are doing, we know that it's wrong, and that makes us better than them.

When will it end? Hopefully in November.

Origins of Right

Have you ever sat there on a Saturday morning, while you're reading through your favorite political blog (mine?!) and wonder to yourself, "Self, where do the terms 'right-wing' and 'left-wing' come from?" Well, if you did, this post is for you!

The right has always been on the popular side of everything. Jesus is in Heaven on the right hand of the father. The you shake with your right hand. People in some Asian countries consider touching someone with your left hand one of the most disgusting faux-pas. Right is right. AK13 writes


The French First Estate, the original right wing, was on the side of tradition, hierarchy and privilege whereas the Third Estate, the left wing, was on the side of change, fraternity and equality. In the French Revolution, the Third Estate led the revolution.

Inside the chamber where the National Assembly met, members of the Third Estate sat on the left side and members of the First Estate would sit on the right. Thus, the left wing of the room was more liberal, and the right wing was more conservative.

Of course, as we know from our French history, the Third Estate (the left-wingers) rose up and created what is known as the French Revolution, with the cutting off of heads of those in the First Estate (nobles, et al) and the king.

Is it just me who finds some sort of ironic humor in the fact that the right-wing has its roots in French politics, something the American right-wingers of today hate because of their arrogant disapproval of the President? And, there's some sort of sweet (if not a little morbid) amazement in the fact that the Third Estate (liberals) rose up and chopped off all the conservatives heads. Hmm.

I don't condone violence, but I do believe in irony.

And let us not forget that the English word sinister can be directly traced back to the Latin word for "on the left side". Talk about your all-time bad connotation. Oy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Bunker Dick

Oy. The White House is up to its old tricks, fuming about this and that. Well, more specifically, they have their panties in a wad over the fact that Time magazine disclosed the location of Dick Cheney's secret bunker. As you may remember, the Dick has been in hiding so if the terrorists (Arabs, al-Qaeda, homosexuals, the NEA, etc) ever got to W, he would be able to continue the line of succession.

According to the Drudge Report,


Top White House officials expressed anger after TIME magazine detailed the location of Vice President Dick Cheney's secret bunker, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

In new editions, TIME revealed "Site R," an underground bunker on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border where the Vice President spent much of his time in 2001.

TIME wrote: "Deep under Raven Rock Mountain, Site R is a secret world of five buildings, each three stories tall, computer filled caverns and a subterranean water reservoir. It is just 7 miles from Camp David."

One White House official fumed Monday night: "TIME magazine would have revealed the secret location of Anne Frank, if they knew it."

Well then. But did you hear any hoopla about the disclosure when the New York Post did the exact same thing two weeks ago? Well, no. The New York Post is a huge W backer and prints nothing but good things about him. How could the White House go on the offensive against them? They'll just kick around Time a little while.

And, as you know, the disclosure of Cheney's secret bunker is only slightly more shocking than the White Houses's disclosure of a CIA undercover agent whose in-the-public-eye husband discounted the Bush administration's claim that Saddam sought nuclear-grade uranium in Africa. They'll get to the bottom of it sooner or later.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Over 1 Million Served

No, not really. But I have reached the 100 unique visitors watermark. One hundred individual people have read through my blog, many more than once. Who would've thought a hundred people would find my website. Yeah baby, yeah!

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Shrek 2

I thought Shrek 2 was an amazingly funny movie. It's on a different plane than the first -- not better, not worse, just different. And I highly recommend to everyone that you stop what you're doing right now (after you finish this post, of course) and you go out and see it. That being said, let's hear what the people over at the Traditional Values Coalition have to say about this humorous and delightful little movie.


Parents who are thinking about taking their children to see "Shrek 2," may wish to consider the following: The movie features a male-to-female transgender (in transition) as an evil bartender. The character has five o'clock shadow, wears a dress and has female breasts. It is clear that he is a she-male. His voice is that of talk show host Larry King.

Not a male-to-female transgender! No!!!


In another scene in the movie, Shrek and Donkey need to be rescued from a dungeon where they are chained against the wall. The rescue is conducted by Pinocchio who is asked to lie so his nose will grow long enough for one of the smaller cartoon characters to use it as a bridge to reach Shrek and Donkey. Donkey encourages him to lie about something and suggests he lie about wearing women's underwear. When he denies wearing women's underwear, his nose begins to grow.

This scene might actually be my favorite in the entire movie! It's so darn funny! The best part is when the Gingerbread Man snaps the underwear, exclaiming, "It's a thong!" Everyone in the theater laughed, even the children, who I'm not entirely sure understood what a thong was but it's just funny!

And that's why I love it. Because Shrek 2 rocks and because the TVC hates it. Two thumbs up.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Attack Zac's Book Club

Okay, so I don't have a book club, but I do love to read and do it quite often. I thought I'd tell you what I'm reading and you can respond to me and tell me what you think of said book if you had already read it.

Do you think you can even keep up with me? Yeah, you're right. I'm not that fast of a reader, but I can go for long stretches of time before my eyes start to give out.

This evening, I'm reading The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin. I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie because movies are never as good as the book. With exceptions including Jurassic Park [book]and Schindler's List (originally titled Schindler's Ark), which, coincidently, were both movies directed by Steven Spielberg. Interesting.

Anyway, the movie previews kind of freaked me out so I picked up the book this afternoon at the local book store. Flipping through the pages, I realize that this is more of a short story than a novel. It's only 186 pages with bigger-than-usual font. Bonus! I should have it finished tonight.

Vatican to the Rescue

According to the New York Times and the National Catholic Reporter, on his recent trip to Rome, President Bush asked a top Vatican official to push American bishops to speak out more about political issues, including same-sex marriage.

Citing an unnamed Vatican official, the NCR reports: "Bush said, 'Not all the American bishops are with me' on cultural issues. The implication was that he hoped the Vatican would nudge them toward more explicit activism."


The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called the report "mind-boggling."

"It is just unprecedented for a president to ask for help from the Vatican to get re-elected, and that is exactly what this is," Mr. Lynn said. Linda Pieczynski, a spokeswoman for Call to Action, a liberal Catholic group, said, "For a president to try to get the leader of any religious organization to manipulate his fellow clergymen to support a political candidate crosses the line in this country."

Catholics were once a reliably Democratic constituency (ie Kennedy) but now they have become somewhat divided, with traditionalist Catholics siding with conservative evangelical Protestants on social issues like opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion. And while in the last election, people who attended church regularly voted disproportionately for Bush, Catholics were more evenly split than Protestants were.

And Bush's rival in the upcoming election is a Catholic -- John Kerry. Although the Vatican is at odds with Kerry over abortion and same-sex marriage (I think Kerry's official position is no to marriage and yes to civil unions), the pope and other Catholic officials have repeatedly and quite loudly criticized the Bush administration over the war in Iraq.


Pope John Paul II praised Mr. Bush last week for "the promotion of moral values" but reminded the president of the pope's "unequivocal position" on Iraq.

So the Vatican has several options. It can stay neutral; it can become louder in its opposition against same-sex marriage and help out a war-mongerer; it can become louder in its opposition to abortion and help out a war-mongerer; it can become louder in its opposition to the war in Iraq and help out a fellow-Catholic; or it can quiet its opposition to abortion and help out a fellow-Catholic.

But frankly, I'm confused by the thought that Bush would ask American bishops help in voicing political positions. This is a very tricky stunt to pull. While voicing hot-topic issues in politics is nothing new for any religious figure, to become an active campaigner for a certain candidate should land the church in hot-water and perhaps have its tax-exempt status rebuked. Part of the conditions of a tax-exempt party states that said group will stay out of politics and remain neutral.