Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Like rats from a sinking ship or, better late than never

  • When Francis Fukuyama, the man who wrote The End of History, a book which posited that given the supposed triumph of liberal capitalism, there was no more debate as to the fact that liberalism was the Official Governmental Sytem of the World (all rights protected, patent pending, etc.) pre-eminent historical/philosophical mode (although apparently no one told Monkey Boy, North Korea, Myanmar, Sudan, our good friend Saudia Arabia, or Snarl (The Man Who Mistook His Friend For a Quail)), is rejecting the course of the Bush administration, you know Elvis has left the building. From an excerpt from his new book featured in the NY Times this past weekend, it seems he realizes that he believes that the neo-cons have erred in falsely linking the (legitimate) threat of undemocratic institutions with a belief that unilateral and the poorly planned use of force in interfering with sovereign governments was the solution. Well, cheers for coming round Francis. I wonder if your students are impressed or not. Anyway, as noted, better late than never; though really Francis, you might have noted this about, oh, say, five years ago.

  • And in the No Man Is An Island Except for Monkey Boy Category, it seems that Georgie intends to grant a contract to the United Arab Emirates to oversee a whole bunch of American ports. Now really, are there not decent, hard-working Americans who can't do this work? C'mon now. Of course there are. This is ridiculous. And, surprise surprise, it turns out that there may well bea quid pro quo. Hmm...imagine that, someone having Little Georgie by the saggy, straggly rocks. Hmmm.....was this not the "President" (and I use this term advisedly given the company he's in) having declined to use his veto one time in five (very.very.very.long) years, has decided that he is going to use it to ensure that this company gets this contract. And, given threat to challenged this decision by his "allies" (another term I use advisedly these days, re: Monkey Boy) and indeed, his Congressional leaders, Speaker Hastert and Sen. Frist, yes, it would seem that Bushie has won Presidential Survivor. He is indeed alone on an island. I love how he requests the trust of the American people in his claim that this UAE deal is already done. Oh yeah Bushie, well, if you want our trust, shoot, why didn't ya just say so? I mean, you ain't fucked up nuttin' else right? Right? (crickets chirp infinitely)

  • And really, if every American could just see this clip, perhaps Bush's megalomaniacal power grab would come to a grinding halt in a hurry.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Well, it should fuel a nice fire

More nonsense from the LA Times, which usually has more wisdom in Doonesbury than in the main news sections; reading the paper on Friday however, there was more than one's average quota of nonsense.

There was an article about one of the tooliest tools in the Senate, Sen. Roberts of Kansas claiming that the need for investigation into wiretapping (they're calling it Terrorist Surveillance-to be honest that sounds no better) had been pre-empted by the White House agreeing to co-operate (oh how generous-the criminals seeing the error of their ways) in revising legislation governing wiretapping. (Although, by agreeing to do so, does that not indicate the uselessness of legislation which they ignored anyway? Hmmm...we don't like this legislation-let's break the law and if they catch us, we'll "agree" to make new legislation) So we should just take them at their word that they'll fix the law (not that it needs to be fixed).

Well regardless, the article was written as though ther is a great deal of disagreement over whether the wiretapping program is unconstitutional when there really isn't. Typical of the cowardice of the mainstream media that they don't have the nerve to call the President's program what it is and stop pretending that there's really much debate about the legality of the program. The media could become much more powerful if they were that assertive, but yet they continue to waffle on these very important issues, possibly fearing that they won't get access. Maybe-but if they grew a couple and told the White House that we'll keep reporting honestly on what you do, they would take the moral high ground unabashedly and the White House would be forced either into embarassment or into reforming. sigh. Ah well, it's a nice thought anyway.

The FISA legislation gives the President the authority to enact wiretapping on those whom he suspects of, um, badness retroactively. That is, the President's argument that he doesn't have enough time to apply to the FISA court for a warrant for a wiretap is unwarranted and null. Not only that, but if he had applied to the FISA court, it is almost certain that his application would have been approved. He doesn't even have to apply to FISA before enacting his wiretapping. This is not a complicated issue. President Bush has even stated that he re-approved the program about 40 times. In announcing this, in one of the more memorable bits of TV I've seen in recent times, he was essentially telling the country (not to mention James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and all the other Framers of the Constitution) "Fuck you, I'm Preznit, I'll do what I want". I mean, if the country does eventually come to its senses and newspapers start to simply report the facts of this affair, and Bush is eventually impeached, well, that's Exhibit A right there. It's like a bank robber leaving his phone number, social security number, address, next of kin, and wife's name on a note for the cops in the bank when he's finished robbing.

Also there was also an article in the LA Times on Friday about the supposed tepidness of the Iraqi reaction to the latest batch of photographs (warning: graphic) of abuse from Abu Ghraib. The article was entitled, "In Iraq, a Subdued Response to New Detainee Abuse Photos". Why, are Iraqis supposed to be rioting in the streets or something? And could anyone really blame them if they did? And just because they weren't making their unhappiness with the new revelations known in public venues, do you really think they were any less happy in private. And also, I read a while ago that Iraqis have known about these things for a while. This is not terribly shocking for them. They see how the US is behaving over there and so it's not news that their men and women are being abused in this way.

Additionally, does one not think that there is some abuse fatigue for Iraqis? They've undergone so much at the hands of The Troops Who Would Be Liberators that, well, they're probably exhausted to some degree with all the mistreatment that occurs. Not only that, but they're trying to live day-to-day in a country where unemployment was at 18% last year, according to CNN. (Al Jazeera, however, put the number at 70% a year and a half ago). In any case the number is high and the point is that life is not good in Iraq. But to suggest that somehow Iraqis aren't as angry about the pictures coming out of Abu Ghraib is, well, serving as a water carrier in the worst way for the Pentagon.

Yes, so no trees at all should have been hurt in the making of this newspaper. Yup, two sides to the wiretapping story and wow, Iraqis don't seem too upset over new Abu Ghraib pix. All in a day's work for one of the biggest papers in the country.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Syrian/Canadian citizen denied hearing over rendition to Syria

OK, so perhaps we don't have the grounds on which to address Maher Arar's claim, (hat tip to Body and Soul) that it doesn't have the grounds on which to address his allegation that he was tortured in Syria after being rendered from New York while returning to Canada from a vacation. But really, if he's detained in the US, shouldn't he have some grounds on which to address the impropriety of his rendition to Syria and treatment in Syria? I'm not a lawyer but surely this legislation, especially given the fact that the US sent him over there and we don't know what the nature of the allegations towards him, should offer some recourse to those who are mistreated.

So here's where the evil/stupid question comes in. Was the Torture Victim Prevention Act crafted in such a way as to minimize lawsuits against the Justice Department for their heartless bullying of, well, anyone darker skinned than me, or were they so dumb that they didn't anticipate that a foreign citizen could become caught up in this jurisprudential stew of confusing and contradictory rules? I think this time the answer is evil, but on other occasions-well, considering how poorly they've managed Iraq, did they really want such chaos there? Can they tolerate the chaos that they've set off being on their hands? It's hard for me to believe that this was all planned. There were so many stories about Clinton and his concern for his legacy particularly during his second term in office. Obviously these guys don't care about theirs. I guess it's because they don't plan on ceding power. Heck what do I know?

But back to the Arar case, it's truly disgraceful that even now, the Justice Dept. (really, they need another name) claims they had hard evidence linking Mr. Arar to Al Qaeda. Well, if you had evidence, why did you not address it yourself (it's because you didn't have any evidence)? And sure, the Syrians told you that they wouldn't torture him. And according to Human Rights Watch they had a fabulous human rights record in 2001...just before Mr. Arar was arrested. So it's no wonder we trusted him to the Syrians (cough cough).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A few more things

Some funny things on the Internets today:

  • Have you ever dreamed of getting help from The Princess of Darkness, the Duchess of Doom, Miss Adam's Apple Herself? No, me either. But here it is anyway.

  • And Dick Cheney's thanking the Internets that the Keyboard Kommandos have got his back (just as long as he doesn't swing around and pepper them in the face).

  • Who knew watching press conferences could be so much fun?

  • And here's Jon Stewart on Quailgate.

What a


Listen to this, found via Daily Kos.

Helen Thomas, White House correspondent since 1961 and an octogenarian takes that silly Hugh Hewitt over her knee and spanks him repeatedly. Why is this guy so obsessed with her political beliefs if he believes (as he claims during the interview) that she is an unbiased and fair reporter?

It's a rhetorical question. He obviously doesn't think she's unbiased, just as he believes that David Gregory, Elizabeth Bumiller, Jim Vander Hei, etc (members of the White House press corps) are all card-carrying flaming pinko commie leftie liberal America-hating, ACLU-buyin', granola-eatin', organic food lovin', Audi-drivin', cappuccino-drinkin' (enough stereotypes?) libs.

It was wonderful that Helen Thomas turned the tables on him and asked him when he had decided to cross over and...do (as Helen puts it) whatever it is he does. Doesn't he realize (again, rhetorical Q) that when he proclaims his fierce conservative beliefs that he undermines his claims to journalistic objectivity?

I hope I'm as sensible and principled as Helen Thomas when/if I get halfway through my ninth decade. The Dems, if they had half the rocks Helen Thomas has, could forge a new political movement in this country if they would cite their commitment to democracy and (Metallica reference follows) ...justice for all. The American people's political attitudes have been shown multiple times to be more in synch with Democratic attitudes and beliefs but yet too many Joe Bidens, Joe Liebermans and Hilary Clinton pointlessly fear being labelled (oooooh, you naughty pol) liberal. (Shhhh, don't say it too loud, Tim Russert might hear it) They're concerned that being labelled liberal might be political suicide but in case they haven't noticed, this admininistration isn't doing too well right now. They'd do well to separate from it....but...well, they don't. If they realized that Democrats at the moment (and well, overall) are the party which really stands for the interests of the American people. I believe there are decent conservatives. Indeed, true conservative principles-which Georgie doesn't hold-such as fiscal responsibility, respect for personal liberties among others-are admirable. And as conservatives splinter from the President, particularly over his commitment to illegally wiretap, one realizes that for all, there is a limit to what they can support.

Be that as it may though, the way the Republican party has gone recently, there are not any decent Repubs right now, at least in the ruling party. Well, I shouldn't quite say that. There's maybe Olympia Snowe and..um....hmmmm.....ummmmmm.....well, there's one decent Republican of some national prominence. Maybe. WWLS? (What Would Lincoln Say?)

Seriously though, if the Dems woould just take a lesson from a straight-shooting 85 year-old, they might realize more electoral success and the country could regain some respect internationally. Uh huh, and Chick Deney reported the shooting of Whittington because he believed the American people have a right to knowledge of what their elected figures are doing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

uno question

So now Cheney says he had one beer four or five hours before he gunned down Whittington. So is Cheney a lush or something? Or did he have more than one beer? One beer four or five hours before that effected him to the extent he was nuts enough to shoot this poor guy? C'mon now....

Who are these people?

OK fine, it's good that only 39% think Monkey Boy is doing a good job....but really...who are these 39%? Do they know that the Earth circles the Sun and that we are post-Copernicus? Do they think that shooting this poor 78 year-old man int he face was good for Cheney's career? Do they believe that 24 is actually filmed in the space of 24 hours ? Really? Do they think that that OJ was innocent and that Rummy really had no say in the policy that allowed for Abu Ghraib and other mistreatment of detainees? Maybe their kids don't have anything in their stockings because these adults still believe in Santa Claus and wonder where other kids get shit that's in their stockings. I mean really. Cheney shoots a guy in the face-Letterman says he "gunned some guys down", lol and Cheney doesn't address the issue until nearly four days later? He shot a guy in the face. People can say there is no similarity between the Nazis and the Bush regime all they want but if you continually ignore bigger and bigger issues, each time using the same defense-no, don't be ridiculous, it gives the regime carte blanche to commit worse and worse atrocities. If you deny something's gravity enough, at some point it becomes legitimate. If you've denied the seriousness of Bush's crimes so far, you're probably not gonna change now because you're so out of touch with reality. And people say, well, they should report the good news out of Iraq. OK, fine, schools are open, there are jobs, people have cable TV, they have computers. Fine, but if they can't leave the house without fear of a Cheney-ish peppering-well, much more serious actually, things are not alright. If anyone questions that, just read Informed Comment every day and see how many attacks occur every day and ask yourself, if this all happened in Texas within the same time frame, would Texas be safe? (I know there's a joke in there about guns and safety in Texas but I'm not going there) Any attempt to re-habilitate the administration only indicates a person in serious denial and someone who is far from intellectually honest.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Republican hypocrisy knows no bounds

It's just amazing that mourners for Coretta Scott King, black mourners no less, applauded true statements by Rev. Joseph Lowery, one of the leading activists for civil rights during the '50s and a confidant of Martin. How dare he note that, um, well, yeah, there were no WMD and that the war in I-raq is going less than swimmingly. The nerve of the man. Yeesh. And imagine the fact that people, many of them black, applauded this. Wow...shocking, just shocking. Coz Coretta Scott King was such a proponent of violence. Yeesh. Really, do the Republican talking heads (isn't that any Republican?) have any intellectual integrity? You mean to say that given the fact that 98% of black folks don't like Bush, that, um, what Rev. Lowery said is true, that peace is something that should be strived for, and that Mrs. King, like her husband, stood boldly for non-violence and what those wacky old Founding Fathers wanted, you know, that, all men are created equal...and the ol' 14th Amendment, that whole equality under the law thing. Really, why should the President be protected from words? Sticks and stones right? Oh....your embarassment signals that you recognize that we're getting fugged in the war and yet you have shown no indication of withdrawing from Iraq or adopting a more sensible approach? Ah...funny what happens when you don't get to pick your audience, eh Monkey Boy? Honestly, for once he gets a dose of reality and he doesn't wike it, does he poow Mr. Pwesidenty Wesidenty?. You can pretend that things are hunky-dory all you want, but it doesn't make them so. Perhaps the reaction might persuade him to join the Reality-Based Community....probably not though. He'll probably charge Rove with making sure even the guard dogs at his events are die-hard Republicans.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Everything alright?

  • Monkey Boy and His British Bulldog Poodle, January 31, 2003.Hey Tony, how about this? Let's paint a US plane as though it was a UN one and try and get Saddam to shoot at it. That's all the WMD we need right? Yeah, and I don't foresee (yeah, I thought it was a cool word too Tony, it's a new word for me) any unpleasantness between Sunnis and Shias, or any possible threat from Iran, if things go bad in Iraq. Sound good? Oh absolutely George, you seem to have such unassailable wisdom. What could possibly go wrong?


  • A sad report from Afghanistan.

  • Watch this.

Uh, go Sea-teel-hawk-ers?