Monthly Archives: September 2007

Fred’s lazy like Dubya’s stupid

I’m sorry to say this post continues my unhealthy fixation on Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson. I just can’t seem to quit the ugly SOB. Every time I examine the Thompson campaign, I see some eeiry similarities to the 2000 campaign of our now-overlord and president George W. Bush. And that scares the piss out of me. OK, it doesn’t “scare” me, but it worries me more than a little.

Here are the things I’ve noticed to make me thing Fred!2008 is like W in 2000:

  1. The myth that Fred is a regular “aw gee shucks” redneck who likes flannel shirts, nascar, and pick-up trucks. In 2000 we were told W. Bush was a good old boy who America wanted to have a beer with (he though he says he’s a recovering alcoholic and shouldn’t be around booze–but I digress).
  2. The elite, “mainstream media” is painting Fred Thompson as lazy, uninterested in the procedures of government, and generally is ridiculing his whole campaign. In 2000, the media’s story on Bush was “he’s stupid.” Now, you know and I know Bush is stupid. And Thompson probably is lazy, but anytime the “elite”, “liberal”, “mainstream” media says something, there is a certain percentage of the voting population that softens to the “victim” of the media’s “biased” portrayal.
  3. Thompson has shown time and again that he is a partisan loyal to party over “law and order”. The biggest example of this was Thompson’s decision to leak confidential details of the Watergate investigation to president Nixon. Thompson, rather than deny this, was proud of it. His loyalty to party led him to stomp on the Constitution and the “rule of law” ostensibly to keep a corrupt regime one step ahead of the investigating committee. Thompson was also a vocal supporter of convicted criminal I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Thompson backed Libby all the way and was a large contributor to Libby’s legal defense fund–he even threw a fund raiser at his McLean, Virginia home to raise lawyer money for good ‘ol loyal Scooter. Never forget how the Republican party, like the mafia, values and rewards loyalty. President Bush was elected on a platform of loyalty and service to the “haves and have more.”

(to be continued)

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Filed under 2008 presidential election, fred thompson, George Bush, presidential campaign

Hitting to left field: The Kid Who Got Tasered, Blackwater, more

My take on the last week-to-ten-days of news.

The Kid Who Got Tasered.

Is doesn’t matter if The Kid Who Got Tasered, formerly known as Andrew Meyer, did it as a jackass stunt or to get on TV/in the newspaper. Regardless, he was tasered and arrested for asking one too many annoying questions at a political forum and Q-and-A with Senator John Kerry (D-Ma). That’s a crime? Kerry said he’s answer the questions but the campus police swarmed in and physically restrained–then tasered, repeatedly, a 21 year-old kid (he’s a kid until he gets a job and moves out from Mom and Dad’s place for good). As I see it, the kid’s “crime” wasn’t a crime at all, merely the exercise of his CONSTITUTIONALLY-PROTECTED RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH AND TO PEACEABLY ASSEMBLE. End of story. Stop making him out to be a publicity hound taking the media spotlight off “real” news, Matt Felling (here), or a bad writer who took the cheap and easy way to a CNN interview by taking 50,000 volts to the gut (here). When I was 21 I cared about three things: beer and girls and gas money. I know The Andrew Meyer is WAY ahead of me at 21, and seemingly most of his peers. And if he interns with Greg Palast, he may learn a thing or two about craft and real journalism.

9/11 Truth?

Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell says “In my view, the 9/11 tragedy should have been prevented. It was preventable.” I know its just parsing, but why did ABC News headline the story “U.S. Spy Chief: 9/11 ‘could have been prevented’ (emphasis mine). He said “should have and could have been prevented” (emphasis mine), not just could have. Could indicates doubt. Like: Maybe 9-11 could have been prevented. But there were so many dots to connect and we didn’t have the time, manpower, funding etc. etc. McConnell’s use of the word should indicates he thinks the spy agencies failed on 9/11–that they had the intel to stop the plot and they didn’t. Example: “We should have prevented 9-11, but for whatever reason, we didn’t.” Choose your words carefully ABC News, and if the man’s quote says “Should”, your headline should reflect that. From the story by Jason Ryan and Theresa Cook (read full copy here):

U.S. Spy Chief: 9/11 ‘could have been prevented’

Six years after the deadliest attack on U.S. soil, the head of U.S. spy operations admitted to lawmakers that “9/11 should have and could have been prevented.”

Director of National Intelligence, Michael McConnell, told members of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday that “it was an issue of connecting information that was available.”

. . .

Given the vast resources of the intelligence community, along with the FBI’s and CIA’s knowledge that al Qaeda had an interest in flight training, and had sent 9/11 hijackers Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al Hazmi and terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui to undertake such training in the United States, McConnell said, “For whatever reason, we didn’t connect the dots.”

. . .

“In my view, the 9/11 tragedy should have been prevented. It was preventable.”

Should have been prevented. SHOULD HAVE.


Moveon’s Patraeus or Betray Us? Ad

Two words: Free speech. Two more words: The truth. Eight words: Report written for the General by White House. Eight more words: General wants to run for president in 2012.


Blackwater USA

Blackwater USA has no legitimate business being in Iraq–the function they mainly perform, guarding US diplomats, could be done by US Military with a higher degree of professionalism and for far less money. Blackwater personnel receive pay many times higher than our forces–even after their bosses in the Great Dismal Swamp skim lots off the top, and they enjoy a carte blanche to act however they deem appropriate to fulfill their primary role of protecting US diplomats. They literally have a license to kill. Blackwater personnel, thanks to legislation passed by the US Congress, operate outside the rules of engagement and wartime code of conduct our Military men and women follow. Additionally, thanks to loopholes in our legal system, they cannot be sued for alleged crimes in US courts. And since they are part of the US “total force” in Iraq, they can’t be sued internationally either. So they kill who they want when they want in the line of duty, consequence-free. In my opinion, having Mercenaries in Iraq doing a job that US soldiers or marines can do, while earning pay many times what our soldiers receive and operating outside all rules and laws, must be a tremendous blow to our troops’ morale and a dangerous influence on them.

In 2004, Blackwater operators sent into Fallujah w/o proper arms, intel and personnel were ambushed, murdered, mutilated, burned, and hung from a bridge. This resulted in a retaliatory US combat operation where Fallujah was heavily bombed by the USAF and shelled with white phosphorous artillery rounds (which are illegal under international agreements). The First Battle of Fallujah (as it is now known) is seen by many as a major cause of increased insurgency and anti-american sentiment. It rallied many Sunnis to the cause of killing American soldiers and killed an incredible number of Iraqi civilians. Blackwater management is partially responsible, as they sent in their men into Fallujah without proper maps and intel, lacking proper armament, and understaffed.

The most recent episode of Blackwater personnel killing civilians without justification seems like the straw that broke the camel’s back–at least as far as Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki is concerned. The Iraqi government condemned Blackwater’s murderous behavior and barred them from operating in Iraq. However, since the Iraqi government isn’t really a sovereign entity, merely a puppet of the US, nothing will change. The State Department will lean on Maliki, and Blackwater will continue to engage in war profiteering in Iraq. And their continued presence will undermine the US military’s (now nearly hopeless) mission to “win hearts and minds.” These mercenaries, though some are former special forces and former regular U.S. Military personnel, are endangering our troops. Does that mean Senator Cornyn’s (R-Tx) sense of the Senate resolution condemns them? And if so, will he publicly say so?

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Filed under andrew meyer, betray us?, blackwater usa, greg palast, moveon.org

"Pro-victory" counter-protester gets physical at Sept 15. Anti-War protest

Everyone’s entitled to voice their opinion, but I think Oliver Wendell Holmes said it best: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” Or where the other man or woman’s scarf or camera begin, in this case. And if you can’t think of a compelling verbal argument for your beliefs, just chant “USA, USA, USA” at the top of your voice. Video by WillyT at democraticunderground.com

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Filed under answer, gathering of eagles, oliver wendell holmes, sept 15 anti-war protest

Al Anbar province, 2017: The enemy of my enemy is still my enemy

Let me start by stating: The Surge Is Working!

How do I know?

Just look at Al-Anbar province. It was once one of the most dangerous parts of Iraq, and is now relatively peaceful. According to the U.S. military, Sunni Tribes have allied with U.S. Forces and are hunting down and killing Al Qaida instead of U.S. Soldiers and Marines.

And it didn’t take more troops in Al-Anbar to accomplish this, it took less. It also took delivery of lots of arms and munitions to the Sunni Tribes, cash bribes, autonomy, a handshake agreement that they try to recognize the federal government in Baghdad if Baghdad ever gets its act together, and amnesty for past crimes (killing American troops and Shia). That’s it, that’s all.

In return for this U.S. investment of advanced weapons and dough, the Sunni Sheiks in Al-Anbar have promised to hunt Al Qaida first and foremost. Given that these same Anbar Sunnis used to make up a large part of the Iraqi insurgency, getting them to kill Al Qaida instead of our guys is a good thing. But, given that Al Qaida only makes up a tiny fraction (about 2-5%) of the total Iraqi insurgency, what happens after the Anbar Sunnis kill and/or drive Al Qaida out? And aren’t we just pouring gasoline on a fire by giving the guys who used to be our chief opponents piles of guns and money?

Let’s say in short order the Sunnis kill or drive away Al Qaida. After some rejoicing, the Sunnis then say to us, “Ok, thanks for the help–and the guns—and the bucks. You can leave now.” Do we leave? Do we stay? What are our “friends” going to do with their new guns, financing, and complete control over a big swath of Iraq–regardless if we stay or leave? My guess is that they’ll resume making hell for our troops; smuggle drugs, arms, and whatever else they can throughout their territory; and be a huge headache for the Shia-dominated central government. They’ll be exponentially stronger than before, with full control of their territory and flush with U.S. guns and money.

Call me a skeptic, but this whole situation reminds me of some other Muslims (including many Sunni Muslims) we armed, trained, and financed way back in the 1980’s to fight the Soviet Union in a country called Afghanistan. These guys, called the Mujahideen, were hailed as brave fighters engaged in a guerrilla campaign against the godless communists who had invaded their country. CIA agents funneled them lots of cash, trained them in all manner of insurgency tactics–including bomb-making and demolitions, and provided logistics and state-of-the-art American weapons–including shoulder-fired “stinger” missiles. After they drove off the commie horde, we more or less just let them be. Over time they morphed in the Taliban and Al Qaeda and transformed Afghanistan into a medieval Islamic theocracy. After a decade of smaller-scale terrorist attacks against the U.S. and U.S. interests, on Sept the 11th of 2001 19 Al Qaeda hijackers flew 3 airplanes into the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon–bringing down the towers and killing thousands of American civilians.

There’s a lesson to be learned somewhere in this mess.

More on the surge and Al-Anbar:

Another view on the “Anbar Awakening” by Victor Laszlo from TMP Cafe. Read it here.

Information on “amnesty” for Sunni insurgents, by James Cogan at WSWS. Read it here.

Juan Cole says Al-Anbar isn’t really calm at all. Read it here.

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Filed under afghanistan, al qaeda, anbar province, Iraq, iraq war, osama bin laden, sunnis, ussr

"Buzz Kill" Talk Radio Challenge! Part 3

I’ve listened to 7 hours of the Dennis Miller radio program (the pod-casted version w/o commersials, downloaded from iTunes, comes out to just about 4 hrs, 40 mins of content).

Most of the broadcast content is instantly forgettable blather between Dennis and his co-host, in the trademark Dennis Miller style (lots of big words, lots of nicknames, lots of “highbrow” Fraseresque humor and obscure pop-culture references).

As I stated in the last “buzz kill” post, several times per show Miller has a line of thought, statement or comment that really sticks in my craw and strikes me as, how to put this, ridiculously stupid.

Specifically:

In an interview with controversial Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, Miller seems only interested in trashing Al Gore personally and Leo DiCaprio’s movie The 11th Hour–and getting Moore to join in–than listening to anything else Moore has to say. Miller is most gleeful in his attacks on former VP Gore, many of which seem petty, untrue (he evokes the “I invented the internet” line that Gore never said) and unrelated to the rest of the interview. Despite this, Moore makes some valid points. He does acknowledge global warming/climate change is real, and that the U.S. should aggressively pursue renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal; practice forest husbandry; and revitalize our nuclear power program. He insists we must reduce our use of fossil fuels. All of those things, he states, are necessary to minimize global warming’s effects. By interviews end, Moore has also extolled the logging industry, nuclear energy, and geothermal heat pumps. It is never mentioned that he has a vested interest in (i.e. he is a lobbyist for or current/former employee of) all three of these industries.

A caller from Chicago (9/5/07–third hour of program) tells Dennis of his walk through a posh waterfront neighborhood in Chicago. The caller passes a “McMansion”(the caller’s description–made–I feel–to expand/enforce the stereotype of the “limousine liberal”) with two signs in the yard: One reads “Support the Troops”. The other “Stop the War”. The caller asks Miller for his opinion on the signs.

Miller predictably rips into the offered red meat, saying “support the troops–stop the war” is essentially garbage. He likens it to telling the troops “I like the company you work for, but I don’t like the job you’re doing.”

Mr. Miller is 100% wrong here. Simply put, the position of the McMansion’s occupant is the opposite of Miller’s analogy. A correct restatement of their viewpoint, using the same terms of Miller’s analogy, would be: You are an excellent employee, but the company you work for is engaged in some shaky business practices that I don’t agree with.

I can’t speak for the sign-displayer in Chicago, but this American wants an immediate end to the Iraq War. I oppose the Bush administration’s rationale for the war and execution of the war, not the brave men and women in uniform who are fighting it. I want our troops extracted from a sectarian civil war. I want our government to reach out to Iraq’s neighbors in the middle-east, and the UN, to help stabilize Iraq after our withdrawal. I want the War on Terror refocused on those who attacked us on Sept 11th, 2001. I want Osama bin Laden caught, his terrorist network destroyed, and his financial backers imprisoned.

Dennis Miller wants a good-paying, long-term gig in talk radio. Maybe thats why he went neocon. And he really can’t debate being a neocon. At least not after declaring on tuesday (9/4/07–just prior to an interview with Bolton) that John Bolton is “the voice he hears in his head”.

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Filed under dennis miller, john bolton, talk radio

Letter from a Right-wing conservative admirer

My “letter to the editor” concerning impeachable crimes committed by George W. Bush was printed in the local paper (Springfield Republican, Aug 16). I posted about it here last month. The day it appeared in the paper, I got two creepy messages on my machine and the next day I received a letter. And what a letter! I’ll reprint it here, translating the scrawled handwriting as best I can (the letter writer’s words are in blue italics):

Good Resume: President Clinton/Gore will lie till they die!!! Hillary- Kerry!

(above is the heading of a photocopied page with indictments of Bill Clinton’s crimes–real and imagined. One of my favorites is that damning testimony of actor James Woods, who calls Clinton a certified liar. Another reads simply Monica Lewinsky – Oral Sex s–m. I would love to pick Mr. ss’s brain to find out what s–m means)

On the flip side of the photocopy was this hand-written missive:

Also Bosnia, Kosovo, Waco TX–burned and killed women and children etc. Hillary made $100,000.00 in one week on commodities (stock)

Please tell me what is wrong with you liberals Kennedy is a homicidal, womanizing etc. Kerry a liar etc. Are most people in mass (Massachusetts) disturbed

“Be Fair”

Say a prayer once in a while!

ss
(the letter writer’s initials–and how he signed the letter. I’m not going to print his full name)

move to Iran or Syria or Venezuela .) Caracas

I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out what any on this has to do with me enumerating the impeachable offenses of George W. Bush.

I guess the best I can do is drop to my knees and say a prayer for the mental health and overall well-being of my dear friend ss.

Not that God will listen to an unfair, Godless, America-hating liberal like myself.

amen.

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Filed under Impeachment, letter to the editor, liberals

"Buzz Kill" Talk Radio Challenge! Part 2

My “Buzz Kill” challenge started in earnest today. After a few very downer weeks of confrontations with right-wing republicans at work, emails to a local right-wing talk radio host, and listening to bits of right-wing talk radio on C-Span, I’ve dove into the waters headfirst and listened to about 3 hours of right-wing talk radio tonight. Specifically; all 3 hours of the August 31st Dennis Miller radio program.

First impressions: The program is slick and well-engineered. Great effects and bumpers. Miller’s sidekick has the annoying habit of “fake laughing” at Dennis or chuckling at his own jokes too much. An interview with Bob Novak (Aka “The Prince of Darkness”) was mainly well-done, with some anecdotes from Novak’s early days of journalism–including an encounter with a very drunk Senator Lyndon Johnson. Miller and Novak brush off “Plame-gate” and Miller makes a cheap dig at Joe Wilson’s character. Several of Miller’s callers seemed rehearsed or scripted–too eloquent, too polished and speaking in Miller-like cadences–or maybe some callers just imitate Miller’s comedy style and delivery very well and I’m way off base.

My main problem with the program is the standard right-wing radio practice of demonizing liberals and Miller’s love-fest for Bush and the Iraq War. At times it’s just silly, as when Miller and a caller praise Bush’s tenacity and leadership qualities. In another exchange with a caller, Miller trots out the talking point that if we weren’t fighting the terrorists over there in Iraq, they’d be slaughtering Americans by flying more airplanes into buildings. Osama bin Laden organized the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, Dennis, not Saddam Hussein! Saudi, Egyptian, and Yemeni hijackers flew 3 planes into the WTC and Pentagon, not Iraqis!! Saddam had no links to Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq as a organized presence pre-invasion!!! Saddam had no nukes, no WMDs, and U.N. Weapons Inspectors were in Iraq doing their job quite nicely up until late-winter 2003!!!! In addition to loss of life and other ill-effects on soldiers and the Iraqi populace, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda are gathering strength in Wizeristan because of the ill-conceived and unnecessary invasion of Iraq. And our occupation of Iraq creates more terrorists throughout the world daily, thanks to Abu Ghraib and other atrocities which are a byproduct of war. Another attack on the U.S. is MORE LIKELY because of the invasion of Iraq, not less.

Miller has also adopted a peculiar stance on global warming/climate change. He thinks its arrogant to think we puny, insignificant humans can’t effect our environment enough to change conditions drastically. He espouses a theory that there is a 1,500 year cycle and we’re merely changing weather patterns. If the globe is going to warm up, he concludes, we’re “toast” and can do nothing to stop it. Therefore, buy a H-2; make sure you don’t recycle; and don’t even think about investing time, money or research into renewable energy–oil, coal and natural gas forever, baby!

There is no doubt that Miller’s vocabulary is enormous, his wit is quick, and his knowledge of pop-culture extensive. But his lazy thinking on the most important topics of our time (Iraq, Global Warming, the demonizing of the “other”, The Global War on Terror, the loss of civil liberties) derail the show time and again.

Its painfully obvious when Miller’s being himself and having fun–as when he chats with a caller about his thoughts and remembrances of contemporary stand-up comics; and when he’s playing the role he’s been cast as right-wing talk radio host–by offering his one criticism of President Bush: that Bush is secretly trying to create an American union, similar to the European union, consisting of the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Overall, the Dennis Miller show has moments of greatness and originality, but too often simply tows the (Republican) party line.

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Filed under dennis miller, robert novak, talk radio