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This is What Democracy Looks Like
Fridday-Sunday, March 17-19, 2006
A "Rummy" Quote in the Lead
"Today, some 100 Iraqi army battalions of several hundred troops each are in the
-Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld in today's Washington Post
-Lt. Gen. Gene Renuart disclosed to reporters at a Pentagon briefing last month, regarding the number of Iraqi battalions that can fight on their own.
Are we to believe that in a span of less than a month over 100 battalions went from not being able to fight on their own to being fully in the fight? That "zero" number was actually a DOWNGRADE from the previous number of "one", which, in itself, was poor enough.
Remember that our European allies had said they would help train the Iraqi troops, and they would have done so by taking them out of Iraq, free of distractions to make them battle-ready. We could have done the same thing.
Think of how we train our own armed forces and police cadets. We sequester them away from the distractions of friends and family until they are ready to join their more experinced counterparts. In Iraq, these guys have to deal with not only their training, but the well-being of their families and the fact that they, themselves, are going to be targets by their unseen enemy.
Really, Secretary Rumsfeld.... 100 battalions? The truth also appears to be a casualty in Iraq as well.
The Little Civil War
Has anybody else heard the whisperings going around the Beltway lately concerning the "pending" Civil War in Iraq? Let me put it in a nutshell for you all. They're calling the sectarian violence in Iraq a Religious Struggle - Sunnis vs. Shi'ites - finding all ways possible to not use the words Civil War. But on the Sunday talking head shows, they actually are calling it a Civil War... kind of.
What the Right Wing "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party megaphones are saying about Iraq is that there is a Civil War in Iraq, but no an "All-Out Civil War."
What in God's name does THAT mean?
Isn't that like calling a pregnant woman "just a little bit pregnant"?
The Bush administration sent out Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to tell us all how well things are going despite religious altercations in Iraq. What war are they watching?
"The terrorists are determined to stoke sectarian tension and are attempting to spark a civil war. But despite the many acts of violence and provocation, the vast majority of Iraqis have shown that they want their country to remain whole and free of ethnic conflict."
-Rumsfeld, from his Washington Post column, today
Ignoring the tensions that are causing a religious civil war between the Sunnis and Shi'ites is something this administration has done and will keep on doing as long as they can get away with it. The "spark", as Rummy puts it, has already been struck and the flame of a Civil War is already on, whether it be the Little Civil War or the "All-Out" version.
When did the US Civil War become an "All-Out" civil war? How many had to die before Abraham Lincoln took it seriously? (That was a rhetorical question.)
The Bush administration and people like Secretary Rumsfeld point to "the media" as the problem. They say things like "When we build a school, they don't talk about it. all they want to talk about is the dead and missing." Imagine if thirty or forty people were killed in a crowded New York City market while another ten or fifteen were kidnapped in Brooklyn on any given Tuesday. Do you think the headline in the far-Right Wing New York Post would read "School Repainted in Staten Island"?
I firmly believe that the "terrorists" are not winning the war in Iraq. It isn't theirs to win or lose. The struggle that IS Civil War in Iraq might only be won after the country is divided up into three different nations: Kurdistan, Sunnistan and Shiastan (I made those names up). Denying, a favorite pastime of the Bushites, is not a strategy that will win the peace in Iraq. As I have said here before, I don't really believe that "the administration of the ill-advised" actually want a peaceful, democratic Iraq. As it stands right now, their war profiteering friends are able to rip off the American people as they steal the natural resources from Iraq. The lack of stability has led to a windfall for these "Bush Core Constituents" and I believe that is the way they like it.
A "Little Civil War" is just another opportunity for these thieves.
Glad He Cleared That Up
"Earlier today, reports began circulating across the globe that I have recently stated that Jews can go to heaven without being converted to Jesus Christ. This is categorically untrue.... Like the Apostle Paul, I pray daily for the salvation of everyone, including the Jewish people."
Jerry Falwell's issued correction: Jews are ALL going to hell
-reported from John of DC and Victoria Brownworth
"I'll pack accordingly."
-Noah Orrin Greenberg (Noochum Aron ben Avraham)
Republicans Vote Down Port Security
We have been told by conservative hawks that Iran is actively building a nuclear weapon and that we should do everything we can to stop this, up to and including a military assault on suspected nuclear sites. Since Iran is incapable of delivering a nuclear weapon 7,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, the primary doomsday scenario they've offered up is that Iran (or a terrorist group working with Iran) will ship a completed nuke through an American port and then threaten to detonate it in a large city.
Now, if you were truly concerned about this possibility — really, truly concerned — you would support more than preemptive action against Iran. You would also support funding to increase security at American ports. In particular, you would support funding to install radiation monitors at all U.S. ports of entry.
On the other hand, if a nuked-up Iran were not a genuine national security concern, but merely a convenient way to keep people scared and voting for Republicans, you would continue screeching about the mullahs but would oppose spending actual money on increased port security. In particular, you would not want to waste half a billion dollars on radiation monitors for a threat you don't really believe in.
Today, House Republicans voted almost unanimously against an amendment to beef up port security and install radiation monitors at all U.S. ports of entry. They also blocked consideration of an amendment to require 100% scanning of shipping containers entering the United States. I think this tells you just how seriously they take the actual threat of a nuclear Iran.
NOTE TO REPORTERS: The next time a Republican politician tells you that a nuclear Iran is intolerable, the first question you should ask is whether said politician supports funding for serious port security. If the answer is anything other than a firm and passionate "yes, dear God, yes," you should end the interview and walk away. You are talking to a partisan shill, not someone genuinely concerned about national security.
Let's see how many of the Republicans running in the 06 election are ready to make THAT statement.---reports from Kevin Drum and Victoria Brownworth
-Forwarded and Commented by Victoria Brownworth
Bush Fixates On Oval Office Rug - Really, Truly!
"Nothing says power like the Oval Office," begins the article. "The paintings of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The bust of Dwight D. Eisenhower. The desk used by both Roosevelts. And then there's the rug. Don't forget the rug. President Bush never does. For whatever reason, Bush seems fixated on his rug. Virtually all visitors to the Oval Office find him regaling them about how it was chosen and what it represents. Turns out, he always says, the first decision any president makes is what carpet he wants in his office. As a take-charge leader, he then explains, he of course made a command decision - he delegated the decision to Laura Bush, who chose a yellow sunbeam design."
-Peter Baker, Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, March 7, 2006
I think the last marble in Dumb-Ya's head just rolled out! Bush is quacking like a duck right now though remember ducks sometimes turn nasty.
-Forwarded and Commented by Robert Scardapane
Sounds like "Strawberries, strawberries," (Captain Queeg - played by Humphry Bogart in the movie - in the Caine Mutiny Court Marshal) to me. -NG
Becoming Aware of Fox
I became "aware" in the spring of 2004. Yes, I realized that, before then, Fox News Channel was, shall we say, more conservative than the rest of the cable news channels like MSNBC (who I now consider to be "Fox-Lite") and CNN (who no one could no longer call the "Clinton News Network). But I didn't realize the extend of their perversion and twisting of commentary into news until that spring morning. Everyone should have an epiphany like this.
When you expect something, like Sean Hannity being an ultra-rich, self-serving neo-con elitist extolling the "virtues" of his conservative friends, you are not surprised. But, sometimes, you just refuse to believe the truth about someone or something until you see it with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears. Such was the case for the rest of the Fox News Channel for me.
I don't like Larry King Live. What I mean by that is I don't find the show enjoyable in much the same way I find most other interview only shows unenjoyable. So, during that previous evening's ride home from a night in which I worked late, I tuned my XM Satellite Radio from Channel 122 (CNN) to Channel 121 (Fox News Channel). Both are simulcastings of their TV counterparts. I don't remember whose show was on opposite Larry King's that night, but I must not have found it offensive (or at least not THAT offensive).
So I shut off my car with Channel 121 the last channel I listened to. The next morning, I start my car and am listening to what I think is CNN's morning show. I 'm astonished by the non-stop badmouthing going on about John Kerry and how it was done: with a it of laughter and a whole lot of sarcasm. Everything they said was said as if it were common knowledge of what a bad choice Senator Kerry would make as a choice for the presidency.
As the assault continued, I became increasingly uneasy listening to what I thought was CNN. Out loud, I said (to no one as I was alone in the car) "Wow... CNN's really giving it to Kerry." I thought that Kerry must have done something terrible the night before, but if he did, they weren't telling what it was. I thought there was some unforeseen reason for the sarcastic assault from a network I considered to be fair (at that time - things have changed at CNN since then). Then I looked down to change the station to hear some music and I saw the reason. Why, I wasn't listening to CNN at all... I was hearing the lying spin of the Fox News Channel.
I watch Fox News Channel from time to time today. Because of this newsletter I kind of feel like I have to. However, I can only do so in small doses. You have to admire their in OUR face style. Fox repeats the lies of the Bush administration with a straight face as if it were not only true, but irrefutable. They take opinion and serve it up as news. They quote non-existent sources with a wave of the "some people say wand". They are good at what they do.
We all know theyguy who watches and believes FNC. he calls you up and repeats what they say almost verbatim. (I say "guy" because I have not yet heard from a woman who's an FNC True Believer yet, even though I know she's out there.) I can think of one of these guys as I write this: He's from the same area in Brooklyn that I'm from; he says he used to be a Democrat, but can't name one Democrat he ever voted for; he says he not only watches Fox News but CNN (which he calls the Al-Jezeera of the West) and MSNBC as well, although he can't tell me a thing about Lou Dobbs' show or anyone else's for that matter; he says that Fox is the only "Fair" (as in "Fair and Balanced") news station on TV; and he calls every other news program "Liberal" and he thinks NPR (which he admits he never listens to) and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (which he admits he's never seen) "Communists".
This is a Fox News Watcher. I bet he started watching FNC because of all the pretty painted ladies. He probably never had a pretty girl lie to him before.
Bush's Encore - The Taliban
Mullah Omar calls on Afghans to rejoin "the resistance against the Crusade and the Crusaders." In a Thursday, March 16, message attributed to him, the spiritual leader of the Taliban, presently in flight, promised "relentless resistance" to foreign troops deployed in Afghanistan and to the Afghan government: "We will intensify our suicide attacks to the point of making the territory they are on a burning oven," he promises with respect to Western "Crusaders" and their "puppets" in the Afghan government. He assures that "young Afghans are joining Mudjahadeen camps in great numbers to commit suicide-attacks."
Mullah Omar? Goodness gracious. The Taliban are still around and Osama Bin Laden is better known as Osama Been Missing. Bush's policy of preemptive war is a dismal failure. Time for Dumb-Ya to say goodnight.
-Forwarded and Commented by Robert Scardapane
The following is a reprint of a January 29, 2006 madman article. In light of the 60 minutes piece on NASA'a Dr. James Hansen, who most consider the top climatologist in the world, I felt this article deserved a second look:
The Truth, Big Brother and "G"lobal "W"arming
Just to start this off on the right foot, Dr. James E. Hansen is, what one might call, a genius. Hansen is the longtime director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space studies and is arguable the foremost authority on climate change in the world. He even knows more about climate change than fiction writer Michael Crichton! That being said, one might want to hear what Dr. Hansen has to say about the future of our planet and the causes and corrections necessary to make it habitable for the coming generations. One might want this if one weren't part of the "G"lobal "W"arming Bush administration, that is. The question is why would Bush, Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney and their minions want to silence the good doctor?
"He (Hansen) really is not about concerning himself with whose administration is in charge, whether it's Republicans, Democrats or whatever. He's a pretty down-the-road conservative independent-minded person.
"What he cares deeply about is being a scientist, his research, and I think he feels a true obligation to be able to talk about that in whatever fora are offered to him."
-Mark R. Hess, director of public affairs for the Goddard Space Flight Center
In other words, Dr. Hansen, who is THE TOP CLIMATE SCIENTIST at NASA is non-political. He has disagreed with the Bush political machine on climate change, and has even said that he would vote for John Kerry, obviously hoping for a (climate) change in the right direction. Conversely, he has had run-ins with other politicians and political appointees, including environment-friendly Al Gore. The man obviously calls it like he sees it, and that, in itself, is refreshing.
(In 2004, Dr. Hansen feels that government-employed scientists are being "muzzled" by the Bush administration and that he was going to vote for Kerry come election day.)
This past December, James Hansen called for a prompt reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gasses which AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of CLIMATE SCIENTISTS have LINKED to GLOBAL WARMING. Unless you're somehow tied to the oil industry, say, like President Bush, Dick Cheney or Condoleezza Rice, you might want to actually listen to Dr. Hansen over Michael Crichton. (By the way, if anyone wants to take a look at the footnotes included in Crichton's book "State of Fear", you'll notice that the majority of "research" the "made for TV" novelist obtained was predominately from one reported source.)
Since that last lecture, the White House has been attempting to shut the good doctor up. He will have none of that. "Directives" were sent via phone calls so as not to leave a "paper trail". (You all know how the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party feel about "paper trails", don't you? They're "unnecessary" in "directives" or "elections".)
"They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public,"
Hey Dr. Hansen, try to stay off Wellstone Airlines when you travel. The landings can kill you and put a Republican in your spot.
"That's not the way we operate here at NASA. We promote openness and we speak with the facts."
-Dean Acosta, NASA's deputy assistant administrator for public affairs
Of course, while "speaking openly with the facts", Acosta added that policy should be left for policy makers and appointed spokesmen. In other words, political appointees spewing out the Bush administration agenda will tell US THEIR truths, regardless of what the real scientists have to say about it.
This is the kind of philosophy that brought us a Medicare Drug Bill written by the Pharmaceutical industry; an Energy bill written by Enron and others in the energy industry; and bankruptcy laws written by the Banking industry.
"To understand and protect our home planet"
-The first line of NASA's Mission Statement
"to benefit the quality of life on Earth"
-More from NASA's Mission Statement
"Global climate change may threaten our way of life"
-A statement from NASA's "Vision" Document
"Understanding the Earth’s system and its response to natural and human-induced changes"
"Enabling a safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally friendly air transportation system"
"Investing in technologies and collaborating with others to improve the quality of life and to create a more secure world"
-NASA Subheading listed under "To understand and protect our home planet"
Oddly enough, the White House's attempt at silencing Dr. Hansen and other REAL SCIENTISTS cut these missions to the bone.
There's no official "order or pressure to say shut Jim up," but ""hat doesn't mean I like this kind of pressure being applied."
-Dr. Franco Einaudi, Hansen's boss
"After that speech and the release of data by Dr. Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would be 'dire consequences' if such statements continued, those officers and Dr. Hansen said in interviews."
-The New York Times
The "dire consequences" obviously refers only to Dr. Hansen. How about the planet itself? Aren't there going to be "dire consequences" if all we have are voluntary measures by polluters and merely a "slowing" of human controlled emissions, and not a reversal?
This is why I think the President, Vice President and all of their cronies truly have no religion. If someone has God in their heart, surely they would want to keep HIS planet as HE left it, or better after they are gone. The Bush administration treats the Earth the way New York Jet fans treat the Meadowlands after the last home game of a 3-13 season. Garbage everywhere!
As far as interviews go, if anyone wants to talk to Dr. Hansen, and they go through NASA's Public Relations Department in Maryland, they'll simply get a flat-out "NO". When an N.P.R. (National Public Radio) producer asked for the interview, that was the response
"the most liberal" media outlet,
-George Deutsch, a new (as in GOP) public affairs officer at NASA in Maryland, according to Leslie McCarthy, a public affairs officer at the Goodard Institute in New York, where Dr. Hansen works
Deutsch's boss, that same Dean Acosta who believe that political appointees should have more say in climate policy that NASA scientists said that Deutsch never used the "L" word about N.P.R. Deutsch, himself, wouldn't comment referring all interview requests to Acosta.
"Why am I going to go out of my way to make this up and back up Jim Hansen? I don't have a dog is this race. And what does Hansen have to gain?"
-McCarthy, after being called a liar by Acosta
I wonder what would have happened if Fox news had asked for the interview with James Hansen. maybe it would have gone something like this"
BRIT HUME: So Dr. Hansen, it says here that you're a Communist. What have you got to say for yourself?
DR. JAMES E. HANSEN: I'm not a Communist. I'm a scientist.
HUME: A scientist, eh? Do you believe in Intelligent Design?
HANSEN: What? I'm a physicist. I work for NASA.
HUME: So, you don't believe in God, you Commie bastard? I bet you love Osama bin-Laden too. Where were oyu on September 11, 2001?
HANSEN: What are you talking about?
HUME: A confused, gay-loving commie muslim... Thank you for your time, Dr. Hansen, (under his breath) you heathen. This is Brit Hume... SIG HEIL! (nazi salute)
"He's not trying to create a war over this, but really feels very strongly that this is an obligation we have as federal scientists, to inform the public, and this kind of attempted muzzling of the science community is really rather dangerous. If we just accept it, then we're contributing to the problem."
-Larry D. Travis, Dr. Hansen's deputy at Goddard
According to Travis, Ms. McCarthy also received a verbal beating from Deutsch about keeping a better handle on Hansen.
Isn't it amazing what could happen when someone actually stands up against the Bush White House? It's simply a gang mentality that treats honesty with contempt and blind loyalty and faith to the "cause" with reward. It is safer, in the Bush regime, to view the truth as an "enemy of the state" and to give in to the abuses of the power that the Bushies flail at them than to stand up and say that the "Emperor has no clothes".
Similar to what the Bush administration is trying to do to NASA scientists is what happened to NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Whereas in the past, all those seeking interviews with NOAA scientists had to do was to place a phone call, today there needs to be a public relations official (a "handler") on the line to "listen in".
Big Brother is truly watching you, NOAA and NASA scientists.
Who else is her watching?
(most quotes and the idea of the article were taken from the New York Times Online, Saturday, January 28, 2006)
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