26 July 2006

What Deaner Was Talkin' About

(With apologies to Mickey and Aaron)

Frankly, I haven't the slightest clue.
Dean calls Iraqi PM an 'anti-Semite'

By BRIAN SKOLOFF, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 15 minutes ago

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean on Wednesday called Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki an "anti-Semite" for failing to denounce Hezbollah for its attacks against Israel.

Al-Maliki has condemned Israel's offensive, prompting several Democrats to boycott his address to a joint meeting of Congress and others to criticize him. Dean's comments were the strongest to date.

"The Iraqi prime minister is an anti-Semite," the Democratic leader told a gathering of business leaders in Florida. "We don't need to spend $200 and $300 and $500 billion bringing democracy to Iraq to turn it over to people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah."
With an excellent opportunity to make gains in the fall elections, it's absolutely baffling why Dean (and the rest of the Dems who skipped Al-Maliki's address) would try and out-Republican the Republicans by going after the Iraqi PM under these circumstances.

Is it good that he won't officially take a stand against Hezbollah's actions that provoked this disaster?


Is he an anti-semite for not parroting the U.S. position on Israel?

No, and that puts him in the same boat as virtually every other country on the planet.

You've got to pick your battles and this is one of the poorest picks I've ever seen. Not only does this really come across as the Dems being "the party of 'no,'" but it parrots the tired, bullshit freeper-land charges of anti-semitism so frequently levied at progressives who happen to disagree with Israeli policies.

24 July 2006

The poodle bites

British split with Bush as Israeli tanks roll in
· Minister attacks 'disproportionate' raids
· 2,000 troops cross into Lebanon

Ned Temko, Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv and Peter Beaumont in Beirut
Sunday July 23 2006
The Observer

Britain dramatically broke ranks with George Bush last night over the Lebanon crisis, publicly criticising Israel's military tactics and urging America to 'understand' the price being paid by ordinary Lebanese civilians.

The remarks, made in Beirut by the Foreign Office minister, Kim Howells, were the first public criticism by this country of Israel's military campaign, and placed it at odds with Washington's strong support. The Observer can also reveal that Tony Blair voiced deep concern about the escalating violence during a private telephone conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, last week. But sources close to Blair said Olmert had replied that Israel faced a dire security threat from the Hizbollah militia and was determined to do everything necessary to defeat it.

Britain's shift came as Israeli tanks and warplanes pounded targets across the border in southern Lebanon yesterday ahead of an imminently expected ground offensive to clear out nearby Hizbollah positions, which have been firing dozens of rockets onto towns and cities inside Israel.

Downing Street sources said last night that Blair still believed Israel had every right to respond to the missile threat, and held the Shia militia responsible for provoking the crisis by abducting two Israeli soldiers and firing rockets into Israel. But they said they had no quarrel with Howells's scathing denunciation of Israel's military tactics.

Speaking to a BBC reporter before travelling on for talks in Israel, where he will also visit the missile-hit areas of Haifa and meet his Israeli opposite number, Howells said: 'The destruction of the infrastructure, the death of so many children and so many people: these have not been surgical strikes. If they are chasing Hizbollah, then go for Hizbollah. You don't go for the entire Lebanese nation.' The minister added: 'I very much hope that the Americans understand what's happening to Lebanon.'
The Americans probably do.

The American government...not so much.

The Brits have bailed and even the Iraqi puppet government that we created thinks our position is absurd.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has called on the US and Britain to change policies in order to bring about an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon.

Mr Maliki said the destruction had reached "unacceptable levels" and he would be using talks with Tony Blair in London to make it clear that he disagreed with the powers' tactics for dealing with the crisis.

Speaking through a translator, he said: "What I can say about what is happening now is that I can't find enough justification for what is happening here." He continued: "The destruction of the infrastructure is even not consistent with the rules of law, even if we can say that there is a war.
The Decider has yet to see a course that can't be stayed.

20 July 2006

Unintentional comedy of the day

Bush acknowledges racism still exists

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - President Bush acknowledged persistent racism in America and lamented the Republican Party's bumpy relations with black voters as he addressed the NAACP's annual convention Thursday for the first time in his presidency.

"I understand that racism still lingers in America," Bush told the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "It's a lot easier to change a law than to change a human heart. And I understand that many African-Americans distrust my political party."

That line generated boisterous applause and cheers from the thousands in the audience, which generally gave the president a polite, reserved reception.

"I consider it a tragedy that the party of Abraham Lincoln let go of its historical ties with the African-American community," Bush said. "For too long, my party wrote off the African-American vote, and many African-Americans wrote off the Republican Party."
And in further developments, water is revealed to be wet, and fire, somewhat hot.

It's not often I'm left speechless, but this pretty much does it.

Can you think of any other person, let alone any other national political figure who could get a similar headline and have it NOT be in The Onion?

One step forward, two steps back

The NYT had a decent story today regarding the flood of money that Joe Lieberman has been getting from traditionally GOP-specific sources. Really no surprise given how often Holy Joe serves as the GOP's "bipartisan" fig leaf for their policies and initiatives, but it's good to see it in print. Unfortunately, that's not all that Times writers, Mike McIntire and Jennifer Medina, put in print. From their introduction to the story (emphasis added):

"...But that donation and others like it have fed a perception, stoked by the Lamont campaign and its supporters on the Internet, that Mr. Lieberman is too cozy with Republicans. It is a vexing assertion for Mr. Lieberman, whose centrist politics and pragmatic style, once a source of pride, are now being held against him by liberals and antiwar Democrats."

Once again, an all-too-popular fiction about the Lamont-Lieberman primary repeated as if it were fact.

Centrism and pragmatism have nothing to do with the reason so many democrats--of all stripes--have a serious problem with Joe Lieberman.

Taking to the Wall Street Journal's op-ed page to scold the administration's critics that their doing so imperils the nation, is neither centrist, nor pragmatic. It's contemptuous of dissent and--in a day where the charge is thrown around baselessly--truly unamerican.

Refusing to support Connecticut Democrats' nominee in the primary and choosing, instead, to run as an independent should he lose, is neither centrist, nor pragmatic. It's an exercise in unrestrained ego and entitlement demonstrating his low opinion of the will of the voters.

Voting to oppose Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court after voting for the cloture measure that would ensure it, is neither centrist, nor pragmatic. It's a cowardly attempt to have his cake and eat it, too, avoiding rocking the boat while still keeping nominal claim to his pro-life bona fides.

Telling rape victims that it shouldn't be a problem to take "a short ride" to another hospital if the one they arrive at won't dispense emergency contraception on so-called "moral" grounds, is neither centrist, nor pragmatic.

That one's just fundamentally repugnant.

The Times carries with it a certain stature, a stature that it imparts to the stories contained within. The inclusion of this mischaracterization of Lieberman's opposition in the article only helps perpetuate a falsehood and legitimize it as conventional wisdom. As such, it has no place in "The Paper of Record."

19 July 2006

El Presidente finally finds something he will not stand for

Medical advancement.
Bush vetoes stem cell bill as promised

By MARY DALRYMPLE, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - President Bush cast the first veto of his 5 1/2-year presidency Wednesday, saying legislation easing limits on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research "crosses a moral boundary" and is wrong.

"This bill would support the taking of innocent human life of the hope of finding medical benefits for others," Bush said at a White House event where he was surrounded by 18 families who "adopted" frozen embryos not used by other couples, and then used those leftover embryos to have children.

"Each of these children was still adopted while still an embryo and has been blessed with a chance to grow, to grow up in a loving family. These boys and girls are not spare parts," he said.

The veto came a day after the Senate defied Bush and approved the legislation, 63-37, four votes short of the two-thirds margin needed to override. White House officials and Republican congressional leaders claimed it was unlikely that Congress could override the veto.

Bush's support was the strongest in the House, which was expected to take up the veto as early as later Wednesday.

Bush has supported federally funded research on only those stem cell lines created before Aug. 9, 2001, the date of his speech to the nation on the subject.

The president vetoed the measure shortly after it came to his desk. His position was politically popular among conservative Republicans, and it was sure to be an issue in the midterm congressional elections.

Announcing the veto, Bush was surrounded in the East Room by so-called "snowflake" families, those with children born through embryo donation.

"They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed in the name of research. The remind us that we all begin our lives as a small collection of cells. And they remind us that in our zeal for new treatments and cures, America must never abandon our fundamental morals," Bush said.

He said the bill would have crossed a line and "once crossed, we would find it impossible to turn back."
America must never abandon our fundamental morals?

You mean our fundamentalists' morals, don't you?

This is arguably the most contemptible move we've seen from a truly contemptible man. My family has experienced, first-hand, what it's like to have relatives wither and deteriorate, ravaged by the effects of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. To now see those who do--and will--suffer from such afflictions cast aside in favor of this utterly dishonest, opportunistic sop to the radical right is beyond revolting.

The fact of the matter is, this bill would still strictly regulate the research in question. The stem lines available for federal funding are largely useless due to past contamination with mouse cells. The new bill's eligible research would involve frozen embryos, not only from donors who signed informed consent releases for their use, but that were already subject to imminent destruction as medical waste.

George Bush values life so highly, that he would rather see these embryos literally washed down the drain, than a small portion of them, willingly donated, get used for research that could save countless people for decades to come. That fact, like many others, gets hidden behind the curtain while Dear Leader poses and gladhands for the cameras.

Similarly concealed?

The reality that disposal is absolutely necessary, since the number of embryos aging out of viability overwhelmingly dwarfs the number of families seeking to "adopt" them for implantation. For the vast majority, there is simply no possibility of so-called "snowflake families" here, which makes their inclusion as window dressing for this morning's staged veto photo-op all the more offensive, and inexcusably political.

Then again, if it weren't for empty gestures and shameless exploitation, what would the little dictator be left with?

18 July 2006

L'Etat c'est moi

Looks like "The Decider" is really the Dictator-in-chief.
Bush blocked eavesdropping program probe

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation of the anti-terror eavesdropping program that intercepts Americans' international calls and e-mails, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday.

Bush refused to grant security clearances for department investigators who were looking into the role Justice lawyers played in crafting the program, under which the National Security Agency listens in on telephone calls and reads e-mail without court approval, Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Without access to the sensitive program, the department's Office of Professional Responsibility closed its investigation in April.

"It was highly classified, very important and many other lawyers had access. Why not OPR?" Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the committee chairman, asked Gonzales.

"The president of the United States makes the decision," Gonzales replied.
Once again, El Presidente sees an opportunity to turn our democracy into a banana republic and wastes no time in seizing it. Others had access to the information. But those with an oversight role? Kneecapped at the president's say-so. It really couldn't be more obvious if he were strutting about in cavalry pants with a chestful of fictional medals and ribbons. And his codpiece, of course.

When it comes right down to it, though, it was crystal clear from the beginning: the focus of the Boy King's ire was the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Everyone knows, there is no responsibility at BushCo.

For those with strong stomachs, here's Abu Gonzales giving the lowdown on his favorite lil' despot:
SPECTER: Now when you had the first line of review, Mr. Attorney General, by OPR, why wasn’t OPR given clearance as so many other lawyers in the Department of Justice were given clearance?

GONZALES: Mr. Chairman, you and I had lunch several weeks ago, and we had a discussion about this. And during this lunch, I did inform you that the terrorist surveillance program is a highly-classified program. It’s a very important program for the national security of this country –

SPECTER: Highly-classified, very important, many other lawyers in the Justice Department had clearance. Why not OPR?

GONZALES: And the President of the United States ultimately makes decisions about who ultimately is given access –

SPECTER: Did the President make the decision not to clear OPR?

GONZALES: As with all decisions that are non-operational in terms of who has access to the program, the President of the United States makes the decision because this is such an important program –

SPECTER: I want to move on to another subject. The President makes the decision and that’s that.

After all, what help could the army be?

Israel hits Lebanese army barracks, kills 9

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Israeli warplanes pounded Lebanese army barracks for a second straight day Tuesday, killing at least nine soldiers, Lebanese army sources said.

The Jamhour army barracks east of Beirut were one of several targets in airstrikes early Tuesday as Israel's campaign against Hezbollah guerrillas entered a seventh day.

On Monday, six Lebanese soldiers died and 28 were wounded when Israel bombed an army post in Abdeh, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Beirut, the Lebanese military said.

From the AP:

"The base in the southern area of Kfar Chima took a direct hit as the soldiers rushed to their bomb shelters, leaving at least 11 soldiers dead and 35 wounded, the Lebanese military said.

The Lebanese army has largely stayed out of the fighting, but its positions have been repeatedly attacked by Israeli warplanes, undermining Israel's call for it to help push back Hezbollah from the border."
More strategic brilliance that BushCo will doubtlessly feel compelled to remain silent on.

Upset over the Lebanese' inability to control Hezbollah guerillas, you attack what standing army they have. And Olmert has the gall to say, "We dream of peace," "We do not seek war or a head-on confrontation?"

I understand what they want to, but they've got to do it smart. By attacking the legitimate military (to say nothing of civilian neighborhoods) Israel is going far beyond the pursuit of the militants who have their two soldiers. Unless regional war is our larger goal--which, for some, it certainly is--the U.S. continues to give tacit approval at its own risk.

Maybe Israel's vaunted intelligence assets are slipping, because their recent actions are getting more and more inexplicable. Going after guerillas by devastating public infrastructure, sea and airports, civilian neighborhoods, and now organized military bases is a recipe for disaster.

Sure, the nature of combatting guerilla tactics might demand operations in civilian areas, but the rest? Not only is it far from a sure thing that the populace will turn on Hezbollah, but they're well on the way to Iraq-ifying the whole country, destabilizing the central government and turning it into a playground for Hezbollah and whoever else might want to take shots at Israel. To appropriate a phrase, you fight the enemy you have...not make him more unmanageable.

If the region, itself, weren't so crucial--and we were less strategically tied to Israel--I'd say they can deal with terrorists any way they see fit. Unfortunately, the way it's going, Olmert is writing checks our troops are going to have to cash.

Atrios makes the case

Atrios lays it out in the LAT, slamming the door on the enablers--right and left--who are providing cover for Holy Joe's whiny ass titty baby-hood. Who knows, it might be simple enough so even those jokers might get a clue:
Why the Left Is Furious at Lieberman
A blogger's blast at the embattled Connecticut senator. Hint: It's not just Iraq.
By Duncan Black, July 18, 2006

SOME TIME AFTER having lunch in Iraq with the junior senator from Connecticut, Time magazine Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware told an interviewer, "Either Sen. Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's completely lost the plot, or he knows he's spinning a line."

Although Ware was referring specifically to Joe Lieberman's observations about Iraq, his characterization perfectly summarizes the former vice presidential candidate's whole political approach, and it explains why so many Democrats are eager to see him lose in a primary election next month.

Many political observers have tried to paint the candidacy of Lieberman's challenger, Ned Lamont, as merely a referendum on the invasion of Iraq, which Lieberman supported. This newspaper's editorial board declared it "disturbing" that the senator has been "targeted for defeat by national fundraisers based on his foreign policy views." The reason for Lamont's popularity, explained the Washington Post's David Broder, "is simple: the war."

The war is certainly a reason — and given how events continue to devolve in Iraq, a perfectly sufficient one — but those who focus only on that miss the broader opposition to Lieberman and the kind of politics he represents.

For too long he has defined his image by distancing himself from other Democrats, cozying up to right-wing media figures and, at key moments, directing his criticisms at members of his own party instead of at the Republicans in power.

Late last year, after President Bush's job approval ratings hit record lows, Lieberman decided to lash out at the administration's critics, writing in the ultraconservative Wall Street Journal editorial pages that "we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril." In this he echoed the most toxic of Republican talking points — that criticizing the conduct of the war is actually damaging to national security.

Lieberman has a long history of providing cover for the worst of Republican actions while enthusiastically serving as his own party's scold. After the Senate acquitted President Clinton on all impeachment charges, Lieberman called for his censure. More recently, he rejected a call by Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) to censure Bush over the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program, calling the attempt "divisive."

Lieberman looks happiest when playing a "Fox News Democrat," as he did in a February appearance on Sean Hannity's radio program, during which the two exchanged compliments and expressions of friendship and Hannity offered to campaign for him. The senator seems to enjoy Sunday talk shows more than actually doing his job. New Orleans could have been spared the hacktastic performance of Michael Brown, the unqualified former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had Lieberman not shooed him through the confirmation process in a breezy 42-minute hearing.

Lieberman's relationship with the Democratic Party has been one of convenience, not principle, as was proved definitively in late June when he declared his intention to run as an independent if he loses the Aug. 8 primary. Proclaiming that he had loyalties "greater than those to my party," he decided he would deserve a do-over if rejected by Connecticut Democrats. In what could be the final tragic act of his political career, Lieberman might soon discover that Republicans don't love Democrat-bashing Democrats enough to actually vote for them.

Much of the interest in this race is not because of Lamont but rather his perceived base of support from bloggers, including me. One prominent pundit claimed that Lamont's online backers were practitioners of "blogofascism"; another called the campaign an "inquisition." Online political discourse can indeed be caustic and combative, like talk radio. But too many in the Lieberman wing of the party have elevated civility and the illusion of bipartisan comity over challenging Republicans' failed policies. In the process, they have echoed GOP jargon in dismissing critics as "angry" and "hate-filled."

Politics is a contact sport. Those who would paper it over with a veneer of false propriety are pretending it's something that it is not. More than that, loud and raucous debate is a healthy part of our democracy.

Lieberman's problem isn't bloggers, it's the voters of Connecticut, who seem to be increasingly tired of his support for some very uncivil policies, including federal intervention into the Terri Schiavo case, the administration's operations at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay and, yes, that disastrous invasion of Iraq.

17 July 2006

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise

US cool to immediate Israel-Hezbollah ceasefire

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States declined to join calls for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, insisting such a pact would only be a temporary fix for the worsening crisis.

"What ... everybody wants to see is a cessation of violence," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

"But nobody wants to see a cessation of violence done in such a way that you end up back where we are today at some point in the future."

A United Nations team, European Union foreign ministers and other key political players have called for a ceasefire, but Hezbollah has already rejected such a step on terms laid down by Israel.

A senior State Department official meanwhile spelled out Washington's objections to an immediate ceasefire.

"A ceasefire is a very specific term," the official said. It implies some sort of temporary status.

"You want to get to a place where you actually have a cessation of violence not only in the immediate term, but the longer term. Ceasefire implies a state of suspended hostilities which is not what you want," the official said.

"In order to have a lasting cessation of hostilities, you have to take those steps where the government of Lebanon exercises control over its entire space and Hezbollah is dismantled," the official said.

The official's comments bolstered the view of analysts who have interpreted Washington's statements on the crisis to mean that the Bush administration wants to allow Israel space to wipe out Hezbollah's infrastructure.
So, by all means, let's work out the longer term solution while major public infrastructure is being destroyed and neighborhoods are being bombed, killing civilians and militants, alike. After all, isn't that the ideal situation for Lebanon to "exercise control over it's entire space?" Assuming the government survives Israel's preposterously out of preportion muscle-flexing, I'm sure it'll do just that.

14 July 2006

Holy crap

No,'s holy crap. Here's a reflection on the Israel/Lebanon situation from the "Rapture Ready" message board as noted by the wonderful folks at ThinkProgress:
Is it time to get excited? I can't help the way I feel. For the first time in my Christian walk, I have no doubts that the day of the Lords appearing is upon us. I have never felt this way before, I have a joy that bubbles up every-time I think of him, for I know this is truly the time I have waited for so long. Am I alone in feeling guilty about the human suffering like my joy at his appearing some how fuels the evil I see everywhere. If it were not for the souls that hang in the balance and the horror that stalks man daily on this earth, my joy would be complete. For those of us who await his arrival know, somehow we just know it won't be long now, the Bridegroom cometh rather man is ready are not.
If you haven't clicked the link to see the original post, it might be worth your while, if only for the emoticons appended to the message: a shit-eating grin smiley face next to a waving smiley that gets elevated off the screen, apparently "rapturized."
Everybody's entitled to their faith, but there's something inherently creepy about getting spiritual wood over headlines about neighborhoods being bombed and civilians killed.

Lord, save us from your servants.

NARAL (not really) explaining their Liebermania

See me write to NARAL:
I was deeply disappointed to note that NARAL has decided to endorse Joe Lieberman in the upcoming Senate race in Connecticut. I am at a total loss as to how this support can be reconciled with his performance on issues of reproductive rights.

When Samuel Alito was nominated to the Supreme Court, it went without question that the GOP majority would rubber-stamp him onto the bench. That much was simple mathematics. Therefore, the only vote that mattered was the vote to invoke cloture on debate which, once approved, would lead to the foregone conclusion of Alito's confirmation.

Joseph Lieberman, then, had two votes to cast: one which could support women's rights and one which was, essentially, meaningless. Instead of taking a stand, he voted to end debate and allow the formality of a confirmation vote--where he then cast his useless "nay" ballot so he could claim to support groups like NARAL.

Further, Lieberman went on to support hospitals' right to refuse to provide emergency contraception to *rape victims* based on so-called "principled reasons." His logic being, "it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital."

Joe Liberman doesn't see the problem with making a woman who's already been brutally assaulted go looking for an EC-compatible hospital if--for some strange reason--she doesn't want to risk carrying her attacker's child.

In light of his actions, Joe Lieberman's commitment to women is clearly nonexistent, and NARAL's continued support is as shameful as it is inexplicable.
See NARAL write to me:
I have read your note, and I know you are not happy with us for endorsing Senator Joe Lieberman. Here at NARAL Pro-Choice America, we're very proud of our high standard for endorsement. That having been said, from time to time, it does occasionally occur that a pro-choice elected official will take a position against our recommendation - and when that happens, it's always a disappointment. Senator Lieberman's vote (and the same votes of other fully pro-choice senators) for cloture on the controversial Alito nomination is one case in point. And his comments about emergency contraception caused us concern, as they undoubtedly did you as well - but he has since clarified his position, to our satisfaction. [Ed. They never do get around to that clarification, now do they? --V]

But taking all facts into consideration - including many years of pro-choice votes in the Senate - we believe Senator Lieberman has continued to earn the NARAL Pro-Choice America endorsement. With so many relentless attacks on choice, and an anti-choice president determined to see this right taken away from American women forever, we must prioritize our work, and we need all the friends we can get. We treat him no differently than any other pro-choice senator - Democrat or Republican. I know we disagree on this one point, but our challenge is so monumental that I hope we can continue to stand together against our real opponents: President Bush, congressional leaders, and anti-choice senators who oppose us on every single vote.
See Ned Lamont's views on Reproductive Freedom:
I absolutely support women’s right to complete and appropriate health care and to reproductive freedom. I will fight to make the morning after pill available over the counter, to make emergency contraception available to all rape victims, and to support the nomination and appointment of pro-choice judges.

I would have led the opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Alito, since he fundamentally tilts the balance on the court and jeopardizes a woman’s right to choose. South Dakota recently passed a bill which outlaws a woman’s right to an abortion even in the case of rape and incest; this law is certain to be decided by the newly-reconstituted U.S. Supreme Court.

Oh, I forgot. NARAL didn't see them. From FDL:

It’s official — NARAL has endorsed Joe "short ride" Lieberman. According to Ned Lamont’s campaign manager Tom Swan, Ned was not even asked to take part in the process.

13 July 2006

And as the angel opened the second seal, the idiot man-children thought as grown men, and the puppets were as real boys...

It's a harbinger of the apocalypse, all right.

Not the conflict in the Middle East. That's just par for the course.

But the common sense that floweth forth--at least temporarily--from he with the ear of tin and the fists of ham when it comes to anything related to foreign policy: El Presidente, himself:
"The democracy of Lebanon is an important part of laying a foundation of peace in that region," Bush said. "We've worked very hard to get Syria out of Lebanon" through various U.N. resolutions.

"Israel has a right to defend herself," Bush said.

"The concern is that any activities by Israel to protect herself will weaken that government," he said, referring to Lebanon.
As a friend of mine once remarked, "Jesus Christ in a chicken basket!"

Memo to Israel: When you've embarked down a road that is so clearly fraught with peril and potential for disaster, that it manages to pentrate through the dense strata of even THAT man's skull, maybe some re-examining of your options is in order.

They really only need look across their own region to see where this leads. Iraq has turned into a case study on the hazards of a power vacuum in the middle east. It's a lesson that all nations--especially Israel and its ill-advised desire to show it "means business"--ignore at their own peril. Making a statement does precious little good if the end result sets up a situation where Syria and Iran could do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, throughout Lebanese territory.

And for what?

Two kidnapped soldiers and a raid that killed six more.

Of course it demands a response. No one's foolish enough to suggest that it doesn't. But it must be one commensurate with the provocation. The German chancellor with whom Dear Leader met today, hit it on the head:
(Angela) "Merkel said the kidnappings of Israeli soldiers -- which sparked the recent hostilities in Lebanon and also in Gaza -- "is not acceptable." But she added that "parties have to use proportionate means" in their response.
Once again, look who's talking. The cowboy-in-chief and the Germans think that you're pushing the aggression envelope. If the consequences weren't so dire, that'd be a helluva punchline.

Instead, kidnappings begat tanks, and tanks begat rockets. And now?

Bombed airports, blockaded ports, assaults bombing runs on suburban neighborhoods based on suspicions about one man?

That's not going to break Hezbollah in Lebanon, it's going to MAKE Hezbollah-non.

Rather than an orgiastic display of military might, you need a response that affects the militants responsible without strangling an entire country and risking the collapse of the government. Creating a playground for your enemy to which you'll have to commit your own resources to police, is a deeply flawed, intensely shortsighted strategy.

Trust us, we know.

As is, a truly boggling turn of events. Given the alleged proficiency of the intelligence and strategic operation capabilities that Israel possesses in Mossad? Absolutely unfathomable.

11 July 2006

NARAL ♥'s Rape Gurney Joe

Joe Lieberman is NARAL's choice in the '06 Connecticut Senate race.

They're clearly feeling the Joementum, and who can blame them? After all, this is the same guy who cemented his "friend to women everywhere" reputation by casting a catagorically meaningless vote against Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court--after voting FOR the cloture motion that the GOPers needed to fulfill their rubber stamping obligation to El Presidente's anti-Roe court packing agenda.

The very same "centrist" responsible for this gem:
"Lieberman said he believes hospitals that refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for 'principled reasons' shouldn’t be forced to do so.

'In Connecticut, it shouldn’t take more than a short ride to get to another hospital,' he said.
After all, what's "a short ride" in the middle of the night to obtain emergency contraception after being sexually assaulted and brutalized? I'm sure that's a fair compromise that every rape victim can appreciate.

The masochism of NARAL's leadership is mind-boggling. Again and again, Holy Joe has stabbed them in the back, and yet they continue to buy into his cult of incumbency.


10 July 2006

Jeeze, an atrocity here, an atrocity there and, the next thing you know, people want "justice" and stuff

Iraq says to ask U.N. to end US immunity

Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:07pm ET10
By Mariam Karouny

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq will ask the United Nations to end immunity from local law for U.S. troops, the government said on Monday, as the U.S. military named five soldiers charged in a rape-murder case that has outraged Iraqis.

In an interview a week after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanded a review of foreign troops' immunity, Human Rights Minister Wigdan Michael said work on it was now under way and a request could be ready by next month to go to the U.N. Security Council, under whose mandate U.S.-led forces operate in Iraq.

"We're very serious about this," she said, adding a lack of enforcement of U.S. military law in the past had encouraged soldiers to commit crimes against Iraqi civilians.

"We formed a committee last week to prepare reports and put it before the cabinet in three weeks. After that, Maliki will present it to the Security Council. We will ask them to lift the immunity," Michael said.

"If we don't get that, then we'll ask for an effective role in the investigations that are going on. The Iraqi government must have a role."

Analysts say it is improbable the United States would ever make its troops answerable to Iraq's chaotic judicial system.

Asked to respond to Michael's remarks, White House spokesman Tony Snow dismissed that as a "hypothetical game".

But Snow said: "We also understand Prime Minister Maliki's concerns and we want to make sure he's fully informed and also that he is satisfied, regardless of what the treaty situation may be on these issues, that justice truly is being done, and that he can make that demonstration to his people as well."
What a shock, an ugly situation may get immesurably uglier thanks to BushCo's poor planning and irresponsible rhetoric.

Given the rather embarrassing position of having to use our security council veto to block the request of a government that we put into place, I'm rather surprised at Tony Snow's somewhat flip, VERY public dismissal. Call me crazy, but is seems it might've be a good idea to avoid calling such a request "a game," and just play it cool in the hopes that enough assurances could be made to the Maliki government to avoid that scenario, altogether.

Instead, Snow Job gets up there and babbles whatever comes to mind, like a half-drunk kid explaining why he's sneaking in after curfew.

Clearly, the likelihood of the U.S. allowing the security council to end troop immunity is about the same as John Bolton's chances of sprouting wings and flying circles around the UN building while singing La Marseillaise. That said, there's an enormous difference between--privately--discounting that possibility and casually blowing off governmental calls for direct accountability immediately after soldiers have, allegedly, raped a 14 year-old girl and murdered her and her family to cover the crime.

Preventing local prosecution might very well be a necessity for military operations, but the strategy (or lack thereof), in this instance, is incomprehensible.

Given the particulars of the culture, an incident involving sexual assault has long been predicted as one of the most damaging things that could happen for an occupying force. Beyond that, following the handling of the massacre at Haditha, this request was not only foreseeable, but very nearly inevitable.

A far better response should've been crafted and ready to go long before the word "game" had the chance to cross Snow's mind.

07 July 2006

The Campaigner

Bush seeks to build standing with public

By Jennifer Loven, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO - The president who loves to get home to his own bed is planning more nights on the road.

It's part of a public-relations effort aimed at boosting President Bush's low standing in polls and bolstering the chances of the Republican Party he leads in this fall's midterm elections. The idea is to place Bush in more freewheeling settings where he comes across best and before local media that tend to give softer coverage.

"I'm doing a lot of campaigning," Bush told CNN's Larry King during an interview aired Thursday night. "We're going to do just fine in '06."
Sectarian violence continues, unabated, in Iraq.

North Korea is lobbing missiles into the Sea of Japan.

Iran, a dire threat two weeks ago, is seemingly forgotten.

Meanwhile...more stump speeches. Makes sense to me. It's not like he was elected to lead or anything like that. Everyone knows the best way to approach international crises is with a PR junket designed to do some election year cheerleading in front of "soft coverage" local media.

Once again, no matter what is happening, as far as El Presidente is concerned, it's all politics all of the time.

No one is governing this country.

04 July 2006

Pullman for President

Good morning.

In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind.

"Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist.

And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!" We're going to live on! We're going to survive!

Today we celebrate our Independence Day! -- "President Thomas Whitmore"
Feel the melodrama.

I stumbled across this Will Smith classic earlier this weekend. When it first came out, I recall a friend saying (many years before Team America, mind you): "Bill Pullman SHOULD be president; if you really heard him give that speech, you'd just jump up, yelling, 'Fuck yeah!'"

As I sit here in the waning hours of the Fourth, it occurs to me that, in a way, he's right.

Sure, the whole, "retired fighter pilot president leading the troops," scenario is preposterously over the top. It's Hollywood; it's supposed to be. Like any ideal, though, it's based in reality, in the attainable things we see and can achieve. It reminds us of what we expect from a leader: strength, honesty, integrity, compassion.

And, on this Independence Day, it reminds us of just how woefully short we've fallen, not only of the ideal, but of any reasonable expectations, as well.

Instead of strength, we have stubborn arrogance.

Instead of honesty, we have deceit and secrecy.

Instead of integrity, a commitment only to power.

And instead of compassion, vacillation between cronyism and petty vengeance.

I don't need a hero to save the country, but I'd certainly prefer not having an insufferable bastard doing everything he can to destroy it. If THAT'S the option, I'll take the scenery-chewing actor any day of the week.

Fuck yeah.

01 July 2006

Just because they say it doesn't mean it's true

This week, Mike Huckabee, Arkansas' mental midget of a governor, was in a snit because the state supreme court refused to allow discrimination against gay foster parents. He huffed and puffed that the court lacked concern for "what's good for (the) children needing foster care." Mouthbreather Mike's basis for opining that gay parents aren't "good" for children in the foster care system?

Little more than his own say so.

In applying such airtight logic, Huckabee follows in the rich GOP tradition of trying to manufacture truth through repetition. Of course, this only works if they have the complicity of the dutiful stenographers posing as journalists in the nation's newsrooms. Unfortunately, more often than not, they're all too willing to oblige rather than risk not being included with the kewl kidz and invited to all the great cocktail parties. Though Huckabee was the latest, it's really been a banner week for this garbage.

On the NYT's story that divulged no operational knowledge, and actually fell far short of other already published information:
President Bush said Monday it was "disgraceful" that the news media had disclosed a secret CIA-Treasury program to track millions of financial records in search of terrorist suspects. The White House accused The New York Times of breaking a long tradition of keeping wartime secrets.

"The fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win this war on terror," Bush said, leaning forward and jabbing his finger during a brief question-and-answer session with reporters in the Roosevelt Room. -- 06/27/06
Since he can't lead, El Presidente begins to campaign:
"There's a group in the opposition party who are willing to retreat before the mission is done," he said. "They're willing to wave the white flag of surrender. And if they succeed, the United States will be worse off, and the world will be worse off." -- George Bush, 06/28/06
And finally, responding to the SCOTUS' stunning realization that they're a co-equal branch of government:
White House counselor Dan Bartlett says the administration's task now is to determine how to design military tribunals that will pass constitutional muster. Bartlett says Bush could portray any lawmaker who objects to legislation as supporting the release of dangerous terrorists. -- 06/30/06
The same thing is missing in every case: anything bearing even the slightest resemblance to a fact supporting the slanderous assertion in question.

How was the war on terror compromised?

Who wants to wave the white flag of surrender?

Who supports releasing terrorists and how does not nodding dumbly at whatever the Bushistas recommend signify that?

Time and again, ridiculous assertions like these are met with unconditional acceptance, and repeated ad nauseum. In an all-too-rare display of journalistic spine, the Today show's Matt Lauer called out Dan Barlett, Bush toadie extraordinaire, on those flag-waving surrender monkeys that his boss is hallucinating about:
LAUER: The white flag of surrender — that’s a very dramatic and harsh expression to use against the Democrats. Have you heard any Democrats calling for the white flag of surrender?

BARTLETT: Well, I have heard a lot of Democrats call this President a liar, saying we’ve gone into Iraq for the wrong reasons, saying that he’s incomptent. So there is a lot of heated rhetoric in Washington. But what we see in the heart wrenching developments, when we see our 2 soldiers lose their lives in such a horrific way, is that we’re up against a very determined enemy. This is an epic struggle in which we have to be committed to winning.
Don't seem to hear a name, there, Dan...
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