Thursday, March 25, 2004

"I got such a kick out of seeing the president huff and puff and get all indignant over the testimony of Richard Clarke this week. The real issue is this: Who would you rather have in charge of the defense of the United States of America, a group of people who never served a day overseas in their life or a guy who served this country honorably and has three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star on the battlefields of Vietnam?"

--Howard Dean today at George Washington University, formally endorsing Senator John Kerry for President
Tough times for Bushites call for tough measures
Totally out of character for the rigidly secretive Bush administration, a strict White House rule is allowed to be broken and propaganda-tool is pulled out for use.
That propaganda tool is FOX News.
Shortly before the hearing, the White House violated its long-standing rules by authorizing Fox News to air remarks favorable to Bush that Clarke had made anonymously at an administration briefing in 2002. The White House press secretary read passages from the 2002 remarks at his televised briefing, and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, who has declined to give public testimony to the commission, called reporters into her office to highlight the discrepancy. "There are two very different stories here," she said. "These stories can't be reconciled."
Back at the hearing, former Illinois governor James R. Thompson, a Republican member of the commission, took up the cause, waving the Fox News transcript with one hand and Clarke's critical book in the other. "Which is true?" Thompson demanded, folding his arms and glowering down at the witness.
The Bush administration must be feeling incredibly threatened. As they should.
I should include the next few lines for amusing closure:
Clarke, appearing unfazed by the apparent contradiction between his current criticism and previous praise, spoke to Thompson as if addressing a slow student. *[chortle]

"I was asked to highlight the positive aspects of what the administration had done, and to minimize the negative aspects of what the administration had done," he explained. "I've done it for several presidents."
Two views on Iraq

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

--Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

Here are two views on the war.

In the first, Denise Robertson lays out the guilt-carpet and asks how a woman (like me) could possibly protest a war that saves my "sisters". She says:
Of course, Iraq is still a dangerous place. I wouldn't like to live there with children but I like it a damn sight better now than it was two years ago, when Uday Hussein would routinely remove virgins from the country's schools in order to rape them.

It mystifies me that so many women have protested a war that freed their sisters from that kind of outrage.
I would ask Denise to consider the bitter truth about Iraq. Uday or no Uday. In the most recent edition of The New Yorker, journalist Jon Lee Anderson is seeing Baghdad firsthand while Denise frolics somewhere this day in the fairly secure UK.
Baghdad is a much more dangerous place than it was a year ago. A few days before the Mount Lebanon explosion, someone set off a bomb in front of a perfume shop in the same neighborhood—Al-Karrada, a predominantly Shiite section of the city. The target of the attack, who died, was the brotherin-law of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council. Jaafari’s brother-in-law was not involved in politics, but he was presumably easier to get to than Jaafari, and killing him may have been worth it just to get a message across.

It is not only the wealthy who are targeted for robbery and extortion. As in countries like Colombia and Mexico, wives and children of schoolteachers and mechanics are kidnapped along with politicians and rich businessmen. A couple of months ago, the twelve-year-old son of an Iraqi friend of mine, a driver who lives in a working-class neighborhood, was kidnapped one morning while walking to school. My friend had recently bought a nice secondhand car, which he was very proud of and loved to show off. That was probably his big mistake. The kidnappers demanded fifty thousand dollars in ransom. He bargained them down to six thousand dollars, sold his new car, and paid up. Several hours later, the boy was released a few blocks from his home. Since then, my friend has not let his son out of the house, even to go to school.
I would remind Denise and other Iraq-cheerleaders that this is about far more than rape-rooms. The systemic crime dilemma in Iraq must be dealt with swiftly and it should never have been unilaterally up to the United States and the willing/bribed coalition members to take on by themselves. For all that is decent for my sisters, brothers, and the children of Iraq, we need to re-engage the world. We never should have disengaged to begin with. Thus far this lady doth protest, methinks........meknows.
March 25 News and Views Karl Rove's Moment-
How "Bush's Brain" hijacked Washington, D.C. and politics-as-usual.
The amazing thing about 2004 is not that a radical, reckless president has the chance to be reelected; the amazing thing is that, in the face of a political establishment and a news media that rarely said boo to George W. Bush, millions and millions of people have his number anyway. Where the people are concerned, therefore, Karl and W are forced to make a dicier bet--against public memory, decency, and self-interest. It isn't clear yet whether terror fears and "wedge" issues like gay marriage, guns, and religion will once again divert sufficient numbers of people from more pressing matters, such as their own livelihoods. Maybe not.

On the other hand, Karl Rove has yet to lose a race by underestimating the integrity and rationality of American electoral politics.
Guardian Unlimited - The battle of the airwaves in America:
Sarcastic, bilious and very rightwing, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has become one of the most powerful voices in American politics. Can a group of liberals really beat him at his own game?
Paul Krugman - Lifting the Shroud

Dan Frosch, AlterNet: The Burden of Conscience

TAP: President Bush says we're winning the war on terrorism. As with so many things, however, his math doesn't add up.
On March 18, President Bush declared that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have made "America more secure." There have been more al-Qaeda-linked attacks internationally since September 11 than in the eight years before it.

9-11 Commission

Yahoo: Families of 9/11 Victims Laud Clarke for Apology

Center for American Progress - 9/11: Internal Government Documents

NYT:Assessing the Blame for 9/11
The real impression gleaned from the hearings is not that the Bush administration was indifferent to the threat of terror, but that its officials had trouble fully understanding it.Their mind-set did not allow for the possibility of an extranational threat not orchestrated by any one particular government.
AlterNet - White House Tailspin

I saw 'Yellowcake' Hadley on 60 minutes last Sunday trying to lie his way out of admitting there was the alleged find-blame-on-Iraq meeting in the situation room with the President and Richard Clarke just after 9-11. I saw Leslie Stahl shoot ol' Yellowcake down with proof of there being at least two witnesses to the meeting. In this article, it says:
Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley – the same man who ignored CIA orders to remove false uranium claims from the President's pre-war State of the Union – defended the Administration by saying, "All the chatter [before 9/11] was of an attack, a potential Al Qaeda attack overseas." But according to page 204 of the bipartisan 9/11 congressional report, "In May 2001, the intelligence community obtained a report that Bin Laden supporters were planning to infiltrate the United States" to "carry out a terrorist operation using high explosives."
Yellowcake Hadley is caught once again. Say, why hasn't anyone ever gotten around to firing this lying fellow? Some would tell me I should leave him alone. I guess he's only "representing"..his superior liars, that is. editorial: Documentation of Plans to Crash Airplanes Into Buildings that Bush and Condi Claim They Knew Nothing About*

*I've read most of this evidence in the past. The sane person would ask herself, "Why do you feel you must keep repeating these truths?" My answer would be: "Yeah, it looks a little crazy, doesn't it? You'd think the public would get it by now. You'd think the media would get it by now. You'd think........" Anyhow, here we go again! White House con-men have big megaphones which never stop bleating, repeating the misleading. So call me competition, already.

Misleader: Bush Administration Resorts to Lies About 9/11

Washington Post: Transcript of Wednesday's 9/11 Commission Hearings

The Memory Hole: 5-Minute Video of George W. Bush on the Morning of 9/11

Kerry vs. Bush

NY Times - As Gasoline Hits Record Price, Bush, Kerry and Democrats Spar Over Policy and Next Move

National Review - SecDef McCain: Is John McCain auditioning for a non-veep Kerry admin spot? by Rich Lowry

The Miami Herald - Kerry says Bush is soft on Chávez
*Note: see Kerry's statement on Venezuela


The Village Voice - Day by Day, Death by Death: A Chronology of U.S. Military Fatalities Since 'Mission Accomplished,' Part I

Yahoo! News - Bush Briefed on Al Qaeda Threat Before Taking Office - Bush's 9/11 myths endanger U.S.

MSNBC- 11 Iraqi police killed in ambushes

TIME Magazine - How We Got Homeland Security Wrong

Guerrilla News Network - Secrecy: The Real Mother of Terror by Colonel Daniel Smith, USA (Ret.) - Bush's Terror Hysteria

Political Comedy:

Fake Ad/Howard Bad American Presidents, We Salute You