Saturday, August 26, 2006

Punked By Osama...

Will America survive to 2050?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

"In 376 a large band of Gothic refugees arrived at the Empire's Danube frontier, asking for asylum. In a complete break with established Roman policy, they were allowed in, unsubdued. They revolted, and within two years had defeated and killed the emperor Valens – the one who had received them – along with two-thirds of his army, at the battle of Hadrianople."

So writes Oxford's Peter Heather in "Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians," who is convinced that Valens' welcoming of the Goths was the decision that sealed the fate of the empire.

As recent headlines tell us of 5 million more immigrants having arrived in America in the last five years, we see now, no longer as through a glass darkly, how America ends.

The Fear Factor

By Eleanor Clift

If you think things are bad now, they will be worse if we leave. That’s the essence of President Bush’s argument for staying the course in Iraq. Bush is doing what he always does—shamelessly ramping up the fear factor. He says if U.S. troops leave Iraq, the terrorists will be right behind them, bringing Baghdad to America. He’s brought ruin to Iraq and his policies are helping create our worst nightmare, a nuclear Iran. How much worse can it get?

The Perils Of Using 'The Allies'

By Charles Krauthammer

The cowboy has been retired. Multilateralism is back. Diplomacy is king. That's the conventional wisdom about George W. Bush's second term: Under the influence of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the administration has finally embraced "the allies."

This is considered a radical change of course. It is not. Even the most ardent unilateralist always prefers multilateral support under one of two conditions: (1) There is something the allies will actually help accomplish or (2) there is nothing to be done anyway, so multilateralism gives you the cover of appearing to do something.

The New "Activist" Judges

By Molly Ivins

Another bee-you-ti-ful example of the right-wing media getting it all wrong. Here they are having the nerve to mutter in public about "activist judges" because Judge Anna Diggs Taylor has pointed out that spying without a warrant is illegal in this country -- so warrantless telephone tapping is illegal in this country.

Improbably enough, the first complaint of many of these soi-disant legal scholars is that Taylor's decision is not well written. No judicial masterpiece, they sneer. Nevertheless, warrantless spying is illegal. Did it ever occur to these literary critics that Taylor has a lay-down hand? The National Security Agency program is flat unconstitutional, and for those who insist this means Osama bin Laden wins, it's also ridiculously easy to fix so that it is constitutional.

A Question of Balance

By Mortimer B. Zuckerman

War, it is said, is a series of catastrophes that, sooner or later, result in victory. But the war between Israel and Hezbollah has resulted not in victory but in a disturbingly unquiet peace.

Friday, August 25, 2006

It's Your Fault America

Twenty-seven years ago Jimmy Carter didn’t say that there was a malaise afflicting America. He did deliver a speech on July 15, 1979 in which he said there was a “crisis of the American spirit.” That speech has ever since been known as “The Malaise Speech,” even though the word malaise was never used.

I find a certain catharsis in this: It’s somehow comforting to remember that at least in many ways the news media sucked back then too (though not nearly as badly as today).

Nevertheless, the speech proved to be a political disaster when critics succeeded in spinning it as an attempt by Carter to blame the American people for his own failures.

(Interestingly, when you read the speech from today’s perspective you realize his discussion of the energy crisis was nothing short of brilliant. If America had listened to Jimmy Carter back then, instead of following Ronald Reagan’s more seductive advice to let the energy good times roll, this would be a much more secure nation today, not to mention a world much less at risk from global warming.)

Yet, I couldn’t help but hear the faint voice of Carter’s supposed malaise in George W. Bush’s comments today about Iraq:

“War is not a time of joy,” he said. “These are challenging times, and they’re difficult times, and they’re straining the psyche of our country. I understand that. You know, nobody likes to see innocent people die. Nobody wants to turn on their TV on a daily basis and see havoc wrought by terrorists.”

Ah, so the problem isn’t that Bush lied in order to get us into this God awful war, or the fact he’s been utterly incompetent in the way he’s prosecuted it. No, the problem is with the American people themselves. It’s our psyches that are all screwed-up, not his policies. It’s our fault, not his.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Take that one to the bank, GOP. It’s a winner if I’ve ever heard one — really.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


If a government program ever needed reform, the "war on drugs" is it.

Fat chance. The country is addicted to the bureaucracy of the war. It keeps prisons in business. It keeps police departments fattening up their ranks. It lets politicians on the stump freebase on tough-sounding rhetoric, cost-free. It is the law-enforcement establishment's bottomless welfare plan, with more dire results than social welfare ever caused those on the dole.

For all its "welfare queen" myths and admitted failures, social welfare programs had their millions of successes, keeping people out of poverty or helping them through bad patches. The drug war is a legacy of victims. Its only true winners are its enablers and dependents -- government and law enforcement -- who, experiencing its futility firsthand, should have been leading the charge for reform decades ago. But they're too addicted to 12-step their way out of it.

Desperate Soundbites

Duh-bya - you make the nation proud.

Can you imagine the courage it takes to live under the worst president ever. Imagine what it's like for all the republicans who voted for you after four years of what can charitably called a nightmare, realizing that it wasn't a dream they really had re-elected you.

Imagine what it would be like if you had a brain. Imagine what it would be like if Dick Cheney had chosen someone who cared about the country instead of taking the job himself. We know George. Sometimes you're frustrated, but rarely surprised. Sometimes you're happy, but mostly, you just tell lies.

The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War, and Illegal Domestic Surveillance

By Congressman John Conyers

(This Report is over 350 pages.)

In sum, the report examines the Bush Administration's actions in taking us to war from A to Z. The report finds there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice-President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration.

The Report concludes that a number of these actions amount to prima facie evidence (evidence sufficiently strong to presume the allegations are true) that federal criminal laws have been violated. Legal violations span from false statements to Congress to whistleblower laws.

The Report also concludes that these charges clearly rise to the level of impeachable conduct. However, because the Administration has failed to respond to requests for information about these charges, it is not yet possible to conclude that an impeachment inquiry or articles of impeachment are warranted.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Are Bush's critics right?

By Tony Blankley

One word answer - yes, and it begs a question.

How does Blankley breathe when his head is so far up duh-bya's ass?

Is Bush a Clear & Present Danger?

By Robert Parry

Faced with George W. Bush’s disastrous policies in the Middle East and his adamant refusal to change course, the question now arises whether the President has become a “clear and present danger” to the security of the United States and, indirectly, to Israel.

I am so sick of hearing about the danger to Israel coming out of the mouths of Americans I could scream - why should the United States give a fuck about that shitty little country?

The US - Israel relationship reminds me of the teenage sluts my friends and I used to fuck in high school - totally one sided..

Good News...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Religion is the cause

Not the cure for Middle Eastern violence.

Things CNN Will Never Tell You About Religion

By R. Joseph Hoffmann

1. That there is no God.

2. That you will not live forever.

3. That Noah’s ark will never be found because it never existed.

4. That Christianity began as a violent first century messianic sect which learned to cope peaceably when its messiah didn’t show up.

5. That most fundamentalists are rather stupid, Muslims and Christians alike.

6. That most evangelical Christians cannot describe what they mean by “inerrant” - speaking of the Bible.

7. That the vast majority of Christians opposed to stem cell research think it means killing babies for their brains.

8. That biblical Israel ceased to exist in 720 BC, lasted for less than two hundred years, and that modern Israel didn’t exist again until 1948.

9. That virtually no Jews use the phrase ‘Judaeo-Christian’, applied to ethics or anything else.

10. That Muhammad, a delusional first century Arab who thought the God of the Jews was speaking to him, was not a Muslim.

11. That Jesus, a delusional first century Jew who, if he existed, thought that the God of Abraham was his father, was not a Christian.

12. That most Arabs don’t like Palestinians.

13. That religion is the cause and not the cure for Middle Eastern violence.

14. That most Lebanese who are not Shi’a would rather be called Phoenicians than Arabs.

15. That the intellectual tradition in Arabia that is supposed to have given us everything from astronomy to the Zero and algebra…didn’t.

16. That not all religions are about peace, love and brotherhood—specifically, that the word Islam does not derive from the Arabic word peace but from the term for “Give up?”

17. That the term Jihad historically has never meant an inner struggle for spiritual perfection but killing the enemies of Islam before they can hurt you.

18. That almost no one in the Middle East believes that the future of the Middle East resides with “moderate” Muslims.

19. That atheism, secular humanism, and agnosticism are essential ingredients of the pluralist culture of modern Europe and America.

20. That when secularism and humanism fail, democracy fails.

21. That religious tolerance is not possible in the Middle East.

22. That unless the phrase ‘freedom and democracy’ includes the construct ‘secular’ neither term is meaningful.

23. That prior to the war on Iraq, the American president did not know that Iraq was biblical Mesopotamia, Eden.

24. That the American President thinks the distinction between Shi’a and Sunni is similar the distinction between Methodist and Presbyterian.

25. That the new ‘democratic’ regime in Iraq - Iraqi Shi’a - and Not Syria or Iran, were the staunchest supporters of Hezbollah prior to the invasion of Iraq.

26. That this means that the people we are calling the bulwark of freedom and democracy in Iraq are the terrorists of southern Lebanon.

R. Joseph Hoffmann is currently senior fellow and Chair of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, at the Center for Inquiry, Amherst, New York. From 2000 until the break out of the war against Iraq, he was Professor of Civilization Studies at the American University Of Beirut.

An American Turning Point

By Peter Dyer

If and when President Bush is impeached and removed from office, the next step should be to arrest him and the other architects of the unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq.

If Americans ever find the will to do this, as we once did to German aggressors, history will remember it as a turning point in international relations. It will go down as one of the most spectacular and complete affirmations of the very best of American ideals.

Is Israel Good for the Jews?

By Norman Birnbaum

American Jewish citizens can be sure that a large number of Jewish organizations will claim to speak in our name--without being asked to do so. We can also be sure that should we dissent from the US Jewish community's central item of faith, that Israel can do no wrong, we will be pilloried. When our gentile fellow citizens express doubt, they are accused of anti-Semitism. Those of us who are Jewish are taxed with self-hatred.

Uncomfortable Truths about Israel

By Larry C. Johnson

We are faced with the spectacle of Hizbullah acting with statesmanship and restraint while the Israelis destroy their credibility among the international community -- and that's what Israel needs to hear from Bush.

What would we be saying if Hizbullah kidnapped the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and launched a daring raid inside Israel to disrupt a U.S. effort to resupply the Israeli Defense Force? We would be up in arms over their provocation and would be convening the UN Security Council to recommend new sanctions. Hell, we'd probably have the National Security Council in session and be ready to dispatch U.S. military forces to help Israel.


Rx at is at it again Lennon's Imagine with a little Walk on the Wild Side makes for a great video.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Five Years After 9/11

Fear Finally Strikes Out

By Frank Rich

The results are in for the White House's latest effort to exploit terrorism for political gain: the era of Americans' fearing fear itself is over.

In each poll released since the foiling of the trans-Atlantic terror plot - Gallup, Newsweek, CBS, Zogby, Pew - George W. Bush's approval rating remains stuck in the 30's, just as it has been with little letup in the year since Katrina stripped the last remaining fig leaf of credibility from his presidency. While the new Middle East promised by Condi Rice remains a delusion, the death rattle of the domestic political order we've lived with since 9/11 can be found everywhere: in Americans' unhysterical reaction to the terror plot, in politicians' and pundits' hysterical overreaction to Joe Lieberman's defeat in Connecticut, even in the ho-hum box-office reaction to Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center."

It's not as if the White House didn't pull out all the stops to milk the terror plot to further its politics of fear. One self-congratulatory presidential photo op was held at the National Counterterrorism Center, a dead ringer for the set in "24." But Mr. Bush's Jack Bauer is no more persuasive than his Tom Cruise of "Top Gun." By crying wolf about terrorism way too often, usually when a distraction is needed from bad news in Iraq, he and his administration have long since become comedy fodder, and not just on "The Daily Show." June's scenario was particularly choice: as Baghdad imploded, Alberto Gonzales breathlessly unmasked a Miami terror cell plotting a "full ground war" and the destruction of the Sears Tower, even though the alleged cell had no concrete plans, no contacts with terrorist networks and no equipment, including boots.

What makes the foiled London-Pakistan plot seem more of a serious threat - though not so serious it disrupted Tony Blair's vacation - is that the British vouched for it, not Attorney General Gonzales and his Keystone Kops. This didn't stop Michael Chertoff from grabbing credit in his promotional sprint through last Sunday's talk shows. "It was as if we had an opportunity to stop 9/11 before it actually was carried out," he said, insinuating himself into that royal we. But no matter how persistent his invocation of 9/11, our secretary of homeland security is too discredited to impress a public that has been plenty disillusioned since Karl Rove first exhibited the flag-draped remains of a World Trade Center victim in a 2004 campaign commercial. We look at Mr. Chertoff and still see the man who couldn't figure out what was happening in New Orleans when the catastrophe was being broadcast in real time on television.

No matter what the threat at hand, he can't get his story straight. When he said last weekend that the foiling of the London plot revealed a Qaeda in disarray because "it's been five years since they've been capable of putting together something of this sort," he didn't seem to realize that he was flatly contradicting the Ashcroft-Gonzales claims for the gravity of all the Qaeda plots they've boasted of stopping in those five years. As recently as last October, Mr. Bush himself announced a list of 10 grisly foiled plots, including one he later described as a Qaeda plan "already set in motion" to fly a hijacked plane "into the tallest building on the West Coast."

Dick Cheney's credibility is also nil: he will always be the man who told us that Iraqis would greet our troops as liberators and that the insurgency was in its last throes in May 2005. His latest and predictable effort to exploit terrorism for election-year fear-mongering - arguing that Ned Lamont's dissent on Iraq gave comfort to "Al Qaeda types" - has no traction because the public has long since untangled the administration's bogus linkage between the Iraq war and Al Qaeda. That's why, of all the poll findings last week, the most revealing was one in the CBS survey: While the percentage of Americans who chose terrorism as our "most important problem" increased in the immediate aftermath of the London plot, terrorism still came in second, at only 17 percent, to Iraq, at 28 percent.

The administration's constant refrain that Iraq is the "central front" in the war on terror is not only false but has now also backfired politically: only 9 percent in the CBS poll felt that our involvement in Iraq was helping decrease terrorism. As its fifth anniversary arrives, 9/11 itself has been dwarfed by the mayhem in Iraq, where more civilians are now killed per month than died in the attack on America. The box-office returns of "World Trade Center" are a cultural sign of just how much America has moved on. For all the debate about whether it was "too soon" for such a Hollywood movie, it did better in the Northeast, where such concerns were most prevalent, than in the rest of the country, where, like "United 93," it may have arrived too late. Despite wild acclaim from conservatives and an accompanying e-mail campaign, "World Trade Center" couldn't outdraw "Step Up," a teen romance starring a former Abercrombie & Fitch model and playing on 500 fewer screens.

Mr. Lamont's victory in the Connecticut Democratic senatorial primary has been as overhyped as Mr. Stone's movie. As a bellwether of national politics, one August primary in one very blue state is nearly meaningless. Mr. Lieberman's star began to wane in Connecticut well before Iraq became a defining issue. His approval rating at home, as measured by the Quinnipiac poll, had fallen from 80 percent in 2000 to 51 percent in July 2003, and that was before his kamikaze presidential bid turned "Joementum" into a national joke.

The hyperbole that has greeted the Lamont victory in some quarters is far more revealing than the victory itself. In 2006, the tired Rove strategy of equating any Democratic politician's opposition to the Iraq war with cut-and-run defeatism in the war on terror looks desperate. The Republicans are protesting too much, methinks. A former Greenwich selectman like Mr. Lamont isn't easily slimed as a reincarnation of Abbie Hoffman or an ally of Osama bin Laden. What Republicans really see in Mr. Lieberman's loss is not a defeat in the war on terror but the specter of their own defeat. Mr. Lamont is but a passing embodiment of a fixed truth: most Americans think the war in Iraq was a mistake and want some plan for a measured withdrawal. That truth would prevail even had Mr. Lamont lost.

A similar panic can be found among the wave of pundits, some of them self-proclaimed liberals, who apoplectically fret that Mr. Lamont's victory signals the hijacking of the Democratic Party by the far left (here represented by virulent bloggers) and a prospective replay of its electoral apocalypse of 1972. Whatever their political affiliation, almost all of these commentators suffer from the same syndrome: they supported the Iraq war and, with few exceptions (mainly at The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard), are now embarrassed that they did. Desperate to assert their moral superiority after misjudging a major issue of our time, they loftily declare that anyone who shares Mr. Lamont's pronounced opposition to the Iraq war is not really serious about the war against the jihadists who attacked us on 9/11.

That's just another version of the Cheney-Lieberman argument, and it's hogwash. Most of the 60 percent of Americans who oppose the war in Iraq also want to win the war against Al Qaeda and its metastasizing allies: that's one major reason they don't want America bogged down in Iraq. Mr. Lamont's public statements put him in that camp as well, which is why those smearing him resort to the cheap trick of citing his leftist great-uncle (the socialist Corliss Lamont) while failing to mention that his father was a Republican who served in the Nixon administration. (Mr. Lieberman, ever bipartisan, has accused Mr. Lamont of being both a closet Republican and a radical.)

These commentators are no more adept at reading the long-term implications of the Connecticut primary than they were at seeing through blatant White House propaganda about Saddam's mushroom clouds. Their generalizations about the blogosphere are overheated; the shrillest left-wing voices on the Internet are no more representative of the whole than those of the far right. This country remains a country of the center, and opposition to the war in Iraq is now the center and (if you listen to Chuck Hagel and George Will, among other non-neoconservatives) even the center right.

As the election campaign quickens, genuine nightmares may well usurp the last gasps of Rovian fear-based politics. It's hard to ignore the tragic reality that American troops are caught in the cross-fire of a sectarian bloodbath escalating daily, that botched American policy has strengthened Iran and Hezbollah and undermined Israel, and that our Department of Homeland Security is as ill-equipped now to prevent explosives (liquid or otherwise) in cargo as it was on 9/11. For those who've presided over this debacle and must face the voters in November, this is far scarier stuff than a foiled terrorist cell, nasty bloggers and Ned Lamont combined.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hi, my name is Chuckie - want to play?

Hey Kristol - I hear Reuters has an opening, given your perfect record of being perfectly wrong you should fit right in.

Is this is how Israel treats its anti-war activists?

Israel Troops Shooting Anti-War Demonstrators -- Video The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) has uploaded a video of Israeli border troops firing on unarmed anti-war demonstrators. The video clearly shows the commander of the Zionist Nazi's saying, “This is Lebanon!” as he orders his force to fire on retreating demonstrators, and “I will not allow a demonstration during wartime!”

Ob's stürmt oder schneit,
Ob die Sonne uns lacht,
Der Tag glühend heiß
Oder eiskalt die Nacht.
Bestaubt sind die Gesichter,
Doch froh ist unser Sinn,
Ist unser Sinn;
Es braust unser Panzer
Im Sturmwind dahin.