Thursday, September 30, 2004

Kerry Wins Debate

Ok, before the nutwing, pundits, so-called security moms, and paid talking heads tell you that Bush did well tonight. Let me be crystal clear about the result: He did not. I watched the debate on C-span while chatting with the witty Attaturk and Bush seemed distracted, nervous and ill prepared. C-Span was a fortunate choice because apparently it was one of the few channels that split the screen so that you could watch both candidates.

On one hand, Kerry was calm, well organized, and never seemed for a loss of words. He was clear and focused. Bush, on the other hand, was often unsure of his words and his self. Kerry's direct substantive comments were on target and easily dealt with Bush's blunt presentation. Kerry won the debate on a visual and substantive level.

So, forget the punditocy... Kerry was masterful. Let's hope that thinking will now actually win this election.

Congratulations to Kerry

DeDurkheim and I did some real timing chatting that, if I didn't inadvertently delete it, I will put up tomorrow.

But I will quickly state this.

David Brooks prounounces it a "tie".

So you know Kerry cleaned Bush's clock the latter with the

...the blinking...
...the eye-rolling...
...the pauses...
...the moooooo-lah...
...the asking for 30 seconds and then not having anything to say...
...oh, and fucking brilliant President during Abu Ghraib to joke about putting leashes on the kids...

And remember,

Things are hard, they are very, very hard. I don't want to send any mixed messages, things are very hard.

You only need the rights that we let you have!

The Bush Administration continues to chip away at the due process and human rights protections that immigrants have. As David Cole argues in this book Enemy Aliens, noncitizen immigrants have often been used as test cases for repressive measures that were then used on citizens and natives. As the Bush Administration has demonstrated in the Padilla and Hamdi cases, it is willing to treat US citizens as if they were "aliens," so it's not much of a stretch to see an expansion of this authority to cover "suspect" natives.

Note, by the way, that this law applies to terror suspects -- nothing has to be proven. This is terribly arbitrary and insidious, allowing agents to use the spectre of suspecthood as a tool with which to intimidate and repress immigrants. We should also not fool ourselves that the Dems are innocent on this count --as it says below, Clinton already gave the CIA authority to act in this manner -- the Republicans just want to democratize the authority.

The Bush administration is supporting a provision in the House leadership's intelligence reform bill that would allow U.S. authorities to deport certain foreigners to countries where they are likely to be tortured or abused, an action prohibited by the international laws against torture the United States signed 20 years ago. [...] "Our laws are not up to date with the war we're fighting," Feehery [spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert] said. In many cases, he said, the Justice Department "can't keep [terror suspects] in detention, they can't convict them, they don't want to try them. . . . If you can't detain them indefinitely, you sure don't want them in America."

The international anti-torture law prohibited the deportation of individuals to countries where there is a reasonable expectation that they will be tortured, abused or persecuted. U.S. immigration law permits non-U.S. citizens to seek political asylum to avoid such persecution and prohibits deportation or removal to countries likely to commit torture or abuse unless the government seeks assurance the country will not do so. [...] "Is it an inconvenience if we can't send people back to torturers? Sure," said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. "But since Abu Ghraib, everyone from the president to the Defense Department to Congress has said the United States does not have a policy of torture. If this passes, we will have a policy of tolerating torture."

Under the Hastert bill, U.S. authorities could send an immigrant to any country, regardless of the likelihood of torture or abuse.

The measure would shift to the deportee the burden of proving "by clear and convincing evidence that he or she would be tortured" -- a burden that human rights activists say is impossible to satisfy. It would bar a U.S. court from reviewing the regulations, which would fall under the secretary of homeland security. The provision would apply retroactively, to people now in detention and those who may have already been secretly deported under classified procedures to countries with well-documented histories of torture and human rights violations. It also would allow U.S. authorities to deport foreigners convicted of any felony or suspected of having links to terrorist groups to any country -- even somewhere that is not a person's home country or place of birth, contrary to current practice. The CIA already has such authority, under a secret presidential finding first signed by President Bill Clinton and expanded by Bush after Sept. 11, 2001. The CIA has taken an unknown number of suspected terrorists apprehended abroad to third countries for interrogation.

Talking Points Making the Rounds

Here are the talking points about the debate that are making the rounds, we should take a look at these and at the debate itself.

Here they are:

The Bush campaign is confident and cocky. They are saying that they can end this campaign tonight. Their “Mission Accomplished” swagger is on full display. But the American people will have something to say about that. If Bush is bragging about ending the campaign after tonight’s debate, he’ll be in trouble when Senator Kerry wakes up fighting tomorrow.


George Bush pushed hard for an opening debate on foreign policy. He believes it is his strong suit. His campaign believes it gives them a tactical advantage headed into the home stretch.

George Bush may be a failed President, but he is a skilled debater. In fact, he’s never lost a debate in his political career.

John Kerry understands that these will be the toughest debates of his life.


John Kerry looks forward to the challenge of meeting the President head-on to discuss his plans for a new course in Iraq, for winning the war terror, and making America stronger at home and more respected in the world.

The American people will be presented with a real choice in this debate. President Bush will defend his go-it-alone, arrogant foreign policy. John Kerry will offer hope for a fresh start in Iraq so we can finish the job.


George Bush’s catastrophic choices in Iraq will be the central focus of this debate. Without the filter of his campaign attack machine, George Bush will finally be forced to face hard truths and grim reality.

Has the rush to war made America stronger or weaker; safer or less secure? Will he admit that we rushed to a $200 billion war with no plan to win the peace? Will he offer a plan to change our disastrous course? This first debate will be the moment when George Bush will have to stand up, face facts, and level with the troops and the American people about the chaos in Iraq.

George Bush can’t solve the problems in Iraq because he doesn’t see any problems in Iraq. He clings to a fantasy view of progress and stability, while even leaders in his own party recognize his stubborn incompetence.

Despite George Bush’s ever-shifting rationales for his rush to war, he accuses John Kerry of inconsistency on Iraq. George Bush has been consistent on Iraq – consistently wrong – and America has paid a terrible price.


John Kerry has a plan to get us back on track in Iraq – securing international support, training Iraqi security forces, implementing a coherent reconstruction plan that brings real benefits to the Iraqi people, and taking the essential steps to hold elections next year.

John Kerry offers the only real hope of uniting our country and rebuilding our alliances. He has the strength, conviction and command of the facts necessary to lead us in the war on terror, and to make the right decisions in Iraq.


George Bush always wins debates on style. But this debate is one of substance – Bush’s own failed record.

The American people want to know that George Bush actually understands the reality in Iraq. In 2000, war andprosperity were not issues in the debates. All that has changed. Now, it’s not enough for George Bush to win on style or slide by without a gaffe.

George Bush must explain in detail his catastrophic decision to rush to war. He must finally tell the truth to the American people and admit his failures and offer a plan to end this quagmire. There is a great and honest debate to be had on the course ahead – and this is the place to have it.

Is John Eisenhower that big a Surprise?

I speculated yesterday what Ike would think if he were alive today...

First, I imagine he'd really want to take a leak.

Second, he'd feel pretty damn old at 114.

Third, I think the guy would endorse Kerry.


Because the guy hated the stupid waste of soldier's lives. Dwight Eisenhower was responsible for sending soldiers to their deaths, on June 5, 1944 he thought he was sending thousands to slaughter, and he was.

He knew war the way a soldier knows it, not the way a chickenhawk does.

Big Path has a nice collection of Eisenhower quotes placed next to those of John Eisenhower yesterday. But let's just focus on the guy who was instrumental in defeating Hitler and ending the Korean War.

“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

-- Makes you wonder what he'd tell the Chimp?

“There is no way in which a country can satisfy the craving for absolute security, but it can bankrupt itself morally and economically in attempting to reach that illusory goal through arms alone.”


“May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”

I tell you one thing, he'd have no time for Rush Limbaugh or Fox News.

There are other famous Eisenhower quotes.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

Oops, that one is hard to reconcile for Reagan era bottomless military trough.

"If men can develop weapons that are so terrifying as to make the thought of global war include almost a sentence for suicide, you would think that man's intelligence and his comprehension... would include also his ability to find a peaceful solution."

This next one would get Dubya's panties all knotted.

"If the United Nations once admits that international disputes can be settled by using force, then we will have destroyed the foundation of the organization and our best hope of establishing a world order."


"You don't lead by hitting people over the head-that's assault, not leadership."


And we should remember what Eisenhower said when he returned to Normandy in 1964 and talked to Walter Cronkite about the 9,000 boys buried on the coast of France.

“. . . these men came here - British and our allies, and Americans - to storm these beaches for one purpose only, not to gain anything for ourselves, not to fulfill any ambitions that America had for conquest, but just to preserve freedom. . . . Many thousands of men have died for such ideals as these. . . but these young boys. . . were cut off in their prime. . . I devoutly hope that we will never again have to see such scenes as these. I think and hope, and pray, that humanity will have learned. . . we must find some way . . . to gain an eternal peace for this world.”

This, it should be said was completely off the cuff. This was a man who thought deeply about the awesome responsibility that comes with ordering men to their deaths, even in a good cause.

Eisenhower was a man.

In comparison, Bush is a yellow-streaked coward!

What Attaturk wishes were possible...

I don't think Blogger will let me have a java thingy so I could do real time Debate blogging.

I'd like to take a stab at being like these guys.

Though it would probably be more like it was done by this guy.

The Clusterfuckery: One Reporter I'd like to see ask Bush Something.

From Poynter via Steve Gilliad and now completely lifted by me, an email from Wall Street Journal Reporter Farnaz Fassihi to friends. It is now circulating around the infobahn.

Being a foreign correspondent in Baghdad these days is like being under virtual house arrest. Forget about the reasons that lured me to this job: a chance to see the world, explore the exotic, meet new people in far away lands, discover their ways and tell stories that could make a difference.

Little by little, day-by-day, being based in Iraq has defied all those reasons. I am house bound. I leave when I have a very good reason to and a scheduled interview. I avoid going to people's homes and never walk in the streets. I can't go grocery shopping any more, can't eat in restaurants, can't strike a conversation with strangers, can't look for stories, can't drive in any thing but a full armored car, can't go to scenes of breaking news stories, can't be stuck in traffic, can't speak English outside, can't take a road trip, can't say I'm an American, can't linger at checkpoints, can't be curious about what people are saying, doing, feeling. And can't and can't. There has been one too many close calls, including a car bomb so near our house that it blew out all the windows. So now my most pressing concern every day is not to write a kick-ass story but to stay alive and make sure our Iraqi employees stay alive. In Baghdad I am a security personnel first, a reporter second.

It's hard to pinpoint when the 'turning point' exactly began. Was it April when the Fallujah fell out of the grasp of the Americans? Was it when Moqtada and Jish Mahdi declared war on the U.S. military? Was it when Sadr City, home to ten percent of Iraq's population, became a nightly battlefield for the Americans? Or was it when the insurgency began spreading from isolated pockets in the Sunni triangle to include most of Iraq? Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq remains a disaster. If under Saddam it was a 'potential' threat, under the Americans it has been transformed to 'imminent and active threat,' a foreign policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come.

Iraqis like to call this mess 'the situation.' When asked 'how are thing?' they reply: 'the situation is very bad."

What they mean by situation is this: the Iraqi government doesn't control most Iraqi cities, there are several car bombs going off each day around the country killing and injuring scores of innocent people, the country's roads are becoming impassable and littered by hundreds of landmines and explosive devices aimed to kill American soldiers, there are assassinations, kidnappings and beheadings. The situation, basically, means a raging barbaric guerilla war. In four days, 110 people died and over 300 got injured in Baghdad alone. The numbers are so shocking that the ministry of health -- which was attempting an exercise of public transparency by releasing the numbers -- has now stopped disclosing them.

Insurgents now attack Americans 87 times a day.

A friend drove thru the Shiite slum of Sadr City yesterday. He said young men were openly placing improvised explosive devices into the ground. They melt a shallow hole into the asphalt, dig the explosive, cover it with dirt and put an old tire or plastic can over it to signal to the locals this is booby-trapped. He said on the main roads of Sadr City, there were a dozen landmines per every ten yards. His car snaked and swirled to avoid driving over them. Behind the walls sits an angry Iraqi ready to detonate them as soon as an American convoy gets near. This is in Shiite land, the population that was supposed to love America for liberating Iraq.

For journalists the significant turning point came with the wave of abduction and kidnappings. Only two weeks ago we felt safe around Baghdad because foreigners were being abducted on the roads and highways between towns. Then came a frantic phone call from a journalist female friend at 11 p.m. telling me two Italian women had been abducted from their homes in broad daylight. Then the two Americans, who got beheaded this week and the Brit, were abducted from their homes in a residential neighborhood. They were supplying the entire block with round the clock electricity from their generator to win friends. The abductors grabbed one of them at 6 a.m. when he came out to switch on the generator; his beheaded body was thrown back near the neighborhoods./CONTINUED BELOW

WSJ reporter Fassahi's e-mail to friends /2 9/29/2004 2:47:12 PM

The insurgency, we are told, is rampant with no signs of calming down. If any thing, it is growing stronger, organized and more sophisticated every day. The various elements within it-baathists, criminals, nationalists and Al Qaeda-are cooperating and coordinating.

I went to an emergency meeting for foreign correspondents with the military and embassy to discuss the kidnappings. We were somberly told our fate would largely depend on where we were in the kidnapping chain once it was determined we were missing. Here is how it goes: criminal gangs grab you and sell you up to Baathists in Fallujah, who will in turn sell you to Al Qaeda. In turn, cash and weapons flow the other way from Al Qaeda to the Baathisst to the criminals. My friend Georges, the French journalist snatched on the road to Najaf, has been missing for a month with no word on release or whether he is still alive.

America's last hope for a quick exit? The Iraqi police and National Guard units we are spending billions of dollars to train. The cops are being murdered by the dozens every day-over 700 to date -- and the insurgents are infiltrating their ranks. The problem is so serious that the U.S. military has allocated $6 million dollars to buy out 30,000 cops they just trained to get rid of them quietly.

As for reconstruction: firstly it's so unsafe for foreigners to operate that almost all projects have come to a halt. After two years, of the $18 billion Congress appropriated for Iraq reconstruction only about $1 billion or so has been spent and a chuck has now been reallocated for improving security, a sign of just how bad things are going here.

Oil dreams? Insurgents disrupt oil flow routinely as a result of sabotage and oil prices have hit record high of $49 a barrel. Who did this war exactly benefit? Was it worth it? Are we safer because Saddam is holed up and Al Qaeda is running around in Iraq?

Iraqis say that thanks to America they got freedom in exchange for insecurity. Guess what? They say they'd take security over freedom any day, even if it means having a dictator ruler.

I heard an educated Iraqi say today that if Saddam Hussein were allowed to run for elections he would get the majority of the vote. This is truly sad.

Then I went to see an Iraqi scholar this week to talk to him about elections here. He has been trying to educate the public on the importance of voting. He said, "President Bush wanted to turn Iraq into a democracy that would be an example for the Middle East. Forget about democracy, forget about being a model for the region, we have to salvage Iraq before all is lost."

One could argue that Iraq is already lost beyond salvation. For those of us on the ground it's hard to imagine what if any thing could salvage it from its violent downward spiral. The genie of terrorism, chaos and mayhem has been unleashed onto this country as a result of American mistakes and it can't be put back into a bottle.

The Iraqi government is talking about having elections in three months while half of the country remains a 'no go zone'-out of the hands of the government and the Americans and out of reach of journalists. In the other half, the disenchanted population is too terrified to show up at polling stations. The Sunnis have already said they'd boycott elections, leaving the stage open for polarized government of Kurds and Shiites that will not be deemed as legitimate and will most certainly lead to civil war.

I asked a 28-year-old engineer if he and his family would participate in the Iraqi elections since it was the first time Iraqis could to some degree elect a leadership. His response summed it all: "Go and vote and risk being blown into pieces or followed by the insurgents and murdered for cooperating with the Americans? For what? To practice democracy? Are you joking?"


You know, on occasion I'd like to see the Wall Street Journal's actual reporters, who are generally top-notch, tell the editorial staff, who are genrally insane, they can go and "suck it".

I have a feeling that happens from time to time.

Juan Cole, showing the Tectonic Plates

Some time ago, uber Josh Marshall said he was working on the tectonic plates story, which eventually sort of came out in what should have been a big story, but in the world of the SCLM the story faded away under the sheer weight of hurricanes and superscript typewriters.

It involves forged documents from Niger and their use in arguing for the incursion into Iraq (in another irony the story 60 Minutes spiked to produce the Killian memos) and the investigation of high ranking Bush Administration employees just below Wolfowitz and/or Cheney and their passing on information to AIPAC, an Israeli lobbying group which naturally and hardly unexpectedly has ties to the Israeli government proper.

Later, as yet another hurricane came ashore, pressure was brought to bear to delay the story and prosecution of the individuals investigated, the prime name being Larry Franklin and/or John Hannah.

Well, this morning Juan Cole picks the matter up again, go read it.

Because Madame Chang is finally dead and therefore unavailable

From the Washington Post, comes this report on the Bush Administration's verion of "Hey, that's actually shinola Tour":

The Bush administration, battling negative perceptions of the Iraq war, is sending Iraqi Americans to deliver what the Pentagon calls "good news" about Iraq to U.S. military bases, and has curtailed distribution of reports showing increasing violence in that country.

The unusual public-relations effort by the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development comes as details have emerged showing the U.S. government and a representative of President Bush's reelection campaign had been heavily involved in drafting the speech given to Congress last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Combined, they indicate that the federal government is working assiduously to improve Americans' opinions about the Iraq conflict -- a key element of Bush's reelection message.


USAID said this week that it will restrict distribution of reports by contractor Kroll Security International showing that the number of daily attacks by insurgents in Iraq has increased. On Monday, a day after The Washington Post published a front-page story saying that "the Kroll reports suggest a broad and intensifying campaign of insurgent violence," a USAID official sent an e-mail to congressional aides stating: "This is the last Kroll report to come in. After the WPost story, they shut it down in order to regroup. I'll let you know when it restarts."

Asked about the Kroll reports yesterday, USAID spokesman Jeffrey Grieco said, "The agency has restricted its circulation to those contractors and grantees who continue to work in Iraq." He said that the reports were given to congressional officials who sought them, but that the information will now be "restricted to those who need it for security planning in Iraq." An agency official said the decision was unrelated to the Post story and was based on a fear that the reports "would fall into insurgents' hands."

Is it fucking possible that the Mouth-Breather Video Brainwashing for Fun & Profit Industry, aka Cable News Networks, drive this fantasy versus fact scenario home for 30 goddamned seconds during their newscasts?

...'spose not.

The Reckoning

There is going to be one on Iraq. I can feel it, my guess is we all can.

When does the veil of self-delusion end for the GOP, on January 21st when John Kerry is inaugurated? I'd guess so.

There is nothing snarky about this post.


Will it help if I put up a picture of Bush in a dress?


and how to maintain it.

1. Turn on TV a few minutes before debate.

2. Program your VCR and/or TIVO to record Daily Show.

3. Watch debate.

4. When Debate ends, immediately turn off TV before pundits speak.

5. Rather than watching pundit masturbation, consider actual masturbation, or sex with another human being.

What's this?...with the Pentagon releasing those Proportionally Spaced Documents from the TANG in the 60s & 70s

I thought the right-wing noise machine, i.e. Buckethead, had summarily dismissed the possibility of such things?

But reader Bob Fertik at provides us with these via Paul Lukasiak.

Click here and behold the many pages of proportionally spaced documents from the recent document dump.

Now why would the PENTAGON maintain such documents, are they fakes too...especially since they are not all so critical of Dear Leader?

So have they managed to create enough noise to make it not matter?

Yes, I suppose they have.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

News media to Moore: We don't need your stinkin' Commercials!

Rant warning!

The L.A. Weekly has learned that CBS, NBC and ABC all refused Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD advertising during any of the networks’ news programming.

Apparently only Fox "news" is considering airing the commerical -- ok, I am kidding. Fox "news" is not considering but... I had you going there for a minute, right? Come on maybe a little.

The so-called big three news media want to avoid any kind of supposed reporting, bias, spin, truth, or thought during their news. Infotainment makes for such better ad rates!

Far better to distract a growing angry public with news stories about how Bush is getting fantastically large crowds to turn out for his "talks" in richville, Ohio. Nevermind the disturbing truth that the reason for the record setting turnouts are that area schools closed and public busing was used to bring thousands of school children to Bush's outdoor rallies.

Also nevermind that Bush is only speaking in suburban areas where people sign support agreements rather than in non-stage managed event in the downtowns of true middle American rust belt cities such as Toledo or Akron.

In a further consolidation of network news media efforts to help Bush and Rove with the "re-" election effort, a crackdown on "offensive" commercials is underway. Several Ohio television stations have refused to run DNC commercials because of a "lack of airtime."

So, in battle ground states, the news media could present a diversity of opinion, especially unpopular ideas that might captivate and anger an increasingly alienated electorate who tire of the reactionary and neo-conservative agenda. Airing commercials about F9-11 would be a good step in that direction. But, hey that would require thinking or conscience or even giving a fuck.

And that is not gonna happen any time soon. At least, not until the networks help their pal Georgy get elected.

The Religious Right is after your brain

Evan Ratliff, Wired Magazine Issue 12.10

As reported in Wire magazine, those people who gave you "God hates fags" and "Islamo-fascists" are now going after schools more than ever before. I wonder what is next, attacking music class because there are no hymns or removing English because people are reading something besides the bible?

I suppose the press conference would sound something like this: "We must do away with the evils of English and geometry! There is no need to study those devil worshipping subjects. Just think about how close Al-gebra is to Al-Queda."

As Ratliff investigates:

In the beginning there was Darwin. And then there was intelligent design. How the next generation of "creation science" is invading America's classrooms.

On a spring day two years ago, in a downtown Columbus auditorium, the Ohio State Board of Education took up the question of how to teach the theory of evolution in public schools. A panel of four experts - two who believe in evolution, two who question it - debated whether an antievolution theory known as intelligent design should be allowed into the classroom.

This is an issue, of course, that was supposed to have been settled long ago. But 140 years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species, 75 years after John Scopes taught natural selection to a biology class in Tennessee, and 15 years after the US Supreme Court ruled against a Louisiana law mandating equal time for creationism, the question of how to teach the theory of evolution was being reopened here in Ohio. The two-hour forum drew chanting protesters and a police escort for the school board members. Two scientists, biologist Ken Miller from Brown University and physicist Lawrence Krauss from Case Western Reserve University two hours north in Cleveland, defended evolution.

On the other side of the dais were two representatives from the Discovery Institute in Seattle, the main sponsor and promoter of intelligent design: Stephen Meyer, a professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University's School of Ministry and director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, and Jonathan Wells, a biologist, Discovery fellow, and author of Icons of Evolution, a 2000 book castigating textbook treatments of evolution. Krauss and Miller methodically presented their case against ID. "By no definition of any modern scientist is intelligent design science," Krauss concluded, "and it's a waste of our students' time to subject them to it."

Of course, I wonder if chimpy supports intelligent design. Surely, the label itself is beyond him.

If Chimpy tries to use this "orange" bullshit tomorrow...

Can Kerry comment upon the "yellow" streak down Bush's back?

For you Republicans mad at your President's Sons criticizing your Chimperor

Will another son also generate your bile?

After all, this guy, while not quite as laden with medals and stars as his father, still managed to earn a star on his shoulder and more than a few medals.

I give you John Eisenhower, Ike's only surviving son (Dwight Jr. died in infancy).

His letter regarding the present election is copied in full from here:

Why I will vote for John Kerry for President

THE Presidential election to be held this coming Nov. 2 will be one of extraordinary importance to the future of our nation. The outcome will determine whether this country will continue on the same path it has followed for the last 3½ years or whether it will return to a set of core domestic and foreign policy values that have been at the heart of what has made this country great.

Now more than ever, we voters will have to make cool judgments, unencumbered by habits of the past. Experts tell us that we tend to vote as our parents did or as we “always have.” We remained loyal to party labels. We cannot afford that luxury in the election of 2004. There are times when we must break with the past, and I believe this is one of them.

As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration’s decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.

The fact is that today’s “Republican” Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word “Republican” has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today’s whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.

Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant respect for others. America, though recognized as the leader of the community of nations, has always acted as a part of it, not as a maverick separate from that community and at times insulting towards it. Leadership involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance.

In the Middle East crisis of 1991, President George H.W. Bush marshaled world opinion through the United Nations before employing military force to free Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. Through negotiation he arranged for the action to be financed by all the industrialized nations, not just the United States. When Kuwait had been freed, President George H. W. Bush stayed within the United Nations mandate, aware of the dangers of occupying an entire nation.

Today many people are rightly concerned about our precious individual freedoms, our privacy, the basis of our democracy. Of course we must fight terrorism, but have we irresponsibly gone overboard in doing so? I wonder. In 1960, President Eisenhower told the Republican convention, “If ever we put any other value above (our) liberty, and above principle, we shall lose both.” I would appreciate hearing such warnings from the Republican Party of today.

The Republican Party I used to know placed heavy emphasis on fiscal responsibility, which included balancing the budget whenever the state of the economy allowed it to do so. The Eisenhower administration accomplished that difficult task three times during its eight years in office. It did not attain that remarkable achievement by cutting taxes for the rich. Republicans disliked taxes, of course, but the party accepted them as a necessary means of keep the nation’s financial structure sound.

The Republicans used to be deeply concerned for the middle class and small business. Today’s Republican leadership, while not solely accountable for the loss of American jobs, encourages it with its tax code and heads us in the direction of a society of very rich and very poor.

Sen. Kerry, in whom I am willing to place my trust, has demonstrated that he is courageous, sober, competent, and concerned with fighting the dangers associated with the widening socio-economic gap in this country. I will vote for him enthusiastically.

I celebrate, along with other Americans, the diversity of opinion in this country. But let it be based on careful thought. I urge everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, to avoid voting for a ticket merely because it carries the label of the party of one’s parents or of our own ingrained habits.

I also feel pretty confident, his dad would be voting for Kerry in 2004 as well.

By the way, the Eisenhowers have done more the this country and the GOP than the whole assorted variety of Bushes you want to gather together.

Update: BTW, could John Eisenhower (who has outlived his dad by three years) look any more like him?

If I may biatch!

Not that Attaturk believes Rising Hegemon should be on any of these lists. We have a nice little thing going and that's good enough (plus I feel like I whine, seriously or comically, enough). So I certainly did not belong on any of these nominations. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut,

Look at the Washington Post nominees for "Class Clown", humourous blogs:

Jesus' General

Congrats to the General, he belongs there. But Wonkette? C'mon, hasn't Anna Marie gotten her red-headed, sex-obsessed mug enough publicity?

I imagine I could make a pretty good run too if I turned this blog over to writing about penis-length and interviewing congressional prostitutes. Well, that and if I was a red-head with a nice rack.

Oliver Willis does the same thing as Wonkette, with fewer penis jokes, and more policy substance. And his Redskin prognostications are turning out to be damn funny (not his intent but still). And is he nominated?

No, obviously the "man" is behind this!

Scrabble-face and Fafblog are tolerable, actually that's unfair, they are excellent blogs.

But, no Tbogg?


And, best rants?

Best Rant

Daily Kos
National Review - The Corner

You know, Atrios belongs a lot of places and deserves many a nomination, but I've always considered rants a place where your write a nice, lengthy, shrill post. That doesn't really seem to be his thing. Nor, is it Kos's in particular, but there are diarists there that work up a good froth.

The Corner? K-Lo's insufferable book pushing and social ineptitude is not a rant, it's a short, succinct cry for help!

Billmon, um, well golly. At least he wasn't nominated in the "most likely to last beyond election day" category.

As pathetic as he is, Lileks actually belongs here. Actually, he belongs in a rubber room, but he is certainly a ranter.

Did people forget all about Digby, or Steve Gilliard?

The Future, November 14, 2022

Transcendental Variety:

CBS today announced the cancellation of the latest version of its venerable CSI series in a move that may reflect, after nearly a quarter-century, the program may have finally run out of steam.

CSI: Lancaster, Pa. may have been doomed from the first when it was announced by the network that having run out of Who songs, the rural based medical who-dunnit was going to use a song from a Roger Daltrey solo album as its theme.

Additionally, characters such as "Josiah Morgan" as played by veteran character actor James Vanderbeek, and "Hortense Bartleby" as played by Britney Spears did not seem to click with viewers the way most of the prior casts had in recent predecessors CSI: Newark, CSI: Fargo, and CSI:Ulan Bator.

Veteran halovision critics had also suggested that the show's plot lines involving death by "violation of the humours", "barn-raising strain", and "poor button management" also did not connect with today's more sophisticated viewers.

Though this is the first actual cancellation of a CSI series, it was not the first stumble for the franchise. Last year plans for CSI: 60 Minutes had to be scrapped when the cast continually refused to die, again.

In the short-term, the network plans to fill the void in its prime-time schedule by repeat showings of Joan of Sault Ste. Marie.

From the Alan Dulles' Playbook

I saw this story on someone else's blog the other day and didn't do my own version here. I was busy looking for a jpg of "Batboy" and you know those are really hard to find.

However, the United States reached into the "Cloak & Dagger for Dummies" guide for this one.

Time Magazine says the Bush administration planned to use the CIA to funnel money under the table to candidates it favored in the forthcoming thing they are going to claim as Iraqi elections. Their excuse that Iran was funding its own candidates.

So the Iranians are the new black "Reds"?

Good thing they had no plans to play on the stereotypes the islamic world has of the United States huh?

Of course, the GOP uses money to buy elections here too...they have 5 Justices do their dirty work so it looks all nice and legit.

How the 2000 Election was Stolen

Vanity Fair's article on the Supreme Court and the 2000 Election is not available as HTML, but this blog on the Supreme Court from the firm of Goldstein & Howe has made it available in PDF form if you are interested.

It is a long article.

It will make you really mad.

Excluding Expatriates

Preamble: It's come to this...I'm going to blogwhore my own's what you do when the uberbloggers won't blogroll you (but I'm not bitter).

Yesterday, I posted about an article reflective of expatriate activism and how it clearly was not going in the direction of George Bush.

Naturally, we all know that Bush's minions in the State Department and Department of Defense are going to go all J. Kenneth Blackwell on these people. And this article in the New York Times tells you all you need to know of HOW they will do so.

Four years after overseas voting became a battleground in the presidential election in Florida, millions of civilians and soldiers living abroad still face a bewildering and unwieldy system of absentee balloting that could prevent their votes from being counted.

Election officials concede that tens of thousands of Americans overseas might not get ballots in time to cast votes. Late primaries and legal wrangling caused election offices in at least 8 of the 15 swing states to fail to mail absentee ballots by Sept. 19, a cutoff date officials say is necessary to ensure that they can be returned on time, a survey by The New York Times shows. In Florida in 2000, late-arriving ballots became a divisive issue when some were counted and others were disqualified.

The tardy ballots are just one of several setbacks or missteps that have affected the ability of the estimated 4.4 million eligible voters overseas to participate in the presidential election. Some have been unable to send their registrations to a Pentagon contractor's computers, which are clogged by thousands of voter forms. Others were denied access to a Web site designed to help Americans abroad vote. And many voters simply have had trouble navigating the rules and methods that determine how and when to register and vote and that vary by state.

"I found it so convoluted I gave up," says Alex Campos, a management consultant in London who repeatedly tried to register using the Pentagon program, without success.

To help speed the balloting process, federal officials activated a new system last week in which voters can obtain absentee ballots instantly through the Internet. But the Web site,, will be offered only to members of the military and their families, quickly raising concerns about fairness in a program that the Pentagon has been directed to run for civilians as well. In addition, 23 states have already declined to join the system for various reasons, including security, according to Pentagon and state officials.

People on both sides vying for the overseas vote say the balloting system remains so flawed that some predict legal battles if these votes prove crucial to the outcome of the presidential race.

There is more, of course, Attaturk can only cut and paste so much.

He didn't mention the Trysts with Dave Drier though, you have to give him that....

Pandagon's Ezra, who cannot logically be better than himself, managed to do something that Attaturk cannot, see the Daily Show in its initial broadcast rather than taping it. Staying up until 11:30 p.m., you have to admit, that is pretty impressive. I congratulate the young man. Kudos to you sir.

But more importantly -- like that's possible! -- is that Ezra noticed Ralph Reed in a biblical sin beyond usuary.

It seems that Ralph (who is so waiting to be outed!) LIED to the college educated Daily Show audience by claiming that on the magical page 66 of the 9/11 Commission Report found substantive links between Al Qaeda and Iraq. Of course, those of us who have read the Report know that Ralph is, of course, lyin' for a higher callin'. It's a "gamble" he is engaging in, but then Ralph loves the gambling.

Especially, it appears three-card monty.

Here is that magical page 66:

There is also evidence that around this time Bin Ladin sent out a number of feelers to the Iraqi regime, offering some cooperation. None are reported to have received a significant response. According to one report, Saddam Hussein's efforts at this time to rebuild relations with the Saudis and other Middle Eastern regimes led him to stay clear of Bin Ladin.74

In mid-1998, the situation reversed; it was Iraq that reportedly took the initiative. In March 1998, after Bin Ladin's public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with Bin Ladin. Sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through Bin Ladin's Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis. In 1998, Iraq was under intensifying U.S. pressure, which culminated in a series of large air attacks in December.75

Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Ladin or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Ladin a safe haven in Iraq. Bin Ladin declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports describe friendly contacts and indicate some common themes in both sides' hatred of the United States. But to date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States.76

Ralph, obviously is more comfortable lying to Fox News Viewers, comprised of many slackers who rather than getting stoned, would follow Ralph's directions to a stoning of a LIBERAL sinner.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Whiskey Dick

The Neocons favorite active dipsomaniac states:

What will it take to convince these people that this is not a year, or a time, to be dicking around?

It's only because, unlike a Fox News viewer, their audience can breathe through their noses

From the AP:

Viewers of Jon Stewart's show are more likely to have completed four years of college than people who watch "The O'Reilly Factor," according to Nielsen Media Research.

What he says...

From MarceauMarceau

What's clear here is that the Clinton administration, for all their faults, at least took the risk of telling the American public the truth before sending our troops into harms way.

The Bush administration, on the other hand, tends to make such a rosy, easy-play picture that it seems like they don't trust the american people to handle the truth about the cause they are sending our troops into.

Go read the whole thing.

Bush & Supporting the Troops are Mutually Exclusive

I don't care how many cute little ribbon magnets you put on your SUV you intellectually lazy, Fox-Watching, Latte-Drinking, dockers-wearing, WWJD bracelet-bearing, putter-wielding, PDA-using, cell-phone talking, Rush-Listening, Podhoretz-Reading, Malkin-fantasizing, Bush-loving right-wing asshole!

From USA Today. An example of how many troops, or recalled troops, don't necessarily think that voting for Bush and supporting troops are the same thing. Something to contemplate for those of you who reflexively think otherwise, on those rare occasions you close your gaping maws and actually think.
Fewer than two-thirds of the former soldiers being reactivated for duty in Iraq and elsewhere have reported on time, prompting the Army to threaten some with punishment for desertion.

The former soldiers, part of what is known as the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), are being recalled to fill shortages in skills needed for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of the 1,662 ready reservists ordered to report to Fort Jackson, S.C., by Sept. 22, only 1,038 had done so, the Army said Monday. About 500 of those who failed to report have requested exemptions on health or personal grounds.

"The numbers did not look good," said Lt. Col. Burton Masters, a spokesman for the Army's Human Resources Command. "We are tightening the system, reaching the people and bringing them in."

Masters said most of the requests for exemptions are likely to be denied: "To get an exemption, it has to be a very compelling case, such as a severe medical condition."

The figures are the first on the IRR call-up. They reflect the challenges the Pentagon faces in trying to find enough troops for ongoing operations and show resistance among some servicemembers who returned to civilian life.

I just hope that opening paragraph was shrill enough.

Fox -- Journalistic Standards?

From the NY Times via Atrios, in regard to the thirty-two pages of restrictions for Thursday's debate, Fox News, who is handling the feed says:

"Because of journalistic standards, we're not going to follow outside restrictions."

This pronouncement came down from the VP of Standards and Practices at News Corp.

Oh, those wacky Guestimates

Chimpy McFlightsuit's faith-based war initiatives not only ignore and contradict current estimates, they manage to pretend the past ones did not occur as well.

The same intelligence unit that produced a gloomy report in July about the prospect of growing instability in Iraq warned the Bush administration about the potential costly consequences of an American-led invasion two months before the war began, government officials said Monday.

The estimate came in two classified reports prepared for President Bush in January 2003 by the National Intelligence Council, an independent group that advises the director of central intelligence. The assessments predicted that an American-led invasion of Iraq would increase support for political Islam and would result in a deeply divided Iraqi society prone to violent internal conflict.

One of the reports also warned of a possible insurgency against the new Iraqi government or American-led forces, saying that rogue elements from Saddam Hussein's government could work with existing terrorist groups or act independently to wage guerrilla warfare, the officials said. The assessments also said a war would increase sympathy across the Islamic world for some terrorist objectives, at least in the short run, the officials said.

The contents of the two assessments had not been previously disclosed. They were described by the officials after two weeks in which the White House had tried to minimize the council's latest report, which was prepared this summer and read by senior officials early this month.

Last week, Mr. Bush dismissed the latest intelligence reports, saying its authors were "just guessing'' about the future, though he corrected himself later, calling it an "estimate.''

Why do I have a feeling that when he retires (as opposed to living like he has retired) Dubya is going to build himself a vacation home below a seawall on the Florida coast?

Stay tuned for ABC's series of the future, "Extreme Do-Over" where friendly people from the past come back and undue giant clusterfucks of world Super-Powers. I'm sure they will get to Iraq right after they undue the Diem Assasination or the Mossadegh coup.

And God would say, Good servant, take a break.

Dear Leader, following NBC's lead, has decided to forego the election and simply designate Jeb his successor in 2009.

You see, he understands democracy -- just ask David Brooks.

Behold the Genius

From the The All about ME Factor:

PRESIDENT BUSH: You know, it’s uh, as soon as possible. Now, I think the elections are going to have uh, uh you know, a very positive effect, and they take place in January, and, but the people want to vote.

O’REILLY: But can they vote when people are being blown up,


O’REILLY: And these guys are threatening them, then they vote,

PRESIDENT BUSH: That's when you're supposed to vote.


"No People done blowed up", Don't Vote.

"People done get blowed up", To the Polls!

The Velvet Hack

Bobo is about as profound an editorialist as the Pepperidge Farm guy, "David Brooks remembers".

In today's monstrosity, Brooks spends a great deal of time talking about the "power" of democracy in El Salvador and how awful the leftist rebels were. Yet nary a mention of the death squads, nothing on the slaughter of Archbishop Romero, no time on the rape and murder of nuns, no reference to the murder of six priests and intellectuals by right-wing murder squads. Naturally the name Major Roberto D'Aubuisson doesn't come up. Furthermore, there is no time on the millions the Reagan Administration dumped into the nation or of the disproportionately high number of deaths for a small country.

If Brooks wants to point to El Salvador as an example, then the Iraqi's can get ready for hundreds of thousands more to die until the nation is so exhausted from bloodshed it no longer has many people left capable of fighting.

I don't consider that a triumph of democracy. That is democracy only for a neo-con. For most folks it is a tragedy. A tragedy that a smilin', jockular, editorialist composed of little, if any, capacity for contemplation beyond the thin veneer of looking like you are contemplative, could understand.

I mention this case study because we are approaching election day in Afghanistan on Oct. 9. Six days later, voter registration begins in Iraq. Conditions in both places will be tense and chaotic. And in Washington, a mood of bogus tough-mindedness has swept the political class. As William Raspberry wrote yesterday in The Washington Post, "the new consensus seems to be that bringing American-style democracy to Iraq is no longer an achievable goal." We should just settle for what John Kerry calls "stability." We should be satisfied if some strongman comes in who can restore order.

The people who make this argument pat themselves on the back for being hard-headed, but the fact is they are naïve. They've got things exactly backward. The reason we should work for full democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan is not just because it's noble, but because it's practical. It is easier to defeat an insurgency and restore order with elections than without.

You know Bobo, it either takes a big set of testicles or a moron.

I'm betting on the latter.

If Mr. Brooks, who I'm pretty sure spent no time in El Salvador in the 1980s, Vietnam in the 1970s, the Balkans in the 1990s or certainly Iraq in the 2000s cannot do more than use his "Velvet Keyboarding" to give the Bush Administration's clusterfuckery a pass, he should do what he is clearly more qualified to do.

Write treacly Greeting Cards.

A shorter step to corruption

When you are ideologically bankrupt.

But a decade later, the fervor of the 1994 "Republican Revolution" has been tempered by a resolve to keep control of the House. GOP leaders are choosing pragmatism over populist zeal on many issues, and are treating the minority as unfairly as they were treated for decades under Democratic rule.

What's more, several Republican leaders, most recently House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, have become snared in ethics scandals similar to those that led to the Democrats' downfall. The record is a reminder that the temptation by the majority party to abuse its status is a bipartisan failing.

Certainly, House Republicans have been true to their word in adopting two-thirds of the 75 policy changes itemized in their contract - from cutting taxes to getting tougher on crime. Yet many of their promised reforms have been watered down. And some of the biggest pledges remain unfulfilled:

Reducing government. Efforts to slash the government's size triggered a fierce public backlash when Republican lawmakers forced a government shutdown in December 1995 in a budget dispute with President Clinton (news - web sites). Today, the federal government, as a share of the economy, is roughly the same size as when the Republicans took charge, and federal spending in the past decade has climbed 59%, more than twice the rate of inflation.

Balancing the budget. A promised balanced-budget amendment was never passed by the House, but the budget did get balanced for four years, 1998-2001, mainly because of an economic boom and a political stalemate with Clinton that blocked big spending increases and tax cuts. Now that Republicans control both the White House and Congress, the deficit is soaring again to an expected record $422 billion this year.

Reforming Congress. Congress gave up its exemptions from 11 workplace laws and imposed term limits on committee chairmen. But limits on lawmakers' terms - an unnecessary infringement on voters' prerogatives - were never passed. An early crackdown on conflicts-of-interest abuses, such as accepting gifts from lobbyists, has since been quietly eased.

Taking a page from the Republicans' 1994 playbook, Democrats held a rally outside the Capitol last week to proclaim their commitment to "six core values" - including defense, education, job creation and fiscal responsibility - that they hope will help them win back their majority in the House.

But as the GOP's decade of control - and the Democrats' dominance before - has shown, those pledges are quickly sacrificed if they get in the way of preserving power.

The O'Reilly Fapper

Did my eyes deceive me?

I generally spend no time on Der Sturmer, although the morning crew at Fox is soooooo obnoxious I like to watch them if I am not outraged enough by the outrage. However, there is, occasionally some moment that occurs that is so bizarre it demands more attention than Pamela Anderson at a monster truck rally.

While hunting using the remote, evolution's ultimate piece of justification for the human thumb, I noticed Bill O'Reilly interviewing noted vampire John Gibson.

So one the Uber Fox News talking head Baba O'Reilly interviewing the world's whitest man.
What was the subject?... "How great I, Bill O'Reilly am."
I'm not kidding.

Fair and balanced, y'all.

You cannot give Karl Rove an easier gripe than this...

American expatriates are un-American!

From CBS News:

Andrea Marsh spent part of her summer on the streets of Paris shopping for Americans.

Specifically, she's looking for Americans who might be persuaded to vote. As CBS News Correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports, this year it is not a tough sell.

All around the world both Republicans and Democrats who have mobilized to register Americans living abroad say they are overwhelmed.

"We are swamped this time," says Louise Meyers of Democrats Abroad. "Everybody wants to vote. People who haven't voted in 30 and 40 years are coming to vote."

From a crowded registration table in Paris, to an outdoor cafe in Korea, to a senior citizen center in Israel and a packed political meeting in London, all signs indicate that an explosion of new voters. Overseas Americans could add millions of votes to this year's tally. One American in Paris, Frank DiBona, who hasn't voted in 30 years, explains why now.

"Two words, George Bush," says DiBona.

President Bush's handling of the war on terror is the issue overseas and the reason behind all this newfound energy. For the president that's both good and bad.

At a pro-Kerry rally in London, most voters blame Mr. Bush for making America mistrusted and disliked.

"As an American living overseas, for the first time this year I've been subject to real anti-American feeling, and it's been very vocal and very disturbing," says Linda Butler, a voter in London.

But travel to Israel and many Americans here admire how the President projects strength.

"Bush recognizes the danger that is facing the United States and is doing a great deal to face that danger," says Naomi Leitner, a voter living in Israel.

Typically, Americans overseas don't bother to vote. But this election is about America's standing in the world. This time, it's about where they live.

So the folks the Republicans can get are from those who support the Sharon method of dealing with violence by creating more of it?

That figures.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Enough of the Self-Reflection

Thanks for all the nice things people said about the blog at a post a couple things down.

But enough of navel gazing.

Time now to spend the next 5 weeks bringing out the snark and the rants.

It's what I do.

Keyes Watch: He's not disappointing me

I've posted more posts than he is worth, but I am an unabashed cheerleader for Alan Keyes obtaining the worst performance for a major party candidate contesting an open seat in Illinois history.

I actually do not even know what that record is, but I am confident Alan will smash that record.

He has been plugging away to crack below that 20% barrier. Meeting my wildest hopes he seems to be doing so.

The Tribune/WGN-TV poll published Sunday found that 68 percent of likely voters favored Obama for senator and 17 percent supported Keyes. Last month, a Tribune/WGN-TV poll showed the gap was 65-24.

UPDATE, 10:37 a.m. EST

Several blogs have alluded to something involving the Keyes' family that makes his insane rantings about Cheney's daughter Mary look even more odious. If you're here, you've likely already read them.

For those of you getting tired of that picture of Elvis and Nixon

I give you:

Kerry with Green Day.

By the way, you can guess by the lyrics to "American Idiot" they share a common opponent.

Obligatory Blog about Blogging, whatever

I pretty much agree with what TBogg said about the whole Billmon LA Times editorial. That being said, let me now add my own meaningless self-indulgence to the issue.

Except that there is, to blogging, at least in Attaturk, a mix of compulsion and attention whoring to it (much like constantly switching between the first and third person). Of course, there is no desire to crave attention to the level of say a Wonkette but that's just me.

As with most trends, the actual real-life Attaturk is normally about 6 to 12 months too late to catch the wave.

I have a long history of this. I learned how to do the macarena so I'd be ready for a killer "Millenium Party". I imagine in about a year I'll finally start wearing ties and shirts of the same color.

So forgive me as I engage in the meaningless introspection we liberals are so famous for.

This blog has grown exponentially in six months, from less than 50 readers a day to about 1,500 to 2,000 on a good day.

That's nice, but I have a feeling it will not grow all that much further because the blog started too late to really catch the wave of loyalty amongst liberal readers, like say Kos, Atrios, Josh Marshall, Pandagon, TBogg, Oliver Willis et al caught. Even though, for whatever it is worth, this blog's output (because if nothing else Attaturk is compulsive) matches or exceeds theirs (in quantity, if not in quality --Attaturk believes in the volume theory of snark).

Timing is everything in life, and my timing is just good enough to not catch the uptick on the bell curve. But there is also an advantage to not having a Kos-like 250,000 readers a day. When he says something off the cuff, he gets in trouble, like last April with a remark about mercenaries. I can say about anything I please, and I don't have to worry about offending too many people, getting spammed, or losing ad revenue. And I'm anonymous, so I can tell people I am writing this blog while not wearing pants and nobody necessarily gets sickened by a known image.

I'd be lying if I didn't say...I'm an anonymous attention whore!. I would not have this blog or blogwhore without such a desire. And if I could make money doing this...well, make money writing, I'd do it (Need a wacky Bar Mitzvah toast, I'll write ya' one for $50, $55 for Baz Mitvah's though -- I know little about judaism, but even less about women so $5 for the research). Although, if I did make money doing this I would feel a responsibility for actually doing quality too -- and frankly doing things well, is too much to expect from my vantage point.

I guess without expressly doing so, having a blog for many, myself included, is an implicit indication that we are all frustrated writers of one thing or another. I am hardly a trained or professionally skilled writer -- as my frequent elipitical sentence structure, misuse of language, and misspellings would testify too. Or is that just an indication I am a lousy editor?.

Probably a little of "A" and a little of "B".

In any case, every person has their price, and Attaturk has his.

But this blog demonstrates that price is pretty damn low.

Intellectual slut that I am.

More Lies, or are they Flip-flops, or examples of being two-faced? I dunno, so many choices

In a rationale world, where truth matters more than profit; where morality matters as an actuality, rather than as a talking point, things like this would matter.

But of course, we live not in the world of "truth" but of Orwellian, "greater truth", where a man is honest because he looks intellectually incapable of coming up with a lie. Where "on the other handism" constitutes fair and balanced coverage, even for things objectively known to be false. It generates greater profit to maintain the status quo over the instability actually looking behind the curtain might cause.

So brave our corporate media overlords are in maintaining the alleged "integrity" of the journalistic ethos. But they have friendships to maintain, marriages to those in power to preserve, dinner invitations they are hoping to obtain. Exposing some leader as lying, or making dangerous mistakes, pales in comparison to finding out that person likes to collect coins or has a great fudge-brownie recipe.

How can they possibly criticize the high-profile dinner guest? Why truth matters not, when there is influence to preserve.

Meanwhile, only the occasional isolated, and non-followed up upon story can be allowed leak out.

Preznit "Me No Make Mistake", makes more mistakes.

Many of President Bush's assertions about progress in Iraq -- from police training and reconstruction to preparations for January elections -- are in dispute, according to internal Pentagon documents, lawmakers and key congressional aides on Sunday.

Bush used the visit last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to make the case that "steady progress" is being made in Iraq to counter warnings by his Democratic presidential rival, Sen. John Kerry, that the situation in reality is deteriorating.

Bush touted preparations for national elections in January, saying Iraq's electoral commission is up and running and told Americans on Saturday that "United Nations electoral advisers are on the ground in Iraq."

He said nearly 100,000 "fully trained and equipped" Iraqi soldiers, police officers and other security personnel are already at work, and that would rise to 125,000 by the end of this year.

And he promised more than $9 billion will be spent on reconstruction contracts in Iraq over the next several months.

But many of these assertions have met with skepticism from key congressional aides and experts, and Pentagon documents, given to lawmakers and obtained by Reuters, paint a more complicated picture.


The documents show that of the nearly 90,000 currently in the police force, only 8,169 have had the full eight-week academy training. Another 46,176 are listed as "untrained," and it will be July 2006 before the administration reaches its new goal of a 135,000-strong, fully trained police force.

Six Army battalions have had "initial training," while 57 National Guard battalions, 896 soldiers in each, are still being recruited or "awaiting equipment." Just eight Guard battalions have reached "initial (operating) capability," and the Pentagon acknowledged the Guard's performance has been "uneven."

Training has yet to begin for the 4,800-man civil intervention force, which will help counter a deadly insurgency. And none of the 18,000 border enforcement guards have received any centralized training to date, despite earlier claims they had, according to Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.

They estimated that 22,700 Iraqi personnel have received enough basic training to make them "minimally effective at their tasks," in contrast to the 100,000 figure cited by Bush.

"Let me tell you exactly what the story is. They're saying they're trying to train them, yet they have not trained," Sen. Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CNN.

The White House defended its figures, and Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command that covers Iraq, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the number of trained Iraqi forces "will continue to grow." A senior administration official defined "fully trained" as having gone through "initial basic operations training."

The status of election planning in Iraq is also in question. Of the $232 million in Iraqi funds set aside for the Iraqi electoral commission, it has received a mere $7 million, according to House Appropriations Committee staff.

While Bush said the commission has already hired personnel and begun setting election procedures, congressional aides said preparations in other areas were behind schedule.

According to a one-page election planning "time line," registration materials are supposed to be distributed in early October. The forms would be collected at centers where Iraqis pick up monthly food packages. Initial voter lists are supposed to go out by the end of October, which is during the holy month of Ramadan.

So far, the United Nations has been reluctant to send staff back into the battle zone. It only has 30 to 35 people now in Baghdad, no more than eight working on the elections.

"The framework for it (free and fair elections) hasn't even been set up. The voter registration lists aren't set. There have to be hundreds of polling places, hundreds of trained monitors and poll watchers. None of that has happened," Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State for President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, told ABC's "This Week."

With the violence expected to intensify in the run-up to the elections, congressional experts were also skeptical $9 billion could be spent on reconstruction projects within several months, as Bush asserted.

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said he hoped to speed up the pace of spending to between $300 million and $400 million a month.

A top Republican aide briefed by the administration said, "at best," the $9 billion cited by Bush would be disbursed by late 2005 or early 2006. A top Democratic aide called Bush's projections "laughable."

So far, only $1.2 billion has been spent of the $18.4 billion Bush asked the U.S. Congress to rush through last year for Iraq's reconstruction.

Ah, the Weekend

A time for most of the country to relax, except Florida.

Just like every November is a time for Americans to have their votes count, except Florida.

"But now for the really important question Mr. President. How much more handsome and intelligent am I than Al Franken?"

"I simply must implore the American people to somehow sift my words and come to the conclusion that yes, we have completely screwed up Iraq and that most all of the reasons for being in Iraq were in error, but still, the President deserves reelection. Oh, and have you seen my balls? They were about this big."

Oh man, stop it, just stop these photo ops.

The American Flag gets ready to give Chimpy the hook.

Uff-daaaaarrrrgh!. Jesse Ventura, pirate.

Back in the days when they got along, when Dubya could feel he could lean over and ask, "So Tony, you gonna have that peppermint candy? Me loves the peppermint candy."

John Kerry is a victim of the AP's exclusive "croch cam".

"What can I say? My boss is a dumbass."

In other news...Napoleon says he'd do Russia Again

Bush: Would Give 'Mission Accomplished' Speech Again

(Reuters) - President Bush said he had no regrets about donning a flight suit to give his "Mission Accomplished" speech on Iraq in May 2003 and would do it all over again if he had the chance, according to excerpts from an television interview released on Sunday.

When asked by Fox News if he still would have put on a flight suit to declare major combat operations in Iraq over, Bush replied, "Absolutely."

When Bush gave his May 1 speech fewer than 150 Americans had died in the war. Since then more than 900 have died.

The interview is to air on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor" on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, just before Bush and Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry face off in their first televised debate on Thursday.

Amid a rising U.S. death toll and a rash of abductions and beheadings in Iraq, some members of Bush's own Republican Party have criticized him for not doing enough to secure insurgent areas in Iraq sooner.

But Bush said he also did not regret the decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the rebel stronghold of Falluja earlier this year because he believed the conflict there could have jeopardized the June handover of sovereignty to Iraqis.

"A lot of people on the ground there thought that if we'd have gone into Falluja at the time, the interim government would not have been established," Bush said.

Also in the interview, the president was noncommittal about whether his top political aide, Karl Rove, knew in advance about ads by the group, "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" which attacked Kerry's military service in Vietnam. Bush himself did not serve in Vietnam.

On the issue of whether he knew ahead of time about the Swift Boat ads, Bush said "no," but replied "I don't think so" when questioned whether Rove had advance knowledge of them.

The Swift Boat ads accused Kerry of lying about the events that led to his decoration for bravery. As a so-called 527 organization, the Swift Boat group is barred under election rules from coordinating its activities with campaigns or political parties.

Democrats has accused the Bush campaign of colluding with the group, a charge the White House has denied.

Yet another example of Bush's inability to admit a mistake. Criminy this was a stupid statement to make. Dumber than "OB-GYN's" practincing their love, dumber than mispronouncing Abu Ghraib, or calling Lambeau Field, Lambert Field, and yes dumber than saying "I'd vote for the authorization again", for most of the these statements are maloprops, or in the last case, reflect nuances that cynical politicians can use because they think the typical voter is a chump.

But even Rove admitted on reflection that whole scene on the USS Abraham Lincoln was a mistake.

But not Preznit "Me No Make Mistake".

And there is more than just the "Mission Accomplished" error. The statement on Falluja is also really a non-admission of two mistakes in one. Bush ordered troops to hit Falluja hard back in April, and the pull out only reflected the realities of the first error, as opposed to the second.

The non-denial on the swift boats...just typical non-plain speaking from the man the press continues to laughably claim has that as his strength.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Highly Recommended

Naomi Klein's article on Iraq: Baghdad Year Zero.

Klein's thesis, argued persuasively, isn't that the loss (for that is what it is) of Iraq was caused by the lack of a plan. Rather, Iraq was lost BECAUSE of the plan -- one that just happened to make Bush's biggest supporters potentially incredibly wealthy.

It makes a good alternative to watching Safliar and the Douchebag of Liberty on Press the Meat.

Lowest Common Denominator

Not content with going about 0 for 5,000 in its prosecution of terrorists -- something that happens when your criteria is "hey, they are swarthy and looked at us funny", or god forbid said something ridiculous 15 years ago, the Bush Administration is still determined to "round up the usual suspects" for political gain.

Already angered by the government's treatment of Yusuf Islam, the American Muslim community is likely to become further enraged when the Bush administration launches a new pre-election antiterrorism campaign this week that will include the likely arrests of hundreds of aliens from Middle Eastern and other countries known to be havens for terrorists. Homeland Security has targeted for possible detention as many as 2,000 foreigners who are believed to be in violation of their visas and about whom there is "soft intelligence" suggesting possible terror connections. Some security and intel officials acknowledged, however, that intel on Yusuf Islam might be so soft that the U.S. authorities may have to apologize to the singer.

This is almost certainly less about "terrorism" than it is about looking like they are doing something to make their base and undecideds feel safer, while actually doing nothing. The rights of those rounded-up be damned. I might feel different if there was a scintilla of evidence that the Bush Administration has had any major domestic arrests that have panned out. Time after time Ashcroft has trotted out to announce this or that, and virtually every time, especially in the recent Hamdi case it has turned out he was 100% wrong.

Hack Squared

ADAM NAGOURNEY and JODI WILGOREN combine their powers of weighted ineptitude into one gigantic misfire on John Kerry.

If only they could have gotten Judy Miller to add to the byline.

The implied bottom line for these "giants" of hackery?

Mr. Kerry is a meticulous, deliberative decision maker, always demanding more information, calling around for advice, reading another document - acting, in short, as if he were still the Massachusetts prosecutor boning up for a case.

He stayed up late last Sunday night with aides at his home in Beacon Hill, rewriting - and rearguing - major passages of his latest Iraq speech, a ritual that aides say occurs even with routine remarks.

"He attacks the material, he questions things, he tries to get it right," said Richard C. Holbrooke, the former United Nations ambassador and an adviser to Mr. Kerry. During a recent conversation about Iraq, he recounted, Mr. Kerry "interrupts me and he says, 'Have you read Peter Galbraith's article in The New York Review of Books? You've got to read that, it's very important.' ''

In interviews, associates repeatedly described Mr. Kerry as uncommonly bright, informed and curious.

But the downside to his deliberative executive style, they said, is a campaign that has often moved slowly against a swift opponent, and a candidate who has struggled to synthesize the information he sweeps up into a clear, concise case against Mr. Bush.

Oh my GOD! Kerry thinks before he acts.

Damn, why'd we want somebody like that to be the most powerful person on the planet?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Not big enough to be shrill

All these big names are called shrill.

Attaturk has not been singled out as shrill.

However, Attaturk is but a B minus level blogger at 1,500 to 2,000 hits a day.

I guess that just makes me "unbalanced".

I would like to graduate up to the next level, which I believe is "bellicose", and then I'll become "strident", and then "blaring" and then I'll make it all the way to "shrill"


Wow, even his own Endorsed Military Strongman won't Support the Chimp

In a rational world, of course, swift boat liars, Killian memos, and Britney Spears would be ignored as frauds, some more ignominious than others (I'll let you rank 'em).

But of course, we live in CORPORATE MEDIA WORLD where the preservation of the status quo reigns supreme over questions that make us all uncomfortable. We take more heart in the thought that we are firing missiles at bad guys, than we are firing missiles at locales comprised of 9/10ths civilians, who though they may not appreciate that other tenth would certainly prefer not to die and stuff.

Why cannot they be willing to die for another country's noble cause?

Don't they love 'murica enough? I mean if they die and stuff, I'm sure Chris Hitchens will hoist a Johnnie Walker Black Label in their memories right?

Meanwhile, Preznit catastrophic Success is having his client-states question the soundness of his lack of reasoning:

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has said the US-led invasion of Iraq made the world a more dangerous place.

Though an ally of the United States, Musharraf on Friday described the invasion as a mistake and said it had complicated the "war on terror".

"It has ended up bringing more trouble to the world," Musharraf said in a television interview.

"The world is more dangerous because the Iraq war has aroused the passions of the Muslims more," he added.

"The war in Iraq has complicated the war on terror ... it has made the job more difficult."

Now, we know that if he had any interest in the opinion of others Bush would probably be bothered by this, yet find a way to ignore it.

Unfortunately, also ignoring it will be...

Disney Corp. (ABC)
General Electric (NBC)
News Corp. (Fox)
Viacom (CBS)
Time-Warner (CNN)

Why Bush is Losing a War he Started, Part Ad Infinitum

This is the direct result of Bush and political appointees issuing order to their military officers, or by their incredible lack of planning. One of the infinite number of reasons to vote these folks out of office.

From Knight-Ridder:

Operations by U.S. and multinational forces and Iraqi police are killing twice as many Iraqis — most of them civilians — as attacks by insurgents, according to statistics compiled by the Iraqi Health Ministry and obtained exclusively by Knight Ridder.

According to the ministry, the interim Iraqi government recorded 3,487 Iraqi deaths in 15 of the country's 18 provinces from April 5 — when the ministry began compiling the data — until Sept. 19. Of those, 328 were women and children. Another 13,720 Iraqis were injured, the ministry said.

While most of the dead are believed to be civilians, the data include an unknown number of police and Iraqi national guardsmen. Many Iraqi deaths, especially of insurgents, are never reported, so the actual number of Iraqis killed in fighting could be significantly higher.

During the same period, 432 American soldiers were killed.

Iraqi officials said the statistics proved that U.S. airstrikes intended for insurgents also were killing large numbers of innocent civilians. Some say these casualties are undermining popular acceptance of the American-backed interim government.

That suggests that more aggressive U.S. military operations, which the Bush administration has said are being planned to clear the way for nationwide elections scheduled for January, could backfire and strengthen the insurgency.

So about 3,500 civilians liberated not just from Saddam but from life itself.

No wonder the United States is so beloved.

Again, after all of the White House's reasons for going to war have fallen away, the ONLY thing they have left is the "well the Iraqi people were freed from a dictator". Well, ONE dicator.

WE are the new fucking dictators -- no longer liberators, just the external force bringing death and destruction, now operating out of our own interest as a super-power by making the Iraqi's tools of our policy. It is not the fault of the troops. they are forced by the orders of the commander-in-chief to be there, to carry out orders for an impossible task. But they are, through no fault of their own, not fighting to keep us safe, but rather they are required to fight to keep Bush in office. Bush keeps us afraid, while they play to their base by ordering troops to blow shit up.

Defeating insurgencies requires either "winning hearts or minds" or "being inhuman assholes". That is just the way it is, and always has been. Thanks to Bush, we have pretty much blown the former, and not even he, let alone the country, has the desire, or should, of being the Wehrmacht redux (hell even most of the original Wehrmacht didn't have that to begin with). Besides how does betraying our own national self-image by making everyone that could possibly hate us do so actually make us safer?

Forget the question of whether the death of more than 1,000 deaths and 15,000 casualties to American soldiers are worth the costs, consider whether these civilian deaths, just in the last five and a half-months are worth it to the Iraqis, for it is their country, not ours.

Another reason to support Bush this November you have to be one of two types of people. You either have to buy into the idea of "we are can't hear you reality" or alternatively just be a first-class asshole.

In Rummy's America -- when the meds wear off.

Sort of from Alternative Universe Yahoo, if Rummy's stupidity of saying the Iraq isn't much different than the United States was true:

U.S. warplanes, tanks and artillery units struck the insurgent stronghold of Kansas City on Saturday, killing at least eight people and wounding 15 in a day that saw new violence across the country and the U.S. military announced the deaths of four Marines.

The Marines were killed in three separate incidents Friday while conducting security operations in the State of Missouri, the military said. No further details were provided.

In Washington, gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying National Guard applicants, killing six people, police said. The slayings were part of a militant campaign targeting security forces and recruits in a bid to thwart U.S.-backed efforts to build an police force capable of taking over security from American troops.

Police Lt. Bob Smith said the group had just left a national guard recruiting center where they had signed up to join the force in the west Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Georgetown when the attack occurred.

Underscoring just how dependent the government still is on outside help, appointed President George W. Bush urged the international community to set aside its differences over the legality of the American Occupation of America to oust Al Gore and "stand fast by the United States."

"We need to broaden the base of troop-contributing countries to (the multinational force) so that we would stand more determined and be better equipped to confront terrorism," he told the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Friday, while the sound of mortar rounds were heard in the distance, coming from the nearbye city of Newark, New Jersey.

The U.S. military said the Kansas City strikes targeted a meeting point in the center of the city for fighters loyal to Canadian-born terror mastermind Wayne Gretzky.

"Intelligence sources reported that Gretzky terrorists were using the site to plan additional attacks and goon-like penalty killing against American citizens and multinational forces," the military said in a statement.

American forces also bombed rebel-built fortifications late Friday, including concrete and earthen barriers and ice-rinks, used to restrict movement in the city and mount attacks on Marine positions outside Kansas City, the military said in a separate statement Saturday.

Dr. Stanley Johnson of Kansas City General Hospital said at least eight people were killed and 15 wounded, including women and children.

Explosions lit up the night sky for hours and at least two buildings in the city center were wrecked, witnesses said. The Kansas City Cathedral switched on its loudspeakers and priests chanted prayers to rally the city's residents, though they also denied the sacremant to many democrats on the basis of their position on abortion.

Earlier Friday, Marines fired artillery rounds after observing a number of insurgents getting out of a vehicle with a mounted machine gun, said 1st Lt. Lyle Gilbert, a Marine spokesman.

American troops have not entered Kansas City since ending a three-week siege of the city in April that left hundreds dead and the Chief's defense seriously undermanned.

The Stupidity is there to See...

Our Coginitively Dissonant Chief Executrix is slapped down by Professor Cole:

President George W. Bush cited a poll done in June and July to argue that Iraqis are more optimistic about their future than Americans are about theirs. First of all, even if this were true, it is not good news for Bush.

Second of all, that poll was done before the US assault on Najaf, and the significant deterioration of the security situation in August and September. Many Iraqis had at that time been willing to give Allawi a chance, hoping security would improve. I am sure those numbers would be much lower now.

Moreover, the same poll found that more than 80 percent of Iraqis want an Islamic Republic with Islamic canon law or shariah as the law of the land. So if they are optimistic, it is because they think they can achieve such a goal over US objections. Again, this is not actually good news for Bush.

Once again, the Administration is too full of dolts and ideologues to have any goddamned idea what they are doing.

For those who bemoan that Kerry isn't everything they'd want.

Too bad, at least he is grounded in some sort of reality.

I have no doubt that Kerry's resolution of Iraq will leave many people upset at whatever Iraq becomes. But I am also sure that it will achieve a settlement better than whatever Bush would achieve and with a LOT fewer dead Americans and Iraqis.

The only problem is that a grown up will have to clean up Bush's mess and will likely get little credit in the bargain. So another repeat of the Clinton years.