Monday, January 31, 2005

Justice for Detainees

Here's a quick one for those intrepid readers stopping by looking for something new.

More proof that the political affiliation of the president who appoints a judge often times is a reliable predictor of how the issues will be evaluated. Today a federal district court judge held that the detainees in Cuba have rights beyond those the White House wants them to have.

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration must let foreign terror suspects challenge their confinement in U.S. courts, a judge said Monday in a ruling that found unconstitutional the hearing system set up by the Pentagon (news - web sites).
U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green also raised concerns about whether detainees have been tortured during interrogations. Judges, she said, should make sure people are not detained indefinitely based on coerced and unreliable information.

Foreigners from about 40 different countries have been held at the U.S. Navy (news - web sites) base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — some for more than three years — without being charged with any crimes. They were mainly swept up in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan (news - web sites).

The government contends the prisoners are dangerous "enemy combatants" who, because they are foreigners, are not entitled to the same constitutional protections as Americans.

Judges are trying to sort out detainee rights following a landmark Supreme Court ruling last summer that federal courts are open to appeals on behalf of the foreigners.

Green's ruling conflicts with a decision about two weeks ago by another federal judge in the same court who considered a similar lawsuit brought by a different group of detainees. Judge Richard Leon found that while the Supreme Court gave detainees access to courts, it did not provide them the legal basis to try to win their freedom.

And how dare the judge tell the administration it has stepped over the line. Bush must have absolute and complete power to do whatever he wants, wherever he wants, however he wants, while he plants the flag of freedom all over the globe.

A Justice Department (news - web sites) spokesman said they would appeal the ruling to protect the president's long-standing detention powers that "are critical to the ongoing war on terrorism." The spokesman said the department hoped to have a quick resolution.

Green's decision was a sharp, but courteous, rebuke of the government.

"Although this nation unquestionably must take strong action under the leadership of the commander in chief to protect itself against enormous and unprecedented threats," she wrote, "that necessity cannot negate the existence of the most basic fundamental rights for which the people of this country have fought and died for well over 200 years."

Oh yeah, and which presidents appointed these two jurists?

Green, named to the bench by President Carter, was assigned to sort out issues in claims filed in federal court in Washington on behalf of about 50 detainees. Olshansky said more petitions are being filed this week.

Leon, put on the bench by President Bush (news - web sites) three years ago, declined to have his cases coordinated with others. He concluded that foreign citizens captured and detained outside the United States have no rights under the Constitution or international law.

What do you know, the Bush appointee wants Bush to have absolute power, the Carter appointee sees the limits of executive power. Four more years of the chimp appointing judges. Very bad indeed.

American Officials were Heartened

Well, because I am afflicted with blogging compulsions...

United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in UN-NAMED COUNTRIES presidential election despite the ________ terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from CAPITOL CITY of UNNAMED COUNTRY, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the INSURGENTS.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the INSURGENT GROUP to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.

Fill in the appriopriate names and it would be a report from Iraq.

But it isn't. Except for the fill ins, it is a direct lift from the New York Times, September 4, 1967 about Vietnam.

Before The Preznit's Next Ride Around the Parade Grounds

Well the talking heads are already talking about the success of the elections. Another made for teevee news event happened over the weekend when the press could go out and find a few heartwarming stories to remind us how great we are. It's all well and good but before the preznit decides to celebrate this one like Patton reviewing the troops, I'm taking it upon myself to remind him we have been here before.

Even if there was 100% turnout, the equation is still the same. But now we have to hear the inevitable question by the news machine: this morning on NPR Renee Montagne asks one of the guests doesn't this vindicate the Bush foreign policy? Imagine that, all we have to do is throw an election and that justifies the policy of premptive war and occupation of any nation we want for any reason we want, even if we lie about the reason, hundreds of billions of dollars in treasure, tens of thousands of lives lost, tens of thousands of bodies maimed, and finally, occupation in the face of a growing insurgency. I'd say an election is the least we can do. But a vindication of the Bush foreign policy? Good thing I didn't eat before I heard that one.

*Like Attaturk, I'm making a living today and will be off at least for today, maybe tomorrow. Meantime, don't take any crap from the media. Please.

Shout Out to Cthulhu

It is not often one gets a chance to thank an H.P. Lovecraft character, but now I can.

My post below has been answered by blogger Call of Cthulhu, go to his blog and give him hits as he has provided Dr. Atta J. Turk with a permanent sidebar link for your "hard qweschens" to be answered every Saturday, or more depending on volume.

And now it's back to real-life and compensated work for Attaturk.

Hey Hegemon Readers

And/or Conservative Bobbleheads, if you have a question you want Dr. Atta J. Turk to answer, like last week, please keep those emails coming to

Oh and you HTML experts, how can I write a continuous request for such things in the sidebar (with a link to the email address) so I don't have to keep putting up these here obnoxious thingys? I suppose I could try to figure it out my own self...but dammit I'm too busy not entertaining America!

If you know please email me.

Oh, No!

As if I needed a real world reason to take the rest of the morning (at least) off from blogging, from the intersection of Homophobia Street & Latency Avenue:

And while the election proceedings have been heartening, euphoria is surely out of place. Elections don't by themselves guarantee constitutional government. I have just finished reviewing Philip Short's new biography of Pol Pot (review to appear in the NY Sun next week). The Cambodians had elections a-plenty, but they ended up with the Khmer Rouge just the same.

When I start nodding my head in agreement on a political matter with this guy...

Either the end times are here, or I need to do actual work.


When your threshold of success in an election is "45 percent turnout for Kurds and Shia, 25 percent turnout for the Sunnis, under 200 murdered." , I'm not sure you really have any cognitive understanding of "success".

This is a song and dance.

As we have stated (and we are hardly alone) the Right-Wing will trumpet, and the media confined to within a small zone of Iraq will pass on stories of this "singular" triumph where people voted and they will state it by sheer percentages.

Of course we will now see what the returns are, we will now see just how overwhelming the Shia supported slate of candidates does in comparison to significantly lower turn outs of Kurds, and even more pathetically Shia.

The Right loves to govern by analogy, but analogy doesn't convert truth from reality. That only happens with American Corporate Media.

The ground will not change much in my opinion, and the truth will slowly ebb out. It may conflict with the comfortable meta-reality that war supporters continue to want to create, but it will come out nonetheless.

My advice, copy and past on those message boards that do not have "archives" (like this and most blogs do) and keep reference of your favorite overstatements made yesterday and over the next couple of days, because you are going to want to pull them out to show some neocon enablers at that puffed-up worst.

No more Judith Millers.

All You Need is Spin

Well, the enablers of the so called liberal media have worked their wonders to make sure that they emoted every ounce of the Bush Administration's ejaculatory load in Iraq...right down to the last little sperm. Judy Miller didn't even ask for a virtual towel as she got each prescious drop down her vacuum powered 10 amp gullet.

The secret, as the White House knows, and which the press and dupes known as Bush supporters seem unable and unwilling to learn, is to spin the initial impression as an absolutely smashing triumph.

Just look around the rightwing intellectual ghetto and you'll see it. Sing it long, sing it loud, I'm perpetually bamboozled and yet incredibly proud. Once again we have turned the corner triumphally, surely there will be no more corners now.

Enboldened that once again they have been able to create this meta-reality, the Bush team knows that it will be able to spin the same sort of tale in coming months in Iran.

I suggest the neo-cons called their planned Iranian and Syrian "freedom spreader" meme as SUPERDUPERSTAN.

It'll really play in the corporate newsrooms telling you what to think in Peoria.

And what if the Sunnis Don't Vote?

It is not a democracy without the Sunnis. But self disenfranchisement is not the same thing as being systematically oppressed, right? More than likely some Sunnis voted but if there is a skewed vote, we will have a skewed government which could lead to a skewed civil war.

And the media heads are all talking about how there was people walking in, marching in, dancing in to the polling places. And, on "this historic day" -- which makes me wonder why the same guy chanting "very happy" is on several news channels? -- we have a lack of an appreciation that voting is the easy part; now, government building that is hard.

And what of the insurgents? There was violence and some bombings but not nearly as much as expected. Of course, if you want to really strike a chord of fear and anger, how about waiting until the day after the vote and gun for people with the purple fingers? Yeah, only the best security in Bush's Iraq.

And what of our ex-good friend, Chalabi? Will he still get elected into a position in the new government?

Preliminary results are expected in about six days, with a full result not due for 10 days.

But correspondents say there was a marked division in voting - high in Shia and Kurdish strongholds and much lower in Sunni Arab areas.

The election was marred by a series of election-day attacks across Iraq which killed at least 36 people.

And just before voting officially ended, a British military transport plane crashed north of Baghdad killing at least nine soldiers.

Needlenose raises several questions about the Iraqi elections that we should consider as well.

How effective will this election be for the Iraqis? Only time will tell.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Religion and the Election

Pete Blackwell has a great analysis of the challenges faced by moderate Christians and liberals. I highly recommend his analysis on religion in modern America and the need to retake the idea and practice of Christianity from the extremist fundamentalists.

From the article:

The slander that liberals in America are frothing-at-the-mouth atheists who "despise" Christ is, it seems, a common one. I have heard similar comments on Rush Limbaugh's radio show amongst other places (and who could forget Jerry Falwell's rant blaming the 9/11 attacks on "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians..., the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America"?). It is an often-repeated fact that America is the most religious country in the west. A poll from none other than Fox News found that 92% of Americans believe in God (compare that to 61% in Britain).

Let's take what Fox says at face value (wow, I never thought I would say that) and have a look at the election numbers. There were 117,897,556 votes cast for president in the 2004 election. If 8% of the voters don't believe in God, that makes 9,431,804.48 votes from atheists (we'll assume the half vote came from Florida). John Kerry got 57,288,974 votes. Let's assume all atheists voted for Kerry and none voted for either Bush or Nader (an obviously false proposition). That would mean atheists made up 16.46% of Kerry's vote total. Therefore, fully 83.54% of those who voted for Kerry believe in God.

The article only gets better from there.

How much is a good concert worth?

U2 tickets for their Vertigo tour are a bit pricey which raises the question, how much is a great concert worth? Now, before the slings and arrows of musical discontent are slung at me, I should point out that I do not attend many mega-concerts (just as I avoid mega-churches) but how many more shows is U2 going to play? And I will still argue that Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby are great records. And Vertigo is a great rock song, in my humble opinion.

While I will always ask people to attend shows by great local bands that most of us have never heard of, once in a while a show comes along that I must attend. And U2 in Chicago is one of those shows.

But apparently the shows for their North American concert tour are selling out at record speeds and there is a controversy with presales for members of the fan club. Of course, fans never think that they are entitled to special treatment. Ok, ok, I know... there are fans who always feel entitled because they believe that "I was their first" or "this band changed my life" or "no one else understands the band, the way I do."

However it does seem that there is evidence that scalpers and touts were selling presale tickets on ebay and other venues before concert goers had the opportunity to buy tickets. And while that is not fair, let us be honest... illegal sale of tickets has a long and ignoble history in rock and roll. And if these scalpers kept fans from buying tickets by line jumping so that only the scalpers got the tickets for sale at the box offices, that should be investigated immediately and steps taken to correct that problem.

But the question still remains, how much is a good concert worth? How much will people pay? Is a few hours with a rock and roll band worth $49, $95, $165, or even $195 per ticket?

Can we Slow Down the Derailing Train?

With the Sunday news shows today we have an example of mass delusion. The righties really are trying to turn the elections in Iraq into a "See we told you so moment" aren't they? This really brings out the whole point of the Bush years, scream so loudly about fantasy early on that there is no room later when reality sets in.

Today Mrs. Bush -- Condi Rice -- is doing the sunday morning talk circuit with a vengeance trying to convince us that this is the point of the Iraqi war and not once mentioning or even hinting about the controversy of why we originally went to war in Iraq, WMDs. Of course there was no discussion on any of the news programs that the elections were a second, or third, or far further down the line of reasons for going into Iraq.

But it gets worse apparently on This Week with George S., both the Iraqi turnout estimates in the 70 percent and those from international observers of 50-55 percent were discussed. Peter Jennings urged caution over and over, stressing that it was still way too early to assume anything. We here can only agree with him and encourage news outlets to hold off on making predictions until more verifiable information is released.

And we should view with skepticism information and estimates that come from those who have the most to gain from a successful election. What do impartial observers tell us?

Fox "news" is naturally pushing (and even CNN are pumping out) the low 70s figure like its a FACT... rather than waiting for reality to set in... Who has a dog in the fight and thus who is more credible?

Terrorist Ad Hoax

Terrorist Ad Hoax

From The Observer today:

The spoof ad opens with the suicide bomber leaving his home and jumping into his VW Polo. The bomber parks at a busy London restaurant where carefree diners crowd the pavement. Cut to the terrorist sitting in his car as he pushes the button to detonate his bomb. The blast is contained within the car, saving the diners. The ad ends: 'Polo. Small but tough'.

It has to be a candidate for the sickest advert of all time, but also one of the most deceptive. Despite the high quality production values, real Volkswagen logo and the free publicity it is attracting around the world, the commercial was not made by the car giant.

Indeed, the firm has expressed disgust at the spoof depiction of a suicide bomber blowing himself up in a VW Polo, and tomorrow it will consider legal action against its creators.

Hail the Conquering Voters

Since I was interested in seeing the neocon view of the elections in Iraq (and felt the need for abuse), I turned on trusty Fox "news" sunday. And I was not disappointed. Brit Hume gloated over how this validates the war in Iraq. Chris Wallace kept repeating over and over that this was historic and justified administration policies. Then battlin' Brit Hume came back to how the "much embattled" neocons were right... that this election -- and this election alone! -- justsifies everything this brave administration has done in Iraq.

Bill Kristol discussed who pushed for this election against naysayers and critics? Brave, farsighted, and the leader of the free world, preznit Bush.

Whoa!! This love fest of the preznit and his Iraqis policies is not unsurprising but no mention of the recent bombings. Oh, they are not kidding are they? This is not a model that can be replicated anywhere! This is not a model for Saudi Arabia.

Then the group turned to attacking Ted Kennedy for daring to question the plan in Iraq, comparing Iraq and Vietnam, and calling for a pull out. Huge Hume: "Intellectual equvialent of grafiti," "out of his mind for saying such nonesense." Amazing. This election is seen by the Fox Neocons as complete cover for a failed mess in Iraq.

Here is the summary of the discussion:

Elections = freedom and winning the war on terrorism

Are they out of touch with reality? Do they not understand that elections, while a wonderful idea, are not going to get rid of the insurgency or the terrorist who are now in Iraq that were not there before the war?

Apparently not.

And he calls this Democracy?

From the Guardian, we learn that Bush wants to ban "pro-homosexual" plays, dramas, and theatre. Is this what Bush means by democracy? Banning elements of culture he doesn't like in the guise of "protecting people?" Expect more of this as this imperial presidency rolls on.

What should we do with US classics like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Color Purple? "Dig a hole," Gerald Allen recommends, "and dump them in it." Don't laugh. Gerald Allen's book-burying opinions are not a joke.

Earlier this week, Allen got a call from Washington. He will be meeting with President Bush on Monday. I asked him if this was his first invitation to the White House. "Oh no," he laughs. "It's my fifth meeting with Mr Bush."

Bush is interested in Allen's opinions because Allen is an elected Republican representative in the Alabama state legislature. He is Bush's base. Last week, Bush's base introduced a bill that would ban the use of state funds to purchase any books or other materials that "promote homosexuality". Allen does not want taxpayers' money to support "positive depictions of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle". That's why Tennessee Williams and Alice Walker have got to go.

I ask Allen what prompted this bill. Was one of his children exposed to something in school that he considered inappropriate? Did he see some flamingly gay book displayed prominently at the public library?

No, nothing like that. "It was election day," he explains. Last month, "14 states passed referendums defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman". Exit polls asked people what they considered the most important issue, and "moral values in this country" were "the top of the list".

"Traditional family values are under attack," Allen informs me. They've been under attack "for the last 40 years". The enemy, this time, is not al-Qaida. The axis of evil is "Hollywood, the music industry". We have an obligation to "save society from moral destruction". We have to prevent liberal libarians and trendy teachers from "re-engineering society's fabric in the minds of our children". We have to "protect Alabamians".

Me time

I can't think of anything to blog today. So I'm taking the rest of the day off to surf e-bay to complete my collection of civil war decorative plates -- I'm just one Jeb Stuart from completing it.

Wish me luck.

Meanwhile, enjoy this depressing story of pending global environmental disaster.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

How Many Times Have We Reached The Turning Point?

On this the eve of "historic" elections in Iraq I want to recognize some cold facts. We have reached turning points in the colonialization of Iraq on several occasions including the "end of major combat operations", capturing Saddam Hussein, putting in place an interim government, "destroying the insurgency", and on and on and...At each turning point Iraq has become less stable, more dangerous, provided fertile ground in which to plant and grow a lethal and effective insurgency.

No matter what happy talk we hear about the success of tomorrow's elections, it will be too soon to tell whether we have reached a "turning point". All of the evidence suggests that civil war is a distinct possibility, if not imminent. What are the possibilities? One of the best reporters in Iraq, John Burns, suggests it is, at best, a mixed bag.

Nearly 22 months after American troops captured Baghdad, lighting a fire of enthusiasm for the freedoms Iraqis had craved so long, it is a measure of how much has gone wrong that Iraqis committed to Western-style democratic ideals can differ so sharply over the best way to secure them. Much of the problem is that the elections are being held under the dominion of the United States.

Many Iraqis, interviews in recent months have shown, do not accept that fundamental choices about the shape of their future political system should be made by a foreign power, particularly one they regard as a harbinger of secular, materialistic values far removed from the Muslim world's.

But questions over the election go far beyond the American stewardship, to issues that touch on whether it was ever wise or realistic to think that Jeffersonian-style democracy, with its elaborate checks on power and guarantees for minority rights, could be implanted, at least so rapidly, in a country and a region that has little experience with anything but winner-take-all politics.

Compounding those objections, the elections are being held in the grip of a paralyzing fear that many Iraqis see as inconsistent with a free vote. A savage insurgency, and the harsh measures America's 150,000 troops have taken in response, have angered and terrified Iraqis, who now face election conditions that have made an obstacle course of the process, at every stage.

The whole thing is worth reading but this about captures it. There are mixed feelings among those we came to set free. If nothing else captures the predicament we face, that does. The adminstration can say anything it wants about turnout, whether significant or not, but that is not and will not be the measure of success. Peace and prosperity is what we promised as part of the dividend for going to get rid of WMD. They will welcome us with flowers. Not. So on this count call me a skeptic. This is a war we have already lost, elections or not, and time will prove the failure of the policy in due course.

Is Walmart doing the right thing?

I do not know what to say about this...

From the Rage Diaries, it appears that Walmart is recognizing the effort in some states to accord family rights to same sex partners. Man, Walmart doing the right thing? Should I be looking for the sound of trumpets and the horsies of the 'pocalypse?

How long before Dobson and others in the religion gone wrong collective jump on Walmart for this?

Trying to make lemonade from lemons

"Hi you may not recognize me, but I have been writing pro-Bush columns for pay. And let me tell you that my shil is the top quality. When you pay for me, you get the best pure shil that is available today. So, if you want me to convince people something about you, call me at 555-1212. No non-Christians please."

Internet Radio

Some RH readers might remember that several months back I wrote about the death of an independent radio station in Ohio, WOXY 97.7. This radio station like so many of its brother and sister alternative stations was sold to corporate radio (those of you who care about music and radio, know to what I refer). Well it turns out that several of the employees of that station have set up an Internet broadcast. WOXY radio became

How many other progressive, alternative, or interesting radio stations have been driven "off the air?". How many alternative, progressive, and explicitly anti-corporate radio stations still remain? Or have they all been sold by the owners of the station to mainstream oligarchic corporate radio?

The WOXY story was sad for sevearl reasons: (1) because a community station was lost, (2) this was a station where the DJs actually could influence what got airplay rather than some corporate directors in a corporate HQ who sent their prepackaged radio programming out via satellite to their "affiliates." (3) the station, for all its failings, did listen to some of its listeners when they made requests. Can any of us imagine that corporate radio really takes to heart the suggestions of its listeners?

Note to owners of alternative radio stations: If you sell your station to a large radio conglomerate, you did sell out the values of your station for commercial profit! And there might even be times when that is unavoidable but do not lie to yourself or your former listeners and others that you did not sell out. Because in fact, you did.

With all of the discussion of Howard Stern and the move to Satellite radio, we need to also remember that Internet radio can be a viable option for alternative and progressive radio. Is the nature of radio right now changing? Are more and more broadcasters going to get away from an FCC run amok (will it really get any better with Michael "thanks for the job, Dad!" Powell stepping down. Probably not.)

Of course the FCC is not the only problem, we must remember, the religious nut-wing is interested in controlling all aspects of our culture, our lives, and our bodies. And some, like James Dobson -- who is quite busy scouring cartoons on PBS for "gay agenda" items, is happy that Stern is moving away from radio.

But I am happy to report -- yeah, we get occasional good news, go figure -- that WOXY radio has not only become but that it is moving forward. And with the success of liberal and progressive talk radio via Air America radio on the Internet eventually expanding on conventional radio, it is possible that the future of alternative and progressive radio talk or music is not controlled by the right-wing, whatever their type.

Consider this discussion of WOXY's move to Internet radio. I imagine that POD casting cannot be far behind.

Managing the CULT of Personality

This story in the Washington Post shows the depth of the new Stalinism, "minders" shuffling reporters to and fro at, for example the inaugural.

What free press?

But now the art of press handling has evolved into actual manhandling. The Bush team has expanded the use of "minders," employees or volunteers who escort journalists from interview to interview within a venue or at a newsworthy event.


Several reporters covering the balls were surprised to find themselves being monitored by young "escorts," who followed them from hors d'oeuvres table to dance floor and even to the bathroom.

I was among those who was assigned a little friend. Or to be precise, I was monitored for about half of the inaugural party I was covering for The Post. For the first couple of hours of the Independence Ball, I roamed the vast width and length of the Washington Convention Center hall dangerously unescorted.

I had arrived early to get a head start on mingling among the roughly 6,000 people eating and dancing to celebrate the president's reelection. Unaware of the new escort policy (it wasn't in place during the official parties following the 2001 inauguration), I blithely assumed that in the world's freest nation, I was free to walk around at will and ask the happy partygoers such national security-jeopardizing questions as, "Are you having a good time?"

Big mistake. After cruising by the media pen -- a sectioned-off area apparently designed for corralling journalists -- a sharp-eyed volunteer spotted my media badge. "You're not supposed to go out there without an escort," she said.

Okay, this is officially fucked up.

Isn't this one of their arguments for invading Iraq?

Cheney Style Questions

Seems like we at the Rising Hegemon are not the only ones to question what Mr. Style was wearing during his ski holiday. While it is always nice to be among others who confirm your ideas, we still have to wonder what led Cheney to such poor choices in clothing for a solemn occasion.

So, to increase the understanding of our pal Dick we offer a few helpful suggestions:

1. Cheney is color blind. While this does not explain all of his dreadful choices, it does explain several suits and why the man seems to really like grey.

2. Cheney is an avid hiker. Right after the ceremony, Cheney and several of his dudes were going to do some extreme hiking. Kewl!

3. Cheney likes to stand out in a crowd. Why if everyone is wearing black, you should wear something flashy, something sexy, something to set yourself apart. Besides just because everyone is doing the same thing, say like following the Geneva Conventions, why should you? Be an individual.

4. Cheney hates black clothing. It reminds him of his imminent demise. And no one likes to be constantly aware of their own death.

5. Related to #4, the secret service with the backup generator and spare batteries for Mr. Cheney have to always be able to pick him out in a crowd.

6. Cheney is no lemming and he does what he wants to do, you got a problem with that punk?!

7. Bush picked out his clothes before he left because George has always though of himself as a "Fancyboy clothes dresser guy."

8. For the more conspiracy minded among us... Cheney secretly wants to die and get away from an administration that is grossly and stupidly destroying the enviornment, ruining the reputation of the U.S. abroad, ruining the economy, and -- most importantly of all -- will soon go after Krispy Kreme donuts and Cheney does not want to live in a world without Krispy Kreme... so he makes himself an obvious target for a sniper.

9. Cheney doesn't care what the Germans think because they did not support our personal vendetta against Saddam, oops, no... did not support our war against Iraq because of WMDs, damn it, no... did not support our war to bring freedom and liberty to the people of Iraq and eventually Iran, Syria, etc etc.

10. Lynne dressed him and he secretly (or maybe not so secretly) has lost her boyhood crush on Dick. Plus Lynne had just finished shopping at Aushwitz Eagle, Old German Navy, and Luftwapostal.

Saturday Mail Call

The first, of what we hope is a regular column to answer questions submitted to Dr. Atta J. Turk, Unlicensed Therapist ("emailing" is preferable to if you please).

Let's look at this weeks inquiries:


Hi Dr. Attaturk,

It's me Noell.

There's a a big fundraiser for my daddy this weekend in West Palm. I've been feelin'a bit out of sorts lately, ya, sluggish.

Should I take my usual fistful of Black Beauties or do I need a good dose of crystal meth to get my engine jump started?

Well Noell, whenever Dr. Atta J. Turk is down he doesn't turn to illegal drugs. A person with a drug addiction such as yourself should never try to go back down that road. Be strong.

However, have you ever considered alcohol?

It is not illegal, it is readily available in a wide variety of choices and flavors and is also relatively inexpensive. In fact, I have no doubt that at your father's fundraiser this weekend it should be at your fingertips. As a matter of fact, at a Republican gathering, given their policies and programs, I'd say the evidence is pretty strong that alcohol consumption is a given. I'd have a "Cutty and water", or six, if I were you. Considering who will be there, your Dad and his buddies, it may even be available intravenously.

Ah, sweet, sweet alcohol. In my many years of giving advice, I've found that people who have had addictions to other substances take quickly to distilled spirits and it does dull the pain. It is particularly effective in Republican Households.

Imbibe away.


Dear Dr. Turk-

The mean old press corp keeps asking me why we have allies like Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan if we stand for Freedom, I tried to ask Mr. Cheney but he muttered something like Oil and Karimov is a model leader. I don't know who this Karimov fella is but accodring to Condi his first name is Islam so I guess he could be that Allah guy Mr. Falwell's always complainin' about, anyway, I'm confused, how can I stand for Freedom and be friends with a guy who boils dissidents alive?

Signed, Dear Leader

Dear Dear Leader,

At first, I am inclined to say, see the answer immediately proceeding, but perhaps that has already done all it can do for you.

Dear Leader, you have to continually remind yourself and continually repeat that "9/11 changed everything".

As the wise men of talk radio tell us, the only real kind of "freedom" is the freedom that comes stamped with the words "Made in the US of A". Freedom is after all precious, so precious in fact that it cannot be distributed too broadly. Why even in the United States we cannot be too free, as we have learned in the last three years, four months. Freedom, apparently, can only really be given to those who have the authority to wield it. Freedom is only to be apportioned among those already in power, or those with a great deal of money and the "right" (wink-wink) position on the issues, as Mr. Falwell will tell you "God's position".

You must also remind yourself that while your enablers talk about Islamo-facism and how it is a bad thing, the term is not to be applied to an Islamic Facist actually running a country. For those folks, like Karimov, are our friends and can give us that thing almost as sweet as alcohol, crude oil.

Remember, it is important to both you and Mr. Karimov that oil remain less expensive, but not too inexpensive. For your country, it will make sure that some of your supporters can keep driving their Hummers, while the rest keep cranking out babies through cheaper heating oil -- yet keep the profits high enough for ample income for your buddies (like Mr. Dick). For Mr. Karimov it means that deep frying is not prohibitively expensive and the cost of "lunch" doesn't become a cost too great to deal with.

Sometimes, the people you have to deal with are not nice, or sweet, but you have to interact with them anyway for your own political interest. This should be a concept you are familiar with.

Be strong.


Dear Atta J. Turk --

I am the God-appointed Preznit of a large Western superpower, and I have a problem. There appear to be as many as a dozen cold Senators' and pundits' noses all up in my anal regions, all the way up to my colon at times, and what I want to know is this: How do I tell that Joe Lieberman guy to quit hogging, to knock it off and give other people their turn?

He just doesn't want to listen. He's worse even that that Chris guy with the high voice.

Little Georgy Jingo
Dear Little Georgy,

Here you see the problems that happen when one has to deal with those on the other side of the aisle and the cost that have to be paid. Once you were nice to that Zell fellow, it was only a matter of time before lonely Joe came a callin'. And I understand it is a problem, while Zell is crazy, he, at least is entertaining, lonely Joe on the other hand...well let's just say he makes Mitch McConnell seem charismatic in comparison.

Look, any Republican in your position is going to have to deal with a needy pet Democrat. They are not going to get love from their party, and so they come over to you for the occasional pat on the head and a public attaboy. Some Democrat has to want to be on Hannity & Colmes or O'Reilly as the "good" Democrat in order to serve some sort of pathological need to be loved by someone.

I think, however, that you are overestimating the amount of sphincter time you have to give someone like lonely Joe. It is my experience with him, that when it comes to the necessary affection from Republicans, allowing lonely Joe a quick sniff followed by a good thumping from the back of your hand should suffice to keep him in line. So for you, a quick reward followed by the pleasurable infliction of pain -- a momentary inconvenience and a precious release -- sounds like something you would like.

As for high-pitched Chrissy, just the back of your hand, or on special occasions a good bludgeoning with a mallet, will work.


Dr. Atta J. Turk:

How come prezniting is such hard work?
Secret Reader.

Secret Reader,

Anything that we are not really qualified to do is hard work. For example, Dr. Atta J. Turk's time at the Art Instruction School of Minneapolis, was really difficult once he got done drawing Lucky. I found that drawing wasn't really for me, it was hard.

But fortunately, another type of degree was available to me, as that DeVry Diploma stating I'm a "Doctor of Brain Medicine" can attest.

My suggestion is that eventually you find something you are more qualified to do, and devote your remaining years to that task. May I suggest ceramic ashtrays?

LETTERS NO. 5 & 6: Similar Themes

dear sir,

my husb..., um, my boss, even though he has promoted me, it has moved me from his immediate presense. how do i get him to see me as the woman who should be his lump?



Dear Dr. Attaturk,

I have this friend in a very powrfull posishun who fell in love with one of the people workin for him. She obiv obvee clearly shares this affecshun. There are a couple of problems here:

he is married; the people supportin him threw out the last person because of the kardnal sin of lust; the people that support him would not like to see him with a ni dar person of her color; if it doesn’t work, he will lose the best lack bootl person in his office.

Any suggeshchuns?

Sins Respek Love,

Christ’s Second Coming

Now, this would seem a conundrum. Since these questions came from from the same server address, I think it is possible that these two people work together, or did.

My advice is that if they are not already members of the Grand Old Party, they sign up and join immediately.

As I stated above, "9/11 Changed Everything" or at least it re-emphasized what we all know to be true. Moral scruples are only demanded of Democrats. The reason that those people threw out the last guy, is that he was hoggin' all the booty. Believe me, nobody swings pipe like Tom DeLay.

If you are a Republican, then have at it, do about anything you damn please except be two men having the anal sex and a marriage license, that apparently is out, but otherwise, have at it.

Well that is all we have for this week. If you are an individual with other questions that require the sage advice of an individual please seek help elsewhere, but otherwise, feel free to write and on Saturdays Dr. Atta J. Turk will try to give you the answers, you want to see.

Peace, out, homies.

Charles Pierce sums it up about right

From Altercation, on the subject of the Iraqi vote:

Some people are going to vote even though they've been told they will be killed if they do. Nobody in this 40-percent turnout, sucker-for-the-cheap-wedge-issue, talk-show-babbling country of ours has a right to do anything but admire that, and make sure that the undeniable courage on display doesn't get sold down the river for a three-point bump in some future Gallup Poll. This war isn't just a monumental blunder. It's also an ongoing act of betrayal by a bunch of second-rate thinkers who never in their lives have displayed an ounce of the courage that some anonymous woman in Baghdad will evince today.

I know a lot of people praise Wolcott as a great writer, deservedly. But Pierce is no slouch and sums it up about perfectly.

Attaturk could probably work on being a better writer to get within some proximity of them, but somebody has to photocaption Cap'n Happypants and his Nubian Princess and/or compare conservative hacks to varmints and dammit it requires considerably less skill!

So, why this day?

Why January 30th for the Iraqi elections?

Were Georgie & Cheney too into their weed and blow back in the late 1960s to realize what January 30th was infamous (to Americans) for?

Ever hear of the Tet Offensive, Chimpy?

It stated in early 1968....January 30th!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Ask Dr. Attaturk

A Neocon with Questions that need answers? ("Have you considered a Lobotomy?") Get them every Saturday. Send your questions to

Gee, since everybody seems to have Awards

Why not us?

I want to know what is the WORST blog on EARTH.

I'm not talking Little Green Fucksticks, or Ernest T. Bass, ESQ. We may disagree with them because we are afflicted with this little problem called 'sanity', but even they cannot be the worst, and let's be honest Professor Jethro may be disagreeable and occassionally loathsome, but between the "heh" and "indeed" he can write a complete sentence (usually no more than that but still...).

What we at Rising Hegemon want to know is WHAT is the WORST BLOG on EARTH. The more obscure the better.


MOST VILE (Just for the record NO Sexual Deviants please [that should cut down half the internet])



And finally, the most frightening category of all...

Who is most deserving not only of an award but also of a restraining order.

Nominations will be open until we say so. We shall call them THE SHITTIES!

The New Face of Torture

from Buzzflash

The loss of life

The following sad statistics underscore the need to get out of Iraq and keep pressure on the Bush misadministration to explain their lies, mistakes, and deceptions on WMDs, the lack of an exit strategy, no clear plan for so-called "nation building."

1425 Official U.S. Military Fatalities in Iraq (as of 01-28-05)
10371 Official Wounded (thru 1/8/05)

Bush and his misadministration lied, soldiers and Iraqis keep dying. The sacrifice is too great for unclear and unfocused goals. What were these goals again? And... are we there yet?

Attaturk Apologizes

I am making a sincere effort to be more mature, so in that light...

I've been pretty hard on the chief blog gal of the place where Aghast Street meets Enema Avenue, Kathryn Lopez. Often in the past I have remarked that the magazine will not let her be seen in public, or that they keep her in a cage.

However, it is clear that in the new edition of the National Review K-Lo will be prominantly featured:

So K-Lo sorry I made fun of you being a recluse.

The Chimp Really Cares About Civil Rights And Liberties

Our intrepid leader at his clarification meeting with the press:

Q Second question, on race. You brought it up in the inaugural address, and yesterday and today you have black leaders here at the White House discussing issues of race. Yesterday you didn't discuss civil rights. But where are you in the second term as it relates to race in America?

THE PRESIDENT: Civil rights is -- is a good education. Civil rights is opportunity. Civil rights is home ownership. Civil rights is owning your own business. Civil rights is making sure all aspects of our society are open for everybody. And we discussed that yesterday. And I believe that what I said was important, that we've got to shed ourselves of bigotry if we expect to lead by example. And I'll do the very best I can as the President to make sure that the promise -- and I believe in the promise of America -- is available for everybody.

Krugman today, as one who really, and I mean really, hits the proverbial nail on the head:

What's really shameful about Mr. Bush's exploitation of the black death rate, however, is what it takes for granted.

The persistent gap in life expectancy between African-Americans and whites is one measure of the deep inequalities that remain in our society - including highly unequal access to good-quality health care. We ought to be trying to diminish that gap, especially given the fact that black infants are two and half times as likely as white babies to die in their first year.

Now nobody can expect instant progress in reducing health inequalities. But the benefits of Social Security privatization, if any, won't materialize for many decades. By using blacks' low life expectancy as an argument for privatization, Mr. Bush is in effect taking it as a given that 40 or 50 years from now, large numbers of African-Americans will still be dying before their time.

Is this an example of what Mr. Bush famously called "the soft bigotry of low expectations?" Maybe not: it isn't particularly soft to treat premature black deaths not as a tragedy we must end but as just another way to push your ideological agenda. But bigotry - yes, that sounds like the right word.

Yeah, he talks a go....well he talks a game. But there's no walking, know what I mean? This is a great example of an issue we can shove up their ass and show people who don't ordinarily think about human or civil rights that it deserves some of their attention. This one issue can illustrate fundamental differences between Bush's "I've got mine philosophy," and ours.

Dumbed down in Ohio

Legislation that would restrict what college and university professors could say in their classrooms was introduced wednesday in that fine electoral state of republican red Ohio.

Apparently there are several other states where similar bills attacking higher education have been proposed or are beging hotly debated right now. Of course, we have to acknowledge that these efforts are coming from republicans. I wonder if they would attack those of us who were oppressed in college by the flaming conservative economist? Or attacked in class because we did not conform to slavish faith in the economic determinism of capitalism.

One has to wonder how soon they will begin burning the books. We all know that "tha tinking is bad." Besides unless you are reading from the "accepted" list, you are introducing yourself up to new ideas and experiences and only the heartless secular humanist does that.

But don't take my word for it:

Marion Sen. Larry A. Mumpers "academic bill of rights for higher education" would prohibit instructors at public or private universities from "persistently" discussing controversial issues in class or from using their classes to push political, ideological, religious or anti-religious views.

Senate Bill 24 also would prohibit professors from discriminating
against students based on their beliefs and keep universities from
hiring, firing, promoting or giving tenure to instructors based on their beliefs.

Mumper, a Republican, said many professors undermine the values of their students because "80 percent or so of them (professors) are Democrats, liberals or socialists or card-carrying Communists" who attempt to indoctrinate students.

"These are young minds that havent had a chance to form their own
opinions," Mumper said. "Our colleges and universities are still filled with some of the 60s and 70s profs that were the anti-American group. Theyve gotten control of how to give people tenure and so the colleges continue to move in this direction."

Joan McLean, a political-science professor at Ohio Wesleyan University, said Mumpers legislation is misguided and would have a chilling effect on the free-flowing debate that is a hallmark of democracy.

"This is not the kind of democracy we think were spreading when we hear President Bushs words. What were celebrating is our ability to not control information."

Besides, McLean said, who would define what issues could not be discussed?

The language of Mumpers bill comes from a 2003 booklet by conservative commentator David Horowitz that lays out how students can persuade universities to adopt the "bill of rights." The booklet says it is "dedicated to restoring academic freedom and educational values to Americas institutions of higher learning."

The issue has gone national.

Horowitz created Students for Academic Freedom, a group based in
Washington that has chapters on 135 campuses, to promote his views.

On the other side, the American Association of University Professors, which has thousands of members at hundreds of campuses, argues that eliminating controversial issues from courses waters down academic freedoms.

Mumper said hes been investigating the issue for months and has heard of an Ohio student who said she was discriminated against because she supported Bush for president.

"I think the bill asks that colleges and universities be fair in their approach to their education of students," Mumper said. "They need to have their rights defended and need to be respected by faculty and administrators."

In a Kenyon College publication, President S. Georgia Nugent called Horowitzs thinking "a severe threat" to academic freedom.

"I see this so-called bill of rights, the platform that he has
constructed, as one that would explicitly introduce into college and university appointments a kind of political litmus test," she said.

Mumper said he will "push this all the way" so that its approved by either the legislature or by individual universities.

When a similar proposal was considered in the Colorado legislature last year, it was withdrawn after state universities agreed to some of its principles. The issue also has been debated in Indiana and considered in Congress.

Joe? Joe McCarthy? Hell, I thought that you were dead. Oh.

Dems getting some backbone?

Where was this when Kerry and the dems were running for election? While I applaud (imagine clapping) Kennedy's attack on a fruitless meaningless war, where was this during the campaign? Where was this moral outrage? Do the words "Too little, too late" mean anything for anyone else?

No matter how many times the Administration denies it, there is no question they misled the nation and led us into a quagmire in Iraq. President Bush rushed to war on the basis of trumped up intelligence and a reckless argument that Iraq was a critical arena in the global war on terror, that somehow it was more important to start a war with Iraq than to finish the war in Afghanistan and capture Osama bin Laden, and that somehow the danger was so urgent that the U.N. weapons inspectors could not be allowed time to complete their search for weapons of mass destruction.

And, of course, it is getting worse in Iraq.

How long until all of the democrats not only finally grow some back bone but also attack the republicans every single day for this folly and that they have led the country down not a primrose path but into the pits of hell.

Several allied countries, many of them eastern European, that were part of the original "New Europe" group backing the Iraqi war have said they will either completely withdraw or substantially reduce their forces in Iraq after the January 30 elections.

The largest reduction is expected to come from Ukraine, which currently has some 1,600 troops in Iraq, making it the sixth-largest contingent. Earlier this month, outgoing President Leonid Kuchma ordered the defence ministry to draw up plans to begin a complete withdrawal by the middle of the year, after eight Ukrainian soldiers were killed in an explosion.

How long before Poland leaves the coalition of the paid?

The move follows a decision by Poland, one of the US's closest allies in the Iraq war and with the fifth-largest contingent of 2,400 troops, to reduce its presence by nearly a third, to 1,700, by the end of next month. The Polish government has faced intense political pressure domestically, where its participation is increasingly unpopular, and the reduction may be followed by a complete withdrawal by the end of the year.

Polish military officers, who command the multinational division in south-central Iraq, have said their reduced numbers combined with a Ukrainian withdrawal could force them to cut the number of provinces they patrol - a decision that may force the US to fill the gaps.

Oh, I guess Poland knows when to cut losses and pull out; too bad for the soldiers and the country that Bush doesn't. It is way past time for the democrats to attack this mess every single day and to remind Bush, the ignorami around him, and the 'Merican public who is responsible for this mess.

The New Racists

As this review makes clear it appears that the old racists have become the new racists. What do you all think? Comments are encouraged.

If you're going to call a book "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History," readers will expect some serious carrying on about race, and Thomas Woods Jr. does not disappoint. He fulminates against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, best known for forcing restaurants and bus stations in the Jim Crow South to integrate, and against Brown v. Board of Education. And he offers up some curious views on the Civil War - or "the War of Northern Aggression," a name he calls "much more accurate."

The introduction bills the book as an effort to "set the record straight," but it is actually an attempt to push the record far to the right. More than a history, it is a checklist of arch-conservative talking points. The New Deal public works programs that helped millions survive the Depression were a "disaster," and Social Security "damaged the economy." The Marshall Plan, which lifted up devastated European nations after World War II, was a "failed giveaway program." And the long-discredited theory of "nullification," which held that states could suspend federal laws, "isn't as crazy as it sounds."

It is tempting to dismiss the book as fringe scholarship, not worth worrying about, but the numbers say otherwise. It is being snapped up on college campuses and, helped along by plugs from Fox News and other conservative media, it recently soared to No. 8 on the New York Times paperback nonfiction best-seller list. It is part of a boomlet in far-right attacks on mainstream history that includes books like Jim Powell's "FDR's Folly," which argues that Franklin Roosevelt made the Depression worse, and Michelle Malkin's "In Defense of Internment," a warm look back on the mass internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Handwriting Analysts?

P.S. If you see my stocking cap around let me know.

Our Question of the Week

Continuing on the theme of Rising Hegemon community interaction (that Attaturk has added to with his new weekly feature) we ask our question of the week.

I didn't see it but now wish I had; John Burns on Topic A with Tina Brown. Highlights from two places. First, Juan Cole.

It is 2005, and the US has been running Iraq for nearly two years. Now the question is, how does the situation in Iraq compare to the Philippines, or India, or Turkey. Answer: It sucks. There is little security, people are killed daily, there is a massive crime wave, and elections are being held in which most of the candidates cannot be identified for fear of their lives. So the conclusion is that the Bush administration has done a worse job in Iraq than the Congress Party does in India, or the AK Party does in Turkey. That's the standard of comparison once Saddam was gone. And, by the way, veteran NYT journalist John Burns, who is nobody's fool, told Tina Brown last Friday that he was taken aback when an Iraqi told him recently that he wished Saddam were back. This was an Iraqi who really had been delighted at the American invasion. So Bush should drop the cute sound bite about being better than Saddam.

The second, Gawker.

Thankfully, we were spared the inauguration fashion wrap, which was marginalized by a satellite interview with wild-haired New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief John Burns. Tina asked, "How much can the average Iraqi take before it's safer to collaborate with the insurgents?" Burns replied it's already happened and citizens are now missing the stability of Saddam Hussein. He said that "there is virtually no safe hide-away for any American or foreigner," even in the fortified Green Zone.

Burns predicted low turnout for the election (which is only for a transitional government) and fears a civil war "over who rules Iraq in the long term." He said the military has learned from their mistakes, and though "this is very much touch-and-go," he is impressed by their actions.

Our question: How imminent is civil war and what will be America's reaction?

Cloud Nine

Life is better with a supportive boyfriend.

Quick Caption

From the Wapo but alerted to us via uber blogger Atrios:

Cheney stood out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive drab parka with a fur-trimmed hood. It is embroidered with his name. It reminded one of the way in which children's clothes are inscribed with their names before they are sent away to camp. And indeed, the vice president looked like an awkward boy amid the well-dressed adults.

Crashcart goes to Poland and makes an American Joke!

What an ass, I wonder if his shirt matched his brown pants?

Friday Miscellaneous Lifeform Blogging

Another symbolic animal near and dear to the Base of our Chimperor, an animal famed in myth and legend for being deceptive.

However, its reality is more appropriate for today, for its method of handling large prey indicative of how Bush's domestic and foreign policy is affecting the nation's health in the long-term. For surely, over time his policies will choke the life out of us, should we not stand up and put a stop to them. Think November 2006 as the breaking point, with lots of internecine battles in between.

I give you...

The Boa Constrictor

Oh, and by the way, people who for some reason have these as pets. Can we try calling them something besides MONTY?

And for you others, with pet Tarantulas, something besides BORIS?

Thanks, just a personal request.

I mean, I have a dog, I don't call it Lassie, or White Fang, or Ol' Yeller.

Once again Lies about Social Security

Krugman again exposes that the right-wing constantly plays upon stereotypes in regard to African-Americans.

And they wonder why they cannot get the African American vote in substantial numbers.

But the claim that blacks get a bad deal from Social Security is false. And Mr. Bush's use of that false argument is doubly shameful, because he's exploiting the tragedy of high black mortality for political gain instead of treating it as a problem we should solve.

Let's start with the facts. Mr. Bush's argument goes back at least seven years, to a report issued by the Heritage Foundation - a report so badly misleading that the deputy chief actuary (now the chief actuary) of the Social Security Administration wrote a memo pointing out "major errors in the methodology." That's actuary-speak for "damned lies."

In fact, the actuary said, "careful research reflecting actual work histories for workers by race indicate that the nonwhite population actually enjoys the same or better expected rates of return from Social Security" as whites.

Here's why. First, Mr. Bush's remarks on African-Americans perpetuate a crude misunderstanding about what life expectancy means. It's true that the current life expectancy for black males at birth is only 68.8 years - but that doesn't mean that a black man who has worked all his life can expect to die after collecting only a few years' worth of Social Security benefits. Blacks' low life expectancy is largely due to high death rates in childhood and young adulthood. African-American men who make it to age 65 can expect to live, and collect benefits, for an additional 14.6 years - not that far short of the 16.6-year figure for white men.

Once again, in addition to its pathetic nature, the main problem with Bush's argument is that instead of saying "hey let's look at why African American men don't live as long as others, but let's just accept that and move on to a sloppy political argument."

It's disgusting, not as disgusting as starting an unnecessary war and then pretty much losing it and killing tens of thousands in the process, but pretty damned disgusting.

Bush's Freedom Flag

"I firmly planted the flag of liberty for all to see"

Yes you did...though many of us are not allowed to see the planting...

Flag apparently planted via 500 pound bomb.

Flag unavailable for wrapping as it was being planted via F-16.

This girl tripped and fell over a roadside bomb, but that's what happens during the march of freedom.

Either your with us or with the terrorists, let your broken skull be your guide.

Bush stated on Wednesday he is "freeing people in the name of peace." Here's a liberated child right now? Look how peaceful they are.

Boy, how cool will all those new planted flags look on top of those graves.

Three more celebrants!

I wonder why the American media isn't spreading more of these joyous images of Bush's Liberty Flags being planted?

Speaking of that Liberal Media

Ah, speaking of Nightline, this Diary at Daily Kos says a lot about a few things, in addition to having Richard Perle on it...

From there, it started becoming clear that the pro-war people were going to be given more time to speak than people who dissented. The next comment came from a woman who also lost her husband (actually in the same unit as the other wife) and she gave a patriotic speech about how poud she was that he had died for his country etc and that we needed to finish the job of bring freedom to Iraq.

So, it went on this way, with the pro-war side taking precedence.

Then, during the third commercial break Rabbi Waskau stood up and loudly said, "I was invited hear to speak, but then was told I could you would not allow anyone from the religious community to sit in the front row and that I would be allowed to make a comment later if I would take a seat in back. But now I have been told that I will not be allowed to speak at all." (upon hearing that, I realized that nobody had spoken from a religious/faith based perspective, and wondered if that was indeed intentional).

Antother outburst happened toward the last half hour when a tall older African American gentleman went up to a mic without permission and siad, "ask Richard Perle about the PNAC... that's all I've got to say... I'm outa here!"

Then, it went on and during the last break their was a similar occurence as to the rabbi's, when an Iraqi spoke loudly saying, there are many Iraqi's here sitting in the back, and we were told we could speak, but have been denied."

Before it went further, Ted Koppel said they would be given a chance to speak in the last seven minute segment.

However, when the show started again, one man was brought to the microphone from another section... not from where the first Iraqi said he and others were sitting. That one man said he was an Iraqi and represented the majority of Iraqi's and he supproted the U.S. freedom fighters, and only a small percentage of Sunni's were angered by the U.S. presence in Iraq. that was all.

Apparently Chris Vlasto was working last night's show.

Liberal Media?

Perhaps someone can correct me but I think this compare & contrast is accurate:

Since being falsely accused of stealing documents from the National Archives I have not seen Sandy Berger on television.

However, on Nightline last evening, despite a myriad of accusations of financial dealings that are illegal and advocating in everyway possible the Iraqi War, after being wrong time after time after time, after the deaths of tens of thousands of people due in no small part to his cheerleading.

...Richard Perle was on Nightline.

What liberal media indeed.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

New Feature

Here at Rising Hegemon we like to reach out to those who have different beliefs and ideas on politics, in other words conservatives, be they famous or not, no matter how vile their condition (it's par for the course).

I know that on a daily basis we pummel you right-wing knuckleheads, but that doesn't mean we don't care. For, like Bing Crosby might say, we abuse because we love. Wait a minute that doesn't sound quite right...

Anyhoo, if you feel you need Dr. Atta J. Turk to provide you with some advice, whether you're George W. Bush or Noell Bush, feel free to email him your problems and see if he can provide you with answers, or in the alternative let you progressives think of what these individuals might want to know and I will see if I can assist. Questions and Answers will appear every Saturday.

So Vishnu bless and write me at

Phony Terrorist Threats shake public confidence

In what progressives, liberals, and free thinkers everywhere can only see as a complete surprise, word comes that faux terror threats may affect people's trust in government terrorist announcements. Can this be true?

When should government officials alert the public to terrorism threats supported by flimsy evidence? That is the question being asked after a phony tip last week that a terror attack was planned in Boston. "Every day there comes to the various agencies within the U.S. government hundreds - thousands - of reports of everything from Martians having landed in Nevada to someone who just had a conversation with Elvis to terrorists coming with a nuclear bomb to Boston," Graham Allison of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a former assistant defense secretary, told the Associated Press. "It's one of those situations where you're kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't."

Last week's tip, phoned to the California Highway Patrol, claimed that four Chinese nationals and two Iraqi nationals entered the U.S. from Mexico and were awaiting a shipment of nuclear material that would follow them to Boston. Matthew Evangelista, a professor of international relations at Cornell University, said warning the public about a threat before it is thoroughly investigated can cause undue panic and may even cause people to be desensitized about the threat of terrorism. "I think it breeds a kind of cynicism on the part of the public," he said. "People become maybe less willing to believe the threats when they are actually real."

No, really, people do not like to be lied to. Naw, come on now, don't hold back on me. Hey, has anyone told Bush about this? Could be bad for him, don't you think?

What thee religious right needs now...

Now at long last I finally understand the religious crazies... according to Michael Ventre, the religious extreme right are really Crackpots.

That explains a lot. Really. Who are the televangelists and Dobson's of the world? Crackpots. What do we call Fred Phelps? Uber-crackpot. It helps but yet it lacks the full nutty flavor, doesn't it?

Somehow the notion of crackpot does not cover the extent of the nut-wing's love-hate relationship with fact, truth, and reason. That is, they hate all those things and only love their ability to oppress others who think differently than they do. And Spongebob may be many things but he certainly is different.

And we all know, difference is bad.

... not all Christians are alike. Many, if not most, Christians understand the true message of Jesus. But there is a frightening number of so-called Christians who can be best described as creepy, rigid, arrogant, cruel, know-it-all, pompous, obnoxious and treacherous — better known by the acronym C.R.A.C.K.P.O.T.

These CRACKPOT Christians are nothing new. Throughout history there have been dangerous fools of all persuasions who have perverted religious text for their own selfish purposes. What they like to do, in essence, is force-feed their twisted beliefs on others while hiding behind a respectable label, thereby conning folks into thinking that their mean-spirited behavior is really born out of kindness and generosity.

So, what is next, Davey and Goliath making an unnatural video?

Oh wait, too late.

File this one under weird

I cannot quite explain this practice my friends. What do you make of it? I wonder if the religious nut-wing are supporters of this odd practice? No, they are too busy attacking Spongebob for being gay and Pooh bear for missing his pants.

Apparently Ann Coulter's Been Busy

So respectful, we have been at GITMO, but it sounds like, in addition to writing prose of such quality that it doesn't quite earn the compliment of being called drivel Annie was also torturing prisoners.

Female interrogators tried to break Muslim detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay by sexual touching, wearing a miniskirt and thong underwear and in one case smearing a Saudi man's face with fake menstrual blood, according to an insider's written account


One female civilian contractor used a special outfit that included a miniskirt, thong underwear and a bra during late-night interrogations with prisoners, mostly Muslim men who consider it taboo to have close contact with women who aren't their wives.

Beginning in April 2003, "there hung a short skirt and thong underwear on the hook on the back of the door" of one interrogation team's office, he writes. "Later I learned that this outfit was used for interrogations by one of the female civilian contractors ... on a team which conducted interrogations in the middle of the night on Saudi men who were refusing to talk."

Some Guantanamo prisoners who have been released say they were tormented by "prostitutes."

Classy no?

Freedom has its price, and apparently its denigration.

Glass House meet Trebuchet full of Boulders

Such is the irony of this column from Max Boot in today's LA Times when writing about Sy Hersch.

It's hard to know why anyone would take seriously a "reporter" whose writings are so full of, in Ted Kennedy's words, "maliciousness and innuendo." That Hersh remains a revered figure in American journalism suggests that the media have yet to recover from the paranoid style of the 1960s.

So Boot thinks that Hersch has a history of gross inaccuracies and of being wrong.

Oh, Max, Max, Max, poor sweet deluded Max:

May 5, 2003, on the question of how many troops we are going to need in occupied Iraq:

This means using American troops to secure all of Iraq. It will be insufficient to set up a peacekeeping force whose authority extends only to the capital. It will be unacceptable to say that peacekeeping is not a job for the U.S. military. Since the United States is committed to a "unitary" Iraq, it will have to commit sufficient force to make this a reality. This probably will not require the 200,000 troops suggested by Army chief of staff Eric Shinseki, but it will require a long-term commitment of at least 60,000 to 75,000 soldiers, the number estimated by Joint Staff planners.

Oh damn, well anybody can be wrong about one thing.

May 7, 2003:

WHAT IS the greatest danger facing America as it tries to rebuild Iraq: Shiite fundamentalism? Kurdish separatism? Sunni intransigence? Turkish, Syrian, Iranian or Saudi Arabian meddling?

All of those are real problems, but none is so severe that it can't readily be handled. More than 125,000 American troops occupy Mesopotamia. They are backed up by the resources of the world's richest economy. In a contest for control of Iraq, America can outspend and outmuscle any competing faction.

Okay, well that one doesn't sound too good either, but surely you cannot find more than that within the next minute Mr. B-Level Blogboy?

September 15, 2003

Yet the world press, which lavished such attention on Iraqi looting back in May, seems largely indifferent to the successful work of rebuilding that has gone on since. The media naturally focus on bombings and shootings, not on the reopening of schools or training of police officers. There is a real danger of another Tet Offensive--an American military victory turned into a public relations disaster back home.

Actually, Max I think they've been a little preoccupied since your story of the story of all those trained police officers getting blown up, or going over to the insurgents.

Well, that's about 15 minutes of research.

I guess Max being so consistently wrong now feels himself also an expert on error. From appearances it is serving him about as effectively as his alleged foreign policy expertise.

Freedom's Darker Side

I'm all for people voting as a means of proving their God-given liberty, really I am, but this is getting ridiculous.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Eleven Iraqis and one U.S. Marine were killed Thursday as insurgents clashed with U.S. troops and blew up a school slated to serve as a polling center — pre-election violence that followed the deadliest day for U.S. troops since the war's start. Another U.S. soldier died in an accident.

The Marine was killed and five others were injured when insurgents launched mortars at their base near Iskandariyah, about 30 miles south of Baghdad.

In the capital, U.S. and Iraqi troops clashed with insurgents on Haifa street in the center of the city, witnesses reported.

What do you get when you have a shallow, incurious, rigid, moralistic tough-guy rube for President? Someone who thinks he understands all of human nature, even those people he has never gotten to know, let alone met. Someone willing to make decisions despite lacking a depth of knowledge or understanding of what you are doing and where you are going. Someone willing to risk lives, thousands of lives, for lofty hopes and dreams without the vaguest notion of the consequences or possibilities of the ill-informed decision.

It isn't the pursuit of democracy itself that is a problem as that is, on its face, a noble cause. But that isn't why we went. And here we are losing family, friends, sons, duaghters, freinds, and neighbors because our President had no concept of what he was getting into, the cost of the venture in human life (let alone money), and the long-term cost to stability in the region. And don't bore me with the Friedman-esque romantic slobber about spreading freedom. Because that isn't why we went.


In my latest post (or was it, I post too much I suppose) about the Marquis de Sad, Candlewax Al Gonzales [more nicknames pending] one of commentors, Muddy, noted that one Republican Senator said that Gonzales was a "real Horatio Alger Story".

I know the Senator (well "hope") actually was referring to Alger's wretched pulp novels of young boys pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps (so I guess in the 19th Century they too have euphamisms for masturbation). But let us look at this actual story of the REAL Horatio Alger and see whether it may fit for our Attorney General designee:

Rejected by the Union Army because of his asthma, he took a tour of Europe where he finally decided to pursue the ministry. He took a position in Cape Cod but left for New York City rather suddenly in 1866, ostensibly to pursue a career in writing. Church records uncovered after Alger's death indicate that he was quietly dismissed for having sexual relations with several boys in his parish (as a result, the New York City chapter of the North American Man-Boy Love Association is named after him).

HEY NOW!! That even beats saying torture isn't torture.

Maybe for his next opening, Bush can appoint Dan Crane to something (is he still alive?)

Perils of Blogads

Everytime I'm at Atrios, or any other of bloggers who have blogads, I feel all confused and want to see a Gladiator Movie, or Steve Reeves all oiled up.

I wonder how John Derbyshire feels?

Oh Lawdy Lawdy

This will certainly make Dobson take notice, between Sponge Bob Bashing and Dachshund beating.

The NY Times helps perpetuate myth by writing about the age of the Shroud of Turin;

In an article this month in the journal Thermochimica Acta, Dr. Raymond N. Rogers, a chemist retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory, said the carbon dating test was valid but that the piece tested was about the size of a postage stamp and came from a portion that had been patched.

"We're darned sure that part of the cloth was not original Shroud of Turin cloth," he said, adding that threads from the main part of the shroud were pure linen, which is spun from flax


Let us look at what the Shroud of Turin's impression looks like:

The Shroud

Looks more like:


Idealized Jesus


Harry the Bigfoot



This Douchebag

The choice is yours.

Schizophrenia Watch

Sully, January 26, 2005:

HOPE IN IRAQ: When Spencer Ackerman notices it, things must be looking up. More interesting data here. For all the criticism of ABC News, this in-depth study would not have happened without them.
- 11:56:14 AM


January 27, 2005:

QUOTE FOR THE DAY I: "Starkly put, Baghdad is not under control, either by the Iraqi interim government or the American military." - John F. Burns, New York Times, today.

QUOTE FOR THE DAY II: "Our grunts have been letting me know since the early days of the invasion that there has never been enough people power on deck to do the job. 'We're stretched too thin' has been a constant complaint. 'Battalions are doing the work of brigades and brigades divisions,' snorts an infantry skipper now in the Mosul area of operations." - David Hackworth, yesterday.

Chimptopia Description of the Day

While Freedom tries to get some rest in Iraq, it must be getting cranky with all that car bombing, RPG firing, screams of pain, and random gunfire. One guy that the righties have never been able to disregard is John Burns of the NY Times, and today's report is not one that paints a fantasy land picture...obviously Dear Leader will not want it spoken of as he relaxes in his purple robe.

On the bright spring day in April 2003 when marines helped topple Mr. Hussein's statue in Firdos Square, Baghdad, more than any other place in Iraq, was the place American commanders hoped to make a showcase for the benefits the invasion would bring.

Instead, daily life here has become a deadly lottery, a place so fraught with danger that one senior American military officer acknowledged at a briefing last month that nowhere in the area assigned to his troops could be considered safe.

"I would definitely say it's enemy territory," said Col. Stephen R. Lanza, the commander of the Fifth Brigade Combat Team, a unit of the First Cavalry Division that is responsible for patrolling a wide area of southern Baghdad with a population of 1.3 million people.

In the week that ended Sunday, according to figures kept by Western security companies with access to data compiled by the American command, Baghdad was hit by 7 suicide car bombings, 37 roadside bombs and 52 insurgent attacks involving automatic rifles or rocket-propelled grenades. The suicide bombs alone killed at least 60 people and injured 150 others.

Although the American military command has cited surveys purportedly showing 80 percent of Baghdad's residents are eager to vote, many people interviewed by reporters are like Dr. Naqib who say they will stay away.

"Every day, when you leave your home, you don't know what will happen - bombs, bullets, kidnapping," Dr. Naqib said as he braced himself against the near-freezing cold in the garden of the private sports club where he had taken his wife and three children for lunch, their first family outing in months. "You ask me about hope - there is no hope. On ordinary days, I cannot even allow my children to play in the garden. To them, a garden is something they only see through windows."

In one Baghdad office, only one of 20 people who were asked said he intended to vote; the others, all citing the fear of being attacked by insurgents, either as they walk to the polls - all civilian vehicle traffic has been banned on election day - or after they return home.


Every American attempt to root out the insurgents has failed, and their dominion is written loudly in graffiti on freshly painted, and repainted, walls. "Long live the resistance!" they say. "There is no God but Allah and his Prophet!"; "Death to the Americans and their Iraqi lackeys!"

American military units travel in heavily armed convoys, gunners in helmets and goggles swiveling 50-caliber machine guns on expressways and along inner-city shopping streets to ward off attacks, and not infrequently opening fire, with civilian casualties.

Along with insurgent attacks, the city has seen a surge of crime, including murders and kidnappings for ransom, that has undermined support for the Americans and all they represent - the elections included - as much as the war.

With hundreds of Baghdad police officers killed in insurgent attacks and others spending much of their time hunkered down at police stations hidden behind high concrete blast walls and watchtowers, police investigations have virtually ceased.

Hospital morgues are filled with unidentified bodies and body parts, many of them found floating in canals or decomposing on stretches of wasteland. Hardly anybody in Baghdad does not have a horror story to tell about children taken for ransom and later murdered, their bodies sometimes dumped at their homes.

Equally rife are tales of family members and friends murdered in disputes over property, illicit affairs, or in revenge for state-sponsored killings carried out under Mr. Hussein.

The situation in Iraq is clearly terrible. The problem here is that most of the country does NOT want to know this, the right-wing enables the Bush Administration to deny it by perpetuating this myth of it being "foreign sponsored" or "overstated". But the longer that denial is allowed the worse it gets. Though all I can do is joke about it, the "Cult of Personality" so envelops Bush and his enablers that it is crippling any ability we have to at least fix some of these problems (or at least make things "not as bad").


On the other hand, maybe suave and debonair Professor Cole has the best description of Bush's Chimptopia policy today:

In his appearances on Wednesday, President Bush said that it was a positive that Iraqis are even having elections, since three years ago it would have seemed out of the question. You know, if all you have to boast about is that you are better than Saddam Hussein, it isn't actually a good sign.

Here's An Endorsement

The Marquis de Sad, voted out of a committee by a straight party-line vote. Pro-Torture Party 10 in favor (and wanting to watch), Anti-Torture 8 against. And perhaps the funniest endorsement since Senator Hruska said of Nixon Supreme Court Nominee Harrold Carswell, "Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. Aren't they entitled to a little representation and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises and Cardozos and Frankfurters and stuff like that. I doubt we can. I doubt we want to."

Yesterday, frustrated song-writer Orrin Hatch said of Candlewax Al Gonzales, ""He's a person who I think answered the questions as well as he could before the committee"

Okay, that's a bit out of context, but you get the idea.

For those still doubting Sy Hersch

Not only are the White House denials of his claims that we are engaged in black ops operations and then some against Iran, along with the most vague of denials against Hersch's claim they plan on going into Iran by Summer...but the righties are deathly silent, or trying to justify things.

Well, here is another piece of evidence that the regime of the Chimperor gets more and more like he's commnandng the Wehrmacht each day. From UPI:

The U.S. Air Force is playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Iran's ayatollahs, flying American combat aircraft into Iranian airspace in an attempt to lure Tehran into turning on air defense radars, thus allowing U.S. pilots to grid the system for use in future targeting data, administration officials said.

"We have to know which targets to attack and how to attack them," said one, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The flights, which have been going on for weeks, are being launched from sites in Afghanistan and Iraq and are part of Bush administration attempts collect badly needed intelligence on Iran's possible nuclear weapons development sites, these sources said, speaking on condition of strict anonymity.

"These Iranian air defense positions are not just being observed, they're being 'templated,'" an administration official said, explaining that the flights are part of a U.S. effort to develop "an electronic order of battle for Iran" in case of actual conflict.

In the event of an actual clash, Iran's air defense radars would be targeted for destruction by air-fired U.S. anti-radiation or ARM missiles, he said.

A serving U.S. intelligence official added: "You need to know what proportion of your initial air strikes are going to have to be devoted to air defense suppression."

A CentCom official told United Press International that in the event of a real military strikes, U.S. military forces would be using jamming, deception, and physical attack of Iran's sensors and its Command, Control and Intelligence (C3 systems).

He also made clear that that this entails "advance, detailed knowledge of the enemy's electronic order of battle and careful preplanning."

Ellen Laipson, president and CEO of the Henry L. Stimson Center and former CIA Middle East expert, said of the flights, "They are not necessarily an act of war in themselves, unless they are perceived as being so by the country that is being overflown."

Laipson explained: "It's not unusual for countries to test each other's air defenses from time to time, to do a little probing -- but it can be dangerous if the target country believes that such flights could mean an imminent attack."

She said her concern was that Iran "will not only turn on its air defense radars but use them to fire missiles at U.S. aircraft," an act which would "greatly increase tensions" between the two countries.

Gee, so the Bush Administration is either telling the Iranians we are coming to get you, or encouraging them to act against us to justify a wider conflict.

As Jon Stewart said so appropriately the other day..."Iran, they are up to ... something".

And so are we.

But hey, America, you know you approved a new war in November right?