Monday, June 28, 2004

When Marshall speaks, bloggers listen....

According to the Financial Times article, that business man is likely himself the forger of the documents and he has a long history of bad acts which, they say, discredit him as a source of information. That last tidbit plays a key part in the FT story because, in their words, the provider of the documents is "understood to be planning to reveal selected aspects of his story to a US television channel."

That's what the FT says.

I hear something different.

In fact, I know something different.

My colleagues and I have reported on this matter extensively, spoken to key players involved in the drama, and put together a detailed picture of what happened. And that picture looks remarkably different from this account which is out today -- specifically on the matter of the origins of those forged documents and who was involved.

I cannot begin to describe how much I would like to say more than that. And at some later point in some later post I will do my best to explain the hows and whys of why I can't. But, for the moment, I can't.

Let me, however, offer a hypothetical that might help make sense of all this.

Let's say that certain individuals or organizations are responsible for some rather unfortunate misdeeds. And let's further postulate that such hypothetical individuals or organizations find out that some folks are on to them, that a story is in the works -- perhaps more than one -- and that it's coming right at them. Those individuals or organizations -- as shorthand, let's call them 'the bad actors' -- might well start trying to fight back, trying to gin up an alternative storyline to exculpate themselves and inculpate others. If that story made its way into the news, at a minimum, it might help the bad actors muddy the waters for when the real story comes out. You can see how such a regrettable turn of events might come to pass.

This is of course only a hypothetical. But I thought it might provide a clarifying context.


More to come from Josh Marshall. Perhaps his revelation will accompany the 4th of July fireworks.

Spy seeing spy smelling the flower....

Sunday, June 27, 2004

A Fahrenheit911 review

Blue Lemur's review is a good one. Being a fanatic for gonzo journalism, I have to borrow Blue's leading quotation, from the great Hunter S. Thompson:

Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism—which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.
— Hunter S. Thompson, He Was a Crook


I saw the film opening day in Michigan. The theater where I saw it was packed with people of all ages. Quite a few tears were being shed by those leaving. So I'm not surprized that F911 beat "White Chicks" at the box office, even though it showed on only 850 screens.

I suspect that F911 will break $50 million, then be pulled for DVD release in September.


(And if a certain political campaign sitting on more than $100 million was smart, it would arrange to buy two million copies at discount prices. 500,000 disks would be mailed to loyal supporters as a premium to share with their families and friends. The other one-and-one-half million should be distributed door to door in key precincts of battleground states.)

Bremmer curbs power of Iraqis prior to June 30 transition

The administrator has gone mad:

He suspended the death penalty, and his election law imposes a strict quota: One of every three candidates on a party's slate must be a woman.

(Cheney responds "F--- Bremmer. That's just crazy!")

Seriously, enough with the claims that the US is turning over the country to the Iraqi people June 30.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

When do workers get their share, indeed!

graphic showing corporate profits outstipping worken compensation during the recent economic recovery

Despite recent good news on employment growth, the current economic recovery, now approaching its third year, remains the most unbalanced on record in respect to the distribution of income gains between corporate profits and labor compensation. Essentially, rapid gains in productivity have been translating into higher corporate profits without increasing the wage and salary income of American workers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Advanced Geography

I needed a cup of coffee to make sense of this diagram:

linkages of Middle Eastern nations, Israel and the US

So it comes back to religion?

(For the advanced student: Is fundamentalism like magnetism? As in "likes repell"? )

(Diagram courtesy of uggabugga!)

Friday, June 18, 2004

Gas prices got you down?

Cartoon (Thanks to Eschaton!)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Political bumper sticker

Bush/Pinochet '04 bumper sticker (Courtesy of patriotboy!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"evidence free" administration?

Dick Cheney:

Cheney's comments Monday echoed a January interview with National Public Radio in which he said, ''There's overwhelming evidence there was a connection between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I am very confident that there was an established relationship there."

David Kay:
However, a former top weapons inspector said yesterday he and other investigators have not found evidence of a Hussein-Al Qaeda link.

''At various times Al Qaeda people came through Baghdad and in some cases resided there," said David Kay, former head of the CIA's Iraq Survey Group, which searched for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and links to terrorism. ''But we simply did not find any evidence of extensive links with Al Qaeda, or for that matter any real links at all."

''Cheney's speech is evidence-free," Kay said. ''It is an assertion, but doesn't say why we should be believe this now."


Two questions:
1) Who should we believe?
2) When does David Kay's book get published?

Appealing for Homer Simpson's vote

Apparently the same Bush Administration rules that declare batter-coated frozen potatoes to be a fresh vegetable also permit us to refer to chocolate covered cherries as fresh fruit. Of course the Reagan Administration told us that catchup is a vegetable. All we need now is for a future Republican administration to label anything with four legs as a tree and doughnuts as over-the-counter pills. Hmmmm!Homer Simpson in a mumu(Picture courtesy of http://www.briansbelly.com/halloffame/homersimpson.shtml)

Vonnegut on the state of the nation

Indiana has a tradition of fiction writers. Some of what gets written is depressing stuff on depressing topics. The name of Theodore Dreiser comes to mind. So does the name of Kurt Vonnegut. His tale of surviving the fire bombing of Dresden during World War II is as anti-war as any novel of the last 50 years.

Vonnegut is now 82. He has lasted longer than your typical Hoosier author. So I guess that he's earned the right of speaking plainly...and to foresake fiction for non-fiction. Vonnegut published an essay at in these times recently. It's a megadose of life in these United States--very depressing.

A few quotations:

Dr. Vonnegut [ED: Kurt's son] said this to his doddering old dad: “Father, we are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.” So I pass that on to you. Write it down, and put it in your computer, so you can forget it....
For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break....
Can I tell you the truth? I mean this isn’t like TV news, is it?
Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.
And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.

Monday, June 14, 2004

The many moods of Richard Cheney

Rising Hegemon provides a pictorial guide. I would NOT want to meet up with an ANGRY Dick Cheney: Angry Dick Cheney

Saturday, June 12, 2004

CIA humor (found at billmon.org)



Three Iraqis were travelling on a train from Baghdad to Mosul. In the same carriage were three undercover CIA operatives, masquerading as businessmen. They were complaining about the extortionate cost of their tickets.

The Iraqis laughed and told them that they were foolish to spend all that money, and that they had only purchased one ticket between them.

"How do you think you're going to get away with that?" asked one of the Americans

The Iraqi winked. "Watch, and learn." he replied.

Just then the ticket collector appeared at the end of the carriage and all three Iraqis immediately rushed to the toilet and locked themselves in. When the ticket collector got to the toilet he observed the 'Engaged' sign and rapped on the door. "Tickets please!" he called loudly. The door opened slightly and a hand reached out, clutching a ticket. The ticket collector took it and moved on.

The Iraqis returned to their seats, laughing. The CIA guys looked at each other with disbelieving glances and shook their heads.

That night, on the train back to Baghdad from Mosul, the same three CIA men and the same three Iraqis found themselves in the same carriage once again. "Well, did you save your money on this trip?" teased one of the Iraqis. "Sure did!" replied one of the Americans and waved a solitary ticket before the Iraqis. "Hey mister, you wasted your money again," laughed the Iraqi, "We don't even have one ticket between us, we're travelling for free!" The Americans were curious. "Get outta here,how do you think you're gonna manage that?" The Iraqi winked, "Just watch, and learn!"

At that moment the ticket collector appeared at the end of the carriage. The three Americans and the three Iraqis all darted to the other end, and the Americans locked themselves in one toilet while the Iraqis locked themselves in the one opposite. Then one of the Iraqis nipped out and rapped on the door of the toilet where the CIA men were hiding...

"Tickets please!"

Posted by: Helpful Spook at June 12, 2004 08:55 AM

Alternative Bush '04 sites

Upset with the official Bush-Cheney '04 website becoming a Reagan shrine? Try these alternatives:
GeorgeWBush.org features a copy of George W. Bush's Yale transcript:

lots of 70s


The Bush-Zombie Reagan '04 Zombie-like Reagan

website reveals why Cheney won't be on the ballot much longer....

The 2004 GOP team: Behind the scenes

Rove behind W.Picture says it all, eh?

(Thanks to Steve Gilliard for the find.)

Friday, June 11, 2004

A record of Bush's (funding) hypocracy

It's time consuming to track every instance when W. has praised a program then cut its federal support and funding. Fortunately, the Democrats of the House Appropriations Committee have been keeping track. There is something pathological about such behavior. Either the President isn't fully conscious and engaged...or, as some suggest, he's one cruel, manipulative SOB. (Thanks to moe blues at badattitudes.com for the link.)

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Now THIS IS FUNNY!

Michael Berube has found at the New Yorker the funniest description ever of W.: Bushido: The Way of the Armchair Warrior. I laughed, then I laughed some more. Every paragraph is clever. For example:

Because human beings are prone to illusion, the sounds and sights of battle—the groans of the wounded, the maimed bodies of one’s comrades—may remain in the mind for many years, like a cloud that confuses judgment. Hence, a man who has fought on the battlefield and has later risen to high office may be fearful of leading his people to war. Such weakness does not afflict the armchair warrior, who at all times is firm in his resolve.

The armchair warrior does not fear death, especially not the death of other people.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The Bushiad and the Idyossey

Victor Littlebear has translated Homer's classic, updating for events from 12/2002 through 12/2003. Much of it is clever, some is very funny.
Here's an excerpt from Chapter 21, "Doing the Patriot Act":

The phone on Ashcroft’s desk blinks, incoming call,
George is on the private line. He moves
Across the room, “John Ashcroft here,” he says,
Knowing George may have misdialed,
“I know it’s you, God damn it. You think I’m stupid!”
Sly Ashcoft pulls the phone away, ears ringing.

George is in a black mood, John takes a breath.
“Yes sir, Mr. President, I’m sorry, please excuse me.”
But George’s tirade goes on, anger unspent,
“When that red phone rings it’s me. You get it?
I know who I’m calling when I’m calling, asshole!
Would you rather I send someone down?”

John bides his time, he knows George.
“Yes sir,” he says again, cool, calm, patient.
“Ok,” say’s George, I forgive you this time, don’t forget it.
Now why I called, let’s see, I know there was a reason,
Ummm, yeah, let’s see I was thinking in my head…
I can’t remember. Shit! It’s all your fault!” Phone slammed.

John sighs, crosses back to his couch,
Shakes his head, mumbles something, then
Remembers that the White House is also in his Act,
All rooms bugged, machines recording all.
Loyalty’s made easier when
Backed up with a threat.

I’m going to read Orwell again, 1984, he thinks.
I love that part about using the book to recruit subversives,
Those reading it are targeted for capture, not killed
Held in Ministries of Truth, for re-education.
What a great idea, the government seducing traitors,
And Random House pays royalties, to boot!

He makes note to get that type of project started.
First, hire a shill to write the book, sell to a publisher..
Get money put behind PR, book tour, Oprah!
Bestseller window displays flash across his mind.
Write it, sell it, track it, list buyers in a database. If
Hitler'd had computers, he’d never have burned the books.

Venus in transit

Slate's Chatterbox tells of his personal experience about watching the transit. I had a six-hour meeting ahead of me that day, so I slept in.

Monday, June 07, 2004

"Pentagon Report Set Framework for Use of Torture"

A comment received by Brad DeLong on the WSJ article on the importance of the Geneva Conventions and similar protections:

Here is a joke that may make you think again (it's a well-known joke that people who has lived under dictatorship appreciate):

A zebra saw a fox that was running like mad in the forecast. The zebra ran after the fox and asked why he was running like that. The fox shouted, without stopping, "Didn't you hear? The king of the forecast has given an order that all rabbits will be spayed!" The zebra was confused, "but why are you running? you are surely not a rabbit." The fox was running even faster and the zebra barely caught his answer: "by the time they figured that out, it would be too late!!"

Posted by pat at June 7, 2004 12:49 PM


Here is a guide to the Geneva Conventions.
UPDATE: You can read the Pentagon report here.

UPDATE: Aunt Nina did a great job on the Ashcroft testimony yesterday.

Iraqis Paying 5 Cents a Gallon for Gas

AP reports that

Although Iraq is a major petroleum producer, the country has little capacity to refine its own gasoline. So the U.S. government pays about $1.50 a gallon to buy fuel in neighboring countries and deliver it to Iraqi stations. A three-month supply costs American taxpayers more than $500 million, not including the cost of military escorts to fend off attacks by Iraqi insurgents.
Finally, we've found a market for those old, fuel guzzling SUVs!

A great Republican president lies in state



(Do take a look at the Celebrity Morgue website. Great pictures and information.)

On Reagan's Legacy

Put down the newspapers. Turn off CNN and Fox.

Read Meteor Blades's column on the left's falling over itself to find nice things to say..
Then read Juan Cole's column on Reagan as a foreign leader.
Finally, read David Corn's list of 66 things about Ronald Reagan.
UPDATE.Max of MaxSpeak.org points to a cartoon summarizing Ronald Reagan and why he was loved.


Recalling Reagan: NPR needs to get its stories straight

Cokie Roberts and Nina Tottenberg needed to share notes before discussing the Reagan years on Morning Edition. Aunt Cokie: Reagan's GOP Congress made tax cuts possible. Nina: Democratic Senate made Reagan judicial appointments (including Robert Bork) impossible. Flip a coin.

==============================

By the way, Aunt Cokie sounded like she too had been travelling the highway to Big Sur this morning. Nothing like asking her to reflect: It makes me realize that the mirror is losing its luster.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Return with me to Iran-Contra....

A letter appeared in the May 24th edition of the Rocky Mountain News from a Mr. Don Secord Jr. of Highlands Ranch, Colorado. I reprint it because every word is heart-felt. It seems that Mr. Secord is outraged that the Middle East isn't apologizing enough to the good ol' US of A:

Americans would like apology for atrocities

I am absolutely outraged at the never-ending talk about the apology the Iraqi people are due because a small number of Iraqi prisoners were forced to be hooded and naked in the presence of women and other men.

Where's our apology from the Iraqis who murdered, desecrated, burned and hung lifeless American bodies from a bridge while chanting anti-American slogans?

I will never forget the horrific images of dead Americans who were in that country to help rebuild their infrastructure.

Maybe we have all forgotten that 3,000 innocent lives were lost on 9/11.

Where's our apology? I'll bet every family who lost a loved one on that tragic day would trade a day of humiliation for the life of their lost son, daughter, mother, father, brother or sister in a second! I realize that the Iraqi culture finds public nudity offensive. Our culture finds the mass murder of innocents offensive as well. Where's our apology for that atrocity?

Don Secord Jr.
Highlands Ranch


Just when I thought that Don Secord was a name resigned to history, W. hires Don's former Iran-Contra attorney and his son (?) does everything in his power to ensure the U.S. gets what's coming to us.

And to Mr. Secord, if it makes you feel any better,

I'm very sorry for you.

The Reagan Election of 1980: Personal recollections

How I miss the campaign of 1980, my last summer in Bloomington, Indiana. So many wonderful memories, at least until the end:

In the spring, my buddy Dave and I concluded that Reagan might just be a player at the GOP convention. We decided to take a chance and booked one of the few copies of "Bedtime for Bonzo". We would show it at the Indiana University auditorium in late July/early August as the biggest fundraiser ever for the Bloomington Film Society. The other members of the Film Society, the type of campus film group that shows obscure foreign language flicks to 30 people in dingy basements, were horrified. They accused us, much like Jack's mother, of throwing away the family fortune on a whim. Then Reagan's popularity soared, Dave and I appeared on local radio (wearing Dick Nixon and gorilla masks) to plug the event, and we had ourselves a goose that could lay golden eggs. In fact, we made enough money from the event to keep the Film Society in Goddard and Kurosawa for another 5 years!

Early that summer the Reagan campaign sent me a request for money, promising me a picture of the Gipper himself if I contributed. So I scooped 6 dollars worth of pennies into the stamped envelope, sealed it with duct tape and returned it to Reagan headquarters. I got my picture (fake autograph) and a stream of GOP mailings that lasted almost under Bush 41.

Sometime that summer, I read about the "Reagan for Shah"campaign. I contacted the folks in San Francisco and became the unoffical Indiana coordinator. Hoosiers just didn't get the humor....

Then, on the first Tuesday in November, I and 6 others in my precinct voted for John Anderson.

And on the first Wednesday in November, I vowed that I would not acknowledge the 1980 presidential election. And I didn't...for quite a years.

Those were the days!

It's Sunday! Time for a sermon



Thank you, General Christian.

Truth in op-eds

Bruce Bartlett's LA Times op-ed piece titled "Is the GOP Well Dry for 2008?
No heir to Bush is in sight for the next go-round."
should really be titled:

Kerry last best GOP hope for stopping Hillary in 2008


Meme, meme, meme, meme, meme....

Saturday, June 05, 2004

John Dean on Bush's hiring an attorney

John Dean argues that the President's decision to hire a private attorney to advise him in the Plame investigation is a serious matter

It is possible that Bush is consulting Sharp only out of an excess of caution - despite the fact that he knows nothing of the leak, or of any possible coverup of the leak. But that's not likely.

On this subject, I spoke with an experienced former federal prosecutor who works in Washington, specializing in white collar criminal defense (but who does not know Sharp). That attorney told me that he is baffled by Bush's move - unless Bush has knowledge of the leak. "It would not seem that the President needs to consult personal counsel, thereby preserving the attorney-client privilege, if he has no knowledge about the leak," he told me.
I agree with Mr. Dean that it's getting very interesting.

P.S. At least three times I've heard Tim Russert state that NBC is fighting his subpoena. Dean notes that
The Fitzgerald investigation has not made friends with the Washington press corps, many of whom are being subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. Those journalists with whom I have spoken say they are not willing appeared before any grand jury to reveal their sources. So this issue is headed toward a showdown. And under existing law, a journalist cannot refuse to provide information to a grand jury.
Is Russert upset because the investigators don't honor who he is or because he doesn't want to talk?

Friday, June 04, 2004

The dog ate my Taguba report

Years ago, when I made copies of classified reports, I remember having to follow rules to ensure that all pages were accounted for and controlled. Apparently recent paperwork reduction rules have relieved the handlers of the Taguba report from those onerous rules.

The graduation address you don't want your children to hear

"In these times" offers remarks from 81-year-old Kurt Vonnegut on the state of the world. It's not a pretty picture, but it's full of insights:

For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

===================


Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.

And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.

===================


Worth reading every word.

The Beast and Beauty

More interesting than the picture is the caption:

The House's newest member, Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.) at her mock
swear-in photo op
with House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) Thursday.
The heavily male blog population wants to know when is the "real photo op"? And how do we airbrush out Speaker Hastert?


BTW, Rep. Herseth got her seat on the House Agriculture Committee, so her incumbency will mean something come November.

"We seem to spend more time trying to destroy John Kerry than al Qaeda..."

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

U.S. occupation doesn't get it (chapter 89)

Steve Gilliard explains why Iraqi police walked off the job in Najaf:

The U.S. adviser said no sleeping arrangements had been made for the Iraqis, they had no personal gear for their duties or changes of clothes, and they were given military rations for meals that included pork. Muslims are forbidden to eat pork.

"They were not even given a mattress to sleep on," the adviser said. "The U.S. Army really dropped the ball here."

Steve gives them all the credit in the world for not overreacting to the insults:
No, they didn't desert. They walked off in protest, which beats killing their advisors and hanging them from street lamps, which is what happened in 1857, during the Sepoy Rebellion.
Wonder what ever happened to the concept of winning hearts and minds? Just asking.