Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wherein Cheney gives Michael O'Hanlon & Ken Pollack the Judy Miller treatment

Think back to September 2002: the White House was cranking up the Mighty Wurlitzer, trying to pressure the US Congress to authorize the invasion of Iraq. Stories were planted, Condis were given their Sunday-morning-catwalk orders...and then there was Cheney.

Among the many lies uttered on the Sunday, September 8, 2002 edition of Meet the Press, this was a particularly blazen Royale-with-cheese:
MR. RUSSERT: Aluminum tubes.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Specifically aluminum tubes. There’s a story in The New York Times this morning-this is-I don’t-and I want to attribute The Times. I don’t want to talk about, obviously, specific intelligence sources, but it’s now public that, in fact, he has been seeking to acquire, and we have been able to intercept and prevent him from acquiring through this particular channel, the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge. And the centrifuge is required to take low-grade uranium and enhance it into highly enriched uranium, which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb. This is a technology he was working on back, say, before the Gulf War. And one of the reasons it’s of concern, Tim, is, you know, we know about a particular shipment. We’ve intercepted that. We don’t know what else-what other avenues he may be taking out there, what he may have already acquired. We do know he’s had four years without any inspections at all in Iraq to develop that capability.
Remember that? Yeah. That "story in the New York Times," that dastardly bastion of Commy journamalism, was penned by Judith Miller* ("U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts" By Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller, NY Times, Sept 8, 2002)

We all know what happened from there.

The big questions of the evening: do Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack know a good lawyer? Have they seen the aspens turn? I sure hope so, 'cause Dick Cheney done Judy'd them good tonight.

Here's Cheney on Larry King tonight:
KING: Will those "results" [of the surge/escalation in Iraq] be put in place in '09 when you leave?
CHENEY: I believe so....I think we're seeing already, from others, don't take it from me, look at a piece that appeared yesterday in the New York Times---not exactly a friendly publication---but a piece by Mr. O'Hanlon and Mr. Pollack on the situation in Iraq. They're just back from visiting over there, they both have been strong critics of the war both worked in the prior administration, but now saying that they think there's a possibility indeed that we can be successful....so we'll know a lot more in September when Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Crocker come back and report with the Congress and the President on the situation in Iraq and whether we're making progress.
Yeah, "don't take it from [him]"...take it from his liberal hawk friends, at least one of whom endorsed the invasion from the beginning (Ken Pollack, I'm lookin' at you!). Please. Pollack is just Tom Friedman with a better library card, IMHO: hand wringing about 'freedom's delicious, but they screwed it up!' is getting mighty old, my dears.

You can read the ridiculous "A War We Just Might Win" op-ed here, if you like.

I read it.

I do not like.

OTOH, can't wait to see Pollack in a really smart-bob & cat's eyes sunglasses.

*I realize Judy shared her by-line with the under-maligned Michael Gordon, but I just don't have any jokes about that feller. If you wannu pull every last hair outta yer head, watch/listen to Amy Goodman interview Gordon about his role in the NYT/WMD/Qaeda fiasco.

PS: The transcript of tonight's Larry King isn't "up" yet, so my version might have tpyos. Hey, you get what ya pay fer, eh?

Read on, MacDuff!

Monday, July 16, 2007

WOOF! if you hate Mitt Romney

I guess it was only a matter of time. "Dogs Against Romney" is a blog by & for dogs who stand in solidarity against GOP candidate, Mitt Romney. Why the canine uprising? Well, it all stems from their outrage at this charming little anecdote (Boston Globe profile, June 27, 2oo7):
The destination for this journey in the summer of 1983 was his parents' cottage on the Canadian shores of Lake Huron.
[...] Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack. He'd built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.
Then Romney put his boys on notice: He would be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it.
[...]As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ''Dad!'' he yelled. ''Gross!'' A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.
As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.
Nice, eh? You know, it's been almost three weeks since that article appeared, and I'm still shaking my head that his own son contributed that anecdote. I guess it was supposed to exemplify Mitt's "emotion-free crisis management." Romney, surprised at the ootrage expressed by animal rights groups and...well...just about everyone with blood in their veins, issued the following response:
sometimes when the stories come out in the media they don't quite get it accurate. The kennel that my family pet used to ride in is enclosed. It's not an open aired kennel. It's enclosed and there are air vents of course at the back. My family pet used to climb up there and lie down on his own. And we love our family pets. Have always loved our family pets. And have nothing but honor and pride in taking care of great dogs. We've had quite a few. (h/t to Ana Marie Cox)
I guess that's the kind of bloodless response you'd expect from the feller who promised to "double Guantanamo." Is it the cruelty? The cages? Should we check his house for dungeon gear?

{Aside: This is just a shot in the dark, but what do you want to bet that Romney goes out of his way to avoid "free range" eggs?}

So, that's the background. Now get yourselves over to "Dogs against Romney" and pledge your solidarity (er...your dog's solidarity) to the cause. Once there, you will meet Rusty, the founder:
Hi, I'm Rusty. I am afraid of high speeds. In fact, high speeds scare the crap out of me. My owner is helping me get the word out against Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is mean to dogs. He scares us.
On behalf of my fambly dog, Ted: Go, Rusty, Go! Puppies of the world, unite!

Read on, MacDuff!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Graham & McCain: The couple that plays together, stays together

Let's face it: long-term relationships can be tough. Even the happiest couples will tell you that it's important to make that extra effort to spend time together, away from the demands of work or kids, or...uh... Immigration Reform legislation?

But Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain weren't in your garden-variety rut. A dinner & a movie just weren't enough to silence the din of right-wing xenophobes ("Graham-nesty!" "John McCave!"). No, sir. These gents needed some good, solid, quality time.

So, it was thus that the gentlemembers headed East. Way, waaaaaay out East.

The Senators went back to Baghdad.

Now, now...I know what you're thinking: Lindsey "five rugs for five bucks" Graham was just looking for an excuse to scout some more bargains. Tut, tut, tut...how can you be so cynical?

No. The good Senators were fulfilling their obligation to check-up on the progress of "Surge '07: Taste it Again, For the First Time(TM)." Here is an excerpt from Graham's Surge '07 postcard:
"The military part of the surge is working beyond my expectations," Graham said. "We literally have the enemy on the run. The Sunni part of Iraq has really rejected al Qaida all over the country. We're getting more information about al Qaida operations than we've ever received."
But don't let the platitudes and oversimplifications stop there, Sen. Graham. Why don't you tell us about your day-trips? You know...something akin to your peaceful trip to the Baghdad market, back in April? Something to quell the nattering nabobs of negativism?
Graham and McCain ate lunch in Ramadi, a former terrorist stronghold 100 miles west of Baghdad that two U.S. senators couldn't have visited six months ago, Graham said.
A-HA! I knew it. Better file that last review for use in the next "Let's Go Iraq!" travel guide. You see, dear? I don't know why we keep thinking "Niagara-on-the-Lake," when Ramadi's just staring us in the face, clear as day. Shaw Festival, Schmaw Festival.

But...even the most prudent couple can't plan for every contingency. No, I'm not talking about the hundreds of exploding bodies (what? You don't have those where you live?); I'm talking about John McCain's imploding presidential campaign. You see, while Lindsey & John were clinking glasses in Ramadi, Congressman Ron Paul was inching into 3rd place among GOP candidates, in terms of cash-on-hand.

It was under this particular cloud of bad news, that we received our second dispatch from the happy couple. Before they packed their bags for the return trip home, John & Lindsey were invited to deliver the keynote speeches at a massive 4th of July re-enlistment ceremony, held at Camp Victory (near Baghdad airport). Over 500 servicemembers re-enlisted that day. 160 became US citizens.
“We have incurred a debt today that we can never repay in full,” McCain said. “What you have done for us, we can never do for you.”
The war “has divided the American people,” but it has not diminished “America’s admiration for you,” he said.
*sniff* I'm sorry...I always cry at re-enlistment ceremonies. I just fall to pieces, y'know? If only President Bush could be here. He loves a good ceremony...
A videotaped message from Bush called the day “a defining event” for those soldiers who’d just become U.S. citizens. “Today,” Bush noted, “the United States is not only your home; it is your country.”

Bush’s message was followed by country singer Lee Greenwood’s classic song “Proud to be an American,” which became famous in 1991, during the first Iraq war.
Oh noes! Not Greenwood. Don't lay that on me, babydoll: you know that's our song. Don't you remember, just after 911 when we were wondering what we'd do, and how we ached for a guy who'd never worn the uniform to fuckin' tell us what to do? No, no, not that guy...this guy:
And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
And I surely stand UP!
Next to you and defend her still today....

I'm sorry, it's just too much to take...the President who never sacrificed, won't even give the soldiers the steam off his piss, sends a videotaped message which concludes with schlocky jingoism sung by another guy who trucks in empty patriotism. All whilst Sen. John McCain--the fucking VETERAN stands by and watches his remaining credibility float away like so much dandelion snow. I just can't take it. It's too much.

And what of the re-upped soldiers?
When Sgts. Jason Mawhorr and Yelixa Mawhorr first deployed to Iraq in March, they didn’t think they would be seeing much of each other.
So when the opportunity came for husband and wife, both soldiers with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, to re-enlist together, they jumped at the chance.
The couple, who have two children at home with Yelixa’s mother, both re-enlisted for six more years in the Army; it was another milestone, they said, in what they both hope will be long and successful careers in uniform.
The fact that the ceremony took place on July 4, exactly 4½ years to the date when they met at Fort Hood, Texas, also made the day a special one, said Yelixa, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
“We believe that the family who re-enlists together stays together,” she said.
It's enough to break your heart, it is.

Read on, MacDuff!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

It's just you & me against the world, baby!

Hiya sportsfans. Tonight I am offering my belated contribution to the July 4th edition of the 'Blog against Theocracy' blogswarm. I figured I'd go with 'religion and war' as my theme for the evening. You know: lighten things up a little.

Tonight's post follows a kind of Point/Counterpoint format, whereby I alternately quote the reasonable and ...erm...extreme or fundamentalist perspective on matters of religion and war.

We begin with former war correspondent Chris Hedges and his recounting of the Balkan wars and proceed from there...
What happened in the former Yugoslavia, and what happens in all fratricides, is what Freud calls the "narcissism of minor difference," where you seize on absurd differences -- you know, dialectic differences. And, of course, religion becomes the way by which you differentiate yourself from the other, and you suddenly say, "Serbs, or Muslims -- these are not characteristics that they have; these are vices and we can never deal with these vices until we purge them from our society." They don't commit crimes; they have things inherently built into their character. I mean, it's very much like anti-Semitism. And the only way to get rid of it is to eradicate it, because to be a Jew, to be a Serb, to be a Muslim is to have these qualities that destroy our civilization, and we must, therefore, destroy them.

Once you get into that situation, which the worst kind of [situation that] religion can back up, then you move very swiftly from the language of violence, the language of dehumanization of the other, toward the actual destruction of the other. We turn them into an object linguistically, and then we turn them into an object quite literally -- a corpse.
Fundamentalism lends itself completely to war, because it has a dichotomy between "us" and "them." There is a notion that the only way to salvation is through whatever religion we happen to be, and in the fervor of that kind of fundamentalism, we refuse to acknowledge that salvation is possible through any other route. In a time of national distress, people always look for those who promise what appear to be black-and-white answers, or clear-cut solutions to the confusion around them.
--Chris Hedges, author, Harvard Divinity School Alum, and Fmr. war correspondent (speaking to PBS Religion & Ethics Jan 31, 2003)
And see what happens is, with social conservatives or especially evangelicals, they look in—look at the world with biblical absolutes, you know, right and wrong. And Giuliani does that. I mean, he is very much a black and white type of guy. Evangelicals, for the most part, like that, and I think that plays well on the stump.
--David Brody, correspondent for The Christian Broadcasting Network (speaking to Tim Russert, Meet The Press, NBC, July 1, 2007)
Judaism has always had within it two competing strands, one that affirmed the possibility of healing the world and transcending its violence and cruelty, the other that saw "the Other" (be that the original inhabitants of the land, who were to be subject to genocidal extermination, or later Greeks, Romans, Christians, or now Arab) as inherently evil, beyond redemption, and hence deserving of cruelty and violence.
--Rabbi Michael Lerner, "A Jewish Renewal Understanding of the State of Israel," Tikkun Magazine
Speaking to Israel Radio, [Israeli Min. Strategic Threats Avigdor Lieberman] said he believes the Palestinians are not interested in setting up their own state, but rather in destroying Israel. He said Israel must abandon past interim peace deals, known as the Oslo accords, and the road map.
"They ... have to disappear, to go to paradise, all of them, and there can't be any compromise," [...] "There is no point in new peace initiatives, and those who initiate them are irresponsible and unwise,"

According to Lieberman, the Palestinians do not truly desire a country, but instead "work in the service of international Jihad," and called for Israel to target the upper echelons of Hamas.

"There is no point in striking refugee camps and Palestinians who have nothing to lose," Lieberman said. "Instead, we should strike the entire Hamas leadership roaming free in Gaza."
he said.
--Haaretz.com, "Lieberman: Israel must retake control of Gaza-Egypt border," Nov. 18, 2006
IMAM ZAID SHAKIR: I hope you air this segment. I condemn all of the lunatics that are killing innocent people, be they in pizza houses in Tel Aviv, be they innocent Muslims, Christians or others being slaughtered senselessly in Iraq as strongly as I condemn people getting in the planes flying halfway around the world to bomb innocent people into oblivion for no crime that those people have committed. I condemn all of it.
BILL MOYERS: Everything you say suggests that you do not feel your faith is incompatible with American democracy.
IMAM ZAID SHAKIR: I wouldn't be here.
IMAM ZAID SHAKIR: Well if I felt that my faith, and I'm a Muslim-- a practicing Muslim, is incompatible, with American democracy, why would I stay here? Because, essentially, I'd be saying, "I can not practice my faith here." That's not the question. That's not the case.
--Imam Zaid Shakir, speaking to Bill Moyers, June 22, 2007
In a televised debate on CNN, Falwell said President Bush should "blow them (the terrorists) all away in the name of the Lord."
Falwell's comment came on "CNN Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer" in a debate with Baptist minister Jesse Jackson, who called the Iraq war "a misadventure" that isolated the United States politically and cost the country lives, money and "our character."

Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchnurg, Va., responded: "I'd rather be killing them over there than fighting them over here, Jesse. And I think you would. ..."

"Let's stop the killing and choose peace," Jackson responded. "Let's choose negotiation over confrontation."

"Well, I'm for that too," Falwell added. "But you've got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops. And I'm for the president to chase them all over the world. If it takes 10 years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord."
--"Call to kill terrorists 'in the name of the Lord' sparks outcry," The Baptist Standard, May 11, 2004

Ok, I think we've seen just about enough. Enough to know that we don't want this kind of life for ourselves: not for Canada. That said, if you think we don't have any Falwells or Liebermans or Giulianis here, then go back and read Marci McDonald's chilling piece in last fall's Walrus magazine. It's enough to put you off your tea.

And yet this stuff is still very much on the D.L. here, in the Great White North. It has to be kept under wraps, lest it scare the ever-lovin' crap out of us. There was a time when this was still true in the great ol' U.S.of A., but no longer. Remember David Brody, from earlier in this post? Well, I left a little something out. It was kind of important, so I would feel badly if I kept it from y'all:
MS. WOODRUFF [Judy Woodruff, PBS Newshour]: I come back to Giuliani, Tim, and, and, and yes, he’s doing well in the national polls. Yes, he’s got the endorsement of Pat Robertson, and he answered your interview, David [Brody], the way he did. But when, when people as prominent as Richard Land, the head of the—one of the, one of the parts of the Southern Baptist Convention, you have Reverend Dobson, James Dobson, saying they wouldn’t support Rudy Giuliani under any circumstances, it makes you wonder where he’s going to be when...

MR. BRODY [David Brody, Christian Broadcasting Network]: Well...

MS. WOODRUFF: ...you get into these Republican contests.

MR. RUSSERT [Tim Russert, Meet the Press]: And yet Pat Robertson embraced him.

MR. BRODY: Well, and what, what you have here, exactly, is the conservative grassroots—there’s an underlying layer here and you have conservative grassroots activists who are ready to take him down. And they want to take him down. And then you translate that into some prominent national evangelical leaders, who will go unnamed at this point, but eventually will come out against Giuliani, mobilize the forces, and then we’ll have to see how he stands up to that.
Yes, that's right: they're mobilizing their forces. The troops are amassing. You'd better get busy, Gen. Rudy, 'cause there's a long road ahead.

Shall we take your God or mine?

{Unofficial animated video for Depeche Mode's "John the Revelator;" contributed to YouTube by "ViolatoroftheRegime"}

Read on, MacDuff!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Canada: come for the Barenaked Ladies, stay for the Bubbles

Happy Canada Day, everybody! I'm just sitting here in my 8th floor apartment, taking in the fireworks.

I don't think a day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars that I'm Canadian. It's a great place to hang one's hat, you know?

I searched high & low for a good chunk of YouTube Canadiana. I think I've found it--and with only 2 minutes left of Canada Day! Ladies & Gentlemen, Mesdames et Messieurs! I ask you: could you ask for more contemporary CPS (Canadiana per second)?

Gotta love it, eh?

{ Mountie Bear courtesy of Wendy at kidsturncentral.com }

Read on, MacDuff!