Saturday, April 29, 2006
re the recent commitment of, first, ms rice and, now, mr bush to diplomacy to solve the iran nuke dispute: astounding, isn't it?
early in 2003 they spoke almost gloatingly of a "failure of diplomacy" to avoid war with iraq, as if diplomacy itself were an inadequately prepared student who deservedly flunked out.
a year later it was a "failure of intelligence." who could argue with that? nobody suggested failure of strategy, failure of policy, failure of understanding. those had to wait a few years.
but let's get back to diplomacy: US diplomacy has so far failed with north korea and not long ago failed with israel/palestine. so we have the iraq mess, korean a-bombs, hamas elected.
are we willing to gamble that they'll get it right this time? how much more bush diplomacy can we afford?
Thursday, April 27, 2006
da prez just can't let go of his latest realization , can he?
My job is to make decisions. And his job is to help explain those decisions to the press corps and the American people.the tongue keeps going back to the decayed tooth....
Friday, April 21, 2006
spotted this on national journal's hotline blog, so i tried to post a link to my post on tom davis.
it got denied. disallowed. censored out.
here's email i sent:
"Your comment was denied for questionable content."
what's THAT about? this was the comment:
something of interest perhaps?
what's "questionable" about it? the reference to putting his foot in his mouth?
you guys ought to review your censorship program.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
yeah, thanx to our drug war!
Wash Times: Pentagon Quietly Beefs Up Military Forces in Asia
to build trade with china? great....
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Friday, April 14, 2006
workers who lost those jobs had limited choices: stay unemployed, get service-sector jobs (which are generally lower-paying), become criminals. (all 3 share one characteristic: loss of self-esteem.)
one job whose availability grew was guarding those who turned to crime and got caught. the number of prisoners grew faster than population. so did the number of prisons.
so it's not impossible to stay out of trouble: just trade in your apron for a badge.
near the start he listed terrorist attacks on american targets from 1983 thru 2000 and said that only after 9/11 did americans realize they were making war on us—apparently only because g w bush made the "hard choice" of telling us so, because he took the "long view."
in actual fact, folk who pay attention to world events already knew terrorists considered themselves to be at war with us. the issue was whether we should deal with it as war or crime.
prior administrations took into account that terrorists like to think of themselves as warriors and to project that image to their target audience. "warrior" is only a short step from "hero." to call it war is to elevate their status from criminals to warriors and thus—in a sense—legitimize their actions.
for that reason, earlier governments—both ours and other nations'—decided to follow the law enforcement model rather than the military model.
after 9/11, we needed to go all out against terrorists and bring them to justice, but "war on terror" should've been said metaphorically, like "war on crime" or "war on poverty."
later in the speech rove spoke of meeting with bernie kerik, who told him of videotapes he'd seen in baghdad documenting torture carried out by the ousted regime.
rove segued to "we mustn't wait for them to attack us again."
it was a complete non sequitur, but nobody seemed to notice.
i guess a lot of folk still haven't gotten past the osaddama bin laden hussein merger so successfully foisted on us 3 or 4 years ago, and rove knows it.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
according to gary hart, classifying one document costs $462.
that means it cost $7.2B in '04.
the 9/11 commission said excessive secrecy degraded info sharing and set the stage for 9/11.
now we have even more secrecy, and many wonder how much of it is for national security and how much is political, to cover bush's ass.
given the price, i should've said his gold-plated ass.
so a question comes to my mind: then why did they put that nutcase in power?
which leads me to wonder why we put our nutcase in power.
an inescapable answer: we can be fooled.
we need to face the fact that we've been fooled time and again during the past 5 years by power-hungry political strategists who know how to use our wants and fears and pride to make us vote their way, even tho they really don't know what they're doing other than to get elected.
so a question remains: will we get fooled again?
always make sure you pander to hoi polloi.
at wednesday's conference on gulf coast recovery nationally televised today on c-span2, house government reform committee chair tom davis (r-va), of the "class" of '94, wasted his first several minutes establishing audience rapport with an anecdote meant to show the superiority of instinct over intellect.
he spoke of his college classmate "moose mcgee," who never understood any lecture material but could always pick out a few key words that were enough to pass exams.
jumping 10 years of moose's anonymity, davis recalled speculation at a class reunion that moose was "probably driving a truck."
you could tell it wasn't part of his rehearsed speech, because davis' own (politically correct?) instincts suddenly kicked in with a lame ["not a bad job, but..."] attempt to recover the teamster vote.
better luck next time, tom. and remember, you can always say "pumping gas."
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
belief without blood only takes us so far.
—neil gaiman, american gods, p.339
you think human sacrifice ended?
gwb sacrificed 152 in texas to get to the white house. he sacrificed a couple thousand of ours and untold thousands of theirs to get reelected.
how many more will he kill to keep control of congress?
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
yesterday washington journal asked the audience to phone in "your message to your congress member."
i suppose because of the demonstrations and ongoing media attention, most callers talked about immigration. as you'd expect, responses included some near-hysterical xenophobic rants, but that's not what i'm writing about.
a large number of callers—perhaps a majority—said the law should be enforced.
but congress doesn't enforce laws, it makes laws. it's up to the executive branch to enforce them.
that may seem like a minor detail, but complexity comes from piling up small elements, and the immigration controversy is among the most complex issues around, which is a big part of the difficulty of dealing with it.
if americans don't even know which branch of government does what, how can we think clearly about solutions to national problems? one false assumption leads to another and another, and before you know it you're marching to war or committing genocide or both.
now, if i'd had time to think about it, i think i'd've told my congress rep to consider the possibility that the immigration laws are bad laws. after all, the estimate i've heard is that 2% of americans are criminals. that would be around 6M criminals. but twice that many folk are in the country illegally.
good laws just don't get broken by that many.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Friday, April 07, 2006
There is a difference between providing declassified information to the public when it's in the public interest and leaking classified information that involved sensitive national intelligence regarding our security.
—Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan
if that's the real reason for leaking the fact that joe wilson's wife's in the CIA, what took you so long to think it up?
Jury Decides Zacarias Moussaoui Eligible for Death Penalty—2%
Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) Announces Resignation—14%
Lewis Libby Says Pres. Bush Authorized Intelligence Leak—65%
Senate Leaders Announce Agreement on Immigration Bill—11%
House Votes to Limit Donations to 527s—1%
Rep. McKinney (D-GA) Apologizes on House Floor for Scuffle With Police Officer—3%
Total Votes: 1063
last night they reported on the recent study that shows post-op complications actually increase when surgical patients know folk are praying for them.
then they played footage of bush saying he knows a lot of folk pray for him.
then jon stewart said maybe that's why bush is doing so badly.
making that connection was nothing short of—like i said—brilliant!
boy, is that dumb!
and dumber: you've likely noticed you often can't read times articles without signing in, too.
the times undoubtedly gets fewer online readers and fewer links from blogs as a result of that policy.
don't they know they compete with the washington post, la times, &c?
i wonder how long it'll take them to notice they're getting less traffic.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Sen. Reid Says Pres. Bush Should "Come Clean" About CIA Leak
that'll be the day!
Pres. Bush Says He Won't Apologize for Surveillance Program
"pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."
DeLay Supporters Disrupt Event By Dem Candidate
can't let voters make an informed choice, after all.
DC Gov't To Fund Campaign For Statehood
i wrote about this issue not long ago.
Senate Leaders Announce Agreement on Immigration Bill
Senate Agreement Would Create Path to Citizenship
Republicans Work on Deal to Extend Tax Cuts on Investment Income
the poor get poorer BECAUSE the rich get richer.
Pres. Bush Admits Tactical Mistakes in Iraq
tactical? rice said it too, so it must be their new mantra. or maybe they just don't know the difference between tactics and strategy.
Bush Admin. $15B AIDS Plan Questioned (AP)
Pres. Bush Announces $92 Million in Aid to Prevent Africa Famine
Bush Admin. Proposes Burying More Nuclear Waste in Nevada
but we've got enough to last till doomsday. why save more?
German F.M. Urges Direct U.S., Iran Talks on Nuclear Dispute
W.H.: Iran's Military Moves Show How Regime is Isolating Itself
i posted a link to this same article in another publication the other day, but what the hell....
if they want to work here, they have to get minimum wage and pay social security taxes &c, so crack down on sweatshops and other substandard employers. make green cards easily available to anybody who can get a job.
and raise the minimum wage, so americans and immigrants can make a living at those jobs, and low-paid immigrants won't take jobs from citizens or pull wage rates down.
a new hair style does change one's appearance, but if you have one, it's not uppermost in your mind every minute.
so the cop can't be blamed for not recognizing the congresswoman, and she can't be blamed for overreacting when she got treated like a fare-beater.
as for the "assault": he grabbed her, and she hit him with her cell phone?! oh, my. what is this world coming to? that poor big strong man.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
polls 3 weeks ago are worth recalling.
not only did one poll have bush's approval down to 33%, but a majority (56%) said he was "out of touch." at his worst, reagan only got 47% out of touch.
one-word descriptions of bush turned negative 2 years ago. currently, negative words lead positive ones 48%-28%, which is the biggest negative plurality so far.
the word used most often was "incompetent." it consistently used to be "honest," which has slipped to 6th place, behind "good," "idiot," "liar," and "christian."
State Dept. Report: Human Rights & Democracy
Judge Oks Playing Sept. 11th Cockpit Tape to Moussaoui Jury
'cause it's sooo germane....
last week on fresh air, tom friedman said the iraqi "insurgency" is nihilistic: their only goal is to make us fail.
congrats, tom, on finally figuring it out.
if you'd been reading this blog 6 months ago, you'd've known it then.
and it's not nihilism. it's nationalism (which we call patriotism here).
He notes that Iraq "was the culmination of a 110-year period during which Americans overthrew fourteen governments that displeased them for various ideological, political, and economic reasons." Kinzer discusses the book with Terry Gross.
KWIATKOSKI: I’m actually - well, yes, I’m angry, as a normal citizen would be. I’m frustrated because the worst things that I thought might happen did happen, in terms of Iraq and the conduct of our foreign policy. In fact, right now we’re talking about doing something similar, I guess in some way, to Iran from our bases in Iraq, using that forward capability. so, it’s very concerning to me that I couldn’t stop anything, that whatever I did, the small amount that I did meant nothing. It really - truly I think that it did. It stopped nothing. I think the juggernaut is in full sail, and I’m not sure how it can be controlled, and that bothers me a great deal.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
in the mid-19th century, glacier national park had more than 150 glaciers.
now there are 34.
'Major melt' for Alpine glaciers
As Glaciers Melt and Oceans Rise, Earthlings Yawn and Consume
Iran Ready to Negotiate on Large-Scale Uranium Enrichment
UN Nuclear Inspectors to Visit Iran Friday
Pentagon Says Iran's Missile Claims May Be Exaggerated
Top Iranian General Claims Iran Can Defend Against Invasion
Top Iranian General Calls on Foreign Forces to Leave Iraq
well, that didn't take long.
no sooner does a former aide appear about to help prosecutors than tom delay announces he'll soon be past tense.
can't say i wouldn't rather see him whipped in november, but hey!—i'll take what i can get.
Monday, April 03, 2006
KWIATKOSKI: Well, I finally left in May - I’m sorry, in March of 2003, but it was in May of 2002 that I was moved from Sub-Saharan African Affairs into Near East-South Asia, and that’s really when my eyes began to be opened about how our policy towards invading, destroying and occupying Iraq, although I’m not sure if that’s the right order, but I began to be aware of something else that was going on, which was very, very different from what I had seen in the previous 19 years, and I think that’s really - you know, when you have a shock, when suddenly you have a veil pulled away and you see something - and it was inconsistent with my values as a military officer.
You know, we sort of noticed it pulled the Constitution. We have a sense that the people in the Pentagon will be very apolitical. Certainly, the political bosses reflect any administration, the administration that places them there, and that’s fine. But, I saw a type of politicization almost from the very first week in Near East-South Asia policy, which really violated the idea of an apolitical military. This was an agenda-setting organization, and the agenda was war. The agenda was an invasion of Iraq. I’m not sure the agenda was nation-building in Iraq. We did very little planning. There was very little that emanated from the Pentagon in any practical way that would have prepared us for what came after toppling Saddam Hussein. But, certainly the agenda amongst the political appointees there, almost a little nest of very ideologically motivated folks.
And neo-conservatism is a word that we’ve all come to know and not necessarily love, but neo-conservatism is a part of that. The neo-conservative agenda preceded George Bush’s presidency. Certainly the plans of it were envisioned by neo-conservatives for Iraq, had been talked about for many, many years, and these plans included his destruction and a changing of Iraq, a transformation somehow of that country.
USA Today: Fed. Spending Rises at Highest Rate Since FDR
Rep. McKinney Case Goes to Federal Prosecutors Office
Gov't Report: Coast Guard, FBI Tension Threatens Terror Response
Iran Years Away From Nuclear Bomb, Hans Blix Says
AP: FEMA Review Cites Problems Identified Months Before Katrina
Jon on the Israeli elections:
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the election was it was the lowest election voter turnout ever -- a dismal... 63.2%. That's the lowest turnout they've ever had. You know what, we shouldn't be bringing democracy to the Middle East -- they should be bringing it to us.
From the Writers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
ALIENS VS. SENATORS
Think about Elian Gonzalez, and how easy that was. Now, times that by 11 million.
The Senate's preparing to debate a set of new immigration reforms, and the Republican Party seems to be tearing itself apart over the issue. The president has argued for a law that would allow immigrants to seek "guest worker" status, while Republicans in the house have pushed for a much tougher policy, passing a bill that includes a 700-mile fence along our border. Thus answering the question: how extreme do you have to get to be more conservative than George W. Bush?
This weekend 100,000 immigrant-rights advocates marched through downtown Los Angeles to protest this proposed federal immigration law. Taken together, it was the most walking ever done in Los Angeles.
RACE: THE AFROSPANICINDIOASIANIZATION OF AMERICA
On Wednesday, The Daily Show will air a half-hour special, "Race: The Afrospanicindioasianization of America." Correspondents Rob Corddry, John Hodgman and Demetri Martin will join host Jon Stewart in examining -- and completely solving -- such contemporary racial problems like bigotry and illegal immigration. It's one episode you'll want to watch in a melting pot.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Wash Post: Judge Criticizes Restructuring of Intel Network
Sen. Feingold Asks Ex-WH Counsel John Dean to Testify on Censure
John Dean Blasts Warrantless Eavesdropping (AP)
RICE NOTEBOOK: Condi Has a '60s Moment (AP)
Analysis: Immigration a Contentious Debate (AP)
McDermott: Taping Dispute Not Personal (AP)
Clark: US Needs New Plan in Terror War (AP)
Dems Offer National Security Strategy
New White House tactic: Let Bush Be Bush (Reuters)
Saturday, April 01, 2006
why? so da prez can save face. he's said he won't give amnesty, and he never backs down from a stated position. that would take maturity.
it's not really that unusual. face-saving has altered the course of history too many times to count. a number of wars began when leaders of small countries refused to submit to ultimata issued by far more powerful foes. think ww1. or think saddam hussein. conversely, diplomats have resolved many tense confrontations by finding language acceptable to all sides so leaders could change positions without losing face by admitting they'd changed.
that's how we get phrases like "the art of compromise."
so senators use a little creative hypocrisy so a president with a fragile ego can let needed workers stay here yet "stay the course" and not lose face by acting like a grown man.
think of them as enablers.