Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Homeland Security's Casualties

Your Patriot Act at work.
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Twenty Things We Now Know Four Years After 9/11

Bernie Weiner puts it all together from 9/11, through the Downing St. Minutes and down to the related crimes of the Bush White House. Just read it all, but here's one really important and I think neglected point that needs to addressed very soon.


We know that America's voting-machine system -- and more importantly, vote-counting system -- is corruptible and likely has been corrupted. Sophisticated statistical analysis along with wide-scale exit-polling, suggests strongly that the 2004 election results were fiddled with by the private companies that tally the votes. These companies are owned by far-right Republican supporters. But the same objection would be lodged if Democrats owned the companies. There are no good reasons to "outsource" vote-counting to private corporations -- who refuse to permit inspection of their proprietary software, and whose technicians have behaved suspiciously on election nights in 2000 in Florida, in 2002 in Georgia, and in Ohio and Florida in 2004. And we haven't even mentioned the GOP dirty-tricks department whose function has been, by hook or by crook, to lower the number of potential Democrat voters, especially minority voters. Note: Unless the vote-counting system can be changed soon -- and the vote-tallying scandal will not be adequately dealt with by voter-verified receipts -- the integrity of our elections will be suspect into the far future. Even if all the other reforms were implemented, they would mean nothing without the guarantee of honest elections.

The midterms are soon upon us. It would be good to start focusing on verified voting. I would bet a strong movement to verified ballots would temper a lot of the GOP arrogance. I'm convinced the most egregious extremists are thinking they can buy the private companies who tally the votes, off.
Don't believe what anybody tells you otherwise. It's possible to hack an electronic vote.
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Bush views devastation from on high

That's your president in this picture folks, who bravely descended to 1,700 feet in order to view the damage to the "little people" in New Orleans from a couch inside Air Force One. "It's totally wiped out," he told aides at one point during the hastily-arranged inspection flight.

Bush might visit the area later in the week. They're saying it's because he doesn't want his posse to disrupt the rescue efforts. Right. More likely, it's why bother when the people affected won't contribute to his war chest. This isn't Florida with thousands of well to do retirees. The majority of the victims here, will be those who were too poor to flee the city.
"This is a major catastrophe," [White House Spokesman Scott] McClellan said earlier. "We are certainly going to do everything from the standpoint of the federal government to make sure the needs are met. This is a time when all Americans need to come together and do all we can to support those in the Gulf state region."
Hey I have an idea. How about we bring home the thousands of American Guardsmen who were trained to handle these domestic disasters. That's what they signed up for when they enlisted, not to provide target practice for terrorists in some sandpit in Iraq.
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The war on science takes its toll on women

The White House war on science took another victim today as highly regarded scientist and Associate Commissioner of the FDA resigned in protest of the administration's interference in scientifically based legislation, in favor of politically driven appeasements to the "holier than thou" crowd.
Susan Wood charged that FDA's leader overruled his own scientists' determination that the morning-after pill could safely be sold without a prescription, and stunned his employees last week by instead postponing indefinitely a decision on whether to let that happen.

"There's fairly widespread concern about FDA's credibility" among agency veterans as a result, Wood told The Associated Press hours after submitting her resignation Wednesday.

"I have spent the last 15 years working to ensure that science informs good health-policy decisions," Wood, director of FDA's Office of Women's Health, wrote in an e-mail about her departure to agency colleagues. "I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended by the professional staff here, has been overruled."

It was an unprecedented public show of discord for the FDA, and prompted lawmakers to call for congressional hearings into whether the nation's leading public health agency allowed politics to trump science.
Long overdue I might add. The FDA brass, as most recently demonstrated by the Vioxx scandal, has been bought off by the pharma corps for too long. It's being run by managers handpicked by the White House. It's about time for the electorate to hold them accountable for their decisions.
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Hurricane Katrina

Thanks to Jules Siegel for the link to this site containing the most comprehensive news and best photos I've seen of this tragedy.

And what's our president doing while New Orleans drowns in slow motion because of federal funding that was diverted from flood control projects to the occupation of Iraq? Why strumming on his new guitar of course, and singing Fee-Fi Fiddley eye-yo, I won't think about that today. I'll think about that tomorrow.
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If it keeps on raining, levee's going to break

The Bush bloggers are lamely trying to spin this as the left blaming Bush for the hurricane. But while nobody's blaming Bush for the weather, it's clear the blood of the victims in New Orleans are on his hands. AttyTood has the best post on the subject I've seen so far.

It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.

-- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.
The Senate was seeking to restore some of the SELA funding cuts for 2006. But now it's too late. One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer was a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach. The levee failure appears to be causing a human tragedy of epic proportions.

Washington knew that this day could come at any time, and it knew the things that needed to be done to protect the citizens of New Orleans. But in the tradition of the riverboat gambler, the Bush administration decided to roll the dice on its fool's errand in Iraq, and on a tax cut that mainly benefitted the rich.

And now Bush has lost that gamble, big time. We hope that Congress will investigate what went wrong here.

The president told us that we needed to fight in Iraq to save lives here at home, and yet -- after moving billions of domestic dollars to the Persian Gulf -- there are bodies floating through the streets of Louisiana. What does George W. Bush have to say for himself now?
I figure he'll try to blame it on 9/11.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Media Bytes

I didn't see the first one that caused all the flap, but here's NARAL's new ad. It looks pretty good to me.

An openly gay candidate for Manhattan borough president has a kickass campaign ad. Go Brian Ellner.

[hat tip to Avedon Carol]
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Where do we go from here?

There's a lot of blogviating on both sides of the fence over the future of the peace movement and the effect it might have on the disaster in Iraq. Frank Rich was such a disappointment that I'm not even going to link to him because Norman Solomon has the most cogent take on Liberals and Sheehan.

[hat tip to Avedon Carol]
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And the point was?

Bringing new meaning to the term ghoulish humor. I find it rather sick, even cruel and what on earth they were thinking enlisting a child into this hoax, I can't imagine.
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Technical changes

I've been overrun with spambot comments to the point where it was so irritating I was considering shutting down comments altogether. I couldn't figure out how to delete them with this platform, although I'm sure there must be a way, but the sheer number made that impractical.

However, thanks to No Blood for Hubris for pointing out that Blogger has installed a new comment filter to help deal with this plague. You now have to do the word verification thing to leave a comment, which is a bother I know, but I'm hoping it will eliminate the tiresome bots which should make it more pleasant to read them. I don't really get a lot of human spammers or trolls, so the people who do comment tend to be interesting, often more so than me.

And while I'm talking about No Blood for Hubris, let me offer an overdue thanks for the pithy comments you've been leaving over the last few weeks. I didn't realize you were a Baystater, or are you an ex-pat like myself?
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Blogged Elsewhere

If you don't read my Detroit News blog, I have a couple of posts there from yesterday that I don't feel like rewriting into fresh content because there's a lot new stuff I want to get to later tonight when I get home.

Not to be missed is Declan McCullagh's piece about the war on porn. He nails the underlying threat to free expression of all kinds that lurks within this administration's current preoccupation with indecency regulations. As with all culture wars, the right-wing extremists couch their concerns in terms of protecting the children. In truth the regulations already enacted don't protect children and have been used to suppress unpopular expression.

And if you needed any more proof that we are on the brink of the new police state, check out Raw Story's piece on the latest documents released by the ACLU. The FBI has been spying on various anti-war and other activist groups, after having designated them as domestic terrorists. Which of course means they can use their expanded Patriot Act powers to completely trample their civil rights and conduct what would otherwise be illegal surveillance without a specific court order.

Check it out, there's a long list of organizations that have been targeted, including Food not Bombs, which could not be more peaceful. Cripes, even today, their membership is kind of the last stronghold of the hippy-dippy types who always had a "acid grin" even though they never actually took any drugs.
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Monday, August 29, 2005

Quote of a Lifetime

I'd hoped I would live to see this day. First Rush loses his market in the Midwest and now this from the Arizona Sun.
Finally, we've decided that syndicated columnist Ann Coulter has worn out her welcome. Many readers find her shrill, bombastic and mean-spirited. And those are the words used by readers who identified themselves as conservatives.
The Coulter Culture crumbles. There is a God.

[via Buzz Flash]
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Bunny Greenhouse was robbed

I was wondering how the Bush bloggers were going to spin this one. James Joyner is as good as example as anyone and I suppose it should have been expected. He trots out the perennial excuse, well they were the only company big enough to handle the job and besides she embarrassed the miltary brass so she should have expected to be demoted.

He trots out Clinton of course, (I swear these people cannot put up a post defending White House malfeasance without mentioning Bill), but he fails to mention that even if the same level of fraud existed, they weren't contracted for anything as big as a prospective ten year occupation of a hostile country for those administrations, nor did they enjoy a policy "plan" that conveniently escalates the violence so they can easily hide their graft in "security costs." I would bet the volume of fraud in Iraq in the first year of the occupation cost the US taxpayer billions more than the total costs of the other two cited contracts combined.

And Cheney's having given up his presidency of Halliburton as some kind of exculpatory evidence is laughable. He already has more money than he can spend in a lifetime. He traded the cash for power, that he used in crafting the fleecing of Americans new energy bill for instance, and he'll be trading on that influence when he walks on down to K Street once he leaves office.
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Wake up Mitt

Guess Mitt Romney's trial balloons for a presidential run must have all popped. He makes the laughable prediction in today's Boston Globe that if he runs for re-election as governor of the Commonwealth, he would win by a landslide.

The only reason he squeaked out a bare win the first time is that the venerable Dem machine used up all its gas putting up that ineffectual whiner Shannon O'Brien as their candidate. He won in an environment where there were a legion of disgruntled party members who were cheated out of their best choice, Robert Reich, through their machinations at the primary stage.

I lived a quarter of a century in Massachusetts and believe me when I tell you, Baystaters rarely make the same mistake twice. Even Weld, who rode in on another dismal candidate choice by the Dems, had the good sense to quit while he was ahead.
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Quote of the day

From Listen up, you Christo-Fascist bullies by Phil Rockstroh at The Information Clearinghouse.
It's high time someone told you outright that you must be suffering from holy water on the brain, if you think we can't see you for what you are: a klavern of counterfeit prophets waxing psychotic for other cretinous hypocrites.

[hat tip to George Lessard]
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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Rove gone but not forgotten

I've seen a few rumblings around about remembering Rove, who does seem to have fallen off the radar in the last couple of weeks. But out of sight is not out of mind and with the results of the Plame investigation due in early fall, you can be sure we haven't heard the end of it. In fact, The Boston Globe has an editorial today reminding us why Rove is the still the likely suspect in Traitorgate.
SOME WHITE House sympathizers have attempted to portray Karl Rove's role in the Valerie Plame scandal as that of a statesman, seeking to provide President Bush with the best information possible on Saddam Hussein's nuclear ambitions so that Bush could set policy based on facts. This has been met with deserved skepticism. Rove's career, even before he became Bush's deputy chief of staff, is rich with reasons to think his motives in helping to identify Plame as a CIA agent were far darker.
He's the Master of Malevolence and of course, he's always got away scot free so far. But there's a first time for everything. Let's hope this time he pays the price.
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Freepers beat their own

One for the archives. Pictures of Bush supporters tearing up their own supporter's signs because they couldn't read them.
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Journalist down

This is disturbing.
PARIS, Aug 28 (Reuters) - More journalists have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003 than during the 20 years of conflict in Vietnam, media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Sunday.

Since U.S. forces and its allies launched their campaign in Iraq on March 20, 2003, 66 journalists and their assistants have been killed, RSF said.

The latest casualty was a Reuters Television soundman who was shot dead in Baghdad on Sunday while a cameraman with him was wounded and then detained by U.S. soldiers.
This compares to the 63 who died in Vietnam over 20 years and they had real field correspondent's back then, not embeds, not to mention the independent journalists who went out with no support whatsoever.

I find the Reuter's killing especially troublesome, in light of Reuter's recent demand for an investigation into the detention of another one of its cameramen. Odd coincidence don't you think?
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Leach crosses over to Downing Street

This is interesting. The first Republican has jumped on the Downing Street Minutes trolley. Rep. Jim Leach "signed on to House Resolution 375, demanding disclosure of administration documents related to what's known as the Downing Street memos." He joins Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who authored the bill and 39 Democratic co-sponsors in asking the administration to explain itself.

We'll be seeing more defections if Bush's negatives continue in the polls.
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Media and the new world order

Must read of last week is at The Smirking Chimp, who brings us Bush's war on information from the Axis of Logic. Read the whole thing but here's some pertinent quotes.
In all areas of American life, information is being manipulated to manage public perceptions. Most TV programming is intentionally designed to make sure that the public is removed from the economic and political facts that may either inform them of what is really going on, or inspire them to get directly involved in the process. The goal of media is to create a reliable base of consumers, not to cultivate informed citizens in a participatory democracy. Julius Caesar recommended "Bread and circuses" to keep the people amused and uninvolved. The American media has faithfully honored that counsel.

... This means that the internet, which is perhaps the last outpost of democracy in America today, is undoubtedly part of the broader government strategy for controlling information. The internet is seen as "command and control" for the disparate leftist and liberal groups that foment resistance against the political establishment. There should be back-up plans to protect this vital resource. The Bush administration has already demonstrated its penchant for toppling regimes through "decapitation" or removal of the leadership. As the nexus for leftist organization, the internet is a logical target for this type of government disruption. Any attack on the system would be catastrophic for the antiwar and anti-imperial movements as well as a serious body-blow to personal freedom.

Be forewarned.

Both free speech and its antecedent the truth are much greater threats to the state than any bomb-wielding revolutionary. In the new world order only the managers are entitled to the truth, not the managed. That way, the public can be moved sheep-like in the direction of government policy. This means that hard news on any topic is the implicit enemy of the political establishment. It is only by providing a constant stream of diversions and fear engendering alarms that the public can be kept in a persistent fog and deprived of the right to choose. Information is freedom; and that freedom is destined to become the province of the ruling class alone if the public fails to organize resistance.

The administration is "privatizing" information in the same way they have privatized all of the other tangible forms of wealth. The rest of us are left with the lies and distortions that course through the government's ideological-filter. This isn't a battle that can be won without a struggle. We believe that the truth is the birthright of every human being who will pursue it with an open heart and an inquiring mind. And, we will fight to preserve that right.
Where do I sign up?

Update: I've had to shut off comments on this post because of the #%*##! spam-bots.
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May I see your ID please

I wasn't going to blog about the latest inanity coming from the Intelligent Design crowd but the title of Pandagon's post on the lawsuit they're filing over the inability of their students to pass the entrance requirements to enter college is too delicious to pass up.

Jesse Taylor has the details in "From Heaven To Murgatroid". God, I've always loved that expression. Anybody know where Murgatroid actually is?
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Third parties - more is better

My DD has a really good post up on third parties and fusion voting. He makes some great points but I don't agree that continuing to consolidate government representation into only two parties accomplishes anything. It leaves the power concentrated in too few hands with no incentive to compromise for the overall public good. Everything becomes a power play where the prize becomes capturing and keeping control, rather than puzzling out public policy that works to advance common goals.

The old saw about power corrupting absolutely was invented for a reason and our current political system is a prime exemplar. The only way to break the Republicrat stranglehold on our government is to break up the monopoly they hold on the process. I can't think of a better way than to take an axe to their platforms and splinter their base by forming not just a third party, but a fourth and a fifth. It worked for Finland. It could work for us.

[Cross posted at Pennywit]
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Got my MoDo workin

Maureen Dowd in the NYT tells us the W has "jumped the couch." Really. He's starting to make Tom Cruise look like the soul of reason.

Mo takes us a link filled tour of the week's events, stopping by the Brown Nose barbecue at Prarie Chapel ranch held for the White House butt kissers of the laughably termed press corps and pops in on Gary Hart who is on futile quest to find courage at the DNC.

However, the important story this week is on the purging of respected statistician Lawrence Greenfeld, appointed by President Bush in 2001, for daring to use actual scientific methodology that revealed "black and Hispanic drivers were treated more aggressively by the police after traffic stops. The Justice Department study showed markedly higher rates of searches and use of force for black and Hispanic drivers, compared with white drivers."

Greenfield refused to delete the reference from a Bureau of Justice Statistics press release so he's out while the evil White House minion who demanded the damning information be suppressed, that being his supervisor, Tracy Henke, was rewarded for her loyalty to spin machine with a nomination for a senior post in the Homeland Security Department.

Brings new meaning to the term Bushwhacked.
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Say it's your birthday....

A belated happy birthday to the guy who for no apparent reason loves to hate me, Glenn Reynolds, who celebrated his yesterday. And hey, if this is really a picture of him, he appears to have a really nice ass. Who knew?

Since I didn't have time to buy him anything, and I know how much he loves a challenging point of view, I'm posting this link in honor of the occassion. Right-wing anti-war protestors.

I'm betting he won't send a thank you note.
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Old friends and new

Sad news. Steven Couch at BlueStateRed is hanging up his keyboard to pursue his law career. I think he means it and I know he has some compelling reasons but I think he will start up an anon-blog at some point down the line. At least his fans hope so.

Meanwhile, Rohit at Qatar Diary, who threatened to shut down his blog recently but didn't go through with it, has posted a really great photo blog of Qatar, including a pix of himself. Take heed girls (and boys too - he's bisexual). If you live in Qatar, or just planning a trip there - he's really cute, he's bored and he's available.
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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Incomprehensible quote of the day

This one comes from Bush blogger, The Anchoress, who quotes Patrick Hynes in the American Spectator.
The media doesn’t resent George W. Bush because he exercises too much or takes too many vacations. They resent him because he’s authentic when he should be artificial, reserved when he should be resplendent.
They need to start posting these things with a glossary for the right-spin impaired. Authentically what? Did they add "hide like a chickenhearted coward" to the meaning of reserved while I wasn't looking? And since when has our cock-a-whoop cowboy president shied from being resplendent?

And while I'm asking questions, let me repeat this one I asked in Detroit tonight. Am I the only one that notices when you ask a Bush supporter to clarify what his policies actually are, they inevitably answer by bringing up Clinton? Was Bill returned to office while I wasn't looking?
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Signs of the times

Agitprop notes, "You know things aren't going well in Iraq when they want Saddam back in power" and reminds us that "100,000 followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr rallied in eight cities yesterday to protest the 'American authored' Constitution." He's got the links and photos to prove it.
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Bolton does his dirty work

Bolton proposes 750 changes to a 36 page document, that effectively shreds the UN overhaul plan and changes its focus altogether away from world poverty.

The rest of the world is pissed. So am I.

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Need a new stud

Proof the Democrats have no balls. The party has become a emasculated shadow of it's former strength and glory. The beltway boys are all waiting around to see if the anti-war sentiment will stick, before they dare stand up and stand for something.

Their strategy is to not take any chances and just let Bush hang himself. Customarily a safe plan if all you care about is winning elections; but not one that speaks to a concern about the nation's well-being. And it's a tack that may well backfire this time. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's disgusted by this lack of leadership.

Outside of a brief stint as an Independent, I've been a registered Dem all my life. I don't know what I'm going to do in 06, but I'm clear that I will not vote for a Dem just to prevent another disaster. If they can't take charge now, I have no confidence they'll do any better at running the country than the current group of rogues.

If the Libertarians didn't insist on supporting unjust corporate trade practices, I would have given them my vote a long time ago. Nonetheless it seems to me to be a perfect time for some third parties to gain some steam. Gods knows I've never been more amenable to the idea.
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Bush off the deep end

What the MSM doesn't tell you. I almost missed this. It seems not all the vets at the VFW convention were totally supportive of Bush's latest pitch. In fact the reception was said to be damn chilly. CapitalHillBlue reports, "Applause during Bush's speech was both muted and scattered." Further, many vets in the audience sat silently, wearing cardboard "Bullsh*t Protectors" over their ears.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, our misleader-in-chief is reported to be losing his grip, subject to violent mood swings and terrifying staff with obscene tirades.
I’m not meeting again with that goddamned bitch,” Bush screamed at aides who suggested he meet again with Cindy Sheehan, the war-protesting mother whose son died in Iraq. “She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned!”

Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them “motherfucking traitors.” He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore “bullshit protectors” over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to “tell those VFW assholes that I’ll never speak to them again is they can’t keep their members under control.”
And this is what Bush thinks about public opinion.
“Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say,” he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. “I’m the President and I’ll do whatever I goddamned please. They don’t know shit.”
Now it's very easy for the Bush supporters who visit here to discount this source. But how are you going to sleep at night when it turns out to be true, knowing you helped make it happen?
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Hitchens holds down the fort

No wonder the Bush bloggers have such a hard time recognizing hard cold facts when they see them. The "we create our own reality" crowd has created an farcical alternative universe that more resembles a Fellini movie than real life.

Take for instance this little jutxaposition. On the day it was announced that the US released 1000 prisoners from Abu Ghraib, after holding them for months with no explanation and no charges, the switchover man, Christopher Hitchens, puts up a piece saying Iraq is a war to proud of - citing Abu Ghraib as a testimony to the great progress we've brought to the people.
He says, "Prison conditions at Abu Ghraib have improved markedly and dramatically since the arrival of Coalition troops in Baghdad."
Yeah, we improved things so much, the Pentagon is afraid to release the videos and photos for fear of spiking a new wave of retaliatory terrorist acts.

The disconnect defies comprehension. How low is Hitchens willing to sink to serve his new masters?
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Able to follow this Danger

I haven't followed the Able Danger story at all. So the 9/11 Commission was screwed up. Is that supposed to be a surprise? Didn't we already know their findings were suspect? No one has been allowed to do a full and through investigation of the 9/11 bombings.

I do like this angle though. They're attempting to discredit the contractor who came up with Atta's name by leaking the results of another investigation that he did on China that identified Condi Rice as a security threat to the US.

Hysterical, but personally I think it should give the contractor more credibility. Look at the body of her work for the government. It's a disaster. As far as I'm concerned, the woman is, and always been, a threat to our national security.
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Friday, August 26, 2005

Sailing the seven dead seas?

"It's been a slow-motion disaster," said Boris Worm, a professor at Canada's Dalhousie University, whose 2003 study found that 90 percent of the top predator fish have vanished from the oceans. "It's silent and invisible. People don't imagine this. It hasn't captured our imagination, like the rain forest."
This worries me. It will do us no good to save civil society, if we don't save the planet along with it.
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The real state of the economy

Must read of the day. I've been saying this all along but Mark Crispin Miller says it a whole lot better with What's really happening in America.

His books look interesting as well. I don't really know who he is but I'll be looking into him on my next work break.
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White House spin 101

It's been one of those days. Light blogging tonight but I have two posts up on the Bush bloggers that may be of interest to those of you who don't read all my blogs. Krugman's op-ed today provides some insight into the tactics of the Bush blogviators that I posted to DetNews.

Meanwhile, I received a glimpse into the past with a link sent to me by favorite right-wing nemesis, BatOne at Pennywit, that revealed Michelle Malkin was once a sane blogger, in sharp contrast to the vicious tripe she currently posts.
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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Santorum lies about White House support

This is funny. Santorum claims he's been critical of White House policy on Iraq in the past. He lied, but that's not the funny part; he always does that. This is:
Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's office acknowledged yesterday that it cannot locate public statements of the senator questioning the Iraq war, despite the senator's claim last week that he has publicly expressed his concerns.

But Santorum said that doesn't mean he hasn't made the comments.
It just means they haven't been able to come up with someone who will swear he said it out loud at the local Elks Club yet. Hilarious.
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Fox News hits new low

Unbelivable. Fox News gave the address of a home during a news broadcast saying a terrorist with ties to the London bombing lived there, in order to goad the police into taking action. They were completely wrong. The alleged terrorist moved out three years ago and an innocent family with three young children live there now. They have gone through hell since the irresponsible item was aired.
For the last 2 1/2 weeks, the lives of the couple and their three children have been plunged into an unsettling routine of drivers shouting profanities, stopping to photograph their house and — most recently — spray-painting a slogan on their property.

"I'm scared to go to work and leave my kids home. I call them every 30 minutes to make sure they're OK," Randy Vorick said.

In what Fox News officials concede was a mistake, John Loftus, a former U.S. prosecutor, gave out the address Aug. 7, saying it was the home of a Middle Eastern man, Iyad K. Hilal, who was the leader of a terrorist group with ties to those responsible for the July 7 bombings in London.

What the hell are they doing giving out that kind of information on television, even if it's correct? Shouldn't that be given to law enforcement? Fox concedes its mistake, "in a one-line statement to the Los Angeles Times and Loftus in an e-mail to the family — after being contacted by the newspaper. The Voricks say they have yet to see or hear a correction."
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I am not a liar

It's beyond pathetic. In the face of enormous public dissent, the White House's reply is to trot out the enormous litany of 9/11 lies, over and over again. It's like George told the farmers in upstate New York, "See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

Somebody should tell him that a lie repeated over and over can indeed become the truth, as we've seen happen so many times in this administration, but once exposed as a lie, it only becomes bigger every time that it's told. Actually, don't tell him. Let him find out for himself.

Am I the only one remembering Nixon saying, "I am not a crook."
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Stop-loss orders add to the death toll

The warbloggers in their desperation to discredit Cindy Sheehan and the resurrected peace movement that has coalesced around her vigil, often defensively tout the meme that these guys "volunteered" to be in the service. That's true for some and there are those that willingly re-up because they don't want to leave their buddies in a lurch, undermanned and underequipped in the hellhole of Iraq, which is more than can be said for our military brass and especially our president.

The armchair warriors, defending their positions from the safety of their homes, say all the troops are there by choice, but nothing could be further from the truth. The story of this soldier, one of many in similar situations, says it all. Mark Maida, had one month to go to fulfill his service contract when he was sent to Iraq. Under the stop-loss program his service was extended indefinitely, until his whole unit came home. Unfortunately he didn't make it home alive and the Army didn't have the decency or the ability to provide the family with details on his death or even the arrival of his body. They were given only a few hours notice on that. As his Dad said:
"They can take a $1 million missile and put it up some Iraqi's ass and they can't tell me what time my son's coming in?" Ray fumed. "This is why my son's dead, this total incompetence."
Indeed total incompetence hardly covers it - more like deliberate disregard for the human lives of our troops and the pain and suffering of the families of the dead. The Maidas only found out what happened to their son when the WaPo did a piece on his buddy - who talked about Mark's death. It's a compelling story. Read it in full and then tell me whether you believe supporting this "war" means the same as supporting the troops. Exactly opposite I would say.
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Cindy Sheehan -Day Eighteen

Cindy returns to Texas and finds some big changes at the camp in Crawford. Very moving post.
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Vets group sinks to the depths of hypocrisy

The American Legion has declared a war on war protestors. It seems they believe it's worth sending soldiers to die for "our freedom" but that doesn't include any American actually exercising their right to use these freedoms at home. However, Billmon catches them with their pants down in the public records. It appears they are only for wars the politicians they approve of engage in. They were singing a much different tune when Clinton was in Yugoslavia.

And they talk about the peace movement giving aid and comfort to the terrorists? If it's true, as they aver, that the terrorists are attacking us because they hate our freedom, then isn't this demand that we abridge Americans' First Amendments rights giving the terrorists exactly what they asked for? Maybe they should consider shutting up themselves.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Rocky Anderson - what's not to love

Well, I keep thinking of what I would I would have said, had he called for a pro-war demonstration, so I still can't condone what he did but I have to say, the more I learn about the mayor of Salt Lake City, the more I love the guy.
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Venezuela, Chavez and the future of the Democratic Party

I'm cruising around today and have a post on Venezuela at the DetNews that's worth reading if you don't know the background on the current politics there, in the context of the Chavez' latest press conference where he expresses a desire to bring cheap fuel to America's poor people. He and Castro alsojointly offered free health care and free training for doctors.

I'm also engaged in a debate at Pennywit in the comment section about the future of the Democratic Party and the transformation of Kos. At the moment I'm the first comment and the last at around eighteen.
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Rolling Stones are dead

Not really, but they might as well be as far as I'm concerned. Not wanting to offend the Ahnuld and his $100,000 box seat holders at the opening in Boston, they didn't do Sweet Neo-Con . However, they are leaving it on the album to maximize sales with the left.

Disgusting. Sweet Neo-Con is not a protest song, it's a love song to the right. F*uck em. I'm not buying the album. As Stewart Nusbaumer said, "How much money is enough?"

On a brighter note, Joan Baez, never one to sell out for money, gave a free concert at Camp Casey to welcome back Cindy Sheehan, who I understand is either there or enroute. It's nice to know there's still some people you count on and it's not over yet, even though the MSM has gone rabid on the peace movement.
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What happened to John Robert's affirmative action file?

The evidence proves Bush deliberately kept it from the public. And now it's lost. How convenient.

If they had nothing to hide....
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Not a war on the free press?

Yet another instance of the US "not" targeting journalists.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Reuters called on the U.S. military on Wednesday to explain the detention of an Iraqi journalist working for the agency, who has been held incommunicado for two weeks, or release him immediately.

U.S. military spokesmen have refused to say why they are holding Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani, a 36-year-old freelance cameraman and photographer who has worked for the international news organisation for a year in Ramadi, capital of Anbar region.

...An account from Mashhadani's family of his arrest on August 8 suggests that images found by U.S. Marines on his cameras during a general sweep in the neighbourhood prompted his detention.

Relatives said that Marines conducting a routine search of the house turned hostile after viewing images stored on Mashhadani's video and stills cameras and his desktop computer.

Reuters has provided the U.S. military with published work by Mashhadani that shows scenes of conflict and gunmen operating in plain view of civilians. Nothing in his work has indicated activity incompatible with his status as an independent journalist.

...Last year, three Iraqis working for Reuters were arrested after arriving swiftly in the area where a U.S. helicopter had been shot down near Falluja. The three, and another Iraqi working for U.S. television network NBC, said they were sexually and physically abused by U.S. soldiers for three days before they were released after pressure from the news organisations.

Reuters is still seeking access to the results of a military inquiry into that incident. A summary report exonerated the troops involved but the Iraqis themselves were never questioned by U.S. investigators.
A lot of people owe Eason Jordan an apology.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bush pitches war - America's not buying

The LAT has a strong editorial today noting the disconnect between the White House rhetoric and the reality on the ground in Iraq. The money graf.
But vague statements are not enough. As more Americans and Iraqis die, Washington and Baghdad need a plan to stem the chaos the U.S. unleashed with its invasion — a chaos that has given terrorists a new recruiting tool. Wishful thinking and stubborn optimism do not constitute a policy. The sooner realism prevails, complete with metrics for progress and consequences for those who fail to meet them, the better.
Really. He's still out there like some bizarre Willy Loman, trying to sell a war we're already in, instead of spending his time figuring out how to get us out of it. No wonder his numbers are tanking.
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All we are saying, is give peace a chance

Update on this story. While Bush preached the gospel of 9/11 to 6000 captive vets at the VFW convention in Salt Lake City, 2000 citizens assembled in a city park for a peace rally. MSNBC's Norah Callahan has taken to calling anti-war demonstrators extremists.

I hope she keeps doing it. I'm thinking this sort vile rhetoric will do what reasoned debate couldn't do, take down the vaunted right-wing noise machine. The movement grows daily. The people they're trying to vilify in order to discredit Cindy Sheehan are ordinary Americans who changed their minds about supporting the war, and may finally see through the vile smear tactics and realize that these right wing "pundits" have been lying to them all along.
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Proud to be partisan

I did a post on being partisan at the DetNews in response to a commenter. For those of you who don't want to click over, here's the money graf.
Is that partisan? You bet. So is promoting prohibition, or the war, or any idea. So what? The word is thrown around like an insult these days, particularly by conservatives against the liberals, when they can't come up with a factual counterargument. It's become little more than a polite way to say "moonbat." But being partisan is only wrong when you use power to advance your platform at the expense of the truth and of the common good. Last I looked, my side is not the one in power. My conscience is clear.
I mean really, what's wrong with fervently believing in a cause?
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Robertson calls for the head of Chavez

This will be the buzz today. Pat Robertson, head minister of the church of the misinformed, says the US should assassinate Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez before he does something drastic like disempower the oligarchy that had been robbing the country blind before Chavez was democratically elected. The depth of Robertson's ignorance on the matter is breath-taking.
ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.
Of course the truth is the US was covertly behind the failed coup and we had our guy there ready to take over when the people rebelled on the streets and saved Chavez' life by returning him to office. Not to mention Chavez didn't ruin the economy, the oligarchy did with their months long strike, the sole purpose of which was to disable the economy in order to create chaos and cause the poverty stricken segment of their society, (that being the 80% indigenous) to turn against their revered leader. It didn't work. Chavez stared them down.

This level of deceit would be disturbing enough if it was only coming from Robertson. However it appears to part of an organized effort by evangelical preachers to push the Bush party line and it's working to a great extent. This is where the Bush supporters are brainwashed into believing everything is just peachy in Iraq. According to a radio report I heard this morning, the regular churchgoers are most likely to be Republican and are the least concerned about casualties in Iraq. Further proof can found in interviews with the churchgoers, here.

With this many false prophets manipulating the minds of the poor and uneducated, one wonders how much longer we can hold the Armageddon off.

Update: His statements are even more astounding on tape. Video here.

Update: My former co-blogger in Detroit, John Needham checks in with a link to a great piece in the Chicago Trib byCharlie Madigan. I don't buy the whole analysis on Venezuela but he's right on with this:

Dear God, protect us from TV religious people who endorse assassinations of any kind, and watch over them that their mouths and their minds may be quieted so that your own order, "Thou shalt not kill," might somehow carry some weight amongst them and those who hear them.


And don't take a millennium to get it done this time around.

Thanks, God. As always, your humble Rambling Gleaner.

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Epilogue - Conservative Day

Before we get back to real posting, here's a couple more links to conservative day posts that came in late. Hughes for America did a fine job with his and also posts a well articulated non C-Day followup on the angry right.

I understand why the right must create these bugaboos. Without the "liberal media," why would they need the giant right-wing media apparatus they've erected? And without the "angry left," what would be the purpose of the right's response mechanism?

Here's the thing, angry right: You're in charge of everything. If something's fucked up, it's because you fucked it up, not because Michael Moore made a movie on it or MoveOn took out an ad about it. Half the time, we Democrats – at least the ones in congress – can't even mount a steady opposition. Yet we're the ones screwing up America? That's ludicrous.

But I guess I see their point. If my party were in charge and continually embarrassed themselves while destroying the nation, I'd be angry too.

Meanwhile Obsidian Wings did a great job of channeling Donald Luskin. For more conservative day fun and some really great blogs in their own voice, check out this list of players in yesterday's games.

Raznor's Rants
Infidels of Every Denomination
Dump Mike
Patridiot Watch
After School Snack
What the hell is wrong with you?
liberal pen pal
Science and Politics
Rox Populi
Hey Jenny Slater.
Obsidian Wings
The Winding Sheet
the fshk blog
Thou Shall Not Suck
Threat or Menace?
Political Strategy
Let's talk politics
The Third Estate
Arbusto de Mendacity
The Blog of the Moderate Left
Asian Security Review
Preemptive Karma
Ariadne's Labyrinth
Egotistical Whining
Rhretorically Speaking
Democratic Veteran
Adam Jacob Muller
The Impolitic
Loaded Mouth
Cinematic Rain
Sadly, No!
Sisyphus Shrugged
Proof Through the Night
John M. Burt
Ex Cathedra
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Monday, August 22, 2005

Blog like a conservative day

For regular readers who wonder whether they had landed in the twilight zone or whether I had developed multiple personalities overnight - not to worry. I joined in a sort of protest blog swarm today. We all blogged in a conservative's style and then linked with each other. I had way too much fun with it. It's so easy to blog when you're just pushing partisan points instead of trying to put up reasoned analysis on the facts.

It was wonderfully cathartic. A perfect outlet for pent up outrage over years of unfair criticism. I may do it again on my own once in a while, when I run across a particularly egregious post.

Anyway how do you think I did and can you guess who I was channeling? I'll give you a hint. This first one is a person I only did once. On the rest of the posts above it, I took the easy way out. They're all nationally known bloggers.

Thanks to Jesse at Pandagon for organizing and to Roxanne, Mark at Loaded Mouth (and yeah I somehow felt dirty too), Adam Jacob Muller, Science and Politics and Liberal Pen Pal for linking to me.

And now, with one last link to Amanda's conservative day posts at Pandagon, we will be returning to our customary fact-based analysis and comments are reactivated. Actually I never turned them off. I didn't expect to be counter-swarmed. What could they say when I'm using their own words?
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JESSE TAYLOR. He will now be known as Master Chief , after having suffered through a hack attack by jealous media slackers and over zealous conservative crackpots. Since God is only on the side of liberals, Jesse prevailed of course. This, in a weird way, shows the socio-liberal implications of blogging within a context that even conservatives can understand.
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SADLY, YES. Sadly, no has had to endure an attack of major conservative trolls who insist on trying to start a debate by leaving ad hominen links to actual certifiable information that disagrees with his points. He is talking tough.

Note: Due to the persistent scourge of reprehensible trolls carrying out libelous personal attacks of lying, we are forced to follow Pandagon's example in banning and deleting posters who persist in "debating" in comments. These lying personal attacks will not be tolerated, and persistent violators will be sued by lawyers.
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT. After School Snack celebrates the liberal in the liberal blogosphere and has proof that conservatives are not funny. Of course we already knew that.

Meanwhile, Dr. Brazen Hussy is depressed. Now that the liberal blogosphere has become the only relevant source in the world, supplanting even the major media (who live in terror of our swarms), she wonders if there will ever be another great challenge now that we have won the hearts and minds of Americans.
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OH MY GOD. I always suspected this was true. Conservatives really do eat live puppies and babies. Raznor has the details. Story developing....
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Liberals think ahead while conservatives just react to the present

Another example of the superior perspective of liberals. The indispensable Adam Jacob Muller is just too funny and yet more meaningful links that didn't escape the astute eye of Loaded Mouth.
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Rush Limbaugh is toast

No really. Guess people are getting tired of listening to bloated gasbags make up stuff about what's right about our country. Not only are Limbaugh's ratings tanking but I'm certain his mother is so embarassed by his on-air blather that she is thinking of changing her name to Franken. You can't blame her. She's old enough to remember when being right meant you didn't lie.

More: Jesse at Pandagon has the roundup of links to prove the point.

Heh. Preemptive Karma figured out why liberals are better looking. I think it has something to do with less bloat from hot air.
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Ipso Facto

Thank God for tech savvy bloggers like Adam Jacob Muller or how will we ever win against mindless conservatism? Who else can decipher the code and deliver the translation so well? More proof that the liberal blogosphere gets it, while the conservatives sit around contemplating their templates.

Update: Loaded Mouth piles on with more proof that the moral mandate belongs to the left.
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In the last few weeks there has been a slight wisp of interest in the idea that the anti-Islamic bloodlusters have something to say of actual import. There's even this idea that maybe the law should require them to be taken seriously to other similar writers, that is bloggers who read more than each other's posts. The idea was popular a few years ago, as conservatives lobbied to remove the barriers to their taking over world opinion by banning bloggers, who insist on posting tiresome contradictory facts, from the blogosphere. Fortunately this legislation was smacked down - hard and was never enacted into law.

And since our government passed the First Amendment their speech is already sufficiently protected.

These armchair warriors just don't get it. My partner Jesse, who is a world renowned pundit explains what real patriotic bloggers have to say about fantasy-based unsupported blogviating and how to explain this break with reality. Read the explanation and you'll be able to answer any critic who trots out these tired arguments.

It would be almost like manna from heaven to have the right-wing blogosphere answer this post but I have no time for anyone who hasn't memorized the Communist Manifesto, the complete works of Ayn Rand and every verse of Amazing Grace so I'm forced to evoke my blog rule #276 and turn off the comments so I don't have to be bothered defending my point.
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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Wasn't blogging supposed to be fun?

What's up with this blog rules thing? All week long I'm seeing posts about rules. I'm shocked to see Kos now has rules about what topics are allowed to be discussed. I remember when it was free forum for progressive debate. All of sudden it's taken on a disturbing air of DNC approved discussion only.. I just saw a couple of new posts Kos just wrote, that would belie that statement. Maybe I misinterpreted the out of context post I saw on another blog.

Meanwhile Pandagon is in a tiff with LaShawn Barber over her adolescent trackback trick, redirecting his incoming links to Teletubbies. Classical Values wades into the battle to defend Barber's position and her pompous rules, which he posts in full as a public service. Sure cured my insomnia.

I know August is a slow news month, but I kind of don't get the point of this brouhaha. Let them have their silly rules. The Indy Voice has the right idea. On some level, the heavy hitters in the right-wing noise machine are nothing more than high class trolls. When they write deliberately incendiary posts, best to treat it like you would any flame. Ignore it, maybe they'll go away. Responding to their specific insults only gives their message more exposure at the expense of promoting our own.
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Cheney to attend private fundraiser while on State Visit

Okay let me get this straight. Cheney is travelling to Canada on a State Visit and will be the guest of honor at a fundraiser for a private Canadian right-wing think tank? Is that even legal?

I mean he's free to to do what he wants on his own time, but if he's going to be raising money at a $5,000 to $10,000 a plate dinner, shouldn't he doing that on his own dime?
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The (police) state of the union

This is really disturbing. Teenage girls thrown out of Barnes and Noble bookstore for making a joke to each other. They're not hoodlums. One was the outgoing class president. They didn't cause a disturbance and yet they were threatened and thrown out of the store and barred from the mall by an armed Delaware state police officer.

They had been joking about asking Santorum to sign an adversary's book during a public booksigning at the store. Another customer overheard them and complained. The cop threatened to put them in prison if they didn't leave.

What were they guilty of, conspiring to threaten Samtorum's dignity? He doesn't even have any.

Barnes and Noble HQ, while criticizing the cop, defends the store's position. How ironic is it that a bookstore would defend the suppression of free speech?
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Lott says Bush planned Iraq prior to 9/11

Throw another document on the evidence pile proving Bush was hellbent to go into Iraq long before his "last resort" rhetoric starting making the rounds. Crook and Liars has the video of Trent Lott on Meet the Press, admitting he was having conversations about Iraq with Bush before 9/11 ever happened.
He talked about the intelligence failures, but Trent made it very clear that Bush had targeted Iraq early on which had been said a long time ago by Richard Clarke.
Not to mention the Doug Wead's "secret tapes" where he was discussing it prior to even being elected president.
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Camp Casey in Salt Lake City?

I have to say that although I really like the mayor is calling for an antiwar demo, I think it was wrong for him to use his office as a platform for his personal political views. As a mayor elected to represent the views of his city, it wasn't appropriate. It's not his job to question the president in this manner. That's why we have senators and congressmen.
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson called for "the biggest demonstration this state has ever seen" to protest President Bush's appearance Monday before a national veterans convention.

"This administration has been disastrous to the country," Anderson said Friday. "If people could organize and speak out in an effective manner from the reddest state in the country, that would garner a lot of attention."

In an e-mail Wednesday to about 10 activist leaders, the maverick mayor of Utah's capital called for a diverse demonstration to greet Bush when he speaks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars at the Salt Palace Convention Center. The mayor plans to join the protesters.
He should not have not been the one to organize the action, although I think it's fine for him to show up as a speaker. Nonetheless I think it says a lot about the public temperment in Utah that he felt it was politically safe to do so.

There's a lot of speculation about what Cindy Sheehan will or will not do for the peace movement. I'm no clairvoyant. I don't know what the future holds but I can see what she's done so far. She made it safe for ordinary Americans to speak up. All of sudden they looked around, saw they weren't alone and started talking to each other.
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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Tea and Gadhafi

I don't really have an opinion on this but I think it's interesting that 62% of the respondents to a CNN poll thought that Bush should meet with the man formerly known as the "Mad Dog of the Middle East," Moammar Gadhafi.
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More "good news" from Iraq

It just keeps getting "better".
While Iraqi representatives wrangle over the drafting of a constitution in Baghdad, forces represented by the militias and the Shiite and Kurdish parties that control them are creating their own institutions of authority, unaccountable to elected governments, the activists and officials said. In Basra in the south, dominated by the Shiites, and Mosul in the north, ruled by the Kurds, as well as cities and villages around them, many residents say they are powerless before the growing sway of the militias, which instill a climate of fear that many see as redolent of the era of former president Saddam Hussein.

That's what I love the best about the war bloggers accusing the peace movement of wanting the US to lose the war. Don't these people read? We lost the day we set foot on that soil.
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General confusion

It's going to take a really long time to train the Iraqi army to defend themselves if we don't stop "not shooting" them like this.
An Iraqi general who commands the country's Border Police was shot and wounded while driving in Baghdad late on Saturday but U.S. forces denied that it was American troops who fired on his car.
The guy told the doctors at the civilian hospital where he was initially treated, that he was shot by US soldiers. The cops say he was shot by US soldiers. The US says we didn't do it.

U.S. troops later helped take the wounded general to a special government hospital. He hasn't been heard from since. Hope they didn't "lose" him.
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Break out the burqas

Billmon looks at the the Reuters report and has a really informative post on the latest developments in the Iraqi constitution. Read it all and you'll learn some stuff you probably didn't know about Islam, women's rights and the Afghani constitution, but here's the money grafs.
Whether the New Iraq is more or less likely over time to accept the values of Western individualism (including feminism) than the old Iraq would have been if Saddam's regime had been left to decompose and collapse at it's own rate, is a question that can't be answered. It's not even clear the Cheney administration ever had any serious intention of promoting those values except as a smokescreen for the exercise of American power. When the historians finally write their histories, democracy in Iraq may end up as just another item on the list of bullshit bureaucratic excuses for this war -- behind weapons of mass destruction, but ahead of creating a "flytrap" for terrorists.

It is increasingly clear, though, that whatever the original face value of Bush's promises of liberation, the American public is no longer willing to pay the price to redeem them. The enterprise is busted -- as broke as Arbusto Energy and Spectrum 7 ever were. All that's left in the corporate till now are the lies that will now be used to obscure the birth (in all but name) of the Islamic Republic of Iraq.
Actually I read somewhere recently that they want to call it the New Islamic Republic of Iraq. I hear the White House wasn't that keen on the idea.
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The W voters

Via listmate Evelyn Wright, this interesting link.

Journalist Rose Aguilar leaves the liberal bubble of San Francisco to bring you personal stories from people living in states that overwhelmingly voted for George W. Bush for President.
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Life's little mysteries

Ah, this explains a lot. The Cheetoh factor.
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The Best, the Brave and the Chickenhawks

So I haven't been promoting Operation Yellow Elephant mainly because with 3 1/2 blogs, I barely have time to post, much less read everything. Anyway I finally got over there today and I like what they're doing a lot. It's fun to participate in things like this.

Here's what I sent to Michael Marcavage:
I read about your courage in confronting the Gay Men's Chorus. We need men of your bravery to fight the evil ones "there" so we don't have to fight them "here."

Please help our country in this noble cause and enlist forthwith to fight the war on homosexual terrorists.

Patriot Americans are depending on men like you.
I signed in as Betsy Ross from Freedom, KY, but left my real email. Wonder if he'll write me back.
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Bush blathers

So what did I tell you last night? Unfortunately I'm right again.
In his weekly radio address, Bush argued that the war in Iraq will keep Americans safe for generations to come. He'll try to drive the point home with speeches in upcoming days in Utah and Idaho.

"Our troops know that they're fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to protect their fellow Americans from a savage enemy," the president said in the recorded broadcast.

"They know that if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets, and they know that the safety and security of every American is at stake in this war, and they know we will prevail."
I'm telling you this disconnect between the President and the Pentagon is starting to feel like a slow motion military coup in the making. Our troops know they are being screwed and who could blame them for being pissed. Of anyone, the military has suffered the most because of this hare-brained insistence on denying the realilty on the ground.
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Hypocrites and Liars

Cindy Sheehan is my kind of Impolitic. She has a letter posted at Truthout today that answers her critics and challenges every citizen of this country to walk their talk. How anyone can read her remarks and not believe she's the real deal, is beyond my comprehension.
I got an email the other day and it said, "Cindy if you didn't use so much profanity ... there's people on the fence that get offended.

And you know what I said? "You know what? You know what, god damn it? How in the world is anybody still sitting on that fence?

If you fall on the side that is pro-George and pro-war, you get your ass over to Iraq, and take the place of somebody who wants to come home. And if you fall on the side that is against this war and against George Bush, stand up and speak out.
She doesn't mince words and she has a lot more to say. Read it for yourself.
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More war supporters mutiny

Okay folks, when even the armchair warriors of the "my president right, wrong or wronger" crowd gets pissed off, it's time to be afraid - very afraid. I've never actually visited LGF before, but they're surely as representative of the die-hard war cheerleaders as anyone is and they're appalled by this Reuters report.

It's unclear to me why these folks are just getting it, when I've been blogging about it for weeks now but even they have to admit that if the new Iraq constitution uses Islamic rules of Sharia as the foundation of it's lawmaking, then we have essentially spent the last three years removing a secular government in order to install a new Islamic state that is likely to be more amenable to Iran's interests than ours. At a great cost I might add.

I never thought I'd be saying this, but read the LGF entry. The post itself says little but the comments are most enlightening. Interesting enough, they still can't bring themselves to blame the White House. They mostly think it's the State Department's fault.
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Friday, August 19, 2005

No comfort in being right

Just in time to underscore my point in the last post, MSNBC posts this item on "new" intelligence predicting a massive wave of terrorist attacks in Iraq to coincide with the release of the new draft constitution. Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the last three years could have told them that. But here's the money grafs.

...some Pentagon officials now acknowledge that the two-and-a-half-year insurgent war has turned Iraq into a terrorist training camp.

U.S. intelligence indicates Islamic militants from several African nations — Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan and Somalia — travel through Syria into Iraq, where they get hands-on training in roadside and suicide bombings, assassinations and kidnappings as well as counter-surveillance and counter-intelligence against military targets, constantly changing their tactics to counter American defenses.

“They can change within seven to 10 days,” says the U.S. Marine commandant, Gen. Michael Hagee, “That’s pretty darn good. We’re going against a thinking enemy.”

And Pentagon officials now fear those freshly trained terrorists are taking the deadly lessons they learn in Iraq to other countries. U.S. intelligence indicates many of the militants are returning home or slipping into Europe, where they may join existing terrorist groups or create and train new cells of their own.

...“Instead of going in to eliminate Iraq as a source of terrorism, Iraq now has a stronger terrorist presence than it did when Saddam Hussein was in power,” says NBC News terrorism analyst Roger Cressey.

A new army of terrorists now being trained could remain a threat long after the U.S.-led war in Iraq is over.
Excuse me while I tear out my hair. I've been saying this since before we embarked on this dunderheaded occupation. Everything the left said turned out to be right and every talking point the right has been flogging ad nauseum has turned out to be wrong.

I take no satisfaction in that and in fact, am finding this new disconnect between the Pentagon and the White House somewhat disconcerting. Because I know Bush is going to tell us in tomorrow's radio address about how much progress we're making in keeping the world safe.

It was bad enough when they didn't have a plan, but now they can't even agree on a message. This can't be good.
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What's in a name

Via Balloon Juice, we find this poll of the top bloggers by The Jawa Report's Rusty Shackleford. Goes to show you how much the chickenhawk meme really rankles. The right just doesn't have an effective countermeme for it and they never will because it's kind of irrefutable. Nonetheless they continue in a futile effort to buck the label.

Rusty gives it a good try with his poll and the results are interesting in a voyeuristic kind of way, but in the end, much as he tries to cook the books, all it really proves is the label fits.

To make it scientifically meaningful as measure of knowledge, one would need to include metrics such as age, whether or not there was a draft system at the time they were eligible, whether there was a tradition of military service in the family and so on. As it stands, the only thing the poll proves, is that left is not exaggerating when it says the biggest cheerleaders for sending other people off to fight a war, have never been in one.

Personally, I think the whole name calling thing is pretty damn adolescent but I think it's disingenous of the right to be bitching about it, after years of being called moonbat, liberal slime, clueless hippie and various other colorful names by the noise machine. The chickenhawk meme started relatively recently and I think it was in reponse to the right's having set the bar that low to begin with. People use chickenhawk because it takes too long to type "bloggers who cheerlead for sending other people off to war, but have no idea what they're asking these soldiers to do."

Former military service doesn't even matter as far as I can see. I think what really rankles the war bloggers is that there is no defense to pushing an agenda that asks other people to go out and risk their lives (and/or their sanity if they live through it), when you're not willing to risk yours for the "noble cause."

The military is calling up reservists as old as 60 and they're extending tours of duty beyond what these soldiers signed up for in the first place. They want to come home to their families but there's no one to replace them. If you're pushing the war because you believe in freedom and you're such good American patriots and you believe it's such a mighty and noble cause and you're physically able to enlist - then either get in there and do your patriotic duty and fight the damn thing or else stop complaining. Get over it and wear the name.

Or you could stop "supporting our troops" by pushing ill-conceived policies that ask them to stand around as targets for terrorist training exercises for the next five years and no one will call you a chickenhawk again. It's so easy.
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Hagel lays cards on the table

I swear Hagel has his eye on the White House. I posted on his latest salvo over at Penny Wit. He's got a better plan for Iran.

It's mindboggling that it's a Republican who has the balls to challenge this administration. Even more astounding is that he's making sense to me. Call me paranoid, but I get nervous when a GOPer does that. He even sort of came out in support of Cindy Sheehan. At least in support of her request for a meeting.

Anyone spotted any Democrats jumping on this bandwagon? I didn't think so.
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Feel the love of the culture of life club

Pam's House Blend is always scaring me with these actual Freeper quotes. In this issue, the "war is great as long as I don't have to fight it" crowd take on Cindy Sheehan's mother, who as I'm sure you know has recently suffered a stroke.

Continuing on that theme, Preemptive Karma finds the Freepers cancerous vibe has spread to the local MSM. I'll bet Ted Webb's forum handle is something like "Shooting Stud." He probably kicks puppies too.
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Former Powell aide regrets role in WMD fabrication

One of several inside players who were interviewed for an upcoming CNN "expose" of the "fixed" intelligence around the WMD claim says he wishes he hadn't done it.
"I wish I had not been involved in it," says Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a longtime Powell adviser who served as his chief of staff from 2002 through 2005. "I look back on it, and I still say it was the lowest point in my life."

..."(Powell) came through the door ... and he had in his hands a sheaf of papers, and he said, 'This is what I've got to present at the United Nations according to the White House, and you need to look at it,'" Wilkerson says in the program. "It was anything but an intelligence document. It was, as some people characterized it later, sort of a Chinese menu from which you could pick and choose."
CNN reports, "A presidential commission that investigated the pre-war WMD intelligence found much of it to be 'dead wrong.'"

Around here, we call that lying.
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Hagel harangues White House

No turning back for Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. He's jumped off the sinking ship of state and the White House is unlikely to throw him a life preserver. He openly mocks Cheney's "last throes of the insurgency" claims and he doesn't stop there.
The longer U.S. forces remain in Iraq, he said, the more it begins to resemble the Vietnam war.

...Hagel also did not back away from comments he made in June to U.S. News & World Report that "the White House is completely disconnected from reality" and "the reality is that we're losing in Iraq."
Hagel of course, voted to authorize the invasion but he's not going to be able to satisfy Bush's blood lust to punish disloyalty with this bone.
Hagel did say he agrees with President Bush that the United States should not set a timetable for troop withdrawal, but he also predicted the United States would begin "withdrawing troops from Iraq next year."
It won't help that he also berates Bush for not immediately meeting with Sheehan. I think it's safe to say that Hagel shouldn't expect any help from GOP star-making machine in the next election.
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Cheney - Hell no, we won't go

Cindy Sheehan has the White House backed into a corner and they're coming out with their six-guns blazing. Cheney officially declared that the slaughter of US troops and Iraqi civilians would continue until we "win" or hell freezes over - whichever comes first.
Vice President Cheney declared yesterday that the United States "will not relent" in the war in Iraq and will hunt down insurgents there "one at a time if necessary," implicitly rebutting escalating pressure on the Bush administration to bring U.S. troops home.
Maybe it's time for our Commander in Chief to jump back into that "Mission Accomplished - Bring em on" jumpsuit of his and start leading the search. Mano a mano. It's the least a macho Texas cowboy could do.

Oh, but I forgot - he has other priorites.
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Pushing the envelope

I haven't been cross-linking much to my Detroit blog but I do post there almost every single day and rarely duplicate the content from here. I'm way overfond of this metaphor on racking up the facts.

It's a family newspaper you know, so I was just a little nervous about crossing the line, but no one hollered at me. Hopefully they found it as amusing as I did.
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Amazing Grace

We just had a short rainburst but the candle I lit yesterday for Cindy Sheehan is still burning. It barely flickered in the rain.

Meanwhile, MoveOn reports hundreds of thousands showed up to a combination of 1,627 vigils in all 50 states. You can access a slide show of dozens of photos of ordinary citizens and read accounts of the vigils at the link.

Update: It rained again while I was sleeping. I woke up and the porch was soaked but the candle is still burning. I'm taking it as an omen that the White House won't be able to squelch the peace movement this time.
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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Not so rosy behind the scenes

Kevin Drum points us to an admission by Hardball's Chris Matthews that the picture the White House mouthpieces paint while on camera, is much different from the story they describe after the camera stops rolling.

A little more realism, (assuming this is real document, it came from a right wing warmonger's site), can be found in this Memo to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from General Barry McCaffrey's Trip to Iraq. A couple of highlights.

5. The Enemy Threat: 1st - The Iraqi Insurgency threat is enormously more complex than Vietnam.

...We must continue to level with the American people. We still have a five year fight facing us in Iraq.

3rd - The Fallujah Situation: The city has huge symbolic importance throughout Mideast. Unrealistic expectations were raised on how rapidly the Coalition could rebuild.

The City appears to be an angry disaster. Money doesn't rebuild infrastructure - bulldozers and workers and cement do. The Coalition needs an Iraqi/Coalition effort principally executed by military engineers --and thousands of Iraqi workers--to re-build the City. We need a "Pierre L'Enfant" of Fallujah.

6. Coalition Public Diplomacy Policy is a disaster: 1st - The US media is putting the second team in Iraq with some exceptions. Unfortunately, the situation is extremely dangerous for journalists.

The working conditions for a reporter are terrible. They cannot travel independently of US military forces without risking abduction or death. In some cases, the press has degraded to reporting based on secondary sources, press briefings which they do not believe, and alarmist video of the aftermath of suicide bombings obtained from Iraqi employees of unknown reliability.
It ends with impossible rosy predictions for success if we just "stay the course" and get through the dark and difficult days of the next 5 years. Unfortunately it's all predicated on criteria that can never be met while we remain in occupation of the country.
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Dems caught in their own quagmire

There's a lot of buzz around the blogland about the disconnect between the Dem power structure and the progressive base. Kevin Drum articulates my take on it, only more eloquently.
Berman is right about this disconnect. Over a third of Americans now favor an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, a number that's been growing steadily, but none of the "serious" public faces of the party — people like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and John Kerry — are ready to join them. Not one. I can't think of a single exception.

This is shaping up to be a big problem. Right now, conventional wisdom suggests that Iraq is likely to be bad news for Republicans in the 2006 elections, but if liberals don't watch out, the disconnect that Berman identified could cause an even bigger crackup on the Democratic side. The dovish left is losing patience with establishment hawks, and if this continues we can be sure that Karl Rove will do his best to hammer this wedge straight through the heart of the Democratic party as the 2006 midterms begin to heat up.
Really, has anybody even noticed that there is a Democratic party? Where are the leaders of this alleged entity? Are they all cowering in some corner commissioning polling studies that they apparently don't read? I haven't seen such pallid and ineffectual minority representation in decades of political watchdogging.

Instead of taking the lead and establishing a strong identity - and could there be a more perfect time than right now - they strategize on how to homogonize their message so as not to offend anyone. Screw that. Either stand for something or you stand for nothing.

Kevin is right. They ignore the peace progressives at their own peril. We voted for Kerry, but reluctantly, and we let him put on his military hat and chase the mythical centrist vote for the good of the election. But we expected the party to learn from the loss in 04 and stop promoting war and start espousing diplomacy as a solution. Especially now that those centrists have stepped over the imaginary line and joined us.

Drum says it would take a gutsy politician to step forward and pick up the flag on this issue, but he details a very attractive and sensible alternative for a savvy candidate to call for a timed withdrawal. Begging the question, does such a person exist in the Democratic party anymore?

Personally I don't think it should have to take that much courage to stand up and do what's so clearly right for the good of the country. In fact, any candidate that doesn't have the guts to stand up now and call for a metric-based plan to end this debacle in Iraq, shouldn't count on my vote in 08.
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A reasonable request

You can join the US Senate and thousands of other Americans in a FOIA request for Judge John Roberts' records by clicking here. There's no reason for them to be withheld and the only way for the Senate to make an informed consent is to view his past work.

If the White House has nothing to hide, then let them produce them forthwith.
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What is this sh*t?

The right wing hate machine has apparently dumped the tiresome Ann Coulter and found a new bitch to be their mouthpiece in the person of Melanie Morgan. She's pitching the new excuse meme this week - the White House never said we invaded Iraq on account of WMDs. That this is an invention of the left.

Fortunately, the mighty Yellow Dog Democrat does the heavy digging for us and leaps in to bury this crapola with a single post.

Thanks Bob.
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"Something very, very wrong with this picture"

Bob Herbert in the NYT asks the question perennially unaswered by the war supporters. If this so called war is such a noble cause, why are poor people the only ones making sacrifices for it?

Here's the money grafs.

If Mr. Bush were willing to do something he has refused to do so far - speak plainly and honestly to the American people about this war - he might be able to explain why U.S. troops should continue with an effort that is, in large part at least, benefiting Iraqi factions that are murderous, corrupt and terminally hostile to women. If by some chance he could make that case, the next appropriate step would be to ask all Americans to do their part for the war effort.

College kids in the U.S. are playing video games and looking forward to frat parties while their less fortunate peers are rattling around like moving targets in Baghdad and Mosul, trying to dodge improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades.

...If the war in Iraq is worth fighting - if it's a noble venture, as the hawks insist it is - then it's worth fighting with the children of the privileged classes. They should be added to the combat mix. If it's not worth their blood, then we should bring the other troops home.
Indeed. Unless all Americans are sacrificing, (especially the class that is making the money on it), it's not a real war - it's just a neo-con inspired corporate capitalist scheme in disguise.
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Dancing in the dark

John Nichols at the Capital Times has a good op-ed on Cindy Sheehan. He notes, (as I have here as well), that the Bush apologists' desperation is showing. Their shrill belittling of a bereaved mother's quest, betrays their panic at seeing their influence on public opinion slipping away.

Here's the money quote.
The supporters of this war have run out of convincing lies and effective emotional appeals. Now they are reduced to attacking the grieving mothers of dead soldiers. Samuel Johnson suggested that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. But, with their attacks on Cindy Sheehan, the apologists for Bush's infamy have found a new and darker refuge.
Well at least it won't be crowded. Their numbers are dwindling every day.
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Cindy Sheehan speaks for me

There will be a lot of blogviating on this opinion piece in the WSJ (no reg req.) today. I saw a Dad on television last night as well, one of the favored 922 people, (out of the thousands of family members who lost loved ones), who was granted an audience with Bush, who said the same thing. Cindy doesn't speak for him.

Nobody ever said she speaks for everyone and I don't blame the parents of the war dead who can't bring themselves to face the truth. The recurring theme in their rebuke of Cindy is "our sons did not die in vain," they can't have, or their deaths would mean nothing.

I don't blame them for their denial. It's how they deal with their loss. To accept the truth would only cause more crushing pain. But despite their protestations to the contrary, Cindy speaks for everyone with the fortitude to face the ugly implications of the ongoing campaign of deceit originating from this administration.

The seven day candle I lit for Cindy last night is still burning strong and clear and so is the spirit of her vigil for peace. The millions of Americans who no longer support this war, or who never did, have found our voice in her and God willing, we will raise it until we shake the truth out of the rafters of the White House.
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Sheehan's supporters gather

The candle on my front stoop is still burning with a strong clear flame. It's a good omen. You never know with seven day candles anymore. For one thing, they never really burn for seven days and sometimes the wax doesn't burn well and it drowns itself out.

Across the country, tens of thousands of Americans joined together to hold vigils. Maybe a few more paid their own private tribute as I did. In Crawford they read aloud the names of soldiers who died in Iraq. They lit candles, they sang hymns, they cried but they felt the light of 60,001 candles.
"One of the things about Camp Casey is that I came here angry, a lot of people come here angry, but it's replaced by the feeling of hope," Sheehan said. "A feeling of hope we now have that we can change the country."
They already have.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

An apology to Cindy Sheehan's husband

That's what I get for relying a MSM source. I jumped the gun on this post chastising him for the timing of the divorce filing.

Having just read Cindy's post at Huff Post, it turns out the divorce has been in the works for months and he had no control over this pro-forma filing. In fact, he behaved quite decently and asked that Cindy not be served while she was in Texas.

I take back my intemperate remarks and offer a sincere apology for having jumped to conclusions based on a misleading MSNBC account.
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