Saturday, November 20

At this point why would anyone step within a mile of an Iraqi Police Station

I mean really, is there a station, outpost, or congregation of Policemen that has not been bombed, blown up of kidnapped in Iraq. I haven't heard much from Basra, so maybe the Brits are keeping things under control down there, or it just hasn't crossed my radar screen. In any event the insurgency is hitting Baghdad while we "clean up" Fallujah and Mosul.

Published: November 20, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 20 - Violence surged through central and northern Iraq on Saturday as a tenacious insurgency led by Sunni Arabs kept up relentless assaults in a string of major cities, from Ramadi to Falluja to Baghdad.

At dawn, insurgents armed with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenades tried storming a police station in the northwestern Baghdad neighborhood of Amariya, where American and Iraqi soldiers had engaged in a bloody mosque shootout on Friday. The gun battle at the station left three Iraqi policemen dead and two others injured, Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said.

Hours later, a car bomb exploded in downtown Baghdad, at the eastern end of the bridge over the Tigris River leading to the fortified compound housing the American embassy and interim Iraqi government headquarters. The bomb was aimed at a convoy of vehicles from a Western security contractor, and at least one Iraqi was killed and another injured, witnesses said.

Four employees of the public works ministry were gunned down in a drive-by ambush, and three Iraqi National Guardsmen died in explosions in western Baghdad during gun battles with insurgents, Iraqi officials said.

An ambush on an American military convoy in central Baghdad ended with the death of one soldier, the military said. Nine others were wounded in what appeared to be a highly coordinated attack, with insurgents using explosives, automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
Well, liberatin' is "hard work" and what was supposed to be a back breaking exercise in Fallujah, fighting continues.
Fighting raged in the rubble of Falluja, a city largely decimated by American troops during a week-long offensive. Two Marines were killed and four wounded in a guerilla ambush, military officials said. The offensive smashed a safe haven for the insurgents, but guerillas still roam the devastated streets, sniping at American troops and scaring away military engineers brought in to try to reconstruct the city.

At least 1,216 American troops have died since the start of the war.

The unrelenting wave of assaults in the Sunni-dominated parts of the country indicate that the attack on Falluja could have inflamed Sunni resentment against the American presence rather than pacified it. American and Iraqi officials have found it impossible during the 19-month war to persuade hostile Sunni Arabs to lay down their arms and engage in legitimate politics. That goal, which appears increasingly quixotic as the insurgency grows in strength and lethality, becomes all the more pressing as the country lurches toward its first democratic elections, scheduled for the end of January.
Really, you think so? I guess that once we realize that we are fighting Iraqi's and not foreign nationals, we might change our tactics. Did I just write that out aloud?
Silly me, for a moment I thought I lived in a country governed by reality based people, rather than faith-based denizens of Fantasy Island, with Cheney as Mr. Roarke, and Dubya as tattoo. Sure look forward to the "elections" in January.

Playing the AIDS Card

And in the Middle East it might be worse than any Race-Card. So lets set the table, Former Speechwriter for 43 (and is there anyone who wants to take credit for the speechifyin' of Dubbya? Me I'd pretend a protracted period of unemployment) and now Uber Journalist David Frum, claims that Yasser Arafat died of AIDS, and that he has it on good authority from some Romanian Secret Police. One might wonder if these guys are in the same outfit with the source (long since discredited) from Prague that provided evidence of a link betwixt Saddam and Osama. (Evidence by the way that barely holds up in the highly manipulated court of public opinion, let alone any real judicial body). Take it away coiner of corny phrases you.
Claims Arafat died of AIDS

A FORMER speech writer for George W. Bush has claimed Yasser Arafat died of AIDS.

Former presidential aide David Frum, famous for coining the phrase "axis of evil", says the world has shown an astonishingly low level of curiosity about the reasons for Arafat's death.

"He (Arafat) has suffered a dramatic weight loss, memory loss, periods of disorientation, loss of muscle control and recurring nausea," he said in the National Post newspaper.

"His doctors tell us his blood platelet count has dropped dramatically, but he does not have leukemia. These symptoms sound remarkably AIDS-like, don't they?".
Shit fire Dave, I guess I have been remiss and withheld the honorific of Doctor. David Frum M.D, talk about a fucking renaissance, man. Coined the term "axis of evil", put pretty, uncomplicated words, in the drooling monkeys mouth, and has just demonstrated an amazincg capacity to diagnose from long distance any medical problem.

Dave, what you characterize as "an astoninshingly low level of curiosity" I might suggest that old people who have had lengthy issues with their health often die, an oddly enough it does not come as a suprise to most. What possible motive could you have for sniffing around in Arafat's crotch, searching for clues that might allow you to truly flog a dead horse, I would like to think that most of us have far more respect for the dead (whether we hated them or not).
Mr Frum claimed a memoir of a former Romanian secret policeman who allegedly taped Mr Arafat having sex with a bodyguard was evidence of bisexuality.

Yesterday, French authorities handed over Mr Arafat's medical file to his widow Suha, who was studying it, her lawyer said.

"Mrs Suha Arafat received at 3.45pm (1.45pm yesterday) a copy of the medical file of her husband, president Yasser Arafat, which was released by the authorities at the Percy military hospital," her lawyer said making a public statement.

"She has begun to study it," the statement by lawyers Philippe Plantade and Jean-Marie Burguburu, said.

After receiving the file, Suha flew out of Paris for Tunisia, the lawyers said.

French authorities had earlier signalled they would hand over the file to Arafat's nephew, Nasser al-Qidwa, who travelled to Paris yesterday to receive the information, which under French law can be released only to family.

The cause of death for Mr Arafat has never been explained.
I guess that France has more respect for the privacy of families and their dead than Frum or his Resmuglican Overloards deem neccessary. If there is political capital to be gained while beating on a dead man, and one has absolutly no shame at all, then have at it I guess. No doubt there will be some nuggets of compassion over at the Little Green Footballs, where anti-semitism is a badge of honor.

Speaking about what seems to pass for reliable sources, I have heard of a memoir from some coked up frat ho that suggests that young dubbya snorted lines of coke off of his dingaling, and that is proof of bisexuality. I can't wait to see if the "Arafat was a fag" meme plays out in the SCLM. I am sure that Judy Wolf and Paula, will sink their teeth gum deep into Arafat's corpse.

Under cover of Darkness

There is a big omnibus spending bill that needs to get passed otherwise the gubmint will shut down, and in true republican fashion they have inserted an anti abortion clause that will open the door to the refusal of government funded health care for women without reprisal. I am sorry but this is a privacy issue, and I would just as soon see Dubbya and his crotch sniffing minions of morality legislation tackle some real issues, in other words Get the Government out of our Bedrooms. From the NYT.

Negotiators Add Abortion Clause to Spending Bill

Published: November 20, 2004

WASHINGTON, Saturday, Nov. 20 - House and Senate negotiators have tucked a potentially far-reaching anti-abortion provision into a $388 billion must-pass spending bill, complicating plans for Congress to wrap up its business and adjourn for the year.

The provision may be an early indication of the growing political muscle of social conservatives who provided crucial support for Republican candidates, including President Bush, in the election.

House officials said Saturday morning that the final details of the spending measure were worked out before midnight and that the bill was filed for the House vote on Saturday.

The abortion language would bar federal, state and local agencies from withholding taxpayer money from health care providers that refuse to provide or pay for abortions or refuse to offer abortion counseling or referrals. Current federal law, aimed at protecting Roman Catholic doctors, provides such "conscience protection'' to doctors who do not want to undergo abortion training. The new language would expand that protection to all health care providers, including hospitals, doctors, clinics and insurers.
So we already have a law that allows for consciencious objection, but now we get a law that provides cover for the true medical desicion makers, Hospital administrators and Insurance companies. This certainly is a good way to kill Roe v Wade, while keeping the law around to stir up the self righteous during future election cycles.

This kind of cynical legislative tactic is just another salvo in the war to destroy the right of privacy. this is exactly the kind of governmental intervention into the relationship between doctor and patient that Dubbya warned us about when he was projecting his desires on Kerry's health plan. Shame lies twitching and near death in some back alley, and one wonders if she will even be missed.
"It's something we've had a longstanding interest in," said Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee. He added, "This is in response to an orchestrated campaign by pro-abortion groups across the country to use government agencies to coerce health care providers to participate in abortions."
Doug, if i may call you that, I think you may be overstating the situation. I believe that the pro-choice groups that you refer to are only interested in keeping all legal options on the table when a woman and her doctor choose to discuss treatment options, not to force abortions on anyone. Now if I read this correctly, your group is attempting to force the government to remove access to legal methods of care available to a woman and limit the options her doctor has when addressing legitimate health concerns. Barbara Boxer is not going to back down without a fight.
The provision could affect millions of American women, according to Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, who warned Friday that she would use procedural tactics to slow Senate business to a crawl if the language was not altered.

"I am willing to stand on my feet and slow this thing down," Ms. Boxer said. "Everyone wants to go home, I know that, and I know I will not win a popularity contest in the Senate. But they should not be doing this. On a huge spending bill they're writing law, and they're taking away rights from women."
Some lawmakers and Congressional aides interpreted the House leaders' insistence as reflection of the new political strength of the anti-abortion movement and of Christian conservatives, who played an important role in re-electing Mr. Bush this month.

"They are catering to their right wing doing this," said Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa. "It doesn't make it right. I think this is the first step."
Let the legislation of morality begin in the full light of day. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned from the small group of people who have high-jacked the republican party, if twenty percent of the country can get it's way by throwing a never ending tantrum, maybe we need to get some adults who know how to deal with petulant children, back in control of the government. Morality Mandate, my Ass.

Anti-Semitism isn't just for Jew-Bashing

Chances are the next time you hear someone in the media making accusations of anti-semitism, you are likely witnessing a pot examining a kettle and finding it black. The guys at LGF that want us to kill all the arabs and eradicate Islam are anti-semites. Those using eliminationist rhetoric in refererence to the Palestinians are anti-semites. And we find a rather disgusting example of the latter from a guest anchor on the Imus in the Morning show. Bigotry is never pretty and certainly is not called for on a nation-wide show.
DON IMUS, host: They're [Palestinians] eating dirt and that fat pig wife [Suha Arafat] of his is living in Paris.

ROSENBERG: They're all brainwashed, though. That's what it is. And they're stupid to begin with, but they're brainwashed now. Stinking animals. They ought to drop the bomb right there, kill 'em all right now.

BERNARD MCGUIRK, producer: You can just imagine standing there.

ROSENBERG: Oh, the stench.

IMUS: Well, the problem is that we have Andrea [Mitchell, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent] there. We don't want anything to happen to her.

ROSENBERG: Oh, she's got to get out. Just warn Andrea, get out, and then drop the bomb, kill everybody.

MCGUIRK: It's like the worst Woodstock.

ROSENBERG: Look at this. Look at these animals. Animals!
Isn't that cute, the badinage of bigotry. You know I would have thought I had stumbled into the comment section of the free republic or Little Green Footballs, and not be looking at a transcript of a nationally sindicated show. Charming, their concern for Mrs Greenspan, just make sure to give her the heads up before "the bomb" come raining down on these subhuman, stench propagating, Palestinians.
Just substitute [Niggers for Palestinians] and [Coretta Scott King for Suha Arafat] now for 1965 and I am sure that you have accurately represented a conversation that was heard quite often during the civil rights movement. The above exchange took place last week, the following this week.
IMUS: [voiceover] Alright, here now, Imus in Washington senior military affairs adviser, the late General George S. Patton, Jr.

VOICEOVER PARODY OF PATTON: At ease. I am here this morning to briefly discuss the subject of moral outrage -- specifically, mine. You probably are familiar with the matter I'm referring to: the United States Marine shooting a prostrate Iraqi insurgent who, just one day before, had been cowardly -- and in violation of the rules of warfare -- gunning for our boys from inside a Muslim mosque -- a shooting conveniently caught on videotape by an embedded NBC News crew. Convenient, indeed -- and not for us, for them -- the sons of bitches we're fighting! -- providing them with another cozy "al Jazeera moment" for the Muslim masses to respond to with their routine pack-of-rabid-sheep mentality.

General Sherman [Union general during the Civil War] perhaps said it best: "War is hell" -- a phrase I myself noted now and again during my war, when we beat the hell out of another gang of fascists who'd sworn allegiance to a no-good bastard with a mustache. Well people, it is still hell -- as the young Marine who plugged that bastard clearly understood from the previous day's combat when he had lost a comrade to a booby-trapped raghead cadaver and had gotten shot in the face himself. Was the NBC News embed unit there to record any of that, so that we could witness that bit of action from our living room sofas? Apparently not. Rather, we are treated to this episode, without benefit of combat context, so that we can have our knee-jerk "moral confusion" and guilt buttons pushed.

And pushed by what? By pictures of a soldier dispatching an enemy combatant who had sworn fidelity to some bearded fatwa fairy who relishes the idea of cutting our heads off with a rusty bread knife and who will stop at nothing to kill us even if it means he himself dies in a [bleeped]-damn suicide attack. Patton rule of war No. 1: you are not there to die for your cause. You are there to make the other miserable son of a bitch die for his! To help the United States of America achieve that end, I will now suggest a place where you can "embed" that TV camera: up your butt! I hope that's not too "morally confusing." Thank you for your attention. That is all.
Isn't that precious, channeling the ghost of Patton for a gag whose purpose is to denigrate the folks we're supposed to be liberating, and insulting the followers of Islam as if they were no different from the Jihadists. Don, I always knew you were an unrepentant bigot, and Mr Rosenberg, I am sure tht your mother is proud of the hate filled, bigoted invective, you choose to share with the world. And Don if you could give me a heads up when that fighter for white pride ManCow shows up for a circle jerk of bigotude, as you guys race each other to see who is gonna eat the cracker. This is what passes for the SLCM, or if you prefer, the MSM.

.........update, they have a video (QT, WM), they usually do, i just forget to look.

Friday, November 19


Betty is the elder statescat of the household. She is 18, and takes guff from no one, if I stay up later than usual, she'll be around to remind me that it is time for bed, after some loving of course.

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This Idiot used to be My Representative

Before a little gerrymandering switched things around. i believe it may have had more to do with loosing a representative than any nefarity on the part of the house. Anyway, a completely unneccessary porkbarrel laden extension of I-69 which ends in Indianapolis, has been passed and, the most environmentally damaging route was chosen. Now it would seem that, the rep for the 8th indiana district, wants to pass legislation to change the name of the highway, you know, because the prudes disaprove.
John Hostettler, the Congressman representing the 8th district of Indiana, has been convinced by local religious groups to introduce legislation in the House that would change the name of an Interstate 69 extension to a more moral sounding number.

There are plans to extend the interstate from Indianapolis through southwestern Indiana all the way through Texas into Mexico in the coming years. While most believe this highway will be good for the state's economy, religious conservatives believe I-69 sounds too risqué and want to change the interstate's number.

Hostettler, a proponent of the interstate extension, agrees. "Every time I have been out in the public with an I-69 button on my lapel, teenagers point and snicker at it. I have had many ask me if they can have my button. I believe it is time to change the name of the highway. It is the moral thing to do."
"Naming the road I-63 not only follows numbering guidelines, it doesn't have the sexual undertones that I-69 has, says Hostettler, It is a win-win situation."
Now that is governance in action. Fundies get a fit of the "vapors" and a highway must be renamed. I for one have to admit that during the many times I have looked at a map of our state, and the few times I have traveled to the Northeastern part of the state It has never occured to me to think of I-69 as anything other than a highway designation, and I have been know to have a rather twisted sense of humor. I guess it really was just a bit to pedestrian for my taste. But Dammit, it's the "moral thing to do". Yo, John, can we use the bones of dead Iraqi's to form the bed for the new road, or would that violate your sense of propriety.


He is still an idiot but the story is a Hoax
An apparent Internet hoax is creating quite a stir at the office of Indiana 8th District Congressman John Hostettler. Angry callers have been responding to an article on the Internet claiming Hostettler had been convinced by religious groups, to propose changing the name of interstate 69 to a "more moral" sounding number. Hostettler spokesperson Michael Jahr says there is absolutely no truth to the story and calls the web site in question satirical in nature.
Couldnt happen to a nicer congressional office. The rest of the story has an interview with the guy who coughed up the piece. Apparently this is not the first time a story has been picked up from the Indiana Version of the Onion.

"I know it's your library, but let me in first, dammit.

Preznit "I never saw a line I couldn't cut"tries
to wedge past Former President Bill Clinton while
entering the latters Library - Jackass

tip o the hat to bkny

Scalia says "Get over it"

Thanks buddy, I'll take your suggestion under advisement. Scalia was speaking to students ant the University of Michigan, as a recipient of a Helen L. DeRoy Fellowship. Antonin, regaled the audience with 'tales from the duckblind', from his famous hunting trip with Cheney, that some suggested mught serve as a conflict of interest, as he was to rule on the Cheney's hidden energy plan case, "Nah, we did not talk turky about the case, we were too busy playing grab ass......did I actually say that, just kidding kids". Later, he justified the Gore V Bush ruling, hinged on whether the 14th ammendment rights to equal protection applied to the first or last Name, and whether the first initial appeared first in the alphabet. "If we had chosen on a First name basis, of course we would have sided with Gore, but we felt that the Sirname carried the weight of ancestry and therefor represented a group related to that name, we felt that that weight was pre-eminent, and therefore had no choice but to side with GWB." [ the preceeding may or may not have been representitive of the actual content of his speech ]
November 17, 2004

ANN ARBOR -- Controversial U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spoke to a full house at the University of Michigan on Tuesday and took the unusual step of taking questions about affirmative action and the 2000 presidential election. He peppered his answers with quips that drew laughter and some boos.

A dozen protesters, who marched through Rackham Auditorium carrying signs denouncing Scalia, briefly interrupted his speech about the philosophy of constitutional interpretation.

"Is this an accepted form of free speech?" he asked U-M Law School Dean Evan Caminker, who nodded stoically. "Can I expect another parade?"

The protesters continued their demonstration outside.

When he was asked by a member of the audience whether he would like to revisit his decision in 2000 the Al Gore/George W. Bush election dispute, Scalia cut off the questioner, saying, "I'm inclined to say it's been four years and an election. Get over it." That drew loud boos from the crowd.

"The issue is not whether the decision should have been decided in the Florida or U.S. supreme courts, but that the Constitution had been violated. ... The only decision was to put an end to it after three weeks and looking like fools to the rest of the world," Scalia said. "It was too much of a mess. The equal-protection clause had been violated because they were counting votes differently. What did you expect us to do, not take the case because it wasn't important enough?
Man I sure am glad that they were concerned about our standing in the world, wouldn't want to "look like fools to the rest of the world". And I find it interesting that the remedy to the equal-protection clause was to stop the counting entirely (a violation of the equal protection of the voters) rather than demand that a single standard be involved in the recount (violating no ones protection). Oh yeah "looking like fools". Is the court made up by eighth graders worrying about a popularity contest?

I am happy that the supreme court would consider that gwb's rights to equal protection supplanted not only his opponent, but all the voters in Florida. I guess some animals are truly "more equal" than other animals. A wonderful article on the disastous decision titled, And none dare call it treason, takes apart the decision, and it's implications on the future of the republic.
I n the December 12 ruling by the US Supreme Court handing the election to George Bush, the Court committed the unpardonable sin of being a knowing surrogate for the Republican Party instead of being an impartial arbiter of the law. If you doubt this, try to imagine Al Gore's and George Bush's roles being reversed and ask yourself if you can conceive of Justice Antonin Scalia and his four conservative brethren issuing an emergency order on December 9 stopping the counting of ballots (at a time when Gore's lead had shrunk to 154 votes) on the grounds that if it continued, Gore could suffer "irreparable harm," and then subsequently, on December 12, bequeathing the election to Gore on equal protection grounds. If you can, then I suppose you can also imagine seeing a man jumping away from his own shadow, Frenchmen no longer drinking wine.

From the beginning, Bush desperately sought, as it were, to prevent the opening of the door, the looking into the box--unmistakable signs that he feared the truth. In a nation that prides itself on openness, instead of the Supreme Court doing everything within its power to find a legal way to open the door and box, they did the precise opposite in grasping, stretching and searching mightily for a way, any way at all, to aid their choice for President, Bush, in the suppression of the truth, finally settling, in their judicial coup d'état, on the untenable argument that there was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause--the Court asserting that because of the various standards of determining the voter's intent in the Florida counties, voters were treated unequally, since a vote disqualified in one county (the so-called undervotes, which the voting machines did not pick up) may have been counted in another county, and vice versa. Accordingly, the Court reversed the Florida Supreme Court's order that the undervotes be counted, effectively delivering the presidency to Bush.
The rest of it is a highly reccomended read, for those of you who might be interested in the implications of the decision, and an understanding of one of the many ways the 14th ammendment has been used to nefarious ends. The astonishing thing is the flippant way in which a man who decries "activist judges" and favors a strict interpretation of the constitution, would suggest that we get over the most activist and curiously interpreted decision to be made by the court in at least a couple of life times.
Meanwhile, Scalia explains that we have had it wrong, and that the constitution is not a "living document", talk about having ones cake and eating it too.
"In the last 40 years, ... we've become fond of the phrase that we have a living document," Scalia said. "But if something is wrong, then change the law or change the Constitution, but don't reinterpret the Constitution." He said proponents of the living document concept and flexibility regarding the Constitution are "dead wrong."

He also said the Constitution doesn't say anything about such issues as abortion rights and assisted suicide, and that those who are for or against such measures should work to pass laws that support their views.
I wonder if anyone took this opportunity to question Scalia about the right to privacy, cause such a right, like the right to breathe is not specifically enumerated in the document, though a certain case (made no doubt by what he and dubbya would refer to as activist judges) is based on the presumption of that right (Roe v Wade).

I wonder sometimes if during the constituional convention while the bill of rights was being discussed, if some smart ass like myself, suggested an ammendment specifically enumerating the right to privacy. I can Imagine Jefferson laughing it off, suggesting that it would be tantamount to enumerating a right to breathe, and that would be ridiculous as it is an inalienable right. They might have never have concieved a tool like scalia making it to the bench.

If I managed to build a time machine, the first thing I would do would go back pick up Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, Franklin and Monroe, hand each of them 32 oz Louisville sluggers, bring them up to speed and let them loose in D.C. When they were done cleaning house, we would be off to New York, and to the Networks (broadcast and cable).

Thursday, November 18

I Want Some of What He's Smoking

In a case of better late than never, the Government of Sock Puppet, Allawi will allowhumanitarian releif into the city of Fallujah. At the same time a military mouthpiece says that we have "broken the back" of the resistance. Riiiiiiiiiiiight.
Iraq's interim government has said it will send food and medical teams into the city of Falluja.

The move follows an appeal by the Red Cross, which said it feared for the plight of civilians after the US-led assault against insurgents.

US-led forces continue to encounter fierce displays of resistance in southern zones of Falluja.

But a top US commander says the offensive there has "broken the back of the insurgency" across Iraq.

Lt Gen John Sattler said the operation had "taken away this safe haven" which he alleged was used as a base for the nationwide Iraqi rebellion.
Yup, they have taken away "A" safe haven, for as long as they decide to stick around in the city of 300,000. While some might argue that most of the people fled in advance, no matter how you pack it in, thats got to be a lot of real estate to keep on top of, so color me a bit skeptical.
The total US death toll in the offensive, which began on 7 November, stands at 51. About 425 American troops were wounded in action. Eight Iraqi soldiers have died.

Lt Gen Sattler said reports of 1,200 fighters killed was "probably a safe number". The number of civilians killed is unknown.

Lt Gen's assessment of the impact of the Falluja offensive was more optimistic than that of marine intelligence officials, AP news agency reported.
1,200 bodies, 1,200 fighters, I pray that we aren't doing the "body-count tango". And one has to wonder when the pentagon is going to get it's mouthpieces on the same page. Meanwhile in other parts of the Sunni Triangle, various shades of hell are breaking loose.
Violence has flared once again across Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland.

In the worst incident, in the town of Baiji north of the capital Baghdad, a suicide bomb targeting a US military convoy killed 14 Iraqis.

In the city of Ramadi, to the west of Baghdad, clashes erupted between insurgents and US troops.
Oil city

Baiji, the site of the country's largest oil refinery and a major power station, saw a suicide car bomber ram his vehicle into a US military convoy, causing a huge explosion.

The attack took place near a market close to the centre of the town, which lies some 250km (155 miles) north of Baghdad. An estimated 22 Iraqis were wounded in the incident and a US military spokesman said three soldiers were also hurt.
That sounds like the smell of success. I guess the trouble with evil is that it seems to multiply faster than our troops can stamp it out, maybe it is related to the old saw about lies traveling half way round the world before truth can get it's shoes on. In any case someone should have told Dubbyah, or Furious D, or Fallujah Daddy. Elsewhere, to the north somewhat, a major offensive continues in Mosul.
US forces have swept through parts of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in an operation to flush out insurgents and retake captured police stations.

More than 1,000 soldiers are advancing through the city from west to east, meeting little resistance, the US says.

An overnight curfew is in force and the city's five bridges have been closed.

Mosul, Iraq's third largest city, descended into lawlessness last week as US forces began a major operation to take control of the city of Falluja.

Insurgents stepped up attacks in Mosul, seizing or destroying several police stations. They also looted police uniforms and vehicles, making it even harder for the Americans to know friend from foe.
Ok now I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that in a city of well over a million residents, that our force consists of only 1000 troops or thereabouts. Is it just me or does this number seem woefully inadequate for the task. Pretty much like everything else involved in the theatre. This is just sick, and the Whack-a-Mole War Profiteers continue to Hoover the treasury into offshore accounts, and the war floggers scream louder for nuclear retribitude.

Afghanistan I hardly Knew you.

Last I heard you held elections, women are free to frolic in the streets sans Burka, and the kids love school, 'specially all the little girls, but the following sounds more like the hinterlands in Columbia, not the bastion of peace and democracy in the not so middle eastern land.
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:56 a.m. ET Nov. 18, 2004

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Afghanistan is on its way to becoming a “narco-state” and U.S. and NATO forces in the country should get involved in fighting the drug trade as well as terrorists, according to a U.N. report released Thursday. “It would be an historical error to abandon Afghanistan to opium, right after we reclaimed it from the Taliban and al-Qaida,” said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

The agency found that this year’s cultivation of opium — the raw material for heroin — was up by nearly two-thirds. Bad weather and disease kept production from setting a new record, although it still accounted for 87 percent of world supply, up from 76 percent in 2003.

The illegal trade is booming despite political progress in the country, including the first presidential election, and local drug-control efforts directed by British military advisers.
I seem to remember that the Taliban, reviled though they were (especially after they refused to cave into the demands of UniCal and the pipline they wanted) did manage to nearly eradicate Opium production, rather than turn it into
‘Main engine of economic growth’
Opium is now the “main engine of economic growth and the strongest bond among previously quarrelsome peoples,” according to the report. It valued the trade at $2.8 billion, or more than 60 percent of Afghanistan’s 2003 gross domestic product.
No if Free markets are good, shouldn't this be good? Oh right, drugs are bad, unless you are in the money laundering trade. This economics and politics and diplomacy stuff just confuses the bejiggers out of me. I guess it looks like something that they can be proud of, and us too by extension, after all we liberated them.
A double record
The Afghanistan Opium Survey 2004 found cultivation rose 64 percent over 2003, with 323,701 acres dedicated to the poppies that produce opium.

That set a double record, Costa said: “the highest drug cultivation in the country’s history, and the largest in the world.”

The total output of 4,200 tons was only 17 percent higher than last year because bad weather and disease reduced yields by almost 30 percent, the survey found. Still, 2004 production was close to the peak of 4,600 tons in 1999 — a year before the Taliban banned new cultivation.

By contrast, opium production in southeast Asia’s notorious “Golden Triangle” has diminished 75 percent and the region “may soon be declared drug free,” he said.

Most heroin from Afghanistan ends up on the streets of Europe.
Good it's there problem. Wheew, i feel like a target in the shooting gallery oops pun not intended. That Afghan heroin is better off in the streets of Paris and Berlin, than it is here in the good ole USA.

Are you gonna believe Colin or your lying eyes.

Count of Credibility, Colin Powell, suggests that intellegence supports, the ravings of an Iranian opposition group, that Tehran is looking to bolt nukes to missles. Got that. Personally I think No Nukes is good for all, but now tht the genie is out of the bottle, Iran has the right to defend itself and nuclear weapons for good or bad have a pretty good record with respect to deterrance. So lets see what outgoing SecState Powell has to say, and if any of it can be backed by fact.
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- The United States has intelligence indicating Iran is trying to fit missiles to carry nuclear weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said.

Powell partially confirmed claims by an Iranian opposition group that Tehran is deceiving the United Nations and is attempting to secretly continue activities meant to give it atomic arms by next year.
Once upon a time our intelligence community was the envy of the world, although the Israeli's and Russians are probably better at it than we are. See, I just made some suppositions not supported by the presentation of facts of any kind, while these may be widely held viewpoints.....OK lets see what else he's got.
"I have seen intelligence which would corroborate what this dissident group is saying," Powell told reporters Wednesday as he traveled to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Santiago, Chile. "And it should be of concern to all parties."

Pressed by reporters on the intelligence reports, Powell said the intelligence indicates that Iran "had been actively working on delivery systems" capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.
Intelligence has been seen.....I wonder if these "delivery systems" might have dual use capabilities. We also had intelligence about aluminum tubes and mobile chemical weapons labs, sorry if I seem a bit skeptical about this intel. Maybe there is something more substantial to look at.
Powell said there is no evidence to suggest that Iran has developed the technology to make a nuclear weapon, but suggested that the regime is working to adapt missiles for nuclear warheads.
No capability to develop, yet working to adapt. Hmmmm, pray tell where are they getting the already constructed warheads. Must be from somewhere, and I'm thinking likely to be an "ally" of ours. Pakistan?, India?, Russia?, China?, I bet that NK is interested in keeping what they have so it would have to be someone who has warheads to spare.

OK to keep track, Powell claims that Iran is working to modify missiles to carry warheads that they are presently incapable of manufacturing. Got it. Lets see if.......
I'm talking about information that says that they not only had these missiles, but I'm aware of information that suggests they were working hard as to how to put the two together," Powell said.

A senior official for the National Council for Resistance in Iran said Tuesday that a bomb diagram -- along with an unspecified amount of weapons-grade uranium -- was provided to Iran by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the disgraced former head of Pakistani's nuclear development which was tied to both Iran and Libya.
Damn there we go with the "Hard Work" again, and finally we get names. Aha, Khan AKA
Khanny Nuclear Seed. What was the name of the first country on the list of Allies, who might be possible sources of warheads, thats right Pakistan. I have to admit this State Departmening is a curious business, and I am betting that Powell is hoping the Iranians don't come up with 4. Lets see what else he's got.
Powell declined comment on Khan but said that "for 20 years the Iranians have been trying to hide things from the international community."

Iran says its sole interest is to generate nuclear fuel through low-level uranium enrichment, but the United States suspects Iran wants to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium.
No comment on a guy who has done more for nuclear proliferation than anyone, the guy that gave North Korea the Bomb. Yeah No comment, wouldnt want to offend the government that protects the guy most likely to be responsible when and if a suitcase Nuke blows up in the US some time down the road.

Now the scary thing is what happens if Israel decides on a pre-emptive strike. i am sure that Condi will work it all out.

Stupid sure seems to pay well

This nice lady says that those of us who who still have questions concerning the results of the election, should also be concerned with the banks stealing our money, and if we aren't we are just crazy.

While Anne Tannenbaum ponders a basket of oranges, and a bushel of apples and discovers them identical (for the sake of her argument), she seems to conclude that ATM and internet transactions are just like voting . Shorter Anne Tannenbaum pundit on parade.

closed & opaque=open & transparent.

From the WaPo, examined by the Daily Howler, via Atrios
By Anne Applebaum
Wednesday, November 17, 2004; Page A27

When the ATM asks whether I want a receipt, I usually say no. When a Web site wants my credit card number, I usually say yes. When I pay bills online, there is no paper record of the transaction. In my failure to demand physical evidence when money changes hands, I am not very unusual.
Because Anne chooses no reciept from her ATM transaction, and because she does not get a paper reciept from her online transaction, we should not be concerned with a paperless voting system. And this is just the start of the column, but do not worry, this tortured logic will be framed in yet another way or three. Egads, I guess that it is possible that I have abused "logic" in an attempt to make a point, but I doubt I have been as dishonest. You see Anne, I'd be willing to lay odds (and I'm not a betting man) that you would raise the roof if you got a bank statement, or credit card statement, that did not represent correctly the transactions you had made during the previous month. Something tells me that you probably keep pretty close tabs on your cash, as it is not very unusual for people to keep an eye on their finances. Now You might also raise the roof if say, you got a statement in the beginning of december that showed that you had cast a ballot for John Kerry, Oh yeah, right, we don't get statements for our voted, no record at all. In fact the only people who can be reasonably sure that there vote was recorded properly use voter manipulated paper ballots, that they themselves put into the ballot box. And really they can't be certain, unless involved in the counting process, see the difference? I hope so.
...After all, the editorial noted, there is "no way to be sure" that votes weren't changed "by secret software" inside the machines. If you're tempted to believe that analysis is rational, just ask yourself this question: Are you really sure that your bank isn't using secret software to steal $9.72 from your retirement account every week? And if the answer is no, why aren't you up in arms about that, too?
Are you really that stupid, or are you trying to channel an idiot, and slip a talking point past the GOP Goalie. Let me guess that her premise will turn on the "conspiracy theory" dime and use an example that includes say a Jordanian you had an interesting conversation with. By the way do you have a reciept for this transaction?
Given our reliance on computerized accounting, the explanation for the American paranoia about computer voting cannot be rational. It must lie elsewhere, in some special part of the national psyche. Plenty of other nations are prone to conspiracy theories, of course: I've never forgotten a conversation I had with a Western-educated, business-suited Jordanian who explained to me that the two blue stripes on the Israeli flag represent the Nile and Euphrates rivers, the planned future borders of the Jewish state. But American conspiracies have their own peculiar flavor.
Ok I peeked, I am no nostradamus.So lets see where we stand. Anne sets up a completely bullshit premise, conflates it with looneytunes conspiracies (would it actually suprise me if some zionist somewhere had not considered the possibility of a greater Israel whose border extended from the Nile to the Euphrates? No, but that's beside the point. Anne let me say this clearly. ATM's and Electronic Voting machines without paper trails are not the same thing. The former is Open and transparent, the latter is closed and opaque. BTW you really might want to think of the Pulitzer the next time you fire up your keyboard, because this column is a stain on the honor of that prize.

Wednesday, November 17

More Kissy-pooo

"Is that brown sugar I taste or,
is that just a gun in my pocket"

"It's both sir, are you loaded?"


For a long time the term "revisionist history" was considered anathema to republican faithful, unless it was the stuff of holocaust denyers or Dinesh D'Sousa running with the Bell jar thesis. As was moral relativism, which quickly joined the DoDo when the Abu Ghraib scandel broke out, but i digress. Apparently the new historical perspective is that the famed Willi Horton ad was not racist, or an example of race baiting and to suggest otherwise means that you drink the blood of christian babies. Thanks to Atrios for the tip.
When Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg referred to the infamous "Willie Horton" attack ads as "racial politics," U.S. News & World Report senior writer Michael Barone accused Greenberg of "blood libel on the American people."
Thems some harsh words my friend, are you sure you want to use a term that has sent many angry christians out to bash some Jews throughout history, and when I say history I mean it. the first known instance occured in sunny old England, not a hundred years after the Battle of Hastings.
England, 1144

March 20 (Passover), the first blood libel in Europe against Jews. Jews of Norwich are accused with both ritual murder and blood libel after a boy (William of Norwich) is found dead with stab wounds. The legend gets turned into a cult, William acquires status of martyr saint and crowds of pilgrims bring wealth to local church. In 1189, Jewish deputation attending coronation of Richard the Lionheart is attacked by the crowd. Pogroms in London follow and spread around England. On Feb 6 1190 all the Norwich Jews found in their houses were slaughtered, except few who found refuge in the castle. Jews would later be expelled from all of England in 1290 and not allowed to return untill 1655.
Jeeze o' Pete. I might take this time to state that I believe the accusation falls a little bit beyond the pale, but that's just me YMMV. From the transcript of the show.
GREENBERG: Well, first of all, I don't know, welfare queen, Willie Horton. That strikes me as racial politics in the 1980s.

BARONE: I think you are absolutely wrong about Willie Horton, and I want to strenuously disagree.


I think this whole Willie Horton thing is a slur on the American people. The argument has been made by Democrats and liberals that the Bush campaign in '88 supposedly showed pictures of this man. It did not. There was an independent expenditure ad that did. But they did not. They showed white prisoners in the ad. And the argument against Michael Dukakis, which he never effectively countered because there is no effective counter, is that giving furlough to people who have life without parole is a position that Dukakis defended over 11 years as governor of Massachusetts or governor candidate, is a crazy law, and he supported it over 11 years. You don't have to be a racist to want a murderer, whatever his race, to stay in jail and not be allowed outside on the weekend. To say that the American people were racist and they just want black people in, is blood libel on the American people.
I think Mr Barone, that you may have jumped the shark a bit, I believe that Ms. Greenburg (who may justifiably be quite upset with the use of the term "Blood Libel") was actually somewhat genteel in her characterization, referring to the add as an example of "racial Politics", and not as you suggest accusing the American people of being racists (although far to many of them are, in fact. given your protestations, i would not be suprised if present company was included) But maybe to put an end to this controversy, we'll let the architct of the ad speak for himself
In 1991, Bush's 1988 campaign manager, Lee Atwater, apologized to Dukakis for promising in 1988 to "make Willie Horton his [Dukakis's] running mate." According to a January 14, 1991, Associated Press report, Atwater, who was gravely ill at the time, regretted the statement "because it makes me sound racist, which I am not."
Deathbed confession is good enough for me, I just hope it was enough to get Lee past the biggest Goalie of all, St. Peter.

Remember Kiddies IOKIYAR

Its OK if you are a Republican. The Republicans in the hill recinded a rule that might have forced Tom Delay to give up his leadership position in the House of Reprehensibles Representatives. The rule in effect, stated that any member of the house leadership that was under indictment, would have to cede their postition until the matter was cleared up. Funny story really. You see the rule was invoked to screw a member of the Democratic leadership named Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois, who was involved (if memory serves) in a scandel over taking advantage of the house post office, and eventually convicted of mail fraud. Oh those were the days, when ethics in the house meant something. It is likely that Delay (who has already faced ethics sharges in the house) will be indicted for running afoul of campaign finance laws, but loyal republicans in the house have his back and will not allow petty partisan grievances (read legitimate complaints) to take their bugkiller away. These guys run everything, but god, if they are not poor little victims who can barely get there luch money past the burly Democratic party bullies, in the Capitol building.
By Joanne Kenen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House Republicans voted on Wednesday to change their own rules to allow their powerful Majority Leader Tom DeLay to keep his post even if he is indicted in connection with illegal fund-raising activities.

In a closed-door session, House Republicans approved the rule change in a voice vote to allow a leader or chairman to keep his post after an indictment. The leadership would then make recommendations, based on whether the indictment was deemed legitimate or politically-motivated.
Behind closed doors, is the only place where beleagured republican feel safe doing business. I wonder how the "leadership" will deem any charges that arise, legitimate? Nah. Politically motivated? Of course.
Three of DeLay's associates were indicted by a Texas grand jury in September in connection with illegal fund-raising and the prosecutor has said the investigation is not yet finished.

The controversy surrounding DeLay, a Texas Republican, does not seem to have dented his considerable power.

He is credited with helping Republicans increase their majority in the House in this month's elections and many Republican lawmakers feel indebted to him for his fund-raising prowess.

DeLay, who has been admonished by the House Ethics Committee three times this year, told reporters he was "not at all" worried about an indictment.

He said the change in party rules was necessary to protect Republicans against the Democrats' "politics of personal destruction."

Rep. Henry Bonilla, a fellow Texas Republican who initiated the change, said it was essential because, "We are trying to protect members of our leadership from any crackpot district attorney in any state of the nation from taking on a political agenda."

That's about right. You see, in this brave new world we inhabit, anytime a republican is caught with his pantaloons around his ankles, and his arm shoulder deep in the cookie jar, anyone who wants to complain is just employing that shameless tactic that Delay called the "politics of personal destruction."

Hmmmmm I wonder what Bill and Hillary might have to say about that. I guess we just have to get used to the idea that since the republicans discovered, or at least made POPD an artform, that they have a copyright on it's use. I wonder if the Swift Boat Lies could be considered POPD. I guess I am just thinking too hard.

Democrats complained that Republicans were lowering the ethical bar for leadership.

"Not only did the House Republicans vote to re-elect the most ethically challenged member of Congress in modern history to lead them ... now, in an act of unprecedented shamelessness, the Republicans have apparently changed their own rules to allow Mr. DeLay to be indicted for a felony and still keep his job as Majority Leader," said outgoing Rep. Chris Bell, a Democrat who lost his seat because of Texas redistricting pushed by DeLay.
Chris Bell, who had his ass gerrymandered out of a district, just doesn't seem to be with the program pogrom. The new order of the day is that anything republicans do to hold or consolidate power, up to and including, stealing and cheating and bearing false witness, adultury. worshipping graven images, is doubleplus good, anything the democrats do is evil or inspired by hatred and Satan. I hope that clears it up for you guys. Sometimes it takes awhile for us to catch up to the media.

W likes the Kissy-poo

This is about right

Thanks to my friend the Republican Jesus for the heads up to the following cartoon.

A new World Shark Jumping Record

Thanks to Eschatonian Fallstaff for bringing this to the light of day. some lucky guy made a grilled cheese sandwich about ten years ago, took a bite and saw the face of the virgin Mary. I'll let him tell the story.

I made this sandwich 10 years ago, when I took a bite out of it, I saw a face looking up at me, It was Virgin Mary starring back at me, I was in total shock, I would like to point out there is no mold or disingration, The item has not been preserved or anything, It has been keep in a plastic case, not a special one that seals out air or potiental mold or bacteria, it is like a miracle, It has just preserved itself which in itself I consider a miracle, people ask me if I have had blessings since she has been in my home, I do feel I have, I have won $70,000 (total) on different occasions at the casino near by my house, I can show the recipts to the high bidder if they are interested, I would like all people to know that I do believe that this is the Virgin Mary Mother Of God, That is my solem belief, but you are free to believe that she is whomever you like, I am not scamming anyone, I would like all potinetal bidders to know that this has gained alot of attention from media personell around the country, On Tuesday November 16, 2004 the Miami Herald will feature a story in thier paper on this phenomon, Also Today which is November 15, 2004 The story of The Virgin Mary In The Grilled Cheese will be aired on Channel 4 News here in South Florida, The story has been told nationwide on radio stations ect.
Interesting that our Grilled cheese connoisseur, likes to start his sandwiches crust side first, and lucky for those bidding, that he did not take a big bite out of Mary's head.
Great to be a gambler with a grilled cheese Mary as your patron saint. To bad she did not help improve the grammer or spelling of it's owner. (like I should talk, esp the spelling). Now I do have to say that I am quite impressed with the preservation of the object, this could indeed be a miracle of some kind. Lest you find your mouth watering over this holy relic, the seller has some advice:
I would like all bidders to know that this item is not intended for consumption, it is intended for collectable purposes only.
Glad thats sorted out. By the way the bidding for this item is now beyond 6,900 dollars. Friends, you have just over five days to get your little slice of Heaven.

[........... update and correction........................]
It was 6900 not 69000, and now the sandwich is up to 7,600 4 days left.

So where are all the terrorists we are fighting "over there"

A couple of days ago in a piece about Fallujah, it was reported that out of the 150 odd prisoners, that only 15 were not Iraqi citizens. Well it would seem that we rounded up a whole lot more and still have only 15 foreign Nationals.
By John Hendren
Times Staff Writer
Posted November 16 2004

CAMP FALLOUJA, Iraq — The battle for the city of Fallouja is giving U.S. military commanders some insight into this country's insurgency, painting a portrait of a home-grown uprising dominated by Iraqis, not foreign fighters.

Of the more than 1,000 men between the ages of 15 and 55 who were captured in intense fighting in the center of the insurgency over the last week, just 15 are confirmed foreign fighters, Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. ground commander in Iraq, said Monday.
There was evidence that an organized force of foreign fighters was present. One dead guerrilla bore Syrian identification. A number of insurgents believed to be foreigners wore similar black "uniforms," each with black flak vests, webbed gear and weapons superior to those of their Iraqi allies.

But despite an intense focus on the network of Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab Zarqawi by U.S. and Iraqi officials, who have insisted that most Iraqis support the country's interim government, American commanders said their best estimates of the proportion of foreigners among their enemies is about 5%.

The overwhelming majority of insurgents, several senior commanders said, are drawn from the tens of thousands of former government employees whose sympathies lie with the toppled regime of Saddam Hussein, unemployed "criminals" who find work laying roadside bombs for about $500 each and Iraqi religious extremists.
Nice 30 foot Conclusion Jump there. I mean these guys could only be fighting out of loyalty to their dearly deposed leader, or just "unemployed criminals" out to make a buck. Okie-dokie any information that comes to light that doesn't fit the "CONventional wisdom" will be spun like a dervish. i am sure that they will find those foreign terrorists to the north, west, east and south somewhat, just like the WMD's

Bush ain't Dumb, him smart

A remarkable sophist at a blog called the American Thinker, opines on the goodness inherent in the elevation of Rice to head the State Department. All well and good if you like the taste of the Kool-Aid. You see she is real smart, and wouldn't you know, a Provost at Stanford, and frankly when a real smart person lands in that post, it is almost like a real good Turkey in the oven. Good but not perfect, until all the basting is done, then great. Condi was basted with even more smarts, and is the perfect Captain to steer the ship of state. About 2/3rds the way down our friend takes a detour and tells us the Bush is also real smart and not "stupid" like some liberals say him is.
The “Bush is stupid” meme still survives among certain segments of the American self-styled intelligentsia ("stupidigentsia" would be a more appropriate term, if it existed), despite his repeated shellacking of his opponents. But even those who are prepared to admit that he is a formidable opponent (think: State Department insiders) fail to understand the depth of his training in the theory and practice of executive leadership. President Bush is an expert at organizational change.
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When he was a student at Harvard Business School, President Bush studied the process of changing entrenched dysfunctional organizations. He learned in detail how to identify and analyze the sources of resistance to change, how to “unfreeze” an organization from its accepted way of doing things, and how to use the tools available to an executive, in order to install a self-reinforcing cycle forcing even the most reluctant surviving bureaucrats to behave in new ways.

One of the capstones of his learning at HBS was a detailed case study of change at a very large bank. The newly-written (when the President was a first year MBA student) case followed the actions of a young executive, dispatched by the powerful CEO of this bank to turnaround the back office check-clearing operations, which were becoming increasingly expensive, while delivering poor quality service.
I guess I'll have to take his word for it him being Thomas Lifson (received his MBA from Harvard a year after George W. Bush.) Clearly only turkeys basted at august institutions of higher learning, truly understand the world and only they can change it for the better.

Tuesday, November 16

Hawk, man or bird, or birdman.

In the interest of lightening things up a bit I present one of the great characters in science fiction---Hawk.

Speaking of Incompetence.

So Powell is gone, and will apparently, pending Senate confirmation,

be replaced with Condi "Bin Laden determined to stike in the US" Rice.
I guess if we are going to have a third string presnident, he may as well be surrounded by second stringers and yes (wo)men.
US President George W Bush has chosen national security adviser Condoleezza Rice as his new secretary of state, senior US officials in Washington say.

Ms Rice, 50, a close confidante of Mr Bush, could be named on Tuesday to succeed Colin Powell, US media report.

As the first black female secretary of state she would win a place in the history books, correspondents say.
Well there you go, one for the History books. If no other reason I guess this is fantastic, though I am not sure history will remember her stint at the NSA too fondly.
Mr Powell, 67, resigned on Monday. He said it had always been his intention to serve only one term.

His resignation was announced along with three other cabinet members, bringing to six the number of key figures to leave the 15-member cabinet.

'Driven and highly ambitious'

US media networks have said that Ms Rice has accepted the offer and a formal announcement is expected on Tuesday.

Ms Rice is a trusted member of President's Bush innermost circle - some describe her as almost family, the BBC's Jill McGivering in Washington says. She is also said to share many of his views, and is described as driven and highly ambitious, our correspondent says.

Ms Rice is seen as a more abrasive character than UN ambassador John Danforth who was earlier also tipped as a possible successor to Mr Powell, analysts say.
Is it just me or is anyone else believe that last thing that we need at this time is more Sandpaper in the State Department? I guess that we have decided to abandon the carrot and rely soley on the stick to steer the ship of State.

Back in Fallujah, Dogs feast on the Dead.

From a reporter that calls the embattled city home comes this eyewitness report.
As US forces say they have overall control of Falluja, the BBC News website spoke by phone to Fadhil Badrani, an Iraqi journalist and resident of Falluja who reports regularly for Reuters and the BBC World Service in Arabic.

We are publishing his and other eyewitness accounts from the city in order to provide the fullest possible range of perspectives from those who are there:

The city is calmer now - but the fear is still there and some fighting.

I have seen some strange things recently, such as stray dogs snatching bites out of bodies lying on the streets.
If the dogs are hungry enough to scavenge the dead, you know that anyone still stuck in that town is in rough shape. Jesus.
Meanwhile, people forage in their gardens looking for something to eat.

Those that have survived this far are looking gaunt.

The opposite is happening to the dead - left where they fell, they are now bloated and rotting.

Many of the fighters have escaped or been killed. A few have stayed on to fight.

Scared to move

US forces control most of the city now, except for some areas in the south.

We keep hearing that aid has arrived at the hospital on the outskirts of the city, which is now in the hands of the Americans.

But most people in this area are too weak or too scared to make the journey, or even to leave their homes.

For now, the best option is to stay put. I would like to escape Falluja, but I fear I will end up getting killed if I try.

A group of journalist friends left the city by car last week as the assault was starting. I have no idea what happened to them.

Not one of their mobile phones works and I fear the worst.
I guess this is what passes for operational control of the city.
Food and water are all but finished. I have enough dried dates and water to last me another few days.

If, in five days' time, it is still impossible to leave the city or get any supplies, I might have to raid my neighbour's vacant house for food and water.

I can enter their place by jumping from our roof onto theirs.

I am completely out of touch with the situation in the rest of Iraq.

Looking at Falluja now, the only comparisons I can think of are cities like Beirut and Sarajevo.
If not for mismanagement, and astonishing levels of incompetance, none of this had to come to pass.

Meanwhile in Mosul

Operation Whack-A-Mole™ takes the roadshow to Mosul, where scenes of violence erupted last week as the "cleansing of Fallujah" began. Insurgents attacked Police stations in the city, making off with weapons and body armor before torching the place. In response we have sent forces in to quell the insurgency.
The US military in Iraq says it has begun a big assault on insurgents in the northern city of Mosul.

Military spokesmen said more than 1,000 soldiers had been deployed and were sweeping the city from west to east.

The city descended into lawlessness as US forces carried out a major operation to take control of Falluja last week.
More than a thousand? I am presuming that this also means less than 2,000 troops, to root out the insurgency in Iraq's third largest city, population of 1.7 million (2002). Are you kidding me? Talk about bringing a knife to a gunfight.
According to the Associated Press news agency, a mortar attack in the centre of the city on Tuesday left three dead and 25 others wounded.

"We are in the process of securing all of the police stations and returning the police to these stations to [put] in place a strong police presence," said a US military spokeswoman.

"Some of those stations are in neighbourhoods in the western side of the city where there has been insurgent activity and presence. We are now moving through the neighbourhood."
Good luck with that. I am sure they have since moved on to another neighborhood. In other news, in a basement somewhere a member of the 101st fighting Keyboard's screams "Cry Hovoc and let slip the Nuke's of war".

Some call it Murder.

It appears that one of our brave young men decided to kill a wounded Iraqi. This is unlikely the first time it has happened, in fact earlier in the year there was a video of some soldiers killing a wounded man in the streets, which given the circumstances, that kill could have been related to combat despite the fact that the man in question was unarmed and did not pose an immediate threat. In this case however several things get in the way of this soldier getting out of this with an honerable discharge. The Iraqi in question was in our custody, seriously injured, and the denoument, they caught the whole
scene on video
The US military has announced it is looking into whether an American marine in Falluja shot dead a severely wounded Iraqi insurgent at point-blank range.

Television footage shows US soldiers entering a building as injured prisoners lie on the floor.

The soldier, who has not been identified, has been removed from the field and faces possible charges.

Lt Gen John Sattler promised to pursue the facts of the case "thoroughly" before taking further measures.

The BBC's James Robbins says the incident could prove highly damaging and that the US military will need to answer key questions about whether the rules of engagement were broken during the incident. It must explain, he says, whether wounded combatants were abandoned, or killed, illegally.

But the BBC's Baghdad correspondent Caroline Hawley says most Iraqis will not be surprised, after the scandal of US abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib facility in Baghdad.
The NBC's Kevin Sites says the wounded men had been left in the mosque after being treated by a group of marines following Friday's fighting.

Mr Sites says soldiers from a different unit went and apparently shot the men again on Saturday without knowing whether they were armed.

"Then one of the marines points his rifle at the head of one of the injured, an old man, saying, 'He's faking he's dead'," Mr Sites' description continues.

"The sound of a shot is then heard. And in the background, another soldier says, 'Well, he's dead now'."
Is this what we signed up for? Why are we still in the deconstruction phase?

Monday, November 15

Good Riddence Colin

I'll never understand why you sold your soul to the devil and hitched your wagon to the NeoCon utopia, that from the get go violated every principle of the "Powell Doctrine. That you would allow your credibility to lend a veneer of moderation to a bunch of loonytunes nutjobs hellbent, on creating an Empire under the guise of a foolish prosecution of a "war on terror".

I am certain that you are familier with a september 2000 document titled: Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century, published by the Project for a New American Century. Of course you are. On page 58 of this document is the famous quote about a "...galvanizing event, like a new pearl Harbor..." You lent your face to this farce, an now you will scurry off into the darkness like yet another Rat.

I would like to think that at some point in the not too distant future, your conscience will get the better of you, that you will come clean as it were and let us get on with fixing the damage that your complicity gave legitemacy. I won't hold my breath. So long Jackass.

Sunday, November 14

Why Tyrants in Power can be a bad thing

I have been watching the longest day on and off for a while, and the good guys have landed on the beach and are making inroads. The scene that has a couple of German officers discussing calling Hitler to order the Tank Divisions that have been held in reserve to make a counter attack. Trouble is that no one wants to call Hitler for fear that they will get into trouble. By this time he is asleep and has tendered strict orders not to be woken up.

No one wants to wake Hitler and no one is authorised to call op the reserves for a counter attack, the allies gain an extra 12 hours, and by then it is too late. The Allies have established a beachead, and the rest they say is History.

Do you think that anyone is going to tell bush when the time comes, that Iraq is a lost cause? Remember this is the gang that shitcanned the Army chief of staff for not buying into the rose petal tossing dreams of the NeoCons, Is purging the CIA of suspected liberal sympathisers, and is generally not interested in bad news, so the TV won't show any.

I fear that we are Germany and Iraq is the invasion of Normandy in the Grand war on Terror.

Laws keep Iraqi Farmers from planting their own seed

Agribusiness has a new money tree. This has been bandied about for awhile, but one of the develoments in the industry is to create not only pest repellent varieties of grians and other foodstuffs, but geneticaly modified so that the grain is sterile as well. You may have heard of the term "seed Corn". This refers to the kernals that are kept from being consumed so that the farmer has something to plant the following year. In a way you could call it a conservation program, or better yet a positive feedback system. You could also say that proper management might make a farmer somewhat self-sufficient.

Now if you were in the business of producing grain for sale, and could somehow find the means to limit your product to one use, you might believe that you have just discovered the location of the Golden Goose. The elimination of seed corn could be a boon to profitiability, as farmers would have no choice but to buy it from you. Eventually you might be able to charge what you like for the stuff, and as people need food to live, they would have no choice.

Well this shit is already on the market, and while there are no rules governing or mandating it's use in the US, one of the parting gifts we left with the Iraqi government was a law that madates it's use by Iraqi farmers. Now there is the capitalist Utopia, the neocons have been dreaming of. From
Iraq's new patent law: A declaration of war against farmers

by Focus on the Global South and GRAIN

October 2004


When former Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) administrator L. Paul Bremer III left Baghdad after the so-called "transfer of sovereignty" in June 2004, he left behind the 100 orders he enacted as chief of the occupation authority in Iraq. Among them is Order 81 on "Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety." [1] This order amends Iraq's original patent law of 1970 and unless and until it is revised or repealed by a new Iraqi government, it now has the status and force of a binding law. [2] With important implications for farmers and the future of agriculture in Iraq, this order is yet another important component in the United States' attempts to radically transform Iraq's economy.


For generations, small farmers in Iraq operated in an essentially unregulated, informal seed supply system. Farm-saved seed and the free innovation with and exchange of planting materials among farming communities has long been the basis of agricultural practice. This has been made illegal under the new law. The seeds farmers are now allowed to plant - "protected" crop varieties brought into Iraq by transnational corporations in the name of agricultural reconstruction - will be the property of the corporations.
We really have no shame at all. As the steaming piles of hypocracy in washington increase in size and volume, one wonders how anyone can move around let alone breathe. So when Pro-Consul Bremer left the country, the transfer of sovereignity included a leagal (coporate protection) system that
will remain in place untill overturned by the Iraqi government. Which is unlikely to happen as long as Allawi is around. I wonder if this new grain has been designed to flourish in areas with higher than normal radiation levels thanks to all the depleted urainium we left scattered around the place.
While historically the Iraqi constitution prohibited private ownership of biological resources, the new US-imposed patent law introduces a system of monopoly rights over seeds. Inserted into Iraq's previous patent law is a whole new chapter on Plant Variety Protection (PVP) that provides for the "protection of new varieties of plants." PVP is an intellectual property right (IPR) or a kind of patent for plant varieties which gives an exclusive monopoly right on planting material to a plant breeder who claims to have discovered or developed a new variety. So the "protection" in PVP has nothing to do with conservation, but refers to safeguarding of the commercial interests of private breeders (usually large corporations) claiming to have created the new plants.
Welcome to the new world order Kiddies, where the rights of Cash trump the rights of Humans every time. If that baseball team needs to build a new stadium, then eminant domain concerns can remove your property at will. It is only a matter of time before the only thing that remains un coopted by coroprate interests will be the right to breath increasingly toxic air. One of these days I will try to hunt down the court case or legislation that expanded the rights of corpaporations sometime during the latter part of the 19th century

The case was decided in 1886, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad that corporations had enjoyed the status of personhood and therefore the protections guarenteed to citizens by the 14th ammendmant.

The Big Picture

This is object M51, also know as the Worlpool Galaxy ,in the catalog of ojects discovered by French Astronomer Charles Messier, in 1773. The picture you are looking at is of light that left the galaxy 37 million years ago, a snapshot in time. One can only wonder what has transpired in the interim, what kind of life has come and gone, or even if it is still around. One of these nights an atronomer might point his telescope for a good look at M51 and find it gone as if a great curtain had descended upon the Universe, or as the result of a single cataclysmic event that left no trace.

By the time that the light that is presently being generated by the stars of this galaxy reach earth, we will likely to have become part of the Geological record. One can only wonder if or in what form our progeny will have taken by that time. Will the fires of humanity been extinguished opening the way for another species to develop intelligence. Will we have evolved into being comprised mostly of energy and have the capacity to manipulate both space and time, or will we still be corporeal beings. Will the Dolphins succeed us and be the first to master intergalactic travels.

One of the things I loved about astronomy as a kid was the certainty of my place in the universe. I realized that I was but a grain of sand in a milkeyway sized sand pile, it was rather humbling. I also realized that every time I looked trough the eyepiece that I was affectively at the healm of a time machine. Our closest star bombards us with life giving energy that has traveled through space for around 8 minutes before it reaches us. Think about what you have done in the last five minutes, and then realize that the sunlight that hits the earth now was already traveling through space at 186,000 miles per second was three minutes into it's voyage. i don't know about you, but that shit blows my mind.

Philosophically speaking, our lives consume so little time as to become an insignificant part of the whole. In real terms no one is as likely to remember who Newton was, as they are to remember me a few million years down the road, so what does it really matter, why not just take the path of maximum selfishness, one way you could look at it, I guess. Or we could choose to use that small sliver of time to make the world a better place than we found it, and take solace in the fact that our posterity might enjoy it as much as we have.

I look at that picture and wonder how many solar systems are contained within its confines, how much life might exist in varying levels of complexity. Has intelligent life evolved by the time this light was created, and if so, what has become of it. What sentient life has developed in the following 37 million years? I also wonder if an inhabitant of that galaxy is looking at a picture of ours and posting his or her or it's thoughts on their version of a weblog. Might an advanced civilization from our galaxy be in communication with their counterparts in M51? The questions go on and on. what is clear to me is that if we continue on our destructive path, our posterity will never have a chance to find out.

Hubble Gallery

Another proud American who is Not Sorry.

Now that's my kind of girl.

Anonymous, the ex-CIA agent on 60 minutes tonight.

A long serving CIA agent who'se expertize was on Osama bin Laden, and recently published a book critical of the prosecution of the GWOT, was interviewed for the program 60 Minutes and has some terrifying news for us. Osama has apparently been given the clerical go-ahead to use Nukes against the Devided States of America.
(CBS) Osama bin Laden now has religious approval to use a nuclear device against Americans, says the former head of the CIA unit charged with tracking down the Saudi terrorist.

The former agent, Michael Scheuer, speaks to Steve Kroft in his first television interview without disguise to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Scheuer was until recently known as the "anonymous" author of two books critical of the west's response to bin Laden and al Qaeda, the most recent of which is titled "Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror."

No one in the west knows more about the al Qaeda leader than Scheuer, who has tracked him since the mid-1980s. The CIA allowed him to write the books provided he remain anonymous, but now is allowing him to reveal himself for the first time on Sunday's broadcast.

Now if that doesn't curl the hairs on your nose, clerical authorization to use a nuclear device. I guess we should have seen this coming. I bet Scheuer is glad to have left the agency before Stalin's Purge, I mean Porter's Putsch. And I am sure that he has a nice home far from the logical target of such an attack.

Even if bin Laden had a nuclear weapon, he probably wouldn't have used it for a lack of proper religious authority - authority he has now.
"[Bin Laden] secured from a Saudi sheik...a rather long treatise on the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the Americans," says Scheuer. "[The treatise] found that he was perfectly within his rights to use them. Muslims argue that the United States is responsible for millions of dead Muslims around the world, so reciprocity would mean you could kill millions of Americans."
I sure am happy that the world is safer now, it's a good thing that the presnit was not concerned with nuclear proliferation beyond the point of being able to pronounce one of those words correctly.
Scheuer says bin Laden was criticized by some Muslims for the Sept. 11 attack because he killed so many people without enough warning and before offering to help convert them to Islam. But now, bin Laden has addressed the American people and given fair warning.
As the head of the CIA unit charged with tracking bin Laden from 1996 to 1999, Scheuer says he never had enough people to do the job right. He blames former CIA director George Tenet.

"One of the questions that should have been asked of Mr. Tenet was why were there always enough people for the public relations office, for the academic outreach office, for the diversity and multi-cultural office," says Scheuer. "All those things are admirable and necessary but none of them are protecting the American people from a foreign threat."

And the threat posed by bin Laden is also underestimated, says Scheuer. "I think our leaders over the last decade have done the American people a disservice...continuing to characterize Osama bin Laden as a thug, as a gangster," he says.

"Until we respect him, sir, we are going to die in numbers that are probably unnecessary, yes. He's a very, very talented man and a very worthy opponent."
And when it happens most will be shocked and astonished. "man I never saw that coming". And on the day of the attack, we later find out that the pentagon was running a "suitcase Nuke drill". I guess this is the type of thing that can be expected when you have an administration that makes it clear that they will only listen to things that fit their world view, or their agenda. Sleep well tonight my friends.

Goss ordered to Purge CIA officals disloyal to Bush

The bush administration has never liked leaks, unless there was a big political upside, see Valerie Plame, has decided that a house cleaning is in order at the CIA. Resident bush has ordered Porter Goss, head of the CIA, to rid the agency of those deemed disloyal to the administration, and those who have "leaked" information deemed damaging to the Party. From the Eschaton and No Capital.

This fealty to the party embraced by many Republican'ts supplants loyalty to the Country, and quite frankly developments like these should scare the crap out of anyone who is paying attention. How far away are we really away from "Ein Volk, Ein Riech, Ein Fuhrer.

November 14, 2004

WASHINGTON -- The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources. Oh and did I mention that he is to purge people on a faith based "belief" that these people have done harm to the president. Also take note that there has been no mention of National Security, we are simply talking about Political Security. I am forced to do a though experiment, one many of us conduct on a regular basis: What if Clinton had tried to pull this crap?
We certainly would not wan't the development of any narrative that casts doubt on the party line to get loose. We certainly must avoid at all cost looking at any issue form more than one point of view, that would almost be rational, and we can't have that.
"The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."
Oh Jesus, here we go, It's all about perception. A hotbed of of Liberal abstructionists, getting in the way of the dauphin. The contempt for fact and reason in this white house should have people running around with their hair on fire. It is not the way to govern. Again, ask yourself, what we would hear if Clinton attempted a faith-based purge of a government agency. I also must ask myself, what other agencies have been purged under the cover of darkness. The only reason that this is a story at all is because we are dealing with a large agency with National Securtiy implications.
But another former CIA official who retains good contacts within the agency said that Goss and his top aides, who served on his staff when Goss was chairman of the House intelligence committee, believe the agency had relied too much over the years on liaison work with foreign intelligence agencies and had not done enough to develop its own intelligence collection system.

"Goss is not a believer in liaison work," said this retired official. But, he said, the CIA's "best intelligence really comes from liaison work. The CIA is simply not going to develop the assets [agents and case officers] that would meet the intelligence requirements."
Fantastic, Goss doesn't believe in liaison work, (read: cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies. what so you think the chances are that France German And Russian intelligence knew that Saddam was a not a threat and did not possess WMD's). So far everything in this article suggests that the only test required of an action is the faith or belief that a course of action will get the job done. It could be argued that bush won on because a large enough portion of the electorate did not want to change horsemen mid-Apocalypse. Well I am not sure that a gutting of the CIA won't have a negative impact on the "war". After all it will take a considerable amount of time to incorparate the new intelligence gathering assets, that we now have by proxy from our Allies. Of couse the cynic in me believes that ending the War on Terrah is not the goal at all, simply a means to a one party end.