Monday, May 31, 2004

Memorial Day:
Via Change for America, Howard Dean's grass-roots and very well written blog.
Hero Miles
Operation Hero Miles - Soldiers on R & R or emergency leave from Iraq or nearby countries fly into Baltimore Washington International Airport, then have to pay their own way to see their families. Operation Hero Miles communicates information to the American public, the troops and their families about the airline donation programs so these soldiers can see their families and loved ones as soon as possible. Pass your miles their direction.

Fisher House - Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House Foundation donates "comfort homes," built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during the hospitalization for an unexpected illnes, disease, or injury.

Any Soldier - You may have seen the pictures of soldiers swimming in palace pools, relaxing in fancy chairs in a gold covered room, even sleeping in the beds of the tyrants. Looks pretty good. Now you know where the reporters hang out. Few soldiers live like this. Some have excellent living conditions and others may be sleeping on the ground as the 173rd Airborne Brigade did for many months. No matter what conditions the soldiers are in, they are very far from home, and for a very long time. And they are there for us. AnySoldier.US started in August 2003 as a simple family effort to help the soldiers in one Army unit, thus our name. However, due to overwhelming requests, on 1 January 2004 our effort was expanded to include ANY Soldier. We now include any member, of any of the Armed Services, in harms way, sending care packages to those in need.

E-mail Our Troops - Pretty self explanatory. Remember, keep it nonpartisan. Ixnay on the Bush Baday. These guys have enough on their minds.

The Bush Administration assassinates characters rather than challenges facts; Clarke and others are trashed, but not refuted.
By John Greeley

Richard Clarke has joined some excellent company. The ferocious reaction of the Bush Administration, which even includes Vice President Cheney calling the Rush Limbaugh show to proclaim that Clarke was “out of the loop” in his own area of expertise, has lifted the former National Security Advisior to the Bush Administration's A-List for smear.

Just look back at part of the list of former Bush appointees who have been slandered: Former ambassador Wilson who reported on the nonexistent yellowcake from Niger; David Kay who told us there was no WMD; former Treasury Secretary O’Neil and former insider who told us the President at best was disengaged; and Richard S. Foster, the administration’s chief actuary for Medicare who charged the administration with threatening to fire him if he didn’t sit on the actual costs of the new drug plan so it would get past the Congress and become law.

Since the Bush administration and the herd of sheep that follows them live by the big "smear", it's looks like the smear bites back. That's the risk in taking up the tactic of character assassination. You're victims and their sympathizers wait their turn. They gather even more evidence of gross arrogance and immorality. So what does Bush end up with? Apologists who engage in the age old practice of idolatry(Blind or excessive devotion to something.The worship of idols, images, or anything which is not God; the worship of false gods.), or in other words, the kind of people that followed Stalin, Hitler, or Osama Bin Laden.

Via Digby:
A new book on the Bush dynasty is set for release just six weeks before November's knife-edge presidential election. The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty by Kitty Kelley will have an initial print run of 500,000, and the main source is believed to be Sharon Bush, the ex-wife of Neil, President George W Bush's wayward brother.

original link

Sunday, May 30, 2004

A president with ideals, but grounded in reality, Kerry may be an even better candidate regarding foreign policy then I had imagined. It's rare that someone exceeds expectations. Bush has redefined "ideology" as a negative, modifiers not required.

Challenged in the interview on how his approach differed from Bush in certain areas, such as Iraq and arms proliferation, and Kerry often cited more attention to detail or greater urgency—in other words, competence over ideology.

Of promoting democracy overseas, Kerry said, "how fast you can do that and how rapidly others can embrace it and what can be expected over a period of time varies from place to place." Emphasizing his interest in setting realistic goals, he added: "Beware of the presidential candidate who just sort of says with a big paintbrush we're going to make everything all right overnight."

Kerry gives the Bandar Bush approach to the Middle-East a whack that should appeal to many bed-rock Republicans that don't trust the Saudis'.

Kerry has regularly attacked Saudi Arabia on the campaign trail as an unreliable partner in the fight against terrorism. He suggested he would punish the Saudis if they did not cooperate more fully on money laundering and the tracking of terrorist financing. "We cannot be hamstrung on Saudi oil," he said. "I don't believe we have a free voice in the Middle East as long as we are dependent on the oil card. That is exactly what gets played. I think there has been this sweetheart arrangement that has deprived us of that ability."

Kerry Says Global Democracy Is Not His Top Issue (

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Amal Kadham Swadi, one of seven Iraqi female attorneys who are attempting to represent detained women, visited a detainee at a U.S. military base in Baghdad last November and later told The Guardian, "She was the only woman who would talk about her case. She was crying. She told us she had been raped. Several American soldiers had raped her. She had tried to fight them off, and they had hurt her arm. She showed us the stitches. She told us, 'We have daughters and husbands. For God's sake don't tell anyone about this.' "

Although the Taguba report makes specific reference to the abuse of female Iraqi prisoners, the Bush administration has refused to release photos of Iraqi women forced at gunpoint to bare their breasts—no doubt to spare Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld further embarrassment.

The Village Voice: Nation: Mondo Washington: Rape at Abu Ghraib by James Ridgeway

Thursday, May 27, 2004

When, if ever should torture be condoned? Dershowitz: Torture could be justified

BLITZER: Alan Dershowitz, a lot of our viewers will be surprised to hear that you think there are right times for torture. Is this one of those moments?

DERSHOWITZ: I don't think so. This is not the ticking-bomb terrorist case, at least so far as we know. Of course, the difficult question is the chicken-egg question: We won't know if he is a ticking-bomb terrorist unless he provides us information, and he's not likely to provide information unless we use certain extreme measures.

My basic point, though, is we should never under any circumstances allow low-level people to administer torture. If torture is going to be administered as a last resort in the ticking-bomb case, to save enormous numbers of lives, it ought to be done openly, with accountability, with approval by the president of the United States or by a Supreme Court justice. I don't think we're in that situation in this case.

According to one of Bush's press favorites conservative writer/reporter Bill Sammon in an article entitled Bush says terrorism on the run
for the Washington Times,

Two years after President Bush vowed to defeat terrorism in an unprecedented global war, the White House has issued a detailed report showing significant progress in the ongoing offensive.
The 22-page report, released yesterday, points out that the United States and its allies have "dismantled the repressive Taliban, denied al Qaeda a safe haven in Afghanistan and defeated Saddam Hussein's regime."
Overseas, allied forces have killed or captured two-thirds of al Qaeda's top leaders and operatives. Domestically, the Justice Department has charged 260 persons in terrorism investigations, including 140 who have pleaded guilty or been convicted.

There's little dought that the FBI responded to their 9-11 wake-up call and many domestic and international terrorists have apprehended and activities have been to some degree curtailed. But "dismantled"? or "two-thirds of al Qaeda's top leaders" apprehended. As many others have said, Bush fails to realize or acknowledge that his approach to terrorism and especially the invasion of Iraq has just created a many headed hydra. Bush is losing the battle against the growth of the number of terrorists and their geographic spread.

Report: al-Qaida Ranks Swelling Worldwide

LONDON - Far from being crippled by the U.S.-led war on terror, al-Qaida has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq is swelling its ranks, a report said Tuesday.

Al-Qaida is probably working on plans for major attacks on the United States and Europe, and it may be seeking weapons of mass destruction in its desire to inflict as many casualties as possible, the International Institute of Strategic Studies said in its annual survey of world affairs.

Osama bin Laden's network appears to be operating in more than 60 nations, often in concert with local allies, the study by the independent think tank said.

Although about half of al-Qaida's top 30 leaders have been killed or captured, it has an effective leadership, with bin Laden apparently still playing a key role, it said.

The report suggested that the two military centerpieces of the U.S.-led war on terror — the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — may have boosted al-Qaida.

Driving the terror network out of Afghanistan in late 2001 appears to have benefited the group, which dispersed to many countries, making it almost invisible and hard to combat, the story said.

The U.S. occupation of Iraq brought al-Qaida recruits from across Islamic nations, the study said. Up to 1,000 foreign Islamic fighters have infiltrated Iraqi territory, where they are cooperating with Iraqi insurgents, the survey said.

What Happened to Bush's “Winning the War on Terror” Tour?

Today, The Tour Was Renamed “Yes, America Can.” President Bush mysteriously changed the name of this week’s campaign tour from the “Winning the War on Terror” tour to “Yes, America Can.” Unfortunately for President Bush, media outlets reported the original name of his tour numerous times in the past week.

This development raises several questions about the Bush-Cheney campaign:

Did President Bush have second thoughts about shamelessly exploiting the War on Terror for political gain?
Has President Bush backtracked yet again?
Did President Bush realize that his failure to address key homeland security measures continues to leave America vulnerable?

by way of Atrios
“George Bush has served as President of this country for three years. During that time, Osama Bin Laden attacked the United States killing 3,000 people, and terrorists killed US citizens on several other different occasions including the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, multiple bombings and attacks in Saudi Arabia, a bombing in the Phillipines, and attacks in Yemen, not to mention the almost one thousand American military and civilian personnel killed in what the President has dubbed the 'central front in the war on terror.'"

“Bush's actions demonstrate that he either does not understand the threat of global terror, or he has amnesia.”

Oh, wait, woops -- that isn't what it said. It said this:

“Al Gore served as Vice President of this country for eight years. During that time, Osama Bin Laden declared war on the United States five times and terrorists killed US citizens on at least four different occasions including the first bombing of the World Trade Center, the attacks on Khobar Towers, our embassies in East Africa, and the USS Cole.”

“Al Gore’s attacks on the President today demonstrate that he either does not understand the threat of global terror, or he has amnesia.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

While all the bloggers on the left are by definition part of the fascist watch on the web, Orcinus (David Neiwert)is the sargent at arms. He deconstructs them as well as any progressive american voice ever:

I've discussed at length elsewhere the signs of incipient fascism in the American body politic. Now, as we reach a boiling point where the war in Iraq is turning into one of history's great quagmires and the likely disempowerment of the ruling conservatives looms larger, the potential for significant manifestations of the fascist impulse becomes greater.

The chief form of this is the desire to suppress all dissent, specifically under the guise of a 21st-century version of the Dolchstosslegende, as liberals and dissenters are increasingly depicted as "stabbing in the back" our soldiers and, by extension, the national interest.

It's important to understand as well that fascist dictatorships are top-down in hierarchy but rely on substantive popular support. They are dictatorships which are carried out not only under threat of state punishment, but with the open embrace of average citizens, and the full participation of many enthusiasts (who are all, of course, deeply persuaded of their own civic virtue).

So the kind of suppression that indicates a fascist impulse appears not only from the top -- with administration officials impugning the patriotism of their critics, and conservative talk-show hosts and pundits ranting at length about the treason of liberals. It also appears in local libraries, city councils, local police forces. And, of course, school districts.

Golden Gate Bridge as night falls Posted by Hello

PBS has a companion site up to it's series Golden Gate Bridge

The bridge's original, two-tone fog horns functioned for almost half a century. In 1985, bridge officials replaced them with new air horns that only sound single tones.

The two main cables of the bridge weigh 11,000 tons apiece, and each main cable contains 25,572 separate wires.

The amount of concrete used on the bridge would be sufficient to build two 10-foot-wide sidewalks from Chicago to Omaha.

The initial car toll in 1937 was 50 cents (a whopping $6.25 in 2002 dollars). By 2004, the car toll had risen to $5.00, or $4.00 with an electronic transponder -- but tolls are only collected from vehicles heading south into San Francisco.

The month of December has historically brought the most dangerous winds. Officials have closed the bridge only three times due to wind, in the Decembers of 1951 (69 mph winds), 1982 (70 mph winds), and 1983 (75 mph winds). None of the gusts caused structural damage.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Juan Cole serves up an exacting review of a certain right-ist pundit's war propaganda. If it weren't for the dead, this elequent I-told-you-so would be sweet.

There has been no accountability for all the war hysteria whipped up by media pundits and politicians about Iraq in the year before the U.S. invaded. Although it is true that Doug Feith's various special offices in the Pentagon, and VP Dick Cheney's politburo of Scooter Libby and John Hannah, along with Ahmad Chalabi and others fed false and misleading information to the government and the press, many talking heads were pitifully gullible.

Gullible? Juan is too kind.

The right and Sullivan is among many has been so hypocritical, we need a new modifier....super-hypocrite or hyper-hypocrite or duplicitous-hypocrite. Let's bring back the term dunce: the name of Dunce was applied with scorn and contempt to an opposer of learning, or to one slow at learning, a dullard.

Truth in advertising: Sullivan attacked me on his weblog Thursday as having lost all "moral compass" because I dared to point out that the US Department of Defense and its allies are now killing Marsh Arabs around Kut, Amara and Majar al-Kabir--the very Marsh Arabs Mr. Wolfowitz said he was invading Iraq to protect from Saddam, who also used to kill them. In those days they were called the Iraqi Hizbullah. Many of them now are allied with Muqtada al-Sadr. There is an enormous difference in scale between what Saddam did to them and what the Coalition has done since the beginning of April. But it is early days, after all. And in issues of ethics and hypocrisy, scale is less important than principle.

I take it as a compliment that the Right is so afraid of this observation (the recent fate of the Marsh Arabs is not being discussed anyplace but the much-maligned Guardian) that they feel it necessary to resort to character assassination ("unreliable," "no moral compass") in my regard, in hopes of marginalizing me quick before the observation gains traction.

"Saving" the Iraqi Shiites was maybe the last rationale for their war that hadn't been discredited. Since April 2 they haven't been saving them any more. They have been killing them.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Library of Alexandria discovered

Archaeologists have found what they believe to be the site of the Library of Alexandria, often described as the world's first major seat of learning.

Will this be the title of Sean Hannity's next book? : Bush, Cheney, and Chalabi; Traitors Among Us.
WASHINGTON -- The Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that a U.S.-funded arm of Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress has been used for years by Iranian intelligence to pass disinformation to the United States and to collect highly sensitive American secrets, according to intelligence sources.

"Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the United States through Chalabi by furnishing through his Information Collection Program information to provoke the United States into getting rid of Saddam Hussein," said an intelligence source Friday who was briefed on the Defense Intelligence Agency's conclusions, which were based on a review of thousands of internal documents.

The Information Collection Program also "kept the Iranians informed about what we were doing" by passing classified U.S. documents and other sensitive information, he said. The program has received millions of dollars from the U.S. government over several years.
New York City - World News

read more at Josh Marshall

Friday, May 21, 2004

I'll admit that I have trouble imagining the mind set of any religious zealot, weather it's Pat Robertsons: "The people who have come into [our] institutions [today] are primarily termites. They are into destroying institutions that have been built by Christians, whether it is universities, governments, our own traditions, that we have.... The termites are in charge now, and that is not the way it ought to be, and the time has arrived for a godly fumigation." (New York Magazine, 8/18/86)

or Osama Bin Laden: "It became very clear that the West in general and America, head of the infidels in particular, bear hate and grudge against Islam and Muslims that cannot be described."

...but it's clear that Bush seems to be in a pissing contest with radical Islam, and is playing into Osama's hands by inventing a pissing contest with Iraq. Tom Engelhardt writes, "In fact, we seem to be in a worst-videos-on-Earth contest and here's the horrible thing -- if al-Qaeda's are meant as recruitment videos(referring to Nick Berg and the prisoner abuses)(hard as that might be to imagine); ours, direct from Abu Ghraib prison, are likely to prove far more effective. Our President might as well get back on TV and insist that we're in a "crusade" a few hundred more times. After all, what does it matter any more? Can Osama bin Laden's belief that we are indeed in a war of religious civilizations be supported any more effectively?"
You know that saying; "Question authority", why aren't more people questioning Bush's tactics. Fully two thirds of the al Qaeda organization that was the brains behind 9-11 have been caught. Mostly by the CIA and special forces using good old police work, not by using a cannon to go mouse hunting. No appeasement for terrorists means being smart and not being their number one recruiter.

Anthony Zinni Former Commander in chief of U.S. Central command, Saddam/Iraq : "It was neither imminent nor grave and gathering. It would present a risk if you weren't able to monitor it. Let's say the program moved beyond the framework and he decided to weaponize it. I can't think of any place on earth we had a more concentrated look, intelligence focus. Whether it's satellite, whether it's communication intercept and everything else. If he suddenly decided to take those missiles and weaponize them, if suddenly that L29 program would have flown unmanned at greater ranges, we would have seen it. And actually we had a bank of options short of war that we could have taken." In other words Saddam was a rat, but one that we had trapped in his cage. As Zinni went on to say later in the same interview, we had a range of options short of war to deal with Saddam. The neo-cons, Nick Berg, and over 700 soldiers have learned the limits to American unilateral power. It's a more then unfortunate quirk of fate that the neo-cons may get another four years as their reward, while Nick and the other dead won't get a second chance.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

A small victory, but I'll take it.
U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan acquitted the group at the end of the prosecution's case, midway through the third day of the jury trial. He said the prosecution had failed to provide enough evidence for the case to go to the jury.

"America's tradition of free speech won a victory today," said John Passacantando, Greenpeace's executive director, but our liberties are still not safe. The Bush administration and its allies seem bent on stifling our tradition of civil protest, a tradition that has made our country stronger throughout our history."

Greenpeace Prevails Against Ashcroft in Controversial Prosecution

from Bob Herbert at NYT:

He spoke about a friend of his, a sniper, who he said had shot a child about 10 years old who was carrying an automatic weapon. "He realized it was a kid," said Sergeant Mejia. "The kid tried to get up. He shot him again."

The child died.

All you really want to do in such an environment, said Sergeant Mejia, is "get out of there alive." So soldiers will do things under that kind of extreme stress that they wouldn't do otherwise.

"You just sort of try to block out the fact that they're human beings and see them as enemies," he said. "You call them hajis, you know? You do all the things that make it easier to deal with killing them and mistreating them."

When there is time later to reflect on what has happened, said Sergeant Mejia, "you come face to face with your emotions and your feelings and you try to tell yourself that you did it for a good reason. And if you don't find it, if you don't believe you did it for a good reason, then, you know, it becomes pretty tough to accept it — to willingly be a part of the war."

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: 'Gooks' to 'Hajis'

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

According to a new PIPA/Knowledge Networks poll, a majority of Americans (57%) continue to believe that before the war Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, including 20% who believe that Iraq was directly involved in the September 11 attacks. Forty-five percent believe that evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda has been found. Sixty percent believe that just before the war Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction (38%) or a major program for developing them (22%).

This perception is like a flu that will not go away. It's not just that it has served Bush well, it's part of a national rationalization. That the 700 soldiers killed in Iraq and the over 10,000 civilians can be justified because of 9-11. That the military, has also used it to pysch-up the troops is mind boggling. It's explicit in it's admission that 9-11 and trumpted up connection to Iraq were/are a much better motivational tool then the pipe dream of making rescuing the Iraqi people from Saddam and making Iraq the shining island of democracy in the middle-east.

by Sandeep Kaushik
The Right's Myth of American Exceptionalism Meets the Big Bush Lie at Abu Ghraib

Peter J. Ganci, New York City's Fire department chief, died, tragically, at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. When the American military took over Saddam's rape rooms and torture chambers at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, they named the tent-city portion of the compound, which housed thousands of Iraqis caught up in anti-insurgent sweeps--a majority of them innocent according to the military's own investigation--Camp Ganci.

In retrospect, it was an exercise in nomenclature fraught with signifying power. It is the beginning of an explanation for what happened at Abu Ghraib: the abuse, the humiliation, the torture. Those who named Camp Ganci intended to explicitly connect the attacks of 9/11 with the American occupation of Iraq. They drew an umbilical linkage, drawing sustenance from the hurt they felt over 9/11 to steel themselves for the hurt they would inflict as part of the occupation.

You hit us on 9/11, they were saying. That's why we're here--this is the payback. We suffered--now it's your turn. It was a statement of first principles that opens a window into the psychology of our young men and women, and more importantly the psychology of their leadership. It calls into question the Bush administration's public justification for the war, which is relentlessly touted as a paternalistic civilizing mission (ex post facto, after the WMD justification collapsed, but let's not quibble). They sold it that way, but they embedded--and not too deeply--in their rhetoric, in their swagger and tone, that it was also about revenge.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Abandoning the Workers Suffering from Lingering 9/11 Respiratory Damage
While I wish that Ralph Nader would sail quietly off into the sunset or get a sit on General Motors board of directors, he's managed a good write up of the after effects of pollution on the workers that tried to clean up the site at the WTC.

In the midst of devastation, debris and danger, 40,000 workers plunged into the suffocating tasks of rescuing, salvaging and clearing the twisted wreckage of the World Trade Center towers on and after September 11, 2001. They could have called in sick; instead they valiantly went to work and got sick. Some very sick.

Ashcroft Fishes Out 1872 Law in a Bid to Scuttle Protester Rights

Why oh why is this pitiful stupid bastard in charge of the highest law enforcement office in America.

"In April of 2002, a cargo ship, the Jade, was steaming toward Miami carrying a cargo of mahogany illegally cut from the Brazilian Amazon. Two Greenpeace activists tried to clamber aboard the ship and hang a banner that read "President Bush: Stop Illegal Logging." None of which is unusual.

The trees of the Amazon are logged day after day, year after year, despite a host of treaties and laws and despite the fact that scientists agree that an intact rain forest is essential for everything from conserving species to protecting the climate. And Greenpeace, day after day, tries to call attention to such crimes. It pesters rich, powerful interests about toxic dumping and outlaw whaling and a hundred other topics that those interests would rather not be pestered about. The Miami activists were arrested, spent a weekend in jail, pleaded guilty and were sentenced to time served. All in a day's work.
But here's where it starts getting weird: More than a year after the ship boarding, the Justice Department indicted Greenpeace itself. According to the group's attorneys, it's the first time an organization has been prosecuted for "the speech-related activities of its supporters."
How far did the government have to stretch to make its case? The law it cited against boarding ships about to enter ports was passed in 1872 and aimed at the proprietors of boardinghouses who used liquor and prostitutes to lure crews to their establishments. The last prosecution under the "sailor-mongering" act took place in 1890. The new case could be like something straight out of "Master and Commander."

For some it's not a new century. In honor of Mr. Ashcroft I'll be rereading Heart of Darkness

Phil Carter of INTEL DUMP has a write up in Slate: Tainted by Torture about the legal downside of torture both in terms of hurting the war on terror and being inhumane.

There are plenty of good reasons to avoid using torture in interrogations. It's an immoral and barbaric practice condemned by most Western nations and theological traditions, for starters. International human rights law and U.S. criminal law both outlaw it. And as if that's not enough, there is serious doubt as to whether torture even produces reliable intelligence, as Mark Bowden explains in the October 2003 issue of the Atlantic Monthly.

Add this additional reason to the list: Any information gained through torture will almost certainly be excluded from court in any criminal prosecution of the tortured defendant. And, to make matters worse for federal prosecutors, the use of torture to obtain statements may make those statements (and any evidence gathered as a result of those statements) inadmissible in the trials of other defendants as well. Thus, the net effect of torture is to undermine the entire federal law enforcement effort to put terrorists behind bars. With each alleged terrorist we torture, we most likely preclude the possibility of a criminal trial for him, and for any of the confederates he may incriminate.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Pandagon has some more on the soft spoken demi-god Hanson

Hanson's latest ramblings are predicatably being spread all over the conservative side of the blogosphere as if God just opened up the heavens and released Revelations II: Rumsfeld Kicks Ass. Of course, any column whose thesis is this deserves only to be ripped apart mercilessly:

You know, I'm beginning to understand where the overblown pro-Rumsfeld rhetoric and crypto-totalitarian insistence that everyone who doesn't like Rumsfeld is de facto on the same side. Hanson simply has no idea what's going on in the war(s), and so he's made up his own narrative.

So much for college profs being liberal; liberal as in fair minded and rational. I reference this link mindful that strict rules of logic can be a straight jacket, that free form thinking...fleshing out ideas as such, get a pass on letter-of-the-law judgement, but damn, Hanson is supposed to be an academic. A warning to us all about the cultural fallacy of idolotry. Hanson has lead the right like lemmings to believe in Questionable Cause:
This fallacy has the following general form:
A and B are associated on a regular basis.
Therefore A is the cause of B.
The general idea behind this fallacy is that it is an error in reasoning to conclude that one thing causes another simply because the two are associated on a regular basis. More formally, this fallacy is committed when it is concluded that A is the cause of B simply because they are associated on a regular basis. The error being made is that a causal conclusion is being drawn from inadequate evidence.

Description of Fallacies
"In order to understand what a fallacy is, one must understand what an argument is. Very briefly, an argument consists of one or more premises and one conclusion. A premise is a statement (a sentence that is either true or false) that is offered in support of the claim being made, which is the conclusion (which is also a sentence that is either true or false).

There are two main types of arguments: deductive and inductive. A deductive argument is an argument such that the premises provide (or appear to provide) complete support for the conclusion. An inductive argument is an argument such that the premises provide (or appear to provide) some degree of support (but less than complete support) for the conclusion. If the premises actually provide the required degree of support for the conclusion, then the argument is a good one. A good deductive argument is known as a valid argument and is such that if all its premises are true, then its conclusion must be true. If all the argument is valid and actually has all true premises, then it is known as a sound argument. If it is invalid or has one or more false premises, it will be unsound. A good inductive argument is known as a strong (or "cogent") inductive argument. It is such that if the premises are true, the conclusion is likely to be true.

A fallacy is, very generally, an error in reasoning. This differs from a factual error, which is simply being wrong about the facts. To be more specific, a fallacy is an "argument" in which the premises given for the conclusion do not provide the needed degree of support. A deductive fallacy is a deductive argument that is invalid (it is such that it could have all true premises and still have a false conclusion). An inductive fallacy is less formal than a deductive fallacy. They are simply "arguments" which appear to be inductive arguments, but the premises do not provided enough support for the conclusion. In such cases, even if the premises were true, the conclusion would not be more likely to be true.

Matthew Yglesias takes on historical social-darwinist V.D. Hanson who claims that the "all hat, no cows" Bush is the only one capable of being "serious" : asking the rhetorical "how seriously", Please. How seriously, really, does Bush take this war? Seriously enough to fund homeland security? No. Seriously enough to follow through on his promised Marshall Plan for Afghanistan? No. Seriously enough to commit adequate troops to Iraq? No. Seriously enough to consider actually paying for any of his foreign ventures? No. Seriously enough to try and bring any of the war supporters in the Democratic Party into his administration? No. Seriously enough to propose a real democracy initiative for the "greater Middle East?" No. Seriously enough to hold any of the members of his administration accountable for their various mistakes? No.

--- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
Faith, Ideology, and Politics by: David Forte.

I found this on a site that also listed an article by Hanson. I'm frankly not sure of the ideological intent is. If he's trying to validate Hanson's views, he ends up indicting American fundamentlist.

In this country, every Christian must decide whether his religion is a faith or an ideology.
Obviously many Christian fundamentalists in america have chosen ideology. They have become so intertwined for them, they cannot discuus politics or religion without referencing the other.

Our sense of our own humanity and the structure of our political institutions hang upon the answer.
Probably not as much as the author would think.Quick example: via Wampum; How does Mr. Bush square that teaching with his polices that have produced record deficits?
The Methodist Church:
We support measures that would reduce the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. We further support efforts to revise tax structures and to eliminate governmental support programs that now benefit the wealthy at the expense of other persons.

Those whose beliefs are ideological worship politics, and it is through their god of politics that they seek to change man, usually coercively. Those whose beliefs are faith-centered look towards the spiritual transformation of the individual person, and only then through spiritually aware individuals can politics be changed for the better.
We've had many extremists movements and cults in the United States that have promoted a kind of politcal movement based faith. Just watch the 700 Club; it's difficult to measure, but most of the program Robertson or a cohort emphasize an adherence to social/political agenda as much as spiritual growth. This is not a practice solely confined to Islamic fundamentalists.
The route from religion to politics to man sees man as an object, dependent on politics and the regime. The route from religion to man to politics sees man as a subject, the ruler of politics. Only subjects possess rights. Objects do not. Ideologies turn people into objects. That is why those who use religion as a means to gain political power inevitably create the most horrendous human rights violations. True religion recognizes people as subjects. That is why a religion turned ideology is a perversion of itself. Many are starting to complain that Bush is a little off base when he invokes the cloak of morality and his religious conversion in defending his policies:
Republicans for Environmental Protection;
"We have a growing number of extremely religious men and women who are very dedicated to the Republican Party but who believe that government must help protect -- not destroy -- God's natural creation. Many of our members feel that the Bush administration's approach to environmental policy doesn't just damage the common good, it's immoral.”

In this country, there is an easy litmus test. Does your pastor, does your denomination, spend more time (and words) seeking to transform politics? Or does your pastor and denomination seek more to transform souls? Many imams in the Middle East fail that test. Friday sermons in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the West Bank, Egypt, and Iraq are often political, filled with hate, intolerance, and thereby instigate violence.
Is Forte or Hanson suggesting that only the Middle Eastern religions teach hate in their houses of worship? Anyone remember some Christians named Timothy McVeigh or Terry Nichols. Or the number of nurses or doctors harrassed or injured by Christian anti-abortion groups.
"Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions." --Jerry Falwell, 1981

Since Hanson argues from an ideological Christian point of view, I think it's important that he explains that to his audience. Hanson has apparently asked himself if his religion is faith or ideology, and answered ideology. Thus he sees the electorate as Bush and the ultra-right sees them, as objects, not subjects. They certainly see Islam that way. This has always been the curse of the Right and the far left; their appeals to populism are a dishonest tool of manipulation. The Rights' appeals to the "Wal-Mart" crowd hide a cloak of contempt, for they are merely the objects. Objects are meant to be obedient workers, to punch the right ballot holes. Fear becomes a way to rally the "objects". The Bible is no longer a Holy Book but a hammer, the flag is not a symbol it's a shield to hide behind. Subjects in both Islam and Christianity are thus caught in the cross fire. Hanson and the lemmings that follow him or Osama may know or not, that the problem is not us subjects, but the ideologists. If only us subjects could push a button and make you all just disappear.


"Should Rumsfeld resign over the prisoner abuse by rogue MPs? No. He should resign for the good of our military and our country. Those twisted photos are only one symptom of how badly the Rumsfeld era has derailed our military.
Rumsfeld has maintained a positive image with much of America because he controls information fanatically and tolerates no deviation from the party line. Differing opinions are punished in today's Pentagon - and every field general who has spoken plainly of the deficiencies of either the non-plan for the occupation of Iraq, the lack of sufficient troops (in Iraq or overall) or any aspect of Rumsfeld's "transformation" plan has seen his career ended.
It isn't treason to tell the truth in wartime. But it verges on treason to lie. And Rumsfeld lies.
Our military needs vigorous, continual internal debate. Contrary to popular myth, our officer corps has a long tradition of dissenting opinions. And the grave new world in which we find ourselves is not susceptible to party-line solutions."

Remember former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, he's off the two week attention span of the public radar, but he's likely to become an important footnote in history as an officer that had the foresight and courage to speak-up and defy the almighty Rummey. In three short years the Bush Chickenhawks have screwed the military in a royal and rude manner, perhaps Kerry could tap him in the rebuilding.

"Rumsfeld's "vision" was to lavish money on the defense industry and administration-friendly contractors, while sending too few troops to war, with too little battlefield equipment, inadequate supplies and no long-range plan. As one Army colonel put it in the heat of battle, "We're winning this despite OSD."
Contractors grow rich. The Army grows exhausted. And every single prediction about the future of warfare made by the Rumsfeld gang proved incorrect. Airpower doesn't win wars on its own. Technology doesn't trump courage, guts and skill. Both war and its aftermath still require adequate numbers of well-trained, disciplined troops. And serious planning.
We need a bigger Army. We got a bigger budget - but the money is going to CEOs, not to G.I. Joe.
Outsourcing? We see now where that gets us. In Rumsfeld's military, you even outsource leadership. As we did at Abu Ghraib prison."

Remember Bill Mahr, he was over at ABC with a show called Politically Correct. He was basically fired for saying that the 9-11 hijackers were not "cowardly \Cow"ard*ly\, a. 1. Wanting courage; basely or weakly timid or fearful; pusillanimous; spiritless.
"The cowardly rascals that ran from the battle." --Shak.
2. Proceeding from fear of danger or other consequences
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc"

"When somebody plants a bomb, then proceeds to put as much distance between himself and that bomb as possible, it is permissible to call that person a 'coward'. (Although the term that I would most likely use is 'smart') However, you cannot - if you wish to use the English language correctly - say the same of a suicide bomber. It takes a lot of balls to do what these guys did. You may call this attack a lot of things, but taking control of an 'enemy' plane and smashing it into a skyscraper -- sacrificing your own life to defend your ideas -- can not under any circumstances be considered 'cowardly'. Fanatical?... yes. Suicidal?... Yes. Horrendous?... yes. Cowardly?... No way. Our enemies may be a lot of things, but cowards they are not."
Mahr landed on his feet over on HBO after being run through the politically correct right-wing spin machine.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

via Ask Yahoo:
According to an August 2003 article in the Washington Post, President Bush has spent all or part of 166 days during his presidency at his Crawford, Texas, ranch or en route. Add the time spent at or en route to the presidential retreat of Camp David and at the Bush family estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, and Bush has taken 250 days off as of August 2003. That's 27% of his presidency spent on vacation.

In the spirit of appropriate and proportional outrage. I find Bush's vacation time less of an outrage then Bush's obsession with drawing up plans to attack Iraq rather then go out and get an actual terrorist. So Fox News and Senator Inhofe, take that and shove it up your outrage meter.

MSNBC - Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind
With Tuesday’s attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq.
But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself — but never pulled the trigger.

“Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn’t do it,” said Michael O’Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution.

Four months later, intelligence showed Zarqawi was planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe.

The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

“People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against terrorists,” according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.

Nick Berg, a victim of Abu Musab Zarqawi and George Bush's blind zealotry.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Via Josh Marshall, at least that some Republican like McCain, John Warner and Lindsay Graham seem to get it,

Marshall writes: "Graham has become some mix of the star and the conscience of these proceedings because of his specialized knowledge as an Air Force JAG and his ability to see that this goes beyond partisan politics, threatening as it does not only America's honor, but (in a way someone like Inhofe could probably never understand) also her power.

Graham got it exactly right today when he said: "When you are the good guys, you've got to act like the good guys.'"

"Sen. Graham's experience as a JAG (judge advocate general) officer with both prosecutorial and defense experience has given him a special insight into the issues that we're confronting," said Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who also sits on the Armed Services Committee. "His questions have been very pointed and helpful in sorting out the situation we're investigating."

"No one else on the committee has his knowledge of military law," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

In contrast to Clothing himself in shame, Sen. Inhofe on Abu Ghraib: "I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment ... These prisoners, you know they're not there for traffic violations. If they're in cellblock 1-A or 1-B, these prisoners, they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents. Many of them probably have American blood on their hands and here we're so concerned about the treatment of those individuals."

Of course, according to American military intelligence officers who spoke with the ICRC, 70% to 90% of the detainees in Iraq were there by mistake.

Which brings us to the less then satisfying protest letter, that will probably do little good, but may help blow off some steam.Senator Inhofe, you don't speak for me...

Senator Inhofe, when you say that you're more "outraged by the outrage" than by the treatment of the prisoners, YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME.

Senator Inhofe, when you say "they have American blood on their hands" while independent reports suggest that 70-90% of the people in those prisons were arrested by mistake, YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME.

Senator Inhofe, when you say that you're "outraged by the press" for reporting these abuses, YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME.

Senator Inhofe, when you say that non-governmental organizations (who discovered and reported these abuses) are "humanitarian do-gooders", YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME.

Senator Inhofe, when you say that you "can't think of any American today as qualified as Donald Rumsfeld to prosecute this war," YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME.

Senator Inhofe, when you imply that the stories of prison abuse are "fictitious", YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME.

Senator Inhofe, YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME.
click to send

and a copy of the original message courtesy of Time

-----Original Message-----
From: Dunn, Daniel, CTR, OSD-POLICY
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2004 10:11 PM
Subject: FW: URGENT IT BULLETIN: Tugabe Report (FOUO)
Importance: High

This applies to all Policy users as well. If you have accessed this document on the Internet, CALL POLICY IT SECURITY IMMEDIATELY!
Daniel R. (Dan) Dunn, EE, CISSP, CCSA/CCSE
USD(P) IA Officer
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Policy
Policy Automation Services Security Team

p: 703-696-0668, x153
f: 703-696-0588

-----Original Message-----
From: Easterling, Ron, CTR, OSD-POLICY
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2004 2:00 PM
To: Mauer, Bill, CTR, OSD-POLICY; Dunn, Daniel, CTR, OSD-POLICY
Subject: FW: URGENT IT BULLETIN: Tugabe Report (FOUO)
Importance: High

-----Original Message-----
From: Information Services Customer Liaison, ISD
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2004 12:45 PM
To: MLA dd - USD(I) - ALL; MLA dd - NII ALL
Subject: URGENT IT BULLETIN: Tugabe Report (FOUO)
Importance: High


All ISD Customers

Fox News and other media outlets are distributing the Tugabe report (spelling is approximate for reasons which will become obvious momentarily). Someone has given the news media classified information and they are distributing it. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT IS CLASSIFIED. ALL ISD CUSTOMERS SHOULD:

2) NOT comment on this to anyone, friends, family etc.
3) NOT delete the file if you receive it via e-mail, but

This leakage will be investigated for criminal prosecution. If you don't have the document and have never had legitimate access, please do not complicate the investigative processes by seeking information. Again, THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT IS CLASSIFIED; DO NOT GO TO FOX NEWS TO READ OR OBTAIN A COPY.

If you have any questions, please contact the ISD Helpdesk at 703-602-2627 or via email at

Thank you for your cooperation.


This may contain information exempt from mandatory disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Pentagon Email Warning

Message to the troops from the Pentagon: Don't watch Faux News. Sounds like good advice, after all if you're getting moral guidance from any of the dull witted pundits at Faux, you're a lost soul in need of some serious help. Only in this case Fox was publishing classified documents that they did't want military personnel to read. Why oh why does Fox hate America. Military Personnel: Don't Read This!

Monday, May 10, 2004

Army Times - News - More News

Editorial: A failure of leadership at the highest levels

Around the halls of the Pentagon, a term of caustic derision has emerged for the enlisted soldiers at the heart of the furor over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal: the six morons who lost the war.
Indeed, the damage done to the U.S. military and the nation as a whole by the horrifying photographs of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees at the notorious prison is incalculable.

But the folks in the Pentagon are talking about the wrong morons.

There is no excuse for the behavior displayed by soldiers in the now-infamous pictures and an even more damning report by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba. Every soldier involved should be ashamed.

But while responsibility begins with the six soldiers facing criminal charges, it extends all the way up the chain of command to the highest reaches of the military hierarchy and its civilian leadership.

The entire affair is a failure of leadership from start to finish. From the moment they are captured, prisoners are hooded, shackled and isolated. The message to the troops: Anything goes.

In addition to the scores of prisoners who were humiliated and demeaned, at least 14 have died in custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army has ruled at least two of those homicides. This is not the way a free people keeps its captives or wins the hearts and minds of a suspicious world.

How tragically ironic that the American military, which was welcomed to Baghdad by the euphoric Iraqi people a year ago as a liberating force that ended 30 years of tyranny, would today stand guilty of dehumanizing torture in the same Abu Ghraib prison used by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen.

One can only wonder why the prison wasn’t razed in the wake of the invasion as a symbolic stake through the heart of the Baathist regime.

Army commanders in Iraq bear responsibility for running a prison where there was no legal adviser to the commander, and no ultimate responsibility taken for the care and treatment of the prisoners.

That said, the Bush administration’s insistence that the scandal is being aggressively investigated has been seriously undermined by the fact that neither Rumsfeld nor Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had read a detailed report on the abuses when it was completed in March.

The 53-page report by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba describes numerous instances of “sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses” of Iraqi detainees by American troops. It was done to soften up prisoners for intelligence interviews.

What’s more, the revelation that there are a thousand photographs documenting the abuses supports the suspicion by some lawmakers that detainee mistreatment was more pervasive than Bush administration officials have let on with claims the incidents were isolated.

Damage control

Sunday, May 09, 2004

THIS WAS an important week to remember that Vice President Dick Cheney once said, "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." And that President Bush once said there is "no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." And especially that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once said, "We know where they are." / News / Boston Globe / Opinion / Op-ed / Mounting evidence shows Iraq didn't have WMDs

In light of the current prison abuse scandals it's important to know what kind of administration we're dealing with. Their regard for the is notoriously low. Getting to the bottom of anything will be near impossible with a partisan majority in Congress who care more about re-election then the truth.

Friday, May 07, 2004

I've decided not to write anything on Abu Ghraib, others are doing so in painstaking detail, with the kind of analysis that I just can't begin to emulate. I'll link to new posts as I find ones that offer particular insights. Start here with a new favorite blog I found via Electrolite Respectful of Otters

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Just when you think that it can't get worse it does. Attempted cover-ups and lies always amplify a problem. When will they learn. This is the new gulag

The Bush administration was well aware of the Taguba report, but more concerned about its exposure than its contents. General Richard Myers, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, was dispatched on a mission to CBS news to tell it to suppress its story and the horrifying pictures. For two weeks, CBS's 60 Minutes II show complied, until it became known that the New Yorker magazine would publish excerpts of the report. Myers was then sent on to the Sunday morning news programmes to explain, but under questioning acknowledged that he had still not read the report he had tried to censor from the public for weeks.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

This is a transcript of a news briefing with Secretary Rumsfeld about the abuse of prisoners in Iraq. Transcript: Pentagon News Briefing

There is some that think this will blow over, that it means little to nothing in the coming elections. They are probably right. The long term consequences for American foreign policy in the middle east
are incalcuable. What was difficult just got more so.

Monday, May 03, 2004

This is Conservative World, the ride where workers are caught in a merry-go-round and they can't get off. We are once agian reminded that conservatives only give lip service to freedom and free market capitalism. Read Karl Marx, and everywhere he says that workers should be productive and sacrifice for the good of the state, just subtitute "corporation". Corporation are not just where you work in exchange for wages, they own you in Conservative World. It's been said that the extreme right is just the shadow of the extreme left, crushing individual freedom is a priority shared by both. And spying, let's not forget spying.

Is Wal-Mart caught in a paradigm, where low prices dictate all (that Wal_mart always has the lowest price on anything is debatable). What if they put it to thier customers: Would you be willing to pay a few cents more per item in order to give our employees a living wage, good health benefits, and a 401K? Come on Wal-Mart, what are you afraid of. That the modern Dickinsonian version of a workhouse isn't something to be proud of? That it's not a game where whoever has the most toys when they die, wins. Please don't tell me about shareholder value and what the greedy pigs on Faux news think. Shareholders can get a fair return on their dollar without basically leaching off workers that work far harder for less compensation then they do. Wal-mart is not capitalism. It's not capitalism when you're pockets are so deep that you move into a town, sell products for a loss, drive small businesses out of business, then jack your prices back up. That predatory.

Wal-Mart Ever cost-conscious, chain fights to keep out unions

By Anthony Effinger, Bloomberg News
February 6, 2004

As a supervisor of the cashiers in Wal-Mart store No. 589 in Hillview, Ky., Brent Rummage, 27, was required to report to his manager any mention of labor unions. He did so until his mother, who worked in the women's clothing department, ventured that unions weren't as bad as Wal-Mart said.

"I wasn't going to report my mother," he says.
Rocky Mountain News: Business

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Bill O'Really fans beware, elitism alert ...Photographers that were ahead of their time.Photographers of Genius at the Getty (Getty Exhibitions)

Saturday, May 01, 2004

National Guardsman says U.S. leaders failing troops
WASHINGTON - An Iraq war veteran expressed disappointment with President Bush on Saturday, saying the country's leaders refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of continuing violence in Iraq.
“I don’t expect our leaders to be free of mistakes. I expect our leaders to own up to them,” said Army National Guard 1st Lt. Paul Rieckhoff, who was a platoon leader in Iraq.
Rieckhoff’s comments, distributed by Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign, were the Democratic response to the president’s weekly radio address. Usually, a public official gives the response.

To admit mistakes and change course, whether it's Iraq, taxes, the economy, education, the environment, contempt for the constitution, or Star War fantasy defense systems would take both vision and character. Not something that we're likely to see coming out of Bush or his administration.

No Bucks Stopping Here
Still, he would not bite, first when asked if he would admit any mistake, and later when asked specifically about the period since 9/11. Here's the complete text of his latter response:

"I wish you'd given me this as a written question ahead of time so I could have planned for it. Uh ... [looks up, pauses, shakes head] ... John -- I'm sure historians will look back and say 'he could have done it better this way or that way' but ... [shakes head] ... I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference and all the pressure to come up with an answer but it hasn't yet. ..."