Wednesday, May 31, 2006

An Ominous Sign

From the State of Washington:
State GOP toughens stance on immigration


YAKIMA, Wash. -- The state Republican Party has adopted a platform stating that children born of illegal immigrants should not be granted automatic citizenship.
Why do I say its ominous? Because, immigrants are poor. If a child is poor in the US they get no medical care unless they can get Medicaid. They can't get Medicaid unless they are citizens.

Here in Maryland Our Dear Gov has already started slicing similar children off the Medicaid Roles:
Md. health cuts exact toll on immigrant kids

Thousands legally in state lost care, but a surplus could provide relief

By Todd Richissin
Sun Reporter
Originally published April 4, 2006

The medical forms completed on behalf of Brayan Herrera said this: Without continued treatment for a rare blood disease, the 8-year-old Maryland boy could die.

His treatment ended anyway.

Brayan is a member of a relatively new class of Maryland residents: legal, newly arrived immigrant children stripped of state-assisted health care.

Last year, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., pointing to budget difficulties, cut the $5.5 million set aside for legal immigrant children who have been in the country less than five years and whose families have income below certain limits. He also cut a $1.5 million program to provide recently arrived pregnant immigrants with prenatal care. His office declined last week to comment on the cuts.

This year, with a state surplus hovering around $1 billion, neither the governor nor the legislature has restored the Medical Assistance program funds that care for the immigrant children or pregnant women. (emphasis added)
Now anyone can figure out what is going to happen here. Either these kids and mothers wind up in the ER and our already strapped system becomes even more untenable, or many of us will have to start doling out care for free.

The latter is doable, but it irks me that Our Dear Gov is going to a dinner where they will raise millions of dollars for his campaign, at the same time that he is cutting off funds for these kids.

It just irks me.

Our Dear Gov


Monday, May 29, 2006

Israel, Nuclear Weapons and the Rest of Us

In many respects, this is the central issue of our times. If we do not resolve this situation peaceably, it will lead to the destruction of our world as we know it.

We are inhibited of talking about Israel because any criticism is instantly, and overwhelmingly, greeted by cries of Anti-Semitism. This has been a successful cudgel in the past, we cannot afford to submit to it when our very existence is at stake. In any case, the definition of "Semite" is:
1 a : a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs b : a descendant of these peoples
2 : a member of a modern people speaking a Semitic language (emphasis added)
Arabs! Arabs are Semites???

The problem is not that Israel has 100-200 nuclear weapons, the problem is that Israel shows every indication of using those weapons. Even trying to ascertain the situation under which Israel would launch an attack on another country is almost impossible.

For the past number of years, my country has been under the inordinate influence of the Israel lobby. If you doubt this, please read the excellent article by Michael Massing in the New York Review of Books: The Storm Over the Israel Lobby. This article summarizes and critiques the scholarly article by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government published in the March 23, 2006, issue of the London Review of Books. While he finds many faults, and at least one factual inconsistency in this article, Massing does not in any way dispute the central contention of the article that "the centerpiece of US policy in the Middle East has been its unwavering support for Israel, and that this has not been in America's best interest."

(an indication of how scary the situation is can be found in the NYRB article where multiple sources request not to be mentioned by name for fear of reprisals!)

I certainly am not qualified to parse the multiple issues raised in the articles, from billions of dollars in foreign aid to tacit support for Israel's annexation of Palestinian land. I do note that this is repeatedly justified on the basis of the genocide that the Jews of Europe suffered over 60 years ago during the Third Reich. That this tragic event should become the hinge upon which the fate of my country swings is one of the ironies of history.

While it does not go in detail, it is clear that the United States has been complicit in Israel obtaining and deploying nuclear weapons. We have made no effort to control them and we are going to pay for this mistake.

What about first use of these nuclear weapons by Israel? Wouldn't we want the United States, joined at the hip as she is with this State, to at least be able to say when and how they would be used? To suggest this will, of course, bring the immediate charge, again, of anti-Semitism. But what do the Israelis say about first use? Well, there was a Pugwash Conference on this in London in 2002. At this conference, an Israeli, Ariel Levite, presented a paper on Preliminary Reflections on No First Use Doctrine for the Middle East. (This author claims that one has obtain prior written consent to disseminate information in the article; this is strange, it is on the Web, it is open access; he also claims not to represent the Israeli Government. Since we don't have the official position of the Israeli Government, and since they are so quick to jump on anybody that in the least way parts from their orthodoxy, I suspect that this is pretty much what they are thinking.)

There are several intriguing items in this presentation, Mr. Levite states that although many believe that Israel uniquely possess nuclear weapons (most definitely) that "quite a few" other states in the region have weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This is interesting since Iraq would have been the candidate state and we now know that they had nada. No nuclear, no chemical and no biological weapons. So, Mr. Levite, argument is hogwash (at Pugwash).

A second item is his argument that Egypt, Libya and Iraq have all used chemical weapons against their own people. So, to Google we go and we find, yes, Egypt did use poison gas:
Egypt was "the first country in the Middle East to obtain chemical weapons training, indoctrination, and materiel." (Egypt may or may not have been motivated by Israel's construction of the Dimona nuclear reactor in 1958.)

Egypt was also the first Middle Eastern country to use chemical weapons. It employed phosgene and mustard agent against Yemeni Royalist forces in the mid-1960s, and some reports claim that it also used an organophosphate nerve agent. (emphasis added)
There is no evidence that Egypt used poison gas in its multiple conflicts with Israel, where one would have thought it might have. If Egypt continues with a chemical warfare capacity, it is most likely only as a deterrent to Israel. The condemnation of Egypt's use of chemical weapons in the mid 1960's, while approriate, is particularly specious since one of the arguments Israel uses to counter the contention that Israel was created, in part, by terrorists (e.g. the Irgun and the Stern Gang) is that "Oh, that was in 1948. So long ago."

Oh, and:
According to the same DIA study, Israel developed its own offensive chemical weapons program in response to a perceived Arab chemical-weapon threat. In 1974, Lt. Gen. E. H. Almquist told a Senate Armed Forces Committee that the Israeli program was operational. The 1990 DIA study reports that Israel maintains a chemical warfare testing facility. Newspaper reports suggest the facility is in the Negev desert.

Actually, the midEast is crawling in chemical weapons. Many in response to Israel's development of chemical and, especially, nuclear weapons.

In any case, chemical and biological weapons are much less "weapons of mass destruction" than are nuclear weapons (many arguments for this on the Web, I'll refer you there). In addition, they also turn on their users as many learned in the First World War when the wind changed direction.

Mr. Levite then makes the astounding statement that there is a "political culture" in many of the States surrounding Israel that is "tolerent of deceit." I won't even go there.

The central argument in this document is that Israel should not agree or be bound by a No First Use of nuclear weapon agreement because this would violate Israel's long standing policy of "not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East." This committment, according to Levite, has weathered the test of time, crises, and changes in Israeli government.

Once again, hogwash.

The problem is, in my opinion, that Israel as a country, and therefore many Israeli's as individuals (though not all) feel that they are different, separate, and exceptional. This probably arises from the fact that they are a religious state in a secular world and their religion is based on the credo that they are the "Chosen Race." In spite of their size (six million vs six billion+ in the World) they do not feel bound by any external stricture, particularly with respect to nuclear weapons. They are not part of the nuclear non proliferation treaty and, while a member of the U.N., do not feel obligated to follow its resolutions.

To all appearances, they continue to believe in the Old Testament policy of an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.

Therefore, if Israel is attacked, or even if it is threatened (learning this from George W. Bush), I have no doubt that they will resort to nuclear weapons. There is literaly no assurance that Israel can give, and they certainly have no intention of doing so in any case, that would lead us to believe that they won't use nuclear weapons, even if it means the destruction of the rest of the world.

In many ways, the State of Israel is psychotic.

Children and AIDS

One should point out obscenity where there is true obscenity (and I don't mean Anna Nicole Smith boobies hanging out at the Supreme Court).

More than 2 million kids have HIV

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — More than 2 million children under the age of 15 are living with HIV, almost all in sub-Saharan Africa where there is no access to treatment and death almost certain, seven leading child advocacy organizations said. "We are failing children," said Dean Hirsch, chairman of the Global Movement for Children, which issued an urgent appeal to governments, donors and the pharmaceutical industry to recognize a child's right to treatment as fundamental.

The movement, made up of seven organizations, released a report Friday that painted a grim picture of the impact of the disease on children: 700,000 children were infected with the HIV virus in 2005, bringing the total to 2.3 million, and 570,000 died of AIDS — one every minute.

Less than 5% of HIV-positive children have access to the pediatric AIDS treatment they desperately need, the report said. (emphasis added)
First, there will never be a "cure" for AIDS, at least what we know about it at this time. HIV is a latent virus, along with Herpes II and Hepatitis B. A latent virus inserts its DNA into the DNA of the host. You can't get it out. Perhaps we will have a successful vaccine someday, though that is looking doubtful. Until that time, we can successfully treat AIDS with drugs. That's where pharmaceutical companies come in. They make drugs. And market them. And test them.

(If you haven't seen the movie "The Constant Gardener," or read the book by John le Carre, you might find out a lot about how pharmaceutical companies operate in Africa. The basic answer is, not very well.)

In any case, there are now a number of drugs on the market for AIDS. This site gives a list. Here are some of them:
Norvir® (ritonavir), by Abbott Laboratories
Reyataz® (atazanavir), by Bristol-Myers Squibb
Kaletra® capsules (lopinavir + ritonavir), by Abbott Laboratories
Crixivan® (indinavir), by Merck & Co.

Lexiva® (fosamprenavir), by GlaxoSmithKline
Invirase® (saquinavir), by Hoffmann-La Roche
It is true that pharmaceutical companies have to spend money to develop these drugs, but not that much. (for a good discussion of this see the New York Review of Books article by Marcia Angell: The Truth About Drug Companies). However, they also make a lot of money. Here is a summary of what the CEO's of three of the companies listed above made from here:
Miles D. White
Chief Executive Officer, Abbott Laboratories
In 2004, Miles D. White raked in $11,298,642 in total compensation including stock option grants* from Abbott Laboratories.
And Miles D. White has another $21,450,196 in unexercised stock options from previous years.

Peter R. Dolan
Chief Executive Officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
In 2004, Peter R. Dolan raked in $8,796,679 in total compensation including stock option grants* from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
And Peter R. Dolan has another $1,471,145 in unexercised stock options from previous years.

Richard T. Clark
Chief Executive Officer, Merck & Co. Inc.
In 2005, Richard T. Clark raked in $1,972,596 in total compensation including stock option grants* from Merck & Co. Inc..
That means that three men made: $22,067,917 in one year and had $22,921,341 additional stock options (total = $44,989,258). I call that obscene.

Particularly when, in the same year, 570,000 children died of AIDS, one every minute,


Strange Bedfellows

Iranian soldiers and an Iraqi tank in the Iran-Iraq War

I was intrigued by a report from Juan Cole (who got it in turn from from Al-Hayat) on the visit by the Iranian Foreign Minister to Iraq. Please recall that as of 20 years ago these two countries were in a struggle to the death with a War that:
".. has been called "the longest conventional war of the 20th century", and cost 1 million casualties and US $1.19 trillion. (those numbers sound familiar? ed)"
Al-Hayat reports that:
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki wrapped up his visit to Iraq by meeting in Najaf with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and with the junior cleric and nationalist leader Muqtada al-Sadr, along with numerous other clerics in Najaf and Karbala. He also met in Baghdad with Sunni fundamentalist leader Adnan Dulaimi in an attempt to "reassure" him about Iran's intentions in Iraq. The representative of Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Labid Abawi, said that Mottaki's visit was "extremely positive." He added, "One of our objectives was to underline that Iran is close to Iraq and that it is impossible to bypass it in looking for a resolution of the Iraq question."

Mottaki reaffirmed that Iran had committed $1 billion in aid to Iraq, and would cooperate in the area of energy production. (emphasis added)
Now, given their history, this report is loaded with irony. Firstly, the mere fact that these two countries are talking to one another is amazing. Secondly, what is this with energy production? Iraq has enought oil to last it until the cows come home. I suppose that Iran means nuclear energy. Thirdly, an Irani (Shite) actually talked to an Iraqi Sunni without one or the other blowing someone away. (This would be like Jerry Falwell saying good things about the Pope.)

How about them apples, W??

But the mere fact that they are collaborating should be seen as a positive move. But wouldn't it be ironic if Iran extracted the Boy King from this horrible impasse in Iraq.

Reminds me that the Pope was sort of excited about William of Orange's victory at the Battle of the Boyne:
William of Orange's own elite force — the Dutch Blue Guards — had the papal banner with them on the day, many of the Guardsmen being Dutch Catholics. They were part of the League of Augsburg, a cross-Christian alliance designed to stop a French conquest of Europe, supported by the Vatican.

William of Orange in bed with the Pope!!! Don't let an Irishman know!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Tabloiding Of Discourse

There is an extraordinary post up at Media Matters by Jamison Foser. I can say nothing else but that you should read it.

Wasted Opportunity

Damn, why doesn't anything go right in this country:
AG, senior officials were prepared to quit over evidence seized from Congressional office

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other senior officials were prepared to quit over a dispute with the White House about evidence seized from a Democratic Congressman's office, according to a front page story in Saturday's New York Times.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and senior officials and career prosecutors at the Justice Department told associates this week that they were prepared to quit if the White House directed them to relinquish evidence seized in a bitterly disputed search of a House member's office, government officials said Friday.

Mr. Gonzales was joined in raising the possibility of resignation by the deputy attorney general, Paul J. McNulty, the officials said. Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty told associates that they had an obligation to protect evidence in a criminal case and would be unwilling to carry out any White House order to return the material to Congress. (emphasis added)
Let's see, the AG thinks its wrong to return the material to Congress, but he doesn't think its wrong to:

Steal an election

Invade a Country based on known falsehood

Occupy said country

Torture prisoners

Spirit prisoners off to countries known to torture

Spy on Americans without a warrant

Bomb women and children

Etc, Etc, Etc.....
Jeez, Louise! Lewis Carrol could never have thought of this.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dive! Dive!! Dive!!!

Urgent message. The U.S. Capitol has been threatened by an army of one (jackhammer). Please abandon what you are doing and




Did you know that:
The report (of gunfire, ed) originated with Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J., his press secretary said. Saxton heard what he thought were gunshots and had a member of his staff call Capitol Police, said spokesman Greg Keeley.
One report said that it was workers using a jackhammer to repair an elevator (concrete elevators in the Rayburn building, ed.)

Did you know the Saxton (Republican) was being challanged by Sexton (Democrat) in New Jersey?

And that Sexton claims that Saxton:
.....has also accepted money from Jack Abramoff as well as persons who have been identified as co-conspirators in the Randy “Duke” Cunningham bribery scandal.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave, etc, etc. etc.

You say either, I say either
You say neither, I say neither
You say tomato, I say tomato,
You say potato, Dan says potatoe

You say Saxton, I say Sexton (of course)

Let's call the whole thing off.

Bonus Friday Pic

Look at that handsome guy!

Just a little Boo Boo

From here:
But, Bush said at the White House, "Despite setbacks and missteps, I strongly believe we did and are doing the right thing."

Those missteps include the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, though Bush said those responsible have been jailed. More personally, the president said, he learned not to use so much "tough talk" — saying Osama bin Laden was wanted "dead or alive" and challenging America's enemies to "bring it on."

"I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner, you know," Bush said softly. (emphasis added)
O.K., now I get it, this:

is the result of just a little Boo Boo from this:

And we should just forgive and forget and "Get over it" and "Move On."

I don't think so.

Oh, and those responsible for Abu Ghraib have not been jailed unless Rummy, Gonzales, Yoo and Cheney are behind bars and I didn't know it.

Friday Crab Blogging

And Sponge Bob

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Fruits of Evil....

Remember, he was George W. Bush's LARGEST campaign contributor.


The wheels of justice are slow, but "Kenny Boy" has met his doom (unless he gets off on appeal).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Democratic Caucus Draft Letter to Bush

This is so important that I copied this from Raw Story:
The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express our concerns about your recent suggestion that the U.S. would potentially launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack against Iran. As you will recall, on April 18, 2006, you were asked "Sir, when you talk about Iran and you talk about how you have diplomatic efforts, you also say all options are on the table. Does that include the possibility of a nuclear strike?" Your response to this question was "All options are on the table."

While we share your concern about Iran's irresponsible violations of its commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and safeguards agreement which Iran signed with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), we do not believe that the U.S. should threaten to use nuclear weapons to resolve this crisis. We would also note that as the U.S. seeks to ensure strict Iranian compliance with its obligations under the NPT, we should keep in mind the fact that in connection with the 1995 NPT review conference, the United States issued a statement reaffirming earlier U.N. Security Council pledges that the U.S. "will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons except in the case of an invasion or any other attack on the United States, its territories, its armed forces or other troops, its allies, or on a State towards which it has a security commitment, carried out or sustained by such a non-nuclear-weapon State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State." We are not aware of any subsequent statements changing this position.

Global security will be greatly threatened if Iran develops nuclear weapons. However, a U.S. pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran would likely have catastrophic consequences that counter U.S. security objectives - both in the Middle East and around the world. We therefore urge you to make it clear that the U.S. is not actively considering first use of nuclear weapons against Iran in response to its efforts to obtain uranium enrichment capabilities. We understand that in a crisis, many options - including military options -- must be carefully considered. But we believe there is still time for diplomacy and targeted sanctions to work and we urge you to focus your Administration's efforts on seeking a peaceful resolution of this crisis.

Olmert says Israel will draw own borders


will be something like this:


Plus that, if they are "attacked," we drop the bad one on Iran.

Oh, by the way:



A Whiff of the Past?

May 22, 2006 | Professors hold signs in silent protest as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks during commencement ceremonies at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachussetts. English professor Steve Almond resigned in protest of the university's choice of Rice as the commencement speaker at this year's graduation.
(Photo: Brian Snyder / Reuters)
Jezz, Louise. It takes aging professors to finally show some cajones. We all thought it was great that there wasnt' a draft. Wrong. The draft is the one thing protecting the Boy King from close scrutiny by the youth of this country. I wonder how many students protested at BC? It sounds like only three at the gigantic George Washington University graduation on the Mall.

What if they had a war and nobody gave a damn?

Well, they did.

Oh, for 1969. Youth cared.

Our Dear Gov



Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Harry Potter meets Karl Rove

You have to admit that there is some resemblence:


From Here:

INDIANAPOLIS - The 66 million-year-old skull of a dinosaur whose name was inspired by the Harry Potter series has found a permanent home in the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

Dracorex hogwartsia will be housed permanently at the museum, officials and paleontologist Robert Bakker announced Monday.

Hopefully, they will soon both be in a museum (or jail).

The Exploding Planet

Glenn Greenwald, who I am beginning to think should be high in our next, Democratic, administration, refers to these words by the Boy King yesterday in Chicago (talking about Latin/South America):
I am going to continue to remind our hemisphere that respect for property rights and human rights is essential for all countries in order for there to be prosperity and peace. I'm going to remind our allies and friends in the neighborhood that the United States of America stands for justice; that when we see poverty, we care about it and we do something about it; that we care for good -- we stand for good health care.

I'm going to remind our people that meddling in other elections is -- to achieve a short-term objective is not in the interests of the neighborhood. . . . I want to remind people that the United States stands against corruption at all levels of government, that the United States is transparent. The United States expects the same from other countries in the neighborhood, and we'll work toward them.

Thank you very much. I'm concerned -- let me just put it bluntly -- I'm concerned about the erosion of democracy in the countries you mentioned. (emphasis added)
The tragedy here is that this man believes what he is saying! Incredible as it seems, when he has blocked every single effort at transparency, he can get on a podium and say this. It just boggles the mind. (That little Mr. Rogers bit about "in the neighborhood" is just toooo cute.)

Oh, and he could destroy our planet with one finger.

(The "football" was right behind the podium.)

Profiles in Courage - M & M

Fire Dog Lake has the full text of Senator Kennedy's speech on the occasion of the awarding of this citation to two men, Alberto Moro and John Murtha. This is an occasion to forego snark and to realize that America can still be a great nation if it so chooses, even if the reason for being great is fighting against its own government. (quotes from Fire Dog Lake's reproduction of the speech)

He was determined to fight for the rule of law, even against powerful opponents and the chief champions of the torture policy at the highest levels of government.
In standing up for his beliefs against torture as Counsel for the Navy, Alberto Mora embodied Edmund Burke’s famous words, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Faced with irrefutable evidence that by condoning torture, the government was acting, he said, in a way “clearly contrary to everything we were ever taught about American values,” and he felt compelled speak truth to power.

John Murtha is a vivid example of the words of President Kennedy in “Profiles in Courage,” “A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.”
...last November, he decided as a matter of conscience to speak the unvarnished truth. He stated publicly that our troops in Iraq had done all they could, and it was time for them to come home.
Through all the attacks on his patriotism, he never wavered or backed down from his strong view. His courage in speaking out touched the entire nation, and he continues to do so.
Last week, he called on the Marine Corps to disclose the full truth about a shocking incident involving the death of a Marine followed by the death of numerous civilians supposedly in a bus in Haditha last November.
As Andrew Jackson said, “One man with courage makes a majority,” and John Murtha has proved the truth of those words in our own time.
I have nothing but the deepest respect for these two men. Their ideals will prevail. It just might take some time.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A Simple Explanation

This in no way exonerates the American public from the guilt of Iraq and Afghanistan, but one explanation is that our news media promotes this:
WHITE GIRL MISSING!!!! (for a year)

When we should be worrying about "Abdullah Yaseen Wept Alone":

And we cry more about a frigging race horse:

Than about 15 Civilian Deaths from American Bombs:
The local governor (in Afghanistan ed) said 16 civilians were killed and 16 wounded

And our leaders talke of "New Beginnings" and "Political Progerss" when the reality is from Juan Cole:
50 Dead
Maliki Vows to End Militias, Graft

The civil war in Iraq killed 50 persons on Sunday, according to al-Zaman. Reuters managed to detail the circumstances of 35 of them, including bombings in Baghdad.

And the "Da Vinci Code" grossed $277 MILLION in the box office but the elderly in Romania have to get by on a $20 per month pension. (I see that Juan Cole deconstructs this movie. Need to read.)

At some point it is all too overwhelming for normally decent people. They withdraw and ignore. It is sad when a civilization crumbles.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Words of the Prophet are Written on the Subway Wall

Bomber Kills Self, 12 Others in Baghdad
By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer

May 21, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide bomber killed at least 12 other people and injured 17 when he blew himself up Sunday in a downtown Baghdad restaurant frequented by police.

Bush Praises Political Progress in Iraq
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

May 21, 2006
WASHINGTON - The inauguration of Iraq's new government marks a new era in relations with the country that the U.S. has occupied for more than three years, President Bush said Sunday.

and from here:

As Televised Reports of U.S. Forces Approaching the Outskirts of Western Baghdad Are Shown:
"They are not any place. They are on the move everywhere. They are a snake moving in the desert. They hold no place in Iraq. This is an illusion."

April 7, 2003
"This invasion will end in failure."

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Beware the Cornered Rat

With nuclear weapons.
(idea from MFI)


From the inimitable Juan Cole:
There is a vogue for "Islamic chic" among many middle class Iranian women that involves, for instance, wearing expensive boots that cover the legs and so, it is argued, are permitted under Iranian law. The scruffy, puritanical Ahmadinejad and his backers among the hardliners in parliament are waging a new and probably doomed struggle against the young Iranian fashionistas. (emphasis added)(The Khomeinists give the phrase "fashion police" a whole new meaning).
I don't think he means this:

The Fashionistas, John Stagliano's erotically charged Las Vegas adult entertainment production of fetish and fantasy, was chosen as one of "Las Vegas' 10 Best Shows," by the Las Vegas Review Journal.
He probably means this:

But scruffy boy (the perfect appellation for Ahmadinejad) would insist on this:

Its Sooo Embarrassing!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Surprise Announcement

In a surprise announcement today, the Bush Administration withdrew the candidacy of General Hayden for the post of CIA director and submitted that of James "Jimmy" Hoffa. (This was pending his resurrection from Hidden Dreams (sic) farm in Michigan.)

Tony Snow, the newly minted misspokeperson for the White House said that Mr. Hoffa's credentials were "impeccable" citing this affidavit of his experience in the area of surveillance:
In the autumn of 1957, Hoffa was charged with wiretapping business agents' telephones and was indicted on five counts of perjury before the grand jury. But once again, he escaped unscathed as the first trial ended in a hung jury, the second in acquittal. The Supreme Court disregarded the prosecution's wiretap evidence, thereby eliminating the strongest evidence at the perjury trial.

You see, these guy's don't think that wiretapping is an invasion of privacy:

And, as an ADDED BONUS, they get to whack this man

Who definitely had it in for Hoffa:
Robert Kennedy now began investigating Hoffa and he was eventually charged with corruption. Kennedy claimed that Hoffa had misappropriated $9.5 million in union funds and had corruptly done deals with employers. Hoffa's lawyer, Edward Bennett Williams, managed to persuade the jury to find him not guilty. George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO, did not agree with the verdict and Hoffa and the Teamsters Union were expelled from the association.
Never pass up a chance to whack a Kennedy.

Tick, Tick, Tick



One can dream!

Bonus - Under the C

Dividing Line

It is always easy to look back and determine when it was that things finally went awry, or, in other words,the dividing line between before and after. Try as you might, you can't say at the time of the event that "this" is it. Where in the Bush Presidency can we say "before this time things weren't too bad," and "after this time, it was a disaster."

A corollary to these thoughts is "how is he going to govern for two years with a hostile Congress?" (assuming, of course, that the Democrats win the House and Senate in November. Given the Democrats ability to screw things up, this is not a given.)

I think that a candidate for the dividing line will be if Hayden is confirmed as director of the CIA. When a Senator tells a candidate to his face that he has a credibility problem, well, you know that, if he is confirmed, we are in trouble.

Friday Crab Blogging

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hayden Insists NSA Surveillance Is Legal

I thought he was being considered for CIA Chief. Looks like it is actually the Supreme Court.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

American Idols and American Bombs

While many in America are mesmerized by American Idol (I can honestly say I have never seen a second of it), the Pentagon is planning more insanity:
US spells out plan to bomb Iran
IAN BRUCE, Defence Correspondent

THE US is updating contingency plans for a non-nuclear strike to cripple Iran's atomic weapon programme if international diplomacy fails, Pentagon sources have confirmed. Strategists are understood to have presented two options for pinpoint strikes using B2 bombers flying directly from bases in Missouri, Guam in the Pacific and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
The main plan calls for a rolling, five-day bombing campaign against 400 key targets in Iran, including 24 nuclear-related sites, 14 military airfields and radar installations, and Revolutionary Guard headquarters. At least 75 targets in underground complexes would be attacked with waves of bunker-buster bombs. Iranian radar networks and air defence bases would be struck by submarine-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles and then kept out of action by carrier aircraft flying from warships in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. The alternative to an all-out campaign is a demonstration strike against one or two high-profile targets such as the Natanz uranium enrichment facility or the hexafluoride gas plant at Isfahan.
So much for diplomacy. Isn't there anyone sane over there in D.C.?

Send Out the Clowns

Clarabell has gone on to Clown Heaven where he joins Buffalo Bob and 79 Princesses SummerFallWinterSpring. There is a special Heaven for marionettes and Howdy Doody is there. (There is also a special Hell for marionettes and someone we know might wind up there.) This signals the end of an era, the baby boomer times. I don't know why I feel this.

On the other hand, we have this:

and this:

which leaves me: