Wednesday, November 22, 2006

You've heard it, but did it sink in?

Amazing - in 5 years, the Shrubbery Administration went from +236 Billion to -413 Billion. Sounds like a lot. Look at the picture - it is. 8x what Reagan did w/ Reagonomics, >2x what GHW Bush saw at the end of the 80's.
But hey, as long as it's you and me paying, and Haliburton and friends getting the money, who cares?
Click on the picture to see the full size image. Print it out, stick it on your fridge. It'll give you a reminder every day on why TheShrubbery isn't just fracking up the rest of the world, he's doing it here too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The War on Terror...

Over at Intel-Dump, there's an excellent write-up on how (a) the War on Terror is not only a stupid name, it inflates Al Qeida's status and gives them more power and clout than dealing with them as terrorists, and (b) equating the War on Terror to the days leading up to WWII is just stupid.

Which is one of my biggest issues w/ the Shrubbery Administration - it's based on stupidity, fear mongering, lies and limiting the publics access to knowledge.

Now that the Dem's have control of the US Congress, we'll see if they stand-up and start trying to steer this nation back to a path of reason and fact, or if they just act like politicians. Not going to hold my breath on that one.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Disagree with the Bush Administration, Go to Jail

Flagged by ThisIsTrue from the Rocky Mountain News -

on June 16, Steve Howards was walking his 7-year-old son to a piano practice, when he saw Cheney surrounded by a group of people in an outdoor mall area, shaking hands and posing for pictures with several people...

Howards and his son walked to about two-to-three feet from where Cheney was standing, and said to the vice president, "I think your policies in Iraq are
reprehensible," or words to that effect, then walked on.

Ten minutes later, according to Howards' lawsuit, he and his son were walking back through the same area, when they were approached by Secret Service agent Virgil D. "Gus" Reichle Jr., who asked Howards if he had "assaulted" the vice president. Howards denied doing so, but was nonetheless placed in handcuffs and taken to the Eagle County Jail.

What - they didn't drop him to the ground 2 seconds after he said it, punch his lights out, and take the kid as well?

Kevin Tillman, brother of San Jose native son and Iraq War fatality, Pat Tillman, put it well in a SJ Mercury News Perspective on Sunday:

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of habeas corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma and nonsense.

Maybe this years election will change things. Or will we just give up the illusion of a democracy, and crown the Shrub "King Bush"?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Rule of Law vs. The Rule of Power

President Shrub today signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, claiming, in part, that the future would judge us on "if we did enough to prevent terrorism".

Couple of ridiculous points:

Removing the concept of the "rule of law", with the US Courts as the ultimate arbiter of what is and isn't allowed (enemy combatants would have no right to sue for being improperly held / charged / treated), is truly un-American. Nothing makes the attacks of 9/11 have more impact than if we throw out our democratic ways in the process of fighting terrorism. Even Americans, detained on US soil, could be labelled "enemy combatants", and never have a chance to a non-military tribunal, where hear-say and dubious evidence (resulting from "non-torture" interrogation techniques, including beatings, sleep and food deprivation, etc. Not allowed by US Military code of conduct, but the CIA has their own methods...)

"If we did enough" - we could bomb the rest of the world (ok - we'll keep Britain and Australia, our staunchest allies, and maybe Israel) and that would greatly reduce the chance of future attacks on America. Is that enough?

A key concepts in the Geneva Convention is that a common set of standards to apply to everyone. If Al Qaida capture American soldiers, tried them without proper legal representation, and then executed them, Americans would be horrified at their barbarism. Only difference is the Military commissions Act of 2006 allows us to do it as a government.

And, the law is retro-active, so it applies to any / all exhisting detainee's lawsuits in US court.

Monday, September 25, 2006

When did Clinton join the WWF, and the SmackDown move to Fox?

After the Israel / Hezbollah war, when most of those making sense (i.e. that I agreed with) were on the right side of the fence politically.

But, things have quieted down, so it's back to internal US politics for now. Which means lies, more lies, and the Republican effort to guide the world with "truthiness". I can't say for sure, but I guess they think it's easier to make stuff up, and then invent the stories to support it, then to actually deal with what's happened, and their part in it. Gheez - reminds me of a lot of the idiot managers at the company I work for - easier to whitewash the BS that happened then to fess up that it came from them.

Not a regular Fox News watcher (since "Fox News" has become as oxy-moronic as "Jumbo Prawns"), I didn't catch Clinton on Fox News Sunday (transcript here), but did see the Video on Think Progress

Short review:
(a) Bill Clinton is, and was, a much more intelligent and informed speaker than George W. Bush is, was, or ever will be.
(b) Despite his peccadilloes, he still has more honesty and integrity than, hehe, that mistake for a homo sapien.
(c) Chris Wallace, the Fox News interviewer, thought he (Chris) would get a slam dunk out of his "why didn't you take care of Osama Bin Laden" slam to President Clinton. But Chris forgot something very important - make sure you got a better game than your opposition. Unlike Shrub, nobody ever accused Slick Willy of being an idiot, or even just average thinker. If you're going to invite a moderate-liberal onto the most right leaning main stream media news show, and expect to sucker punch him (or her), then pick someone who hasn't been around the block as much as President Clinton.

Chris got schooled. He's just lucky he's not Bill's type, and the only stains on his clothes afterwards were in his jockeys, and not down the front of his shirt!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hezbollywood - Behind the Scenes

EU Referendum has just finished their3 week effort to document the Hezbollah play reported in the world press as the "Massacre At Qana". It's here.

If you get the gist after the first few parts, skip ahead to "Part 7" aka "Caught In the Act", where my favorite actor, Mr. Green Helmet gets caught directing in front of the camera.

There's the APs first attempt at crushing the Mr. Green Helmet story, where AP Hack-In-Training described "Abu Shadi Jradi pulled bodies out of wreckage for hours..."

And the second attempt to cleanse Mr. Green Helmut with this AP write-up on Salam Daher, saying he's a natural hero, who dug for hours to recover bodies.

Is it Abu Shadi Jradi or Salam Daher? How good can AP be on fact checking if they can't even get his name right. And if he's a resuce working, how come there are hundreds of pictures of Qana, hours of video, not one showing him digging. Scores of pictures showing him carrying bodies, with great emotion. Ok - sometimes taking detours over harsher / more picturesque terrain, sure. From one staging area to another, sure. But digging, nah.

Which leads us to Kathleen Carroll, senior vice president and executive hack for Associated Press, says "that you can't get competitive journalists to participate in the kind of (staging) experience that is being described" (see this).

She also said "It's hard to imagine how someone sitting in an air-conditioned office or broadcast studio many thousands of miles from the scene can decide what occurred on the ground with any degree of accuracy," Guess it's fine to sit thousands of miles away and not actually review the arguments, or use your brain, but you can say that nothing hokey happened a degree of accuracy.

From the photo evidence on the web, these were not unstaged events, with the media critically recording what was going on. It was choreographed, scripted, with each news organization given time to get their shots, with clear lines of sight. Over and over.

But really, go take a look at EU Refererndum. It's got much more info, and I'm just summarizing what they said.

Friday, August 11, 2006

UNIFIL to save the day.
Yeah, that'll happen.

So the UN has passed a resolution today, calling for the Israeli withdrawl to happen in coordination with the Lebanese Army moving in, aided by UNIFL, augmented to 15,000 soldiers, under an extended mandate.

Wikipedia entry on UNIFIL:

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, was created by the United Nations, with the adoption of Security Council Resolution 425 and 426 on 19 March 1978, to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore the international peace and security, and help the Lebanese Government restore its effective authority in the area.[1] The first UNIFIL troops arrived in the area on 23 March 1978; these troops were reassigned from other UN peacekeeping operations in the area (namely UNEF and UNDOF).[1]

They've been doing a wonderful job of restoring the peace and enabling the Lebanese government from to restore authority in the area.

But, sounds like not all members of UNIFIL were so enamored with the role. Remember the UNIFIL base that was hit by the IAF, killing 4 observers? 1 week prior to the bombing, one of the observers (Canadian Maj. Hess-von Kruedener) sent an email to a former collegue, lamenting about the way Hezbollah has been launch missles from right next to their post, and then hiding behind it. Remarkably, he comments on the Israeli restraint, "The closest artillery has landed within 2 meters (sic) of our position and the closest 1000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters (sic) from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to tactical necessity." (Summary here)