Saturday, November 15, 2003

Bush Lied and Our Soldiers Continue to Die

No wonder Bush is losing credibility with the US public over Iraq.

Democrat Wins Louisiana Gov Race

This one is a somewhat better test for the Democrat party than the other recent Gov elections since Louisiana is something of a swing state, whereas the Republican victories had occurred in states that were already strongly Republican.

Unifying Democratic Message

Nice post and thread started by Kos. Lots of great ideas floating around by numerous individuals. The bottom line is that the Democrat party needs to stress, as simply and succinctly as possible, what it stands for. My personal favorite so far:

SELF = Security, Equality, Liberty, Family

Google Bomb

If you type in the search term "miserable failure" on Google:

Dubya's bio on the official White House site now comes up #2 on the list. Same on Yahoo's search engine. The miserable failure project is working. That's right, George Bush is a miserable failure. You read correctly, a miserable failure.

From the "How Low Can You Go Department":

Before you donate to a children's or AIDS charity, you might want to do your homework and make sure that the charity isn't a front for laundering money for GOP campaigns. Absolutely sickening.

So the Bush Cabal is Drugged Out After All

This qoute from Colin Powell is a classic:

"They're a wonderful medication -- not medication. How would you call it? They're called Ambien, which is very good. You don't use Ambien? Everybody here uses Ambien." (emphasis added)

So is the Oval Office now the official White House "Chill Out Room"? I can imagine Powell with this glazed look in his eyes rambling on about the virtues of Ambien. By everybody, does that include the President?

What is Ambien?

Ambien with the generic name of Zolpidem belongs to a class of medicines that effects the central nervous system, called sedative hypnotics. Ambien is closely related to a family of drugs called benzodiazepines. These drugs cause sedation, muscle relaxation, act as anti-convulsants (anti-seizure), and have anti-anxiety properties. Ambien has selectivity in that it has little of the muscle relaxant or anti-seizure effect and more of the sedative effect. Therefore, it is used as a medication for sleep.

Like a lot of addictive drugs, it can be crushed and snorted, or if added to water "cooked" and injected. I've always been under the impression that it is easy to get hooked on Ambien. Some of its side-effects include daytime drowsiness, tolerance, dependence, coordination difficulty, dizziness, light-headedness, and changes in thought & behavior.

Another quote that deserves highlighting:

Ambien may cause special type of memory loss known as amnesia. When this occurs, a person may not remember what has happened for several hours after taking the medicine. In addition, addiction, or dependence, can be caused by Ambien, especially when used regularly for longer than a few weeks or at high doses. People who have been dependent on alcohol or other drugs in the past may have a greater chance of becoming addicted to Ambien. Some people using Ambien have experienced unusual changes in their thinking and/or behavior. (emphasis added)

I wonder if the presumably recovering alcoholic in the White House is also taking Ambien. In other words, what does Powell mean by "everybody here uses Ambien." Most people I know in the counseling, psychotherapy, and psychiatry fields would heavily advise against giving a controlled substance to someone who already has struggled with substance abuse in their past.

Will the British be throwing flowers at Bush when he visits the UK?

The specter of 100,000 protesters in the streets of London, and an effigy statue of Dubya being toppled will be something to behold.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Women of Iraq Tour

From the Code Pink website:

In October, Amal Al-Khedairy and Nermin Al-Mufti will begin a remarkable tour of the United States, offering the American public a rare opportunity to listen to and interact with informed Iraqi women who passionately want to dispel the assumptions about Iraq, by sharing their personal experiences and extensive knowledge of Iraq’s culture and people.

Looks interesting. If you're nearby one of the locations where they will be, check it out.

Why Chickenhawks Matter

The gist: Inexperienced in the battlefield (in spite of their support for the Vietnam war these men had "better things to do", like go to frat parties, than go to Nam) and blinded by ideology and a romantic notion of warfare, Bush and cronies have managed to make a mess of things in Iraq. If only they had listened to the voices of experience.

The Mantra of the Bushies: "Make War, Not Love"

What do Al Capone, Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and George W. Bush have in common? A mindset: "we must kill you first before you even look like you might kill us."

"War is being imposed upon us," Hitler used to say, as he pushed ahead with his vast criminal project. A majority of Germans believed him and went right along, just as a huge chunk of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was a co-author of September 11 and an imminent threat. The language of warring powers hasn't changed.

They all repeat the same phrase: Evil is forcing us to defend ourselves. In reality, Iraq was no threat to world peace, but in the speeches of Bush, Blair, and Aznar it was. The real weapons of mass destruction are the words that brought them into existence.

Best writing of the day Award Goes to:

Kos, for this:

To most of us who served, our men and women in uniform aren't mere toy soldiers, pawns in a geopolitical chessboard. They are human beings, perhaps even people we served with. Friends and colleagues. With parents, wives, husbands, and children. They are not mere chattel to kill off in pursuit of neocon and warblogger fantasies.

There is no better way to support our soldiers than to wish them alive. Not dead. And the best way to keep them alive is to keep them out of war.

It's a tough concept for the neocon mind to grasp, I know, but it's true.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

A Round-Up of Articles & Editorials from the Smirking Chimp

Ever the faithful supporter of our men & women serving in the armed forces, Bush tells veterans to drop dead, which given the early Vietnam-era-like death toll is precisely what our troops are doing. If that weren't bad enough, Bush doesn't even have the decency to attend any of the funeral services for our deceased Iraq War/Occupation soldiers. But it should be plainly obvious by now that Bush and cronies don't really give a damn about the dead and wounded troops, because Bush is waging a holy war.

The question on my mind is how willingly this "president" will relinquish his grip on the White House if the American voters choose (hopefully) to dethrone him. In the meantime, I wonder if George Orwell was only off by 20 years.

CIA: We Could Lose the War in Iraq

Well, the Bushies have never been known for their wise use of information from the intelligence community before, and I'm not terribly optimistic that they will start now. However, I do think there are some interesting pieces that deserve highlighting:

1. The number of guerillas could easily be as high as 50,000. That's about a third the size of the force the US has, and given that as a collective they are generally highly motivated and angry they can do some real damage.

2. The US is losing whatever popular support it might have once enjoyed in Iraq. People who become disillusioned with the occupation are potential sources of support for the insurgents.

Something is going to have to give, sooner rather than later. The John Wayne wannabe posture of the current White House occupants simply will not work. And quite frankly, the men and women in uniform who are already in Iraq or who will soon be arriving in Iraq deserve so much better than the quagmire that the Bushies have created.

Interesting Paul Krugman Interview

Thought it made for a fairly worthwhile read, providing a convenient synopsis of Krugman's thoughts on the economy, the record-setting federal budget deficits, the political radicalism of the neoconservative crowd, and the rather sad state of journalism in the US.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

We Are All Alone

Josh Marshall's summary of what the tragic deaths of Italian troops means in terms of the US gaining tangible assistance for its invasion and occupation of Iraq. The gist: we're pretty much up Shit Creek without a paddle, and it was all preventable.

Arguably the most interesting post I've read today

What is the root cause(s) of violence? Perhaps its a response to environmental stressors resulting from population imbalance? Well worth reading and pondering.

GOP Temper Tantrum

GOP senators are throwing a 30-hour temper tantrum -- wailing like spoiled children because they can't have their way all of the time.

The gist: the fillibuster was convenient for the GOP back when it was Clinton nominees on the line, but now that it's Bush nominees (only 3 compared to the 60 the GOP blocked back during the last legitimately elected president's administration), they have to fuss.

The fillibuster is actually a fairly conservative mechanism, which was put in place precisely to prevent the executive branch from packing courts with ideologues and cronies, and from forcing radical changes in domestic and foreign policy on a whim.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Pharoah Sanders

First time I heard of this cat was on a John Coltrane compilation set ("The Last Giant"). Although the album mainly focused on Trane's early work in the bebop scene and his mid-period recordings with Atlantic, there was an excerpt of Trane's last live recording that included the otherworldly screaching of Pharoah's sax. I had to hear more. Before too long, I'd acquired Pharoah's 1969 classic Karma which featured "The Creator Has a Master Plan": a tune that alternates between furious noisefests and mellow interludes, laced with Leon Thomas' vocals, pygmie yodels, and chants. Fits in very nicely with that whole 1960s vibe. I was hooked.

Pharoah's been all over the place over the last four decades, and has gone in and out of style (to the extent that this is possible in a largely ignored jazz scene), but he's churned out consistently excellent music most of the time. His most adventurous work was recorded during the late 1960s through mid 1970s on the legendary Impulse! label -- a label that was home to numerous avant-garde jazz and kozmigroov legends. The best way to characterize a typical Sanders recording of the period: diversity and divergence. Pharoah is ostensible one of the early pioneers of world music, with his willingness to combine standard jazz instrumentation and musical sensibilities with elements of African and Mid-Eastern rhythms and textures as well as Latin and Asian elements. Pharoah and his rotating cast of bandmates managed to successfully fuse those elements into a unified whole that was clearly more than the sum of its in which the standard drum-bass-sax-piano set-up and thumb pianos, congas, chimes, tablas, and pygmy chants and yodels all fit seamlessly together. His albums tended also to be divergent in their alternation between gentle meditative numbers and orgiastic blasts of sonic fury, with the exception of his masterpiece Black Unity in which all of these elements are integrated seemingly effortlessly. I once referred to his early music as world music with teeth.

I may not know much about the technical end of music making -- I'm a fan and not a player -- but I do know this much: Pharoah learned a great deal from his apprenticeship with Trane, and whether he plays tenor or alto sax, Pharoah has a warm inviting sound when he plays. Of avant-garde sax players, Pharoah is one of the most pleasant sounding (the other: David S. Ware). If your stereotype of free jazz or avant-garde jazz is that any given avant-garde jazz recording will clear out a party faster than the Ono Box, you'll be in for a very pleasant surprise.

So much of his Impulse! work is either out of print or only available as exhorbitantly priced Japanese imports. Of the out of print and hard-to-find albums, I find Elevation, Live at the East, and Love in Us All as especially strong albums that easily rank up there with the currently available classic reissues such as Tauhid, Black Unity, and Thembi.

His more recent work has been relatively mellow, although he does kick out the jams every once in a while. Check out his sax work on Franklin Kiermyer's Solomon's Daughter CD (Kiermyer's bands truly embody the spirit of Trane's mid-1960s classic quartet) and Randy Weston's Khepera. As a leader, Pharoah gravitates more toward boppish material a la mid-period Coltrane or smooth jazz with some avant-garde and world music elements thrown in for good measure (see his three albums produced by Bill Laswell). He's also done collaborations with Gnawa tribe musicians and rappers. Regardless of the direction this cat takes on any given session, he's got a strikingly consistent sound and a strikingly consistent spiritual message (one that fits in pretty nicely with a Unitarian approach).

No matter how dark the world has become in the last couple years, those recordings offer a beam of much needed light. Check it out.

Support the Troops or "Starve the Beast"

The gist: Empty promises by the Bushies are making enemies of the rank and file in the military, and could make it all the more difficult for the Bushies to steal another election.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Dreamers and Idiots

Column by George Monbiot. The gist: If Bush & Blair had only listened to those of us who were against the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Osama bin Laden might have been captured and Iraq might well be a relatively docile and increasingly democratic state. Sure would beat the mess we have in both countries now. Makes you wonder who the hardnosed pragmatists and who the fanciful dreamers really are.

Say Wazzup to the Freewayblogger

Compassionate Conservatism in One Picture

U.S. Dissident Says Bush Needs Fear for Reelection

Nothing drastically new here, but a useful reminder nonetheless. If the approval numbers continue to plummet, it may very well take a manufactured "crisis" to prop those numbers up.

Support Harry Reid!

Assistant U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada waged a one-man marathon protest on Monday over what he denounced as callous treatment of his Democratic colleagues by the Republican majority.

Reid took the Senate floor just after 1 p.m. EST and about seven hours later was still on his feet, carefully rationing sips of water to stave off the need for bathroom breaks.

"You can only be slapped around so many times," said Reid, particularly upset by plans by Republicans to clear the chamber's schedule for a 30-hour Senate debate later this week on stalled conservative judicial nominees. "Around here, we have to work together."

...Reid said the Senate, rather than debating the four stalled judicial nominees, could better spend its time examining the impact of "the Bush recession."

"The Senate leadership seems more worried about four people who are employed instead of the millions of unemployed," he said. "We should get busy on the budget and other issues that matter to the American people -- jobs, prescription drugs, health care, education and the environment."

For a long time I wondered whether there were any Democrats in Congress with any backbone. I wonder no more. Reid is one of them, and he deserves props for standing up and being counted.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Did the US experience a coup d'tat in 2000?

That's the contention made in the Moscow Times. Worth looking at.

From the "Winning The Hearts and Minds 'R Us" Department

Shocking images shame US forces

Published pictures of women and children being bound by US soldiers in their own homes.

State cuts decrease options

For Disabled (Florida)

Or how "compassionate conservatism" is practiced by George's brother Jeb in Florida. Just another reminder that the Bush family does not give a damn about the people whom they are "elected" to serve.

And on the eve of Veterans Day

A Reminder of How Bush Fails to Honor His Commitment to our Men and Women in Uniform:

The gist: send them to war, cut their benefits.

America’s dress-up president won’t go near the wounded. But Cher will.

A story too good not to share. Includes excerpts of Cher's call into CSPAN's Washington Journal program, in which she describes the plight of the wounded soldiers that our Glorious Misleader would rather us ignore.

Full Coverage of Al Gore's Recent Speech Criticizing Bush's 'Big Brother' Policy

"They have taken us much farther down the road toward an intrusive, 'big brother'-style government — toward the dangers prophesied by George Orwell in his book '1984' — than anyone ever thought would be possible in the United States of America."

From the "Mission Not Accomplished" Department

The US has resumed air strikes in Iraq. I was always under the impression that air strikes were rendered unnecessary once victory had been declared, as our Glorious Misleader claimed back on May 1. Wonderful. The US can create even more civilian casualties. Words escape me at the moment.

Here's another to add to the 'Bush Lied' meme

a profound sense of professional betrayal felt among those in the intellegence community

Article focuses on a new documentary film, Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War, in which numerous establishment figures air their dismay at how the intelligence community has been misused and abused by the Bush cabal.

Some quotes:

Chas Freeman (former ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the reign of Bush I): "The theory that you can bludgeon political grievances out of existence doesn't have much of a track record, so essentially we have been neo-conned into applying a school of thought about foreign affairs that has failed everywhere it has been tried."

Mel Goodman (veteran CIA analyst & instructor at the National War College): "There was never a clear and present danger. There was never an imminent threat. Iraq - and we have very good intelligence on this - was never part of the picture of terrorism."

and from former CIA analyst Ray McGovern (who once hung out in the same circles as Kissinger): "Now we know that no other President of the United States has ever lied so baldly and so often and so demonstrably ... The presumption now has to be that he's lying any time that he's saying anything."

For a feature on Ray McGovern, check out this article in the Independent.

Want to be a recovering dittohead but don't know how to begin?

Like most addicts, you'll need a 12-step program. Work through these 12 steps (link above) and you should be well on the road to recovery. Good luck. :-)

Mental Illness Caused By Demons?

Apparently that's the position that a Virginia state senator takes (though he is these days trying to deny it). This sort of belief system is one that should have finally been debunked by the Age of Enlightenment. I'm sure I'll have more to say on this.

The duToitification of the Western Conservative

The duToitification of the Western Conservative

Rather longish, but does a nice job of exhibiting the macho pose of our most belligerent right-wingers for what it is: so much fluff.

More on dakhil

Remember when I made note of the concept of "dakhil" as explained by American Samizdat?

Well, looks like Dubya and cronies need a refresher course, desperately. The contention from the linked report here is that much of the insurgent attacks are from angry tribe members who are avenging their own losses at the hands of US troops.

Here's dakhil explained.

Filling a suit isn't enough any more

Shorter Robyn E. Blumner: "I've seen Johnny Bravo, and you, George W. Bush, are no Johnny Bravo. Not even close."

Sunday, November 9, 2003

And From the "Say It Isn't So" Department:

Jessica Lynch Says That Our Great Misleader is Misusing Her "Heroism"

Between the Riefenstahlesque propaganda portrayed by our Glorious Republican Party & Jessica Lynch one gets two rather conflicting stories. The Glorious Party of course contends Jessica is this great "war hero", the "symbol for what we're fighting for", who was valliantly killing of them Ay-Rabs when she was gravely wounded and had to be rescued at gunpoint by some brave blond-haired blue-eyed Ayrian studs (presumably all faithful Glorious Republican Party members or else they too may be infidels), and lived to become a made-for tv movie, a best-selling author, and soon-to-be millionaire celebrity who will one day make a living on "Hollywood Squares". Her story is so tragic. Even brutally raped by them inhuman Ay-Rabs. But wait...then we get Jessica saying that she's no hero, didn't require a dramatic rescue, hell had only been injured due to a fluke accident, and on top of that wasn't even raped! You don't suppose a bunch of enemy combatant liberals got hold and brainwashed her? ;-)

(sad part is that any wingnuts reading my blog will actually consider the last sentence to be plausible.'s sarcasm.)


The Bush Cartel Ministry of Propaganda Made a Mistake When They Tried to Make a Heroine Out of Jessica Lynch: She Turned Out to Really be One is a nicely done summary of the reality of Jessica Lynch's rescue. She does deserve props for refusing to go along with the White House script.

The Many Roles of The Right Wing