Saturday, August 13, 2005

When will we see Chairman Bush's "Little Red Book" on sale?

Operation Yellow Elephant has a few gems from Dear Leader:
See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.
Greece, New York, May 24, 2005

I went to the Congress last September and proposed fundamental -- supplemental funding, which is money for armor and body parts....
Erie, PA, September 4, 2004

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
Washington, DC, August 5, 2004

I'm the commander -- see, I don't need to explain -- I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation.
Crawford, TX, August 20, 2002

Should be a big hit in the "red" states, eh?

Feeling pain at the pump?

Pessimist (from the blog Left Coaster) has the lowdown on why those gasoline prices are skyrocketing, and what the consequences are for those increases. Seems we Americans have been going about energy policy bass-ackwards - both currently, and I'd argue for easily the last two or three decades. But hey, as long as the stock portfolios of Bu$hCo's cronies keep reaping benefits for them, it doesn't much matter what happens to us regular folk.

As the government tries to weasel its way out of forking over the remaining Abu Ghraib pictures,

someone writing for Lenin's Tomb appropriately calls bullshit:
This is absolutely extraordinary. The logic of this argument is twofold and utterly, fatally bankrupt. It posits that:

i) If the consequences of revealing crimes which we fully acknowledge having committed threaten to prove harmful to our cause, we have no obligation to reveal them. I.e., the way to avoid harmful consequences is not to avoid committing the crimes, but to refuse to reveal them later, even when we've admitted to them.

ii) The fact that our enemies allegedly fabricate similar evidence of wrongdoing on our part absolves us of responsibility to reveal true, unfabricated evidence. This is completely fallacious; the one accusation, even if true, has exactly no bearing on the other assertion. If we didn't want to hand our opponents propaganda-on-a-platter, we might have considered not issuing orders abrogating international conventions on prisoner abuse. But tough luck, we did, and now we have to belly up to the fallout. The fact that it gives Iraqis more reason to loathe and resist us is not some unfortunate collateral effect, it is precisely the point.

The government's obligation to reveal the Abu Ghraib images is an obligation not particularly to Iraqi insurgents who may indeed use it for 'propaganda' purposes (wouldn't you?), but to its own citizens, to the abuse victims and Iraqi citizens who suffer under the jackboot of this depravedly human-rights-indifferent occupation, and in fact to the entire world, which has every moral right to demand accountability from the hyperpower that claims the quasi-divine prerogative of enforcing global Freeman Moxie at the point of a gun.

It's pretty damned obvious that our government is hell-bent on evading responsibility for its actions, and even more obvious that its leaders believe they can get away with it - perhaps with good reason given the state of whatever passes for journalism, "oppositional" political parties, etc. It is true that US citizens, as well as the world community, have the moral right to expect and in fact to demand accountability from the US government. It is equally true that this government does not respect moral rights. Hence we'll continue to get the usual morally and logically bankrupt arguments as to why "we" must "stay the course," why damning evidence of the horrifying consequences of its leaders' policies must be suppressed, and so on. The truth won't come out by politely asking for it.

A few things on the Cindy Sheehan vigil

I've noticed, first of all, that Cindy Sheehan now does some blogging over at Daily Kos. I really haven't been over at Daily Kos much in recent weeks, so I just happened to stumble onto her diaries there by happenstance. A good way to keep up with the vigil and her views. She also has written a bit on The Huffington Post: This is George Bush's Accountability Moment. More coverage can be found over at the Booman Tribune, where front-pagers Susan Hu and Larry Johnson have been doing yeoman's work.

Norman Solomon's column, Repudiating Bush and Dean also deserves a look:

Of course, the idea that Bush could be "incredibly successful with his policy now" in Iraq is the stuff of fantasy. But it's the kind of politician-speak that makes a preposterous statement because it seems like a good media tactic. That's what most Democratic Party officials on the national stage, and some activists who should know better, are still doing. They're the rough equivalent of those who, like Ellsberg for a time four decades ago, mainly regretted that the war was "a stalemate." Objections to the war along that line depict it as a quagmire.

But the U.S. war effort in Iraq is not a quagmire. It is what Daniel Ellsberg came to realize the Vietnam War was: "a crime."

Cindy Sheehan -- and many other people who have joined her outside the presidential gates in Crawford, and millions of other Americans -- understand that. And they're willing to say so. They have rejected not only the rabid militarism of the Bush administration but also the hollowed-out pseudo-strategic abdication of moral responsibility so well articulated by Howard Dean.

On Thursday, in his transparent attempt to halt the momentum of the vigil led by Cindy Sheehan, the president spoke to journalists and repeated his usual rationales. Along the way, Bush provided a sing-song catchphrase of the sort that political consultants are paid big bucks to script: "As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." It all added up to insistence on war and more war. "Pulling troops out prematurely," he said, "will betray the Iraqis." But Bush got his scripted syntax inverted when he made the mistake of saying something that rang true: "Obviously, the conditions on the ground depend upon our capacity to bring troops home."

While Bush sees the war as a problem and Dean bemoans it as a stalemate, Sheehan refuses to evade the truth that it is a crime. And the analysis that came from Daniel Ellsberg in 1972, while the Vietnam War continued, offers vital clarity today: "Each of these perspectives called for a different mode of personal commitment: a problem, to help solve it; a stalemate, to help extricate ourselves with grace; a crime, to expose and resist it, to try to stop it immediately, to seek moral and political change."


Friday, August 12, 2005

Now this is just sad

Want in insight into the SUV-driving "support the troops" crowd?
Staff Sgt. Jason Rivera, 26, a Marine recruiter in Pittsburgh, went to the home of a high school student who had expressed interest in joining the Marine Reserve to talk to his parents. It was a large home in a well-to-do suburb north of the city. Two American flags adorned the yard. The prospect's mom greeted him wearing an American flag T-shirt. "I want you to know we support you," she gushed.

Rivera soon reached the limits of her support.

"Military service isn't for our son. It isn't for our kind of people," she told him.

Via Daily Kos.

Cartoons that sum it up

Via The Martian Anthropologist, who aptly refers to Cindy Sheehan as the Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement. Check out the rest of this cat's post. It pretty well sums it all up.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Cindy Sheehan's struggle continues

She's still in Crawford, TX, maintaining her vigil and continues to challenge the vacationing President to meet with her face to face. Likely, he'll remain in his bunker ranch and will maintain a safe distance between his illusions of self and the reality of the tangible pain that his actions have caused others. Indeed, as Norman Solomon notes, Sheehan is raging against the killing of the light.

Not too terribly surprisingly, the right-wing smear machine has been kicking in overtime. Media Matters has the goods on the lame shenanigans used by the right-wingers in a failed attempt to discredit the very vocal mom of one of the casualties of this White House's war. Eli's take is also worth considering, as is Bulldog Manifesto's (which throws down the proverbial gauntlet at those who would dare to smear Sheehan). is going to take out an ad in the Waco Tribune Herald, and you can add your signature in support of Ms. Sheehan's efforts.

"footprints in the snow"

in a far off field another farmer sows his crop. in a far off field another bomb is dropped. above my head the seagulls soar. above my head the bombers roar. another bird prepares to fly. another soldier prepares to die. leaves falling in the autumn, soldiers dying in war, in spring the flowers blossom, but all year the battles roar. my head is still soar, soldiers still fight war, from little streams great rivers flow, from simple thoughts great ideas grow.

A lyric from the Flux album, Uncarved Block - a personal favorite from another, seemingly distant time. The raindrops from decades past formed the little streams that appear here.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Yup...really turning that corner in Iraq...

Turning right into a dark alley in a rough neighborhood, leading to a dead end, that is. One of the latest pieces of news concerns the now former mayor of Baghdad who was recently deposed and replaced by a member of the Badr Organization. Hard to say what the meaning of this is. On the one hand it can be readily argued that this was a putsch. On the other hand, Juan Cole argues that the incident is merely some of the fallout from the January 30, 2005 elections. Professor Cole notes that the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq won the provincial election in Baghdad at that time, and so has the right to name a mayor. In any case, the ugly realities of the situation of Baghdad won't change regardless of who's in charge. The previous mayor was facing a grim budget situation for his city along with the continued bloodshed, and that situation is precisely what the new mayor will inherit. Those who can afford to leave Baghdad continue to flee the city, as the violence continues.

Soldiers (and Iraqi civilians) continue to die. Iraqi soldiers appear to be afraid to leave their base, and it appears that in spite of all the recent propaganda to the contrary we'll be seeing an increase in the number of US troops in Iraq. In the meantime, talks on the new Iraq constitution remain deadlocked, as the US occupiers continue to push for a quick finish. What issues and rights will be swept under the rug to meet the deadline? I can't help but think that a process pushed on a people from the outside can't possibly work in the long run - try telling that to Bu$hCo and their apologists.

Here's the latest Iraq War Grief Daily Witness post.

Never forget: Speaking truth IS power!

Please, someone tell me this isn't real...

and that this story was merely nicked from the Onion:
The Pentagon would hold a massive march and country music concert to mark the fourth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an announcement tucked into an Iraq war briefing today.

"This year the Department of Defence will initiate an America Supports Your Freedom Walk," Rumsfeld said, adding that the march would remind people of "the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation".

The march will start at the Pentagon, where nearly 200 people died on September 11, 2001, and end at the National Mall with a show by country star Clint Black.

Word of the event startled some observers.

"I've never heard of such a thing," said John Pike, who has been a defence analyst in Washington for 25 years and runs

The news also reignited debate and anger over linking September 11 with the war in Iraq.

"That piece of it is disturbing since we all know now there was no connection," said Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq veteran who heads Operation Truth, an anti-administration military booster.

Rieckhoff suggested the event was an ill-conceived publicity stunt.

"I think it's clear that their public opinion polls are in the toilet," he said.

Rumsfeld's march had some relatives of September 11 victims fuming.

"How about telling Mr Rumsfeld to leave the memories of September 11 victims to the families?" said Monica Gabrielle, who lost her husband in the attacks.

Administration supporters insisted Rumsfeld was right to link Iraq and September 11, and hold the rally.

"We are at war," said Representative Pete King, (Republican, New York).

"It's essential that we support our troops."

He also said attacking Iraq was necessary after September 11.

"You do not defeat al-Qaeda until you stabilise the Middle East, and that's not possible as long as Saddam Hussein is in power."


These jokers can't be serious! My country gets more Soviet-like with each passing day.

A couple things

Cindy Sheehan, mother of the late Casey Sheehan (who was killed shortly after he was sent to Iraq) has not been one to mince words, as demonstrated in a recent speech in Dallas. As we know, her protest in Crawford, TX continues, and she's fixing to stay a spell until the coward has the guts to face her. Dr. Teresa Whitehurst has an interesting take on Cindy Sheehan and other grieving relatives of the Iraq War dead: let's just say that it's not a good idea to get on a mother grizzly's bad side, and The War Party is doing precisely that. Anyhow, it looks like some other military family members are traveling to help her cause out. Good luck and godspeed.

And thanks to Susan Hu, I learned that the Rolling Stones have a new song that blasts the neoconmen in the White House.

David Corn has a few thoughts on why the AIPAC indictment is yet another nail in scandal-plagued Rove's coffin (just in case you'd forgotten about Treasongate - or Plamegate as it is also known). Robert Dreyfus also has some words about the unfolding scandal.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Cynthia McKinney

She's arguably one of those rare Democrats who consistently earns my respect. Just to give you some idea of why I was so pleased to see her return to Congress, check out Strange Fruit and Tree-Shakers - Voting Rights, Racism and Radical Change in America:
We are here to celebrate the Voting Rights Act, one of the most important pieces of fruit shaken down from America's tree of opportunity.

But what do you do when you have no more tree shakers and all your fruit is gone?

If we are to avoid the strange fruit of powerlessness, we have to pass the torch of leadership to a new generation of strong, uncompromising tree shakers.

We can no longer be satisfied with leaders, hand-picked for us, and not by us. Because it's that strange fruit that wrecks our dreams and kills our community.

The strange fruit that occurs when other people assume our powerlessness and we act accordingly.

The strange fruit of Bakke, Croson, Adarand, Shaw v. Reno, Johnson v. Miller. And Gratz. Each iteration more contorted and perverted than the version before it.

Strange fruit like Kenneth Walker, dead at the hands of the Columbus, Georgia police. Strange fruit like Frederick Williams, tasered to death by the Gwinnett County police.

Strange fruit like Bernard Burden, found hanging from a tree in Coweta County.

America's tree of opportunity is becoming twisted and dead because America is becoming devoid of tree shakers: people unafraid of taking a stand, voicing dissent; throwing their bodies against the levers and the gears of the machine in order to make a difference.

Dr. King's bounced check still bounces back every day marked insufficient funds because we allow America not to pay. Halliburton gets paid. Billions and billions and billions of dollars. But our black farmers have yet to be paid--despite winning in America's courts of law.

That's a lesson for us. In how twisted the tree of opportunity becomes when we fail to follow through with vigorous agitation and tree shaking, sowing the seeds of justice for the next generation.

But today we are here to demand our due.

Life, liberty, and the right to vote. On machines that we know will accurately count our vote.

And on this we will not be hoodwinked, snookered, bought out, or bushwhacked.

Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will. No more strange fruit.

Parts of the Voting Rights Act expire in a couple years, and I'd trust the GOP-led Congress to protect those rights about as far as I can throw them.

Had to happen sooner or later

Man Kills Another in Dispute Over War -- Press Calls It a First

By E&P Staff

Published: August 06, 2005 6:30 PM ET
NEW YORK It was bound to happen sooner or later, and in what newspapers in Kentucky are calling a first, one American has killed another in a dispute over the Iraq war.

It happened at Floyd County flea market on Thursday, when two friends, who were firearms vendors there, drew guns after quarreling about the war. Douglas Moore, 65, of Martin, who backs the war, shot and killed Harold Wayne Smith, 56, of Manchester, who opposed it, according to investigators.

Moore was released without being charged after he convinced police he had acted in self-defense. A grand jury may yet hear evidence in the case.

Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner said the episode might mark the first death in the U.S. due to a dispute over the war.

One witness, Sam Hamman of Prestonsburg, told the Lexington Herald-Leader, "Harold was talking about the 14 people that were killed in Iraq the other day and Doug said that just as many people were killed on the highways here.”

This quickly escalated into an argument, then to a scuffle, and finally both men drew pistols outside a snack shed. The dead man was apparently just a little slower in firing. Witnesses said he stood for about five seconds before toppling on the walkway.

In a telephone interview with the Lexington paper yesterday, Moore said police had told him not to discuss his feelings about the Iraq war.

"I'm sorry this has happened," Moore, a retired railroad worker, said. "But then what's done can't be undone." Moore told the Lexington reporter he thinks Smith and his family knew him well enough "to know what my thoughts are, his family does, because me and Harold was friends. That's all I'll say."

The daughter of the dead man said the two men were friends and had discussed Iraq before. She said her father "had different opinions than everybody. He felt it was wrong that all of these young people were losing their lives over what was going on. It was just a political disagreement, like a whole lot of people have."


Via San Francisco Liberal. I suppose I've grown cynical enough to be amazed something like this hadn't happened sooner. Of all the dumb reasons to shoot someone...

Sunday, August 7, 2005

"Goodbye Blue Sky"

Look mummy, there's an aeroplane up in the sky"

Oooooooo ooo ooo ooooh(x 3)
Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
Did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter
With the promise of a brave new world
Unfurled beneath a clear blue sky?

Oooooooo ooo ooo ooooh (x 3)
Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on.

Goodbye, blue sky
Goodbye, blue sky.
Goodbye.(x 3)

"Goodbye Blue Sky" - The Wall - Pink Floyd - 1979

In my rear view mirror the sun is going down
Sinking behind bridges in the road
And I think of all the good things
That we have left undone
And I suffer premonitions
Confirm suspicions
Of the holocaust to come.

The rusty wire that holds the cork
That keeps the anger in
Gives way
And suddenly it's day again.
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done.
Two suns in the sunset
Could be the human race is run.

Like the moment when the brakes lock
And you slide towards the big truck
"Oh no!"
You stretch the frozen moments with your fear.
And you'll never hear their voices
"Daddy, Daddy!"
And you'll never see their faces
You have no recourse to the law anymore.

And as the windshield melts
My tears evaporate
Leaving only charcoal to defend.
Finally I understand the feelings of the few.
Ashes and diamonds
Foe and friend
We were all equal in the end.

"...and now the weather. Tomorrow will be cloudy with scattered showers
spreading from the east ... with an expected high of 4000 degrees

"Two Suns in the Sunset" - The Final Cut - Pink Floyd - 1983

Two lyrics that I thought seemed as timely as ever. Not my favorite period of Floyd musically (they pretty much petered out after about 1975), but those two songs were high points on their respective albums.

Top photo nicked from this review of "Orignal Child Bomb", by Madman in the Marketplace.