Observations on the world today.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

No, I Won't Supply a Link 

The image above is an ad I found on a right-wing blog. It takes you to a site where you could find the following description:
If you listen to the nutty-left: People like Al Gore, Michael Moore, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Mad Donna, Jorge Soros and others, they expect Americans to roll over and cave in to terrorism. Fortunately, none of these screwballs run the country. The only way to stop terror is to fight terror. Terorrists must be hunted down and killed. - It's a dirty job. Thank God we have a President willing to do what has to be done.
Yes! You heard me right. The only way to stop terror is to fight terror. Yes, that means killing terrorists...and another thing, Jason Soros, what happened at Abu Ghraib, the panty on the head thing, is called hazing. And at least that scum bag still has a head. Peace-out Hippie!
This is why some people still support the miserable failure, George W. Bush, and it is why Kerry must win in November. Remember that Naderites.



How Brilliant Am I? 

Yahoo! News - 9/11 Panel to Seek New Cabinet Intel Post
The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks will recommend a new Cabinet-level post to oversee the nation's 15 intelligence agencies and control their budgets, say two people familiar with the panel's final report.

The report to be released Thursday makes the case for a director of national intelligence by detailing intelligence failures by the CIA and the FBI that enabled the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to occur, they say. The two would only speak on condition of anonymity because the report has not been made public.

Putting in place a Cabinet official for intelligence would be the most drastic step in structuring the intelligence agencies since the CIA was created after World War II.

The CIA director now has loose authority over those agencies. But the commission in a preliminary report found that the director did not hold enough power, because the Pentagon controls more than 80 percent of the nation's intelligence budget. As a result, CIA requests to other agencies are often ignored.

Advocates say the plan for a Cabinet official for intelligence is gaining momentum as the Bush administration faces criticism for going to war with Iraq based on flawed intelligence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The idea of a new intelligence chief is fiercely opposed by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
I suggested almost exactly this ten days ago:
CIA/NSA/FBI coordinator Leon Fuerth
That last position is my own creation. This is a position which is under Homeland Security. It is a unique office unto itself charged with managing all ongoing investigations in an overseer only capacity and then reporting to Homeland Security whenever a potential conflict arrises. This way, the integrity of the "wall" (which believe it or not, does serve a purpose) is maintained, but episodes where investigations trample on each other are minimized.
So not only am I sympatico with the 9/11 commission, it turns out that Someone else has had the same idea, although I didn't know it at the time:
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has advocated the creation of a director to oversee all facets of the nation's intelligence.
Great minds...



I Have Just One Question... 

Sticker: 'Kerry is bin Laden's Man'
A bumper sticker being circulated in Louisville that reads "Kerry is bin Laden's Man/Bush is Mine" was applauded by a Republican leader yesterday and decried by Democrats.

Jack Richardson IV, chairman of the Jefferson County GOP, said he doesn't know the bumper sticker's origin but agrees with its message about President Bush and Democratic candidate John Kerry.
...Is it too late to run that MoveOn Bush=Hitler ad?



My Own Meme? 

Democratic Underground Forums - Negroponte's reply

Yesterday, I posted for the first time ever on Democratic Underground. I never really felt worthy in the past. The posters there are the wonkiest (and I mean that in a good way) of all democrats. However, the Allawi story had me particularly incensed, and I wanted to add something to the discussion by noting Negroponte's comment upon being asked about the incident.

Negroponte is the Bush appointed ambassador to Iraq who met with some resistance due to his supposed looking the other way from Sandinista atrocities while he was ambassador in Nicaragua. Anyway, enough background. This is how Negroponte's response appeared in the article:
US officials in Iraq have not made an outright denial of the allegations. An emailed response to questions from the Herald to the US ambassador, John Negroponte, said: "If we attempted to refute each [rumour], we would have no time for other business. As far as this embassy's press office is concerned, this case is closed."
My comment on this paragraph was this:
The non-denial is a type of denial which allows plausible deniability to the denier that the non-denial was ever intended to have been read as a denial at all.
Since I posted it, one of the DU regulars is now using my comment as a signature line. Others have posted to welcome me and to comment on the remark. I mean, I thought it was pretty clever, but I had no idea.

Anyway, what I am hoping now - a futile hope I'm sure - is that the line will be picked up and become a sort of mantra. Anytime the Bushies obfuscate about a charge, we can all intone that, "The non-denial is a type of denial which allows plausible deniability to the denier that the non-denial was ever intended to have been read as a denial at all." After all, they do it all the time. For example, Bush never acknowledged doing cocaine, but he never outright denied it when asked specifically about it, and as we all know, the non-denial is a type of denial which allows plausible deniability to the denier that the non-denial was ever intended to have been read as a denial at all. When Bush was asked recently about his relationship with Ken Lay, he simply turned from the podium and walked away without ever denying the relationship, and of course a non-denial is a type of denial which allows plausible deniability to the denier that the non-denial was ever intended to have been read as a denial at all.

It's wordy, but maybe - just maybe - worth the payoff. So, feel free to use it. I hereby relenquish all claims of copyright. Let's make it a meme.



Friday, July 16, 2004

Do We Allawi This? (Bad Pun)  

Outside The Beltway : Allawi Shooting Insurgents?
Via e-mail I find that Eschaton has found several reports in Australian sources that interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi personally shot some accused insurgents.
But unfortunately, somehow the writer doesn't also find that according to Eschaton, the Rev. Moon's right-wing journal, the Washington Times, also has the story.
While I disagree with the characterization at Eschaton and Rooftop Report that this incident--if actually true-- makes Allawi tantamount to "another Saddam," it's certainly disturbing. Saddam tortured and killed innocent people; these people are mass murderers who are causing misery for average Iraqis. I have no problem with the execution of the insurgents; goodness knows they deserve it.
...if they are guilty and not wrongfully accused. He forgot that part.
But it's customary to hold trials first once they're in custody.
...of course, that is just a formality?
Certainly, in Arab culture, shooting mass murderers wouldn't exactly hurt his standing.
That's a pretty ignorant thing to say about Arab culture. Also, it mises the boat. The point is not how this will make Allawi appear to his supporters. The point is how this makes the US look for having backed this guy. We picked Hussein because he was a strongman type too, remember?



He Flipped, But His Wrists Were Stiff 

CNN Transcript - Larry King Live: South Carolina Republican Debate - February 15, 2000
KING: So if you have gays working for you, that's fine. And you don't have a problem. You'd appoint gays in the Cabinet, et cetera.

BUSH: Well, I'm not going to ask what their sexual orientation is.

KING: Oh, so you wouldn't know.

BUSH: I'm going to appoint conservative people in the Cabinet. It's none of my business what somebody's -- now when somebody makes it my business, like on gay marriage, I'm going to stand up and say I don't support gay marriage. I support marriage between men and women.

KING: So if a state were voting on gay marriage, you would suggest to that state not to approve it?

BUSH: The state can do what they want to do. Don't try to trap me in this state's issue like you're trying to get me into.

KING: You just did. You have an opinion.

Yes, he had an opinion. And that opinion was that it was up to the states. That it was a states' rights issue. But then something happened in Massachusetts:
"The union of a man and a woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith," Bush said.

"Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society."

The president said he decided to endorse an amendment because of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's recent decision granting marriage rights to same-sex couples, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision two weeks ago to begin giving marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. (Emphasis mine; Mister)
But then the amendment failed, and Bush realized that he looked intollerant. So he ammended his ammended position again:
"What they do in the privacy of their house, consenting adults should be able to do," Mr. Bush said during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania on Friday, seeking to distinguish between private behavior and giving legal sanction to same-sex marriages. "This is America. It's a free society. But it doesn't mean we have to redefine traditional marriage."
And in the same article, we find this:
It also provided an opportunity for the White House to maneuver Senator John Kerry into a position where it could again accuse him of taking both sides of an issue, the central theme in its effort to portray Mr. Kerry as so lacking in conviction that he would be an unreliable leader. Mr. Kerry has said he opposes gay marriage, but he also opposed the amendment, largely on the grounds that the issue was one for states to decide.
So Kerry is a flip-flopper for having the same position Bush had in 2000? Sorry, I only see one flip-flopper here.


Update On the Electoral Vote 

Current Electoral Vote Predictor 2004

The current electoral tally based on state by state polls gives Kerry the election by a margin of over three-to-two.
Kerry 322
Bush 205

Slim-Fast's New Spokesperson 

My Way - News

Comedian Whoopi Goldberg will no longer appear in ads for diet aid maker Slim-Fast following her lewd riff on President Bush's name at a fund-raiser last week, the company said on Wednesday.

Florida-based Slim-Fast said it was "disappointed" in Goldberg's remarks at last Thursday's $7.5 million star-studded fund-raiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

"Ads featuring Ms. Goldberg will no longer be on the air," Slim-Fast General Manager Terry Olson said in a statement, adding that the company regrets that Goldberg's remarks offended some customers.

I'm getting fat. I think I'll go on a diet just so that I can intentionally NOT buy Slim-Fast. Several years ago, Dr. Pepper hired Dr. Ruth Westheimer to advertise Diet Dr. Pepper, and the religious right threw a fit. As a result, Ruth was released from her contract, and I didn't drink another drop of Dr. Pepper for ten years. So no Slim-Fast for me. The boycott is on. And I'll bet I can go a lot longer than ten years this time too.


Thursday, July 15, 2004

Finally, An Interview - Sort Of 

The Village Voice: Nation: Mondo Washington: Speechless by James Ridgeway
Among other things Edmonds told her FBI superiors, she had discovered that Melek Can Dickerson affixed Edmonds's name to a printout of inaccurate translations. Properly translated, she says, these wiretaps revealed a Turkish intelligence operative in communication with his spies in both the Pentagon and the State Department.

When Edmonds tried to tell her FBI superiors what was going on, the bureau seized her home computer, gave her a lie detector test (which she later found she passed), and then fired her, warning her not to talk—backing that up by following her around in an open and intimidating surveillance. That didn't stop her. She went to the Senate Judiciary Committee and told her story. The committee's then chair, Vermont's Patrick Leahy, and ranking minority member Charles Grassley of Iowa wrote a letter to Justice demanding to know what was going on. Subsequently the FBI confirmed some of Edmonds's claims.
The story is in no way Earth shattering as it is just a retread of the same old news in the same old source. However, this time there is video!

(photo: Oorlagh George)

Sibel can be seen in a two minute discussion over what-looks-like lunch with Daniel Ellsburg of White Papers fame. I'd love to report on what they said to each other, but my fucking Windows Media Player has a glitch and my audio is not working. If I could open with something other than Windows Media, I could get the audio, but the Voice does not have a change-player option.

Oh, well, at least I got to see how animated she is.



Wednesday, July 14, 2004

No, I Am Not Posting About the Pit Stain 

Yahoo! News - Top Stories Photos - AP

This photo has not been retouched (at least not by me) in any way.

Look how much he is starting to look like his dad. Here is my point, as Bush begins to take on this aging appearance, he begins to look recognizably presidential. This is not a good thing. Well, not for our side anyway. It was much easier to dismiss him when he looked like an inexperienced buffoon. Now, unfortunately, he looks like an experienced buffoon, and that scares me.



Another Sibel Story 

www.GovExec.com - Senators ask Justice Department to declassify Sept. 11 investigation results (7/12/04)
Senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Justice Department on Friday to declassify three reports concerning the FBI's translation program and information obtained by federal law enforcement agencies prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"While the needs of national security must be weighed seriously, we fear that the designation of information as classified in some cases serves to protect the executive branch against embarrassing revelations and full accountability. We hope that is not the case here," the senators wrote.

The lawmakers asked the department to take one of the following steps: release an unclassified version of each of the reports; release a redacted version of each, or release an unclassified summary of each. The senators asked for a reply by Thursday.

"Releasing declassified versions of these reports, or at least portions or summaries, would serve the public's interest, increase transparency, promote effectiveness and efficiency at the FBI, and facilitate congressional oversight," the legislators wrote. "To do otherwise could damage the public's confidence not only in the government's ability to protect the nation, but also in the government's ability to police itself."
It damn sure could if anybody was reporting about it!



Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Update on Previous Post 

Yahoo! News - Suspected Militant Surrenders in Saudi Arabia:
A suspected Saudi al Qaeda militant, who had appeared in a videotape with Osama bin Laden, was flown back to the kingdom from Iran after he surrendered under a government amnesty, state television said on Tuesday.
Television showed a wheelchair-bound and bearded Harbi being carried off a plane on arrival in the kingdom with his family. It did not say when he surrendered or returned to Saudi Arabia.
Yeah, definitely during the Democratic National Convention.



Place Your Bets 


This is a great flash. Personally, I'm betting on the during-democratic-convention option. Well, not literally. I don't gamble. But figuratively, if I were to bet, that's what I would bet on.



Monday, July 12, 2004

Tuwaitha: Now and Then 

Top News Article | Reuters.com

So just how stupid do they think we are? This is from the story linked above:
Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said the uranium and about 1,000 highly radioactive items from the former Iraqi nuclear research facility had been taken to the United States.

"I can now announce that the United States Department of Defense and Department of Energy have completed a joint operation to secure and remove from Iraq radiological and nuclear materials that the ousted regime could have potentially used in a radiological dispersal device or diverted to support a nuclear weapons program," Allawi said in a statement.

"Iraq has no intention and no will to resume these programs in the future. These materials which are potential weapons of mass murder are not welcome in our country and their production is unacceptable," Allawi said.

A "radiological dispersal device," or dirty bomb, uses a conventional explosive to disperse radioactive material over a wide area.
This material was taken from the Tuwaitha nuclear complex south of Baghdad. Do you remember Tuwaitha being in the news thirteen months ago? I do. Here:
Thousands of villagers raided the nuclear site, which contains low-grade or natural uranium, immediately after the fall of Saddam's regime.

Local scientists warn the site, outside Baghdad, is badly damaged, with looters having spilled radioactive material and leaving behind piles of uranium, The Associated Press said.

The uranium was concreted over to prevent leakage or further exposure to people living in the area.

Team leader Brian Rens told AP the IAEA's mission is to "determine what has been lost and any other material which is in an unsafe condition, to repack it to the extent possible, secure it, verify it and seal the building."

Villagers were able to raid the plant after it was left unguarded by U.S. troops following its abandonment by Iraqi guards in the early days of the war.

No reports have been recorded of anyone falling ill after being exposed to the material, which is highly toxic if ingested but gives off only low levels of radioactivity. (Emphasis mine; Mister)
Also, an inspection team was allowed access to the site in 2001, and found that it was in ruins since the 1991 bombing during Desert Storm and the Israeli attack on the site in 1981.

So Bush suggests that Hussein is building a nuclear bomb with enriched uranium and that he is trying to acquire more from Niger; but when we invade the country, we leave the site where this would be going on unguarded. Then when it is looted, we shrug it off as insignificant because the uranium is only harmful if actually eaten. Then, when we secret the stuff into our own country, we have the puppet government in Iraq triumphantly declare that Hussein would have used the stuff to kill us all.

Excuse me if I ain't buyin' the bullshit.



Sunday, July 11, 2004

Seymour Buttz Hasn't Written Yet 

Ever since I got my Gmail account, I have been getting requests from strangers who want me to send them invitations. Up until today, I thought they were probably legit, but I just got one from somebody calling herself Amanda Love. Why she didn't just go all out and call herself Amanda Huginkiss or Pussy Galore is beyond me.

One thing that I have been considering doing is using the invites to create accounts like Kerry_Edwards_04@gmail, and then sending the password off to the campaign. Or perhaps - in anticipation of the future - Bush_stole_the_election_AGAIN@gmail.com.

I'll keep thinking. But in the meantime, if you stumble on this blog looking for a Gmail invite, stumble on.



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