Saturday, December 03, 2005

Flash: Joe Biden Uses Rogaine!

These days, if the Inquirer bends any further to the right, so to speak, I'm afraid it will herniate itself.

The headline "story" in the Entertainment section of today's paper from blogger Dan Rubin has to do with an ad aired by outlining its stand on the war in Iraq (leaning towards the Dems, as much as they can claim to have a single position anyway - problem there - but so what?). Anyway, Rubin reports that someone at the Wall Street Journal noted that, in the video of the ad, our troops are shown wearing shorts, when in fact that is the permitted uniform of British troops. Also, a couple of conservative blogs noted that, in print versions of the ad, the troops shown to be wearing shorts were suddenly wearing long pants instead.

I don't know about you, but maybe I'm missing something here. I don't consider these revelations to be "cutting edge" journalism of any sort. Sure, there was a goof in the ad. However, when told about it, a Moveon spokesperson absolutely stood by the claim in the ad that 150,000 of our troops did not make it home for Thanksgiving (in Rubin’s post, that is noted in the very last paragraph). Isn't that more important than a pair of pants?

I left a comment on Rubin's original post on this topic (the post first appeared a day or so ago before it showed up in print today), but when the story appeared online today, no comments appeared with it. In my response, I noted that Rubin identified up front that Moveon has strong ties to the Democrats, but the Wall Street Journal's editorial page is basically a mouthpiece and a source of talking points for the radical right, and nothing was said about that. Beneath the story online, a link appeared to Rubin's blog; I clicked on the link to find out if my comment was still accessible online. Alas, the link no longer worked. How convenient!

As you can see, “liberal bias” is raging unchecked again. And speaking of which, the Inquirer reported the story that I linked to in my Jeff Gannon/Baghdad Bob post about the phony news our government is planting in the Iraqi newspapers, but they didn’t include the quote from Ted Kennedy that was included in CNN’s original online story. I guess it’s too inconvenient for the paper to present an opposing viewpoint.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Save "Tookie" Williams

I have to admit that I've been "on the fence" with this for a little while. Thanks to The Bulldog, though, you can consider my mind made up.

Also, here is a link to related articles from The Huffington Post.

I still support capital punishment in principle (goes against my religion, I know), though I have serious questions about how it is practiced in this country. When you read The Bulldog's great post, though, you realize that executing "Tookie" Williams would be one step closer to that state's de-evolution into Texas.

And by the way, this country carried out its 1,000th execution recently since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977. Did Kenneth Lee Boyd deserve it? By all accounts, probably, but I wasn't present at his trial, so I'll never know for certain.

As Bruce Cockburn wrote and sung, "Everybody loves to see justice done...on somebody else."

Jeff Gannon, Meet Baghdad Bob

Oh, isn’t this just peachy?

Also, I like the way CNN buries the quote from Ted Kennedy as far down as they possibly can on the page. Still, though, I recognized a lot of the story reproduced from this article, so they’re definitely going in the right direction in trying to figure out what “the Lincoln Group” is all about (I’m not surprised they’re still looking for interns).

Meanwhile, 10 more of our Marines were killed by a roadside bomb today (link).

“Freedom” marches on.

Let's Fix The "Net"

It’s taken me a little while to get around to this since I’ve got other site-related stuff on my plate as well as other things, but Mark Westphal of Yardley, a member of our services who never seems to miss an opportunity to take a shot at lefties when the mood hits him, was at it again recently with this letter published several days ago in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It will be interesting:

When younger voters discover that the ever-increasing taxes on Social Security and Medicare they are paying to support mostly wealthier older Americans are taking a huge chunk out of their paycheck - for many, the largest chunk. ("The young did indeed 'Rock the Vote,'" Nov. 22).

When they discover that Social Security and Medicare will be bankrupt in 30 years and all the money they have put into it will have been spent.
Note: I have a link below to an in-depth interview Rolling Stone Magazine conducted with Paul Krugman that puts the lie to this garbage.

When they realize they will have nothing, when they could have been putting all that money into their own accounts.

When they remember the party that tried to reform Social Security was slammed by the liberal media and liberals in Congress - who had no reform plan - and the only response left is massive tax increases and/or massive service reductions.
Ah yes, the dreaded “liberal media.” What "liberal media" are we talking about anyway, Mr. Westphal? Do you mean the New York Times, where Judith Miller wrote her propaganda with impunity that hastened the run-up to our current debacle in Iraq? Or do you mean the Washington Post, where Richard Cohen said that Patrick Fitzgerald should forget about investigating who leaked Valerie Plame's identity because the matter is too confusing for him to figure out (or where Cohen recently said that the Dems saying they were wrong to vote for the war are as bad as Bush for actually starting it)? Or Time Magazine, which proclaimed George W. Bush "Man Of The Year" last year?

When you find "liberal media" somewhere in print, please let me know.

When politicians discover that there are more votes in the younger generation than among senior citizens.
Assuming more and more of them aren’t killed off because of Bushco’s illegal war.

Actually, Westphal did bring up something I wanted to get into anyway at some point, and that is the current state of Social Security (which, as we know, was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a means to provide income for people in retirement as a "safety net" of sorts, and not, as Dubya and the Repugs would have you believe, as a means to get rich). With Dubya’s scheme having been rejected because the vast majority of the people in this country saw it for the scam that it truly was, we are at a point where we need to reach a consensus on this through INTELLIGENT dialogue based on well informed and well reasoned opinions.

I referred to the Krugman link previously. Here it is. I believe that brings us up to speed.

The question now, of course, is where do we go from here. I have two ideas on this that I would like to see put into place:

1) We currently have a $90,000 ceiling on income subject to social security withholding. Get rid of it. That would ensure the program’s solvency for decades.

2) I think Bushco should appoint an independent, bipartisan commission to look into Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, since the latter program is in more of a predicament than Social Security is right now. Since Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton did a good job with the 9/11 Commission, I think we should approach them on this for starters. If they decide to pass on it, I’m sure we could find a pair of reasonable adults each from one of the two major parties to work on this.

The biggest conservative gripe on this is that the Democrats complain without offering a plan of their own. I have to reluctantly admit that they have a point, though the Democrats have often responded that this issue is not something for which we should attempt to apply a quick fix. That is correct also. We can afford to take a bit of time on this to truly fix the problem, but not too much.

This takes you to a Moonie Times story of some House Democrats, including Robert Wexler of Florida, working on their own pet proposals on Social Security, which of course need to be hammered into an overall plan offered by the party. There has been movement on this issue, but in “fits and starts.” It’s too important not to screw up, however, especially for the party that created it to begin with.

One more thing: apparently, The Inquirer has a link out there somewhere to a “five point plan” of theirs to fix Social Security, but after repeated link attempts and keyword searches, I was unable to find it. Maybe they’re getting ready to auction it off or something in anticipation of the upcoming Knight Ridder fire sale.

More Sleight Of Hand

The only good news as far as I’m concerned that comes out of this report is the fact that Bushco can no longer blame Hurricane Katrina for their abysmal job performance, which they have done with plenty of assistance from the corporate media. I guess, though, that this is about what you should expect from an administration that reclassified fast food workers as manufacturing employees to inflate its statistics.

(He “won’t rest until all Americans find a job”…just shut up already, willya?)

Here’s a dose of reality, along with this. Happy Reading!

Update 12/6: Kevin Drum also tells us what's going on for real (yet another hat tip to Atrios).

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Which One Am I Looking For?

This item appeared near the bottom of Philadelphia Inquirer writer Dick Polman's column about Dubya's most recent droning of his tired bromides concerning the Iraq debacle yesterday:

(Defense Secretary Donald "The Army You Have") Rumsfeld did suggest a solution the other day: He wants everyone to stop using the word insurgents, which he considers too positive. That's not likely to happen, however; Webster's dictionary defines an insurgent as "a person who revolts against civil authority or an established government."
I think Rumsfeld stumbled onto something with that remark, actually, but not for the reasons he thinks. "Insurgent" to me implies that there is in fact someone who could be in a role of trying to fight for good where evil exists, or perhaps not. At any rate, there is a clearly defined assumption that one side is good and one side is evil when you use that word.

Given that, where is "good" and where is "evil" right now in Iraq (notwithstanding our service people, who have been typically used as pawns by Bushco in its effort to expand its oil empire through expenditure of blood, limbs, and lives). The Sunnis were "bad" when we first invaded, partly because Saddam Hussein was one of them, but then became "good" when we realized that we had to win them over to some marginal degree to get the Iraqi constitution ratified. The Shiites have been "good" in a way, though they are closely tied to Iran and the murderer Al Zarqawi is most definitely one of them, so that makes them "bad," right? Well, yes and no. They are the majority, and Allawi and Chalabi (sounds like a Catskills nightclub act, doesn't it?), who are "reformed" Shiities, are the people we want to run the country (as if no one can see through that ruse...). And as for the Kurds, they have been "good" throughout since basically they have what amounts to their own country and they want us out and to be left alone, but if they end up having to fight the Shiites who want to establish an Islamist fundamentalist satellite state of Iran instead, then would the Kurds be "bad" if they fought back?

And don't think that none of this could happen. When our people leave, it's even money that civil war will bust out all over the place.

Actually, as I considered all of this, I recalled something I read about on Eschaton earlier today, where Atrios linked to Crooks and Liars. The site had video of a press conference with Rumsfeld and General Peter Pace, and torture was briefly discussed. This is from C & L (hat tip to Atrios).

In a surprising event, General Pace actually corrected Rumsfeld publicly over policy. Let's hope his job isn't in jeopardy.

General Pace: "It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene to stop it,"

Rumsfeld: "But I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it."

General Pace: "If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it ."

Thank you General-for demonstrating how a true military man should behave in a time of war while once again exposing Rumsfeld as the buffoon that he is.
No, I don't think that's quite the perfect word. Actually, I think Atrios was on target when he simply said, "Our leaders are truly scum."

Yep, that's the word that works for me!

Mosh This

Bushco has now come up with what I believe is a truly innovative way to thoroughly indoctrinate this entire country in the ways of right-wing intolerance. According to the Huffington Post and Campus Progress, our tax dollars are now being spent to “spread the word” through rock music (here are the details).

Well, I think “Junkyard Prophet” (can’t resist trying to work in some sort of token religious reference, can they?) should find a way to pay homage to the individual for whom they are fronting while he and his cronies wreak their havoc. I believe they should do this to the tune that our commander-in-chief (shudder) would recognize, namely “My Sharona” by The Knack (property of Capitol/EMI), featured prominently on all of the “Bush and his iPod™” stories from last spring. These guys should be able to “shred” through brainless pop stuff from the 70s if they’re legit anyway.

I am here to help with this composition – I hope you like it.

Flyin’ round in Air Force One, havin’ fun
But too much of the country is really hurtin’
Landin’ at a party for my “have mores”
Speakin’ out for Cheney and Halliburton
Never gonna stop givin’ up, always for my base
Can only have a better time with white powder on my face
I-I-I-I-I, woooh!
I’m a stoner

Hangin’ out with Tom DeLay, what the hey
Beat the rap, then liberals he’s gonna capture
Pray to Jesus, then some drinks, many drinks
Getting ‘faced in time to enjoy The Rapture
Livin’ like a straight arrow dry drunk – man, that’s hard
Can’t trade on daddy’s name like I did with the National Guard
I-I-I-I-I, woooh!
I’m a stoner
Rock on, dudes!

More Tools For Terrorism

This link takes you to a Daily Kos diary by the blogger “ademption” who reports on a recent interview Wolf Blitzer conducted with Sy Hersh, who wrote an article called “Up In The Air” in the most recent issue of “The New Yorker.” I just finished reading it, and all I can say is thank God that this type of reporting is still out there so we can be informed without the corporate stamp of approval we would get from other publications (subscribing to The New Yorker and dropping Time has been one of the best moves we’ve ever made).

As I read the article and had the same reaction as “ademption,” I had that feeling of “déjà vu all over again,” as Yogi Berra once said. It seemed to me that, with this current plan of helping the Iraqis to select targets for the air bombing that will escalate as our ground forces depart, we’re teaching new technologies to yet another group of people who may use it to attack us one day with it.

(I also shared the reaction of “ademption” to the news of Dubya’s isolation and retreat from reality. I try not to contemplate that too much because the implications truly are terrifying. This is more of a reason to impeach Bush now!)

Just to remind anyone who may have forgotten about the group I’m comparing the Iraqis to, here is a history lesson from the “Third World Traveller” web site.

In March 1985, the Reagan administration issued National Security Decision Directive 166,29, a secret plan to escalate covert action in Afghanistan dramatically.

Abandoning a policy of simple harassment of Soviet occupiers, the Reagan team decided secretly to let loose on the Afghan battlefield an array of U.S. high technology and military expertise in an effort to hit and demoralize Soviet commanders and soldiers.

Beginning in 1985, the CIA supplied mujahedeen rebels with extensive satellite reconnaissance data of Soviet targets on the Afghan battlefield, plans for military operations based on the satellite intelligence, intercepts of Soviet communications, secret communications networks for the rebels, delayed timing devices for tons of C-4 plastic explosives for urban sabotage, and sophisticated guerrilla attacks, long-range sniper rifles, a targeting device for mortars that was linked to a U.S. Navy satellite, wire-guided anti-tank missiles, and other equipment.

Between 1986 and 1989, the mujahedeen were also provided with more than 1,000 state-of-the-art, shoulder-fired Stinger antiaircraft missiles.

By 1987, the annual supply of arms had reached 65,000 tons, and a "ceaseless stream" of CIA and Pentagon officials were visiting Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) headquarters in Rawalpindi and helping to plan mujahedeen operations.

At any one time during the Afghan fighting season, as many as 11 ISI teams trained and supplied by the CIA accompanied mujahedeen across the border to supervise attacks, according to Yousaf and Western sources. The teams attacked airports, railroads, fuel depots, electricity pylons, bridges and roads.

CIA operations officers helped Pakistani trainers establish schools for the mujahedeen in secure communications, guerrilla warfare, urban sabotage and heavy weapons.

Although the CIA claimed that the purpose was to attack military targets, mujahedeen trained in these techniques, and using chemical and electronic-delay bomb timers supplied by the U.S., carried out numerous car bombings and assassination attacks in Kabul itself.
Somehow, I neglected to mention earlier that the person who benefited the most from acquiring all of this knowledge from us was a particular mujahedeen member, a former Saudi engineer from a prominent family named Osama bin Laden.

To be fair, I should point out that our intervention in Afghanistan officially began in 1979 under the administration of Jimmy Carter, but it escalated greatly under Reagan.

Yes, we should do whatever we can to help our people get out of there, particularly when it comes to transitioning military responsibilities. However, let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking that there will be no future cost that we will be called upon to bear for this.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

For A "Dark Horse"

In memoriam for "the quiet one" on the fourth anniversary (I'll have more to say about his crowning achievement in a few days, maybe sooner).

The Lies That Never Die


Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, a writer I once admired, had this to say in his most recent column, in which he equates Democrats who have finally found their voice on the Iraq debacle with the Repugs who authorized this tragedy (reprinted in today’s Bucks County Courier Times).

“I do not hold the new war critics to a higher standard than those who led us to war or who still think it was a dandy idea. But we will learn nothing from this debacle if the word 'mistake' can be used like a blackboard eraser just to wipe the slate clean. This is no different than what Bush was trying to do: The intelligence was bad, not his wretched judgment.”
Cohen also criticizes others who led us into this mess without a thorough examination of the issues and ramifications followed by an equally thorough discussion and debate. Funny, but I seem to recall a certain columnist for the Washington Post who was a leading cheerleader for this tragic misadventure. He can write all of the apologies and other mea culpas that he wants to, but that will never absolve him of his own complicity.

Also, is Cohen seriously trying to persuade us into thinking that Bush should somehow not be held accountable for “bad judgment” (“fanatical predisposition to attack Iraq against all common sense arguments pleading with him to do otherwise” is more like it). To equate those criticizing the war with Bush partly for this reason is nonsense bordering on obscenity as far as I’m concerned.


In today’s Inquirer, someone called Victor Davis Hanson, who bills himself as “a senior fellow at The Hoover Institution” issued this pronouncement:

Almost every responsible U.S. government body had long warned about Saddam's links to al-Qaeda terrorists. In 1998, for example, when the Clinton Justice Department indicted bin Laden, the writ read: "In addition, al-Qaeda reached an understanding with the Government of Iraq that al-Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al-Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq."

Then in October 2002, George Tenet - the Clinton-appointed CIA director - warned the Senate in similar terms: "We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda going back a decade."
It was almost too easy to find this column to refute this.

At this point, I won’t even bother to seriously try to explain why someone would still say this after nearly 2,100 of our people have been killed in Iraq, as well as thousands of our people injured and thousands more innocent Iraqis killed or wounded.

The Clinton Administration was trying to document, for the record, some level of activity between Hussein and bin Laden. Bushco, for the purposes of attacking a country they had their eye on anyway, made it sound like there was an ironclad, working relationship, when in fact bin Laden considered Hussein to be more of an infidel than Bush. When Condoleezza Rice warned of “a mushroom cloud over New York City” if we don’t invade Iraq, she was working for Bush, not Clinton. The same holds true for Colin Powell when he held up a vial of what was supposed to be the distilled version of the Sarin nerve gas at the U.N. and said that it could take out the entire New York subway system (which he later regretted in a truly feeble display of self aggrandizement).

Mr. (Dr.?) Hanson, why don’t you just go back to your musty texts and continue drafting your history of the Peloponnesian War? Leave any commenting on the present day to people who have a sense of context and an appreciation for the dire straits currently facing this country, OK?


Dr. Earl Tifford, a professor of history at Grove City College and a former professor of military history at the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College, wrote this in a column that appeared today in the Courier Times:

The Vietnam War was a sideshow in a larger struggle between the East and the West. Likewise, Iraq is a theater in a larger global struggle with al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the nations that support them, primarily Iran and Syria.
While this statement from Tifford is truthful I believe, he is disingenuous not to point out that there was already a Communist presence in Vietnam when we sent our “advisers” there in the late 50s and gradually built up our military presence over time. There was no such presence (at least, not one of significance) of al Qaeda or Hezbollah in Iraq before we attacked that country over two years ago. Say what you want about Saddam Hussein, but he kept everyone in line (through brutal means, I know, but he did what he set out to do).

Tifford also goes on to conjure up images of a long, horrific war between this country and the Muslim crazies, with WMD being used all over the place. He may be right; I don’t know. All I can do (and all any of us can do) is to live our lives as best as we can and truly support our troops by exercising the soundest possible judgment regarding the outcome of this war and their general well being. This can be accomplished through well-reasoned dialogue and analysis, and also by telling the nut jobs on either side of this issue in no uncertain terms exactly what they should do when that needs to be said.

It will be very hard to continue doing this as we seep through propaganda such as that which I have described above. However, that is what we must do.

A Bit Of Convergence

(I’m referring to sports and politics, by the way.)

I swear that I don't want to get into this stuff, but then I do anyway...

So former Phillies pitcher Billy Wagner, designated the "closer" because he finishes baseball games and usually ensured a win, decided to sign with the New York Mets because the Mets were willing to pay him $24 million for three years to throw a baseball better than anyone else.

(Man, did I choose the wrong line of work, or what?)

To be fair, Wagner is an elite pitcher, though I seem to recall a particular home run he gave up this year to Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros, Wagner's former team, that allowed Houston to sweep the Phillies in a make-or-break series to help ensure that Houston would get the last playoff spot. Oh, and did I mention that Biggio and Wagner are friends?

Well, you would think that Wagner would show some class and not say anything negative about his former club, wouldn't you? In that event, you would be wrong.

Wagner said that the Phillies were interested in being competitive, but weren't interested in winning. He may have a point, but you know what? If I knew that I was about to make $24 million dollars, I would shut my mouth and count my blessings.

Besides, I did some poking around and came up with this link. Funny how many games this guy lost to injuries and also whined about wanting to be traded. Try taking a look in the mirror next time Billy, OK?

And speaking of immature primadonnas, Arlen Specter weighed in recently on the matter of the Eagles' handling of Terrell Owens, saying that it was a possible violation of antitrust law (I was referring to T.O. with my characterization, but I guess it could apply to Specter and the Eagles also). Registration is required for the Inquirer story, as usual.

Well, Specter backpedaled a bit today. And given what should be a contentious, rancorous hearing for Judge Samuel Alito, he should devote his time to that as he conducts his job to the exclusion of all else.

One wonders why Specter would even open his mouth on the Owens situation to begin with, but maybe he was craving an easy headline or something.

A Show Of Support

This links to a column appearing in USA Today from a man named John Seigenthaler, who takes issue with Wikipedia for a “biography” of him that turned out to be patently false.

This caught my attention partly because I have links to Wikipedia all over the place on this site. I have no reason not to believe that the Wikipedia links contain information about anyone that is incorrect. I use these links to supplement something I have decided to write about already. If I saw something on Wikipedia that I didn’t know about beforehand, I would check other sources anyway to see if it is correct.

I’m sorry that Mr. Seigenthaler had this experience, and I cannot possibly imagine who would stoop so low as do perform a dirty trick on him like this. I wish him luck in trying to determine the guilty party.

However, I still believe that Wikipedia is a reliable site, and until I receive evidence to the contrary, I will continue to believe that that is true.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Fall From Grace

Atrios noted a day or so ago that he couldn’t understand why liberals and Democrats in general support John McCain. This was prompted by the link on Eschaton to a story where McCain spoke at a fundraiser for George Wallace, Jr. in Wallace's bid to become Lieutenant Governor of Alabama.

(Here's more on Wallace Jr. by the way - what a charming fellow.)

Well, as luck would have it, I happened to come across this little item from Scumbag Santorum’s web site as a follow up to a radio news story:

McCain Comin' to Town to Support Santorum

Senator John McCain, Arizona Republican, supports Senator Rick Santorum's re-election with two fundraising events in Media, Pennsylvania and Villanova, Pennsylvania this Friday.

"McCain asked how he could help, and Senator Santorum is pleased that Senator McCain is willing to help in this capacity. Senator McCain is a strong, independent leader and Senator Santorum appreciates his support for his re-election," said Virginia Davis, Santorum campaign spokeswoman.

Evening with Senator John McCain for Santorum 2006

Friday, December 2, 2005

6:00 - 7:30 pm
Reception in Media, Pennsylvania
$1000 per person

7:00 - 9:00 pm
Reception in Villanova, Pennsylvania
$1000 per person

To attend either of these events, please contact Nadine Maenza at 610-948-4111
By the way, this should also be a wake up call to Bob "Check For A Pulse" Casey, Jr. Even with all of the misery in this country and Iraq at the moment, I'm telling you now that the Repugs are going to find a way to close the gap facing Santorum at this moment, and Casey had better have an answer (and Chuck Pennacchio also of course).

I think it’s pretty clear which side of the fence McCain is riding these days. I think also that, at this point, our media cousins can safely shed the “maverick” label they like to use regarding him and substitute “wingnut Repug conservative” in its place (kind of reminds me of Anakin Skywalker’s transformation into Darth Vader a bit, which is apropos since the 2000 version of McCain used a "Star Wars" reference).

I’m one of the Democrats/liberals Atrios was referring to on McCain, by the way. I definitely gave him more leeway based on his heroic story as a prisoner of war and his prior-to-now solid record as a moderate, centrist Republican, particularly in the area of campaign finance reform (also for the genuine contrition he showed when he was caught up to a minor degree in the savings and loan scandals of the ‘80s). However, anyone who sides with Santorum is no longer someone worthy of my respect, let alone my possible future vote.

By the way (on an unrelated note), Atrios has a post today on “gatekeeper media” which is absolutely a must-read for anyone who blogs to any degree whatsoever.

Made For Each Other

From CNN today…
Ramsey Clark, U.S. attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson, was added to the defense team (of Saddam Hussein) Monday as an adviser. Clark has been a civil rights attorney and controversial activist in recent years. He opposed the Iraq war and met with Hussein in February 2003, just before the U.S.-led invasion began.
Every now and then, Clark’s causes and wishes intersect with my own, most notably regarding George W. Bush. However, Clark has also defended the Achille Lauro hijackers who murdered American Leon Klinghoffer in 1985, Branch Davidian leader David Koresh, and Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted murderer of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Clark also participated in the “Crimes of America” conference held in Teheran in 1980. So on balance, I would have to say that Clark epitomizes the left-wing zaniness that I find not quite as repugnant as jackbooted Repug intolerance.

Should Hussein be tried? Yes. Are the circumstances of his capture legally sound? I honestly don’t know (putting aside what I think of the war in general for a moment).

I took a few minutes to review some of the U.N. Security Council resolutions related to the war and Dubya’s speech to the U.N. in September 2002 to try and determine the answer. This sentence from Dubya stood out in particular for me.

"In violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, Iraq continues to shelter and support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and Western governments."
Since the WMD claim has been proven false (at least, no WMD have been found and Bushco called off the search some months ago), the previous sentence may be the only legal basis for holding Hussein for trial. However, since so much of the rest of Dubya’s flimsy case for war has fallen apart like tissue paper, I’m not optimistic that the capture of Hussein on the grounds of preventing future terrorist acts won’t meet the same fate. I’m sure Clark will argue this strenuously.

Well, if nothing else, Hussein’s trial (which apparently has been suspended for the rest of this week) will provide enough of a show for the dear MSM to occupy itself while it gives barely a mention to this week’s casualties in this Godforsaken enterprise.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Blood Money

The title of this post most definitely does not apply to our service people (shouldn't need to be said, but I guess it does).

I didn't expect to find this in today's Parade magazine, but fortunately, I did, Parade being a pretty mainstream newspaper magazine supplement.

"Being an Iraq War planner has paid off for some U.S. officials. Former CIA director George Tenet negotiated a $4 million book deal. Paul Wolfowitz - No. 2 at the Pentagon - is now at the World Bank, with a $300,000 tax-free annual salary, a mortgage allowance and a golf club membership. Retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the invasion, reportedly collected $5 million for his memoirs, and he now serves on the board of Outback steakhouses. In addition, Camden County, NJ has paid him $75,000 to give a speech. Paul Bremer reportedly gets as much as $40,000 to speak and received more than $100,000 for a book about his year as U.S. administrator in Iraq.
By contrast, what do the folks fighting the war make? Click here to find out.

Also, here's more on the jackals' feeding frenzy.

As always, let us send our prayers and best wishes to our brave service people as well as their families and friends. As for the rest, woe unto them now and forever.

A Teacher With No Class

For anyone who has never lived in or visited Bennington, VT, I should point out that it is a wonderful little community made up primarily of shops and scenes depicted in Norman Rockwell paintings (Rockwell lived for a time in Woodstock, VT, about an hour or so up Route 91 from Brattleboro) nestled between the Green Mountains and the Taconics in the southwest corner of the state. You enter Bennington via Route 9 from Albany, and when you cross the Vermont border, it becomes Route 7.

The first thing you see after you rise a hill about a mile or so later is the Old First Church with its towering white steeple, which is emblematic of the architecture in that area. Robert Frost, one of our finest poets, is buried in the church cemetery.

OK, enough of the travelogue. I'm not Rick Steves, and I don't pretend to be.

I'm pointing all of this out to give you some background. The town is made up primarily of craft people and artists (wood and stone workers, painters, writers, etc.) who, as much as any of them have a political inclination, tend to be liberal (deep down, I admit that I hate those labels, even though I call myself The Liberal Doomsayer).

So even though I'm sure the residents of the town understand the political viewpoint of teacher Bret Chenkin and probably agree with it for the most part, that doesn't give him the right to communicate that to a classroom of school kids.

In this story, I think the head of the school union is right, but I think the principal is an idiot for saying that "this needs to be investigated." Hey, Chenkin was told not to communicate his political opinion any more (even though, as the story states, Chenkin encourages debate, something that makes the Repugs shed "crocodile tears" because they want to reserve the privilege of free thought only for themselves). That's it. There's noting else to "investigate."

So Chenkin, as I said, should be polite about Dubya. That's extremely difficult I know, but calling him an imbecile here is one thing. Anyone viewing any content from this site chooses to do so. However, school kids, in addition to being young and impressionable, are a captive audience.

That all having been said, though, I'd like to see a teacher in the south or the Midwest "called on the carpet" the next time he or she makes a smart remark about Bill Clinton. After all, fair is fair.