Friday, July 29, 2005

The worms crawl in...

It is all too easy to ignore the implication of the following two sentences as we hustle and bustle about our daily routines:

1. All human beings must die.
2. I am a human being.

No matter how good you eat or what diet you follow you will die.

No matter how much you exercise you will die.

No matter how much you attend church you will die.

No matter how carefully you monitor your blood pressure you will die.

No matter how dutifully you shun danger you will die.

No matter how much money you save you will die.

No matter how much insurance you have you will die.

So will everyone that you know.

So will everyone that they know.

And all of their collective pets too.

Death is inescapable and it is an uncomfortable fact that we hide from in many different ways. We dismiss it "it is nothing". We deny it "there is an afterlife". We use intellectual diversion in the form of paradox to address it without addressing it. We have complicated estate planning and burial rituals, but we don't spend time pondering what it really means to die.

What does my death mean to me? Should I expect the time-period after my death to be just like the time period before my birth? What is the experience of nothing like?

1,788 US soldiers have a concrete answer to this most philosophical of questions thanks to the war in Iraq, which came courtesy of Republican leadership.

You hear these numbers bandied about and you lose track of the fact that death for even one person is a momentous thing. It's a pity that so many young lives are being ended for such an unjust cause as the ill-gotten war in Iraq.

Imagine facing this greatest of all questions, "to be or not to be" at such a young age.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Republicans were once uniters

Josh Marshall in this excellent post suggests that, battling those responsible for the recent atrocity in London is made more difficult by our presence in Iraq. This paragraph illustrates the tone:

But with respect to the folks who want to lasso this into a pillar of support for a disastrous policy in Iraq, frankly, we already knew terrorism was real. Most people are sick to death of our bumbling in Iraq because it's distracted us from actually defending ourselves.

I would like to add to the discussion that it is time for we Americans to unite against our common enemies, both with each other and with the world community. Recognizing that Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Poland share the same threat ought to mean that we can all work together to fight religious fundamentalism wherever it takes hold (whether at home or abroad).

For five years now President Bush has been dividing Americans and uniting our enemies and this latest tragedy in London ought to be enough to make him call a truce and work with Harry Reid and John Kerry to make America stronger. As Abraham Lincoln once said, A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Spurning allies

I've always been puzzled by the Republican failure to reach out to liberals in the aftermath of 911. This is because liberals hate everything about the Jihadis and would make a natural ally against them.


Liberals fight for freedom of speech through the courts, through street protests, and through exercising their rights. Islamic Jihadis aren't interested in free speech for anyone but themselves.

Liberals fight for gender equality. Islamic Jihadis want women to cover, cower, and conform.

Liberals fight for religious tolerance, yet Islamic Jihadis promote a totalitarian faith that murders non-subscribers.

Liberals believe in expansive personal freedom, and that these freedoms are America's strength. Islamic Jihadis are opposed to the very principle of a self-guided life that pursues happiness.

Consider again:

When Al Quaeda attacked London and New York it attacked two very liberal cities. They didn't attack, for instance, a southern city widely known for it's racism and cultural conservatism.

Reconsider that:

If Al Quaeda "can't stand freedom" and attacked New York and London it must be because they associate freedom with liberal politics.

I simply cannot understand why Republicans have spent so much of their time attacking liberals recently. They are dividing their allies at home as effectively as their allies abroad.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Wild speculation on the leak

One of the things that confuses me about the Valerie Plame affair is why Judith Miller of the New York Times went to jail and Matt Cooper of Time didn't.

Matt Cooper says that his source released him from his pledge of confidentiality, which I believe. What I wonder is why didn't Judith's source release her from confidentiality.

Here are a few different explanations (all wildly speculative):

1. Judith's source is not the same as Matt's source, and hers is not someone that can be outed (like Vice President Cheney or Condi Rice) without great embarrassment.

2. Judith and her source discussed something more damning to the Bush administration than Matt's source (like everyone was lying about WMD).

3. "No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court".

4. Matt Cooper was scared and lying.

5. Matt Cooper's source seems to be Karl Rove. It could be that he has maintained enough principle not to send someone else to jail on his own behalf.

Isn't this fun?

Charles Evers, Republican.

Here is a fascinating perspective. Charles Evers is a black man from Mississippi that is in the Republican party. I don't know what to make of a man that loved Clinton but voted Republican anyway because he supported his party. It seems to me like that attitude puts America second.

But he is a very interesting person and his views deserve attention.

President Bush Doesn't Speak For Me

Monday, July 25, 2005



"We will, in fact, be welcomed as liberators"

- Vice President Dick Cheney -


Ongoing terror in Iraq

Friday, July 22, 2005

New Clear Threat

Here is a report which might change your opinion of the effectiveness of the Bush administration when it comes to stemming the tide of WMD, that is if you hold the opinion that he is tough and competent:

Nook You Lar

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Not again

The BBC is reporting that three small blasts went off in London, although there seems to be confusion about the severity of this recent attack:

Tube cleared after small blasts

It's enough to make you think the US should focus some attention on al Quaeda, rather than stirring up more trouble in Iraq.


We all know what Republican spinsters think about the Valerie Plame leak (i.e. gutter politics trump national security). What we need to focus on, though, is what CIA people think of it.

Here is a letter written by 11 of them, and we should all thank Josh Marshall for providing this on his blog:

Leak is spooky

Luckily for American security, polls indicate Republicans are willing to buck the party line on this one. I have culled a few points for your perusal below, but I suggest you read the entire memo and let it sink in.

"we believe that the partisan attacks against Valerie Plame are sending a deeply discouraging message to the men and women who have agreed to work undercover for their nation'’s security."

We believe it is appropriate for the President to move proactively to dismiss from office or administratively punish any official who participated in any way in revealing Valerie Plame's status. Such an act by the President would send an unambiguous message that leaks of this nature will not be tolerated and would be consistent with his duties as the Commander-in-Chief.

Here, too, is a recent article written by Ray McGovern of Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

Rove or America?

Does it look to you like the folks at the CIA are as complacent about the Rove/Libby leak as all the President's men?

CIA agents literally die for our freedom and it disgusts me that anybody would defend the actions of Rove or Scooter Libby after what they have done. You do not share this type of information with anyone unauthorized to receive it EVER, and particularly not the press!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A friend of Valerie Plame

An associate of Valerie Plame blogs about her here:

What's Valerie like, anyway?

All the same to you?

In October 2001 who said,
"it is unacceptable behavior to leak classified information when we have troops at risk."?

Answer here

In October of 2003, who said,
"If anyone in this administration was responsible for the leaking of classified information, they would no longer work in this administration."?

Answer here

Who now says they will
"fire any aid that committed a crime (in the disclosure of a CIA agent's identity)"?

Answer here

Is it all the same to you, or does it sound like the walk don't match the talk?

In related news, here is a poll which shows that only 25% of the respondents felt that the Bush administration was cooperating with the investigation into the Valerie Plame leak.

You don't get those kinds of numbers without some solid bipartisan mistrust.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

All work and no pay

I rarely shop at Walmart because I don't like the way they treat their employees. I consider my choice an opting-out of the process that is destroying the American dream for future generations.

Costco, though, has a different story. If you have one near you, shopping there will support this kind of business climate:

the Anti-Wal-Mart

Read those wall street analyst pieces of advice carefully. They sound closed-minded and ideologically driven to me. That is, when faced with facts contrary to their opinions their thinking ought to change, but they instead seem intent on sinking a rising ship.

No wonder hard-working people have such a hard time finding work that pays a living wage!

Good for Mr. Sinegal for rebuffing their efforts. I suppose he can feel vindicated with stock options that are worth $150 million dollars and managing a company whose sales went from zero to $3 billion in less than six years.

If you don't have one near you, then you can always shop on-line here: Costco

What kind of society do you want to live in, dog eat dog or neighbor helping neighbor?

The choices you make matter.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Beating about the Bush

One thing I like about Noam Chomsky is his use of language, which is hardly surprising since he is by trade an MIT linguist. Be that as it may, when he verbally assaults someone it is with direct blows to the face.

Take this article, for instance, called It's imperialism, stupid

However, in American journalistic circles they'd rather give voice to people like Mike Savage, Joe Scarborough, Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, and their troupe.

Perhaps that is where blogs should come in? Perhaps blogs should amplify the voice of the qualified expert instead of the ignoble Savage?

That's my view anyway. Enjoy.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Anchors away!

I believe that fighting for justice ought to be the cause célèbre of democrats (whether social justice, Constitutional justice, individual justice, or fairness issues). As such it is absolutely essential that democrats attack Karl Rove and George W. Bush on the Valerie Plame leak. Not to do so is to become what voters consider bad democrats, that is, "one that doesn't stand for anything". What voters mean when they say that is a democrat that doesn't fight for justice.

Howard Dean is not that type of democrat. When he sees corruption (perhaps even treason in this case) he does the right thing and calls the Bush administration to task. Now, if he can use the language of justice (fairplay, common security, moral behavior, and so on) then he'd be cooking with gas:

Howard Dean agrees with George Bush (H.W. that is)

In Karl Rove's case I guarantee that many prominent Republicans will not defend him. When you burn as many bridges as Mr. Rove did, you find yourself stranded.

Load for bear, or perhaps even elephant Mr. Reid, and press, press, press this issue until the Bush administration has to talk about it.

And you, Mr. John Kerry, your very presence serves to remind people what a loathsome character Karl Rove is. Remind voters how he was not below maligning your service to America, or John McCain's either, then link that with his outing of a CIA agent. It's all well and good to target a politician, even one that was a prisoner of war and a hero by most peoples standards, but it is another thing entirely to expose a covert officers identity during wartime. That is politics taken too far. That is extremism.

It should be pointed out that this line of attack is perfect before the expected nomination of a radical judge.

The American people can understand this leak business and can see the depravity of the situation. What they need to see now is Democrats doing something about it.

In the words of James Carville, "If your opponent is drowning throw him an anchor".

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Click for but one example Posted by Picasa

Britain's brave Brits

Here is an article by John Simpson (a BBC world affairs editor) which illustrates the British approach to dealing with terrorist attacks. It requires extraordinary commitment to New Hampshire's motto "Live free or die":

London bombs need calm response

By contrast, American conservatives seem to believe that to defeat terrorism we need warfare, and one global in scope at that. I'm not sure upon what data they have drawn this conclusion, but it seems awful dear to them. That's too bad, because on Clinton's watch police action caught those responsible for bombing the world trade center without any privacy-invading Patriot act.

ADDENDUM: Here is a site which shows what British are made of.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What kind of man is Joseph Wilson?

While the tempest storms around Karl Rove, a man that smeared both John Kerry's and John McCain's service records, and a man that started a false whispering campaign about Anne Richards being a lesbian, it is important to realize that this is the type of person President Bush surrounds himself with.

The type of person that President Bush or his staff has punished is someone like Joseph Wilson.

What type of person is Joseph Wilson?

While ambassador of the US in Iraq in 1990 he was protecting Americans in the embassy there. Saddam Hussein told him that he needed to "register" the guests or face execution. Here is a description of his response in his own words

One of these briefings took place on September 20, 1990. The Iraqis had circulated a diplomatic note to all embassies directing them to register citizens in their care with the appropriate authorities. Capital punishment was threatened for those who failed to comply, the implication being that even diplomatic personnel could be subject to this decree. However, registration could be accomplished only by personal appearance at the appropriate office, and our experience had been that Americans appearing were taken hostage. It was clearly a way for the Iraqis to replenish their stock of hostages. The choice, theoretically, was either to turn over Americans or to defy the note and risk execution.

I thought this was a tailor-made opportunity to confront the authorities over their increasingly draconian measures. I decided to give copies of the note to the press attending the briefing that morning, and then, to underscore the threat of execution, I asked the Marine security guard to fashion a hangman’s noose for me to wear. I wanted to make the point that faced with the choice of sacrificing Americans under my protection or suffering capital punishment, my response to Saddam was if he wants to execute me for keeping Americans from being taken hostage, I will bring my own f---ing rope, as I told the reporters that morning.

Excerpted from "The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity," by Joseph Wilson.

Which type of person would you rather have bending the President's ear, Rove or Wilson?

Which person is more loyal to America, one that would die to protect Americans, or one that would endager an American CIA operative?

Any cattle with that hat Mr. President?

Scott McClellan, speaking for the Whitehouse on October 6, 2003 said, "If anyone in this administration was responsible for the leaking of classified information, they would no longer work in this administration."

You can watch President Bush and Scott McClellan both talk tough here: tah-dah

Will there be some tough action to back up the tough talking, or will the President lie to the American people again on matters of national security?

If you want to add your name to a call to fire Karl Rove then all you have to do is click this link Fire Rove.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Plame-leaker on ropes?

George HW Bush once called the type of person that exposed an under-cover CIA agent "the lowest form of traitor". His strong conviction led him to lobby for the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. Now, it appears that Karl Rove is involved in leaking the identity of Valerie Plame:

Traitor Rove?

While the press wonders if Karl Rove will have to "step down", he could be in for a lot more hot water than that (if George HW Bush has his way?), since the leak was made during a time of war.

See the Intelligence Identities Protection Act

This is serious stuff and I'm more than normally glad my name isn't Karl Rove this morning.

Also one wonders why a person like Rove even had knowledge of CIA affairs to begin with. Isn't the person that told Rove about this guilty of dispensing classified information about the identity of an undercover agent?

And finally, if Rove is guilty and charged it couldn't happen to a more deserving character. I don't expect too many people to go out on a limb for him.


I think the media is beginning to tire of being played for patsies by the Bush administration and this story coalesces their ire directed Rove's way. My favorite quote is this one:

Under the best case scenario, if Rove's conversations about Joseph Wilson's wife were not technically illegal, we still have the president's top political aide covering up a White House lie by smearing an opponent, going after his wife, and in the process 'accidentally' exposing an undercover CIA agent. For the White House, that's the best case scenario.

Full article

Curiously the article ends far off course and winds up with a GOP slam of Hillary Clinton, so there is something for everyone here. I suppose Howard Kurtz considers it fair-and-balanced to repeat Hillary-bashing because Karl Rove was caught with his pants down. I don't. I consider it an attempt to equate treason with joking that the president acts like Alfred E. Newman, or to paint Democrats concern that there is a traitor in the White House as somehow partisan.

But hey, why quibble when the press is starting to do an adult job of it's job, which is to question authority for the people.


My favorite quote regarding Mr. Rove has already been usurped by the Bull Moose blogger (Marshall Whitman). It is this:

Short of a criminal indictment, Rove will remain in place. For Bush to get rid of Rove would be like Charlie McCarthy firing Edgar Bergen.

Monday, July 11, 2005

In worse shape

Time magazine has a new article called:

Why Iraq Has Made Us Less Safe

I think that when enough of our troops die that Americans will begin to realize they've been bamboozled by Bush into giving up their children for an ill-gotten war that made them less safe, but until then it is a perverse wait.

On one side of the scale there is the steady, bald-faced lying campaign waged by the Bush administration that is ever-more defensive. Also there are the constant distractions provided by T.V. like shark attacks, hurricanes, celebrity exploits, and "reality" programs.

On the other side of the scale there are dead Iraqi and American GI bodies piling up. Also the number of global terrorist attacks are increasing. Our debt, mostly funded by communist China, is piling up.

Sooner or later miss Justice's scale is going to tip against the Bush administration and all that is required is to wait, but like I said it is a perverse wait.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Here's an idea

I am not really ready to write about the London bombings yet. An event like that needs to seep into my mind before I can send anything out.

However, while watching the Harry Potter euphoria bubble inflate it struck me that J.K. Rowling ought to release The Half Blood Prince in London this week.

They've had a bad week in London and this could be just the thing (a fairytale!) to help them through a rough time.

It would be a small gesture, really, but wouldn't it be a nice treat for the children of the Union Jack?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Iraq and Iran team up

Iraq and Iran have signed a military agreement:

Details here...

Is this according to plan, or is it an end result of poor judgement?

I guess the latter.

Egyptian diplomat murdered

One June 22nd US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said she hoped "Arab nations would send ambassadors to Baghdad and generally upgrade their diplomatic missions to show support for the Shiite-dominated government."


On July 7th, 2005 the Egyptian foregin ministry confirmed that Egypt's top envoy to Iraq has been executed:


I wonder if Ihab el-Sherif's presence in Iraq had anything to do with Ms. Rice's request?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bombs explode in London

Bombs are most likely the cause for explosions that damaged at least one of London's iconic double-decker buses and an Underground subway:

Breaking news...

London police caution that it is too early to tell what/who is responsible for the blasts.


DEBKAfile reports that Al Quaeda is responsible for the explosions:

Story here...

Paul flippin' Harvey

I grew up hearing the voice of Paul Harvey on the radio. He'd make observations kind of the way Andy Rooney does on 60 minutes and was sandwiched between radio auctions and ballroom music. His signature line is, "and now, the rest of the story..."

Well, recently Mr. Harvey surprised listeners by sounding more like Anne Coulter and calling for more American brutality in our foreign policy.

Here's what he said

I find it troubling whenever anyone apes for more violence, more nukes, and more biological warfare, or else equates petulance with good foreign policy. This Cain-inspired, fear-motivated, apocalypse cheerleading is extraordinarily harmful to humanity.

Must we perish together as fools?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Live 8

After posting about the association between Democrats and Justice I came across this quote from Bono at the Live 8 concert in London. While Bono is not to my knowledge a Democrat his language exemplifies what a Democrat should sound like:

"So this is our moment. This is our time. This is our chance to stand up for what's right. We're not looking for charity, we're looking for justice. We cannot fix every problem, but the ones we can, we must."

- Bono -

Wouldn't you rather hear this simple, hopeful, inspiring language from Democrats?

Democrats in a word

A popular Conservative view holds that liberal politics is the result of the guilt of privilege. Thinking about this for a while allowed me to see that there is a sliver of truth in that notion, but that it really misses the mark. Furthermore, the mark is important because it allows Democrats to see who they are and why they are here.

The guilt, you see, stems from a longing for justice, and in the case of privileged Democrats the longing is for economic justice. There is nothing to be ashamed of there, unless you consider the teachings of Jesus Christ unethical.

Then, the big picture started to hit me:

Black people support Democrats because they are interested in social justice.

Unions seek economic justice ala the rich Democrats but from the vantage point of the bottom of the barrel.

Trial Lawyers are looking for criminal justice.

What Democrats stand for, then, is breathed in a word: Justice.

So, get out there and start talking about social justice, and criminal justice, and economic justice, and level playing fields, and equal protection under the law, since that is speaking from the heart of a Democrat.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Stay the mistakes?

Are we winning Iraqi hearts and minds when we execute the 21-year-old cousin of Iraq's ambassador to the UN?

Smile on your brother

Friday, July 01, 2005

Is a traitor about to be exposed?

How ironic would it be if a law promoted by George HW Bush, namely the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, was used to prosecute a member of Jr's administration for exposing Valerie Plame as a covert intelligence agent?

That possibility may be closer to reality as TIME Inc. has decided to release confidential sources in the case:

Norman Pearlstine says...

Of course TIME wouldn't be in this position if Jr. had the ethics to demand the name of the leaker from his cabinet, but the President likes to take toughness only so far as talk.

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin