Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Spreading sunshine

Comedians got together and did a special on global warming called "Earth to America".

luckily for me they invited Will Ferrell who does a better job than anyone portraying the president:

Watching Will go W.

With life looking jolly rotten there was something I'd forgotten and that was to laugh and dance and sing. The reminder was welcome.

Here is another excerpt from the special and one I found quite funny.

Larry David

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Winston Bush

In WWII America's closest ally was Britain. We were reluctant to join the war because we had enough of war, particularly world war at that point, and weren't interested in promoting the careers of "merchants of death". Eventually we realized that we could not maintain a neutral position and maintain our freedom too, so we began to build the best army in the world.

Even so, Americans felt a certain hopelessness that once again we were living in a world at war. Once again we were trading butter for guns. Once again we were engaging a culture of death. Once again we were host to insanity. At these times Winston Churchill would travel to America, or send word to America, to bolster our resolve.

One such moment was December 26, 1941 when Winston Churchill spoke to the US congress. Here is what he said:

For the best part of twenty years the youth of Britain and America have been taught that war was evil, which is true, and that it would never come again, which has been proved false. For the best part of twenty years, the youth of Germany, of Japan and Italy, have been taught that aggressive war is the noblest duty of the citizen and that it should be begun as soon as the necessary weapons and organization have been made. We have performed the duties and tasks of peace. They have plotted and planned for war. This naturally has placed us, in Britain, and now places you in the United States at a disadvantage which only time, courage and untiring exertion can correct.

Winston Churchill - December 26, 1941

George Bush visited Japan recently. Japan, you'll remember, engaged the war on terror with America. In this moment they are having reservations about the direction of the war in Iraq. What were president Bush's words to bolster their spirit to our cause?

"Obviously, the extent to which uh [pause]
the Japanese government wants to give reconstruction money to Iraq is up to the Japanese government, and [pause]
to- to the- and I- as to the- [pause]
the- the uh deployment of troops, it's up to- [pause] it's up to the government. [pause]
's what happens in democracies -- government makes decisions that uh [pause]
that uh that they're uh capable of living with, and that's [pause]
that's what we said, ((we)) said, do the best you can do; [pause]
make up your own mind, it's your decision, not mine. "


Let us hope the Japanese find as much comfort in stupidity as American voters.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The new memo

The Prime Minister of England, one Tony Blair, is refusing to publish a memo in which the President of the United States, one George W. Bush, said he wanted to order the bombing of Arab TV station Al-Jazeera.

Pressure rising

In an apparent abuse of the Official Secrets Act the Attorney General's office banned the publication of the memo. Many Brits found that preposterous and one MP in particular, one Boris Johnson, said that if anyone slips him a copy of the memo he will publish it anyway:

The stand of Boris

Will someone leak the memo to Boris?

Will Boris go to the slammer to uphold the Truth?

Will the American Entertainment Empire cover the story?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Poor strategy

Is the Bush administration game plan really to portray themselves as men of virtue unfairly maligned by facts, when the record clearly and cleanly shows Bush administration officials telling a broad range of lies over a broad range of issues to a broad range of people?

Never have so few lied to so many about so much that was so important.

The only question facing America now is, "Has the love of Truth gone cold?"

False assumptions

If you believe the Bush administration it is "corrupt and shameless" to "rewrite history" and suggest that the vice president misled us when he said: "I continue to believe. I think there's overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government." (Morning Edition, NPR 1/22/2004)

Going on and on and on is all too easy, but let me rekindle a few more Dick Cheney gems:

"We will, of course, be welcomed as liberators."

"They [Iraq] continue to pursue an aggressive nuclear weapons program." (Vice President Honors Veterans of Korean War, White House 8/29/2002)

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. (Vice President Speaks at VFW 103rd National Convention, White House 8/26/2002)

His regime aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. He could decide secretly to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against us.
(Vice President's Remarks at 30th Political Action Conference, White House 1/30/2003)

Am I rewriting history, or are you rereading it?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Malignant Design

I don't know if I'm the only one that finds Noam Chomsky so funny, but I am also someone that appreciates Dick Cheney's comic timing (he knows how to deliver a joke).

Whatever. Here is an article by Noam Chomsky I find highly amusing. He develops the theory of "Malignant Design" that I have to admit is much more plausible than an Intelligent Designer. There certainly is a lot of evidence to back up his idea:

Evolution, Ecology and `Malignant Design'

Bringing it on

Admiral Stansfield Turner called Dick Cheney "vice president for torture."

Holding Bush accountable

Something happened Veterans Day. Something very bad for the Bush administration. Me thinks they took divisive politics too far.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Teach your children well

I see no reason for democrats to back plans the Bush administration has with regards to the Patriot Act. It is a highly loathed piece of legislation from coast to coast since it gives unreasonable powers of search and seizure to the government. It is the cowards way to respect freedom, honoring it in platitude but not attitude.

It is acts like the Patriot Act that old Ben Franklin must have had in mind when asked after the Constitutional Convention what kind of government we got. His reply was, "A Republic. If you can keep it."

Democrats ought to fight this because it is clearly an abuse of human dignity to give the Bush administration leniency when it comes to detaining people. After all, the president's penchant for cruel and unusual punishment has led to a situation where it is difficult to recruit Americans, yet easy for Osama to find recruits. Think about that. Let it sink in.

Congress Arrives at A Deal on Patriot Act

We know the Patriot Act is the most ironically named piece of legislation in US history. We know that children will someday wonder why people didn't have more sense (the way they react today when studying McCarthy).

I wonder what democrats plan on telling these children when they are old and gray. That it is better to win with dishonor than lose and keep it? That sometimes you need to curtail freedom or else you might lose it? That the external threat to freedom can only be defeated by abandoning it internally? That if Osama can't stand freedom then we should respond by shrinking from it?

Is that how you raise children in a Republic you plan to keep?

Rootin' Tootin' Reid

I believe that the president's uncalled for Veterans Day bombastic boatload of bile directed at democrats made them finally aware that they are going to be smeared whether they are cooperative or not. They also seem to finally realize that this Whitehouse has no plan other than to grab the buck and pass the blame.

In response Harry Reid is the latest top democrat to come forward and demand competence from the Bush administration (good luck with that).

Hit 'em hard Harry

I believe that now is the moment to unify and push democrat alternatives to the stay-the-course strategy. While the Republican revolution was built on the word "reform" I believe democrats ought to opt for the word "change". Change the course in Iraq. Change the culture in Washington. Change the CEO when the money don't flow. Winds of change. Change our energy systems. Change our healthcare system. And so on...

If there is one thing Americans are ready for it is change. As Ghandi once said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

The banner should be, of course, "It's time for a change".

Thursday, November 17, 2005

When the unjust rule

One of the myriad reasons advanced by the Bush administration for going to war in Iraq was to ferret out their WMD stockpiles. This was urgent, we were told, because Saddam was so evil he used chemical warfare agents on his own people. The logical course, we were sold, was to attack Iraq since they were a possible future threat to us if they could put their vast fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles to use, assuming they could also somehow get it within striking distance.

Perhaps you remember a slight flutter of news regarding this?

Guess what the US military was caught (by Italians) using in Fallujah on Iraqi civilians?

I'll give you a hint. When it gets on your skin it burns without stopping until it gets to the bone, yet it leaves you well dressed since it does not harm your clothing.

Grand Hypocrisy

Is it any wonder Iraqi civilians are fighting us so damn hard?

Why have Republicans failed so fully in their duty to "keep the honor clean of the US marine"?

How on earth are we going to make Saddam look bad come trial time?

How can it be the work of the Just to injure the innocent?

Big Dog calls Iraq 'Big Mistake'

When president Bush decided to vent his spleen on Veterans Day he may have bitten off much more than he can chew.

If democrats are going to be attacked as unpatriotic when they have been playing the role of a loyal opposition Patsy, then certain people within the party may now be feeling that it is time to take the gloves off and get in the ring to rub someone's petulant face in the mud.

Please welcome Jefferson Davis Clinton

President Bush isn't the only one top democrats have decided to jump in the ring with either. John Kerry had this to say about Dick Cheney last night:

"It is hard to name a government official with less credibility on Iraq than Vice President Cheney. The Vice President continues to mislead America about how we got into Iraq and what must be done to complete the still unaccomplished mission"


Did I hear someone say "Bring it On"?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bull from Bush

President Bush is cornered.

He's been lying left and lying right and now finds himself trapped in the consequences of his moral failings wherever he goes.

But, since he's a jerk, he is compounding his difficulty by lashing out at us all with Nixonian bursts of temper and denial.

So, it seems only fair to direct your attention to a site that has organized inaccurate public statements by five Bush administration officials:

Bush, Dick, Colin, Donald, Condi

I would also like to point out a recent statement by John Edwards apologizing for his vote to go to war in Iraq. I thought he put it rather well when he said, "the foundation for moral leadership is telling the truth".

I was wrong

A cross of iron

On April 16, 1953, President Eisenhower said:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children...
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

On November 14, 2005 Gannet news reported:

The cuts that Congress is looking to make in an array of social programs would hit many low-income children in multiple ways, taking away money for everything from food stamps to child-care benefits.

Full details

I think that Eisenhower was to Nixon as Reagan was to George W. Bush. Somehow the idolization in both cases never went so far as imitation, but rather only so far as self-delusion.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Veterans remembered

Do you recall the words to Marine Hymn?

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We fight our country's battles
On the land and on the sea.
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean.
We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine.

I don't know if you have visited Arlington West, but Veterans Day put me in mind to do so. I check there once in a while to watch the field of crosses growing in the sand, one for each US soldier killed in Iraq.

Lately it has served as a reminder to me of what is being lost as politicians posture, pundits pontificate, and the machine men delay the obvious. It is the worry beneath my words.

Arlington West

Arlington West is a place you can go to separate the people from the policy and the lies from the Truth. Each silent cross standing at attention is impervious to the persuasions of the Lord of the flies and makes a mockery of concerted efforts to rally us to hatred.

I recommend the photo gallery and that you scroll down to read "A Nation Rocked to Sleep" by Carly Sheehan.

When I look upon the memorial questions rise up in me like, "What have we done?", "How will this end?", "Should I be doing more?". It's not easy to face those questions because one winds up feeling inadequate, even helpless. However, it can also be invigorating to encounter moral clarity, to come to the realization that countless others are working with you, that you are not alone when you rally to the banner of Justice.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Going down slow

Rather than be a president for all of us this veteran's day and emphasize the sacrifice veterans have made throughout the years, president Bush went on a 50 minute Nixonian tirade directed at the majority of Americans that believe the Iraq war is a mistake. He also managed to attack John Kerry (a veteran), anti-war protestors, democrats, and historians:

Adding insult to injury

Displaying a masters touch for irony, 95 Bishops from the president's church issued a statement that same day repenting for their moral complicity in the "unjust and immoral" invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Details Here

President Bush might as well resign and return to Crawford where he belongs. Why drag this disgrace out 3 more years?

Friday, November 11, 2005

CIA black sites

To the long and ignoble list of shameful activities committed during President Bush's tenure we can now add secret detentions:

Even spooks speaking

Any guesses as to which Eastern European country in our grand coalition is hosting one of these concentration camps? I hope that one of the hosts isn't Poland (given their history with detention facilities), but the odds are about 50-50 that it is.

While we're on the subject of cruel and unusual punishment without trial, here is what a former CIA analyst thinks of Vice President Cheney for fighting McCain's amendment to make torture illegal:

A moral litmus test

Badly burned civilians

Phan Thi Kim Phuc has lain a wreath at the Vietnam memorial in Washington D.C. and said that she forgives the people that burned her body and her village. I wonder how she will feel if she sees this story put out by Italian media that charges the US with using white phosphorous on civilians in Fallujah.

Can she find it in her heart to forgive us after seeing this video?

Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre

Why doesn't the Bush administration just create recruiting posters for Osama directly?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Plow under

Here is an excerpt from an old tune by the Almanac Singers (1941: Woody Guthrie, Lee Hays, Millard Lampell, Pete Seeger):

Any ignorant mule does know
Better than to step on a cotton row
But there ain't no mules in Congress, so
Plow the fourth one under.

Plow under, plow under
Plow under
Every fourth American boy.

Now the politicians rant
A boy's no better than a cotton plant
But we are here to say you can't
Plow the fourth one under.

Plow under,
(Don't you...) Plow under
(Don't you...) Plow under
Every fourth American boy.
(Now, don't you...) Plow under,
(Don't you...) Plow under
(Don't you...) Plow under
Every fourth American boy.

Amazing how the more things change the more they stay the same. It's a catchy tune too, and easy to adapt:

All we people refuse to learn
The Earth itself is about to burn
We'll drive to death in an SUV
Plow the fourth one under.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Violence in France seems to be cascading into a slow-motion catastrophe. I cannot help but wonder if there is a force directing the expanding chaos.

When this type of thing gets going in America police are sent in with tear-gas and Billy-club anyone handy like a baby seal while the press sweeps the story under the rug.

The official response in France seems confused and appears ineffective after 13 days of riots. Have they no tear gas? Have they no attack dogs? Have they no rubber bullets? Have they no Billy clubs? Have they no tazers? And the workhouses, aren't they still in operation?

Nouveau Bastille?

Bush: Global Pariah

President Bush simply cannot travel without thousands of protestors showing up to say, essentially, "We don't like you. You're a bad human being. Go away."

Anger in Argentina

I wonder how that feels.
It is embarrassing me I know that.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Can you spare a dime?

Some politicians want to tax the windfall profits of oil companies.

I think that's a great idea, since oil companies are some odd mixture of cartel and government dependence and hardly represent a free market in any sense of the word.

Here is how I would do it.

Let's have a new GI bill funded by a tax on oil company windfall profits!

Now who could object to that?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Boycott robots

Political consultants seem to think that having a robot call me on the phone to play an untrained, robotic-sounding voice reading a one-sided, uninteresting, and poorly written conversation is a good way to influence my opinion on their behalf.

It is almost as if the angels of comedy are trying to find out how low our democracy can go. They must consider us an audience with an incredible affinity for the absurd. After all, they broke through the "Vote [yes/no] on [some number]" threshold some years back and now have added robot conversations to their joke arsenal.

Anybody influenced by this kind of time-wasting, inhuman experience ought not to have the right to vote. Anybody practicing this kind of grassroots avoidance probably doesn't have much chance of gaining political capital by the practice.

I wonder if marketers even demand to know what percentage of their message is heard before hangup. I expect not or somebody would have these things stop calling me because my hello-to-hangup is blazingly fast.

There is a way, though, to one-up those comedy angels and it is this. Let your answering machine talk to the robot, perhaps even updating your message for the political season.

May I suggest, "Hello. If you are a robot please leave a message. I'm so lonely for robot conversation and I do love talking politics."

At least then you will have the last laugh.

Earth blood

The popular refrain "No Blood for Oil" recently got me thinking...

Many Earth stories say that the Earth itself is alive, not in the sense that things live on it, but in the sense that it has actual consciousness. Gaia, some call it, or Terra others, and I am sure there are many more names for it. Some people extend that belief and feel that what we call wind is instead breath, what we call coral reefs are instead a type of brain, and what we call a tsunami is instead a type of birth (water is being broken).

Anyway, recently I had the thought that if the Earth was indeed alive then maybe oil is blood, which would further mean that extracting too much of it would prove fatal, and that protest signs might be modified to read, "No blood for blood!"

Along those lines I also wonder:

Does global warming correspond to a fever?

Can a volcano be quieted with a very large Zantac tablet?

What are human beings in this context, children or parasites?

Does the earth have any songs?

What does a sub-terrainean nuclear explosion feel like?

Does the earth have any planet friends?

If the earth can be alive, then what about the galaxy or a molecule or a single cell?

Are pandemics like AIDS, black plague, avian flu and so on biological defenses which keep life in balance?

You don't have to believe in an idea to explore it with intellectual curiosity and I hope you found the exercise pleasant.

I'll leave you with this thought. Where would the naughty bits be?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Rock bottom

Here is what rock bottom looks like for an elected President. This excerpt came from an article by the Washington Post:

On almost every key measure of presidential character and performance, the survey found that Bush has never been less popular with the American people. Currently 39 percent approve of the job he is doing as president, while 60 percent disapprove of his performance in office -- the highest level of disapproval ever recorded for Bush in Post-ABC polls.


Overall, the survey underscores how several pillars of Bush's presidency have begun to crumble under the combined weight of events and White House mistakes. Bush's approval ratings have been in decline for months, but on issues of personal trust, honesty and values, Bush has suffered some of his most notable declines. Moreover, Bush has always retained majority support on his handling of the U.S. campaign against terrorism -- until now, when 51 percent have registered disapproval.

Full Details

I still believe that Pomp without dignity is the calling-card of the pathetic. I think it is time the president resign so that America can get back on track.

Who wins if he stays on the job besides Bush dead-enders and anti-intellectuals who think the biggest threat to America in the face of 911 is gay people and evolution?

It is also time, I think, for Democrats to look ahead and define themselves as reformers. Bush may now be dismissed with a wave of the hand and a polite sympathetic look and furthermore he will not be running again. Bush-bashing, in other words, is hardly useful and could start to be interpreted as piling on the helpless.

Like a tree, standing in the water

Perhaps there is no more fitting song to mark the legacy of Rosa Parks than Pops Staples version of "I shall not be moved", which has the chorus:

I shall not.
I shall not be moved.
I shall not.
I shall not be moved.
I'm like a tree,
standing in the water,
And I shall not be moved.

Rev. Al Sharpton might not be able to move voters on his own behalf, but he moved me when he called on us all to make a Rosa Resolution during his eulogy:

James Crowe Junior, Esquire

Al Sharpton could have been speaking coyly about President Bush's avoidance of Cindy Sheehan when he said:

Its easy to remember activists after they're gone.
Its [another thing] to be called on to be active and work and walk with them while they're still here.

I admire Rosa for knowing what to do to change the world for the better and having the fortitude to do it.

I don't know what to do to change the world I see and don't like, and I know fundamental things are wrong. I can see that the people in charge are not going to make a difference and it is such a despairing conclusion.

How can I make a difference the way Rosa Parks did? How can I get my own life to have that kind of impact? How did Rosa know what to do on December 1st, 1955?

Al ended his eulogy for Rosa by saying, "I intend to stand up wherever I see injustice, and if I can't stand up then I'll speak out, and if I can't speak out then I will get a chair like Rosa Parks and just sit in the way".

Am I in anybody's way?

What should my Rosa Resolution be?

I wish I knew. I feel I am being called but it comes without direction and I don't know my response.

Rosa knew and that's what made her a part of history. Her response was so simple yet so powerful that Presidents stood in her wake.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Hard-hitting Harry

If you accept my belief that what Democrats need to stand for in a word is Justice, then you can only applaud Harry Reid for calling on Republicans to investigate the actions of the Bush administration for the good of their nation.

While network viewsmen scramble to portray his recent showdown in the Senate as partisan it is decidedly not. If Republican corruption has made Truth and Justice partisan issues, then I have rarely been prouder to call myself a Democrat.

Here is the statement Harry issued before taking the Senate into a closed session. Rather than provide a link to the statement I feel it is worth reproducing here. As a reward to your effort, I have provided Jon Stewart's take on the battle at the end.

"This past weekend, we witnessed the indictment of I. Lewis Libby, the Vice President's Chief of Staff and a senior Advisor to President Bush. Libby is the first sitting White House staffer to be indicted in 135 years.

"This indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts this Administration engaged in actions that both harmed our national security and are morally repugnant.

"The decision to place U.S. soldiers in harm's way is the most significant responsibility the Constitution invests in the Congress.

"The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really about: how the Administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions.

"As a result of its improper conduct, a cloud now hangs over this Administration. This cloud is further darkened by the Administration's mistakes in prisoner abuse scandal, Hurricane Katrina, and the cronyism and corruption in numerous agencies.

"And, unfortunately, it must be said that a cloud also hangs over this Republican-controlled Congress for its unwillingness to hold this Republican Administration accountable for its misdeeds on all of these issues.

"Let's take a look back at how we got here with respect to Iraq Mr. President. The record will show that within hours of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, senior officials in this Administration recognized these attacks could be used as a pretext to invade Iraq.

"The record will also show that in the months and years after 9/11, the Administration engaged in a pattern of manipulation of the facts and retribution against anyone who got in its way as it made the case for attacking Iraq.

"There are numerous examples of how the Administration misstated and manipulated the facts as it made the case for war. Administration statements on Saddam's alleged nuclear weapons capabilities and ties with Al Qaeda represent the best examples of how it consistently and repeatedly manipulated the facts.

"The American people were warned time and again by the President, the Vice President, and the current Secretary of State about Saddam's nuclear weapons capabilities. The Vice President said Iraq "has reconstituted its nuclear weapons." Playing upon the fears of Americans after September 11, these officials and others raised the specter that, left unchecked, Saddam could soon attack America with nuclear weapons.

"Obviously we know now their nuclear claims were wholly inaccurate. But more troubling is the fact that a lot of intelligence experts were telling the Administration then that its claims about Saddam's nuclear capabilities were false.

"The situation was very similar with respect to Saddam's links to Al Qaeda. The Vice President told the American people, "We know he's out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons and we know he has a longstanding relationship with various terrorist groups including the Al Qaeda organization."

"The Administration's assertions on this score have been totally discredited. But again, the Administration went ahead with these assertions in spite of the fact that the government's top experts did not agree with these claims.

"What has been the response of this Republican-controlled Congress to the Administration's manipulation of intelligence that led to this protracted war in Iraq? Basically nothing. Did the Republican-controlled Congress carry out its constitutional obligations to conduct oversight? No. Did it support our troops and their families by providing them the answers to many important questions? No. Did it even attempt to force this Administration to answer the most basic questions about its behavior? No.

"Unfortunately the unwillingness of the Republican-controlled Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities is not limited to just Iraq. We see it with respect to the prisoner abuse scandal. We see it with respect to Katrina. And we see it with respect to the cronyism and corruption that permeates this Administration.

"Time and time again, this Republican-controlled Congress has consistently chosen to put its political interests ahead of our national security. They have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican Administration rather than get to the bottom of what happened and why.

"There is also another disturbing pattern here, namely about how the Administration responded to those who challenged its assertions. Time and again this Administration has actively sought to attack and undercut those who dared to raise questions about its preferred course.

"For example, when General Shinseki indicated several hundred thousand troops would be needed in Iraq, his military career came to an end. When then OMB Director Larry Lindsay suggested the cost of this war would approach $200 billion, his career in the Administration came to an end. When U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix challenged conclusions about Saddam's WMD capabilities, the Administration pulled out his inspectors. When Nobel Prize winner and IAEA head Mohammed el-Baridei raised questions about the Administration's claims of Saddam's nuclear capabilities, the Administration attempted to remove him from his post. When Joe Wilson stated that there was no attempt by Saddam to acquire uranium from Niger, the Administration launched a vicious and coordinated campaign to demean and discredit him, going so far as to expose the fact that his wife worked as a CIA agent.

"Given this Administration's pattern of squashing those who challenge its misstatements, what has been the response of this Republican-controlled Congress? Again, absolutely nothing. And with their inactions, they provide political cover for this Administration at the same time they keep the truth from our troops who continue to make large sacrifices in Iraq.

"This behavior is unacceptable. The toll in Iraq is as staggering as it is solemn. More than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives. Over 90 Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice this month alone - the fourth deadliest month since the war began. More than 15,000 have been wounded. More than 150,000 remain in harm's way. Enormous sacrifices have been and continue to be made.

"The troops and the American people have a right to expect answers and accountability worthy of that sacrifice. For example, 40 Senate Democrats wrote a substantive and detailed letter to the President asking four basic questions about the Administration's Iraq policy and received a four sentence answer in response. These Senators and the American people deserve better.

"They also deserve a searching and comprehensive investigation about how the Bush Administration brought this country to war. Key questions that need to be answered include:

How did the Bush Administration assemble its case for war against Iraq?
Who did Bush Administration officials listen to and who did they ignore?
How did senior Administration officials manipulate or manufacture intelligence presented to the Congress and the American people?
What was the role of the White House Iraq Group or WHIG, a group of senior White House officials tasked with marketing the war and taking down its critics?
How did the Administration coordinate its efforts to attack individuals who dared to challenge the Administration's assertions?
Why has the Administration failed to provide Congress with the documents that will shed light on their misconduct and misstatements?

"Unfortunately the Senate committee that should be taking the lead in providing these answers is not. Despite the fact that the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee publicly committed to examine many of these questions more than 1 and ½ years ago, he has chosen not to keep this commitment. Despite the fact that he restated that commitment earlier this year on national television, he has still done nothing.

"At this point, we can only conclude he will continue to put politics ahead of our national security. If he does anything at this point, I suspect he will play political games by producing an analysis that fails to answer any of these important questions. Instead, if history is any guide, this analysis will attempt to disperse and deflect blame away from the Administration.

"We demand that the Intelligence Committee and other committees in this body with jurisdiction over these matters carry out a full and complete investigation immediately as called for by Democrats in the committee's annual intelligence authorization report. Our troops and the American people have sacrificed too much. It is time this Republican-controlled Congress put the interests of the American people ahead of their own political interests."

Your reward

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Senator Patrick Leahy

Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont was one of the few elected Democrats smart enough to oppose the Iraq war from the beginning. On Tuesday, October 25th he delivered a blistering critique of the Iraq occupation and it's cheerleaders:

Bring them home

Why don't more Democrats speak out against this obvious catastrophe, this ill-gotten FUBAR effort?

There is more to leadership than posturing. One expects, at minimum, good hindsight.

A question for top Democrats

Clinton was a master at answering the question:

What difference does it make if I win?

Today's Democrat party-leaders seem adept instead at its' avoidance. Consider for instance the issues ranging from Iraq, to clean energy, to biotechnology, to foreign policy.

Where's the burning bush?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Deadly October

The President spends most of his time either turning corners or regrouping while the violence in Iraq continues apace oblivious to his rhetoric. In fact it looks like October has been the second-most violent month in Iraq (since January) this year.

Bombs and chaos

I think the recent election was officially "turning a corner", and that after the Libby indictment the President was said to be "regrouping", so perhaps we are turning another corner now in Iraq?

I'm dizzy.

Libby's loose lips

It is too easy to get caught up in the showmanship of a good trial, when perhaps the reason for a trial is more important.

60 minutes took a look at the damage done by the leaking of Valerie Plame's name. The line that sticks with me was spoken by a former spy,
"We're not being undermined by the North Koreans, we're not being undermined by the Russians. We're being undermined by officials in our own government, and I find that galling"

60 Minutes on Plame

Would you, if you worked for the C.I.A., take a N.O.C. assignment knowing that Rove or Libby "had your back"?

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin