Thursday, August 30, 2007

Candidate Gravel

Mike Gravel has a response for president Bush's prideful commentary that Iraq is like Vietnam.

Similar similarities

President Bush put the nails in the coffin of his own legacy and all it takes now are a few well-struck blows. Who's next to begin pounding at the nails?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Modus operandi

When president Bush again compared Iraq to Vietnam it reminded me of the time he made fun of John Kerry's purple hearts and silver cross, as if they were Cracker-Jax prizes.

In order to deflect attention from his own war-time "champagne corps" stint and the holes in his service record, president Bush made light of John Kerry's service. The traditional media loved it and the Rush Limbaugh types enjoyed making fun of the man that served his country so admirably during time of war. Rush Limbaugh, of course, didn't serve due to boils on his backside, but that was deemed irrelevant.

I found the whole thing disgusting, but many of my fellow Americans seem to have deemed the strategy vote-worthy.

Should we be shocked that the president is comparing the Iraq war to Vietnam, which was a war that brought "agent orange", "napalm girl", "hippies", and "embassy rooftops" into the American lexicon?

The lessons of Vietnam are referred to as the Powell Doctrine. Colin Powell was marginalized and then tossed aside by the Bush administration in what was perhaps the most ignorant achievement of the Messiah of mismanagement.

The New York Times has written a feisty op-ed with attention paid to the Vietnam analogy. You can read it here.

I think all you need to know about Vietnam is this.

I think all you need to know about Iraq is this.

Democrats I suggest you do not get muddled or confused by the president's attempt to rewrite the past in order to reinterpret the present. What I suggest is that you glom onto his mistake for once and cement the analogy in the minds of Americans. If he wants to be proud of achieving a foreign policy disaster that is the equal of the Vietnam catastrophe then he is like the child crudely changing his F to an A on his report card. The A is not to be congratulated and treated as an achievement in this case is it?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A seat at the table

There are lots of references to tables in politics, this is on the table, that is off the table, we need to give so and so a seat at the table. Rarely does anyone talk about what happens under the table, which is perhaps the best application of table metaphor to politics.

Be that as it may, when John Edwards was recently asked about giving health insurance lobbyists a "seat at the table" he had a crowd-pleasing answer:

See here

Monday, August 27, 2007

APA Cowardice

Recently the A.P.A. (American Psychological Association) failed by wide margin to endorse the following statement:

“Be it resolved that. the roles of psychologists in settings in which detainees are deprived of adequate protection of their human rights, should be limited as health personnel to the provision of psychological treatment.”


Cowardice is the word best suited to describe that institutional stance.

Mary Pipher shows the proper light in which to regard these unhealthy practices, by returning a Presidential Citation. As she put it, "I know that the return of my Presidential Citation from Dr. Koocher will be of small import, but it is what I can do to disassociate myself from what I consider to be a heinous policy."

Only collective willpower and conscience will repel the evil in our midst. Guantanamo is a stain on America's honor. Lose honor and you lose morale. You can see that in action everywhere you look.

The key to success in Iraq is not conformity to the norm, nor blind loyalty to that which is unAmerican. We cannot project democracy abroad if we cannot defend it at home. American Constitutional freedoms and liberty are what is worth fighting for. Without those we are a lost tribe.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


It is time to show you why I provide a handy link to the website of Robert A. G. Monks on this website.

Mr. Monks is an aristocrat that lives his life as if there were more to it than making piles of money into bigger piles of money. He has noticed there are these things all over the world called "people" and that they come in different shapes and sizes. He has also noticed that corporations are harming many of these "people" and thinks they ought to behave better. He has spent a great deal of his personal time advocating for shareholder rights and more accountability from corporations. He feels that corporations have a duty to be good citizens that many aren't fulfilling.

Incredibly, Mr. Monks has shown that transparently run corporations that obey laws are more likely profitable than their corrupt counterparts. This is surprising because stockholders are sometimes willing to excuse corruption in their own portfolios by assuming it will be to their financial gain. Perhaps Enron's collapse has failed to have enough impact as a teaching moment.

So, Mr. Monks would like to change that self-detrimental corporate greedy culture into something better run, more accountable, and subservient to a healthy role in society.

That's the sidewalk version of who he is. If you click the link for his site you can find out about the Cambridge/Harvard education, the boards he's served on, and the companies he is currently running.

But back to our sidewalk...

Mr. Monks was in the movie "The Corporation", which looked at what kind of person a corporation would be if it were a person (it is regarded as such by U.S. law). I won't spoil it for you by telling you the diagnosis, but I will give you a hint and tell you it coincides with something Kurt Vonnegut said about the administration of George W. Bush.

And...Mr. Monks has written a new book called:

Corpocracy: How CEOs and the Business Roundtable Hijacked the World's Greatest Wealth Machine -- And How to Get It Back

I am not familiar with the term corpocracy, but I imagine it is a modern oligarchy where a few wealthy corporations replace a few wealthy elites. An oligarchy is a regime that places money as the highest goal and that certainly sounds like a credible way to describe a corporation.

I hope that the leading democratic candidates plumb Mr. Monks for more than cash donations, since his greatest treasure may come in the form of policy advice. It is all well and good to talk about "Taking back America" (with exclamation points), but focused actions will be needed to turn rhetoric into results.

I look forward to this book and hope you appreciate the tip.

I am reminded of a quote from Teddy Roosevelt who said, "We propose to make it worth while for our business men to develop the most efficient business agencies, but we propose to make these business agencies do complete justice to our own people. We are against crooked business, big or little. We are in favor of honest business, big or little. We propose to penalize conduct and not size."

You can read the entire speech here: Progressive Covenant with the People.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A funny thing happened on the road to Democracy...

President Bush likes to pretend that Iraq is moving towards a free and peaceful and democratic society with a smiling leader duly elected by a free and good-looking populace.


If you want to see how widely that is viewed as a joke, then read this article in which Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) "put out a call to have the prime minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki removed from his post" (Source)

How do you suppose talk like that would go over if, say, Canada's Premier Ministre Stephen Harper "put out a call to have the president of the United States George W. Bush removed from his post"?

Can you imagine the punditular indignation if some cold-blooded Canadian had the effrontery to suggest such a thing?

It is the enamel-toothed, helmet-haired ones that I feel sorry for. Pundits are having a difficult time believing we aren't "interfering" with the free, democratic, sovereign, and corner-turning state of Iraq without overt fantasy contradictions like this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bill On Iraq

"I'm giving it two more months."

- Bill O'Reilly -

Radio Factor
June 20, 2007

Hem. Hem.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Worthy of Karl

I have been waiting for that goodbye that seemed worthy of Karl Rove's tenure. I hoped maybe the Daily Show would mark the occasion appropriately, but their treatment felt flat to me (see here).

I think I have found what I was looking for in this letter written by Garrison Keillor, legendary radio host of Prarie Home Companion.

Getting out of Dodge

I think if Garrison had things like that to say about me I'd be mightily ashamed. He is a national treasure and a good and decent human being.

Garrison, that is, not Karl.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What's wrong with that?

"There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

"We can't send millions and millions of dollars to Pakistan for military aid, and be a constant ally to them, and yet not see more aggressive action in dealing with al-Qaeda."

- Barak Obama -

If you ask me nothing is wrong with that statement, and if you ask Michael Smerconish he'll agree.

The Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden camps and folks in traditional media seem to think saying you want to hunt down and kill Osama bin Forgotten, even if it means offending Pervez Musharraf, is naive.



3,000+ Americans killed on American soil and The Voice of Experience says preserving polite formality is more important than smoking out our committed enemies?

Well call me naive.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thinking it through

Let's see...

We are fighting a "global war on terrorism". Our pupose seems to chase and harass and otherwise "deny terrorists bases of operation".

Do I have that right?

The US has just designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorists (story here).

Does this thereby place the onus on our armed forces to chase, harass, and otherwise deny the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a base of operation?

Do you think that president Bush has learned that starting wars is easier than stopping them yet?

I have my doubts.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Leading by example?

I love it when "environmentalists" get called out for opposing renewable energy projects near them. In this satisfying video the Daily Show looks at the politics surrounding a proposed wind farm in Nantucket.

There once was a man from Nantucket

Friday, August 10, 2007

The transitive property

If it is the Truth that sets you free, and Americans are free, then it stands to reason that Americans must know the Truth.

If Osama bin Laden "can't stand freedom", and the Truth sets you free, then it also stands to reason that Osama bin Laden can't stand Truth.

It is now an inescapable conclusion that Osama bin Laden would applaud Mr. Alberto Gonzales' recent testimony before Congress, fraught as it was with contempt of the Truth.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

**** This is satire ****

09 August 2007

"Credible" Threat Information Prompts Homeland Security Warning

U.S. government boosts threat level for specific agricultural centers

U.S. intelligence-gathering operations have obtained "new and unusually specific information" on potential fruit fly attacks on major U.S. agricultural centers, according to Rudi Ohlendorf, the secretary of Agricultural Security Services (A.S.S.).

That information prompted the agency to issue a "Code Nightshade" (high risk of tomato attacks) warning for agricultural incubation facilities in Dubuque (IA), Kansas City (KS) and the greater Lake Oconee area (GA).

Secretary Ohlendorf noted that, “intelligence reports that triggered this action are themselves unusually specific as to potential targets”, but admitted, "there is no information that indicates a specific time for these attacks beyond the period leading up to our 2008 elections."

The heightened security measures, both real and imaginary, that accompany the heightened threat level "create added layers of peeling to an already vigorous onion security effort across the country," Ohlendorf said, at the same time urging citizens to increase their vigilance and "to be on watch, to be aware of heightened insect activity, and to seal your fruit bowls with a layer of duct tape."

Ohlendorf asserted, "It will take more than fruit flies to weaken the American spirit or dampen our resolve. Let me be clear: should al Qaida smuggle homosexual fruit flies into our biology maturation facilities our spirit will not be weakened and our resolve will remain powder-dry."

Following is the text of Ohlendorf’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

(begin text)

Department of Agricultural Security Services
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (426) 668-3733
[Washington, D.C.]
August 9, 2007
(Remarks as Prepared)

Good afternoon. President Bush has told you, and I have told you, when we have specific credible information, we will share it.

This afternoon, we do have new unusually specific, legible information about where al Qaida would like to attack. As a result, today, the United States Government is raising the threat level to Code Nightshade for the agricultural incubation facilities in Dubuque (IA), Kansas City (KS) and the greater Lake Oconee area (GA).

Since September 11th, 2001, leaders of our agrarian institutions have demonstrated exceptional leadership in improving its security. However, in light of new intelligence information, we have made the decision to raise the threat level for this sector, in these communities, to bring protective resources to their highest capacity.

This will allow us to increase protection in and around those biological nurturing facilities that require it and also raise awareness for employees, residents, customers and livestock.

We know from experience that increased physical protection and added vigilance from citizens can thwart a terrorist attack. And that is our goal.

Compared to previous threat reporting, which was ambiguous and inaccurate, these intelligence reports have provided a level of detail that is very specific and inaccurate. The quality of this intelligence, based on multiple Fox reporting streams in multiple locations, is rarely seen and is alarming in both the amount and specificity of the information.

While we are providing you with this immediate information, we will continue to update you as the situation unfolds. As of now, this is what we know: reports indicate that al Qaida is targeting several specific crops, including tomatos, blueberries, bananas, and citrus, with armies of fruit flies smuggled in through Canada. Let me assure you, actions to further strengthen security around these agricultural incubation facilities are already underway. Additionally, we're concerned about targets beyond the produce sector and are working to get more information.

Senior leadership across the department of Agricultural Security Services, in coordination with the White House, the FBI, CIA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Grange Hall Associations, and 4H clubs, have been in constant contact with the governors, mayors, farmers, immigrant fruit pickers, and homeland security advisors of the affected locations I just named.

At this time, there is no information that indicates a specific time for these insect attacks beyond the period leading up to our national elections in 2008.

Of course, just because we know where -- but not precisely when -- that does not mean that we cannot take pre-emptive action. Just the opposite: this president, in fact this entire administration, is bold, decisive, and unafraid of ignorant action. We will not cease to act – as our detractors would have us -- simply because our information is incorrect, unreliable, wildly speculative, or implausible. Tired of “swatting at flies” the president has ordered that a giant window-screen be erected to surround the terrestrial United States (not including Alaska or Hawaii) to halt the flow of Iranian insects infiltrating our homeland.

Understandably, security measures at each agricultural incubation facility will not be uniform in nature, given the scope and scale of fruit producing structures, access to and from roads and other variables, such as E=mc².

But you may expect to see special “free range” zones to secure the perimeters of biological reproduction compounds from unauthorized lemonade merchants; restrictions to affected underground earthworms; security personnel using identification badges and digital photos to keep track of honey bees entering and exiting crop facilitation areas; increased law enforcement presence, and robust screening of hooves, tails, and snouts.

These and other security measures, both real and imaginary, create added layers of peeling to an already vigorous onion security effort across the country. So let me be clear: While we have raised the threat level for the agricultural services sector, the rest of the nation remains at an elevated -- or Code Rhetoric -- risk of terrorist attack.

Rest assured, the most talented security professionals are working hard to protect all regions of the country and all sectors of our economy from this avian menace.

Don’t rest assured, since the horrific day of 9-11, more permanent protections are in place than ever before. You have seen and unseen them. They have become part of our daily life: additional farmland security, including shoe removal, asparagus marshals, hardened tractor doors, and bovine tipping restrictions. You have seen and unseen more visible law enforcement officers on silos, haystacks, and cattle transportation systems. You have seen and unseen increased inspections of our nation's produce, farmers, and immigrant potato pickers.

These added security measures mean that from seed to plate; in our public places and cyber spaces; on air, land, and sea; we are safer today than we have ever been from winged insect intruders.

We bring you this information today, and, again, will continue to update you if new specific information becomes available. Because with information comes action.

There is much we can each do to remain vigilant, to be on watch, to be aware of unusual crop circles, and to report suspicious genetic mutations. And so this afternoon, I ask our citizens for their vigilant fly-swatting arms, as we continue to monitor this horrific situation.

I realize that this is sobering news, not just about the intent of our avian enemies, but of their specific plans and methods.

This kind of information is the result of the president's leadership in the war against terra. The reports that have led to this alert are the result of offensive intelligence and military operations overseas, as well as strong partnerships with our allies around the world, such as Pakistan. Such operations and partnerships give us insight into the enemy so we can better target our defensive measures here and away from home

Insurgent insects should know, in this country, this kind of information, while startling, is not stifling. It will not weaken the American spirit or dampen our resolve. Our resolve is indivisible -- and unyielding -- a weapon infinitely stronger than the plots, plants, and dating habits of those who wish to do us harm.

Al Qaida wants to intimidate us and prevent us from enjoying our fruit and exercising the full spectrum of our produce choices. And yet, liberty has no greater protector than the collective will of the American people. So, together let us take inspiration from this strength, and use it to our utmost to keep our great nation safe and insect free.

Thank you.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)

For more information see: Source

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What do new FISA rules mean?

Russ Feingold explains what the new FISA rules mean for Americans here. The comments which stand out to me are this one:

The bill the president signed yesterday gives free rein to the government to wiretap all the communications of anyone who happens to be outside the United States, for whatever reason, without court oversight. That includes U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad, U.S. service members in Iraq, or journalists reporting from overseas. And that includes the calls and emails of anyone outside the country to people in the U.S.

and this one:

The sooner that Democrats realize that standing tough on national security doesn't mean giving into the administration, the better off they - and the country - will be.
I am not as willing as Russ to attribute the failure of democratic representatives to perform their oversight duties to bad political advice or misplaced trust in presidential good faith. I think they're systematically building something in Washington that has been seen in the world before. I think fascism is rising. In Kansas the loyalty committees are already forming.

I don't buy this type of argument which posits that democrats in Washington are being led around clueless like horses with blinders on. They have to know what they are building. The only question is why?

The life you lead
You're like a black hole in the noon-day sky.
You're like a flash of fear in a young girl's eye.
And it's hard for me to understand why,
Anyone would care when you die.

You pretend you aren't human at all.
You'll see too late after your fall,
That what you are is what you do,
And not a living soul loves you.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Quick question

Here is a quick question for Bush dead-enders:

If you support Nixonian wiretapping sans oversight for president Bush, will you submit to an unencumbered-by-FISA president Hillary Clinton?

What is good for the goose is good for the gander isn't it?

Faith based policing

Christopher Hitchens is trying to raise American's awareness of the internal threat of religious fanatics. He has given attention to pedophile priests awarded Vatican cover from the law, and he now turns his attention to "Your Black Muslim Bakery's thuggery". That seems wise, since Europe is currently having a devil of a time with "home-grown terrorists".

Terrorists, it seems, are not nice, law-abiding citizens looking to work hard, fit in, and afford a home of their own someday. They take short-cuts. They establish a beach-head and then milk the underground economy for drug and extortion money. Their victims are usually law-abiding citizens looking to work hard, fit in, and afford a home of their own someday.

This is why president Clinton believes you catch terrorists with police work. This is why he put 100,000 more cops on the street. This is why it is important to have equal protection under the rule of law.


This chronic lack of respect for citizen complaints regarding lawlessness seems matched only in ineptitude by political undersight. In the aftermath of 9/11 (and 7/7) it is a dangerous level of incompetence to maintain.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Mutual insults

Bertrand Russell is one of my favorite philosophers. Rather than drown poor readers like me in an ocean of incomprehensible waves, he manages to state ideas simply and clearly. What could be more entertaining than that?

Today I was rereading an essay of his called, "Ideas that have harmed Mankind". While many things in the essay ring as true today as when they were written, I found the following paragraph topical (president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and president George W. Bush come to mind):

"It is highly probable that if two States equipped with modern armament face each other across a frontier, and if their leading statesmen devote themselves to mutual insults, the population of each side will in time become nervous, and one side will attack the other for fear of the other side doing so. It is safe to assume that a great modern war will not raise the level of prosperity even among the victors."

Friday, August 03, 2007

State of the Union

This graphic summary of the recent democratic debate says a lot and you should let it sink in.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Being Frank with us?

Dick Cheney confuses me whenever he trots out of his undisclosed location to play the Glad Game. My mind cannot juxtapose what I know about him with wild-eyed optimism and form a coherent picture. For instance when he said that, "The Iraq insurgency is in its' last throes", I had to laugh or bust a mental valve.

Maybe, deep down (bunker-down), he is a Pollyanna Whittiern optimist with a sunny disposition that works hard. Perhaps it is remarkable self control which masks this unshakable cheerfulness so thoroughly (WMD in Iraq thoroughly) from his public presence.

Allow me to adorn Mr. Cheney with a top-hat and cane and London suit in your imagination. Picture a stage with a big-band on it and a spotlight on his optimistic countenance. As he snaps his fingers and the band sparks up, picture him grabbing the microphone with both hands and singing:

Just what makes that little old ant
Think hell move that rubber tree plant?
Anyone knows an ant, cant
Move a rubber tree plant.

But hes got high hopes, hes got high hopes
Hes got high apple pie, in the sky hopes

I think that a song and dance routine are all Mr. Cheney has left. I think I preferred the young Cheney to the old, sweaty, rhinestone-covered jumpsuit Cheney. Las Vegas Cheney seems like he's going through the motions trying to dazzle the crowds with celebrity alone these days doesn't he?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Conventional wisdom

Conventional wisdom defends Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions with the saying, "What goes around, comes around". When we mistreat prisoners of war, it says, it motivates our enemies to achieve a tat for our tit.

Americans, blessed by God from sea to shining sea, know this and were disgusted by the news that America tortured people. They got angry and the Supreme Court, even stoked as it is with activist judges, decided to uphold the law and ordered the Bush administration to about-face. John McCain, maverick until proven conservative, got involved and passed legislation to revert our army field manuals to their law-abiding days.

All of this was accorded the full attention of the Bush administration, which is to say it was ignored.

The second round of God-blessed torture tantrums has just kicked off with an editorial from Retired Gen. P.X. Kelley (Reagan appointed commandant of the Marine Corps from 1983 to 1987) and Robert F. Turner (former lawyer in the Reagan whitehouse).

Read it here

The infotainment industry continues to portray any dissent of president Bush's policies as the mad ravings of the lunatic left. This is their idea of balance. It gives them contented feelings to do this. They smile when they do this. Pretty, pretty, perfect-teeth and helmet-hair smiles.

The unvarnished truth is America can't abide Bush from sea to shining sea. God bless it.

ADDENDUM: Senator Dianne Feinstein joins Mr. Kelly and Mr. Turner and says it is time to close Guantanamo

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin