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Lets's talk about democracy
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Friday, 23 September 2005
Fighting terror and hurricanes. Bullets and Butter.
Topic: General News.

Things are really going from bad to weird, as Lou Reed would say. Another US city is being evacuated and this time more than a million and a half people are being displaced. (This on top of the million or so from New Orleans.) As if this whole evacuation wasn’t crazy enough already, just a few hours ago a bus with 45 elderly evacuees blew up on the highway out of Houston killing at least 24.

Just unbelievable. There are traffic jams that go on for 20 miles, people are moving at 10 miles an hour, if they’re lucky, and some are getting stuck on the roadside because they’ve run out of gas, which is in short supply, or they’re breaking down from overheating and there’s no water.

This hurricane is going to be rolling through in just a few hours, what are the local authorities going to if people are still stuck on the highway? You can already start to imagine something much worse than Katrina coming.

Not to say that I don’t have confidence in the gang-that-couldn’t-shoot-straight being capable of handling another crisis, or anything. [They’re already gassing up Air Force One for a fly over of Houston, when it’s all over.] I just hope this time, someone at the White House, or at FEMA, is watching CNN.

W., with his usual firm grip on reality, said in a speech on Wednesday, that he’s been “thinking a lot” (It’s hard work. Hard work!), about 9/11 and Katrina and the terrorists are “the kind of people who look at Katrina and wish they had caused it. We’re in a war against these people.” Wait, we’re in a war against hurricanes? I’m confused, what did he just say?

So, we should trust him to be able to handle another crisis because so far his leadership on the “war on terror” has been so stellar? This is Karl Rove’s strategy to resuscitate the Boy’s poll numbers? I think right now most people are just crossing their fingers desperately hoping this idiot doesn’t get us all killed.

Butter, Bullets, and a manned mission to Mars.

In a spectacularly well-timed announcement, NASA says they’re going to spend $100 billion for a manned mission to Mars. These guys can’t even pick up the trash at the International Space Station without a 1 in 52 chance of the shuttle blowing up and they’re going to Mars? Good location for a George W. Bush presidential library, though.

Don’t worry, be happy. W. says now is not the time to pull out of Iraq. We can have bullets and butter we can afford it all. No act of terror or nature is going to force us out of Iraq. “No matter how many car bombs there are, these terrorists cannot stop the march of freedom.”

So, he’s basically conceding that we can’t stop the car bombs. So, bring ‘em on! In an interesting bit of history revision, W. said yesterday “to leave Iraq now would be to repeat costly mistakes of the past that led to the attacks of September the 11th, 2001.” Before the invasion, we had to go in to prevent another 9/11, now we have to stay to prevent another 9/11.

Congress says money grows on trees:

I keep hearing the like’s of William Cristal and David Brooks droning on about how we’re ‘the wealthiest nation on earth’ and we can have two wars and recover from two massive hurricanes. If my only source of money is a Visa card, am I wealthy? I would like to know how we’re going to afford to rebuild New Orleans, rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan and pay for Don Young’s bridge to nowhere.

This is just insanity, sooner or later our creditors are going to seriously ask themselves if we’re good for it. Congress’ solution is tax cuts and set asides, but I don’t see how sticking it to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is going to solve our financial problems. Cutting social programs and diverting taxpayer money to politically connected faith-based charities is not an answer.
Doesn’t it just seem like our government has just lost its ability to function?

This administration and the congress are totally incapable of dealing with this crisis we’re in. The hurricanes, the wars, the raising oil prices----and we’re not even into the winter heating oil crisis yet----this government just can’t deal. This is how coups get started in banana republics and we’re starting to look like the wackiest banana republic in the west. In 1931 the government pretty much threw up its hands two years into the Depression and Hubert Hoover suggested what the country needed was a poem. At that time, the only question was who would take over after Hoover, the communists or the fascists? I don’t know, you think another day of prayer will do the trick?

Cloaca Catholica:

Just do what the Catholic Church does in a crisis, ignore it. I wrote yesterday about the Philadelphia Archdiocese and their little pedophile problem, which a Philadelphia Grand Jury called “A continuous, concerted campaign of cover up.” Cardinal Justin Rigali, the current head of the Archdiocese, says no one should read the Grand Jury report. “I don’t think it’s of value to families…It’s prolonged explanations of abuse” are “very graphic.”

Yeah, it not family reading material, for sure. Having to read about Father John Mulholland and his bondage, scat fetish and little boys isn’t very conducive to keeping the donation plate full.
Mulholland is still a priest, even though the Church concluded that a letter he sent to a boy with pictures of painful bondage and a message saying, “prepare to break me on vacation,” showed that he was “a disturbed individual in need of mental health intervention.” One report had Mulholland stringing up a boy and “piercing him or at least jabbing him with some instrument over his body.”

Cardinal Rigali says it’s a shame the Grand Jury report doesn’t show the “great efforts by the Archdiocese” to prevent further sexual abuse. Mulholland was cleared of any wrong doing in 2004, and is now ministering to a nursing home, so it would appear their efforts aren’t good enough.
I wonder what the Pope has to say about all of this. He after all, has a little cover up problem of his own.

Herr Ratzinger has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit in Texas involving the cover up of the abuse of three boys by a seminarian named Juan Carlos Patino-Arango, who is currently on the lam. The AP writes that, “the lawsuit alleges that the former cardinal, who headed the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith before becoming Pontiff, was involved in a conspiracy to hide Patino-Arango’s crimes and help him escape prosecution.” Imagine that!

In any case, the US State Department has stepped in to keep the Holy Father from having to deal with it. Assistant US Attorney General Peter Keisler has told the judge in the case that to allow the lawsuit to proceed would be “incompatible with the United States’ foreign policy interests,” because the Pope enjoys the immunity as head of state of the Holy See. So, how did we get away with arresting Manuel Noriega, he was a head of state too, right? And Saddam, wasn’t he a head of state? But in this case, it’s in our foreign policy interest to keep priests from having to stand trial for sexually abusing children.

Nazis, child abusers, what the diff?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:57 PM EDT
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Thursday, 22 September 2005
The moral sewer that is the Catholic Church.

As I worte on the 16th, Pope Benedict XVI is going after all the fags in the Church and is going to toss them out, in order to prevent more child abuse problems. Of course, most gays don't abuse children, but don't confuse the Holy Father with the facts. The sun revolves around the Earth and thats that!

It appears, he might be a little late. A Grand Jury in Philadelphia just issued a report on the rampant abuse of children over many decades in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. [PI]

"Sexually abusive priests were left quietly in place or 'recycled' to unsuspecting new parishes - vastly expanding the number of children who were abused," the grand jury concluded."

The Grand Jury wrote that the Church hierarchy, "excused and enabled the abuse" for decades. In its callous, calculating manner, the archdiocese's 'handling' of the abuse scandal was at least as immoral as the abuse itself. What we have found were not acts of God, but of men who acted in His name and defiled it."

And here's a heads up for the Pope, in one case a preist who repeatedly raped an 11 year old girl took her to have an abortion. So it's not a about gay sex, its about sexual predators in collars.

But the Church is ready to admit guilt and make changes. Not really, their responce to the report went like this: the report is "incredibly biased and anti-Catholic" and a "a vile, mean-spirited diatribe."

Oh yes, poor Catholic Church. Call Rick Santorum for a donation.

A list of abuses by 63 preists who did this for decades goes like this:

"According to the report, victims of the abuse included:

An 11-year-old girl who was repeatedly raped by a priest who took her for an abortion when she became pregnant.

A fifth grader who was molested by a priest inside a confessional.

A teenage girl who was groped by a priest while she lay immobilized in traction in a hospital room.

A priest who offered money to boys in exchange for sadomasochistic acts of bondage and wrote a letter asking a boy to make him his "slave." The priest remains in ministry.

A priest who abused boys playing the roles of Jesus and other biblical characters in a parish Passion play by making them disrobe, don loincloths, and whip each other until they had cuts, bruises and welts.

A priest who falsely told a 12-year-old boy his mother knew of the assaults and consented to the rape of her son.

The grand jury found that many victims were abused for years and that many priests abused multiple victims, sometimes preying on members of the same family."


As usual the Church moved these guys around and didn't tell anyone that they were moving a child molester into their parish.

Archbishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua, who was in charge of hiding these molesters from 1988 to 2003,
had a "strict policy, according to his aides, that forbid informing parishioners... about any problems in a priest's background."

Unfortunatly, no one is going to be prosecuted for these horrible crimes because the statute of limitations has run out. The Inquirer writes that, "The panel said it had considered charging the archdiocese with endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, victim/witness intimidation, hindering apprehension, and obstruction of justice. But again, it said, the statute of limitations on any crimes had expired.

So the panel was left with what it described as "a travesty of justice, a multitude of crimes for which no one can be held criminally accountable."

They got that right. But I'm sure the Holy Father in his wisdom will make this right for the hundreds of victims of his Church, right?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:55 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005 3:06 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 21 September 2005
Can do president.
Topic: General News.

Our can-do president made yet another trip to the Gulf Coast yesterday to highlight the progress being made in the recovery effort. Here we go again with the rose-tinted glasses approach to the problem. Towns throughout the Gulf region are still leveled, they haven’t been rebuilt, the levies aren’t repaired, there is an entire city that is still deserted and astoundingly; there are hundreds of children still missing!!! (And what happened to those $2000 debit cards?)

No one is expecting the administration to wave a magic wand and make it all better over night, but don’t give us this ‘we’re making progress’ crap, when its so obvious what all these trips down there are really all about.

If Karl Rove thinks the “mission accomplished” model is going to work in pumping up Bush’s poll numbers this time around, he’s got something else coming. Journalists in the US don’t need to be embedded in military units to report on what’s going on in Louisiana and Mississippi. It won’t take too long for people to match up the rhetoric coming from W. with the pictures of destruction.
But it’s not all about poll numbers, is it? More importantly it’s about giving a helping hand to Bechtel, Halliburton, Fluor and every other corporation with its hand out.

Oh yeah, and pushing the right wing agenda. Promoting school vouchers and giving government money to “faith-based” charities (Rick Santorum says, they’re the real first responders when the federal government is late with help.), is what it’s all about. Rove is an expert when it comes to manipulating a national crisis for political advantage; there isn’t any depth he won’t sink to. He’d sell us out to the Chinese if there were some benefit to the republicans in it. (I’m assuming he hasn’t already.)

Rita on the rocks:

So, there’s another hurricane coming down the pike. It’s all perfectly normal, though, we usually have 20 Cat. 5 hurricanes in a year, don’t worry be happy. Exxon/Mobil is pretty happy; they’re planning on buying the Sun with all the extra money their making from their crisis profiteering. We’ll all be getting bills for sun use in the near future. On cloudy days, naturally, they’ll need government disaster relief.

I say, that this time, if W. really wants to show everybody what a big man he is, he’ll ride out hurricane Rita wherever it hits and monitor the response time from the federal government, just to make sure he knows what’s going on.

[By the way, what the hell was Ray Nagin thinking when he encouraged people to go back to New Orleans? I understand he wants to get the city back in business, but even EPA is saying this time that it’s too dangerous, what with all the gasoline, oil and God knows what else floating around and caked on everything. This is a departure from the immediate aftermath of 9/11 when reports of asbestos in the air around the Ground Zero area were suppressed to get those brokers back to playing the market. To say nothing of the firefighters who were allowed to work without masks while digging for bodies under the collapsed buildings.]

Speaking of progress:

The US military reported the deaths of 12 more Americans yesterday, bringing the total death toll so far to 1,907. Stay the course, don’t let their deaths be in vain.

Also, on Tuesday, a British military attempt to rescue two special forces commandos from an Iraqi jail in Basra resulted in several British armoured vehicles being destroyed by fire. Iraqi “policemen” had detained the two commandos after being caught on the street dressed in Arab garb. Presumably they were engaged in some sort of undercover operation. While the British foreign service people were negotiating the release of these detainees with the “government” in Baghdad, the British military got wind of a transfer of these soldiers to a local militia, the Mahdi army, a report the Iraqi interior minister says was just a rumor. (Of course, he’s a part of the Badr organization, so he might be slightly biased.)

This is when the Brits cordoned off the area around the jail and launched an extraction operation by plowing a hole through a jailhouse wall with a tank. (During the cordoning off operation, the citizens of Basra started throwing rocks and Molotov Cocktails at the British troops who were caught on camera fleeing their burning tanks.) The Brits say they found their commandos at another house where they had been transferred, but the Iraqis say the house was part of the jail and they weren’t in the hands of the Mahdi army. It’s difficult to tell what really went on because most of the ring leaders of this whole mess in Basra are in the Iraqi government. In this case, I guess the British version is probably less of a lie.

This is a very embarrassing situation for the British military and the “coalition” which claims that they’re only there to help a “sovereign” Iraqi government. Violating the sovereignty of the government by attacking one of its police stations isn’t exactly acting like a good neighbor.

Maybe, we should ignore the media filter here and see what the prime minister’s office has to say on the subject: “In response to recent events in Basra, the Iraqi government wants to clarify that there is no crisis---as some in the media have claimed----between it and the British government.” So, this one incident doesn’t blow the whole facade off the lie that the British have really been in control of Basra over the past three or four months?

I was going to say, that this must be quite an eye opener for the British who thought everything was going relatively smoothly in the south, but I stand corrected. There is no crisis. And little children in Baghdad are begging their mommies to get them American military uniforms to dress up in because to them the US soldier is a super hero! (Yes, Susan Dakak actually said this on Radio Times.)

It’s difficult to say what the commandos were up to. Were they after Muktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army? Or was it an Iranian group led by Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani, who is suspected of introducing the new and deadlier “shaped” explosive roadside bomb, which has been killing Brits, contractors and Americans in a much more efficient way lately.

There is little doubt now, as if there was before, that the Shiite militias of Muktada al Sadr, the Badr Brigade, and various other militias, all run by members of the present Iraqi government, are the real power in Basra. The Iranians also have a very large foothold in the south. Even before the war began, Iran had made sure as the chaos took hold in the early hours of the American invasion they were there to fill the void.

Michael Ware writes for TIME that, “as many as 12,000 armed men, along with Iranian intelligence officers, swarmed into Iraq.” A 2004 British military inquiry found that the Badr organization and other militias were already so deeply entrenched in the area that, "it quickly became clear that the coalition needed to work with them to ensure a secure environment in the province.” A student at Basra University, an institution which is a frequent target of Shiite religious police, says, “these guys with beards and Kalashnikovs showed up saying they'd come to protect the campus, the problem is, they never left.”

If the new Iraqi constitution winds up giving the Shiites autonomy in the south, you’ll see Sadr, Sistani, and Chalabi all vying for Iranian influence and fighting over oil revenues. The civil war in Iraq that the newspapers keep saying the US is trying to avoid is already in full swing and the Iranians and the Shiites in the south are really fanning the flames. The Sunnis aren’t necessarily the only ones fighting against the occupation, though.

Progress in Afghanistan:

Now that there have been successful parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, Rummy has declared, “Afghanistan is a democracy,” So, in that case, he won’t mind handing over the keys to president Hamid Kharzai, right? (Karzai is getting pretty uppity, these days, some one ought to remind him that we’re paying for his security detail.) He says the US needs to change its strategy in Afghanistan. “I don’t think there is a big need for military activity in Afghanistan anymore. The US should stop their air raids in the country; stop launching major offensives in the country and, “no coalition forces should go to Afghan homes without the authorization of the Afghan government.”

He seems to feel the real problem comes from other countries. The focus should be on “on where terrorists are trained, on their bases, on the supply to them, on the money coming to them.” Hmmm…which country could he be talking about? It couldn’t be Pakistan, because Pervez Musharraf launched a big raid in the tribal areas just before he came to the US for the UN summit.

Surely, Karzai isn’t saying these raids were just for show to keep the Americans happy? He must be talking about Syria. We’re really losing patience with them!!!

Since we’re celebrating this momentous occasion in Afghanistan, I thought it would be good to look back at all the success there’s been since the invasion in 2001. It’s been a very successful four years, full of great success, so much so that our point man in Afghanistan, the very successful Zalmay Khalilzad, has moved to Iraq to repeat his great success there.

WaPo:” After US-led military forces routed the Islamic Taliban militia from Kabul, large sections of Afghan territory remain in the grip of local militias, while the southeast has become the target of violent attacks and political wooing by insurgent Taliban forces based along the Pakistani border…coalition troops launched Operation Mountain Resolve, a high altitude offensive, in Kunar and Nurestan provinces, adjacent hilly border regions, that are believed to shelter a network of fighters loyal to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the renegade militia leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.”

That was from the WaPo on Nov. 16, 2003. A day before, two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters collided over Mosul killing 17 soldiers and injuring five others. This is also the day after the US and Iraq announced their “radical new plan for the country’s political transition that would end the US-led occupation by July 1 and could facilitate a significant withdrawal of US troops next year.”

As we know, the country’s sovereignty was turned over two days early! Of course, that was because they were afraid if they did it on the day they said they’d do it, there might have been a huge attack.

During this part of 2003 and into early 2004, you’ll remember, there was an upsurge in violence in the run up to the transfer of power. Then there was another surge of violence in the run up to the successful elections in January 2005, which included two very costly attacks on Fallujah, which is now a free city. Free of its citizens and buildings, but free of terrorism!

Then there followed a successful formation of a government, a successful drafting of a constitution and then the withdrawal of significant numbers of US troops.

Well, that last part didn’t happen, they’re still there fighting so that the deaths of the previous 1,907 won’t have been in vain, in the run up to the constitutional referendum in October. There might be an upsurge in violence, which is why there are a couple more brigades of US troops on the way. Leading up to a significant withdrawal, of course.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:36 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 September 2005 1:43 PM EDT
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Monday, 19 September 2005
It's going to cost what it's going to cost. Now, watch this swing.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

In election news, the Daniel Cooney for the AP writes that, “Millions of Afghans defied attacks and a Taliban boycott call to vote for a new parliament, yesterday.”

I think, he just replaced “Iraqis” with “Afghans” and “Taliban” with “insurgents” and filed his report. It’s the same old BS from last April’s elections in Iraq. “Officials hailed the election as a major success.” Well, what a surprise! Even though turnout appeared to be lower than the presidential elections, US ambassador Ronald Neumann thought the whole affair a “great success.” Low turn out, shmlow turn out, “ says ambassador Neumann; “In America, only half of the people vote.” See, the less they come out to vote, the more like us they become.

The Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan estimates a 30 to 35% turnout, compared to 75% for the last elections, so they’re right on their way.

Now, presumably, the Taliban will see this as a great defeat and lay down their arms, just like the Iraqi insurgency did. Former warlords and newly rich druglords, thanks to us, who bought and threatened their way into office will start their new lives as democratic leaders who care only for the democratic aspirations of their constituents. George W. was right nation building does work!

With all this nation building going on around the world and the rebuilding on the Gulf Coast, one might wonder how we’re going to pay for all of this. W. says don’t worry be happy. “You bet its going to cost money. But I’m confident we can handle our other priorities. It’s going to cost whatever it costs.”

He sounds like one of those people who doesn’t really have any intention of paying for anything. ‘By the time this bill comes due, I’ll be looking at the picture books in my library.’

Congress, on the other hand, actually writes the checks, so they’re a little more worried. Senator Tom “Sorry-I-sterilized-you-by-accident” Coburn says its “inexcusable” that Bush and the congress haven’t even made an “effort to find at least some offsets to this new spending.” By offsets, he means social spending cuts.

According to Al Hubbard, Bush’s economic wiz, the costs for this are coming from “the American Taxpayer,” but that, "this in no way will adversely impact his commitment to cut the deficit in half by 2009.” Bush says we have to “maintain economic growth and we should not raise taxes.” NO, don’t raise taxes; the right thing to do is make sure the “costs are wisely spent.”

Yeah, that makes sense, fiscally speaking. We’ll just cut all that fat out of the federal budget, like Social Security and Medicare, and $400 billion for the next four years in Iraq and the estimated $200 billion for Katrina will just magically appear. (This is on top of the $333 billion of debt we’ve rung up this year alone.) W. plans to kill two birds with one stone: don’t burden the rich with onerous taxes and use the credit card to make sure Halliburton and Bechtel keep those balance sheets in the black.

Is there anyone in Washington that has any clue about managing finances? My God, if most people went around buying Humvees and Beverly Hill mansions on credit cards and the banks just provided endless credit no matter how crazy the spending was, we’d be in real trouble.

Two little notes from the WSJ that caught my eye. Louisiana representative Richard Baker of Baton Rouge was overheard as saying, “we finally cleaned up the public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” Later, Baker said he didn’t intend to be flippant he had just wanted to improve public housing.

The Army isn’t only helping out with cutting down trees and providing logistical assistance to Katrina victims. They also sent recruiters to the Astrodome to help out with “jobs” in the military. Army spokesman Douglass Smith says, “ Our intent is to approach the evacuees at the right time for them.” How thoughtful. Its not like the military is having any problems filling their ranks or anything, so they certainly wouldn’t take advantage of already desperately poor people have just lost what little they did have by offering them three squares and housing for a little trip to Iraq, now would they?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:57 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 19 September 2005 12:59 PM EDT
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Friday, 16 September 2005
Pray for us!
Topic: Bush Administraiton

On this national day of prayer, I thought it would be enlightening to highlight a few stories concerning the more compassionate side of religion. Since his ascension to the throne of infallibility, Pope Benedict XVI (It’s a lie, I’m not a Nazi!) has been pushing the need to “purify” the church and in that vain has ordered a purge of all homosexuals from the seminary and of faculty members who dissent from church teaching. Edwin O’Brien, the archbishop for the US Army, no doubt equally busy rooting out gays in the military, says “anyone who has engaged in homosexuality activity of has strong inclinations,” even those who have not been sexually active for a decade or more, should not be admitted to a semenary. (That’s pretty much going to end the priesthood isn’t it?) Vatican inquisitors will fan out to the Church’s 229 semenaries to conduct an apostolic visitation (Cue Godfather theme.) aimed at cleaning out that den of iniquity known as the priesthood.

The Church leadership seems to think that rampant homosexuality in the priesthood is the cause of all the child abuse that has gone on, but the NYT writes that, “Experts in human sexuality have cautioned that homosexuality and attraction to children are different.” The reason these child molesters went after boys, for the most part, is because they had more access to them.

There are two problems with this theory: One is that the New York Times is saying it and the second is that, these so called “experts on human sexuality” are nothing more than perverts with a deep left agenda. Besides, who would know more about human sexuality than the Pope?

Now that that has been established, let’s just say for the sake of argument that there were gay priests out there who had been in the priesthood for years and had followed the catechism that says homosexuals should live in chastity because homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” and had never abused children. Should these old queens be thrown out into the streets, penniless because of their vows of poverty, just because they’re gay? Most assuredly!

For decades the Church knew they had a large population of child molesters in their ranks and instead of turning them into the police, moved them around from parish to parish, where they continued to abuse with impunity because their unsuspecting victims were kept in the dark about their past as a matter of Church policy. Pope Benedict XVI’s solution to this outrageous betrayal is to punish the innocent to make up for the Church’s guilt. How compassionate!

Fusing the dials on the way-back machine to A.D. 1300:

The Pope is a busy man these days. He’s got 700 years of modernism to wipe out. The NYT reports that the Pope encouraged a group of exorcists visiting the Vatican to “carry on their important work in the service of the Church.”

In keeping with the Church’s commitment to educating the next generation for the challenges of the 21st century, “Regina Apostolorum, a top Vatican university, is offering another course in exorcism to priests; a course last year proved popular with students.” Now, if we can only get that Galileo heresy thing looked into again. I hear there’s new research being cited in American school textbooks that proves that the earth stood still just like it says in the bible! The Sun does revolve around the earth, damn it, I’ll impale anyone who says different! P.S. I hated Hitler, please believe me!

Chertoff questions continue:]

The Knight/Ridder news service has got it in for Michael Chertoff, the director of DHS. They report today that he attended a previously scheduled briefing on avian flu in Atlanta on August 30th, the morning after Katrina struck.

This was also after Michael Brown says he called Chertoff and told him things were going “out of control” in New Orleans. The reports says, “stung by criticism, Chertoff’s aids this week attempted to downplay his importance in managing the disaster relief, saying FEMA director Michael Brown had been in charge.” That’s an interesting defense, since Brown couldn’t do anything without first passing it by Chertoff. (This goes to the heart of the criticism that FEMA’s envelopment into the DHS undermined its ability to function in an emergency like Katrina.)

The real sticking point is when Chertoff issued the declaration making Katrina an “incident of national significance,” which got the federal troops in motion. This was on the 30th, according to a memo he signed, even though the levies had broken on the early morning of the 29th.

DHS spokesman Russ Knocke says the department had been “under the auspices of an incident of national significance” since Bush’s emergency declaration on Aug. 27. The National Response Plan says the secretary of Homeland Security designates an event an incident of national significance. “When asked if Chertoff had made the declaration earlier than Aug 30, Knocke declined to answer.”

Don’t worry, though, W. is going to get to the bottom of this whole thing, he wants to know what happened and whether it will happen again. He said last night that he would work with lawmakers “to make sure this effort is thorough.” Right, but not independent or bi-partisan:

AP reported on Wednesday that, “Senate Republicans on Wednesday scuttled an attempt by Sen. Hillary Clinton to establish an independent, bipartisan panel patterned after the 9/11 Commission to investigate what went wrong with federal, state and local governments' response to Hurricane Katrina. The New York Democrat's bid to establish the panel… failed to win the two-thirds majority needed to overcome procedural hurdles. Clinton got only 44 votes, all from Democrats and independent Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont. Fifty-four Republicans all voted no.”

Let’s keep that vote tally in mind in the coming weeks. Not one republican is interested in finding out what really happened if it means making the president look bad. Imagine if the democrats had control of the congress and the White House and they were trying to protect Slick Willy. The republicans would be calling for impeachment!

Staying course: In the Gulf Coast.

I think W, needs some fresh blood on his speech writing staff. He promised last night that, “we will do what it takes; we will stay as long as it takes.” That’s great, but this isn’t Iraq we’re talking about here, its New Orleans. If this reconstruction is going to be anything like what’s going on in Iraq, I think Louisiana and Mississippi ought to think about taking up Hugo Chavez and Fidel’s offers of assistance first. I mean, what the hell are they thinking about at the White House?

Oh right, Karl Rove is running the reconstruction thing; that explains it. Not that history is repeating itself or anything, but KBR just got a big contract from the Navy and former FEMA director Joe Allbaugh, Bush’s former chief of staff in Texas, just happens to be lobbyist for KBR, which is a subsidiary if Halliburton, Cheney’s old job.

Bush promises that a team of inspectors will scrutinize spending, but I think the emphasis will be more directed to making sure none of those deadbeats who were too lazy to leave when they were told to get one of those $2000 debit cards, if they don’t deserve it.

Something just tells me, if they haven’t got around to stopping Halliburton, Custer and Battles, Fluor and all the other corporate pirates from ripping off the American taxpayers in Iraq for these past two years, they’re not going to have much better luck this time around. It’s a lot more easy to go after the poor of the Big Easy. And when the right-wingers call for the money being “spent wisely and honestly,” you know who they’re talking about. (Wink, wink.)

[Note: “semenary” isn’t a typo, it’s a joke.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:05 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 16 September 2005 1:17 PM EDT
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Thursday, 15 September 2005
"Brownie" speaks. Does a great job.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

The NYT published its interview with Michael Brown today, the former FEMA chief, in which he blames FEMA’s delays in getting aid to Louisiana on Governor Kathleen Blanco for not letting him know what the state needed. He says, “I truly believed the White House was not at fault here.” He claims he made “a blur of calls” to Michael Chertoff and Andy Card to tell them that, “things were going to hell in a handbasket.”

The Times writes that a senior White House official confirms the calls were made but disputes the calls had the “urgency or desperation he described in the interview.” This tracks with the memo Brown sent to Chertoff five hours after the hurricane struck when he asked for 1000 employees to deploy to the area within 48 hours and ended the letter by writing, “Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities.” Doesn’t exactly sound like he was as worried about the situation as he claims.

Still, despite the obvious attempt to cover his own ass, the overall impression you get from the interview is that, here was a guy with basically had no authority to do anything without someone above him signing off on it. He says at one point, on the day before the hurricane hit, he was so frustrated with Mayor Nagin not calling for a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans that he asked Bush to call him and tell him to. According to Brown, Bush asked, “Mike, you want me to call the Mayor?” That’s pretty incredible, if true.

It will be very interesting to see whether the administration decides to do about either protecting Brown or setting him up as a scapegoat when the shit hits the fan. Once the investigations get going we’ll see if Brown takes a bullet for the president or goes off the reservation and actually comes clean on what was really going on at the White House.

Although, he might want to think twice about the latter option: buried in an article about Bush’s big speech tonight was this revelation; “Republicans said Karl Rove…was in charge of the reconstruction effort.” “Brownie” might want to consider moving his family out of the country before they become “fair game,” in Turd Blossom’s eyes.

So, Karl Rove is in charge of the reconstruction effort. That’s pretty startling. This brings a few questions to mind: like what does Karl Rove know about reconstructing an entire city, and doesn’t this really have more to do with reconstructing W.’s crumbling poll numbers? I mean, really. Is there anything in this administration Rove doesn’t have his hands all over?

[Just an aside on Rove: Besides the Plame investigation, there is also potentially worse scandal waiting in the wings over Rove’s involvement with Jack Abramoff and his lobbying for Tyco International. Newsweek reports that Tim Flanigan, a former White House lawyer nominated by President Bush for deputy attorney hired Abramoff to lobby against a law barring federal contracts to companies incorporated in offshore tax havens. "Abramoff, who raised more than $100,000 for Bush's re-election, allegedly told Flanigan he'd lobby White House aide Karl Rove on behalf of Tyco, says the source close to the company. Rove, whose secretary formerly worked for Abramoff, has "never spoken to [Abramoff] about any of his clients," says a White House spokeswoman.: Oh, and you can beleieve that.]

Chertoff to move to secure, undisclosed location?

Yes, Michael Brown had no business being in the position he was in, but he is in no way the only shoe that’s going to drop in this growing national disgrace. There is no doubt that Chertoff is getting a big time pass so far. Hours before Ted Koppel beheaded Brown on Nightline on the 31st, NPR had an interview with Michael Chertoff asking about the convention center situation and he said he would decline to comment on “rumors” about thousands of people stranded at the center. This in the face of TV reports beginning the day before and an NPR reporter’s eyewitness account of the deplorable conditions there just before NPR’s Robert Segal talked to him.

The Inquirer reports that Chertoff was in charge of the federal response, not Brown, according to the National Response Plan and Chertoff had the authority to order federal agencies into action without any request from state or local officials.

According to a memo which will become more and more important as this goes along, Chertoff waited 36 hours after the Katrina struck before declaring an “Incident of National Significance,” which was needed to get the federal ball rolling, including getting Rummy moving to get troops down to the area, which didn’t happen until Saturday, five days after the storm.

There will, no doubt, be many questions about why this declaration wasn’t made the moment the National Hurricane Center warned anybody who would listen that “The Big One” was coming.

USNS Comfort.

Last week I asked why a Navy hospital ship waited until the Friday after Katrina to set sail for New Orleans. I still don’t know, but the Comfort didn’t actually make it to New Orleans after all. It seems that just as it was about to make port, Trent Lott somehow got it diverted to Pascagoula Miss. Henry Holcomb of the Inquirer writes that the ship of 660 people, 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms is treating an undisclosed number of patients for cuts, burns and bug bites. Obviously, Mississippi is probably not getting the kind of attention is deserves because the media is focusing on New Orleans, but is there really the need for a ship of that size in Pascagoula, that’s also costing $700,000 a day to operate? Boy, you’ve got to feel DHS has a really has a handle on the federal response now, when a senator can just make a phone call and divert an entire ship to his state and no one even notices.

NATO to hold baby?

Yesterday, amidst the news about the Katrina recovery and the John Roberts hearings, there was the story, deep in the papers, about the US considering troop reductions in Afghanistan. My faithful readers will remember me writing about an article in the Guardian about British defense officials being worried about the US leaving the Brits to “hold the baby” in Afghanistan.

The NYT says the pentagon is talking about reducing troops levels by about 20% and the idea is NATO will take over the fight against the “routed” and continually more and more “desperate” Taliban insurgency.

John Abazaid says, “It makes sense that as NATO forces go in, and they’re more in numbers, that we could drop some US requirements somewhat.” I quess, it makes sense if NATO is actually interested in taking up the fight against the Taliban, but unfortunately, they’re not. Yesterday in Berlin, NATO rejected Rummy’s suggestion that they pick up our slack. AP reports that, “Germany, France, and Spain made clear at a meeting in Berlin that they would not allow 11,000 NATO peacekeepers in the Central Asian nation to become embroiled in the military effort to quell a Taliban led insurgency.” Um…let’s see ignore Germany, punish France, nuke Spain. Was that it? That’ll show em’. []


In Iraq today more car bombs from the ever more desperate and weakened insurgency killed 30 Iraqis, mainly policemen. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari better come up with a better plan than chasing the insurgents all over the Syrian border pretty quick, because this Katrina thing is getting kind of expensive both financially and politically. 9It looks like the insurgents might have "fled" to Baghdad.)

The NYT says, “American officials traveling with Mr. Bush said that they wondered how successful the White House would be in allocating more reconstruction aid for Iraq now that the hurricane damage will soak up so many American resources. ‘It seems clear,’ one senior official traveling with Mr. Bush said, ‘that the days of American larges for Iraq are coming to a close.”

But that may not be an issue after all, because Jaafari says the car bomb attacks that killed 152 and wounded over 500 yesterday just showed the insurgency’s “desperation and cowardice in the face of set backs they have suffered in Tal Afar and elsewhere at the hands of Iraqi security forces.” If that’s the case, I say we declare victory and go. Let the Shiites and the Peshmerga mop up and get our guys out of there. (Nice of him to thank the US forces that had their back, by the way.)

Scott Speicher. Again.

AP: The Navy has been unable to determine whether Michael Scott Speicher, the fighter pilot shot down over Iraq in January 1991, is dead or alive, but it decided to keep his official status "missing/captured" and intensify investigative efforts." Unbelievable!

See Non Sun Dignus
for more on my Scott Speicher problem.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:02 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005 3:42 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 14 September 2005
Progress is being made in Iraq and all options are on the table.
Topic: General News.
The beat goes on in Iraq: 160 Iraqis were killed by a dozen car bombs and 570 were wounded. [AP] Looks like the offensive in Tal Afar really didn't make the country any safer. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who is visiting the US, said the driver of the car bomb in Kazimiyah, which killed 112, was a Syrian. How convenient. "Operation Restoring Rights," the name of the offensive on Tal Afar, is still going on but the insurgents seem to have escaped out of their "rat holes" and redeployed else where.

Zalmay Khalilzad says the Syrians are the "number one offender" in the Middle East working to impede progress in Iraq. According to a State Dept. press release Khlalilzad said, "Syrian interference in Iraq 'will be dealt with' and 'all options are on the table' for addressing the problem if Damascus does not change its approach toward Iraq. 'Syria has to decide what price it's willing to pay in making Iraq's success difficult, and time is running out for Damascus to decide on this issue.'"

My main question remains: why can't the Iraqis secure their own border and why aren't we calling the Saudis out for sending all their jihadis to die in Iraq? The Syrians are not exactly angles and nuns but I serioulsy doubt they're actively assisting the insurgents. I'm not so sure about the Saudis. They have more to lose in a stable Shiite led Iraq than the Syirnas do.

More on the Katrina Fiasco:

On Market Place last night it was reported that hospitals in New Orleans are now asking for the government to bail them out because they don’t have any patients. Tenet Healthcare Inc, (You know, they’re the second biggest hospital chain in the country lately accused of performing unnecessary heart surgeries on hundreds of patients, including Merle Haggert. [See yesterday's post for link]), are the first ones with their hands out claiming they don’t have enough money to pay their doctors. They claim without patients they have no business. Maybe, they ought to find out how 44 patients died at their Memorial Medical Center first before they ask for a government welfare check.

This is corporate compassion for you. Oh, they’ll help people, but show them money first. Charitable corporations like Halliburton are reaping more no-bid contracts. "Hundreds of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts have already been let and billions more are to flow to the private sector in the weeks and months to come," according to the NYT. "Normal federal contracting rules are largely suspended in the rush to help people displaced by the storm..." What a surprise.

As I noted at Non Sum Dignus yesterday, the push is on by the advocates of ‘starving the beast’ to make political hay out of this disaster. While corporate flaks fan out to the various opinion pages and talk shows to promote the compassion of the “private sector” and the advantages of personal and religious charity over government relief, Bush is busy suspending environmental laws to help the oil industry and nixing a law that requires contractors to pay prevailing wages.

Tom DeLay is talking about pushing school vouchers to “assist” the displaced children of Katrina and funneling taxpayer money into religious organizations. Last week on a trip to Houston with Bush he said, “There about a thousand churches right here in Houston, and a lot of them are helping people with housing, but FEMA says they can’t reimburse faith based organizations.” What an outrage! FEMA also says they’re not going to reimburse Texas for the thousands of new students from Louisiana they took in either. You might want to check into that little problem first Tom, before you go raiding the US treasury to enrich your religious allies.

The right would never take advantage of a national disaster to promote their agenda, would they? No, they would never do that, but it does appear while attention is focused on the Gulf Coast they’re using emergency powers to ram through changes to the law they couldn’t get done through democratic means, even with an unassailable majority.

Herbert Hoover’s flood story:

I keep reading and hearing about the great job Herbert Hoover did during the 1927 Mississippi flood, without the help of big government. This flood story is supposed to illustrate how one man with the help of the private sector can handle a crisis without having to having to ask for a hand out, which is what by implication the Katrina victims are doing.

There’s no doubt that Herbert Hoover was a brilliant engineer and organizer, he saved millions of Europeans from starvation in the aftermath of WWI. But the reason we have the type of government we have today is because of Herbert Hoover being unable to deal in any way with the crisis of millions of Americans being unemployed and hungry at the beginning of the depression.

Hoover believed that private giving was the answer to the plight of the poor. “A voluntary deed by a man impressed with the sense of responsibility and the brotherhood of man is infinitely more precious to our national ideals and national spirit than a thousandfold poured from the treasury of the government under compulsion of law.”

In October of 1931, after vetoing a billion dollar appropriation for public works, he set up the Committee for Unemployment Relief instead, headed by Walter Gifford of AT&T. By putting on sporting events and theater benefits he hoped to raise $175 m. for the unemployed. The committee only raised $100 m., before it was disbanded. So much for corporate charity,

In line with Bill Frist’s idea that all the Katrina victims needed was a hug, Herbert Hoover offered a poem to help the unemployed. “Perhaps what this country needs is a great poem. Something to lift people out of fear and selfishness. Sometimes a great poem can do more than legislation.”

This is the type of government we should go back to? The hands off, non-governmental approach to national crisis has been tried and it has failed. If Roosevelt had come into office with more of the same, he would have been the last president. The American people then, the “greatest generation,” demanded government action and action now!

From the moment FDR was elected, the republicans who were vanquished along with their money changing allies have been trying to undo everything that the New Deal accomplished. The Holy Grail for them is getting rid of Social Security. This is a 60 year battle they’ve been waging against the American people and the government, that is by and for the America people, and they aren't going to stop.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:23 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 September 2005 2:55 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 13 September 2005
W. moving White House to New Orleans.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

As George Bush made his third visit to the Gulf Coast to oversee the results of “operation poll recovery,” FEMA director Michael Brown resigned and news came out that at least 45 bodies had been found at Memorial Medical Center. A spokesperson for the hospital’s owner said none of the patients had died because of lack of water, food, or electricity. David Goodson, the hospital’s assistant administrator said, though, that many had died over the four days it took to be evacuated.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that, “a radiologist volunteering in New Orleans, said he spoke with members of the team that recovered the bodies from the hospital in the city’s Uptown section. He said they told him they found 36 corpses floating on the first floor. ‘These guys were just venting,’ he said, they need to talk. They’re seeing things no human being should have to see.” (The media hates the first responders.)

FEMA knows where the bodies are hidden:

This is probably why FEMA doesn’t want the media snooping around the body recovery story. Too many toes to be stepped on; Tenet Healthcare corp., the second largest for-profit hospital chain, doesn’t need that kind of publicity. Especially after that whole unnecessary heart sergery thing with Merle Haggart.

[Reuters says today that, "Reporters who tried to enter the facility on Tuesday were blocked by National Guard soldiers."] (The media hates the first responders.)

And W, doesn’t, either. That’s why he rapidly appointed R. David Paulison, someone who actually knows something about emergency response to head FEMA. Not that this should in any way be taken as an admission that putting hacks in crucial government positions for political favors is a bad idea. (The media hates the first responders.)

Meet the new boss same as the old boss:

And this doesn’t mean FEMA is in any way capable of handling another crisis in the near future, either. Bush and Co. have so efficiently gutted the organization, that putting one guy with a clue in charge isn’t going to make much of a difference. One big disadvantage Paulison is going to have is not having been a college roommate of Bush, a political crony, or a republican.

And he still won’t have the authority to do anything without having to beg Michael Chertoff first. Oh yeah, and his senior staff are still only qualified to put up “mission accomplished” banners at Bush rallies. Good luck Mr. Paulison, you’re going to need it. (The media hates the first responders.)

Don’t get the idea that any one is to blame for this fiasco, though. NO, NO. Brown decided on his own to leave, he had talked about returning to the private sector soon any way….blah,blah,blah. Right! You can believe Scot McClellan (You can always believe Scott McClellan, he never lies.), when he says, “This was Mike Brown’s decision and we respect his decision.”

Right, directors of government agencies normally go back into the private sector in the midst of national disasters, what’s the big deal? The fact that Paulison was appointed about three seconds after Brown announced his resignation doesn’t mean Brownie wasn’t doing a heck of a job. (The media wants the government to direct every aspect of American life.)

I want to know what happened:

The emperor is apparently a little touchy these days about people questioning him about his wardrobe. He got up in the grill of a reporter who had the temerity to suggest that certain people in his administration, who might have possibly just resigned, had let him down. “Look, there will be plenty of time to play the blame game. That’s what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to say somebody is at fault.” No, the reporter is just asking a question dummy. It’s everybody else in the country, outside of the White House bunker, who is saying you blew it. (The media hates the first responders.)

Not that anything has gone wrong (Or right), of course, but he says congress ought to investigate anyway. Just because there’s a republican majority in both houses, that shouldn’t skew the result in the president’s favor. “I want to know exactly what went on and how it went on, and we’ll continually assess inside my administration.” Yeah, that’s the problem; it will stay within the administration. (Get through the media filter.)

I still want to know how this guy could be in charge, be ‘Mr. hands-on-I’m-back-from-vacation,’ and still need to know, “exactly what went on and how it went on.” What didn’t he president know and when didn’t he know it?

He said today, "Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility." So that’s that, end of crisis!

Let’s focus on praising the first responders who are heroes and blame the media for trying to denigrate them. Let’s all pray! (The media isn’t praising the first responders.)

[Note: "U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in Berlin that the military response to Hurricane Katrina had peaked, and that some of the 71,000 troops, 20 Navy ships and 300 helicopters in the area could soon be withdrawn." Withdrawn where, Iraq?]

Non Sum DignusSee for great news on the wonders of the free market economy in building the dreams of individuals by the sweat of their own brow.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:38 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 September 2005 2:17 PM EDT
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Monday, 12 September 2005
Don't blame me!

Today, W. is on his third tour of the Katrina disaster area. This time he’ll be flying into the Big Easy from the assault ship USS Iwo Jima, where there are apparently no “mission accomplished” banners in sight, and on to a military convoy to tour the city formerly known as New Orleans. (Another great opportunity for soldier dressup!) Now that the city is safely emptied of angry black citizens who might have made an earlier appearance somewhat embarrassing, the president can, according to Scott McClellan, “visit those who are overseeing the operations on the ground” in peace. Hopefully, he didn’t forget the bullhorn and pre-tattered American flag.

A black republican supporter was quoted in the NYT as saying the White House didn’t want Bush meeting with black hurricane survivors during his first trip down to that part of the world, because they were “scared to death” of the reaction. (Jimmy Carter’s visit to Overtown in 1980 comes to mind.) “If I’m Karl, do I want the visual of black people hollering at the president as if we’re living in Rwanda?” Of course, all this is just the liberal media playing the race card.

The Blame Game:

W. says today, now is not the time for the blame. There will be time later to find out what happened and he wants to know what happened, too. Those of us who are a little less apt to take the president’s word as gospel might ask why he doesn’t already know what happened. According to a Knight/Ridder postmortem, administration spokeswoman Dana Perino said, “Overall, the president is in charge at the White House,” in response to a question about who was running the show at the White House while the storm raged. So, again, why does he need an investigation to find out what was going on while he was firmly in charge of the situation?

Its not only the liberal left asking where the buck stops in the Katrina relief debacle. That well known fellow traveler Charles Krauthammer writes that the president was, “late, slow, and simply out of tune with the urgency and magnitude of the disaster.” Of course, he then covers his political ass by blaming everybody else for the Katrina response disaster, too, including the Mayor of New Orleans, the governor of Louisiana, the congress and even the American people.

There’s no doubt that the state and local authorities messed up big time, but even before the storm hit the scale of the destruction had already been predicted by FEMA itself. There’s no way an impoverished city and two of the poorest states in the Union should have been expected to deal with this on their own, before or after.

You hear a lot about Mayor Nagin swearing on the radio from these FOX watcher types, like this is something very distasteful for a public official to do, (Nobody in the White House ever uses naughty language; well, except for Cheney who told a US senator to go fuck himself), but if he hadn’t done that interview, God knows how much longer it would have taken the federal government to wake up.

By the way, how is it that the media could get in and out of New Orleans and report from there live, yet city officials and doctors in destroyed hospitals were reduced to begging the media to tell the feds what was going on? Don’t worry, dubya, dubya, dubya, is on it.

In other news:

If it wasn’t for all this blame going on, someone would have noticed the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on the Jose Padilla case. Judge Michael Luttig wrote that the president has the right to lock up an American indefinitely without being charged. In this case, the president has the authority to designate someone as an “enemy combatant” and throw away the key without a trail or anything else. Luttig says al-Qaeda is “an entity with which the United States is at war.”

That’s an interesting reading of the law. When did congress declare war on that bunch of turbaned wackos hiding out in a Pakistani cave? This is a judge people are taking about possibly replacing Sandra Day! Do you think this ruling had anything to do with that? [AP]

Who’s to say the president doesn’t decide that the US is at war with liberal bloggers one of these days? He can count on Yahoo to help out in hunting down every one of them just like they helped put Chinese journalist Shi Tao in jail for 10 years.

The WaPo writes that Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang said, “to be doing business in China, or anywhere else in the world (Here for instance?), you have to comply with local law. I don’t like the outcome of what happens with these things, but you have to comply with the law.”

Another great victory for Iraqi security forces:

Once again, the Iraqis are victorious in routing the insurgents, this time in Tal Afar. AP reports "almost 200 suspected militants" were dead. Intersting how they kill these guys in such even numbers. Since they fight in civilian clothing, how do the Iraqis determine who is an insurgent and who is a civilan? No wait, this just in: "six civilians died in the fighting." Talk about precision!

The reports goes on to say, "invading force(s) discovered a network of tunnels below the city through which the insurgents were believed to have fled to the surrounding countryside." The offensive was a "was a great shock to al-Qaida," according to Interior Minister Bayan Jabr. I'm so sure!

Notice how the insurgents "fled" to the surrounding countryside. Just like the insurgents in Fallujah "fled" to Mosul and alomst completly took over while the Marines were busy "mopping up" there.

Defense Minister Sadoun al-Dulaimi said the "Syrians have to stop sending destruction to Iraq. We know the terrorists have no other gateway into Iraq but Syria." My question is; why can't the Iraqis secure their own borders after all this time?

It's one thing if the Syrians are letting these insurgents get to the border, even though the US military says only about 10% of the people they're fighting are foreigners, but it should be another thing when they try to get in. Saddam didn't have any trouble keeping his border closed, right?

Defense minister al-Dulaimi warned those giving aid and comfort to the insurgents, "that they must stop, kick them out or else we will cut off their hands, heads and tongues as we did in Tal Afar." Is this hand and tongue cutting on while we've got their back?

Send Michael Brown to Iraq?

Amidst this great victory for freedom and democracy, the tens of thousands of civilians from Tal Afar, mainly Turkmen, are living in tents in the desert. I wonder what the Turkish governemnt thinks about that?

Reports say, "Food, water and medical supplies are scarce." Have no fear, "the Iraqi and Turkish Red Crescent societies have rushed aid to the refugees."

When will Al Qaim and Qusaybah be liberated and once they are how long will it be before the insurgents "flee" back into Tal Afar? Hold your tongue!

[See this blog from May for more on the war on the Syrian border.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:22 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 12 September 2005 3:09 PM EDT
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Friday, 9 September 2005
Freedom is on the march, as long as you're signed up.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

Sign up for your t-shirt and right to march for freedom. Rummy's parade on Sunday to honor the dead of 9/11 and promote the war that has nothing to do with them, will be under tight security according to the WaPo. The parade route will be "fenced off and lined with police and the event closed to anyone who does not register online by 4:30 p.m. today."

The event called "America Supports You Freedom Walk," will start at the pentagon and wind up at the national Mall where the crowd will be rocked to the neo-fascist/country stylings of Clint Black.

Put a boot up the ass of whichever hater of freedom you please, as long as you love freedom, have proper ID, are of the correct political persuasion and have been thoroughly screened, you're free to celebrate freedom.

[The Dixie Chicks were invited but they will be unable to appear as they have been rendered to an undisclosed Middle Eastern country that promises not to torture them.]

The Post says what's unusual about this event "is the combination of fences, required preregistration and the threat of arrest." Yes, that is kind of unusual, since the Mall is kind of like one of the most recognizable symbols of American freedom where everybody is free to assemble. Not this time, though, this is a freedom march, "interlopers" and peaceniks need not apply.

Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford explains that the organizers of the march, the pentagon, requested in their permit application that the police put up "those fences to keep the public out." [So, I guess the money for staging this modern Nuremberg Rally will be coming out of Rummy's pocket, right?]

Not only will the public be kept out but the press isn't invited either! The WaPo writes that, "reporters and cameras are restricted to three enclosed areas along the route but are not permitted to walk alongside participants walking from the Pentagon, across the Memorial Bridge to the Mall." I guess, the pentagon is afraid Rummy might start goose stepping along the parade route or something. Golly, wouldn't that be embarrassing!

Note: Have you ever seen Richard Wilkins, the mayor of Sunnydale, and Rummy together, by the way? There are a lot of similarities in the way they talk and act. Could this be Rummy's assention?

Let's compare images: [My thanks to spookyfilms.com]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 5:47 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 9 September 2005 6:01 PM EDT
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