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January 29, 2005
No Answers

Inauguration Day 2005, when the last superpower in the world took on the terrorists.

I might not have understood why "they" hated us before, but I certainly understand why they would hate us now and forever.

Ask yourself; is anyone safer today than they were before we slaughtered an estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilians? Is anyone safer now, in a world where Iraqis are looking back on Saddam Hussein's regime with nostalgia?

Is anyone safer with this?

I acquit most of the "coalition" forces of any desire at all to kill civilians. But this is war and innocent people do get killed. That's a large part of what makes war ugly. That's a large part of why no one should ever make war unless no alternative exists. It's very easy for Mr. "All I ever got was a hangover" Bush to send a few hundred thousand soldiers to Iraq. He's a clueless nitwit.

War is not about borrowing someone's flight suit or waving around a plastic turkey to a handful of carefully picked soldiers.

It's about dead people. No one wanted them dead, but we chose make war, optional war, and the people died. Children died. Their mothers died. Their fathers died. And for what?

So we could destabilize the Middle East and wrap our hands around Iraq's huge oil reserves.

I just...I'm at a loss. I can think of no way on earth any sane person could justify this course of action to themselves.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:39 AM | Comments (3)
January 28, 2005

Avedon Carol is, as always, doing great work covering the story about reported vote fraud and campaigning for open, honest elections.

Personally, I think stories like a handful of idiots slashing tires isn't quite proof of wide-scale Democratic Party corruption, but I'd certainly be happy to see some disapproval of such behavior radiating from the Left. (Via Andrew) What I want is honest and transparent elections (or as close as we can come) for all of us.

Is DeLay trying to rearrange Congress so he can hand out favors and buy votes for an insanely expensive boondoggle? (I totally approve of space exploration, but this Mars thing is just Bush fantasizing that he's JFK. Also I'm bitterly opposed to the decision not to service the Hubble Telescope so that that money can be directed at this stupid Mars project.)

The consequences of spreading democracy. (Via Cliopatria)

Cheney embarrasses the country. I mean...what? Did the airplane lose his luggage? Or maybe no one told him that a formal ceremony required a certain formality of dress? What kind of moron decided that a ski parka and a wooly hat were how Cheney should show his respect for the dead at Auschwitz? Short of assuming his delusions extend to Holocaust Denial, I'm completely at a loss for how to understand this disrespect.

Boy Scouts stand for...fraud?

And I've thought this myself, more than once. Government officials shouldn't be able to give themselves raises unless they're also helping actually needy members of the population.

Doug at A Fistful of Euros has been talking about the EU Constitution. You don't see much about that in the USofA press, but it's a fascinating process.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

It was all about the oil. Color me so surprised. 100,000 civilians liberated to death by a lie so that USofA oil companies could own the rights to Iraq's oil reserves. Plus, the 'democracy' in Iraq that isn't.

We're quite a piece of work.

Make no mistake, though. We've created such a hellacious mess over there that I really do believe if the Bush Administration has sufficient guarantees of USofA oil company access to supplies, that they'd be thrilled to be asked to leave. After all, if we're asked to leave, any subsequent disasters aren't our fault, right? This would be a nice out for the Bush Administration, a tidy way to allow them to avoid fixing what they broke.

Torture. We done it. The evidence continues to mount. It's particularly ironic to have these revelations continue to appear during the week when the world remembers the liberation of Auschwitz, isn't it?

It looks like Cheney's oil company-sponsored energy task force isn't out of the legal woods yet. An appeals court is reconsidering the FOIA demand. I predict some documents will be found to have been "lost" if Cheney's office loses the appeal.

A third columnist has come out of the Administration-funded closet. Only four thousand for this guy. He must feel robbed, looking at everyone else's hauls.

And Bush has now discovered the Black Caucus. Now that he can't even rally his own party around privatizing Social Security, he's meeting with Black legislators and playing, as Paul Krugman explains a bogus race card.

Remember Zena Mahlangu? Well, ol' kingy is at it again. He's picked up new one. Actually, since Zena was wife #10 and this new one is wife #13, he's picked up quite a few new ones. (Also, remember the prosecutor who bravely took on the case of investigating Zena's reported kidnapping? He's still fighting. And while we're reading the history of this place, take a gander at how girls, but not boys, are being targeted and punished for having sex. And the king himself is an odd but interesting relic.)

Posted by AnneZook at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)
Hee Hee

I'm sorry I missed this Charles Pierce column before.

Your Government In Action: Keeping the Homeland safe through cheese.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)
January 27, 2005
Not Your Father's GOP

Condaleeza Rice's famous statement, that her father was the "first Republican I ever knew" gets a bit of context. And it's just plain a fascinating story into the bargain.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)
Scanning the News

Eric Alterman is calling on all right-wingers to reveal their professional conflicts of interest.

I think we should all do it. Fair is fair, after all. Shouldn't ask others to do what we're not willing to do, right? Let's all just stand up and make the admissions now, confess to all our conflicts of interest and behind-the-scenes influences, and get it over with.

Here's mine: I gave the Democratic Party a very small donation. They sent me a bumper sticker, and then five thousand letters, begging for more money. I estimate they spent 3 times my original donation trying to get more money out of me. Not once did they ask my opinion about anything, they just said money was the key to success and if we'd all send it to them, the world would be rosy.

I had a secret agreement with myself. If they'd ever asked what I thought should be done with the money, I'd have told them, and sent a generous donation. But they didn't.

This influenced me. I felt repeated waves of aggravation.

I'm not a Democrat. But I am a liberal.

(After the election they sent me an e-mail bragging about how fabbo they'd been in organizing grass-roots support for the party and linking to an on-line poll. I trotted over and told them, in no uncertain words, just what I thought. I didn't give them any money that time, either. I don't think they read it. They never answered me, anyhow. Moving on now....)

If you scroll down, you'll see Eric reveals his own secrets to us. People offered him money, but he said no.

This morning on the way in, I found myself gagging over an NPR clip of Dick Cheney solemnly speechifying at Auschwitz about how terrible it all was and how we ought to make sure it never happens again. I'm thinking...anyone told him about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and the half-dozen "secret" prisons our country is maintaining at the moment? Anyone explained to him that that "prison abuse story" is rapidly morphing into the poorly concealed story of a policy of secret detainments and widespread, Administration-authorized torture? Has anyone told him he's one of the bad guys? Because he's kinda old and maybe he hasn't read the reports.

I also heard a lunatic clip of Orrin Hatch pontificating about how the Hispanic population of the USofA is watching with breathless anticipation to see if Congress gets all prejudiced on poor, Alberto "Show Me The Money" Gonzales.

That's right...Hatch says a vote against Alberto "Give 'Em A Taste O'Torture" Gonzales (no matter what you call it) is racial prejudice and has nothing to do with a distaste for slapping electric wires on men's genitals.

On a closely related subject, I told you so.

In recent memory, nothing could be done without the US. Today, however, practically all new international institution-building of any long-term importance in global diplomacy and trade occurs without American participation.

I'm just saying. Australia. Think about it. Interesting country, multi-ethnic population, strategic location, etc. What's not to like?

Dick Meyers is kind of a dork. Also, I remain persistent in my refusal to be convinced by apples and oranges comparisons and he should be ashamed of himself for writing that sloppy column. I do think the original situation was ridiculously overblown, considering there are reputable scientific indications that significant biological gender differences exist in the brain, but in the absence of any similar studies about skin color, I find his comparison offensive.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)
Us and Them

Sam Rosenfeld at The American Prospect on Republican corruption in Congress. To no one's surprise, Them are a lot more corrupt than Us were. (The source Boston Globe series is excellent reading.)

What Us have to remember is that Them have never made a secret out of their lust for "strict constructionism" when it comes to law. Therefore, we can expect to find ourselves writing more and more about Gonzales-type nominees in this and future wingnut administrations unless, as Mustang Bobby suggests, the anti-American, Hey, let's not torture people! movement is really getting traction.

I'm not saying some of Us aren't hypocrites, but I haven't seen many of Us who can measure up to Them in that area.

I mean, Us do things that are wrong sometimes. Everyone does. But Us don't use quite the same scale of cover-up and payoff as Them. Nor do Us tell the kind of completely transparent lies that Them do. (Sadly, many of the Inattentive Others can't be bothered to notice these things.)

Them "stand for" other things that Us don't approve of (and almost none of which are the things Them used to stand for, when I was young, and they hadn't yet surrendered to the wingnuts). A lot of folks are trying to formulate words to describe what Us believe in. Contribute to the discussion.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)
January 26, 2005
Follow. The. Money.

Your government in action.

You want to know what the Bush Administration cares about?

Funds promised (but not delivered) for tsunami relief: $650,000,000.
Funds allocated to build a new embassy in Iraq, up to: $2,000,000,000,000.

Got that?

The people:    $650,000,000
The building:  $2,000,000,000,000
The reason: There's a lot of oil in Iraq.

Link provided for those of you still delusional enough to think the Bush Administration means well by the people of the world.

I mean...just think of what hundreds of thousands of poverty-level or near-poverty level families could have done with their $1,200 per person contribution to the war. Food. Shelter. Transporation. Health insurance.

Heck, they could even have paid a few of the medical bills caused by the gutting of OSHA over the years. (Bush on OSHA, scroll down, link via Josh Marshall).

And another fun quote:

At nearly $105 billion, total funding for military operations [in Asian nations] in 2005 would be more than 13 times larger than Bush's budget for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Isn't that fun? We have unlimited billions to spend on killing people but not a lot to spend on protecting the world they would have lived on if they hadn't died.

Hey! Maybe that's the Bush Administration's answer to Kyoto? They won't agree to cut corporate emissions...but they're assuming that by removing a few hundred thousand people from the planet and impoverishing millions of others, that "market forces" will consequently reduce emissions? After all, dead people don't drive cars and poor people don't buy as many goods produced from polluting industries and can't pay for heating oil or anything else.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:57 AM | Comments (1)
Things I'd Rather Not Say

I think that disagreeing, no matter how violently, with Condaleeza Rice's politics and single-minded 'loyalty' to George Bush is not a reason to vote against her as Secretary of State. Much as I dislike the entire Bush cult of little yes-men, I find myself doubting that Congress's power to "advise" encompasses the right to vote against someone because you dislike their politics. The issue should be whether or not she's qualified to be Secretary of State. Of course, for the record, I should make it clear that I totally approve of using the nomination hearings to scold the Bush Administration, though. The White House isn't much about listening to anyone who isn't lockstepped into their mindset. These confirmations hearings are among the only times you can be sure someone is actually paying attention.

(On the other hand, if you're Gonzales, then you deserve to have your nomination fail because your devotion to working around the law instead of upholding it makes you unfit for the office you're seeking.)

I don't care about Bush's $40M inauguration, okay? His financiers donated most of the money privately and it wouldn't have gone to the troops anyhow. Why does everyone talk about that figure like it was yanked directly from the DoD's multi-billion dollar budget? Let's talk instead of about the figure the government (i.e., we, the taxpayers) paid for security for that mess. Like over $20 million shelled out by the Feds and the perennially cash-strapped DC? (Or, we could laugh about how the group who pretends they're liberating the world now have to move around inside a rocket-launcher protected 'bubble' because the world is so much worse off than it was four years ago.)

Does the figure $1.7 billion ring any bells with you? It should. Hundreds of billions of dollars ago, it was what we were told would be the USofA taxpayers' contribution to reconstructing Iraq. (Probably the Bush Administration, if they discussed it, which they won't and we don't seem to have an honest journalist left in the country who will ask directly, would say that the $300 Billion price tag we're facing so far isn't about reconstruction, it's about fighting the war. As I understand it, almost none of the "reconstruction" money seems to have been spent.)

The Bush Administration could not be happier about the massive budget deficit and the stumbling economy. Sad, but true. They're delighted. This is exactly what they need as an excuse to further slash already crippled social programs. This is exactly the excuse they need to justify more depredations on the Head Start and the FDA and the EPA and other social and environmental programs. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.

They want this deficit. They want the country lumbered with a gargantuan debt for decades to come, don't you understand? Their intent is to destroy as much of the government as they can. Past Republican excesses in this line have already directly contributed to people getting hurt and they've just begun dismantling the ecology. They fantasize about a world where the government exists to maintain an army and to make sure corporations aren't prevented from making profits any way they want. And that's about all they care about. (Okay, a couple of them also want to control your sex life, but that's a different rant.)

It's like the Social Security "crisis." It's all a lie. Many people have been pointing this out for a long time. Some are still mentioning it from time to time. The reason Social Security is predicted to be unable to meet its obligations is because the government spends the money on other things.

Another "pundit" comes out of the closet and admits to taking government funds to push the Administration's agenda. But we forgive her. Apparently the $20,000+ she received just slipped her mind, as did the fact that she was paid another $20,000 to 'write a report' on the same subject for the Bush Administration. She just forgot about $40,000, that's all.

I do want to say that I applaud those people, here and there, fighting to take back control of the country from the corporations.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)