Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Matt Drudge tries hand at poetry 

What does it mean? (archive) The first pic accompanies a link to a story about Bob Kerrey and Lee Hamilton leaving the 9-11 Commission's questioning of Bush and Cheney early, the second about alleged mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. The prisoner pictured was supposedly told if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Saddam's Ba'ath Party no longer outlawed in Iraq 

The move however is not a Bush flip-flop: The President never said "regime elimination", he said "regime change".

Keep afraid 

Today is the 100th birthday of Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb. It's also the 54th anniversary of the first atomic explosion to be shown on live network television. Now we're supposed to feel afraid of the terra'sts, I suppose. John Adams seems to have been correct when he observed that "Fear is the foundation of most governments."

He must have asked nicely 

Lots of coffins we're not supposed to be seeing.

Zig-Zag Miller 

Zell Miller, March 1, 2001:

Zell Miller, March 24, 2004:

Monday, April 19, 2004

Prescient quotes 

"We must give notice to this president and other Presidents that deceit and deception over issues as grave as going to war and waging war cannot be tolerated in a constitutional democracy."
- Elizabeth Holtzman
Debate on Articles of Impeachment,
Hearings of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Reps.
93rd Congress, 2nd Session, p 494


'Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us;" but he will say to you, "Be silent: I see it, if you don't."'
- Abraham Lincoln
Letter to William H. Herndon, February 15, 1848

Sunday, April 18, 2004

A difference of opinion 

Speaking of the Israeli assassination of Abdelaziz Rantisi, Condoleezza Rice told FOX News Sunday's Chris Wallace, "This will strengthen the road map." Photos from Palestine today show a different opinion:

Sunday, April 11, 2004

"Phoenix Memo" + Moussaoui + August 6 PDB = X 

Two months before 9-11, Phoenix FBI agent Kenneth Williams wrote a memo to FBI HQ, reading in part,

In the version of William's memo made public, most all names are blacked out: if any of the 19 hijacker's names were mentioned in this memo, it means that the FBI HQ knew the identities of terrorists who two months later would hijack four airplanes within the United States - and had been warned of the possibility of specific individuals who were feared to be at some point in the development of a plot to hijack airplanes.

On August 15, 2001, Minneapolis FBI agents took Zaccharias Moussaoui into custody . Here is Colleen Rowley's May 21, 2002 memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller concerning Moussaui: Rowley writes,

Between these two events, President Bush received the now famous August 6 Presidential Daily Briefing which stated,

Rather than point out absurdities such as Bush claiming that the memo "said nothing about an attack on America," I'll present the nutshell timeline:

The significance of the August 6 memo reaches beyond the loose warnings it describes by establishing the intelligence failures reached all the way up to the Oval Office - the President was made aware that an al Qaeda plot to hijack airplanes may be in the works. Shortly before the President received the August 6 memo, an FBI agent had alerted FBI Headquarters of suspected terrorists taking flying lessons at US schools. Shortly after the President had definitively been made aware of al Qaeda's active desire to attack within the US, the FBI obtained definitive and specific information about Zaccharias Moussaoui - and indeed had him in custody. It's now the JD's contention that Moussaoui was the 20th hijacker, which is a reasonable assumption.

The August 6 brief means much more when looked at along side Kenneth Williams' memo and the arrest of Zaccharias Moussaoui. A presidential directive to vigorously pursue leads on suspected al Qaeda operatives within the US - particularly those suspected of planning a hijacking - could have turned over some rocks and shook some trees that were known of, but left unexamined until it was too late.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Pass the buck, it's not mine! 

Condi Rice: "I don't remember the al Qaeda cells being something that we were told we needed to do something about."

The National Security Advisor needed to be told that al Qaeda terrorist cells inside the US deserved attention? Is this really what she was saying? Who's job is it to advise the security advisor? Who was Rice trying to pass the buck to? Who?

Listening to the hearing, it seemed to me that everybody - including Condi - had concentrated on preparing messages to give instead of answers to find. For example, the "gotcha" moment about the title of the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing had happened years ago ...

From the front page of the Sunday, May 19, 2002 Washington Post:

I would rather have heard an answer to "Condi, why didn't you think terrorist cells in the US were something you should do something about?" But as nobody had anticipated Rice would offer such an ridiculous defense for the White House's involvement in the intelligence failures, the question was not asked ...

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Bush good, Kerry bad 

Bush has trumpeted proposed increases in Pell Grants as the "cornerstone" of his higher education policy (although he hasn't completely followed through on his promises), yet when Kerry supports increasing Pell Grant funding, the Bush campaign lists it as an unconscionable increase in spending:

Bonus prevarication: Neither of the two sources cited for Kerry's "$16 Billion" increase mention Pell Grants at all.

Monday, April 05, 2004

We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. 

Riffing on a theme by The Apostropher:

"There will be dancing in the streets throughout Iraq if we liberate that country."
- Richard Perle

"I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps."
- Ken Adelman

"Over and over, we hear reports of Iraqis here in the United States who manage to communicate with their friends and families in Iraq, and what they are hearing is amazing. Their friends and relatives want to know what is taking the Americans so long. When are you coming?"
- Paul Wolfowitz

"We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."
- Dick Cheney

"Mission Accomplished."
- George W. Bush


How anybody can believe that the same people who were so wrong can effectively deal with the mess they've created is beyond me.

Bush disses using military force to set course of democracy 

Harkening back to Richard Perle's assertion that "Democracies do not start aggressive wars", today, President Bush noted:

Could have fooled me, my impression was that Bush was all for deciding the course of Iraq by use of force.

Another curious item is Bush's response to a reporter's question about the June 30th deadline for transfer of authority in Iraq: "The United Nations representative is there now to work on the -- on a -- on to whom we transfer sovereignty. I mean, in other words, it's one thing to decide to transfer. We're now in the process of deciding what the entity will look like to whom we will transfer sovereignty." So now we're thinking of transferring Iraqi "sovereignty" to the UN? Whaa?

Bush: The $6 Trillion Dollar Man 

I find it troubling I've read or heard nothing of this other than directly from Kerry's website. news.google.com produces one result for "6 trillion bush kerry" - a reposting of the press release on a Spanish website. I listened to the O'Franken Factor. No mention. Have looked at all the blogs I regularly look at. Have looked at CNN.com, NYTimes, WaPo. No mention of Bush the $6 Trillion Dollar Man. If the Bush Campaign had produced a press release this morning "reporting" on Kerry, Rush Limbaugh and every other right wing radio and TV host would be repeating it. Blogs would echo it endlessly. Then it would be a front page news item.

Why is nobody following Kerry's lead on this?

Update 5:15 pm: finally, a NY Times article. Maybe bloggers read that more than Kerry's own site.

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