Fear of Clowns

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

Friday, May 01, 2009

Chinese water torture, crown of thorns ... pretty much the same thing 

If God let his own be tortured and murdered for the sake of others, certainly we can slap around a few Muslims who are going to be tortured in hell forever anyway.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chuck Norris for President 

Dumbass Hollywood winger is excited about awakening "cells" of revolutionaries and,

You really have to almost laugh at some of this. For eight years, progressives were lambasted -- in the face of the most unpopular and arguably the worst American president since the Civil War -- as victims of "Bush derangement syndrome" or as "Kos Kooks." That was largely because in the face of a government that invaded another nation on bogus pretenses and violated laws on core issues like torture and domestic spying, a few people advocated impeachment, a deliberative process under the U.S. Constitution, and a tiny handful talked about things like moving to Canada.

Meanwhile, less than two months into the Obama administration, right-wingers are stocking the basement pantry, piling up the shotguns and organizing "cells," all with the help of a talk-show host who coincidentially became unhinged after he drove down the ratings at CNN Headline News, something that most people didn't think was possible. There's a lot to hash out in this country over the next few years but it's becoming more and more clear who respects the Constitution, and who does not.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Who'd have guessed Bush would be confronted with all these diffcult decisions? 

I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.

- George W. Bush
January 15, 2009

Bush and Cheney are on a whirlwind media blitz to frame their disastrous polices of choice as either/or decisions,

Who would have known when Bush/Cheney entered office in 2000 that they'd be confronted with the choice of fabricating a case for invading Iraq or not?

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Monday, December 22, 2008

I can't get enough of the shoe thing 

Also from Rami.

From b3ta board.

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Recent cartoons from the Arabic press 

Thanks to Rami for sending and translating!



Translation: Kiss goodbye



Translation, quoting a famous Arabic song: "If I only knew my ending I wouldn't have started"



Translation: Bush entering history carrying a shoe on his back



Translation: The historical day of December 14th



Translation: We stand on solid ground in Iraq (Interpreting: we stand with our feet solid in Iraq)

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Biblical teachings and ideology: BOO! Science YEA! 

I was too caught up in partisan rhetoric at the time to realize my passion for knocking on doors was primarily driven by a desire to hear an announcement like this from the president-elect. Awesome. YAY! We did it!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Frogpile! 

I took my auratus from eggs out of their viv and built a naked pyramid to photograph.

abu ghraib frog pyramid

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Go shopping, or Party's over? 

Adding to my claim that the Bush policy to increase home ownership contributed to this crisis, I'll reference a wider observation on how other Bush policies got us to where we are now economically. Andrew J. Bacevich writes.

From the very outset [of Bush's"War on Terror], the president described the "war on terror" as a vast undertaking of paramount importance. But he simultaneously urged Americans to carry on as if there were no war. "Get down to Disney World in Florida," he urged just over two weeks after 9/11. "Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed." Bush certainly wanted citizens to support his war -- he just wasn't going to require them actually to do anything. The support he sought was not active but passive. It entailed not popular engagement but popular deference.

...[The Bush Administration] sought no additional revenue to cover the costs of waging a protracted conflict. It left the nation's economic priorities unchanged. Instead of sacrifices, it offered tax cuts. So as the American soldier fought, the American consumer binged, encouraged by American banks offering easy credit.

... Bush seems to have calculated -- cynically but correctly -- that prolonging the credit-fueled consumer binge could help keep complaints about his performance as commander in chief from becoming more than a nuisance. Members of Congress calculated -- again correctly -- that their constituents were looking to Capitol Hill for largesse, not lessons in austerity. In this sense, recklessness on Main Street, on Wall Street and at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue proved mutually reinforcing.

The laissez-faire economy can do no wrong ideology which has engulfed the Republican Party for three decades has quite possibly lead our country on a road to ruin --- and it seems for now the Party itself. For decades, fueled by anti-government and anti-regulation big money sponsors, conservatives have groomed their new leaders from every avenue - from campus organizations to local politicians' campaigns to K Street lobbyists into embracing the ideology of laissez-faire economics.

The current economic crisis seems to have undone in just a few weeks the decades-long effort by GOP patrons to turn our nation's economy into an naked aristocracy with big business at the helm. Party's over?

To unlock the mystery of the earlier [Wall Street bailout] bill's stunning rejection, consider two numbers: 82 and 0. The first is the percentage of retiring Republican representatives who voted for the bill. The second is the percentage of Republican freshmen who did.

... The new guard is fiercely stubborn, gutsily insubordinate, drama-loving and -- compared with the 82-percent-for-compromise old guard -- unadulteratedly ideological. And it could take the GOP off an even higher cliff than the one the party lurched off two years ago.

The 2007 presidential primary promised to provide a swift survival-of-the-fittest test for the competing new visions. When Sen. John McCain prevailed, it seemed that the winning philosophy was one that, in the main, dumped Republican orthodoxy in favor of solutions-oriented practicality. (In case you've been living in a spider hole this year and haven't heard, McCain likes calling himself a maverick, a doer, a wooer of independents, a post-partisan.)

But McCain's triumph actually hid the fact that, at the lower levels of the party, the emerging center of gravity is more conservative, not less. In the House, such young members as Jeb Hensarling (Tex.), Mike Pence (Ind.) and their ideologically purist soulmates on the Republican Study Committee (which absorbed most of the GOP freshmen) began to influence the party's agenda from the right, clamoring to make pork-busting the GOP's focus, demanding legislation to lower taxes and even mounting a prank revolt on a war-funding bill in May, just to flex their muscles. "The American people thought Republicans weren't acting like Republicans," Hensarling explained.

Yes, I agreed with House Republicans on their "NO" vote, but upon completely different reasoning. And yes, the blogosphere is rife with bloggers who worship big business as the new messiah, but then again somewhere around a quarter of Americans still approve of Bush's job performance.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A time for Congress to drag its feet 

In the hastily arranged 2002 Minnesota senatorial debate, Walt Mondale responded to Norm Coleman's claim to know how to get things done, "You said, 'Get it done.' I don't think your bill should get done."

As I've absorbed more information and opinion (Here's an article that brilliantly analogizes the problem in terms of marbles) I've changed my prior evaluation - this is a momentous and urgent crisis. However, because of its huge and deteriorating-by-the-day nature we can't shoot from the hip as we're doing - it's far more important to get it right the first time, as it's perhaps our only chance.

For far less important issues, Congress habitually holds many hearings and digests the opinions of many experts. As far as I know, and I think I'm right, Congress has taken testimony on the Paulson bill from zero experts aside from those in the Treasury Department and Fed - who played more than their fair share of a role in creating the conditions that allowed this crisis in the first place.

The strength of an idea is best tested by putting it up against competing ideas. Yes, the bill becomes more palatable each time through the sausage grinder, but by addition, not by modification or validation of the main ingredient. That the bill has "improved" speaks nothing to whether the fundamental concept of buying toxic assets from banks is the solution, a solution, part of a solution, or a hair-brained non-solution. From the expert opinion I've absorbed I'm judging it as one of the latter two possibilities.

Paulson has told negotiators he could only use about $50 billion (heh, "only") a month from the proposed fund (sorry, can't find link at the moment). $100 billion would get his plan as requested through the election, after which cooler heads may be more available to prevail. Or at least make cooler heads more available in general on Capitol Hill. The added wisdom to parcel out the appropriations over time is only equaled by the addition of congressional oversight, but again, good spices added to meat of unsure quality doesn't enhance flavor but masks it.

This is not the first time the Bush Administration has warned Congress of a can't-wait-must-act emergency shortly before an election. I hope this time we fail to act decisively before its too late to fail to act on a possibly devastating idea originating from Bush's bad idea factory.

This sentiment was stated most eloquently by Jeff Sessions (Republican of Alabama) during the hour and a half of the Senate floor debate I caught. Enthusiastically agreeing with with Jeff Sessions makes me feel creepily violated when I think about it but at the same time heightens my sense that the middle most "sensible" majority in Congress are being swept upstream by the frantic noises made by the White House.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Hurrah! 

Congress for once didn't hastily give the Bush Administration whatever they want whenever they cry "emergency!"

Granted, the final bill was better that what the administration asked for, but now Congress will have the opportunity to consult with many economists on a solution, not just a couple guys in the Bush Administration.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

$700B bailout doesn't sit pretty with me 

Having only read the main articles in the NYT and WaPo for over a week, it seems to me a really shitty bad idea to buy $700B in shitty investments from the banks who made the shitty investments. I appear to mostly agree with Republicans in the House at the moment - as far as that the bailout is a bad idea. Their offered alternative that tax cuts are the solution is baldly ludicrous, but predictable. I can think of a number of better ways to spend $700 billion and government is still sort of by the people so I think my government should come up with a better idea.

Among my better ideas of what to do with $700 billion would be creating a single-payer health care plan available to all Americans, paying off 7% of our national debt, or even giving it to the banks who haven't gotten themselves in deep trouble by acting like imbeciles.

The roots of the problem are the mortgages that shouldn't have been issued and the banks that made those mortgages possible. These banks aren't Krugman's "marble building" banks, but investment banks - banks that have an army of actuaries that certainly could (and maybe did) advise that such-and-such a percentage the mortgages their employers were investing in would go into foreclosure. And these are the banks the proposal mainly aims at bailing out.

Secondly, the administration claimed we had to bail out Bear-Stearns to avoid something like this happening, then that we had to seize Freddie and Fannie to avoid something like this happening, yet it happened. I certainly wouldn't want a doctor who had two failed plans to prevent a catastrophic illness to do emergency surgery on me once the illness came.

Thirdly, there are a lot of homeowners currently behind in mortgages or in foreclosure; assuming the risk of the bad debt banks currently hold isn't going to do anything about the bad debt coming down the pipe. I find it dubious that the bailout would prevent an extended recession or depression.

I would support legislation allowing judges to rewrite the terms of mortgages along lines laid out in the legislation. I may also support creating a special fund and allowing investment banks offer debt to the government that the government could accept or reject - and some on the Hill are suggesting something along those lines. Making this $700 billion available "as widely as possible" as the White House is pushing appears ripe for abuse and smacks of free money for bankers who screwed up.

Almost forgot: we need to reinstate the regulation of banks that's been dismantled over the decades of Republican ascendancy in Washington.

So that's that I think now based on the limited reading I've done since the crisis exploded.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How many mortgages does $85 billion make? 

It could buy outright half a million $175K homes. The number of defaulted mortgages $85 billion could have prevented is beyond my guesstimating more accurately than being sure it's at or beyond the metaphor "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Reposting an excerpt from my excerpt from the NYT Editorial Board's editorial yesterday,

Preventing foreclosures is the key to stanching the crisis, but policy makers have been unconscionably slow to address that aspect of the crisis.

Hindsight is a lot better than Dick Cheney's aim.

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GOP embraces socialism in a big, big way 

According to my math, the FED just spent about $5000 per taxpayer on a gambit to save our asses in exchange for 80% of a company whose worth nobody knows. If you pray, pray now that this is the first crisis Bush/Cheney, Inc. gets right for the whole country. That said, the damage done may be beyond divine intervention.

I don't want my promised tally to be a running tally, so I'm indefinitely postponing it as events unfold.

ADDENDUM:

[AIG's] management will be replaced, though Fed staffers did not name the new executives.

Who has Sarah Palin's number?!?!?!?!

PRIVATIZE THE PROFITS
SOCIALIZE THE RISK

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Chickens coming home to roost in a big way 

We want -- we want money being spent to help people buy homes. That's what we want ... Or if you're a consumer, maybe thinking about buying a house, if you look on your TV screens that say "March to War", you're not so sure you want to buy the house then, because you're not sure what the consequences of marching to war will be. Now we're marching to peace. We're marching to peace and the world is better off. We've overcome that obstacle ... Our nation's 68 percent home-ownership rate is the highest ever. More people own homes now than ever before in the country's history, and that's exciting for the future of America ... I set a good goal, which is adding 5.5 million new minority homeowners in America by the end of the decade.

- George Bush 3/26/2004

The Federal Reserve peeled out $300 Billion to bolster financial markets in the days after the 9/11 attacks. Maybe tomorrow I'll make a gruesome tally of what's been doled out since March in the last-second veer to avoid the impact of the GOP's attack on our economy under the flag of supply-side laissez-fair economics.

Here's an article mentioning the "d" word.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

A day late, but 

Via Crooks and Liars.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. 

Forget the diversion of the invasion of Iraq for a moment. Forget it ever happened.

The seventh year after 9/11 has been the bloodiest for our troops in Afghanistan.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Republicans: on the job training nothing new 

Here's the Republican response to the last major hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast.

katrina birthday

This time, they seem to be sending up trial balloons indicating they realize the political fate resulting from a a split screen hurricane/convention coverage scenario.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Iran boming rumor 

A US air attack on Iran is imminent. And a curiously timed Iranian announcement.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Krugman on Republicans 

Krugman,

[I]n the world we actually live in, pro-corporate, inequality-increasing Republicans argue that you should vote for them because they're regular guys you'd like to have a beer with, while Democrats who want to raise taxes on top earners, expand health care and raise the minimum wage are snooty elitists.

If there's anything else we need to understand about the economics of the 2004 elections, I don't know what it would be. The queer phenomenon of down-and-out social conservatives gathering at the gated communities of their corporate overlords pitchforks and torches in hand, bellowing, "We are here to lower your taxes!!" is described in detail by Thomas Frank in his phenomenal book What's the Matter with Kansas.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Please let it be the beginning of a long prison sentence 

Please,

In a release Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) announced he will hold a hearing July 25 examining "the imperial presidency of George W. Bush and possible legal responses."

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Republican myth vs reality II 

The goal of the "Iraq surge" was to give breathing room to Iraqi political leaders to find political reconciliation. Republicans are not claiming the surge has succeded.

Although violence is down, the mission has failed.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SC Governor on economic differences between Bush and McSame 

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ex Post Facto FISA + Obama presidency = no retroactive immunity 

Obama voted for the FISA Bill which keeps in place the original protections for domestic communications but gives retroactive immunity to telecoms who colluded with the Bush Administration's illegal spying on Americans.

When Obama is President, he could direct the DoJ to file a suit claiming pointing out that such Ex Post Facto legislation is blatantly unconstitutional allowing suits to move forward.

I mean, why not?

UPDATE: Russ Feingold doesn't see why not.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Obama on strategy vs tactics 

One of the flaws in the President's approach is to say that [Bush] is doing what General Petraeus tells him is the best thing to do; that's not the President's job, the President's job is to tell the general's what the mission is because you have to take the entire strategic interests of the United States in mind not just one particular front when it comes to our national interest. And so the mission I will set for our generals is to bring this war to a close.

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Jonah Goldberg: idiotarian 

Jonah Goldberg cries that a call for volunteerism from Barak Obama is tantamount to serfdom,

[T]he American revolution was all about escaping from the European model of servitude .... Incredibly, Barack Obama somehow believes that advocacy of a return to European style serfdom is a good way to celebrate the American Declaration of Independence from the oppression of English tyranny.

I especially liked this part of Obama's speech:

when I'm President, I will set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year. This means that by the time you graduate college, you'll have done 17 weeks of service. We'll reach this goal in several ways. At the middle and high school level, we'll make federal assistance conditional on school districts developing service programs, and give schools resources to offer new service opportunities.

So 17 weeks of service is sort of like European serfdom. I can't imagine what Goldberg would say had he wanted to write a snarky article about Bush's 2002 State of the Union address,

My call tonight is for every American to commit at least two years, 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime, to the service of your neighbors and your nation.

Or for that matter, the Gippers legacy.

Idiot.

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Candy ass liberal freaks out during fraternity hazing 

The pussy.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fauxtrage! 

Right-wingers freak out over David Addington's appearance before a congressional hearing, claiming the hearing revealed his persona which has never been a secret to anyone. This, from the same folks that tried their best to defend the leaking of an actual covert CIA agent.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I read the IAEA reports 

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, I read the IAEA and UNMOVIC reports. That is how I came to know Iraq had no WMD. Those only reading the US press - or more likely only listening to Bill O'Reilly had a different opinion.

It baffles me that most of those pushing the obviously unfounded Iraqi WMD lies still have the same jobs.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Theives target recyclable items 

Oh, oh. I wonder if there were any Cubans involved.

In two states where US attorneys are already under fire for serious allegations of political prosecutions, seven people associated with three federal cases have experienced 10 suspicious incidents including break-ins and arson ...

In Alabama, for instance, the home of former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman was burglarized twice during the period of his first indictment ... the only items of interest to the burglars were the files in Siegelman's home office.

Siegelman's attorney experienced the same type of break-in at her office.

In neighboring Mississippi, a case brought against a trial lawyer and three judges raises even more disturbing questions ... The main target of the indictment, attorney Paul Minor, had his office broken into, while Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, Oliver E. Diaz Jr., had his home burglarized. According to police reports and statements from Diaz and from individuals close to Minor, nothing of value was taken and the burglars only rummaged through documents ...

The incidents are not limited to burglaries. In Mississippi, former Judge John Whitfield was the victim of arson at his office. In Alabama, the whistleblower in the Don Siegelman case, Dana Jill Simpson, had her home burned down ...

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Another Bush lie revealed 

If Iraq is a sovereign state as Bush has been claiming for several years the Blackwater narrative would be entirely different. The very definition of a soverign state requires that its government have a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. If this were so, there would be no controversy and negotiations about whether Blackwater will continue to play a role in Iraq. Furthermore, there would be no question at all over whether Blackwater is answerable to Iraq's justice system.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Baghdad embassy slop job: way beyond poetic justice 

If only a fraction of this yarn holds weight it is enough to send anyone's head spinning regardless of what they think of the grand Iraq adventure. Allegedly, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, scheduled to be finished next month, has been built in the manner of a soundstage for a B-movie spaghetti western,

Ralph McNamara, the former [U.S. State Department] deputy assistant inspector general for investigations, said in an Associated Press interview Tuesday that he came forward with the allegations against his former boss because he was concerned that State Department employees would be at risk when working in the new embassy.

"A rocket - an unexploded munition - went through a portion of a cement ceiling there, and it was supposed to be an area able to withstand a direct hit from a missile that did explode," said McNamara. He said investigators wanted to look into charges that the walls were not built to the required thickness or concrete consistency, but they were blocked from pursuing it.

And, the story goes, the structure has been built in part by slave labor imported from the Philippines by a contractor, First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co,

"I was given my flight information to Baghdad. At this time, First Kuwaiti managers asked me to escort 51 Filipino nationals to the Kuwaiti airport and make sure they got on the same flight that I was taking to Baghdad. Many of these Filipinos did not speak any English," [Rory James Mayberry, a former employee of First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co] told US congressmen. "I wanted to help them make sure they got on their flight OK, just as my managers had asked. We were all employees of the same company after all.

"But when we got to the Kuwait airport, I noticed that all of our tickets said we were going to Dubai. I asked why? The Kuwaiti manager told me that because Filipino passports do not allow Filipinos to fly to Iraq, they must be marked as going to Dubai,"
Mayberry said.

Howard J. Krongard, the State Department's inspector general in charge of investigating the project, said that he conducted a "limited review" on the conditions of foreign laborers at the construction site in Baghdad and did not find reasons to substantiate the claims.

The Filipinos worked at the embassy construction site with laborers from India, Pakistan and Sierra Leone. Mayberry, who read Krongard's report. "It's not worth the paper it’s printed on. This is a cover-up. I'm glad that I have this opportunity to set the record straight," he told the committee. Mayberry said the workers were told they would be working in hotels in Dubai, not in Baghdad. According to him, the First Kuwaiti managers even instructed him specifically not to tell the Filipinos they were being taken to Baghdad. "As I found out later, these men thought they had signed up to work in Dubai hotels. One fellow I met told me in broken English that he was excited to start his new job as a telephone repair man. They had no idea they were being sent to do construction work on the US embassy," Mayberry said.

"Mr. Chairman, when the airplane took off and the captain announced that we were headed for Baghdad, all you-know-what broke lose on that airplane. People started shouting. It wasn't until a security guy working for First Kuwaiti waved an MP-5 in the air that people settled down," he said, addressing Rep. Henry A. Waxman, chairman of the oversight committee.

And what's a scandal these days without a healthy dose of Bush-loyalist political cronyism,

[U.S. State Department Inspector General Howard J.] Krongard looked into it.

Only he had a peculiar method, according to Waxman's investigation. First, he insisted on doing the report entirely by himself and shut out his staff. And instead of seeking out the source of the allegations, he allowed the contractor to choose the employees that he'd interview. He ultimately interviewed six employees.

The result? Krongard declared that he found no evidence of human trafficking.

But when Waxman sought the investigative materials that Krongard had generated in the course of his probing investigation, Krongard only turned over 20 pages total (after a subpoena from Waxman). Of those 20 pages, only six of them were Krongard's own work product -- sketchy handwritten notes from his interviews with the contractor's handpicked witnesses.

The Justice Department has since launched an investigation.

Anticipated wing-nut response: That we didn't build our embassy to last is proof we have no long-term intentions to stay in Iraq.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

The surge bamboozlement 

Video proof from the uniformed military that the White House's Iraq propaganda last week was based on the lie that the planned draw down to pre-surge levels was made possible by the surge's "success". Put together by the incomparable Vericifiers,

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

My criticism of Bush's speech before he makes it 

The main thing I see, W, is that early this year you signed into law 18 benchmarks to be met by this month - benchmarks by which progress could be judged at this time. You gave yourself an F. Does it really matter that you can "see some good" that's happened amongst your overall stellar failure? The only reason I'm even listening at this point is to remind myself that you and you alone own this war and are singularly responsible for the catastrophe.

I can't believe you actually credited the reduction in violence in Anbar to the surge, that's funny. Here, look at your boy Petreaus' bar-chart of attacks in Anbar over time. They peaked in October 2006 and have been falling steadily since. You didn't even announce your "surge" until four months later - and aren't you also , trying to make the case that the "surge" has only been going on at force for a few months?

Besides, all the benchmarks were predicated on the assumption the "surge" would give the room needed for them to happen. Reduced violence wasn't the goal of your surge - you don't get any points for just showing up.

You began telling us, "We're turning the corner" during your 2004 campaign, usually adding something along the lines of "The next few months will be hard but crucial to our success" and "Pulling back now while we're making good progress would be turning victory into defeat." Like an upside-down boy who cried wolf, such claims have long lost credulity.

Why don't I come up with a plan then if I'm so smart? I've had a plan for years. We ought to pull back. We need keep some troops on the borders to ensure Turkey doesn't annex Kurdistan and Iran doesn't annex the southern oil fields. We ought to provide air support to the central government. Since ethnic cleansing began last Fall, we should also be prepared to intervene if it turns into genocide. No more ridiculous missions like "Operation Iron Eggbeater".

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Sixth anniversary 

Given a choice between a world of nations controlled by corporations standing to lose profits from war between their client governments and a world in which nations went to war among one another willy-nilly, I'd in pick the corptocracy.

As far as that scenario provides, I'm in agreement with Bush's foreign policy. And I rather think Bush's War on Terror is driven at least in part by the contrast between those two choices.

However, those aren't the only two choices available and a military struggle between ideologies without territories is futile. By the administration's own admission "the terrorists won't stop with Iraq". Iraq is not an Iwo Jima no matter how much supporters of the war try to make it.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

No more good news about Iraq, please! 

I can't take any more good news about progress in Iraq, I've had quite a bit enough already.

Early on. I recall the heroic effort to save Pvt. Lynch and the fantastic toppling of the statue of Hussein. Both staged propaganda events. Although the follow up act with Bush's flight suit and codpiece didn't pretend to be anything more than a theatrical production marking the end of major combat, any but the most casual observers had enough information to understand the White House and Pentagon's public relations communications had little to do with anything actually happening in Iraq.

Half a year ago there seemed to be wide agreement that September - this month - would be a time to frankly assess what political progress has made by the Iraqi government, with the benefit of three elections under it's belt.

Yet, all signs indicate the discussion is going to be over the bogus statistics describing violence or lack thereof - not the political progress or lack thereof. The statistics that matter are:

I'm sad to say there isn't enough Iraqi will to take advantage of our presence to work toward those types of goals. They don't want our help - in fact, we're an irritant. It's time to reduce our role to keeping Turkey, Iran and Iraq's other neighbors from injecting themselves into the mess militarily and preventing all-out genocide.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

USA vs IRAN 

I assume everyone who makes it to this blog is aware of the upcoming Bomb Iran marketing campaign, but there it is nonetheless.

Neither the Iranian or White House regime has much left to lose politically, and I can't think of anything scarier than a psychotic leader of the world's most lethal war machine finally acknowledging his deep unpopularity yet thinks his Big Vision will still be a hit with future historians. Except when he'd thinking about tussling with another unpopular regime that sees an opportunity for a repeat a humiliation of the military giant.

Having recently been dealt a Royal Flush on video poker, I think I can understand the temptation to gamble big when you're already in the hole - it's the irrational euphoria that problem gamblers seek, not the rationally unlikely payoff.

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