Saturday, April 03, 2004
A Comment to a Recent Post
by Wanda, of Words on a Page fame. I had to put it here, since Haloscan didn't allow long posts.
We don't know how many of these mercenaries, oops, sorry, "private security forces" are over there.
We don't know what kind of training they've had. Are they ex-military, or are they guys who couldn't get into the army? And if so, why couldn't they?
We don't know what kinds of orders or instructions they've been given.
They are not answerable to the media, the citizens, or any easily recognized force.
We don't know what happens if they kill an Iraqi civilian. Do the mercenaries answer to anyone? Or are they a law unto themselves?
If one dies, we don't know if he died. "Sorry. Not an American soldier. Off the books."
And I suspect that Conservatives love the idea. They probably imagine a bunch of men's men, smoking cigars and answerable to no one save God, and maybe not even God.
We don't know if these guys were brutal thugs with a taste for mayhem that their army service couldn't fill.
We don't know if this was the job they took because they couldn't get any other job in Bush's economy, and they needed to put food on the table.
We don't know if they were chosen because they were well trained and cautious, moral men -- or because they were well trained and unscrupulous.
We don't know. We don't know. We don't know, don't know, don't know, don't know.
I turn to the government. The government raises its hands. "Sorry! Private. Don't know."
If an American soldier dies, I have some idea of why he joined, why he fights, what he's been told, why he died. You can respect the soldiers, living or dead.
Desecration of bodies is shameful. Civilized behavior abhors it. Islam abhors it. It is shameful regardless of side, and has no grounds.
I will not blame all Iraqis for the actions of a mob. And I will not be whipped into a blood frenzy over the deaths of these four people. These are not the equivalents of American soldiers, they do not wear the flag of my country. I am saddened by their deaths, but only to the extent that I am saddened by the deaths of any human being. Every human being was some mother's child, once. Every human being represents untapped and undreamable potential. I do not see it as my patriotic duty to elevate their deaths to the deaths of the 600 men and women who wear the country's uniform and died in Iraq. Maybe the Conservatives have a better argument, but I just don't see it.
This ugly episode is just one more episode of Boy George's complete lack of accountability. And seeing as how he wishes to use these deaths as a justification of American presence and some misguided notion of "revenge", we can add "lack of shame" to "lack of accountability". George W. Bush, someday, you will get yours. Not from me, maybe not from the American electorate in 2004. The wheels of justice turn slowly, little man.
But they do turn. Selah.
posted by Green Voicemail 4/03/2004 06:02:00 PM
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Which Liberal Thinker Made the Following Quotation?
"I suspect the general is correct. In fact, I will go further: I think the failure of the Pakistani Army to win this battle (entrapping al-Qaeda leaders) marks the beginning of the end for Pakistan's current President, General Musharraf. The defensive victory of the tribal fighters will turn into an offensive victory, giving courage and a sense of inevitable victory to Musharraf's enemies while causing near-revolt in Musharraf's base, the army itself. Before the year is out, I suspect we will see General Musharraf's head impaled on a pike and surging Pashtun crowds proclaiming Osama as their leader."
Answer: William S. Lind, the Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation. According to the bottom of the link , "The Free Congress Foundation is a 26-year-old Washington, DC-based conservative think tank, that teaches people how to be effective in the political process, advocates judicial reform, promotes cultural conservatism, and works against the government encroachment of individual liberties."
posted by Green Voicemail 4/01/2004 08:44:00 PM
March 30th, New York Times: I.R.S. Request for More Terrorism Investigators Is Denied
The Republican Party -- paying any price, bearing any burden , to keep America safe from terrorism.
posted by Green Voicemail 4/01/2004 08:34:00 PM
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
George Gallup, Boy George's Friend
Recently conservatives are hawking a new poll from the Gallup Organization showing Bush ahead of Kerry. The poll can be found here . To summarize the findings:
"After trailing Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry in voter support throughout much of the Democratic primary season, President George W. Bush has taken a slight lead in the race for president. According to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted March 26-28, Bush has picked up four points compared to early March, putting him slightly ahead of Kerry among registered voters: 49% to 46%. Earlier this month, Bush had trailed Kerry by five points, 45% to 50%."
Immediately Democrats scratch their heads and Conservatives crow that Boy George has magically turned the corner -- he sure showed them liberals! They're about to put a crown on his head at any moment, as Boy George must have scored some sort of touchdown, even if he bumbled-stumbled-fumbled to the end zone.
However, I'm going to ask the referee for an instant replay: I quote from the bottom of the same article:
These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,001 adults, aged 18 years and older, conducted March 26-28, 2004.
All in all, telephone polls are not only unreliable, but they skew conservative in all kinds of ways. Cheryl Seal, from Unknown News explains...from 2002!!
"One big reason is that so many of the people least likely to be conservative are routinely underrepresented by telephone polls: households in the South, in rural areas, on Indian reservations, African American households, households with either one person or those with six or more people, households with children under 14 and unemployed people.
"In addition, the following groups who do have phones are also likely to be routinely absent from polls:
"Poor people with unlisted numbers (surprisingly, low income people are actually more likely to have unlisted numbers than wealthier phone customers)
"People whose only number is a cell phone (a growing number)
"People with caller ID who never pick up unidentified calls (a growing percentage of phone users) This group includes people from lower income brackets who may have creditors who call frequently, people who live alone and only pick up for familiar numbers - especially the elderly and single women, people who are targeted continuously by telemarketers and thus avoid most unknown calls, and those who simply make it a policy never to answer calls of unknown origin.
"Roommates. With skyrocketing rents, many people now share apartments or houses -- sometimes half a dozen roommates may share expenses on one phone. So a single respondent may actually represent just 1 in 3 or more voters at a single number."
It's a fascinating article about why Boy George is able to get such "wunnerful, wunnerful" polls from his phon(y) numbers. Indeed, Ms. Seal makes a convincing and devastating case. Another quote:
"But, in the final analysis, probably the single biggest reason that phone polls are decreasing steadily in accuracy is TELEMARKETER FATIGUE. Because Americans have been relentlessly bombarded by surveyors and telemarketers, the number of people in just the past year or two who refuse to take such a call is growing. That leaves a diminishing and increasingly less representative pool. It is now known, however, that "freepers" and other rightwing "mobilizers" make it their bound duty to participate in such polls whenever possible, so they are automatically now probably over-represented. On the other hand, most of the progressives I know don't have time for telemarketers and survey-takers -- it's called having a life! Thus, the AVERAGE American (i.e., not poll-happy Freepers or bored suburban stay-at-home moms or lonely well-to-do widows) are sick to death of strangers ringing their way into their homes! The era of the valid phone poll is GONE."
Which explains why Bush was able to get such "great" numbers (49-46 "lead") from a phone poll. In a real, straightforward, person to person poll, I suspect Bush's "lead" would disappear like an Oxycontin pill at Rush Limbaugh's house. Conservatives are hoping that they can diminish expectations by creating a phony majority of Boy George Fans -- "Boy George is POPULAR! You don't wanna be UNPOPULAR, do ya?" Sorry, Boy George...we prefer our present phone service just fine.
posted by Green Voicemail 3/30/2004 04:50:00 PM
Monday, March 29, 2004
With Apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Half a world, half a world
Half a world onward
American deaths in Iraq
Number six hundred
"Saddam caused 911!
Bring 'em on!" Bush said
American deaths in Iraq
Number six hundred
It was there our soldiers stayed
Resolute, never dismayed
Even though they'd not been told
Dubya had blundered
A soldier's job's not to ask why
A soldier's job's to do and die
American deaths in Iraq
Number six hundred
Protesting from the left wing
Mouth-foaming from the right wing
"You'll receive parades and flowers"
Bush told tales of WMDs
"We'll bring al-Qaeda to its knees!"
The UN were not too pleased
When the WMDs weren't found
And then Saddam soon went aground
Schools, hospitals, museums
soon were plundered
But our brave boys gave their all
What thought their generals at the call,
To save the oil, but nothing else
The Iraqis wondered
And evil forces made their plans
against six hundred.
Excuses from the right wing,
Fury from the left wing,
the White House thundered,
But we now see their lies today,
And the results of what they say,
They can talk till hell's gate opens,
And Bush turns his eyes away,
from the honored American dead
numbered six hundred
Can Iraq be set at right?
We all wonder every night,
And we're really not alone,
The whole world's wondered!
It's time to do the honored thing,
And our brave young men home bring,
Lest those who died for right wing lies
Exceed six hundred
posted by Green Voicemail 3/29/2004 06:50:00 PM
Funny, I tried to find out the truth about George Bush on a google search, and got this
error message .
posted by Green Voicemail 3/29/2004 02:22:00 PM
Sunday, March 28, 2004
Yes, it's going to be nice to watch them throw you from the train. But we have bigger goals. Don't worry, Condi, you'll land on your feet and in a nice job somewhere with the Cato Institute or the American Enterprise Institute, or whatever. But the only accomplishment you'll attain -- is as a counter-example. Like Boy George.
posted by Green Voicemail 3/28/2004 09:24:00 PM
The Michael Jackson Test
From Wholly Without Merit News :
KHOWST, Afghanistan — The dusty soldier from Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, just off a four-day mission into the rugged mountains separating Afghanistan and Pakistan put it this way: "When we go into a village we give them the Michael Jackson test. We ask the locals if they know who Michael Jackson is. If they don't...and many around here don't...then we figure they don't know much else...like where the bad guys are."
So that's what we're doing. The United States Army is playing "Beat It" from massive boom boxes in Afghanistan and interrogating anyone who seems to be humming along. Then again, any foreigner who knows who Michael Jackson is probably hates America, anyway.
posted by Green Voicemail 3/28/2004 04:10:00 PM
It's Not Often
That a four-time Republican senator finds himself losing in the primaries.
From The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review . Nice quote:
And now, in a last-month attempt to win the Republican nomination for a fifth term to the U.S. Senate, Specter has turned incredibly desperate. Having burned through (or simply burned) Pennsylvania Republicans, Specter has stepped up his efforts to recruit state Democrats to, in the apropos word of Mr. Toomey, "hijack" the April 27 Republican primary.
Sorry Arlen, you're more likely to see a "Nader Republican" than a "Specter Democrat". As the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said:
The Specter folks defend their actions as "party-building," designed to help President Bush win Pennsylvania in November. Among an organized labor cohort that already has decided to cast its lot with John Kerry? Cue the laugh track.
posted by Green Voicemail 3/28/2004 04:01:00 PM
A Tradesports Benchmark
Today, 28 March 2004, at 10:27 AM CST, "George Bush Wins in 2004" stock sold at 59.5.
The highest the stock has ever sold was 75.
The lowest the stock has ever sold was 58.
I think that dip at the end of the chart indicates a trend. I swear, it's so bad for Boy George these days that he has to lie twice as hard just to keep running in place!
posted by Green Voicemail 3/28/2004 10:30:00 AM
"I'll get to al-Qaeda tomorrow! I'm going on a one month vacation!!"
Condoleeza Rice is on the Where's Condi? tour at full speed. Look! She's writing an op-ed for the Washington Post! Look! She's on 60 Minutes! Maybe tomorrow Condi will be in YOUR town!
The tour has two goals: a) to discredit Richard Clarke ("hey, he said I had a look in my eyes that suggested I'd never heard of al-Qaeda! but I did! I know things! Here's the tape! 2000! Detroit!") and b) to convince people that George Bush was a rootin' tootin' shootin' maniac when it came to defending his country.
The op-ed is interesting because of one paragraph. Here's the link in which Condi patiently details all the really great things that Boy George was doing to keep 'Merica free (cue patriotic music).
Unfortunately, someone on some blog somewhere highlighted this paragraph:
Through the spring and summer of 2001, the national security team developed a strategy to eliminate al- Qaida - which was expected to take years. Our strategy marshaled all elements of national power to take down the network, not just respond to individual attacks with law enforcement measures. Our plan called for military options to attack al-Qaida and Taliban leadership, ground forces and other targets - taking the fight to the enemy where he lived. It focused on the crucial link between al-Qaida and the Taliban. We would attempt to compel the Taliban to stop giving al-Qaida sanctuary - and if it refused, we would have sufficient military options to remove the Taliban regime. The strategy focused on the key role of Pakistan in this effort and the need to get Pakistan to drop its support of the Taliban. This became the first major foreign policy strategy document of the Bush administration - not Iraq, not the ABM Treaty, but eliminating al-Qaida.
Now, note the EXACT SAME paragraph, with the part highlighted that Condi hopes you'll pass over and not think about too much....
Through the spring and summer of 2001, the national security team developed a strategy to eliminate al- Qaida - which was expected to take years . Our strategy marshaled all elements of national power to take down the network, not just respond to individual attacks with law enforcement measures. Our plan called for military options to attack al-Qaida and Taliban leadership, ground forces and other targets - taking the fight to the enemy where he lived. It focused on the crucial link between al-Qaida and the Taliban. We would attempt to compel the Taliban to stop giving al-Qaida sanctuary - and if it refused, we would have sufficient military options to remove the Taliban regime. The strategy focused on the key role of Pakistan in this effort and the need to get Pakistan to drop its support of the Taliban. This became the first major foreign policy strategy document of the Bush administration - not Iraq, not the ABM Treaty, but eliminating al-Qaida.
Now combine with this paragraph:
Under growing criticism for a failure to act on the Phoenix memo and other potential warning signs, Bush administration officials have said repeatedly that U.S. intelligence analysts never envisioned the possibility that terrorists would use jetliners as suicide missiles and slam them into such buildings as the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people . . . would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile," Rice said Thursday.
But a 1999 report prepared for the National Intelligence Council, an affiliate of the CIA, warned that terrorists associated with bin Laden might hijack an airplane and crash it into the Pentagon, White House or CIA headquarters.
The report recounts well-known case studies of similar plots, including a 1995 plan by al Qaeda operatives to hijack and crash a dozen U.S. airliners in the South Pacific and pilot a light aircraft into Langley.
And another paragraph written by Barton Gelman of the Washington Post -- in 2002!!
On July 5 of last year, a month and a day before President Bush first heard that al Qaeda might plan a hijacking, the White House summoned officials of a dozen federal agencies to the Situation Room.
"Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon," the government's top counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, told the assembled group, according to two of those present. The group included the Federal Aviation Administration, along with the Coast Guard, FBI, Secret Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Clarke directed every counterterrorist office to cancel vacations, defer nonvital travel, put off scheduled exercises and place domestic rapid-response teams on much shorter alert. For six weeks last summer, at home and overseas, the U.S. government was at its highest possible state of readiness -- and anxiety -- against imminent terrorist attack.
That intensity -- defensive in nature -- did not last. By the time Bush received his briefing at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., on Aug. 6, the government had begun to stand down from the alert. Offensive planning against al Qaeda remained in a mid-level interagency panel, which had spent half a year already in a policy review. The Deputies Committee, the second tier of national security officials, had not finished considering the emerging plan, and Bush's Cabinet-rank advisers were still a month away from their first meeting on terrorism. That took place Sept. 4, a week before hijacked planes were flown into the Pentagon and World Trade Center in synchronized attacks.
And this final paragraph, from the link , located here
"AUGUST 23, 2001:
The Washington Post figured out that if you combine the 38 days that George W. Bush has spent at his Camp David retreat since he was sworn in last January with his current month-long vacation, Dubya's spent a whopping 42 percent of his presidency vacationing. That's more vacation time than any U.S. president in 32 years. The typical American, meanwhile, works more hours annually than any worker in the world. How's that for a role model?
George W. Bush -- Fifty-Eight Percent on the Job Regarding Doing Something About Al-Qaeda, Maybe, Years From Now.
posted by Green Voicemail 3/28/2004 10:06:00 AM