The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Monday, March 31, 2003

Do we have to be evil AND incompetent too?

I'm angry and I'll admit it. It turns out that these men from the Project for the New American Century, who have held a war of conquest in Iraq as one of their stated goals for at least 5 years, who have on the public record their idea that something like "another Pearl Harbor" would have to occur in order to get public consent for such an invasion, who have been salivating at the thought of creating a new American hegemony in the Middle East which would include subsequent invasions of Iran and Syria, to name just a few, have finally gotten their wish. They have blustered, bluffed, lied, and bullied the American people and the world into this stupid war. And when they finally get their chance, after all their planning, they decide to underfund our forces. It isn't enough to defeat Iraq militarily, they had to do it with just a minimum of forces, to show off our superior warmaking abilities, to cow the Saudis and the Syrians and the Palestinians and show everyone who was boss and who had the biggest missiles. Rumsfeld deliberately reduced the size of the operation against the explicit warnings of the military leadership - "Look, Ma, we can invade Iraq with no hands!" - and now those men and women we have there are paying the price.

The least these war-hungry, blood-thirsty, powermongering fools could have done was to make sure that our men and women in arms had the protection, and the planning, and the firepower to assure a swift victory. If we are going to take over another country, we can argue the merits of whether or not doing that is the right thing all day long. But from the beginning, these PNAC schemers have insisted that an invasion of Iraq would be "a cakewalk". Richard Perle, the new Prince of Darkness (it used to be Robert Novak), also said "Support for Saddam . . . will vanish at the first whiff of gunpowder."

Now we find that we are "Rolling to war with too few troops". Also see this interview. "Hope is not a plan" as they say in the armed forces, or at least they used to. Maybe someone should familiarize Cheney with that phrase.

More excellent work by Digby on all of this.

Howler Watch

Somerby sticks it to the pathetically feeble William Raspberry. You won't believe what Raspberry is in a quandrie about.

Iraq Watch

Here is a timeline of some important developments in Iraq-US recent history. To it, I would add that the US CIA was instrumental in toppling the previous regime in Iraq at the time of the coup. And also that Rumsfeld didn't just "shake hands" with Saddam. The US and Rumsfeld gave him the weapons that have been used to scare us all into this war.

Puppeteer Watch

I also heard last week that Richard Perle, who is one of the small group of men who actually get to control foreign policy in this country (along with Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. - and leave the rest of us to shut up and take it), was resigning to prevent a conflict of interest. I knew he got caught in a conflict of interest when Sy Hersch wrote an article about it in the New Yorker. He stands to profit handsomely from this war which he has brought about. I thought it was an act of unusual integrity for this gang, even though it was tempered by the fact that he already had his war (and his war profits), and he only resigned because he got caught. Turns out I judged him too hastily and generously. Liberal Oasis has the details of this "resignation".

"Humor" Watch

The Onion on the Iraqis who we either want to kill or liberate.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Some light reading to tide you over

I'm about ready to stop writing the Watch for a week or so. I'm going to take a hiatus (from both reading and writing about politics) until March 31st. Not only am I going on a business trip, but I don't really have the stomach to watch our country become a war criminal. One can only hope that something like Nuremberg lies ahead for Bush, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz, and the rest of the PNAC crew. Thank you to everyone for your feedback and your articles, and good luck in dealing with the daily horror of the news. I will be thinking and hoping for all of you, for our soldiers doing their jobs, and for the innocent Iraqi people.

I have a lot of articles to get out tonight, so bear with me.

The Enemy Watch

Here is the homepage for the Project for the New American Century, which is the real enemy of American and world peace and prosperity. They are the ones driving our (horrible) foreign policy, pulling Dubya's strings and pushing us all into a war which no one can understand the need for, which will needlessly kill Americans and Iraqis, which is breaking apart NATO, which is causing a rift in the UN, which is destroying America's credibility as a force for good in the world. Their plans to attack Iraq have been in place for many years now. Here is a letter to Bill Clinton from 1998, urging him to attack Saddam. On this page, you can download their plan for "rebuilding America's defenses", and their worldview is explained in this article by Jay Bookman. (This may be a repeat, but it is an extremely important article to keep in mind). If the people in PNAC could be rounded up and put on an island somewhere, the whole drive and reasoning for this war would evaporate. We can only hope.

Who elected these guys? Did you vote for them to be running the country? (To be fair, most of us didn't vote for Dubya, either, but at the time he was selling himself as a laid back, compassionate slacker, not a beady-eyed Crusader who was going to embroil us in a Middle Eastern quagmire. Caveat Voter).

Bush and Hitler Watch

Not supporting this war is supposed to be something akin to treason, I guess, in the new "logic", which seems to say that killing people is the "Christian" thing to do. I must have missed that memo. I know that it is trite to compare your political enemies with Hitler, but it is also a grand tradition and rather fun. Except in this case, when the comparison seems all too poignant. Here then, is Thom Hartmann laying out the parallels between Bush and the little dictator. I still am amazed at how vulnerable this country is to Nazi-like propaganda. You would think we didn't all watch "The Wave", or that part of the Twilight Zone movie where soon-to-be-dead Vic Morrow runs around being persecuted as various historically persecuted minorities, or "Schindler's List". You'd think no one ever read the Diary of Anne Frank, or Maus, or poems about Kristalnacht. We are all having the conundrum of the "Good German", who while he did not agree with the invasions of the Sudatenland, and Poland, and France, etc., still was rooting for German soldiers to return unharmed. As we watch our soldiers invade Iraq, (and then Syria, and then Iran, and then ?) we have the same problem.

Compassion Watch

' President Bush announced the attack in a four-minute television speech to the nation. "On my order, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war," he said. "These are the opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign."

Minutes before the speech, an internal television monitor showed the president pumping his fist. "Feels good," he said. '

Also, I know we are all supposed to be distracted by this war, but there are still domestic issues which are vital and continuously ignored. Here is a little bit on Dubya and the incongruity between his photo ops and his follow through on domestic issues.

Standing up for what you believe in Watch

Here is Robin Cook's resignation speech before the British Parliament. Look for this passage: " What has come to trouble me most over past weeks is the suspicion that if the hanging chads in Florida had gone the other way and Al Gore had been elected, we would not now be about to commit British troops.". As the Media Horse noted last week, the really galling thing about this is that we know that Al Gore really _was_ elected.

History Watch

Here is a little something on April Glaspie, our ambassador to Iraq before the Gulf War, which both supports the story that she gave Saddam the green light to invade Kuwait, and also allows her to refute it.

Propaganda Watch

Remember how everything Dubya used to do was "Bold"? Turns out Dubya's really "audacious". Still don't think there is a coordinated propaganda campaign going on in the press? See this.

His latest "audacious" plan? To turn even Iraq into a system of sweetheart deals for his political contributors. He's consistent, at least.

Martial Law Watch

Oy vey.

Edumacation Watch

In Molly Ivin's book "Shrub", there was a chapter called "The Bright Spot: Education" in which she detailed how even though everything else he had done in Texas was a horrible disaster, at least Dubya hadn't managed to screw up some of the gains in education that Texas was making. So we had some right to at least hope Dumbya's education legislation would help, rather than hurt our nation's schools. However, read this laughable article on trying to defend Bush's plan against the "pervasive dismay" which it is causing, and you will see that it is indefensible.

Also, because of $172 million dollars cut from Bush's budget for a particular plan, military families will suffer education cuts. Thanks, George! And just in time to send their mommies and daddies off to die in your oil war, too!

First Amendment Watch

People who believe in the strict separation of church and state have a new and unexpected ally - Pat Robertson! Unfortunately, he is not talking about the US. Please see "TV PREACHER PAT ROBERTSON ENDORSES CHURCH-STATE SEPARATION IN IRAQ: In Startling Turnabout, Christian Coalition Founder Insists On Secular Government To Ensure Religious Liberty" by Americans United for the separation of church and state. The article wallows in the delicious irony. Or is it bitter hypocrisy?

Texas Tea Watch

An article on the jockeying already happening by the oil companies as they slaver over the prospect of all that Iraqi oil. We'll be giving lots of Iraqis their eternal "freedom" so that our oil companies get to do this.

Nazi Gasbags Watch

Remember when dissing the president was patriotic? Remember when calling the commander in chief a scumbag was the order of the day? Remember when accusing Clinton of treason was a sacrament? Well, for some reason, the times they are a-changing, and it's no longer considered good form to criticize. Tom Daschle recently poked his head up and said that our going to war was because of the incredible failure of diplomacy by this administration. And all the little brown shirts stepped bravely up to have at him. Here are the quotes. Daschle served his country in the Air Force. This is how "patriots" treat our veterans. Is there any reason anymore for Democrats to hold back their criticism? It's not like they get reciprocity from the other side.

Operation "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" Watch

Check out this advertisement which has been put into Britain's papers.

This site has catalogued some of the many lies swirling around this war and also the first Gulf War. Remember that this administration is essentially the same gang of idiots as the first time.

"There's got to be a reason" Watch

Thanks to Gary for this link to a fascinating analysis of what may be an underlying reason for this war: Saddam's shift from petro-dollars to petro-Euros. Then again, why would Smirky care if something was bad for the American economy? Unless, of course, it was the American oil company economy . . . Ah Haaaa.

Here is an amazing analysis by Bob Somerby about an editorial writer who is obviously having cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, he can't make heads or tails out of Bush's stupid war, for it makes no sense to him. On the other hand, he can't get his lips off of Bush's keister. Read Sombery's comments on the results.

I'm amazed at how everyone seems to want to act like this war makes sense.

September 11th Watch

Here is a fun site that is a bit over the top with the conspiracy theory stuff, but does make a pretty good case that Jr. dropped the ball, at least, if he didn't actually encourage 9-11. Remember when you read this that an attack "like Pearl Harbor" was a Project for the New American Century wet dream at the time.

Hubris Watch

Thanks to Amy for this really excellent and balanced article about America's humble foreign policy, entitled "The Arrogant Empire".

Gary Watch

Thanks to Gary, who sums it up very well:. .

In no particular order, I might not mind so much, if...

* If Bush hadn't come to the U.N. 12 years after the Gulf war demanding immediate action, I might not mind so much.
* If the U.N. inspectors were yelling that they are not getting any cooperation, I might not mind so much.
* If it didn't look like Hussein was playing the diplomacy game better than Bush, I might not mind so much.
* If it didn't look like Bush made up his mind over a year ago that it was time for a war, I might not mind so much.
* If we hadn't presented forged evidence to the U.N. as proof that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons, I might not mind so much.
* If Bush looked like a neutral party to the eyes of the world, I might not mind so much.
* If this war didn't look so much like a blatant oil grab, I might not mind so much.
* If Bush didn't keep trying to link Al Qaeda and Hussein, I might not mind so much.
* If Bush didn't keep using 9/11 as an emotional ploy to get our support, I might not mind so much.
* If we were actually worried about nuclear weapons (but then we would be warring with North Korea and not Iraq), I might not mind so much.
* If our much-vaunted intelligence agencies had been able to provide ANY correct and helpful information to the U.N. inspectors, I might not mind so much.
* If Iraq presented any kind of credible threat to the U.S., I might not mind so much.
* If the rest of the world feared Hussein more than they fear Bush, I might not mind so much.
* If Bush hadn't fragmented NATO and destroyed the credibility of the U.N., I might not mind so much.
* If it appeared to the rest of the world that we really were interested in helping the Iraqi people, I might not mind so much.
* If we were really interested in helping the Iraqi people, I might not mind so much.
* If we had significantly improved and rebuilt Afghanistan over the last year and a half, I might not mind so much.
* If Bush hadn't intermixed "disarmament" with "regime change" as his goal numerous times, I might not mind so much.
* If Hussein hadn't been a major ally of the U.S. while he was gassing his own people, I might not mind so much.
* If the U.S. hadn't turned a blind eye to his testing of chemical weapons on his own people, I might not mind so much.
* If the U.S. had a good track record of installing democratic governments after we depose leaders, I might not mind so much.
* If I actually believed that we were going to turn Iraq over to a democratically elected government in the near future, I might not mind so much.
* If Bush hadn't ignored CIA reports that Iraq posed little or no danger to us unless we attack him, I might not mind so much.
* If this wasn't likely to inflame the Islamic world against us, I might not mind so much.
* If we hadn't offered monetary incentives (bribes) to other security council members for support for a new resolution in the U.N., I might not mind so much.
* If we hadn't negotiated with the Kurds, then counter-negotiated with the Turks, and managed to piss both groups off, I might not mind so much.
* If we hadn't gone to the U.N. and demanded permission to wage war as a fait accompli, I might not mind so much.
* If once we had asked for permission and been rebuffed, we had waited for a decent amount of time and then asked again, I might not mind so much.
* If we hadn't sacrificed the goodwill from the rest of the world stemming from 9/11, I might not mind so much.
* If Bush weren't ignoring all the domestic problems we have, I might not mind so much.
* If it didn't appear that Bush was using a war to distract the American public from the domestic problems, I might not mind so much.
* If we actually had the money to fund this war (without paying for it with soon-to-be-captured Iraqi oil), I might not mind so much.
* If we had actually tried to wean ourselves off of oil over the last three decades, I might not mind so much.
* If this weren't going to create a monstrous environmental disaster when Hussein blows his oil wells in a departing f#ck-you to Bush, I might not mind so much.

Hussein is a very nasty guy. He deserves to be overthrown. However, without even moderate world support, we are increasing many times over the problems we already face.

Humor Watch

Finally, thanks to Greg for this link which is apropos of nothing and will hopefully make you laugh and get your mind off of things for a while. From the Onion.

Unhappy conservatives Watch

Holy Conservative Crackup, Batman! Check out this essay in the notoriously looney and dangerously conservative Washington Times. It seems the Moonies over at the Times aren't so happy about having Richard Perle and Wolfowitz steer us all into disaster, either. On that happy note, see you in about a week.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

This war does every goddamned thing we could ever hope for

"Democracy" in Iraq. As we've noted before, this administration will claim any good outcome from the war that the public demands. The public wants peace in the Middle East? This war will bring it about. (How about that claim? That's one concept I can't get over. Conservative pundits who have to "sell" the war on radio and TV keep going on about how Dubya Dubya III is going to "quiet" the region. Yes, I'm sure this will "settle everything down", like a cozy nappy-time blanket, making all of the religious sects and warring factions come together in peace and harmony, much like a cup of warm milk to settle their tummies. There's no way that an unprovoked US invasion of Iraq will be interpreted as an avaricious oil-grab (or even more important to the region, that we will be trying to control Iraq's water supply - one of the most important resources in that region) and stir up tensions and provoke disasters there. Nosiree.) The public wants democracy in the Middle East? This war will accomplish that, as well. And unsightly sweat stains will be a thing of the past once this war is underway.

Suppose we actually establish "democracy" in Iraq, whatever that would mean. Then, the Shiites, who are a majority in Iraq, would come to power, displacing the minority Sunnis who currently hold power. The Shiites are aligned with the Iranians. This would be a bad turn of events for the Saudis, who are Sunnis, as I understand it (that's another thing to hate about Bush - suddenly I have to learn all this stuff about the Middle East, when, like most Americans, I just want to know which episode of Seinfeld is re-running tonight). Anyway, a Shiite-controlled, "democratic" Iraq would probably be a nightmare for that region, and for our strategic interests there. What if the Shiites, who have been persecuted by the Sunnis for decades, decide to launch retribution on them? And what on earth will we do with the Kurds? They have been betrayed and attacked so many times, how will they integrate themselves into a democracy. The "plan" for democracy in Iraq is absurd on its face.

All we can hope for is a dictator who we like more. That's what all this is about, anyway. Getting OUR OWN dictator in there. But the CIA has been doing that kind of work for 60 years or more. Why not just a little covert toppling of this Iraqi government the way they did to the last Iraqi government? I guess Saddam's been a little too foxy for them.

I'm starting to hear stories about Saddam's sons and who he is planning to succeed him. I feel like I stuck in some god-awful re-telling of the Hatfields and the McCoys, with W. Hatfield a-vowin' to git them rotten McCoys, even if'n he has to destroy this country to do it.

Toronto Watch

Oh Canada!! Read these editorials and weep, America.

Bankrupting the Government Watch

Michael Kinsley on our administration, and how successful they have been in their goals for our domestic economy.

Operation Audacious Boldness Watch

Josh Marshall does some fascinating work dissecting resolution 1441 and the short history of how we got to this point.

History Watch

Here is a long article detailing what was called "Iraqgate" at the time, essentially a long list of the shameful way we had befriended and coddled Hussein all through the 80s and 90s. Remember that at one time people were actually angry about this. Now we just pretend it never happened.

More on this by Robert Parry, including some history that has gone down the memory hole.

DixieChicks Watch

They've issued an apology.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Ridge and the Technicolor Dreamcode

Here's a question I have about Ridge and his Technicolor DreamCode: Do you think Americans will act surprised and victimized when bombs start going off in our country, wounding and killing a lot of people, or will we be less hypocritical than that? Yeah, I agree, we'll act surprised. We'll be surprised and outraged. "How dare people attack us like this?" we will all be encouraged to yell. And at least we will be able to hate the people who blow us up with bombs. That seems a fair trade - losing our safety and our open society BUT gaining the opportunity to hate other people.

As we all act like little gods with our online polls and opinion polls - "53% of people agree we should bomb the f--- out of some brown people, while 70% say we should get permission from the UN before we start making them good and dead", we seem to forget that terrorists have knives to our throats as well. The domestic attacks may not be too bad, if our intelligence agencies don't drop the ball, but there are bound to be some, and there are bound to be more Americans dead. Bush has sentenced these people, who will die in terrorist attacks on US soil, to death with his war. They will be just as dead as the Iraqis we will kill (starting on Thursday!) and the dead we will suffer in our military, and he has sentenced the rest of us to having to worry that we will be next. Every person who perishes by the hand of Al Qaeda in the months and years to come can now thank Mr. Bush for making us all much less safe, an outcome predicted by almost everyone who knows anything about how terrorism and world opinion work.

Oh well, on to war. As a friend of a colleague wrote yesterday, "If our leaders take this weighty path, there is good reason. (Bush is a politician. Do you think he is doing this to promote his career or to be macho or what? The only answer is that he and his staff honestly believe there is a tremendous threat to us and the world and they have better information than you and I.)" Indeed. They certainly aren't sharing their "better information" with anyone, are they?

Religious Wackos Watch

Some of you may remember "The Bible Code" by Michael Drosnin, published a few years ago. It tortured the text of the bible and tried to make predictions based on numerology, etc. Typical anti-rational hoo-hah. I found this funny site which took him up on his challenge about the significance of the "code" he found, and looked in another book, this time Moby Dick. Send this one to your gullible friends.

Operation False Pretense Watch

The NY Times sounds almost as sad as I feel in this condemnation of the terrible blunders that have led us to war in this editorial. I wonder if they regret all of those pieces on Gore and his lying by Katherine Seelye, or if they ever wonder if they shouldn't have printed year after year about the Whitewater "scandal" when it was clear from the beginning there was no wrongdoing there. Oh well. We're all in the same boat now.

Paul Krugman on the aftermath of the war.

Jimmy Breslin, who seems to be in a darker mood than I am these days, on our God-blessed war.

Media Watch

Dan Kennedy already seems to be predicting that the tide has turned for the conservative media. I don't think I'm that hopeful.

Funny spoof of the little emperor's "press conference".

Bartcop Watch

Here's a funny rebuttal to a Fred Barnes pro-war editorial from Bartcop. Language Alert.

Humor Watch

See this for more fun with those terrorism icons.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Operation Desert Faux: in which we become war criminals

Tonight, as I watched a few minutes of that beady-eyed, bloodthirsty fool make a further embarrassment out of himself on TV, I felt a deep and abiding gratitude. It is with this feeling of gratitude that I can say thank you to everyone responsible. Thanks to Bill Clinton for being foolish enough to jeopardize what would otherwise be an incredible legacy with a stupid tryst. Thanks to Al Gore for not standing up for himself as his name was besmirched and his position was robbed. Thanks to the Democrats for acting like whipped dogs in the face of the election thieves. Thanks to Ralph Nader for specifically campaigning against Gore in important swing states. Thanks to James Baker for choking the life out of democracy in this country. Thanks to Katherine Harris for employing every dirty and illegal trick, including purging minorities from the voter rolls. Thanks to the domesticated press, working tirelessly on behalf of their corporate masters. Thanks to the Republicans for nominating this easily controlled puppet to the highest office in the land. Thanks to Dubya for adopting the worldview of Perle and Wolfowitz. Thanks to the people of America who stood by and watched as the ideals of democracy were flushed down the toilet by their own supreme court. Thanks to me for not knowing how to do more.

Our country is about to become a war criminal, a rogue nation, a menace. Conservative pundits will argue how good and right and moral and just Bush's war is, but do even they know what they have signed on for, what a Pandora's box they are opening? Why would Bush and his cabal stop at Iraq? Haven't we also denounced Iran as "evil"? They will have to go, too. Syria will have to go. Yemen is full of terrorists. The Saudis fund Bin Laden. Pakistan is harboring Al Qaeda. And China keeps looking at us funny.

September 11th was a horrible, criminal act by a group of people, not a government. It was not an act of war. And it was not unanticipated. I am still amused by my own reaction as I walked down the hallway at SmithKline Beecham and saw the pictures of the towers burning, with a group of stunned colleagues standing and watching the images. I didn't feel the horror or shock or fear that I would feel in the days and weeks to come. I felt disgust and anger - anger at the people who did it, and disgust at America for our surprise.

September 11th is what you get when you combine an antagonistic foreign policy with a neglectful administration and a free and open society. This administration's response to it has been to begin to crush our free and open society - great choice! Of course, our foreign policy has become hundreds of time more antagonistic. And our administration has not shown any interest in becoming more vigilant, except against its own citizens. The Clinton administration foiled many terrorist plots on US soil, including plots against LAX in January 2000 and bombings planned for tunnels around NYC. Sandy Berger, in handing materials over to Condi Rice, told her that she would probably spend nearly all of her time chasing Al Qaeda. The Clinton administration has been described as "obsessed" with terrorism. They asked for more funds to fight terrorism, and were denied by the Republican congress. Al Gore chaired a panel which came up with new security protocols for airports and airlines, which were not adopted. The Hart-Rudman report on the dangers of terrorism, finished at the beginning of 2001, was tucked neatly in Cheney's desk drawer, unread, when the airplanes hit. This administration dropped the ball, either deliberately or through incredible malfeasance of duty. Evil or incompetent is again the question that history will have to ask about them. We were attacked, and now that attack is being used as an excuse to scare us all into the most ill-advised quagmire we've ever faced.

It's enough to make someone turn to drink, if that would actually help.

Operation Desert Faux Watch

Paul Krugman wrote the definitive essay on having the wrong person lead us into Iraq (delightfully titled "George W. Queeg") last week.

MWO has written an amazing piece on the delusion of the populace. Scroll down to "Mass lobotomies key to selling war".

Molly Ivins on the terrible way our media have let the public stay misinformed.

Gene Lyons on the myths and lies used to justify Bush's war.

Top Ten Conservative Idiots Watch

Excellent new Idiots list this week.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

The War to End all Peace

State of the World Watch

Molly Ivins
sums it up nicely.

Clanging Cymbal Watch

Roger Ebert, who is one of the most visible film critics, is also one of my favorites. His love of film, his intellectual bent combined with his love of fantastic image, the fact that he wrote "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", and his impatience with conservative idiots all make him worth reading. In "Public prayer fanatics borrow page from enemy's script", he again makes the distinction between "vertical prayer" (talking to God in private) and "horizontal prayer" (talking to God for the benefit of the people around you) - this was also a topic occasionally on Jesus' mind, according to people who wrote about him 30-40 years after his death. Ebert is responding to Fineman's egregious "Bush and God" article, and is rightly scared by our Attorney General.

After you read Ebert's essay, check out the hilarious commentary concerning it by MWO - it is about halfway down the page (do a find on "Ebert"). They rewrite scripture to bring it a little more up-to-date.

Abraham Lincoln, Prophet Watch

Here is a quote from Lincoln - I haven't been able to confirm it or find out what conflict he might have been referring - can anyone verify it for me?

"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... The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood."
-- Congressman Abraham Lincoln

Bushkrieg Watch

Joe Conason on the myths and lies being used to incite this war (this is a time-sensitive link, so check it before it changes).

James Carroll's essay "A War Policy in Collapse", notes that things have turned very badly for the administration in the first week in March.

Please see.

Election Watch

More on electronic voting machines and corporate control of elections. This article also contains some fascinating stuff information about how corporations came to be regarded as "persons" in the eyes of the law.

The X-Presidents Watch

You'll enjoy this letter I saw over at Bartcop.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Our ambivalence about Evil Dictators

I heard Juan Williams, who is a tool of this administration, interviewing Condi Rice, who is a tool in this administration, on NPR this morning. The usual questions with the usual non-answers. He asked if having troops in the gulf region compromised our diplomatic efforts. She said "The president has said many times that war is his last option." (Brrawwwk! Whistle!) It really amazes me that this administration thinks that by repeating words over and over again, that they have some meaning. Nobody actually believes Bush when he says war is his last option. I can think of hundreds of options he still has besides war, but that is the one he is going to choose. What is even more galling is that they seem to be getting away with it. I can't believe that just by repeating something obviously false that people fall in line to believe him. Who knew our system was so very fragile?

Then, Williams asked some question like, what would be so bad about delaying the invasion, waiting for the inspections and disarmament to happen? Condi said, "We cannot delay because there is a dictator in Iraq." This is the line of argument I'm so tired of. We are just shocked, SHOCKED, that there is a dictator somewhere in the world. Never mind that we brought his party to power. Never mind that we armed him with weapons. Never mind that we didn't care a fig when he "gassed his own people". Never mind that we left him in power after the last gulf war. Never mind that he was such an unimportant issue that he was never brought up by Bush in the campaign, and never brought up in public until last September.

The US shows an incredible tolerance for evil dictators. Many of them are our allies, from Musharref in Pakistan to Putin in Russia. In fact, we don't just support evil dictators, we have a long history of overthrowing relatively enlightened leaders in order to put evil dictators in place. Patrice Lumumba was replaced by evil dictator Joseph Mobutu by the CIA in the Congo in 1960. Salvadore Allende was replaced by evil dictator Augusto Pinochet in Chile, I think that was 1973. The CIA elevated Manuel Noriega to power. Just this February, our CIA tried to do it again and overthrow the government of Venezuela and replace it with evil dictators. (The Venezuelans actually had the stones to take to the streets and stand up for their democratically elected leader, though, God bless 'em, and that coup failed.) Our love for evil dictators is such that the CIA actually runs a school in Georgia, funded by US-taxpayer dollars, called the School of the Americas, which trains Latin American law enforcement to terrorize their own populace. Noriega is a proud alumnus, as are many people who were on the wrong side of the fights in Nicaragua and El Salvador, to name just a few. And the CIA toppled the government in Iraq many decades ago, clearing the way for the ascendancy of Saddam's Baath party.

Some other current evil dictatorships include North Korea and Burma. The Burmese government is so evil and repressive they make Saddam look like an amateur. Somehow we aren't marching off to war in Burma, though.

As to Saddam, we've all heard Fox news going on about how he has "gassed his own people", but we have yet to hear them mention that he gassed them using helicopters he bought from us (or that the broker of that deal was Don Rumsfeld - see "The Saddam in Rumsfeld's Closet"). In fact, it is well documented that we sold Saddam not only helicopters, but lots of chemical and biological weapons. In fact, congress tried to stop those kinds of sales after Saddam gassed the Kurds, but that legislation was vetoed . . . by Reagan. Saddam was our bestest buddy during the Iran-Iraq war, and we (by "we" I mean the Reagan administration, and especially Poppy Bush since Reagan was out of it) happily gave him all kinds of weapons of mass destruction. We even used our satellite photos to help him target Iranian troops with the poison gas that we gave him.

Are you starting to smell the hypocrisy yet? (Of course, it turns out that we were actually selling Iran weapons, too (and by "we" here I mean Poppy Bush, Weinberger, Poindexter, North, etc.) even though we were calling the Iranians terrorists at the time - so the people who were arming them were _really_ "helping the terrorists". Poindexter and North are felons whose convictions were overturned only by technicalities. Poindexter finds himself in the highest echelons of the current administration, by the way, so maybe helping terrorists is not such a bad thing, after all). So Saddam fits a familiar pattern of being an evil dictator built up by arms contractors who then requires a military action to disarm - we've seen it with Noriega, in Iraq, with the Taliban, etc. You'll note that arms contractors profit on both ends of that cycle. Poppy Bush personally profits enormously by all of this selling arms to people we then have to take out with our armed forces because he is a director of the Carlyle group ("Blowback" is not only a well-known consequence of CIA meddling in the world, but also a nifty money-making racket). And of course all of that blood money will be inherited by George Jr.

Why can't people wake up and smell the bullshit? I realize that it is a hard lesson in growing up to discover that the leaders of your country are not only flawed humans, but rather evil ones at that. But most of the people who are blinded to this are the same ones who were happy to opine and rage against an evill blowjob. How can we be naive enough to think that decisions in this country, especially this particular decision to invade Iraq, are made on the basis of humanitarian concern?. We make decisions based on "National Security", which usually means "Which arms contractors stand to profit?"

Why can't anyone discuss the real motives for this war? Iraq sits on top of the world's second largest supply of oil, North Korea has nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them across Asia and we aren't going to war with them, NO link between Al Queda and Iraq has been established (despite Rumsfeld and Cheney's desperation to find one and/or pretend there is one), and Iraq has been shown by people who monitor such things to pose no threat to American citizens _unless_ we invade them). But why do they continue to insult our intelligence with the "Saddam has to go because he is a bad man" propaganda?

Howler Watch

Somerby comments on the press's pathetic, scared, scripted, performance at the Bush press conference, and also issues another warning about the media and its treatment of Democratic candidates (this time it is Kerry).

Doubleplusgood Watch

Here is an example of an interesting technique through which the Bushies control their message in the media. They find out what people want, then they claim that their (already chosen) policy will bring it about, despite all logic. By throwing us off with this kind of doublethink, they keep the debate unbalanced and illogical, to the point where eventually people just have to base their policy choices on "belief" instead of thinking things through. Perhaps you can see the technique at work in the title of the article, "Bush says ousting Hussein could aid peace in the Mideast". So, people obviously want peace in the mideast. Bush wants a war. His solution? Tell people that his war will bring about peace.

This same argument works with democracy in Iraq. People would like to see democracy, instead of the dictatorship of Saddam in Iraq. Bush's message? His war will bring about democracy. Bush's tax cut will improve the economy (and bring budget surpluses). Increased "accountability" for public schools will improve their performance and education in general. Attacking an Arab state will make us safer from Islamic retaliation! See, once you move the debate out of the realm of logic, and into the world of belief, you can do almost anything. You must _believe_ that war is peace, Winston.

Jakob the Liar Watch

Sorry, of course I mean Bush. A blogger has compiled a list of "lies, distortions, and deception" from this administration.

Humor Watch

If you read Thomas Friedman at all, check out this hilarious parody of his columns.

Also, here is a not-so-humorous essay from Barry Crimmins on Dennis Miller, and how he has sold himself out to the current power structure.

Finally, and most importantly, a new addition to Get Your War On!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Bushkrieg: The Musical!

Often in American history, our country has done things that did not align with American principles. It has been more rare, however, for our country to do things that were against American interests. Jefferson knew that he was acting beyond his authority when he made the Louisiana purchase, but it was in the American interest to do so. The fact that an unknown degree of our foreign and domestic policy is run by the NSA, in secret, belies the ideal of the open and democratic society that seems to have been the goal of the founding fathers. Yet, all we can do is trust that our leaders won't do things that are contrary to the interests of the country at large. Johnson, in Vietnam, Nixon, in virtually everything he did, Reagan and Bush in Iran/Contra and Iraqgate, were all acting against American ideals as well as interests. But even in those cases, we might still believe that they _thought_ they were doing the right (if not the legal) thing. Can Bush II at this point still believe that he is working in the American ideal, or in the interests of America? Does he care? Does anyone really believe that Saddam isn't better left contained, or that if Gore had been allowed to serve in the office to which he was elected, this whole issue would never have come up?

Bush Watch

Matt Taibbi critiques Bush's press conference, and the white house press corps.

Bushkrieg Watch

Via MWO comes this excellent analysis on the failure of the news media to protect us from the folly of the War to End all Peace.

Not that it matters or comes as any surprise, but the UK official who has been most hawkish on the Iraq war has admitted that it is, at least partially, about the oil and energy supplies. We are shocked, SHOCKED!

Hendrick Hertzberg
offers a very balanced view of the mess this administration has made for us.

Here's a shocker: "Pelosi: Democrats missed chance to turn Bush away from war". Another "no shit" moment. She also vows at the bottom of the article that Democrats will have defined messages from now on. Good luck, guys.

Thanks to RevSkink for this link to an article by Jimmy Carter, explaining that Operation False Pretense does not satisfy the definition of a just war.

Terry Jones, ex-Monty Python member and director of the film "Brazil" (and who therefore knows Orwellian logic when he sees it) weighs in with "Mr. Bush goes for the Kill"

Check out

History Watch

More from Bob Somerby. This time, he compares Naomi Wolf, Gore's advisor who got nastily smeared, with some other advisors from the McCain and Bradley camps. For some reason, Gore's advisor got more bad publicity. I wonder why? Hmmm. You can also read about Chris Matthews' attention to trivial details about Gore and his efforts to spin them into something nefarious. It is rather bathetic to hear him now rail against Bush's War, as if he didn't work as hard as he possibly could to get Bush elected. At the end of the article, there is a link about smearing of current candidate John Kerrey, specifically his wife who is apparently quite an amazing person. Read the piece, then read the slimy Washington Post editorial Somerby cites. You won't believe your eyes, and you won't believe how otherwise (seemingly) decent people are about to be thoroughly trashed because of the (D) behind their names.

Arrogance Watch

Here is an excellent page! Check it out.

What does it mean to be an American? Watch

We noted with some interest that 2/3 of the respondents to an online poll a few weeks ago said that it was OK for the US or our allies to torture prisoners to get information out of them (presumably terrorist prisoners). Personally, I think that torture is never the way to go, because it lowers us to the level of the people we are supposed to be fighting against. I would rather be killed than lose my humanity that way, but apparently I'm in the minority. Read the chilling post "There is no God Here".

Sign of the Times Watch

I can't really add much to these links, just go see them. I'm at a loss for words, especially if the site is legitimate.

Humor Watch

(from Alterman's blog, with a link to another website)


  1. Cabal of oldsters who won't listen to outside advice? Check.
  2. No understanding of ethnicities of the many locals? Check.
  3. Imposing country boundaries drawn in Europe, not by the locals? Check.
  4. Unshakeable faith in our superior technology? Check.
  5. France secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
  6. Russia secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
  7. China secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
  8. SecDef pushing a conflict the JCS never wanted? Check.
  9. Fear we'll look bad if we back down now? Check.
  10. Corrupt Texan in the WH? Check.
  11. Land war in Asia? Check.
  12. Right unhappy with outcome of previous war? Check.
  13. Enemy easily moves in/out of neighboring countries? Check.
  14. Soldiers about to be dosed with *our own* chemicals? Check.
  15. Friendly fire problem ignored instead of solved? Check.
  16. Anti-Americanism up sharply in Europe? Check.
  17. B-52 bombers? Check.
  18. Helicopters that clog up on the local dust? Check.
  19. In-fighting among the branches of the military? Check.
  20. Locals that cheer us by day, hate us by night? Check.
  21. Local experts ignored? Check.
  22. Local politicians ignored? Check.
  23. Locals used to conflicts lasting longer than the USA has been a country? Check.
  24. Against advice, Prez won't raise taxes to pay for war? Check.
  25. Blue water navy ships operating in brown water? Check.
  26. Use of nukes hinted at if things don't go our way? Check.
  27. Unpopular war? Check.
  28. Vietnam 2, you are cleared to taxi!

Monday, March 10, 2003

Bush, Business Week, and the end of the world

Bush Watch

As MWO put it, 'Bush "Upbeat," "Chatty," "Cocky," "In High Spirits" over Prospect of Finally Having Chance to Unnecessarily End Lives of Thousands of Innocents'

Oil Prophets (Profits?) Watch

Here's one which should not be a surprise for anybody. Cheney's company, (which continued to pay him well into his vice-presidency, and which for all we know may be paying him still) has been awarded a lucrative contract to rebuild Iraq's oil fields after the coming "conflict". I guess we should ignore the appearance of a conflict of interest and just let our God-appointed rulers do what is right. Nothing to see here, move along.

Religious Crazies Watch

Thanks to Gary for this article. Imagine an America where Business Week (Business Week!) has to write an article which seriously contemplates whether our president is guided by trying to bring about the "end times". That is how bad things have gotten. This whole "rapture" thing is such a steaming pile of dung I can't get over it. Most people probably don't know that this particular end-of-the-world scheme was formulated by some kook in the 1800s. The Business Week article, is surprisingly accurate on this point. I saw some Discovery Channel or AandE special on this at some point, and was so angry that a lot of these "dispensational" theories, though based on the book of Revelation, weren't even around 200 years ago. The thought that some nearly-modern Jim Jones just made the whole thing up - well, it's just a pet peeve with me.

And the thought that President Legacy is (possibly) basing policy on it - well, let's just say that's another pet peeve.

Speaking of religious crazies, check out this site for a laugh. Despite the name, which implies that it is against celebrities speaking out against the war, it is actually the _opposite_ of that view which they espouse, as well as an un-arrogant Christian stance. Check out the list of the ways they have "changed their minds" on things, and then take small comfort in the idea that idiots are probably going there based on the domain name alone, and get a dose of thoughtfulness instead. Small comfort, I know, but we'll take it where we can get it.

Plato the Prophet Watch

Some apropos quotes from Socrates' student:

"The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
(Have we really been _that_ apathetic?)

"Democracy passes into despotism."

"When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people my require a leader."
(I'd say we still require a leader).

"Oligarchy: A government resting on a valuation of property, in which the rich have power and the poor man is deprived of it."
(see also Republican Paradise).

Operation Deserter Storm Watch

See Jason Leopold's interesting column "When Poppy Bush Said It How It Is", in which Bush 41 explains (in 1996) why doing what Junior is proposing to do now is such a mistake. Maybe Poppy should sit him down and explain this again very slowly.

In the same vein is the ending to "Losses, before Bullets Fly" by Nicholas Kristof (be sure you read to the end), who describes all of the horrible things which have already been born of Bush's actions. Kristof is usually an apologist for Bush, funnily enough.

Conservative Idiots Watch

The top 10 conservative idiots of the week.

Humor Watch

The French have been busy.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Best . Essay. Ever.

I just found the best essay ever written about this stupid war, and the military.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Teetering on the bleeding edge

We teeter on the brink of a huge disaster. I keep trying to think what the best case scenario for this Bushkrieg will be. Perhaps, when it has all turned to crap and we are embroiled trying to run Iraq (when we cannot even run our own country with fiscal responsibility), after the deaths of innocent thousands, and our troops are victims of bombings and guerilla attacks in the occupied territory, and Bush has lost the 2004 election to Edwards or Dean or Kerry, the new Democratic administration can withdraw us quickly and relatively cleanly from this horror scene. But the destroyed treaties, the broken trust, the outraged allies, and the threatened targets (not to mention the economic destruction) that we have left will haunt us for years to come. It is easier to destroy than to build, create, or preserve, and this administration has taken the easy way out.

Operation Deserter Storm Watch

Mark Morford seems displeased with the direction we are heading.

Fascists Say "Ooops!" Watch

It seems that the Crossgates Mall has decided that maybe acting like fascists towards a lawyer is not the smartest thing to do, although they aren't really issuing an apology here, just dropping their charges and acting like it wasn't their fault. They still seem to be blaming the "disruption" on Mr. Downs. Not smart. We'll keep an eye out for future stories about this and other malls and crackdowns on free speech. Wouldn't it be great if misconduct at the top didn't bring out all of the petty thugs in this country who are just waiting for a chance to suppress other people?

History Watch

Somerby deals with the origin of the earth tones "scandal" in today's Howler. Like nearly all of the Gore campaign's "scandals", this turns out to be based on a lie, and a stupid, insignificant lie at that. When you think of it, Gore must have been squeaky clean if these were the only things the media could attack him with. This Howler also summarizes Ceci Connolly's bad behavior in 1999. Connolly was the reporter assigned to covering the Gore campaign for the Washington Post. In Somerby's earlier work, he looks at the other flaps concerning Gore, including inventing the internet, the "posh hotel" of his youth, Love Canal, Love Story, the Willie Horton smear, the canoeing "scandal", etc., etc. All of them, without exception are based on nothing more than the story of earth tones - willful lies and misunderstandings by malevolent journalists. Only the Buddhist Temple story had even the hint of malfeasance, and even then it was not technically illegal, the mistake was made by Gore aids, and in the end the actual activity involved was garden variety fund-raising. For real scandals, the media might have looked at another candidate . . .

See this Howler for more misbehavior from the Boston Globe in their seemingly endless war to smear John Kerry, making themselves look like bigots in the process.

Bush Watch

Digby has some analysis of the Resident's rare press conference last night.

Humor Watch

Dick Cheney's office is using taxpayer money to try to stifle parody sites, including those that poke some fun at his wife. Check out for many good laughs - the original stuff about Lynn Cheney, the lawyer's letter from the VPs office, the response. At least there is something to laugh about.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

John Locke Against War in Iraq

This is a letter I wrote to Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Barbara Lee:

Dear Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Congresswoman Barbara Lee:

Over the past year, I have followed President Bush’s plan for attacking Iraq with growing unease. From the moment when Mr. Bush first labeled Iraq as part of the “Axis Of Evil,” to his most recent address to the country, where he stated that the U.S. would disarm Iraq militarily – even without the approval of the United Nations, Mr. Bush’s stance on Iraq has appeared illogical, counterintuitive, and misguided. This letter is to let you know that I find Mr. Bush’s policy towards Iraq stupid. I would like to use a more eloquent word, but “stupid” is the word that best describes Mr. Bush’s foreign policy.

Mr. Bush equates Iraq with Al Qaeda, but has failed to prove any connection between them. Mr. Bush has also ignored CIA reports, which state that Iraq poses no significant threat to the U.S., and which also state that Iraq will only become a threat if we attack them. Mr. Bush has attempted to use the strong emotions generated by 9-11 to justify his war. This tactic is transparent and stupid. After 9-11, the U.S. had world sympathy and opinion on our side. Today, nearly the entire world reviles us.

Mr. Bush continues to act like a child – when he can’t get permission for his war, he announces that he will have his war whether or not the U.N. approves it. He is acting like a bully on a playground. Mr. Bush has also ignored massive global protests against the war, insultingly dismissing them as “focus groups.”

Allowing Mr. Bush to wage war without U.N. sanction is stupid; war without U.N. sanction will only inflame the Middle East at a time when peace is most needed. Unfortunately, Mr. Bush has so grossly polluted the reputation of the U.S. that any war – even if approved by the U.N. – will be seen by most of the world as a case of U.S. aggression. Mr. Bush has openly offered bribes to other Security Council member countries for their votes! The world sees through this charade. Mr. Bush has caused internal strife within NATO, caused the United Nations to fragment, and has dishonored the United States in my eyes and in the eyes of the world.

From North Korea to Turkey to Israel to Palestine to Iraq, Mr. Bush’s foreign policy has been an abject failure. I request that you do all within your power to educate U.S. citizens regarding Mr. Bush’s propaganda and do all you can to stop this stupid war.


John Locke

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

House Un-American T-shirts Committee

First Amendment Watch

We are in danger of losing our right to dissent. Thanks to Melissa for this story, about a man who was arrested in a mall for wearing a "Give Peace a Chance" T-shirt. Of course, he wasn't arrested for wearing the shirt, he was arrested for not leaving the mall when asked to by mall security. But a mall is a public accommodation, like a restaurant, and not private property, like a private home, and the mall is clearly on thin legal ice here. Also, from the story it is clear that this guy was the wrong person to pick on. He goes after judges for judicial misconduct, so it won't be too surprising if he is hard to intimidate. Still, imagine that we are living in an America where people are _arrested_ for wearing "Give Peace a Chance" T-shirts. Like so many people have said before me, I feel like I've woken up in the middle of a nightmare.

Also, it turns out that this is not the first time this mall has seen fit to stomp on peace activists. Here we learn of the last time, around Christmas, when the mall ejected about 2 dozen wearing shirts that said things like "Peace on Earth". Imagine the gall - at Christmas time, no less!.

Now, here is the good part of the story. People around that mall are not taking the arrest lying down. Here is the "counter-offensive" by a group of peace-advocating citizens. Of course "pro-war" protesters were there too, with the main thrust of their argument seeming to be that people should "remember 9-11". Of course, doing to Iraq what Al Qaeda did to us is a pretty poor way to remember 9-11, since, as we never seem to get tired of pointing out, Iraq has not done anything to the US.

On a related note, here is a first hand account of 8 peace pamphleteers being arrested at a mall in Baltimore. It's a pretty scary story, but the mall probably doesn't have much of a legal leg to stand on. Read this discussion of the arrests on Democratic Underground, and look for post #32 (by BareKnuckledLiberal) for an explanation of some of the issues involved.

Tom Friedman Watch

It's almost sad to see the rational part of Tom Friedman's brain trying to wake up the part which is a cheerleader for team Bush to the reality that these folks are either incompetent, evil, or both. In his latest column, he goes through a long list of major screw ups and lost opportunities from this administration, any or all of which would make our coming invasion of a sovereign country to forcibly install democracy "better". Still, he hangs onto the hope, the hope against hope, that this little war will all turn out OK if we just believe in it enough and clap our hands. He manages to call Bush "bold" at least 5 times, like all the good little pundits are supposed to. Digby calls this the "It Just Has to Work" theory of geopolitics, and wonders why, since this administration has messed up literally everything else it has done since seizing power, we should expect this war to be a success, or at least not a horrible disaster.

History Watch

Somerby on the origin and spin of the "alpha male" quote on Gore.

Those Damned Furiners Watch

Here is a long and very sad article about the way Mad King George has antagonized the world, and how ordinary citizens and tourists will pay the price. Glad to see those US apologists still falling back on "we saved your asses in WWII" as their main talking point. That's original.

Iraq Watch

The gloves are finally off. The lies, as thinly veiled as they were, will not stand up any more to even the slightest scrutiny. We all knew that the Bush regime did not actually care about the threat of weapons of mass destruction - their actual goal is US hegemony in the middle east. But until now, that lie has served to justify themselves as they pushed forward their horrible agenda. As Gene Lyons notes, that illusion is no longer being maintained. Even as Iraq moves towards disarmament, the Bush administration says that their actual goal is "regime change". This bait and switch has understandably ticked off many of our few remaining allies, who were working in good faith within the structure of the UN to bring about peaceful disarmament. But whatever. As BuzzFlash notes, the UN gambit was only a time keeping measure, designed to make it seem as if they gave a fig about the rest of the world, and now they either get to invade with the UN's approval, or they can take a step closer to breaking the UN, which would please them about equally. Ironically, in this article, Colin Powell says that it is _Iraq's_ goal to break up the UN, continuing the fine Republican tradition of blaming other people for the things which you yourself are doing.

Finally don't miss this article by Nicholas von Hoffman, "Going Off to War Supplied With Lies", which first pokes a bit at the journalists (he calls them "war whores") who are so gung ho for this war, and then reminds us that we can expect nothing but a steady stream of disinformation once the thing has begun. He follows this by some of the lies from US conflicts from the last 60 years. Quite a sobering read.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Sinister, insincere cowboy boots

Women's Issues Watch

Thanks to Melissa for this article, in which we see that women are paying attention to the damage that Bush is doing to women's causes in this country. We also see that conservatives are just shocked that colleges are forced to spend equal amounts of money on men and women's sports. They are so outraged by this that they had to form a commission to propose dismantling Title IX. Pretty amazing what they will spend their time on. As you read the article, you'll know that you have hit the part where the Bushies are lying when you reach the name "Clair Buchan". Ms. Buchan has proven to be even more of a prevaricator than Mr. Fleischer. I'm reminded of the quote "Feminism is the startling idea that women are people."

Also follow the link in the article to The Truth About George. I thought it would be a milquetoast-ian statement of women's issues or some mild critique of Bush. But man, they are really swinging for the fences at that site. Here is the quote at the top of the home page: "When the Supreme Court appointed George W. Bush president, five biased justices overruled the people of the United States and trampled on our principles of democracy. Now, an illegitimate president runs rampant, turning this country upside down." All right!

Iraq Watch

Robert Scheer in his article "Bush pushes the big lie to the brink" addresses some of the main falsehoods in our rush to war, and also mentions the diplomat who resigned last week in the face of the evil of this government.

History Watch

More excellent Howler today as Bob Somerby delves into the work of the character assassins who covered Al Gore in the last election. Today's topic is how Gore sometimes wearing cowboy boots was spun into some kind of sinister character flaw. It may seem here that Somerby is being petty and trivial with this analysis, but when you think about the pack mentality of the journalists involved, and how none of them, at the time or apparently at any time afterward, were able to do what Somerby does, with his Lexus-Nexus searches and his quotes from the past, it is amazing that any of them have jobs in what is supposed to be a country guarded by our press. None of them work. None of them bother to check. Each of them follow a lying character assassin right down into the pit. And they know they can get away with it because no one, apart from a very few, ever check on them.

Linked from today's Howler (though the link is broken) is another amazing sartorial story by Somerby from the 2000 election. The culprit this time it is Brian Williams, who was so upset by Gore's polo shirts that he just can't stop mentioning them time and time again. No mention of how the idiot Bush would likely ruin our economy and our foreign policy and start what looks like three wars (now that we are starting to jack around with North Korea) in less than three years. Nope, for the monomaniacal Mr. Williams the important issue was Gore's polo shirts. Read this bit of life in the Bizarro world.

Somerby's work is important in that it not only lets us enjoy our bitter indignation towards the press that has betrayed us so consistently, but it also shows us their playbook. These same tactics will be dragged out against every serious Democratic challenger for 2004, and you have to know the knives are being sharpened in editorial rooms all around the country. As today's Media Whores Online shows, they are still going on and on about John Kerry's "roots" at the Boston Globe, for example.

Talking Points Memo Watch

Josh Marshall is a little too hawkish on the Iraq situation for my taste. But he is also very clear-headed about most other subjects and has the historical chops to back himself up. In the last week he has put together four excellent pieces on his blog. Treat yourself to: the first, where he reminds us that we've managed to screw things up with both the Turks and the Kurds, to our lasting discredit, and that eventually the Bush administration will run out of others to blame for their incompetence. the second, which features quotes from former NSA Zbigniew Brzezinski explaining how the US has managed to isolate itself to a degree not seen since WWII. the third, where he delves into the relationship between career civil servants and political appointees in our government, and how the Bush administration's goal (as usual) is to get rid of the voices of reason and experience and replace them with ideologues. This is an extremely important aspect of how our government is run and how policy is implemented which is all but ignored by the media. The career civil servants among us will appreciate this story. And finally the fourth , where he describes how the North Koreans really really want our attention, and will keep provoking us until they get it. With our current set of foreign policy "experts" running the show, you can be sure that this situation will probably be bungled into yet another war.

Hats off to Josh Marshall for an extraordinary week.

Monday, March 03, 2003

O'Reilly apologizes, sort of! Apocalypse clearly near

History Watch

Look for some very important work this week from Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler. He is revisiting what happened to Naomi Wolf in the fall of 1999 in today's edition. Wolf was an advisor to the Gore campaign. You may remember her from the "earth tones" flap (which Somerby is promising to address later in the week). Although I don't remember the trashing of her he describes in real time, it is amazing to go back and look at what was written about her in retrospect. She was discussed in the most sexually vile and dismissive way by the "liberal" media, which didn't bother to read her writings. Her crime? Advising Gore. Also linked from today's Howler is another classic from Somerby, showing just how programmed and monolithic the press is (also showing how under-the-thumb of the Republican spin machine they are. Actually, I guess that should be showing how much a part of the Republican spin machine they are). Follow this link, and scroll down to the heading "Where does spin come from? The Bush Pop Quiz" for an amazing portrait of a propaganda machine.

Iraq Watch

Here is a quick, funny, and interesting analysis of opinion polls about the coming war in Iraq. What is interesting is that support for the war drops off very rapidly once you start adding very real possibilities to the question, like would you support the war if people get killed? Apparently, many war supporters have never thought through the implications of the coming conflict. Which is a relief, I guess, except their support for a phony baloney "war" in which there are no bad consequences doesn't help us stop the very real war which is about to happen. Wake up, America!

Bad American Watch

Here is an interesting little tale. Bill O'Reilly recently wrote that dissenters from the war were Un-American. Check out this bone-chilling quote, straight out of Joseph McCarthy and HUAC, or perhaps Goebbels:

Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can't do that, just shut up. Americans, and indeed our foreign allies who actively work against our military once the war is underway, will be considered enemies of the state by me. Just fair warning to you, Barbra Streisand and others who see the world as you do. I don't want to demonize anyone, but anyone who hurts this country in a time like this, well. Let's just say you will be spotlighted. Talking points invites all points of view and believes vigorous debate strengthens the country, but once decisions have been made and lives are on the line, patriotism must be factored in. This does not give the government carte blanche to do anything, but it does give the government the benefit of the doubt at least until that benefit is proven wrong as it was in Vietnam.

You can find this quoted, with commentary, at the MWO archive, under "O'Reilly threatens dissenters".

Now, I can't find that quote today on Mr. O'Reilly's website. Apparently it has been taken down, and he has written a sort-of apology. One can only surmise that enough Un-American people told him where to shove his spotlight. The "apology" begins this way:

I made a mistake yesterday. Can you believe it? That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo. For those of you who say I'm never wrong, I never admit I'm wrong, well, you're wrong, because I was wrong when I said that Americans who continue demonstrating against the war once the shooting begins are being un-American. I'm taking that back.

You can read the rest of the "apology" here, where the newly enlightened Mr. O'Reilly changes his name calling from "un-American" to "bad American". So that obviously changes everything. Now, he will only be interested in "spotlighting" "bad Americans". I'm getting air-quote fatigue with this guy. Also, what is up with this jackass that he would actually write, "I made a mistake yesterday. --_Can you believe it?_--". He also thinks there are people out there who would say he's never wrong. Don't worry, the humble Mr. O'Reilly freely admits when he should have called Americans who don't want to be in more danger from terrorism "bad Americans" instead of "un-American".

Vomit Watch

Newsweek's cover story, "Bush and God", by presidential fellator-extraordinaire Howard Fineman, should be all you need if you don't prefer the finger-down-your-throat method of inducing hurling. The picture at the top of the story alone should induce waves of disorienting nausea. We will get into this more later, but wouldn't it be nice to have our governmental policies determined by people who don't think an invisible superman from space are dictating/approve of their every move? Wouldn't it be nice if we could, oh I don't know, separate church and state? Wouldn't it be nice if our leaders weren't probably figuring out exactly when in the next 5 years they have calculated that the world is going to end (brought about by their own "Left Behind"-fueled dreams of conquest)? This article should be entitled "Stumbling Towards Ragnarok". I mean, we all read "The Late, Great, Planet Earth" when we were kids, but do we actually have to try to bring it about? Here's an example from the story. Bush tells religious broadcasters (who often manage to put the worst public face on the Christian faith), that "the terrorists hate the fact that ... we can worship Almighty God the way we see fit". George of course conveniently forgets that we can also worship Allah, Zeus, or double-yolked eggs the way we see fit, as well. I doubt Al Qaeda cares a fig for how we worship - their biggest beef is having US troops in Saudi Arabia. The only people who seem to care how we worship are . . . religious fundamentalist Christians in this country. Who are of course Bush's natural allies. Oh well. Insane religious zealot or opportunistic hypocrite? With George W. Bush, the choice is yours.

Conservative Idiots Watch

Good Top Ten Conservative Idiots this week. Enjoy all 10, but when you read #1 it will lead to directly to . . .

What the F___? Watch

According to this article, Secretary of War Rumsfeld was on the board of a Swiss company, ABB, which made $200 million dollars selling nuclear reactors to North Korea. Of course, no one admits that the ABB board was even aware of what it was doing. "Maybe it was a discussion point, maybe not" a company spokesperson says coyly. Here's what I know: This administration keeps blaming Bill Clinton for the deal he made with North Korea in 1994 (even though they were happy to profit from it). I also know that if Rumsfeld would quit arming these guys (his fingerprints are all over our supply of "weapons of mass destruction" to Saddam AND now also the supply of nuclear materials to Kim Jong Il) they would be less of a threat. Rummy, no doubt, is laughing all the way to the bank, even as he sends young American men and women to their deaths to fight the very people he helped arm.

Good American Watch

Thanks to Paul for this wonderful essay about the flag and public displays of patriotism by the always sterling Bill Moyers.