May 31, 2003

Filling in the Gaps on WMD Intelligence

More details continue to trickle in regarding who was behind the doctoring of evidence about Iraqi WMDs. A nice summary of the latest developments is this piece from Islam Online: Powell, Straw voiced doubts over Iraq’s WMDs: Diplomats.

One especially colorful anecdote is attributed to a U.S. News and World Report story (though I haven't been able to find it on their web site):

Meanwhile, a U.S. weekly said Friday that Powell came under persistent pressure from the Pentagon and White House to include questionable intelligence in his report on Iraq's WMDs to the Security Council.

U.S. News and World Report magazine said the first draft of the speech was prepared for Powell by Vice President Richard Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, in late January.

According to the report, the draft contained such questionable material that Powell lost his temper, throwing several pages in the air and declaring, "I'm not reading this. This is bullshit."

Cheney's aides wanted Powell to include in his presentation information that Iraq has purchased computer software that would allow it to plan an attack on the United States, an allegation that was not supported by the CIA, the magazine said.

Posted by jbc at 10:32 AM | view/comment (8) | TrackBack (0)

Chittister On What Matters

Joan Chittister has written a really nice column for the National Catholic Reporter: Is there anything left that matters? When I read stuff like this, it restores some of my faith. Not all of us are overgrown children willing to cheer whomever looks good in a flight suit. Nor have we all been stunned into silence at the destruction of the values our country stands for.

Our country, dammit. We're taking it back.

Posted by jbc at 10:24 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 30, 2003

A Little Liberal Levity

Here's some clever cartoon animation regarding the war and the world from Mark Fiore that you may enjoy.

Posted by Craig at 05:42 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Martz on the Sanitized TV War

Ex-Marine and current embedded reporter Ron Martz makes some interesting observations about the hate-mail he's been receiving over his commie war-coverage for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Embed catches heat.

Posted by jbc at 03:25 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Streisand Sues California Coastal Records Project

Barbra Steisand is really annoying sometimes. At the moment, because she's suing the California Coastal Records Project. It seems she resents the fact that multimillionaire Kenneth Adelman included her Malibu estate in his exhaustive, and extemely cool, catalog of coastal images, intended as a tool for anti-development forces that need to be able to document illegal coastal development.

Anyway, read about it in this LA Times article: Streisand sues over photograph of her coast home on web site. And be sure to go to the page that displays her estate, so her obnoxious legal effort will be guaranteed to have the exact opposite effect of what the privacy-obsessed diva intended.

Update: More detail from on the history of their interaction with Babs.

Posted by jbc at 10:51 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Krugman on the Latest Wag the Dog Developments

Paul Krugman is right on, as usual: Waggy dog stories. Hits all the high points: the augmentation of the statue-toppling and Private Jessica stories, the latest developments regarding cooked intelligence and missing WMDs, and finally, the filming of the movie that morphs Bush into a decisive, eloquent leader.

Posted by jbc at 09:39 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 29, 2003

Conspiracy Fodder

Haven't seen much mention of this juicy bit of news for the dark conspiracy crowd to chew on. Seems a Republican Congressional committee chairperson thinks it would be a grand idea for the US to get a piece of the Mexican oil business as part of any immigration reform action with Mexico. This story sets up the basic premise of this far-fetched rider to the immigration law (the extradiction rider isn't so bad though). The National Review looks for some merit in the idea, while the Washington Times is appalled at the thought of it. The Chairperson's personal oil interests seem to have gotten the better of his judgement in this case. All sorts of dopey proposals come out of committees like this on a regular basis, and get shot down quickly and quietly. This one will and should go down in a similar fashion (well, evidently not so quietly). But the point is well taken that something needs to be done about the massive inefficiency and corruption within Mexico's business structure. A more stable and growing economy would relieve the pressure of so many illegals risking their lives entering the US.

Posted by Craig at 09:05 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)


MSNBC has a nice wrap-up of the latest developments in the WMD hunt: Iraq weapons questions dog allies.

Posted by jbc at 01:59 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Darth Vadar, People Person

On the lighter side of things, I felt this was too choice not to post on: Darth Vader Made Me Cry.

Posted by hossman at 01:56 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lynch Family Told Not to Talk?

Interesting turn of events in the Jessica Lynch story: Lynch family silent over rescue.

The BBC says the Pentagon's version of the rescue is a lie; the Pentagon says the beeb's criticisms are "void of all facts and absolutely ridiculous." Meanwhile, Jessica's dad, asked about the controversy, is telling reporters, "We're really not supposed to talk about that subject."

Nonsense, responds a Pentagon spokesperson. "The army does not tell people what they can or cannot talk about. We have advised the family, but they have free speech and know they can talk about what they want." Yeah, really; who are we supposed to believe on the question of what Jessica's dad thinks he's free (or not free) to talk about: Jessica's dad? Pff.

Posted by jbc at 01:49 PM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

New TV Movie To Portray Bush As Decisive Leader on 9/11

Not content with blocking the release of the 9/11 investigation that reveals Bush as having been more deer-in-the-headlights than macho top gun on that awful day, the administration is apparently working closely with Republican point man in Hollywood Lionel Chetwynd to rewrite history via a made-for-TV movie, to be aired next September: White House insider cleans up Bush's image on film.

According to the movie's script, Bush wasn't the inept, whiny afterthought on 9/11 that previous accounts have painted him as. No, he was a firm, forthright Commander in Chief, cutting off his Secret Service advisors and demanding they take him back to the White House, pronto. "If some tinhorn terrorist wants me, tell him to come and get me! I'll be at home! Waiting for the bastard!"

Man, who wouldn't want to vote for that guy?

Posted by jbc at 12:48 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Billmon's Timeline of WMD Statements

Here's a nice collection of quotations by Bush & Co. on those elusive Iraqi WMDs: What a tangled web we weave.

Posted by jbc at 11:06 AM | view/comment (9) | TrackBack (0)

May 28, 2003

The Weekly Standard on Kennedy Philandering

At a time when many Americans are concerned about the job President Bush is doing, the Weekly Standard wants to talk instead about the Kennedy administration: The president as priapist.

Posted by jbc at 10:22 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bush Inside and Out

Here are a pair of stories about President Bush. The first, by John Chuckman, is specifically for Craig, whose eyes I can see rolling even as I speak, in that it's a look at ways in which Bush is similar, personality-wise, to Adolf Hitler: Through a glass darkly: An interpretation of Bush's character. The second, by Michael Katz, is a nice roundup of the ways in which the spinmeisters are burnishing Bush's image: Image makers obscure president's policy failures. Thanks to the Smirking Chimp, as usual, for the links.

Posted by jbc at 09:18 PM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

Is Anyone Actually Shocked?

This detailed article from The Weekly Standard reports the firing of several al Jazeera employees, including the Director General, for reported ties to the ex-Iraqi Government. I assumed they were merely sympathetic to their Arab brethren's defense against the coalition forces, not actually in bed with them. Those who may have felt that they were the true "fair and balanced" network during the war coverage (especially in terms of cilivian body count) may want to rethink their opinion. (Don't get excited. I don't think Fox News is either.)

Posted by Craig at 08:21 PM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

Arcata Fights the Patriot Act

Cool story from the craptastic-login-requiring LA Times (cypherpunk98/cypherpunk works, at least until they move it to their craptastic for-pay archives): Pro-Constitution, anti-Patriot. It covers how former-hippie stronghold Arcata, CA, is leading the fight against some of the more repugnant parts of the Patriot Act.

Posted by jbc at 10:45 AM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

Gwynne Dyer 3/3: Chimp Lib

Yet another Gwynne Dyer column I came across this morning, this one on the subject of recent efforts to expand the legal definition of "human" to include closely related species, like chimpanzees: We should grant 'human rights' to our closest living relatives.

Posted by jbc at 07:49 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gwynne Dyer 2/3: 'War on Terror' Isn't War

This is the piece by Gwynne Dyer I was actually looking for when I came across that other one I just posted. This one is a column in which he makes a compelling case that the "War on Terror" cannot be considered a "war," technically, but is, rather, an ongoing law-enforcement effort, in which there can never be a "victory." Definitely food for thought, as politicians attempt to stretch the war metaphor into the basis of actual policy (and actual war, for that matter). Anyway, here it is: A 'statistical' victory over terrorism cannot be achieved.

Posted by jbc at 07:44 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gwynne Dyer, 1/3: Blair Mocked on WMDs in Moscow

I liked this column by Gwynne Dyer, and think it makes an interesting counterpoint to Craig's recent WMD posting: The missing WMD. It tells the story of how Vladimir Putin mocked Tony Blair about Iraqi WMDs during a Moscow press conference. Ouch.

Posted by jbc at 07:35 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

More on the WMD and the Commencement Issues

This article does a good job of addressing my thoughts on the existence of Iraq's WMD and the importance of finding such evidence.

In another ongoing topic, here is a reality check for any liberals out there who may be getting too smug about the intolerence of conservative thinkers who are faced with opposing views during Commencement speeches. Rudeness and/or reflexive dogmatic thinking is not the exclusive property of any one ideology.

And just because no one got around to pulling the plug on the microphone doesn't put it in a different category than Rockford's incident. At least Albright was giving a speech within the context of the event.

Posted by Craig at 06:13 AM | view/comment (8) | TrackBack (0)

May 27, 2003

Sorenson on the Chris Hedges Speech

SF Gate columnist Harley Sorenson has a piece on the Chris Hedges speech: The Rockford files. I love the quote from the campus newspaper that accused Hedges of comparing US foreign policy to "piranhas" (he actually said "pariahs"). Sorenson also points out that heckling public speakers was (is?) a popular tactic of UC Berkeley radicals. Worth a read.

Posted by jbc at 08:09 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Krugman on the Real Motivation for Tax Cuts

Paul Krugman does a good job of explaining what the real goal is in pushing for ever-greater tax cuts at a time of record-setting national debt: Stating the obvious.

Posted by jbc at 07:58 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 26, 2003

More Perspective on the Saving of Private Jessica

From the Chicago Tribune comes this interesting update for those still interested in the Private Jessica story: Sorting fact from fiction in POW's gripping story. It confirms many of the criticisms that British reporters have been making of the original gung-ho storyline, though it diverges from the BBC version in saying that the ambulance the Iraqis used in trying to return Jessica to the US troops a few days before the rescue may not have come under direct fire by US forces. There's also an intersting comment about the arrival at Centcom of a White House spinmeister shortly before the well-orchestrated original presentation of the heroic-Jessica story.

I'm curious how this will play out in made-for-TV-movie land. Will one of the networks present a dramatization of the original heroic version of the story? Or will the powers that be, who presumably are the same people telling Jessica to keep her mouth shut and claim amnesia, pressure the networks into letting the story just go away, so as not to risk giving the debunkers a wider audience?

Posted by jbc at 06:27 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Margolis on Bush's Iraq Lies

Following up on the excellent link Craig posted, here's a less-sympathetic treatment of the same issues from the Toronto Sun's Eric Margolis: Oh, what a tangled web Bush weaves. Ties things together well.

Posted by jbc at 10:11 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 25, 2003

Credible Option?

While I still feel confident that some direct evidence of WMD material will be uncovered in time, I am not adverse to acknowledging other viable options for the current failure to produce the evidence that was assured by the Bush Administration. The key in this commentary is that Bush and his inner circle placed too much credence in speculative or unsubstanciated intelligence reports and those of key Iraqi exiles in assessing the level of weapon-ready material Iraqi had on hand. Not the more sinister scenario pushed by the Far Left of a revenge-thirsty, immoral, imperialist who has strung out a series of bald-faced lies to the world.

Regardless, if this more plausible alternative explanation becomes much more evident, it will still result in a big backlash for Bush and the Republican Party, come 2004. Which would be the same blissful end result hoped for by the Democrats, both radical and mainstream (other than those extremists who think Bush should be in front of the World Court, even before Saddam).

And it would be a jarring setback in the leadership role of the US in the world (possibly for the better in some ways, but most definitely for the worse as well).

If nothing else, it provides food for thought for those who are becoming increasing uncomfortable at the delay in finding Iraq's WMD (with the exception of those who have already stumbled off the intellectual cliff due to being blinded by all their perceived Bush-Hitler-Satan analogies).

Posted by Craig at 10:34 PM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dullest Blog, Messy Fun

Here's some miscellaneous wackiness to liven up your Sunday.

First up, the really funny, in a subtle sort of way, dullest blog in the world. Thanks to some random weblog I can no longer find for pointing me to this.

Next, the also really funny, in a completely different sort of way, Messy Gallery 118, from Joanna.

The Web is a hyperdimensional portal. It reduces the distance between any two points to zero. I'm up early, goofing around at Dave Barry's blog while the wife and kids are still in bed, I follow a link, and bam, I'm suddenly in the kitchen of a happily married British man who likes to get all dolled up in summery dresses and tasteful makeup and pour chocolate syrup all over himself. And he does it a lot.

The world gets smaller. We learn that people are at once both stranger and more familiar than we ever imagined, or could have imagined. As with urbanization and the cosmopolitan viewpoint it created, the Web challenges our preconceptions, forcing us to expand our worldview. With the Web, we actually have a worldview, literally.

Posted by jbc at 07:30 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Natalie Maines Pisses People Off Again

I didn't watch the Academy of Country Music awards the other night (!), so I was spared what apparently was a wall-to-wall display of feel-good (if relatively mindless) patriotism. But I'm sorry I missed the part where the Dixie Chicks appeared via video from an Austin concert, and were booed in response to Natalie Maines' teeshirt reading "F.U.T.K.", which expands to "Fuck You Toby Keith."

Heh. See this item from for more on the Maines/Keith thing.

In case you were wondering, I first came across a mention of this in the permalink-challenged Dizzy Girl weblog, which I was reading because its name caught my eye as I was scanning through the list of losers (most of whom outrank at The Truth Laid Bear's Blogosphere Ecosystem. The reason it caught my eye is that Dizzy Girl is the title of the first song on the really fabulous first (and only?) CD from a 90's San Francisco band called The Rosemarys, that CD having been my favorite listening for the last few weeks since I heard it on's Grrl Radio.

So. Now you know everything.

Posted by jbc at 06:41 AM | view/comment (44) | TrackBack (0)

The Mt. Everest QTVR Panorama

Everyone's linking to this really cool panorama taken atop Mt. Everest, so I will, too.

I remember when I first saw a QTVR panorama; it was of a hiking trail in Arizona or New Mexico or somewhere like that, and it blew me away. Wow, I thought. This Web thing is amazing!

These days the novelty of bandwidth-hogging 360-degree images that you can rotate and zoom around in has worn off somewhat, but that Everest panorama is still very much worth a look.

Posted by jbc at 06:29 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 24, 2003

More Data on the Iraqi Civilian Death Toll

The Christian Science Monitor is running an article about various groups' efforts to figure out how many Iraqi noncombatants got liberated from their lives during the recent war: Surveys pointing to high civilian death toll in Iraq. The numbers aren't pretty; it's sounding as if our use of cluster munitions and the speedy thrust by the Marines (especially) up the Euphrates resulted in anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 civilian deaths.

Those dead bodies are all ours. Our taxes paid for the bullets; our friends and neighbors formed the troops that did the killing; our votes (or lack thereof) put the politicians in place who sent those troops on their mission.

So, you supporters of the war: Explain to me, please, just why those people had to die. The 4-year-old Iraqi girl obliterated by a missile, the 12-year-old Iraqi boy torn to pieces by exploding cluster bomblets, the family of four strafed by machine gun fire at a checkpoint. What greater good justifies their deaths?

You don't get to ignore the question. You don't get to just flip channels to some sitcom, or some reality show, and make it magically not-have-happened. It did happen. We did this. And I want very much for you to tell me why.

Posted by jbc at 02:55 PM | view/comment (14) | TrackBack (0)

Interview with Chris Hedges re: the Rockford College Speech

Interesting follow-up story from Alternet: The silencing of dissent on graduation day.

Posted by jbc at 12:59 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Mrs. du Toit Freaks Out

People reveal a lot when they get upset. When we're calm and collected we can present whatever face we want to the outside world, but when something jars us loose from our moorings we start acting in ways that aren't so mediated.

I think back to the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when Ann Coulter made her call for a bloody Crusade against those evil Mohammedans occupying the Holy Lands. I mean, it was just way out there. But she was upset, and not necessarily thinking about the longterm consequences of revealing that side of her personality, so she Just Did It.

But that's really just a preliminary digression. Mrs. du Toit strikes me as being both significantly smarter and significantly less vile than Ann Coulter. But if you find it interesting to see someone start off sounding rational, and then suddenly just go off in a self-revelatory way, check out this post in her weblog, and (especially) the discussion that follows in the comments: Mind the gap.

Basically, Mrs. du Toit makes this impassioned posting about how awful it is that gay-rights advocates have managed to secure a toehold for their agenda in the public schools. Her argument is actually kind of interesting: she says she's worried about the victimization gays will suffer during the inevitable cultural backlash.

Then Adam from words mean things shows up, disagrees with her, and things get ugly.

I don't know; this may well be one of those things that seems more interesting to me than it does to anyone else. I've always been a sucker for that weird intersection of high-level intellectual discussion and visceral potty-mouth name-calling that surrounds the various never-to-be-resolved online political debates.

Posted by jbc at 12:22 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 23, 2003

Space Aliens Invade Earth

Sars 'from the stars' (or War II of the Worlds)

In this sequel, instead of a terrestrial cold virus defeating the Martians, a Martian cold virus destroys the hapless humans.

There is also a much more "down to Earth" theory that the SARS virus originated from a civet cat but what kind of news is that?

Posted by the_web_walker at 03:47 PM | view/comment (7) | TrackBack (0)

More Criticism of 9/11 Cover-Up

Another day, another round of criticism of the way the Bush administration is covering up the intelligence and decision-making failures that contributed to 9/11. From the Boston Globe: Bush criticized over 9/11 probe. And from Andrew Greeley, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times: Bush answers on 9/11 overdue.

Posted by jbc at 11:02 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 22, 2003

RonT Does the Budget Math

In other economic news, RonT of Daily Kos explains in words of no more than one or two syllables how much our collective economic fortunes have changed: How much is ten trillion dollars, really?

Posted by jbc at 11:54 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Schlosser on the Shadow Economy

Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, has a new book out: Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. He looks at the free-market side of the marijuana, sex, and undocumented-worker stories, pointing out some interesting facts along the way. Like, marijuana has now passed corn as the US's leading cash crop, and the black-market business in drugs, pr0n, and illegal labor now constitutes nearly 10% of the US GDP. Schlosser's conclusion is that as a country we're deeply screwed up, with high-profile public morality masking a depraved underbelly.

A few links: The book's first chapter, as excerpted by the New York Times, a review in the Times, and an interview with Schlosser at

Posted by jbc at 02:47 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ready, Aim.....

Our Gun toting friends in Utah are gearing up for a Firing squad double header. Utah is the only State in the Union that still executes death row inmates via Firing squad when requested, as it should be, and it appears they are looking to increase the ratings by stacking them up back to back so that they can better compete with American Idol.

Personally, I would prefer they would return to the days of the Old West, when once someone has been found guilty, and sentenced to die, that they should just hang them immediately and save the taxpayers a little grief.

Posted by jaybird at 02:37 PM | view/comment (7) | TrackBack (0)

CNN and the Jayson Blair Syndrome

CNN renewed its membership in the Club of Yellow Journalism by rigging a weapons demonstration. This incident following on the heels of the New York Times scandal reinforces the belief traditional journalism has been replaced by New Journalism, journalism that features the author's subjective responses to people and events and that often includes fictional elements meant to illuminate and dramatize those responses.

CNN claims comparing a cinderblock being shot by an illegal weapon to a cinderblock not being shot at all was due to confusion. If not for the alleged confusion, the viewers would have been enlightened by video of a legal weapon being fired into the ground. Proving that illegal guns kill cinderblocks and legal guns kill dirt.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office refused to explain what criminal acts necessitated the public execution of the cinderblock and the ground.

Posted by the_web_walker at 12:59 PM | view/comment (5) | TrackBack (0)

The Meaning of Missing WMDs

Still yet again even more commentary on the missing Iraq WMDs, and what their absence means: First up, an op/ed piece from Melvin A. Goodman: Weapons failure. Next, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jay Bookman: Trust in leaders is lost if WMD are not found. Finally, from someone who (yes, I know) supported the Ku Klux Klan in his early politicking in West Virginia 50 years ago, but today is apparently the only person in the Senate to care so little (or so much?) about his future that he's willing to take a moral stand: The truth will emerge.

Thanks to for all three links, and for hosting the text of Byrd's speech.

Posted by jbc at 11:27 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Water Flows Uphill in British Garden

British inventor and vacuum-cleaner magnate James Dyson has created a really cool illusion as part of the annual Chelsea Flower Show. The beeb has the story: How does Dyson make water go uphill?

If you read the story, it's actually not quite clear who should get credit for "inventing" the effect. Dyson gets most of the ink in the article, though "Dyson engineer" Derek Phillips seems to be the person who actually created it. I'm not sure where the actual design came from.

But I don't care. I so want one of these.

Posted by jbc at 06:07 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Whittle on Moore's 'Magic'

Assertively-rational conservative Bill Whittle has posted an essay that is getting lots of attention lately, at least according to Daypop: Magic. It's entertainingly written, which is good, because it's also fairly long-winded, and takes quite a while to get to the main point, which is that Whittle doesn't like the way Michael Moore staged fictional scenes and asserted untrue things in Bowling for Columbine.

There's extensive discussion of people's love of magical thinking, illustrated by gleeful debunkings of Roswell and Loch Ness. Whittle invokes Carl Sagan, citing him as an influence and hailing his writing as "refined genius of the highest degree" (though apparently Sagan wasn't able to actually apply the principles of clear thinking that Whittle praises so highly, since Sagan's own views on political questions, at least, were diametrically opposed to Whittle's).

There's also a mention of misdirection, the illusionist's hand-waving that distracts the audience while handkerchief is replaced by rabbit. Which is fun, given that Whittle's logical argument itself is pretty much just a grand piece of misdirection.

I am always distrustful of self-styled skeptics who seem driven more by an emotional need to prove others wrong than by the desire to get closer to the underlying reality that mocks our simplistic, abstract perceptions. Whittle provides a great example of that, decrying the magical thinking on the part of those he disagrees with, while engaging in his own version of the same thing. His denial of the essential magic and mystery of the world, his repeated assertions that he possesses firmly-grounded Truths that his political opponents myopically overlook, is itself magical thinking, just on a slightly higher plane.

The constancy of the speed of light as a natural speed limit has been so thoroughly and completely tested and vindicated that these aliens must have learned to harness the power of entire galaxies to bore wormholes through spacetime, which would be necessary to have these infinitely fast, staggeringly maneuverable, gravity-defying, super-hardened space-metal saucers in the skies over our planet.


Heh. No one who really grasped the essence of what Sagan wrote about human knowledge and science could make a statement like that. Not because it's particularly likely that aliens crashed a foil-wrapped spaceship into New Mexico in 1946, but because anyone defending a scientific principle as having been "so thoroughly and completely tested and vindicated" is just begging to have his frame of reference pulled from under him by new, unanticipated data.

The Whittle who saw a leprechaun at the age of nine was, in my view, a better scientist than the Whittle of today. It saddens me to see how the emotional traumas of growing up can do that to people, closing them off from the world, isolating them within protective walls of rational certainty, loudly proclaiming the correctness of their views and attacking anything that threatens to make a chink in that armor.

There is magic in the world still, real magic, way down deep. Children know that. Too many adults have forgotten.

Posted by jbc at 05:35 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Buffet on Tax-Cut Voodoo

Extremely-rich person Warren Buffet has written an interesting analysis of Bush's obsessively-pursued elimination of the tax on dividends: Dividend voodoo. Cool stuff.

Posted by jbc at 04:54 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 21, 2003

Goodman on Bush the Showman

Howard Goodman, a columnist based in Palm Beach, FL, comments on how the Bush image-crafting team goes showman-extraordinaire Ronald Reagan one better: For Bush, as with the Gipper, it's on with the show. It's mostly a recapitulation of that New York Times article from the other day, but I liked the Reagan story in the lead enough to post it.

Posted by jbc at 07:09 AM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

Vicki Gray Stumps for Dean

From's Vicki Gray comes this to-the-barricades call: Where are all the Democrats? Gray argues that those who oppose Bush should rally behind Howard Dean.

Maybe. We certainly need someone willing to stand up to Bush and expose the lies with which he is being packaged and sold to the electorate. Dean would make people like me ecstatic -- but I'm not exactly a mainstream swing voter. I guess it's cynical to buy into the DLC position that only a "centrist" Democrat can win; one example (Clinton) does not necessarily prove the point. But there's a self-fulfilling prophecy involved. If enough of the middle-of-the-country (ideologically, I mean, not necessarily physically) swing voters believe it, it becomes true, at least in terms of the presidential election's outcome.

Time will tell, obviously. In the meantime, I think we who are opposed to Bush need to support a Democratic primary process that focuses on Bush's failures, countering some of the shock-and-awe image-building the White House is doing. I'm personally not that concerned at this point with Who Is Most Ideologically Pure. I think any of the Democratic contenders would be better than Bush. I'd like to see those contenders conspiring with each other to send the same message to the electorate, rather than beating each other up.

But I'm still okay with people like Vicki Gray working to rouse the rabble. Passion = good. Apathy = bad. Woo! Go passion!

Posted by jbc at 07:00 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 20, 2003

I'm Insensitive and Tactless and Free to Prove It!

Sorry. This has nothing really to do with lies exactly, but this story just bothered me! There is a time and a place for everything, but a commencement speech is not the forum for a guest speaker to get on his soapbox regarding a divisive issue such as the war in Iraq and subject an unwitting audience to his political views! Freedom of speech still comes with a responsibility to have some respect and sensitivity to your audience and the occasion you are a part of. The parents and grandparents in attendance were rightly expecting a moment of pride and happiness for the accomplishments of their child or grandchild. Not an attack on their Country and Government! College is the time for open thinking and debate. But this event wasn't a session of Political Science 101.

And yes, I would have thought it to be equally inappropriate if the speaker decided to focus his speech on deriding and discrediting all those who protested the war or who felt it was immoral.

An additional story about this incident provides a few more quotes from those involved. Hedges' speech had absolutely no context or mention of the reason for this gathering: a college graduation! How arrogant do you have to be to agree to be the guest speaker at a commencement and refuse to even make a passing reference to the event, let alone gear your comments around it! He even makes a condesending remark afterwards in this article in which he infers that commencement-type of speeches are essentially beneath him! In another story I've read on this issue, it appears both the College President and Hedges are acknowledging what should have happened in the first place. Hedges says he would have directly told the school what he planned to say, and the President would have sought out a speaker with a less volatile topic. I've also seen mentioned that the New York Times may be looking to see if Hedges violated some aspect of a company ethics policy (just what the Times needs right now).

I still come back to the fact that, in the proper setting (of which there are many), this speech would be fine. I probably would even agree, to a point, with the general idea of how war affects people's attitudes, group thinking and belief systems.

People are bombarded with strident messages on controversial topics all the time. No one will be any worse off by hearing one congratulatory/inspirational message on their graduation day! It was simply the wrong type of speech for the wrong occasion.

Posted by Craig at 08:40 PM | view/comment (5) | TrackBack (0)

Not So Funny Cide

Thought I'd take a break from all the Bush and War postings momentarily for a story that briefly popped up regarding the winning jockey from the recent Kentucky Derby. Just a good reminder that in today's world, often the initial reports of a story that is breathlessly rushed out by the media is often lacking in accuracy. At the expense of innocent people.

As the Boston Globe points out, our age of instant information can likely be instant misinformation.

Posted by Craig at 07:54 PM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

Ari Fleischer Resigns

Someone mentioned this story in my presence the other day, but I was caught up in some heavy deadline pressure and failed to follow up on it. Better late than never, though: Bush press secretary Fleischer resigns. Thanks to The Power Vacuum for reminding me.

I'm going to miss Ari.

Posted by jbc at 06:49 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 19, 2003

Who's Responsible for This?

A lot of people have contributed time and energy to over the years. Follow the link below, or scroll down, to learn more about some of them.


Posted by jbc at 10:52 PM | view/comment (24) | TrackBack (0) Gets a Facelift

Janus was making fun of my circa-1997 dropshadowed-text logo, and Ymatt was willing to do some pro-bono design work, so shazam! is new and improved. Please let me know if you notice anything broken, and thanks much to Janus for the incentive, and (especially) to Ymatt for the sweat equity.

Posted by jbc at 09:31 PM | view/comment (6) | TrackBack (0)

Bush on 9/11: Up Close and Personal

Here's something really special: An interesting day: President Bush's movements and actions on 9/11. Using published sources, the authors go into detail on what Bush knew and what he did when on that awful day.

Since we're apparently not going to be allowed to see the results of the government investigation into the events of that day, I guess we citizens will have to piece it together on our own.

Posted by jbc at 06:45 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rosenberg on Bush the Believer

Here's an interesting commentary on a New York Times piece that just barely didn't reach my personal postability threshhold, but which, with the addition of Scott Rosenberg's criticism, now qualifies. The original piece was Bill Keller's God and George W. Bush; the followup critique is Bush and God, church and state.

Posted by jbc at 07:08 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 17, 2003

Pioneer 10 Makeover

Edward Tufte is cool: Pioneer space plaque redesign.

Posted by jbc at 11:42 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rumsfeld's Office of Special Plans

Here's a really interesting story from the Observer, as reprinted at Guardian Unlimited: US rivals turn on each other as weapons search draws a blank. It describes the activities of "The Cabal," a shadowy group of intelligence analysts that is part of the Office of Special Plans, an intelligence-gathering body set up in the Defense Department by Donald Rumsfeld in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. According to the article, Rumsfeld didn't like the intelligence he was getting from traditional sources like the CIA, so he set up the OSP to produce intelligence more to his liking. The OSP apparently was the source for much of the now-exposed-as-fallacious "intelligence" about the Iraqi WMD program.

The article appears to be a follow-on to this earlier New Yorker article by Seymour M. Hersch: Selective intelligence. For a counter-spin, see this piece from Jack Shafer in Slate: The leading indicator that WMD will be found: Seymour M. Hersh says they won't.

Posted by jbc at 12:55 PM | view/comment (9) | TrackBack (0)

Lights, Camera, Presidency!

From the New York Times comes this really interesting story about the team of people who make sure Bush looks good on TV: Keepers of Bush image lift stagecraft to new heights. I'm not sure how you counter this. Maybe you don't.

Posted by jbc at 11:29 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 16, 2003

Public, Dems Don't Care about Missing WMDs

According to this analysis from the Washington Post, most of the US population, and virtually all the Democrats in Congress, have decided that the Iraq war was a great success, even if it turns out Bush lied shamelessly about the Iraqi WMD threat: No weapons, no problem for Bush.

I wonder how many of the people who believe the war was justified even without Iraqi WMDs also believe Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Posted by jbc at 09:50 PM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Salon on Teresa Heinz (Kerry)

Here's the last in my current shock-and-awe link blitz, I promise. From Salon, another one worth getting the 1-day pass for: a brief piece on Democratic somewhere-near-the-front-runner John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz (or maybe it's Teresa Heinz Kerry -- though that's kind of the point of the story, or rather, the point is that Heinz/Kerry was willing to get herself quoted in Elle magazine saying she didn't "give a shit" about the whole name thing).

I like this. A lot. I'm leaning more and more Kerry's way all the time, personally, and the fact that he's got an uppity, outspoken, strong, intelligent wife who makes no bones about her Botox injections makes me happy in all kinds of ways.

Posted by jbc at 11:18 AM | view/comment (32) | TrackBack (0)

National Socialism, American-Style

From essayist Douglas Herman, a depressing, if more or less apt, question: Achtung! Are we the new Nazis? As usual, thanks to The Smirking Chimp for the great link.

Posted by jbc at 11:11 AM | view/comment (4) | TrackBack (0)

Corn on Iraq War Truths

I'm a little late with the link, but it's good stuff. From David Corn, writing in The Nation: Now they tell us.

Posted by jbc at 10:58 AM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

Krugman on Bush's TV-Studio Presidency

Another day, another perfect Paul Krugman column in the New York Times: Paths of glory. It looks at the mismatch between Bush's presidential style (big, flashy, production numbers; lame follow-through) and the actual needs of the War on Terror. I know the conventional wisdom, at least in Republican circles, is that Bush rules the roost when it comes to security issues, but I'm not so sure.

Posted by jbc at 10:55 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Jessica Lynch Thing

I just can't seem to sync up with this Private Jessica plotline. I somehow got sidetracked into feeling all maudlin and sympathetic toward Private Shoshana Johnson, and when the first soft-focus pieces about Jessica appeared I gave them a pass. Joined the Army to get out of her West Virginia poverty, just saving up money for college, wanted to be a kindergarten teacher; it was just a little too hard-sell for me. Nothing against her personally; she seemed like a great person. I just wasn't interested in that particular story at that particular time.

Then, when the Big Daring Rescue happened, I was anchored in a little cove off a more or less desert island with no net, no news at all, really. So I missed that story.

Then when I saw the stories floating around from the foreign papers that were pointing out that the facts of the case didn't quite match the Hollywood storyline that the Pentagon and their mouthpieces at Fox News were putting out, I dunno; I think I was just tired of the whole thing. And I was right in the thick of my reaching-out-to-the-conservatives impulse, and it just didn't seem right to hit them over the head by harping on the Jessica story.

But anyway, there's a new piece in Salon about it, and it's pretty funny, and I think I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention this along with all the other lies witih which the Iraq war was sold to the American people. So go thou and fill thine eyes with the gritty, messy reality that is the Private Jessica story, for reals: Saving Pvt. Lynch: The made-for-TV movie. (It's worth enduring the anti-Web clickthrough ad for the Well that gets you the 1-day pass.)

Update: reader Pilar sent this helpful link, with more on the truth behind the Jessica story: The real 'Saving Pte. Lynch'.

Posted by jbc at 01:32 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 15, 2003

Columbia Investigation Continues

Some interesting things have been happening in the grinding-slow-but-exceedingly-fine investigation into the Columbia shuttle disaster. From Reuters, here's a story from the other day: 'Missed signals' seen at NASA in Columbia probe. The AP version of the same Senate testimony is here: Shuttle probe chief calls on Senate panel.

The back and forth reported between the retired admiral heading up the investigation and Sen. John McCain was interesting, with the investigator claiming the process whereby engineers' concerns were ignored by higher-ups was "nobody's fault," and McCain getting pissed at the idea that seven astronauts could be killed due to a string of human errors in which, magically, no humans were actually responsible.

Chiming in on the obvious deja vu qualities in all this, USA Today has the following editorial: Same problems haunt NASA 17 years after Challenger loss. And if you want to really get into the nitty gritty of what went wrong, and if you haven't seen it already, check out this interesting discussion from visual-display-of-information maven Edward Tufte. Nice detail on the contribution that some really yucky Powerpoint bullet slides made to the tragedy.

Posted by jbc at 11:36 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Putin the Principled?

Some people seemed to believe that Putin was trying to make Bush squirm by refusing to drop U.N. sanctions without a declaration of the non-existence of WMD's, in order to win the moral point for all the brave countries that stood up to the US agression. Surprise! This USA Today article sheds light on a possibly more self-interested motive of Mr Putin and his diplomatic cronies.

This just still makes the world go 'round.

Posted by Craig at 06:25 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Would stuff like this happen in a truely free country?

A buddy of mine mailed me this story, and I can't really improve on what he had to say about it... Basically, if you happen to have the same first and last name as someone who's on the secret "suspected terrorist but we have no proof" list, you get harrassed at every airport you go to. And you can't get removed from the list, and you can't complain about it to anyone, 'cause no one will admit to creating the list. Anybody else feel funny about this?

Posted by hossman at 10:58 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Lose weight, the old fashion way

There are a lot of programs out there that claim you can "LOSE WEIGHT FAST!" But in these uncertain times, I think it's best to stick with the reliable, proven diet recipies from Weight Watchers, circa 1974. My favorite is the "Slender Quencher" made from Water, Sherry extract, andBeef Bullion cubes. Mmmmmmmm that's refreshing.

Posted by hossman at 10:33 AM | view/comment (5) | TrackBack (0)

Inconvenient Questions Persist in the War on Terra

We seem to be in the thick of a news cycle centering on Bush's dishonesty with respect to the pursuit of Evil-Doers and Terra-ists. Here are three pieces pointed to this morning by The Smirking Chimp, all of them dealing with this issue in one way or another. First, and most substantially, is this piece from The Guardian: Bush feels the heat after Riyadh bombings. The idea here is that by focusing on the overthrow of those alleged Osama-collaborators in Iraq, Bush let the real al Qaeda off the hook, allowing them to prepare a new round of attacks. A similar, but more-humorously-presented, argument is that advanced by John McFerrin in the Charleston Gazette: Hillbilly in the White House: Bush attack on Iraq 'handy'.

Finally, from Alan Bisbort in the Hartford Advocate: The dead want the truth. Bisbort argues that we owe those who died in the 9/11 attacks a full disclosure of the intelligence failures that led to those events, and that White House efforts to limit the investigation and classify its results are way hypocritical in the context of the no-holds-barred effort they put into exposing Clinton's philandering.

Posted by jbc at 07:53 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 14, 2003

The Memory Hole on the Classified 9/11 Report

The good people at are carrying the public (for now) information relating to the 9/11 investigation: Documents from Congress' joint inquiry into 9/11. Note especially in the transcribed statement from Eleanor Hill, staff director of the investigation committee, the following:

According to the White House and the D.C.I., director of central intelligence, the president's knowledge of intelligence information relevant to this inquiry remains classified, even when the substance of that intelligence information has been declassified.
See, if it were widely known that Bush had been personally briefed on the danger represented by al Qaeda prior to 9/11, including specific information relating to plans to hijack airliners and plow them into buildings, people might start wondering why he didn't do more to prevent that, which in turn might hurt his [re-]election prospects.

Fortunately, it has been determined by the White House that [re-]electing Bush is essential to our national security, so any such information can remain classified. Don't you feel safer?

Posted by jbc at 11:05 AM | view/comment (4) | TrackBack (0)

Forked Tongues the Latest Beauty Fad

This story bothers me in a couple of different ways, and since it's too late for me to un-read it, I thought I'd share the pain with all of you: Tongue-splitting trend troubling to some. I mean, I'm all for freedom and personal expression, but yeesh.

Posted by jbc at 10:33 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 13, 2003

Dionne on Bush's Lies

Here's a nice little commentary comparing Bush with Clinton/Gore on the subject of lying: Bush will say anything -- no lie. It's from E.J. Dionne, Jr., as printed in and pointed to by The Smirking Chimp.

Posted by jbc at 12:34 PM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Krugman: The Bended-Knee Media

Yet another in the long line of really insightful commentaries by the NYT's Paul Krugman: The China Syndrome. It's about the strange paradox whereby the BBC, a government-owned news outlet, has been providing demonstrably more objective coverage of recent events than the large bulk of the private-owned media in the US.

Posted by jbc at 12:31 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Texas Rangers Ordered to Arrest 53 Legislators

Having narrowly won a majority of seats in Congress, the GOP is pursuing a national strategy to widen that majority. But rather than woo voters with the traditional slick advertising and empty promises, the Republican party is going to win seats by redrawing district maps in their favor. (See "gerrymandering".)

CNN is reporting that 53 Democrats have walked out of the Texas legislature in protest of a bill that would cost them 7 House seats. Apparently this drops the legislature below the minimum number of representatives required for a vote, stalling any action.

This seemed like normal annoying political bullshit until I got to the part that mentions "News reports late Monday quoted leaders of the missing Democrats as saying they are gathered across the state line in Ardmore, Oklahoma, out of reach of Texas Rangers who have been ordered to arrest them and return them to the House chamber." Does this peg anyone else's surreal-o-meter? Do the state police usually get involved in Texas politics?

Posted by aaron at 04:21 AM | view/comment (4) | TrackBack (0)

May 12, 2003

Army WMD Team Stands Down

Since the pro-Bush folks seem to still be in denial about this, I guess I'll have to keep flogging the WMD story a little longer. Here's the latest development, as reported in The Independent: US weapons team ends its search with no discovery.

Just to recap, briefly: We invaded another country and overthrew its government, killing thousands of innocent people in the process. We justified this as an act of self-defense, given that the country had (we claimed) lots of banned weapons that it supposedly was likely to hand over to terrorists. No such weapons have been found.

So Bush lied about that, right? And you people who continue to support him as president deal with that issue how, exactly? I'm not trying to bait you; I just really want to know what you think about all this.

Posted by jbc at 11:07 PM | view/comment (3) | TrackBack (0)

May 11, 2003

NYT Comes Clean on Reporter's Fraud

A little human-interest piece for your Sunday: the New York Times has revealed that recently-resigned reporter Jayson Blair committed extensive fraud in stories he had written for the paper over the past several months. The Times spills rivers of ink about the story, including an article describing the deception; a detailed list of specific frauds, with corrections; and an editorial mea culpa.

Times-bashers, enjoy!

Posted by jbc at 08:04 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dan Kennedy on the 'Republican Attack Machine'

Clearly partisan, but interesting nevertheless, is this long lament by Dan Kennedy: The GOP attack machine. Kennedy basically argues that Republicans are meanies, and don't play fair, and counters the inevitable observation that Democrats do the same thing by saying, "yeah, but Republicans are much worse." I agree with much of what he says, but I disagree with his apparent conclusion that all we can do is whine about it.

There have always been, and always will be, unscrupulous people willing to lie and cheat and steal in their effort to get and retain power. For a while, within a certain limited frame of reference, it may look like they are succeeding.

Don't let it get you down. This too shall pass, and all that.

Posted by jbc at 07:32 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 09, 2003

Monkey Authors Making (Slow) Progress

From AP, via Janus, comes word of this nifty experiment/performance art: Typing monkeys don't write Shakespeare. And though it may make no sense to you whatsoever, I really liked Lucy's comment when Janus mentioned the URL (which included the string 'britain_monkey_authors') in the mud: "Even without looking at that article I want it to be about Tommy." See, it's funny because Tommy is me in the mud, and I wrote this book with a monkey on the cover and... Oh, never mind. You had to be there.

Posted by jbc at 01:14 PM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

From, via ymatt, another useful site for the country-club set: Ha! Who says doesn't look out for the information needs of conservatives as well as liberals?

Posted by jbc at 10:17 AM | view/comment (4) | TrackBack (0)

Conservatives Still Scared of Hillary

Here's an article that I wouldn't have seen if it weren't for the Web Walker's excellent (outrageous, but excellent) links, and the stuff I come across while exploring out from them. From Fred Barnes, writing in the Wall Street Journal, as posted via The Weekly Standard: President Hillary? Say what you will about the helmet hair, that woman continues to scare the pants off conservatives from sea to shining sea.


Posted by jbc at 12:49 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 08, 2003

Journalism, Activism or Lies?

Two stories that question the quality of contemporary reporting.
Jonathan Foreman in Bad Reporting in Baghdad and Marc Morano in Pro-Marxist Slant Pushed at ABC, Retired Correspondent Claims write about their personal experiences.

Posted by the_web_walker at 06:56 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chandler: Bush's Big Lie

From Dave Chandler comes this fun rabble rousing: Bush's big lie. Basically, Chandler makes a case that Bush should be tried for war crimes. I'm not holding my breath, but those of you who think dubya walks on water might want to give it a glance and see what you think of Chandler's argument.

Posted by jbc at 08:08 AM | view/comment (6) | TrackBack (0)

Efron on the State/Defense War

From the LA Times' Sonni Efron comes an article on how upset the people in the State Department are about the way Rumsfeld and the rest of the Pentagon boys are usurping the conduct of US foreign policy: Diplomats on the defensive (cypherpunk98/cypherpunk login works). It's a nice piece, including the most extensive discussion I've seen yet in a mainstream publication of the idea that Colin Powell might resign.

Posted by jbc at 08:04 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 07, 2003

Saddam Hussein Terrorist

Since everyone has a different opinion of Saddam Hussein being connected to Osama bin Laden, why shouldn't a judge join the fray?

Judge Harold Baer said the experts "provide a sufficient basis for a reasonable jury to draw inferences which could lead to the conclusion that Iraq provided material support to al Qaeda."

9/11 victims awarded $104 million

Posted by the_web_walker at 02:36 PM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Krugman on the Carrier Photo Op

Another great, thoughtful piece from the New York Times' Paul Krugman: Man on horseback (cypherpunk98/cypherpunk login works). Krugman talks about Bush's carrier-landing photo opportunity, and puts it in the appropriate context. A nice summing up of the issue.

Posted by jbc at 06:57 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 06, 2003

George Paine Is PISSED

From comes this excellent rant from George Paine, who is mad as hell about what is going on in this country: Anger.

Posted by jbc at 08:29 AM | view/comment (4) | TrackBack (0)

William Bennett, Gambler

Anyone old enough to remember William Bennett's stints as Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Education and the nation's first "drug czar," and honest enough to have resented the really vicious lies he wielded in those days, will find an extra measure of pleasure in the recent revelation that he is a longtime compulsive gambler. But even those who only know Bennett from his more recent turn as the bestselling author of a string of sanctimonious books on "virtues" can enjoy the news. Anyway, here's a nice piece by Michael Kinsley on Bennett's comeuppance: Bad bet by Bill Bennett.

Posted by jbc at 07:19 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 05, 2003

The Power Vacuum

From hossman comes word of this interesting new site: The Power Vacuum. It's a Slash site focused on debunking the Great Liberal Conspiracy; I'm hoping the folks behind it will be able to rise above the usual right-wing ranting and actually expose a few lies. Here's hoping. Anyway, as part of my effort to reach out to those who've found my story selection too liberal for their tastes, here's a place for them to try instead.

Posted by jbc at 10:29 PM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Solomon's Radical Proposal

On some level it's sad that this would even be worth mentioning. Normon Solomon, progressive columnist, suggests we try something really outrageous in the 2004 election campaign: telling the truth. Check it out: A different approach for the 2004 campaign.

Posted by jbc at 10:01 PM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 04, 2003

Fireman: Current Status of the War Justification

Okay; I lied. I really wasn't going to post about it anymore, but then I read this really nice wrap-up from Ken Fireman at Newsday: Hunt goes on for war's motives. It covers the whole issue really well, even mentioning the "Remember the Maine" and the Gulf of Tonkin incidents. The difference between this case and those earlier two is that in those cases, it took years, even decades, for the truth to be widely recognized. This time, I think the truth is obvious just a few months later. (Well, I think the truth was obvious before the war even started, but now, with the post-war weapons hunt playing out the way it has, it has become really obvious, to the point where those who support the president are reduced to acknowledging the lie, but claiming it didn't matter.)

Posted by jbc at 12:34 PM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Digby on the Bush Loyalty Oath

From Digby of Digby's Blog, via The Smirking Chimp, comes this really fabulous piece: Loyalty oath. Among the other wonderful things about it is that I now feel there is no longer any need for me to talk about this, since Digby has said it better than I ever could. So there's something we can all celebrate. :-)

Posted by jbc at 11:42 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 03, 2003

The Super Seekrit 9/11 Report

I know immy2g already linked to it, but I feel compelled to comment on that MSNBC piece about the 9/11 report the Bush administration is trying to cover up: The secrets of September 11.

I think it's pretty obvious why that report is being kept from public view, and the answer isn't "national security." It's just the latest step in the deft tapdance Bush and his handlers have been doing for the past 18 months, as they seek to carry out what has become the prime imperative of the Bush presidency: the deflection of blame for the 9/11 attacks away from the person who was manning the helm at the time they occurred: George W. Bush.

Hey, all you folks loudly proclaiming your elephantine memories of 9/11, along with your willingness to pursue those responsible wherever they may be found: I think you've already forgotten too much about the attacks. You've certainly displayed a pathetic distractibility when it comes to figuring out whom to blame. Bush keeps linking 9/11 with Saddam Hussein, as he did several times during his aircraft carrier speech yesterday, and you keep swallowing it.

Meanwhile, his team is hard at work making sure the public doesn't learn about the mistakes that made the events of that day possible. Since, you know, the public knowing the truth might hurt Fearless Leader's chances in the election. You have to have a sense of priorities about these things.

You know what I call that? I call it dishonoring the dead. Too bad Darryl Worley hasn't written a country song about it. People might actually get upset in that case.

If we let politicians get away with conducting their business in secret, they will be only too happy to oblige. They will conceal, deny, and redirect the blame for every failure, while basking triumphant in a perpetual sequence of staged photo-op "successes." That's just what they do.

Three thousand innocent people died in an attack on US soil. New Yorkers are still traumatized by the memory of sweeping the ashes of dead people from their windowsills and doorways. And now we're going to let some self-serving politician conceal the facts of those events just to protect his reputation?

That's pretty fucked up.

Posted by jbc at 07:45 AM | view/comment (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 02, 2003

The Web Walker Is Back

As I mentioned, I recently wrote to years-past contributor The Web Walker, inviting him to enlighten us once again with his take on current events. True conservative that he is, he (so far) has chosen to pass on this newfangled weblog thing, but he did send along an article that he said I could post on the site. So follow the link below, or scroll down, for the first Web Walker contribution to since 1996 (!).


Posted by jbc at 10:47 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

George Bush, Warrior

Lots of coverage today of Fearless Leader's grand aircraft carrier event. From the Washington Post, an article describing this as Bush's opening salvo in the 2004 [re-]election campaign: For Bush, the military is the message for '04. We liberal whiners continue to point out that Bush actually pulled strings to stay out of the fighting back when it was his butt on the line, and then went AWOL for a year or so, apparently, when even his cushy National Guard posting became too onerous; see this piece from David Corn in The Nation, for example: Bush's Top Gun photo op. But I don't think we can put too much faith in that particular criticism come election day. Bush did, in point of fact, fly planes during the Vietnam War, even if he never left the US, and that's probably going to be good enough to pass muster with those willing to credit him with having made the world a safer place by killing lots of Afghanis and Iraqis.

The deeper question, for me, at least, is whether we really want a president who so clearly gets off on going to war, and is willing to indulge that desire without thinking too hard about the long-term consequences. Because we, and our children, are going to be living with those consquences for a very long time.

Posted by jbc at 10:30 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Crazy User Comments

Got a good one today, in user comments on the Not Tony Blair's Email page (scroll to the bottom for it; for convenience, here's a brief excerpt, in violation of my new no-blockquoting rule):

Yeah. Live in peace, Tony Blair, or Dubya's niece is going to FUCKING KILL YOU!!! Heh.

Another really great one was the one Xkot mentioned the other day, in which a comment on his blog described, in broken English, an act of (non?) cannibalism:

When I in Thailand, the village people and I together steal one baby. The baby is steal away other village who is die when birth. We share to cook it. Actually is not right to calling a human, because it is die when birth. But I tell you taste is something same a hill boar. He have no big smell but sweetness.

So. Do you have any personal favorites? Do share.

Posted by jbc at 09:17 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 01, 2003

Vitello: Lessons of Iraq

A nice opinion piece from Newsday's Paul Vitello: Iraq 101: What we've learned. Nothing new, but a nice summary, brief and to the point.

Posted by jbc at 08:30 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

12 SARS Patients Report Relapses

Hello. This is my 1st post, so if there are any errors, please forgive me.

Definitly a year in history that will be remembered for a long time: a President of the USA who promotes peace by causing war(?), recession (but finds millions and billions to fight a war), and now SARS (an illness which, with all our technology, is still a myserty to us). In my travels through the world wide web, I came across intresting infomation about SARS, and how people who seem to have defeated the illness are being "re-infected." Could this be the black plague of the 21st century? Only time will tell...

An article from New York Times: 12 SARS Patients Report Relapses. And here is an interesting article from Newsday: HIV/Aids Infected people resistent to SARS?

Here are a few more on other topics:

US Marine investigated for war crimes after newspaper interview

U.S. Tells Iraq Oil Ministers Not to Act Without Its O.K.

Coca-Cola promotes drink with 'swastika' robots

Lawyer: FBI agent's job in jeopardy because she blew the whistle

The Secrets of September 11: The White House is battling to keep a report on the terror attacks secret. Does the 2004 election have anything to do with it?
(I am just glad the terrorists are the only ones who hate our freedom.)

Only on the net you find an article like this one... I won't claim it as fact, but it still is an intresting article: Bush's "Christian" Blood Cult, Concerns Raised by the Vatican

Well I hope it's not too much infomation; if it is, please let me know and I will limit the amount of articles I post.

-- best way to lie, is by knowing the truth

How fortunate for leaders, that the masses do not think.

-- Adolph Hitler

Where the People fear the Government - you have tyranny; Where the Government fears the People - you have rights.

-- Thomas Jefferson

It must never be unpatriotic to support your country against your government. It must always be unpatriotic to support your government against your country.

-- Stephen T. Byingt

It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

-- Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering

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