Archive for May, 2003

Filling in the Gaps on WMD Intelligence

Saturday, May 31st, 2003

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.

Chittister On What Matters

Saturday, May 31st, 2003

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.

A Little Liberal Levity

Friday, May 30th, 2003

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

Martz on the Sanitized TV War

Friday, May 30th, 2003

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.

Streisand Sues California Coastal Records Project

Friday, May 30th, 2003

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.

Krugman on the Latest Wag the Dog Developments

Friday, May 30th, 2003

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.

Conspiracy Fodder

Thursday, May 29th, 2003

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.


Thursday, May 29th, 2003

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

Darth Vadar, People Person

Thursday, May 29th, 2003

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

Lynch Family Told Not to Talk?

Thursday, May 29th, 2003

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.

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

Thursday, May 29th, 2003

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?

Billmon’s Timeline of WMD Statements

Thursday, May 29th, 2003

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

The Weekly Standard on Kennedy Philandering

Wednesday, May 28th, 2003

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.

Bush Inside and Out

Wednesday, May 28th, 2003

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.

Is Anyone Actually Shocked?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2003

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.)

Arcata Fights the Patriot Act

Wednesday, May 28th, 2003

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.

Gwynne Dyer 3/3: Chimp Lib

Wednesday, May 28th, 2003

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.

Gwynne Dyer 2/3: ‘War on Terror’ Isn’t War

Wednesday, May 28th, 2003

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.

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

Wednesday, May 28th, 2003

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.

More on the WMD and the Commencement Issues

Wednesday, May 28th, 2003

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.