Monday, December 11, 2006

Augusto and Jeane

Was it a cosmic coincidence that Jeane Kirkpatrick and Augusto Pinochet died within days of one another? (I'll skip the nearly obligatory comment about a post-earthly reunion.) Given all the flattering obits the former UN ambassador received, the final departure of the Chilean dictator was a timely reminder that Kirkpatrick cozied up to murderers and torturers. In fact, she provided the Reagan administration--in which she served--with the theoretical framework for bear-hugging brutes.

In a famous--or infamous--1979 Commentary article entitled "Dictatorships and Double Standards," Kirkpatrick distinguished between communist dictatorships and "right-wing autocracies," maintaining that the latter were, in a way, less evil, because they could evolve into democracies, while communist totalitarian states could not. Washington, she advised, should not worry so much about human rights abuses within these autocracies. Her argument justified the Reagan cold warrior's embrace of anti-communist, pro-American dictatorships, such as the military juntas ruling Argentina and Chile, the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, and the apartheid regime in South Africa. Because these repressive governments were merely right-wing autocracies and not left-wing totalitarian regimes, the Reaganites could welcome them into the anti-communist crusade and use them as allies in the struggle against the Soviet Union--no matter what these tyrants did to their own society and citizens.

In Argentina and Chile, the fascistic military dictatorships Kirkpatrick supported slaughtered, disappeared and tortured thousands of citizens of people. As the National Security Archive notes:

A post-junta truth commission found that the Argentine military had "disappeared" at least 10,000 Argentines in the so-called "dirty war" against "subversion" and "terrorists" between 1976 and 1983; human rights groups in Argentina put the number at closer to 30,000.

The Argentina generals were especially fond of torture and had a taste for going after Jews, whom they believed were members of a worldwide communist conspiracy. Yet Kirkpatrick was willing to put this all aside and even attended a dinner--thrown to honor her--at the Argentine embassy in Washington the night Argentina foolishly invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982.

As for Chile, the Reagan administration and Kirkpatrick treated Pinochet, who overthrew an elected president, as a friend, even though Pinochet's thugs murdered thousands and tortured tens of thousands.

The Washington Post noted Pinochet's brutality in its front-page report of his demise. Yet its obituary of Kirkpatrick whited-out her fancy for murderous leaders like Pinochet and the Argentine generals. It described her work as UN ambassador this way:

An influential voice in the development of administration policies toward Central America, Kirkpatrick supported the military junta in El Salvador and was an ardent supporter of anti-Sandinista rebels fighting the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua. She helped develop the covert plan to provide $19 million in aid to the contras.

Not a mention of Pinochet and Chile, nothing about her anti-Semitic allies in Argentina.

I seem to recall years ago writing something particularly nasty about Kirkpatrick--words to the effect that she should not be allowed to discuss foreign policy until she had her private parts exposed to electric shock, a common practice employed by the autocrats she supped with. It's customary to speak no ill of the dead. But history never dies. And Kirkpatrick ought to be remembered for all that she accomplished--and all that she defended and enabled.

Posted by David Corn at December 11, 2006 11:44 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

I never noticed or forgot about Kirkpatricks coziness.

It is important to remind and inform.

Great post.

Thanks for all of your work.


Hajji Rants said...

"...I seem to recall years ago writing something particularly nasty about Kirkpatrick--words to the effect that she should not be allowed to discuss foreign policy until she had her private parts exposed to electric shock, a common practice employed by the autocrats she supped with..."

Oooooh...'yer gonna' hear sumpthin' 'bout that!

Why is it we so often are told to not speak ill of the dead?

How can one look back, after the death of a few of the monsters that this earth has spawned with anything other than revulsion and a bit of relief, perhaps, until only seconds later hearing their lives extolled as exemplary in the public square?

Uday and Qusay Hussein? They were nice boys who only wanted to be some attention from their father. Good with their hands, they were, and geniuses with power tools...

It is when someone like this dies that I hope the Nuns at Holy Family were right about the "Firey Torment of Hell" and stuff.

They sure were right about how America would be brought down, not by a foreign power, but by our own, from within!


rbs62 said...

Impeachment At Our Peril
by David Corn | Dec 11 2006 - 8:01am

Posted on Smirking Chimp, it seems Mr. Corn (not surprisingly, I'd remark) is not much moved to hold Mr. Bush accountable to history for his misdeeds, rather his is an argument of political expediency.

I'd venture that a motivated Congress could cut funding for this fiasco ala Kucinich, raise the minimum wage ala Pelosi, and impeach the administration en mass, simulatainiously; the operative verb being "motivated."

capt said...


Augusto Pinochet ruled Chile ruthlessly, but he left behind a democracy. Now he wants history’s blessing.

Issue of 1998-10-19
Posted 2006-12-11


"The criticisms of me are about things, many times, which I was unaware of," he says. "Many times I knew when it was too late. And all of those things which I thought were delicate I relayed to the courts. There were abuses on both sides. One day, they killed eleven of my carabineros with a bomb. Another day, they killed a naval officer. . . . So I say, ‘So you suffered a lot. Well, and my people, didn’t they suffer at all?’ Human rights! I say there has to be human rights for both sides."

This isn’t how Pinochet used to respond to criticisms of his record on human rights. A few years back, when searchers discovered more than a hundred victims of military executions, doubled up in coffins in a mass grave, Pinochet joked darkly, "Whoever buried them served the Fatherland well, by saving money on nails." This sort of remark makes it hard to refurbish Pinochet’s reputation. "It’ll be a long time before Chileans see him as a grandfatherly figure," Ambrósio Rodríguez, a close former aide, acknowledges. "It must be hard for him, knowing that half the nation hates his guts."


rbs62 said...

Today, Reps. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich sponsered a forum on Iraqi Civilian Deaths (scroll down the page and click on the appropriate link.) in which the authors of the Lancet Report (PDF) defend the methodolgy of "cluster sampling" as used in their study. Juan Cole provided commentary as to the disasterous consequences.

capt said...

There will be no impeachment, there should be but alas the rule of law means nothing unless you lie about a blow job.

This is the world in which we live.



capt said...

Maybe we should wait until Bush dies to hold him to account?

There will be over a million dead as a result of the mistakes made by Dumya and his merry band of morons.

All Americans shhould be ashamed we didn't riot in the streets when the SCOTUS decided the election in 2000. Every inaction since then including not impeaching Bush only adds to our crimes as a nation.

"Experience suggests it doesn't matter so much how you got here, as what you do after you arrive."
~ Lois McMaster Bujold, "Barrayar", 1991


capt said...


Pelosi's first priority is to halt Iraq war - Speaker taking office Jan. 4 comes home to talk up plans

She (Pelosi) reviewed her plans for the first 100 hours: raising the minimum wage, cutting student loan interest rates in half, requiring Medicare to negotiate lower prices with prescription-drug makers, rolling back tax breaks for oil companies and passing legislation to promote stem cell research.

Also high on her agenda, Pelosi said, are "very aggressive measures to stop global warming'' and a labor-backed "card check'' proposal to require employers to negotiate with any union that signs up a majority of a company's employees.

Pelosi and Mayor Gavin Newsom, who also spoke, had ripostes for Republicans who warned during the campaign that electing a Democratic majority would foist "San Francisco values'' on the nation.

"While we are diverse, we speak with one voice when it comes to fairness and giving people hope in the city of St. Francis,'' Pelosi said.


*****end of clip*****

Does Pelosi's list above include the issues the Democratic party was elected under - is it even what those running said they would do? Does it even matter?


rbs62 said...

In short, human rights and the rule of law are vital to global security and prosperity. As Truman said, "We must, once and for all, prove by our acts conclusively that Right Has Might." That?s why this country has historically been in the vanguard of the global human rights movement. But that lead can only be maintained if America remains true to its principles, including in the struggle against terrorism. When it appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused.

And states need to play by the rules towards each other, as well as towards their own citizens. That can sometimes be inconvenient, but ultimately what matters is not convenience. It is doing the right thing. No state can make its own actions legitimate in the eyes of others. When power, especially military force, is used, the world will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose ? for broadly shared aims ? in accordance with broadly accepted norms.

No community anywhere suffers from too much rule of law; many do suffer from too little ? and the international community is among them. This we must change.

The US has given the world an example of a democracy in which everyone, including the most powerful, is subject to legal restraint. Its current moment of world supremacy gives it a priceless opportunity to entrench the same principles at the global level. As Harry Truman said, "We all have to recognize, no matter how great our strength, that we must deny ourselves the license to do always as we please." - Kofi Annan

capt said...

Bush Resignation Hailed by World Leaders

The surprise resignation of the forty-third President of the United States, George W. Bush, on the second anniversary of the terrorist attack on America, was hailed by chiefs of state throughout the world. Mr. Bush announced that after, "two years of bloodshed, economic devastation, and spreading fear in America and abroad," he saw no choice but to accept that, "I have held a title which I did not win, and for which I have proven unqualified."

The text of the former President's September 11 address to the nation follows:

"My fellow Americans:


*****end of clip*****

All kidding aside - why has there not been calls for resignation? Pick any topic - the war, the CONTINUING wiretapping of American citizens, signing statements, crimes against humanity and the peace? No MSM calling for Bush to do the honorable thing? He has screwed the pooch worse and in more ways than any before him.

Sure calling him out will be messy, justice can be that way. Exposing crimes and lies always makes hay especially with those that enjoy the status quo.


rbs62 said...

I quoted Mr. Kofi Annan's speech today, just above, and while I do support the basic tenor of his remarks regarding the rule of law, it must be pointed out that:

No community anywhere suffers from too much rule of law - Kofi Annan is not a sentiment I adhere to. As I posted in the previous thread, the United States, rather than being the "Land of the Free," instead has the highest incarceration rate in the world, as a result of very foolish and highly immoral legislation. Very much indeed too much "rule of law."

capt said...

Exploring the distinction between "legal" and "illegal"


President Bush is eavesdropping on conversations without warrants for which FISA explicitly requires warrants, and what he is doing is therefore "illegal." In general, there is a difference between a legal act and an illegal act. In particular, the latter tends to provoke more protests than the former.

Further, "illegal" acts -- such as warrantless eavesdropping on Americans -- are even punishable by imprisonment, whereas "legal" behavior is not. That's because the U.S. is a country that was founded to exist under the "rule of law," where "legal behavior" is allowed but "illegal behavior" is not.


*****end of clip*****

Um, only illegal if we enforce the rule of law. Letting violations of the law slide for any reason serves to invite more of the same. What else will ever stop a violation of the law?


capt said...


Our problem with incarceration is most of our politicians should be and many of our "criminals" should not be.

We live in a country where a person can be jailed for a couple of joints (in some places for many years) and another person can start wars by lying to the public and blatantly break the FISA law and continue in office - we get what we deserve, eh?

Great posts BTW (as always)


capt said...

"The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced."
~ Frank Zappa

erling krange said...

Hundreds hail prize winners
This year's traditional torchlight parade in honour of the Nobel Peace Prize winners attracted the biggest crowd in years, as Nowegians turned out to cheer Muhammad Yunus' and the Grameen Bank's work to help people out of poverty.
Hundreds of admirers gathered outside Oslo's central train station, lit flaming torches and marched up the capital's main boulevard, Karl Johan's Gate, to the plaza in front of the Parliament (Stortinget) Sunday evening. The plaza is just across the street from Oslo's Grand Hotel, where the Nobel Peace Prize winners always stay. Just before 7pm, in line with tradition, Yunus stepped out onto the balcony of the Nobel Suite to greet the waiting crowd. He was joined by Mosammat Taslima Begum, representing the Grameen Bank, and eventually by his family. They all waved for a long time to the cheering crowd, clearly basking in the glow of their Peace Prize glory. "Congratulations and welcome to Oslo!" shouted some members of the crowd. Many Norwegians had brought their children along to hail the Peace Prize winners. "We're here to support peace," said Svein Røsnes, who, along with Sukhanthi Fernando, was among those carrying torches and cheering. "Yunus has done so many good things in fighting poverty, and we want to support him, too. "In Sri Lanka, where Sukhanthi is from, we've seen poverty up close, and how micro-credit functions," Røsnes added, referring to the Grameen Bank's policy of extending small loans to poor people. "It's a very good way to fight poverty."

Aftenposten English Web Desk


This is a growing thing, and even commercial banks are looking into this now. And, it's a counterweight to war!

erling krange said...

Talabani lashes out at 'dangerous' Baker report on US role in Iraq
Report 'wrong medicine for wrong diagnosis'
President urges return of Saddam-era army officers
Michael Howard in Baghdad
Monday December 11, 2006
The Guardian

In an interview with the Guardian, Jalal Talabani was clearly agitated by the suggestions in the report which he strongly rejected.
Iraq's president Jalal Talabani, a key ally of the US, yesterday delivered a thunderous rejection of the bipartisan US Iraq Study Group, describing its findings as "dangerous" and saying that its recommendations were "dead in the water". At his heavily fortified residence on the banks of the Tigris, Mr Talabani told the Guardian that the key suggestions of the long-awaited report by James Baker and Democrat Lee Hamilton were "the wrong medicine for the wrong diagnosis" and called them an unwarranted interference in Iraq's internal affairs that undermined the war-torn country's sovereignty at a crucial time.


Saladin said...

There will be no impeachment, a smoke and mirrors investigation without subpoenas and bushco will skate with the MSM, (Corn, etc.) and dem blessing. Crimes against humanity, war crimes and treason within the United States on 9/11 will all be swept under the rug in the name of "bi-partisanship" AKA covering your ass. I am disgusted and ashamed, but not in the least bit surprised, it's just what I expected from this bunch of low life, greedy-ass corrupt politicians. pelosi's crumbs in the form of minimum wage increases doesn't mean jack shit, inflation will continue unabated and the poor will remain just as poor while she and her war mongering cronies rake in millions in blood money. Since the people didn't have the good sense to boot her out they will get what they deserve. I guess we will all pay in the end, everyone loses, except the war machine and it's feeders.

rbs62 said...

St. Petersburg Times (07 Dec 2006)

He's been on 60 Minutes. A New York Times columnist has championed his cause. Even those who prosecuted and convicted Richard Paey sympathize with the wheelchair-bound man serving 25 years for drug trafficking - for obtaining the drugs he needs for his debilitating pain.

Count among those sympathizers the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

The problem, a majority of the court ruled Wednesday, is that they can't help Paey.

They upheld his conviction and sentence by a 2-1 vote, but passed on this advice: Get the governor to commute the sentence.

"Mr. Paey's argument about his sentences does not fall on deaf ears," Judge Douglas Wallace wrote, "but it falls on the wrong ears."

Such advice from an appellate court is rare indeed, said University of Florida law professor Michael Seigel.

"The court looks at a situation that it thinks is unfair," he said. "It's powerless to do anything about it. So the only thing it can do is to make an appeal to the governor, who does have the power to do something about it."

Appeals to the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court are possible. In the meantime, Paey's attorney, John Flannery II of Virginia, said he took the court's advice right away, filing a petition with the governor's office Wednesday.

It is unlikely Gov. Jeb Bush will be able to act before his term expires at the end of the year, but Flannery wants to start the process for Gov.-elect Charlie Crist.

Flannery did find solace in Associate Judge James Seals' blistering dissent that the mandatory minimum sentence Paey received was "cruel and unusual."

The Hudson man was arrested by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in 1997 after buying more than 1,200 painkillers with fake prescriptions.

The 48-year-old has multiple sclerosis and chronic pain since a 1985 car accident and failed surgeries.

But Paey possessed more than an ounce of the drugs. Regardless of whether he tried to sell them, under Florida law he is a drug trafficker. Before his 2004 conviction, he rejected a plea deal - on principle - that would have meant just house arrest.

Paey's wife, Linda, lives in Pasco with their three children. He is in the Tomoka Correctional Institution in Daytona Beach. Both took the news hard, Flannery said.

"He feels especially bad," the lawyer said, "because his wife and children were hoping to see him for Christmas."

rbs62 said...


Jest doin' my small part, ya know.


Monday, December 11, 2006
Democratic congressman plans another presidential bid
CLEVELAND (CNN) -- Rep. Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat who ran for president in 2004, will announce a second presidential run Tuesday in Cleveland, Kucinich's spokeswoman tells CNN.

Kucinich is set to forgoe a presidential exploratory committee and announce an official run at Cleveland's City Hall tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. ET, according to spokesman Andy Juniewicz


I dare anyone to watch the Kucinich forum held earlier today and then defend against impeachment.

capt said...

I regret not listening to Kucinich more and more closely in '04.

I will not make the same mistake again.


capt said...

Defending the Indefensible: Torture and the American Empire


We know that members of the administration believe, as the New York Times' Ron Suskind chillingly recounted in an October 17, 2004, article, that they can make real whatever they want to be real and that they are not bound by what the rest of us are bound by -- empirical reality. Not all of them are religious fanatics, but those who aren't, such as Cheney, are arrogant enough to think that they can force things to be true that they desire to be true through sheer power.

If they think they can make real whatever they want to, the corollary to which is an utter hostility to science and reason, then they do not think that reason and reasoning with people enter into the picture at all. From their perspective, if they aren't true believers through reasoning, why would anybody else be moved by reason? In many respects, especially among their loyal social base of reactionary evangelicals, they reject the Enlightenment and much that has happened since. They literally want to go back to the Dark Ages, except this time with high-tech machinery.

Their hostility to reason is truly radical and unprecedented in modern times. It is part of what makes them startlingly similar to their putative enemy, al-Qaeda. When they confront people who don't believe what they believe, whether those are Iraqis or Democrats or American citizens, their spontaneous inclination is to try to deceive and fool (and thereby "convince") and, failing that, to intimidate, to scare, to blackmail, to coerce, to bludgeon, to torture, or to kill. They do not believe in compromise, and they believe that their principles are not negotiable.

Even if they weren't zealots, their principles and their practices don't stand up to scrutiny in comparison to the homilies they pronounce about democracy, freedom, and liberty. Make no mistake: they have no illusions themselves about democracy and liberty. They know that they are oligarchs and know that what is good for them is bad for the vast majority of humanity, that an honest description of their policies would go down to ignominious defeat by approbation. That's why they so studiously and carefully conceal their full program for public consumption and attempt to appear more moderate than the irrational extremists that they are.


*****end of clip*****

I can only assume "things" look different from inside the beltway.


kathleen said...

Yowser...I don't think I want David Corn mad at me!

It makes sense to me that David thinks Kirkpatrick should "have done unto her what she supported dictators doing unto others"

O'Reilly said...

As someone smarter than me once commented, "Have you ever heard of a neoconservative plumber?" The neo-clowns have absolutely no voting base. Why people continue to listen to them as if they represent real people in the real world is beyond me.

So, Murdoch's legions now tell us that anyone who wants to have a realistic policy in Iraq wants to surrender. He unleashes his media dogs to call anyone who disagrees with them wimps, weaklings, quitters, monkeys, etc.

Why is it a one way street? Why can't I call Murdoch a monkey? His minions are the whining, screeching and yelping victory monkeys.


Hundreds of thousand of people have died in this war. I don't understand how these people aren't sick to their stomachs every day for what they have done. I cannot relate to people who have no conscience. But what I will not stomach is a bunch of idiots who lost a war for us and got all those people killed unnecessarily tell me that I am responsible for not winning.

No, you started the war. You fucked up the war. You made a mess of the place. You had no plan. You still have no plan. And now you scream like a monkey about victories that don't exist. And you expect me to take you seriously. Get the fuck out of here.


kathleen said...

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Take Action: 350+ Orgs. Say No to Palestinian Sanctions

An unprecedented coalition of organizations, numbering more than 350 and growing,
opposes the so-called Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, which imposes draconian
economic and diplomatic sanctions against the Palestinian people for exercising
their right to vote in legislative elections earlier this year.

In an unexpected move last week before adjourning, the House passed the Senate
version of the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act (S.2370), paving the way for the bill
to be signed into law by the President.

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is currently trying to arrange an
urgent meeting with the National Security Council to call on President Bush to veto
this bill. The US Campaign is hoping to deliver a petition of at least 400
organizations opposed to this bill. If your organization has not yet endorsed the
petition against the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, click here now:

The US Campaign is also urging individuals to contact the White House NOW by phone
202-456-1111, by fax 202-456-2461, and by email and ask the
President to veto S.2370, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act. Tell the President
that the United States should not be sanctioning people for exercising their right
to vote.

Below is the current list of organizations that have signed on in opposition to the
Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act. To add your organizations’ endorsement, click here:

kathleen said...


Cenk Uygur's article at Raw Story was on target. His last statement reminded me of the last few sentences of David's article about Kirkpatrick

In regard to the neocons that lied us into the war in Iraq Ceng Uygur said " Somebody grab some tar and feathers and let's get to work on these jackasses".

Is there something in the air today?

kathleen said...


History will not treat us kindly
By Tim Andersen
12/11/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- Most Americans are hiding. We are like the good Germans of 1933 who knew an authoritarian regime was consolidating its power, but thought we could avoid personal consequences if we kept quiet. We remained silent as enemies of the State were rounded up, and everyones' liberties curtailed. It did not happen all at once. It was a process of conditioning.

The TSA cops at US airports were initially intended to create the perception of eminent threat: America under attack by evildoers! That perception has largely given way to weary travelers offended by the intrusive and slow inspections. I don’t fly that often, but last weekend at the airport it was clear TSA had adopted a new tact. Now they are the authoritarians. While we were trapped in the winding queue they yelled at us to listen up and follow their precise instructions. All liquids and gels (toothpaste!) must be in quantities of 3.4 ounces, or less, grouped together in a single, clear one liter bag. The yelling cop invited us to show our displeasure to any passenger who did not follow instructions, and held up the line. As I was inspected, the TSA cop took my shaving cream from the bag. The tube read 3.6 oz. She asked me what the maximum allowable size was. I told her that’s the only size it came in. She said she would allow it through this time only.

Who could have imagined ten years ago that Congress would permit the Bush regime to eliminate habeas corpus? Our founders understood this was the bedrock fundamental principle of a free people. No political opponents could be rounded up and jailed by a tyrant. No one could presume to be above the law. Yet there was hardly a peep from blasé American consumers. The mainstream press reassured us that good Americans had nothing to worry about.

Many people refuse to recognize the corruption and evil of our government, because the thought is simply intolerable. It undermines their fundamental beliefs and trust, and makes most of what occupies their days utterly trivial. The “solution” for these people is to tune-out any potentially upsetting epiphany. They welcome reassuring propaganda that reinforces our noble purposes in the Middle East and elsewhere. They do not care to investigate personally, or even listen to, the evidence of our considerable crimes.

So, it’s strange to realize we have no real representation in Congress or control over America’s future. Millions of Americans see the ship of state headed straight for an iceberg, and despite our protests the course will not change. It’s a classic nightmare.

History will not treat us kindly. We will be remembered as the Americans who insulated themselves from reality and remained self-absorbed, concerned with their own personal comfort and privilege while our government wrecked havoc on the world and destroyed our own culture. It will not be difficult for future generations to understand what happened and the sequence of events. The evidence is abundantly clear. The only question will be why Americans didn’t rise up and save themselves.

Carey said...

Mr. Corn,

I gotta tell you I danced gleefully when I heard that Pinochet had finally passed. Thanks for setting me straight on Kirkpatrick. I hadn't remembered all of that.

I received this in my email today from Moveon.


Have you heard about the outrageous electronic voting machine meltdown in Florida? Voting machines appear to have flat-out lost 18,000 votes for Congress--votes almost certain to change the outcome of a close House race in Sarasota.

This election meltdown demonstrates the insanity of paperless voting machines. There's no way to recount the votes short of holding a new election. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi--along with Republican and Democratic leaders--are deciding now if Congress will tolerate this broken election or call for a new one.

Join me in signing this petition urging Congress to call for a re-vote in Sarasota, Florida and to repair our nation's elections. Take a look at:


No matter what party you're for, we can all agree we need to repair our broken election system.


capt said...

"History will not treat us kindly."

Nor should it, we have all failed. It is up to us to change it or it will not get changed.


capt said...

Modern World

2006 recap - Classic!


David B. Benson said...

I found an opinion piece on Slate today that I agree with: Do Not Waste Money going to the Moon!

Americans are living way beyond our means. Something about Grasshoppers and Ants?

capt said...

The bubble boy in the Oval Office

Try to mend Iraq all you want; just don't tell Bush the war was a mistake.

THERE IS a famous "Twilight Zone" episode about a little boy in a small town who has fantastical powers. Through the misuse of his powers, the little boy has ruined the lives of everybody in the town — for instance, teleporting them into a cornfield, or summoning a snowstorm that destroys their crops. Because anyone who thinks an unhappy thought will be banished, the adults around him can do nothing but cheerfully praise his decisions while they try to nudge him in a less destructive direction.

This episode kept popping into my head when I was reading about President Bush and the Baker-Hamilton commission. Bush is the president of the United States, which therefore gives him enormous power, but he is treated by everybody around him as if he were a child.

Consider a story in the latest Time magazine, recounting the efforts — before the commission was approved by Congress — of three supporters to enlist Condoleezza Rice to win the administration's approval for the panel. Here is how Time reports it:

"As the trio departed, a Rice aide asked one of her suitors not to inform anyone at the Pentagon that chairmen had been chosen and the study group was moving forward. If Rumsfeld was alerted to the study group's potential impact, the aide said, he would quickly tell Cheney, who could, with a few words, scuttle the whole thing. Rice got through to Bush the next day, arguing that the thing was going to happen anyway, so he might as well get on board. To his credit, the President agreed."

The article treats this exchange in a matter-of-fact way, but, what it suggests is completely horrifying. Rice apparently believed that Bush would simply follow the advice of whoever he spoke with. Therefore the one factor determining whether Bush would support the commission was whether Cheney or Rice managed to get to him first.


*****end of clip*****

Too true to be very funny.


Gerald said...

Sandra Day and Jeanne do not meet the criteria that places them among God's greatest creations. Both women do not display nurturing and sensitivity. These two characteristics are necessary to place them among God's greatest creation. Women who possess nurturing and sensitivity are members of God's greatest creation.

David B. Benson said...

Lakes Victoria and Tankanika[sic] have dropped six feet in the last three years, moving the shoreline about 200 feet lakeward...

Hajji Rants said...

"..That was a GOOD thing you did, Bushie...sure! You sent them into the CORN?! Well, yeah...that's a GOOD THING, Bushie..."

I just LOVE the imagery of Billy Mummy as Bush!

Talk about "Lost in Space" meets "It's a GOOD life"!


capt said...

Vast African Lake Levels Dropping Fast

Now, in a yet unpublished report obtained by The Associated Press, an international consulting firm advises the Ugandan government that supercomputer models of global-warming scenarios for Lake Victoria "raise alarming concerns'' about its future and that of the Nile River, which begins its 4,100-mile northward journey here at Jinja.

The report, by U.S.-based Water Resources and Energy Management International, says rising temperatures may evaporate up to half the lake's normal inflow from rainfall and rivers, with "severe consequences for the lake and its ability to meet the region's water resources needs.''

A further dramatic drop in Victoria's water levels might even turn off this spigot for the Nile, a lifeline for more than 100 million Egyptians, Sudanese and others.

"People talk about the snows of Kilimanjaro,'' said Aris P. Georgakakos, the study's chief author, speaking of that African mountain's melting glaciers. "We have something much bigger to worry about, and that's Lake Victoria.''


capt said...

"I just LOVE the imagery of Billy Mummy as Bush!"

THAT was the visual I got too!


David B. Benson said...

"Today is better than tomorrow." That's a concluding line in today's Tomgram on TomDispatch regarding the horrendous and deteriorating situation in Iraq. Read it if you want to feel depressed...

But I am going to change the line into:

Last century better than this one.

AGW, American debt, unending and unwinnable war, endangered water supplies, growing world population, expanding deserts, ... and GW Bush!

Gerald said...

What a pathetic and useless family!!!

capt said...

"We kill at every step, not only in wars, riots, and executions. We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, suffering, and shame. In the same way all disrespect for life, all hard-heartedness, all indifference, all contempt is nothing else than killing. With just a little witty skepticism we can kill a good deal of the future in a young person. Life is waiting everywhere, the future is flowering everywhere, but we only see a small part of it and step on much of it with our feet." : - Hermann Hesse, German poet and novelist.

...most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion. This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars. Their every truth is not quite true. Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four; so that every word they say chagrins us, and we know not where to begin to set them right: Ralph Waldo Emerson - Self Reliance - 1841 - From 'Essays", First series

"One of the world's greatest problems is the impossibilty of any person searching for the truth on any subject when they believe they already have it." --Dave Wilbur

"It's not a matter of what is true that counts but a matter of what is perceived to be true." --Henry Kissinger


Read this newsletter online

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

kathleen said...

This latest Micheal "creative destruction" Ledeen article at National Review is a must.

He is still pushing hard for pre-emptive military action in Iran. Could someone either put him in jail where he belongs or please drop him down in middle of Baghdad naked! I hate doing that to the Iraqi people but then they could do what they wanted with one of the most criminal warmongers alive!

Into Every Blue Ribbon Commission a Beam of Light Must Shine
Baker/Hamilton opened a window onto Iran.
By Michael Ledeen

At first I, too, thought the Iraq Surrender Commission Report was a total downer. But I’m more and more convinced that it was a great blessing. Not that they intended it to work out this way, but the Wise Men (and the token Lady) have elevated Iran to its rightful place in our national squabble over The war: dead center.

The Surrender Commission Report underlines the basic truth about The War, which is that we cannot possibly win it by fighting defensively in Iraq alone. So long as Iran and Syria have a free shot at us and our Iraqi allies, they can trump most any military tactics we adopt, at most any imaginable level of troops. Until the publication of the report this was the dirty secret buried under years of misleading rhetoric from our leaders; now it is front and center. Either deal effectively with Iran, or suffer a humiliating defeat, repeating the terrible humiliation of Lebanon in the Eighties when Iran and Syria bombed us out of the country (thereby providing the template for the terror war in Iraq).

@ National Review

David B. Benson said...

Horrors! Kissinger actually said something I fear I will have to agree with...

Anyway, maybe it is just my advancing age. In thinking about the last century, I recall that it had a whole bunch of problems too. But then I thought some of them were solvable. Some were. Made it lots easier not having GW Bush around...

kathleen said...

The combat cowards like Bill Kristol are pushing hard for more troops, pre-emptive attack on Iran... Step up to the plate Kristol..put your ass on line...I said your ass not your nose. I swear these guys are on drugs!!

It's Up To Bush
The Baker group and many of Bush's advisors have failed the president. It's up to the commander in chief now.
by Robert Kagan & William Kristol

It's all up to the president now. The James Baker public relations blitz will of course continue, and the members of Baker's Iraq Study Group will go to book signings and be regulars on morning TV, and maybe even go on a nationwide tour like the Rolling Stones. Alan Simpson will continue to underline the gravity and earnestness of the group's endeavors by insisting that anyone who disagrees with him (like, say, John McCain and Joe Lieberman) has "gas" and "B.O."--subjects about which, unlike the military situation in Iraq, he probably has real knowledge and expertise.

But as the James Baker-Alan Simpson Steel Wheels tour and vaudeville act drags on and ultimately passes into well-deserved oblivion, the problems that they failed seriously to address will remain. And responsible people in Iraq, in the Pentagon, and in the White House will have to decide, very soon, how to achieve the president's goal of creating a stable, secure, and democratic Iraq. The president's military and political advisers are reviewing options now. Presumably, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is taking a fresh look at the situation in Iraq and is open to any strategy that has a chance of succeeding.

O'Reilly said...

"'I'll be dead when they get it right,' he said during an Oval Office meeting last week."
- W

You and a million iraq civilians and too many american soldiers.

Hey W, we got hte WMDs and Saddam and Iraqis have voted for thier own government.

Git the friendly neightbor countries to do their part and lets git the fuck out.

capt said...


This holiday travel season, Santa Claus is not the only one who is checking to see whether you’ve been naughty or nice. For the last four years, the U.S. government has been snooping by computer into people’s travel records and assigning them a risk score for being terrorists or criminals. Of all the government’s violations of civil liberties since 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security’s Automated Targeting System (ATS) is probably one of the worst in terms of numbers of people affected.

Invariably, some of the traveling public that I chat with in airport security lines will say that if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear from the government’s intrusive measures. That dubious line of reasoning, however, makes the Herculean assumption that government usually gets things right. Also, after examining where you are from, your motor vehicle records, how you paid for your airline ticket, and even your seating preference and the type of meal you ordered, and then assigning a risk factor to you, the government allows everyone to see this rating but you. Unlike privately held credit scores, you have no means to challenge any inaccuracies or the rationale for the government giving you a certain risk factor. Yet there is more bad news: The risk assessment is then shared with state, local, and foreign governments, Congress, the courts, and private contractors, and can be used to deny employment in shipping and travel, licenses, security clearances, and government contracts. Even worse, the government intends to keep these assessments on file for 40 years.

One could easily assume that the next step is to give "high risk" people more hassles at airport security checkpoints. So if you get too many parking or speeding tickets could you end up on the terrorist watch list? If you eat too many vegetarian meals, could you be banned from flying?


*****end of clip*****

Might be a repost but interesting just the same.


capt said...

Has anybody had problems posting?


capt said...

I put up a new thread - maybe it will not have the same problems?


kathleen said...

O.K. let's watch, listen, hope, pray, call, e-mail and demand that that ALL of Phase II of the SSCI is completed.

This gives me a tad of hope!

Intelligence panel’s ‘Phase Two’ to be completed next year: Rockefeller
By Elana Schor

The three unreleased sections of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s controversial “Phase Two” report on the Bush administration’s use of prewar intelligence are headed for circulation next year, incoming Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told The Hill late last week.

“One does not want to spend all one’s time looking back, but the history of all this evolution of the war has to be brought to full accountability,” Rockefeller said in a Friday interview.

Democrats have repeatedly protested the lack of progress on the Phase Two investigation, which was split by outgoing Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) to allow some portions to become public before the midterm elections. Democrats pulled the Senate into a rare closed session in November 2005 to revive the inquiry, which began in 2003 with Phase One’s look at the intelligence community and was later expanded.

Rockefeller said much of the work is done on one of the three remaining elements of Phase Two, though he declined to reveal which section was close to completion. Still yet to receive a committee vote are sections dealing with prewar intelligence on the war’s aftermath, whether existing intelligence backed up U.S. officials’ public comments on Iraq, and the role of a Pentagon office headed by Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who will keep his seat on Intelligence as he takes over as Armed Services chairman next year, said last month that completing Phase Two is a high priority for him, although any new movement “will be a Rockefeller decision.”

The two portions of Phase Two already made public compared prewar data on Iraq’s weapons capability with inspectors’ postwar findings and examined the role of an Iraqi exile group in influencing U.S. intelligence. Roberts could step down from Intelligence when Senate Republican committee assignments are finalized this week.