Friday, December 8, 2006

A Question for Dick Cheney: Family Values or Family Honor?/Remembering the Day Lennon Died

The religious right has a message for Dick Cheney: your daughter is selfish and a danger. Why? Because she is having a baby. After hearing that Mary Cheney, a lesbian in a committed relationship, is expecting to give birth, Janice Crouse of Concerned Women of American declared, "Not only is she doing a disservice to her child, she's voiding all the effort her father put into the Bush administration." Carrie Gordon Earll, a policy analyst for Focus on the Family huffed, "Just because you can conceive a child outside a one-woman, one-man marriage doesn't mean it's a good idea. Love can't replace a mother and a father." (During the 2004 presidential campaign, Focus on the Family chieftain James Dobson whacked John Kerry for having mentioned Mary Cheney's sexual orientation during one of the presidential debates: "It wasn't fair. It was an invasion of her privacy.") Now comes this press release:

Mary Cheney Cruel to Children

COLORADO SPRINGS, Dec. 8 /Christian Newswire/ -- Mary Cheney, the Vice President's unmarried daughter, is expecting. Dr. Paul Cameron, Chairman of the Family Research Institute, a Colorado Springs think-tank, condemned her decision:

"Unmarried women should not deliberately have children. Their children are more apt to experience privation and disruption. Consequently, such children are more apt to do poorly in school, disrupt society (e.g., engage in criminality), and be personally troubled. These wrongs are compounded when the child is brought into a homosexual setting."

"By this selfish action, Cheney is not merely disrupting society, she is being cruel to her child:

* Mary, 37, is currently 'partnered' with Heather Poe, 45. The median age of death for lesbians is around the late 50's. If Poe and Cheney stay together, odds are this child will lose at least one caretaker before graduating high school.

* Children of homosexuals testify that day-to-day living is more difficult – and they are more apt to report personal disturbance as a consequence.

* A high proportion of lesbian 'partnerings' break apart -- with custody issues haunting the child for the rest of his life.

* The child will disproportionately associate with homosexuals – who are as a class considerably more apt to have STDs and a criminal history, be interested in sex with children, involved in substance abuse, etc.

* The child will have a much higher probability of learning homosexual tastes (at least a third of lesbian's children adopt homosexuality).

* "Her pregnancy is further evidence that participation in homosexual activity distorts value systems, inducing practitioners to harm the commonweal. Our society already has too many children born without the benefits of marriage; Cheney's action is not only a bad example, but poor treatment of an innocent child."

In case you haven't already guessed, the work of the Family Research Institute--which has been cited by Patrick Buchanan and William Bennett--has been discredited. But in 1985 Cameron appeared at the annual Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington--the yearly shindig for rightwing activists and leaders--and called for pondering the possible "extermination" of homosexuals to stop the spread of AIDS. Dick Cheney, by the way, has often appeared at the CPAC conference.

Here's the question: is Dick Cheney going to come to his daughter's defense and tell the religious right to get lost? Or will he wimpishly stay silent in deference to political calculation? Forget family values, what about family honor?

A SAD DAY. December 8th always gets to me. It's the day John Lennon was shot and killed. For my generation--actually several generations--the real day the music died. (Sorry, Buddy Holly and Don McLean). Last year, I wrote a remembrance of that day and my response to the murder, which led to a political action against the NRA. Here it is again:

Twenty-five years ago today, John Lennon was shot dead outside the Dakota apartment building in New York City. He died about 11:00 pm. In those days, news was not so instantaneous. It wasn't until the next morning that many people--myself included--learned of this horrific event. At that time, I was working at the Center for the Study of Responsive Law in Washington, DC--otherwise known as the office of Ralph Nader. I was taking a year off from college.

The news that morning hit me--and millions of others--hard. After stumbling into the office--a rabbit warren of offices, some separated by walls made of cartons containing remaindered books produced by the Nader operation--I was asked to deliver a letter from Nader to President Carter. We didn't fax back then. I don't recall what the letter was about, but Nader was probably again blasting Carter, who at this point was a lame duck preparing to vacate the White House after losing to Ronald Reagan the previous month, for failing the public interest on some regulatory matter. I didn't mind the assignment. I didn't feel much like working or talking to anyone. It was a cold morning and about half a mile walk. I could stretch this mundane delivery task into an hour of solitude.

I walked down 16th Street NW, and within a few blocks I passed the headquarters of the National Rifle Association, an entire building next to one of Washington's lovely traffic circles. I stared at the building. My sadness and numbness slid into anger. I didn't know yet that Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman, had purchased the .38-caliber handgun with which he shot Lennon, at a Hawaii gun store despite having a record of mental illness. But I did know that the NRA and its allies in the gun industry were one of the most powerful lobbies in town and that their primary concern was easy access to weapons. I started talking to the imposing building. No, I said, no, you're not going to get off scott-free here, no, no way. And an idea struck.

After dropping off the letter to Carter at one of the entrances to the White House, I hurried back to the office. I told Russell Mokhiber, one of the staffers and a veteran agitator, that I had decided to mount a protest rally outside the NRA's office. Here was a chance, I thought, to spur a debate on gun control. I wanted time off to organize the event. Mokhiber approached Nader, who said that would be fine, but that I should do it as a private citizen, not as an associate of the Center. That was fine by me. I immediately formed Citizens against Gun Violence, an "ad hoc citizens group."

CAGV--that is, me--quickly picked a date a few days hence for the event and designed a flyer advertising the rally. In recent weeks, there had been other examples of handgun violence in Washington. The brother of author David Halberstam, a local doctor, had been shot and killed by an intruder whom he had chased out of his home. And a popular community activist, a young African-American woman, had been shot dead, too. The flyer featured both of them and Lennon. And I asked a copy shop--no Kinko's back then--to print hundreds of copies on a super-rush basis. It could in those days take a day or two to get such a job done. The person at the counter looked at the material and said, "Come back in an hour."

CAGV grew in numbers, by which I mean that several interns at the Center and some friends of mine volunteered to put up flyers around town. Mokhiber went out and bought a bullhorn. I filed a permit application minutes before it was due. A local radio station announced that Lennon fans would be gathering at the end of the day on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. And as soon as the copies of the flyer were ready, I picked them up and headed toward the Lincoln Memorial.There were several hundred people on the steps. One scrawny-looking fellow was in the middle of the crowd, holding up a cheap cassette player--no iPods, either--that was blaring out various Beatles and Lennon tunes. I politely pushed my way toward him. I handed him one of the flyers and asked if at an appropriate time he would let the people around him know about the rally. He looked at the flyer. The cassette player was playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." He said, No, you tell them. The song ended. He turned off the machine and said, "This guy has something he wants to say to you."

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, I made my first and only political speech. "We've just heard this song that says, 'After all this time, we must surely be learning," I began. "But are we? There are 10,000 handgun deaths a year. Are we learning how we can prevent that?" I noted that not only Lennon but other important members of our community had been killed by guns recently and that efforts to restrict guns routinely fail. "Why?" I asked. "Because people who work there"--I pointed across the Reflecting Pool toward the Capitol--"listen too much to the people over there"--I pointed in the direction of the NRA building. But, I added, now was an appropriate time to show that other Americans had different views. I asked the people there to come to the rally. And I'm afraid I said something corny like, "Imagine if everyone who feels as you do today showed up." When I was done, the scrawny fellow gave me a hug; the people applauded. I darted off to start putting up the flyers.

Besides working the grassroots, CAGV had a media strategy. I had fellow workers at the Center call up various media outlets--particularly radio stations that played rock music. They asked for the news or program director and then said something like, "I hear there's going to be a large protest outside the NRA headquarters in three days to commemorate the death of John Lennon and to call for sensible handgun control, and I want to go. Do you have any information on this?" Of course, they did not. But invariably the person on the other end of the phone said, No, but if you find out anything please let me know.

Hours later, I would call these media people and say, "I'm David Corn of Citizens Against Gun Violence, an ad hoc citizens group. I understand you're looking for information on the rally we're holding." Everyone was quite keen on listening to me. Several radio stations asked me to come into their studios to talk about the event. "Was I exploiting this tragedy to make a political point?" some asked. Yes, I said. The aim was to use this awful killing to advance policies that might prevent such another tragedy from occurring. Do you think, I countered, that John Lennon, the antiwar, antiviolence activist, would mind?

Word got out. People started calling from all over the region. Some students at a college--I believe it was in Pennsylvania--were renting a bus. I contacted the leading gun control advocates in Washington, convinced them this event was actually going to happen, and got them to commit to attending and speaking. Within a day or two, the office had unofficially become the headquarters of CAGV. Nader asked what was going on, but he didn't seem to mind. Nor did his chief of staff, John Richard.

The rally went off as planned. About one or two thousand people, I believe, showed up. There were camera crews, reporters from various newspapers. I put the professional handgun control advocates in front of the journalists; they gave the interviews. So too did relatives of Halberstam's brother and the community activist. All these people used the new bullhorn and spoke of the need for restraints on guns. I gave no speech. One woman approached me and said she had come because she had heard me on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The bus from Pennsylvania (or wherever) arrived. Cars driving by honked.

The event--as far as such events go--was a success. There was media coverage. Those who had come felt they had done something with their grief and anger. And as almost always happens when a prominent act of gun violence occurs, the topic of handgun was again on the radar screen. Not because of our effort, but we had done our part. However, that moment--like all moments--quickly faded. It is now 25 years later. John Lennon is still dead. (And so is George Harrison.) The NRA years ago moved to a bigger and better headquarters in suburban Virginia. The gun lobby has had its ups and downs, but it's been mostly ups of late (such as the expiration of the ban on assault weapons). Lennon's death, it turns out, was no catalyst for action. And we have still--after all this time--not learned how to stem the tide of gun violence. Which is one of several reasons why this anniversary of Lennon's death is a sad day.

Posted by David Corn at December 8, 2006 09:34 AM


RicK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RicK said...


I have to disagree with you on gun control. Especially in light of the lawlessness that followed Katrina and, in general, the lawlessness of the current administration. (For the record, NSA, I sold all my guns to a private collector and I can't seem to find the bill of sale nor do I remember the man's name. Or was it a woman? I just can't remember.) If a little revolution every now and then is a good thing, then guns are a necessary evil.

And to quote (paraphrase is more accurate) Archie Bunker, to Gloria, 'would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they were stabbed with a knife?' It pains me, as a lifelong Democrat and civil libertarian, to have to constantly fight my own party for MY RIGHT to own a gun.

More deaths can be attributed to the idiotic, failing War on Drugs than to gun ownership by law-abiding citizens. Priorities are often misplaced, as in the case of gun control v. substance control. And as a national political theme, the advocacy of gun control costs the Democratic Party more votes than it delivers.

O'Reilly said...

I'd give up gun control as a platform issue to win more elections. Cynical? No. It's a policitcal tradeoff.

All civil rights, including the right to bear arms, are not absolute rights. They have limits. Just yell "Fire" in a crowded movie theatre and see if you're arrested, charged and convicted.

Limiting handguns, hunting rifles, and automatic assult rifles to people without criminal records or mental illness or citizens who pass background checks is a reasonable limitation in my judgment but if the issue can used to win elections by radical republicans who take our country to war on false prestenses, I say drop the issue and take back th election.

O'Reilly said...

My brother and his wife had their first child last Sunday. It may be the best thing to ever happen to him. I hope Mary Cheney feels the same way.

That she worked for the Republican party during the election doesn't change my opinion about that.

That her party demonizes same sex couples as immoral, uses them as a divisive campaign issue and actively seeks to deprive them of equal treatment under the law doesn't change my mind about that.

That Corn would frame the Dick Cheney's reponse is as 'politics as usual' or 'family honor' seems like fair game but regretably, Corn is wading into the same sespool of issue exploitation made so popular by the unethical bigoted Republicans only to call Cheney on his hypocrisy and/or honor. For what gain?

O'Reilly said...

rick, What obstacles do you encounter that keep you from acquiring the guns you want? Just wondering how exactly the laws of our land that govern gun control affect you personally.

Glenn Greenwald has a post up yesterday I thought you'd enjoy. He also posts a link to vote for the blog awards. I know you're a fan too. Thought you might like to know about it.

Hajji Rants said...

I think we (most of us) did a pretty good job hashing out the pros/cons of gun prohibition, registration, etc last time this was posted.

After the quick dis-arming of the remaining law-abiding population after Katrina, however, my own calls for registration as a path to gun safety education have been re-thought.

As far as Mary Cheney's 'bundle 'O joy...

Anybody looking for Cheney/Bush to be anything but continually hyper-critical to anybody who'd call them on their own hyper-crazy hypocrisy will be looking for a long, long time.

Hajji Rants said...


The only obstacle to getting the firearms I might might want here is that I now hafta work every Wednesday, so as everyone knows, I miss out on our own localArms Bazzar(aka "jockey lot") Here in Pickens Co.

O'Reilly said...

I think we (most of us) did a pretty good job hashing out the pros/cons of gun prohibition, registration, etc last time this was posted.

Ahh, the good old days with cornbloggers and trolls when the thread grew faster than the nationals debt and trolls roamed free provocking cornbloggers and claiming large estates accumalated via their exploites at the quicky mart.

O'Reilly said...

I've been looking to acquire an assault weapon to protect myself and my property from home invasion by the terrorists. Thanks for the link to the arms bazaar: I found the mail order part, and have a few rockin weapons in 'my cart'. With free overnight delivery for orders in excess of $1000, I'll have my hot little hands on my new weapons cash by tomorrow. Now, time to join a gun club.

Hajji Rants said...

"Assault" weapons are easier than ever to acquire and modify.

I learned a LOT about the 50-cal sniper rifle by reading "Jarhead" last week.

2000 yards, one shot, one kill sure should scare the hell out of politicians who won't do the bidding of their constituents...

Probably scares the ones who won't do the bidding of their "handlers" more.


Hajji Rants said...

Defense secretary laments Abu Ghraib in farewell

In a question-and-answer session, he was asked about his best day and his worst day as defense secretary.

"Clearly, the worst day was Abu Ghraib, seeing what went on there and feeling so deeply sorry that that happened," he said without hesitation, referring to the scandal in the spring of 2004 that triggered worldwide condemnation and prompted him to twice offer his resignation to President Bush at that time. Bush rejected those offers.


What he means is that when such was PUBLISHED! His own office memos shows he not only knew what was going on, they clearly developed programs that led to such attrocities!

I say a little late-night "rendition" to the Hague is in order for this asshole.


RicK said...


As Hajji rants, the confiscation of lawfully-owned guns from law-abiding citizens is enough of an obstacle. And registration/background checks merely create convenient lists that serve only to facilitate law enforcement in illegal confiscation.

And if and when you do buy guns, use cash.

Hajji Rants said...

...and before I go on.

Thank you CaptKirk for this blog. Reading back through some of the archives at the Cornblog is a reminder that some of the most thought-provoking, insightful and interesting things I've read in the past few years have been brought to my attention by fellow cornbloggers.

While I certainly don't miss some of the crap I had to wade through to get to the nuggets of substance I mentioned above, you've all given me a place to rant, to drivell and sometimes a shoulder upon which to cry.

Thank you all for it.


RicK said...

O'Reilly: "Glenn Greenwald has a post up yesterday I thought you'd enjoy."

Which one?

The Ripper said...

Great post, thanks. Don't know if you've seen this David Letterman clip with Cheney in it, but its pretty funny--

capt said...

"Thank you CaptKirk for this blog"

It would be nothing without all that post here.

I thank you all.


O'Reilly said...


David B. Benson said...

A semester-abroad student writes about 10 things he learned from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Here are two of them:

2. The Iranian people are awesome. I learned more about Iran than any other country while I was here, thanks to my Iranian friends. They hate their government, love music, are defined by more than their religion, are smart and generally fun to hang around with. They are just like Americans.

3. The Middle East is safer than you think. Really, the only places you should be scared of are lands Israel has just bombed or America has just invaded. Everyone minds their own business out here, and most of the area is quite safe, even at night.

Hajji Rants said...

GOP Senator: Iraq War May Be Criminal>


I was greatly disturbed recently to read a comment by a man I admire in history, one Winston Churchill, who after the British mandate extended to the peoples of Iraq for 5 years, wrote to David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England:

"At present we are paying 8 millions a year for the privilege of living on an ungrateful volcano."

When I read that, I thought, not much has changed. We have to learn the lessons of history and sometimes they are painful because we have made mistakes.


I think there might be a little more of this "HINDsight is 20/20" (and only needs a monacle, not spectacles for correction!) forthcoming.

Enjoy their attempts to appologize, welcome those who have learned something from this into the tent, but DO NOT re-elect them!


RicK said...


Gordon Smith still don't get it:

"Many things have been attributed to George Bush. I have heard him on this floor blamed for every ill, even the weather. But I do not believe him to be a liar. I do not believe him to be a traitor, nor do I believe all the bravado and the statements and the accusations made against him. I believe him to be a very idealistic man. I believe him to have a stubborn backbone. He is not guilty of perfidy, but I do believe he is guilty of believing bad intelligence and giving us the same."

Someone needs to read some Hubris.

O'Reilly said...

"I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal," declared Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), a 10-year veteran of the Senate, in a speech last night.

Hajji Rants said...

Bitch Lowry is subbing for David Brooks on "Newshour" tonight.

I'm gonna put on my hip waders and watch!

Re: "Let 'em in the Tent".

that excludes Colin Powell...he was the likely the one person in a position to put a stop to all this, but he just "Yessir'd and ass-smooched his way into political infamy.

Put up the "No Powell" signs at all tent flaps.


David B. Benson said...

EPA Administrator Johnston (Johnson(?)) needs to here from YOU now. THe EPA is THROWING AWAY their library contents!


David B. Benson said...

Stephen Johnson (202) 564-4700

Hajji Rants said...

Bitch Lowry on "Newshour"

...Bush "Dead in Water"
on Iraq!

1.Talking with Iran "Worthless"

2.Brokering a Syria/Israel peace agreement..."Worthless".

3.Next 4-6 weeks in Iraq..."Critical".

1&2...get yer head out and look around for once.

3.So were the last 4-6 weeks, dumbass!

But the MOST critical 4-6 weeks were those immediately before invasion and all those weeks before that when you and your neoconservative imps spreading lies and beating the drums for glorious WAR!


kathleen said...

Catching up.

John Lennon was a genius and a real threat to empire ! Now days "Imagine" is being used on commericals to sell cars and insurance. The film "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" is a must. I think if you ask people my age (54) where were you when John Lennon died, most clearly remember. A sad, sad day, week, month.

Has anyone else been noticing the new bi-partisan theme song " iT'S TIME TO MOVE ON". This week I have heard Senator Durbin, Congressman Reyes, James Baker the III, Former Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O'Conner, (how can we forget they brought us the Bush administration), Leon Panetta and many more repeating that the American public needS to "move forward, move on, this is not a blame game, this is not about retribution, we have to move forward together" I had been saying to myself that if I heard this one more time out of our newly elected and re-elected representatives that seem to be busy "rolling over" I was going to heave. Then today I get an e-mail from Senator Kennedy's office that says "moving forward".

It seems that our "supposed" representatives do not get that this election was about accountability! ACCOUNTABILITY FOR AN UNNECESSARY AND IMMORAL WAR! That Americans, Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike did not witness the Republican controlled congress hold anyone or office accountable for the "how" we got into Iraq fiasco! Although how can we forget that a Republican controlled congress found it critically important to investigate and impeach a President for lying about a BLOWJOB! These folks still do not seem to get that an INTELLIGENCE SNOWJOB that resulted in tens of thousands of dead and injured Iraqi people and American soldiers is just a bit more serious and critically important to investigate and hold people accountable for.

The representatives singing this bipartisan theme song "move on" do not seem to get that there are solid as Iraq reasons for this "crisis in confidence" that permeates the American people's attitudes toward congress!

Our representatives do not seem to get that the only honest, just and acceptable way forward is for them to start doing their jobs and start practicing congressional oversight.

That the only way forward and the only way to re-establish any confidence in this system is for them to investigate and hold those responsible ACCOUNTABLE for getting us into this war. If they have any conscience, shame, or chutzpah they will do their jobs! This is the very least that they can do for those who have needlessly lost their lives in this 'war of choice" that many of them are responsible for.

Watch and listen for this "we need to move forward" bipartisan theme song, it is being repeated almost as much as we heard "WMD's in Iraq" before the invasion.

If they come back to congress in January 2007 all singing the same song "It's time to move forward together" as a united and contrived front then we know we are sunk and so are they in 2008!

kathleen said...

The reasons for the "crisis in confidence that permeates the American people's attitudes towards our representatives are solid as Iraq.

Will they investigate? Will they hold people accountable for this "war of choice". Or in January tell us all to "MOVE ON"!

kathleen said...

Iraq Burns, Americans shop shop shop and many around the world can't wait until we drop!

capt said...

McKinney introduces bill to impeach Bush

WASHINGTON - In what was likely her final legislative act in Congress, outgoing Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney announced a bill Friday to impeach President Bush.

The legislation has no chance of passing and serves as a symbolic parting shot not only at Bush but also at Democratic leaders. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has made clear that she will not entertain proposals to sanction Bush and has warned the liberal wing of her party against making political hay of impeachment.

McKinney, a Democrat who drew national headlines in March when she struck a Capitol police officer, has long insisted that Bush was never legitimately elected. In introducing her legislation in the final hours of the current Congress, she said Bush had violated his oath of office to defend the Constitution and the nation's laws.


capt said...

Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity.

"Patriotism" is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, that by "patriotism" I mean that attitude which puts the own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice; not the loving interest in one's own nation, which is the concern with the nation's spiritual as much as with its material welfare-never with its power over other nations.

Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one's country which is not part of one's love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.: Erich Fromm (1900-1980), U.S. psychologist.


Read this newsletter online

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

O'Reilly said...

Geoirge Bush learns about study groups

O'Reilly said...

I do NOT like them
Sam I am!

O'Reilly said...

W embraces new foriegn policy thinking

O'Reilly said...

Did It SINK in?

O'Reilly said...

F means...

O'Reilly said...

The ISG report is significant in that it has accomplsihed one important result, the president can no longer say the war is going well and therefore, we must stay the course.

His reponse may by no more than a change of semantics as this is how he usally responds to critcism, with a new PR offensive.

But becuase this war will be the defining element of his legacy as a president, I think he will take action. Unfortunetly, I think his response will be to increase troop levels and approach the diplomacy initiative with a half-hearted effort. leaving the fiasco in the lap of the next president. Please George, prove me wrong.

O'Reilly said...

Even the supposed withdrawal endorsed by the ISG leaves 70,000 "non-combat" U.S. troops in Iraq for years to come, giving the diehard Cheneyite hawks and neocons reason to dream that eventually the political winds will shift enough that permanent bases can be kept after all. And even though this thought is anathema to the Iraqis themselves, you'll note that after nearly four years, we haven't been kicked out yet. One reason is that we've so crippled the country's infrastructure that no responsible government could even try to run the show without our logistical support.

Another is that the factions which could cut our supply lines (such as Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia) would rather save their strength for the escalated civil war that will follow our departure. Indeed, most of the factions in Iraq would probably be happy to have us stay forever, as long as we devoted ourselves to killing their enemies.

The ISG's gambit is that if America declares that it won't play that game anymore — that everybody will have to do their own killing — they'll decide to get along nicely, and no one will aim their fire at us as we back out the door. Like every other option, though, it's a doubtful and risky bet.


O'Reilly said...

There's no surefire way to extricate the country from the mess he's created in the Middle East, but the ISG report suggests that inroads can be made through dialogue with Iran and Syria. Tricky, that, since Bush and his cabal have made it clear that they will not talk to either Iran or Syria until U.S. demands are met. Even the normally isolationist Pat Buchanan was having an aneurysm last night on Scarborough Country because of Bush's mulish refusal to talk to his enemies. But this is an administration that has prided itself on its stubborn, "my way or the highway," tough-guy talk and to soften its approach now would be tantamount to quitting.


O'Reilly said...

The Good War by Studs Terkel

Selecting one Studs Terkel book is like picking out the best pistachio nut from the pile. They’re all great, but The Good War, which got Studs a long-deserved Pulitzer, stands out. Unvarnished and unsentimental, these interviews tell us that the good guys weren’t always so good. They never are.


capt said...


Good string of posts!


capt said...

We Can't Wait for 2008

The Baker-Hamilton plan to get us out of Iraq is a non-starter, but…


A rebellion is afoot, and not just in the streets but in the corridors of power: the wise men and women of the establishment are worried that our crazed president and his neoconservative Rasputins are seriously alienating the people from their government. A theme running through the report is nervousness about the growing opposition to the war: after all, if the people start questioning the assumptions of U.S. foreign policy, then they might start wondering about a whole lot of other things closer to home. And that could get quickly out of hand…

Getting back to the immediate question of how we get out of Iraq, however, the Baker report was out of date before it was even published: the reality is that we've already been defeated, and the only remaining task before us is to devise a face-saving orderly retreat. The insurgents won by stalemating us. They knew we couldn't stay forever: victory was merely a matter of biding their time and keeping their powder dry. We took Iraq away from the Ba'athists, only to hand it to Moqtada al-Sadr.

Baker thinks – or, rather, hopes – the Iranians and the Syrians will somehow pull our chestnuts out of the fire, but they won't as long as we have 140,000 soldiers massed on their borders. They won't as long as the rhetoric of this administration sounds remarkably like that coming out of Tel Aviv.

Both countries have certainly tried to engage us diplomatically: the Iranians made an offer on their nuclear program not long ago and were apparently eager to negotiate. The U.S. disdained their approach. The Syrians, for their part, have openly proclaimed their willingness to negotiate with the Americans – although this would be a lot easier if we actually had an ambassador in Damascus. The current one was recalled when trumped-up charges against the Syrian government were made by the far-from-impartial UN investigation into the murder of Rafik Hariri. And those economic sanctions imposed on Damascus would have to be rescinded. I wouldn't hold my breath on that one, however: Congress is still, as Pat Buchanan trenchantly put it, "Israeli-occupied territory," and AIPAC – wounded as it is by the arrest of two of their top lobbyists on charges of spying for Israel – is still formidable. I expect the diplomatic element of Baker-Hamilton's proposal will be the first to be shot down.

In any event, we can't wait for 2008 to get the troops out of Iraq, for the simple reason that it's too dangerous to keep them there. The primary destabilizing factor in the region is the presence of American troops in Iraq. As long as they are there, the insurgents have a cause to rally around, as does Sadr's Mahdi Army. Every day the conflict comes closer to spilling over Iraq's porous borders, into Syria, Iran – and beyond. The longer we stay, the more chances there are of a regional conflagration breaking out.

Left to their own devices, the Iraqis will sort things out. It may not be a pretty sight: but, then again, it never was that pretty to begin with. The long, slow withdrawal of American forces from Iraq envisioned by Baker-Hamilton endangers our troops unnecessarily, and the prospect of "embedding" American soldiers in Iraqi-led units is even worse. The insurgents are already infiltrating Iraqi military and police units: "embedding" them alongside these characters is bound to prove fatal for a large number of our best soldiers. If we are going to get out, then let us get out pronto – and leave the Iraqis to determine their own future. If that future is a dark one, then the inescapable knowledge that we are largely responsible may act as a brake on our brashness and willingness to intervene elsewhere.


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

The whole thing is such a mess nobody and nothing will begin a real correction, not soon.


capt said...

Beating off the rescue party

Just as he ignored accurate intelligence on Iraq, Bush will dismiss the Baker Commission's tough-minded proposals for salvaging his botched war.

The Iraq Study Group's report, released Wednesday, calling the situation in that country "grave and deteriorating" is hardly the first caution that President Bush has received. Two years ago, in December 2004, two frank face-to-face briefings were delivered to him from the field. In the first, the CIA station chief in Baghdad, who had filed an urgent memo the month before titled "The Expanding Insurgency in Iraq," was invited to the White House. The CIA officer had written that the insurgency was becoming more "self-confident" and in Sunni provinces "largely unchallenged." His report concluded: "The ease with which the insurgents move and exist in Baghdad and the Sunni heartland is bolstering their self-confidence further." He predicted that the United States would suffer more than 2,000 dead. Bush's reaction was to remark about the station chief, "What is he, some kind of defeatist?" Less than a week after the briefing, the officer was informed he was being reassigned from his post in Baghdad.

A few days after that briefing, on Dec. 17, 2004, Col. Derek Harvey, the Defense Intelligence Agency's senior intelligence officer for Iraq, was ushered into the Oval Office. Harvey, who had "conversed repeatedly with insurgents, and had developed the belief that the U.S. intelligence effort there was deeply flawed," according to Thomas Ricks in "Fiasco," briefed the president about the insurgency: "It's robust, it's well led, it's diverse. Absent some sort of reconciliation it's going to go on, and that risks a civil war. They have the means to fight this for a long time, and they have a different sense of time than we do, and are willing to fight. They have better intelligence than we do." Harvey also explained that foreign fighters, jihadists and al-Qaida were marginal elements. Ricks reported that after the briefing, Bush in his speeches still "would refer to setbacks only in vague terms."

But there is more to the story. A former high-ranking intelligence officer and close associate of Harvey's told me that during Harvey's briefing the president interrupted, turning to his aides to inquire, "Is this guy a Democrat?" Harvey's warnings, of course, were as thoroughly ignored as those of the CIA station chief.

In the weeks before the delivery of the Iraq Study Group (aka Baker-Hamilton Commission) report, Bush repeatedly insisted that al-Qaida was the principal foe in Iraq. Harvey, meanwhile, served as an advisor to the commission. After two years of Bush's contemptuous disdain for accurate intelligence reports, the commission dryly noted as a basic assumption: "No one can guarantee that any course of action in Iraq at this point will stop sectarian warfare, growing violence or a slide toward chaos. There is no magic formula to solve the problems of Iraq." Upon receipt of the report, Bush responded with perfunctory and dismissive courtesy, "We probably won't agree with every proposal ... We'll act on it in a timely fashion. Thank you very much." Good night, and good luck.


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

Of course this WH will do as they please no matter what anybody says. Impeachment would have been the only way to change anything and I am not sure even that would have stopped these insane sob's.


O'Reilly said...

If you don't follow through on your dreams, you might as well be a vegetable.

O'Reilly said...

Thanks Capt!

O'Reilly said...

The Oval Intervention
It is not a happy mood in the Oval Office.

Poppy is sobbing, his face in his hands, slumped in one of the yellow-and-blue striped chairs. Laura is screaming the words “Oscar de la Renta” and “rendition” into her cellphone, still seeing red after showing up at a White House gala in the same $8,400 red gown as three other women who did not happen to be first lady.

Bob Gates is grim-faced, but not as grim-faced as Barbara, whose look could freeze not only the Potomac but the Tigris and the Euphrates. Scowcroft is over on the couch, trying to nap while Kissinger drones softly in his ear.

And, of course, there is the Deprogrammer for the Decider, James Baker, perfectly suited in bright green tie and suited perfectly for his spot behind the president’s desk.

The Council of Elders had hoped this Apocalypto moment wouldn’t be necessary. They had assumed that the scorching Iraq Study Group report would have the same effect on Junior as the bucket of cold water that Mr. Baker’s strict father, a lawyer known as “the Warden,” used to throw on his face to wake him up as a boy.

But Junior is trying to wriggle away completely, offering a decidedly cool response to the attempt to yank him into the reality-based community. He rallied his last two allies — his English poodle and his Scottish terrier, Blair and Barney.

He is loath to give up his gunslinger pose to go all diplo. He cleaves to the neocon complaint that it is the realists who are now being unrealistic, thinking the administration can bargain with Syria and Iran, or that the Army can train Iraqi security forces (or, as they are known there, death squads) in a matter of months when they haven’t been able to do it in years.

The Velvet Hammer is undeterred. He’s doing an all-out intervention, locking Junior and Barney in the little study next to the Oval. To stress the seriousness of the situation, they don’t give the president his feather pillow.

The group gathers at the door of the study. “My boy,” his dad tells him between sobs. “We love you. We’re here for you. We’re worried about you. You’re not just hurting yourself, you’re hurting others. This is a safe place. No one’s judging you ...”

“What are you talking about, Dad?” Junior snaps. “I just actually read 96 pages of your friends’ judging me in that cowpie report.” Barney woofs in support.

Barbara can be heard muttering from across the room. “We were right about Jebbie.”

Henry the K lumbers up to the door and in a low Teutonic rumble says: “It’s time we stopped taking care of you and started caring about you. Would you like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”

Junior is getting even more furious. “You all think you’re so realist. But you’re unrealist. I’m realist. Are you sitting at my desk, Baker? Get out of there! Everyone says you’re so Mr. Ride to the Rescue, but none of your surrender monkey ideas would work. Talk about Pretend Land — Israel giving up the Golan Heights? Yeah, right. And they call me delusional.”

Baker glides up to the door and says, in his most satiny drawl, “Son, I just threw a few D.O.A. ones in there for you to reject so you could preserve your manhood.”

There are sounds of feet stomping. “You say I can’t stay the course but I can too stay the course!” Junior yells. “I can! I can! You say I have to put the two trillion dollar war cost in the budget, but I don’t! You say we have to cuddle up to evildoers in Iran and Syria. Why do you hate the troops? Where’s Condi? I want my Condi!”

Realizing the president is getting hysterical, the group looks at Laura, hoping she can calm him down.

She approaches the door and coos in a soft voice: “Bushie? Listen, now, this is important. How do you get someone audited? Can’t we send Oscar de la Loser to Gitmo?”

Baker gently nudges Laura aside. “Now son, hear me out. We’ve disabled your enablers. Rummy has written his last self-serving memo. Dick’s got his hands full explaining his darlin’ new grandchild’s Two Mommies. Don’t bother calling for Condi. She’s at the bottom of Foggy Bottom. You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”

It’s not sinking in. “We must achieve our objective,” Junior sputters. “Our objective is success. To succeed we must have success. If we don’t win, we lose. We are the winners. We can’t let the ... we’re in an ideological struggle and that’s why we have a strategy ... AL QAEDA! We must help democracy in Iraq succeed because ... ISLAMOFASCISTS! ... that is the objective of a successful ...”

Barney scratches at the door, trying to cut and ...

Saladin said...

More ranting about guns? Jeez louise, DC has one of the highest incidence of gun crime in the country but also some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. According to a recent Metropolitan Police Department report on homicides from 2001 to 2005 states that 901 of 1,126 homicide victims, or about 80 percent, were fatally shot. Firearms last year alone were used to commit 157 of the District's 196 homicides, or about 80 percent. That percentage has remained relatively consistent since 2001, when a five-year low of 78.4 percent of homicides were committed using guns. In 2004, the last year for which comprehensive statistics were available, the 79.3 percent of homicides involving guns in the District was higher than the 61.1 percent in New York. Chicago reported 75.2 percent, and Baltimore had 77.5 percent.
Atlanta had a significantly lower percentage of gun homicides than the District, 73.2 percent, despite less-restrictive gun laws. There is ZERO evidence that taking guns away from law abiding citizens will result in less gun related crime and a TON of evidence that in fact the very opposite occurs. This is faulty logic, the vast majority of gun owners are completely harmless, take the guns away and you are left with criminals and psychos who couldn't care less about laws, DC is proof of that. Mr. Corn, you are seriously naive if you think gun control laws would have prevented Lennons death, that guy would have still had the gun and still shot him, even if every person in the city who obeys the law had turned in their guns. My husband has a great tee shirt that says, Dictators agree, gun control works! The picture is of Mao, Hitler and Stalin!

O'Reilly said...

As I argued immediately after the election, the disaster of the Iraq War and the resulting rejection of Bush-Republican policies presents a real opportunity to isolate, and relegate back to the fringes, the neoconservatives and more generic crazed warmongers who have dictated our foreign policy over the last five years -- the Bill Kristols, Rush Limbaughs, John McCains, Charles Krauthammers, Joe Liebermans, American Enterprise Institutes and Rich Lowrys, who have an insatiable appetite for endless wars that degrade America's credibility, resources, strength, security and national character.

At a time when most Americans have recognized that this war is a disaster and want to withdraw, this group of radical warriors continues to insist not only that the invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do, but that we need more of it -- more troops, more fighting, more threats, less diplomacy, less concern for world opinion, more regime change, more wars. John McCain and Bill Kristol favor a policy -- i.e., deploy as many more American troops as possible to Iraq -- which only a tiny percentage of Americans (ranging from 8% to 16%) support. Although the media has yet to realize it, this group is already on the outer fringe of our political spectrum.

Hateful rants directed towards Baker like those from Peretz, Limbaugh and the AEI luminaries (even as Baker endorsed an indefinite presence in Iraq) illustrate just how radical they are. And as they are now quite openly admitting, neoconservatives hate Jim Baker for three reasons -- Israel, Israel and Israel.


O'Reilly said...

I've been persuaded by those who have argued here over the past couple days that the Baker-Hamilton Report isn't pure evil, because it so fundamentally undercuts the neoconservative narrative about the world. That may be true. But its effect of solidifying our ongoing presence in Iraq and transforming anti-withdrawal sentiment into the mainstream, centrist, bipartisan position vastly outweigh that. As long as we stay as an occupying force in Iraq -- with all of the abuses and destruction and drain that inevitably goes with it -- it is difficult to imagine how we are going to reverse any of the damage that has been done to our country over the last six years.

The neoconservatives are being revealed as the ugly, crazed extremists that they are. But they still remain more or less firmly in control in the form of George Bush, Dick Cheney and company. And that control has not been loosened any by the Baker-Hamilton Report. If anything, the opposite has occurred.

Glenn Greenwald

capt said...

Dennis Kucinich’s Showdown With the Democratic Leadership

Truthdig: What can people do?

Kucinich: People first of all need to know about this. People need to know that there is an attempt by our leadership to support the supplemental, and what the consequences are.... The most difficult part of the challenge is to get members of Congress to understand that they themselves voted for a bill which went into effect on Oct. 1 that appropriated $70 billion, which could be used to bring the troops home. Unfortunately, our leadership is saying they’re supporting the supplemental as a way of supporting the troops. So if we continue to ignore the money that’s there right now to bring the troops home, we’re losing an opportunity to bring the troops home now. People are now saying that they oppose the war, but they’re continuing to fund it in the name of supporting the troops.

They say they’re not going to abandon the troops in the field. We’re professing a strange love for these troops by keeping them there, because the money’s there to bring them home. So this is going to shape up as a major discussion across this country. People are going to want to know why Democrats would not bring the troops home now, when the money is there now.

Truthdig: For me this is really disheartening, because I feel like I have been lied to, and the American people have been lied to, because the [Democratic] Party was so against extra funds for the war. It’s almost like the party has done a bait-and-switch.

Kucinich: I think there’s going to be a concern around the country that this does represent a bait-and-switch. I’m hopeful that this position will be reconsidered and that the Democrats will not vote to keep the war going. But at this point, if the Democrats go forward and support a supplemental which by some accounts is now rising to $160 billion, they’ll be providing enough money to keep the war going through the end of George Bush’s term.


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

Listen to Kucinich he is one of the only politicians that seems to stick to the truth.


capt said...

House defeats Souder DOD earmarks report card amendment

That amendment requiring the Pentagon to publish an annual report grading anonymous earmarks inserted by Members of Congress into defense spending bills was defeated in the House this afternoon on a 330-70 vote.

The vote is among the last official acts of the Republican majority in the House and ends an effort in the departing Congress to force Members to put their names on earmarks they sponsor.

Earmarks direct executive departments and agencies to spend tax dollars on projects without competitive bidding or other normal processes designed to prevent waste, fraud and corruption.

Now-former Rep. Randy Cunningham, R-CA, pled guilty earlier this year to multiple counts of accepting bribes from a defense contractor in return for earmarks in military spending bills.


capt said...

Dem leaders hope to block Congressional pay raise

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Members of Congress are in line for a $3,300 pay raise effective Jan. 1 unless they block it, and Democrats said Thursday they intend to try.

Officials said Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the party's leaders, had notified Republicans they will try to add the anti-pay-raise provision to a bill that provides funds for most government agencies through Feb. 15. Congress must pass the funding bill before it adjourns for the year, and the target for that is Friday.

Under federal law, lawmakers, like many federal employees, receive a cost of living increase on each Jan. 1. The increase for 2007 is pegged at 2 percent, and would put the salary for rank-and-file lawmakers at $168,500.


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

This is maddening.


capt said...

EPA: Leaded gas may return, along with lower standards

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration is considering doing away with health standards that cut lead from gasoline, widely regarded as one of the nation's biggest clean-air accomplishments.

The Environmental Protection Agency said this week that revoking those standards might be justified "given the significantly changed circumstances since lead was listed in 1976" as an air pollutant, claiming that concentrations of lead in the air have dropped more than 90 percent in the past 2 1/2 decades. Battery makers, lead smelters, refiners all have lobbied the administration to do away with the Clean Air Act limits.

But Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, called on the agency to "renounce this dangerous proposal immediately," because lead, a highly toxic element, can cause severe nerve damage, especially in children


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

I watched a show on "National Geographic Channel" (NGC) yesterday where the glaciologists explained how they can tell the demarcation in ice core samples where we stopped using leaded gasoline.


PS - I highly recommend the NGC if you can get it. NGC is as good as the Discovery Channel used to be.

capt said...

Tonight's Sky for Saturday, Dec 09 2006

Three bright planets—Mercury, Mars and Jupiter—are presently in the east before dawn, but they’re too close to the sun’s glare for easy viewing. Tomorrow morning, these three will stage the closest planetary threesome until the year 2053. The tip of your little finger extended an arm length away will cover all three worlds. You probably won’t see all three worlds with the eye alone. But consider using binoculars to scan for them near the eastern horizon, shortly before sunup.

And if you’re blessed with an unobstructed southeastern horizon, there’s a reasonably good chance of catching sight of Jupiter with the eye alone, shortly before sunrise. Jupiter shines more brilliantly than any star. With the exception of the sun, moon and Venus, Jupiter is the brightest celestial body in the heavens. Jupiter will be hovering low in the sky, not much above the sunrise point on your horizon. The other planets will be there, too, but they’ll likely be hidden in the sun’s glare.

If you spot only one point of light by Jupiter, that’s probably Mercury. It’s considerably brighter than fainter Mars.

By the way, of the 5 visible planets, Saturn is the only one that’s easy to see with the unaided eye right now. Saturn and the waning gibbous moon will rise in tandem over your eastern horizon at mid to late evening tonight. They’ll keep each other company throughout the night and appear relatively high in the sky at morning dawn.


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

Should be very cool.


Gerald said...

Let me proclaim once again! I LOVE AMERICA!!! We are a land of hypocrites! James Dobson is a hypocrite!!! I LOVE AMERICA!!!

Gerald said...

Let God be the judge! Mary Cheney is having a baby. Well, one thing that the baby has going is the baby will never have to want.

I LOVE AMERICA where the rich get richer and the poor and the middle class experience: BOHICA (bend over here it comes again)! I really do love America!!!

capt said...

A Congress of Whores and Pipsqueaks

How pathetic can it get?

140,000 American troops are stuck in the mess that a lying and endlessly deceitful president has made in Iraq, over half a million innocent Iraqis have been killed since the politically-motivated 2003 US invasion, a group of very Establishment, middle-of-the-road politicians of both parties has declared the war an unmitigated disaster and called for a pullout of troops, the president has nixed their call for withdrawal and regional negotiations, and what is Congress doing about it?

The House just voted by an overwhelming 368-31 (that’s only 36 abstentions), not to impeach the president, not to cut off funding for the war, not even to endorse the findings of the Iraq Study Group, but…to condemn the naming of a street in France after Pennsylvania death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal!

This craven rush to line up and be counted in the condemnation of a man who has never had a fair trial to establish his guilt in the 1981 shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was joined in even by most liberal Democrats in the House. It was primarily only black members of Congress who had the courage to vote no on the resolution that was submitted by Michael Fitzpatrick, a lame-duck Republican congressman from the Philadelphia area (Fitzpatrick was defeated by Democrat Patrick Murphy).

Ironically, as this group of political hucksters and moral cowards were casting their votes of allegedly righteous condemnation at the naming of a minor street in France, Abu-Jamal’s case was heading for a dramatic hearing in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, where judges with a better understanding of law and constitution had recently agreed to hear three separate arguments by Abu-Jamal on claims that his 1982 trial had been unconstitutionally compromised--among them that the prosecutor told jurors they didn’t need to worry about proof of guilt being "beyond a reasonable doubt" because there would be "appeal after appeal," that the same prosecutor deliberately removed 11 qualified black jurors from the jury pool because of their race despite their having confirmed they could vote for a death penalty, and that the trial judge had been overheard, on the first day of the trial, telling his clerk that he would "help them fry the nigger."

So where is the indignation of these leaders when it comes to a president who lied to them repeatedly about alleged grave and looming threats posed by non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, about non-existent "links" between Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and terror leader Osama Bin Laden? About a fraudulent allegation that Saddam was trying to buy uranium ore from Niger?


Gerald said...

The Awful Roar

Gerald said...

If we're lucky

capt said...

GAO: The status quo is unsustainable

C-Span's Friday Washington Journal had on David Walker, U.S. Comptroller of the GAO on to discuss two recent reports, one on recommendations for 110th Congress Targets for Oversight and Global War on Terror Costs (both .pdf. You can watch archives of the show (At Link)

Walker was fairly scathing in his assessment of how things are going for the country fiscally. The GAO has produced videos with their assessment that you can download here. It's a lot of information to take in. When they start to toss out estimates in the TRILLIONS, my mind started to reel.

From the video on America's Fiscal Future:

…And even if we're able to constrain discretionary spending for the next ten years to the rate of inflation, which we haven't for a long time, we still face large and growing structural deficits in the years ahead. Bottom line? The status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable. We're on an imprudent and unsustainable fiscal path. Tough choices are required. We will not be able to grow our way out of this problem. Anybody who says that suffers from two problems. Number one, they have not studied economic history adequately; and number two; they probably wouldn't do real well at math. Because the numbers just don't add up.

It's clear from the strength of the language used that Walker feels that this is not being taken seriously at any level. How much coverage do you suppose the mainstream media will give it?


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

My guess is the MSM will give little or no coverage. Too negative for the masses to wrap their head around.


capt said...

Time to Party in the Capital. Just Bring the Checkbook.


Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, who is to become speaker of the House, has promised new lobbying and ethics rules to end "the culture of corruption" that she says has infected Congress under Republican control. But lobbyists attending fund-raisers this week said they did not expect radical changes.

"There will be some changes on the margins that will be relatively short-lived," said Erick R. Gustafson, a vice president of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Of the effort to purge politics of special-interest money and influence, Mr. Gustafson said: "It’s like trying to keep water out of your basement. It’s a structural problem. You may find a temporary solution, but the water will find a way in. Influence is like water. Money is just a means of influence."


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

"We really don’t believe that voters suddenly fell in love with the Democrats," Mr. Rangel said in his gravelly voice. Rather, he said, the voters want change and bipartisan cooperation, and he hopes to meet that demand by working with Republican members of Congress and the Bush administration on taxes, trade and health legislation.

And there you go. The Dumbocrats still do not get it.


capt said...

Lemming are not good at any direction other than Follow Me all the while the ditto-heads sing the lemming refrain Rush is right even when they are not smart enough to replace lab rats even when they are being too real or finding themselves in the lost and found as the lemming sisters sing under the the half hour rule with only a few that refuse to go especially the artsy lemmings on wheels. No matter what the GOP lemmings thought it was a good idea and actually received good marks.

(queue "JUMP" Van Halen)


Gerald said...

Someone stole my words: darn it

Gerald said...

He flat out does not have the intellectual capacity to carry out the requirements of the job. This is not some mean-spirited speculation as to the level of his intelligence. The facts are in. There is nothing left to speculate on.

capt said...

US approves Indian nuclear deal

The US Congress has voted in favour of allowing the export of civilian nuclear fuel and technology to India for the first time in 30 years.

The legislation will now be sent to President George W Bush to be signed into law.

The vote follows an agreement earlier this year between Mr Bush and the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.

The accord has been hailed as historic by some, but critics say it will damage non-proliferation efforts.


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

If I were Iranian I would see this as a green-light.


David B. Benson said...

Well, it seems I have once again forgotten how to form a link. Nonetheless, the following site points out that the world is running quite low on food production. Good time to become a farmer? Maybe the Powers That Be ought to be concerned about this aspect on non-sustanability as well?

capt said...

Iranian president says 3,000 centrifuges set at Natanz

TEHRAN, December 9 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's president said Saturday the country had installed 3,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges at its pilot nuclear facility at Natanz, moving one step closer to producing nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.

"This is the first step toward Iran's mastering the nuclear fuel cycle," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted by the FARS news agency as saying.

Iran started up a second experimental chain of 164 centrifuge machines at Natanz in October, and said it would have launched a total of 3,000 centrifuges here by next March. The long-term target is 60,000, enough to advance to industrial-scale enrichment.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - and Germany are considering imposing sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt enrichment activity, which they fear may lead to the Islamic Republic obtaining a nuclear bomb.

Iran maintains that its nuclear program is purely civilian and in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


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

Iran did sign onto the NPT (India has not)and claims all nuclear efforts and programs are purely civilian (India makes no such claim and has tested nuclear weapons).

How can the UN or IAEA keep a straight face?


capt said...

How do I make a hyperlink?

A link is done with something called the Anchor tag.

The anchor tag looks like this:

 <A HREF="pagename.html">Link Here</A>

Anything that appears between the begin and end anchor tags will take you to the specified destination when clicked.

Format tags are as follows



If you use "preview" you can see your formats and test your links by a "right click" then "open in new window". If it works the new window will open with your linked page.


If any of the above gives you a hard time or if you cannot get the results you want, drop me an email. I will help where I can.


capt said...


The link for that site would look like:

 <A HREF="">Link Here</A>

and would display as:

Link Here


capt said...

Grain Prices Starting to Rise

This year’s world grain harvest is projected to fall short of consumption by 61 million tons, marking the sixth time in the last seven years that production has failed to satisfy demand. As a result of these shortfalls, world carryover stocks at the end of this crop year are projected to drop to 57 days of consumption, the shortest buffer since the 56-day-low in 1972 that triggered a doubling of grain prices.

World carryover stocks of grain, the amount in the bin when the next harvest begins, are the most basic measure of food security. Whenever stocks drop below 60 days of consumption, prices begin to rise. It thus came as no surprise when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected in its June 9 world crop report that this year’s wheat prices will be up by 14 percent and corn prices up by 22 percent over last year’s.

This price projection assumes normal weather during the summer growing season. If the weather this year is unusually good, then the price rises may be less than those projected, but if this year’s harvest is sharply reduced by heat or drought, they could far exceed the projected rises.

With carryover stocks of grain at the lowest level in 34 years, the world may soon be facing high grain and oil prices at the same time (See Figure). For the scores of low-income countries that import both oil and grain, this prospect is a sobering one.


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

The linking was not working on the above post (I should have checked) but here it is and working.


David B. Benson said...

Thanks, capt. Actually, it also needs "http://" (and capital I) as in

Enough Food?

David B. Benson said...

Thanks again, capt. One of the more interesting parts is that each one degree Celcius rise in temperature above normal causes yields to fall by 10%.

So with global warming and increased use of grain to provide transportation fuels, looks like now is a good time to take up farming. But read the whole article first...

capt said...

Big Freeze

Recent evidence suggests we might be heading towards a Big Freeze with the power to cause a global catastrophe with mass extinction's. This new freezing climate could hit us far sooner than we think with little or no warning. The next ice-age may still be in the distant future but ironically could Global Warming be a possible trigger that will accelerate climate change? Naked Science examines what may cause temperatures to plummet and how abrupt climate change could spell disaster for Earth.


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

If you can get NGC this shows again tomorrow.


capt said...

"The enjoyment of power inevitably corrupts the judgment of reason, and perverts its liberty." -- Immanuel Kant - (1724-1804) German philosopher Source: Perpetual Peace, 1795

"For in a Republic, who is 'the country?' Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them." -- Mark Twain [Samuel Langhornne Clemens] (1835-1910)

"Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction." -- Thomas Jefferson - (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President Source: in a letter to John Adams as quoted in John A. Stormer, None Dare Call it Treason (Florissant, MO: Liberty Bell Press, 1964) 93.

The doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to any human power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism, and ought to have no place among Republicans and Christians.": Angelica Grimke - (1805-1879) Source: Anti-Slavery Examiner, September 1836


Read this newsletter online

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

David B. Benson said...

Inane or insane? Jaun Cole today reports that out of 1000 employees in the embassy in Baghdad, only 6 are fluent in Arabic...

capt said...

Insane - completely insane.

Hajji Rants said...

...out of 1000 employees in the embassy in Baghdad, only 6 are fluent in Arabic...

Yeah, but how many of 'em are "pro-life" strausians Bushlemmings?


David B. Benson said...

hajji --- 1000-33. (Juan Cole says that only 33 know any Arabic at all...)

Hajji Rants said...


Even Cpl. Spanky (who I got another e-mail from this morning) has picked up some limited, functional Arabic. How could ANYONE work for an international embassy and NOT know at least a smidgin' of the language of the land?

Well, I guess I can answer my own question here with another question...

How many employees of the US Embassy in Iraq will EVER leave the Green Zone? (except for maybe a high-speed dash in a well-armed convoy to the airport, of course.)

capt said...

Arabic speakers still scarce

Hoping to make a difference in the world (and perhaps sensing the prospect of likely employment), U.S. students are flocking to newly formed Arabic classes on high school and college campuses.
Enrolling is the easy part.

First, the students learn that Arabic text reads from right to left but that numbers flow from left to right. Letters change form, depending on where they are placed in a word. Some sounds have no English equivalent.

And then the really hard part sinks in.

Classical Arabic, which is what's generally taught in U.S. classrooms, is the equivalent of Medieval English. It's fine for literature and diplomacy but virtually useless on the streets of Cairo. And Egyptian colloquial Arabic differs from other colloquial Arabic tongues.

It's no wonder the dropout rate is so high.

In the best programs, only 25% of first-year students reach the third-year level. In a majority of college programs, students have no choice but to stop after the first year because their university doesn't offer a second year.

The persistence of such problems four years after the 9/11 attacks is one measure both of the difficulty of the challenge and of the nation's sluggish response to it.

There are many others. In Iraq, the military lacks American translators, forcing reliance on foreigners. At home, an inspector general reported last year that thousands of hours of intelligence tapes remain untranslated.

The military, the FBI and the CIA all have sharply increased recruiting of people who speak the languages used on those tapes, but the supply falls far short of the need, particularly for the most-skilled linguists.

At the State Department, for instance, only 10 of 34,000 employees are rated fully fluent in Arabic.

In his recent budget, President Bush proposed an initiative to address the shortfall by jump-starting training in such critical languages as Arabic, Farsi, Hindi and Urdu.

The $114 million program would fund experiments in language instruction and study-abroad opportunities for up to 3,000 high school students. It would pay for 300 teachers to come to the USA and study-abroad opportunities for high-school language teachers. It also would create a corps of 1,000 experts in critical languages to assist the federal government or teach in K-12 schools.

The goal is to produce 2,000 advanced speakers of critical languages by 2009.

That's a start, if a belated one.

When no one is available to translate intercepted terrorist communications, you have to wonder whether the war on terrorism can be won.


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

At the State Department, for instance, only 10 of 34,000 employees are rated fully fluent in Arabic.

Well as long as we have ten at the state department . . .


Gerald said...

A Great Article to Read

Saladin said...

"the culture of corruption" that she says has infected Congress under Republican control"
WHAT COMPLETE BULLSHIT! clinton is the one who perfected the art of skirting ethics laws, especially where soft money was concerned. He also promised BIG changes, yeh right, think they're going to bite the hands that feed them? clinton never did, and neither will the multi-millionaire pelosi or any of her cronies. I'm sure they will put together a "study" group to discuss changes, it will make the sheeple feel like something is getting done. They all cheat, that's how they got where they are!

Saladin said...

Why would they need to speak Arabic? They are not even remotely interested in speaking with them as our policies in the middle east are so avidly proving.

capt said...

From Geralds post:

Sorry, Sandra, that bullsh** ain’t gonna cut it.

When the final text is written, the name of Sandra Day O’ Connor will feature quite prominently right next to Rasputin, Pol Pot, Henry Kissinger, Pinochet and the other scoundrels who litter the history books.

You sold us out, O’Connor. Now take your lumps like a man.


That is to the point and completely honest!



capt said...

My All Time Favorite Christmas movie:

White Christmas (1954)

What is your favorite?

capt said...

The Songs:

"White Christmas"Words and Music by Irving BerlinSung by Bing CrosbyReprised during the finale by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen (dubbed by Trudy Stevens)

"The Best Things Happen When You're Dancing"Words and Music by Irving BerlinSung by Danny Kaye, danced by Danny and Vera-Ellen

"Sisters"Words and Music by Irving BerlinSung by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen (dubbed by Trudy Stevens)

"Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep"Words and Music by Irving BerlinSung by Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney

"Mandy"Words and Music by Irving BerlinDanced by Vera-Ellen and ensemble

"Geee! I Wish I Was Back in the Army"Words and Music by Irving BerlinSung by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen (dubbed by Trudy Stevens)

"Snow"Words and Music by Irving BerlinSung by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen (dubbed by Trudy Stevens)

"Choreography"Words and Music by Irving BerlinSung by Danny Kaye, danced by Vera-Ellen

"What Can You Do With a General?"Music and Lyrics by Irving BerlinSung by Bing Crosby

"VistaVision Trademark Fanfare"by Van Cleave

Saladin said...

Articles of Impeachment Filed Against Bush, In Congress
by Matt Pascarella

...The charges addressed in McKinney's resolution are nothing revelatory or new. Rather, they are issues which have been in the public eye for quite some time and have increasingly been covered in the media over the last year.

Despite winning the congressional majority, the Democrats have yet to put forth a plan to investigate what have become somewhat ubiquitous allegations.

Speaker-elect, Representative Pelosi, dismissed any possibility of impeachment, saying it is "off the table" and that it is "a waste of time ... making them lameducks is good enough for me." Although, in the November election, 60% of the voters in her own district cast ballots in favor of Proposition J, a measure calling for the impeachment of President Bush.

In 2005 Representative John Conyers sponsored a resolution, HR 365, to create a special committee to investigate allegations against the Bush Administration, a move that would likely lead to the discovery of impeachable offenses. This resolution was passed to the House Committee on Rules and was never brought up for a vote.

At that time it was widely believed that if the Democrats took control of congress, Conyers would reintroduce the resolution as would have subpoena power if selected as leader of the House Judiciary Committee.

A few days after the Democrats won control Conyers echoed Pelosi's statement saying, "I am in total agreement with her on this issue ... impeachment is off the table." Last week a spokesperson from Conyers office said that the resolution would not be reintroduced and that the Representative had no intention to pursue the matter.

Will other members of congress support the action Congresswoman McKinney has brought forth?

At the table in what could be considered her impeachment "war room" the question is brought up a number of times.

Mike, an advisor to McKinney, mentions, "Conyers was supposed to have investigations. They were chomping at the bit 6 months ago to do subpoenas."

McKinney quietly replies, "Now they say they aren't even going to issue subpoenas."

Looking up from her papers she takes a deep breath, "I'm going in alone on this one because now it is all about them playing majority politics."

This is McKinney's last week as a member of congress and this act, to impeach the president, is the final resolution she will enter into the Congressional record.

For those who know anything about Cynthia McKinney it may come as no surprise that she would file this resolution as her parting gift to Congress.

McKinney is no stranger to being attacked by the media and has been isolated from her own party.

From her inquiries into election fraud in 2000 to her calls for a transparent and thorough investigation into 9-11, not to mention the widely covered run-in she had with the Capitol Hill Police, the congresswoman is aware that this resolution will likely be ignored and that she will be ruthlessly attacked upon its filing.

"What do you think they are going to do to me this time?" she asks her staff. Everyone uncomfortably shifts in their seats and after no answer comes McKinney explains, "We have to do this because this is simply the right thing to do. The American people do want to hold this man and his office accountable for the crimes they have committed and if no member of congress is willing to do it, than I will."

It is questionable as to how effective this move could be in gaining support because of her reputation as a firebrand congresswoman and because, ultimately, she is on her way out of office.

The Congresswoman and her staff realize this but hope that by filing the articles of impeachment it will, at the very least, open up a discussion on whether or not President Bush and key members of his administration have committed impeachable offenses and whether our officials should be held to account.

"My duty as a member of Congress is merely to uphold and preserve the constitution and to represent the will of my constituency. Ultimately, it isn't up to me or any other member of congress, it is up to the American people to decide."
One of the only honest, integrity driven congress people and she gets the boot. I think Mike Rivero is right, if they don't get on this it probably means they knew all along that bushco was lying about saddam and Iraq and any investigation will drag them down in the mud as well. A lot of cats turned loose from a lot of bags. I don't know how they sleep at night immersed in that ocean of blood.

Carey said...

Mr. Corn,

A lovely tribute to the great John Lennon. Yoko would like that.

LAST CALL for mailing addresses: For Holiday Greetings.

capt said...

From WMR (Wayne Madsen Reports)

REPORTING December 8 from Stuttgart, Germany. Yesterday, the editor introduced a petition at a press conference at the Nuremberg Stadium calling for the United States to honor the 1945 commitment made by Special Prosecutor Robert Jackson that the US would be bound in the future by the same rules of international law it applied to the Nazi party leaders. Accepting the petition was the director of the Documentation Center for the Crimes of the German Reich Party (Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelande) who expressed a willingness to place the petition at Room 600 at the Nuremberg Courthouse where the Nazi leaders were tried and sentenced. As this room is visited by thousands of people from around the world, the editor made a commitment to deliver the signed petition to the leadership of the Judiciary Committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives to stress the importance of the United States becoming a full party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty and, if necessary, cooperate with the court in handing over for trial those American political and military leaders who violated the clause of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact (also known as the Paris Peace Pact) formally renounced war as an instrument of national policy and its violation by the German Nazis was one of the four main charges in their indictment at Nuremberg, to wit, "crimes against peace (planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the forgoing.").

The United States is a party to the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the terms of which remain in force to this day and which remains a U.S. law. The United States is also a party to the United Nations Charter of 1945, which also renounces war unless for reasons of self defense and is also U.S. law as a ratified treaty of the United States.


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

Of course Bush has no clue, the neocons know but don't care and the GOP (and most of the DNC) will stay in complete denial.



capt said...

A Closing Call for Impeachment

"President George W. Bush has failed to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States; he has failed to ensure that senior members of his administration do the same; and he has betrayed the trust of the American people," Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney explained in remarks prepared to accompany her submission on Friday of articles of impeachment against Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

McKinney, in her last legislative act before leaving the House at the end of her current term, represented not merely a final thrust by the Georgia Democrat against the Bush administration that she has so consistently opposed but a challenge to the new House Democratic leadership to pay more than lip service to its Constitutionally-mandated duty to check and balance the executive branch.

"With a heavy heart and in the deepest spirit of patriotism, I exercise my duty and responsibility to speak truthfully about what is before us," continued McKinney, according to a copy of her remarks distributed by the Atlanta Progressive News network. "To shy away from this responsibility would be easier. But I have not been one to travel the easy road. I believe in this country, and in the power of our democracy. I feel the steely conviction of one who will not let the country I love descend into shame; for the fabric of our democracy is at stake. Some will call this a partisan vendetta, others will say this is an unimportant distraction to the plans of the incoming Congress. But this is not about political gamesmanship. I am not willing to put any political party before my principles. This, instead, is about beginning the long road back to regaining the high standards of truth and democracy upon which our great country was founded."

There will be many who dismiss McKinney's filing of articles of impeachment against the president and members of his administration as an act of little consequence. The congresswoman has been a controversial figure during six terms in the House, often placing herself well to the left of her own caucus, particularly on issues of presidential accountability. And her impending departure from the chamber means that her resolution will only be a factor in the next Congress if another member takes it up. With incoming-Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling fellow Democrats that they must keep impeachment "off the table," that may not happen in the short term.

But McKinney's move ought not be casually discounted. As a legislative veteran whose service at the state and federal levels goes back almost 20 years, she well understands that the coming investigations of administration wrongdoing could well put impeachment back on the table.


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

As long as he is in office Bunnypants can (without congressional approval) send in the Marines (for 90 days I think) and he can initiate the launch of ICBM's. He does not have the judgment or insight to bear such responsibility. Some yahoo like Curveball can tell lies to start a war and Bush believed him.

Impeachment is really the only reasonable option.


Saladin said...

Multipolarization Is Due
To Three Axis Losers

...The UK, US and Israel are the axis of the New World Order that the rest of the world is rejecting and moving ahead without them. It is those three nations that are pitching the fit because the world changed and those three nations refuse to change.

The Islamic world alone is 1 billion people that are way beyond fed up with the elitism and arrogance of the UK, US and Israel.

When you add those 1 billion people in with the 4+ billion people that are the key elements of Multipolarization (EU, Russia, PRC, India and Latin America), that makes over 5 billion people that say "no way" to the agenda of the UK, US and Israel.

Even if the United States, Canada and Mexico form the North American Union, it will not change the outcome in the slightest bit for several simple reasons.

NAFTA and CAFTA have already proven to be failures and adding in another layer of desperation by joining Mexico and Canada to a sinking American agenda is not going to change the course or win.

By adding the US, Mexico and Canada into the NAU, we have a whopping 400,000,000 and 5 billion that are walking off and leaving us behind. I keep hoping the Canadians and Mexicans wake up and realize that the SS Titanic Bush is sinking and they want to pass on a ticket for the cruise.

The NAU is yet another attempt by the UK and US forces to try to change the course without having to change their policies. That is the problem and their policies have not been sellable for the past three presidential administrations and will not be sellable after 2008 and beyond.

They are dead from the neck up and the rest of the world has already figured that out.

Even changing to the Amero currency as they are proposing will do nothing because it is yet another fiat currency that is backed by nothing but the idle word of politicians that have already proven their word is worth less than dirt.

The game is over, checkmate has been called and these morons still keep trying to pretend they have a plan. They do not, and that is the point Americans will have to come to grips with. The longer they delay, the worse the damage is that they are inflicting on America and the worse it is going to get for America...
The more I read Mr. Schwarz the more I admire him.

Saladin said...

Capt, I have two favorite Christmas movies, "It's A Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart and the 1951 version of "A Christmas Carol" with Alastair Sim as Scrooge.

capt said...

Congress passes flurry of bills in long finale


Included in the tax package was legislation to open 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling and to prevent a 5 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors from taking effect Jan. 1.

As one of its final acts, Congress passed a stopgap measure keeping federal programs running at or slightly below current levels through Feb. 15. President Bush signed it on Saturday.

The action was necessary because lawmakers failed to pass the annual spending bills covering the budget year that began Oct. 1, except those dealing with defense and homeland security.

By approving legislation allowing U.S. shipments of civilian nuclear fuel to India, Congress handed Bush a victory. The measure reverses three decades of American anti-proliferation policy and, supporters say, deepens ties with a democratic Asian power. Critics fear it will spur a nuclear arms race in Asia by boosting India's arsenal.


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

I guess all of the incumbent Democratic party members are waiting until January to grow a spine. I, for one, cannot wait to see them assert their majority powers and reverse all of the bad bills for which they voted.


capt said...

Ex-Chilean Dictator Pinochet Dies at 91

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who overthrew Chile's democratically elected Marxist president in a bloody coup and ruled this Andean nation for 17 years, died Sunday, dashing hopes of victims of his regime's abuses that he would be brought to justice. He was 91.

Pinochet suffered a heart attack a week ago and underwent an angioplasty, and the brief announcement by the Santiago Military hospital said his condition worsened suddenly on Sunday. Dr. Juan Ignacio Vergara, spokesman for the medical team that had been treating him, said his family was with him when he died.


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

The end of an era?


capt said...

Iraqi leader criticises US report

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has criticised some of the main findings of a high-level US report calling for a change of strategy in Iraq.

Mr Talabani rejected the Iraq Study Group's proposal to withdraw US troops if Iraq failed to strengthen security.

He also objected to including former regime members in reconciliation talks.

His comments come as outgoing US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made a surprise visit to Iraq to thank US troops for their efforts in the war.

Mr Talabani had previously praised the sections of the ISG report urging talks with neighbouring countries including Iran and Syria.


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



capt said...

Sen. Smith on Iraq: "…that is dereliction, that is immoral"

Republican Gordon Smith ripped Bush over Iraq on the floor of the Senate Thursday:

Sen. Smith: And I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes for supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal"

On THIS WEEK, Smith dug a bit deeper to clarify his remarks:



SMITH: I said it — you can use any adjective you want, George, but I have long believed, in a military context, when you do the same thing over and over again without a clear strategy for victory at the expense of your young people in arms, that is dereliction, that is deeply immoral.

Transcript via ABC below the fold:


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

A GOPher that I agree with. (on this issue)


capt said...

The "One Last Shot" Coalition

Joe Biden is trying to take Friedman's place these days. He's part of the new "One last shot" coalition. Unfortunately, the old wise-men of Washington will tell us we need just another "six months" or "One last shot" over and over again in Iraq.



Biden: Everyone from John McCain, who says it a different way, to Joe Biden, to — across the board — is saying, we have one last shot to figure out how to deal with the chaos in Iraq. If we can't, you better get out.

Duncan tracks Biden's "One Last Shot" moments


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

A Democratic party leader I don't agree with at all (on this issue)


David B. Benson said...

capt --- Biden has been around far too long and I no longer agree with much of anything he says or does. Time he went out to pasture...

David B. Benson said...

Oh well. I suppose I agree with "If you can't, you better get out." And just how long has the US military been about discovering that they can't? Duhhh...

Saladin said...

Iran drops Dollar for Euro
There goes the first dominoe.

The Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) is agreable to replacing the US dollar with the euro in Iranian foreign transactions, said a member of the Majlis Planning and Budget Commission, Morteza Tamaddon, on Saturday.
Speaking to IRNA, the MP said the move is part of Iran's general policy towards the West as dependence on the US currency would have negative consequences for Iran in the long-term.

Reducing Iran's dependence on the US dollar would eventually make the country less vulnerable to the dollar, argued the MP.

Referring to the move as a "positive approach," Tamaddon said Iran's decision to replace the US dollar with the euro was not politically motivated.

"It has nothing to do with political issues. Even European countries have concluded that they should replace the US dollar with a stronger currency," said the MP.

He said that although some problems could arise as a result of the shift to the euro, Tehran would enjoy monetary flexibility in its international transactions.

In case the West pulls through with its planned economic sanctions on Iran, Tamaddon said the country would still have access to its monetary accounts based on the euro.

Iran's minister of finance announced last week that the government had decided to replace the US dollar with the euro in its international transactions.

He said that the move was in response to the Bush administration's hostile policies towards Iran.

Keep in mind that Iraq did the same before the US invaded.

Now, hold onto your hats - this will get ugly.
Many of us saw this coming, but God help us. You can expect the fools in DC to do the very worst. My Christmas wish, that all our troops, every last one, stand up and walk away from the hellish nightmare that is the middle east. The dems are not going to bring them home, they need to refuse to let this go any further.

capt said...

One Last Shot

Biden on This Week:

Everyone from John McCain, who says it a different way, to Joe Biden, to -- across the board -- is saying, we have one last shot to figure out how to deal with the chaos in Iraq. If we can't, you better get out.Joe Biden, Imus, 8/17/06:

Because there's a civil war, and you got to -- if there's a civil war, Don, where you have the Mahdi army, as well as what they call the Badr Brigade, which is the Iranian-trained outfit that works for the -- that's the Shia outfit with the Dawa (inaudible) party. If those guys start shooting at the same time the insurgents are, all the king's horses and all the king's men aren't going to keep that country together again.

We've got one last shot here to separate these parties, and you have to do it politically. And if you don't do the kind of thing we did in Dayton when we settled the situation in Bosnia -- and I might add, no one died in the last (inaudible), no American has died, and now they're more of a united country -- if we don't do something like that, we will have traded a dictator for chaos on this guy's watch.

Joe Biden, 12/13/05 press conference:

The dividing line is whether or not, as in the case of Jack Murtha and me -- Jack Murtha, God love him, I think he believes that we have gone beyond the pale, that there is no reason to think the president is going to change course and the only rational position in the Hobson's choices we're left with is over time redeploy American forces because there's no winning strategy.

Joe Biden, Fox News, 11/21/2005:

WALLACE: As we've been saying, Democratic Congressman Jack Murtha this week called for bringing U.S. troops back home. Is that a good idea?

BIDEN: Not immediately, no. I can understand Jack's frustration. This is a guy who has concluded that so far we've handled this effort incompetently, but it seems to me that we have one last shot at getting this right.

Joe Biden, Charlie Rose show, June 21, 2005:

I personally think we should not set an exit date. I personally think we should take one last shot at trying to do this the right way. I think it still can be done, although more difficult.

Joe Biden, Face the Nation, 6/19/2005:

We need time. There's one last shot at getting this right in Iraq.

Joe Biden, Hardball, May 24, 2004:

We've made significant mistakes. Our one last shot to get this right, unite the world, convince the Iraqi people that this is not just a U.S. occupation, is June 30.

Biden 11/7/2003:

"I am convinced we have one last shot at bringing the world into Iraq," said Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. "We must do everything in our power to seize it."

I'd like to see President Bush go to Europe, call a summit and ask - ask - for more help. We might have to give up some more authority to get it. But as I keep saying, we've got to stop treating Iraq like some kind of prize."

-Atrios 1:04 PM


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

How many last shots? Kind of funny that Joe would use that same metaphor over and over.


David B. Benson said...

Joe Biden is certainly demonstrating his early-on senility...

Out to pasture, Joe. Goodby and good ...

capt said...

Made me a little crazy to hear a few talking heads chat about Biden making a run for top dog in 2008.

Not the right person for the job.


David B. Benson said...

Well, capt, one last shot, you know...

capt said...

85 percent

85 percent:

Number of Americans who support "allowing the government to negotiate prescription drug prices for the Medicare program, suggesting there will be considerable political pressure on the next Congress to do so." The Kaiser Family Foundation poll found "substantial majorities of Democrats (92%), Independents (85%), and Republicans (74%)" support such negotiations.


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

I think the idea of free market pressure setting a free market price was one of the conservative values?


Hajji Rants said...


One piece of good news, adrift in a hurricane sea of bad from Ramadi.

Spanky sez they're gonna wave the 90-day outprocessing period that threatened to keep him in Germany for far too long after they're out of Iraq.

We might get to have Christmas in late February or early March, instead of late April or May.

Of course it will do in my plans to go to Germany, but I'll get to Europe sooner or later.

Thanks to all for your words of support...It has been particularly difficult lately. All one need do is search "soldier killed" at googlenews to see the daily deaths of Grant's comrades in the 1st Armored and elsewhere.

Keep the hope alive!


Saladin said...

Hajji, you know I am right there with you! Give a hug to Jill for me. We moms can imagine.


rbs62 said...

Currently on C-Span Dennis Kucinich on Irai Civilian Deaths ands cutting off funding for the war.

rbs62 said...

A riff on the new Army Strong Ad Campaign...

There's wrong, then there's Army wrong.

There's offensive, then there's military offensive.

Predatory military recruiters on our airwaves and in our schools,

Shocking and awful civilian deaths,

Torture and depleted uranium.

Army Rong. Imagine a world without W.

Saladin said...

America, the Nice Empire
by Michael C. Tuggle

In Friday's FrontPageMag feature, Jamie Glazov interviews Robert Kagan. Kagan is a well-known Neocon writer and courageous advocate of sending Americans off to fight wars he supports.

The title of Glazov's interview with Kagan says it all: America and Empire. In the interview, Kagan argues that America was founded on universal principles so noble and inspiring that they propelled Americans to ignore George Washington's advice in his famous Farewell Address:

"The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible."

The reason Washington urged his countrymen to avoid these connections was simple: to avoid Europe's wars, which would only harm our republican principles:

"Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities."

Wrong, says Kagan. America was not meant to be a peaceful republic, but an ideological empire with the mission of transforming the world:

"And from the Revolution until today, Americans have been ideological expansionists, driven by the universal principles of the Declaration of Independence. They have sought to transform the world, or at least as much of the world as they had the power to transform, to conform with American principles, ideals, as well as American interests."

America, then, is really an empire. Not just any old empire, mind you, but an idealistic empire driven by the burning desire to spread democracy. Kagan's view of the Spanish-American War of 1898, for example, is that it wasn't fought for selfish reasons, as critics charge, but "was almost entirely fought for humanitarian and moral ends." Well, of course. Tell that to the 600,000 Filipinos who died resisting US occupation.

And what does Kagan say to those who point out that it was the US that first intervened in the Middle East, thereby inciting Muslim hatred against us? Nonsense, he says:

"Now, when critics of American foreign policy point out that American actions in the Middle East helped spur Osama Bin Laden to action, they usually mean to suggest that the United States should stop acting in ways that offend Islamists. I would argue that:

(a) we should not stop attempting to spread our principles and our influence


(b) we could not stop it even if we wanted to, because ideological expansionism is embedded in the American DNA."

Maybe George Bush can use that defense at his war crimes trial. "I couldn't stop myself! My DNA made me do it!"

And for those delicate American souls who might feel a twinge of guilt for the mayhem and destruction their tax dollars fund, well, the important thing to remember is that bloodying the world for its own good is just a thing we do, even when we're not aware of it – after all, it is in our DNA. Americans are so democracy-driven, we can't help ourselves, and if it appears we're a tad careless while tossing our bombs, we should just ignore those who don't appreciate us for what we are – ravenous zombies of liberation:

"What I would suggest is that Americans stop letting themselves be surprised by the reactions they, often unconsciously, provoke in others."

So there.
YEH! What HE said! God bless the zombies of liberation.

rbs62 said...

Annan to blast U.S. in farewell
Updated 12/11/2006 8:03 AM ET
By Barbara Slavin, USA TODAY

In a farewell speech on U.S. soil today, retiring United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan plans to deliver a tough critique of President Bush's policies. He will accuse the administration of trying to secure the United States from terrorism in part by dominating other nations through force, committing what he termed human rights abuses and taking military action without broad international support.

Though Annan has long been a critic of the war in Iraq and other Bush foreign policies, the planned speech is among his toughest and is unusual for a U.N. secretary-general concluding his tenure.

Annan's remarks, provided to USA TODAY by his office, list principles for international relations, among them "respect for human rights and the rule of law."

These ideas can be advanced only "if America remains true to its principles, including in the struggle against terrorism," the speech says. "When it appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused."

In the 61-year history of the U.N., no secretary-general has ended his tenure by criticizing U.S. policies so sharply, said Stanley Meisler, a historian of the United Nations and author of a new biography of Annan.

Ric Grennell, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the U.N., said he would not discuss the remarks prior to their delivery. John Bolton, outgoing U.S. ambassador to the U.N., also declined to comment.

In his speech, Annan refers to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. When "military force is used, the world at large will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose … in accordance with broadly accepted norms."

The speech continues that "governments must be accountable for their actions in the international arena, as well as in the domestic one."



Juan Cole is now speaking at the Kucinich Forum on Iraqi Civilian deaths.

rbs62 said...


It cannot be in only our DNA, according to the GOPher anti-science mind-set, since that would be a specific, new mutation in a widely veriagated population of immigrants from all over the world, which would have had to have occured since 1776, an unlikely event to be sure, but even claiming to it is to support evolution...

rbs62 said...

Gary Webb's Death: American Tragedy
By Robert Parry
December 9, 2006

When Americans ask me what happened to the vaunted U.S. press corps over the past three decades - in the decline from its heyday of the Watergate scandal and the Pentagon Papers to its failure to challenge the Iraq WMD lies or to hold George W. Bush accountable - I often recall for them the story of Gary Webb.

Two years ago, on the night of Dec. 9, 2004, investigative reporter Webb - his career shattered and his life in ruins - typed out four suicide notes for his family, laid out a certificate for his cremation, put a note on the door suggesting a call to 911, and removed his father's handgun from a box.

The 49-year-old Webb, a divorced father of three who was living alone in a rental house in Sacramento County, California, then raised the gun and shot himself in the head. The first shot was not lethal, so he fired once more.

His body was found the next day after movers who were scheduled to clear out Webb's rental house, arrived and followed the instructions from the note on the door.

Though a personal tragedy, the story of Gary Webb's suicide has a larger meaning for the American people who find themselves increasingly sheltered from the truth by government specialists at cover-ups and by a U.S. news media that has lost its way.

Webb's death had its roots in his fateful decision eight years earlier to write a three-part series for the San Jose Mercury News that challenged a potent conventional wisdom shared by the elite U.S. news organizations - that one of the most shocking scandals of the 1980s just couldn't have been true.

Webb's "Dark Alliance" series, published in August 1996, revived the story of how the Reagan administration in the 1980s had tolerated and protected cocaine smuggling by its client army of Nicaraguan rebels known as the contras.

Though substantial evidence of these crimes had surfaced in the mid-1980s (initially in an article that Brian Barger and I wrote for the Associated Press in December 1985 and later at hearings conducted by Sen. John Kerry), the major news outlets had bent to pressure from the Reagan administration and refused to take the disclosures seriously.

Reflecting the dominant attitude toward Kerry and his work on the contra-cocaine scandal, Newsweek even dubbed the Massachusetts senator a "randy conspiracy buff." [For details, see's "Kerry's Contra-Cocaine Chapter."]

Thus, the ugly reality of the contra-cocaine scandal was left in that netherworld of uncertainty, largely proven with documents and testimony but never accepted by Official Washington, including its premier news organizations, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

But Webb's series thrust the scandal back into prominence by connecting the contra-cocaine trafficking to the crack epidemic that had ravaged Los Angeles and other American cities in the 1980s. For that reason, African-American communities were up in arms as were their elected representatives.

So, the "Dark Alliance" series offered a unique opportunity for the major news outlets to finally give the contra-cocaine scandal the attention it deserved.

Media Resistance

But that would have required some painful self-criticism among Washington journalists whose careers had advanced in part because they had avoided retaliation from aggressive Reagan supporters who had made an art of punishing out-of-step reporters for pursuing controversies like the contra-cocaine scandal.

Also, by the mid-1990s, a powerful right-wing news media had taken shape and was in no mood to accept the notion that President Ronald Reagan's beloved contras were little more than common criminals. That recognition would have cast a shadow over the Reagan Legacy, which the Right was busy elevating into mythic status.



With Gates coming in as SecDef, with Pinochet kicking off conveniently before being tried, a timely read, if long.

rbs62 said...

The Bush Administration Enters the Confessional
By Karen Greenberg

Confession, the time-honored, soul-soothing last resort for those caught in error, may not survive the Bush administration. It has, after all, long made a mockery of such revelations by manufacturing an entire lexicon of coercive techniques to elicit often non-existent "truths" that would justify its detention policies. And yet, without being coerced in any way, administration officials have been confessing continually these past years -- in documents that may someday play a part in their own confrontation with justice.



More essential reading. Long again.

Saladin said...

Really quite amazing how all these controversial people manage to either commit suicide or otherwise kick the bucket before they really have a chance to say anything, Webb, Hunter Thompson, Pinochet, Milosevich, that Russian spy recently. Strange indeed.

rbs62 said...

US has most prisoners in world
Updated: 2006-12-10 16:00

Washington - Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, according to criminal justice experts.

A US Justice Department report released on November 30 showed that a record 7 million people -- or one in every 32 American adults -- were behind bars, on probation or on parole at the end of last year. Of the total, 2.2 million were in prison or jail.

According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College in London, more people are behind bars in the United States than in any other country. China ranks second with 1.5 million prisoners, followed by Russia with 870,000.

The US incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people in the highest, followed by 611 in Russia and 547 for St. Kitts and Nevis. In contrast, the incarceration rates in many Western industrial nations range around 100 per 100,000 people.

Groups advocating reform of US sentencing laws seized on the latest US prison population figures showing admissions of inmates have been rising even faster than the numbers of prisoners who have been released.

"The United States has 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population. We rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens," said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports alternatives in the war on drugs.

"We now imprison more people for drug law violations than all of western Europe, with a much larger population, incarcerates for all offenses."

Ryan King, a policy analyst at The Sentencing Project, a group advocating sentencing reform, said the United States has a more punitive criminal justice system than other countries.

More People To Prison

"We send more people to prison, for more different offenses, for longer periods of time than anybody else," he said.

Drug offenders account for about 2 million of the 7 million in prison, on probation or parole, King said, adding that other countries often stress treatment instead of incarceration.

Commenting on what the prison figures show about US society, King said various social programs, including those dealing with education, poverty, urban development, health care and child care, have failed.

"There are a number of social programs we have failed to deliver. There are systemic failures going on," he said. "A lot of these people then end up in the criminal justice system."

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in California, said the high prison numbers represented a proper response to the crime problem in the United States. Locking up more criminals has contributed to lower crime rates, he said.

"The hand-wringing over the incarceration rate is missing the mark," he said.

Scheidegger said the high prison population reflected cultural differences, with the United States having far higher crimes rates than European nations or Japan. "We have more crime. More crime gets you more prisoners."

Julie Stewart, president of the group Families Against Mandatory Minimums, cited the Justice Department report and said drug offenders are clogging the US justice system.

"Why are so many people in prison? Blame mandatory sentencing laws and the record number of nonviolent drug offenders subject to them," she said.

capt said...

New Thread