Saturday, May 15, 2004

David Neiwert at Orcinus has a great write up on a domestic terrorist that had plans to blow up an abortion clinic in Florida. I can't help being a little snarky here. Will Bush now declare Florida part of the "war on terrur". Will Floridians be freed from the tyranny of Jeb Bush. Will Republicans pump billions of tax dollars into Florida to build new schools, hospitals, and fire stations. On seeing this will other states actually start to encourage terrorism so they can get in on the action?

World on Fire has a good post up referencing, "Robert Novak, arch-nemesis of progressives everywhere and unindicted co-conspirator in the Joe Wilson / Valerie Plame scandal" and how Novak has joined George Will in the conservative rats deserting the sinking yacht at 1600 Pennslyvania Ave.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

UN wrote to US about Iraq deaths

The UN's Human Rights Commission repeatedly asked coalition forces for explanations about deaths in detention in Iraq, it has been revealed.

Between this and Nick Berg, I'm close to outrage burn-out.

from Josh Marshall
The Bush campaign has repeatedly accused the senator of "politicizing" Iraq. Bush-Cheney chairman Marc Racicot told reporters Wednesday that Kerry is relentlessly "playing politics" and exploiting tragedy for political gain.
Racicot, for instance, told reporters that Kerry suggested that 150,000 or so U.S. troops are "somehow universally responsible" for the misdeeds of a small number of American soldiers and contractors. Racicot made several variations of this charge. But Kerry never said this, or anything like it.

As evidence, Racicot pointed to the following quote Kerry made at a fundraiser on Tuesday: "What has happened is not just something that a few a privates or corporals or sergeants engaged in. This is something that comes out of an attitude about the rights of prisoners of war, it's an attitude that comes out of America's overall arrogance in its policy that is alienating countries all around the world."

What Racicot did not mention was that Kerry preceded this remark by saying, "I know that what happened over there is not the behavior of 99.9 percent of our troops."

In the interest of not boring me to death, could all sides agree that we are all partisans. That is not exactly breaking news, but in the partisan wars the gold medal for laps in the gutter goes to BushCo. In comparison Democrats look down right Norman Rockwell-ish.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

I was thinking of doing a write up about these Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and had this great intro and damn if The Daily Howler didn't beat me to it. NOT TOO SWIFT:
Ironically, they call themselves “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” but some don’t seem to be all that swift—and they don’t really seem all that truthful. Yesterday, they met in DC to swear that John Kerry simply isn’t fit to be president. But here’s how one angry swift boat vet described something he found ironic:

ELLIOTT: The second irony is, in 1971...he claimed that the 500,000 men in Vietnam in combat were all villains. There were no heroes. In 2004, one hero from the Vietnam War has appeared running for president.
That is, of course, a buffoon’s account of what Kerry actually said way back then. But that’s what former lieutenant commander George Elliott had to say at yesterday’s session. Get ready to hear much more of this sort of thing as these men-who-are-angry-but-not-all-that-swift continue to vent against Kerry. (Elliott publicly praised Kerry in 1996 when Kerry was running for the Senate.)

John E. O'Neill the official Nixon hitman and lifelong John Kerry stalker get a profile at Salon.
Houston attorney John E. O'Neill, the Navy veteran who has emerged recently as a harsh and ubiquitous critic of John Kerry's military service, tells reporters that he has never really been interested in politics and isn't motivated by partisan interests. In the media, O'Neill is often described simply as a Vietnam vet still enraged by the antiwar speeches Kerry delivered more than 30 years ago. That was when O'Neill first came to public attention as a clean-cut, pro-war protégé of the Nixon White House's highest-ranking dirty trickster (aside from the late president himself), Charles Colson.
Joe Conason claims my second favorite play-on-words title : Smear Boat Veterans for Bush
The "swift boat" veterans attacking John Kerry's war record are led by veteran right-wing operatives using the same vicious techniques they used against John McCain four years ago.

The latest conservative outfit to fire an angry broadside against John Kerry's heroic war record is "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" , which today launches a campaign to brand the Democrat "unfit to serve as commander in chief." Billing itself as representing the "other 97 percent of veterans" from Kerry's Navy unit who don't support his presidential candidacy, the group insists that all presidential candidates must be "totally honest and forthcoming" about their military service.......( something they don't care about as regards Preznit Bush, who as of this writing has still not released all his military records or anyway accounted for not fulfilling his ANG duties).

And last, but not least Matt Gunn pulls a lot of the threads together: Swift Boat Veterans for a Big Lie

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

It was not about oil. Well, maybe oil figured in to the equation. Of all the large oil producing nations, Iraq was the one with the shakiest government. Held together by an egomanical despot, whose military might compared to the United States was like the firepower of a slingshot compared to an Abrams tank. Bush managed to knock off one of the world's biggest gas stations and our new friend Russia makes out like a bandit without risking a single soldier. Didn't someone once compare Russia to a northern fox. It's as clever as one.
A little trip down the back roads of power.
Equally interesting, was the dog that didn't bark: Russia. After Prague, Bush hurried off to see `my friend Vladimir Putin' to assure him that a western military alliance smack on Russia's western border and St Petersburg was no threat at all, but somehow a benefit.

The reason the Russian dog didn't bark was twofold: Russia's military remains weak and absorbed by the bloody war in Chechnya; Putin and his supporters are heavily dependent on discreet US funding to maintain their power and keep their cash-strapped government running. Putin needs Bush's support to prevent Chechen independence. In exchange, Bush has allowed Russia to re-occupy half of Afghanistan via its proxy Northern Alliance.

At their meeting, the two leaders also discussed plans for Iraq: Putin might not stand in the way of an American invasion in exchange for Russian oil firms retaining their large drilling concessions in northern Iraq, and an honorarium from Uncle Sam of at least US $12 billion.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

"All over the country there are offices that look like newsrooms and there are people in those offices that look for all the world just like journalists, but they are not practicing journalism," he said. "They regard the audience with a cold cynicism. They are practicing something I call a pseudo-journalism, and they view their audience as something to be manipulated."

In a scathing critique of Fox News and some talk show hosts, such as Bill O'Reilly, Carroll said they were a "different breed of journalists" who misled their audience while claiming to inform them. He said they did not fit into the long legacy of journalists who got their facts right and respected and cared for their audiences.
Oregon Daily Emerald - University of Oregon news and sports - Esteemed journalist lectures on ethics

In a report from PIPA, Program on International Policy Attitudes In the January poll it was discovered that a majority believed that Iraq played an important role in 9/11 and that a minority even expressed the belief that they had seen “conclusive evidence” of such involvement. The US intelligence community has said that there is not evidence to support the view that Iraq was directly involved in September 11 and there has clearly never been any observable “conclusive evidence.” In February, by providing more fine-grained response options it became clearer that only about one in five Americans believed that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11, but that a majority did believe that Iraq had given substantial support to al-Qaeda—both propositions unsupported by the US intelligence community. Other polls found even higher numbers responding positively to the idea that Iraq was involved in September 11 or had some type of close involvement with al-Qaeda. These perceptions of Iraq’s involvement with al-Qaeda and 9/11 persisted largely unchanged in numerous PIPA/KN polls through September 2003, despite continued disconfirmation by the intelligence community.

Judging from the comments posted on the article about LAT editor John Carroll, one can see that his views are most vehemently oppossed by those that favor Fox news and believe that Iraq was connected to 9-11, that invading Iraq was or is part of the war on terror. If as Bush has said, Iraq is part of the war on terror, doesn't it behove him to make the connection between word wide terror and Iraq, and how attacking Iraq will stop terrorism. Bush has to date never laid out the facts of any causal relationship between Saddam and world terror. It is easy to make the case that Saddam was an evil despot, but as has been pointed out before, there are plenty of those in the world and Bush, either pre-or post 9-11 has not been hell bent to invade the country of each and every despot. If we're going to bring democracy to Iraq, why not everyone else. Spreading democracy is a noble dream, but looking at the situation in Iraq, how can anyone say that this is the best way to go about it.

One year after the start of the invasion of Iraq they believe the
Variations in Misperceptions According to Source of News The extent of Americans’ misperceptions vary significantly depending on their source of news. Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions. Those who receive most of their news from NPR or PBS are less likely to have misperceptions. These variations cannot simply be explained as a result of differences in the demographic characteristics of each audience, because these variations can also be found when comparing the demographic subgroups of each audience.
An analysis of those who were asked all of the key three perception questions does reveal a remarkable level of variation in the presence of misperceptions according to news source. Standing out in the analysis are Fox and NPR/PBS--but for opposite reasons. Fox was the news source whose viewers had the most misperceptions. NPR/PBS are notable because their viewers and listeners consistently held fewer misperceptions than respondents who obtained their information from other news sources.

via Reading A1, this article fron Joe Conason. Doug Feith is pretty far up the food chain. As noted in the article he is a "civilian official",i.e. a Bush appointee. While
this looks bad for Bush, I don't think it's that bad because of the equation that has already been played out in Joe Sixpack's head and fueled by the rantings of the likes of Limbaugh.
Some think that the abuses at Abu Gharib were justified in light of the ambuse of private secuity personnel at Fallujah, but the abuses at Abu Gharib occurred months before Abu Fallujah. That the right propagates the screds of Limbaugh and encourages misperceptions about the timeline should be greeted as the bankrupt moral relativism it is. Yes, the killings that preseded Fallujah are more horrible, but they are all on a scale. That scale is marked in gradations of horror. Is it a hallmark of pride that Bush and his minions committed atrocities, but they were less horrific then these horrors over here. Those directly involved or those that ordered the abuse of Iraqi prisoners have placed our troops in greater danger. One, by inflaming rage in the general population, and two; by setting a president for torture for any group that captures an American or British soldier. It will happen. One of our troops will be captured and subjected to what has been observed in the pictures that have been released and the ones that Rumsfeld says portray much worse.

"Long before official reports and journalistic exposés revealed the horrific abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, high-ranking American officers expressed their deep concern that the civilian officials at the Pentagon were undermining the military's traditional detention and interrogation procedures, according to a prominent New York attorney.

Scott Horton, a partner at Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler who now chairs the Committee on International Law of the Association of the Bar of New York City, says he was approached last spring by "senior officers" in the Judge Advocate General Corps, the military's legal division, who "expressed apprehension over how their political appointee bosses were handling the torture issue." ...

Horton says that the JAG officers specifically warned him that Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith,one of the most powerful political appointees in the Pentagon, had significantly weakened the military's rules and regulations governing prisoners of war. The officers told Horton that Feith and the Defense Department's general counsel, William J. Haynes II, were creating "an atmosphere of legal ambiguity" that would allow mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan." | Lack of protection