Saturday, April 03, 2004

This is the biggest story of the year

Insiders are saying what we predicted--that invading Iraq would simply create a breeding ground for anti-American sentiment, in essence "a movement" seeded by our warlike behavior.

Democrats can win the presidential election--hands down--in a single stroke

by invoking Robert's Rules of Order in such a way as to wrangle the 9/11 commission into following Condi Rice's bullshit testimony ("We didn't know, couldn't know, about the imminent airplane attack on US skyscrapers") with the directly contradictory evidence of Sibel Edmonds, who translated intelligence documents precisely to the opposite effect.
Why do I think this will turn the tide? Check out the photo of the translator on the above link. She's a knockout (besides being multilingual), and so will appeal even to Bush supporters. What am I saying? Especially to Bush supporters, who define truth by what's prettiest.

Somewhere in Manhattan, there's a janitor who stands to make a cool fifty grand

if he/she tells the complete story of when and how and by whom he/she was ordered to cover up the painting, Guernica by Picasso, that would otherwise have been displayed as the backdrop of Colin Powell's now-discredited speech to the UN Security Council in which he detailed the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to justify our invasion?
Wouldn't you pay, even pay-per-view, to follow the exquisite details of the backstage machinations, from the initial order emanating from the White House to its final effectuation?


Check out Revenge of the WarBots on

"We tried to warn you. We protested, we railed and wrote arguments against the war, but you wouldn't listen. Now, those mercs killed in Fallujah were your responsibility. You put them there, with your cakewalking, rosepetal fantasies and ridiculous misconceptions about Iraq. The blood of all the dead from your illegal, unjustified war in Iraq - both 'coalition' and Iraqi - is on your hands. "

Raed on Falluja

Raed in the Middle ... insightful thoughts on the cycle of violence.

Friday, April 02, 2004

The real reason for the invasion of Iraq?

Or just another one?


A perspective on the horror in Fallujah: Juan Cole * Informed Comment * ... was it revenge for the incineration of Yassin by Sharon?


From CNBC this morning: Gateway is closing nearly all (180) of its retail stores, laying off 2,500 workers. (I happened to enter such a store three years ago, newly opened in SB, when I wanted to buy a laptop. I went through my list of desired specs with the salesperson, had my credit card in hand and then was told that the machine would be shipped in three days. The salesperson told me that the store didn't stock computers, but was only an outlet for receiving retail orders. I left the store and bought my laptop--a Compaq--at Circuit City, muttering under my breath that Gateway's retail concept was idiotic. Three years later, apparently, they concurred.)
CNBC also reports that Sun Microsystems is laying off 3,500 jobs.
The Labor Department will issue its report on March job levels ten minutes from now. The concensus of projections is that the unemployment rate will remain constant at 5.6%, and the economy will add 120,000 jobs, about the same numbers as was projected last month, when the eventual figure was 21,000. (Recall, it takes about 150,000 additional jobs each month, on average, to keep up with the growth of the number of persons entering the workforce.)
To be updated very shortly.

Update: The numbers are high: 308,000 new nonfarm jobs in March; upward revision of February's jobs to 46,000 from 21,000, and January's job numbers upwarly revised too. The unemployment rate, however, increased to 5.7% and there's hardly any movement in the net income per worker and there's actually a loss in hours of work. Furthermore, the sectors that grew jobs were not high paying. Retail, services, and so forth. Manufacturing didn't add any jobs.

These figures, however, are fodder for the Bush campaign. If they keep up at this level in the coming months, look forward to four more years with Bush at the helm.

Floor Statement of Sen. Daschle on the Abuse of Government Power

You guys gotta read this. Seriously. Tom Daschle speaks out on the Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill witch hunts, "the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity as a deep cover CIA agent," and the Abuse of Government Power.

"This is no way to run a government.

The White House and its supporters should not be using the power of government to try to conceal facts from the American people or to reshape history in an effort to portray themselves in the best light."

Thursday, April 01, 2004


Check out this on Blog. The writer posits that the whole theory of installing Jeffersonian democracy with heavy armor is backfiring. Well, yes. ... But look, a new word: liberventionist. Cool.

Let God sort 'em out...

In response to Sound Familiar? ...

Everything about this war is the same evil as every other war. The whole damned thing is a bubbling, seething magma of insanity piped fresh from the irritable bowels of hell. And when I saw those hyenas lynching and cavorting around those crispy corpses, I wanted an Apache helicopter to drop down over the Euphrates and strafe the whole misbegotten crowd. Mow ‘em all down, let God sort ‘em out.

See what war does to the mind? Who should I call about what it's doing to mine?

Dona nobis pacem, fac Dominae. Salva me fac Dominae. …Pacem! … Mir! … Peace!

Just imagine

If the April 1 list of killings and bombings in Iraq were to occur in a comparable area/population of the United States, say Southern California, we'd be calling out the National Guard, right? Well all those killings are happening with the military already in place.
Scroll down the list, pop around the links to see how the numbers flow from bad to bad to bad. You'll be amazed that Bremer can call this place "an evovling democracy." It's an existing hell.

Sound familiar?

Tribune Bremer's announcement that those who defiled the Americans in Fallujah will be "punished" sounds frighteningly like the kind of decrees that issued from the SS during the occupation of Paris, no?


Seems somebody named Eric, who works for Donald Rumsfeld, left some interesting notes on a table in a Washington Starbucks. I imagine they have a shredder next to the table with the half-n-half and Splenda. He shoulda used that on his way out.

[Washington Post, being kinda clueless, requires registration. They don't realize you're defeating the purpose and function of the Internet if people can't link to your content.]

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


I'm listening to KPFK this morning -- an interview with a reporter named Robert Fisk in Baghdad. Besides the chaos of the event in which bodies of foreigners have been dragged from their vehicle and hung from a bridge, he opined that the situation in Iraq generally is getting worse, more violent. This is bad news, obviously. But it's good news, politically.

"I don't think think that reporters should be talking about their own safety. Most of the people being killed in Iraq are Iraqis." ... He went on to point out the disparate media coverage of the deaths of westerns there, as compared to the deaths of Iraqis.

Unspectacular campaign

AirAmerica, the liberal radio network that is due to start in a few markets at noon today is off to a less than awesome beginning. This site lists the stations where it may be heard and says that the website will provide a streaming Internet source, but no link. Maybe tomorrow?

I must say, we here in Santa Barbara are blessed with Pacifica Radio, heard at 98.7 FM, KPFK, and of course other like-minded transmissions on KPFK, which also streams through its site to the world, but I'm going to support AirAmerica too. We've just got to take back America, and we've got to start somewhere, however modest that start appears.
Update: The website of AirAmerica has been spiffed up bigtime since I linked to it this morning. It now shows the programs and the performers. Much good stuff. Log on and hope.

Updated update. Here's a list of sites that may allow streaming audio of the new network.

Kerry watch

Not in derogation of my immutable opposition to the re-election of Bush/Cheney in November, I'm going to maintain a (sometimes) log of items about John Kerry--his activities and positions--that are troubling to me as a liberal. For starters, there's this position paper about Venezuela on Kerry's website.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Here we go again

Waiting for the all-important monthly jobs figures. More important now than ever.

Conditional Condi

If I were still a lawyer, I would insist that Condi Rice give testimony only after all the underlying paperwork is available for use in examining her. There's a wealth of documentation, including Richard Clarke's emails and memos to her, all still "classified," that must be in hand before her testimony can be tested.
Will this happen, or will the examiners' questioning of Condi be wussy and weak? I fear the latter, partly because of the Commissioners' lack of gumption, partly because of their lack of paperwork. Partly, too, because the Commissioners' fear that badgering Condi might be taken as, well, anti-woman, anti-black, anti-both.

I fear, as I noted below, that Condi's gonna carry the day, as a good liar can when unchallenged.

Another take

There are two sides to every story, especially in international economics. For the side that disputes my preceding post, check here.

Consider the (out)source

A report by the Information Technology Association of America says that foreign outsourcing of tech jobs won't harm the economy, it'll actually create good jobs in America because it will lower inflation and spur productivity. Right.
First of all, inflation could hardly be lower than it is. Second, the productivity gains that have so far been experienced haven't been turned into jobs, but rather to increased profits of corporations. Third, over what time span is all this to occur? Perhaps within the period of unemployment insurance coverage? Hardly. So what do we tell the children whose tech-writing dad or mom is now taking orders for fries?

The report goes on to say that "only" 103,000 tech jobs have been lost to outsourcing so far (this, BTW, at an early stage of the phenomenon), a figure that doesn't approach the loss of tech jobs when the dot-com bubble burst. This figure is 268,00, and 103,000 "so far" sure sounds to me like it's approaching 268,000.

Toward the end of the article we're told who ITAA consists of: Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft,, outsourcers all. Indeed, whenever I need to fix my H/P Compaq, who do I call? You guessed it: A guy named Pavel or something in New Delhi.

PS. If you want to read past the spin of the news release that's linked to above, you can read the ten-page summary of the report (Adobe Reader required), and you'll find that buried within it are huge assumptions and qualifications that more or less amount to saying this: Trust us--all will be well someday.


I've returned from a brief trip to Tucson, where I spent time with my brother John. He, a knowledgeable liberal Democrat, is certain that Bush will carry Arizona (as Republican presidential candidates regularly do), and I sensed in him a profound despair about the upcoming election nationally.
Being from California, I wasn't as fearful of the result, but now that I'm back home and have read the recent CNN poll results, I'm despairing too.
I have this realization. Kerry doesn't fire up his natural electorate of poor, people of color, liberals/progressive/moderate whites. This is most dramatically shown by the spate of anti-Bush banners in various demonstrations, but few pro-Kerry signs. So, the candidate isn't going to pull in the votes, and the positive messages about his programs aren't either, for three reasons: First, because they're not inspiring programs, just rehashed ones; and second, they're delivered without coverage and fine speeches, just ordinary ones; and third because Bush has the money and position to cast stones at each message within hours of its delivery.

So, my despair has two facets. First that Bush/Cheney will likely win the election; and second that the only way for that to be avoided is for some unforeseen, cataclysmic event to occur in the US that will sway voters away from Bush. Neither alternative is desirable to me, but this morning that's how I see it falling out.

Maybe tomorrow I'll feel different, but right now...

Be careful what you ask for...

So Condi will testify publicly and under oath after all. Oh perfect. Rove has played the Commission and the public (and most of all the "outraged liberals") perfectly. After all this hulabaloo, the eyes of the press and the masses will be glued to her every word and of course she'll be brilliant. She'll weave a quilt of deceit and dissembling that will dazzle the hapless commission members and not a one, not Ben Veniste, not former Senator Kerrey, none of them, will be able to score any points. As a result, she'll completely cover over Richard Clarke's allegations with smooth phrases and gobbledegook. Indeed, because she's proven herself to be capable of lying, and has a track record to protect, she'll smoothly refute Clarke's charges point by point--which is the benefit of being the last witness.
I saw this coming a week ago and didn't post about it because I thought it was so obvious.
So much for the damage caused by Clarke's allegations. All that the public will remember is how forthcoming Bush has been, how truthful and solid Condi is, how strong the administration is and how secure we may rest in our beds.
We shouldn't have squealed about Condi's refusal to testify after the initial squeal. Now we've allowed Bush to turn this public relations nightmare into a plus.

Who's running this show, anyway?

Monday, March 29, 2004

Baghdad Burning

"All they did was beat me."

Reporter Apologizes for Iraq Coverage

I would like to meet this guy and buy him lunch.

"The media are finished with their big blowouts on the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and there is one thing they forgot to say: We're sorry,' Rick Mercier wrote, in a column published Sunday in The Free Lance-Star.

'Sorry we let unsubstantiated claims drive our coverage. Sorry we were dismissive of experts who disputed White House charges against Iraq. Sorry we let a band of self-serving Iraqi defectors make fools of us. Sorry we fell for Colin Powell's performance at the United Nations. Sorry we couldn't bring ourselves to hold the administration's feet to the fire before the war, when it really mattered.

'Maybe we'll do a better job next war."

Reporter Apologizes for Iraq Coverage

Presidential Poetry

Since Erik is effectively away from his computer today, we have a special treat. It's a "poem" made up of real quotes* from our War President.

by George W. Bush

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
and potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the Internet become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?

They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being and the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope, where our wings take dream.

Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher! "

*Source: Urban Legends Reference Pages: Politics

Sunday, March 28, 2004

He Who Did Not Know, Knows

Found on

Senator Jay Rockefeller says his vote in support of war in Iraq was wrong and based on bad intel. The WV Senator is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"If I had known then what I know now, I would have voted against it."

"I have admitted that my vote was wrong."

"The decision got made before there was a whole bunch of intelligence," said "I think the intelligence was shaped. And I think the interpretation of the intelligence was shaped."

[Shaped? Yeah, we all know what it was shaped out of.]

"We had this feeling we could be welcomed as liberators. Americans don't know history, geography, ethnicity. The administration had no idea of what they were getting into in Iraq. We are not internationalists. We border on being isolationists. We don't know anything about the Middle East."