Saturday, May 05, 2007

Condi sucks

I need to vent. I'm tired of hearing about how Condi Rice is a "realist" in foreign policy, whose counsel to Bush (presumably like Colin Powell's) is akin to that of the advisers to Bush I, as opposed to the "hardliners" like Rumsfeld, Feith, Wolfie, and of course, Cheney. Here is a typical such reference in an article which raises the long-lingering and unanswered question of "whatever happened to those five Iranian officials that the U.S. grabbed in Iraq five months ago?" (As to which question, I ask: Can you imagine the uproar in our country if Iran grabbed five U.S. officials in Iraq and held them incommunicado for months?)

Anyhoo--About this notion that Condi is the moderating voice in foreign policy, whispering common-sense solutions to Bush but being overridden by Cheney. What's the evidence of that, other than White House pundits' assertions? I mean, Condi was the first to use the "mushroom cloud" metaphor. (Bush's speech to that effect came days later.) She's in the forefront of the push to further sanction Iran; to condemn the results of the Palestinian election of Hamas representatives; to call Iraqi insurgents "terrorists" at every press conference. She, in her public utterances, appears to be as much a hardliner as the rest of Bush's advisers. At best, she's like Colin Powell, or, as lately revealed, George Tenet: A Bush enabler, unwilling to do other than nudge him and mumble him toward sanity, but at all events to stay onboard the ship.

And yet, Condi seems to get a free pass. Check out these figures from Rasmussen about her "favorability rating" (57%) as compared to the much lower ratings of others in Bush's cabal, except of course Colin Powell. Certainly those ratings can't be based on her performance as, initally, National Security Adviser (whom both Richard Clarke and Tenet assert was deaf to their alarms about imminent al Qaida attacks in the U.S.), and lately as Secretary of State. I mean--pardon me for asking--what exactly has Condi done to warrant "favorability"? The answer: Absolutely nothing.

Now, it seems, Condi is about to force a showdown with the Congress, in the person of Representative Henry Waxman, over her testimony about the insertion of the infamous "16 words" in Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. Waxman has subpoenaed her and she's apparently resisting and, just yesterday, has apparently refused to allow her staff to testify about the Niger-yellowcake assertion. Let's hope we learn from this confrontation where she stands: Is she a moderating voice in this administration, or is she, like Powell and Tenet, just window-dressing for the evil forces within it?

Check out these numbers

of Americans who, according to a Rasmussen poll, believe Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance. Okay, so the 22% who apparently so believe can be accounted for as the usual "lunatic fringe" set, what about the 22% who say they're not sure (and almost half of the Democrats polled are uncertain).

That such high percentages of people can believe their leader is capable of such a monstrously barbarian act as to allow the attacks to take place is alarming, isn't it?

Friday, May 04, 2007

As a service to my readers

I'm linking to this article describing the top twenty-five online skams and pranks. (My doing so may keep my email inbox free of some of the forwards of such items, too.)

P.S. Among the best on the list is number 14, a link to a website that purports to track the location of your, or anyone's, cellphone via satellite links by simply typing in its area code and number. Try it--it's clever. (Please note that I've not forwarded it to you by email.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Who's in charge here?

Okay, so now, as predicted, the Democrats have backed down on their "withdrawal-timeline" funding bill after Bush's veto and, after a meeting with Bush, will offer some half-baked voluntary "benchmark" version. Bush will counter with some even weaker version, and in the next few weeks there will be news stories about the two sides trying to resolve differences, ending--just as Karl Rove had scripted--with some form of funding bill that both sides "can live with."

Guess what, you dumb fucking idiot Democrats: You've just made Bush's war your war too. Congratulations for removing the single most devastating issue Republicans face in 2008.

Update: Here's what's going on during the day following various meetings between members of Congress and White House representatives. Posturing and talking, with little accommodation by either side; all of which feels to me like the Democrats are trying to find a way to give in without appearing to, while Bush is allowed to play the role of stubbornly straighforward troop supporter.

A note, however: As much as I dislike her--and her candidacy--I do like Hillary's idea of a bill de-authorizing the Iraq war. It feels right, as a matter of legality and principle as well as tactics. If Bush/Cheney lied us into war, their authority to conduct it should be withdrawn. The bill won't pass, of course, but it's a sharp statement of disapproval of the invasion without being subject to the complaint that it restricts funds for our troops; and (wouldn't it be wonderful?) it would serve as a vehicle for hearings on the administration's prewar lies, since that question would be directly relevant to the subject of the pending legislation.

One exception to my iron-clad resistance to capital punishment

is for this judge.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

In case you missed it

here's the video, in its entirety, of Bill Moyers' PBS show, "Buying the War," about the media's failure to report objectively in the run-up to the Iraq invasion.

Watch it and weep.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Odd man out

Over the last six years, since the 9/11 attacks, I've heard commentators use the words "everybody" and "all Americans" to describe the mass of us who supported George Bush in the wake of the attacks. Well, I didn't, and neither did a small percentage of Americans, about ten percent according to this chart.

My reaction to Bush's bullhorn speech and its sequels as he marched us to "war" in Afghanistan (not to mention Iraq) was at the time and has remained that the attacks were the work of a small bunch of crazies whom we should capture and punish, to be sure, but most importantly that we should react to their attacks with calm resolve to deal with the issues that underlay the fanatics's actions. I know that sounds wussy, but that's what I felt.

And now, six years later, as we've done precisely the opposite, it turns out I, and the small percent of decent folks who believed as I did, were right. Bush and his followers have succeeded, instead, in increasing the acts of terrorism around the world.

Now, wouldn't you think they'd listen to us about ending the madness in Iraq? Well, you'd be wrong.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

MoDo Rocks!

Maureen Dowd's piece about Tenet's soon-to-be-published "tell-all" is as fun to read as Molly Ivins' columns were. Like Molly, she's taken to labeling her subjects--Tenet is "Slam-Dunk," Cheney is "Darth"--but does, probably out of deference for Molly--avoid "Shrub," using the more generic "Junior" instead.


Weekend warriors

If there be any doubt about whether the "surge" is working, this report of Saturday's carnage in Iraq should provide the answer.