Saturday, March 15, 2003


There's more where this one came from right here.

"Embarassing"? Nah, Nothing Embarasses Them  

Here's Powell responding to the fact that he presented "obvious" fakes to the UN as "proof" Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger.
"It was the information that we had. We provided it. If that information is inaccurate, fine," Powell said on NBC's "Meet the Press" last Sunday.
General, sir, the information is more than inaccurate. It's imaginary. There isn't any that you've make public.

This Gives Blair the Cover To Bow Out Or Delay  

Doubts have been raised by MPs on Wednesday as to whether British troops are properly prepared for any war in Iraq.

The Public Accounts Committee says the Ministry of Defence has not learned enough from the mistakes made during a large desert exercise involving more than 20,000 troops two years ago.

The committee said poor planning by defence chiefs meant British troops were not sufficiently equipped for Operation Saif Sareea, a training exercise in the Omani desert in October 2001.

The operation was designed to test the abilities of the armed forces on deployment over long distances into hostile territory.

Oh, But They Have  

Bush Implores Countries to Take a Stand

Total Hacks  

Mother Jones has the aspirated details, courtesy Alterman.
After closed-door meetings with cigarette makers, the Bush administration is seeking to derail a global tobacco treaty.

Philip Morris legislative counsel Mark Berlind says there were "two or three" meetings between government officials and industry leaders regarding the tobacco treaty. (The White House has refused congressional requests to release information about the closed-door conversations.) A month after sending the letter, Philip Morris contributed $57,764 to the Republican Party. One week later, Novotny was ordered to back down at the Geneva negotiations, and the U.S. delegation began advocating for 10 of the 11 deletions advocated by Philip Morris.

"It's either an eye-popping coincidence or a testament to the insidious influence that Philip Morris has on the Bush administration," says Rep. Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California. "The appearance is awful."

Some Nasty Gay Bashing In Little Rock  

Kevin over at CalPundit has links to this ACLU release about a school that is persecuting a gay Junior HS student. It's a rather sickening story. To paraphrase the ACLU release:

He can't discuss his orientation at school, he is forced to read passages condemning homosexuality from the Bible, and worse, he was outed by the school. School officials also called him "abnormal" and "unnatural," he was suspended for two days and was told if he mentioned the reason to his friends, they would recommend that he be expelled.

I wrote a simple script that collected some of the contact info from the School District's website . You might consider writing a polite letter to at least the Superintendent Don Henderson.
Pulaski County Special School District
925 East Dixon Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72206
Telephone: 501-490-2000


Don Henderson Superintendent
Jeff Shaneyfelt
Pam Roberts
Carol Burgett
Don Baker
Pat O'Brien
Mildred Tatum No email listed
Gwen Williams

Email addresses formatted for pasting en masse
into a To: or CC: or BCC: field,,,,,,

Kerry Won't Deal With The Elephant In The Room  

Digby has the scoop:
With Democratic presidential candidates under fire for their reluctance to speak out about Iraq, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry delivered a major policy address in San Francisco Thursday -- and omitted any substantive mention of the looming war.

In a 40-minute speech to a packed hall sponsored by the Commonwealth Club of California, Kerry offered a stinging indictment of Bush domestic policies on the environment, homeland security, eroding civil liberties and the declining economy. But he saved his comments on the war for a question-and-answer session afterward, and even in those tempered remarks, his position on Iraq was less than clear-cut.
This cowardice by the people who we have elected must never happen again.

Don't Hurry Back, George  

Fearless Leader heads to the Azores

Looks like he's been hitting that medicine cabinet a few times more than he should be.

Jessica Mathews On Bill Moyers  

Jessica Mathews
President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

MOYERS:...this administration has, for reasons it has stated, withdrawn from one international agreement and understanding of multilateral cooperation after another from the Kyoto Treaty on global climate to the ABM treaty with the Soviet Union. I mean, this seems to be a government that is more interested in going it alone in the world.

MATHEWS: Yes, and I think they are seeing what the costs...some of the costs of doing that are.

MOYERS: Such as...?

MATHEWS: Well, such as the fact that there is such anti-Americanism around the world.

I mean, think of this. In the last year there have been elections in four countries on four continents where the major issue has been anti Americanism. And these are major countries, countries important to us: Brazil, Germany, South Korea and Pakistan.

Now, in any year that would be shocking, but in the year after 9/11 when the whole world kind of wrapped its arms around us and we were the recipient of such good feeling and empathy, to be where that outcome is tells us something is very wrong.

it is, in my view, shortsighted in the incredible extreme to think that our military power is enough to give us the kind of global order that we want and the kind of world we want to live in absent these international institutions and alliances which are, yes, occasionally constraining.

MOYERS: I believe the President would say given his record that the only way to promote democracy is for the United States to use its power, to use its might, to use the will that he has and others around him to bring dictators to heel, to impose order where there's only chaos. I think he actually believes that this is a step towards democracy potentially in the Middle East. Don't you?

MATHEWS: I find it...[SIGHS AUDIBLY] I find it hard to believe that because it seems's so obvious that the result would be the opposite. Right? I mean, what do we know about the immediate consequence that this war is going to be a recruiting took for Al-Qaida. So right away we know that.

We know that it is going to fan the flames of the Arab sense of humiliation and anger and rage, and that a lot of people will be further disgusted with their governments who are unable they feel to hold off this sense of invasion of their space and their region.

So what will happen? Those governments will have to respond with increased repression. We've seen it already, right? Why have we not seen public protests in the Middle East of all places to this war as we've seen all over the rest of the world? Because those governments don't let them happen.

So you will get not increased democratization in the short term; you'll get increased repression. So then how...what is the nature of this magical leap that gets made from autocratic repressive governments faced with, let's say, best case, a peaceful take over in Iraq, Iraq becoming kind of a mo—...not a democracy, I don't even think you can...but, a representative government with economic renewal.

That the problem is not that Arabs don't recognize the end point that they want to get to; the problem is getting from here to there and you know, from a...from an autocratic retrograde repressive government and the only public opposition, organized opposition being Islamist.

So what are we offering as the model for how to get from here to there? A U.S. invasion. Well, if you're sitting in Cairo or Algiers or Damascus, that does not look like a particularly attractive model.

So I find it hard to believe that anyone seriously thinks or has thought through that there is a way that this war could lead to, no matter how successful in its military phase, could result in a democratic transformation of the Middle East. I think that the sort of facts on the ground tell you that it's likely to be the opposite.

The question is when do you decide you've had a victory? Is it in the shooting phase or is it in the political reconstruction phase? And how long will it take for people...for us to see that there has been victory in the political restruction phase, which everybody has been saying for a long time is the harder task.

MOYERS: The building of democracy in a place like Iraq?

MATHEWS: Or even representative government. Or even national cohesion and an able and humane and somewhat representative government.

If you could do that then it would be a victory. I...right now the US plan is a plan for military occupation; it is not a plan for political reconstruction. It explicitly forbids, for example, the participation of political groups in Iraq, all of which need to be knitted together if you're going to get the result of a representative government.

If the Pakistani government falls, for example, and is replaced by a much more radical government that gives us...which is a nuclear armed one, remember, which could easily become Islamist, that would be a huge cost of this war, enormous. And an enormous cost to the war on terror.

MOYERS: It is your conviction tonight that the Bush administration does not want a compromise, they want the war.

MATHEWS: I think that's where we are now, yes. [Emphasis added.]

Read the whole thing. In the transcript you can almost hear the frustration, anger and disbelief in her sigh. And while you're at it, go the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and download a copy of Iraq: What Next? which is still the only sensible plan for dealing with Iraq.


Turkey Delays Troop Decision

Who's in any hurry?

MOAB: Mother Of All Bombs  

For some odd reason, people have become upset about the Bush administration's nuclear sword-rattling. So, with their pitch perfect marketing, they've developed a non-nuclear bomb with a yield greater than the bomb that leveled Hiroshima. It's called MOAB and there's a picture of it below blowing up a big chunk of Florida during a test.

Now don' t be alarmed. It can't kill children, well, at least not intentionally. George says so.

This is what hypocrisy looks like.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Bush Must Be Defeated in 2004. Why?  

Ashcroft Acquiring Bigger Policy Role for Justice Dept.

Any further questions?


It's hard to know what kind of game he's playing, but this article lays down the standard line, that he was a "dove" who's now a hawk, who's furious at both the chickenhawks and the French. I think he's playing a much more complicated game. I also think he's being hung out to dry by Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, who can't stand him, perhaps for very ugly reasons.

We'll Never Hear About This One Again  

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the FBI on Friday to investigate forged documents the Bush administration used as evidence against Saddam Hussein and his military ambitions in Iraq.

The Press During Election 2000  

As The Daily Brew reminds us
During the Presidential campaign of 2000, journalists had the ability to compare Bush's mendacious campaign sloganeering with his record as the governor of Texas with little to fear from the White House. They did not, and Mr. Bush was able to convince a large segment of the American public that he was somehow qualified to be the President. The press was then free to point out the breathtaking and criminal tactics Mr. Bush's campaign used to steal the Presidential election in Florida. They did not, and the American public was sufficiently lethargic to embolden the Supreme Court to sweep these tactics under the rug and install Mr. Bush into office. Early in Mr. Bush's term, the press was again free to point out the easily predictable disaster that would result were Mr. Bush's tax proposals written into law. Again, the press took a pass, and since that time millions of Americans have lost their jobs and slipped into poverty. Perhaps most catastrophically, the press was free to point out that Saddam Hussein had nothing whatsoever to do with the attacks of September 11, and that White House assertions to the contrary where a most odious form of political sleight of hand. The press again failed to make the public aware of these basic facts, and as a result, our democracy stands poised to embark on a war of aggression in violation of both international law and the wishes of virtually the entire world community.

The significance of these failures cannot be overstated.

This Is Exactly Right  

Repudiating the aberrant Wolfowitz-Bush Doctrine of quasi-imperial global hegemony, the United States should return to its post-1945 policy of leading consensual great-power alliances (not rag-tag collections of bribed and dependent satellite states) against genuine common threats. Repudiating the idea of preventive war, which undermines the very distinction between war and peace in the global state system, the United States should reassert the distinction it has long drawn between wars of defense and wars of aggression, while reserving the right for pre-emptive wars to forestall imminent attacks on the U.S. or its allies. Finally, the term “war on terror” should be abandoned, by policymakers and commentators alike. In the interest of moral clarity and intellectual rigor, different terms should be used for unrelated subjects, such as the campaign against al-Qaeda and the disarmament of Iraq. Then, and only then, will the United States once again have a national security strategy that protects American interests without subverting American ideals.
From Michael Lind. Go read the whole thing.

permanent link to this entry 3:26 PM

Easter Bunny Busted  

Amy Hamilton-Thibert, a 28-year-old mother from Astoria, Queens, came to the "Big K" [K-Mart] in a bunny outfit to protest the sale of military-themed Easter baskets she had read about in a Village Voice article.
Fortunately the cops came, cuffed the wascally wabbit and took her to the pokey!

Mapping Mohamed Atta  

Fascinating social network graph of how the terrorists were interrelated. The article behind it is here.

The Dems Who Voted For the Iraq Resolution  

To paraphrase Tom Tomorrow from whence this list came, thanks heaps, folks.

Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Breaux (D-LA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carnahan (D-MO)
Carper (D-DE)
Cleland (D-GA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Daschle (D-SD)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Edwards (D-NC)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hollings (D-SC)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Miller (D-GA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Schumer (D-NY)
Torricelli (D-NJ)

US Has Done Regime Change In Iraq Before: Not Pretty  

Jeanne d'Arc has an excellent summary.

Shock and Awe: The Book  

It's the old cliche but it's true. You can't make this stuff up. Here is an online copy of "Shock and Awe" from 1996, a DOD publication which details the curent lunacy the Busheviks are going to engage in. The overall theory is called "Rapid Dominance:"
Flowing from the primary concentration on affecting the adversary's will to resist through imposing a regime of Shock and Awe to achieve strategic aims and military objectives, four characteristics emerge that will define the Rapid Dominance military force. These are noted and discussed in later chapters. The four characteristics are near total or absolute knowledge and understanding of self, adversary, and environment; rapidity and timeliness in application; operational brilliance in execution; and (near) total control and signature management of the entire operational environment.
"Near total or absolute knowledge and understanding of self, adversary, and environment," eh? Well, at least they got that one down pat.

via Hullabaloo whose got a lot of great posts today.

Iraq Might Start War?? The Nerve! has the latest on what is probably the latest disinformation sweeping the news. The problem is that it is impossible anymore to tell where the truth lies. Until the body bags start to come home, of course. Here's George's summary:
I certainly wouldn't put it past our government to forge [...] evidence itself and then blame it on a patsy when its crude tricks are discovered[]...I also wouldn't put it past certain third countries to attempt to con the US into attacking Iraq.

There's just one problem with [this] thesis, however. We don't need anyone else to con us into attacking Iraq. Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz have done a mighty good job themselves.

This Patriotism Stuff Is Getting Out Of Hand  

Take Your Time, Guys It's A Pretty Place  

and it's gonna be hard for those pesky antiwar jerks to get there quickly
Leaders of the United States, Great Britain and Spain plan to hold a weekend summit aimed at salvaging the U.N. resolution on Iraq, senior Bush administration officials said Friday.

The officials said the summit would be held in the Azores , a group of autonomous Portuguese islands in the North Atlantic.

President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar will attend, a U.S. official said.

Ministry of Truth Dispatch  

[W]e were told we had to be accompanied by our escorts — members of the ship's crew including some public affairs officers — everywhere we went except the restroom. The escorts also monitor our interviews with ship's personnel.
A few days into the embed, they were told to keep a record of who we speak to and what we talk about. We were told it was so they would have a log of how many people were spoken to and for what stories. Reporters are famously resistant to anyone monitoring them working.
Witnesses say when two photographers accidentally wandered into the hangar bay during the meeting, the admiral stopped suddenly and barked at them. According to one reporter, the cameramen were confronted by armed guards and ordered to leave.
Another newspaper reporter who planned to do a story about the Navy's policy prohibiting fraternization between the sexes said interviews she had arranged with ship personnel were abruptly canceled because, she said she was told, the admiral did not like the subject matter.


Doonesbury Channels Orwell  

Check out the whole strip here. And before laughing, please check out these actual headlines after a recent Bush speech.

Fly And Ashcroft Flies With You  

Sounds like Total Information Awareness Redux
Under the TSA's proposal, a computer would search passenger data obtained from airline-ticket information, government records and commercial databases that sell personal information gathered from scores of sources. Passengers then would be assigned one of three rankings printed in code on their boarding passes. Green would mean routine security, and yellow would require added checks. Red would bar passengers from flying and subject them to a law enforcement investigation.

Among the most troubling features of the plan, as described in the official notice and explained in interviews with TSA officials:

* Widespread prying. The TSA would gain access to ''financial and transactional data,'' such as credit reports and records of purchases. Even confidential business records could be scrutinized. Legal experts say the reach of the categories listed could open up a broad range of information about an individual's life. The TSA won't say what information would be off-limits.

* Long-term dossiers. The TSA says data would be kept only until passengers completed their travel. But for individuals ''deemed to pose a possible risk to transportation,'' the data would be kept ''for up to 50 years.''

* Data sharing. Information on fliers rated as high risks could be given to private groups, the news media and government authorities.

* Weak protections. The system would be exempt from federal privacy protections that grant individuals access to government records on them so errors can be corrected. That would prevent passengers from learning what is compiled on them or how their threat level was determined.

Tapes From The Cuban Missile Crisis  

I gave a speech in October, 2002 at my daughter's school comparing Kennedy's response to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and Bush's attitudes towards Saddam. A reader at Buzzflash just made the same connection. She also found this link which has a quite a few of the Kennedy Tapes available in real audio format.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Krugman Rules  

[M]ore people than you would think — including a fair number of people in the Treasury Department, the State Department and, yes, the Pentagon — don't just question the competence of Mr. Bush and his inner circle; they believe that America's leadership has lost touch with reality.

What really has the insiders panicked, however, is the irresponsibility of Mr. Bush and his team, their almost childish unwillingness to face up to problems that they don't feel like dealing with right now.

The Nelson Report, an influential foreign policy newsletter, says: "It would be difficult to exaggerate the growing mixture of anger, despair, disgust and fear actuating the foreign policy community in Washington as the attack on Iraq moves closer, and the North Korea crisis festers with no coherent U.S. policy. . . . We are at the point now where foreign policy generally, and Korea policy specifically, may become George Bush's `Waco.' . . . This time, it's Kim Jong Il (and Saddam) playing David Koresh. . . . Sober minds wrestle with how to break into the mind of George Bush."

There are times, many times, when I think to myself that I am going mad because no one I know sees the Busheviks as being as dangerous as I do. Then along comes the next Krugman column and I feel greatly relieved. Someone thinks he's worse than I do...hmm...Maybe relief's the wrong response...

[Update] Excerpts from some Times letters:

And to think that we impeached a president for a mere sexual dalliance and fibbing about it. This president, armed and dangerous, is taking us to a cataclysm, and trying to make it sound defensible and sane....

...Paul Krugman is right that this administration is out of touch with reality (column, March 14). The world is not a morality play of good against evil. It is childish to think otherwise.

...The president should come clean on the administration's true intentions, and it is the Senate's duty to debate the issue. Yet there's not a word.

New York's senators, having voted for the resolution last year authorizing the use of force in Iraq, appear to have lost their voices entirely.

History will record that when the country effected a sea change in its posture toward the world, Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles E. Schumer were nowhere to be found.

Boycott Guinness  

Mr Bush was a no-show at the traditional St Patrick’s Day luncheon on Capitol Hill, calling off his waiting motorcade as he continued frantic telephone diplomacy.

He had earlier met the Irish prime minister, Bertie Ahern. Ireland has provided landing facilities for US military aircraft for 40 years, but Mr Ahern is confronting strong anti-war sentiment and Irish citizens have vandalised US military planes.

He told Bush: "If there is not a resolution, Ireland cannot engage in support of military action, because we work under the UN resolution."

Those potato-eating surrender leprechauns.

Cynical But Correct  

Political Strategy sez the reason the UN situation is so confused is because the undecided are holding out for a great price.
The objective, here, for the vote "sellers" is to be the last vote secured, and therefore the most expensive.
This will create the image that the Bush Administration is constantly coming close, seeming to have enough votes, and then coming up short.
The risk for these countries is that both sides bow out of the game before any bids are accepted. However, this seems highly unlikely since the Administration will invade Iraq and they need the vote to add some legitimacy to their efforts. In addition, France desires to either stop the US or at least delegitimize any Administration victory. Therefore, neither side seems able to walk away.
The bottom line is that the game is set up in such a way that the outcome will not be known until the very last minute. With that in mind, it only makes sense that the United States, which can outbid the French on any level, will ultimately win the bidding and thus the UN Security Council vote.
Rest assured that the Administration will win this at all financial costs in order to preserve (or even increase) political capital, something that will be touted during the upcoming 2004 elections.
In the end, the far reaching hand of a destructive administration serves to cheapen an international coalition. the UN was created with the vision that nations acting on a complimentary basis, would do what is best for humanity. Instead, in this situation at least, lust for power and money have transformed it into an auction for political mandate.
This is probably right, but there's a lot that can happen. And every day the undecideds delay is another day that the 3000 bombs don't fall.

A Sheep's Head...A Sheep's Head???  

Read all about it here.
Norwegian death-metal band Mayhem lived up to its name as a flying sheep's head hit a concertgoer and fractured his skull at a recent concert.

The band was carving up a dead sheep as part of its stage act when the animal's head flew off lead singer Maniac's knife and struck 25-year-old Per Kristian Hagen.

Hagen was recovering this week after the incident March 6 in Bergen, 302 miles west of Oslo.

''My relationship to sheep is a bit ambivalent now,'' he said. ``I like them, but not when they come flying through the air. I have a headache now.''
Fortunately, the head hit nothing terribly important.

Yoo Hoo! NoKo Calling!  

Remember these guys?
United States officials said yesterday that North Korea was just months away from making nuclear bombs.
And a Japanese report said the North may soon launch a mid-range ballistic missile that can travel 1300km.

US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly said yesterday that Pyongyang could produce highly enriched uranium as fuel for nuclear weapons in months - not years as experts had previously been estimated.

That means the reclusive state could get nuclear weapons capability in the short term from both its uranium and plutonium programs, Mr Kelly told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"The enriched uranium issue, which some have assumed is somewhere off in the fog of the distant future, is not," he said.
Great, just great.

Send Email To the Undecided Six At UN  

You can either go to this site and use their form letter or copy/paste the emails into the send to in your own email letter and roll your own.
Whatever, do it now.,,,,,

NY Times Channels Orwell: Police Snipers Disappear From Protests  

Surprised that the Times is snipping the news to fit? I'm not.

Washington Journalists Start To Complain  

It is somewhat heartening to see that finally the press is starting to buck the administration.
From JONATHAN WEISMAN , Economics Writer, Washington Post:
In the wake of Seymour Hersh's open statements about the way the White House treats the press, I feel compelled to relate a personal story that illustrates how both the White House and the press have allowed manipulation of the printed word in Washington to get out of hand. This is a bit of a confession as well as an appeal to the White House and my fellow reporters to rethink the way journalism is practiced these days.

Recently, I was working on a profile of the now-departed chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, R. Glenn Hubbard. I dutifully went through the White House press office to talk to an administration economist about Hubbard's tenure, and a press office aide helpfully got me in touch with just the person I wanted. The catch was this: The interview would be off the record. Any quotes I wanted to put into the newspaper would have to be e-mailed to the press office. If approved, the quotation could be attributed to a White House official. (This has become fairly standard practice.)

Since the profile focused on Hubbard's efforts to translate relatively
arcane macroeconomic theory into public policy, the quote I wanted
referenced the president's effort to end the double taxation of dividends: "This is probably the most academic proposal ever to come out of an administration." The press office said it was fine, but the official wanted a little change. Instead, the quote was to read, "This is probably the purest, most far reaching economic proposal ever to come out of an administration." I protested that the point of the quote was the word "academic," so the quote was again amended to state, "This is probably the purest, most academic, most far reaching economic proposal ever to come out of an administration."

What appeared in the Washington Post was, "This is probably the purest, most academic ... economic proposal ever to come out of an administration." What followed was an angry denunciation by the White House press official, telling me I had broken my word and violated journalistic ethics.

I had, of course, violated journalistic ethics, by placing into quotation marks a phrase that was never uttered by the source, ellipses or no ellipses. I had also played ball with the White House using rules that neither I nor any other reporter should be assenting to. I think it is time for all of us to reconsider the way we cover the White House. If administration officials want to speak off the record, they are off the record. If they are on background as an administration official, I suppose that's the best we can expect. But the notion that reporters are routinely submitting quotations for approval, and allowing those quotes to be manipulated to get that approval, strikes me as a step beyond business as usual.
via Atrios

Why is Blair backing the US?  

The beeb explains it and it's pretty close to the way I see it, too. He's trying to be a "moderating" influence. Unfortunately, from what I can tell, he's been feeling the stress. Can't imagine why. He should have realized that Clinton had character, Bush has none.

Filibuster Owen Too!  

From the The New York Times.
Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, has expressed confidence that, no matter how many times the Republicans seek to break the filibuster [of Estrada], the Democrats can frustrate them.
Let's hope so.

Ten Minutes Prior To the Recent News Conference  


Free Speech Crushed in Nashville

Here's the skinny: Country performer Charlie Daniels sent around an "Open Letter to Hollywood" in support of the war. It may have been good, it may have been stupid. Who cares? He's entitled to his opinion. But Tamara Saviano emailed Charlie back and...
On Friday, I was fired by Jones Media Networks/GAC for expressing my political views regarding Charlie Daniels' open letter to Hollywood,which was sent directly to my personal e-mail account at home from his publicist, Kirt Webster.

On Thursday, GAC ordered me to "cease and desist" from making any political comments to anyone who works within the music industry, I told them I would not discuss politics while at the office or with employees but away from the office it is my constitutional right to speak about political issues.

On Friday, they asked me for my resignation and wanted me to sign an agreement stating that I would not make any public statements regarding these events in exchange for four weeks of severance pay. I declined. They terminated me.

This is not about Republicans vs. Democrats. This is about free speech. I respect Charlie's right to say whatever he wants to say. He asked for a reply and I gave him one, on my own time from my own personal e-mail account.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that the First Amendment has been a huge part of my life. I am very passionate about freedom of speech...I believe it is the cornerstone of democracy. And, it is something I will fight for no matter the personal consequences to me.

Peace and love,

Tamara Saviano

via Tom Tomorrow

Sy Hersh Gets It

The terrorist speaks.
''These guys scare me,'' he told the Harvard audience. ''They're insulated, they're tough to get to.''

In the Globe interview, he defended those comments, declaring: ''We're not supposed to tell the truth about how we feel. ... We're professionals. We're entitled to have thoughts.''

Religious Groups Go Online for Peace
A good resource.

via Jeanne d'Arc

Terror attacks may escalate with war

...experts say there's at least a 75 percent chance of an attack against Americans at home or abroad if there is war.

John Parachini, a bioterrorism expert with Rand Corp., agrees.

"If hostilities are initiated with Iraq, I think it's highly likely that there will be an increased number of terrorist events around the world," Parachini said.

Advice: Do you want to increase security. Dont' start a war.

Yoo Hoo! Journalists!! Wake up!!!
AP Protests Gov't Seizure of Package

This is absolutely outrageous

via Atrios

Coalition of the Bribed
We already know this, but this article from Salon goes into a goodly amount of detail on the size of the bribes our "allies"get.

Molly Ivins
Ambrose Bierce, the 19th century cynic, once observed that war is God's way of teaching Americans geography. Going to war with the people in such a state, not of ignorance but of misinformation, is truly terrifying.
Indeed it is.

War Veterans Say Wait

A very moving letter from soldiers that did not go awol when they were called to serve.

via No War Blog

Regime Change Doesn't Work Too Well

from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and it has all sorts of details about previous attempts by the US.

Perle During the 2000 Campaign...

deliberately interfered with Clinton's efforts regarding middle east foreign policy.
Richard Perle, a veteran cold war warrior and former assistant secretary of state, urged the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, not to agree to any settlement which left the future status of Jerusalem unresolved, according to the New York Post website.

This recalls the Nixon campaign in '68 when they cut a deal with the Vietcong. Geez, Louise...

NYC is Officially Anti-War!

NYC Council Approves Anti-War Resolution
Hopefully, they'll let us march next time. Notice how much play this story has received.
Rumsfeld Has As Much To Gain As Cheney

Jeanne d'Arc has all the sordid details and a pic of the two of them before the horrors they've perpetrated were so apparent in their faces. Awful stuff to read. Scandalous.

via Atrios.

Walter, What Is Wrong With You?
Walter Russell Mead is a friend of mine. But I have no idea what he is up to in this bizarre op-ed for the Washington Post.
Those who still oppose war in Iraq think containment is an alternative -- a middle way between all-out war and letting Saddam Hussein out of his box.
Walter deserves a spanking and this article deserves a thorough debunking. Fortunately I don't have to do it because Matt Welch made enough of the points I would make.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Savage Savaged: One More Reason To Keep Speaking UP!  

It looks like Savage is on the ropes.
As of March 12, all six national advertisers on "Savage Nation's" March 8 debut -- including Dell, Casual Male, Idea Village, The Sharper Image and Procter & Gamble -- have announced they have withdrawn their ads, and two others (Kraft Foods and General Mills) have stated they will not sponsor the program.

Some folks think that GLAAD did a heck of a job of alerting everyone to this man's lunacy and collected a lot of info that made it impossible to defend sponsoring Savage on free speech grounds. But, since Savage intends to sue for restraint of trade, he should know that they didn't have as much to do with it as he thinks. His was hoist on his own petard.


...there is one thing Mr Blair cannot be accused of: he may be wrong on Iraq, badly wrong, but he has never been less than honest.

As the UN security council speeds towards possible train-wreck, this is worth bearing in mind. Can the same be honestly said of the other main players? France's Jacques Chirac has made much of Iraq as a matter of principle. But his motives are murky...

Similar questions about sincerity and motives apply in spades to Mr Bush and his advisers, in whom Mr Blair invests far too much trust.

Blair is one of the two great tragedies of integrity here, the other of course being Powell. They can recover, but they need to distance themselves from Bush immediately.

via Talking Points Memo

Kirkpatrick, Other Experts Fault Bush on War Costs and Risks  

That great blogger Jeanne d'Arc asks, "How bad do you have to be if Jeanne Kirkpatrick is criticizing you for not caring enough about humanitarian needs?"

Indeed. From the Times.
The panel was led by James R. Schlesinger, secretary of defense in the Nixon and Ford administrations, and Thomas R. Pickering, ambassador to the United Nations under Mr. Bush's father. Others on the panel included Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997 and is now retired, and Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick, who served in senior positions in the Reagan administration.

At Least, Someone Has a Use For the Stuff  

Remember those killer drones everyone's so het up. Well, Daily Kos has some excerpts from a Salon article. Apparently, it's a model airplane made from balsa wood and held together with...duct tape.

[Update] Some one on Atrios's comments board found this groovy picture of the killer plane:

Boycott Tandoori Chicken!  

This is getting embarassing.
The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, today ruled out support for a regime change brought about by outsiders in Iraq. "If a change has to come about, it should be done by the people of that country. No outside power has the right to do that," he told the Lok Sabha.

Responding to clarifications sought by members on his statement in the House, the Prime Minister also expressed himself against any unilateral action against Iraq. "I believe it will not happen because if it does, it will undermine the U.N. and also create a grave crisis," he said.

Cheney is still paid by Pentagon Contractor  

This is unbelievable. The vice-president of the United States is getting up to $1,000,000/year from his old company as "deferred compensation." Meanwhile, of course, Halliburton has the contract to rebuild Iraq oilfields. And THIS isn't a major scandal?????

What the hell is going on???

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's Arrest Faked?  

It sure looks that way and I should say that I've always believed that Oswald acted alone. Read about it here via Cursor

This Is Why Starting Wars Is Stupid  

The world is an extremely dangerous and unstable place. Like it or not, the US serves a stabilizing role, or did until the current administration. As soon as the US starts shooting up the place, it will give everyone else the opportunity and license to wreak havoc.

Bunch of Stuff  

Here's a bunch of quick entries. Things are moving so fast, it's starting to pile up too quickly to post separately!

Most of the time I think Bob Somerby's rants are over the top. But he goes after the Washington press corpse, which he thinks are as sedated as the president was. Great read.

Cat-Mengele's Poll Thank you, atrios for your brilliant moniker for Senator Frist. As we all know, Cat-Mengele pulled a poll regarding support/opposition to the war after it swung against the war, claiming the poll was hacked. But The Register, which is a daily geek rag, goes into the details and explains why it would have been extremely easy to get discount the hacked votes and arrive at an accurate assesment of the count.

Of course, online polls are a joke. But, guaranteed, if it had showed online support for the war, it never would have been pulled.

Boycott Mummies!

Another Letter to a Friend in Paris

The US media is heavily censored. The media in Iraq may be worse, but not by much!

The antiwar demonstrations were entirely ignored by one television network. The others barely covered them. The New York Times, which is supposed to be objective has over the past two weeks continued to misreport the numbers. First, they said about 2 million marched around the world (in reality it is closer to 6 - 10 million). A week ago they reported "hundreds of thousands" marched around the world. Now, President Bush apparently thinks only a few hippies marched in San Francisco on 15 February because he said recently "... obviously some people in Northern California do not see there’s a true risk to the United States posed by Saddam Hussein." That's a real quote!

Now, for reality.

I do not know a single person who supports the war. For a while, some American friends believed that it was the only thing to do to make us safe. This shows how strong the propaganda is from the Government because these are smart people. But now even they have changed their minds (I've spoken out against war since Sept 11, 2001 by the way; I was totally opposed to Afghanistan and I think I was right).
I do not know a single American who isn't disgusted at what our politicians and the media are saying about France. I am deeply ashamed and even wrote a letter of apology to your Ambassador here. I heard that the idiotic right wing called upon everyone to boycott a website called that ships French cheese to the United States. I immediately ordered a huge selection of cheeses (they came last week and they were fantastic)! It's so petty and childish, but I don't think it's very serious.

You write "we are feeling that Bush and his administation tend to be fanatics themselves." You are exactly right, they are the US version of Le Pen but during the "election" they were a little better about hiding how awful they are than Le Pen was.

You ask: "what do you think of the strict position of jacques Chirac ?how do people interpret it?"

I've never felt much sympathy for Chirac's ideas or policies before. But I am so grateful to him for doing this. He must stand completely firm. If the United States wants to destroy the Security Council by forcing everyone to cave in to their insane demands, France (and Russia and Germany) must resist him. Everyone I know thinks Chirac is completely right. The media spin a different story. But nobody I know believes the media anymore. Please believe me, this is true: The American people support France's opposition to Bush and the war. If your media is telling you that Americans hate France, it is because they are relying on American media reports. All they have to do is ask us and we'll tell them the truth!

Even if war starts (I am still optimistic that it won't), don't give up protesting. It is the only thing we can do to prevent Bush from trying to go further and take over Iran as well as other countries. And please tell your friends that most Americans do not support Bush, they are not angry at France and other countries, and they are horrified by what our government is doing in our name.

Happy Tree Friends
are very sick toons via Dave Barry. Good for a break. Grownups only!!!

Ecce Homo

UK plays down US rift

Bush one vote away from Arctic drilling OK

Example of Shared Delusional Disorder

Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars here yesterday and reassured the group that America would have "a formidable coalition" to attack Iraq. "The number of countries involved will be in the substantial double digits," he boasted. Unfortunately, he could not actually name one of the supposed allies.

Ari Fleischer upped the ante, conjuring up an entire international forum filled with imaginary allies.

He suggested that if the U.N. remained recalcitrant, we would replace it with "another international body" to disarm Saddam Hussein.

Grapes of Wrath

Reproductive Rights in Peril

Forsaken at Guantánamo

From the War Is Peace Dept

US public turns to Europe for news

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Why Iraq And Why Now? A Possible Reason  

It looks like it may all be coming together nicely now, what with the puzzling obsessiveness and the impatient pushing combined with the revelation that Halliburton, Cheney's old company that lost its shirt on an asbestos deal Cheney brokered, would be inolved with rebuilding Iraq.

It's not about oil, well, not really but it doesn't hurt! It's about at least one company that would go bankrupt with major connections to the Bushies. Halliburton is in pretty bad shape, apparently, but they've been awarded, if I understand this, the job of repairing and modernizing the Iraqi oil fields.

So here you have a plausible reason to invade, Saddam's evilosity, combined with a thoroughly weak army, combined with extreme right zealots with delusions of grandeur and ties to some of Israel's most looney politicians all give great cover to make a bundle for Cheney's buddies. To conquer Iraq wont cost very much. Even Krugman admitted as much on Fresh Air about a week ago. So everyone gets rich, there's oil into the near future at least and, oh yes, Saddam is gone and Israel's goals, which Perle linked 7 years ago with the overthrow of Iraq are advanced.

It must have been an irresistible idea. Too bad it was so blatantly immoral that the world smelled a large rat.

Kangaroo-Eating Surrender Monkeys Next??  

Well not quite but it looks like a senior Australian intelligence officer just quit and condemned the war with Iraq.

Via No War Blog which does great work.

US Taking bids on iraq  

Oh, those pigs at Halliburton and Bechtel can just taste it, all those yummy contracts. Jeanne d'Arc rounds up a passel of sources and articles as to the reasons why the Bushites are so anxious to get it over with. Guess why? Oil and money. What a surprise.

British Out?  

It sure looks possible!! Rumseld hinted that the Brits might have to back out.

Here's a later post.

So our staunchest ally from the COW'ed is dropping out. Remind me again: what are we doing this for???

Now if Turkey just holds on we're gonna be ok. Oh, pleeeeeeaaaaaze!!!

Bob Jones on Larry king  

This is sickening. What on earth is such a low-life as Bob Jones doing on the Larry King Show. I'm writing him a letter. When I have the url and a draft I'll post it. Okay, I've done it. Now you go ahead and write Larry yourself.

New Report: US Civil Liberties and Human Rights Eroded  

Unfortunately, this is not news to any of us who have been paying attention to what Ashcroft and his cronies have been up to. But I've started to read read the full report, which is available as a pdf and it is detailed and sobering.

The Great Stoned Press Conference  

Okay, this is the kind of stuff we should have seen from the earliest days of the Bush presidency. He eviscerates Bush both on performance AND substance, and then wipes up the stinking mess with the limp rags that are the national press corps. Here's some juicy parts but read the whole thing!

After watching George W. Bush’s press conference last Thursday night, I’m more convinced than ever: The entire White House press corps should be herded into a cargo plane, flown to an altitude of 30,000 feet, and pushed out, kicking and screaming, over the North Atlantic.


Take this offering by April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks:

"Mr. President, as the nation is at odds over war, with many organizations like the Congressional Black Caucus pushing for continued diplomacy through the UN, how is your faith guiding you?"

Great. In Bush’s first press conference since his decision to support a rollback of affirmative action, the first black reporter to get a crack at him–and this is what she comes up with? The journalistic equivalent of "Mr. President, you look great today. What’s your secret?"


As I watched the conference, I was sure I was witnessing, live, an historic political catastrophe. In his best moments Bush was deranged and uncommunicative, and in his worst moments, which were most of the press conference, he was swaying side to side like a punch-drunk fighter, at times slurring his words and seemingly clinging for dear life to the verbal oases of phrases like "total disarmament," "regime change," and "mass destruction."


This was just Bush’s eighth press conference since taking office, and each one of them has been a travesty. In his first presser, on Feb. 22, 2001, a month after his controversial inauguration, he was not asked a single question about the election, Al Gore or the Supreme Court. On the other hand, he was asked five questions about Bill Clinton’s pardons.

Reporters argue that they have no choice. They’ll say they can’t protest or boycott the staged format, because they risk being stripped of their seat in the press pool. For the same reason, they say they can’t write anything too negative. They can’t write, for instance, "President Bush, looking like a demented retard on the eve of war…" That leaves them with the sole option of "working within the system" and, as they like to say, "trying to take our shots when we can."

I'm telling you, man, somebody better have that medicine cabinet locked at the White House or we are in serious trouble.

OMB Decides to Stop Publishing State Budget Report  

Why, you ask would they not publish such an important document)?
Democrats say it's an effort to conceal cuts the administration is making in popular programs. "George Bush's credibility problem has reached a truly embarrassing level: Instead of being honest with states about the huge budget cuts he proposes, he prefers to desperately hide the facts by no longer printing them," said David Sirota, spokesman for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee.

Now you know why we needed tax cuts. To make sure the gov doesn't waste money telling us what they are not doing right.

via Eschaton

Now That's Taking an Important Stand  

House restaurants change name for 'french fries' and 'french toast'

Man, if I were a comedian I'd be furious. You can't make stuff up as silly as this.

If anyone wants to strike a blow for France, I suggest patronizing the delicious offerings at but don't blame me if your arteries require the services of Roto-Rooter after a few orders.

Second US diplomat quits over Iraq policy  

Read all about it here. His letter is not as eloquent as Kiesling's but makes the same point.

via Cursor

NY Times Poll Headline Misleads  

Thanks, LiberalOasis, for doing this so I don't have to. Go and read some accurate alternate headlines to the alarming one that the had this morning.

I Am Still Hopeful  

A letter to a friend

Dear xxxxxx,

In all honesty, I'm not sure that war is inevitable.

It's important to remember what the Bush administration does. They lie and pretend it's the truth until everyone gives in. Their biggest lies are that every-thing's been decided, that nothing can change or stop them. That may happen, but not because Bush says so. It may happen because the world bought the lies and then woke up too late. But at the moment, things aren't working out as planned:

  • Blair is in serious trouble and is trying to distance himself from Bush. This is being underreported here, as well as the splits in the Labour party. His government is in very bad shape.

  • The UN and NATO are not split. They are united against a common danger: the US government. It is couched as "US arrogance" but that's the tip of the iceberg. Russia and France wouldn't go to such extreme lengths merely because Rumsfeld has poor manners! They are seriously worried.

  • Turkey is in no mood, even with Erdogan now PM, to cave. The situation is, to say the least, a hornet's nest. Again, this is underreported and totally slanted. And if US soldiers start getting slaughtered because Bush wanted to go ahead without the protection of a Northern Front, he will be crucified.

  • The architects of this screwy policy are rapidly being discredited. Sy Hersh has a scandalous New Yorker article in re: Perle's sleazy business dealings and, quite literally, treasonous betrayal of US intelligence to the Israelis. Wolfowitz and the others have been making fools of themselves and infuriating everybody with their stonewalling, lies, and hallucinations.

  • Even Bush the Father is telling his son to cool it.

  • The economy is on the verge of collapse.

  • There will be worldwide riots that could topple governments in, for example, Pakistan.

  • There is no government spokesman, including Powell, that anyone in the world trusts, especially now that it's been leaked that the NSA was trying to blackmail UN diplomats (another underreported development here, but the rest of the world knows quite a bit about it).

IF the war starts, its stupidity will become rapidly apparent. If the anti-war movement refuses to cave - and let me tell you, when our tax dollars start mutilating and killing Iraqi children, when American kids come back with parts missing or dead, many of us are going to be even more prepared to make our disgust known than we are now - it will destroy Bush and the national power of the far right wing for years to come.

IF war is avoided, Bush will certainly be destroyed, for obvious reasons.

So I'm not so certain it will happen. It certainly could. But one thing is certain it is NOT writ in stone, despite Bush's Messianic delusions.

Regardless, the media, the punditocracy, and our politicians have a lot to answer for. I, for one, am in no mood to cut our leaders much slack. The theory behind this war is nuts, the diplomacy awful, the Democratic response to it disgracefully cynical, etc etc. Our politicians and our press failed miserably.

This never should have happened. This nation needs a very stern talking to.

Peace House In Crawford, Texas  

I'm going to find out more about this story and see if there's a way to donate to it.

President Bush has a new neighbor in Crawford, Texas -- a peace activist who plans to use his house near the president's ranch as a springboard to speak out on issues such as a war with Iraq.

John Wolf, a peace activist from the Dallas area, recently completed paperwork to buy a home in Crawford, a town of less than 1,000 people. He plans to use the facility as an interfaith peace house that can serve as a base to launch peace protests near the ranch Bush calls the Western White House.

Pentagon Threatens To Kill Reporters  

Kate Adie, a veteran BBC war correspondent is interviewed.
The Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq, according to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie said that questioned about the consequences of such potentially fatal actions, a senior Pentagon officer had said: "Who cares.. ..They've been warned."

The audio is available at the same site. My God. My God.


sees A Fiscal Train Wreck around the bend.

Even though the business community is starting to get scared — the ultra-establishment Committee for Economic Development now warns that "a fiscal crisis threatens our future standard of living" — investors still can't believe that the leaders of the United States are acting like the rulers of a banana republic. But I've done the math, and reached my own conclusions — and I've locked in my rate.

Yeah, we know all about you liberals and your fuzzy math. I have faith. That's all that matters.

Monday, March 10, 2003

A Strange Article With Some Interesting Thoughts  

Sleepwalking toward Baghdad

U.S. Stocking Uranium-Rich Bombs for Bush/Iraq 2?  

It sure as hell looks that way.
U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf may be armed with radioactive bombs and missiles hundreds of times more potent than similar weapons used during the Gulf War and the U.N. military campaign in Bosnia.

As evidence that the United States is expanding its use of depleted uranium weapons beyond the relatively small 30-millimeter to 120-millimeter armor-piercing bullets and shells used by tanks and tank-killer aircraft in the Gulf and Balkans, weapons watchdogs cite the so-called "bunker-buster" bombs and missiles unleashed on Afghanistan.

The Pentagon has not confirmed the use of uranium or depleted uranium in the bunker-busters, and it has refused to identify the composition of the dense-metal warheads that enable the missiles to penetrate structures deeply buried under earth, steel and reinforced concrete.

But critics such as British researcher Dai Williams contend that only uranium -- in one form or another -- possesses the density and other characteristics necessary to achieve the penetration levels attributed to such weapons as the 2,000-pound AGM 130C air-to-ground cruise missile, and the guided bomb unit, or GBU, series of laser-guided hard-target penetrators intended to pierce bunkers and other reinforced structures.

"Uranium-Rich bombs" means nuclear weapons. This is outrageous.

via Shock and Awe

Bush the Father Is a Surrender Monkey!!  

Thank Atrios for finding this one.

The first President Bush has told his son that hopes of peace in the Middle East would be ruined if a war with Iraq were not backed by international unity.

Drawing on his own experiences before and after the 1991 Gulf War, Mr Bush Sr said that the brief flowering of hope for Arab-Israeli relations a decade ago would never have happened if America had ignored the will of the United Nations.

He also urged the President to resist his tendency to bear grudges, advising his son to bridge the rift between the United States, France and Germany.

“You’ve got to reach out to the other person. You’ve got to convince them that long-term friendship should trump short-term adversity,” he said.

The former President’s comments reflect unease among the Bush family and its entourage at the way that George W. Bush is ignoring international opinion and overriding the institutions that his father sought to uphold. Mr Bush Sr is a former US Ambassador to the UN and comes from a family steeped in multi-lateralist traditions.

Although not addressed to his son in person, the message, in a speech at Tufts University in Massachusetts, was unmistakeable. Mr Bush Sr even came close to conceding that opponents of his son’s case against President Saddam Hussein, who he himself is on record as loathing, have legitimate cause for concern.

Atrios asks, "Why does George H. W. Bush hate America so much?" I don't know, but it's really sick when someone who's benefitted so much from what we have to offer can't bring himself to defend the President during a time of war.

[UPDATE]CalPundit thinks this story is slanted and in fact Bush the Father is not giving Jr. any advice. I still think that reading between the lines Dad is a surrender monkey.

Second Savage Success!  

From Preferred RX of Ohio:


Thank you for your email, bringing to our attention that our advertisement ran on a show titled “The Michael Savage Show” on MSNBC. We do not sponsor specific shows, and the decision when to run our commercial is done by the specific network’s staff.

Although we have never seen this show nor do we know who this person is, your calls and emails have provided us with enough detail that we can tell you it is not a show we support nor do we want to be a part of. We have a diverse workforce and find the position of this individual to be offensive and appalling.

We have informed our Advertising Agency to contact MSNBC and immediately discontinue running our commercial during this show.

In closing, we apologize if we offended you, and again thank you for informing us of this matter.

Al Harper
Preferred Rx of Ohio

Success Against Savage  

Using a list that was posted on Atrios's blog, I wrote all the advertisers of Michael Savage's tv show. For those who don't know, he's quite a disturbed person who specializes in very ugly and bigoted remarks against people who are not white and not straight. I received my first response from Casual Male:
Thank you for taking the time for bringing to our attention that our TV advertisement aired in controversial programing. The TV advertising was purchased through an agency and was bought in broad day parts meaning that specific programming was not selected. We at Casual Male do not consider our advertising as being a sponsorship or endorsement of any given program. As a result of your email, we have given direction to our agency not to air during Michael Savage on MSNBC. Our customers are very important to us and we value their feedback. We hope that we can service you in the future


Ric Della Bernarda
VP of Marketing, Casual Male Retail Group

Yee Haw!

They Never Even Bothered to Kick the Tires  

This is Tom Friedman, on Face the Nation (I'm trying to get a transcript)
--I've traveled with Secretary of State Baker 10 years ago in advance of the first Gulf War--seven trips around the world as I recall that we took. If I were to total up the number of days senior Bush officials have spent in the Middle East, the place we're about to invade in the last year, I don't think I'd need more than one hand. Maybe I'd need two. And as far as Europe, the same thing.

Wtf is going on?

Now We Kidnap Children???  

My God.
Two young sons of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks, are being held by the CIA to force their father to talk, interrogators said yesterday.

     Yousef al-Khalid, 9, and his brother, Abed al-Khalid, 7, were taken into custody in Pakistan in September when intelligence officers raided an apartment in Karachi where their father had been hiding...
     The boys have been held by the Pakistani authorities, but this weekend they were flown to America, where they will be questioned about their father...CIA interrogators confirmed last night that the boys were staying at a secret address where they were being encouraged to talk about their father's activities.
     "We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children," said one official, "but we need to know as much about their father's recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times, and they are given the best of care..." [Khalid Shaikh Mohammed] has been told that his sons are being held and is [sic] being encouraged to divulge future attacks against the West and talk about the location of Osama bin Laden, officials said...
     "His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him."

This should be all over the US news. Is this the level to which we've sunk?

via Atrios

Perle the Bottom Feeder  

This really is repulsive:

Perle, in crisscrossing between the public and the private sectors, has put himself in a difficult position—one not uncommon to public men. He is credited with being the intellectual force behind a war that not everyone wants and that many suspect, however unfairly, of being driven by American business interests. There is no question that Perle believes that removing Saddam from power is the right thing to do. At the same time, he has set up a company that may gain from a war.

And there's a lot more. Perle should resign now.

Response from Chile  

I sent a letter opposing the war to some people in the government of Chile, including the President. I received this reply. A rough translation I made seems to imply that they will only back the US position if the UN approves. Woohoo!

Estimado Señor Einhorn:

Junto con saludarle atentamente, tengo el especial encargo del Señor Presidente de acusar recibo de su mensaje en el que expone su inquietud respecto a la delicada situación internacional.

Al respecto, quisiera señalar que sin duda el mundo vive momentos duros, y a nuestro país le toca asumir una responsabilidad importante por ser parte de uno de los 15 miembros del Consejo de Seguridad. Bajo ese prisma, estamos asumiendo aquella responsabilidad con la convicción que tenemos que hacer el máximo de los esfuerzos por mantener la paz en el mundo. En ese sentido, es importante entender que la utilización de la fuerza es la última instancia, y su legitimidad arranca de un esfuerzo multilateral de todas las naciones.

Le saluda cordialmente,

Asesor de Gestión del Gabinete Presidencial

More Problems for Blair  

Tory whip quits over Iraq concerns. Even though Blair is Labour, the Tories have backed Blair on this.

From the Department of Really Bad Ideas  

We take a very short break from bloggin' about the war to let you know that AOL Is Working on aTiVo-like Gizmo. And check it out!

The essence of AOL Time Warner's Mystro TV is a technology that uses a cable system itself to provide viewers capabilities similar to computerized personal video recorders like TiVo: watching programs on their own schedules, with fast-forward and rewind. But it also lets networks set the parameters, dictating which shows users can reschedule, and it also creates ways for networks to insert commercials.

We swear by Tivo in this house. Since we watch very little tv, we can actually watch what we want when we want, skip over the garbage in news broadcast, skp over commercials, etc. etc.

Now why on earth would we want a gizmo that forces us to watch commercials and won't allow us to reschedule shows? Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

t.A.t.U. Gives Lesson in Foreign Languages to Leno  

Oh, this is priceless.

t.A.t.U. are these two superbad singers from Russia that were supposed to be underaged teenage lesbians. Well, they aren't underaged, it turns out, and they may not be lesbians. Nevertheless, they are way, way cool:
Flipping through the channels the other night I caught the final few minutes of Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" featuring the latest singing sensation from Russia, a duo called t.A.T.u. I have no clue what the name stands for, no idea if the music was any good, but the outfits were eye-catching. In big black letters on their white T-shirts, young talents Julia Volkova and Lena Katina sported a Russian variation of "Down With the War," but in a lot snappier and more obscene language involving a direct reference to the male anatomy.

Thank you, Mr. Atrios.

Iraq Is the New Bill  

Here's General Powell talking about Iran:
The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, says Iran has a more developed nuclear weapons programme than had previously been thought.

Now, I know what you're thinking now. The info about the Iraqi nuke program was just exposed as bogus and Iran is further along now? So, like, maybe Bush is invading the wrong country, do you think? But nooooooooo! Read on:
He said it showed that a nation intent on producing a nuclear weapons programme could conceal it from inspectors and outsiders - which he used to draw a parallel with the situation in Iraq.

Yessirree, 2 years ago, every problem went back to Clinton. Now, it's all Saddam, all the time.

Powell's a sensible man. To be forced to say this kind of crap in public must be hugely humiliating.

via the beeb

NY EVENT ALERT: Peace and Quiet  

At 6pm the night before the vote on a UN resolution authorizing force and the night after any bombing begins we will meditate in front of the UN on 45th street and 1st avenue (or as close to the north of that spot as they will let us sit)
Location: In front of the UN across the street from the US mission. 45th street and 1st Avenue
Adam Friedman

via United for Peace

Kennedy's Slows, Bush's Runs: Confronting a Nuclear Crisis  

Rather than hog a lot of blog space, I've linked to this speech I gave in October, 2002 at my daughter's school in front a small group of parents. I hope to expand more on the extent to which extremist language, which was dismissed in the 60's as crazy, has become commonplace in political discourse by the Bush administration.

Blair's Aides Are Quitting Plus An Analysis  

It looks like Blair's problems are compounding dramatically. Don't expect to hear this on US tv, of course.

So this is what will stop the war:

1. Turkey's parliament standing firm against US troops.
2. The fall of Blair if a UN resolution refuses to pass.
3. Worldwide protests continue.

Here is the most likely scenario for war to be prevented:

Turkey will pass a resolution demanding a UN resolution before deployment of US troops. Then, if Blair and Bush succeed in bribing the undecided UNSC members, Russia and France will veto the resolution. Blair will have no cover and will have to bow out of the war, if he is not forced from office. Bush would almost certainly have to hold the troops off.

However, if Turkey agrees to the troops regardless of a resolution, then things get much more complicated, but Blair would probably still fall. And Bush might go ahead anyway.

Here is the most likely scenario for war to start:

Turkey accepts the bribe, UNSC undecideds accept bribe, France/Russia refuse to exercise veto.

Another likely scenario is, of course, a preemptive move by Saddam against US troops.

A third likely scenario to start the war is a horrific terrorist attack on US soil.

Bush, of course, is more than capable of faking 2 but even I can't imagine he would do the third.

In any event, I don't think war is as likely as the US media believe it is.

Islamist Seditionist Backs Bush?  

Politics makes strange bedfellows. In Turkey (remember Turkey?), Gul is apparently out to be replaced by Erdogan. Erdogan " was banned from public office because of a 1990s conviction for Islamist sedition... " But should he win this new poll, which is considered a foregone conclusion, apparently he will re propose that us troops be allowed into Turkey.What's up with that???

Letter to the NY Times  

To the Editor:

In re: "Saying No to War (editorial, March 9):

What on earth took you so long? It was obvious from the moment that the Bush administration began to talk about preemptive war that it was a terrible idea. It was obvious from the earliest days of the administration that they would botch any and all negotiations both here and abroad.

On behalf of our soldiers and the Iraqi children who are going to die needless deaths, I must ask you: what held your tongue in September?

Heaven knows, sincere, intelligent people tried as hard as they could to tell you and other influential organizations that this war was screaming-yellow-bonkers nuts. But you refused to see the evidence in front of your eyes until now, when it is nearly too late.

Next time, for God's sake, pay attention to the mail from us peons and don't accept any administration's tripe. Hopefully, we'll survive so that there is a next time.

Boycott... Uh... Bami Goreng!  

Indonesia expects about one million antiwar protesters in a huge march. And this in a country that experienced the worst al Qaeda terrorism since 9/11.

I guess they just don't see the connection between al Qaeda and Iraq. How could they be so thick? Must be all that Ketjap Manis.

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