Taking The Weekend Off

I wrote about this the other day, but I want to emphasize it. This is a big deal. It is an insult to the entire world, not just to the American people.

Bush is taking the weekend off!

Is he perhaps playing the fiddle, up at Camp David?


Hard to Believe It's In The Washington Times

It is hard to believe that this, A reckless path, appeared in Moon's Washington Times! Excerpt:
Mr. Rockefeller will not be the only one to ask if the forged nuclear documents are part of a Bush administration campaign to deceive the public. Polls show that 50 percent of Americans believe it was Iraqis who hijacked the airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Towers and Pentagon. Inattention or media incompetence are the likely explanations for this extraordinary misinformation, but some will now blame deception.

Others are already thinking the forged documents are part of a neoconservative campaign to deceive President Bush and win his support for their Middle Eastern policy.

Many perceive Mr. Bush as following a reckless path, one that politicians normally try to avoid at all costs. If Iraq resists and devastating new explosives, which our military has been testing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, are dropped on Baghdad, there will be massive civilian deaths and charges of war crimes fueled by anger at American arrogance.

Bush "Grooming Video"

The Bush "Grooming Video" is available online now.
When you watch the videos, think about the fact that Bush is about to tell the world that he's sending our soldiers to possibly die, but definitely to kill innocent people in Iraq as our military bombs and shoots its way to Saddam. Think about that and contrast that with Bush's jovial, playful attitude, seen unfiltered in the German broadcast (digitized in the 11.3M "BushGroomed2.mpg")
And then planned his weekend vacation.
Hey, Bush, it sure is funny thinking about all those innocent Iraqi women and children who are going to die painful and horrible deaths because of your bombs, isn't it? Just downright slap-happy funny. We bet you haven't had this much fun since you mocked Karla Faye Tucker's plea for clemency (See: Link) and executed at least 135 people while Governor of Texas (See: Link | Link 2).
Those links are active if you go to the referenced page.

94 Spams Today

I received 94 spam messages this morning alone. This is AFTER taking all kinds of steps to stop spam a few months ago, when I was receiving over 400 per day. One day I topped 500. I was down to a couple for a little while after that. Now it's back up to 94 (it's early in the day) that get around the filters.


Today's media word is "valiant." All media are directed to describe Bush war activities as "valiant." "Bold," "audacious" still allowed. Prepare for "glorious," "triumphant," "righteous," "all-seeing," and later, "God-like."

Update - I posted this because I saw one channel describing the ground assault as "valiant."


Bush To Take Weekend Off

According to The Agonist, CNN has announced that the Relaxer-in-Chief will be spending the weekend at Camp David, as he does almost every weekend. This is not a working weekend - there is no situation room at Camp David!

This is an absolute outrage! This man takes NOTHING seriously. The propagandists like to call Bush "the wartime President" but now, thanks to this administration blowing diplomacy we really are in a real shooting war and situations with the gravest possible consequences for all of us could come up at any moment! Korea might do something. Iran might decide to launch their own preventative action -- we have promised we are going to come after them soon. Iraq might actually have chemical weapons and use them! That is Bush's justification for this war, isn't it?

If he's going to play "wartime President" - and then screw up and get us into real wars - he should pretend he cares about what's going on and be ready to actually BE the President!

Blog Hero - Body and Soul

I give Body and Soul the Seeing the Forest Blog Hero award today, for writing this piece. This is a big-deal award to receive -- so much so that I made up the award just to give it. (I'll continue to present the Blog Hero award in the future - to motivate bloggers to go write better.)

From the piece,
My local newspaper crossed a line. Yesterday (or maybe it was the day before, I'm not sure, bits of news and information just seem to be tumbling over each other lately), they printed a letter from someone complaining about another letter, which had mentioned Iraqi children. Yesterday's writer was outraged by the mention of those children. They are a gun pointed right at us, she said. We need to kill them all before they get a chance to grow up and kill us.
Please go the rest of Body and Soul's piece!

Thanks TBOGG for pointing out this piece.

Europe Watch Out!

Maybe the right REALLY IS planning to target Europe! (Previous indication here.)
Lately the forces arrayed against America have grown to include mainstream Old European diplomacy, whose sabotage of the United States has spread from constant WTO harassment to full-blown hijacking of NATO and the hostile use of the U.N. Security Council. Year after year, Americans lose their lives by terrorism. American families suffer terrible grief. Old Europe and its surrogates all over the world struggle frantically to fetter Americans' efforts to protect themselves.
If we see any more of this, we'll know the Wurlitzer has received their orders to make Americans hate Europe, too.

Iraqis Start Blowing Oil Wells

Go read Iraqis Start Blowing Oil Wells over at Daily Kos, to understand the military reasons Iraq would set the southern oil wells on fire. Summary - the smoke obscures everything and greatly slows down advancing US forces.

Killing Saddam - HUGE Strategic Mistake

If we did - or do - kill Saddam, what is our justification for then entering or remaining in Iraqi territory?

More important, without Saddam in the picture, what is the justification for the Iraqi people LETTING us occupy Iraq, instead of fighting us? It changes the public face of this from a war of liberation to a war of conquest. Perhaps targeting Saddam is a huge mistake (aside from being blatantly illegal), that could lead the Iraqi people to fight us when they otherwise might have welcomed us as liberators.

Update - If we did kill Saddam, or don't know if we did or not, this eliminates any justification for bombing Baghdad, seizing oil fields, etc. If we can't proceed with our bombing campaign, we have to change the entire war plan. (Also Bush can't give billions to his campaign donors to rebuild the buildings, bridges, roads, airports, etc. that we destroy). This assassination attempt could turn out to be a huge strategic mistake of historic proportions.

Update and Explanation - I hope that they kill or otherwise remove Hussein from the picture here, and stop any bombing, and no one else is hurt or killed, and the people of Iraq are freed. My point is that this Bush plan is about taking over Iraq, and this removes the justification for THEIR plan. And, in fact, they are saying to reporters that they think they DID kill Hussein, but as you can clearly see they are proceeding to bomb Baghdad and attack with ground troops.


From this story:
Minutes before the speech, an internal television monitor showed the president pumping his fist. ``Feels good,'' he said.
"Feels good," he said. World, take note: You're next.


The Money Quote

For the entry below I was scanning David Brock's book Blinded by the Right - a key book for for beginning to understand what the right has been doing to us - and came across this, the beginning of Chapter four, "A Counter-Intelligentsia", pages 71-73.
"Midway through the Bush administration, I left my job at the [Washington] Times to serve at the Heritage Foundation in a yearlong fellowship underwritten by the John M. Olin Foundation, a philanthropy supported by the Olin family petrochemical fortune. From this sinecure, working for the first time not among writers and editors but among hard-core movement activists, I saw how right-wing ideology was manufactured and controlled by a small group of powerful foundations like Olin, the Adolph Coors Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Scaife Family Trusts, and others that lavishly underwrote the effort. William Simon, a rock-ribbed conservative and high-profiled leveraged buyout king who had been treasury secretary under Presidents Nixon and Ford, became president of Olin in 1976 with the explicit intention of redirecting its grant-making to achieving partisan political results for the right. He also founded the Institute for Educational Affairs, which bankrolled the right-wing campus reviews. "The only thing that can save the Republican Party … is a counter-intelligentsia," Simon said.

Following the Watergate scandal and the economic recession of the mid-1970's, major American corporations, especially in the West, teamed up with the Wall Street venture capital class to coordinate their political activities. They gave targeted donations in the tens of millions to conservative political action committees like Terry Dolan's National Conservative Political Action Committee and Paul Weyrich's Free Congress PACs; and they promoted right-wing ideology through a network of think tanks and issue lobbies and publications advocating free-market capitalism, deregulation, and lower corporate taxes. In his 1978 book, A Time for Truth, Simon called on business leaders and corporate foundation executives to fund "intellectual refuges for the non-egalitarian scholars and writers in our society who today work largely alone in the face of overwhelming indifference or hostility. The must be given grants, grants, and more grants in exchange for books, books, and more books."


No institution better exemplified the convergence of various strains of conservatism than Heritage, founded by Paul Weyrich and Edwin Feulner, with start-up money from Coors and additional backing from a range of corporate sponsors, including oil and gas, electronics, and pharmaceutical interests. Companies like RJ Reynolds tobacco and the consumer goods giant Amway were major doors. The foundation recruited for its board Richard Mellon Scaife, an heir to the Mellon banking fortune; Lewis Lehrman, a drugstore magnate; Dr. Robert Krieble, founder of the worldwide chemical corporation Loctite; and writer Midge Decter. Lavishing six-figure fellowships on such figures as Edwin Meese and William Bennett, Heritage promoted aggressive anti-Communism, laissez-faire economics, and the moral traditionalism of the New Right. Heritage made its first mark in 1981 with a volume called Mandate for Leadership that became the ideological blueprint for the new Reagan Administration. Heritage is a tax-exempt foundation, requiring that it not engage in activities or lobbying benefiting a political party. However, the organization functioned as a de facto arm of the GOP, churning out slick position papers, called Heritage Backgrounders, that were then marketed on Capitol Hill by a specially designated congressional relations shop. The authors of the papers were nominally independent researchers, but in the argot of Grover Norquist, they were expected to behave as loyal members of the conservative movement "team." Essentially, the papers backed up an already fixed ideological viewpoint, dictated directly by a tier of Heritage executives who decided the organization's position on a given issue, and indirectly by the outside foundations that help Heritage's purse strings."
So go read Some History of the Conservative Movement and go help the Commonweal Institute do something about it.

Today's Google Experiment - Why Are We Going To War?

I was listening to a talk show on local station KGO, and the guest William Clark was talking about a paper he has written describing how Iraq switching their sale of oil from dollars to Euros imperils our economy. Here is the paper, The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq: A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth, by W. Clark and it is well worth reading.

During the radio show, they said that the URL for finding this paper was too long to give over the air, but that listeners can go to Google and search for "The real reason behind the Iraq war". They said it would be the first that comes up. (It isn't.)

This morning I searched, and it turned out that it wasn't the first item found (in fact I never found it that way). But Google found hundreds of items when searching for the real reasons we are going to war, and this is what I want to write about. In fact, the first item found by Google was very good and summed up the problem. This was an editorial from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"The official story on Iraq has never made sense. The connection that the Bush administration has tried to draw between Iraq and al-Qaida has always seemed contrived and artificial. In fact, it was hard to believe that smart people in the Bush administration would start a major war based on such flimsy evidence.

The pieces just didn't fit. Something else had to be going on; something was missing."
Here is what I want to say today: Everyone understands that we are going to war for other reasons than those stated by the Bush administration. Everyone!

In this morning's San Jose News, as usual, most of those letters to the editor favoring this war had the premise that Iraq was responsible for 9/11. Most of the people I have talked to who favor the war cite this as their reason. If you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, they reinforce this repeatedly. President Bush implies, but does not say, that Iraq was behind 9/11. (I've learned that to understand what right wingers are saying, look to what the intended audience hears.)

Also in today's San Jose News is this front page story, Key advisers see Iraq war as test case.
Long before he branded Iraq part of the "axis of evil," when the twin towers of the World Trade Center were standing and the White House was Democratic, Iraq was a potential target on George W. Bush's radar screen.

``I am very worried about a Saddam Hussein who's not held to account,'' then-Texas Gov. Bush said in a television interview in January 2000. ``And if I'm president, and catch him in any way, shape or form building weapons of mass destruction, they'll be taken out.''

Now, galvanized by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and undeterred by the strong objections of longtime allies, President Bush is poised to make good on that vow. Iraq has emerged from the shadows of the 2000 campaign to become the bull's-eye for America's military as it prepares to act for the first time under the Bush administration's policy of pre-emptive attacks.

The looming war with Iraq has been brewing for several years, analysts said, advocated by a coterie of conservative foreign-policy specialists who were among Bush's top campaign advisers and now hold key positions in the administration -- among them Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his top deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.

They view Iraq not only as a significant national security threat, but also as an ideal proving ground for the full military might of the United States and a perfect test bed for democracy in the Middle East.
On the day that the war is likely to start, a major newspaper is still trying to find the real reason we are going to war.

The President says we are going to war to protect Americans from the imminent threat posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. But in reality, everyone understands that we are going to war for other reasons than those stated by the Bush administration. Everyone!

Those opposed to this war pick apart the publicly stated justifications. We know that there is no valid evidence that Iraq is currently engaged in developing nuclear weapons - that the evidence presented by the Bush administration has turned out to be phony. Then over time, we were presented with different reasons and justifications, many clearly developed using focus groups. "He gassed his own people" is a focus-group phrase, for example. As each new reason was shot down by facts, new reasons were presented. Then the facts were shot down.

Those supporting this war also understand that there is another, hidden agenda. But like so much of the right-wing agenda, they understand that the public face must be separated from the real agenda. They understand and agree that the public must be deceived. They wink and nod, and it is understood by all. How many right wing pundits, webloggers and other spokesmen have recently switch to the "war is to free the people of Iraq" rationale? But the President says that this war is necessary because of the imminent threat to Americans from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Are these right wingers calling the President a liar? Yes, and with the full understanding that they are supporting the right's real agenda.

David Brock, in his book Blinded by the Right, writes from the inside about this shared sense of purpose among "movement conservatives," and the shared understanding that the ends justifies the means. He also writes about how they were taught that lying is not only allow, but necessary.
One booklet on political tactics published by the Weyrich organization [Free Congress] included a section saying that for the right reasons lying was to be regarded as a permissible "mental reservation." (Moon, too, taught that lying is necessary, even under oath, when one is doing "God's work.")
As I said, NO ONE believes that we are going to war for the publicly stated reasons - that Iraq has refused to disarm and that this represents an imminent threat to the safety of the American public. Very often I see this wink-and-nod "other hidden agenda" understanding at work in thew writings of the right wingers, and I urge the reader to look for this and point it out as well. ANY time you read or hear a right winger saying that this war is to "free the people of Iraq," or any reason other than the imminent threat to Americans from weapons of mass destruction, ask them why they are calling the President a liar!

Update - Illustrating my point, this vomitous story, with vomitous headline Bush Scrutinizes Final Iraq Battle Plans:
Bush himself sent Congress formal notice that he had determined "further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone" would not be enough to contain the "threat posed by Iraq." Bush has contended that Saddam possesses chemical and biological weapons that he could use on his enemies or slip to terrorists.
This is the official reason, given to Congress to justify this war.


Mystery Disease Not As Bad As It Could Be

NY Times: Hong Kong Working to Grasp Scope of Mysterious Ailment:
HONG KONG, March 18 — Government health officials said here today that a small but unknown number of carriers of a mysterious kind of pneumonia were somewhere in this city, but they added that the moderate rate of new infections around the world suggested that the disease was not as contagious as initially feared.

Mystery Disease is Identified

Doctors in Hong Kong Identify Killer Virus.
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Doctors in Hong Kong have made a major breakthrough in identifying a deadly pneumonia virus which has killed about 10 people and left hundreds ill around the world, which will make it easier to treat, The Standard newspaper reported on Wednesday.


This is up on Drudge Report this morning:
THE BLITZ, THEN SIEGE OF BAGHDAD STARTS IN FOUR DAYS: Troops hope to have Saddam Hussein surrounded in Baghdad within four days after an unprecedented aerial blitz which will obliterate one in 10 major buildings in Iraq... Developing...
This fits with one of these rumors we have been hearing -- that the Iraq war is happening because the right wingers want to demonstrate America's superior power to the world. They want to show the world what we can do to anyone that opposes us.

Destroying one of every ten major buildings in Iraq? Because we think Iraq might attack us someday? Because, as Bush said in his speech last night, they might attack us in five years?
"We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year or five years the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over. With these capabilities, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now where it arises before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities."
Destroy one in ten major buildings in Iraq and how many thousands of civilians because they might attack us in five years? Will the world ever forgive us?

Will the worldwide defensive arms race this will trigger ever end?


Cases of Killer Pneumonia Spread Around the World

Cases of Killer Pneumonia Spread Around the World.
HONG KONG (Reuters) - A deadly form of pneumonia is moving rapidly around the world as travelers from parts of Asia spread the disease, creating new suspected cases in Britain, Germany, Australia and the United States.

Dixie Chicks

Apology from (not the real) Dixie Chicks here. Excerpt:
I hope everyone understands, I'm just a young girl who grew up in Texas. As far back as I can remember, I heard people say they were ashamed of President Clinton. I saw bumper stickers calling him everything from a pothead to a murderer. I heard people on the radio and tv like Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott bad mouthing the President and ridiculing his wife and daughter at every opportunity.

I heard LOTS of people disrespecting the President. So I guess I just assumed it was acceptable behavior.
Thanks to Bartcop.

Canary In The Blog Mine

Will the Bush regime use war as an excuse to round up the opposition and put them in camps? Here's a suggestion: If you don't see any posts from Atrios for 24 hours, head for Canada as fast as you can.

Buy French Now

Buy French Now!

Demonstrations in U.S.

You won't get this from the mainstream press: Liberal Oasis, How Many Americans Said No to War? A detailed study of 287 demonstrations for peace in the United States on February 15, 2003.

Mystery Disease

Killer Pneumonia Infections Mount, Fear Spreads:
HONG KONG (Reuters) - The number of Hong Kong people infected with a severe and contagious strain of pneumonia had nearly doubled, officials said on Monday as airports and hospitals around the world went on high alert for carriers.


Proud PETA Supporter

Dear Hamster,

I'm a proud PETA supporter. Here's something I wrote on this subject a while ago.

Visitors to Seeing the Forest

Friday was Seeing the Forest's most-read day, with approx. 3,500 unique visitor IPs visiting the site! I'm not sure how many unique visitors that translates to because many companies, universities, organizations, etc. would register as a single unique IP.

Someone in the last couple of days was unique IP visitor number 50,000. Congratulations! The number of people visiting Seeing the Forest is growing quite a bit, with each week surpassing the previous by a good number. It seems that more people are showing up to read weblogs!

Fellow Bloggers - If you see your weblog listed in my blogroll on the left, please consider adding a link to Seeing the Forest to your weblog. If you think you SHOULD be linked over on the left, let me know. (Instapundit is the only right-winger listed because I'm hoping he links back one of these days.) (Yes, this is blatant "trolling for links", also called Link Sluttage.)

Also, if you want blogrolls to let readers know when you have recently posted, you need to set your weblog to ping weblogs.com. If you're using Blogger, there's a setting under Publishing that lets you do this. I know you can ping them manually, and the instructions are in their FAQs, but the FAQs are not available right now. I'll post that here later, when their site is working again.

I have my blogroll set to put "|UP|" to the left of a weblog's name if there is a new post there within the last 3 hours.

More On That Mystery Illness

NY Times, Cases of Mysterious Illness Increase Over the Weekend.
The number of cases of what the World Health Organization now calls "severe acute respiratory syndrome" continued to rise through the weekend and spread to additional countries, especially in Southeast Asia.

More than 150 patients sick with the disease have been found in Hong Kong, mainland China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as in Canada, the World Health Organization announced over the weekend, calling the disease a "worldwide health threat."
I'll keep posting on this as I see stories.

Israeli Army Executes American Woman

The Israeli army executed an unarmed American woman who was peacefully protesting the demolition of a house, by using a bulldozer to cover her with sand until she was crushed to death.

Update -
"The American girl was lying in front of the bulldozer when the bulldozer took sand and put it over her," Ali al-Shaar, a witness to the incident, told Reuters.
"The bulldozer put sand on her and kept crushing her," said Nicholas Dure, a fellow protester.

Doctors who examined Corey's body at Rafah's main hospital said she died from suffocation.

Not Just Because He's My Friend

tendentious has some good stuff to read.