War Is The Worst Thing

I'm just back from the Santa Clara County Jefferson Jackson dinner. (Even though I live in San Mateo County... I go with my aunt who lives in the next county south...) This is a yearly Democratic Party event.

One thing I want to comment on. I talked to a lot of people. Everyone has a theory about why we are in Iraq. Some talk about Bush being swayed by neo-cons who control what he hears. Some talk about oil. Others about religious agendas like trying to start the apocalypse because the Evangelicals want to ascend to Heaven as the rest of us perish in a total war. Etc.

My comment is that WE DO NOT KNOW why we are in Iraq, and the reasons put forth by the Republicans are obviously bogus. They laid down a smokescreen, told a bunch of lies, whipped us up into a frenzy of fear and loathing, and got their war on. But no one accepts their reasons for war, and no one understands why we REALLY went to war. So we are left with rumors, conspiracy theories, people trying to piece together logic out of whispers of supposed information from possibly trusted sources... My point being that in a Democracy WE were supposed to decide after digesting all available information, with our government serving us by making that information available so we can be informed in our decision process, and the Congress was supposed to "declare war" only in response to the gravest of emergencies. But this time we were led to war, tricked into it, lied to, and manipulated by people who are masters of marketing but apparently void of basic humanity. But why? All we have to go on is rumor and speculation.

WAR. WAR. My God, we started a WAR! WAR IS THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD and we are at war, and we started it. Yes WE. You and me, our country, we started a war, and now we are starting to see it grow. We are seeing images of soldiers urinating on prisoners with hoods over their heads. We are seeing images of children burned to death, arms missing, mosques exploding, bombs ending lives, coffins returning home...

And worse, we did this while we were already occupied with Afghanistan, with finding the people who attacked us on 9/11, and eliminating their ability to attack us again. We took away from that effort to make this other war.

And NO ONE can really tell us why. THIS is what we have become.

(Yes, I know, a long night. It's late.)

Spam Record

I received 1306 spam messages today. A record, I think.

If you ever send me mail and think I'm not answering, it may have gotten lost in the deluge.

Update - 7 more in the 5 minutes since I posted that.

Update - 359 more this morning.

Bev Harris on the spot

Using the Patriot Act, the Bushies are going after Bev Harris. Another huge story that will be completely ignored by the corporate media.

Still more viewing pleasure

Avedon finds a wonderful capture of Bill Maher putting the boot up Tweetie and Bush. Just a couple minutes. You will love this, I promise.

Bush Wasn't Flying the Plane

I was just watching NBC Nightly News, and they clearly said that Bush landed the airplane on the aircraft carrier one year ago today.

Bush did not land the plane. Bush never learned to land on a carrier, and has not been allowed to fly since he refused to take his flight physical after they instituted drug testing back when he was in the National Guard.

He was a passenger. He had no need to wear the flight suit - it was all for show.


Awhile back Kos caught an enormous amount of flak because of a harsh remark he made about the four mercenaries who were killed outside Fallujah.

Rather than backing down or pretending it didn't happen, he's stayed on the mercenary question. He's got a bunch of stuff up right now (April 29 and 30).

Using mercenaries is the standard kind of corner-cutting contracting-out that Republicans like to do so much in everything. The mercenaries in Iraq are as well-armed as the troops, at least as well-trained, and much better-paid. They're not under military discipline, but the U.S. is ultimately responsible for everything they do. This is certainly an issue to follow.

Kalamazoo has its doubts about Bush-Cheney 9/11 testimony

Sounds like the simple folk in Kalamazoo haven't learned how to regurgitate the received wisdom yet:

"Still, we continue to be troubled by a number of conditions set by the White House before Bush and Cheney would testify.

It was troubling that Bush and Cheney insisted on being questioned together. What did the White House fear about the two men being questioned separately? That they wouldn't get their stories straight separately? That Bush might go off the reservation and say something Cheney didn't want him to?

We also are troubled by the fact that neither Bush nor Cheney were under oath when they answered questions. Granted, it is precedent-setting that a president and vice president would testify before a legislatively created body, but the refusal to answer questions under oath certainly must leave the public wondering.

Finally, we are very troubled by the White House's demand that no recording, no official transcript, of the interview be made. Certainly we in the media live and die by the official record. Video, audiotapes, transcripts are what those who report the proceedings go on. Ditto for historians a generation from now. Even if today the testimony were classified and sealed from the public, someday an accurate record of what was said at Thursday's meeting would be invaluable for writers of history trying to understand this era.

Why would the White House make such a demand?........

And their testimony, which we hope was totally truthful, may do much to help the commission, Congress and the White House reach some concrete conclusions about how to prevent another attack on American soil."

(My emphasis).

The Kalamazoo Gazette

Republican Pedophiles, etc.

Over at my other site I sometimes try to beat the Republican creeps at their own game, for example on my Republican Sex Criminals page. I just received a link to an even better page which specializes in Republican Child Molesters -- 26 of them.

I've always wanted to do a piece on my home state's indigenous brand of Republican sex criminals, adulterers, drug abusers, and scofflaws, but I've never gotten around to it. The list starts with the well-known Sen. Bob Packwood and includes Joe Lutz of the Moral Majority (serial adultery), Multnomah County Commissioner Gordon Shadburne (a homophobe who put his boyfriend on the country payroll), Drew Davis (drugs, porn, Jesus), Kelly Clark (legislator, stalker) and Wes Cooley (no known sex or drugs, but lied under oath too often even for the Republicans).

We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming.


This is really depressing

According to the White House, major combat operations in Iraq ended a year ago.*

But this month has been the worst month so far.

And now we're hiring Saddam's generals to do the fighting for us.

*FOOTNOTE: Originally the White House simply reported that ALL combat operations had ended, but when that statement became embarrassing they doctored their website.

Accusing Nightline of TREASON!

If you think for a MINUTE that the owners of the media are not far-far-far right wing, read this. Sinclair Broadcast Group owns a bunch of TV stations. They are ordering them not to show Nightline, because Nightline is paying tribute to the soliers who have died. Here's what they say about it: Sinclair to Preempt `Nightline' on ABC Stations, Cites Politics :
"...the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq."
Is this extreme enough for you? Accusing Nightline of TREASON for showing the names of dead soldiers?

I missed something


So what's up with Atrios? I missed something.

He's talking about Nader voters as "greenshirts". Wonder what that is supposed to mean? We're going to be storming through the streets breaking the windows of Democrat-owned shops? Or what?

And his passionate commitment to free expression on blogs didn't last very long. He's back linking to Kerry's campaign cash register already. I assume he made some statement about the undelinking of the Kerry campaign from his site. But I can't find it. He was right the first time -- the Kerry campaign's caving to the wingnuts' false outrage in l'affaire Kos was cowardly and contemptible. (Not untypical for Democrats. Ooops, better change my shirt before I say stuff like that!)



"Our military commanders will take whatever action is necessary to secure Fallujah on behalf of the Iraqi people," he [Bush] said.
- Bush: Most of Fallujah returning to "normal''

"We had to destroy the village to save the village."
- Unknown lieutenant during the Vietnam War

"That's What They Do In Their Mosques"

I just heard Rumsfield on CNN, holding up a picture of some people in a mosque with weapons, saying "That's what they do in their mosques."

Is this as bad as calling it a "crusade?" Are we going after "those people" now?

Shit is going to hit the fan.


Didn't They Use This Smear On Clinton?

Yes, they did, and it worked. So they're dragging it out and using it on Kerry, too.

"On the Friday before his MEET THE PRESS appearance, Dem presidential hopeful John Kerry flew his Washington, DC hairdresser to Pittsburgh for a touch-up, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Cristophe stylist Isabelle Goetz, who handles Kerry's hair issues, made the trek to Pittsburgh, campaign sources reveal.

'Her entire schedule had to be rearranged,' a top source explains.

A Kerry campaign spokesman refuses to clarify if Goetz flew by private jet on April 16 or on the official Kerry For President campaign plane.

The total expense for the hair touch-up is estimated to be more than $1000, insiders tell DRUDGE."
Expect another lie in an hour. It's what they do. They lie. They just lie.


Clicking through the channels (I'm male) I landed on MSNBC for a few minutes where they were having a discussion about Senator Hillary Clinton bad-mouthing Bush "in the Arab press." Since these things usually come in orchestrated patterns, I checked, and sure enough the same story is running at Scaife's NewsMax, "Hillary Blasts Bush in Arab Press". They're implying she committed treason for saying bad things about Bush to Arabs. (Remember how they accused Clinton of "protesting against his government on foreign soil"?)

This is the kind of Red-baiting that Republicans are known for, except it isn't Reds now, it's Arabs.
"Sen. Clinton delivered the unprecedented attack in an interview with the London-based Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Monday, with newspapers from Tehran to Islamabad picking up her harsh words almost immediately."
This "news report" concludes with
"In comments that could only encourage the Iraqi insurgency, the top Democrat complained that "the United States was in trouble because it could not abandon Iraq, nor provide enough manpower to run the country, nor gather world allies willing to provide the necessary assistance for the gigantic task," according to Mehr's translation."
OK, I'll go after some Trees for a minute, as long as we remember the Forest: They lie. They just lie. Never forget.


1) The interview was with a London-based news organization.

2) Arabs are not our enemies. Arab newspapers are not enemy organizations. (In fact, we're "helping" the Iraqis by "freeing" them, remember?) (No, don't look a the pre-9/11 plans to seize the Iraqi oil fields, look over THERE!)

3) Arabs are completely capable of reading American newspapers, and they even have the Internet in the Middle East, too. Newspapers "from Tehran to Islamabad" can even pick up stories from the Washington Times. And Islamabad might SOUND like an enemy if you're as ignorant as the Republicans clearly expect the consumers of their lies to be -- (Islam Bad) -- but it's actually on our side. And Iran has been helping against al-Queda as well.

4) It does not "encourage the Iraqi insurgency" to state the obvious. They have eyes. They can see the mess Bush has gotten us into.

I know better, but I just can't stop myself...

More viewing pleasure

Here's another archived stream at C-SPAN you might enjoy watching. (If that direct link fails for you, go here and follow the first "WATCH" link.)

It's a panel discussion (really a debate) from last weekend's Los Angeles Times Festival of Books:

Panel: U.S. and Iraq One Year Later: Right to Get In? Wrong to Get Out?
Watch 2 hrs.

* Christopher Hitchens, "A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq"
* Mark Danner, "The Massacre at El Mozote"
* Michael Ignatieff, "The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror"
* Robert Scheer, co-author, The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq"
* Steve Wasserman, Los Angeles Times Book Review editor—Moderator

Hitchens is looking much more prosperous (and sober even) since his Big Right Turn. But of course.

Wasserman is as always somewhere between a weasel and a blowhard, but, except for some extremely long-winded (I did say it was Wasserman, right?) questions, is mercifully quiet.

Hitchens makes you want to scream and throw things at the screen. Ignatieff always reminds me of the worst sort of self-promoting academic smart-fool, and he does not disappoint here. Danner is good on our side, but Scheer simply hands Hitchens his head on several occasions, especially during the last few minutes when he suckers both Hitchens and Ignatieff into some faux outrage and then raises the stakes to such a level that they are left literally breathless and staggered. It is one of the best moments I've seen on television in years. Watch the last ten minutes or so, or watch the whole thing if such discussions appeal to you.

What America Knows III

A letter to the editor in today's San Jose Mercury News show a lot of what is going on in this election, and in America today:
"The Democrats and their sycophants in the media criticized George W. Bush for using pictures of 9/11 in his campaign ads. However, they seem to have no problem with using the issue of photographs of coffins of American soldiers in their attempt to damage the president politically for the war in Iraq. Look up hypocrite in the dictionary, and it will say, 'See Democrat, also Media.' "
The news runs pictures of coffins coming back from Iraq -- that's news, no way around it. But to this Republican, those pictures make Bush look bad, and therefore news outlets showing such pictures must be biased against Bush.

Let's go a bit deeper into what he is saying. I think this letter reflects the thinking of a typical "movement conservative." He's probably a Rush listener. Maybe he reads National Review, or visits Free Republic. To him, news is entirely about the political images that are projected to the public - entirely about whether the things told to the public help or hurt the right-wing movement. This Republican lives in a world engaged in an ideological war, so it is beyond comprehension that a news outlet would show something just because it is "news." The reality factor - the "news" - is not an issue, nor is it supposed to be, for him. Whether what is shown helps or hurts the movement is the only issue that matters. Everything is about helping move the cause forward. Anything that does not move the cause forward is an enemy.

So look at what this means for traditional news outlets. An honest news outlet is going to report, on occasion, things that do not help the cause of the Republican Party. So to these committed conservatives, this means that regular news outlets are, by definition, "against" them! If an image is shown that hurts Bush, the outlet must be "liberal," or else they wouldn't show it. (This is why we are all so surprised when a "news" outlet like Fox discusses news that might be seen as unfavorable to Bush.)

This writer KNOWS that the Republicans are lying when they say it is out of respect for the families of the soldiers that they refuse to let the media take photos and is complicit. To him it is clearly about images that harm Bush. He respects them for lying, because it furthers the movement. He understands the need to provide a cover story. He does not see it as lying and certainly there is no respect lost for those telling the cover story. He knows that it is part of the way things are done.

THIS is what is going on now in America. The "conservatives" see themselves as part of a "movement" and understand their part. Listen to Rush, as they phone in and discuss the nuances of PR strategies. It is all about furthering the cause, defeating the enemy -- which, by the way, is you and me. Watch your back.

51% of the people, all of the time

People joke that the Bush Administration has been using Lincoln's quip as their game plan, but the joke isn't very funny any more.

It's starting to look as if the Bush strategists are planning to win re-election by targeting two groups only: the fanatics of the Republican core constituency, and the people who aren't really paying attention.

A majority of Americans still believe that Saddam had MWD, actively supported al Qaeda, and was probably involved in 9/11. No evidence for any of this has surfaced.

The attacks on Kerry's supposed "anti-defense" votes don't hold water either -- Rumsfeld and Cheney held similiar views at various times in the past. As Republicans say about everything else but defense, "You can't solve a problem by throwing money at it", and some weapons systems just aren't needed. (The one person people really should be looking at in this regard is Rumsfeld, who sent an undermanned and underequipped army to Iraq).

The flap about Kerry's service records is even worse. The best you can say about Bush's military performance is that he served stateside and got permission to leave the service early with an honorable discharge. (This is the absolute minimum standard of acceptable military service). The worst you can say about Kerry is that he was a decorated combat veteran who got permission to leave the service early with an honorable discharge.

Kerry comes out far ahead by all non-pacifist standards, and people have asked why the Bush people are even raising the issue. The answer is that they are targetting people who aren't really paying attention -- airhead centrist whim voters who vote on the basis of buzz.

"Well, there were questions about Bush's military service, and there were questions about Kerry's service too, so basically it's a wash". That sounds shrewd and maybe even wise, right? Nobody's going to fool this guy! He doesn't even have to read the articles to figure out what's going on!

I blame the drug culture. During the Sixties a lot of people came to believe that they could get the real truth by intuiting vibes and reading auras, and that nit-picky left-brain attention to fact and detail is useless, if not harmful. Some of those people are still around today, and they seem to have had kids.

The present Bush campaign can only succeed if it gets active collaboration from the media. The most routine professional, fact-based coverage of the Bush campaign would blow it completely out of the water. But for whatever reason, even some non-partisan journalists have accepted a definition of "neutrality" which (like the worst forms of affirmative action that the Republicans rail against) requires equality of outcome. If, on a particular issue, the Bush people lie and the Kerry people tell the truth, the media will not tell us about it. (What they actually do is really worse than simply fake neutrality, of course -- most what we see about the election in the media is paid advertising for which ultimately do not take any responsibility at all.)

The possibility that Bush might be reelected to an irresponsible lame-duck term without the support of any well-informed voters at all is terrifyng. To me that sounds like a carte blanche to run wild and trash the place worse than he has already.

As always, I end up making a plea to people who never come to my site: the libertarians and the semi-mythical rational conservatives and moderate Republicans. None of them really have any reason to support Bush (key words: Patriot Act, little government, fiscal responsibility, and "sliming John McCain"). But it's possible that many of them will do so anyway, saying "At least he's not a Democrat!" Even the ones who don't vote for Bush will probably just slink down to the polling place and take advantage of the secret ballot.

I'm really hoping that a few of the big names will stand up in the last few weeks of the campaign and announce publicly that they're voting for Kerry. If they don't, the consequences could be appalling.

(No, I don't think that the Democrats will be able to pull it off on their own.)


Campaigns, blogs, marketing and reality

Watch this at C-SPAN.

If the link doesn't work for you, go to C-SPAN.org and search down the "LATEST VIDEO" list for "TechnologyPolitics Summit on Politics & the Internet (04/26/2004)".

The first presentation concerns progressive talk radio, but more interesting is a terrific talk by David Weinberger (a Dean Campaign Internet advisor). This starts about 57 minutes into the clip and runs for about 45 minutes.

Magic Spells

From the story referenced below, something on a completely different topic. Can anyone tell me what the difference is between this: ..."years before, Wallace was just about dead at the bottom of a swimming pool and that the only thing that brought him back to life was the power of people praying for him to live." and the belief that you can cast a magic spell?

What Americans Know II

My earlier post was obliterated by Blogger after being up for a few days. The post started with the news that most Americans STILL think Iraq was behind 9/11. Among other things I said it's crucial for us to listen to Limbaugh in order to understand what Republicans are thinking and what so many Americans think is reality. Today a Washington Post story covers this territory.
Some people get their information from the TV networks or the paper. Stein starts with the Drudge Report Web site, where he scans the headlines and clicks on one that says, "Rallying Cry For Dems: Vote Bush Out of Rove's Office." "This is the kind of stuff that pisses me off," he says. "They don't give Bush the respect he deserves. Not only because he's president, but because he's a helluva good man."

Next he goes to a Web site called WorldNetDaily.com. He clicks on an article that says, "Poll: Bush's Approval Sinking," but dismisses it as untrustworthy when he sees the poll was done by CBS. "Of course I have a suspicion of CBS," he says. "Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw -- they don't have any credibility with me."

Next he goes through a site called FreeRepublic.com, which calls itself "the premier conservative news forum," and then moves on to a site called sftt.org. "Soldiers for the Truth," he says, scrolling through another list of articles and watching a video of what the site says is a U.S. Apache helicopter targeting and obliterating three Iraqis. "Another guy moving right there," one voice on the video says, all business. "Good. Fire. Hit him," another voice says.

"It's amazing, the military, the men and women who are serving us," Stein says. "You think about the sacrifices, the idea of spending Christmas in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in West Africa, in these hellholes. In the civilian world, they get some injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, and they want to go sue their employers, and these guys . . . I'm so proud of them. I'm so glad they're on our side."

Next he goes to Military.com, where there's a photograph of an American soldier holding a wild-haired Saddam Hussein on the ground moments after his capture. "Look at the contrast," Stein says. "There's the American soldier coming to liberate the country, and there's the tyrant who ran the rape rooms and the children's prisons. That inspires me."

Next he goes to AmericanRhetoric.com, where he has listened to an "awesome" speech by Bush, an "amazing" speech by Reagan, and a "great" speech by Martin Luther King Jr. from a time before "things got so distorted," and then he goes to townhall.com, which calls itself a "conservative news and information" site, where he begins hopscotching from Pat Buchanan to Robert D. Novak to Ann Coulter.

This is how Stein gets his information, along with watching Fox News and skimming the local paper, to which he once canceled his subscription because he was so offended by an opinion column about Bush that began, "The Boy Emperor picked up the morning paper and, stunned, dropped his Juicy Juice box with the little straw attached." He recognizes that the information he seeks out reinforces his beliefs rather than challenges them, but "I feel I'm more informed than most people," he says. "Most people don't read all of this."
There's so much more in this article. Read it. Start listening to Limbaugh. Start in small, 5-minute doses. Don't break your radio. Work up to a full half hour. It is CRUCIAL to understand what Americans are being told. You will not BELIEVE what they're telling people! But this is the core of Republican thought. What you hear here is repeated in various forms and dilutions on the mainstream news. It sets the agenda. People BELIEVE that cutting taxes or the rich increases government revenue! People BELIEVE that Christians are persecuted in America. People BELIEVE that "the government" is some separate entity that takes money from regular working people and just keeps it for "themselves." They are told that Republicans are "people like us" and Democrats drive "limousines" and "drink wine and eat French cheeses" and that they hate Christians. Over and over they are told these things.

And they are told, over and over again, not to listen to mainstream media, not to trust anything "Liberals" say, not to trust their facts, not to believe anything they hear except from the far right. And it works.

Republicans understand how people get their information, and they take advantage of it. They spread little (untrue) stories about ridiculous lawsuits on music radio stations, they send out (untrue) chain e-mail stories about Kerry insulting people, they call talk shows with (untrue) stories about Kerry pushing his way to the front of lines in drug stores saying, "Do you know who I am?" They plant (untrue) stories about people (meaning Jews) persecuting Christians. Fox News reports Iraq stories under the banner "War on Terrorism" as if Iraq had anything to do with Terrorism...



Looks like I'm saving the data from the hard drive. It just came up again, and I'm copying everything to a new drive, hoping it lasts long enough.

Meanwhile something has screwed up the Seeing the Forest site, starting with the deletion of part of the What America Knows post, and leaving everything after that in bold. I'm leaving it alone in case Blogger fixes it...

Hard Drive Help

I've got a 30gb Quantum Fireball in my Mac G4 that suddenly won't spin up. The Drive Setup doesn't see it. Does anyone have any suggestions? Am I going to have to spend a huge amount to get the data recovered? Thanks in advance for any help.

Update - It does spin up, but the Mac won't see it. So maybe it's some kind of failure in the circuitry of the drive.