Saturday, November 29, 2003
Posted by C.
Just my opinion...

That durned liberal press. All I heard all Thanksgiving Day was a bunch of talking heads referring to Bush's surprise, secret visit as "craven," as "purely political," as the "desperate act of a drowning dictator."

Unbelievable. They should have been breathless. They should have been trying to outdo each other in their praise.

But no. If I had a nickel for every reference to his "repulsive smug grin." Or for every time one of those liberal pundits pointed out that some of those soldiers are going to come home with limbs missing, or in body bags...

Actually, I was with relatives, and I saw more Faux News in one day than I'd seen over the last several years. I thought the correspondents were going to soil their pants, they were so thrilled. "Oh my goodness!" (Shudder.) "He kept a secret!"
Thursday, November 20, 2003
Posted by E.
In England, Richard Perle Admits That The War on Iraq Is Illegal Under International Law

Our friends at The Guardian in the UK report on uber-hawk Perle's speech at an event in London where he states what many of us have known all along. The Guardian piece centers around this choice bit:"In a startling break with the official White House and Downing Street lines, Mr Perle told an audience in London: 'I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing'."It's definitely worth your time to read the entire article here.
Posted by C:
More on that energy bill

Sen John MacCain has dubbed it the "Leave No Lobbyist Behind" bill.

Sounds about right to me.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Posted by E.
Rumsfeld Meets With Saddam --US State Department Refers to Saddam's Regime as "Legitimate" Despite Use of Chemical Weapons

Okay, so it was awhile ago, back when GeeDubya's daddy was veep under Reagan, but the George Washington University's National Security Archive website has a video clip of a smiling Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam, as well as PDF's of FOIA-obtained official State Department documents that deplore the use of chemical weapons by Iraq but still make it clear that:"The United States finds the present Iranian regime's intransigent refusal to deviate from it's avowed objective of eliminating the legitimate government of neighboring Iraq to be inconsistent with the accepted norms of behavior among nations..." (Emphasis added.)Our friends at the NSA Archives neatly summarize our government's approach:"Chemical warfare was viewed as a potentially embarrassing public relations problem that complicated efforts to provide assistance. The Iraqi government's repressive internal policies, though well known to the U.S. government at the time, did not figure at all in the presidential directives that established U.S. policy toward the Iran-Iraq war. The U.S. was concerned with its ability to project military force in the Middle East, and to keep the oil flowing." (Emphasis added again.)Well, at least our ultimate goals haven't changed...

Sunday, November 16, 2003
Invisible hand for thee, but not for my contributors
Posted by C:
Headline from today's LA Times:

Energy Measure Would Limit Liability of MTBE Producers

Maybe the producers of MTBE minimized or concealed known hazards. That's what a suit brought by the state of New Hampshire says. South Lake Tahoe won a settlement for 69 million.

Tom DeLay, who's state is one of the main producers of MTBE, not only wants to guarantee legislatively that no-one can ever sue those companies again (and that tax dollars will have to pay for clean up no matter who's at fault), he wants to give that industry 2 billion dollars to help them retool.

That's unspeakably corrupt. What happened to the "invisible hand of the market" working its magic and putting these guys out of business?

Instead its the back of the hand to states and communities.

Oh, and the bill includes tax breaks for producers of nuclear power, too.

Invisible hand. Yeah. You bet. Sure.
Friday, November 14, 2003
Posted by E:
A billion here... A billion there... Sooner or later we're talking about real money.
So What's A War Cost These Days, Anyway?

So far, Dubya Dubya II has cost us taxpayers somewhere in the neighborhood of 166 billion dollars --and the boys in the White House are asking for at least another 87 big ones.

Now 87 billion is a VERY big number, and it's difficult to even imagine how much money that is in practical terms. The folks at Industrial Tradesman Magazine have an article in their November issue that helps to put things in perspective by listing some examples of what can be done with $87B: $87 billion is enough to pay all the people that have lost their jobs since Bush took office over $26,000 each.

$87 billion Is 87 times the amount the federal government spends on after-school programs annually.

$87 billion is enough to give every mammal on two legs in this country $300 with some change left over for lunch.

$87 billion is more than the combined total of all state budget deficits in the US.

The Bush administration requested just $7.6 billion for the entire Environmental Protection Agency, this after a 32% cut to water quality grants, a 6% reduction in enforcement staff, and a 50% cut to land acqusition and conservation funding.

$66.2 billion - that's how much the federal government spent last year on Health and Human Services.

The same article also quotes a piece in the Washington Post regarding the $166B that we've already "invested" in Iraq:"[the] $166 billion that has been spent or requested exceeds the inflation-adjusted costs of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War and the Persian Gulf War combined, and approaches the $191 billion inflation-adjusted cost of World War I."
Hmmm, so it turns out that $87 Billion actually is a lotta money.

And it's now been what, 6 months since the prez donned a pilot's costume and declared "victory" in our "war on terror" in Iraq? Well, dig deep into your pockets folks, it's gonna cost a lot more money before we can extricate ourselves from this disaster.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Posted by C:
Raise hands all who didn't see this sort of thing coming...

The Los Angeles Times reports:
Turkey Warns of Preemptive Action Against Rebel Kurds (11/10/03)

Now, all raise hands who thought that the Bush doctrine of preemptive military action would result in all other countries thinking that it's acceptable for the U.S., because we're the good guys, but that it's not acceptable to them because they're not.

No hands? That's what I thought.
Posted by E:
it's worse than even I thought...

One of the front page articles in today's San Jose Mercury News is about the leaking of the top secret CIA report that states that the situation in Iraq is grave and getting worse --in direct contrast to the upbeat public statements that the president has been making. Buried several paragraphs down in the article was...
The speed of the leak suggested that senior policymakers want to make sure the assessment reaches Bush. (Emphasis added.)

Some senior policymakers have complained of being frustrated in their efforts to provide Bush with more somber analyses of the situation in Iraq than the optimistic views of Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other hard-liners.

Is this what our system of government is reduced to? A leader who is so pitifully out of touch that members of his own administration leak CIA briefings to the press in the hopes that he'll at least be exposed to the information through TV news or whatever. Doesn't this strike anybody else as horribly, monstrously bad? That the guy in the whitehouse is either so utterly clueless or such a complete puppet that policymakers have to try to "brief" him through the media, since he obviously can't or won't get the information otherwise.

I find this terribly depressing.

Update: Atrios has now commented on this, too. (C)
Posted by C:
There's more to what we think than just the facts...

From uggabugga we learn:
The president gave a speech in Alabama a couple of days ago. Here is the key excerpt:
A free and peaceful Iraq will make it more likely that our children and grandchildren will be able to grow up without the horrors of September the 11th.

Putting "Iraq" and "September the 11th" in the same sentence this way is a powerful rhetorical technique.

There's this thing about human thinking (please don't ask me for a source on this):
If two items are always experienced together, they become linked in the mind.

I'd wager that Karl Rove knows this perfectly well.

Bush doesn't need to say, or have any of his fellows say, "Sadaam was behind 911." All he has to do is put the two in the same sentence again and again and again. Those who are not already predisposed to think there is no connection will unconsciously begin to think there is.

He's not doing this to change the minds of those who read the newspaper and already know that there's no connection. He's doing it to influence the thoughts of those who don't read and who don't know. (That's most of us, folks.) And it works.

The brain is "hard-wired" to do this linking. It's pro-survival. In the "real" world, it's
important to link things that always happen together, and very efficient to do it on a mental level below that of consciousness.

This goes a long way toward explaining why so many people think there is a connection between Sadaam and 911. GWB's speeches were indeed tailored to influence poorly informed people to think exactly that.

GWB can say, "I never said there was a connection" and he's telling a kind of truth. (In fact, at this point he can say that without diminishing the effect of having used the rhetorical technique we're talking about. People now "know" about the connection in a way similar to how they know thunder and lightning are associated with rain.)
When life gives you dilemmas, make dilemmanade.

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