Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cheney says we're staying...But the Iraqi leaders want us to go


Timetable=Cowardice if you ask the GOP, but Timetable=Sovereignty if you ask the Iraqis we've been fighting so hard to liberate.

The Iraqi leaders even said that their opposition have a "legitimate right of resistance."

I suppose that most members of the pro-war crowd are going to call the Iraqis ungrateful...But if we liberated them so they can self govern, that's what we should let them do. Even if they sound like Democrats to your Republican ears. I wonder if Bush and Company will come down on the Iraqi leaders with venom equal to that which they spewed on the Democrats when they called for exactly the same things.

In addition to saying that the insurgents are not terrorists, that they want a timetable for the pullout of all foreign troops, they also want the release of all detainees who have not been convicted of (or charged with, for that matter) crimes by actual courts.

They wanted an investigation into allegations of torture.

They also demanded an immediate end to arbitrary raids and arrests without a documented judicial order.

Gosh, that all sounds pretty reasonable to me. Similar to what America used to be like before September 11th and the forfeiture of our individual freedoms and liberties in exchange for this dubiously elevated level of national security.

If the three rival Iraqi factions can get together and issue this clear statement of unity, I finally have a little hope for unity in Iraq...Too bad they are becoming unified against us.

Colin Powell is too classy to say "I told you so." I have no class, so I'll say it for him.

We told you so.

The only question now is will America let Iraq be Iraq or will we be forced to admit we had less than honorable intentions from the git go?


Monday, November 21, 2005

Link Wray, the Hillbilly Wolf, Dead at 76

Rolling Stone Story

I saw Link Wray play once, he was performing with modern Rock-a-Billy great Robert Gordon.

Link Wray was one of rock's great innovators, and even though his records and music will live on forever...he is someone who will be missed by everyone who knows his name and the sounds his fingers pulled from his guitar.

If you've never listened to Link, or you don't know who he was, do yourself a favor and go find some of his songs.

I recommend Flirty Baby, I Sez Baby, or Teenage Cutie. I'm going to grab my bottle of Jack, put on my old leather jacket, drag out my guitar, and pretend to play along with my copy of Missing Links Volume 1 over and over tonight. Hell, I might even go out and buy a pack of smokes.

From the liner notes on the back of that album:

Link Wray, I mean, did he ever really have any competition? Back in his Rumble n' Rawhide days, the Duane Eddys, Fireballs, and other string scrathers were fine enuff, but it was Link who first ignored the speed limit (even on his slow stuff you can dig where I'm comin' from). And like later there were all these guys who could make a guitar talk, but face it--if you wanna dig talkin', listen to a conversation. Now, if you wanna hear a guitar sound like a GUITAR, Link Wray is yer boy.

Link and his borthers Vernon and Doug hailed from North Carolina tho by the early 50's they were carousing Virginia's Norfolk/Portsmouth area. With a nod do his good gamblin' fortunes Vernon took the name Lucky and put together a loose musical aggregation (includin' Link and Doug) called Lucky Wray & the Lazy Pine Wranglers pushin' hackneyed C&W corn like Taxi Driver Blues and Fly Swatter. Link had a few years earlier contracted TB while workin' for Uncle Sam in Korea and the docs hadda remove one of his lungs and told him to leave the croonin' to Vern, so the Linkster spent his very lengthy recoup time learnin' every in/out he could rassle outta the geetar.

The Wray brothers worked steadily at a Virginia dance hall called the Fernwood Farms as well as the many Naval watering holde of the Virginia shore (Where young Gene Vincent reportedly sat in with the combo from time to time). by 1955, Lucky Wray &the Palamino Ranch Gang as they were now called, relocated to the Washington DC area and brought bassist Shorty Horton into the fold. Link had fallen in with some local songwriters and cut a cool crop of their toons-- Hillbilly Wolf, I Sez Baby, and Johnny Bom Bonny displayin' the gruff howl his lost lung brought on. The Ranch Gang managed to lease six titles to Starday records in Houston spotlightin' Vern's country warblin' with a pair of rockabilly gems.

Link Wray is the coolest.

And I'm gonna sit right down and cry...over him.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


"For the second time this week, Congress in strong, bipartisan fashion rejected the call to cut and run," McClellan said. "The best strategy to keep America safe is to continue taking the fight to the terrorists, not to retreat in the face of the despicable attacks of a determined enemy."

Holy Crap!

They think what happened yesterday in Congress was STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT????

Well, then, it's no damned wonder they thought the forged yellow cake documents were real, that Saddam was leading Al Qaida, that their pal Chalaibi was trustworthy, that they won both their elections without fraud or dirty tricks, that the majority of Americans approve of them, that nobody cares that they still haven't caught bin Laden or the Anthrax mailer, that we all trust these people to keep us safe, to protect democracy and the US Constitution, as well as spread our spectacular brand of freedom and liberty to the rest of the world--who are just waiting for the chance to throw flowers on our heads and give us their natural resources.

In short...they are insane.

You are probably all aware of the recent flap over Murtha's proposal to have an immediate withdrawal from Iraq by our troops, in which he gave a compelling argument that the President declared "Mission Accomplished" years ago, the justifications for the invasion have been proven to not exist, and that we are destabilizing the region. 63% of Americans believe that the war is a mistake and disapprove of Bush's handling of it.

In an unprecedented political stunt, the Republicans rushed a measure for a vote which called for an immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq fully intending to vote it down themselves and expecting the majority of Democrats to also vote against it because only a small minority of them advocate immediate withdrawal. The majority of Democrats want a clear statement of what the objectives are, a plan for how to achieve them, and a timetable (based on meeting the objectives in stages) for eventual withdrawal. The exact same things that Republicans demanded from Clinton when he engaged our troops in combat.

By rushing this vote, there was no time for debate of the serious issues raised by Murtha, and now the Ditto-Head contingent of our nation are crowing hypocrisy on the part of the Democrats and actually have the unmitigated gall to call this vote "strong bi-partisan support" for the war.

Do they think we are all idiots? Is this what you call honesty, integrity, and true democracy? Is this the model for the democratic reforms we are forcing down the throats of the people we're liberating?

As part of what passed for "debate" in this national embarrassment, Jean Schmidt used the People's House to accuse Murtha (a decorated combat veteran and long time member of Congress) of being a coward and unfit to call himself a marine. Well, to be fair, she didn't accuse him personally, she "delivered" the message from an Ohio State Representative who is in the Marine reserves.

Now, the top US commander in Iraq has submitted a plan for withdrawal from Iraq to Donald Rumsfeld. Will the good representatives from Ohio also accuse this man of cowardice? Does the President wish us to maintain an indefinite presence in Iraq?

It's up to you, America. Are you one of the small percentage of lunatics happily running off the rails on this crazy train, or are you going to help us take the asylum back from the inmates?


Friday, November 18, 2005

Open Letter to George Bush and Dick Cheney

Dear George and Dick,

I can't believe how you are reacting to Congress, and the people whom they represent--who think that war has been a mistake--63% of us. Are we all cowards who want to cut and run? Are 63% of the American people giving aid and comfort to the "enemy"?

How dare anyone who dodged combat service in Viet Nam call into question the patriotism and courage of a decorated combat veteran. Shame on you two. How dare Representative Jean Schmidt stand up in front of the entire Congress and tell Murtha that he isn't enough of a marine? A man with TWO Purple Hearts, Bronze Star with Combat "V", and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry does not deserve to be called a coward by a fellow congressperson and have that charge demanded to be entered into the Congressional Record.

And now, in Republican Standard Operating Proceedure, instead of adressing the substance of the charges a man makes in his criticism of your policies...you instead attack his character and rush a vote on his resolution to withdraw without any time for discussion or debate merely in order to force the democrats who have made it so clear that they are willing to continue the committment so long as there is a plan with some kind of end envisioned...something beyond the political sound bite of "Total Victory."

Shame on you. But maybe you just don't understand what the American People are asking of you.

Look, I know you guys are Chicken Hawks, but you are also business people.

Think of it on a business model. Imagine you are a business, and that I am an investor in your business. I've heavily invested, and continue to invest even more each year. You need these investements in order to keep your business going, because profits are not what anyone expected.

Now, a large percentage...in fact, large enough to represent a controlling interest in your corporation...are telling you they want to see the business plan.

If we don't get a plan, we are not going to continue to invest.

Maybe looked at this way it will make sense to you. We are not cowards, but we are also not stupid. We are not going to allow you to squander our sons, daughters, and hard earned tax dollars on this war indefinitely, and you have not right to expect us to do so in the absence of a clear, coherent, and workable plan to use our dearest of resources and our precious investment in your war.

Now, absurdly optimistic that you have read this far, I'd like to also take this opportunity to ask you what the heck you are thinking with the passage of all these cuts to social programs in order to offset the deficit you've gleefully created.

The poor are not the enemy. The terrorists are. You want a way to reduce the deficit, maybe finding some way to drop the spending on this war a couple billion below the $6 BILLION A MONTH we're forking out instead of telling some poor bastard living in a shelter that he's got to move and you aren't going to feed him anymore.

Remember, YOU'RE supposed to be the CHRISTIANS. Remember that thing Jesus said about knowing them by their fruit? Remember that stuff he used to say about feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and not hoarding up wealth?

I'm looking at your trees, George and Dick, and I ain't seeing much fruit.

And I'm thinking Jesus had the right idea when he had the same problem with that fig tree.

Oh, and by the way, one last that thing that has always bugged me. George, you used to pull that quote about the plank in your own eye thing a lot when responding to questions about your critics...I think you miss the point, which was a caution not to commit hypocrisy, not a verbal weapon to use against critics. I think the world would be a much better place if you'd sit down a spell and have Condi read that particular passage to you until you actually understand it.

That's all, thanks for taking the time to listen to one of your constituents, it's certainly great to live in a democracy where all of us are free to hold our own opinions and express them, and know that they will get the consideration of a great President and Vice President who truly respect their nation, it's people, and the constitution they've sworn to protect.

Now, I'd like you both to go do that thing Cheney told Leahy to do.

Yours without much faith,

Archie Levine

Thursday, November 17, 2005

GAO upholds Ohio Vote Fraud Claims

I know, that dratted MSM (Main Stream Media for all you non-ditto heads) is beating that same old tired drum of voter fraud and how Bush stole the election.

Well, at least they are in one small paper in Illinois.

GAO report upholds Ohio vote fraud claims By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

The GAO is the government’s lead investigative agency, and is known for rock-solid integrity and its penetrating and thorough analysis. They have added a lot of weight to what Buscho and the Rush Limbaugh crowd call wacko conspiracy theories.

They did it before...and they did it again. Bush car jacked our country.

Further Reading:

Woodward, Libby, Big Oil, and Tamiflu

What do they have in common? Lies, misleading information, and official investigations...and, of course the impact on your life coupled with the connection to the corruption of the Bush Administration.

How? Glad you asked.

First, Bob Woodward, you really disappoint me. I really love your books, and admire your role in the Watergate investigation...but finding out you were up to your eyeballs in the Plame scandal is causing me to re-evaluate my admiration.

I have been convinced from the beginning, loyal readers know, that George W. Bush is the original "leaker". I have no evidence, only my suspicion based on his vindictive nature, his past history of such reprisals on critics, and his wanton disregard for the rule of law or parameters of his office. Now to hear that Woodward came into this information while working on Plan of Attack and that it is a "Senior White House Official" I'm even more convinced. You don't get more senior than the President and if you have read Plan of Attack you know how comfortable Bush was in talking to Woodward....plus Bob has stated that his source was not Libby or Rove and the number of Senior White House Officials gets pretty small after you eliminate those two.

Conservatives were crowing that this "bombshell" was going to vindicate Libby. Only an idiot would think that, since the indictments are limited to obstructing justice and lying. Woodward's confession doesn't prove that Libby cooperated with the investigation to the extent to which cooperation was expected, nor does it prove that his lies were not actually lies. Libby is still in a pickle...and I think there are going to be a lot more people joining him in the jar. You can tell how nervous the Senior White House Officials are by how vigorously they have suddenly started to attack their critics.

They have a lot to be nervous about. Did you hear that this newly liberated and independent country called Iraq is now calling for investigations into the use of chemical weapons by the United States in Iraq? Wowser...investigations, by the way, which the Pentagon refused to conduct. Check it out. Darned old Iraqi democracy biting the hand that tortures it. Ingrates. And again with that pesky irony thing.

And, to be fair, remember that parsing is the President's favorite new sport. He's said that everything he's doing is legal. He's not denying that they are doing the things we're accusing him of...just that currently those things are legal...like outsourcing our torture to nations who commit torture legally...and while we signed an accord on conventional weapons that came into force in 1983 forbidding the use of incendiary weapons against civilians...we didn't ratify the incendiary weapons part or the part about using blinding laser weapons...so, technically, using them isn't illegal.

Morally indefensible, but we'll keep our comments focused on the legality of our use of chemical weapons and the unavoidable collateral damage they cause to civilians...and of course, the insurgents are technically civilians because they are not part of an organized army belonging to a sovereign nation...but that is kind of a grey area that will be cleared up after we've burned to death anybody who might actually take issue with the fact that we're burning people alive with chemical weapons like the ones we didn't want Saddam to use.

Pass me the asprin, my brain is hurting again.

The other story causing me ulcers today is the way the Republicans made such a to-do (angering their base in the process) of dragging in the Big Oil Barons to testify about their windfall profits, but refusing to allow the indignity of making them testify under oath. I have to presume, in light of the fact we know today that they flat out lied to Congress when specifically asked if they were part of the secret meeting on energy policy with Cheney, that they knew how awkward those photos of them with hands in the air and lying through their teeth would be...indignity aside.

And here you have the great irony of the same Republicans covering their asses by saying that lying to Congress, whether under oath or not, is a serious crime....also playing down the seriousness of Scooter lying to Congress and Fitzgerald as ridiculous if there wasn't any reason to lie because everybody and their brother knew Plame worked for the Agency and she wasn't a covert agent so there wasn't a crime.

I really can't tell...are these people idiots or do they think we're idiots...or both? Hey, first--he obstructed justice so we can't tell what other crimes were committed. Second, why lie if you don't need to? Here's my advice. Tell the truth. No matter what, it is always safer and less embarrassing.

But, gentle readers...there's still more to stir my ire today.

The Bush Public Manipulation Machine were starting to get tired of moderating public opinion with terror threats (remember all those we had before election day?), so they fanned the flames of our fear with "bird flu" and a push for stockpiling of Tamiflu.

Did you know that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld owned Gilead (the company making Tamiflu) shares valued at $5 million to $25 million? Rumsfeld was also on Gilead's board for 12 years and was chairman from 1997 to 2001, when he joined the Bush administration. Sure, he recused himself from matters that could affect his financial interest in Gilead but...why do anything yourself when the President is more than willing to drive up your stock as high as he did Haliburton's?

It's good to be the king, but almost as good to work at his side. And what a windfall for a drug whose effectiveness isn't known in regards to a pandemic that hasn't happened yet. I'm suprised the slogan isn't "An ounce of pre-emption...."

But, wait! What's this dark cloud on the horizon? Tamiflu might make you crazy? It might cause hallucinations? It might drive you to thoughts of suicide?

Not good news. I suppose it is also ticking old Rummy off that his fellow Republicans aren't going to buy butt loads of Tamiflu with taxpayer money unless the funds to pay for it come from cuts in other government programs. Drat! What a time to pick for fiscal responsibility!

What a pickle! If there isn't a pandemic, then people will be mad George manipulated their fears to the profit of his pal Rummy. If there is a pandemic people will be mad at Republicans for not getting bird flu medicine stockpiled because they tried to use it as a tool to kill government programs they don't like.

Well, they will be mad if their lungs don't collapse and they drown in their own blood.

Too bad we didn't save that nice Clinton surplus for a rainy day, cause baby, I don't like the look of them clouds.

In the gathering gloom of the coming storm, it is pretty hard to see the Republicans in a good light.

So, please, America...stop voting for them. It's bad for you.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

An American President shielded from the reality of the people he governs...

I don't know...maybe it is just me...but aren't you getting pretty sick and tired of OUR PRESIDENT only speaking in front of uniformed members of the armed forces or hand picked crowds of loyal supporters who are given scripts in support of him to be memorized and regurgitated as part of the "spontaneous conversation"?

I am actually serious here...of all the public speeches he has given since the start of the war in Iraq...or heck, even before that, let's go all the way back to right after he got "elected" the first time...how many times has he spoken in front of a crowd that actually reflected the American Public? Or done a press conference where he hadn't successfully cowed the press into softballing him by threatening to deny access? Remember Helen Thomas?

Wouldn't you rather have HER in the press room than a gay male prostitute with no journalism credentials tossing out spin points for the President's agenda?

I don't hate the Bush, in spite of the fact that Hannity will tell you over and over again that anyone who doesn't agree with Bush 100% must hate the president to the point of mental illness and obsession, or is just a terrorist in disguise. I really don't hate Bush, but I don't respect him at all.

I would, however, in spite of all disagreement, respect him far more if he gave a speech like the one he gave in Alaska to an audience that wasn't on a military base, who are duty bound to be respectful and applaud in part to keep their own moral up in an effort to convince themselves that their lives aren't being wasted by the man they call Commander-in-Chief.

Imagine a George Bush who said exactly the same thing to an audience for which there were no "free speech zones" for protesters and the crowd looked like this:

If, just once, Bush faced a crowd like that...one which actually reflected the reality of the nation he governs...I'd respect him. After all, aren't we the ones he has to convince? Or maybe he just doesn't give a damn...in which case, I'd like to hear him at least say that.

Now, you can say "who cares about polls?" but if you don't care what the American people think--and you find out by polling them--then what kind of democracy are our soldiers dying to protect? Do we really want to spread democracy around the world if this is what George W. Bush thinks democracy is? Corruption without accountability, devotion to secrecy, deliberate misrepresentation, and total indifference to the will of the people who elected him?

Never mind the issue of his efforts to create a legal context for the use of torture and the use of chemical weapons in an effort to rid the world of a madman who might use chemical weapons and tortured people. WTF?

The poll numbers matter because they reflect the intelligent and moral position of the American People...and they ought to make you wonder how, with poll numbers like this, he got elected a second time. Thank you Diebold, proving again American Democracy is the best that money can buy.

Further Reading:

Friday, November 11, 2005

In the Name of All That's Holy

My identical cousin has been at it again. I give you his latest work:

In the Name of All That's Holy
by Todd Wm. Ristau

(Lights rise to see TODD about to teach a science class. The audience are his students. Ideally he should have a large dry erase board or chalk board nearby.)

TODD: Alright class, what is today?

ROBB: Friday!

TODD: Technically, yes. What else is it?

LAURA: Veteran's Day!

TODD: Very good.

SIMON: My dad says there's only 50 WW1 Vets left alive in the whole world.

TODD: OK, let's try to relate our answer to the subject matter, shall we? What month is it?

ROBB: November.

TODD: That's right, and what happens around November every year?

LAURA: Elections?

TODD: Sometimes. Anything else?

SIMON: Autumn.

TODD: What’s that?


TODD: That’s right. What happens in the fall?

SIMON: The leaves turn different colors.

LAURA: And they FALL off the trees.

TODD: That’s right. And do you know why?

ROBB: Because in the cold weather the tree shuts down and doesn’t make the stuff that keeps them green anymore.

TODD: And why does the cold weather come?

LAURA: Because….Because….

(TODD goes to the board and draws a woman and a little girl. Then he draws a horizon line. Then he draws a hole, and under the hole he draws a big man. Then he draws an arrow from the little girl to the big man.)

TODD: Because Persephone—who is the daughter of?

ROBB,LAURA, and SIMON: Zeus and Demeter!

TODD: Because the daughter of the ruler of the gods and the goddess of the harvest was out picking flowers one day and Hades saw her and fell in love with her. And he rose up out of the ground in his chariot and abducted her, taking her to the Underworld with him. Demeter was heartbroken and while she searched for her daughter nothing grew and instead of rain, the snow fell. Eventually, Demeter and Hades worked out a deal to share Persephone, and when she is in the Underworld with her husband, we have winter, and when she comes to visit her mother, we have spring.

ROBB: But, if Winter didn’t exist until Persephone went to the Underworld, how did people know when to harvest the crops?

TODD: What is that Robb?

ROBB: Demeter is the Goddess of the Harvest, right?

TODD: Very good.

ROBB: So doesn’t the harvest always come right before winter?

TODD: Of course. That is an observable fact.

ROBB: But you’re saying that the harvest used to come before there was a winter.

TODD: Well, Robb, if you’re so smart, what do you think causes the world to grow cold and the leaves to fall off the trees, and the snow to fall if it isn’t Demeter’s annual heartbreak over her daughter being in the Underworld?

LAURA: Maybe the Sun gets farther away.

TODD: Don’t be ridiculous. Helios does not get farther away.

SIMON: My dad says Helios is just a myth, and that the sun is the wheels of Thor’s Chariot.

TODD: I’m sorry, Simon, but your father is an ignorant heathen. You can’t possibly expect anyone in a SCIENCE CLASS to take seriously the idea that Helios, whose all seeing light we venerate, is in actual fact the wheel of a chariot pulled across the sky by a pair of goats while an oaf with a stunted hammer and a hat with wings on it holds the ropes and throws around his thunder hammer.

SIMON: Does so, the goats are named Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder.

TODD: Thor is at best a misunderstanding of Zeus.

SIMON: Liar.

TODD: Simon, you and your father can believe whatever you want at home, that’s a matter of faith, but here in this classroom you are going to be tested on what you are taught, and the reason we are teaching you what we are teaching you is so that you will have all the FACTS at your disposal when you go out into the world to compete in the global market place.

LAURA: What about the hemispheres?

TODD: What, Laura?

LAURA: You said that when Persephone is in the Underworld the world is covered in snow because of Demeter’s sorrow.

TODD: That’s right. Good.

LAURA: Then how’s come when it is winter up here in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer down in the Southern Hemisphere?

TODD: There’s no such thing. I don’t know who has been filling your head with all these lies, but the only thing under the Northern Hemisphere, as you call it, is Atlas…except when he tricks someone else into holding it for him for a while.

ROBB: My dad says that the reason we’re falling so far behind the Chinese is that they actually study science in their science class.

TODD: Well, Robb, you tell your dad that maybe the reason we are falling behind the Chinese is that talk like that is turning the Gods against us, and that these Godless Chinamen are in fact instruments of divine justice. In fact, I have every reason to believe that if you fail your creation science test on Friday, you’re going to make Ares so sick to his stomach over your weakness that he won’t even lift his sword to defend us from the Chinese. He will let them destroy us utterly and we’ll deserve that destruction. Won’t we?

ROBB, LAURA, and SIMON: Yes, Mister Ristau.

TODD: Alright then…Let’s start again from the beginning, and this time take proper notes! (lights slowly fade throughout) In the beginning there was only chaos. Then out of the void appeared Erebus, the unknowable place where death dwells, and Night. All else was empty, silent, endless, darkness. Then somehow Love was born bringing a start of order. From Love came Light and Day. Once there was Light and Day, Gaea, the earth appeared....


Creation Myth text above from: http://www.desy.de/gna/interpedia/greek_myth/creation.html

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Truth and Duty--Why hold Mapes and Rather to a higher standard than the President and the CIA?

Ok, I'm glad that Tim Kaine won Virginia...at least as glad as I can be when a Democrat gets elected who ran on a platform of keeping gays single, guns in everyone's hands, abortion restricted, and the Death Penalty Killing Machine in operation in spite of personal religious beliefs. Hey, this is Virginia, and Tim Kaine is as liberal as we can get...ask Leslie Byrne.

I also don't think Rush and Company are right that Tim Kaine won because Bush wasn't conservative enough to energize his base. I know several conservative Republicans who didn't just stay home on election day, they voted for Kaine. They actually told me that there was no real difference between the candidates, except that Kaine had helped put the state on the right track and that mattered.

Wow...Meritocracy? It just might work! Let's try it, America!

Which brings me to the story that all the conservative radio mouths are going after instead of dealing with the collapse of the Bush administration. The release of Mary Mapes' new book, Truth and Duty. The book deals with her story, run by Dan Rather, about Bush's National Guard service during the Viet Nam War. You may remember how liberals were perplexed at warmonger support of a man who used his influence to get into the Guard instead of going to war and earning a few combat medals like his opponent in the election, John Kerry. Then to add insult to injury there has never been any actual proof that George W. Bush didn't go AWOL during his time of duty to serve on a political campaign in Alabama. There is a picture of W. hanging in his father's Presidential Library with a medal on his chest that he didn't earn...but no actual proof of service during the controversial period in his "service" record. Then, Mary Mapes came into possession of documents which seemed to disprove Bush's claims of service. The authenticity of those documents was called into question by a blogger....here is a snippet of an interview with Mapes on the Limbaugh show, followed by his comments.


ROSS: This seems remarkable to me that you would sit here now and say you still find that story to be up to your standards.

MAPES: I'm perfectly willing to believe those documents are forgeries if there's proof that I haven't seen.

ROSS: But isn't it the other way around? Don't you have to prove they're authentic?

MAPES: Well, I think that's what critics of the story would say. I know more now than I did then, and I think -- I think -- they have not been proved to be false yet.

ROSS: Have they proved to be authentic, though? Isn't that really what journalists do?

MAPES: No, I don't think that's the standard.

RUSH: No, she doesn't think that's the standard! Do you understand what you just heard? Mary Mapes, Dan Rather's producer, 60 Minutes II: no, the standard is not on us to prove they're authentic. What she's saying is the standard is on critics to prove that they're not. She can take anything she wants, put it on the air, without authenticating it, without verifying it, and it's up to critics to disprove it. Now, I think what's going on here, I don't think she's that far out when it comes to all these people in the mainstream press. I think this is the way they look at things. I really do! It's up to the critics to prove this is not true. That's why Rather is out there still saying he wishes he could pursue the story. He still believes it's true even though the documents may be forged.

[end transcript--see below link for full transcript]

Here's what I don't get. Why on earth are people angrier about Mary Mapes' use of documents which have not yet been conclusively proven to be forgeries to address what ought to be a legitimate concern never adequately countered by the White House...that of the actual military service of the Commander in Chief during a time of war...than they are about that same President's use of documents...that have since been proven to be forgeries, and known to be at least of dubious merit by the CIA at the time...to garner support for an invasion of a country that had not attacked us?

Even though the president had been cautioned against using that potentially faulty intelligence, that information was given to Congress and to the American People in the State of the Union Address in order to garner support for a war in which, at most recent count, over 2,000 American service men and women have died, at least tens of thousands of Iraqis have died, and we have spent nearly $300 billion with an addition cost of $6 billion dollars a month.

The only things Mape's documents cost us was her reputation and Rather's career.

At a time when the Democrats are forcing the issue of Phase 2 of the report on the intelligence leading us into the war, we can only wish for a meritocracy where someone with the power and influence of Rush Limbaugh might instead ask this:

ETHICAL RUSH: No, Bush doesn't think that's the standard! Do you understand what you just heard? George W. Bush, our President, the pinacle of democracy and freedom in the world: "No, the standard is not on me to prove the intelligence is authentic." What Bush is saying is the standard is on critics to prove that they're not. Bush can take anything he wants, Give it to Congress, put it on the air in the State of the Union Address, without authenticating it, without verifying it, and it's up to critics to disprove it. Now, I think what's going on here, I don't think Bush is that far out when it comes to all these people in his administration. I think this is the way they look at things. I really do! It's up to the critics to prove this is not true. That's why Cheney is out there still saying he wishes he could pursue the WMDs, the Iraqi Nuclear Program, and the stockpiles of chemical weapons. He still believes it's true even though the documents have been proven to be forged.

Let me make this absolutely clear....I have grave doubts about Mary Mapes. The document she used as the basis for the story might, in fact, be forged...but I do believe that she wanted to believe it, that it suited her agenda to go forward after what she believed was due diligence in authenticating the information knowing that there would be a backlash over the story and she would be vilified by the opposition. I am confident that she honestly believed her fears that the information was true outweighed the risk of going forward and discovering she was wrong.

Didn't George W. Bush do exactly the same thing?

Somebody....Please tell me...Why in God's name do we hold Mary Mapes and Dan Rather to a higher standard than the President of the United States?

Wouldn't it be great if, instead of destroying the reporters and the critics, our White House could offer a shred of proof that the story itself...not the documents supporting it...were false?

Why do reporters have to prove what they say print is true beyond a shadow of a doubt and backed up with incontrovertible proof....but the people we elect to govern us, and who have the power to send us to war, don't?

Americans is the craziest peoples.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Nothing Says America like Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Secret Prisons

Yesterday, listening to Rush Limbaugh, I heard him bragging about how the President seems to be taking his advice and trying to put so much into the news cycle that nobody will be able to keep up or pay attention to any one thing long enough to do anything about it or have it affect opinion polls.

There sure is a lot going on, and so I'm posting another post today in my effort to keep up....

Today there was a story "breaking" about our secret prisons in other countries where we can avoid the legal restraints of our own codes of justice. Because we are only concerned with the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law, and if we commit murder and torture and other heinous acts in countries who don't consider that illegal, then what the heck? No harm, no foul, right?

First of all, I don't know why this is news today. This has been reported for over a year, and of course we already knew about why we put Guantanemo in CUBA instead of putting our prisoners within our own borders where American reporters could have access to them. Why do you think Hitler put the lion's share of his concentration camps in OCCUPIED nations like Poland? "We're torturing them over there so we don't have to torture them here at home." Feel better? Getting what you're paying for? Have enough plausible deniablity to sleep at night? Just remember you didn't believe the Germans in 46 who said they had no idea what their government was doing, and the world isn't going to believe you either.

Check out the reports, from today and a year ago, and keep asking yourself two questions....

Do I really not care why these people hate America and are willing to kill themselves to stop our liberation of their country?


Are the actions taken by my government really reflective of my own ethical, moral, and intellectual positions?

Maybe you Republican Bushiacs think that using Soviet era gulags is recycling. Come on you depraved and bloodthirsty devils in angel's robes...tell me again how Dick Durbin went over the line comparing our soldiers and government to Nazis and the worst of Stalin's thugs.

When Durbin said the US was setting up Gulags you villified him...and now we know that, gosh, we ACUTALLY ARE USING GULAGS! Which is more outrageous? The accusation or the fact that the accusation is accurate?

I know, I know....I keep saying irony isn't dead, its just that Republicans are dead to irony....but for God's sake, for people who are claiming to be spreading the glory of a free democracy, we aren't modeling very good behavior.

And while I'm trying to keep up with events, hats off and a shout out to Harry Reid for finally growing a set and demanding the report on the allegations of misuse of intelligence in the lead up to the war.

All we want is the truth. Is that so wrong?

Further Reading

Tom DeLay and the Death of American Justice

It absolutely melts my brain what this Administration and its supporters are doing to this country and expecting us to continue to think it is America.

Tom DeLay has succeeded in having the judge in his money laundering and conspiracy case removed because of that judge's being a Democrat and having contributed money to the Democratic Party and to MoveOn.org.

Evidence offered by Mr. DeLay's lawyers from federal and state election records listed about 30 contributions of $25 to $1,000 by Judge Perkins to the Democratic National Committee, the Travis County Democratic Party and MoveOn.org, which received $200 on Sept. 11, 2004. (A total amount of contributions of around $5,000 since 2001. A far cry from what DeLay has been able to raise for the causes those organinzations oppose and hardly evidence of a political zealot. $5,225 in political contributions since Bush took office cancels out a 30 year history on the bench?)

If Tom DeLay can successfully argue that a judge's political party and contributions make him unfit to hear a case involving a defendant of an opposing political party...what hope to Democrats have of justice if the Supreme Court is filled with Republicans? And what kind of chilling effect is it going to have on the freedom of speech (which Republicans claim political contributions are) if a $200 gift to a group the party in power doesn't like can be used to keep you from doing your job?

Not satisfied with forcing the judge in his case to be recused due to party affiliation and campaign contributions, DeLay is now working to move his trial out of Austin solely on the grounds that the district is predominantly democrat in its demographic.

Does Mr. Delay mean to say that it is a compelling argument that no Democrat can be fairly judged by a Republican judge? If I am a poor person, a welfare recipient, a drug abuser (like Rush Limbaugh), an unwed mother, a homosexual, someone who opposed the war in Iraq, someone who is a member of MoveOn.org or the ACLU, someone who wrote an op ed piece criticizing the President...or a registered Democrat...does that mean I could not possibly get a fair trial if the judge were Republican?

Do we need to make all judges forswear membership in any political party and make any campaign contribution of any size something that would force them from the bench because it indicates they are unable to be impartial and weigh their decision on the merits of the evidence and the arguments of the lawyers?

This is absolutely outrageous, and an insult and affront to the very foundations of the American Judiciary.

And obviously very revealing of both the probablilty of guilt and underlying arrogant philosophy of DeLay in this matter.

If he were innocent of the charges and the case had no merit, he wouldn't be convicted regardless of the bias of the judge. In fact, to be found innocent by a judge who had contributed to MoveOn.org would be the best vindication possible. Instead, this lying crook and former exterminator opts for doing his best to find a favorable judge in a Republican district. Doesn't there exist even more potential for bias if the trial is held in a Republican district under a Republican judge when the whole trial is about illegal use of money to put Republicans in power?

My brain...my heart...they are breaking.

I'll have to hope that in spite of the growing evidence of corruption in Republican politics that there are a few reasonable and just Republican judges in Texas and that DeLay will appear before one. And be convicted as a result.

There really are two Americas...and the Republicans won't rest until there is only one...Theirs.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

One Week To KAINE VICTORY--if you want it.

Reposted from the AFL-CIO mailing...because I'm swamped at work and can't get a real blog post up today.

One week from today, Virginians will choose a new governor. After carefully reviewing the candidates’ records, your union and the Virginia AFL-CIO believe Tim Kaine is the best choice for working families. Take a look at his record:

As lieutenant governor, Tim Kaine helped create more than 250,000 new jobs in Virginia since 2001. As mayor of Richmond, his economic policies created more than 76,000 new jobs. (Virginia Employment Commission data)

Tim Kaine will protect the transportation fund, making sure the money designated for transportation can’t be raided for unrelated projects. (The Washington Post, 9/18/04; [Newport News] Daily Press, 3/17/05)

Tim Kaine will reduce homeowners’ taxes by exempting up to 20 percent of a home’s assessment from the homeowner tax. He also will veto any unfunded mandates on local governments and ensure more public participation in the tax rate-setting process. (Campaign literature, 5/17/05)

Tim Kaine will keep Virginia’s commitment to our children and fully fund Virginia’s public schools. He will help attract and keep the best teachers in Virginia and will make high-quality preschool available to all Virginia 4-year-olds. (Campaign literature, 5/31/05)

How you vote is a personal decision. Whatever you decide, please vote Nov. 8.

For more information, contact your union or the Virginia AFL-CIO at 804-755-8001.