Wednesday, May 30, 2007

no halli-prisons, either

i'm starting to think that the white house, now that it's entering lame duck mode, is leaking executive orders for no other reason than to savor the sheer sadistic joy of scaring the bejeezus out of left blogistan every few days. and left blogistan never fails to deliver on the shrieks.

my previous post covered the latest presidential "finding" on iran and gave my reasons, once again, why we aren't going to be nuking iran tomorrow. it's probably no coincidence that washington and teheran thawed a 27-year diplomatic freeze in the same week this "finding" was leaked. "don't worry," seems to be the message to their fellow neocon war-mongers, "we're just putting on a show for the cameras ... we're still planning to screw these guys" — wink, wink.

now "national security presidential directive 51/homeland security presidential directive 20" has hit the internets and once again the old ladies are fanning their breasts because bush is apparently stealthily grabbing dictatorial emergency powers for himself. considering that the directives are posted on the white house web site, it's not much of a stealth move.

in fact, enough of a to-do was raised that the ordinarily agnostic investigative blogger josh marshall decided to invite a small panel of experts in law, government and civil rights to vet the directives. how scary were bush's orders? not so much:

the consensus amongst experts seems to be that the directive, aimed at establishing "continuity of government" after a major disaster, is not new nor does the policy seem to expand executive power.

in fact, mike german, the policy counsel to the aclu’s washington office told me that an executive continuity plan actually might “not be that bad of an idea.”

executive power expert, nyu law professor david golove, also sent me an email saying the directive didn’t appear to be a power grab.

... german called the release a positive sign, but said he urges the release of all previous directives so we can get a real sense of what has changed.

the concept of continuity of government applies to all branches of government. christopher kelleye, a presidency expert and political science professor at miami university ohio told me in an email that he didn’t see any new powers listed in the directive, but wondered why congress hasn’t done the same thing.

granted, marshall's panel is an informal poll, but the great majority of his commenters were hardly reassured:

"the directive that was signed may 14/15 is the most troubling ... it is his way of having total power in the event of a natural or man made disaster ..."

"i scare myself just thinking that an administration could/would perpetrate a catastrophy on it's [sic] own people just to retain political power ..."

"even if this power is nothing new, what is new is a president so untrustworthy that i'll not be surprised if a false flag attack occurs next year in october, bush declares martial law, and he suspends the national election. i expect this supreme court would support him and gonzales (should he survive his term in the doj) would bring all the police power of the federal government to maintain bush."

"of course, a blatant "coup" by bush, turning the federal government into the bushchaneyrove junta has been slowly in the making for some time, or haven't you noticed? the directive 51 is just the vaseline to make slide in more easily when they decide to not just ignore, but do away with the congress ..."

"can homeland security remove you from your home, or place you in one of the haliburton camps? direct which corporations or other businesses get priority on the highways? on rail transit? will the internet be coopted, in the naqme [sic] of national security to keep us from commmunicating?"

"remember that halliburton contract a yr ago to build new u.s. detention camps"

"he is probably preparing to take over the country after the next presidential elections. he will have one of his goons call in an attack on us and then say 'look we just got attacked and i think i am the best person to take over, new president elect and the constitution be damned.'"

"george has nothing to look forward too once he leaves office, he's served his purpose and will be of no concern. but, if he can make sure that the us military is effectively stuck in iraq, and not able to offer any resistance, his private army made up of mercs from blackwater and dyncorp to name just two can establish martial law and he can keep remain the president for as long as he pleases."

hmmm ... now let's all take a deep breath.

look people, a lot of you guys — too many — sound like the same chicken littles who were endlessly predicting false flag attacks and martial law all of last year in the run-up to the midterms, and all of 2004 in the run-up to the presidential elections ...

while it makes exciting and breathless blog chatter, i still don't see it, folks. it's not like bushco™ hasn't already had ample opportunities to set these paranoid fantasies into motion.

because i don't recall congress being abolished nor any martial law decrees being issued nor any halliburton death camps being filled after 9-11.

nor any after katrina.

nor before the 2002 midterms. nor the 2004 elections. nor the 2006 midterms.

so tell me, just what are our neocon overlords waiting for?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

no more slam dunks

this week's news leak that bush has secretly signed

a "nonlethal presidential finding" [?!? 1] that puts into motion a cia plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of iran’s currency and international financial transactions.

... has the blogoshpere once again atwitter (as leaks about iran typically incite every few weeks) that all-out war with iran is just around the corner. even as the same article cautions that while

"vice president cheney helped to lead the side favoring a military strike," said former cia official riedel, "but i think they have come to the conclusion that a military strike has more downsides than upsides."

... many still see this as one more step down the road to armageddon:

"i think everybody in the region knows that there is a proxy war already afoot with the united states supporting anti-iranian elements in the region as well as opposition groups within iran," said vali nasr, adjunct senior fellow for mideast studies at the council on foreign relations.

"and this covert action is now being escalated by the new u.s. directive, and that can very quickly lead to iranian retaliation and a cycle of escalation can follow," nasr said.

i've already touched on some of the reasons why war with iran will not be forthcoming, such as an increasingly hostile (to the neocons) political climate:

"... the trash talk in a street altercation escalates in proportion to the expanding distance between the two protagonists.... it's when the fist fight has been avoided (or tabled) and they're putting distance between each other that the taunting becomes louder and more florid....

... they're waging rhetorical escalation because de-escalation is the unacknowledged order of the day, and there's nothing they can do about it."
james wolcott, 9/2/06

an increasingly recalcitrant military:

"with the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, i offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't — or don't have the opportunity to — speak. enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the constitution. the distinction is important ..."
— marine lieutenant general greg newbold, retired, 4/9/06

[admiral william] fallon’s refusal to support a further naval buildup in the gulf reflected his firm opposition to an attack on iran and an apparent readiness to put his career on the line to prevent it. a source who met privately with fallon around the time of his confirmation hearing and who insists on anonymity quoted fallon as saying that an attack on iran "will not happen on my watch".

asked how he could be sure, the source says, fallon replied, "you know what choices i have. i’m a professional." fallon said that he was not alone, according to the source, adding, "there are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box."

and a more robust opponent:

... unlike iraq, iran boasts the capability of striking back at its attacker, both with and without warning. its long shadow across the straits of hormuz and its purported international network of sleeper cells have been thoroughly dissected in other publications, so suffice it here to say that most americans would prefer that iran's boasts remain untested.

but there is an overarching dimension to this ongoing melodrama that i haven't yet made crystal clear.

war with iran won't be a "slam dunk".

remember, when the white house and its neocon enablers first seduced america into abetting its invasion of iraq, the primary pitch they made that john q. public found so enticing was that "regime change" would be easy:

"i believe demolishing hussein's military power and liberating iraq would be a cakewalk. let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) it was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps."
— reagan arms control director ken adelman, 2/13/02

"five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."
— defense secretary donald rumsfeld, 11/15/02

"a slam-dunk case."
— cia director george tenet, 12/12/02

"we will win this conflict. we will win it easily."
— sen. john mccain, 1/22/03

"i think it will go relatively quickly, ... [in] weeks rather than months."
— vice president dick cheney, 3/16/03

"major combat operations in iraq have ended."
— president george bush, 5/1/03

and cheap:

"iraq, unlike afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the iraqi people. and so there are a variety of means that iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction."
— white house spokesman ari fleischer, 2/18/03

"the oil revenues of iraq could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years ... we're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."
— deputy defense secretary paul wolfowitz, 3/27/03

"in terms of the american taxpayers contribution, [$1.7 billion] is it for the us. the rest of the rebuilding of iraq will be done by other countries and iraqi oil revenues ... the american part of this will be 1.7 billion. we have no plans for any further-on funding for this."
— usaid director andrew natsios, 4/23/03

and we'd all be heroes:

"if we just let our own vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to be clever and piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants, i think we will do very well and our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
michael leeden, american enterprise institute, 10/29/01

"i think that the people of iraq would welcome the u.s. force as liberators; they would not see us as oppressors, by any means."
— vice president dick cheney, 9/9/02

"think of the faces in afghanistan when the people were liberated, when they moved out in the streets and they started singing and flying kites and women went to school and people were able to function and other countries were able to start interacting with them. that's what would happen in iraq."
— defense secretary donald rumsfeld, 9/13/02

"the iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. like the people of france in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator. they know that america will not come as a conqueror."
— deputy defense secretary paul wolfowitz, 3/11/03

"as i told the president on january 10th, i think they will be greeted with sweets and flowers in the first months and simply have very, very little doubts that that is the case. this is a remarkable situation in which the population of a country that's about to have a war waged over its head positively wants the war while all kinds of other countries don't for one reason or another. that should tell us a lot about this war and about the future [inaudible] which i think is desufficiently emphasized."
— iraqi exile kanan makiya, 3/17/03

"i think when the people of basra no longer feel the threat of that regime, you are going to see an explosion of joy and relief."
— deputy defense secretary paul wolfowitz, 3/24/03

explosions, paul? most certainly, and to this very day. joy and relief? well .. not so much.

the collapse of the occupation and the clearly-forseen civil war unleashed amid the criminal lack of contingency planning for the invasion's aftermath painfully dramatized the dangers of huffing one's own propaganda, particularly propaganda laced with dubious intel cherry-picked and stove-piped from neocon hustlers and iraqi beat artists.

while it's tempting to believe (as many do) that a group of people so horribly misguided must be certifiably insane (and therefore capable of any utter lunacy the most ill-informed paranoiac can dream up), the iraq debacle only proves them to be self-deluding, greedy and morally bankrupt, even evil — but not insane.

because only an insane person launches a war that they don't believe they can easily win, and it was as true for adolf hitler before he invaded poland as it is for george bush before he invaded iraq.

and iran will be no cakewalk.

because thanks to an imploding middle east, a newly-combative congress, a collapsing military and increasingly resistant commanders, a disgusted electorate, a bursting budget, a resurgent taliban and a hezbollah-chastized israel, the war-mongers in washington — and the too-willing public — got a cruelly-needed splash of cold and bitter reality, and right in the kisser.

and while pride childishly demands that they continue rattling their tin swords, in the maddeningly elusive hope that they'll sucker iran into a "gotcha" moment and get them to finally cry "uncle" to prove once and for all america's total pwnage before they slink off into the pages of infamy, the war-mongers know too well that their cynical dream of *cough* "spreading peace and democracy" *cough* across the middle east has just gone up in smoke:

"we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."
george orwell, 1946

1 wtf ... ?!? is this supposed to be bush-speak for "no drive-bys"? are presidential "findings" ordinarily "lethal"? and just how many of these "findings" have left bush's desk anyway? there just isn't any end to this crew's thuggery ...

Monday, May 21, 2007

um, who's irrelevant ... ?

in a biting rebuke, the white house on sunday dismissed former president jimmy carter as "increasingly irrelevant" after his harsh criticism of president bush.

carter was quoted saturday as saying "i think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history."

the georgia democrat said bush had overseen an "overt reversal of america's basic values" as expressed by previous administrations, including that of his own farther [sic], former president george h.w. bush.

"i think it's sad that president carter's reckless personal criticism is out there," white house spokesman tony fratto responded sunday from crawford, where bush spent the weekend.

"i think it's unfortunate," fratto said. "and i think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments."

jimmy carter, that boorish failure, who can point to little more than a nobel peace prize to his credit, is obviously jealous of the commander-guy.

because yes, even 18 months before george w. bush's triumphal exit from the world stage, his stalwart colleagues have already seated him among the fabled champions of conservative republicanism and are weaving epic paeans to his matchless accompishments and his everlasting fame:

(video courtesy of real time with bill maher)

or ... maybe not.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

goodbye tony blair

the skies are charcoal grey
it's a dreary downtown day
but at the end of my 40 foot leash
is my little friend quiche
quiche la poodle is her name
and having a good time on a crummy day is our game.

quiche quiche lorraine
quiche quiche lorraine

everyday i take her out. yeah!
she runs around, she shouts out and barks. yeah!
cause she's a good doggie
she's a sweet, sweet, sweet puppy! arf arf
and i know she'll stick by me, yeah! arf arf

oh no! here comes a great dane
drivin' down the lane
quiche, quiche, quiche come back here
don't leave me
i'll go insane.
i'll go insane.

how do you like that?
has anybody seen a dog dyed dark green
about two inches tall, with a strawberry blond fall;
sunglasses and a bonnet
and designer jeans with appliques on it?
the dog that brought me so much joy
left me wallowing in pain
quiche lorraine

i'll show her!
do you see the key in my hand?
i'm gonna throw it in the lake
yes, you've been so rotten to me,
you take the cake.
i'm just gonna lock the door to your kennel
and just you try and come back to me
yeah, you'll see.

quiche quiche lorraine you mangy mutt.
quiche quiche lorraine i'm talking about quiche!
quiche quiche lorraine quiche lorraine!

— the b-52s, "quiche lorraine"

hello gordon brown.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


  1. food used to entice fish or other animals as prey.

    related terms: sitting duck. decoy. cannon fodder. chum.

  2. our fighting men and women in iraq, thoughtfully served up on a platter for the bloodlust of our insatiable enemy.

    ... according to disgraced-clintonite-turned-pundit dick morris, who extolled the virtues of the occupation from the comfort and convenience of his studio desk at fox news:

i think that withdrawal from iraq, it obviously gives al qaeda a huge victory — huge victory. on the other hand, if we stay in iraq, it gives them the opportunity to kill more americans, which they really like.

one of the things, though, that i think that the anti-war crowd has not considered, is that if we're putting the americans right within their [the terrorists’] arms’ reach, they don’t have to come to wall street to kill americans. they don’t have to knock down the trade center. they can do it around the corner, and convenience is a big factor when you’re a terrorist.

(btw dick, you may not have been told, but i heard that something may have already happened to the trade center ...)

you'll of course remember dick morris from his last appearance on this blog, when in the wake of hurricane katrina he boldly predicted that president bush's ratings "are gonna soar!"

if by "soar" he meant sore or sour, he's been vindicated.

but it may be that time of day when, like that proverbial stopped watch, dick might actually be onto something, since his bff in iraq, nominal al qaeda deputy ayman al-zawahiri, admitted that he knows too well where his care packages are coming from:

in a new video posted today on the internet, al qaeda's no. 2 man, ayman al zawahri, mocks the bill passed by congress setting a timetable for the pullout of u.s. troops in iraq.

"this bill will deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the american forces which we have caught in a historic trap," zawahri says in answer to a question posed to him an interviewer.

continuing in the same tone, zawahri says, "we ask allah that they only get out of it after losing 200,000 to 300,000 killed, in order that we give the spillers of blood in washington and europe an unforgettable lesson."

and who says al qaeda aren't grateful?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

2 am feeding

(image by aarrgghh)

only 626 days (that's one year, 8 months and two weeks) more of the tantrums and the whining — that is, if junior isn't retroactively aborted — then the brat's finally off their hands ... i know speaker of the house nancy pelosi (d-ca) and senate majority leader harry reid (d-nv) will be very relieved.

Friday, May 04, 2007


this one's on the house, you republican gasbags!

bob cesca has a long-overdue message for all those oh-so-deserving and soon-to-be-irrelevant professional pundits, politicians, prognosticators, proselytizers, preachers, peddlers and outright propagandists who've been proven so horrifically wrong for the past six years:

last week, i described a nightmare scenario in which the republicans won the midterm prompting the president, high on mandate juice, to form the department of shut the f*** up, headed by a sock puppet named secretary fiddlesticks.

now that the democrats have taken back the congress and 51+ percent of america finally has a voice in government again, i think it's time to seriously let fly. so at the risk of sounding contentious in this all-too-genuine era (several days) of bipartisanship, here now is a roll call of people who must officially shut the f*** up.

  1. republican trolls who wrap up their anonymous and incomprehensible criticisms of progressives with the phrase, "and that's why your party never wins," need to shut the f*** up.
  2. the cowards who so easily disregard our liberties by shrugging off the president's illegal wiretapping; the cowards who shrug off the military commissions act and the death of habeas corpus; and the cowards who shrug off torture with the phrases, "i'm not doing anything wrong, so i have nothing to worry about," or, "you can't [blank] if you're dead," ought to shut the f*** up. [yes, we're calling you out pat, jeff and john, you buncha li'l skairdy k-k-kats!]

  3. anyone who still believes that global warming is a myth? shut the f*** up.

  4. rush limbaugh must shut the f*** up. on second thought, strike that. the more we see violet beauregard flapping his arms and mocking parkinson's patients, the better off the rest of the nation will be.

  5. in ann coulter's latest column, he wondered when the democrats would be fitting senator-elect jon tester with a "leotard." speaking of tards, mr. coulter needs to shut the f*** up. and this order stands for anyone who claims senator-elect tester is a "conservative democrat." he could very well be the face of the new progressive democrat and one of the most genuine lawmakers elected tuesday. prediction: if he isn't already, tester will quickly become a rock star in this party.

  6. i think it was bill maher who mentioned this but it stands repeating here: neocons who have made multiple rosy predictions about iraq need to shut the f*** up and are forthwith banned from making any more predictions.

  7. sean hannity, bill o'reilly and other homophobes who use the "san francisco liberal" label for speaker-elect pelosi must... you know. we all understand that it's right-wing code language meaning "homo-values." if that's what you mean, just say it. that is, unless you're not man enough.

  8. if you still believe that karl rove is a genius, wizard, architect or anything short of overrated, you must shut the f*** up. one popular vote loss, one win, one near loss to a disorganized opponent and one outright loss means one thing and one thing only: mediocrity. racking up this kind of record by means of dirty tricks, race-baiting and questioning the patriotism of decorated war veterans makes rove a mediocre hack at best. [hmm ... i believe said something along those lines over a year ago.]

  9. ed gillespie, the man who's just a neck with a mouth, is officially ordered for the last time to shut the f*** up.

  10. the devilish wordsmiths who think it's strategic and clever to refer to the democratic party as the "democrat party" need to stop it. shut the f*** up. the official name of the party is the democratic party, with the "ic" at the end. yeah, i know. newt gingrich and frank luntz invented the idea of saying "democrat party" or "the democrat leadership" or "the democrat voters" in order to emphasize the "rat" syllable, leaving a rat-like subliminal hint in the minds of listeners. president bush, in his so-called "conciliatory" press conference wednesday, used this incorrect pronunciation several times.

  11. "and while the ballots are still being counted in the senate, it is clear the democrat party had a good night last night, and i congratulate them on their victories."

    "this morning i spoke with republican and democrat leadership in the house and senate."

    "... we'll begin consultations with the democrat leadership starting thursday and friday."

    "... and now work with democrat leaders in the congress because they control the committees and they control the flow of bills."

    "we got some tax cuts passed with democrat votes."

  12. and finally ... mr. president. saying that you're going to work with congress and compromise for the sake of the nation doesn't mean shoving your unconstitutional terrorist surveillance act and your bellicose anti-u.n. u.n. ambassador through a lame duck session. so if you don't really intend to be bipartisan, then shut the f*** up. you pride yourself on letting people know exactly where you stand and, despite the fact that you routinely stand on dangerous principles, there's at least some cold comfort in knowing what you're up to. but it's clear that that president bush is long gone — replaced by a man who can't even be honest with his own base about things like the iraq war, subsequently leaving his allies alone, confused and scrambling to assuage the anger of an increasingly hostile constituency. this last part? keep it up, thank you.

and that's the roll call. i've spent the last several days not only breathing in the sweet aroma of real-life governmental checks and balances, but i've also been evaluating where we go from here. clearly speaker-elect pelosi and the democratic leadership have the daunting task of working with the white house to not only push through vital pieces of legislation, but they also must do so in a way that doesn't raze their chances for further pickups in 2008. it goes without saying that any misstep in the face of this republican party (and its media lapdogs) could spell disaster. so they have to play nice in some ways, but you and i are best served by remaining on the attack and never hesitating to tell those who deserve it to shut the f*** up.

update: i've been told that joe mccarthy was the first to use the "democrat [sic] party" misnomer. however, its use became much more pervasive when gingrich and luntz practically made it mandatory in the ranks of the gop.