Archive for February 2007
I can’t either explain or excuse this, but maybe I don’t need to.
If I keep this up, I’m going to need a category just for beer…. (via TheNewsHole)
The BBC is reporting confirmation of what many of us suspected: even as Bush insists he has no plans to attack Iran, there are plans to attack Iran.
US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country’s military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.
It is understood that any such attack – if ordered – would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.
[S]enior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.
That list includes Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Facilities at Isfahan, Arak and Bushehr are also on the target list, the sources say.
In other words, the Bushies think they can knock out Iran’s military capability with air strikes and naval bombardments rather than needing troops on the ground, just as many analysts predicted based on the movement of two carrier groups into the Gulf. This also means that stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon is just an excuse to start another war. If all they wanted to do was eliminate Iran’s potential nuclear capacity, they’d do what Bill Clinton did in similar circumstances and limit the bombing to taking out those facilitites. But they aren’t.
We also seem to have confirmation of the charges that the Bush Administration is trying to whip up some hysteria to justify a war it has already decided to start. According to the report, the US has identified two
excuses “triggers” that would get the war ball rolling. Read the rest of this entry »
The round of US Attorney firings continues as USAG Alberto Gonzales punishes them for insufficient genuflection to the neocon agenda, only now, after criticism by Democrats and the press that no reasons had been given, so-far-unfired prosecutors are offering excuses, lame though they might be.
An eighth U.S. attorney announced her resignation yesterday, the latest in a wave of forced departures of federal prosecutors who have clashed with the Justice Department over the death penalty and other issues.
Margaret Chiara, the 63-year-old U.S. attorney in Grand Rapids, Mich., told her staff that she was leaving her post after more than five years, officials said. Sources familiar with the case confirmed that she was among a larger group of prosecutors who were first asked to resign Dec. 7. (emphasis added)
What “other issues”? The only reason Alberto ever gave was “performance issues”, whatever they are. That covers a lot of ground. Read the rest of this entry »
Tony “The Poodle” Blair is pulling British troops out of Iraq and Stephan Hadley is having the dickens of a time spinning it as “good news”.
President Bush’s top foreign policy aide proclaimed it “basically a good-news story.”
What national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley meant was that the British believe they have made enough progress in southern Iraq to turn over more of their sector to Iraqi forces.
Got that? It has NOTHING TO DO with the British Govt wanting to be long gone when Bush attacks Iran.
NOTHING AT ALL.
I hope we’re all clear about that now.
(Oh, yes – Denmark is leaving, too but THAT’S JUST A CO-INCIDENCE.)
This is the top of the Globe business news this morning:
As of today, that’s the OFFICIAL Cheez Doodle of the
White folks often complain that race is a rhetorical minefield which makes them nervous about saying the wrong thing. But for people of color, race is an actual minefield rife with physical dangers and obstacles and conflicts. As Chris Rock has said, “I ain’t afraid of Al Qaeda; I’m afraid of Al Crackuh.” Which is a cute line, but also deadly serious, because as the newspapers continue to remind us, racist hate crimes happen. This isn’t hypothetical or abstract; for instance, I myself had my life threatened a couple years ago by an NYPD officer who assured me that he might “shoot a fuckin’ chink and trust me, I can get away with it”. Ain’t that America. Excuse me if such experiences leave a foul feeling.
All of which is quite true, but his prescription for repairing the dichotomy is about three steps down the road.
If white folks are genuinely interested in discussing racism without worrying about saying anything that could be construed as racist, I have simple advice: Become an anti-racist. Study the issue, listen and learn, join the struggle to end racism and white supremacy. If you do that, I’m pretty sure that you’ll lose the nervousness about race talk.
I wish it were that simple. Read the rest of this entry »
Hardaway’s comments are everywhere and everywhere discussed, so no, this isn’t really about him. Good basketball player but another bigoted idiot-athlete. Nothing new there, end of story. At least he has the excuse that he was being honest: homophobia is a disease and he’s sick.
No, this is about the Concerned Women for America, a far-right, Xtian Nationalist group with an agenda less humane that Genghiz Khan’s. According to Julian Sanchez of Notes from the Lounge, CWA is circulating a press release condemning what he said. Good, right? But dig the reason they’re condemning it:
“Hardaway’s comments are both unfortunate and inappropriate,” said Matt Barber, CWA’s Policy Director for Cultural Issues. “They provide political fodder for those who wish to paint all opposition to the homosexual lifestyle as being rooted in ‘hate.’ [....] It’s perfectly natural for people to be repelled by disordered sexual behaviors that are both unnatural, and immoral [....] Hardaway’s comments only serve to foment misperceptions of widespread homosexual ‘victimhood’ which the homosexual lobby has craftily manufactured.”
IOW, it’s “perfectly natural” to hate somebody different but don’t say it in public because that makes it harder for other haters to get away with hating. And if you must say it in public (this goes for Isaiah Washington, too, I’m sure), use the politically correct, Xtian-fundie-approved language in which it’s the gays’ own fault that you hate them. If you don’t, you run the risk of arousing sympathy for the fact that they’re hated, thus feeding into “the gay agenda” of “victimhood” which the “homosexual lobby” has “manufactured” and “foment[ing] misperceptions” that gay people might actually be human and not deserve the hate they’ve brought on themselves.
That would be bad.
Yoicks. That’s double-helix pretzel logic. In a can. With whipped cream on top and a make-believe cherry. A version straight from your standard rapist: “It’s her fault I raped her. Her skirt was too short/blouse was too tight/she has legs/she had the gall to be female.” In Right-Wing LaLaLand, there are no victims except the ones who want to be, so of course wingnuts have to oblige them but it’s their fault. They forced the wingnuts to hate them.
This is also the argument that’s been used by oligarchs and despots from time immemorial. When the populist Gracci brothers were murdered during the Roman Empire, the Senate explained that it was their own fault for advocating land reform. When Pinochet murdered Allende, the staid NY Times editorial board allowed as how he had given the Junta no choice because he impinged on the prerogatives of the privileged class.
It’s always somebody else’s fault, and Hardaway’s sin was to forget that by admitting it was his. Shameful.
PS Am I the only one who finds it odd that the Concerned Women for America’s Cultural Policy Director is a guy? Don’t women even run their own groups over there?
(Lounge link via Jon Swift)
Just last week, a Reaganite judge dismissed the case for corruption against Scott Custer and Mike Battles on very dubious but Bush Administration-approved grounds. Today, the DC Court of Appeals rejected a petition by lawyers representing the Gitmo detainees to “challenge their imprisonment”, a ruling that basically gives Bush the power to continue with his de facto suspension of habeus corpus rights.
In its 2 to 1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld one of the central components of the Military Commissions Act, the law enacted last year by a then-Republican-controlled Congress that stripped Guantanamo detainees of their right to such habeas corpus petitions. Lawyers have filed the petitions on behalf of virtually all of the nearly 400 detainees still at Guantanamo, challenging President Bush’s right to hold them indefinitely without charges. Yesterday’s ruling effectively dismisses the cases.
The lawyers are going to appeal to the SCOTUS, and Dem Senators Patrick Leahy (along with Repub Arlen Specter) and Chris Dodd are already moving to overturn the suspension (Dodd introduced his bill last week), but until all that happens, the Gitmo defendants remain in a legal limbo where they have no rights of any kind except those granted by the military courts – which don’t seem inclined to grant very many.
The two appellate judges who upheld the administration’s position are – no surprise here – conservative Republicans. Another non-surprise: their lockstep parroting of Bush Administration arguments. Read the rest of this entry »
The president visited Mount Vernon today to pose with an actor posing as George Washington posing as if Bush wasn’t there. Which, of course, he wasn’t.
During the short Q&A that followed the posing, Mr Bush compared Iraq to the American Revolution and himself to Washington:
“With the advantage of hindsight, it is easy to take George Washington’s successes for granted,” Mr. Bush said after enumerating Washington’s achievements as commander of the Continental Army and later as president. But “America’s path to freedom was long and it was hard,” he continued, “and the outcome was never really certain.”
The press-clatch quickly applauded a rare occasion when the president managed to string two whole sentences together without reading them off a teleprompter, and then, marveling at his knowledge, asked how he had come by it.
“I’m reading about George Washington still,” the president told reporters….
Witness can now reveal that the book Mr Bush has been reading for the last two weeks is Mary Louise Barnhoff’s The Big Book of George Washington. Ms Barnhoff is a third-grade teacher in Altoona, Pennsylvania. We reached her by phone. Read the rest of this entry »
Right after Katrina I wrote a series of posts at the old Revolution blog that accused the Bush Administration of using the hurricane’s devastation and New Orleans’ desperate plight to try to lever the power to declare martial law away from Louisiana’s governor and give it to the White House in defiance of the law.
There was some evidence to suggest that FEMA was ordered to hold up the relief that was waiting in trucks and on ships so the administration could use it as a bargaining chip to force Gov Blanco to give away that power. She refused and Louisiana paid the price, sort of: FEMA slowed its relief efforts – which had been blazing fast in Jeb Bush’s hurricane-hit Florida the year before – down to a crawl.
Of course, in the end that snail-like response gave Bush a huge black eye and FEMA a horrendous reputation from which it has yet to recover, but that was small consolation to the tens of thousands left homeless, hustled off to other states, or abandoned altogether by a govt that has still shown no particular interest in their fate.
Why do the Bushies spend so much time telling us how hard they work? How many times have you heard Junior say something like this:
“This takes hard work. It takes patience, it takes perseverance, it takes getting up after a bad day and trying to make a better day. And that’s what I am going to do…”
Is she under the impression that the rest of us don’t do that? That we sort of laze around saying, “Oh I don’t feel like getting up” or “I’m going to make today worse than yesterday”?
Why do they want us to feel sorry for them?
“Oh, poor me! Pity me! I’m Secretary of State, and that’s Hard Work. I have to talk to people I don’t like – when I can’t avoid it, which I can most of the time – and that’s painful. Read the rest of this entry »
A couple of weeks ago I debunked two of the Right’s more cherished fantasies: the utter failure of low-tax policies and privativation in actual practice, an outcome that doesn’t surprise anybody who hasn’t turned their brain over to conservatives for ritual slaughter and squashing. I’ve been meaning to take on the third for a while now, and today’s WaPo gives me a reasonably good excuse. This may not be the most egregious of instances but it will serve nicely as a classic example of how the corporatocracy works when unrestricted by govt regulation – it takes as much as its fat little fingers can get hold of.
That’s right. I’m talking about the Deregulation Myth. Read the rest of this entry »
Last December, the SEC changed the accounting rules around the reporting of top corporate executive pay packages to require, it said, “more openness”. SEC Chair Christopher Cox bragged that for the first time investors would get a clear picture of just how much $$$ was being paid out in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits. Critics, however, claimed there was a loophole that would allow one of the biggest chunks of an executive’s total pay to be hidden or glossed over: stock options. Cox pooh-poohed them and put the rule into effect.
Well, once again, the critics were right.
Due to an accounting loophole for stock options and an eleventh-hour rule change made by securities regulators just before Christmas, some of the biggest names in technology, health care and financial services will be able to cloud what their top executives make.
The anomaly is being discovered by compensation consultants who have been hired by firms to draft these filings. In some cases, it is lowering the compensation figures reported by firms, they said. In others, executives who should be named in the filings as the five highest-paid officers in their companies are being replaced with employees making less.
I like that word “discovered”, as if nobody noticed it before the accountants actually had to deal with it. “Anomaly” is another good word. It makes it sound like it’s an unintended consequence, something no one saw coming, and some kind of weird, strange, unexplainable phenomenon, like a tornado or UFOs. Read the rest of this entry »