Great anticipation

 Posted by at 19:24  Politics
Nov 302005
 

Via Wonkette

“Midshipmen catch naps as they wait for more than an hour for U.S. President George W. Bush to deliver an address on the war in Iraq at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland November 30, 2005.”

Mr. Bush has never been a great public speaker. These guys knew what they were in store for. Truth be known, this picture was probably during the speech.

Update: Another picture…

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New strategy

 Posted by at 10:36  Politics
Nov 302005
 

The Washington Post reports this morning that “Bush Unveils New Iraq Strategy.” You don’t need to spend a lot of time on it… it’s pretty much the same as the old Iraq strategy: “Stay the course.”

One thing has changed, however. We’ve progressed from “Mission Accomplished” to “Mission Complete.”

He repeated, though, that U.S. forces will not be withdrawn from Iraq until the “mission is complete.”

And, we are now going to stand still while they bomb and kill us…

“America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am commander in chief,” Bush said.

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Noble cause

 Posted by at 16:10  Politics
Nov 292005
 

Is this the “noble cause” for which our troops are fighting and dying in Iraq?

Killings Linked to Shiite Squads in Iraqi Police Force

BAGHDAD — Shiite Muslim militia members have infiltrated Iraq’s police force and are carrying out sectarian killings under the color of law, according to documents and scores of interviews.

The abuses raise the specter of organized retaliation to attacks by Sunni-led insurgents that have killed thousands of Shiites, who endured decades of subjugation under Saddam Hussein.

And they undermine the U.S. effort to stabilize the nation, and train and equip Iraq’s security forces — the Bush administration’s key prerequisites for the eventual withdrawal of American troops.

In recent months, hundreds of bodies have been discovered in rivers, garbage dumps, sewage treatment facilities and alongside roads and in desert ravines. Many of them are thought to be victims of Sunni insurgents, who are known to target Shiite civilians and Iraqi security forces, and even Sunni Arabs believed to be collaborating with U.S. forces or the Iraqi government. But increasingly, the Shiite militias operating within the national police force are also suspected of committing atrocities.

The Baghdad morgue reports that dozens of bodies arrive at the same time on a weekly basis, including scores of corpses with wrists bound by police handcuffs.

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Shrinking bubble

 Posted by at 15:20  Politics
Nov 292005
 

Many who read this will be too young to remember that the President of the United States used to ride around in a topless limousine, or that he used to speak to crowds that were not screened in advance, or that he used to walk down the street shaking hands with random citizens. That all pretty much ended in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.

Kennedy_limo
Kennedy_limo

George W. Bush, however, has carried it to new extremes…

Bush’s Shrinking Safety Zone

What does it say about the president of the United States that he won’t go anywhere near ordinary citizens any more? And that he’ll only speak to captive audiences?

President Bush’s safety zone these days doesn’t appear to extend very far beyond military bases, other federal installations and Republican fundraisers…

When was the last time that Bush spoke in a forum open to citizens who are representative of the diverse array of views in the country? Certainly not since last October’s presidential debates, and not often before then, either.

The White House advance team has long been sensitive to the potency of imagery in presidential events, going to great lengths to stage dramatic backdrops for Bush’s appearances. In particular, they have used uniformed, on-duty military audiences many times before to underscore his case for war.

During last year’s campaign, White House advance teams began screening audiences at Bush events to insure that only supporters were allowed in. After the election, that policy gave way to a new, “invitation only” approach, in which tickets to so-called public events were distributed largely by Republican and business groups. Now Bush is in phase three, where almost everyone he appears before is either on the federal payroll or a Republican donor.

Another one down

 Posted by at 15:48  Politics
Nov 282005
 

Another corrupt Republican bit the bullet today. It makes you wonder why they all don’t resign and save us the time and expense of all these investigations and trials.

Calif. Congressman Admits Taking Bribes

Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and tax charges and tearfully resigned from office, admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes to steer defense contracts to conspirators.

Cunningham, 63, entered pleas in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004.

You almost have to feel sorry for this one. Almost.

“In my life, I have known great joy and great sorrow. And now I know great shame. I learned in Viet Nam that the true measure of a man is how he responds to adversity. I cannot undo what I have done. But I can atone. I am now almost 65 years old and, as I enter the twilight of my life, I indent to use the remaining time that God grants me to make amends.

“The first step in that journey is to admit fault and apologize. The next step is to face the consequences of my actions like a man. Today, I have taken the first step and, with God’s grace, I will soon take the second.”

Are you listening, Mr. DeLay, Mr. Rove and Mr. Frist (and a whole bunch of others)? Stand up and face the consequences of your actions like men.

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Things not so good in Iraq

 Posted by at 10:54  Politics
Nov 272005
 

If you spend much time reading right-wing weblogs, you have found that one of their favorite themes is that, contrary to what the “liberal media” in the United States tells you, things are going quite swimmingly in Iraq. The first Prime Minister of that country after the fall of Saddam Hussein does not seem to agree…

Abuse worse than under Saddam, says Iraqi leader

Allawi
Allawi
Human rights abuses in Iraq are now as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein and are even in danger of eclipsing his record, according to the country’s first Prime Minister after the fall of Saddam’s regime.

‘People are doing the same as [in] Saddam’s time and worse,’ Ayad Allawi told The Observer. ‘It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.’

In a damning and wide-ranging indictment of Iraq’s escalating human rights catastrophe, Allawi accused fellow Shias in the government of being responsible for death squads and secret torture centres. The brutality of elements in the new security forces rivals that of Saddam’s secret police, he said.

Allawi, who was a strong ally of the US-led coalition forces and was prime minister until this April, made his remarks as further hints emerged yesterday that President George Bush is planning to withdraw up to 40,000 US troops from the country next year, when Iraqi forces will be capable of taking over.

Allawi’s bleak assessment is likely to undermine any attempt to suggest that conditions in Iraq are markedly improving.

‘We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being interrogated,’ he added. ‘A lot of Iraqis are being tortured or killed in the course of interrogations. We are even witnessing Sharia courts based on Islamic law that are trying people and executing them.’

Oh, wow

 Posted by at 17:54  Politics
Nov 252005
 

Thank God we have Mark Noonan to explain…

I guess, when you get right down to it, the problem with the left – the reason they disagree – is that they are largely alienated from God or any sense of the sublime. Materialists and entirely Earth-bound in their views, the people of the left take a cold view of their fellow human beings. Both right and left view humanity as a collection of perverse creatures, but the right has the saving grace of believing in the ability of people to freely choose redemption, while the left figures it must force everyone to be good. The left only believes Charity (forced or voluntary), but has no room for Faith and Hope.

He’s such a smart, smart man. Whatever would we do without him? It’s simply amazing how somebody who is so extremely right could understand so much about the left. We should all be thankful that he is around to let us know how we feel and what we believe.

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Gotta love this teacher!

 Posted by at 15:27  Politics
Nov 252005
 

Teacher accused of giving ‘liberal’ quiz

BENNINGTON, Vermont (AP) — A high school teacher is facing questions from administrators after giving a vocabulary quiz that included digs at President Bush and the extreme right.

Bret Chenkin, a social studies and English teacher at Mount Anthony Union High School, said he gave the quiz to his students several months ago. The quiz asked students to pick the proper words to complete sentences.

One example: “I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring him Republican votes.” “Coherent” is the right answer.

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We live in a strange world

 Posted by at 15:09  Politics
Nov 252005
 

Ex-FEMA Head Starts Disaster Planning Firm

DENVER (AP) — Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, heavily criticized for his agency’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina, is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job.

”If I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses — because that goes straight to the bottom line — then I hope I can help the country in some way,” Brown told the Rocky Mountain News for its Thursday editions.

Brown said officials need to ”take inventory” of what’s going on in a disaster to be able to answer questions to avoid appearing unaware of how serious a situation is…

”I’m doing a lot of good work with some great clients,” Brown said. ”My wife, children and my grandchild still love me. My parents are still proud of me.”

A very strange world indeed.

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