As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, July 16, 2004

MARTHA SENTENCED!!!! also that Iraq guy killed a bunch of people...

While every major and minor news story is covering the Martha Stewart trial and its Earth-shattering effect on our society, nay, the global society as a whole, there's a story out of Baghdad that, amazingly, is shocking, even though I thought nothing could be shocking coming out of that part of the world anymore. But check this shit out:

Baghdad, Iraq, Jul. 16 (UPI) -- Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi killed six suspected insurgents just days before he was handed power, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The report cites two witnesses to the killing who say Allawi fatally shot the prisoners, who were handcuffed, blindfolded and lined up against a wall in a courtyard near the maximum-security facility at al-Amariyah security centre near Baghdad. They quoted Allawi as saying the men "deserved worse than death" because each had killed some 50 Iraqis.

The newspaper added the killings were seen by about a dozen Iraqi police and four Americans from Allawi's security team. Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib, another alleged witness, is said to have congratulated Allawi.

The Herald report in its Saturday editions said both Allawi's office and Naqib denied the report.

The newspaper quoted witnesses as saying Allwai told those present he wanted to send a clear message to police on how to deal with insurgents.

Seven prisoners were brought out. Six were shot in the head and died. One was wounded, the report said.

When we installed Allawi, who had lifelong ties to the CIA, I expected him to use CIA tactics to battle the insurgency. Indeed, some of his first acts included reserving the right to declare martial law in the cities, conducting overnight sweeps and mass arrests in Baghdad, and establishing a new intelligence service to combat terrorists. All that is well and good, but now we're talking about cold blooded murder to set an example of intimidation. Hey, that sounds like Saddam Hussein!

So, now it appears we again have a brutal strongman in Iraq. The difference is that he's OUR brutal strongman.


Thursday, July 15, 2004

Shalom, I mean, Kia Ora!

I've been to New Zealand. Lovely country. Exceedingly nice people. More sheep than people, but still. In fact, saying you're from New Zealand would be a great way to travel the world. Nobody would ever suspect a New Zealander had any wrongdoing in mind.

Looks like Israel had the same idea:

New Zealand jails alleged Israeli spies
by Matthew Clark |

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark launched a "blistering verbal attack" and slapped diplomatic sanctions on Israel Thursday. Ms. Clark announced this after two suspected agents of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency were imprisoned for six months for illegally attempting to obtain New Zealand passports, reports The Scotsman.


In a July 4 article, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported that "intelligence specialists in New Zealand, including one individual who said he had once worked for the Mossad, said in interviews that the members of a group associated with the case had been working systematically for years to obtain New Zealand passports, which are considered 'door-openers' and do not arouse suspicion in the Arab world."

In her comments Thursday, Clark pointed to Mossad's past connection with false passports and assassination attempts. "Israeli agents caught in an unsuccessful assassination attempt in Jordan in 1997 were found to be carrying fraudulent Canadian passports," she said.

By the way, the Mossad is all class:

Urie Zoshe Kelman and Eli Cara were arrested in March after they "tried to collect a passport in the name of a New Zealand national who is a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy victim," reports The Scotsman.

New Zealand is a very open society, and most of its citizens go on OE (overseas experience) at a young age. Their passports have virtually no visa restrictions anywhere in the world. But the lesson here is, don't get a Kiwi angry. Good for Helen Clark to bring the smackdown.


I can start breathing again

No Iron Mike on Capitol Hill:

CHICAGO (AP) - With four months to go before the election, Illinois Republicans are desperately searching for a U.S. Senate candidate after former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka said he wouldn't run.

"There was a moment when I said, God, I'd like to take this and run with it, and then I said, you know, put your head on straight and think about what you're getting into," Ditka said outside his restaurant.

I think this marks the first time a Senate candidate held a news conference in front of his own crappy tourist-trap restaurant.

Meanwhile, the Illinois GOP might as well make this an open seat, because they can't find a soul to run against Barack Obama. Their latest potential candidate, Dr. Andrea Barthwell, former deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, apparently told someone "I know you like it big and meaty" during a office birthday party. Somebody in the Cook County GOP floated Ted Nugent's name as a possibility, even though he (a)doesn't live in the state, (b)is a maniac and (c)is a maniac. James Oberweis, who was second in the GOP primary behind Jack Ryan (who dropped out after a scandal involving taking his ex-wife to live sex clubs), isn't even being asked.

I have some ideas for Illinois Republicans, because surely they can find a native son that'll run. Al Capone? Ronald McDonald (Hamburger University is in Oak Brook)? Ms. O'Leary's cow? A piece of sausage?


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Lies, Damn Lies, and Bush Campaign Ads

There's a new Bush ad that's been running for about a week that talks about Kerry's missed Senate votes due to campaigning (as if Bush and Cheney have been sitting diligently in the Oval Office and not going to whistle-stop tours and million-dollar fundraisers for the past year). They make a point of saying "But Kerry did find time to vote against the Laci Peterson Law, which protects pregnant women from violence."

So what is this "Laci Peterson Law"? Well, it wasn't called the Laci Peterson Law when it passed. It was then the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. And here's what it does: it makes it a crime to harm a fetus during an assault on a pregnant woman. So does that protect pregnant women, really? If you're a criminal, and you're looking to harm a pregnant woman, are you ACTUALLY thinking "Hmm, this would be TWO counts of assault, not one, so I'd better go home"? No. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act is another way right-wing fundamentalists can eat away at abortion rights. Because if it's illegal to harm a fetus, how far are we from arresting abortion providers? In fact, a GOP Senate candidate in Oklahoma has already gone that far:

Tom Coburn, a former member of the House of Representatives from Oklahoma, who is campaigning to become the Republican party's candidate to replace retiring Senator Don Nickles, recently said he supports the death penalty for doctors who perform abortions.

"I favor the death penalty," Colburn told the AP last week, "for abortionists and other people who take life."

Let's put aside the point that Colburn, a man now on the record for killing doctors, would somehow be labeled by his party as pro-life. The real point is that invoking some tabloid star like Laci Peterson puts in the minds of less savvy Americans phrases like "why would John Kerry not want to protect that nice woman?" when actually, what we have is a craven disguising of the facts. It's disgusting to use an antiabortion law as "proof" that your opponent is soft on crime.

Give Bush and Rove credit, however; just when I think I've reached the top level of my hatred, they find a way to raise it even more.

UPDATE: After posting this story on another site, commenter Bidabunch makes a great point:

It's also pretty useless. The federal government doesn't have police power. Generally, there are no and can be no capital crimes since only the states' police power.

This law applies only to federal lands or committing federal crimes. Had it been in effect at the time, it wouldn't even apply to Laci Peterson.

So Kerry voted against the Laci Peterson law... which doesn't, um, apply to Laci Peterson...

UPDATE #2: Now it appears that the aforementioned Tom Colburn, based on some research by the folks at Atrios, has PERFORMED abortions on two occasions. I'm guessing (hoping) he's a doctor. So he favors the death penalty for abortionists not named Tom Colburn.


Hate Fails!

The Senate voted against a cloture vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment by a count of 48-50. The two Senators not voting were Kerry and Edwards, which means this expression of hatred went down to a clear defeat. Kudos to everyone who called their Senators, and to the 6 Republicans (John McCain, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Lincoln Chafee, John Sununu, and Ben Nighthorse Campbell) who stood up to the right-wing nuts in their own party to vote against the measure.


Stolen from Josh Marshall

TPM should be a daily read. Lookit this:

The lawyer representing President Bush in the Plame case, James E. Sharp, is also defending Ken Lay in the Enron Götterdämmerung case.

Admittedly, it probably doesn't presage a joint defense. But the optics leave a bit to be desired, no?

The GOP belief in the ignorance of the American electorate and the willful silence of the American media cannot be overstated.


Da Senate

Well, Matt Drudge is reporting that Mike Ditka will announce that he's running for the US Senate in Illinois against Barack Obama. That probably means it's not true. But if it is, this has got to be the dumbest, most contemptible insult to the intelligence of the American electorate since... well, since last October, when Schwarzenegger became governor.

I'm not sure I can live in a country where Mike Ditka is a Senator. I t makes me long for the days when state legislatures chose the Senators, taking it out of the hands of the rabble. If he gets voted in, I'd call for immediate repeal of the 17th Amendment. "We clearly don't know what we're doing. Take our voting rights away from us!"

The good news is that Obama is a god damn rock star, and only a preceived "legend" like Ditka would have a shot at him, and even then I'd give Obama the edge. Obama has political skills at least equal to Oklahoma's Brad Henry, who beat Seahawks WR Steve Largent like a drum in the OK governor's race a few years back. If Ditka does in fact run and lose, it would be the end of the GOP as we know it in Illinois. There's a reason they call the desperation pass at the end of a football game a "Hail Mary," you know; if it fails, it's over.

I guess I just don't want to know how stupid the American people are. Can we just not allow fucking football coaches to be in politics? Hmm, I guess it's too late; Dr. Tom Osborne, former Nebraska football coach, holds a House seat. OK, maybe the American people are that stupid.


Monday, July 12, 2004

F**king pot calling the f**king kettle black

So, late last week there was a Kerry fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall, and a number of celebrities took the stage with undecorous insults lobbed at our current President (which I'm pretty sure still fall within the confines of the First Amendment, even if they are said by celebrities). Whoopi Goldberg in particular made a ton of references that went along the lines of "we got Bush right here (poinitng to her crotch), we don't need Bush in the White House."

So the Republican National Committee gets super pissed-off, and denounces the "crudity and vulgarity" that came out of the New York City fundraiser. Mind you, this is the same party that defended the Vice President dropping an F-bomb on Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on the Senate floor. And the hypocrisy train just keeps rolling along.

Now isn't that ridiculous?

I mean, that Whoopi Goldberg still gets invited to shit? Isn't that ridiculous?


Hate Amendment reaches the Senate Floor Wednesday

The Republicans believe their "ace in the hole" in this election cycle will be about "conservative family values," a charge that Kerry has parried quite nicely with statements like "Values are not going into schools and sitting with little children and having a nice photo opportunity," and then "walking out of that school knowing that that school doesn't have the resources it needs." But this hasn't stopped the homophobes and bigots that be in the GOP to bring the Federal Marriage Amendment to debate in the Senate, with a vote scheduled on Wednesday. In case you were wondering if this was being done by right-wingers in Congress without White House approval, the President, on a week which saw a scathing Senate Intelligence Committee report on prewar intelligence in Iraq, devoted his entire radio address this weekend to the FMA, saying that "traditional marriage is also critical to the health of society."

Privately, even the most hard-core conservative admits that the FMA has no chance of passing in the Senate, being that as a Constitutional amendment it requires a 2/3 vote for passage. So why are they doing it? To get a certain two Senators who have the same first name (it's John) on the record against it. Well, good. I hope they are on the record, supporting individual rights, denouncing hatred. Ted Rall noted a while back that a disturbing majority of the hate mail he receives from conservatives contain antigay statements, including calling him a "faggot," "a hateful, bitter gay man," and "praying that "you find AIDS in one of your lover's asses." Go ahead, read them.

It's clear to me that the Administration is playing to the basest instincts of its party, and in fact, fomenting the mentality that ends in gay-bashing. People will undoubtedly die from this political stunt, just so Bush can go back to the religious right and say "We tried, but those godless Congressmen want homos to marry!" Shameful.

If you want to call your own Senator and tell them to vote against the Hate Amendment (you should; I will be), then follow this link.