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

Friday, April 01, 2005

Now You Tell Me

I watched the HBO documentary "Left of the Dial" last night, about the rise, near-fall, and eventual rise of Air America Radio (I had no idea that it was that close to collapse). In it, Janeane Garofalo's conservative father Carmine, in a pre-election discussion about the war in Iraq, states that if he can find clear evidence that Bush and Cheney lied to get us into war, he wouldn't vote for them. Specifically, he said "if they don't find any WMD, that'd be my proof."

Well Carmine, here's that proof you were looking for.

How about "the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction"?

How about "A senior intelligence officer warned then-CIA Director George J. Tenet that he lacked confidence in the principal source of the assertion that Saddam Hussein's scientists were developing deadly agents in mobile laboratories... Mr. Tenet replied with words to the effect of 'yeah, yeah' and that he was 'exhausted,'"?

Dissent was silenced. The presupposition of WMD in Iraq was pushed forward. That's the answer. Not much in this report comes as news to those of us who expressed doubts about the validity of prewar intelligence. The new thing, as Magorn sagely writes, is the coverup:

Watch a cover-up unfold in plain sight and real time:

WMD Report footnote 830 to chapter 1: There is a separate issue of how policymakers used the intelligence they were given and how they reflected it in their presentations to Congress and the public. That issue is not within our charter and we therefore did not consider it nor do we express a view on it.

Senator Pat Roberts' (R-KS) Statement to the Press 3/31/05: "I don't think there should be any doubt that we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence," the Kansas Republican said. "I think that it would be a monumental waste of time to re-plow this ground any further."

Yep, total waste of time to look into anything else, like say, Whether the Intelligence was deliberately manipulated to start a war!

They drew out these reports long enough to outpace the outrage. They obfuscated the real issue (manipulation of prewar intelligence) by focusing solely on the intelligence gathering, and setting the manipulation issue outside of the boundaries of all the investigators. And then the report's commissioners have the audacity to state in a letter that:

"The commission found no indication that the intelligence community distorted the evidence regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. What the intelligence professionals told (the president) about Saddam Hussein's programs was what they believed. They were simply wrong."

...when that was COMPLETELY OUTSIDE THEIR JURISDICTION, and presumably not a part of their information-gathering process.

This is all a smokescreen. The idea was to place the blame on the CIA and the FBI while exonerating by silence the President, the Office of Special Plans, and the Pentagon. But what's in the report is damning enough. I just wish it had been out there in time for Novemebr '04.


Blogger's Market

Kos reader jdavidson2 wrote me to tell me about his latest venture, Blogger's Market. It's a community site, not unlike Craig's List, that offers classified ads (free to post), job listings, personals, and discussion forums. It's kind of a branching out of the blogosphere to include many of the other community-building features that make the Web so great. So check it out if you have a chance. I'll be putting it in my links on the sidebar as well.


Thursday, March 31, 2005

Irony, Thy Name is America

While we've been changing 200 year-old laws to get one person hooked up to life support, we've been systematically starving a generation of Iraqi children:

GENEVA (AP) — Almost twice as many Iraqi children are suffering from malnutrition since the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, a U.N. monitor said Monday.

Four% of Iraqis under age 5 went hungry in the months after Saddam's ouster in April 2003, and the rate nearly doubled to 7.7% last year, said Jean Ziegler, the U.N. Human Rights Commission's special expert on the right to food.

The situation is "a result of the war led by coalition forces," he said.

I know, the kids are browner than Americans, but still, this qualifies as ironic. Billmon (who's back, by the way) mentioned in a recent post that Stalin once said "one death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic." And if anyone would know about a million deaths, it would be him. But these recent events have certainly seemed to illustrate that quote.

This quote needs to be put out as a disclaimer:

The authors of the report in the British-based medical journal The Lancet — researchers from Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and the Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad — conceded their data were of "limited precision," because they depended on the accuracy of the household interviews used for the study. The interviewers were Iraqi, most of them doctors.

But I think it'll be hard to argue that conditions in Iraq haven't contributed to malnutrition. And what households would be motivated to lie to their fellow Iraqis about the deaths of their children? I don't know. But I'm sure this paragraph will be used by the right to discount the whole thing.



I'm glad that Terri Schiavo is free of pain and at peace.

I'm saddened that those of us still alive to see her final days twisted into a media circus and conservative rallying cry will not be at peace for a long time. The lugubrious daylong tributes on CNN don't exactly help either. When Jeff Greenfield said "This is something important, not just something to fill up time on the news channels" I wanted to punch him in the face. Or at least stick a camera in his mug while his mother slips away. Butt out of my life and I'll butt out of yours.

I'll leave you with this brilliant statement:

"This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another.

Culture of life, see.

RIP, Terri.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005


This is where we've come in America: a vegetative woman who hasn't led any semblance of a life in over 15 years nearly brought us to the brink of a terror attack. Let the Petoskey News explain:

Norm Olson, senior adviser to the Michigan militia and pastor of a strong right-to-life church in Wolverine, said Tuesday he had put together an unarmed coalition of state militias that were prepared to storm the Florida hospice where Terri Schiavo has been left to die, and take her to a safe house.

Olson said he needed only the OK from Schiavo's father, Robert Schindler, either directly or through his attorney David Gibbs, to put the plan, called "Operation Resurrection," into action on Sunday.

But Olson said Gibbs contacted the FBI instead of passing his message on to Schindler.

You'll remember the Michigan Militia as the home of Terry Nichols, Tim McVeigh and others responsible for the Murrah Building explosion in Oklahoma City. In fact, one of its members was a janitor in my freshman residence hall in Ann Arbor.

These are the supporters of the "culture of life."

Here's some more of their plans:

Olson said that last Thursday he phoned Gibbs' secretary with a message that he had organized 1,500 to 2,000 militia members from Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Michigan, who were ready to remove Schiavo from the hospice and take her in a convoy to a safe house.

"We would have overwhelmed the local law enforcement," Olson said, adding the militias would not have been armed.
Olson said the other reason for the plan was to put Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of the U.S. president, on the spot.

"He would have had to send in state police or the National Guard to turn us away," Olson said. "None of us believe that he is helpless. He is the chief officer of the state and has the power of executive clemency. (Jeb) Bush was a liar when he said he couldn't do it. He knows his office has to represent the people. And judges have to know they are not infallible. All this was thwarted by Gibbs."

And suck in the rich delicious irony of this next statement...

He said the march to the hospice would have been similar to the massive March on Washington led by Martin Luther King in 1963.

"We were just going to push people out of the way. It was the mood and the heartbeat of America," he said.

Maybe that's the line that finally gets Jesse Jackson to take a look around and see who his new friends are.

Then the head of the group responsible for the largest domestic-based terror attack in the nation's history starts threatening judges and promoting life at the same time:

"We the people are the final judges, not the black-robed demons. I do not believe that 70 percent of the American people thought it was wrong for government to get involved. They turned around when they believed Terri Schiavo's was
a lost cause and wanted to be on the winning side."

"America has lost hope because, where there's life there's hope, but it is the black-robed devils who are deciding who lives and dies."

"We should all err on the side of life, whether it's an unborn American or someone facing the end of life. The feeding tube is like an umbilical cord or premature babies in an ICU (intensive care unit).

Finally, read these emails that Olson sent off to his minions:

Wednesday, March 23:
"Are there militia in Florida who are willing to go rescue Terri?
"How about Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana?
"I've got some very angry Michigan militia folks chomping at the bit ..."
"Shall we save Terri Schiavo?
"The Courts say NO
"The Law Makers say NO
"The Executives say NO
"It's time for us to say: 'Let's Roll!'

Thursday, March 24:
"Florida Militia: Please contact me. We're going to need several hundred willing to storm the building. I suspect that hundreds of 'civilians' may go with us. There is very little time, but I've got people ready to roll tonight."
"Failure is very probable, but not to try is to fail already."
"Too small of a force will mean total failure. It is a 'Bridge Too Far' but with enough people it may work.
"It isn't a commando raid or sneak attack. It is a mass saturation of people able to overwhelm the minimal forces there at this time."
"A large scale military assault need not be bloody. As much as we might like to, care must be taken to avoid inflicting injury on the bad guys."

This guy needs to be arrested. His computer should be impounded and his email list should be checked. The people on his email list should be brought in for questioning. If it were people of Egyptian or Saudi Arabian descent sending these emails back and forth the American people would demand nothing less.

This is a call for domestic terrorism in plain sight of the FBI and the rest of the nation. Let's see if they do anything.


New Ads Up on Monster

I see Lou Dobbs, when he's not pimping for a revival of the anti-immigrant Know-Nothing Party, has noticed that the Pentagon has denuded itself of its most powerful neocon leaders, causing something of a power vaccuum there (the transcript is not yet up on his site). This AP article mentions that there are so may civilian job vacancies that Rumsfeld himself is having to handle major military acquisitions for the Air Force. The LA Times notes all the vacancies, including five of the top six in the Air Force, the Secretary of the Navy, as well as the No. 2 and 3 positions formerly held by Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. Plus, Gen. Richard Myers is retiring as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in September.

Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that the neocons are jumping ship out of fear for legal reprisal to their policies? It sure seemed odd that Wolfowitz would get kicked over to the World Bank so swiftly, being that he has no experience in the matters they handle. And Feith literally melted away.

I'm not saying that the neocons are in full retreat after their bungled mess of things in Iraq and relative laissez-faire incompetence in Iran and North Korea. Indeed, they doubtlessly feel emboldened by the so-called "Arab spring" over the last few months (though one read of Juan Cole will disabuse you of that notion). I'm just saying that the high-profile neocons are being reassigned. They're most closely aligned with Iraq policy, they have the most to lose once Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo fully unravel. So they're being hidden. In the meantime, we have virtually nobody in charge of the military in a time of war, a severe breakdown that can lead to little things like not scrambling fighter jets in the wake of a terrorist attack.

And I can't help but consider the banishment of the high-profile neocons in the light of recent opinion polls on Iraq. Much like everything else in this Administration, as soon as something goes awry it gets tossed under the White House like an old sled. They're going to try to make everyone forget about Terri Schiavo, privatization, WMD, Abu Ghraib, and everything else about Iraq other than the purple finger.

By the way, if you have a decent military-industrial complex resume, I advise you to get it up on Monster.


What He Said

Stealing wholly from Mark A.R. Kleiman:

I see Nat Hentoff and Jesse Jackson have joined the feed-Terri forces, which already included Ralph Nader, Randall Terry, Rush Limbaugh, Bo Gritz, Sean Hannity, and James Dobson. Now if we can just get Alexander Cockburn and Al Sharpton to join in, we'll have a left-right coalition embodying the very cream of the nation's loudmouth dimwitted self-promoting busybodies.

You forgot Scarborough, he's down there too, I think. There's no better proof that your opinion is right than looking at exactly who is against you. There's definitely a joke to be made about "if a nuclear bomb landed in Pinellas Park" and "the nation's decibel level would lower by a full point," but that would be rude.


Bradley '00

I voted for Bill Bradley in 2000 because I thought he got it more than Gore, and was less susceptible to predictable Republican attacks on the Vice President (mainly, he's boring, he's a know-it-all, he's a braggart). It's hard to put that "wimpy librul" label on the guy who played small forward for the Knicks in the 70s. Today, Bradley writes in The Times about the need for a Democratic infrastructure, in one of the most reasonable, succinct, obvious ways I've seen. It's actually what Howard Dean's been saying since before he got in the DNC chair, but if Dean wrote this article the only thing coming out of it would be how much he "hates Republicans." Bradley is the right guy to put this out there, and it's high time this was made conventional wisdom:

You've probably heard some of this before, but let me run through it again. Big individual donors and large foundations - the Scaife family and Olin foundations, for instance - form the base of the pyramid. They finance conservative research centers like the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, entities that make up the second level of the pyramid.

The ideas these organizations develop are then pushed up to the third level of the pyramid - the political level. There, strategists like Karl Rove or Ralph Reed or Ken Mehlman take these new ideas and, through polling, focus groups and careful attention to Democratic attacks, convert them into language that will appeal to the broadest electorate. That language is sometimes in the form of an assault on Democrats and at other times in the form of advocacy for a new policy position. The development process can take years. And then there's the fourth level of the pyramid: the partisan news media. Conservative commentators and networks spread these finely honed ideas.

At the very top of the pyramid you'll find the president. Because the pyramid is stable, all you have to do is put a different top on it and it works fine.

Most people don't have a clue who Richard Mellon Scaife is, or the Olin Foundation, but they should be forced out into the light. It's clear that 2006 will be a reform campaign for Democrats, and the more the electorate knows that 3 or 4 families have been financing the Republican Party for 40 years, making its decisions, constructing its policy, the better.

The Center for American Progress and Media Matters are excellent, and decently financed, but like Bradley say, these things take time. Furthermore, both organizations seem more focused on exposing Republican ideas as rank than pushing any ideas of their own. There's a place for that, but there also needs to be a message creation and advocacy arm to all of this. Bradley also omits the blogosphere, which plays neatly into the level of the pyramid between the research centers and the partisan media. We're doing what we can, but Bradley is dead on that ALL of these parts must be bolstered and made seamless. It's a 40-year process for the Democratic Party, and I'm confident that enough of the right people are recognizing what needs to be done that America in 2044 will look far diffrent. But I'm glad Bradley has chosen to voice this right out in the open rather than behind closed doors.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Award Winning Site

I just got back from the SCOOMIES (Southern California Open Mike Awards), where this site was victorious in the "Comedian's Blog I'd Most Like to Read" category. It was the first time the blog was discussed in public by more than three people.

This is a positive step.

I swear I'll get back in the swing of things and start blogging in earnest tomorrow. I do have award-winning standards now.


Monday, March 28, 2005

Back from the road

There's a lot to be said, but it will have to be saved for later. For now, let me say that 1) I am very upset that I had to cross a picket line this weekend (because the hotel my company booked me into was involved in a labor dispute, and I wasn't allowed to change), and 2) in my email inbox, there has popped up one of the greatest opportunities for activism I have yet seen. I print in full:

From: "American Family Voices"
Subject: Diagnose me, Dr. Frist!
Senate Majority Leader, and doctor, Bill Frist (R-TN) has the uncanny ability to diagnose patients by simply looking at a picture or a video. Some folks are concerned that he committed a bio-ethical violation, but we say, think of the opportunity!

Take a digital picture or video of your medical problem – tennis elbow, acne, runny nose, hemorrhoids, or whatever ails you – and send it to the doctor in charge of the US Senate and your health care.

Tell Dr. Frist you want him to diagnose it and get Congress to pass a law prescribing treatment.

Send us pictures or videos of your ailments and we'd be happy to pass along to the doctor himself. Please email us at, or mail them to us at Diagnose Me Dr. Frist! 888 16th Street, NW Suite 303, Washington, DC  20006. 

Please visit our web page at to sign our petition and diagnose Dr. Frist for yourself as grossly incompetent and downright unethical!  Don't you have friends with ailments of their own: coughing, stuffy head or fever?  Perhaps they live in a red state which just about guarantees no wait time for you in Dr. Frist's office.  Let them know that the good doctor can diagnose, maybe even cure them too. 

I urge you to send in those photos!