Monday, February 28, 2005

Glad They've Got Their Priorities Straight

Rolling Stone reveals the clearest evidence yet that we have officially entered Bizzaro world:
When the Federal Communications Commission fined Clear Channel Communications $27,500 last year for each of eighteen incidents of "indecent material" spouted by shock jock Howard Stern, it sure seemed like a lot of money. But in retrospect those fines look like chump change. On February 16th, the Bush administration won House approval for a bill that would raise the maximum FCC fine to $500,000 per violation. Under the new measure, Clear Channel -- and Stern himself -- could each have been fined a total of $9 million.

"Free expression and First Amendment rights are the real target of this legislation," declared Rep. Bernie Sanders (Ind-Vt.) during the debate over the bill. "This is not what America is about."

A review of fines levied by other federal agencies suggests that the government may be taking swear words a bit too seriously. If the bill passes the Senate, Bono saying "fucking brilliant" on the air would carry the exact same penalty as illegally testing pesticides on human subjects. And for the price of Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl, you could cause the wrongful death of an elderly patient in a nursing home and still have enough money left to create dangerous mishaps at two nuclear reactors. (Actually, you might be able to afford four "nuke malfunctions": The biggest fine levied by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year was only $60,000.)

If Bush has his way, Howard Stern may soon have a tough choice to make: Tell a sex joke on the air, or dump toxic waste in New York's drinking water while willfully placing an employee at risk of injury or death? No wonder the foul-mouthed host is moving to satellite radio, which falls outside the authority of the FCC.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Couldn't Have Said It Better Ourselves

And from Pat Buchanan no less. Go figure.
A conservative knows not whether to laugh or weep, for Mr. Bush has just asserted a right to interfere in the internal affairs of every nation on earth. Why? Because the “survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.” But this is utterly ahistorical. The world has always been afflicted with despots. Yet America has always been free. And we have remained free by following the counsel of Washington, Jefferson, and Adams and staying out of foreign quarrels and foreign wars.

Who is feeding the president this interventionist nonsense?

The president now plans to hector and badger foreign leaders on the progress each is making toward attaining U.S. standards of democracy. “We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and nation—the moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right.” This is a formula for “Bring-it-on!” collisions with every autocratic regime on earth, including virtually every African and Arab ruler, all the “outposts of tyranny” named by Secretary Rice, most of the nations of Central Asia, China, and Russia. This is a prescription for endless war. Yet as Madison warned, “No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
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The 9/11 killers were over here because we are over there. We were not attacked because of who we are but because of what we do. It is not our principles they hate. It is our policies. U.S. intervention in the Middle East was the cause of the 9/11 terror. Bush believes it is the cure. Has he learned nothing from Iraq?

In 2003, we invaded a nation that had not attacked us, did not threaten us, and did not want war with us to disarm it of weapons it did not have. Now, after plunging $200 billion and the lives of 1,400 of our best and bravest into this war and killing tens of thousands of Iraqis, we have reaped a harvest of hatred in the Arab world and, according to officials in our own government, have created a new nesting place and training ground for terrorists to replace the one we lately eradicated in Afghanistan.
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America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy,” said John Quincy Adams, “She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” Under the tutelage of Jacobins who call themselves idealists, Bush has repudiated this wise core doctrine of U.S. foreign policy to embrace Wilsonian interventionism in the internal affairs of every autocratic regime on earth. We are going to democratize the world and abolish tyranny.

Giddy with excitement, the neocons are falling all over one another to hail the president. They are not conservatives at all. They are anti-conservatives, and their crusade for democracy will end as did Wilson’s, in disillusionment for the president and tragedy for this country.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Fossils: God's Hoax

How God must be laughing at this story:
Human Fossils Dated to 195, 000 Years

A new analysis of bones unearthed nearly 40 years ago in Ethiopia has pushed the fossil record of modern humans back to nearly 200,000 years ago -- perhaps close to the dawn of the species.

Researchers determined that the specimens are around 195,000 years old. Previously, the oldest known fossils of Homo sapiens were Ethiopian skulls dated to about 160,000 years ago.

Genetic studies estimate that Homo sapiens arose about 200,000 years ago, so the new research brings the fossil record more in line with that, said John Fleagle of Stony Brook University in New York, an author of the study.
Silly scientists, don't you know that God planted all those fossils in order to trick humans into believing in evolution.


Not a fucking clue. But wouldn't that have to be the argument used by creationists to explain them? I mean there are litterally millions of these things with more being found every day. From single cell organisms, through dinosaurs, to early man, hundreds of millions of years of history have been excavated and studied in schools and museums across the world. If you truly believe that the world was created by God 10,000 years ago, how do you possibly explain them, unless they were planted there on purpose by the All Knowing to deceive us?

If anybody's got a different justification for their existence, I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Next Stop Syria

Now that we have pulled our Ambassador out, the time for "diplomacy" has officially passed. Not that these idiots would know diplomacy if it bit them on the ass. From The Dreyfuss Report:
The Bush administration’s crosshairs shifted east decisively yesterday, from Iran to Syria, and that country is now the chief target for the neocons and their friends. With Iraq now firmly in the anti-Syria camp and under U.S. tutelage, it seems like the time has come for implementation of part two of the grand design laid out in the famous “A Clean Break” memo, written by Richard Perle, Douglas Feith et al., which you can read (if you haven’t read it lately) here.

The assassination of Rafik Hariri, the Saudi-connected billionaire, could have been carried out by any number of factions—from personal, business enemies of Hariri’s, Hezbollah, other Shiite factions, Syrian intelligence, Israeli intelligence, Iran and even some factions in Iraq. To believe that Syria did it—thus making itself is the instant target of U.S. wrath—seems ludicrous. More likely, to speculate, it seems that the murder was carried out specifically as a provocation to embarrass Syria and to provide Washington with a pretext to do what it wants to do anyway: Regime Change II.

The chaos in Iraq makes chaos in Syria more likely. In Iraq, the Shiite fundamentalists, the Chalabi Iraqi National Congress, and both Kurdish parties have it in for Syria, which they blame for harboring leaders of the (mostly Sunni) Iraqi resistance. It is a no-brainer that various Iraqi factions are already plotting against Syria. Kurds and fundamentalists have been causing trouble in Damascus for two years now, and both will get support from Iraq, under its new regime.

The Bush administration—with no evidence—is already blaming Syria for Hariri’s death. It is in line with a Wall Street Journal editorial on Feb. 7, cited in this column, then, called: “Warning to Damascus.” The White House officially thundered against “the Syrian occupation” of Lebanon yesterday, and an unnamed administration official told the Times: “We’re going to turn the heat up on Syria, that’s for sure.”
Don't be surprised if subsequent military action against Syria is couched as us "assisting" Iraq (a country with about 12 fully trained soldiers).

Monday, February 14, 2005

Even His Faith Is Bullshit

For a president who can't stop talking about how down he is with the J.C., stories keep trickling out that point out how much bullshit that really is. Like the fact that he rarely goes to church. And then there's this from Dubya's Deputy Director of the Faith-Based Initiative:
Four years ago, while visiting a small urban charity, President Bush launched the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He called it "one of the most important initiatives" of his administration.
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Sadly, four years later these promises remain unfulfilled in spirit and in fact. In June 2001, the promised tax incentives for charitable giving were stripped at the last minute from the $1.6 trillion tax cut legislation to make room for the estate-tax repeal that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy. The Compassion Capital Fund has received a cumulative total of $100 million during the past four years. And new programs including those for children of prisoners, at-risk youth, and prisoners reentering society have received a little more than $500 million over four years--or approximately $6.3 billion less than the promised $6.8 billion.

Unfortunately, sometimes even the grandly-announced "new" programs aren't what they appear. Nowhere is this clearer than in the recently-announced "gang prevention initiative" totaling $50 million a year for three years. The obvious inference is that the money is new spending on an important initiative. Not quite. The money is being taken out of the already meager $100 million request for the Compassion Capital Fund. If granted, it would actually mean a $5 million reduction in the Fund from last year.

This isn't what was promised.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


Thomas Friedman asks the right questions:
By adamantly refusing to do anything to improve energy conservation in America, or to phase in a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax on American drivers, or to demand increased mileage from Detroit's automakers, or to develop a crash program for renewable sources of energy, the Bush team is - as others have noted - financing both sides of the war on terrorism. We are financing the U.S. armed forces with our tax dollars, and, through our profligate use of energy, we are generating huge windfall profits for Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan, where the cash is used to insulate the regimes from any pressure to open up their economies, liberate their women or modernize their schools, and where it ends up instead financing madrassas, mosques and militants fundamentally opposed to the progressive, pluralistic agenda America is trying to promote. Now how smart is that?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Don't Forget About Poland

The President sure hasn't. And if you wonder why Poland is one of the few remaining members of the bogus Coalition of the Willing, wonder no longer.
President Bush told President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland on Wednesday that he would ask Congress for $100 million to modernize the Polish military, part of a program of support for a new NATO ally that has more than 2,000 soldiers in Iraq.
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According to ABC News, President Bush is asking Congress to set up a $400 million fund to reward nations that have taken political and economic risks to join U.S.-led coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House announced the fund, dubbed the "solidarity initiative," after Bush's meeting Wednesday with Aleksander Kwasniewski, the president of Poland, a nation that is to receive one-fourth of the money. The $400 million request is part of the $80 billion supplemental war funding request Bush will send to Congress next week.
Where I come from this is called paying people to be your friend.


Diplomacy - A definition

From The American Heritage Dictionary

Diplomacy: di·plo·ma·cy. n.
1. The art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements.
2. Tact and skill in dealing with people. See Synonyms at tact.

I looked and I looked and I looked and nowhere could I find the word diplomacy used to mean "make things worse by threatening a crazy meglomaniac with invasion" as our new Secretary of State did just yesterday. And this from a woman who swore under oath that now was the time for diplomacy.

Is anyone surprised that North Korea's Dear Leader didn't take Condi's method of diplomacy lying down?

I really think somebody needs to come up with the Bush Administration Dictionary. Where War is Peace and Debt is Ownership, etc. Anybody in?


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

A Confederacy of Dunces


Didn't Condi just say that we have no plans to invade Iran at this point? It was like two days ago, right? Hell, I know that we live in a fast changing world, but even so, we went from 0-60 pretty fucking fast on this one. What am I talking about? Oh, just Rice threatening to invade Iran. The money quote:
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday that Iran must live up to its international obligations to halt its nuclear program or "the next steps are in the offing." "And I think everybody understands what the 'next steps' mean," Rice told reporters after a meeting with NATO foreign ministers and European Union officials.
What happens when you mix a pathological liar with a schizophrenic? You get the Bush Administration.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Inside Iraq

Post-election wisdom from Back to Iraq:
The insurgency is not over. The Sunnis and middle-class former Ba'athists are still resentful and suspicious. An old friend of mine who was a Ba'athist, but mainly so he could get a job, is bitter and morose, feeling that now there are two occupations. “One from the Americans and one from the Iranians,” he said. The Sunnis are terrified of their old enemy, and List 169, the Sistani-blessed list, does have a number of people on it with serious ties to Iran. The country is still a mess, with deteriorating services like water and electricity. This is not to say they can't be overcome, but this is not a time to declare victory.

Be sure and mention all this to the war-boosters, who are, dorkily, coating their fingers with blue ink as a sign of solidarity “with the Iraqi people.” Hm. I don't remember them doing that for Afghanistan... Why don't they just 'fess up and say they're giving the finger to us doubters? This is not solidarity; it's a taunt along the lines of, “We were right, nyah nyah!” instead of a celebration of democracy. Make no mistake: Sunday was not a validation of Bush's policies. Most Arab states would like to have democracy, yes, but not at the barrel of a gun, which is how it came here. If the choice is being invaded, occupied and force-fed controversial elections that might lead to civil war versus working at democratic reforms at their own pace and in their own way, I suspect most Arabs would choose the latter. And who could blame them? Iraq is not an example to emulate.

The Bottom Line On Social Security

From Paul Krugman:
"...any growth projection that would permit the stock returns the privatizers need to make their schemes work would put Social Security solidly in the black."
It really is that simple.