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BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration

Amos 12 Dec 04 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Bunky 12 Dec 04 - 06:34 PM
Amos 12 Dec 04 - 07:09 PM
Bobert 12 Dec 04 - 07:52 PM
Amos 12 Dec 04 - 08:43 PM
Amos 13 Dec 04 - 08:59 AM
Amos 13 Dec 04 - 04:26 PM
Amos 13 Dec 04 - 04:51 PM
Amos 13 Dec 04 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,Truth Fairy 14 Dec 04 - 01:19 AM
GUEST,Tucker 14 Dec 04 - 02:04 AM
Amos 14 Dec 04 - 07:51 PM
Amos 14 Dec 04 - 07:52 PM
Amos 14 Dec 04 - 07:53 PM
Amos 15 Dec 04 - 07:44 PM
Amos 15 Dec 04 - 07:54 PM
Amos 16 Dec 04 - 08:10 AM
Amos 16 Dec 04 - 08:22 AM
Donuel 16 Dec 04 - 08:28 AM
Amos 16 Dec 04 - 05:59 PM
Amos 16 Dec 04 - 08:14 PM
Amos 16 Dec 04 - 08:17 PM
Amos 17 Dec 04 - 04:28 PM
Amos 17 Dec 04 - 04:29 PM
Bobert 17 Dec 04 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Chongo Chimp 17 Dec 04 - 06:52 PM
Amos 17 Dec 04 - 07:30 PM
Amos 18 Dec 04 - 10:53 AM
Amos 18 Dec 04 - 12:26 PM
Amos 18 Dec 04 - 05:49 PM
Amos 19 Dec 04 - 10:15 AM
Amos 19 Dec 04 - 09:25 PM
Amos 20 Dec 04 - 08:56 PM
Amos 21 Dec 04 - 12:20 AM
Amos 21 Dec 04 - 08:00 PM
Amos 22 Dec 04 - 02:25 PM
Amos 28 Dec 04 - 08:20 AM
Amos 28 Dec 04 - 08:27 AM
DougR 28 Dec 04 - 04:43 PM
Amos 28 Dec 04 - 06:06 PM
Amos 28 Dec 04 - 07:29 PM
Bobert 28 Dec 04 - 08:15 PM
Amos 28 Dec 04 - 09:00 PM
DougR 28 Dec 04 - 11:44 PM
Amos 29 Dec 04 - 08:54 AM
Amos 31 Dec 04 - 01:56 PM
Amos 31 Dec 04 - 02:05 PM
Amos 31 Dec 04 - 04:03 PM
Amos 31 Dec 04 - 04:06 PM
DougR 31 Dec 04 - 07:30 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 06:12 PM

Much has been made of the large U.S. budget and trade deficits in explaining the U.S. dollar's recent weakness. But is the sinking U.S. dollar mostly a reflection of global dissatisfaction with recent U.S. foreign policy? Joseph Quinlan — chief market strategist at Banc of America — argues that the dollar will continue to drop until U.S. legitimacy is restored.

Behind the Sinking Dollar: America's Image as a "Rogue Nation?" has the whole article.

Albert, while it may seem I am putting out some osrt of flow of hatred, in my view I am simply insisting on the clear and simple repetition of the fundamental facts of the case, especially the facts concerning unnecessary warmongering, economic malfeasance and incompetence as a manager or executive. You may recall in his first campaign Mister Bush asserting that his most telling qualification was that he knows how to lead. If you examine where he has lead the nation to you may want to add this to his list of inaccurate and misleading assertions.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Bunky
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 06:34 PM

Would the fact that he was re-elected for a second term in spite of all the propaganda and dirty tricks by the Democrats have any bearing on his leadership?

You Bush haters simply refuse to acknowledge those facts and continue your rant.

You will not acknowledge that the terrorist attack of 9/11 was an economic blow that could have ruined the country and lead to a much higher deficit and a depression. Why did it not?

If the great Gore had been in charge on 9/11, you would be selling apples on the street corner and holding out a tin cup.



B


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 07:09 PM

Rumsfeld under fire for 'hillbilly armour' used to defend army

By Rupert Cornwell in Washington


11 December 2004



The row over America's failure to send enough military vehicles to Iraq took a new twist yesterday when the company that manufactures them said it could deliver 1,200 more a year, but has had no request from the Pentagon.


Two days earlier, Donald Rumsfeld, was bluntly confronted by an Iraq-bound National Guardsman at what was meant to be a pep rally with the Defence Secretary at a US staging base in Kuwait. Instead, Mr Rumsfeld was hit by a barrage of pointed questions, first about the extended tours of duty driving down the morale of service personnel in Iraq, then over the lack of properly armoured Humvees to protect them from the roadside bombs that are the insurgents' weapon of choice.


"We don't have proper vehicles," said Thomas Wilson of the Tennessee Nation Guard, who claimed he and his men were forced to rummage in landfills for metal scrap and ballistic glass to use as makeshift shielding, known by soldiers in Iraq as "hillbilly armour".


Mr Rumsfeld, insisting everything possible was being done, and said: "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want." That forthright response only made matters worse. Senior Demo-crats, led by Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, said the episode only proved the Pentagon's incompetence, and the refusal of Mr Rumsfeld and his colleagues to face reality.

(From the UK Independent)


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 07:52 PM

Yo, Bunko...

9/11 *did* ruin the US economy... Prior to Bush's cousin Osoma's strike Bush had the lowest approval rates in like four or five hundred years... Like it was preceeded with a - (minus)... Then Cousin Osoma conviently blows up some stuff and yer guy become the *Second Coming*.... Go figure?

Well, Iz all fir the Second Coming but it ain't Bush. No, what 9/11 did was open the flood gates for Bush and his boys to raid the treasury and raid, pilliage and plunder they have done. And then along came this past election, with Diebold's CEO promising to deliver the good to tyhe plunderers and deliver he did. Yup, lotta pollsters scrathing their heads even to this day on how, for the first time in the history of exit polls, voters decided this year, like some big voter conspiracy, to lie to the pollsters? And then the 51% to 48% split when the exit polls were the opposite??? Like, can I get a big, "hmmmmmmmmmm"?

No Bunko, you got it wrong. We don't hate Bush. Heck, he doesn't have a clue he lost in both 2000 or 2004. Buyt what we do hate is his anti-American policies that are Hell bent on bankrupting the federal governemnt so that his thugs can do what every Repub has tried to do for the last 60 years: kill the New Deal and restore Boss Hog to his birth-right dominance over the working man...

Just that simple... No reason to complicate it beyond this... Everywhere you look Boss Hog has more on the table than he can possibly eat and the working man is just hoping to get a scrap... 1 in 5 kids in America live in poeverty... Oh yeah, Bunko, they screwed up in not chosing to be born into the ruling class...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 08:43 PM

In and of themselves the 9-11 attacks would have had no serious negative impact on the economy, especially if we had stayed focussed on the correct targets and prosecuted the actuaL perps successfully. As Bobert says, what has been far more damaging to the economy is the blind panicked leverage the attack gave Bush. The notion that had Gore been in charge the economy would have worsened is groundless, and without content as an argument -- unless Mister Bunker has some irrefutable rationalization for his assertion.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 13 Dec 04 - 08:59 AM

The dreams of Rummy and the neocons were bound to collide. But it's immoral to trap our troops in a guerrilla war without the essential, lifesaving support and materiel just so a bunch of officials who have never been in a war can test their theories.

How did this dangerous chucklehead keep his job? He must have argued that because of the president's re-election campaign, the military was constrained from doing what it is trained to do and flattening Fallujah and other insurgent strongholds. He must have told W. he deserved a chance to try again after the election.
Excerpt from a Maureen Dowd column on Rumsfeld's recent embarassment (Click for article):


...He had a willing audience. W. likes officials who feed him swaggering fictions instead of uncomfortable facts.

The president loves dressing up to play soldier. To rally Camp Pendleton Marines facing extended deployments in Iraq, he got gussied up in an Ike D-Day-style jacket with epaulets and a big presidential seal on one lapel and his name and "Commander in Chief" on the other.

When he really had a chance to put on a uniform and go someplace where the enemy was invisible and there was no exit strategy and our government was not leveling with us about how bad it was, W. wasn't so high on the idea. But now that it's just a masquerade -- giving a morale boost to troops heading off someplace where the enemy's invisible and there's no exit strategy and the government's not leveling with us about how bad it is -- hey, man, it's cool.

...


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 13 Dec 04 - 04:26 PM

From the Washington Post, by Neely Tuckerconsidering the Second Bush Inaugural Address planned in January:


...Further, Bush faces a challenge in that second inaugurations are by nature
less giddy affairs. When Lincoln stood to give that landmark second
inaugural address during the Civil War, even he began by saying: "At this
second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less
occasion for an extended address than there was at the first."

But what he went on to say, particularly considering it came during the
nation's bloodiest war, is striking for its humility. Though the end of the
war was at hand, he did not boast or even promise victory.

He allowed that the war even might be God's punishment for slavery. If it
continued "until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be repaid by
another drawn with the sword," then so it must be.

He said that soldiers on both sides read the same Bible, prayed to the same
God, and each invoked His aid against the other. "It may seem strange that
any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread
from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not
judged," he said. "The prayers of both could not be answered. That of
neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes."

What faith! What dignity! What honesty!

Lincoln was assassinated a month later in Ford's Theatre, less than a mile
away from where he gave his inaugural address.

His own purposes, indeed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 13 Dec 04 - 04:51 PM

HOENIX Dec 13, 2004 — U.S. Sen. John McCain said Monday that he has "no confidence" in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, citing Rumsfeld's handling of the war in Iraq and the failure to send more troops.

McCain, speaking to The Associated Press in an hourlong interview, said his comments were not a call for Rumsfeld's resignation, explaining that President Bush "can have the team that he wants around him."

"I have strenuously argued for larger troop numbers in Iraq, including the right kind of troops linguists, special forces, civil affairs, etc.," said McCain, R-Ariz. "There are very strong differences of opinion between myself and Secretary Rumsfeld on that issue."




You have to wonder why he is NOT calling for Rumsfeld's resignation.

I am.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 13 Dec 04 - 09:47 PM

Torture and Truth
By Mark Danner Interviewed By Dave Gilson
Dec 11, 2004, 21:37



Tracing the origins -- and the aftermath -- of what happened at Abu Ghraib.  It's a lesson for every American to see how a democracy can arrive at the point where it commits these kinds of crimes.


When the Abu Ghraib scandal boiled over last spring, it looked, briefly, as if it would cause a major shakeup -- if not in how the Bush administration was fighting the war in Iraq, then at least within the administration itself. But soon enough, election season arrived, and the issue all but faded into the background. That doesn't mean we've heard the last of Abu Ghraib. Far from it, says journalist Mark Danner. "I don't think this thing is over by any means."


In his new book, Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War On Terror, Danner explores the origins and aftermath of the administration's post-9/11 decision to "take the gloves off." The book collects several articles written for the New York Review of Books over the past year, offering a mix of reportage -- Danner was one of the first reporters to arrive on the scene of the bombing of the Red Cross headquarters in Baghdad in October 2003 -- and a close reading of the nearly 500 pages of official documents related to the Abu Ghraib scandal that make up its bulk. The documents, some of which are published for the first time in Torture and Truth, make for gripping, if disturbing, reading. Danner admits that most Americans are unlikely to delve into these papers with the seriousness they did another official account of terror-fighting gone wrong, the best-selling 9/11 Commission report. "These are difficult issues," says Danner. "They make people uncomfortable."


The documents illustrate how the Bush administration constructed its rationale for ignoring prisoners' rights, and how that decision played out, with appalling consequences, in Iraq. "I think it's a lesson for every American to see how a democracy can arrive at the point where it commits these kinds of crimes," Danner says. "It's there in the documentary history." Exhibit A is the "torture memo" issued by the Justice Department in early 2002 at the request of President Bush's legal adviser (and nominee for attorney general) Alberto Gonzales, which concluded that "under the current circumstances, necessity or self-defense may justify interrogation methods that might violate" U.S. laws prohibiting torture. A few pages later, Iraqi prisoners give hair-raising depositions of their time in American captivity. Such first-hand accounts, says Danner, reveal how the "euphemistic world" of the Bush bureaucracy translated into "real pain and real suffering on the ground." As some of the Abu Ghraib guards go on trial, and fresh stories of abuses in Guantanamo and Iraq come out, it remains to be seen whether any of this will trickle up the chain of command.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Truth Fairy
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 01:19 AM

The futile efforts of a minority to terrorize a majority now risen to power. The Sunni insurgency is attempting to play its last card by starting a civil war in Iraq without success.

Sunni Arab antigovernment and al Qaeda gunmen now make no secret of their desire to trigger a religious and ethnic based civil war in Iraq. Attacks on Kurds (who are not Arabs) and Shia Arabs (who practice the form of Islam prevalent in neighboring Iran) are increasing. ... There are two reasons why the civil war has not broken out yet. First, the Sunni Arab gunmen represent a minority in the Sunni Arab community. ... One thing that makes the current situation different than the Lebanese civil war of 1975-90, is that the Sunni Arabs are not united to fight anyone. The antigovernment forces represent several factions, and many other larger factions want no part of a civil war.

This illuminates the second reason for no civil war; the Sunni Arabs are vastly outnumbered and likely to get quickly smashed. This is made worse by the fact that 80 percent of the population (the Kurds and Shia Arabs) would like to see the Sunni Arabs "punished" for generations of tyranny. Most Sunni Arabs understand this, but the minority who continue to murder and molest Shia Arabs and Kurds spend most of their efforts on terrorizing their fellow Sunni Arabs.

What the insurgency has done is remove the old Sunni chieftains from the field leaving it clear for those they formerly terrorized. An MSNBC article describes that while Sunni insurgents have forbidden participation in the elections their voice no longer carries the power of command.

As Iraq's first nationwide elections in more than a generation near, Hamra and other Shiite clergy, perhaps the country's most powerful institution, have led an unprecedented mobilization of the Shiite majority population through a vast array of mosques, community centers, foundations and networks of hundreds of prayer leaders, students and allied laypeople. The campaign has become so pitched that many Iraqis may have a better idea of Sistani's view of the election than what the election itself will decide. The momentum they have created has made a delay in the ballot difficult, if not impossible. Voters will choose a 275-member National Assembly, but powerful groups within Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority are boycotting the election or have called for a postponement so that they can bring calm to restive Sunni regions where insurgents have threatened to attack those taking part. ...

"Who wants to boycott, let them boycott, but the elections will happen regardless," said Hamra, sitting in an office with white walls bare but for a portrait of Sistani reading the Koran.

On December 3 a suicide car bomb blew up a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad in an effort to reassert dominance but it merely increased scorn for the insurgents. The Financial Times found a curiously passive way to say the unsayable: that maybe some Shi'ites are joining forces with the government and America against the insurgents. For now at least when bombers -- accused of being Sunni insurgents -- struck at Shia holy sites in August 2003 and February 2004, many Shia clerics saved their strongest criticism for the coalition authorities, who they said had failed to protect them from attack. However, insurgent threats against forthcoming elections, which have been strongly endorsed by senior Shia scholars such as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, may be breaking down the clergy's resolve to stay aloof. ...

A black-turbaned Shia cleric drove through the streets of the southern Baghdad district of al-Amel on Saturday, carrying a loudspeaker and mocking the insurgents who scrawled anti-election slogans on the neighbourhood's walls. "Let those who wrote this show their faces, if they are men," residents quoted him as saying, as two dozen armed supporters followed his motorcade on foot, painting over graffiti that threatened to "cut off the heads" of voters. "Come and vote," the cleric said to passersby. "We will protect you." ...

Dozens of Shia, from clergy to army and National Guard recruits, have been killed by Sunni ultra-puritans while driving through Latifiya. Two weeks ago, a delegation of tribesmen from Basra calling themselves the "Brigades of Anger" approached Mr Sistani, asking him for permission to launch reprisals in Latifiya, says Sheikh Musa al-Musawy, a representative of the Grand Ayatollah in Baghdad. Mr Sistani refused them his blessing. "The government will deal with this problem, and the law will take its course," he reportedly said.

The Iraqi Government found the strongest possible terms, borrowing unconsciously from a cult horror classic, to assure the nation that they would not waver nor yield in the face of terror -- and those words were spoken by a Sunni.

As the powerful, mainly Sunni tribe led by Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar's uncle rallied behind an electoral bloc formed by leaders of the long oppressed Shi'ite majority, Yawar urged people not to identify the insurgency with the Sunni cause. Speaking after a particularly bloody few days in which more than 70 people have been killed, Yawar said: "Right now, we're faced with the armies of darkness, who have no objective but to undermine the political process and incite civil war in Iraq."

"But I want to assure the whole world that this will never, ever happen... After all these sacrifices, there's no way on earth that we will let it go in vain," said Yawar, who holds a largely figurehead position in the administration set up in June to take over responsibility from the U.S.-led occupation forces.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Tucker
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 02:04 AM



"December 13, 2004: There about 115,000 Iraqi security forces on duty. This includes police, troops and security forces that basically guard things like power plants and oil facilities. Journalists over there tend to concentrate on those incidents where Sunni Arab soldiers or police run away. But the majority of the Iraqi armed forces and police are doing their job. The jails are filling up with criminals again, and the Sunni Arab gangs in central Iraq often attack Iraqi police and soldiers, only to find that they are Kurds or Shia Arabs, who are eager to shoot right back.

The Sunni Arab terrorism is giving rise to an increasing amount of similar actions by Shia Arab groups. The Shia Arabs, unlike the Sunni Arabs, are not trying to take over the government. Once elections are held next month, the Shia Arabs will be the largest block in parliament. What the Shia gunmen are looking for now is revenge. What outsiders often forget is that decades of terrorism and violence by Saddam was done most often by Sunni Arabs who did not hide their identities. The Shia took names, and some are not waiting for trials. They have lists, and are out looking for Sunni Arabs to kill. It is personal. And the police are not bothering much with these vigilantes.
NATO has agreed to help Iraq train police commanders and army officers, but few NATO members will actually send trainers. Most Iraqis (the Kurds and Shia Arabs) believe that the violence in central Iraq is supported by Saddam Hussein's many friends. This in includes Iraq's Sunni Arab neighbors, and many European countries (Russia and France were major weapons suppliers to Saddam). So NATO's reluctance to help them makes sense. Conspiracy theories are popular in Iraq, the one about France and Russia wanting to put Saddam back in power has gained some traction.
Shia Moslems have long been persecuted by the majority Sunni. While the Kurds are Sunni, they are not very religious. At least most of them. A small minority of Kurds support Ansar al Islam, an Islamic radical group in league with al Qaeda, and supported by Iran. While Iran is mostly Shia, there are some in the Iranian government who support anyone who will help kill American soldiers. A principal belief of Iranian Islamic radicals is that the United States is the major enemy of Islam and must be destroyed, or at least weakened, by any means available. This attitude is a bit much for Iraqi Shia Arabs, who were never fond of the Iranian government anyway. Arabs are a minority in Iran, and even though these Iranian Arabs are Shia, they have suffered persecution from the majority, non-Arab, Iranians.
Iraqi Shia Arabs have lived in fear, and domination by Sunni Arabs or Iranians, for over a thousand years. Now it is their turn to rule, and they are not eager to let their chance slip away.


December 11, 2004: Iraqis believe that their Arab neighbors are using Iraq as a way to get rid of their Islamic radicals. Syria, in particular, does little to stop Islamic radicals from entering Iraq. The Syrians know that most of these men will get killed. Those that survive and return, can be arrested, questioned to see if they are still willing to die to establish an Islamic state, and release them if they have mellowed out. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab Gulf States are accused of doing the same thing. These countries remember what happened during the 1980s, when eager young men went off to fight for Islam in Afghanistan, and the survivors came back eager to start an Islamic revolution in their home countries.
Actually, very few of the Arabs who went to Afghanistan got killed there. The Afghans were reluctant to take, into combat, inexperienced Arab volunteers who didn't even speak the local languages. But the Arab volunteers, like Osama bin Laden, stayed in Pakistan working with Afghan refugees and helping out as they could. Then these fellows went home full of enthusiasm for establishing Islamic republics. This resulted in the formation of Islamic rebellions in many Arab countries. In Iraq, many of the volunteers, even though they speak the local language (although with an accent that gives away their foreign origin), were also shunned by the more experienced Sunni Arab gunmen leading the fight against the government and coalition forces. Many of the foreigners are used as suicide bombers, as all this requires is driving a few miles, then pushing a button.
The Arab volunteers, in effect, identify themselves as Islamic radicals by going to Iraq. Frequently, even their families are surprised when they discover a son has gone off to Iraq. This is often considered a tragedy, because if the kid doesn't get killed in Iraq, he will be on a police list of usual suspects when he comes back.
It's thought that several hundred foreign volunteers died in Fallujah, a city that many volunteers headed for when they entered Iraq. Fallujah was the center of suicide bomb operations, and an area where foreign volunteers were prepared for suicide missions, or given training to make them useful as gunmen or for planting roadside bombs. But many of these volunteers never left Fallujah, as it was easier to use locals (who knew the neighborhood) to plant roadside bombs, or make attacks on local police. So when the battle for Fallujah happened, many foreign volunteers for a chance to fight. They were pretty inept, and many of those who got caught by bombs, and didn't leave behind enough information to identify nationality, were believed to be foreign Arabs. Interrogations of over a thousand captured gunmen in Fallujah indicated that lots of foreigners were there, and had been encouraged to stay there and fight. Most apparently did, and died. Only a few dozen were captured.
Iraqis are angry with their neighbors for allowing these bloodthirsty men to come to Iraq to kill people. Most of the casualties inflicted by the foreign Arabs are Iraqi. The government is increasingly vocal in demanding that their neighbors crack down on these "volunteers," but little is actually being done. Getting rid of your local Islamic radicals is too good an opportunity to pass up.
December 9, 2004: Most of the suicide bombers in Iraq are foreigners. The volunteers are numerous, but they come prepared to die. The Sunni Arab Iraqi antigovernment organizations that come across these foreigners, pass them on to al Qaeda groups, who get the volunteer ready for the mission. Sunni Arab groups have been helping with getting cars (bought or stolen) and equipping them with bombs (usually artillery and mortar shells wired to explode when the driver pushes a button.) But most of the suicide car bombs have been al Qaeda operations. Few Iraqis have volunteered to be suicide bombers, but the concept is popular in other Arab countries, where Palestinian suicide bombers have been turned into folk heroes. Many of the volunteers don't want to kill Iraqis. These are often told to go home. Others are convinced that they will be killing Kurds (who aren't Arabs, and are ethnically related to Iranians, who are much hated by Arabs) or Shia Arabs (al Qaeda is a Sunni movement that preaches death to Shia for not being Sunni enough.) Some of the suicide volunteers, the ones who aren't too bright to begin with, are simply deceived and sent out on their mission. It's not like the guy is likely to come back and complain that he was tricked.

The foreign volunteers are eager to kill coalition, especially American, troops. Some of the suicide car bombers are still directed against American troops, and sometimes they succeed. But most of the time they either can't get into position, or American troops shoot them. So the volunteers are given secondary targets, and these are the ones that are usually hit. The volunteers drive off with a non-suicidal guide/minder, who plays navigator until they are within sight of a target. The guide then arms the explosives, bales, and the volunteers drives off to do his best.

There have been 100-150 suicide car bomb attacks so far, with many more aborted, or the drivers arrested or killed before they could set off their explosives. Over 500 people, mostly Iraqis, have been killed by suicide bomb attacks so far. The attacks have made al Qaeda, foreign volunteers and Sunni Arab rebels very unpopular with most Iraqis. This is what al Qaeda wants (the better to start a Sunni/Shia civil war), although it is not exactly working out according to plan. Over a third of the Iraqi dead are Sunni Arabs, and Shia Arabs and Kurds are increasing their own security (with volunteer guards, or simply more civilians willing to point out attackers to police or coalition troops.) This forces the suicide bombers to increasingly hit targets in Sunni Arab neighborhoods. This is one of the reasons there have been so many attacks on police stations in Sunni Arab areas. While this demoralizes the police, it infuriates the Sunni Arabs because of all the Sunni Arabs killed in these attacks.

Seven suicide car workshops were found in Fallujah, and several more have been found in and around Baghdad. There are obviously more out there, and they will only be found when enough Sunni Arabs get fed up with the bombings and let the police know where the workshops are.


December 7, 2004: The fighting in Iraq is a continuation of the war that began in March, 2003. While Saddam's army and government was quickly demolished, his supporters in Sunni Arab areas of central Iraq were still there. Saddam didn't rule Iraq with the army, but with a force of skilled and ruthless terrorists. With a strength of over 100,000 men (and a few women), the work was often done at night. Real, or suspected, opponents of Saddam were kidnapped, beaten or killed in the dark. Broad daylight executions, or mutilations, in public places, were also used. Terror is fueled by frightening images, either mental or visual. Day and night, Saddam's terrorists frightened the Iraqi people into submission. The work of these terrorists continues, but the victims are fighting back. Saddam's thugs were chased out of northern Iraq ten years ago, with the U.S and Britain providing backup for the Kurds doing the chasing. In southern Iraq, Shia Arab gangs have been forming to go after Saddam's men in mixed Shia/Sunni areas of central Iraq. Saddam's thugs have been terrorizing and killing Shia Arabs. This is done mainly gain dominance and control in towns and neighborhoods with mixed populations. The thugs want everyone to know who the real boss is. The main target of the Sunni Arab gangs are the police and security forces. But these are increasingly staffed with Shia Arabs and Kurds. Saddam's men cannot threaten the families of Kurdish cops, and are having a harder time reaching the kin of Shia Arab police and soldiers. Western journalists have a hard enough time covering the battle involving American troops, but they are almost completely cut out of this other war. All you hear reported is the occasional killing of a prominent Sunni Arab (usually a clergyman). But the body count on both sides is quite high, and trending against the Sunni Arabs. If the Sunnis gather together in large groups, to overwhelm local police, they risk getting caught, and demolished by American troops. Operating in smaller groups, and there is increasing danger from Shia Arab (and even Kurdish) death squads. This is a very dirty war, which will eventually get reported as such. But for the moment, it's a dangerous beat for reporters, because neither side wants journalists along, and will kill any who get too close.
December 5, 2004: Sunni Arab antigovernment and al Qaeda gunmen now make no secret of their desire to trigger a religious and ethnic based civil war in Iraq. Attacks on Kurds (who are not Arabs) and Shia Arabs (who practice the form of Islam prevalent in neighboring Iran) are increasing. Only a minority of Kurds and Shia Arabs are affected, because most of those populations live in parts of Iraq where there are no Sunni Arabs, or where the local Sunni Arab leaders have kept the gunmen out. The major battlegrounds are cities like Mosul and Kirkuk. Saddam Hussein had, for over a decade, forced Kurdish families out of these cities, and moved in Sunni Arabs. It was ethnic cleansing at its most blunt. But large Kurdish minorities remain, and more Kurds, and their guns, are returning. In central Iraq, Sunni Arab gunmen roam the roads that Shia Arabs use to travel between the majority of Shia Arabs in the south, and the large minority of Shia Arabs in Baghdad. "


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 07:51 PM

http://www.iht.com/articles/2004/12/14/news/edgiscard.html


Letter from Europe:

Dear President Bush...
Giuliano Amato, Ralf Dahrendorf and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
International Herald Tribune
Wednesday, December 15, 2004

As the political dust settles in your country after a long campaign season,
we urge you to engage promptly in a reassessment of relations with
Europeans. However powerful your country may be, experience has already
demonstrated that you will need allies and functioning global institutions
to preserve your fundamental interests.
.
Your best potential partners remain the Europeans. For all our current
shortcomings, we share basic values, we are committed to democracy and
market economics, and we are strong believers in making multilateral
institutions effective.
.
The hard lessons of the past two years are clear for us as well: If we are
split, we are unable to exercise any significant international influence.
.
There are five important points to make:
.
Be multilateral and effective. The case for working multilaterally is bound
to grow in coming decades. The rise of China and India as economic, military
and diplomatic heavyweights seems certain, and Russia may be heading down
the same path. Only a solid Euro-American core can make international
institutions more effective.
.
A strong Europe makes for a strong alliance. Mr. President, a more
integrated Europe is in America's long-term interests, even though there
will be times when it opposes you.
.
In order to encourage Europeans to rise to the major challenges of our era,
you could offer a series of tradeoffs. For example, you could promise that
if Europeans deliver on our pledges, you will loosen your protectionist
rules on the transfer of military technology. You could offer more of the
top command slots within NATO to Europeans. And you could share more
intelligence with your key allies.
.
Work jointly on the Middle East. Mr. President, in the next four years you
will probably spend more time and energy on the greater Middle East than on
any other international region.
.
Offer the Europeans a quid pro quo: If Europe supports common efforts in
Iraq (some with troops, others by increasing support of the buildup of Iraqi
forces) and commits more financial resources to the reconstruction, America
will uphold its promise of promoting a Palestinian state by 2006. You need
to demonstrate, in deeds not just words, that the United States is serious
about a two-state solution. You should propose to the Europeans that
together we assist and train Palestinian security and police forces and that
NATO play a role in delivering security, together with Arab countries like
Egypt. We Europeans will have to focus our efforts on assisting the rise of
a responsible and accountable Palestinian leadership.
.
On Iran, Europe and America should partly switch sides. You should encourage
the Europeans to consider using sticks, as long as the provisional agreement
with Iran is not implemented; in turn, America should set out what
incentives it is willing to offer Tehran in return for a verifiable end to
Iran's nuclear program.
.
It's also the economy, Mr. President! We have to devise an economic new
deal. The European and American economies remain tightly interdependent and
represent the keystone of the global trading system.
.
The single most relevant action of your first administration as far as
impact on the world economy is concerned was the reversal of the federal
budget from a surplus of almost $250 billion in 2000 to a deficit of more
than $400 billion in 2004. This has provided a powerful stimulus to the U.S.
and world economies, but has also increased the instability of the
international financial system.
.
What we need is a commitment by the United States to gradual fiscal
consolidation, a commitment in Europe to accelerated reform so as to raise
potential growth, and a commitment by China to abandon the dollar peg and to
replace it with a peg to a basket of currencies including the dollar and the
euro. To further this goal, we should encourage growing links between the
G-7 and China.
.
Think of a new strategic forum. To cooperate effectively, the Western allies
have to share decisions. On the American side, this means real consultation
- not just setting the line and expecting us to follow. On the European
side, this means creating a better decision-making mechanism, which has to
be collective.
.
We suggest creating a Contact Group, which would serve as a much more
functional forum between the European Union and the United States than
anything we currently have. NATO is now too large and too reactive to allow
a real strategic discussion.
.
Mr. President, we believe that a new trans-Atlantic deal should be part of
our future. On the basis of our historical roots, it is natural, and even
healthy, for both Americans and Europeans to define our respective
identities in terms of our differences.
.
But we still share bounds of civility and interests in the world that will
be more effectively protected if we do it together. They are equally crucial
to a new trans-Atlantic deal.
.
.
(Giuliano Amato is a former prime minister of Italy. Ralf Dahrendorf, a
member of the British House of Lords, was director of the London School of
Economics. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is a former president of France. This
article was drafted under the auspices of the Aspen Institute Italia in Rome
and distributed by Global Viewpoint for Tribune Media Services
International.)
.



See more of the world that matters - click here for home delivery of the
International Herald Tribune.
< < Back to Start of Article As the political dust settles in your country
after a long campaign season, we urge you to engage promptly in a
reassessment of relations with Europeans. However powerful your country may
be, experience has already demonstrated that you will need allies and
functioning global institutions to preserve your fundamental interests.
.
Your best potential partners remain the Europeans. For all our current
shortcomings, we share basic values, we are committed to democracy and
market economics, and we are strong believers in making multilateral
institutions effective.
.
The hard lessons of the past two years are clear for us as well: If we are
split, we are unable to exercise any significant international influence.
.
There are five important points to make:
.
Be multilateral and effective. The case for working multilaterally is bound
to grow in coming decades. The rise of China and India as economic, military
and diplomatic heavyweights seems certain, and Russia may be heading down
the same path. Only a solid Euro-American core can make international
institutions more effective.
.
A strong Europe makes for a strong alliance. Mr. President, a more
integrated Europe is in America's long-term interests, even though there
will be times when it opposes you.
.
In order to encourage Europeans to rise to the major challenges of our era,
you could offer a series of tradeoffs. For example, you could promise that
if Europeans deliver on our pledges, you will loosen your protectionist
rules on the transfer of military technology. You could offer more of the
top command slots within NATO to Europeans. And you could share more
intelligence with your key allies.
.
Work jointly on the Middle East. Mr. President, in the next four years you
will probably spend more time and energy on the greater Middle East than on
any other international region.
.
Offer the Europeans a quid pro quo: If Europe supports common efforts in
Iraq (some with troops, others by increasing support of the buildup of Iraqi
forces) and commits more financial resources to the reconstruction, America
will uphold its promise of promoting a Palestinian state by 2006. You need
to demonstrate, in deeds not just words, that the United States is serious
about a two-state solution. You should propose to the Europeans that
together we assist and train Palestinian security and police forces and that
NATO play a role in delivering security, together with Arab countries like
Egypt. We Europeans will have to focus our efforts on assisting the rise of
a responsible and accountable Palestinian leadership.
.
On Iran, Europe and America should partly switch sides. You should encourage
the Europeans to consider using sticks, as long as the provisional agreement
with Iran is not implemented; in turn, America should set out what
incentives it is willing to offer Tehran in return for a verifiable end to
Iran's nuclear program.
.
It's also the economy, Mr. President! We have to devise an economic new
deal. The European and American economies remain tightly interdependent and
represent the keystone of the global trading system.
.
The single most relevant action of your first administration as far as
impact on the world economy is concerned was the reversal of the federal
budget from a surplus of almost $250 billion in 2000 to a deficit of more
than $400 billion in 2004. This has provided a powerful stimulus to the U.S.
and world economies, but has also increased the instability of the
international financial system.
.
What we need is a commitment by the United States to gradual fiscal
consolidation, a commitment in Europe to accelerated reform so as to raise
potential growth, and a commitment by China to abandon the dollar peg and to
replace it with a peg to a basket of currencies including the dollar and the
euro. To further this goal, we should encourage growing links between the
G-7 and China.
.
Think of a new strategic forum. To cooperate effectively, the Western allies
have to share decisions. On the American side, this means real consultation
- not just setting the line and expecting us to follow. On the European
side, this means creating a better decision-making mechanism, which has to
be collective.
.
We suggest creating a Contact Group, which would serve as a much more
functional forum between the European Union and the United States than
anything we currently have. NATO is now too large and too reactive to allow
a real strategic discussion.
.
Mr. President, we believe that a new trans-Atlantic deal should be part of
our future. On the basis of our historical roots, it is natural, and even
healthy, for both Americans and Europeans to define our respective
identities in terms of our differences.
.
But we still share bounds of civility and interests in the world that will
be more effectively protected if we do it together. They are equally crucial
to a new trans-Atlantic deal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 07:52 PM

This excerpt from Lancet says much about the dubiosu successes in Iraq:

Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey


Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta, Richard Garfield, Jamal Khudhairi, Gilbert
Burnham



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----
Lancet 2004; 364: 1857-64


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----
Published online October 29, 2004 http://image.thelancet.com/
extras/04art10342web.pdf

SUMMARY:

Background In March, 2003, military forces, mainly from the USA and the UK,
invaded Iraq. We did a survey to compare mortality during the period of 14·6
months before the invasion with the 17·8 months after it.

Methods A cluster sample survey was undertaken throughout Iraq during
September, 2004. 33 clusters of 30 households each were interviewed about
household composition, births, and deaths since January, 2002. In those
households reporting deaths, the date, cause, and circumstances of violent
deaths were recorded. We assessed the relative risk of death associated with
the 2003 invasion and occupation by comparing mortality in the 17·8 months
after the invasion with the 14·6-month period preceding it.

Findings The risk of death was estimated to be 2·5-fold (95% CI 1·6-4·2)
higher after the invasion when compared with the preinvasion period.
Two-thirds of all violent deaths were reported in one cluster in the city of
Falluja. If we exclude the Falluja data, the risk of death is 1·5-fold
(1·1-2·3) higher after the invasion. We estimate that 98000 more deaths than
expected (8000-194000) happened after the invasion outside of Falluja and
far more if the outlier Falluja cluster is included. The major causes of
death before the invasion were myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular
accidents, and other chronic disorders whereas after the invasion violence
was the primary cause of death. Violent deaths were widespread, reported in
15 of 33 clusters, and were mainly attributed to coalition forces. Most
individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children.
The risk of death from violence in the period after the invasion was 58
times higher (95% CI 8·1-419) than in the period before the war.

Interpretation Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100000
excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from
coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths. We have shown that
collection of public-health information is possible even during periods of
extreme violence. Our results need further verification and should lead to
changes to reduce non-combatant deaths from air strikes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 07:53 PM

Excerpted from Bob Koehler's column at
http://www.commonwonders.com/archives/col267.htm regarding a report
developed by field research in Iraq and published in Lancet magazine, quoted above:


Based on the findings, the researchers were able to estimate a death rate
before and after the invasion. The after rate - excluding the data from the
shattered city of Fallujah, which would have skewed the overall results, so
much greater was the death toll there - was 1.5 times higher than the before
rate, which extrapolates to about 100,000 "excess" dead.

Furthermore, most of the pre-invasion deaths were from heart attacks,
strokes and the like, whereas afterward, according to the Lancet article,
"violence was the primary cause of death. Violent deaths were widespread . .
. and were mainly attributed to coalition forces. Most individuals
reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children. The risk of
death from violence in the period after the invasion was 58 times higher . .
. than in the period before the war."

And most of the deaths were the result of coalition air strikes, leading the
study's authors to conclude that "Civility and enlightened self-interest
demand a re-evaluation of the consequences of weaponry now used by coalition
forces in populated areas."

I'm inclined to word that conclusion just a tad more hysterically: This is
slaughter, Mr. President! In the name of God, in the name of Allah, call it
off. What strategic end is worth what we're doing to the Iraqi people? What
consequences do you think will flow from it?

Your mandate for this war, sir, is based on gross ignorance - that the
collateral carnage we're churning up is minimal, that Iraqi deaths matter
less than American, that because we don't do beheadings we aren't barbaric.

A hundred thousand dead, sir. And counting. When does a conscience kick in?
When do we become worse than Saddam Hussein?


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 07:44 PM

From MSNBC:

Debasing the Medal of Freedom (David Shuster)



I don't have a problem with Paul Bremer (former US administrator in Iraq),
George Tenet (former CIA director), or General Tommy Franks (led the
invasion of Iraq.)   And I'm convinced that all three did their jobs as best
they could under exceptionally trying circumstances.

However, I couldn't help but get sick to my stomach today as I watched
President Bush award Bremer, Tenet, and Franks the Presidential medal of
freedom. Maybe it was because I spent most of yesterday at Walter Reed Army
hospital, interviewing United States soldiers who are learning how to use
prosthetic legs and arms because their own got blown off in Iraq.   (More on
these courageous young men/women tomorrow on Hardblogger and Thursday night
on Hardball.) Or maybe I just couldn't get over the apparent contradictions
between the record of today's medal of freedom recipients and the
qualifications listed on the web site. According to the medal of freedom
web site, "this great honor is reserved for individuals the President deems
to have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or
national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or
other significant public or private endeavors." The award is "given only
after careful thought, always sparingly so as not to debase its currency."

"Debase its currency." Hmmm. The 9-11 commission blames the CIA and Tenet
for some of the crucial intelligence failures that prevented us from
stopping the terrorist attacks. On Iraq, before the invasion, it was Tenet
who described the existence of WMD as a "slam dunk." Paul Bremer guided
the postwar Iraq effort into chaos and insurgency. And General Tommy
Franks, while leading US troops brilliantly to Baghdad, had no plan once US
troops got there to secure any part of the nation and prevent looting or
sabotage.

Once upon a time, the Presidential medal of freedom was awarded to spies who
quietly risked their life for our nation. And in previous years, the medal
of freedom has been given President Gerald Ford, President Jimmy Carter,
Thurgood Marshall, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, civil rights leader Rosa Parks,
educator Albert Shanker, former Senator and GOP Presidential candidate Bob
Dole, philanthropist David Rockefeller, and etc. and etc.

My point is that it is a shame to see a meaningful award turned into the
latest political photo-op. I'm glad to hear that George Tenet, Paul Bremer,
and Tommy Franks are doing so well in private life.    But if the Bush
administration wants to review the record of these three, let's have an
honest discussion instead of the historical revisionism and political
theater that was on center stage today.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 07:54 PM

NYTimes.com > Opinion



   

EDITORIAL
No Bang for Our Cheap Buck


Published: December 15, 2004




The Bush administration's de facto weak-dollar policy - its preferred
"cure" for the American trade deficit - is not working. Yesterday's trade
deficit report shows that imports outpaced exports by a record $55.5 billion
in October. The huge imbalance was worse than the gloomiest expectations.

So far, the administration has been hoping that the weaker dollar will raise
the price of imports, leading American consumers to buy less from abroad,
and will at the same time make our exports cheaper so foreigners will buy
more American goods. That's supposed to shrink the trade deficit and, with
it, America's need to attract nearly $2 billion each day from abroad to
balance its books.

But the dollar has been declining since February 2002 - it's down by 55
percent against the euro and 22 percent against the yen - and the trade
deficit has stubbornly refused to shrink along with it. The falling dollar
has done nothing to diminish America's appetite for foreign goods - such
imports continue to rise at a faster rate than exports. According to
yesterday's report, imports were some 50 percent greater than exports in
October. Much of October's import growth was caused by high oil prices,
which have since subsided. But that's no reason to shrug off the disturbing
evidence of the weak dollar's failure to fix the trade gap. The United
States is now on track for a trade deficit of more than $60 billion next
June.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 08:10 AM

Excerpt from the Washington Post:

Presidential Medals of Failure



By Richard Cohen
Thursday, December 16, 2004; Page A37

Where's Kerik?


This is the question I asked myself as, one by one, the pictures of the latest Presidential Medal of Freedom awardees flashed by on my computer screen. First came George Tenet, the former CIA director and the man who had assured President Bush that it was a "slam-dunk" that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Then came L. Paul Bremer, the former viceroy of Iraq, who disbanded the Iraqi army and ousted Baathists from government jobs, therefore contributing mightily to the current chaos in that country. Finally came retired Gen. Tommy Franks, the architect of the plan whereby the United States sent too few troops to Iraq.


One by one these images flicked by me, each man wearing the royal-blue velvet ribbon with the ornate medal -- one failure after another, each now on the lecture circuit, telling insurance agents and other good people what really happened when they were in office, but withholding such wisdom from the American people until, for even more money, their book deals are negotiated. (Franks has already completed this stage of his life. His book, "American Soldier," was a bestseller.)


I braced myself. Could Bernard Kerik be next? Would we skip the entire process of maladministration, misjudgments in office and sycophantic admiration of the current president and go straight to the celebrated failure?


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 08:22 AM

According to the Sun Herald:

Lott: Replace defense chief

By MELISSA M. SCALLAN




BILOXI - U.S. Sen. Trent Lott doesn't believe Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should resign immediately, but he does think Rumsfeld should be replaced sometime in the next year.


"I'm not a fan of Secretary Rumsfeld," Lott, R-Mississippi, told the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning. "I don't think he listens enough to his uniformed officers."


Rumsfeld has been criticized since a soldier asked him last week why the combat vehicles used in the war in Iraq don't have the proper armor. Both Rumsfeld and President Bush have said more vehicle armor will be shipped to Iraq.


Lott said the United States needs more troops to help with the war. The country also needs a plan to leave Iraq once elections are over at the end of January.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Donuel
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 08:28 AM

Amos - debasing the medal of honor was right on.

We need new medals, I just happen to have one here...

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/metalofdishonor3.jpg


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 05:59 PM

A New York Times editorial reveals that the bloody consequences of Bush's war-mongering are beginning to be appraised -- not the cost in limbs and lives snuffed out, but in the ruthless destruction of sanity caused by participating in psychotic, institutionalized violence and the destruction of others..


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 08:14 PM

Ex-Military Lawyers Object to Bush Cabinet Nominee
By NEIL A. LEWIS

Published: December 16, 2004


WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Several former high-ranking military lawyers say they
are discussing ways to oppose President Bush's nomination of Alberto R.
Gonzales to be attorney general, asserting that Mr. Gonzales's supervision
of legal memorandums that appeared to sanction harsh treatment of detainees,
even torture, showed unsound legal judgment.

Hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination are
expected to begin next month. While Mr. Gonzales is expected to be
confirmed, objections from former generals and admirals would be a setback
and an embarrassment for him and the White House.

Rear Adm. John D. Hutson, who served as the Navy's judge advocate general
from 1997 to 2000 before he retired, said that while Mr. Gonzales might be a
lawyer of some stature, "I think the role that he played in the one thing
that I am familiar with is tremendously shortsighted."


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 08:17 PM

Bush Administration and Oil Companies Want Arctic Meltdown

by
Wayne Madsen

[Petroleum elites are benefiting from oil scarcity, because it raises
prices. But they also fear oil scarcity, because it raises costs and
eventually makes business impossible. And since the oil industry is also
impeding the large-scale development of alternatives while continuing to
encourage rampant consumption, scarcity of fossil fuels may eventually kill
them. They don't seem to mind. Maybe the pursuit of world-destroying
policies is some kind of compensation for their own mortality --- you know,
if I can't live forever, I think I'll take the rest of you down with me.
Such a policy is neither government nor business; it's the melodrama of a
big dysfunctional family whose patriarchs are finally going crazy - just
when their power is at its height.

Here's another metaphor: the Petro-Administration of Cheney-Rice-Bush is
like a psychotic who tries to play chess: indifferent to the rules, he
simply steals the opponent's king off the board, claims victory, and burns
the whole chess-set in the fireplace.

In the following shocker by Wayne Madsen, we learn that there are people
high up in Washington who regard the apocalyptic melting of the polar ice
caps as a good thing. Why? It will clear new shipping lanes for the
exploitation of Arctic oil and gas.

About six years ago I published an essay in the Massachusetts Review called
"Scarcity and Compensation in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick." I learned that
the American whaling industry did not end because petroleum replaced whale
oil; whaling stopped because the animals had been "harvested" almost to
extinction, and the only place left to catch them was in the perilous ice
floes of the Arctic Ocean. In 1873 thirty-three out of forty whaling ships
cruising in the Arctic were destroyed by ice. 1

Today the American oil industry finds itself back up in the Arctic, chasing
petroleum (not whale blubber). But this time, pollutants from its own
product have warmed the globe, and instead of destroying our ships, the ice
is just melting out of the way! What a wonderful way to settle an old score.
- JAH]

November 11, 2004 0900 PDT (FTW) -- Washington, DC. Speaking off the record,
scientists studying the current warming of the Arctic region intimated that
some officials in the Bush administration saw the loss of Arctic ice and the
resultant opening of sea channels such as the Northwest Passage of Canada as
a good thing for the exploration and retrieval of oil and natural gas from
the endangered region.

Over 300 international scientists have just completed an extensive 1200-page
report documenting their exhaustive 4-year Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
study on the rapid warming of the Arctic. The study was commissioned by the
Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee at a
ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in Point Barrow, Alaska in 2000.
On November 8, the scientists released a 144-page summary of their findings
at a press conference in Washington, DC.

As if out of a scene from the Roland Emmerich's climate disaster movie, "The
Day After Tomorrow," the U.S. State Department is criticizing the
international panel's call to slow down Arctic warming by curbing greenhouse
emissions into the atmosphere. The State Department, according to some
scientists, is echoing the positions of oil companies and
anti-environmentalist pressure groups like the Cato Institute and Heritage
Foundation, in dismissing the recent report on Arctic warming. In fact,
President Bush has repeatedly referred to previous scientific studies
pointing to the effects of global warming as "silly science" based on "fuzzy
math."


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 04:28 PM

ush's economic summit
The Boston Globe Saturday, December 18, 2004
President George W. Bush's two-day economic summit was an exercise in
political propaganda that attempted to hide the underlying economic problem
for the administration over the next four years: The government is spending
far more than it is taking in and needs to raise taxes to make up at least
part of the difference.
.
Instead, participants in the summit - dominated by the president's
supporters - focused on proposals to block anti-business lawsuits (a
perennial issue for Republicans) and allow partial privatization of Social
Security (a new favorite of the party). The budget turnaround, from a $236.4
billion surplus to a $413 billion deficit over the last five years, was
mentioned in passing, but only as a way for participants to praise Bush for
pushing tax cuts that supposedly revived the economy.
.
A strong case could have been made for a quick stimulus package to pre-empt
a deep recession following the stock market collapse and the 9/11 attacks.
But nobody at the conference made the point that Bush used his narrow
victory in 2000 to destroy the bipartisan consensus of the 1990's that
balanced the budget. His tax cuts, if kept in place, will reduce federal
revenues far into the future without regard to their impact on the
government or the economy as a whole.
.
The Congressional Budget Office notes that federal spending, growing at a
3.5 percent rate in the 90's, has soared to a 6 to 7 percent growth rate
under Bush. Much of that can be attributed to the war against terrorism, but
it made no sense to embark on the invasion of Iraq while simultaneously
cutting taxes, as Bush continued to advocate throughout his first term. And
the Medicare drug benefit, which Bush pushed through Congress last year,
will put more pressure on the budget when it takes effect in 2006. The
program lacks the price restraints necessary to keep it under control.
.
Instead, the summit participants talked about Social Security as if it were
in crisis, rather than a long-term manageable problem. The president and
Joshua Bolton, his budget director, did suggest that tough spending choices
would be necessarily to reduce the deficit, but no one was ready to offer
specifics. Even if all unnecessary spending were eliminated, essential
federal programs would require more funding than is possible when revenues
shrink to an unreasonably low percentage of the gross domestic product -
16.5 percent, according to the CBO.
.
Participants at the summit also barely focused on the decline of the dollar,
but foreign investors' tendency to put their money elsewhere is a sign that
the Bush administration and Congress are pursuing polices that threaten
American economic leadership. Despite Republican rhetoric, Americans are far
from overtaxed. The Bush administration is underperforming in its essential
role as guardian of the U.S. economy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 04:29 PM

How To Talk About the Deficit
A lesson in the art of avoidance from the Bush economic conference.
ByTimothy Noah
Posted Thursday, Dec. 16, 2004, at 2:24 PM PT
http://slate.msn.com/id/2111173/

President Bush is holding an economic conference this week at the White
House. The whole thing is about as spontaneous as a wrestling match; even
David Brooks called it a "pseudo-event." So I'm not particularly surprised
that, at today's session on the budget deficit, nobody suggested that taxes
be raised. Republicans always oppose raising taxes. It did surprise me,
however, that even a staged conversation about the deficit could take place
without anyone proposing a specific budget cut.

Conservatives in general, and the Bush administration in particular, favor
budget cuts. At the conference, President Bush said there were going to be
"some tough choices on the spending side," and he boasted that "non-defense,
non-homeland discretionary spending" had increased at a rate of less than 1
percent over last year. But "non-defense, non-homeland discretionary
spending" is a tiny sliver of all the money that the government spends.
Overall, the federal government this year spent an estimated 5 percent more
than it spent last year, and that's only counting expenditures through
November. Bush doesn't like to cut spending; he likes to say he likes to cut
spending. In truth, Bush spends just as freely as a Democratic president
would, if not more. The only significant difference is that Bush is bleeding
domestic programs in order to increase spending on the military and homeland
defense. Bush's hypocrisy about government spending is so naked that a whole
new ideology, "big government conservatism," had to be invented in order to
explain it away.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 06:41 PM

Well, gol danged...

Looks as if Bush is so good at starting wars that he's gone a started another one without even knowing it?

Huh, you say...

That's right. Goergie Porg has started *Cold War II*!!!!! Looks as if Russia and China have agreed to hold military manouvers together signaling an alliance that can't be viewed as anything but Cold War tactics...

Now, throw in China bankrollin' Bush's spending spree, the outcome of this Cold War certainly looks to be different than the last one...

Funny thing. Both Bush and Reagan held power by decreasing taxes, driving unprecidented debt yet Reagan spent it on a military that wasn't used and that, among other factors, helped the US win Cold War I. Bush has also spent heavily on the military but has used it (quite unwisely) and cranked up the War that purdy much ended under Reagan...

How much more Bush America can survive???

Everything he touches turns to sh*t...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 06:52 PM

Hitler had exactly the same problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 07:30 PM

ANd look how he solved it!!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 10:53 AM

Kris Kristofferson, urging action to stop the genocide underway in Darfur:

"Mr. Bush bemoaned Mr. Clinton's use of the White House for sex with an intern, and he was right to do so. But it's incomparably more immoral, and certainly a greater betrayal of American values, for Mr. Bush to sit placidly in the White House and watch a genocide from the sidelines."

Read the whole excellent piece here.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 12:26 PM

From The Washington Post:

...Because of the incompetence or indifference of this nation's civilian leadership of the war, Americans in Iraq are living with an increased risk of death.


All the official transcripts of White House signing ceremonies for every defense spending bill, all the presidential proclamations for Veterans Day and every prepared statement by the secretary of defense before a congressional committee include the same stock phrase. U.S. troops are invariably referred to as "the best trained, best equipped" ever. Best equipped? To call today's American troops in Iraq the "best equipped" is more than an exaggeration; it is bilge, baloney and cruel.


An America coming out of the Great Depression somehow found the leadership and the will to build and deploy around the globe 2.5 million trucks in the same period of time that the incumbent U.S. government has failed to get 30,000 fully armored vehicles to Iraq.


The Bush administration has appropriated $34.3 billion on a theoretical missile defense system -- which proved again this week to be an expensive dud in its first test in two years, when the "kill vehicle" never got off the ground to intercept the target missile carrying a mock warhead -- but has been able up to now, according to congressional budget authorities, to spend just $2 billion to armor the vehicles of Americans under fire.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 05:49 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats on Saturday said U.S. soldiers in Iraq lacked adequate body armor and plated vehicles because of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's flawed leadership.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, in the Democrats' weekly radio address, blasted the Pentagon under Rumsfeld for "a litany of serious miscalculations" including underestimating the Iraqis resistance and failing to give troops enough protective equipment even though Congress gave it all the money it requested.

"The Pentagon says the lack of protective equipment is a matter of 'logistics.' No it's not. It's a matter of leadership," Durbin said.

"Those responsible for planning this war were not prepared for the reality on the ground, and many of our soldiers have paid the price," he said, citing nearly 1,300 U.S. service members who have died in Iraq and more than 10,000 injured.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 10:15 AM

Portland, Maine's Herald opines in this piece:

The White House must love 'opposite day'

Copyright © 2004 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.
 
It is a favored tactic in the Bush White House to take on tough criticism by boldly asserting the opposite.


Keeping clean air regulations from forcing further cuts in emissions is labeled a "clear skies" initiative. Judicial nominees who would bring the government into our bedrooms are defenders of liberty. And a scheme to gut Social Security and turn it into a money machine for the securities industry is a plan to "strengthen" that same system.

The latest in this series of 180-degree misdirections - reminiscent of when kids play "opposite day" - was Bush's assertion at a White House conference last week that moving forward with his proposals on Social Security would send positive signals to financial markets.

Say what?

Let's be clear about the what the president wants to do. He wants to put the nation another $2 trillion in debt so that, over time, he and his conservative supporters can eliminate the Social Security system as we know it.

Follow link for balance of editorial.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 09:25 PM

In Defense of Chevy Chase's Right to Call Bush a Dumb Fuck



 By Jackson Thoreau

 Excerpted from this page

I've long liked Chevy Chase , but now I like him even more. He joins Jon Stewart and Bill Maher as my favorite comedians.


 To stand up and call Bush a dumb fuck at a hoity-toity event like one hosted by the People for the American Way in mid-December [see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3216-2004Dec15.html ], takes some guts. Chase just said what most of us want to say, but doubt we would if we had a national stage like Chase has and had to worry about pissing off fans who pay to see our movies and acts.


And I don't know why Democrats and liberal-types have to apologize for, and distance themselves from, Chase, such as some with the People for the American Way and others on Fox shows like Hannity's did. They come off sounding like wimps, and maybe a lot of liberals are wimps [as are a lot of conservatives, especially those who talk tough but don't act on the talk, such as the chicken hawks who wimped out on going to Vietnam ].


Don't call Chase's remarks offensive and act like Bush is a legitimate U.S. president. Just say Chase's opinions are his own and leave it at that. I mean, if Cheney, who is supposedly a moral statesman, can use the f-word on the floor of Congress, a comedian can surely use it at an awards ceremony.


Bill O'Reilly, that purveyor of morality who paid millions to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit by an employee after transcripts revealed he admitted to having extramarital affairs amid phone sex with her, was indignant at Chase daring to "disrespect" the president this way.


O'Reilly and others overlook how Bush & co. have desecrated the office with the way they lied and cheated to get there, and the way they have lied and cheated since. Bush disrespected the Constitution, including in violating the part about the president and vice president living in separate states. He said he supported the will of the people, then worked to stop the legal counting of votes. He is among the most dirtiest campaigners in American history. History will show that his campaign engaged in high-tech cheating and intimidation tactics in 2004. He doesn't deserve respect. And Chase reminds us of this in an effective way.


 O'Reilly asked on his recent show for examples of Republicans who have publicly cussed at or called Democrats or opponents profanities. Bush and Cheney themselves have done that numerous times, including last June when Cheney told Sen. Patrick Leahy [D-Vt.] on the god-damned SENATE FLOOR to go "fuck yourself." Right-wingers like Joe Scarborough, who allegedly had an affair with a female employee who died in his office in a weird way, continue to gloat about that.


 How about Bush calling a reporter a major-league asshole in public in 2000? Did Cheney or Bush apologize for those statements? HELL, NO! Other examples are in a column I wrote a few months back for numerous sites, including the Moderate Independent at http://www.moderateindependent.com/v2i19thoreau.htm .


 And journalist Jeanne Wolf said on O'Reilly's show that no one will defend Chevy Chase . So I am doing so in this column.


Instead of Dems apologizing and sucking up to Republicanazis, we need to stand up to the bullies like Chase did. We need more national celebrities to call Bush a dumb fuck. Some people say Bush is not so dumb, that he may not read books or position papers or even the Cliff Notes his staff prepares, but he does run campaigns that win, even if he cheats.


 That's not the point. The point is Bush doesn't deserve respect. He's not in the White House legitimately - even if you don't think he cheated in 2004, which he did, there is the more widely acknowledged cheating to take the White House in 2000. He shouldn't have even been in the position to run in 2004. Calling him a dumb fuck is reminding people that Bush is illegitimate. He's a presidential bastard, besides being a dumb fuck. I don't care if you think I'm unpatriotic for defending Chase and calling Bush a dumb fuck myself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 08:56 PM

An excellent chuckle at the SECDEF's expense can be found in Maureen Dowd's latest column.

God grant we can still laugh.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 12:20 AM

An excerpt from the Washington Post's article describing Chevy Chase's original speech:

After actors Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon delivered speeches accepting their Defender of Democracy awards, Chase took the stage a final time and unleashed a rant against President Bush that stunned the crowd. He deployed the four-letter word that got Vice President Cheney in hot water, using it as a noun. Chase called the prez a "dumb [expletive]." He also used it as an adjective, assuring the audience, "I'm no [expletive] clown either. . . . This guy started a jihad."


Chase also said: "This guy in office is an uneducated, real lying schmuck . . . and we still couldn't beat him with a bore like Kerry."



My sympathies to Mister Chase. I suspect he may have laid his pearls before swine again...


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 08:00 PM

In this editorial, the New York Times credits Bush with deeper insght than average on the Palestinian-Israeli evolution and with wisely disregarding "received wisdom".

This is unusually fulsome praise for the Times for Mister Bush, whom they usually excoriate.

At least they had the courage to change their minds this once.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 22 Dec 04 - 02:25 PM

An excerpt from a highly vocal individual of the Liberal perusasion, concerning the gentle drift of the United States towward National Socialism:

12/22/04 "ICH" -- When the thunderous clouds of fascists past and corporatists present finally dissipate over the vast lands of the United States, leaving in its wake a nation recovering from the violent downpours of mass lunacy, fear and collective schizophrenia that have caused a dustbowl-style drought of humanity in the nation of gluttonous undertakings, it will finally be seen, beyond the enveloping haze of post 9/11 hypnosis hindering American visibility, the devastation of what was done to us and what has been done to the world in our name, oftentimes with our willing consent and through our complicit guilt through silence and acquiescence.

The shock and awe storm of the Amerikan Nazis will inevitably one day pass, as all tyrannies eventually do, yet what will remain to haunt us, what will tug at our conscious for years to come, will be the dishonor and shame upon our society for the human malice spawned in the minds of so many millions of Americans. For the Amerikan Nazi phenomenon has with the passing of each sunset grown and mutated beyond the small cabal of criminal corporatists, power hungry warmongering fascists, military-industrial complex elites, delusional Zionist-first neocons, religious Bible-Belt fundamentalists and profit over people capitalists. Today, the cancer is spreading far and wide, infecting those residing inside the belly of the beast, afflicting first and foremost the most unenlightened and ignorant among us.

Tens of millions of Americans are being transformed into conduits of barbarism and catalysts of violence, regenerating the evil of racism against an entire population of purposefully scapegoated innocents whose only crime is belonging to a group the Amerikan Nazis have chosen as the necessary enemy from which to unleash perpetual war for perpetual profit. The deliberate conditioning of tens of millions of citizens by the Amerikan Nazis into purveyors of mass murder and violence accepting and indeed deriving pleasure from the death of 100,000 innocent Iraqis should send shockwaves throughout the world that perhaps a communal lunacy has infiltrated a large segment of the American people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 08:20 AM

In The Cabinet of Incuriosities (N.Y. Times) Ron Suskind discusses the necessary qualities of a Bush cabinet member -- first and above all, compliancy.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 08:27 AM

Excerpt from The Sociopathic Bush Administration

- by Mary Shaw

When Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was recently questioned by a U.S. soldier regarding the shortage of armor to protect our troops in Iraq, his insensitive response seemed to suggest that armor is for sissies, because even armored humvees can explode. The lack of compassion and lack of empathy exemplified by his response reinforced my belief that the Bush administration consistently displays clear signs of collective sociopathic behavior.

Let's take a look at some of the characteristics of sociopathic behavior, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, and see how they fit:

1. Callousness, lack of empathy, irresponsibility, and reckless disregard for the safety of others: In addition to Rumsfeld's most recent display of callousness and reckless disregard, President Bush routinely exhibits these symptoms.
Childhood friends have described how the young George W. Bush would attach firecrackers to frogs and blow them up. Decades later, as Governor of Texas, Bush mocked and ridiculed convicted murderer Karla Fae Tucker's desperate plea for her life. Today, President Bush sends our young people to Iraq to fight an out-of-control war based on lies, ships American workers' jobs overseas, runs up the budget deficit, and sets out to put Social Security into the hands (and pockets) of Wall Street brokers, with apparently no consideration for how this reckless behavior will affect average Americans. He and those closest to him remain safe in their money-padded cocoons, far removed from the reality that their actions create.

2. Glibness and superficial charm: George W. Bush won votes with his casual, down-home style. He won the support of the heartland's cupcake moms and NASCAR dads by coming across as a regular guy. At the height of the 2004 campaign season, when asked which candidate they would rather have a beer with, 43 percent responded that they would rather have a beer with President Bush, compared with 25.1 percent for John Kerry. But Bush's frozen smirk betrays a glibness that tells us that his underlying agenda does not include buying a round at the local saloon for the common folks.

3. Deceitfulness: George H. W. Bush deceived the nation when he said, "Read my lips: no new taxes." But that lie did not cost thousands of innocent lives. George W. sent our young men and women into Iraq to fight a war based on false
allegations: Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, ties to al- Qaeda, and a grave and gathering threat to America. Vice President Cheney still clings to some of these stories, and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice herself tapdanced around the truth in her testimony before the 9/11 Commission.
This administration does not let facts get in the way of their agenda.

4. Grandiose sense of self: Having won reelection with 51 percent of the vote (hardly a landslide), George W. Bush described his victory as a "mandate." He claimed to have earned "political capital" during the campaign, which he now intends to spend. The other 49 percent of the voting public will just have to accept it. After all, as Bush told an Amish group in July of 2004, "God speaks through me."


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: DougR
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 04:43 PM

Sigh. And I thought we had seen the last of your very own private thread Amos. Well, I guess a few days is better than ...what? Nothing?

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 06:06 PM

I know. I am sure the innocent Germans got tired of hearing about their problems too, but those who stand and do nothing do not serve.

I do not enjoy being led by a sociopath. Nor do I think it very well for the planet.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 07:29 PM

Shopping for War
By BOB HERBERT

Published: December 27, 2004


You might think that the debacle in Iraq would be enough for the Pentagon, that it would not be in the mood to seek out new routes to unnecessary wars for the United States to fight. But with Donald Rumsfeld at the apex of the defense establishment, enough is never enough.

So, as detailed in an article in The Times on Dec. 19, Mr. Rumsfeld's minions are concocting yet another grandiose and potentially disastrous scheme. Pentagon officials are putting together a plan that would give the military a more prominent role in intelligence gathering operations that traditionally have been handled by the Central Intelligence Agency. They envision the military doing more spying with humans, as opposed, for example, to surveillance with satellites.

Further encroachment by the military into intelligence matters better handled by civilians is bad enough. Now hold your breath. According to the article, "Among the ideas cited by Defense Department officials is the idea of 'fighting for intelligence,' or commencing combat operations chiefly to obtain intelligence."

That is utter madness. The geniuses in Washington have already launched one bogus war, which has cost tens of thousands of lives and provoked levels of suffering that are impossible to quantify. We don't need to be contemplating new forms of warfare waged for the sole purpose of gathering intelligence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 08:15 PM

This is waht I was talkin' about on another thread... Seems the Pentagon has a 25 year stategy and has wars planned up the wazoo...

And the beat goes on...

And, fir the record here? Amos is my hero for his vigilence. If I weren't so gtol danged busy trying to make a sanged living and pay my fair sahre of taxes that I'd like to think went toward HUD or the Dept. of Ed, I'd be here shoulder to shoulder with him but...sniff... I can't be..

Keep hammerin', Amos, keep a hammerin'...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 09:00 PM

Typical insightful and constructive remark, Martin. Let us know if you decide to mature, although I know it is late.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: DougR
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 11:44 PM

Whatever.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 29 Dec 04 - 08:54 AM

The New York Times Op Ed from December 24th -- excerpt:


It's like watching your son playing in traffic, and there's nothing you can do." - Janet Bellows, mother of a soldier who has been assigned to a second tour in Iraq.

Back in the 1960's, when it seemed as if every other draftee in the Army was being sent to Vietnam, I was sent off to Korea, where I was assigned to the intelligence office of an engineer battalion.

Twenty years old and half a world away from home, I looked forward to mail call the way junkies craved their next fix. My teenage sister, Sandy, got all of her high school girlfriends to write to me, which led some of the guys in my unit to think I was some kind of Don Juan. I considered it impolite to correct any misconceptions they might have had.

You could depend on the mail for an emotional lift - most of the time. But there were times when I would open an envelope and read, in the inky handwriting of my mother or father or sister, that a friend of mine, someone I had grown up with or gone to school with, or a new friend I had met in the Army, had been killed in Vietnam. Just like that. Gone. Life over at 18, 19, 20.

I can still remember the weird feelings that would come over me in those surreal moments, including the irrational idea that I was somehow responsible for the death. In the twisted logic of grief, I would feel that if I had never opened the envelope, the person would still be alive. I remember being overwhelmed with the desire to reseal the letter in the envelope and bring my dead friend back to life.

This week's hideous attack in Mosul reminded me of those long ago days. Once again American troops sent on a fool's errand are coming home in coffins, or without their right arms or left legs, or paralyzed, or so messed up mentally they'll never be the same. Troops are being shoved two or three times into the furnace of Iraq by astonishingly incompetent leaders who have been unable or unwilling to provide them with the proper training, adequate equipment or even a clearly defined mission.

It is a mind-boggling tragedy. And the suffering goes far beyond the men and women targeted by the insurgents. Each death in Iraq blows a hole in a family and sets off concentric circles of grief that touch everyone else who knew and cared for the fallen soldier. If the human stakes were understood well enough by the political leaders of this country, it might make them a little more reluctant to launch foolish, unnecessary and ultimately unwinnable wars.

Lisa Hoffman and Annette Rainville of the Scripps Howard News Service have reported, in an extremely moving article, that nearly 900 American children have lost a parent to the war in Iraq. More than 40 fathers died without seeing their babies.

The article begins with a description of a deeply sad 4-year-old named Jack Shanaberger, whose father was killed in an ambush in March. Jack told his mother he didn't want to be a father when he grew up. "I don't want to be a daddy," he said, "because daddies die."

Six female soldiers who died in the war left a total of 10 children. This is a new form of wartime heartbreak for the U.S.

We have completely lost our way with this fiasco in Iraq. The president seems almost perversely out of touch. "The idea of democracy taking hold in what was a place of tyranny and hatred and destruction is such a hopeful moment in the history of the world," he said this week.

The truth, of course, is that we can't even secure the road to the Baghdad airport, or protect our own troops lining up for lunch inside a military compound. The coming elections are a slapstick version of democracy. International observers won't even go to Iraq to monitor the elections because it's too dangerous. They'll be watching, as if through binoculars, from Jordan.

Nobody has a plan. We don't have enough troops to secure the country, and the Iraqi forces have shown neither the strength nor the will to do it themselves. Election officials are being murdered in the streets. The insurgency is growing in both strength and sophistication. At least three more marines and one soldier were killed yesterday, ensuring the grimmest of holidays for their families and loved ones.

One of the things that President Bush might consider while on his current vacation is whether there are any limits to the price our troops should be prepared to pay for his misadventure in Iraq, or whether the suffering and dying will simply go on indefinitely.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 01:56 PM

Washington's New Year War Cry: Party On!


By FRANK RICH

Published: January 1, 2005



ON the fourth day 'til Christmas, the day that news of the slaughter at the mess tent in Mosul slammed into the evening news, CBS had scheduled a special treat. That evening brought the annual broadcast of "The Kennedy Center Honors," the carefree variety show in which Washington's top dogs mingle with visitors from that mysterious land known as the Arts and do a passing (if fashion-challenged) imitation of revelers at the Oscars. This year, like any other, the show was handing out medals to those representing "the very best in American culture," as exemplified by honorees like Australia's Dame Joan Sutherland and Britain's Sir Elton John. Festive bipartisanship reigned. Though Sir Elton had said just three weeks earlier that "Bush and this administration are the worst thing that has ever happened to America," he and his boyfriend joined the president and Mrs. Bush in their box. John Kerry held forth in an orchestra seat below.

Advertisement


"The Kennedy Center Honors" is no ratings powerhouse; this year more adults under 50 elected to watch "The Real Gilligan's Island" on cable instead. But I tuned in, curious to see how this gathering of the capital's finest might be affected by the war. The honors had actually been staged and taped earlier in the month, on Dec. 5. That day the morning newspapers told of more deadly strikes by suicide bombers in Mosul and Baghdad, killing at least 26 Iraqi security officers, including 8 in a police station near the capital's protected Green Zone. There were also reports of at least four American casualties in other firefights.

But if anyone at the Kennedy Center so much as acknowledged this reality unfolding beyond the opera house, it was not to be found in the show presented on television. The only wars evoked were those scored by another honoree, John Williams, whose soundtrack music for "Saving Private Ryan" and "Star Wars" was merrily belted out by a military band. (Our delicate sensibilities were spared the sight of an actual "Private Ryan" battle scene, however, lest the broadcast risk being shut down for "indecency.") The razzle-dazzle Hollywood martial music, the what-me-worry Washington establishment, the glow of money and red plush: everything about the tableau reeked of the disconnect between the war in Iraq and the comfort of all of us at home, starting with those in government who had conceived, planned, rubber-stamped and managed our excellent adventure in spreading democracy.

Ordinary people beyond Washington, red and blue Americans alike, are feeling that disconnect more and more. On the same day that CBS broadcast the Kennedy Center special, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 70 percent of Americans believed that any gains in Iraq had come at the cost of "unacceptable" losses in casualties and that 56 percent believed the war wasn't "worth fighting" - up 8 percent since the summer. In other words, most Americans believe that our troops are dying for no good reason, even as a similar majority (58 percent) believes, contradictorily enough, that we should keep them in Iraq.

So the soldiers soldier on, and we party on. As James Dao wrote in The New York Times, "support our troops" became a verbal touchstone in 2004, yet "only for a minuscule portion of the populace, mainly those with loved ones overseas, does it have anything to do with sacrifice." Quite the contrary: we have our tax cuts, and a president who promises to make them permanent. Such is the disconnect between the country and the war that there is no national outrage when the president awards the Medal of Freedom to the clowns who undermined the troops by bungling intelligence (George Tenet) and Iraqi support (Paul Bremer). Such is the disconnect that Washington and the news media react with slack-jawed shock when one of those good soldiers we support so much speaks up at a town hall meeting in Kuwait and asks the secretary of defense why vehicles that take him and his brothers into battle lack proper armor."


From An editorial in the Times

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 02:05 PM

DUBYA IS BAD. HIS FATHER WAS WORSE.

(Excerpted from the New Republic on-line edition of Dec 27)

Sins of the Father
by Tom Frank

Only at TNR Online | Post date 12.27.04
 E-mail this article


In the late 1990s, as Americans found themselves learning more than they cared to know about Arkansas courtship rituals, the name Bush began to inspire sentimental feelings. Bill Clinton's predecessor, it was said, had at least shown respect for the office. If he'd never managed to achieve the common touch, neither had he been accused of disrobing and offering suggestions such as "Kiss it" within minutes of making someone's acquaintance. In 1999, The New York Times noted that Bush I was now "basking in the glow of a surprisingly early, and positive, reassessment of his stewardship."


Oddly enough, the arrival of George W. Bush didn't quell the longing for George H.W. Bush; in fact, for some Americans, it only intensified it. Just six months into the younger Bush's presidency, Fareed Zakaria was already writing in Time that Dubya should "embrace his own family values" and emulate his father, who was, in fact, "a pretty good president." Once Dubya began to anger much of the world, others chimed in. The elder Bush was "a master of personal diplomacy," reminisced columnist Maureen Dowd, an "old-school internationalist who ceaselessly tried to charm allies as U.N. ambassador and in the White House." Her colleague Thomas Friedman took Bush nostalgia even further. Days before the 2004 election, Friedman wrote, "The more I look back on the elder Bush ... the more I find to admire." He concluded: "Yes, next Tuesday, vote for the real political heir to George H.W. Bush. I'm sure you know who that is." (Friedman meant John Kerry.)


This was, really, going a bit far. Even in a world where the spectrum of political belief is bounded by the poles of Bush I and Bush II--a world in which, evidently, Friedman and others are now dwelling--surely some norms, such as avoiding nostalgia for our worst chief executives, must be respected. True, whatever your political beliefs--liberal, conservative, libertarian, other--Dubya has done something to bother you. Anyone who invades Afghanistan, occupies Iraq, expands Medicare, passes No Child Left Behind, flouts the Kyoto Protocol, pushes a Constitutional amendment on marriage, sinks the dollar, cuts taxes, and proposes dynamiting the New Deal is bound to step on a toe every so often. But is our current president bad enough to warrant something as drastic as the rehabilitation of Bush I?


Perhaps we should cheer up. In reality, there's something worse than the mix of ideological belligerence and lack of scruples that characterizes Dubya's administration. That would be the mix of cynicism, demagoguery, and ineffectiveness that characterized the presidency of his father


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 04:03 PM

Excerpted from Counterbias:

The Arrogant Administration


December 31 2004
Counterbias.com
Scott C. Smith


I'm beginning to think that a prerequisite exists before one assumes a position with the Bush administration: applicant must be arrogant. Just like George W. Bush.

We've seen many examples over the last four years of Bush administration arrogance. Take Attorney General John Ashcroft's remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Dec. 7, 2001 as an example. Ashcroft said, referring to critics of the Patriot Act, "To those who pit Americans against immigrants, citizens against non-citizens, to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve…they give ammunition to America's enemies and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil." (...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 04:06 PM

Friday 24th December 2004 (02h06) :
Hold the Bush Administration accountable for its use of torture
2 comment(s).

We must hold the Bush Administration accountable for its use of torture

By Angie Pratt

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=4863

You want to know why when news of prisoner torture percolated up the channels of the government nothing was done? The answer is quite simple. They condoned the actions. In fact, we now know that they were following an executive order from George W. Bush. This isn't based on hearsay. This isn't a figment of some Massachusetts liberal's imagination. This allegation is based on an internal FBI document obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The document, a two-page FBI internal e-mail, references an Executive Order that states the President directly authorized interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc." The FBI e-mail, which was sent in May 2004 from "On Scene Commander--Baghdad" to a handful of senior FBI officials, notes that the FBI has prohibited its agents from employing the techniques that the President is said to have authorized.

Now. do you think the government released this e-mail freely? Nope. It took a federal judge in response to a freedom of information request lawsuit brought by the ACLU to force the release of this information. Why? Because the Bush Administration knows it is guilty of sponsoring the use of inhumane interrogation methods against Moslem detainees.

The Bush Administration has slipped down the slippery slope and fallen into Satan's den. The God that George Bush claims to speak to is not the one that Jesus speaks about. Torturing prisoners is not an activity that Christ would approve of. Christians around the world need to stand up and declare these actions immoral.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: DougR
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 07:30 PM

Wow, Amos, this should make it a whopping 750 posts! Looks, too, it's down now to just you and me.

Happy New Year Amos!

DougR


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