Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Turkeys

Otherwise, enjoy the on the road for a (fortunately) short trip to Cajun country for a family thing. To be honest, I expect posting to be light through the weekend...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Antler Dance
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Attaturk offers advice to the Bullshit Moose, and incorporates the latter's style in doing so:

Attaturk suggests Bullmoose shove his antlers up his own ass.

Brevity...the soul of wit.
Bush Pardons a Couple of Turkeys
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Ok, I lied--Scooter wasn't actually there, but something tells me today's action was practice for when Shrub's forced to use his preznutial powers to keep his administration out of the clink.
Twilight of the Chickenhawks
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A couple of big bloggers again raise the issue of chickenhawkery...and, IMHO, I think this is as good a time as any, given recent news like Herr Kissinger bestowing his personal kiss of death on the idea of "victory," the nascent civil war erupting, the recent reports of "options" like "go big, go long, or go home," Shrub's ever more ignorant and irrelevent statements...or the fact that deaths are increasingly dismissed as mere stastical data, etc., etc.

It's bad enough to bark for war without having the first clue as to the actual, awful consequences (and, in yet another example of propaganda being just as effective by omission as commission, the media for the most part ignores the subject of chickenhawkery). But this generation of wingnuttia has taken it further: not only don't they back their words up with actions, they are the genuine "cutters-and-runners" when the chips are truly down.

They've got no sense of honor...and even less of decency.
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Graphic credit: Blood for Oil

Team Bush raises the bar:

The United Nations said Wednesday that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly toll since the March 2003 U.S. invasion and another sign of the severity of Iraq's sectarian bloodbath...

The U.N. tally was more than three times higher than the total The Associated Press had tabulated for the month, and far more than the 2,866 U.S. service members who have died during all of the war.

The report on civilian casualties, handed out at a U.N. news conference in Baghdad, said the influence of militias was growing and torture continued to be rampant, despite the Iraqi government's vow to address human rights abuses.

"Hundreds of bodies continued to appear in different areas of Baghdad handcuffed, blindfolded and bearing signs of torture and execution-style killing," the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq report said. "Many witnesses reported that perpetrators wear militia attire and even police or army uniforms."

The report painted a grim picture across the board, from attacks on journalists, judges and lawyers and the worsening situation of women to displacement, violence against religious minorities and the targeting of schools.

Based on figures from the Iraqi Health Ministry, the country's hospitals and the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad, the report said October's figure was higher than July's previously unprecedented civilian death toll of 3,590.

"I think the type of violence is different in the past few months," Gianni Magazzeni, the UNAMI chief in Baghdad, told the news conference. "There was a great increase in sectarian violence in activities by terrorists and insurgents, but also by militias and criminal gangs."

He said "this phenomenon" has been typical since Sunni-Arab insurgents bombed a major Shiite shrine on Feb. 22 in Samarra, north of Baghdad.

UNAMI's Human Rights Office continued to receive reports that Iraqi police and security forces are either infiltrated or act in collusion with militias, the report said.

It said that while sectarian violence is the main cause of the civilian killings, Iraqis also continue to be the victims of terrorist acts, roadside bombs, drive-by shootings, cross fire between rival gangs, or between police and insurgents, kidnappings, military operations, crime and police abuse.

So much for their supposed concern for the Iraqi people...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

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Richard Cohen takes smug egotism to a whole new level:

In a post-Sept. 11 world, I thought the prudent use of violence could be therapeutic.

Here's a little of your therapy, Richard. I just wish you could personally enjoy the same:
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Dropping the Ball Yet Again
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These two separate but related articles underscore the dollar-dumb perspective of the administration and wingnuttia (h/t First Draft for the latter). Both survivors of war and those who survived the natural and not-so-natural disasters along the Gulf Coast are at risk for various stress-related ailments/reactions, and whatnot. Without an investment in medical care RIGHT NOW, there's a potential for significant trouble down the road...

But hell, I dunno...maybe some folks get a kick out of other people going postal...but I'm betting they'd be a lot less thrilled if they found themselves in the immediate vicinity.

Monday, November 20, 2006

"C'mon! Dig Faster...and Deeper!"
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Because things are going so well in Iraq--and Afghanistan--one faction of wingnuttia thinks the same medicine is par for the course in...Iran.

You know, in the days of yore these assclowns profess to admire so much, a person--or persons--who failed so spectacularly might salvage a bit of dignity and honor by being locked in a room with a revolver and a bottle of whiskey, whereupon they would be expected to do the right thing.

Alas, today, they expect medals of freedom, book contracts, and lucrative speaking fees.
Fun in the Sun
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Moving to Mesopotamia, the news is pretty much what a reality-based person might expect under the (extremely grim) circimstances: hundreds more killed, wounded, and/or tortured, US military options ranging from bad to worse (even as US soldiers aren't really considered as part of the equation, except perhaps as numbers...numbers killed or wounded), Shrub channeling his "inner brainstem" (ditto for the "sensible liberals")...

But a distinct measure of the LACK of success Team Bush is experiencing in Iraq can be measured by the fact that you can't even have him showing up on an announced visit without staying overnight, as he's doing in Indonesia. No, Iraq is the black hole of official travel, hosting the "secret" trips by various administration officials, complete with stomach churning final approaches to Baghdad International. Nice...

And while wingnuts continue to insist, with ever more delusion, that we're simply not hearing about all the "good things," it's mighty interesting how few have opted to stop by for a visit themselves. You'd think they might be eager to demonstrate to those of us reality-based types just how fun a Mesopotamian vacation could be...and they've got the added bonus of Iraq being home to an extensive number of Biblical archeological sites...well, at least until they're destroyed.

Of course, anyone visiting might want to make sure they're up-to-date when it comes to life insurance...I guess the old saying "God helps those who help themselves" might be appropriate under the circumstances.
Spare Change Guy Goes to Jail
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Actually, there are several things that are really instructive about the Noe case, aside from the fact that a jury of his peers judged him--correctly--as a sleazy-assed crook.

Let's start with Pravda-on-the-Hudson again. Notice how they didn't bother to send an actual Times reporter to Toledo, but instead went verbatim with the AP article. Next, Noe's criminal record related to his work for Shrub receives scant mention--a single sentence:

Separately, Noe already has been sentenced to two years and three months in federal prison after pleading guilty earlier this year to funneling $45,000 to President Bush's re-election campaign.

(Think about it: if the president had been "Bill Clinton," or "Al Gore" or even simply a Democrat, do you think the media would be so casual? Hell, they went collectively apeshit over Clinton's Marc Rich pardon...but let out a collective yawn when it comes to a convicted criminal providing money to President Bush).

Defense attorneys and "Noe's former right hand man" are both allowed to present their side of the story, the latter arguing convicted crook Noe "intended" to pay back the money he stole...yeah, right. Just like how the kid with his hand in the cookie jar "intended" to put it back, too.

But what's genuinely instructive about this whole story is how it contrasts with, say, the smug, smirking, and, above all, REPETITIVE nature of the media's treatment of Democrats. Because, above all, myths become ingrained into public consciousness when they're repeated, over and over again (and if you control multiple elements of media--television, radio, movies...the internet, etc., etc., all the better still).

The flip side of the coin is to IGNORE or neglect issues of public importance (indeed, one of the most compelling items in Ellul's book was his observation that up to one fifth of Goebbels's directives were specific orders to NOT comment on one thing or another). Hence, while "Democrats are in disarray" is grist for the media's mill, literally to be ground into dust, the Noe matter barely merits mention.

Where are the hour-long panel discussions among the blow-dried chattering classes about the culture of entitlement among GOP operatives? Noe is by no means alone among GOP operatives when it comes to criminal activity: his fellow traveler Jack Abramoff likewise began a multiyear stay in the clink just a week ago. People with breathing power my smoker-ravaged lungs could only envy find it impossible to get through the list of convicted/indicted Rethuglicans without having to come up for air. Noe himself STOLE at least $2 million dollars (according to the Ohio AG, more like $4 million dollars)...but, with the possible exception of Countdown, it's almost as if the story either didn't exist...or is merely fodder for flyover country, like Ted Stevens's bridge to nowhere (speaking of GOP scandals).

No ("noe" pun intended) can learn a LOT from watching how the media covers--or doesn't cover--a particular event. One thing you can learn is that the term "journalist" is becoming ever more synonymous with "hack."
Man of the People
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On Saturday, Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, conceded that the president had not come into direct contact with ordinary Vietnamese, but said that they connected anyway.

“If you’d been part of the president’s motorcade as we’ve shuttled back and forth,” he said, reporters would have seen that “the president has been doing a lot of waving and getting a lot of waving and smiles.”

He continued: “I think he’s gotten a real sense of the warmth of the Vietnamese people and their willingness to put a very difficult period for both the United States and Vietnam behind them.”

Note: the picture above is NOT photoshopped, except to adjust the size slightly. Anyway, when I came across it, I was reminded of another Shrubian "man-of-the-people" moment--also unretouched, in the interest of clarity:
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Speaks volumes, eh?

But, then again, what do you expect from an administration that considers the last six years of misery an "accomplishment"?