Archive for April 10th, 2006

Links…

Pogie comments on the Morrison affair: now Morrison is no longer the “electable” candidate, he’ll now have to define himself clearly. Wulfgar! peruses the Gazette comments and concludes, yes, there are some issues about the affair that just won’t go away.

Matt Singer chides Morrison’s staff for portraying their candidate as a victim of personal attacks. Who’s attacked Morrison’s character so far? Not Tester. Not Burns.

It looks like Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has lost the election. Expect Italian support for Bush’s Iraq war to vanish.

Psychoanalyzing Bush’s malapropisms: "It's only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes." (Via 43rd State Blues)

Crooks & Liars had the video of Sy Hersch on “Late Edition” talking about the “Iran war plans.” There is a nuclear option on the table, folks. And remember, Sy Hersch hasn’t been wrong yet. Read Hersch’s article for yourself.

BoingBoing has some lawyerly reactions to the Smithsonian’s sale of its video archives. Nothing’s uglier than the wrath of an angry lawyer.

A couple of Conrad Burns goodies today: (a) The Saginaw Chippewa tribe to whom Burns directed a $3M federal grant in exchange for a little campaign donation gave the Burns’ ill-gotten gain to charity. (b) Newsweek does a little story on Burns and how his involvement with Abramoff has spooked, frustrated the GOP.

Apparently justice works differently if you have a Republican dad. Clifton Bennett, son of Arizona’s Senate President, Ken Bennett, gets off lightly in a hazing incident in which the 19-year-old “punished 18 of the 11-14 year old boys by making them lay face down on their bed, in front of all the other boys, shoving a broomstick into their anus through their pants.”

Did anyone mention the forced abortions that were occurring on Saipan? This is counter to Burns’ stance on abortion, isn’t it? Or does commerce trump life? The Seattle Times has more on the illegal activities surrounding the Marianas Islands and Jack Abramoff.

Now for the cheery news: a Daily Kos diarists proposes that the US is an empire in decline.

John at Blogenlust shows how a fantasy baseball obsession can spin out of control. Although he does have a point about not being penalized for getting caught stealing…and the Devil Rays won’t win the division anyway, so who cares?

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I already put up the link to Seymour Hersch's article in The New Yorker on the administration's Iran war plans in the last Links… post, but I wanted to highlight passages from the article because it's…well…important. And shocking.

I'm a big Hersch fan. Not because he's a member of the "liberal intelligensia" or any such clap-trap, it's because he has yet to be wrong. In 2003, he wrote about the manufacturing of intelligence to make the case for war with Iraq. He broke Abu Ghraib. He wrote about the CIA secret prisons. He told us to get second passports. And in every case, he was right.

And now it's the plans for war with Iran.

The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.

[snip]

There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush’s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change.

Most of us would agree that Iran possessing a nuclear weapon is probably a bad thing (although I would argue that it's not bad for the US, but for Israel). Still the idea of another "regime change" in the Middle East brought about by the same folks who bungled Iraq is downright chilling. For one, Iran's military hasn't been weakened by a war and a ten-year blockade. For another, an invasion or bombing of Iran would ruin any chance we had of involving the militant Shi'ites in an Iraqi democracy. (That is, if you thought the Iraqi insurgency was bad now…)

And we're already crippling our economy to fight the current war. And our military is already overstretched fighting the current war. Basically, there's no way in h*ll we'd be able to pull it off.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the Bush administration has learned from its mistakes in Iraq and would come up with a better plan for Iran. Hersch:

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”

Indeed. Countries frown on being invaded. (If you don't believe me, go out and rent "Red Dawn," and watch yourself root for the terrorist insurgents as they battle the invading armies of an invading superpower.)

And more:

[Policy-maker and Bush supporter] Clawson said that he fears that Ahmadinejad “sees the West as wimps and thinks we will eventually cave in. We have to be ready to deal with Iran if the crisis escalates.” Clawson said that he would prefer to rely on sabotage and other clandestine activities, such as “industrial accidents.” But, he said, it would be prudent to prepare for a wider war, “given the way the Iranians are acting. This is not like planning to invade Quebec.”

So. In other words, we'll bomb the h*ll out of Iran and its people will welcome us as liberators, and if we don't bomb the h*ll out of Iran, they'll think we're girly-men. So it seems the Bush administration and its supporters are planning to do away with Iran in the same way they went about the Iraqi invasion.

It gets worse.

The only members of Congress the Bush administration is advising are ardent supporters of their Iran plan. (So much for working with the other side, hey partisan haters?) And military planners are considering using tactical nukes.

The lack of reliable intelligence leaves military planners, given the goal of totally destroying the [underground bunker] sites, little choice but to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons. “Every other option, in the view of the nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap,” the former senior intelligence official said. “ ‘Decisive’ is the key word of the Air Force’s planning. It’s a tough decision. But we made it in Japan.”

He went on, “Nuclear planners go through extensive training and learn the technical details of damage and fallout—we’re talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years. This is not an underground nuclear test, where all you see is the earth raised a little bit. These politicians don’t have a clue, and whenever anybody tries to get it out”—remove the nuclear option—“they’re shouted down.”

Do I need to go get the evidence on why nuking another country is bad? Not just for the bombed people, but for the world? Do I? Isn't it obvious? Fallout – mushroom clouds – radioactivity: these are bad things. Nevermind the psychological effect of using nuclear weapons on another country. You think we have problem with Islamic extremism? Using a nuclear bomb will make the moderates extreme. And you know what? I couldn't blame them.

And whoever believes the Bush adminstration's claims about how soon Iran will go nuclear, raise their hands. Nobody? Why would anyone doubt the veracity and reliability of the rhetoric coming out of the Bush administration concerning its case for mounting an attack on a sovereign nation without a declaration of war from Congress?

I believe the US should maintain a large role in foreign diplomacy, and that we should have a strong military as a tool in said diplomacy. There are times when it's right and just to use military power.

Only we're embroiled in a war already, one that we're losing. Why don't we wrap this first one up? And let's actually make some good plans for an Iranian intervention, if we need one.

According to the Washington Post, we've got 10 years before the Iranians develop a nuclear weapon. We have time. And we should use diplomacy. We should sit down at the table with the Iranian government.

We don't need to prove our collective national manhood over Iran.

Thomas Livoli wrote a letter to the Missoulian on Friday about his "reception" at local organic supermarket and liberal haven, the Good Food Store:

Good Food Store patrons are close-minded 

I am a right-wing neoconservative combat veteran who served in Iraq. My car (incidentally not a Subaru) has a Bush 2004 sticker and an American flag proudly displayed on the back. Recently, I have been shopping at the Good Food Store. I do so because I like the fresh produce, cheap protein bars, and supporting the local economy. I usually go in there after I work out when my military tattoos are visible for all to see.

The employees of the Good Food Store are always courteous and helpful regardless of how they may feel about my political views. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the majority of my fellow shoppers. Most of these folks consider themselves enlightened and open-minded. The dirty looks and comments, however, tell a different story.

When I was stationed down South, the woman I dated was black. We would get very dirty looks from both blacks and whites who obviously did not approve of our interracial relationship. Now I get the same type of looks and rude comments from many of the store's patrons. The only other place in Missoula I have come across this type of behavior is the University of Montana.

As a PhD student in anthropology, I am proud to say that some of my closest friends are liberal. Really! Even they are embarrassed at the way conservatives are treated by Missoula's "progressive" community. I have been around the world, experienced myriad of cultures, places and people. It's sad that one of the most intolerant and hypocritical communities I have encountered is in my hometown of Missoula.

Look. There's a big difference between being stared at because you're in the deep South and dating an African-American, and being stared at because you pull up to a liberal watering-hole in a car plastered with Bush/Cheney stickers.

In the south, people are staring because they're bigots. In the GFS, they're staring at Livoli because he supports an imbecile who got them into a war they didn't want, tortured, lied, spied, supported higher arsenic content in their water supply, and piled up a ridiculous public debt. In other words, at the GFS they're staring because of your actions.

The Constitution guarantees our freedom of speech, but not freedom from responsibility for our speech. If Livoli wants to support an unpopular president, he should expect some latent hostitility.

There's been a recent little splash in the Montana blogosphere about polarity and insularity in the blogs, as if being a partisan was a bad thing. It's not.

Bottom line: politics matter. The "partisanship" you see is people actually caring about issues. The elections matter. The candidates are important. The country is heading in the wrong direction, and some of us are actually a little angry about it.

On Friday, I posted a chunk of the comment left by National Socialist, Bill White, on my website. According to White, he attended a dinner with Karl Rove. It was never mentioned how large the dinner was, how serious White’s participation was, and no conversation between Rove and White was mentioned. Still, it was interesting, and I posted on it with a couple of snarks levied against the GOP, but with the conclusion that even the Republican party finds Nazi ideology reprehensible.

Well, the post got picked up by a few other blogs. My previous high for visitors to the site was around 150 – 175, but the Montana Nazi post was scored 600 within twelve hours of posting. It attracted a few hundred more visitors the next day. And this was on a weekend.

The thing is, the post was getting distorted along the way. The first link appeared on Oliver Willis under the following description:

Jus’ Chattin’?

Karl Rove and other Republican officials invited a Nazi to talk about strategy? What the hell.

Not exactly the gist of the post. Still the lure worked, and some three hundred visitors stopped by to see what the link was about.

I learned a couple valuable lessons, which I’ll pass to you, my faithful few dozen: Nazis sell, especially if you can link ’em to Karl Rove; and, while it’s possible your ideas get distorted in their packaging on others’ site, at least a link exists to your work.

Blogosphere, love it or leave it.




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