Saturday, May 15, 2004

Breaking: Satan a liberal
Leave it to Doug Giles to englighten us:

In the realm of public debate, young adults are taken about as seriously as Mini-Me would be playing center for the Los Angeles Lakers. With their brains systematically fueled by Eminem, CNN, The Real World and American Pie Part VII, there is a stupidity coming from Generation Duh that makes the insane seem sane.

There is a good reason why most youth aren't taken seriously: the vast majority have nothing to say. They are the brainwashed three-thousand-feet-wide-and-one-inch-deep droogies of the ludicrous Left who have had their minds filled with the swill that comes from MTV News and the OC. Our present crop of twenty-somethings is so heavily indoctrinated with anti-American and anti-God rhetoric by the time they're 10, even Lucifer thinks they're too liberal.

Thank God for the right. I've never felt so intelligent than after reading that passage.

Bush's numbers plummet
The difference between now and early April is enormous.

Mirror admits it was hoaxed on British abuse
Kudos to the Mirror for taking responsibility.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Supreme Court: not blocking gay marriages.

Ah, Republicans
It's "every man for himself" until one of 'em needs help...

E-mail shows U.S. held Berg
Evidence that the U.S. did at one point hold Berg, which contradicts the claim that it didn't.

How much will Iraq cost?
Wolfowitz says much more than $25 bln - some are saying closer to 50. Either way, we can rest assured that even the most heartless Americans, who care not about abused prisoners or soldiers coming home in bodybags, will not like to see their pocketbook dented. If the WH pins down a number, they better do it soon, or wait until after election season.

Iraqis want democracy
Or so the title "More Iraqis want democracy" would imply. According to the article, only 40% of Iraqis want the most probable form of democratic government.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Kerry up in Ohio
7 points and he doesn't even have paid employees operating there yet.

World Bank corruption to top $100 bln
This makes UNSCAM look like child's play:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Corrupt use of World Bank funds may exceed $100 billion and while the institution has moved to combat the problem, more must be done, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Thursday.

Sen. Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, charged that "in its starkest terms, corruption has cost the lives of uncounted individuals contending with poverty and disease."

He commended World Bank President James Wolfensohn for bringing greater attention to the issue, but said, "Corruption remains a serious problem."

He cited experts who calculated that between $26 billion and $130 billion of the money lent by the World Bank for development projects since 1946 has been misused. In 2003, the bank distributed $18.5 billion in developing countries.

Marvin Olasky spews
His latest:

For a good example of what's wrong with liberal journalism, see the top front page headline on yesterday (Wednesday) morning's USA Today: "Brutality intensifies in Iraq. " From that headline two stories descended, one on the murder of Nick Berg and the other on the day's Abu Ghraib hearings.

Hmmm ... are sexual humiliation and beheading morally equivalent? where in the headline "Brutality intensifies in Iraq" is that implied?

New Iraqi government not allowed to expel U.S. troops
It's Iraqi Freedom Lite! Less filling, same great taste!

Soldier helping al Qaeda
Quite the treasonous asshole.

Claiming to love your country and hate the government isn't too ridiculous...but then why help al Qaeda, who hates America in general?

Berg's father blames Bush administration

PHILADELPHIA, May 13 (Reuters) - The father of Nick Berg, the Pennsylvania contractor beheaded in Iraq, on Thursday directly blamed President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for his son's death.

"My son died for the sins of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. This administration did this," Berg said in the interview with radio station KYW-AM.

Two days after the publication of a video showing the execution of his son by five masked men, Berg attacked Bush administration for its invasion of Iraq and its sponsorship of the Patriot Act, which gave increased powers of surveillance to the federal government.

Berg described the Patriot Act as a "coup d'etat." He added: "It's not the same America I grew up in."

While I'm inclined to support the statements (notably the bashing of the PATRIOT Act), I must say that Berg's statements are a tad overblown. To say that "administration did this" is exempting the executioners from responsibility. I'm not saying that the terrorists' actions had no catalyst, however. The problem with this debate is that the extremes seem to get the most coverage: people who think that BushCo are solely responsible, and people who think the Middle East should be nuked. Can't we reach a logical medium? No one can deny that both parties played a role in letting this happen. The torture of Iraqi prisoners, arguably a direct result of WH incompetence, motivated the attackers - but did not legitimize their actions. By the same token, the beheading does not add to the American cause - and it certainly doesn't prove our moral righteousness.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

More on Berg
A few things add a lot of confusion to the Berg incident. What happened to this guy before his death? Was he ever held by the U.S.? The government says no.

Now this shows up. This incident was a lot more complex than it seemed.

Reform Party backs Nader
Thanks Ralph:

WASHINGTON - Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader has been endorsed by the national Reform Party, giving him ballot access in seven states, including Florida and Michigan, party leaders announced Wednesday.

Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese said Nader welcomes the support but plans to continue running as an independent. He said Nader would decide on a case-by-case basis whether to accept the ballot lines in each state.

"This shows that Nader can garner support from across the political spectrum, including conservatives who supported Bush in 2000," Zeese said. "The naysayers who said Nader could only get liberal votes are being proven wrong. Conservatives are upset with Bush and looking for an alternative."

<>Other states in which the Reform Party has already secured ballot access for its nominee include Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana and South Carolina. Nader is not yet on the ballot in any state.

New pictures "disturbing"
When the photos pierce the cold, lifeless hearts of politicians, you know they are bad.

Hezbollah condemns beheading
When these guys say you're inhumane, you have got to be a sick bastard.

Hell freezes over
I entirely agree with Kathleen Parker:

From the hysterical left come comparisons of Bush to Saddam that are too ridiculous to dignify with rebuttal. From the hysterical right come justifications for what can't be justified. My mailbag has included more than a few from people who wrote in so many words : "Grow up, this is war." Or, "We should have shot them all," meaning the Iraqi prisoners.

What the world needs now are cooler heads, sober thought and courage. Ours.

No one ever said freedom was easy and the perverse folly known as Abu Ghraib is the acid test of our conviction. If there is any light in this tunnel, it is that which we now shine on our own failings.

What we know in this country - and what is both a duty and a privilege to demonstrate to others - is that freedom requires constant vigilance, self-scrutiny and correction. Critical to the process are openness, allegiance to due process and commitment to justice.

Which is to say, no matter how horrific, shameful or embarrassing the photographs from Abu Ghraib, we have to show them. Not to satisfy some prurient curiosity - wouldn't we all rather not see? - but to demonstrate that we treat in the open even our ugliest sores.

To do otherwise, to try to conceal the misdeeds of some of our own would be to ratify the cynicism of our enemies while denying our allies confidence in our honesty. This is, as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has said, an opportunity "to prove to those who may still be open-minded that there is a difference between us and the Saddam Hussein regime."

Not a lot of liberals have put it that well. I can't believe Ms. Smug Grin actually wrote this, and I need to go get a drink to recover.

OPEC not making sense
This Reuters article is a bit interesting to me:

Oil prices burst to new 13-year highs above $40 a barrel on Wednesday on concern that OPEC may not pump enough oil to meet rapidly accelerating world oil demand.

A fresh fall in U.S. gasoline stocks reinforced concern that U.S. refiners will not be able to make enough of new gasoline grades for peak summer holiday driving demand.

U.S. light crude (CLc1: Quote, Profile, Research) hit a peak at $40.77 a barrel, less than 40 cents off the $41.15 all-time high for New York crude futures, reached in October 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait. London Brent crude (LCOc1: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 36 cents at $37.72 a barrel.

Importing nations are increasingly worried about the economic fallout of higher energy costs. The price spike has come during the second quarter, when world oil demand is at its lowest seasonal ebb, raising concerns about prices later in the year as demand rises again.

Tight U.S. fuel inventories have driven oil's long rally. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday gasoline stocks dropped 1.5 million barrels last week to 202.5 million, nearly 4 percent below the five-year average.

OPEC President Purnomo Yusgiantoro of Indonesia said on Wednesday the cartel is already pumping more than two million barrels daily in excess of official supply limits in a bid to cool world oil prices.

"We have not discouraged our members from producing more because we want to do everything we can to stabilize prices," Purnomo was quoted as saying in a statement released from OPEC headquarters.

Hmmm...but OPEC is a cartel, as the article states. So don't they set their own prices? Prices for oil coming from them are set by why are they acting as if they're powerless to stop it?

Pvt. England says she was following orders
That "following orders" excuse sounds so familiar:

Army Pfc. Lynndie England, seen worldwide in photographs that show her smiling and pointing at naked Iraqi prisoners, said she was ordered to pose for the photos, and felt "kind of weird" in doing so.

In an exclusive interview with Brian Maass of Denver CBS station KCNC-TV, England also confirmed that abuses worse than those depicted in the photos were carried out at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, but she declined to discuss them.

England, 21, repeatedly insisted that her actions were dictated by "persons in my higher chain of command."

How unsurprising. I would suspect that worse things happened...after all, the WaPo is allegedly holding more pictures as you read this.

As for her story...even if she was following orders, I don't really care. However, on gut reaction, I'm inclined not to believe her. Why have her pose so specifically, or even at all, when just the shot of the prisoners would do? Was she faking the smile? I think not.

The beheading video
If you can stomach it, it's here.

The cowards are lucky they wore masks.

Rummy approves "harsh" techniques
The Defense secretary apparently approves of some of the lighter "harsh" techniques in Gitmo, such as stress positions and stripping detainees. But I assume Rummy would be used to stress positions, as having one's head up his ass 24 hours a day must be painful.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

David Limbaugh strikes a pose
Am I the only one confused by this:

The pugnacious antiwar Left, after shooting mostly blanks at President Bush since we invaded Iraq, believes he is finally wounded. And like sharks, their appetites are surging with the scent of his first drops of blood.

Will the Left's dream of destroying George Bush finally be realized with reports of our soldiers' abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war? I am optimistic that the answer is "no" after hearing President Bush firmly announce that he will stay the course. But it won't be because the Left tires of trying.

They have tried everything, mounting every conceivable criticism since we attacked Iraq. Nothing has worked yet, including such gems as "quagmire," "unilateralism," "unwelcoming Iraqis," "we haven't captured Saddam" and "Bush lied about WMD," to name a few.

What? David Limbaugh, you are one crazy bitch. To say that the liberal argument of no WMDs doesn't hold...and then repeat that same thing about unwelcoming Iraqis (apparently Davey things they like us?)...this is all a bit much for me to comprehend. But I advise you all to read that last paragraph a few times, because eventually it will hit you. We liberals are right about damn near everything in Iraq.

Bush sanctions Syria
Good. So I suppose now we'll be sending strong words to Pakistan and the Saudis, right? Hello?

American civ beheaded
The most frustrating aspect of this story has to be the fact that Hannity and Co. will undoubtedly note that if our soldiers are treated as such, then torturing theirs isn't unjust. While this skips over the obvious fact that an eye for an eye isn't a morally sound theory, it also evades the blatantly clear point of the beheading - that it was retaliation for the torture. At the very best the right can't go around saying that the torture is a good thing - if they think so, they can talk to the family of Nick Berg.

UPDATE: On rereading, I don't want to make myself appear insensitive. The most tragic part of this story is without a doubt the loss of a human life. And perhaps the fact that I'm losing less respect for humanity daily.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Here's some breaking news
Whose job is it to write these stories?

WaPo holding photos
Why won't the Washington Post immediately release the new round of torture photos? Because the government told them not to. Taste the free press, ladies and gents.

Jay Bryant sets the bar low
You can tell by the language being tossed around right-wing circles these days that they are nervous about the election, notably in the wake of Fallujah and the torture. Jay Bryant's latest column displays the tactic known as lowering expectations:

If John Kerry can't win this thing now, he must surely go down as one of the worst candidates in the history of American presidential politics.

Clearly this is an exaggeration. Now, what Bryant is doing here is making it seem as if the Republicans don't expect that Bush will win. Thus, when Kerry wins they can act as if it was inevitable, and if Bush does, it's an upset! To exude this kind of nervousness in the first line of your column doesn't bode well for your party, Mr. Bryant.

Whose side are they on?

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AFP) - Celebratory gunfire ripped the Sunni Muslim bastion of Fallujah as US marines in a dozen armoured vehicles entered the war-battered city on a symbolic tour and met with local leaders.

Iraqi police and masked insurgents shot off rounds and people flooded the streets, waving Iraqi national flags and honking their car horns in jubilation over what they mistakenly believed was a deal between the marines and the city's leaders to scale back the US presence in Fallujah.

Locals said they believed if the city was quiet during the convoy tour marines would leave Fallujah for good.

But the marines immediately crushed the notion and said they would keep their positions around the edges of the city, rocked by the worst fighting in Iraq since the US invasion last spring.

Iraqi police and insurgents are on the same side? Perhaps I'm the only one that sees this as a bad thing...

Curves Fitness: anti-choice funders?

SAN FRANCISCO — With its 30-minute workouts, no men, no mirrors and no exorbitant membership fees, Curves International is the fastest growing fitness chain in America, helping more than 3 million women stay in shape.

But in San Francisco, Curves is being called out over abortion because owner Gary Heavin donates millions of dollars to anti-abortion groups.

Ruth Rosen at The San Francisco Chronicle took issue with the pro-life, Christian businessman, writing in a recent op-ed piece that Heavin has given at least $5 million to some of the most militant anti-abortion groups in the country and Curves members who are pro-choice might want to take their business elsewhere.

Heavin denies giving any money to radical groups and said his company has nothing to do with the abortion debate. He’s accused Rosen and the Chronicle of trying to start a witchhunt.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

No generic AIDS drugs

As South Africa starts rolling out the world's biggest HIV and Aids treatment programme, an unexpected stumbling block is hindering attempts to provide medication to the estimated four million sufferers in sub-Saharan Africa.

An attempt by the Bush administration to make its $15-billion (about R105-billion) Aids treatment grants conditional to brand-name medicines has aid workers and activists, as well as South Africa's pharmaceutical industry, up in arms.

Some are planning protests.

The matter has caused tensions that could erupt at the World Health assembly this month, to be attended by Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the health minister.

It is also much cheaper than both the brand-name drugs
George Bush's President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) is headed by Randall Tobias, a former chief executive of drug giant Eli Lilly. Tobias visited South Africa recently as part of a tour of Africa.

Activists are concerned about so-called guidelines and comments by Tobias that suggest that the generic drugs judged most suitable for Africa are not acceptable to the United States and that its taxpayers should not be made to pay for "substandard" medicines.

Aids workers believe this could thwart plans to provide millions more Africans with anti-retrovirals (ARVs) by December next year.

I'm sick of this corporate whoring. Is there no happiness without monetary profit?

New images to emerge

The Bush administration was bracing itself last night for the release of new pictures and video footage from Abu Ghraib which show US soldiers having sex with an Iraqi woman prisoner, troops almost beating a prisoner to death, and the rape of young boys by Iraqi guards at the jail.

Senior officials have warned that the new images and details of the abuse and torture at the prison west of Baghdad will be even more shocking than those already released. They will undoubtedly place even more pressure on President George Bush and his beleaguered Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, as they desperately try to limit the political damage from the growing scandal.

NBC News has quoted military officials as saying that the new photographsalso show US soldiers "acting inappropriately with a dead body". This may refer to a picture, which The Washington Post described but did not publish, of Sabrina Harman, one of seven reservists charged with abuses, posing with thumbs up next to a decaying corpse.

NBC also reported that the rape of young boys by Iraqi guards, apparently in a special section of the prison, had been filmed by US soldiers.

"Having sex" with an Iraqi woman? As in, rape? Perhaps those who say that the previous photos were akin to hazing will now shut the the hell up.

Iraqis want U.S. out

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Sadoun Dulame read the results of his latest poll again and again. He added up percentages, highlighted sections and scribbled notes in the margins.

No matter how he crunched the numbers, however, he found himself in the uncomfortable position last week of having to tell occupation authorities that the report they commissioned paints the bleakest picture yet of the U.S.-led coalition’s reputation in Iraq. For the first time, according to Dulame’s poll, a majority of Iraqis said they’d feel safer if the U.S. military withdrew immediately.

A year ago, just 17 percent of Iraqis wanted the troops gone, according to Dulame’s respected research center in Baghdad. Now, the disturbing new results mirror what most Iraqis and many international observers have said for months: Give it up. Go home. This just isn’t working.

The prisoner-abuse scandal is only the latest in a string of serious setbacks to the U.S. administration’s ambitions for democracy in Iraq. Before that, one essential political ally was lost (the country’s Shiite Muslim majority) and another discredited (Ahmed Chalabi and other members of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council).

A persistent guerrilla campaign is sending dozens of U.S. troops home in flag-draped coffins, and more than half of Iraq is unemployed. Rebuilding projects the coalition started and then abandoned because the worsening security drove away contractors only add to the country’s dismal landscape and dim hopes for the future.

Dulame’s poll doesn’t even take in the prisoner scandal’s effects. It was conducted in mid-April in seven Iraqi cities. A total of 1,600 people were interviewed and the margin of error is 3 per cent. The findings, which must go first to coalition authorities, have not yet been made public.

KtL update
My apologies for not warning you as to my departure this weekend, but I was in quite the rush when leaving. But I am back from my short-lived getaway, and shall be blogging as usual within a couple of hours.