Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Baghdad Scene

BBC News reporter Anderw North writes about his latest experience in Baghdad and what the actuality is on the ground.

Here are some excerpts:

We were at the airport. Just before we were due to leave, the entrance car park was hit by a car bomb...

...While we waited with scores of other vehicles, mortars were fired at the airport. Fortunately for us they landed on the other side of the runway, plumes of smoke shooting into the air. You won't have heard about any of this because at the same time a series of other far more serious attacks was taking place.

One was at the Sadriya market in the city centre, where a massive car bomb killed more than 140 people.

...On our drive into the city, we encountered several Iraqi army checkpoints. But almost every vehicle - including ours - was being waved through. Many new checkpoints have been set up across Baghdad. But what is their purpose, many Iraqis ask, when they seem to stop so few people?

North reports that last month there were over 100 car bombings, an average of three per day. Yet we are constantly being told that the "liberal media" isn't reporting the good things happening in Iraq, especially in Baghdad, where John McCain took his ridiculous safe stroll a few weeks back, to show that the troop surge is working. The only thing the surge is doing is increasing the American troop causalty rate.

And what happens when the checkpoints do stop the cars and trucks? North writes, "...a couple of times we have been pulled over by Iraqi soldiers who ask us if we have any bullets to give them. "

Wally Schirra (1923-2007)

Walter M. “Wally” Schirra Jr., who as one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts combined the Right Stuff — textbook-perfect flying ability and steely nerves — with a pronounced rebellious streak, died Thursday at 84.

He was the only astronaut to fly in all three of NASA’s original manned spaceflight programs: Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.

For anyone who hasn't seen the movie,
The Right Stuff, you should check it out.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Rice Plans Talks with Syria

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet Syria's foreign minister in the first high-level talks between the countries in years, a U.S. official said Thursday, and the chief American military spokesman in Iraq said Syria had moved to reduce ''the flow of foreign fighters'' across its border.

When Nancy Pelosi does it, it's called "emboldening the enemy" and "negotiating with terrorists". I guess when the Bushies do it, it's called "diplomacy".

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Joan Baez Banned from Walter Reed

I suppose the Bush Crime Family is afraid Joan Baez will start patching the holes in the walls and fixing the plumbing, or maybe even sing because she is banned from Walter Reed Medical Center and from performing with John Mellencamp, whose "Our Country" has been the patriotic cry and all the rage last summer. Hell, it was used in Chevy commercials before it was released!

In a letter to The Washington Post published Wednesday, she said rocker John Mellencamp had asked her to perform with him last Friday and that she accepted his invitation.

"I have always been an advocate for nonviolence and I have stood as firmly against the Iraq war as I did the Vietnam War 40 years ago," she wrote. "I realize now that I might have contributed to a better welcome home for those soldiers fresh from Vietnam. Maybe that's why I didn't hesitate to accept the invitation to sing for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In the end, four days before the concert, I was not 'approved' by the Army to take part. Strange irony." an e-mailed statement published Monday on, [Walter Reed] spokesman Steve Sanderson said the medical center received the request for participation by Baez just two days before the concert.

Not so, says Baez's manager, Mark Spector, who told the Post that Mellencamp's management invited Baez to perform in March and handled all the arrangements. The Post said Mellencamp's manager, Randy Hoffman, did not return calls requesting comment and that Mellencamp's publicist said the singer was ill Tuesday and unavailable.

But Mellencamp earlier told "They didn't give me a reason why she couldn't come. We asked why and they said, 'She can't fit here, period.' "

Maybe they can invite Lee Greenwood instead and have him sing that "God Bless the USA" dirge, because after all aren't we "proud to be an American"? What's the next line? Oh yeah, "Where at least I know I'm free." Hmm... careful Lee, you might have to rewrite your lyrics at the rate we're going.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Chimpy's Veto

On the fourth anniversary on his now infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech and his spectacular photo op aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, Chimp in Charge has vetoed legislation that not only would have given him the funding he requested for his illegal war in Iraq, but also vital funds for crumbling Walter Reed Hospital and other worthwhile expenditures. Curious George vetoed the bill because of the timetable to pull out troops that Democrats would like to bring home, rather than have them die for a misguided, failed policy with no real strategy in place, contrary to GOP claims.

Bush said Democrats had made a political statement by passing anti-war legislation. "They've sent their message, and now it's time to put politics behind us and support our troops with the funds," the president said.
..."Our troops and their families deserve better, and their elected leaders can do better," Bush said.

They certainly can you bastard. Rot in hell, you filthy son-of-a-bitch.

UPDATE: Keith Olbermann with Frank Rich on Countdown, May 1, 2007

Bill Moyers Journal: Jon Stewart

Bill Moyers interviewed Comedy Central's Jon Stewart this past week and it was an incredible interview, looking into the man behind the satirical news show, and getting beyond the comedy and see Stewart's serious side.

Here's a section of the interview:

STEWART: You know, one of the things that I do think government counts on is that people are busy. And it's very difficult to mobilize a busy and relatively affluent country, unless it's over really crucial-- you know, foundational issues. That come sort of sort of a tipping point.

But war that hasn't affected us here, in the way that you would imagine a five-year war would affect a country. I think that's why they're so really — here's the disconnect. It's sort of this odd and I've always had this problem with the rationality of it. That the President says, "We are in the fight for a way of life. This is the greatest battle of our generation, and of the generations to come. "And, so what I'm going to do is you know, Iraq has to be won, or our way of life ends, and our children and our children's children all suffer. So, what I'm gonna do is send 10,000 more troops to Baghdad."

So, there's a disconnect there between — you're telling me this is fight of our generation, and you're going to increase troops by 10 percent. And that's gonna do it. I'm sure what he would like to do is send 400,000 more troops there, but he can't, because he doesn't have them. And the way to get that would be to institute a draft. And the minute you do that,
suddenly the country's not so damn busy anymore. And then they really fight back, and then the whole thing falls apart. So, they have a really delicate balance to walk between keeping us relatively fearful, but not so fearful that we stop what we're doing and really examine how it is that they've been waging this.

You can watch the
whole interview here.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Incompetence Knows No Bounds

As many of you know, when the tsunami that hit Indonesia in December of 2004 devastated that country, many in the world contributed with supplies for relief as well as monetarily help for the ravaged communities affected.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the US southern coast, causing devastation to New Orleans as well as parts of Mississippi and Alabama, the world again responded. Unfortunately, the incompetence is so rampant in the current criminal administration, that most of the helping hands were met with a "thanks but no thanks" response, or the assistance that was accepted has been sitting idle for the past 20 months while communities in New Orleans rot away.

As reported in the Washington Post on Sunday, April 29th, the U.S. government was turning down many allies' offers of manpower, supplies and expertise worth untold millions of dollars. Eventually the United States also would fail to collect most of the unprecedented outpouring of international cash assistance for Katrina's victims.

Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to private groups such as the Red Cross. The rest has been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent.

...In one exchange, State Department officials anguished over whether to tell Italy that its shipments of medicine, gauze and other medical supplies spoiled in the elements for weeks after Katrina's landfall on Aug. 29, 2005, and were destroyed. "Tell them we blew it," one disgusted official wrote. But she hedged: "The flip side is just to dispose of it and not come clean. I could be persuaded."

...Overall, the United States declined 54 of 77 recorded aid offers from three of its staunchest allies: Canada, Britain and Israel, according to a 40-page State Department table of the offers that had been received as of January 2006.

...In another instance, the Department of Homeland Security accepted an offer from Greece on Sept. 3, 2005, to dispatch two cruise ships that could be used free as hotels or hospitals for displaced residents. The deal was rescinded Sept. 15 after it became clear a ship would not arrive before Oct. 10. The U.S. eventually paid $249 million to use Carnival Cruise Lines vessels.

Not coming clean has all too often been the modus operandi of the Bush Administration and its hapless cronies running government departments for which they have absolutely no qualifications. Just another example of the sad state of affairs that we've come to expect from our pathetic leaders in the West Wing.

Gary Hart to Giuliani: Keep Your Mouth Shut

Gary Hart bitchslapped Rudy Giuliani on his "Democrats=Terrorist Attack" rhetoric with a blog entry on Huffington Post. Here it is, short and sweet:

Dear Mayor Giuliani:

Since you have based your presidential campaign almost exclusively on your reaction to terrorist attacks on New York City, and since you have recently accused Democrats of being on the defense against terrorism and therefore guilty of inviting more casualties, I have one question for you: Where were you on terrorism between January 31, 2001, and September 11th?

The first date was when the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century issued its final report warning, as did its previous reports, of the danger of terrorist attacks on America. The George W. Bush administration did nothing about these warnings and we lost 3,000 American lives. What did you do during those critical eight months? Where were you? Were you on the defensive, or were you even paying attention?

Before you qualify to criticize Democrats, Mr. Giuliani, you must account for your preparation of your city for these clearly predicted attacks. Tell us, please, what steps you took to make your city safer.

Until you do, then I strongly suggest you should keep your mouth shut about Democrats and terrorism.

You have not qualified to criticize others, let alone be president of the United States.

Gary Hart
(co-chair, U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century)

P.S. You might ask these same questions of George W. Bush while you are trying to find a better reason to run for president.