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War, politics, religion... & other stuff you shouldn't talk about over dinner...

Dedicated to the proposition that GW Bush and Saddam Hussein are figments of our unconscious minds

Cost of the War in Iraq
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According to Amnesty International, Iraq executes "scores" of political prisoners every year, at least 31 confirmed last year. How long would it have taken Saddam to execute the 6000+ Iraqi civilians we've killed this year? Figure it out.

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LEAGUE OF LIBERALS

 


SADDAM CAUGHT..... WAR OVER..... LET'S GO HOME!

Note: Comments (sigh) working again...

Saturday, November 08, 2003


 
BLOG FAST: IRAQ

As a protest against the war, I am going on a 24 hour blog fast.

Meanwhile, check out the (mostly) hilarious Cosmic Iguana Highlights (left column) and the Saturday Fun links below... or this new blog: http://coolmel.typepad.com/project_trinity/2003/11/project_trinity.html

(Actually I'll be in LA)

Also feel free to post obscene comments...


 
SATURDAY FUN LINKS

from Pen-Elayne:

League Out Loud Saturday: by Pen-Elayne

One of the unspoken "obligations" of being a member of the League of Liberals is the expectation or hope that we'll write about what we like in each other's blogs from time to time. The situation with my work computer and my job in general has precluded me from doing this during the week, but I'm going to try to start a LoL Saturday and see if I can't give you a bit of a round-up each week. So, alphabetically by surname:
  • Barry Bozeman at Rush Limbaughtomy isn't happy that Katherine Harris is considering a Senate run, but I wish he hadn't referred to her as "butt ugly." After all, there's no need to focus on her looks (something done overwhelmingly with women in the public eye over the years) when calling her a "Bush paramour" (i.e., mentioning her personal-is-political connections) does the trick much better.
  • Len Cleavelin at Musings of a Philosophical Scrivener takes a look at the "SUV loophole" in this year's tax incentive for new equipment orders.
  • Natalie Davis at All Facts & Opinions examines the Coalition of the Killing.
  • Jim Elve at Officially Unofficial tests himself using the Political Compass.
  • Jo Fish at Democratic Veteran makes note of a correction to last year's propaganda about how well Austin High School did last year.
  • Barbara O'Brien at The Mahablog does a great job parsing Bush's NED speech from Thursday. I actually don't think the speech is "related to 'Bring It On'" as much as to the Cabal's overreaching purpose since before Bush took office. My favorite line: "Never mind that the Iraq War resembles the Berlin Airlift about as much as Bill O'Reilly resembles Brad Pitt."
  • N. Todd Pritsky at Dohiyi Mir does some Friday Cat Blogging (™ Kevin Drum) too!
  • Maru Soze at WTF Is It Now?? is disgusted (so am I) that Bill Frist yesterday froze the Senate probe of prewar Iraq data because he was pissed about a leaked memo that outlined possible Democratic plans to extend the investigation to include the White House and executive branch. You know, the people who started the war.
  • Patrick Taylor at The Poison Kitchen offers some good tips on increasing traffic from Google.
  • Joe Vecchio at Cup O' Joe wonders about the vagaries of blogger begging.

    And among the first-name-onlys and pseudonymous:
  • Annthrax Coultergeist at Treason Online goes to the movies.
  • Dawn at Clareified extols the virtues of blogs as open public spaces. Although I gotta disagree with her friend about movie theaters, at which I generally prefer audiences to be quiet.
  • Gunther at The Gunther Concept suggests taking action on the anti-abortion movement's harrassment stalling construction of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin.
  • Indigo Ocean examines Maui in mythology. I want to know more about what Hina did when he cut off her sacred tresses; sounds like that might make for a much better story.
  • Jeff at Speedkill tries to cheer himself up with good news.
  • Jesse at The Gotham City 13 proposes a new docudrama about FDR.
  • Major Barbara at Arms And The Man takes a look at the corruption problems inherent in the US' "emerging strategic partnership with Vladimir Putin's Russia." Corruption in Russia? I'm shocked-do-you-hear-me-SHOCKED...
  • Manis2Society warns of the continuing war on gays as a political issue in '04 at the Cosmic Iguana, and mentions more White House buck-passing towards the CIA in The Spy Game.
  • Norbizness at Happy Furry Puppy Story Time discovers a Make your own Church Sign Generator.
  • Northstar at the People's Republic of Seabrook muses that perhaps the Iranian Foreign Minister has a point when he observes that the US doesn't exactly have a lot of moral high ground at present.
  • Pompey at The Felonious Elephant reports on CT governor John Rowland's ties to Enron. Wonder if that fuel-cell project was going to be built anywhere near the casinos?
  • Rick at Rick's Cafe Americain seriously poses the question to conservative readers, "What's so great about Dubya, anyway?"
  • Scout at And Then... finds amusement in the latest antics of Young Republicans clubs.
  • Thorswitch at Different Strings puts on his trenchcoat and examines the Matrix, Bush-style.
  • Veralynne at A-Changin' Times checks out the good folks at the Bioweapons and Biodefense Freedom of Information Fund.
  • Estimated Prophet salutes the real Jessica Lynch.
  • As you may expect, Hell for Halliburton is all over the story of Canadian entrepreneur David Hudak and his warheads being used to train UAE soldiers.
  • The 18½ Minute Gap recommends what it terms "a fine, fine article by Michael R. Gordon" about the US sending some of the Army's Old Guard troops (the ones who stand vigil at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery) to Iraq. The Gap also notes that everything we know about lightning may be wrong.
  • T Rex's Guide to Life predicts that Bush is goin' down, goin' down...



    -Thanks Pen!


  •  
    THOSE GOLL-DARN MEN!

    Men at mercy of hormone

    08.11.2003 9.18 am, THE HERALD

    Even a brief social encounter with the opposite sex can send men's testosterone levels soaring 30 per cent, a study has found.

    Researchers from Chicago University's Institute for Mind and Biology say the study, reported in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour, is further proof that men share similar behavioural and hormonal responses to animals when near females.

    The team measured testosterone levels in the saliva of 18- to 36-year-old students after a five-minute chat with either a young woman or a young man...
    LINK

    - And we men thought women were the hormone fashion-victims: "Its just my hormones, honey.." he can now say... Hey maybe Arnold can use this in his defense?


     
    REPUGS STIFF BABIES, KIDS JUST FOR REVENGE

    GOP payback could cost Nevada

    Politics may kill spending for Democrats' projects
    By STEVE TETREAULT, STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU

    WASHINGTON -- A political battle this week in Congress could jeopardize $500,000 in federal funds for Clark County schools and maybe more for other Nevada projects.

    Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Ohio, notified House Democrats he will not be putting their projects into a $138 billion health, education and labor spending bill he controls as a subcommittee chairman.

    He said it was because all 198 House Democrats who were present voted against the bill on July 10, including Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.

    Berkley said Friday that she has been able to earmark about $500,000 for a Clark County after-school program for low-income students. Berkley said she had been assured of getting at least that much money again this year.

    Aides said Berkley also asked for hundreds of thousands of dollars for various programs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and more than $1 million in federal support for the neonatal care unit at University Medical Center, with less certain prospects for getting those earmarks.

    Berkley invoked the hospital project in criticizing Regula on Friday.

    "What kind of people would take their anger out on babies who are struggling to survive?" she said...
    link

    -Short answer: Republicans.


     
    UTTER HYPOCRISY! FRIST CLOSES SENATE INTEL INQUIRY, DEMANDS DEM STAFFER STEP FORWARD, NOT ORIGINAL LEAKER WHO ENDANGERED LIVES

    Frist Freezes Senate Probe of Prewar Iraq Data

    By Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, Washington Post Staff Writers, Saturday, November 8, 2003; Page A18

    Angry about a leaked Democratic memo, the Republican leadership of the Senate yesterday took the unusual step of canceling all business of the committee investigating prewar intelligence on Iraq.

    Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) called on the author of the memo -- which laid out a possible Democratic strategy to extend the investigation to include the White House and executive branch -- to "identify himself or herself . . . disavow this partisan attack in its entirety" and deliver "a personal apology" to Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence....
    LINK


     
    WATCH OUT GAY PEOPLE! GEORGE BUSH WILL "SAVE" OUR MARRIAGES, JUST LIKE HE SAVED IRAQ!

    GOP sees '04 issue in gay marriage

    By Mary Leonard, Globe Staff, 11/7/2003

    WASHINGTON -- Republican strategists are planning to make gay marriage an issue in the 2004 political race if the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that same-sex couples can legally wed in the Commonwealth, a decision as eagerly awaited in the capital as in the Bay State.

    The court could make Massachusetts the first state to allow gay and lesbian marriages -- which other states eventually might have to honor, opponents say.

    Under pressure from social conservatives who want President Bush to campaign against gay marriage in 2004, GOP officials say they are studying battleground states where same-sex unions could be a wedge issue in national and state races, and they are weighing endorsement of a proposed federal constitutional amendment sanctioning only heterosexual marriage.

    At the same time, conservative groups are raising money to spend on campaigns next year, assembling volunteers to press candidates to oppose gay marriage, and organizing petition drives and ballot initiatives in favor of the constitutional amendment....
    LINK

    -Remember the logic here is if gay people can get married, then straight people will want to get divorced. Look for another nasty and vicious campaign.

    Well, if he can't save Iraq, at least he can save our marriages... [riiiight!]


     
    BAGHDAD HOLIDAY TOURS ON HOLD

    Baghdad airport under siege: U.S. flight plans grounded by missile fears

    Rush to capture commercial airline market fizzles out

    VIVIENNE WALT, SPECIAL TO THE STAR

    BAGHDAD—The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq for months boasted to reporters that commercial airlines were competing to fly into Baghdad International Airport.

    But the rush to capture that market has ground to a halt — as have the boasts — in the face of a nightmare scenario envisioned by U.S. officials: a shoulder-fired missile striking a commercial jet in midair....
    LINK

    - And I was SO looking forward to a romantic weekend there!


     
    MUST READ -- WAR NO MATTER WHAT!

    Salon.com shows that Saddam made a generous offer including inspections, oil and turning over terrorists, but that Bush was only interested in occupying Iraq. LINK


     
    "MISSION WHIPLASH" - a serious form of role conflict that endangers innocent Iraqis and our own troops:

    Mission whiplash for GIs in Iraq

    By Kevin Sites, NBC News

    The U.S. soldiers at the 101st Airborne 1st Battalion's base in Tall 'Afar were in a grim mood. It was a week ago and the men were feeling angry and betrayed after a popular sergeant lost his leg to a rocket-propelled grenade in an ambush a night earlier. He was struggling for his life.

    THE YOUNG specialist who drove the vehicle that was ambushed was standing against the wall, trying to balance his cardboard tray of chow while smoking a cigarette...

    ...The anger was palpable. "I looked around town today," one lieutenant admitted, "I was hoping to find someone doing something bad, somebody I could hurt, but there wasn't one. Just people that needed my help."

    It's just that kind of mission whiplash that has confused and demoralized so many troops in Iraq....
    link


     
    BUSH: UNITER NOT DIVIDER... OF IRAQI OPPOSITION

    Against the common enemy

    AL- AHRAM WEEKLY,

    As resistance to the American occupation of Iraq escalates, Karim El-Gawhary, in Baghdad, discovers that the boundaries between political factions are blurring:

    ..."Islamists have nothing against cooperating with Arab nationalists, as long as they are not loyalists of the old regime looking to recoup their old privileges," is how Al-Dhari explained the new alliance. "Who said that an Islamist cannot also be a nationalist, and that a nationalist is not a Muslim," he added. The once divided and for the most part hopeless Iraqis are no longer so. They are united in the sense that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." "US policy in Iraq is not smart," says political scientist Nueimi. "Not all Iraqis, whether Islamists or nationalist, live according to the same values," she continued, "but the Americans have achieved one thing, namely that the Iraqis now have one goal: to end the occupation and govern themselves." LINK


     
    LYNCH RAPE CLAIM A FAKE?

    Doctors who treated former prisoner of war dismiss claims that she was raped in Iraq

    SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI, Associated Press Writer, Friday, November 7, 2003,©2003 Associated Press

    NASIRIYAH, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi doctors who treated former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch dismissed claims made in her biography that she was raped by her Iraqi captors.

    Although Lynch said she has no memory of the sexual assault, medical records cited in "I am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story" indicate that she was raped by her Iraqi captors, according to U.S. media who said they had advance copies....

    .. [but] Dr. Mahdi Khafazji, an orthopedic surgeon at Nasiriyah's main hospital performed surgery on Lynch to repair a fractured femur and said he found no signs that she was raped or sodomized.

    Khafazji, speaking at his private clinic in Nasiriyah on Friday, said he examined her extensively and would have detected signs of sexual assault. He said the examination turned up no trace of semen.

    Dr. Khafazji said Lynch was taken first to the Military Hospital, a few hundred yards from the ambush site at around 8 a.m., about an hour after the attack. A few hours later, she was brought to his hospital....
    LINK


     
    SOMEHOW SYMBOLIC?
    Precious Iraq relics found in cesspool

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) --Two priceless pieces of Iraq's ancient heritage, looted from Baghdad's main museum in the chaotic days after Saddam Hussein's fall, have been recovered from a Baghdad cesspool, U.S. officials said.

    The Akkadian Bassetki, a copper statue of a seated man dating from 2300 BC, and an ancient Assyrian firebox that a king would have used to keep himself warm were recovered by police investigators, the authorities said Thursday...
    LINK



    Friday, November 07, 2003


     
    BUSH INBOX REDUX

    Remember the patriotic funny Bush Inbox email that was going around last spring? Well it turns out that like WMDs, the Iraq-Alqaeda link and everything else it was forged! Good golly!

    Fortunately, here at Cosmic Iguana, we have discovered the actual Bush Inbox. And it takes us back to an earlier more innocent time.... mid-February to be precise. Its Bush Inbox II!


     
    PRINCE CHUCK IS GAY

    So sayeth Gilliard. Or at least Bi.

    Duh, why do you think Diana divorced him?


     
    THE BAD GAMBLE: FIXING IRAQ

    People often ask where does the Iguana lurk? The answer is everywhere, but in Las Vegas in particular. As a Las Vegas resident, the Iguana has nothing but respect for the city that was built on the money of people who can't count (odds, that is).

    However, the Iguana notes that the logic of people who support "staying the course" on the principle of "We broke it, we fix it" (in Carol Moseley-Braun's words) are falling for the oldest self-delusion in the world, and the one that built the Mega-resorts of Las Vegas, the belief that you can gamble your way out of your losses.

    In the popular vernacular, its called "throwing good money after bad." In Vegas, we just call it stupid.

    Let's stop being stupid and get out of there. If we have a moral obligation, lets pay it in foreign aid to Iraq, not in the lives of our young men and women. Find someone else to rebuild Iraq, someone they accept. And let's rebuild America while we still can.



     
    BUSH PRAYER TEAM PRAYS FOR DEAR LEADER, BUT NOT DEAD SOLDIERS

    from Buzzflash:

    Prayers for Bush, Nothing for 16 Dead Soldiers

    ...In case you haven't caught this week's Presidential Prayer Team newsletter, here it is. I love how the sixteen soldiers who died last sunday in the helicopter crash and their families aren't even mentioned but we are instructed 5 different times to pray for Bush, his family and his protectors: www.presidentialprayerteam.org


     
    SCHWARTZENEGGER PLANS FAKE INVESTIGATION TO INTIMIDATE ACCUSERS

    LA TIMES: Schwarzenegger Plans Inquiry Into Groping Allegations

    SACRAMENTO — Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday that he is in the process of hiring a private investigator to look into allegations that he groped more than a dozen women over a 30-year period.... LINK

    -A private investigator, hmm. And who do you suppose pays the fellow?


     
    OUTSOURCING TORTURE

    You may have heard we turn over some suspects to other governments for torture to soften them up (including this one who's a Canadian citizen who was tortured for TEN MONTHS!): LINK


     
    WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS, PART XXXVIII

    Leveled Trees Sprout Animosity

    U.S. cites dangers; Iraqis see livelihood

    By Mohamad Bazzi, MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT, NEWSDAY, November 5, 2003

    Dhuluiya, Iraq - The bulldozers worked for 10 days, methodically clearing the date palms and citrus groves as 200 U.S. soldiers sealed off the area. Townspeople looked on helplessly, while jazz music blared from speakers mounted atop the soldiers' trucks.

    U.S. commanders told the farmers that insurgents were hiding in the thick orchards and ambushing soldiers as they drove along the main road leading into town - so the trees had to be cut down in late September. To Americans, clearing the five-acre field was necessary to protect troops' lives. To Iraqis, it was a form of collective punishment, especially after they failed to provide information about the guerrillas attacking U.S. forces.

    "They told us to bring them the people who are responsible for the attacks. But we don't know who they are," said Hussein Khazraji, 71, the patriarch of an extended family that owns a portion of the uprooted field. He stood next to a stone house that was once shaded by 60-year-old palm trees. "Is this how the Americans want to help the Iraqi people - by cutting down our trees and destroying our livelihood?"...
    LINK

    -Apparently, Bush environmental policies extend to Iraq.


     
    FROM IRAQ, NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS

    The Christian Science Monitor's Daily Update today has a good summary of all the recent Bush obfuscations of the war progress, including not counting non-hostile deaths and the wounded, body bags being renamed "transfer tubes", hiding the coffins from TV (the Dover test) and Bush's refusal to mention the Chinook helicopter deaths.

    Most of this stuff has been covered here and in Atrios or kos, so you probably have seen it, but its a good summary and it shows how truth-a-phobic this administration is. link


     
    PVT JESSICA DENOUNCES HER WAR COVERAGE

    Jessica Lynch Criticizes U.S. Accounts of Her Ordeal

    By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, NY TIMES

    In her first public statements since her rescue in Iraq, Jessica Lynch criticized the military for exaggerating accounts of her rescue and re-casting her ordeal as a patriotic fable.

    Asked by the ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer if the military's portrayal of the rescue bothered her, Ms. Lynch said: "Yeah, it does. It does that they used me as a way to symbolize all this stuff. Yeah, it's wrong," according to a partial transcript of the interview to be broadcast on Tuesday....

    ...In the book and in the interviews, Ms. Lynch says others' accounts of her heroism often left her feeling hurt and ashamed because of what she says was overstatement....
    LINK



    Thursday, November 06, 2003


     
    BUSH'S PLAN FOR IRAQ WOULD'VE FLUNKED HIM IN BUSINESS SCHOOL

    GW Bush, America's most famous MBA, probably wasn't paying attention in Business school, otherwise he would've made better plans for Iraq, conclude Harvard professors. They think his mismanagement will make a good case study for future MBA students, says Business Week:

    Bush in Iraq: A B-School Case Study

    The MBA President receives sub-par marks from many professors, who cite the mishandled aftermath as a huge management failure

    ...Certainly, postwar Iraq could be a Harvard case study of crisis management gone wrong. Five months after the President proclaimed the U.S. invasion a victory and declared a cessation of hostilities, basic services such as electricity and water remain subpar, public safety in Iraq is lacking (especially for friends of the U.S.), deposed dictator Saddam Hussein remains on the loose -- and the continued loss of American soldiers, including 16 killed in one attack on Nov. 1, threatens to turn U.S. public opinion against the Bush Administration and its war.

    Most often, the President blames "terrorists" for the U.S. military's inability to control the situation. Yet professor emeritus Howard Raiffa, who taught at Harvard Business School and Harvard's Kennedy School in the 1970s, offers a different theory. "I see a lot of fumbling around," he says...
    link


     
    LEAKED INTELLIGENCE MEMO REFLECTS SENATE DISARRAY

    I've posted at The Spy Game the latest FAS note about the leaked memo from Sen Rockefeller's office:

    ....More in sorrow than in anger, and more in gleeful spite than in sorrow, Senators denounced what they viewed as an expression of partisanship.

    "It is a disgusting possibility that Members of the Senate would actually try to politicize intelligence, especially at a time of war, even apparently reaching conclusions before investigations have been performed," said Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)....
    LINK

    -I'll note here that the damage from from this "politicization" of intelligence is a hell of a lot less than the original deed, so the self-righteousness is, shall we say, hypocritical to the max.

    Second, this leak appears to have been produced by a Watergate-like break-in to Sen Rockefeller's office and/or computer. That should be investigated too.

    In the meantime, check it out.



     
    LAURA BUSH, "FAMILY VALUES" HYPOCRITE

    Laura condoned twins' brew-haha

    By JOANNA MOLLOY, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    She hit her husband with an ultimatum that made him quit getting drunk, but Laura Bush was hands off when it came to her daughters and the bottle, a new book reveals.

    The First Lady refused to discipline twins Jenna and Barbara when they were busted for underage drinking at a Texas watering hole, says the book, "The Perfect Wife: The Life and Choices of Laura Bush."

    "They just want to do like every other teenager does," Laura Bush said of her daughters.

    Ann Gerhart, author of the unauthorized biography, writes, "Laura was unable or unwilling to rein in her rebellious daughters ...

    "Even when Laura was confronted with solid evidence that her girls were deliberately and dangerously evasive with their [Secret Service] agents, she refused to correct them."

    The twins' Margarita misstep in May 2001 came just days after Jenna was cited for illegally possessing beer at another Texas bar, and about two months after she got Secret Service agents to bail a drunken pal out of jail.

    But instead of giving the twins tough love, the First Lady just got tough with everybody else.

    "The agents were told to back off. The press was blamed for the reports. It was always somebody else's fault," Gerhart writes.

    The book, to be released by Simon & Schuster in January, is based on interviews with friends of the First Couple and conversations Gerhart had with the First Lady while covering her for The Washington Post....
    LINK

    -The least she could have done was said "No more dates with Prince William.."


     
    POT CALLS KETTLE...

    Memo shows hand of friendship is really a slap in the face

    By Paul Richter in Tegucigalpa, SIDNEY MORNING HERALD, November 6, 2003

    When the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and his diplomatic team visited Central America this week, the goal was to strengthen ties, not to suggest their hosts were backward, insular and self-destructive.

    Yet, that was the upshot of the background memo about Nicaragua that was distributed to the media by the US embassy in the capital, Managua, as Mr Powell's group spent two days in Panama, Nicaragua and Honduras.

    The memo said that in Nicaragua, political parties spend so much time fighting with each other that "democracy usually takes a back row to personal political interests".

    "The country crawls along as the second-poorest country in the hemisphere, after Haiti, battered by storms of nature, and of their own making, with little hope of things changing in the future," it said. Meanwhile, a better off minority of Nicaraguans "prefer to dress in Ralph Lauren shirts, drive Ford SUVs [four-wheel-drives], watch American movies and when going out for a meal, brag that they go to [fast-food chain] TGI Friday's."
    LINK

    -Hey, it sounds a lot like America!!!


     
    DEAD IN "MINOR" COMBAT IS JUST AS DEAD

    Bush Says Iraq Attacks Don't Rise to Level of Major Combat

    By DAVID STOUT, NY TIMES

    ASHINGTON, Nov. 4 — President Bush said today that despite the deadly attack on an American helicopter on Sunday, the United States was no longer involved in major combat in Iraq. And he insisted that Saddam Hussein is no longer a danger...
    LINK

    -All we know for sure is that Bush can't add.


     
    LEAGUE OF LIBERALS TAGLINE CONTEST

    Some conservative bloggers at IMAO have decided to try to come up with derogatorily witty taglines for the LEAGUE OF LIBERALS, a alliance of liberal bloggers of which this blog is a member. Rather than fight, we decided to join the fun and make up our own.

    Here's a few samples:

    "LEAGUE OF LIBERALS: In case of Rapture this blog will be left behind"

    "The League of Liberals: Disloyal Anti-American Asshats on Parade"

    "The League of Liberals: Because We ALL Can't Be Toothless, Inbred Dittomonkeys"

    "LEAGUE OF LIBERALS: We still Believe in Disco"

    MORE

    Feel free to join in the fun...




     
    U.S. SPURNED DEAL TO AVERT WAR

    Iraq Said to Have Tried to Reach Last-Minute Deal to Avert War

    By JAMES RISEN, NY TIMES

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 — As American soldiers massed on the Iraqi border in March and diplomats argued about war, an influential adviser to the Pentagon received a secret message from a Lebanese-American businessman: Saddam Hussein wanted to make a deal.

    Iraqi officials, including the chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, had told the businessman that they wanted Washington to know that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction, and they offered to allow American troops and experts to conduct a search. The businessman said in an interview that the Iraqis also offered to hand over a man accused of being involved in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 who was being held in Baghdad. At one point, he said, the Iraqis pledged to hold elections.

    The messages from Baghdad, first relayed in February to an analyst in the office of Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy and planning, were part of an attempt by Iraqi intelligence officers to open last-ditch negotiations with the Bush administration through a clandestine communications channel, according to people involved.

    The efforts were portrayed by Iraqi officials as having the approval of President Saddam Hussein, according to interviews and documents...
    LINK

    -On CNN this morning, the Administration is denying there "was any way to avert the war." That is true, but in self-fulfilling way. The Administration was hell-bent on this war from the beginning.


     
    NEW BLOG TO CHECK OUT:

    Death By Invitation



    Wednesday, November 05, 2003


     
    MY VERSION OF THE SENATE'S PATHETIC VOICE VOTE TO FUND THE WAR

    Everyone who is in favor of the $87 Billion Bailout of Halliburton-Iraq, say "aye" now.

    Funny, I didn't hear a thing....

    Guess we have to pull out, then.



     
    MARIJUANA TOPS WHEAT, TIMBER IN CANADA

    Marijuana 'Canada's most valuable agricultural product'

    Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles, Tuesday November 4, 2003,The Guardian

    Investors who rely for advice on Forbes, the highly regarded American business magazine, will be tipped off this month about the industry that is now outpacing many others in North America: marijuana growing.

    The magazine's cover story focuses on "the unstoppable economics of a booming business" and claims marijuana is now Canada's most valuable agricultural product, ahead of wheat, cattle and timber.

    In the Canadian province of British Columbia, Forbes suggests, the industry is generating US$7bn (£4bn) annually, with signs of growing because of the changing legal climate. "Canadian dope, boosted by custom nutrients, high-intensity metal halide lights and 20 years of breeding, is five times as potent as what Americans smoked in the 1970s," it reports.
    LINK


     
    GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE, PART XXVII

    As the Iraq WMD search ends "not with a bang but a whimper," I happened to run across fellow LOL member, Poison Kitchen's tribute to Graham Greene's "Our man in Havana" Saddam's Secret Weapons.

    The curious thing as I reported here is that the ultimate Iraq Graham Greene moment came a few weeks before when a suspected WMD cache did in fact turn out to be vaccuum cleaners!

    Well, I'll be a hundredth monkey!


     
    THE IMPRISONED CITY

    Hussein's Birthplace Under Wraps

    By Richard C. Paddock, LA Times Staff Writer, November 5, 2003

    AL AUJA, Iraq — Welcome to the birthplace of Saddam Hussein. Some call it a detention center. Some call it a gated community. Either way, it is Iraq's most extraordinary neighborhood.

    Since last week, this attractive Tikrit suburb overlooking the Tigris River has been surrounded by four miles of razor-sharp concertina wire and guarded by heavily armed U.S. troops.

    Enclosed by the wire are the homes of Hussein's relatives: 3,000 people who trace their common lineage back as far as 10 generations — and who prospered under the deposed dictator's rule.



    Today, all but one of the entrances to Al Auja have been sealed. No one can go in or out without the U.S. Army's permission. Every male older than 15 must register with police and show a newly issued identification card at the gate. All vehicles are searched coming and going. U.S. trucks and tanks patrol the streets.

    Officials, who have been scouring the country for Hussein, say they are confident that he is not holed up in the town. They say they began imposing the new restrictions Friday to protect residents from the lawlessness of the new Iraq and from the former president's enemies.

    But that's not how Hussein's many cousins see it.

    "It's like a big jail," said Musaab Gazi Khattab, 23, a distant cousin who was a student at the Air Force College until the war ended his studies. "Auja has been surrounded." ...
    LINK


     
    -PATRIOT ACT VS. STRIP CLUB, PART II-

    "The law was intended for activities related to terrorism and not naked women"

    The use of the Patriot Act, posted here yesterday in a strip club investigation is causing at least some local outrage:

    PATRIOT ACT: Law's use causing concerns

    Use of statute in corruption case unprecedented, attorneys contend

    By J.M. KALIL and STEVE TETREAULT, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

    The investigation of strip club owner Michael Galardi and numerous politicians appears to be the first time federal authorities have used the Patriot Act in a public corruption probe.

    Government officials said Tuesday they knew of no other instances in which federal agents investigating allegations such as racketeering and bribery of politicians have employed the act.

    "I don't know that it's been used in a public corruption case before this," said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the Justice Department.

    An attorney for one of the defendants in the Galardi case said he researched the matter for hours Tuesday and came to the same conclusion.

    "I have discussed this with lawyers all over the country, and if the government has done this before, then this is definitely the first time it has come to light," said Las Vegas attorney Dominic Gentile, who represents former Clark County Commissioner Lance Malone, Galardi's lobbyist.

    Two of Nevada's lawmakers blasted the FBI for employing the act in the Galardi probe, saying the agency overstepped its bounds.

    Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Congress intended the Patriot Act to help federal authorities root out threats from terrorists and spies after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    "The law was intended for activities related to terrorism and not to naked women," said Reid, who as minority whip is the second most powerful Democrat in the Senate....
    LINK


     
    SOME GOOD NEWS

    44% say they’ll vote against Bush

    New poll finds only 38% support president’s re-election

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    ALBANY, N.Y., Nov. 4 — More than four in 10 voters nationwide say they definitely plan to vote against President Bush next year — more than plan to vote for him, according to a poll released Tuesday. LINK


     
    MAJOR ADVANCE IN SEX EDUCATION

    Right Here.


     
    IT'S TRUE - DRAFT BOARDS ARE BEING RECONSTITUTED

    As I wrote a week ago, the revival of draft boards is starting to stimulate some suspicion:

    Oiling up the draft machine?

    The Pentagon is quietly moving to fill draft board vacancies nationwide. While officials say there's no cause to worry, some experts aren't so sure.

    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    By Dave Lindorff, SALON

    Nov. 3, 2003 |The community draft boards that became notorious for sending reluctant young men off to Vietnam have languished since the early 1970s, their membership ebbing and their purpose all but lost when the draft was ended. But a few weeks ago, on an obscure federal Web site devoted to the war on terrorism, the Bush administration quietly began a public campaign to bring the draft boards back to life.

    "Serve Your Community and the Nation," the announcement urges. "If a military draft becomes necessary, approximately 2,000 Local and Appeal Boards throughout America would decide which young men ... receive deferments, postponements or exemptions from military service."

    Local draft board volunteers, meanwhile, report that at training sessions last summer, they were unexpectedly asked to recommend people to fill some of the estimated 16 percent of board seats that are vacant nationwide.
    LINK

    And this may be part of the reason why:

    More U.S. call-ups likely as Turks indicate no troops for Iraq

    MATT KELLEY, Associated Press, November 4, 2003

    (WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a major setback to U.S. efforts to attract military help in Iraq, a Turkish official said Tuesday his country won't send peacekeeping troops without a significant change in the situation there. That makes it virtually certain the United States will have to send thousands more U.S. reservists early next year.
    link



    Tuesday, November 04, 2003


     
    MUST READ: KRISTOFF ON IRAQ

    DEATH BY OPTIMISM


     
    US GOVT MAY BE SOURCE OF FUTURE C.B.W. TERROR THREATS

    Defense Dept.'s deadly garage sale

    Bill Berkowitz, WorkingForChange, 10/31/03

    Government auction of biological and chemical weapons-making materials might have been pipeline for terror...

    "The U.S. government -- in particular, the Defense Department -- appears to be a much larger proliferator of biological weapons materials than axis-of-evil alumnus Iraq," Vince Crawley of Army Times recently reported. According to Crawley, "Undercover investigators with the nonpartisan General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, say they were able to use phony names and a fictitious company to buy government-surplus lab equipment well suited for creating biological warfare agents."...
    LINK


     
    IRAQ WAR CoMIX

    TED RALL


     
    SILVER LINING? OR HELL HATH BETTER WINE?

    Global warming doing wonders for wine

    The quality of the world's wines has improved over the past 50 years because of global warming, research suggests.

    But the future of Chianti, Rioja and Australian wines could be threatened as temperatures continue to rise.
    LINK



     
    LUSKIN AND ATRIOS SETTLE DIFFERENCES

    A Joint Statement from Donald Luskin and Atrios

    "We both regret a series of misunderstandings that have resulted in something that neither of us intended. We have discussed our differences, and both of us are confident that such misunderstandings will not occur again in the future. As a result, Mr. Luskin is retracting his demand letter of October 29, 2003. We congratulate each other on having quickly achieved an amicable resolution. We are both glad to have put this behind us."

    -Atrios 5:02 PM
    LINK

    Shorter Joint Statement: (From Rhea in comments):

    Complete capitulation by Luskin on substance, accompanied by ritual mutual polite expressions.

    -Nuff said


     
    PATRIOT ACT USED TO BUST STRIP CLUB

    Patriot Act aided feds in probe

    By Jace Radke, LAS VEGAS SUN

    Federal officials used the Patriot Act to get financial records for current and former politicians as part of the ongoing political corruption probe involving strip club owner Michael Galardi's influence, sources said.
    link

    - Homeland Security used to chase Texas Democrats, Patriot Act against drug dealers, (justified by the exageration that the drug money was being used to finance terrorism) and now strip clubs. I guess they'll say now that strippers support terrorism? Maybe some of those 72 virgins they get in Paradise were actually strippers?...? (also posted in The Spy Game)


     
    HEARTS AND MINDS UPDATE


    BAGHDAD: An increasing number of Iraqis view the US forces as "occupiers", not liberators, and say they want an Islamic-style democracy, citing Iran as a model, according to a new poll released here on Thursday.

    The results found 67 per cent of Iraqis view the US-led troops as an occupying force, while only 46 per cent of the population considered them as such when US troops captured Baghdad on April 9, said the Iraqi Centre for Research and Strategic Studies.

    Over the same timeframe, those who viewed the US forces as liberators slumped from 43 percent to 15 percent, the study said....
    LINK

    - One interesting facet: 30% wanted the US to stay, 10% to leave, and 60% apparently decided to keep their mouths shut...


     
    WERE THE VIET CONG TERRORISTS?

    At the time they were called "guerrillas". They blew up stuff, shot at soldiers and assassinated government officials. But that's too value-neutral for today. Now we would, as we do in Iraq, call them "terrorists". Of course, when they did it for us in the 80s then they were "freedom fighters". Josh Marshall explores the issue a little at TPM


     
    IRANIAN FILMMAKERS CLAIM U.S. TORTURED THEM

    Torture claim by Iranians arrested in Iraq

    By Kim Ghattas in Baghdad, FINANCIAL TIMES, November 3 2003 17:32

    Two Iranian filmmakers freed after four months in US custody in Iraq on Monday claimed they had been tortured while in detention.

    Saeed Abu Taleb and Sohail Karimi, who work for IRIB, Iran's state-run television, were arrested on July 1 in the town of Kut while filming a US military base. Coalition authorities said the two Iranians were filming in a restricted area and suggested they were spying.

    "The detention was unimaginable. The first 10 days was like a nightmare. We were subjected to severe torture. . . It was very bad," Mr Abou Taleb was reported as saying...
    LINK


     
    BULLYING WORKS

    Trailblazing Aljazeera loses its edge

    By Iason Athanasiadis, ASIA TIMES

    Aljazeera is coming in for increasing criticism in the Arab world after a spate of embarrassing revelations that suggest it has capitulated to United States pressure and tamed its news coverage.

    The recent appointment of new boss Waddah Khanfar at the Qatar headquarters comes amid mounting revelations that Aljazeera's top management chose not to air several Osama bin Laden tapes; pulled from its news websites caricatures the White House deemed offensive; and removed its former general manager following US complaints to the Emir of Qatar about the channel's coverage of the war in Iraq.
    LINK

    -Hey it worked on the US press (see story below) why not on the international press? Whats the point of freedom of the press anyway?


     
    I GUESS ITS ONLY "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS" IF THE LEFT IS GUILTY

    Of course it is still censorship (AND a first):

    CBS Is Said to Cancel Reagan Mini-Series

    By JIM RUTENBERG and BILL CARTER, NY TIMES, Published: November 4, 2003

    Under pressure from Republican and conservative groups, CBS is expected to announce as early as today that it is canceling its plans to run a two-part mini-series in November deconstructing the Ronald Reagan presidency, two people close to the decision said last night.

    They said the film would most likely instead be handed over to CBS's pay-cable sibling, Showtime.

    The announcement would perhaps the first time a major broadcast network has ever removed a completed project from its schedule because of political pressure and under the threat of an advertising boycott.
    link

    Norbizness had this comment:

    Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't watch a shitty CBS docudrama starring James Brolin as the Gipper if you paid me. However, there is a certain irony (oh shit) in worrying about the historical presentation of a President whose numerous flights of fancy (actually being at a death camp in World War II, for instance) made up his public persona.

    -heheh


     
    YOUR MORNING CUP O' JOE

    An almost daily wrapup from League of Liberals:


    The Spy Game - the November Threat Revisited

    Cosmic Iguana - The Army Times


    Rush Limbaughtomy - Tax Dodging Limbaugh

    TPRS - Expand your Horizons

    Philosophical Scrivner - Sherlockian?

    Talk is Cheap on Mahablog


    The Reagan Truth - WTF is it NOW?

    The NRO is Pathetic - Dohiyi Mir

    blunted on reality - The End of the World

    Windfall - Hell for Halliburton


    Disconnect? - Happy Furry Puppy Story Time

    Crappy Porn? - Shock and Awe

    All Fact's and Opinions on Left Wing Media?

    Pen-Elayne is Spinnin


    different strings - Bush is a NITHING

    Futurballa has a new gallery

    Indigo is NaNo

    SpeedKill from Bozeman has his own Roundup


    A Byrd in the hand is worth 200 Bushes - Sick of Bush

    Arms and the Man - Sabotage

    Election Day - at Rick's Cafe

    Chomsky Soundbites And Then


    Art Spies? - the Estimated Prophet

    Rebel War - A Changin' Times

    --
    Posted by Joe Vecchio to Cup O' Joe at 11/4/2003 06:36:11 AM




    Monday, November 03, 2003


     
    ARMY TIMES IS PISSED

    An act of ‘betrayal’

    In the midst of war, key family benefits face cuts

    By Karen Jowers, staff writer, Armytimes.com, Mon November 3

    Commissaries and the Defense Department’s stateside schools are in the crosshairs of Pentagon budget cutters, and military advocates, families and even base commanders are up in arms....

    ...“Betrayal — write that down and put it in your report,” said Col. John Kidd, garrison commander of Fort Stewart, Ga., testifying at Tafoya’s forum on the need to keep military-run schools on his post. “As a commander, I will fight this tooth and nail. Folks down there are not just militant on this issue. They will march on Washington.”...
    LINK

    Thanks to ddjangoWirE


     
    THAT OTHER WAR IS NOT GOING SO WELL EITHER

    UN sends mission to prevent collapse of Karzai regime

    By Katherine Butler, 03 November 2003, THE INDEPENDENT

    The UN Security Council sent a high-ranking delegation to Afghanistan yesterday to bolster the country's leader, Hamid Karzai, amid signs that his authority is steadily slipping to powerful warlords and warnings that an opium boom could turn Afghanistan into a failed state run by drug cartels...

    ...More than 350 people have been killed across Afghanistan in the past three months, the worst period for violent deaths since the Taliban's collapse. Civilians, US soldiers, Afghan troops, police and local aid workers have been targeted.
    LINK


     
    Bush Says America Will Never Run from Iraq (LINK)


    Saigon: 1975

    Running is passe. Helicopters are much faster.


     
    Iraq price tag could hit $200 billion in 10 years

    NYT, Monday, November 3, 2003

    A new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office suggests that the military costs for the occupation of Iraq could range from $85 billion over four years to $200 billion over 10 years, even if the Pentagon sharply cuts its forces.
    LINK


     
    MUST READ: THE MILITARY VOTE

    The WASHINGTON MONTHLY writes:

    For over two decades, the bond between the GOP and the U.S. military has been getting stronger. Since the invasion of Iraq, that may be changing.

    But the Democrats have a long way to go: link


     
    FREE MARKET: IRAQ

    'It's a pay scale for the Iraqis: $700 for an attack on a tank; $1,000 for a helicopter'

    Yesterday's attack created jubilation in Falluja, the pro-Saddam city where attacks on US forces are increasingly frequent and deadly
    LINK

    As Vladislav Tomarov wrote in Afganistan: A Russian Soldier's Story the bounty was what did in the Russians in Afghanistan.



    Sunday, November 02, 2003


     
    BUSH PROMOTED TO SAVIOR!



    Lubbock, TX - After less than a month as the Southern Baptists' first saint, President Bush was elevated to Savior yesterday at the Southern Baptist Convention's monthly meeting.

    "We knew he was a Godly man," one delegate gushed, "But we had no idea just how much until we started seeing those Associated Press pictures. All those halos and levitating crowns were very convincing."

    Delegates denied there was any conflict between their new beliefs and their previous savior Jesus Christ. "Jesus is a good guy, no doubt. But face it, his views don't really fit with many of our members nowadays," another delegate pointed out. "He was always talking about peace and how wealth was evil, and about taking care of the poor and despised, and that's not what modern Christianity is about."

    When confronted with recent rumors that Bush might actually be the Anti-Christ, the delegate just shrugged it off.

    "Well, the Bible does say the Anti-Christ will delude many of the faithfull, but if that's the case, I'm just happy to comply," he stated.


     
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