Friday, November 25, 2005

Friday fishblogging

Scratch me there. Ooohhh, that feels so good!

(for reference, harlequin sweetlips with a cleaner
wrasse, Palau, January, 2004, Nikon N80/28-80mm/
Ikelite housing with Ikelite DS-125 strobe [click to

Monday, November 21, 2005

No "Exit Strategery"

Sometimes Jon Stewart's material just writes itself; I just won't be in town to watch tonight's hilarity. I'm sure it's all over the Internet (just as it happened to make the front page of the India Times today as I arrived in Bangalore), but I grabbed the best of the best from this wonderful sequence on Eschaton's blog. Go see it; well worth the peek.

Sometimes pictures do a much better job that words. The visual imagery ... as well as the metaphorical imagery... really does the job and little more can usefully be said. Sometimes it just takes the right frame of mind and things start to click. And maybe it will be that way with this "defining" moment for our Commander Codpiece, and the American public will have a new way of looking at him more consistent with reality (as is being shown every day) than the old "Aw, shucks, I just a regular feller" crap that he's built his so-called career on.

One more thought: Perhaps it's for the best that Dubya start getting used to locked doors. The thought warms my heart, I tell you.

Oh, yeah: The reason he was running for the exit? Well, one of those nasty, we hates 'em, tricksy reporters asked him for a follow-up, and the Thin-Skinned One wanted to take his ball and go home because they wouldn't play his rules....

Updated: courtesy of Crooks and Liars, the video.... Enjoy!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Friday fishblogging

Barracudas! All around me! Barracudas!

(for reference, chevron barracudas, Palau, January,
2004, Nikon N80/28-80mm/Ikelite housing with
Ikelite DS-125 strobe [click to enlarge]).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

When in a hole, keep digging.

Having hitched themselves so firmly to a policy that is the gift that keeps on giving in showing itself to be a disaster at pretty much every level, and to a preznit that keeps showing time after time that he's simply not even up to the job of maintaining a competent caretaker administration (e.g., Hurricane Katrina), much less strike out successfully in (totally misguided) new directions, the Republican apologists see no other option than to keep digging in their heels and trying to convince an ever leerier public that black is white and down is up.

So now we have the ol' "tactics" trotted out again: The Swift-Boating of Joseph Wilson. "Wilson lied, so it's OK to out his CIA Counter-Proliferation Devision operative wife...."

And then we have the likes of Hindrocket chiming in on the Wilson smears and trying to convince somebody ... anybody, isn't anybody listening? ... that the maladministration was right and yes, that there were WoMD in Iraq (or at least there were for rhetorical purposes), and yes, things are just going according to plan, nay, swimmingly, there....

Sez Hindrocket:

Here is the conclusion of Podhoretz's article:

And so long as we are hunting for liars in this area, let me suggest that we begin with the Democrats now proclaiming that they were duped, and that we then broaden out to all those who in their desperation to delegitimize the larger policy being tested in Iraq—the policy of making the Middle East safe for America by making it safe for democracy—have consistently used distortion, misrepresentation, and selective perception to vilify as immoral a bold and noble enterprise and to brand as an ignominious defeat what is proving itself more and more every day to be a victory of American arms and a vindication of American ideals.

That is, of course, what the Democrats' effort to rewrite history is all about.

You just have to laugh at the this pathetic projection. Yeah, the Democrats "were duped" ... at least those of them that said they thought there were WoMD. Doesn't change the following hard facts:
  1. Those of us that thought there were no WoMD were not duped and were right.
  2. That others may have been duped doesn't make the Republicans and their sycophants any the less wrong. If they weren't "duped", they are even more wrong.
  3. The Democrats that were "duped" are willing to at least admit that, and that there were no WoMD.
  4. The Republicans are going to continue to insist that they did nothing wrong and that they weren't "duped" -- and pretend as often as they can that there was nothing wrong with the 'intelligence' (at least as used by the maladministration), and therefore the unstated but implicit conclusion (if you're inclined to actually think logically about what they're saying) is that there were WoMD. I mean, who are you gonna believe, them or your lying eyes?
"Rewrit[ing] history".... Heh.

Here's more from Norman Podhoretz:
Among the many distortions, misrepresentations, and outright falsifications that have emerged from the debate over Iraq, one in particular stands out above all others....
Say, Norm: That would be, "Saddam's got WoMD! He's got nukes! He's gonna blow us up!"

You don't believe that Hindrocket and Podhoretz are continuing the song, "Waagh, There Really Are Nukes In My Soup"??? Hell, try this quote from Podhoretz (from the above link cited by Hindrocket):
Yet even stipulating—which I do only for the sake of argument—that no weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq in the period leading up to the invasion....
Yep, he's still swinging, and it's strike thirty seven.... LOL.

Podhoretz trots out the dog-eared list -- currently the fave of the RW "spin machine" -- of Democratic politicians opining as to weapons programs and intentions. Never mind that quite a few of the quotes are old, and none are as explicit and as certain as the claims of Cheney and others in the maladministration.... Norm: They were wrong (to the extent they were definitive). And they're freakin' politicians, not the over-seer of the biggest intelligence machine on the face of the planet! Yeah, maybe they got it wrong. Do you really want to claim that Dubya's at least as gullible as Gore or Hillary, Norm? But if that's your claim, then come out and at least admit that little Dubya got DUPED!!! Acceptance is one of the steps to recovery.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday fishblogging

Now that's a rockin' beauty!

(for reference, rock beauty, Saba, September 28, 2005,
Nikon N80/105mm macro/Ikelite housing with dual
Ikelite DS-125 strobes on Velvia 100 [click to enlarge]).

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Reid shows Commander Codpiece who has the real balls

Senator Harry Reid (you have to read it in all its glory):
"This past weekend, we witnessed the indictment of I. Lewis Libby, the Vice President's Chief of Staff and a senior Advisor to President Bush. Libby is the first sitting White House staffer to be indicted in 135 years.

"This indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts this Administration engaged in actions that both harmed our national security and are morally repugnant.

"The decision to place U.S. soldiers in harm's way is the most significant responsibility the Constitution invests in the Congress.

"The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really about: how the Administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions.

"As a result of its improper conduct, a cloud now hangs over this Administration. This cloud is further darkened by the Administration's mistakes in prisoner abuse scandal, Hurricane Katrina, and the cronyism and corruption in numerous agencies.

"And, unfortunately, it must be said that a cloud also hangs over this Republican-controlled Congress for its unwillingness to hold this Republican Administration accountable for its misdeeds on all of these issues.

"Let's take a look back at how we got here with respect to Iraq Mr. President. The record will show that within hours of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, senior officials in this Administration recognized these attacks could be used as a pretext to invade Iraq.

"The record will also show that in the months and years after 9/11, the Administration engaged in a pattern of manipulation of the facts and retribution against anyone who got in its way as it made the case for attacking Iraq.

"There are numerous examples of how the Administration misstated and manipulated the facts as it made the case for war. Administration statements on Saddam's alleged nuclear weapons capabilities and ties with Al Qaeda represent the best examples of how it consistently and repeatedly manipulated the facts.

"The American people were warned time and again by the President, the Vice President, and the current Secretary of State about Saddam's nuclear weapons capabilities. The Vice President said Iraq "has reconstituted its nuclear weapons." Playing upon the fears of Americans after September 11, these officials and others raised the specter that, left unchecked, Saddam could soon attack America with nuclear weapons.

"Obviously we know now their nuclear claims were wholly inaccurate. But more troubling is the fact that a lot of intelligence experts were telling the Administration then that its claims about Saddam's nuclear capabilities were false.

"The situation was very similar with respect to Saddam's links to Al Qaeda. The Vice President told the American people, "We know he's out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons and we know he has a longstanding relationship with various terrorist groups including the Al Qaeda organization."

"The Administration's assertions on this score have been totally discredited. But again, the Administration went ahead with these assertions in spite of the fact that the government's top experts did not agree with these claims.

"What has been the response of this Republican-controlled Congress to the Administration's manipulation of intelligence that led to this protracted war in Iraq? Basically nothing. Did the Republican-controlled Congress carry out its constitutional obligations to conduct oversight? No. Did it support our troops and their families by providing them the answers to many important questions? No. Did it even attempt to force this Administration to answer the most basic questions about its behavior? No.

"Unfortunately the unwillingness of the Republican-controlled Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities is not limited to just Iraq. We see it with respect to the prisoner abuse scandal. We see it with respect to Katrina. And we see it with respect to the cronyism and corruption that permeates this Administration.

"Time and time again, this Republican-controlled Congress has consistently chosen to put its political interests ahead of our national security. They have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican Administration rather than get to the bottom of what happened and why.

"There is also another disturbing pattern here, namely about how the Administration responded to those who challenged its assertions. Time and again this Administration has actively sought to attack and undercut those who dared to raise questions about its preferred course.

"For example, when General Shinseki indicated several hundred thousand troops would be needed in Iraq, his military career came to an end. When then OMB Director Larry Lindsay suggested the cost of this war would approach $200 billion, his career in the Administration came to an end. When U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix challenged conclusions about Saddam's WMD capabilities, the Administration pulled out his inspectors. When Nobel Prize winner and IAEA head Mohammed el-Baridei raised questions about the Administration's claims of Saddam's nuclear capabilities, the Administration attempted to remove him from his post. When Joe Wilson stated that there was no attempt by Saddam to acquire uranium from Niger, the Administration launched a vicious and coordinated campaign to demean and discredit him, going so far as to expose the fact that his wife worked as a CIA agent.

"Given this Administration's pattern of squashing those who challenge its misstatements, what has been the response of this Republican-controlled Congress? Again, absolutely nothing. And with their inactions, they provide political cover for this Administration at the same time they keep the truth from our troops who continue to make large sacrifices in Iraq.

"This behavior is unacceptable. The toll in Iraq is as staggering as it is solemn. More than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives. Over 90 Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice this month alone - the fourth deadliest month since the war began. More than 15,000 have been wounded. More than 150,000 remain in harm's way. Enormous sacrifices have been and continue to be made.

"The troops and the American people have a right to expect answers and accountability worthy of that sacrifice. For example, 40 Senate Democrats wrote a substantive and detailed letter to the President asking four basic questions about the Administration's Iraq policy and received a four sentence answer in response. These Senators and the American people deserve better.

"They also deserve a searching and comprehensive investigation about how the Bush Administration brought this country to war. Key questions that need to be answered include:

  • How did the Bush Administration assemble its case for war against Iraq?
  • Who did Bush Administration officials listen to and who did they ignore?
  • How did senior Administration officials manipulate or manufacture intelligence presented to the Congress and the American people?
  • What was the role of the White House Iraq Group or WHIG, a group of senior White House officials tasked with marketing the war and taking down its critics?
  • How did the Administration coordinate its efforts to attack individuals who dared to challenge the Administration's assertions?
  • Why has the Administration failed to provide Congress with the documents that will shed light on their misconduct and misstatements?

"Unfortunately the Senate committee that should be taking the lead in providing these answers is not. Despite the fact that the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee publicly committed to examine many of these questions more than 1 and ½ years ago, he has chosen not to keep this commitment. Despite the fact that he restated that commitment earlier this year on national television, he has still done nothing.

"At this point, we can only conclude he will continue to put politics ahead of our national security. If he does anything at this point, I suspect he will play political games by producing an analysis that fails to answer any of these important questions. Instead, if history is any guide, this analysis will attempt to disperse and deflect blame away from the Administration.

"We demand that the Intelligence Committee and other committees in this body with jurisdiction over these matters carry out a full and complete investigation immediately as called for by Democrats in the committee's annual intelligence authorization report. Our troops and the American people have sacrificed too much. It is time this Republican-controlled Congress put the interests of the American people ahead of their own political interests."

It's about time that someone shouted this and made the somnolent, lazy news media pay attention. Your move, Frist. And Dubya. And "Let's Out A Real WMD Expert For Fun"Rove.....

Scalito: "If you're in that 5%, dem's da breaks...."

Billmon documents the horrors of 'strict constructionist' Scalito. Scalito thinks that as long as most women don't have to worry about domestic violence, the rest just have to suck it up for the good of motherhood, the country and apple pie. Here's Scalito on the requirement of spousal notification before obtaining an abortion -- from Scalito's pen to your ears (courtesy of the BIllmon link above):
The plaintiffs . . . do not appear to have offered any evidence showing how many (or indeed that any actual women) would be affected by this asserted imperfection in the statute.
Of the potentially affected women who could not invoke an exception, it seems safe to assume that some percentage, despite an initial inclination not to tell their husbands, would notify their husbands without suffering substantial ill effects.
And the rest of them ... well ....

Scalito, in defence of the notification requirement, makes a bit of noise about how some 95% of women do tell their husbands before obtaining an abortion, as if this is something that weighs in favour of the law. Scalito! Yo! I'm talkin' to YOU! The law doesn't have any effect for these 95% ... it's meaningless for them, and it's the frickin' 5% that it does make a difference for that are the ones at risk here.

Of course, pardon me, I forgot to mention that it's hardly appropriate to judge unconstitutional restrictions by the supposedly small number of people whose rights are abridged.... "De minimus non curat lex" doesn't apply here.

This is not your father's CIA

As detailed by Digby at Hullabaloo:
In other words, what Bush is creating is a CIA that, had it existed in 2002, would have been far more wrong about WMD and Saddam/al Qaeda connections than it actually was.
Yeah. What Digby sez.... My emphasis there, but it needs to be said. And said again. And again. These f***s just don't care about real security. In fact, they don't care about anything but staying in power and raping the country for as long as they can.