Subject to Change, version 2.0
I'm a goddamed liberal. Deal with it.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Mirror of Wildernesses....

Susan Madrak directs us to:

Behind the Looking Glass in Iraq: On May 10, Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi, the newly appointed governor of Iraq's Anbar province, was kidnapped by insurgents. Five days later, according to news reports, he was freed. But today, more than two weeks after he was freed, he was "found dead along with his militant captors after a clash with U.S. forces." Notice anything unusual in this chain of events? You do? No one in the media did. Not one report that I've seen of al-Mahalawi's death mentions that, according to the Iraqi government, he had been freed by his captors 16 days previously. I wonder why. Why was't one editor brave enough to print the following, "Raja Nawaf al-Mahalawi, the governor of Iraq's Anbar province, was killed along with his kidnappers 16 days after they had released him." After all, if you're going to print statements of U.S. and Iraqi officials as legitimate news--that is, if you're going to print absurdities--why try to hide them? An examination of what else was happening in Iraq on May 15 explains the mystery. That was the day of Condoleezza Rice's surprise one-day visit. Evidently, it was too embarrassing for...

[Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
3:48:44 PM    

Noble helium and quixotic impulses

You've got to respect the Commissar for trying. He seems to be on a one-man crusade to show that right-wing conservatives really can be on the side of science and reason, putting together a nice dissection of creationist mangling of helium diffusion rate dating (digesting down the details in Henke's more technical rebuttal). That's commendable; even if I disagree with conservative politics, it would be terrific if we could all be united in agreement on some things, like the virtues of reason and science. It would go a long way towards encouraging mutual respect.

Alas, just as one man takes a productive step, a whole organization undermines him. I'm speaking, of course, of the conservative weekly, Human Events, which has just released its list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

I can see the logic of the first three choices—The Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, and Quotations from Chairman Mao—since they are documents used to justify totalitarian regimes, two of which have been serious enemies of the United States. But the fourth is The Kinsey Report…say what? Maybe it's because I was indoctrinated by that godless liberal PBS and Sesame Street, but this song went through my head:

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

It just gets wackier. On Liberty, by John Stuart Mill? Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson? The Origin and Descent of Man by Darwin?

The Commissar has a long ways to go if he's going to single-handedly demonstrate that the Right isn't a looney bin. But keep on trying!

- PZ Myers (
3:25:57 PM    

Ethical National Security?.

A team of foreign policy experts says a strong set of principles will keep America more secure than Bush's opaque agenda has.

10:27:01 AM    

Syria To Send Suspects To U.S. For "Interrogation".

Koran Abuse, Certain Human Rights Violations Not Available In Syria, Syrian Officials Explain The government of Syria has announced that it will send suspects to the United States for interrogation in order to skirt limitations on the handling of prisoners...

[Opinions You Should Have]
10:26:17 AM    

Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday. From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...

(An oldie but a goodie) You know you're a Republican when...

...Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion. with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

...A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

...Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

...the best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

...providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism. warming is junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

...being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

It's June and I'm still a reality-based Democrat, thank you. Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

[Daily Kos]

10:25:30 AM    

Challenging Cheney.

 "It doesn't matter whether he takes Amnesty International seriously. He doesn't take torture seriously; he doesn't take the Geneva Convention seriously; he doesn't take due process rights seriously; and he doesn't take international law seriously."

 —William Schulz,...

9:33:26 AM    

Dying For An Education.

 Poor students don't need military recruiters. They need more education options than picking up a gun and hoping for the best.

9:32:45 AM    

Minimum-Wage Buying Power.

 Last time that minimum-wage buying power was as low as today’s: 1949...

9:32:09 AM    

A devil of a time.

 In the even-Democrats-can-make-dumb-suggestions category, I offer you a New Jersey Dem who is spearheading an initiative to change the name of the state's beloved hockey team.

What chance do the New Jersey Devils give a proposal that would rename the pro hockey franchise as something a little less demonic?

Think hell freezing over.

"I can assure you the [...]

[The Carpetbagger Report]
9:31:38 AM    

Secularism and American history.

We hear a lot about how the religion of Colonial America may, or may not, have influenced the American Revolution and the Constitution. At Left2Right historian James Oakes describes how growing eighteenth century secularism changed religion in Colonial America. (I...

9:31:03 AM    

Bush Arabist: 'We're losing control in Iraq'.

Veteran Arabist in Bush Administration tells paper political control ebbing.

[The Raw Story | A rational voice - Alternative news]
8:02:58 AM    

The Daily Pulse: Religion, Filibusters, and the Downing Street Minutes.

There has been a lot of debate back and forth about the use of the word "theocracy." If Republicans do not stand for fiscal responsibility, or smaller government, what are they? If it turns out that they are even bigger spenders than Democrats, and they...

8:01:19 AM    


Hillary Clinton is the clear and obvious front runner for the Democratic nomination. Supporting Hillary is the smart thing to do. Just like supporting Kerry in 2004 was the smart thing to do, and supporting Gore in 2000 was the smart thing to do.

That is to say, it isn't necessarily the smart thing to do.

8:00:00 AM    

Different sources.

On Monday, in Baghdad, either Iraqi police and soldiers, with a little help from Americans, got about 300 bad guys off the streets, or the Americans rounded up a whole lot of random Iraqis, It depends who you rely on...

 [Body and Soul]
7:57:43 AM    

Be prepared.

(Via Avedon) We're planning to build an execution chamber at Guantanamo, just in case anyone should be sentenced to death. As General Geoffrey "Gitmo Eyes" Miller told AP, "We're getting ready so we won't be starting from scratch." Well, dig...

 [Body and Soul]
7:57:08 AM    

Cheney's fantasy world.

Dick Cheney:

The insurgency in Iraq is "in the last throes," Vice President Dick Cheney says, and he predicts that the fighting will end before the Bush administration leaves office.

In a wide-ranging interview Monday on CNN's "Larry King Live," Cheney cited the recent push by Iraqi forces to crack down on insurgent activity in Baghdad and reports that the most-wanted terrorist leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had been wounded.

The vice president said he expected the war would end during President Bush's second term, which ends in 2009.


The death toll for American troops in Iraq rose in May to the highest level since January, with the U.S. military saying Tuesday that insurgents have doubled their number of daily attacks since April [...]

At least 77 U.S. troops were killed in May, according to a count of deaths announced by the military. That is the highest toll since 107 Americans were killed in January. It marked the second straight monthly increase since 36 U.S. troops died in March, among the lowest tolls of the war.

Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said insurgents are staging about 70 attacks nationwide per day [...]

In the recent spike in violence, insurgents also have aggressively targeted Iraqi security forces and civilians. Boylan said more than 600 Iraqis were killed or wounded in May [...]

"The reality is we have discovered, despite all our propaganda, that we are facing a very tough, resilient and smart adversary," defense analyst Daniel Goure of the Lexington Institute said.

Goure said rebels have continuously changed, updated and modified tactics, dumping those that no longer worked. Goure also faulted U.S. forces for being slow to cut off the supply of bullets, bombs, money and recruits coming over the border from Syria.

"Despite all our propaganda". I like the sound of it, because that's the truth of it. Reality hasn't been kind to neocon propaganda, and it's lunacy to see Cheney arguing that somehow we've turned that metaphorical corner yet again. The numbers don't lie.

The insurgency took some time off to reload, recruit, refresh, and evaluate its tactics. It evolved, and has struck back with ferocity. And the thing to remember is that most attacks aren't directed at US forces. They are almost irrelevent to the resistance at this point. They are stricking at Iraqi security forces.

Because without an effective security apparatus, the Iraqi government cannot survive on its own. And the longer the insurgents can drag this thing out, bleeding our guys gradually, the closer they will be to their goals -- an American withdrawal and installation of an Islamic regime.

And they'll accomplish that goal by default. Because as I've said to the point of hoarseness the past few weeks -- we don't have the troops to keep this thing going. And the cheerleading War Pundits, War Preachers, War Politicians, and 101st Fighting Keyboardists refuse to either 1) serve , 2) urge their followers to serve, or 3) even pay for this damn thing with new taxes.

So we get withdrawal, leading to insurgent victory, or we get a draft. And nothing will kill this war effort more surely than even hints of a draft.

Fine mess they've gotten into. And living in a fantasy world, where insurgent activity is a signal to Bush that the rebels are "losing", or where Cheney claims the insurgents are in their "death throes", will do nothing to either win this war, or support our men and women stuck in that hell hole.

[Daily Kos]

3:00:12 AM    

Those who are about to die, salute me.

Fortunate son  said the insurgents were being driven to greater violence by the prospect of seeing democracy take root. Progress being: The death toll for American troops in Iraq rose in May to the highest level since January, with the U.S. military saying Tuesday that insurgents have doubled their number of daily attacks since April. This latest spree...

- tbogg

2:58:52 AM    

Who provoked the "Newsweek" riots?.

Laura Rosen and Jude Nagurney Camwell point to an interesting analysis of the violent demonstrations in Afghanistan:

May 26, 2005

With a Little Help From Our Friends
Kandahar, Afghanistan

ON Saturday, May 14, several hundred people gathered in the windswept main...

2:56:48 AM    

But the Founders wanted our prisons to be Christia...
But the Founders wanted our prisons to be Christian prisons The Supreme Court strikes a blow for delusional people and their four-headed gods: The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that a new federal law requiring prison officials to meet inmates' religious needs is a permissible accommodation of religion that does not violate the separation of church and state. The court rejected
- tbogg [»«TBogg»«]
2:54:40 AM    

Iran makes ballistic missile breakthrough.

Stefan Smith | Tehran | May 31

Middle East Online - Iran announced Tuesday it had successfully tested a new solid fuel missile motor for its arsenal of medium-range ballistic missiles, a technological breakthrough that sparked fresh alarm in Israel. "It was a test of a motor and not a test of a missile," said a defence ministry official, clarifying earlier reports in the Iranian press that a missile itself was tested on Sunday. Military experts said the test, if indeed successful, would signify an important breakthrough for the Islamic republic's missile programme. This article is posted under fair use rules in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and is strictly for the educational and informative purposes of our readers.

[The Agonist]
1:35:51 AM    

Data contradict VA's explanation on disparity in veterans' benefits.

Chris Adams | Washington DC | May 31

Knight Ridder - A key reason the Department of Veterans Affairs offered recently to explain the wide disparity in veterans monthly disability checks across the country is undercut by the agency's own data. The data show that on average veterans of the same war receive vastly different payments, depending on where they live.

 [The Agonist]
1:34:49 AM    

I wish this was a surprise...

Revealed: the new scramble for Africa.

 David Leigh & David Pallister | June 1

The Guardian - A new "scramble for Africa" is taking place among the world's big powers, who are tapping into the continent for its oil and diamonds. Tony Blair is pushing hard for African debt relief agreements in the run-up to the G8 summit in Scotland in July. But while sub-Saharan Africa is the object of the west's charitable concern, billions of pounds' worth of natural resources are being removed from it. Simon Taylor, director of Global Witness, which has been prominent in urging reform, said: "Western companies and banks have colluded in stripping Africa's resources. We need to track revenues from oil, mining and logging into national budgets to make sure that the money isn't siphoned off by corrupt officials."

[The Agonist]
1:33:51 AM    

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