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Tuesday, May 31, 2005


For those people looking for info and instructions for Scooby strings, click here.

On Bill O'Reilly's Radio Show Today
O'Reilly compared the ACLU's attempt to address the torture at the Abu Ghraib prison with Jane Fonda's infamous visit to North Vietnam in 1972. I don't have a transcript but he said it. Hopefully, Media Matters for America will report on it.


Ralph Nader Isn't the Only One Calling for Impeachment
Consummate right-winger Paul Craig Roberts:

George W. Bush and his gang of neocon warmongers have destroyed America's reputation.

It is likely to stay destroyed, because at this point the only way to restore America's reputation would be to impeach and convict President Bush for intentionally deceiving Congress and the American people in order to start a war of aggression against a country that posed no threat to the US. America can redeem itself only by holding Bush accountable.

As intent as Republicans were to impeach President Clinton for lying about a sexual affair, they have a blind eye for President Bush's far more serious lies.

Bush's lies have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, injured and maimed tens of thousands more, devastated a country, destroyed America's reputation, caused one billion Muslims to hate America, ruined our alliances with Europe, created a police state at home, and squandered $300 billion dollars and counting...
Abundant evidence now exists in the public domain to convict George W. Bush of the crime of the century. The secret British government memo (dated July 23, 2002), leaked to the Sunday Times (May 1, 2005), reports that Bush wanted

"to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. . . . But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. . . . The [UK] Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defense, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorization. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult."

This memo is the mother of all smoking guns.

Why isn't Bush in the dock?

Why isn't he, indeed?


Finally, The Truth From the Horse's--er, Fox's--Mouth
The American people have been assaulted by Roger Ailes and company who have argued ad nauseum that Fox News doesn't have a political bias and that they are "fair and balanced." It's transparent mindrot. Finally, a member of the Fox News crew was off-message from the talking points. Here's what London bureau chief for Fox News, Scott Norvell told the Wall Street Journal Europe:

Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly. And those who hate us can take solace in the fact that they aren't subsidizing Bill's bombast; we payers of the BBC license fee don't enjoy that peace of mind.

Fox News is, after all, a private channel and our presenters are quite open about where they stand on particular stories. That's our appeal. People watch us because they know what they are getting. The Beeb's institutionalized leftism would be easier to tolerate if the corporation was a little more honest about it.

The truth, finally.


I Don't Like Ralph Nader
But I like his call to debate impeachment.


Was former FBI Official W. Mark Felt Deep Throat?
I just heard it on the radio. Here's the story.
UPDATE: The Washington Post confirms the Vanity Fair story that Felt was Deep Throat. Will he or Woodward or Bernstein write about this development?
ADDITIONAL UPDATE: Read Cliff Schecter's hilarious but sad take on the matter. Also, read Tom Grieve. John Conyers asks: Where is Today's Deep Throat? Robert Parry has an article on the real lessons of Watergate.


Googlebomb Jerry Falwell
The latest Googlebomb target on my Google bomb Blog is Jerry Falwell. Falwell is one of the most noxious and unrepentant members of the sectarian right. When Falwell was a preacher in the 1960's, he was critical of the political activity of Martin Luther King, claiming that ministers should be saving souls, not being involved in politics (Falwell also thought King was on the wrong side of the issue; Falwell believed that blacks were stricken with "The curse of Ham" and were meant to be subservient to whites). Falwell's view of religion and politics changed when he founded the Moral Majority in 1979. In 1985, Falwell visited South Africa and put his support behind the apartheid regime of P.W. Botha (Falwell called anti-apartheid activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Desmond Tutu a "phony"). When Bill Clinton became president, Falwell and Patrick Matrisciana bilked Falwell's congregants out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling them videos claiming that Clinton was involved in drug running and murder (Falwell and Matrisciana used a fraudulent infomercial to sell the phony videos to Falwell's unsuspecting flock). When Falwell's Liberty University faced financial woes, Falwell received financial support from Sun Myung Moon--whom Falwell had previously (and accurately) denounced as a cult leader. Right after the September 11 attacks, Falwell tried to blame gays, People for the American Way, and other groups for allowing God to lift His shield of protection from the United States.

Let's Googlebomb Falwell. Google bombing Falwell's name will result in having informative web sites popping up for a Google search of Falwell's name. Go to the Google bomb blog and follow the instructions. The results will look like this:

Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell


Monday, May 30, 2005


Scamway: The Republican Money Machine Built on Fraud
I missed this column by Bill Berkowitz on Amway and its scary founders when it first came out:

Like many others, Eric Scheibeler and his wife, Patty, were recruited to the Amway Corporation by close friends. Along the "guaranteed" road to success they met powerful politicians, dined with multi-millionaires and spoke to thousands of Amway members at gatherings throughout the world. Then, without warning, their house of cards collapsed:

Eric Scheibeler discovered that the operation was committing massive fraud. When he took documentation to Amway Senior Management, they shut off his income and told him not to have contact with distributors he was revealing the fraud to. Scheibeler, a former federal auditor for the US Department of Energy, refused. He and his wife were threatened, ostracized, and lost all they had built over a decade.

Eric Scheibeler's book, "Merchants of Deception: An Insider's Look at the Worldwide, Systematic, Conspiracy of Lies That is Amway/Quixtar and their Motivational Organization," available free at merchantsofdeception.com, is more than a story about one family's rise and decline under the Amway/Quixtar umbrella. It also exposes the corruption enveloping one of the US's most politically well-connected companies. . .

Billionaire [Amway co-founder] Rich DeVos, a regular on the Forbes magazine list of richest Americans and the owner of the National Basketball Association's Orlando Magic, has been a member of the highly secretive Council for National Policy. He once served as the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. He also created a conservative philanthropy for he and his wife called the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation

For more than thirty-five years, the DeVos family has been a benefactor of both the religious right and the Republican Party. In the final weeks before the 1994 election, the Amway Corp. gave the GOP $2.5 million -- at the time "the largest political donation in recent American history," the Washington Post reported. And in 1996, the company donated $1.3 million to the San Diego Convention and Visitor's Bureau "to help fund a Republican cable TV show to be aired during the party's national convention," the Associated Press reported. The program featured ""rising GOP stars as 'reporters,'" and aired on the Family Channel, which was owned by Pat Robertson. . .

Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel's Amway Corporation has its tentacles firmly planted in late-twentieth and early twenty-first century Republican Party politics. Masquerading as a Christian-oriented family enterprise, Amway leaders have made billions selling a phony version the American Dream while bilking thousands of ordinary American dreamers out of their hard-earned life savings. The wealth of the founders has supported the nearly 30-year conservative makeover of American society through millions of dollars in donations to the creation and development of right wing institutions and causes.

Also, read the Rick A Ross Institute's page on Amway. They are creepy.


It's Memorial Day
Honor The Fallen (via APJ)


Sunday, May 29, 2005


This is Amazing
David Corn:

Speaking at one of his Orwellian, faux townhall meetings on Social Security in Greece, New York on May 24, Bush said

See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.

I'm no historian of the presidency. but I'm guessing this is the first time in the history of the Republic that a president has publicly acknowledged he was catapulting propaganda at the American public. Hey, Commander in Chief, who's the enemy? Isn't a catapult a weapon? (A weapon of mis-information?) Shouldn't the truth be good enough? And can't it be delivered in a less militaristic fashion? Perhaps by Fedex? Yeah, couldn't the president have just said that sometimes it's realy, really necessary "to kind of Fedex the facts" over and over?

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Support Tom DeLay
I realize that's an odd request from me. DeLay is a corrupt, hypocritical, reactionary, narrow-minded, anti-science, redneck, doctrinaire, fundamentalist, bigoted, anti-democratic, theocratic, chickenshit, and money-grubbing assclown. That's why we need him to be the face of the Republican Party for as long as possible. David Keane's American Conservative Union website has an area where you can voice your support for DeLay. The longer DeLay remains as Republican leader of the House, the more Republicans (e.g., Bob Ney) who crash and burn with him in 2006.


Friday, May 27, 2005


Yes, The Answer is Fear
Robert Parry on how the radical right has created an atmosphere of fear for real journalists. Here are Parry's words on how to counteract them:

So, what’s the answer? If a big part of the problem is fear, how can fear be overcome?

It’s simply not enough to tell journalists, politicians and others that they must buck up and do the right thing, especially when people who do show courage are systematically destroyed and made into object lessons for colleagues left behind.

If individuals are expected to be courageous, there must be courageous institutions to surround and protect them. That’s why the creation of a counter-infrastructure – one that will take on both the powerful conservative infrastructure and the cowardly mainstream media – is so vital.

Examples of how this counter-dynamic could work can be found in the take-no-prisoners ethos of the anti-Bush Internet sites, or in the irreverent comedy of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” or in the unabashed liberalism of the fledgling progressive talk radio.

All have shown toughness in refusing to genuflect before Bush and his enormous political power.

Just as cowardice can come in small pieces, none seeming to be that important alone but which added together can destroy a worthy cause, so courage can build one piece on top of another until a solid foundation is established from which a mighty edifice can rise.

But it is urgent that progressives begin immediately to invest in the building blocks of this new infrastructure. It's the only hope for a healthy political balance to be restored.


Wow, E.J. Dionne Has a Sack
Today's Washington Post column:

Conservative academics have long attacked "postmodernist" philosophies for questioning whether "truth" exists at all and claiming that what we take as "truths" are merely "narratives" woven around some ideological predisposition. Today's conservative activists have become the new postmodernists. They shift attention away from the truth or falsity of specific facts and allegations -- and move the discussion to the motives of the journalists and media organizations putting them forward. Just a modest number of failures can be used to discredit an entire enterprise.

Of course journalists make mistakes, sometimes stupid ones. Dan Rather should not have used those wacky documents in reporting on President Bush's Air National Guard service. Newsweek has been admirably self-critical about what it sees as its own mistakes on the Guantanamo story. Anonymous sources are overused. Why quote a nameless conservative saying a particular columnist is "an idiot liberal" when many loyal right-wingers could be found to say the same thing even more colorfully on the record? If the current controversies lead to better journalism, three cheers.

But this particular anti-press campaign is not about Journalism 101. It is about Power 101. It is a sophisticated effort to demolish the idea of a press independent of political parties by way of discouraging scrutiny of conservative politicians in power. By using bad documents, Dan Rather helped Bush, not John Kerry, because Rather gave Bush's skilled lieutenants the chance to use the CBS mistake to close off an entire line of inquiry about the president. In the case of Guantanamo, the administration, for a while, cast its actions as less important than Newsweek's.

Back when the press was investigating Bill Clinton, conservatives were eager to believe every negative report about the incumbent. Some even pushed totally false claims, including the loony allegation that Clinton aide Vince Foster was somehow murdered by Clinton's apparatchiks when, in fact, Foster committed suicide. Every journalist who went after Clinton was "courageous." Anyone who opposed his impeachment or questioned even false allegations was "an apologist."

We now know that the conservatives' admiration for a crusading and investigative press carried an expiration date of Jan. 20, 2001.

When the press fails, it should be called on the carpet. But when the press confronts a politically motivated campaign of intimidation, its obligation is to resist -- and to keep reporting.


Woo Hoo!
I noticed Atrios brought up the issue of collectibles today. Yesterday for a few bucks I got a great used bookstore find: Jack Chick's The Last Call from the 1960's. It is in pamphlet format (5.5 inches by 8.25 inches), not the newer book form of the work. Also, it's in great shape: I would categorize it as fine/very fine (7.0). I sold one on Ebay a couple years ago that was in very good/fine shape (5.0) for $140.


Thursday, May 26, 2005


Psst, People
It's the Downing Street Memo, not the "Downey" Street Memo or "Downy" Street Memo (my Sitemeter stats show that people are coming to this site based on those erroneous searches).


Wish I Wrote It
In "Limbaugh vs. Moyers" by John Nichols:

It would be easy to counter Limbaugh by climbing down into the gutter of character assassination and recycled Washington spin with the nation's No. 1 peddler of those commodities. Whole books been written regarding Limbaugh's personal and professional foibles.

But this is not about Limbaugh. After all, it's not as if he speaks for himself. When the economic and political elites of the nation says "Jump!" Limbaugh response has always been an enthusiastic, "How high?" And never does he jump higher or quicker than when he is going for the throat of someone who has committed the sin of telling the American people that there is more to a broadcast than talking points and cheerleading for those who refuse to play fair. Of course, Limbaugh thought Moyers was nuts. Limbaugh has been bending the facts for so long that he, undoubtedly, believes that trying to get them straight is madness.

This places him very much at odds with Moyers, who wants the American people to know that there is a reason why they get so little useful information from their radio programs and the nightly reports on network television.


So I'm the Zillionth Person to Point This Out
This is good. You're an ass, man. Get it?


Recovered from The Lords of Dogtown Premiere After-Party
Sweet Baby Jesus, I had a good time! My schedule has been nuts so I have not been doing much recently in the way of planning to sneak into any Hollywood premiere parties except for ones that I really want to attend. The Lords of Dogtown premiere after-party was the one that I have wanted to go to for months. Why? The film about the legendary Z-Boys involves both surfing and skateboarding (I do both though I am not an adept like the film’s protagonists). From the looks of the trailer, the film looks to be a hit (or at least it looks like the type of film I’d like to see).

One other thing I knew I would like about the party would be that even though there would be a lot of Hollywood types (more on this later), there would also be a lot of boarders of various stripes. Plus, by wearing my regular clothes, I wouldn't arouse any suspicions from security who would think I was just another boarder.

The premiere was at Mann’s Chinese Theatre. The after-party was at Avalon near Hollywood and Vine.

The party was better than the typical premiere party (Columbia Pictures tends to give the best parties). I met some great thrashers and a few actors (though none of the stars like Heath Ledger). I also met some hot babes. Premiere parties tend to have a lot of hot babes but it was exceptional at this one.

Gratuitous namedropping: Tony Hawk was supposed to be at the screening but I didn't see him at the party. I didn't see Stacy Peralta there either (though I've met him previously; he's a class act all the way).

Plus Suicidal Tendencies went on stage and played for the crowd (Mike Muir, brother of Z-Boy Jim Muir is part of the band). Thrash metal is not my favorite genre of music but their performance was dope.

Random info: Hypnotiq was one of the sponsors and there were several drinks specially made for the night using it: I tried one with pineapple that was okay. Red Bull was also a sponsor; I had a couple of those and I was buzzed. The food was catered by Off The Wall: hot dogs, mini-burritos, chicken, salad, mac and cheese. Dessert: strawberry shortcake, chocolate bananas, mini-cupcakes with plastic skateboards on top.
Memo to Columbia Pictures: give out gift bags to partygoers.

The only sour note of the night was when I spoke to a Hollywood type outside the premiere. I can’t give the details but it reinforces my contention that you can’t trust Hollywood people.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Ay Caramba
Drank coffee, Red Bull, and one apple martini. Went to bed at 5:00 A.M. Details later.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Freaky, Disgusting, Weird
But every progressive should read Jeff Horwitz's article on Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute.


FYI
Working on a script.


Monday, May 23, 2005


I Was Right!!!!!!
Click here


Up or Down
I noticed that on my Google ad that UpOrDownVote.com, a group in favor of the GOP Nuclear Option, had bought ad space. I also noticed one of their ads on cable. Get a load of the ad I saw (click here for Quicktime and here for Flash).

From the Ad: [Michael Williams, Texas Energy commissioner] "What we're hearing in the media is coming from people that have a political motivation. That's not the Justice [Priscilla] Owen that those of us in Texas know. The person that we know is fair and balanced and is extremely intelligent."

Write Williams at chairman@michaellwilliams.com
1) Ask Williams if Owen is as fair and balanced as Fox News. (Hint: Judging by Williams' web site, I think he'll answer in the affirmative).
2) Tell him to lose the bow tie.


Sunday, May 22, 2005


Wanna Bet?
I'm watching Howard Dean talk to Little Russ on Meet the Press right now. When Dean was clearly referring about Saddam Hussein he misspoke and referred to Osama bin Laden instead. I'm willing to bet that members of the right-wing punditocracy will take the quotes in which Dean mistakenly referred to bin Laden when he meant Saddam and misrepresent them.

5/23 UPDATE: I was right; Media Matters on one more reason why the Wall Street Journal has the worse editorial page of any newspaper that is not owned by a Korean ex-con who thinks he's the messiah.


Thursday, May 19, 2005


Mr. Freedom Fries Being Put Through Slice-and-Dice Machine
Even though when the Republicans took power in the House in 1994, GOP leaders Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay did get along, there was one member of the class of '94, Bob Ney (R-Ohio) who used both Gingrich and DeLay as role models. The problem is that Ney modeled the worse elements of both. Like Gingrich, Ney gave Wife Number One the heave-ho once he became a big shot member of Congress.

Like DeLay, Ney is corrupt--he's done some dirty dealing with DeLay crony Jack Abramoff. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)is looking for a member of Congress to forward their ethics complaint to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. The Justice Department is investigating him. I'm no fan of Lisa Myers but it's good to see that she's taking on Ney.

Can Ney be ousted from Congress? If he's indicted, I think he's dead meat. Ney lucked out in 1994 when Democrat Douglas Applegate retired; the strongest candidate Robert Burch was running for governor that year, leaving Ney to run against a weaker Democratic candidate. One of the problems is the changes in his district from reapportionment; many of the Democratic-leaning counties along the Ohio River are no longer in his district (Most of Democratic Belmont County where Ney's home is in another district--except for a tiny area that includes Ney's hometown). However, Ney is very vulnerable.

DeLay was effective because he kept a low profile (and the mainstream media didn't do their job); now that Americans know what a scary, venal, wing-nut he is, he's a big liability. It would great for Ney to be a collateral damage from the upcoming DeLay Implosion.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Half a Loaf is Better than None
I saw the trailer for the upcoming film version of The Dukes of Hazzard. The upshot: The car (a totally dope '69 Dodge Charger) is still named "General Lee" and its horn plays "Dixie" but it no longer has the Confederate Battle Flag on the roof.


One More Reason to Tune into Air America Radio
David Brock is discussing The Top 10 filibuster falsehoods on the Al Franken Show.


No Comment
Check out this cartoon on L. Brent Bozell's CNSNews.com (via The Nasif Report). Perhaps cartoons like that can help explain this phenomenon.


Newsweek's Shoddy Journalism
A lot of it has helped the Bushies.

Also, Dave Johnson on about how Limbaugh characterized the Newsweek story. I listened to Limbaugh a little bit yesterday and Johnson's summation is correct. Quick update: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Limbaugh's anti-environmental shilling.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Note to NewsMax Hack James Hirsen
If you're going to follow Hollywood for Christopher Ruddy, at least know that the word "Cannes" is pronounced like "can" not "khan." (Hirsen was a guest on Al Rantel's radio show on KABC today).


Success!
The Downing Street Minutes Google bomb is working. Check out the Google results. Thanks to all who participated. Also, if you are a blogger and you haven't participated, click here and follow the instructions.


The LA Mayoral Election
Today is election day and I see no reason to vote for either James Hahn or Antonio Villaraigosa. The main reason is that I'm an LA resident but I don't care much for the city (I'm moving back to SD as soon as I can). If anyone has a reason for me to vote for either candidate, email me.

UPDATE: Nobody emailed me a reason to vote. Last night, on the way to UCLA's campus, I walked past the polling place and decided to vote. Villaraigosa won in a landslide; who cares?


Monday, May 16, 2005


The Need for Media Reform
A Buzzflash editorial.


Memories
Remember when it was disclosed during the Clinton administration that contributors to Bill Clinton's campaigns were treated to overnight stays at the White House in the Lincoln Bedroom? Remember hearing the hue and cry from the professional scandalmongers on the right that President Clinton was turning the White House into a Motel 6? (John McCain in 1999: "The scandal in Washington wasn't Monica Lewinsky. The scandal was that the President [Clinton] turned the Lincoln Bedroom into Motel 6, and he was the bellhop.") Notice how the same voices are silent when it was disclosed that George W. Bush's donors are sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom? Also, did you notice how the supposed mainstream media has largely given Bush a free pass when it held Clinton's feet to the fire?

More on this in today's Howler and by Ted Barlow.


Krugman on the Downing Street Memo
I glad that Paul Krugman addressed the Downing Street Memo (and brought attention to the Downing Street memo site by linking to it):

There has been notably little U.S. coverage of the "Downing Street memo" - actually the minutes of a British prime minister's meeting on July 23, 2002, during which officials reported on talks with the Bush administration about Iraq. But the memo, which was leaked to The Times of London during the British election campaign, confirms what apologists for the war have always denied: the Bush administration cooked up a case for a war it wanted.

Note to bloggers: please be a part of the Downing Street Memo Google bombing. It's important.


Quotes of the Day
Avedon Carol on the Newsweek flap:

Watch for an attempt to do to Michael Isikoff what they did to Dan Rather. And yes, the irony hurts, because Isikoff seems to have become a much better reporter than he was back in the days when he was promoting the phony Whitewater story. The right-wing had no trouble with that bad reporting, because it served their purposes. But of course, the right-wingers have no problem at all with irresponsible journalism; it's the truth that they hate.


Yesterday's quote of the day--Bill Moyers (via Atrios):
The more compelling our journalism, the angrier became the radical right of the Republican Party,'' he said. "That's because the one thing they loathe more than liberals is the truth. And the quickest way to be damned by them as liberal is to tell the truth.


See Moyers' speech and read a transcript here.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Very Important Googlebomb
Over on the Googlebomb Blog, I have instructions on how to do a googlebomb for the Downing Street Memo (also known as the Rycroft Memo). It's important. The results will look like this:

Downing Street Memo
Downing Street Memo
Downing Street Memo
Downing Street Memo
Downing Street Memo
Downing Street Memo
Downing Street Memo
Downing Street Memo
Downing Street Memo
Downing Street Memo
Rycroft Memo
Rycroft Memo
Rycroft Memo
Rycroft Memo
Rycroft Memo
Rycroft Memo
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Rycroft Memo

Here is the secret Downing Street memo:


::nobreak::SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLY

DAVID MANNING
From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell

IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY

Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.

The two broad US options were:

(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.

(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.

Conclusions:

(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.

(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)

MATTHEW RYCROFT


Friday, May 13, 2005


Must Read Article
David Brock wrote the book The Republican Noise Machine : Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy (Note: it's now in paperback with a new afterword) and today Robert Parry gives a strategy on how to counter it. Every person concerned about journalistic integrity should read Parry's article.


Yo
Am I the only person who is really, really creeped out by this?


Thursday, May 12, 2005


Pray for Tom DeLay
I checked the Google-ad on my site and it listed the following ad: "Pray for Tom DeLay" I clicked on the site and here's part of what was on the site:

DeLay is a bold dedicated Believer in Jesus Christ. No one in Washington could replace him were he absent even temporarily. His recently announced intention to shape a House agenda, boldly more conservative than that planned by the White House, has made him a target of the left, as well as by some moderates and conservatives. We believe this is an election year effort to malign perhaps Washington?s most powerful and effective pro-life, pro-family leader.
This battle is a must win for dedicated, praying Christians.

Let Us Prevail in Prayer for Tom DeLay:

* Father, we call upon You to VINDICATE Your servant & to DELIVER him from those who hate him. EXPOSE every lie. Cause TRUTH to PREVAIL.
* GIVE our brother WISDOM. PROTECT him from the deadly poison of his enemies. What the enemy intends for evil, turn to good. In Jesus? Name, Amen (Ps 35:24-36; 57:3-4; 64:all; Pr 18:17; Rom 8:28).

This isn't a parody site, is it?


Out of Town
I'm in SD for the day (I wish it were for forever). Light blogging.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Bush's Crony Capitalism
TNR's Jonathan Chait:

. . .[Tom} DeLay and [Jack] Abramoff are not merely a pair of ethically challenged individuals. They do not even merely represent the Republican leadership having grown "comfortable with the perks of power," as National Review noted with dismay. They are the inevitable byproducts of the governing ideology that has taken hold in George W. Bush's Washington. The ideology is called "big-government conservatism."


This Just In
The White House and Capital Building are being evacuated.
UPDATE: NBC News has a report that a small plane was seen flying in restricted airspace.
9:16 UPDATE: It was a Cessna plane but people are being allowed to go back into the Capital. The crisis appears to be over. Woo Hoo!


Congrats
Air America Radio is finally back in Chicago at WCPT 850 AM.


In Case You Haven't Seen Them
Check out what Jim Lampley wrote on the 2004 (s)election (click here and here).


Scooby String Info
I have also noticed that there must be some kind of fashion trend in England involving "scooby fashion strings", "scoubi strings", "scoubidou," or "scoobie strings" (it's called "boondogle" in the US). (that apparently involve shoestrings, necklaces, bracelets, key chains) because I've received a lot of hits from British search engines from people wanting to know how to make them. I don't have a clue.
UPDATE: As I previously noted, I have received a deluge of hits from people in Great Britain looking for instructions on making Scooby Fashion Strings. I figure I would help them out. Here is a primer on scooby knots Also, here's a detailed PDF file on making a scoobie strings bracelet. This site probably has the most comprehensive scoubi tutorial on the web. Here's what they have on Scoubidou knots.

BTW, to you Brits reading this, thank you very much for the British Invasion of the 1960's (American rock and roll was in a big slump in the early 1960's). Thanks for entertaining television shows like The Goodies, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and Keeping Up Appearances. Also, thank you for the Downing Street Memo (which will hopefully lead to the impeachment of George W. Bush). Email me at scoobiedavis77@yahoo.com and tell me what you think of the site.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005






Scoobie's Taste in Music:


80's Pop: High Influence
90's Alternative: High Influence
90's Pop: High Influence
90's Rock: High Influence
80's Alternative: Medium Influence
Adult Alternative: Medium Influence
Alternative Rock: Medium Influence
Classic Rock: Medium Influence
80's Rock: Low Influence


Get Out of Denial, Richard
Today's Howler documents just a few of the liars who claim that the use of the filibuster is "unprecedented." One of them is Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. The filibuster is not the only thing Land is lying about: Face it, Richard, you're bald. The comb-over isn't fooling anyone.


Monday, May 09, 2005


Googlebomb Ideas
I just realized I haven't created a googlebomb in over a month. Email ideas for targets at scoobiedavis77@yahoo.com


Why Bush and Company Think They Can Lie With Impunity
Read Robert Parry's latest on Bush/Reagan treachery.


It's True
Paul Krugman:

Hell hath no fury like a scammer foiled. The card shark caught marking the deck, the auto dealer caught resetting a used car's odometer, is rarely contrite. On the contrary, they're usually angry, and they lash out at their intended marks, crying hypocrisy.


He's right. Whenever I let Nigerian 419 scammers know that I was just wasting their time, they often write me nasty emails.

Read the rest of Krugman's column.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Great Yesterday in Westwood Village
Okay, it's Mothers' Day Weekend. However, those of you in the know also know that yesterday was Free Comic Book Day. I went to Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash and got my free books. Totally phat.

Note: before you continue reading, read my views on compassionate mockery of street proselytizers. Also, yesterday when I was in Westwood Village, I notice two young men had set up a table. As I walked pass, they asked me if I wanted to do something about George W. Bush's Social Security scheme. As I looked at their literature, I realized that these guys were devotees of Lyndon LaRouche, fringe presidential candidate and whacko. Those of you familiar with this blog know that I enjoy mocking LaRouchies (click here and here).

The exchange went something like this (unfortunately, I didn't record the exchange so the transcript is based on memory):

LAROUCHIE ONE: Do you want to do something about Bush's Social Security scheme?

SCOOBIE: [Looks at the publications and realizes they are devotees of Lyndon Larouche] Oh, God. You people are with Lyndon Larouche.

LAROUCHIE TWO: What do you think about Lyndon Larouche?

SCOOBIE: He's a complete nutjob and I can't believe you would think I'm gullible enough to follow someone like that.

LAROUCHIE ONE: But he's doing something to save Social Security.

SCOOBIE: Wow, you two volunteer for Lyndon LaRouche; you must be getting laid like rock stars.

I kept on walking. I realize my final response was a non sequitur but it was probably the most reasonable thing they've heard in a while.


Saturday, May 07, 2005


Hidden Allusion in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?
I saw The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy last night; I didn't read the book so I have no basis for judging the adaptation but I did like the film. Of course I wasn't the only person to detect a dig against George W. Bush when Zaphod Beeblebrox (played masterfully by Sam Rockwell) made the following quip: "You can't be president with a whole brain."

However, I noticed another line in the film that reminded me of Sun Myung Moon's sacred cumrag; Humma Kavula (played by John Malkovich) enthralls a religious congregation with the following exhortation: "Send the handkerchief so that it can wipe us clean!"


Friday, May 06, 2005


The Rycroft Memo: What you can Do
The more I read about the Rycroft Memo, the more infuriated I get. If this memo is valid (and there is every reason to believe so), then it constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors on George W. Bush's part. I agree with Greg Palast that the Rycroft Memo "has 'IMPEACH HIM' written all over it." Go to http://www.house.gov/ and find the contact information for your member of the House and ask him or her to investigate the matter. I just got off the phone with Congressman Henry Waxman's office. One email or phone call is all I ask. It's important.


Who In Congress Will Call for Impeachment?

Email William Bennett and ask him "Where's the outrage?"

From American Street:
Investigate What, Exactly?

It was obvious to veteran politics watchers that the case for war was being trumped up. There was the infamous PNAC letter to Clinton, the emergence of Iraq as a target publicly the first week after 9-11, and the debunked Czech connection. The next big push ‘coincidentally’ was renewed in time for the fall campaign of the midterm elections.

From past UN inspectors, to the newly employed inspectors, to the nuclear containment arm of the UN, denials of any evidence of WMD was unanimous. The new inspectors followed every lead being provided by Iraqi ex-pats through intelligence channels and kept coming up empty. And promises of ‘proof’ to come that were made in that fall campaign emerged as desperately thin suppositions when Colin Powell finally presented his case to the UN just six weeks before the onset of war.

The sham was so transparent that major allies concurred with UN inspectors who asked for more time to confirm whether any WMD evidence would emerge. So the Bush administration went to war with what they had, not what they wished they had: a blank check and the official consent of the UN.

Everyone who balked - the UN, Germany, France, Joseph Wilson, a majority of the world and 40% of the US - were denounced as cowards, traitors, laggards or focus groups. And off to war we went.

After Hussein fell and the trumped up WMD claims were ultimately boiled down to “Saddam wanted to someday have nukes,” investigation after investigation ensued to determine what went wrong. And we learned, repeatedly, how toothless official investigations could be as they all gingerly tiptoed around the assignment of culpability or outright claims of fraud.

So the latest smoking gun of the British memo will simply be denied. A majority of Americans now believe the war was a mistake, but many among them are loathe to call their president a deliberate liar.

Faced with fresh facts, will a majority remain in denial based on the fresh lies of liars who’ll deny the facts in the memo? Does John Conyers really believe asking Bush to explain will result in anything but more lies?


Air America Radio
I listen to Air America Radio but I don't plug it like I should. If you don't live in an area covered by AAR, listen to it online.


Thursday, May 05, 2005


Impeachable Offense
Read Greg Palast.


Mexicans Who Come to The USA Illegally are Murderous Martians
This is the case, according to Fox News Democrat Tammy Bruce, who places the following photo (from Tim Burton's film Mars Attacks) on her website with the caption, "This is why we need Minutemen!"

 Posted by Hello

This isn't the first time Bruce placed insulting and bigoted photos on her website.
Email Bruce at heytammybruce@yahoo.com and ask her what the deal is and to please quit masquerading as a Democrat.


The Washington Press Corps: Bush's Lies Versus Gore's Nonlies
The latest Howler:

In the past week, Bush has conducted SS pep rallies in Falls Church, Virginia; in Canton, Mississippi; and in front of the Latino Coalition in Washington. During these events, he has baldly dissembled—and openly lied—about the future of Social Security. In Falls Church, he told five young workers that, absent major changes, there will be “nothing there” in Social Security when they retire in 2041. In Canton, he told Nissan employees that the system will be bankrupt that year: “In other words, it’s out.” And he told the Latino Coalition that there will be “nothing left” in Social Security by that time. These statements aren’t simply misleading; according to Bush’s own projections, these statements are blatantly, laughably false. And Bush kept pimping up the nonsense with that disgraceful old UFO tale. People who think they won’t get a check “understand the math,” this fake man disgracefully said.

Yep! Bush keeps dissembling and lying, wherever he goes—and the “press corps” hides beneath its desks. They refuse to discuss the endless dissembling that drives what amounts to a snake oil tour. On Mother’s Day week, Bush even lies to 84-year-old grandmothers—and the press corps won’t even stir about that. Has any president ever offered such sustained nonsense about such a major domestic initiative? We don’t know, but you can’t get the press corps to care. And by the way—do you remember how much they used to care about the truthfulness of public figures? Did Al Gore lie about Love Story? For two solid years, these pious fakes pretended that they had to know. For two solid years, these pious frauds kept pretending that they deeply cared. Can’t you see why liberals and Dems have to name names again and again?


The Sectarian Right

And the religious right includes not only Christians of various stripes but also Orthodox Jews and even conservative Muslims. Far from the sectarian movement its foes portray, it is in truth a manifestation of the religious pluralism that makes America great. Therein lies its strength. --James Taranto.


"The origin of it [Hinduism] is all demonic. We can't let that stuff come into America. We've got the best defense, if you will-a good offense." --Pat Robertson.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Joe Conason on the PBS Sham
Read the whole article.

Conservatives have long warned us that someday the commissars of political correctness are going to take over in Washington and impose their opinions on us with our own tax dollars. What they didn’t tell us is that they would become those commissars, and that their politically correct orthodoxy would be the Republican Party line—as they are now proving at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

With all the subtlety of an old-style Soviet bureaucrat, C.P.B. chairman Kenneth Tomlinson is extending partisan political control over public television. As a former Reader’s Digest editor and Republican appointee, Mr. Tomlinson clearly understands what he was appointed to do.

Several weeks ago, he hired a Bush White House communications flack named Mary Catherine Andrews. She quickly set up a new “office of the ombudsman” that will oversee the content of public TV and radio broadcasts. Ms. Andrews was so eager to get to work that she began while still under the watchful eye of Karl Rove, the President’s chief political advisor and a pal of Mr. Tomlinson.

According to The New York Times, Ms. Andrews “helped draft the office’s guiding principles, set up a Web page and prepared a news release about the appointment of the [two] new ombudsmen,” whom she apparently helped to select.

One of the ombudsmen is a former Reader’s Digest editor known for his conservative Republicanism, while the other is a retired TV correspondent who endorsed the G.O.P. candidate for governor of Indiana last year and holds a fellowship at the right-wing Hudson Institute. That is how the Bush administration proposes to ensure “objective and balanced” broadcasting.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Break the News to David Taylor
Those of you familiar with this blog know that I like to waste the time of Nigerian 419 scammers (when people like me and and groups like 419 Eater waste the time and resources of the 419 scammers, it protects other people out there).

The latest scammer I got on the hook is David Taylor. Write him at dd_12taylor@excite.com and direct him to this site. Thanks.


Schiavo II: Where's the GOP Outrage?
It's lacking because the person is being taken off of life support because of legislation George W. Bush signed when he was governor of Texas. Details here.


Thoughts on the "Los Angeles, Mexico" Billboard
The big controversy in LA for the past week (other than the freeway shootings) has been the billboard put up by the Spanish language TV station in which the "CA" abbreviation (for California) after "Los Angeles" had been crossed out and the word "Mexico" added in its place (click here to see the billboard on a right-wing blog).

This pissed off a lot of Angelinos. Although I wasn't happy about the billboard, I was less pissed off because 1) I don't identify with Los Angeles; and 2) I have a more balanced view of things. On the one hand, there is the legitimate concern that many people who come to the US bring with them an identification with another country. True, but one phenomenon that is rarely brought up is how Mexico is becoming Americanized. I first visited northern Baja in 1990. It has changed a lot since then--for the better. For all the talk about people in LA not being able to communicate because they don't know Spanish, there's an overlooked phenomenon: if you visit northern Baja, you can get around really well if you only know English.

Nevertheless, the simple fact is that there are many people who view the LA area as the northern province of Mexico. This is a bad attitude--especially considering that many of the people who left Mexico did so because of corrupt government not particularly concerned about civil liberties (As a tourist, I have firsthand knowledge of this).

One's mindset about where one lives is a very powerful thing. That led to an epiphany for me yesterday when I was thinking about the matter. Right now, I live in LA but my heart is in San Diego. I changed my perception: I no longer consider myself as living in LA; I now consider LA as the northern part of San Diego.


Happy Birthday to Media Matters for America
Rock on!


Monday, May 02, 2005


New Chick Tract! Woo Hoo!
It's called "The Wall." Check out what happens when your Buddha-loving wife prevents you from accepting Jesus. Also, Chick illustrated David Daniels' new book, Did the Catholic Church Give Us the Bible? One more thing: in the newest issue of Battle Cry, Chick discusses Pope John Paul II's legacy.


Duelling Billboards
There's been a lot of talk in LA since the Spanish language TV station put up a billboard in which the "CA" abbreviation (for California) after "Los Angeles" had been crossed out and the word "Mexico" added in its place. I heard on Bill Handel's radio show that KFI radio is putting up a billboard rejoinder to the offending billboard. I'll link to it when and if it appears online.
UPDATE: KFI's billboard in now on their main page.


Sunday, May 01, 2005


Film News
It looks as if weekend audiences didn't like xXx: State of the Union. Their party was fun.

I'm happy to see that Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a hit with audiences. I'll have to see it.


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Washington Times
Washington Times
Drudge Report
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