Saturday, March 29, 2003

Dana Milbank

is on MSNBC now, talking about this article.

You know, this is the first time since ...well, maybe ever... when the media has framed an issue so that even the way the question is framed is damaging to the Bush administration. For once, the question itself - "did the Bush administration mislead us about this war" is damning simply because it is asked, regardless of the answer. 99% of the time this little trick is used against Democrats.

Kuwait Missile

Coulda been ours...Kuwait thinks so.

Franklin Graham

Notes on the Atrocities discusses the rather problematic vow by Franklin Graham to provide spiritual and physical aid to Iraqis. It's problematic because he's claimed that Islam is a "very wicked and evil religion."

It's also problematic for an additional reason, which Emma gets wrong when she says:

For the sake of clarity, let me underscore that Samaritan's Purse is not affiliated with the federal government, nor is this a government initiative.

Samaritan's Purse is in fact a recipient of federal money for relief work, and while I have yet to know if they've received money specifically for their planned work in Iraq, there is no reason to think they wouldn't. In which case, it would specifically be a federal government initiatve, through USAID.


Good column about the media coverage.

In America, we get Peter Jennings choking up while talking to a POW's mother on the phone. And Aaron Brown turning moist about almost everything. The other night, while examining pictures of the GI suspected of killing a fellow soldier, Mr Brown, my least favourite man on American television, pressed his lips together and pinched his nose in a manly grimace of repressed emotion.

"It's just an unsettling thing, General," he said. "I mean there's so - you know what - OK." He broke off here, to cough back tears. "There's just - there's just so much at stake for so many people. And then to have this sort of thing happen ... it's just so sad."

CNN's military consultant, General Wesley Clark, gazed at Brown's quivering nostrils with ill-concealed embarrassment. I was praying that he would tell Brown to pull himself together but alas, he took pity on the big girl's blouse. "It is unsettling," he agreed, in the manner of a kindly uncle comforting a hysterical child. "But you know, our leaders have to be able to deal with things like this. These things do happen."


But it is true that the American news media have a bad habit of characterising their own overwrought responses to the war as those of the American public. In the first hours of the invasion, the videophone images of "unopposed" tanks rolling through the Iraqi desert had the network anchors jumping up and down in their seats.

Their excitement appeared to be one part patrioticfervour and three parts delight in the whiz-bangtechnology. "This is amazing!" they kept shouting."This is historical journalism!"

For a few days, the high-fiving hysteria continuedunabated. Then when "sobering" news began to filter in, the anchors swivelled in their seats andfixed us with reproving stares. "This is not going to be a cakewalk," they said, wagging their fingers at we naïfs at home. "The American people may haveto revise their expectations of an easy win."

With his usual unctuous self-righteousness, AaronBrown went so far as to claim that he had beenwarning against unrealistic expectations all along. "Itried to say to people: don't expect that these tanksracing through the desert is like a car chase on TV. I said: this is not the war. This is getting to the war. "Er, no, you didn't.

Wisdom from Pollack

Neal ,not Kenneth of course.
Neal's been alternating between his own unique blogger voice, and more serious commentary from an anonymous soldier friend, and people like author Christian Bauman, whose book I just started reading (and who makes an appearance in the comments here sometimes). Brief review when I'm done.

Here's an excerpt from today:

had a fair number of friends who were involved in the firefight that became known as The Battle of Mogadishu. By most accounts, the battle was a defeat of American forces by Somali warlords. Osama bin Laden himself used this battle and the subsequent withdrawal of American forces from the region as evidence that Americans did not have the stomach for the ugly realities of sustained combat.

But Rangers and other Special Operations soldiers I’ve talked with who were in this battle describe a scene very similar to the one in both the book and film Black Hawk Down, with one notable exception.

“We killed a shitload of guys,” they say.

Indeed, some estimates have put the Somali body count upwards of 1,000 dead when compared to the American total of 18 Special Operations soldiers lost. Successive Somali assaults during the day and night of 3 and 4 October were cut down by the small band of besieged Rangers and their attack helicopters in the air.

Les Aspin resigned over a much smaller Clusterfuck than has gone on so far. Back in those days, the SCLM showed the bodies being dragged through the streets.

The Buck Stops Here

Or there, or there...

WASHINGTON - President Bush's aides did not forcefully present him with dissenting views from CIA and State and Defense Department officials who warned that U.S.-led forces could face stiff resistance in Iraq, according to three senior administration officials.

Bush embraced the predictions of some top administration hawks, beginning with Vice President Dick Cheney, who predicted in the weeks before the war with Iraq that Saddam Hussein's regime was brittle and that Iraqis would joyously greet coalition troops as liberators, the officials said.

The people who led us into this should be held responsible for its outcome. I hope that outcome is as good as possible, and if so they'll be responsible for that, too. But make no mistake, if this is a disaster the blame falls on their shoulders.

Calpundit on Liberal Extremism

Dumb things said by college professors, gay rights parades that offend "ordinary" people, tooth-and-nail opposition to having the local wingnut Judge make a Sophie's Choice for me and my wife?

Screw the center. Most of the examples have little to do with Democrats, and the ones that do - bring it on. I agree that the stupid-things-said-in-Baghdad was stupid, but it was nothing more than that. The reporter baited him and he took the bait. It's not as if it had any impact, it just looks stupid. I wish that Tom DeLay's comments sympathizing with poor Slobo and his plight got half the attention. But, hey, who exactly is #2 in the House Republican Leadership?! At least the Dems were clearly sympathizing with the Iraqi people, and not their leaders.

The wingnuts run the Republican party. The center runs the Democratic Party. The 'liberal extremists' only hurt the center because people like CalPundit keep apologizing for them. It's a great way to get a Fox News gig - you know, "Even the liberal CalPundit doesn't like those icky Gay Rights parades. Not because there's anything wrong with that, but because they're hurting their cause which he cares so deeply about." Calpundit might want to look into the recent history of the gay rights movement, particularly ACT-UP. They realized quickly that the only way to get media attention to the fact that people were dying was to Make a Big Noise. They did, it worked.

U.S. Orders 4-6 Day Pause

There goes the made-for-TV war.

Also, soldiers have cut their rations from 3 to 1 per day. Ouch.

No Glee Here

Certain law professors are expressing the opinion that anti-war bloggers are expressing glee at every problem the coalition faces. Well, here it isn't glee, but rage. My rage is also directed at certain other bloggers who express glee at every sign of Saddam's brutality - who do you think is on the receiving end of that right now?

Friday, March 28, 2003

Another Perle of Wisdom


“Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder.”

(thanks jl)

Beat the Press

From Haaretz Daily:

U.S. troops in Iraq detained two Israeli journalists and Portuguese colleague on suspicion of espionage and beat one of them, relatives said Friday. They were released after 48 hours.

The journalists, Dan Scemama, of Channel One Television and Boaz Bismuth of the Yedioth Aharonoth entered Iraq without proper accreditation. Scemama said earlier in the week that he had been denied accreditation because he represented Israeli television.

The two teamed up with the Portuguese TV reporter, rented a jeep, and entered Iraq on their own, driving alongside American convoys. They phoned in reports based on conversations with U.S. troops and Iraqis.

Speaking to Channel One news from Kuwait, Dan Scemama said Friday that the Americans treated them as spies and terrorists for the 48 hours of their detention. "We were humiliated for many hours. They did not let is eat and they took all the means of communication we had on our persons."

On To Syria

Between reports that Saddam is headed to Syria (to follow his wife and children), and with Rumsfeld claiming that they're helping to arm Iraq, can there be much doubt?

Baghdad From Space


Gary Hart is now a Blogger


Brown v. Ellsberg

Aaron Brown gets his ass handed to him, then he runs away screaming.

On a related note, he's shocked - so shocked - that anti-war people are a bit annoyed with CNN, even though he admits they're probably right. I guess his treatment of Ellsberg was his way of trying to right a wrong, media whore style.

The Return of Blitzer Torture


Krauthammer Then and Now

TBogg has it.

The Poodle and the Whore

Bill Schneider last night:

SCHNEIDER: I think there is a little magic in it. Blair did something, which President Bush really hasn't done. He went to public forums and he confronted his critics. He was even insulted in public by a peculiar British practice known as...

HARRIS: I think we saw that in the House of Commons.

SCHNEIDER: ... slow clap - well they don't do that in the House, but in public forums. They would slow clap to show that - it was their way of booing a speaker. He confronted his critics. He listened to their arguments. He gave an eloquent defense of this policy. And the British admire that. They may not agree with him, but they admire his fortitude. It's almost, almost "Churchillian." No one in Britain calls him what they used to call him just a few weeks ago. He was known as Bush's poodle. You don't hear that anymore in Britain

First line, Mirror, today:

AS George Bush's poodle, Tony Blair is perfectly capable of having his own pups. But yesterday he went to Camp David to buy another one.

I hate Bill Schneider.

(thanks mw)

The Money Quote

From Max Sawicky:

What we have seen here is a endless sequence of rumors whose durations dovetail end to end chronologically. By the time one story is finally put to rest, another has risen to take its place. The upshot is that the public digests a continuous dose of bullshit.

Max also informs us that the inversion is complete - Tory Peter Hitchens is against this "left-wing" war.

The Money Question

Kevin Drum asks the question that's been on my mind lately:

One thing I haven't seen much discussion of is why Rumsfeld and Cheney are so wedded to the idea of war on the cheap. Did they really think they would have a harder time getting approval for military action if it turned out to cost $150 billion instead of $75 billion? Or are they thinking ahead to other wars? Or were they worried about leaving a few divisions intact in case we needed them somewhere else? What's the motivation here? Why not just let the brass send in half a million troops and get the job done?

I have a couple of ideas, but nothing I'm too sure about.

On a related note, for the people with higher military IQs than me, is there even the remotest possibility that the claims that calling up an additional 100,000 troops was all part of the Cunning Plan?

Energy Crisis Flashback

From the liberal New York Times, April 21, 2001

One remedy, as our colleague Paul Krugman has suggested on the Op-Ed page, is for the federal government to impose a temporary cap on wholesale prices. That will not ease the actual shortage of energy -- only conservation and more generating capacity can do that -- but it will help reduce the $1 billion a month the state is currently paying to subsidize the purchase of power. The spread between uncontrolled wholesale prices and the regulated retail prices has already forced one of California's two main utilities into bankruptcy. It would take some doing to bankrupt the entire state government, but without a price cap, the damage to Sacramento's financial flexibility could be significant.

Oops, wrong.. Damn you Howell Raines!

I'm sure we could play this game all day.

I think this Krugman column should have had the title "Neener, Neener."

The Dangers of Drinking

It appears our Iraq battle plan was hatched over a couple of brewskis.

Fair and Balanced

Things seen on Fox news ticker regarding New York City protesters:

Fox News had its own response to the demonstrators. The news ticker rimming Fox's headquarters on Sixth Avenue wasn't carrying war updates as the protest began. Instead, it poked fun at the demonstrators, chiding them.

"War protester auditions here today ... thanks for coming!" read one message. "Who won your right to show up here today?" another questioned. "Protesters or soldiers?"

Said a third: "How do you keep a war protester in suspense? Ignore them."

Still another read: "Attention protesters: the Michael Moore Fan Club meets Thursday at a phone booth at Sixth Avenue and 50th Street" - a reference to the film maker who denounced the war while accepting an Oscar on Sunday night for his documentary "Bowling for Columbine."

The protesters said Fox's sentiments only proved their point: that media coverage, in particular among the television networks, is so biased as to be unbelievable.

Suspicious Activity Shuts Williamsburg Bridge


Vehicular and train traffic has been halted in both directions as police search the bridge.

NewsChannel 4 has learned that a group of bridge workers reportedly spotted a trio of men dropping suspicious packages on the bridge and fleeing the scene.

The three men are now reportedly in custody.

..being downgraded to probable drunk guys climbing bridge.


Has anyone else noticed that there are two parallel universes right now? One one hand you have the cable news networks. They've gone into 24 hour coverage mode - no commercials. On the other hand, you have the rest of the media which is just going on like everything is pretty much normal.

Hey, cable nets - go ahead, run some ads, make some money. Everyone else is.

haah. Just as I typed this I noticed the first commercial I've seen in awhile. Looked like it was just a local one, and it was only one. Weird.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Capozzola for Senate!

Run, Jim, Run! Our powerful blogs will propel you to victory!

Back to Iraq

Christopher's in Ankara, and he makes an interesting point. It's easy to mock the conspiracy theories of the Arab world - and the opinion on "the street" - but what must they think of our crazy conspiracy theories?

But the region is rife with conspiracy theories. Aykut said that if I went out and asked the people on the street, half would say the United States committed 9/11 so it could go after Iraq. (Interestingly, almost half of Americans — 45 percent — believe Saddam was personally behind 9/11.) Turkey is also rippling with an anti-Bush sentiment. Turks like Americans and sometimes, even America. But more than 90 percent oppose this war and a similar percentage absolutely loathe George W. Bush. Aykut sheepishly admitted he hoped the war would go badly so Bush would lose in 2004. I made him feel bad when I reminded him that many Iraqis and Americans would die if it went too badly.

(emphasis mine)

Chris Matthews

just said "it's my sense that the president is getting testy about the fact that message hasn't gotten out... that the Iraqi people haven't yet realized that their days are numbered..."


Perle Resigns

From DPB.
....not so fast - he resigned as Chair, and Rummy wants him to stay on as a member.

In Memoriam


House Approves National Day of Prayer

Lord help us.

WASHINGTON -- The House passed a resolution Thursday calling for a national day of humility, prayer and fasting in a time of war and terrorism.

The resolution, passed 346-49, says Americans should use the day of prayer "to seek guidance from God to achieve a greater understanding of our own failings and to learn how we can do better in our everyday activities, and to gain resolve in meeting the challenges that confront our nation."

Under the resolution, President Bush would issue a proclamation designating a specific day as a day of "humility, prayer and fasting."

White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said officials there had not looked at the resolution but "the president believes that faith and prayer are important and frequently references the importance of praying for American troops and for freedom around the world."

Be Very Afraid

From the New Yorker, Courtesy of Bad Things:

The meeting was scheduled to last twenty minutes, but Bush and Abdullah talked for two hours. At one point, the Crown Prince handed Bush the photographs of the dead Palestinian children. Do you think it's right? he asked. Bush appeared surprised by the photographs and his eyes seemed to well up. One person familiar with the conversation summarized Bush's comments: "I want peace. I don't want to see any people killed on both sides. I think God loves me. I think God loves the Palestinians. I think God loves the Israelis. We cannot allow this to continue." At one point, Bush told Abdullah that he believed Muslims and Israelis were all God's children and that God didn't want to see children from either side die. The meeting ended with both leaders promising to deliver the other side: Abdullah pledged to rein in Arafat and Bush to rein in Sharon.

Someone suggested a break for lunch. Before beginning to eat, Bush bowed his head and reached for Saud's hand. "Let us pray," he said. A look of panic came over the Crown Prince, who was unfamiliar with the Christian custom of saying grace before meals. "What is he doing?" he whispered to an aide sitting nearby. "What should I do?" Powell also looked stricken, as if he couldn't believe what Bush was saying in front of his Muslim guests.

U.S. Planning More Invasions

says McGovern:

Former U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern charged Wednesday that President Bush intends to invade North Korea and Iran after finishing with Iraq.
Go to Postcards

"Even now, these wars are being planned by the current administration," McGovern said. "I'm positive, based on conversations with people close to the White House, that plans are in place for the next invasions."

McGovern did not disclose who his sources were, and attempts to get a response were not successful before deadline.

Morons Part Deux

Army Depots Have Names of Oil Giants


The subtleties surrounding the sensitive role oil plays in the Iraqi war may have eluded the United States Army. Deep in some newspaper coverage yesterday was a report that the 101st Airborne Division had named one central Iraq outpost Forward Operating Base Shell and another Forward Operating Base Exxon.

The Pentagon shrugged off concerns that now might not be the time to mention the names of foreign oil companies on Iraqi soil. "The forward bases are normally refueling points — they're basically gas stations in the desert," a Pentagon spokeswoman said. "Whether or not we're going to lecture everyone that, due to political sensitivities, you should be careful what you call your gas stations, I don't know if that's something that should be done or would be done."

Look, I realize these things are just little (and even witty) jokes by these folks, but they're doing a wonderful job providing ammo for the other side's propaganda.


Total fucking morons.

TALLIL AIRFIELD, Southern Iraq (AP) - The first U.S. airplane landed Thursday at a key Iraqi airfield, which forces informally renamed ``Bush International Airport.''

Freedom Camps

Apparently they're empty.

WTF? One day this administration needs to learn that your average citizen of the world - even those from crappy places like Iraq - is a bit more sophisticated than your average Fox News viewer.

The Powell Doctrine

Powell was for the longest time the media darling for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons was that he had a "doctrine" which was simple enough for them to understand, sounded quite reasonable, and appeared to be our actual military policy.

Scott Rosenberg points out the obvious - that the Powell Doctrine has been thrown on the ash heap of history. What is odd is that the media has essentially ignored this fact. Once upon a time they would have taken Powell's "side" in this, and but apparently no longer.

Fog of War

It's no surprise that most of what we learn about the war in real-time is probably false. However, it's fast becoming clear that the most unreliable information is coming out of our defense department. Jim Henley directs us to this article:

The US military has been forced to admit the 8,000 Iraqi soldiers they claimed to have captured last week are now battling British forces.

Dick Cheney, 2001

From Frontline:

What we want to do is make sure that there are adequate supplies of energy available at the lowest possible cost. Our economy is built on plentiful supplies of cheap energy. Then the question is, how do you get there? And if you believe in a market approach, you're most likely to get people to invest in whatever commodity it is you want to produce--in this case, energy. ... Generally the view has been in recent years--and I think it's a correct one--that having a market approach will attract the investment that's needed in order to produce enough; the law of supply and demand takes over, and that's how you get reasonable prices. The price has shot up in California, for example, because there has been no significant increase in supply in California for about 10 years, although there's been a 24 percent increase in the demand for electricity. So the key to reasonable prices, long term, is supply


But why? ... Because we've had rapidly increasing demand for gas, and supply hasn't kept pace. Gas used to sell for a buck seventy-five or a buck eighty-five per thousand cubic feet, and now we've got $5, $6, $7. ... It's lower than that now, but it's still much higher than it's ever been on a sustained basis. Part of it is because moving forward, for example, with our expectations and future demand for electric power. Most of that capacity is expected to be fueled by gas.


Also, they built adequate capacity, so they haven't got any problem. ... We've got significant excess capacity in Texas, with the result that you haven't had these kind of price spikes. In the end, a policy that doesn't reduce demand or increase supply is a Band-Aid. It doesn't solve the problem.


The law of supply and demand works. Markets work. That's the backbone of our economy. The judgment's been made in many places around the country now over the last several years that we're going to let markets work in this area, just as we've done in telecommunications, for example

If we had a decent press, they would be asking Dick about this stuff, too.

Eschaton Assignment Desk

For one of the White House press monkeys, reader JS suggests:

Someone should ask the President (or his spokespeople) what he thinks of Justice Scalia's comment. After all, the President doesn't hesitate to name Scalia as the model for his type of Justice.

Reader JS is clearly under the mistaken impression that we actually have a press that would be willing to ask something like this.

What Gay Media? Indeed.

What now, Poodle?

The Agonist informs us that the BBC is set to report that Blair likely was unable to make his case for UN involvement in post-war Iraq.

Well, duhh Tony.

Regime Change

From the Newshour:

GWEN IFILL: Is the plan an undercapitalization of coalition forces?

COLONEL W. PATRICK LANG: I think so. I'm sure the game, whatever it was, showed 36 maneuver about battalions would be enough but I think as Sam says what has been revealed the real circumstance in Iraq changes the situation. You have to adapt to that. You know? What we have tonight out in the desert with sand blowing in their faces we have the third infantry division waiting to receive the attack of whatever it is that's coming south from Baghdad. There isn't any momentum there; they are sitting in the desert with a lot of broken down vehicles waiting to receive this attack. So I think the period of consolidation would not be a bad idea...

COLONEL SAMUEL GARDINER: No. I just want to add a political military dimension. Yesterday a very important thing happened. Two retired four-star generals: Wes Clark and Barry McCaffrey, who was a division commander in the first Gulf War, said we don't have enough force. Whether they are right or not, the leadership of the United States has a problem. And that is if we go to Baghdad with two divisions and there are losses, that's regime change kind of stuff. And I don't mean Baghdad regime change. But you don't send American men and women into battle without all it takes to do that. I mean, that's a very serious thing.

Tom Friedman

God, who let him out of his cage. He's on TV all the time now, babbling utter nonsense.

Practice to Deceive

by Josh Marshall.

Imagine it's six months from now. The Iraq war is over. After an initial burst of joy and gratitude at being liberated from Saddam's rule, the people of Iraq are watching, and waiting, and beginning to chafe under American occupation. Across the border, in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, our conquering presence has brought street protests and escalating violence. The United Nations and NATO are in disarray, so America is pretty much on its own. Hemmed in by budget deficits at home and limited financial assistance from allies, the Bush administration is talking again about tapping Iraq's oil reserves to offset some of the costs of the American presence--talk that is further inflaming the region. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence has discovered fresh evidence that, prior to the war,Saddam moved quantities of biological and chemical weapons to Syria. When Syria denies having such weapons, the administration starts massing troops on the Syrian border. But as they begin to move, there is an explosion: Hezbollah terrorists from southern Lebanon blow themselves up in a Baghdad restaurant, killing dozens of Western aid workers and journalists. Knowing that Hezbollah has cells in America, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge puts the nation back on Orange Alert. FBI agents start sweeping through mosques, with a new round of arrests of Saudis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, and Yemenis.

To most Americans, this would sound like a frightening state of affairs, the kind that would lead them to wonder how and why we had got ourselves into this mess in the first place. But to the Bush administration hawks who are guiding American foreign policy, this isn't the nightmare scenario. It's everything going as anticipated.

You know Josh, that's why some of us have been against all of this...

RSS Feed

Blogger's automatic RSS feed doesn't seem to work too well, so I've added a second one - it's the orange button on the right courtesy of Janes' Blogosphere.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Bigotry on the Supreme Court

From Dahlia Lithwick:

Smith explains that the anti-sodomy laws have pernicious secondary effects—keeping gay parents from gaining child visitation or custody or employment, for instance—and Rehnquist wonders whether, if these laws are stuck down, states can have laws "preferring non-homosexuals to homosexuals as kindergarten teachers." Smith replies that there would need to be some showing that gay kindergarten teachers produce harm to children. Scalia offers one: "Only that children might be induced to follow the path to homosexuality."

Frankly, a comment like that should be grounds for impeachment.

War Likely To Last Months


Despite the rapid advance of Army and Marine forces across Iraq over the past week, some senior U.S. military officers are now convinced that the war is likely to last months and will require considerably more combat power than is now on hand there and in Kuwait, senior defense officials said today.

The combination of wretched weather, long and insecure supply lines, and an enemy that has refused to be supine in the face of American combat power has led to a broad reassessment by some top generals of U.S. military expectations and timelines. Some of them see even the potential threat of a drawn-out fight that sucks in more and more U.S. forces. Both on the battlefield in Iraq and in Pentagon conference rooms, military commanders were talking today about a longer, harder war than had been expected just a week ago, the officials said.

"Tell me how this ends," one senior officer said today.

whole article is horribly depressing. Including this:

This is not a crisis," said former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R.-Ga.) who is a friend of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and of Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the U.S. commander in the war. "The plan is going surprisingly well so far."

Gingrich, who also is a member of the Defense Policy Board, a top Pentagon advisory group, said that the key fact to keep in mind is that U.S. forces drove to within 50 miles of the capital in just six days without being engaged by regular Iraqi forces. "If they come out and fight us, they will be annihilated," he said.

Post accidentally deleted

the one about volokh. Decided to keep it down until I explain what I meant, as I don't think people get it.

FBI Interviewing Iraqi-Americans

Eric over at It's That Legal keeps trying to convince me that the mass interview program is only for non-citizens. I've sent him numerous newspaper articles describing instances of American citizens being a part of this, and even the article he links to talks about an American citizen who was interviewed as a part of this program. Just now CNN did an interview with a citizen who the FBI paid a visit to.

William Safire

Check out this Tom Paine story about him. It's fascinating for numerous reasons.

It's About Time

FERC finally notices that there was price manipulation in California. Shocker!

Scalia and the Constitution

Jack Balkin's been writing a series of posts about Scalia the Originalist. The latest one is quite interesting and educational.

Patriot Act II

Coming soon to an internment camp near you!

Um, Kevin?

I think they're called the Democrats.

Don't Mourn for Corrie

Face it, people, anyone who cares for this woman's death only does so because of big media propaganda - as Charles Johnson puts it, "the media’s barrage of images of Corrie looking Caucasian and saintly."

Economic News

Durable Goods:

February durable goods orders fell a bit more than expected, at 1.2%. Moreover, January’s gain was revised down from 2.9% to 1.9%. Even less encouraging, once again the numbers would have been far worse had it not been for a massive 28% increase in defense orders.


The brain that can construct this statement is truly incredible:

Q But it does seem, based on, as Ron points out, the President on Sunday saying, within 36 hours massive amounts of aid should begin to move -- and perhaps the prediction that we heard quite a bit, that the people of the south, and particularly Basra, will rise up -- that you didn't expect this. That you did not expect there to be this --

MR. FLEISCHER: We didn't expect the Irani -- the Iraqis to cease caring about their own people, to cease feeding their own people, to put up impediments to this humanitarian relief supplies? That's the nature of the Iraqi regime. They've been doing it for years.

We didn't expect them to do what they've been doing for years?

Daily Show

Nathan Newman gives us the transcript.

On the bright side, I won my office pool. On the other hand, hearing that does make me feel like the government just took a shit on my chest (shit bleeped)...Of course, Haliburton has refused to disclose the value of the contract, but company spokesmen said, well we're going to do alright on this one.

[Cut to "senior correspondent" Steve Colbert]

Jon, keeping in mind that Haliburton was a major campaign contributor to the campaign and Dick Cheney was the former CEO, this move is extremely...I'm a bit of a stickler for language...if this word was a flavor, it would be a thick brown taste in the back of your throat, an acrid tang of decay, like you're rotting from the inside...I've tried appalling, shameful, reprehensible-- I've tried cramming words together, greed-ragicous, backstabtastick, and Christ-just-when-I-was-beginning-to-buy-their-line-of-crappical, but nothing quite captures it.

Rebuilding Iraq


The U.S. Agency for International Development has issued eight solicitations to date for reconstruction activities in Iraq. The solicitation documents are linked from the descriptions below. These documents are being released for informational purposes only. Offers received as a result of these postings will not be considered.

(tip from nk)

The Lies Continue

The president just claimed that we detroyed a chemical weapons factory. One which apparently hadn't been producing any chemical weapons.

Well, it isn't as if he lied about a blowjob.

UPDATE: My bad, I was misinformed. Here's what was actually said:

We've destroyed the base of a terrorist group in Northern Iraq that sought to attack America and Europe with deadly poisons.

which is not as far as I know a lie.

([sullivan]so sue me[/sulllivan])

busy day

I'm a Nazi

sung by Rush Limbaugh,


Mac Diva, longtime contributor and commenter to various blogs now has her own, and she has a few comments about that other Lott, John.

Libertarians Unite!

I have to admit I'm always a bit confused why too many libertarians seem to be undisturbed by too many instances of inappropriate incarcerations. I have no idea if this will become law in Oregon, but it's a goddamn disturbing bill:

SECTION 1. { + (1) A person commits the crime of terrorism if the person knowingly plans, participates in or carries out any act that is intended, by at least one of its participants, to disrupt:
(a) The free and orderly assembly of the inhabitants of the State of Oregon;
(b) Commerce or the transportation systems of the State of Oregon; or
(c) The educational or governmental institutions of the State of Oregon or its inhabitants.
(2) A person commits the crime of terrorism if the person conspires to do any of the activities described in subsection (1) of this section.
(3) A person may not be convicted of terrorism except upon the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or upon confession in open court.
(4)(a) A person convicted of terrorism shall be punished by imprisonment for life.

In other words, blocking traffic can get you life.

House Resolution 153



1st Session

H. RES. 153

Recognizing the public need for fasting and prayer in order to secure the blessings and protection of Providence for the people of the United States and our Armed Forces during the conflict in Iraq and under the threat of terrorism at home.


March 20, 2003

Mr. AKIN (for himself, Mr. GOODE, Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland, Mr. JONES of North Carolina, Mr. KING of Iowa, Mr. HAYES, Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS of Virginia, Mr. BEAUPREZ, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Mr. MANZULLO, Mr. ADERHOLT, Mr. TIAHRT, Mr. PITTS, Mr. RYUN of Kansas, Mrs. MYRICK, Mr. WELDON of Florida, Mr. BISHOP of Utah, Mr. BARRETT of South Carolina, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN, Mr. GINGREY, Mr. TERRY, and Mr. SOUDER) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Government Reform


Recognizing the public need for fasting and prayer in order to secure the blessings and protection of Providence for the people of the United States and our Armed Forces during the conflict in Iraq and under the threat of terrorism at home.

Whereas the United States is currently engaged in a war on terrorism in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001;

Whereas the Armed Forces of the United States are currently engaged in a campaign to disarm the regime of Saddam Hussein and liberate the people of Iraq;

Whereas, on June 1, 1774, the Virginia House of Burgesses called for a day of fasting and prayer as an expression of solidarity with the people of Boston who were under siege by the enemy;

Whereas, on March 16, 1776, the Continental Congress, recognizing that the `Liberties of America are imminently endangered' and the need `to acknowledge the overruling Providence of God', called for a day of `Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer' ;

Whereas, on June 28, 1787, during the debate of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin, convinced of God's intimate involvement in human affairs, implored the Congress to seek the assistance of Heaven in all its dealings;

Whereas, on March 30, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, at the bequest of the Senate, and himself recognizing the need of the Nation to humble itself before God in repentance for its national sins, proclaimed a day of fasting , prayer and humiliation;

Whereas all of the various faiths of the people of the United States have recognized, in our religious traditions, the need for fasting and humble supplication before

Whereas humility, fasting , and prayer in times of danger have long been rooted in our essential national convictions and have been a means of producing unity and solidarity among all the diverse people of this Nation as well as procuring the enduring grace and benevolence of God;

Whereas, through prayer , fasting , and self-reflection, we may better recognize our own faults and shortcomings and submit to the wisdom and love of God in order that we may have guidance and strength in those daily actions and decisions we must take; and

Whereas dangers and threats to our Nation persist and, in this time of peril, it is appropriate that the people of the United States, leaders and citizens alike, seek guidance, strength, and resolve through prayer and fasting : Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the President should issue a proclamation--

(1) designating a day for humility, prayer , and fasting for all people of the United States; and

(2) calling on all people of the United States--

(A) to observe the day as a time of prayer and fasting ;

(B) to seek guidance from God to achieve a greater understanding of our own failings and to learn how we can do better in our everyday activities; and

(C) to gain resolve in meeting the challenges that confront our Nation.

Prisoners Executed

CNN has reported that British Intelligence believes that some of our people were executed in public.


...NYT link.

The bombing of Iraqi TV has presumably removed the ability of Saddam to attempt to confirm or deny (honestly or not) this.

(Just a note..I'm currently typing with my 'alt' key replacing my nonfunctioning spacebar. So, if there are more typos than usual, that's probably why)

Thug Watch

Not very friendly.

A truck driver from South Fairmount was arrested Monday after he drove toward a group of anti-war protesters with his tractor-trailer rig in the West End.

"It (the semi cab) stopped about 10 feet from the nearest protester," Larry Schartman, one of the about 40 people who were participating in a "Peace in Iraq" rally, said Monday night. "Thank God nobody got hurt."

Police charged James Watters, 49, with aggravated menacing, inducing panic and reckless operation in the incident that occurred about 6 p.m. on the Ezzard Charles Drive bridge over Interstate 75.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

CNN Losing in Ratings

When will they learn that Fox Lite ain't gonna work.

At least they cancelled Connie.

An Open Letter to the Washington Post

From Pfaffenblog
It begins:

On the BBC World News today, a British commentator said, "One of the Iraq war's major casualties is the credibility of the American media. Nobody takes it seriously."

This is major catastrophe for the United States.


Eric Boehlert Provides Some Perspective

In a letter to Medianews:

It's sure interesting that so many media players stayed away from the images of POW's in Iraq, out of sensitivity to their families. Whilebnoble, where was that hand-holding approach when the Black Hawks wentbdown in Mogadishu? Virtually all those same news outlets ran pictures ofb a bloated U.S. G.I. corpse being dragged through the streets. And no, his family had not yet been notified. My hunch is if the Clinton administration had urged the press to stay away from a news image, theb way Rumsfeld did on Sunday, journalists would have laughed. Wonder what's changed.

Halliburton Gets No-Bid Contract

I'm shocked. Really.

Bush Postpones Release of Documents

I'm shocked. Really


from the Onion.

UPDATE: which warblogger and/or commenter here most reminds you of Bob Sheffer?

This Is a Huge Victory

Unlike my friend over at Seeing the Forest, I think it's quite impressive that the minority party (with a little bit of help) managed to whack the Bush tax cut in half.

It's also a stunning reversal.

Let me add more. First, some people really don't seem to understand that the Democrats are in the minority. Second, even the media whores can understand this one as a case of 'Bush not getting what he wants.' The previous bill cut $100 billion - and that was a disaster because $100B isn't really meaningful enough for Democrats to be able to claim any victory at all, while it is enough for Republicans to claim they love reaching into your wallet and stealing your money. Third it's going to piss off the wingnuts in the House, and there's a chance they won't be willing to compromise when the time comes to reconcile the new bill, giving the Senate a second chance to (maybe) kill the thing outright.

NPR Reporter

in Baghdad says that the government is still in full control of the city and the people aren't too eager to be invaded.

A Wee Bit of Difference

Mark Kleiman wonders why I'm not all over the people who disrupted a John Edwards fundraising event. Mostly it's because I didn't know anything about it as I don't spend much time hanging out at indymedia.

As for the general issue, I agree that disrupting the democratic process in such a fashion is problematic. For the same reason I find protesting campaign events and party conventions generally inappropriate. I mean, showing up with a few signs because the cameras are there is no big deal, but there are better times and places for more disruptive demonstrations. There's a line between protest and disruption, and I can't really tell if these people crossed it - though I definitely wouldn't recommend it. One can imagine the result if it became a standard tactic to disrupt fundraising events by all sides. So, yes, I agree that this is generally a bad idea and not one which should be duplicated.

However, Kleiman's snarky comparison of people protesting a candidate's view of the war with the hired Republican goons who were sent on the orders of John Sweeney to "shut it down" - it being the mandated recount in Florida - way out of bounds.

(update: fixed name)

Frist is a Bad Man

Go to Wampum Blog and take action.

What Gay Media?

Signorile has a good critique of Alterman's view of the media being 'liberal' and gay friendly. I agree. While I don't doubt that big media reporters are on average more 'gay-friendly' than the population as a whole in some abstract sense, overall I think most coverage ranges from clueless to hostile. While reporters - print or tv - aren't usually openly hostile, they regularly provide a platform for those who are. Extraordinarily bigoted comments about gays and lesbians are given wide distribution by the SCLM on a daily basis.

When a nationwide manhunt ensued for a spree killer shortly after designer Gianni Versace was killed in 1997—during the height of the Clinton era, a time in which we were supposedly heralding the gay rights movement’s having arrived—Tom Brokaw, on NBC Nightly News, warned millions of people to be on the look-out for a "homicidal homosexual." Brokaw was talking about suspect Andrew Cunanan,
who was gay, and he conjured up every dark Hollywood fabrication about murderous sexual deviants.

Could you imagine Brokaw saying "a homicidal Jew" was on the loose? Not likely in 1997, but it certainly was how, 70 or so years ago, the media in Europe and America would have described a murderer who happened to be Jewish. Brokaw’s words underscore how far the media have to go in dealing with gays and lesbians, Will & Grace and civil union announcements notwithstanding.


Usually, it’s around issues of physical intimacy that the media break down entirely in covering gays, as if sexual anxiety suddenly takes over and rational thought goes out the window. When Ellen DeGeneres and actress Ann Heche nuzzled one another in front of Bill Clinton in 1997, the New York Times—that bastion of the so-called liberal media—wasted precious space on its editorial page to criticize the duo for supposedly inappropriate behavior, as if we’ve not seen heterosexuals nuzzling and doing a lot more in public ad nauseum. (Just think Al and Tipper Gore)

That was when the leader of the liberal media, Howell Raines, ran the editorial page.


Recently I wondered why there was no poll taken about how support for war changed with the number of casualties. Suckful informs me that Zogby did do such a poll (and now I actually remember it).

Currently, would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose a war against Iraq?"
Support 54%
Oppose 41%
Not Sure 5%

"Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if it included sending in hundreds of thousands of U.S. ground troops?"
Support 47%
Oppose 45%
Not Sure 8%

"Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if there were hundreds of American casualties?"
Support 46%
Oppose 47%
Not Sure 7%

"Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if there were thousands of American casualties?"
Support 41%
Oppose 51%
Not Sure 8%

"Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if it meant thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties?"
Support 40%
Oppose 53%
Not Sure 7%

Interesting things are that support still remains pretty high, and people seem about as concerned with Iraqi civilian casualities as they are with American ones. Though, my guess that isn't the type of question you can really get an accurate answer to.

Arthur Schlesinger


Partly because of the American press. Every utterance of [Vice-President Dick] Cheney or Rumsfeld was given front-page treatment, whereas any utterance from Senators [Edward] Kennedy or [Robert] Byrd or Bob Graham were ignored or given page 18, one-paragraph treatment. There was the makings of a great debate about this, but the press so favored the administration and they so excluded, they so ignored the opposition in Congress. Both Byrd and Kennedy gave thoughtful, capable speeches—a succession of them—and the press did not give equal time to the opposition.

Get used to GOPMedia.

Forbidden Video Spreads


It looks like that unauthorized video of President Bush primping and practicing on the teleprompter before last Wednesday's war speech is destined to become a cult classic. White House officials cried foul after the BBC broadcast 97 seconds of the not-ready-for-prime-time president, but we hear that broadcast outlets in Portugal and Italy aired a full 10 to 15 minutes of the scene, mistakenly made available by the CBS crew pulling pool duty for the speech.

Allentown, Pa., viewer Bob Agonis tells us he caught Bush's speech-prep on Portugal's public broadcasting network RTP (for Radioteleviso Portuguesa). Bush could be heard practicing the speech, repeating the same lines over and over, while the Portuguese anchor provided the occasional snickering commentary. Agonis and his wife Sharon "at first figured the White House had given permission early to all the other networks as well," he said. "Then as we flipped and didn't see Bush on American channels, we realized, 'This isn't supposed to be here!'" As for the commentary, "Who knows what they were saying, but it was easy to detect their laughs. The worst part is that it wasn't just an accidental feed strictly to Allentown, but it's going to Portugal, Brazil. Altogether it's not good!'

An American expatriate in Italy, meanwhile, emailed that he caught the video of Bush, "looking rather jumpy," on a satiric half-hour show that airs nightly after the Canale 5 evening news program in Rome. "It was hilarious, and I won't bore you by telling you what an American who has lived in Italy for many years thinks of this whole mess," he wrote. "Some clips are used endlessly, and I suspect that will be the fate of Bush's clip -- and I doubt very much that anybody from here will apologize."

Mary Cheney - Human Shield?

This is probably totally bogus, but it's funny anyway.

Sand Storm

Wind gusts as high as 100mph.


Military's Pissed

It may just be standard CYA stuff, but as this post by Digby makes clear we should be very afraid about this stuff:

"This is the ground war that was not going to happen in (Rumsfeld's) plan," said a Pentagon official. Because the Pentagon didn't commit overwhelming force, "now we have three divisions strung out over 300-plus miles and the follow-on division, our reserve, is probably three weeks away from landing."

Asked Monday about concerns that the coalition force isn't big enough, Defense Department spokesperson Victoria Clarke replied: "... most people with real information are saying we have the right mix of forces. We also have a plan that allows it to adapt and to scale up and down as needed."

Knowledgeable defense and administration officials say Rumsfeld and his civilian aides at first wanted to commit no more than 60,000 American troops to the war on the assumption that the Iraqis would capitulate in two days.


Intelligence officials say Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz and other Pentagon civilians ignored much of the advice of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency in favor of reports from the Iraqi opposition and from Israeli sources that predicted an immediate uprising against Saddam once the Americans attacked.

The officials said Rumsfeld also made his disdain for the Army's heavy divisions very clear when he argued about the war plan with Army Gen. Tommy Franks, the allied commander. Franks wanted more and more heavily armed forces, said one senior administration official; Rumsfeld kept pressing for smaller, lighter and more agile ones, with much bigger roles for air power and special forces.

"Our force package is very light," said a retired senior general. "If things don't happen exactly as you assumed, you get into a tangle, a mismatch of your strategy and your force. Things like the pockets (of Iraqi resistance) in Basra, Umm Qasr and Nasariyah need to be dealt with forcefully, but we don't have the forces to do it."

"The Secretary of Defense cut off the flow of Army units, saying this thing would be over in two days," said a retired senior general who has followed the evolution of the war plan. "He shut down movement of the 1st Cavalry Division and the1st Armored Division. Now we don't even have a nominal ground force."


In addition, said senior administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, Rumsfeld and his civilian aides rewrote parts of the military services' plans for shipping U.S. forces to the Persian Gulf, which they said resulted in a number of mistakes and delays, and also changed plans for calling up some reserve and National Guard units.

"There was nothing too small for them to meddle with," said one senior official. "It's caused no end of problems, but I think we've managed to overcome them all."


He said the Air Force was bombing day and night, but its strikes have so far failed to produce the anticipated capitulation and uprising by the Iraqi people.

One senior administration official put it this way: "'Shock and Awe' is Air Force bull---!"

Something Odd About This Paragraph

Anything jump out at you?

And NBC has spent nearly a year planning to outshine rivals in Iraq, including developing new technology to send live, broadcast-quality video from moving vehicles at the front. ''Compare it to what everybody else has,'' Shapiro told the President's Council that day as NBC introduced the technology with MSNBC correspondent David Bloom. ''CNN has a shaky video phone which looks like a bad video game. Fox has a camera that tilts and is grainy and gets blinded by the dust. So I know the competition can't believe what we have.

Lisa Myers

Just saw her on TV, which always makes me a bit pissed off. Fraud.

MYERS: At another point, Mrs. Hubbell talks about over-billing clients.

MRS. HUBBELL (on tape): That’s an area where Hillary would be vulnerable.

HUBBELL (on tape): No, you are talking and not listening. We are on a recorded phone.

And that is precisely the way the transcript was presented on the screen to NBC viewers as the tape rolls--with no ellipsis whatever to let viewers know that material has been left out. Not that this would have been an appropriate deletion even if an ellipsis had been used. Myers’ cut in the tape completely changes the meaning of the presentation by Mrs. Hubbell--changing it from a question about whether Mrs. Clinton would be vulnerable, to an assertion that she would be. The charade was even worse by that evening; in a tape played on MSNBC’s May 1 InterNight program (apparently taken from that evening’s NBC News), Myers doctors the conversation in a more egregious fashion:

MYERS: The Hubbells seem worried that Mrs. Clinton could be vulnerable on an issue that sent Hubbell to prison in the first place--overbilling clients.

MRS. HUBBELL: You didn’t actually do that, did you? Mark up time for the client? Did you?

HUBBELL: Yes, I did. So does every lawyer in the country.

MRS. HUBBELL: That’s an area that Hillary would be vulnerable.

HUBBELL: Suzy, you’re talking and you’re not listening. We are on a recorded phone, OK?

Love that liberal media.

Congrats to Sean-Paul

of the Agonist for his NYTimes mention.

Blogger Self-Parody

Please inform me if I ever start sounding so self-important.

Channels of Influence

Krugman writes about the Bush-Clear Channel connection, which I wrote about here.

NYPress archives busted apparently - here's what I wrote:

Radio Ga Ga

Clear Channel Worldwide Inc., owner of 1200 radio stations nationwide,
sponsored the numerous "patriotic rallies" which were held in various cities around the country. They organized, advertised, provided speakers and entertainment for them, and even handed out numerous American flags to participants.

While Clear Channel promoted these as patriotic rallies, the attendees obviously felt otherwise. In addition to waving their provided flags, they also held signs condemning their fellow Americans - liberals, Hollywood, the Dixie Chicks. They were not so much patriotic rallies as pro-war rallies, and not so much pro-war rallies as rallies against anyone who opposes the Bush administration's policies.

There are close ties between the company and President Bush. The Vice Chair of the company is Tom Hicks, a member of the Bush Pioneer club for elite (and generous) donors.The relationship between Bush and Hicks goes back even further, however. The two were embroiled in scandal when Hicks, as University of Texas Regent, was responsible for granting endowment management contracts of the newly created (under legislation signed by Bush) UT Investment Management Co.
(UTIMCO). The contracts were given to firms politically connected to both Hicks and Bush, including the Carlyle Group - a firm which has the first President Bush on the payroll and had the second one on the payroll until just weeks before receiving this lucrative business. The board of UTIMCO also included the Chair of Clear Channel, L. Lowry Mays. In addition, Hicks purchased the Texas Rangers from George Bush, making him a wealthy man through a deal which was partially enhanced by a shiny new taxpayer financed stadium, which included valuable it obtained at below market rates through the use of eminent domain.

Whether or not the close ties between the radio behemoth Clear Channel and the president have anything to do with their rallying support for his policies is unclear. If it were a small company it would not much matter. But, Clear Channel is a media giant, dominating the radio and promotion industries. The potential for the alignment of big media and the government should concern us all, especially as FCC Chair Michael Powell continues to push to reduce the barriers to even further media consolidation.

and UggaBugga has a pretty picture.

Monday, March 24, 2003

A Reminder


More Nooners

Jesse writes a letter.

Oh, and there's a philly blogger get together, and no one invited moi?

I'll be there with my groucho glasses-and-mustache on.

Oh, and on a related note, David Brock will be in Philly on Wednesday.

Wesley Clark

Has some scary thoughts in the foreign press.

They will use smoke and oil fires to obscure visibility and counter US air power. Their tanks, no match for the M1A1 or Challenger in the open, are still formidable against troops and light vehicles, especially up close. Their rocket-propelled grenades will penetrate light armoured vehicles. Their heavy machineguns are effective against helicopters and low-flying aircraft. Their small arms are accurate, and lay down a heavy volume of fire. The Iraqis will want to fight close and dirty, with Iraqi tanks darting in and out of garages and buildings; they will conduct small-scale offensive actions with dismounted soldiers supported by mortars.

The fighting will be full of the tricks we have already seen and more: ambushes, fake surrenders, soldiers dressed as women, attacks on rear areas and command posts. The Iraqis will be prepared to conduct high-risk missions of a kind we would not consider.

The coalition will use its ground forces to fix Iraqi positions, but will do its best not to close on the ground. Instead we will rely on artillery, attack helicopters, A10s and Harriers to destroy the enemy once their locations are fixed. As we always say, what we can see, we can hit, and what we can hit, we can destroy.

and McCaffrey says expect 2-3000 coalition casualties.

The Gallup poll question we never saw - "Would you support this war if it would result in 3000 casualties?"


This doesn't sound good.

The mood on the streets remains somber and sullen. Stores are mostly closed, and those that are open have run out of duct tape, gasoline, and aluminum foil (which is wrapped around computers to shield them from e-bombs). People seem sad, resigned, sometimes resistant, mostly fearful. There is universal opposition to the war: George W. Bush's name is spit with venom. Yesterday, a soldier saw me on the street and shouted, "George Bush, I fucked your mother. We will win this war because you are here. You are a human shield. We are all human shields and the world is with us." Still, Iraq's celebrated hospitality remains, even in wartime. I have been greeted with kisses and hugs as often as I have with people pointing fingers at me and yelling pow-pow.

The Iraqi government has started turning on the 200-odd foreign journalists who remain here. German and Austrian TV crews were expelled yesterday, and a number of people, including Russian reporters, have been arrested for illegal use of satellite phones. (Iraq controls all satellite phones here.) Some journalists have been forced to return to a central hotel by their government minders, a hotel that had emptied because it's too close to bomb targets, notably the ministry of information. A number of reporters have been arranging backup safe houses and even backup backup safe houses in case the situation gets really bad.

That could happen today. I've heard that the decision will be made today about whether journalists will be taken into "protective custody" and sent to "secure sites." This is another way of saying today is the day we may be taken hostage.

and it isn't getting better.

Christianity - a Religion of Peace?

Apparently not.

At Jubilee Christian Center, a large Pentecostal church in San Jose, many congregants have children in the military.

"Most evangelicals -- Baptists and Pentecostals -- are lining up behind President Bush," said Jubilee Pastor Dick Bernal.

"Jesus did not come to bring peace on Earth. I don't agree with those clergy who say Jesus would be marching for peace. Jesus said he did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Jesus brings peace to the individual heart amid war and pestilence and famine."

Protesters are Terrorists

Or will be, if this bill passes in Oregon.

Someone Pays Her For This Stuff?

The Nooner:

"The coming victory is going to be the biggest good thing that has happened in the world, the West and the United States since the twin towers fell."

As Ailes says, let's hope that isn't actually what she meant.

Halliburton Reconsiders Iran Operation

A sign, probably, that they're next.

The agreement marks a significant concession by Halliburton, which has strongly rejected criticism of its involvement in Iran since it opened an office there in February 2000 through a subsidiary based in Dubai. US law prohibits American companies from direct business dealings with Iran.

The office was opened when US vice-president Dick Cheney was Halliburton's chief executive and repeatedly urged Washington to end sanctions on Iran, saying they hurt US companies and discouraged improved relations with Iran.

I Hope These People Are Crazy


A British defence source said the ground attack on Iraq's capital was imminent.

"We're looking towards Monday night, Tuesday for the ground offensive on Baghdad," the source said.

Last night Iraqi 4WDs mounted with machineguns roamed the streets of Baghdad and mortar positions were set up in the south of the city.

Elite Republican Guard forces have dug in around the capital and sandbags have fortified fighting positions.

"(Baghdad) will be a tough fight," the British defence source said. "It will be interesting to see how they play it. The Republican Guard are going to put up a proper fight."

Defence experts have warned up to 12,000 allied forces may be killed in the battle for Baghdad.

One expert said yesterday a force of up to 120,000 soldiers would be needed to capture the Iraqi capital and 10 per cent could die in the fight.

Australian National University expert Alan Dupont said allied forces would face horrendous conditions in a street-by-street battle.

I really hope they have a plan B - that they didn't assume this would be over so quickly that they didn't need to worry about supply lines:

US, British supply lines
stretched thin, analysts say

By Reuters, 03/24/03

LONDON (Reuters) -- Stop and consolidate. That was the advice from defense experts who fear U.S.-led forces might stretch supply lines dangerously thin in the race to Baghdad.

The logistical tail is stretching ever further across Iraq. Soldiers could be ambushed and supply routes sabotaged by persistent pockets of resistance behind the front line.

The risks are already plain. Iraqi television Sunday showed five shaken U.S. prisoners of war, apparently members of an army supply convoy ambushed when it took a wrong turn during a battle near the southern city of Nassiriya.

"These lines are the arteries of war. If they get severed, the forward troops are going to run out of fuel and ammunition very quickly," said Charles Heyman, editor of the military publication Jane's World Armies.

"There is no security in place to protect these supply routes. It begins to look as if they need more troops for force protection. I am sure the generals are addressing that problem."

Thumbs Up is Thumbs Down

The Agonist informs us that in the Arab world, the thumbs up sign is not a good thing. So, all the tales of Iraqis greeting our soldiers with that sign may or may not be a good sign...

Quote of the Day

From Julian Sanchez:

There's something unseemly about watching a law professor behave like a five year old for months at a time.


UPDATE: Stoller has more.

When They Eat Their Own

David Frum says Bob Novak is unpatriotic and hates his country.


(via Hesiod).

And Somerby has more.

What do these impulses tell us to think? They tell us that our own specific tribe must be right—and that all other tribes must be evil and wrong. These impulses say that those who disagree with our views must disagree out of evil. They tell us to stamp out those who disagree—to brand them Enemies of the State. And remember: These impulses are lodged in the human soul. Right up to this very day, these ancient impulses will persuade all those who don’t choose to resist them.

What values do these impulses promote? Of course! They promote Saddamism! It is precisely the values of Saddam’s Iraq that Frum is now espousing. Frum’s tribe—his tribe, and none other—is presumed to be morally right and sincere. All other tribes are presumed to be evil—denounced as duplicitous traitors. This nonsense began when the ludicrous Malkin went after a high school kid’s random remark. And now, Malkin’s colleagues are so overwrought that they are trying to devour their old colleagues.

Saddamism! The impulse is found all over the world. But here’s the question we pose today: Why do we go to Canada (Frum) and to England (Andrew Sullivan) to bring Saddam here to this country?

MUST BE SEEN TO BE BELIEVED: To see the idiot Sullivan in full Saddamite glory, go to last Friday’s Try to believe that this strange, crippled man wrote the three selections titled JUST READ CONASON, CAN DASCHLE GET ANYTHING RIGHT?, and SADDAM’S DOUBLE REVEALED. Can human beings get any dumber—and can they get any more pre-Enlightenment? (Almost too perfectly, in his second item—CAN DASCHLE GET ANYTHING RIGHT?—Sullivan rushed a “hoax” to the world.) Did we really have to go to England to come up with a person like this? Readers! Can’t we find enough crippled minds right here among our own native people?

Premature Wargasm

The media and the markets, it seems.

Technical Problems

My spacebar is in the throes of suicide right now. Can anyone suggest a program or way to remap my keyboard for a short term fix-as in convert one of my'alt' keys into the spacebar? I can't seem to track one down.

Aaron Brown

Kieran Healy gives us his ridiculous self-righteous interview with someone from Al Jazeera.

This goes deeper than Brown - the media are parroting this doublethink about themselves and our foreign policy.


I really think some of the warbloggers need to get some professional help. U.S. casualties in Iraq have in no way been caused by people who have spoken out against this war. Well, now we know who is really a part of the 'blame America first' crowd.

For example, here is Crazy Andy on the subject:

THE TACTICS OF FAILURE: The setbacks the allies have suffered these last couple of days are all due to one thing: some Saddam units acting as terrorists. By pretending to surrender and then opening fire, by relocating in civilian neighborhoods, by shooting prisoners of war in the head, the soldiers apparently still loyal to Saddam are not reversing the allied advance. What they're doing is trying to inflict sufficient damage to improve their morale and increase the costs of the invasion. They want us to fire into civilian areas; they want us to panic at a few atrocities (as in Somalia); they are counting on an American unwillingness to persevere through serious casualties. And they intend to use the Arab media and their Western sympathizers, i.e. the BBC, NYT, NPR etc., to get this message out. The lesson to learn is that we have cornered the equivalent of a rabid dog. It will fight nastily, brutally and with no compunction. Those units who will go down with this regime will not go down easily. After an initial hope that this thing could be over swiftly, I think it's obvious by now that we're in for a nasty fight - and the Saddamite remnants will ally with the anti-war media to fight dirty and spin shamelessly.

You see, Saddam is trying to kill us because the anti-war folk make our country wimpy because they care about casualties. If only we didn't care about casualties, Saddam would have no reason to kill us so he wouldn't.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Open Thread

Chat away. Not such a Michael Moore fan, but his (roughly) 'When you're up against the Pope and the Dixie Chicks, your time's up...' line was pretty good.


Meet the Press Today

MS. MITCHELL: And I think, as well, that frankly we in the media did not cover the anti-war movement as it was moving along on the Internet. We weren’t focused on that. And now, brilliantly, the Pentagon has accomplished the fact with embedding that we’re watching the war unfold in slices, if you will, maybe not getting the big picture, but trying to.
MR. RUSSERT: But real time.
MS. MITCHELL: But real time. And so this anti-war debate seems harder to get a handle on. It becomes less “relevant.” Not that it is less relevant, but it is less dramatic. And I think we have to be careful about balancing that, frankly.
MR. RUSSERT: And when we see pictures tonight of American men being executed, Michael Elliot, it’s very difficult to have any tolerance for people who are saying, “Wait a minute,” although that is what America is all about.

Mitch Albom

has a few words for the media morons.


I just noticed is running feeds from Kuwait TV (not necessarily live - but footage from it) at the moment, with their own commentary on top.

Focus On the Family

Is remaining focused on what matters. Jesus's General informs us that they're frightfully concerned that the second invasion wave will be by "condom pushers and the sex educators"

ABC Splitscreen

One side journalists solemnly saying that Iraq is in violation of the geneva convention for broadcasting images of captured POWS, other side showing pictures of Iraqi POWs.

Fuck Saddam

Lovely words our president uses. One does wonder how he goes over so well in the bible belt. Well, Ronald Reagan rarely went to church and they loved him too, so, whatever...

President Parties While War In Iraq Rages On!

Drudge is such an idiot.

Violating the Geneva Convention

It's a bit of an odd provision, but trotting out POWs for the camera isn't allowed. Donald Rumsfeld agrees. Someone should tell MSNBC.

God, the newspeople keep repeating that line now - how horrible Iraq is for violating the Geneva Convention, as their own news bureaus were doing it last night.

In any case, let's hope parading them in front of the cameras is the worst violation of the GC our people receive.

In Other News

Brian Linse tells us about the upcoming gun manufacturing liability case.


FBI questioning Iraqis about ties to their homeland

The article then goes on to discuss the fact that the FBI is questioning Americans who were born in Iraq. Not the same thing.

Lessons Taught, Never Learned

Just now in the comments over at Oliver Willis's place I read the following:

I would like to point out that the number of "Japanese-Americans" who chose to abandon America and go back to Japan to fight against us was just shy of the number that were interned.
And there were very nearly the same number of Italians and Germans interned as Japanese. They, by the way, have never been given any reparations.
Regrettably, Black Muslims tend to practise a particularly anti-American form of Islam. That is grim reality. Ignore or deny it if you like.
I don't think we have the luxury of ignoring it any longer.
That said, the man should be tried for his crime based on the circumstances of the case, without regard to race or religion.

Posted by Toren at March 23, 2003 03:59 AM
Agreed Toren, especially on the last sentence.

Also, although I can't find it anymore, I do remember reading that we had decoded intercepts that pretty clearly indicated that coastal Japanese-americans were indeed feeding intel to the enemy.

Interestingly, by the time these transmissions were released to the public, internment/relocation had already gone down in public history as unjustifiable, and historians couldn't be troubled to update that judgement. Much like the Soviet relevations that McCarthy was correct in fact but not in method never caused the left to even blink.

Arthur Silber has some thoughts on related issues.

I could spend all day on this, but people who have internalized so much ignorance and stupidity to justify their politics and bigotry probably aren't worth bothering with.


Talk Left has a good post about the fact that the pentagon's program for reporters has been what I expected it to be - a laundering operation for pentagon propaganda. Yes of course we all realize that the reporters can't tell us things about military strategy, but after the events of last night it is clear the restrictions go deeper than that.

War Profiteers

Make me miss the good 'ole days.


A few years ago, I lived in the UK for a bit. While I was there, there was a nationally prominent case about a young girl who was lost, later found to be kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Horribly sad story. It understandably set off nationwide outrage and panic about pedophiles, egged on by the tabloids.

As I said, understandable. Horrible crime, horrible murder, genuince concern. But, the nation was whipped into a frenzy with moronically tragic results.

Enraged by events, residents of a local town decided to take justice into their own hands. Responding to what had happened, they burned down the house of the local pediatrician, as they were somewhat confused about the difference between pedophile and pediatrician.

On a related note, feel the love:

The only speaker [at a pro-war rally] who received a hostile reception was N. Ruby Zigrino, a Muslim from Minneapolis. She was initially cheered when she said she supports "ousting a tyrant regime."

But she then read passages from the Qur'an, suggested that a new Marshall Plan will be needed in Iraq, and said administration officials should study foreign-policy failures to avoid repeating them.

Her listeners responded with boos and shouts of "Screw Muslims!" "Screw the Qur'an!" and "Go home!"

A turnout of 25,000 was mentioned more than once from the podium, but it was closer to 16,000 to 17,000, according to a count by the Star Tribune that was verified by the Minnesota State Patrol.

Dowd On Little Ricky Perle

Once upon a time I did Dowd predictions - good or evil. This is after the fact, but today she's definitely on the light side of the force. Ouch.