micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Thursday, June 30, 2005
The lessons of September the 11th

I did not post yesterday because I was still in awe of President Bush's great speech to all the people of America.

President Bush is a great man. To say he is a visionary is to be a poet. To say he bold ideas is to be a philosopher. To say President Bush is the greatest American is to leave open even the thinnest possibility that he is not as great as Jesus Christ and Winston Churchill combined.

No President Bush has the type of greatest we Americans haven't seen since President Reagan. He is better than us. He is better than each and every one of us.

President Bush speaks great words and they deserve to be heard. When he speaks, you best sit down and get that scroll out because President Bush is about to expound on expanding your mind.

I feared for a moment Tuesday night that I had not done that when President Bush mentioned "the lessons of September the 11th" and I, thinking myself a traitor to freedom, did not know what they were.

Fortunately I have become familiar with a little website called google and figured I could look this up. I did a search for "the lessons of September the 11th" and to my shock I could find no list of "the lessons." It is as if President Bush just used this phrase when he wanted to justify something.

Bush, what a not nice guy he is.

Maybe the specific lessons that ought to be learned is that President Bush will call back to the worst day in human history in order to justify what he wants to do and that the public will, more or less, fall for it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005
The Prez will give his "big" speech tonight

The speech is unpredictable that Jennifer Loven of the AP already has a story up on it.

Bush will say that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is going at least relatively well and is worth it. He will not say he has long manipulated the public's real fears, ignorance and lack of critical thinking to justify actions in Iraq as well as the broader "war on terror." He will praise the troops. He will not say the U.S. tortures people.

People will say and write stuff about the speech. Their opinions will not be unpredictable. Some "good news" from Iraq will get bigger play and lots will say, "see we told you so."

Within two weeks -probably sooner- it will be as if this speech never happened.

Sunday, June 26, 2005
You may hear a lot of stories involivng a shark attack or two this summer. Don't believe any of them. It is just Osama in a costume.

Now I think you can see why we must continue in Iraq.

Saturday, June 25, 2005
America is still perfect!

What really gets my goat about all the evil leftists complaining about America's just treatment of the prisoners at Gitmo and around the world is that there still is no evidence that America has ever done anything wrong.

And don't think that has changed any because some Agence France Presse says that some people from the United Nations that did not support America's war to defend itself from Iraq and liberate the people of Iraq say the U.S. "has for the first time acknowledged... prisoners have been tortured at US detention centres in Guantanamo Bay, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq."

First of all, these prisoners are all dirty terrorists who need to die.

Secondly, any attack on the actions of our soldiers is an attack on our soldiers who our defending America, our way of life, freedom and God and that is an attack on America, which is of course wrong. As Jesus says in the Bible, "America is the greatest country ever and can do no wrong. Attack Uncle Sam and my father will kick your ass unless the American military is more powerful."

Third, the sources are suspect. France and the United Nations hate America

Fourth, I'm sure America needed to torture these people and we are all safer because of it, if this glorious torture of the kind America would never engage in because we are better than them did in fact happen.

Lastly, this is all the evidence anybody needs so you should just shut your pie hole if you feel like saying more about this other than saying America never tortured anybody.

God bless America!

Friday, June 24, 2005
We need a constitutional amendment to ban Bill O'Reilly or O'Reilly is wrong

Bill O'Reilly argued on yesterday's edition of his radio show in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning because he said burning a flag could be an intimidating act to someone who served in the military, or who has a relative who served, is serving and/or died in the military, or who has a relative who died on September 11, 2001, or who watched tv on September 11, 2001, or who has any shred of American decency in even the smallest part of their body.

How this would be "intimidating" exactly is not spelled out, but it makes sense to me. Following this logic, I propose a constitutional amendment to ban Bill O'Reilly from saying anything in order to keep him from intimidating me.

First of all, O'Reilly does intimidate me. I am a critic of the "war on terror" and an opponent of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and O'Reilly's recent comments seem to be threatening people like me with criminal penalties.

According to Media Matters for America (June 22), O'Reilly said on Monday that any critic of the Iraq war and the war on terror who goes beyond "dissent" to "undermine the war effort" is a "traitor" and should be arrested and treated accordingly. "[W]e could incarcerate them immediately," reportedly said he.

While Media Matters does have a brief transcription of O'Reilly's comments, to be fair, I have not heard these comments and so maybe O'Reilly was less than fully serious, but I suspect he was given his June 23 column "The Limits of Dissent." There O'Reilly does his usual bit regarding "there is a difference between dissenting from a war and trying to undermine a war" but, once again, does not define the difference and in fact suggests that any criticism that involves questioning or attacking the motivations of those in power or the actions of U.S. soldiers involves going beyond "dissent."

The popular news personality does approvingly and correctly point out that the U.S. government controlled most of what people in the U.S. knew about World War II while the U.S. was involved and calls on people to decide if they stand with "[t]he government and military, which is trying to defeat vicious killers, or those who are on a jihad to undermine the war on terror in the name of patriotism."

O'Reilly has created a clear binary dichotomy. You are either with the critics or on the side of the U.S. government. There really shouldn't be any doubt where O'Reilly stands if only because at one point he writes, "in a time of war, it might be wise to give the U.S. military the benefit of the doubt."

Given that the leaders of this land known as the U.S. of A have long record of mixing war and dishonesty, my response is, no, it isn't. No, it is not.

But I doubt that matters much to someone like O'Reilly. He doesn't want a reasoned debate. O'Reilly apparently wants to criminalize criticizing "the war effort."

O'Reilly did draw a distinction in yesterday's radio broadcast between a flag burning at a protest involving numerous people and a single person burning the flag in their back yard. (He called that "dopey," which seems to have become his favorite word and would be annoying if it wasn't overshadowed by the greater annoyance that is Bill O'Reilly. It is nonetheless quite offensive to one of the Seven Dwarves. No, correct that, it is offensive to all 7.) That, however, just bolsters my case for banning him since his website says that he is widely listened to, read and viewed and O'Reilly regularly boasts that he influences policy makers and public opinion.

If his idea takes hold, which they very well could if O'Reilly is an honest straight shooting man, I could be punished, and so the mere suggestion from someone in his position that critics of the "war on terror" and the occupation of Iraq should be imprisoned is an act of intimidation.

The courts and the public will no doubt say that O'Reilly has the right to say what he wants, so it becomes the duty of legislators to correct this problem. O'Reilly must be banned from saying, writing or in any other way communicating anything to another person, animal, living organism or anything else.

This would likely be hard on the man who calls himself "your humble correspondent." I assume he has enough money and assets to live comfortably someplace where nothing exists but him, but I doubt he could tolerate the loss of his very fancy soapbox. O'Reilly often comes across like a titular character in Orson Welles' 1941 film Citizen Kane in terms of needing the public adulation. As was the case with Kane, O'Reilly, at least comes across as someone who, doesn’t want his listeners to be well informed and intelligent. He wants them to rely on him for that.

The way out of this for O'Reilly is to admit that his argument for a constitutional ban on flag burning doesn't hold up. Maybe he could even add that many of his arguments don't make sense. Or he could just make the brilliant argument that he is important and "traitor[s]" like me are not by either saying as much or just ignoring this collection of words, which will be emailed to O'Reilly.

I await your response, expecting nothing less than a great and riveting exchange of ideas of the kind you are known for, Mr. O'Reilly.

Thursday, June 23, 2005
One of the common arguments against looking into what has been happening at Gitmo is that there are no serious allegations of abuse from guards, but maybe that isn't the case...

Attorney Clive Stafford-Smith says that his client, former Aljazeera cameraman Sami al-Hajj, has been abused. Aljazeera.net (June 22) writes:

"Sami has endured horrendous abuse - sexual abuse and religious persecution," said Stafford-Smith, who is on a visit to Qatar, on Tuesday.

"He has been beaten. He had a huge scar on his face when I saw him."


"He is completely innocent. He is about as much of a terrorist as my granddad. The only reason he has been treated like he has is because he is an Aljazeera journalist. The Americans have tried to make him an informant with the goal of getting him to say that Aljazeera is linked to al-Qaida...

Stafford-Smith also said that inmates who were children when they were arrested have been held in Guantanamo Bay since 2001.

Despite the US government's denials, he said they are being held in pitiful conditions.

The article, unfortunately, does not elaborate on what, if anything, Stafford-Smith said those conditions were.

Also, a group from the U.N. Commission on Human Rights is saying that it is not being allowed to investigate allegations of abuse at the prison in Southern Cuba (CBS News, June 23).


Me over at HorowitzWatch today:

In an interview with Jamie Glazov (FrontPage, June 23) about how popular culture is harming society, the great Ben Shapiro makes a curious comment about the cut and dry issue of fighting the terrorists:

I think that the "porn generation" ? people 10-30, I?d say ? has had more opportunity than any generation in world history... we?ve never truly had to face difficult foreign policy issues (until 9/11).
How does the worst day in the history of humanity create any sort of "difficult foreign policy issues"? An innocent country named America was attacked by people who hate our freedom and want to kill us all in an attempt to destroy our way of life and make themselves feel good about themselves. We must respond everywhere around the globe that is necessary and not give up till we have won.

You see, I've read my frontpagemag.com. I'm not going to fall for Shapiro's desire to see shades of a color I won't allow my children to even wear when there is nothing but good and evil. Victory to America! Death to traitors! Etc. Etc.


Insurgents in Iraq are building and using better bombs, which leads to a greater death toll, David S. Cloud reports in a June 21 New York Times story.

I'm surprised that there haven't been larger attacks like saying blowing up some barracks. Could it be that they don't really want to raise the stakes too high for fear that the United States will just say, "to hell with it, bomb 'em till there's nothing left"?

I suspect that such an attitude will gain increasing currency in the U.S. as the "war on terror" drags out, but then again I'm shocked it isn't more popular now than it is.

On a related note, Rush Limbaugh was railing yesterday about how the U.S. cares more about the Koran now than it did before September 11, 2001. This is actually true but where Limbaugh at least pretends to be baffled by this, I think it is merely the result of the popular sentiment that "we," meaning the people of the U.S., want to be loved for our military actions.


Arianna Huffington just might be on to something when she writes that Dem House leader Nancy Pelosi isn't that interested in Iraq or criticizing Team Bush's actions RE Iraq (The Huffington Post, June 23).

What I don't understand is how this could be since Rush Limbaugh and friends never fail to tell me the truth about how the Dems are an anti-war party that is bent on destroying America and helping our enemies.


Here are some more links worth a visit.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Micah Holmquist (HorowitzWatch, June 20):
FrontPage would have you believe that a link between Saddam's government and al Qaeda has been proven because of May 23 AKI article on Iyad Allawi telling al-Hayat that a connection between Ayman al-Zawahiri of al Qaeda and Izza Ibrahim Al-Douri of Iraq has been found the Iraqi Secret Service while looking the files of Saddam Hussein's deposed government. (A UPI article, also from May 23, confirms these comments.)

While reading this it is important to keep in mind that Allawi once told British intelligence that Saddam's government could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes. The good doctor appears to have been less than reliable in that case.

Sounds like a good case to me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Michael Reagan is so great.

Yesterday he was ranting about how presidents shouldn't listen to congress or anyone else before going to war because such people might discourage him and that would mean not promoting democracy and freedom.

Monday, June 20, 2005
The real reason Saddam did not kill us all

While the hip thing to do seems to be question whether the "Downing Street Memos" are fakes and copies, evidence supporting the idea that WMDs weren't the threat they were cracked up to be grow. Richard Norton-Taylor writes in today's Guardian about former British diplomat Carne Ross:

[Ross] says today that claims the government made about Iraq's weapons programme were "totally implausible".

He tells the Guardian: "I'd read the intelligence on WMD for four and a half years, and there's no way that it could sustain the case that the government was presenting. All of my colleagues knew that, too".

Carne Ross, who was a member of the British mission to the UN in New York during the run-up to the invasion, resigned from the FO last year, after giving evidence to the Butler inquiry...

"There was a very good alternative to war that was never properly pursued, which was to close down Saddam's sources of illegal revenue", he says.

Mr Ross also says sanctions imposed against Iraq were wrong. "They did immeasurable damage to the Iraqi civilian population. We were conscious of that but we did too little to address it", he says.

This is a packet of lies, of course. As President Bush said on October 7, 2002, Saddam was a deadly threat who kill us in less time than it takes to play the NBA Finals.

Saddam wanted to kill us all, but he is also a fan of pro hoops. He wanted to kill us all in 2002, but he also wanted to see if the Los Angeles Lakers could win another championship, so he decided to wait. Then 2003 came, his government was overthrown but that didn't damper his ability to kill or his enthusiasm for round ball. It was a tough choice for old Saddam. Once again he wanted to kill us all but could the San Antonio Spurs repeat. Saddam decided to wait, figuring he could stay on the run and we all know how that turned out.

Actually I made that story up. Saddam really wanted to see the Boston Red Sox win the World Series before he killed us all. The Boston Red Sox couldn't get the job done in time. The team that once traded Babe Ruth let down Saddam, so great a fan he didn't kill us all.

Saturday, June 18, 2005
RE British memos recently obtained by the Associated Press, Thomas Wagner of the AP writes in a story published today:
In one of the memos, British Foreign Office political director Peter Ricketts openly asks whether the Bush administration had a clear and compelling military reason for war.

``U.S. scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and al-Qaida is so far frankly unconvincing,'' Ricketts says in the memo. ``For Iraq, `regime change' does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam.''

The documents confirm Blair was genuinely concerned about Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction, but also indicate he was determined to go to war as America's top ally, even though his government thought a pre-emptive attack may be illegal under international law.

``The truth is that what has changed is not the pace of Saddam Hussein's WMD programs, but our tolerance of them post-11 September,'' said a typed copy of a March 22, 2002 memo obtained Thursday by The Associated Press and written to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

``But even the best survey of Iraq's WMD programs will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile or CW/BW (chemical or biological weapons) fronts: the programs are extremely worrying but have not, as far as we know, been stepped up.''

...The AP obtained copies of six of the memos [that have become known as the "Downing Street Memos"] (the other two have circulated widely). A senior British official who reviewed the copies said their content appeared authentic. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secret nature of the material.

I'm surprised there hasn't been more speculation of the identity of the person leaking these memos. As for everything else, about the only thing that I see surprising me is Team Bush being honest.

Friday, June 17, 2005
A well thought out post that I most certainly did not make up as I went along

When I read about or see people like Ben Feguson and Ben Shapiro, I think my parents should have named me Benjamin and I should be a hack idiot. That way, I'd have been living the good life for a decade or so now.

These people aren't intelligent and they deserve to be laughed at every bit as much as the prez or Sean Hannity. I guess it really isn't fair to pick on them just because of their age, but to talk about being "fair" with them is perhaps the first mistake a person could make. Or maybe it is second behind agreeing with them.

Some examples of the intelligent thinking these two fine young men engage in and receive praise...

Ferguson's book It's My America Too: A Leading Young Conservative Shares His Views on Politics and Other Matters of Importance contains a chapter on the greatness of NASCAR that contradicts itself on why people love the spectator sport series. At one point, it is because everybody can relate to driving and at another it is because virtually nobody knows what it is like to drive that fast. Now potentially a singular argument could be made out of this, or Ferguson could say that different people enjoy it for different, even opposite reasons, but then Ferguson says people don't like watching basketball because they have played it, as if nobody watches basketball on tv or in person and everybody who has played a game or horse knows what it is like to dunk the ball or play in the NBA.

Ferguson goes on to say that NASCAR drivers aren't overpaid like say football players, as if NASCAR drivers don't make large amounts money, and wouldn't like more. I am probably giving too much credit to Ferguson, but assuming he has actually thought this out, I would have to conclude that he thinks incomes not being widely known means they are small.

Ferguson also suggests that NASCAR is all about going out and doing it at the competition and that coaches and such don't play as big of a role. Yeah right. Crew chiefs, mechanics and pre-race preparation are highly important

Part of me thinks Ferguson should just come out and say he likes the whiteness of the events, but I suspect that is just the liberal in me talking since I find auto racing to be boring.

Now there is Shapiro, who I think is an astute mind for wanting Palestinians to get the hell out of Dodge and for writing, "One American soldier is worth far more than an Afghan civilian." Most won't say the simple downhome red state things that he says even thought they are true.

Now he is promoting a book of his entitled Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future. I haven't read the book but from the looks of things I have to once again give him credit for not solely blaming "Hollywood," but I do have to wonder how bad the problem is. Twenty years ago you could see Madonna's underwear on MTV. Now you can see Gwen Stefani's. Call me when she isn't wearing any.


I didn't mention this yesterday, but the real problem with Durbin's comments and most of what has been said in response is that it assumes America is so great that it is shocking that it or its representatives could ever do anything wrong. Yeah this is a perfect country and it always has been. Don't you know that historians have now proven neither slavery nor Native Americans ever existed in the land of the free.


Rush Limbaugh (June 16):

You know, everybody is talking about Senator Durbin... worried about the temperature at G'itmo, air conditioners being turned on and then turned off and the prisoners so beside themselves they're laying in the fetal position; they're pulling their hair out! I will tell you that no matter what. No matter what the temperature gets to at G'itmo, it's definitely cooler than it was at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco when the Clinton administration burned it to the ground. Come to think of it, I don't remember Durbin saying anything about that when it happened. He may have. I just don't remember it, and I think they blasted music for weeks when they tried to get the Branch Davidians to come out of that compound, did they not? And I thought they brought in big lights to shine on the compound during the night, all intended to keep them from sleeping. Didn't they do that at Waco? Where was Dick Durbin when this domestic torture was going on? These were US citizens the Clinton administration was targeting, including women and children and babies -- and they eventually burned them out with tanks, the Waco invasion... it was much hotter there than it ever is at G'itmo...
I can't find anything on Durbin commenting on the Branch Davidian siege via a quick google search for "waco" "branch davidian" "dick durbin" and Dems, like most people, generally weren't as angry about what happened on April 19, 1993 in Waco, Texas as they should have been, so Limbaugh is probably right and it is safe to assume that Durbin, who was in the U.S. House in 1993, is hypocritical.

Great one there Rush! You can't see that dirty deeds of the U.S. government due to being too busying bashing Democrats. Yep, it is only bad for the U.S. government to torture people when the Dems, not the GOP, are in power.

It is moments like this when I am really proud to say that I have never voted for a Democrat or Republican. Now if I can just convince more people to stop doing so.

Thursday, June 16, 2005
I've listened to enough talk radio and watched enough FNC to know that the Lamestream Media never says anything good about the military and always says the bad, so this morning I figured the Commie/Crescent News Network and PMSNBC would be full of nothing but Dick Durbin calling American troops Nazis, or maybe he was saying some were Nazis, or maybe it was just that some actions bore some resemblance to actions by Nazis, or maybe... oh who knows what he was saying. The point is Durbin said American troops are Nazis, something I would expect the MSM, or LM, to lick up like they were taking orders from Veronica Sawyer.

I turned on CNN a little past 7:30 AM EST this morning and they one who used to be pregnant was back slapping Bill Hemmer and the whole gang was laughing. I watched for 30 seconds and still didn't have a clue what they were talking about so I switched to MSNBC just in time to catch Don Imus and Lou Dobbs chatting about how the prisoners at Gitmo should be tortured more than they already are.

What a bunch of liberal freaks. Last night Michael Reagan was calling for bombing Afghanistan into oblivion. If you aren't doing that, I consider you to be the lowest form of terrorist supporting traitor on the face of the earth. You probably even also think there is merit to teaching the theory of evolution.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Follow me to the places we go when we travel with, or to, these links.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Maybe we don't love freedom... wait, we only love it enough for when WE get to kill people

"U.S. and diplomatic officials" say the U.S. and Russia successfully argued against having a NATO document call for an international investigation of last month's civilian protester shooting spree by the folks of the government of Uzbekistan, R. Jeffrey Smith and Glenn Kessler write in today's Washington Post, because, at least for the land of the free, the U.S. didn't want to lose a base.

Monday, June 13, 2005
The Cadillac News is usually so bad that I want to give Dale Killingbeck credit for his story in today's issue, "Law allows recruiters access," about military recruiters and local high schools, but they managed to completely screw this topic up.

Summary of the article - two high school counselors think most people they see join the military because they don't have any better options - No Child Left Behind "gives recruiters access to names, addresses and telephone listings of all junior and senior students" - Pine River school board member Jim Peterson says "a pacifist group" approached him about getting the same access to high school students but he said no because the school a has a policy against allowing such access unless there is a law involved.

There is no mention why military recruiting is controversial -the short of it is that some of the recruiters have an interesting relationship with honesty- and the "pacifist group" is never mentioned by name. Nor is it said that Peterson couldn't remember it or declined to give it.

This is horrible journalism in any context but in the context of this area, it will be read by people who say, "well allabe that's good to know that our finest young people are still joining the military. God Bless President Bush and our troops... why would I give a damn about some cowardly group of treasonous pacifists?"


"Iraq moved further toward a political stalemate today, as Shiite political leaders agreed on what they said was a compromise to include Sunni Arabs in the writing of this country's constitution, and Sunnis flatly rejected the offer," Sabrina Tavernise writes in a June 12 New York Times story.


Juan Cole compares Bush's fidelity to reality and the truth to that of "Baghdad Bob" in a June 9 Salon piece. Now where would you have heard that 25 months before?


A U.S. pull out from Iraq would not encourage civil war, Aaron Glantz argues in a June 10 antiwar.com piece, because the occupation is itself encouraging such a conflict.

FWIW, I'm not so sure. I do agree that the occupation is encouraging tensions in Iraq but those tensions are not new and it may be too late. There probably aren't any good options, in the sense of a "good" option being one where there is not a significant risk of disaster.


Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher writes that more newspaper columnists in the U.S. are writing critical pieces about the occupation of Iraq (Alternet, June 8).

I can't decide whether to write, "about time" or "too little, too late."


I'm sure glad that Markos Moulitsas Zúniga is worried about how contractors are a "hinderance [sic] to the war effort" in Iraq (dailykos.com, June 10). If that's his position, fine, but I don't ever want to hear or read about him as being against the occupation.

Friday, June 10, 2005
Shame on those who keep me free

As a proud American who basks in the glow of freedom every day of my life, except Tuesdays in months that have an odd number of days, I am very much ashamed of some recent behavior by some of those who keep me free. Oh forget that, I am ashamed of those who keep me free. If I am supposed to thank the local guy at the recruiting station for "liberating" Iraq, I can blame him for what others do...

First there is "Major General" Joseph Taluto reportedly saying that not all of our terrorist enemies in Iraq are evil terrorists and even that, "If a good, honest person feels having all these Humvees driving on the road, having us moving people out of the way, having us patrol the streets, having car bombs going off, you can understand how they could [want to fight us]" (Phil Sands, gulfnews.com, June 9).

Former CIA Director John M. Deutch is calling for the U.S. to leave Iraq "as soon as possible," which is before the President says we are done (Alvin Powell, Harvard News Office, June 9).

Former soldier Dagan Walters has blamed his experiences liberating Iraqis for why he allegedly raped a woman (KIROTV.com, June 9). Why didn't this woman thank him for protecting her? Was it because she was a "call girl" and thus not very high in the morals department? Yes.

Two members of the Navy have been arrested and accused of trying to transport illegal drugs into Australia (Jade Bilowol, The Australian, June 9). Australia is a great friend of American freedom and we do not want their kids to become druggies like ours are.

The best way of describing how vile these actions are is to say these actions are as shameful as those of Harry Reid who is now saying if he doesn't get his way on getting some documents, he won't allow a vote on the President's choice to be the ambassador to the United Nations (CNN, June 9). And we all know how bad that is.

If President Bush makes a decision, it must be a good one and it is our job to follow it and support it, unless it is a bad decision, which this one is not.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Downing Street Mania

British Prime Minister Tony Blair gave a clear reason yesterday for the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States, Great Britain and ABskdskghsakaville.

"[T]he fact is we decided to go to the United Nations and went through that process, which resulted in the November 2002 United Nations resolution, to give a final chance to Saddam Hussein to comply with international law. He didn't do so. And that was the reason why we had to take military action," Blair said in a joint White House press conference with U.S. Prez George W. Bush.

Bush didn't say anything to indicate that Blair was wrong on this not exactly trivial manner, so there you have it. The invasion was because international law had to be enforced, which makes perfect sense as international law does not have a long history of being violated and what's good for Nicaragua and the land of the free people who obey the law and court judgments unless they don't like them must be wrong for Iraq.

As you will likely hear, read and/or see far more about, Blair's comment was in response to a question about the Downing Street Memo.

Since I know most of you have the good sense to get your news exclusively from this blog, a bit of context is in order...

the June 1 edition of The Sunday Times printed what was said to be a July 23, 2002 memo containing the minutes of a meeting Blair had with key advisors that day. The memo says that based on recent meeting with U.S. officials it was the opinion of the advisors that:

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...

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.

These are not shocking allegations but the memo was, and is, likely evidence that Team Bush was not on the up and up about the reasons for invading Iraq.

Although I have known about this report since about the time it was published, I have not written anything about, other than for the purpose of criticizing John Kerry, for a variety of diverse and different reasons:

1) I did not have anything particularly interesting to say about the document other than it seems to me that when you accept a war against "the terrorists," expecting accurate intelligence is nit picking.

2) I did not expect it to stir much controversy at all, given how nobody seems to care about the other deceptions and manipulations the Bush Administration has gotten away with. I'm happy to be wrong here, but I still do not get why people are inspired by this information.

3) I am of the belief that Bush will get away with everything that he had done. Yes he should be in a cage getting poked by school children on field trips, but I don't think it is going to happen. If people aren't outraged now, part of me doubts there would be much outrage if Bush came out and said, "I have lied to you. I have manipulated your fears, ignorance and lack of critical thinking. You are stupid for not figuring this out on your own.

4) I wanted to protect President Bush because Clinton signed something in 1998 and Kerry voted for the war and because one thing leftists never understand and never will understand is that America is right and not wrong and they are no right so they should just shut their pie holes and let real men and manly women do the hard work of keeping America safe, defeating evil and avenging those who paid with their blood on September 11 just for going to work in the greatest country is the history of the world and not being the lazy people who just sit at home, work a 9 to 5 job, collect a cushy pension and believe whatever the lamestream media tells them about why they should hate President Bush, the Republicans and America without ever once taking the step of going out and being a productive member of society who makes their own way, stands on their own two feet and resents having some big government bureaucrat taking their hard earned money away to go spend it some committee out their in Washington that will criticize American soldiers for defending freedom because this modern day soviet commie apparatchik will not shut their piehole and believe that America is always right due to their leftism. (Thank you Micah! You are a great American who has a wisdom one can't learn in all those fancy colleges where those liberals go.)

So those are my reasons for not commenting on it till know but I can go with the flow...

Moving back to yesterday's press conference:

Q Thank you, sir. On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street memo from July 2002 says intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military action. Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?
A decent question, I suppose, although without a follow up that the reporter is willing to ask even after the two gentlemen have made it clear they want to move on, it won't produce anything like an interesting answer.
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all. And let me remind you that that memorandum was written before we then went to the United Nations. Now, no one knows more intimately the discussions that we were conducting as two countries at the time than me. And the fact is we decided to go to the United Nations and went through that process, which resulted in the November 2002 United Nations resolution, to give a final chance to Saddam Hussein to comply with international law. He didn't do so. And that was the reason why we had to take military action.

But all the way through that period of time, we were trying to look for a way of managing to resolve this without conflict. As it happened, we weren't able to do that because -- as I think was very clear -- there was no way that Saddam Hussein was ever going to change the way that he worked, or the way that he acted.

I've covered the international law argument above. The idea that going to the UN discounts the accuracy of the memo's findings is strange since the memo does say:
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.
So going to the UN was not inconsistent with the contents of the memo.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I -- you know, I read kind of the characterizations of the memo, particularly when they dropped it out in the middle of his race. I'm not sure who "they dropped it out" is, but -- I'm not suggesting that you all dropped it out there. (Laughter.)
I doubt anybody cares about this except elections and self-absorbed media types. So yes the joke worked in Bush's favor. What a sense of humor he has. Bush must be a great man, if he is indeed a man and not some greater species.
And somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to go to use military force to deal with Saddam. There's nothing farther from the truth.

My conversation with the Prime Minister was, how could we do this peacefully, what could we do. And this meeting, evidently, that took place in London happened before we even went to the United Nations -- or I went to the United Nations. And so it's -- look, both us of didn't want to use our military. Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's the last option. The consequences of committing the military are -- are very difficult. The hardest things I do as the President is to try to comfort families who've lost a loved one in combat. It's the last option that the President must have -- and it's the last option I know my friend had, as well.

And so we worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully, take a -- put a united front up to Saddam Hussein, and say, the world speaks, and he ignored the world. Remember, 1441 passed the Security Council unanimously. He made the decision. And the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.

The implicit premise to what Bush says here is that something terrible would have happened if Saddam had been allowed to stay in power, but what isn't clear. Saddam would be in power? Yes that was really ruining the world and it is good to know the last brutal thug in power no long has power. An attack? Yep Saddam was waiting for just the right moment that it had not shown up over more than the last 12 years. International law being violated? Is that even news?

What this terrible event or series of events would have been is not stated because, in all likelihood, a credible answere did not and does not exist. The fact that virtually nobody will figure this out and say it publicly doesn't speak well for the possibility of government being held accountable.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Last month the UN Development Program and the Iraqi Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation issued a report on conditions in Iraq, David Cortright, president of the Fourth Freedom Forum and a senior research fellow at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, writes in today's Christian Science Monitor:
The "Living Conditions in Iraq" study is based on a 2004 survey of more than 21,000 households. It shows the Iraqi people are suffering widespread death and war-related injury, high rates of infant and child mortality, chronic malnutrition and illness among children, low rates of life expectancy, and significant setbacks for women.

The Iraqi people were already suffering serious hardships when the war began - the result of Saddam Hussein's policies and 13 years of UN sanctions. Since the US invasion, the report notes an "alarming deterioration" in living conditions.

The innocent and vulnerable populations of Iraq are suffering the most. Malnutrition among small children is widespread. Nearly one quarter of Iraqi children suffer chronic malnutrition, and 8 percent suffer acute malnutrition.

Illness levels among Iraqi children are also high - due in part to a growing lack of safe drinking water and sanitation. Forty percent of urban households report sewage in the streets of their neighborhoods...

The new report also sheds light on the number of Iraqi deaths directly attributable to the US-led invasion and occupation. As of mid-2004 the war had caused 24,000 Iraqi deaths, the study estimated. This is the number for all deaths, civilian and military, in the immediate aftermath of the 2003 invasion.

Yes, yes, yes, but the important point to keep in mind is that we Americans are only safe from the Iraqis because we invaded them. Our security comes first, as always.

Monday, June 06, 2005
Reuters (June 5) reports that Haitian police killed 25 people in that country's slums as a way of showing they are getting tough.


"The Shiite-led Iraqi government acknowledged Sunday that its forces may have targeted innocent Sunni Muslims in a drive to crush the insurgency in southwestern Baghdad and its suburbs," Sameer N. Yacoub of the AP writes (June 5).


From the file of things I just don't understand, Shiite political parties did well in Lebanon's elections (John Kifner, The New York Times, June 5).

These people need to learn that democracy means doing what you are told or not being well liked by the coolest kid in the world.

Sunday, June 05, 2005
Links can be lots of loads, and loads of lots, of fun, so here are some more.

Saturday, June 04, 2005
Mickey Z. on Feltgate

Friday, June 03, 2005
Oh Kerry

Steve Urbon of The Standard-Times writes about a June 1 first speech given by former presidential candidate Senator John Kerry (June 2):

Sen. Kerry puzzled over the apparent lack of interest by Americans in the Iraq war and the near silence in the U.S. mass media about the so-called Downing Street Memo...

"When I go back (to Washington) on Monday, I am going to raise the issue," he said of the memo, which has not been disputed by either the British or American governments. "I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home. And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that."

Although I guess I do hope to be wrong, somehow I doubt that Kerry will make too big of ruckus over this. The Downing Street Memo may not have been available during his campaign for the oval office, as least as far as we know, but the dishonesty of the Bush Administration over the invasion of Iraq was very clear by that point and I don't recall hearing Kerry say all that much about that, except for when it was in terms of how this hurt U.S. "credibility," which it rightly did.


Whenever I think about the great military victory that was Iraq I think of all the WMD hunt that wasn't that important. More info on this via a June 2 AP story that says UN inspectors believed WMD related equipment has been removed from 109 Iraqi sites.


"Violence in the course of the 18-month-long insurgency has claimed the lives of 12,000 Iraqis, Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said Thursday, giving the first official count for the largest category of victims of bombings, ambushes and other increasingly deadly attacks," Ellen Knickmeyer writes in today's Washington Post.

Make up your own joke as the one about the insurgents being amateurs in light of what the U.S. has done is too obvious, even for me.


I'm glad that people are upset about their being a new bible where Jesus is Judith, a woman. It shows they care.


Random Abstract is a cool new blog with lots of links.


David Rees posted some new get your war ons yesterday and the first one, "Afghan crybaby," is one of his best ever.

Thursday, June 02, 2005
"I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency," Vice President Dick Cheney said recently of Iraq, despite no signs that the violence is easing (Adrian Blomfield, The Telegraph, June 2). "And this time we really mean it."

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
A bunch of Linda Lovelace jokes

So it appears that W. Mark Felt of the government's FBI was "Deep Throat" of Watergate scandal fame.

I'd hoped it would be Pat Buchanan or those kids from Dick (Andrew Fleming, 1999). On the other hand, I'm glad it wasn't Al Haig as that would force me to rethink all of my political and most of my social views.

Since Felt was tight with J. Edgar Hoover, it appears Felt's involvement may have been a proxy battle between Hoover and Richard Nixon, as Felt had not opposition to break ins for the cause of America. That said, it would be interesting to know who else Felt has talked to "off the record." Could he have had a change of conscience?

The most important question, however, IMHO, is why did the Watergate scandal bring Nixon down while U.S. intervention in Cambodia didn't? Similarly, why didn't the Iran Contra scandal bring Reagan down and why didn't Clinton suffer much for the bombing of Iraq in 1993 and, also from 1993, the raid on the Branch Davidian compound? These should have been bigger scandals from my vantage point.