horses and saddles sold cheap and other metaphors

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Stephen Hayes put on his overly tight tin foil hat in a Weekly Standard article and declared Case Closed, declaring "there can no longer be any serious argument about whether Saddam Hussein's Iraq worked with Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda to plot against Americans."
according to Isikoff and Hosenball at Slate, Case Decidedly Not Closed
and Bryan Keefer writes at Spinsanity:
Yet many of the memo's pieces of evidence come with caveats. For example, in regard to several meetings, the memo states that "None of the reports have information on operational details or the purpose of such meetings" (which are obviously crucial to establishing an "operational relationship" between Iraq and Al Qaeda). Other evidence is indirect, such as a note that "According to sensitive CIA reporting, . . . the Saudi National Guard went on a kingdom-wide state of alert in late Dec 2000 after learning Saddam agreed to assist Al Qaeda in attacking U.S./U.K. interests in Saudi Arabia." (ellipsis in Hayes article).

The connections reported between Iraq and Al Qaeda after Sept. 11, 2001 are also vague and far from conclusive. They include an alleged offer of safe haven in Iraq to Al Qaeda members, the provision of weapons to "Al Qaeda members in northern Iraq" beginning in "mid-March," roughly the time of the beginning of US military action; and assistance provided by an Iraqi intelligence agent to Ansar al-Islam, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group which operated prior to the war in Kurdish-controlled northeastern Iraq.

Moreover, there are questions about the reliability of the information contained in the memo. The Defense Department released a statement which describes "[t]he items listed in the [memo]" as "either raw reports or products of the CIA, the National Security Agency or, in one case, the Defense Intelligence Agency," and says that the memo "was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and it drew no conclusions."

The level of idolatry,paranoia and conspiracy fever among Bush supporters is more then unfortunate.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

More right-wing extremists doublespeak, the use of the term wise-use to describe the movement to undermine the environment and America's heritage.

Wise Use Activists Steering Federal Policy Under Bush
The Wise Use movement was launched by right-wing extremists, mostly in the American West, who aimed to convince lawmakers and the public that environmentalism infringed on property rights, cost jobs, and hurt the nation’s economy. Backed by mining, timber, development, and energy interests, the movement was linked to militia groups. It created a climate that encouraged violence against environmentalists such as anti-logging activist Judi Bari, who was maimed in 1990 when a bomb exploded under the seat of her car in Oakland, California.

Although the Wise Use movement lost momentum for a while during the later 1990s, Wise Use supporters and their monied sponsors today steer environmental policy for the Bush Administration.

Interior Secretary Gale Norton is a veteran of the right-wing law firm in Colorado, Mountain States Legal Foundation, once headed by James Watt. The group billed itself as "the litigation arm of Wise Use." As attorney general of Colorado, Norton opposed the Endangered Species Act and supported paying financial compensation to developers whenever environmental laws limited their real or potential profits.

Under Norton at Interior are J. Stephen Griles, a former oil, coal, and gas lobbyist, and Lynn Scarlett, formerly with the libertarian Reason Foundation. Norton’s special assistant on Alaska is the former head of Arctic Power, a Wise Use group dedicated to opening the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

At the Department of Agriculture, Secretary Ann Veneman once represented a Wise Use coalition made up of timber interests, off-road vehicle associations, and Wise Use activists trying to stop a conservation plan for the Sierra Nevada. Veneman’s chief of staff is a former lobbyist for the Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a group closely aligned with the Wise Use movement. Her undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment, who oversees the National Forest Service, is a former vice president for the Forest and Paper Association, Mark Rey, formerly a popular keynote speaker at Wise Use functions.

Dinosaur Footprints Found Off Sweden
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - The Geological Museum in Copenhagen on Wednesday received two fossil footprints left by a pair of Jurassic-era dinosaurs about 170 million years ago and believed to be the first of their kind found on the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm.

The largest footprint, measuring 28 inches across, was believed to have been left by a sauropod, a plant-eating dinosaur with a long neck and tail, small head and measuring as long as 66 feet. The other print likely was left by a smaller ankylosaur, a four-legged, thickly armored plant eater, the museum said.

So that's why dinosaurs disappearred, they couldn't afford Nike's in size 58.

Monday, May 31, 2004

E.J. Dionne Jr. dismantles the Lonely Ranger: The President: Paying the Price . . .
...Instead of reaching out to doubters, Bush derided them. On the campaign trail in September 2002, he characterized Democratic members of Congress who wanted a strong mandate from the United Nations -- exactly what the administration is seeking now -- as evading responsibility. "It seems like to me that if you're representing the United States," he said, "you ought to be making a decision on what's best for the United States." Didn't his opponents think that defending the interests of the United States was exactly what they were doing? Bush continued: "If I were running for office, I'm not sure how I'd explain to the American people -- say, 'Vote for me, and, oh, by the way, on a matter of national security, I'm going to wait for somebody else to act.' "

It's not like there were no qualified voices out there warning Bush and Company that Iraq should be on the back burner, and when it's time to confront Saddam, not to go it alone. A small coalition of the bribed and coerced is not a united front. Former Gen. Wesley Clark (U.S.A. (Ret.), Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, from 1997-2000) wrote in September of 2002:
The Kosovo campaign suggests alternatives in waging and winning the struggle against terrorism: greater reliance on diplomacy and law and relatively less on the military alone. Soon after September 11, without surrendering our right of self defense, we should have helped the United Nations create an International Criminal Tribunal on International Terrorism. We could have taken advantage of the outpourings of shock, grief, and sympathy to forge a legal definition of terrorism and obtain the indictment of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban as war criminals charged with crimes against humanity. Had we done so, I believe we would have had greater legitimacy and won stronger support in the Islamic world. We could have used the increased legitimacy to raise pressure on Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to cut off fully the moral, religious, intellectual, and financial support to terrorism. We could have used such legitimacy to strengthen the international coalition against Saddam Hussein. Or to encourage our European allies and others to condemn more strongly the use of terror against Israel and bring peace to that region. Reliance on a compelling U.N. indictment might have given us the edge in legitimacy throughout much of the Islamic world that no amount of "strategic information" and spin control can provide.

I hope that General Clark is put to use in the Kerry administration. I know that he's on the short list as V.P., but failing that he would make a great Secretary of Defense or State.

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