Frame the Debate
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
  Oh my God.
John Ashcroft Sings. Badly. An awful song he wrote.
Monday, May 24, 2004
  They Don't Give Up
Iraq Resolution Gives Wide Powers to U.S. Forces
Mon May 24, 2004 05:23 PM ET
By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States and Britain on Monday asked for U.N. endorsement of a handover of power to an interim Iraqi government but proposed the U.S. force there could "take all measures" to keep order and set no date for it to leave.
You know the Bush administration won't give up what it went to Iraq to do (set up military bases). So this resolution has to be just wallpaper. Indeed:
(The resolution) does not give a definite timetable for the foreign force to leave and calls for a review after a year. An elected Iraqi government, after January, can also call for such a review.

A review, however, would be similar to an open-ended mandate and would not mean the force would leave unless the Security Council, where the United States has veto power, decides it should do so.
Military bases in Iraq are necessary to wage perpetual war against evil (read "Islam").

  Mess 'O Potamia (Thank you Jon Stewart) The backstabbing and infighting would all be so amusing if the mess o' potamia weren't costing us enough money to provide affordable health care for everyone in the U.S. and destabilizing an already precarious situation. You have the U.S. raid of Chalabi's Iraqi compound and charges of spying. Chalabi’s denials and blaming of CIA Dir. Tenet for spreading lies. Iran’s response to charges of being in cahoots with Chalabi as “unfounded and baseless. ” Congress is going to launch another investigation (these are friendly Janes and Joes, remember). Staunch conservatives are abandoning Bush on Iraq (and the economny). And then Chalabi wipes America's face in its own mess, according to this in Newsday:
Asked on "Fox News Sunday" why Habib was on the run if he is innocent, Chalabi said, "In Iraq there is no justice. There is Abu Ghraib prison ... We don't want anybody to be subjected to Abu Ghraib."
Ouch! No fair! Daddy, he bit me!
Saturday, May 22, 2004
  This Qaddafi sentiment...
"The Arabs are not doing anything to retaliate against these countries,'' the Libyan leader said of smaller Iraq occupation countries, such as Italy, Australia and Bulgaria. "The Arab summit should have warned these countries to withdraw their forces from Iraq or else they should consider themselves at a state of war with the Arab countries.''
...doesn't square with the Bush administration's claims that our Iraqi mission has tamed Qaddafi. In his 2004 State of the Union, Bush referenced Gaddafi's decision to surrender of WMD's as evidence of a successful strategy in the war on terrorism. Bush said,
Because of American leadership and resolve, the world is changing for the better. Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not."
Yet Flynt Leverett, the former National Security Council's senior director for Middle Eastern affairs, quickly debunked Bush's claim in a NY Times editorial:
However, by linking shifts in Libya's behavior to the Iraq war, the president misrepresents the real lesson of the Libyan case.
The Iraq war, which had not yet started, was not the driving force behind Libya's move. Rather, Libya was willing to deal because of credible diplomatic representations by the United States over the years, which convinced the Libyans that doing so was critical to achieving their strategic and domestic goals.
Further, it frankly isn't clear whether Libya even has WMD's or WMD programs, emptying the whole Attacking-Iraq-Equals-Libyan-Capitulation equation of relevance.

The lesson is clear: You can make false pronouncements (Gaddafi is dumping WMD programs because he saw what happened to Saddam) that, in the short term, seem to fit the facts (Gaddifi did in fact claim that he will dump his WMD programs, regardless of their existence) and thereby make your policies (pre-emptive war) seem successful. But you can't expect the actual facts (Gaddafi is still a nasty, untrustworthy dictator whose willingness to give up WMDs -- if he has them -- was the result of years of negotiations that probably benefit Qaddafi more than the U.S.) to somehow change and conform to your politically expedient exposition just because, well, you said so. Sooner or later the truth will come out and expose the falsity as fantasy.

  Are Dick Cheney and the rest of the neocon crew merely dupes of the Chalabi-Iranian spy plot? Willing co-conspirators in a joint Iranian-U.S. scheme? Regardless these people are responsible for lies and manipulations costing thousands of U.S. and Iraqi lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. They shouldn't even be allowed to wait for elections to be tossed out of office. 
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq beheaded an American civilian and vowed more killings in revenge for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, an Islamist Web site said Tuesday.

A poor quality videotape on the site showed a man dressed in orange overalls sitting bound on a white plastic chair in a bare room, then on the floor with five masked men behind him.

"My name is Nick Berg, my father's name is Michael... I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah," said the bound man, adding he was from Philadelphia.

After one of the masked men read out a statement, they pushed Berg to the floor and shouted "God is greatest" above his screams as one of them sawed his head off with a large knife then held it aloft for the camera. (full story)
And George Bush displayed his typically poor grasp of the Iraqi war situation just yesterday when he told U.S. Armed Forces Radio, "One of the reasons why things have quieted down recently is there's fewer of them to make noise, fewer of the enemy to make noise."
Saturday, May 08, 2004
  Cannot ... Stop ... Writing ... About ... This ... In a story that chronicles former WMD searcher David Kay's warnings to the U.S. military of potentially disasterous for the U.S., reporter Bob Gibson recounts for those who may not have been paying attention the facts of the "missing" WMD's:
Years after Iraq was defeated in the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein secretly decided in the mid-'90s to get rid of his weapons of mass destruction, mostly chemical stockpiles, because they were too easy to find and could be rebuilt after world sanctions lapsed, Kay said.

Saddam kept up a policy of deception against weapons inspectors because he feared that the Iraqi people and his own army might overthrow him if they were not convinced he still had the weapons, Kay said. Every Iraqi general who has been interrogated was convinced the weapons were still in Iraq but had not seen them for years, he said.

American intelligence agencies remained fooled because Iraqis who wanted Saddam toppled kept feeding them false stories about his hidden stockpiles of chemical and other weapons, Kay said.

"They told us about weapons in order to get us to invade Iraq," he said. "They moved U.S. policy, and we didn't catch it."
This reality may never replace the lies and fantasies of the right, but maybe just maybe enough swing voters will get it to send Bush back to Crawford. Maybe.

  Applause, applause I met Nancy Farmer and her campaign team yesterday. Nancy is challenging U.S. Senator from Missouri Kit Bond. Bond's image is that of a reasonable person, despite his support of all things Bush. (Can you say "oxymoron?") The gathering was intimate to allow self introductions. When I said I was Vicki Walker's new campaign manager, the group applauded.

Not for me.

For Vicki. This woman, a mere freshman rep. in Missouri's House mind you, already has a reputation as a hard-working, effective, progressive leader.
Thursday, May 06, 2004
  NOTICE: Blog Changes Focus. I've been hired as campaign manager for incumbent Vicki Walker, Mo. House Rep., 50th District. She's facing a primary challenge from the same person she beat in the 2002 primary. The new duty compels me to focus more of my time on this race, and on Missouri politics in general, than on the national scene. This blog will reflect that change in focus.

First things first: Learn about Vicki from her Web site, http://www.electvickiwalker.com. Feel free to contribute.

Second, the campaign has a strategy question that needs to be dealt with asap. As we did in 2002, we're going to walk the entire district at least once, resources permitting, going door-to-door to drum up support for Vicki. At issue is this: Assuming we need to maximize resources, should we start/focus on the precincts where Vicki won in 2002, or the precincts she lost, to try to gain additional support there?

She won the primary with 1,147 votes to 991 for her opponent.

What do you think? Post your suggestions by clicking on the "comments" link, below.
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
  Busy with work (read "paid") projects. That's why instead of waxing on my own, I'm sending you to a couple of Josh Marshall blog posts, which include links to a few very important articles on the retardation of the Bush presidency, conman Chalabi and the neocons he scammed, and, again, Bush the retard.

And do not fail to read Krugman in the Times today, who says the administration's botching of Iraq is due as much to making Iraq a showpiece for free trade, supply-side tax policy and privatization as it is to failed military and political ideology.
Saturday, May 01, 2004
  George Will is no fan of the neocons. His distate certainly spills over to a president who continues to swallow hook, line and sinker the neocons' view of "post-war" Iraq as stable but for a few thugs. (There's that word again. See my post on the US State Deptartment's annual report on terrorism trends, below, to understand how pervasive is this neocon view.) This paragraph from Will's May 1, 2004 column:
The commander in chief seems not to fathom the depth of the difficulties when he describes the insurgent cleric Moqtada Sadr as a person who will not ``allow democracy to flourish." ``Allow"? If some bad people would just behave, democracy would sprout like tulips?
"If you have been framed, the only response is to reframe. But you can't do it in a sound bite unless an appropriate progressive language has been built up in advance. Conservatives have worked for decades and spent billions on their think tanks to establish their frames."--George Lakoff, Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley

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