Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Nonsensical.

Events | Posted by admin
Jun 11 2006

This is just plain strange, any way you look at it.

Guantanamo suicides ‘acts of war’ (BBC):

The camp commander said the two Saudis and a Yemeni were “committed” and had killed themselves in “an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us”.

Lawyers said the men who hanged themselves had been driven by despair.

A military investigation into the deaths is now under way, amid growing calls for the detention centre to be moved or closed.

Walter White, an international lawyer who specialises in human rights, told the BBC the Guantanamo camp was likely to be considered a “great stain” on the human rights record of the US….

…Rear Adm Harris said he did not believe the men had killed themselves out of despair.

“They are smart. They are creative, they are committed,” he said.

“They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”

All three men had previously taken part in some of the mass on-and-off hunger strikes undertaken by detainees since last August, and all three had been force-fed by camp authorities.

They had left suicide notes, but no details have been made available.

Okay, so maybe Harris isn’t getting out as often as he might like, leaving him prone to making such boneheaded comments. I don’t know. But then there’s this, headline linked with the above article:

Guantanamo suicides a ‘PR move’ (BBC):
A top US official has described the suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a “good PR move to draw attention”.

Colleen Graffy told the BBC the deaths were part of a strategy and “a tactic to further the jihadi cause”, but taking their own lives was unnecessary.

But lawyers say the men who hanged themselves had been driven by despair.

A military investigation into the deaths is under way, amid growing calls for the centre to be moved or closed.

Speaking to the BBC’s Newshour programme, Ms Graffy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, said the three men did not value their lives nor the lives of those around them.

Detainees had access to lawyers, received mail and had the ability to write to families, so had other means of making protests, she said, and it was hard to see why the men had not protested about their situation.

Huh?

“Act of war?” “A good PR move?” Holy cats! Orwell couldn’t have dreamed up such tortured no-win arguments for Animal Farm or 1984. From the start, the administration has tried to redefine torture and even human rights, cloak Guantanamo in secrecy, and deny the detainees any semblance of due process. Excuse me for being more than a little skeptical of its claims that the three detainees committed suicide for any other reason greater than their own personal despair.

Today’s North Korean Moment

Events | Posted by admin
Apr 18 2006

Here’s the musical number from chidren who survived Hurricaine Katrina and were given the chance to perform at the White House Ester Egg hunt:

Our country’s stood beside us
People have sent us aid.
Katrina could not stop us, our hopes will never fade.
Congress, Bush and FEMA
People across our land
Together have come to rebuild us and we join them hand-in-hand!”

No word on whether the chorus was sung:

Ah! Our brilliant and beloved General
Ah! Our exalted leader George W. Bush

UPDATE: Here is the Bill Maher rebuttal.

Switcheroo: The War in Iraq and Public Schools.

Events | Posted by admin
Jan 11 2006

f Republicans treated education like the War in Iraq:

* Funding for the Department of Defense Education would not be an issue. In fact, Bush and Company would clamor for a twenty percent increase and not argue much for a proper or clear accounting of those funds.
* “Support Our Troops Teachers” magnetic ribbons and bumper stickers would adorn cars and SUVs.
* “Freedom Education Isn’t Free” bumper stickers, too.
* “Liberate Iraq Children” signs would pop up on front lawns.
* The White House press secretary would warn the press and the public that criticizing public schools could embolden those who wish to do the United States harm see our children remain ignorant.
* Wingnuts and Republicans would criticize the Left for “not seeing all the good news” happening in Iraq public schools and come within a whisker’s width of calling them traitors.
* Bush, Cheney, and others in the administration would make surprise visits to Iraq public schools to proclaim that all is going well and that soldiers, officers, and other Pentagon employees teachers, administrators and other public school employees should “stay the course.”
* Pentagon Department of Education R&D and analysis would spend what it needed to develop new technologies and tactics to help soldiers and commanders teachers and administrators conduct the war classes.
* Private contractors would be awarded no-bid, high-profit contracts to work in Iraq public schools.

Okay. Upon reflection, maybe those are not really good ideas. Be that as it may, wouldn’t it be nice to hear Republicans and their media supporters demanding a fuller and more comprehensive accounting of the War in Iraq, the president, and the Pentagon as they call for more support and funding for public schools?

Update: Wha-huh-what??? Bloggers are being solicited to write posts favorable of the War in Iraq??? No way!(Thanks to Paul at Eyeteeth for noticing this.)

I’d be willing to write favorably of public schools, if anyone with a checkbook at the Department of Education is reading this… Hello? …Over here… Hello? …Favorable postings on public schools for sale… Hello? …Reasonable rates. I’ll even develop my own material… Hello?

Drat. No takers.

That’s okay. I am not going into teaching for the money, anyway.

Switcheroo: The War in Iraq and Public Schools.

Events | Posted by admin
Jan 11 2006

If Republicans treated education like the War in Iraq:

  • Funding for the Department of Defense Education would not be an issue. In fact, Bush and Company would clamor for a twenty percent increase and not argue much for a proper or clear accounting of those funds.
  • “Support Our Troops Teachers” magnetic ribbons and bumper stickers would adorn cars and SUVs.
  • “Freedom Education Isn’t Free” bumper stickers, too.
  • “Liberate Iraq Children” signs would pop up on front lawns.
  • The White House press secretary would warn the press and the public that criticizing public schools could embolden those who wish to do the United States harm see our children remain ignorant.
  • Wingnuts and Republicans would criticize the Left for “not seeing all the good news” happening in Iraq public schools and come within a whisker’s width of calling them traitors.
  • Bush, Cheney, and others in the administration would make surprise visits to Iraq public schools to proclaim that all is going well and that soldiers, officers, and other Pentagon employees teachers, administrators and other public school employees should “stay the course.”
  • Pentagon Department of Education R&D and analysis would spend what it needed to develop new technologies and tactics to help soldiers and commanders teachers and administrators conduct the war classes.
  • Private contractors would be awarded no-bid, high-profit contracts to work in Iraq public schools.

Okay. Upon reflection, maybe those are not really good ideas. Be that as it may, wouldn’t it be nice to hear Republicans and their media supporters demanding a fuller and more comprehensive accounting of the War in Iraq, the president, and the Pentagon as they call for more support and funding for public schools?

Update: Wha-huh-what??? Bloggers are being solicited to write posts favorable of the War in Iraq??? No way!(Thanks to Paul at Eyeteeth for noticing this.)

I’d be willing to write favorably of public schools, if anyone with a checkbook at the Department of Education is reading this… Hello? …Over here… Hello? …Favorable postings on public schools for sale… Hello? …Reasonable rates. I’ll even develop my own material… Hello?

Drat. No takers.

That’s okay. I am not going into teaching for the money, anyway.

Someone may need to find a new safe-speaking venue.

Events | Posted by admin
Jan 04 2006

Now here’s a headline you don’t read everyday: Military Confidence in Bush Hits New Low
So, which Librul rag was it that dared to utter such treasonous, enemy-embodenering claptrap? Well, the headline came from Inter Press Service, but before anyone goes running for the pitchforks and torches, check out this part:

Military Confidence in Bush Hits New Low (Inter Press Service):

Although morale among members of the professional corps of the U.S. military remains generally high, their confidence in U.S. President George W. Bush and other civilian government leaders slipped substantially during 2005, according to major new survey released Monday by the “Military Times”.

The survey, the third in an annual series, found that approval of Bush’s Iraq policies by military professionals fell from nearly two-thirds at the end of 2004 to just 54 percent in late 2005, while their support for his overall performance dropped from 71 percent to 60 percent over the course of the year.

While both ratings remain significantly higher than the approximately 40 percent approval given Bush and his Iraq policy by the general public in late 2005, the military levels appear remarkably low given the fact that 60 percent of the military respondents identified themselves as Republicans — twice the percentage of the civilian population.

Among self-described Republican civilians, Bush’s approval ratings have been much higher — 80 percent or more — while support for his Iraq policy among civilian Republicans stands at about two-thirds.

“The military had been so steadfast behind Bush,” said Times managing editor Robert Hodierne, who said he was surprised by the decline in confidence. “When (the president’s ratings are) dropping nine and 11 points — especially in this community, which is very Republican and noticeably more conservative than the general population — then the president needs to pay attention.”

If support for Bush and the Iraq intervention among the professional military appears to be waning, however, lack of confidence in other civilian institutions — particularly Congress and the media — is even more pronounced, according to the survey. It found that the estrangement between the military and the country’s civilian leadership, a concern since the early 1990s, appears, if anything, to have grown over the past year.

And the civilian leadership in the Pentagon also appears to be viewed with scepticism. Fifty percent of respondents said they did not believe the civilian leadership of the Defence Department had their “best interests at heart”.

No, Bush isn’t in the doghouse — numbers-wise — with a majority of military folk, but the fact that he is not enjoying the support he has in the past could suggest that the effects of the our war in Iraq on our troops over there is becoming a drag on the president and his administration. Is this promising or or problematic? I don’t know. The thought of an increasingly disgruntled military, however, should be food for thought for all of us.

Speaking about food for thought, Bush may need to rethink his idea that speaking before military-only settings may not be so safe before the crowd decides to start lobbing rotten tomatoes at him.

God Save the King.

Events | Posted by admin
Dec 29 2005

Well, at least the administration is aware of this problem.

Bush Team Rethinks Its Plan for Recovery (Washington Post):
New Approach Could Save Second Term

President Bush shifted his rhetoric on Iraq in recent weeks after an intense debate among advisers about how to pull out of his political free fall, with senior adviser Karl Rove urging a campaign-style attack on critics while younger aides pushed for more candor about setbacks in the war, according to Republican strategists.

The result was a hybrid of the two approaches as Bush lashed out at war opponents in Congress, then turned to a humbler assessment of events on the ground in Iraq that included admissions about how some of his expectations had been frustrated. The formula helped Bush regain his political footing as record-low poll numbers began to rebound. Now his team is rethinking its approach to his second term in hopes of salvaging it.

The Iraq push culminated the rockiest political year of this presidency, which included the demise of signature domestic priorities, the indictment of the vice president’s top aide, the collapse of a Supreme Court nomination, a fumbled response to a natural disaster and a rising death toll in an increasingly unpopular war. It was not until Bush opened a fresh campaign to reassure the public on Iraq that he regained some traction.

The lessons drawn by a variety of Bush advisers inside and outside the White House as they map a road to recovery in 2006 include these: Overarching initiatives such as restructuring Social Security are unworkable in a time of war. The public wants a balanced appraisal of what is happening on the battlefield as well as pledges of victory. And Iraq trumps all.

So much for all that political capital Bush claimed to possess after the ’04 election. Maybe after they get done fixing their problems, the administration could turn toward fixing the problems it created or exacerbated… y’know… Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, the tattered social safety net, the spiking federal deficits and debt, weakened civil liberties, tarnished international image. Yeah, yeah, I know… if wishes were horses… hey, wouldn’t there be a lot of road apples if they were?

Too bad I used the pig-lipstick line yesterday. However, maybe this means they’ve run out of lipstick for the presidential PR pig and stopped for a moment only to exclaim in sheer terror once they had a moment to reflect on their actions? Oops, there I go again, wishing away…

If it were here.

Events, Just Thoughts | Posted by admin
Dec 26 2005

In the news, we walk a few feet in the shoes of the average Iraqi living in or around Baghdad today…

Gunmen kill Minnesota forces, bombs shake St. Paul

Guerrillas killed 10 Minnesota policemen and soldiers in attacks north of St. Paul on Monday, while the capital itself was rocked by five major explosions that left at least eight dead.

It was one of the bloodiest days in Minnesota since the largely peaceful election on December 15, when rival ethnic and sectarian groups took part in a vote for a new legislature. By nightfall, at least 20 were killed and over 40 injured.

In the capital, five people were killed and 15 wounded when four car bombs exploded in quick succession as civilians traveled to work in the morning, the U.S. military said.

Later a parked motorbike loaded with explosives blew up in a market in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul, killing at least three and wounding 23 others, police said.

Minnesota police and soldiers bore the brunt of other attacks.

In the second major assault on Minnesota security forces in four days, guerrillas stormed a police checkpoint north of St. Paul, killing five policemen and wounding four.

Al Qaeda’s wing in Minnesota claimed responsibility. It said it killed or injured all 20 policemen present — differing from police accounts.

The attack seemed to have been carefully planned and staged.

Gunmen jumped out of an SUV and started firing mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades at the checkpoint in Delano, a small town about 60 km (40 miles) from the capital, police said.

As they got closer, they also began hurling hand grenades.

At least six guerrillas were killed in several hours of ensuing clashes, police said.

A main road leading to the checkpoint was also laid with roadside bombs, delaying backup police forces sent in to help.

“They attacked us from all sides,” said one police officer at the scene. He said he saw at least 10 guerrillas killed.

Now for the actual story…

Gunmen kill Iraqi forces, bombs shake Baghdad (AP – Yahoo! News)

Guerrillas killed 10 Iraqi policemen and soldiers in attacks north of Baghdad on Monday, while the capital itself was rocked by five major explosions that left at least eight dead.

It was one of the bloodiest days in Iraq since the largely peaceful election on December 15, when rival ethnic and sectarian groups took part in a vote for a new parliament. By nightfall, at least 20 were killed and over 40 injured.

In the capital, five people were killed and 15 wounded when four car bombs exploded in quick succession as civilians traveled to work in the morning, the U.S. military said.

Later a parked motorbike loaded with explosives blew up in a market in a Shi’ite neighborhood of Baghdad, killing at least three and wounding 23 others, police said.

Iraqi police and soldiers bore the brunt of other attacks.

In the second major assault on Iraqi security forces in four days, guerrillas stormed a police checkpoint north of Baghdad, killing five policemen and wounding four.

Al Qaeda’s wing in Iraq claimed responsibility. It said it killed or injured all 20 policemen present — differing from police accounts.

The attack seemed to have been carefully planned and staged.

Gunmen jumped out of a minibus and started firing mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades at the checkpoint in Buhriz, a small town about 60 km (40 miles) from the capital, police said.

As they got closer, they also began hurling hand grenades.

At least six guerrillas were killed in several hours of ensuing clashes, police said.

A main road leading to the checkpoint was also laid with roadside bombs, delaying backup police forces sent in to help.

“They attacked us from all sides,” said one police officer at the scene. He said he saw at least 10 guerrillas killed.

If this did happen here, would we say that things are improving in Minnesota? How might we view our political leaders who might try to tell us about the improvements to our infrastructure as charred vehicles line our streets? Would Vice President Dick Cheney or Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld be able to make a surprise visit and tell everyone that there is light at the end of the tunnel? How might we react to the idea that the US government, responsible for starting the war, expects Minnesotans to train themselves to fight the terrorists after US forces leave? Would we recall with any nostalgia that we had elections a month earlier when we hear bullets flying, mortars launching, and grenades exploding while factions in the Minnesota legislature lock horns to figure out who is in charge and it looks as if the whole political process will lead us toward civil war?

Just wondering.

Oh, and by the way, have we found those WMD yet? They were the reason we went to war in Iraq, after all. Anyone in the administration have an answer?