Monday, March 31, 2008

Fitna and Death Threats

Update (03/31):
Apparently some ideas are above critique.
The top U.N. rights body on Thursday passed a resolution proposed by Islamic countries saying it is deeply concerned about the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it. "Islam is one of the most obvious victims of aggressions under the pretext of freedom of expression," the Saudi delegation told the council.

So, LiveLeak hosted Fitna the Anti-islam movie by Geert Wilders. I won't go over the ridiculous blasphemy arguments or the fundamental question of why an All Powerful god needs the pious to defend it from the sinful or even the freedom of speech arguments.

Although this comment caught my eye;
"I am well aware of people's constitutional right regarding freedom of speech, but Wilders's pronouncements about wanting the Koran forbidden and his likening of Mohammed to Hitler go too far," Hans van den Broek, a former Dutch minister for foreign affairs and a government adviser, insists.

This is political cowardice at it's worse. No matter how artisitically poor or factually incorrect a movie or book is the way to defeat a viewpoint is not through violence (note in my previous post I didn't recommend strangling Ben Stein for the ignorant Expelled movie) it is through debate, critique and rebuttal. So, anyone who really claims to support post-Enlightenment values should be defending Fitna and Wilders as Michael Moynihan does in this article for Reason.

I will say one bad thing about this is it allows the leaders of repressive islamic nations to get away with blaming all their countries problems on western "islamophobia" and not on their policies and the theft of billions from their own people.

Anyway, this is just another case were religious authorities can use their undeserved influence to incite their ignorant followers into a frenzy. No belief system is above ridicule or criticism.

Here is the movie and the comments form the LiveLeak staff:
** 30/3/2008: Liveleak Update **

On the 28th of March was left with no other choice but to remove the film "fitna" from our servers following serious threats to our staff and their families. Since that time we have worked constantly on upgrading all security measures thus offering better protection for our staff and families. With these measures in place we have decided to once more make this video live on our site. We will not be pressured into censoring material which is legal and within our rules. We apologise for the removal and the delay in getting it back, but when you run a website you don't consider that some people would be insecure enough to threaten our lives simply because they do not like the content of a video we neither produced nor endorsed but merely hosted.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Expelled Rigamrole

Well, this post was supposed to be done a few days ago, I don't know what happened. So the news is old, in the modern understanding of old news.

As many people know, Mark Mathis, the producer of Expelled in a fit of hypocritical irony expelled Professor PZ Myers out of the waiting line to see the movie. But, apparently did not recognize Richard Dawkins, whom PZ Myers had listed as an invited attendee. Dawkins sums up the events in a post named Lying for Jesus?

First the basic premise of evolution, all life on earth (including mankind) have a common ancestry and we have inherited traits passed to us from previous generations is correct. Teach the controversy is a misnomer. Intelligent Design is better understood under the apt and accurate description, "Creationism in a Cheap Tuxedo".

The "controversy" is nothing less than the attempts by those with an agenda of pushing biblical account of the creation of the earth and man. It's been well documented under the "Wedge Strategy" and comments and columns by ardent ID supporters like Bill Dembski (If ID and creationism aren't the same why all the references to god and the bible?).

One of the funniest and disheartening things about the Evolution "controversy" is basic ignorance of reasoning and logic. Let us postulate Evolution is false, does that make Intelligent Design true? The answer is no, there could be a third or fourth or n number of other mechanisms currently unknown to the minds of mankind which account for the origin of life.

I always recommend reading all viewpoints and not prejudging things without watching them for yourself. But I'm reminded one should have an open mind but not so open as one's brains fall out. Rehashing the same tired attempts to link Darwin and Hitler is not a theory I need to rebut again. Having Ben Stein claim "god did it" is not science. Julia Sweeney has some comments on her view of the intellectual Ben Stein. And worst of all, invoking Galileo who was forced to recant his scientific views by Religious Authority is tawdry. I'm not going to watch the Expelled movie, but don't say I didn't warn you about your brain slurping out of your ear canal if you choose to...

Anyway the Expelled brouhaha continues to be laughable. Over at the Uncommodescent blog, the Intelligent Designers decided to add an new level of guesswork to their fantastical imaginations. DaveScot postulated why PZ Myers was expelled: An RSVP system was in work and "I’d guess it’s because Myers was vigorously exercising his anti-religious potty mouth loud enough to offend other guests and someone complained while the other members in Myers’ anti-Christ crusader party were exercising a modicum of discretion."

And there it is. I guess. Awesome. DaveScot doesn't have any evidence to support his slander about PZ Myers behavior he just guesses. It works perfectly to describe intelligent design as well. Slander, lie and guesses.

Here is an extended trailer for Expelled.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Surge! The Surge! The Surge!

Violence increases in 2007! The Surge is working!

Violence decreases in 2007! The Surge is working!

Violence increases in 2008! The Surge is working!

The Surge is working so well the increased US forces have to remain throughout 2008 and 2009. Bush lives in a fantasy world.

When the deaths of Iraqis and US service members increased in the summer of 2007. Bush trotted out of his intoxicated slumber and touted the increase as signs of success.

Violence decreased at the end of 2007, because the insurgents realized attempting to fight a modern military head-to-head is a surefire way to be annihilated. Bush managed to rouse himself out of his drunken stupor and declared Major Strategic Victory and proof the Surge had worked. Bush declared in the State of the Union with glassy eyed certainty, "Some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt."

Now violence is increasing again. Bush managed to grab hold to a podium to keep from swaying or failing over to declare the resurge in violence is a sure sign of the Surge's success! Crooks and Liars has the video of a clearly inebriated Bush Declaring Victory in Iraq.

Of course, Bush isn't left alone to declare Victory, several Warmongering Chicken Hawk professional talkers all wait anxiously by the phone for CNN, CSPAN, or the Wall Street Journal to call them up so they can spout off on how awesome and safe Iraq is, from the rugged confines of an American studio.

On 03/24/08, during Iraq: The Way Ahead at the American Enterprise Institute, Fred Kagan, Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack trumpeted the Victory in Iraq.
"The first thing" Fred Kagan wanted to say is, "The Civil War in Iraq is over". Michael O'Hanlon stated Chicken Hawks who supported the Surge "did two things that I think would have made Vince Lombardi proud."

How is it this progress in Iraq is so neubulos that while it's "substantive, it is reversible". What happened to the analogies to struggles of World War II? Could the victories at Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Okinawa been couched in these terms? We're winning but we can't leave. The continued violence means success. It's insanity and the right-wingers are so blinded by their political aspirations and hatred for liberals they will allow more and more Americans to die and be maimed than look at the realities of what the Iraq has cost us and is costing us...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Four Year Itch

Every 4 years or so the American people allow themselves to be duped into the belief their vote for President matters.

It's Election Insanity!

As Howard Zinn writes,
This seizes the country every four years because we have all been brought up to believe that voting is crucial in determining our destiny, that the most important act a citizen can engage in is to go to the polls and choose one of the two mediocrities who have already been chosen for us. It is a multiple choice test so narrow, so specious, that no self-respecting teacher would give it to students.
Well Dana Perino, with her bubbly "Like OMG, I am so a Valley Girl!" personality slipped up with a terse response to Helen Thomas.
Dana Perino: You had input. The American people have input every four years, and that’s the way our system is set up.
Bush was elected and Americans once you've chosen the President you need to shut up and take whatever he does right on the chin, let's leave aside that only 1/5th of Americans voted fro Bush in 2004. Every choice he makes is backed with the LEGITMACY of the DEMOCRATIC PROCESS;

Torture? Check, Bush won in 2004
Signing statements to ignore any law he doesn't like? Check, Bush won in 2004.
The Surge in Iraq in 2007? Check, Bush won in 2004.
And now forces to remain around 140,000 in Iraq throughout 2008? check, Bush won in 2004.
Enduring (not permanent) Bases in Iraq? Check, Bush won in 2004.
Government bailouts of Rampant money speculators? Check, Bush won in 2004.

And on and on and on....

The Argument from Authority has morphed from the Divine Right of Kings to the Divine Right of those Democratically elected. Dictators love elections. It coats their misdeeds in a thin panacea of righteousness. After all in October 2002, Saddam was re-elected with 100% of the vote.

So, I now have to rescind my previous indignation at Co-President Cheney's nuanced SO? and realzie he was elected , whatever he says goes...

Hey Devil Dog. STFU! USMC stands for...

Signed the

Those who use the "Oh well they volunteered for the duty" have to be the some of the most callous people living. It's usually used by chickenhawk cowards when those actually in the service bring up legitimate gripes or concerns. Because an American signs up for service in the military he does not abrogate his rights as a US citizen. He is not an indentured servant. He can not be ordered to commit an illegal act. He can not be used as a human test subject for experimental procedures. He can be not be treated as a piece of equipment to be ridden as hard as possible until he breaks.

But, that is exactly what is happening. The Bush Regime and it's enablers treat soldiers as disposable cogs in the Machinery of War.

For example: Can anyone in America really be proud Master Chicken Hawk Cheney is the Vice President? Even those who whole-heartily support the Iraq Occupation? I mean really.

When asked about the burden that's been placed only on the shoulders of the soldiers and the fact more than two-thirds of Americans want us out of Iraq, he's flippant, smug and arrogant.

"For example, 9/11 stimulated a lot of folks to volunteer for the military because they wanted to be involved in defending the country." Cheney stated to Martha Raddatz, and he added apparently without irony, "The president carries the biggest burden, obviously."

First off Susan Jacoby does an excellent job of dissecting the use of the word "folks", The specific political use of folks as an exclusionary and inclusionary signal, designed to make the speaker sound like one of the boys or girls, is symptomatic of a debasement of public speech inseparable from a more general erosion of American cultural standards.(pg. 4, Jacoby, Susan The Age of American Unreason., New York. Pantheon Books, 2008.)

But, moving on Hey, Dick, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot does 9/11 have to do with Iraq? What "burden" does the Commander Guy carry? Unless Cheney is going to start referencing blogs like Hot Air, with the post Saddam supported at least two Al-Qaeda groups, no matter what comes to light about the false reasons Bush led the US into the Iraq war, there will be those who will fight to claim the reasons were true.

Eventually, we as a society are going to have to move to a position where the people are not allowed to sign away their freedoms because no matter the safeguards, constitutional guarantees, those in authority are going to either modify them or ignore them completely and use the military to fulfill their nefarious purposes.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another Year Down. Another Year To Go!

Views on the Continuing Occupation.

Five Years of Iraq Lies by Juan Cole.
Each year of George W. Bush's war in Iraq has been represented by a thematic falsehood.

The Sixth Year: The tragic, futile war in Iraq grinds on - A Salt Lake Tribune Editorial.
Saying that the war was "necessary," as the president did the other day, or that "our objective here is victory and we need to be prepared to do whatever it takes in order to achieve that," as the vice president said, doesn't change this basic fact: The Iraq war is an open-ended cycle of bloodletting with no positive end in sight.

War advocates like Anne-Marie Slaughter demand that you forget the past by Glenn Greenwald points out the current Warmonger petulant temper tantrums.
And that's the point. This plea that we all just forget about the unpleasant past -- stop trying to figure out who was responsible for the Iraq War -- has become the principal self-defense weapon of the pro-war political establishment.

Joseph Galloway points out the unfortunate truth, Iraq surge has failed in its main purpose.
The surge was intended as a short-term escalation of troop strength to buy a bubble of better security so the Iraqi government and parliament could make progress toward reconciliation among its own warring, revenge-minded communities.

The brave, smart, and attractive Karen Kwiakowski skewers the Imperialist Warmongers in her piece The Art(ifice) of War:
This motion picture, this designer occupation, this expensive excursion into the lives of others, is what the war-supporting chattering class debates. Iraq is an artificial war, expending other people’s lives, other countries’ livelihoods, other mother’s children, and blood that doesn’t seem quite real to those in the velveteen theater.

The talented and ebullient Rachel Maddow concluded her scathing dissection of Dick Cheney's SO? with "I know you think it's been well worth the effort, mister vice president. But why on earth should we?"

And finally, Leading To War: How did the U.S. government lead its people to war?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I am proud to declare on my blog Super Duper Iraq Victory Day! 19 March 2008! (Oh and also 1 May 2003) shall go down in American history along with November 11, May 7 and 8, and August 15 and April 12. The war is over... Again.

I apologize for my ignorance at the victory which, as it turns out, was right around the corner. We have won in Iraq. Period.

In the soon to be immortalized words of The President Bush from his Victory Speech of 19 March, "The surge ... has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror," (emphasis mine). "No one would argue that this war has not come at a high cost in lives and treasure," Bush said. "But those costs are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq." (Fortunately no one from the Imperial Bush family had to serve in Iraq)

We have stopped THEM from achieving a strategic victory in Iraq, ergo WE have acheived a strategic victory in Iraq!

And Cheney echoed Bush, "Think about what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had paid attention to polls, if they had had polls during the Civil War. He never would have succeeded if he hadn't had a clear objective, a vision for where he wanted to go..."

Bush has succeeded in Iraq the same way Lincoln succeeded in the Civil War.

And when asked if he was certain of victory, Cheney replied, "I am."

I am literally crying for joy here a my keyboard. I can only hope those brave souls who have been fighting the Culture War here on the homefront have emerged unscathed by the slings and arrows of those Anti-War terrorist lovers. Sure the likes of Jason Mattera, Ben Ferguson, Matthew Continetti, Chris Vucovich or the other College Republican Chicken Hawks never had to face IEDs, Mortars, snipers or skin-lesions from contaminated water, but they did fight against the mothers of US soldiers here in the US.

And Gathering of Eagles, Melanie Morgan, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity your tireless efforts and Support for the Mission ensured those serving in the Regular Army, National Guard, Active Reserves, THE CORPS, US Navy and Air Force ending up going 3 or 4 or even 5 times to Iraq showing your true dedication to the Troops! Because if there's one thing those serving in the military know it's your efforts had nothing to do with politics and everything to do for your care about the people spending years away from home.

Hell, the fact you never mention the thousands of veterans who have PTSD, suffer depression, attempt suicide, suffer at Walter Reed and attack anyone including anti-war veterans whom Rush calls "phony soldiers" who disagree with your political view points, never crosses their minds.

And if something were to happen in Iraq (like the continuing deaths of US service members or the revelation of the number of Iraqis killed) why all you patriotic americans can blame the "Moonbat" Anti-war Veterans just as Bush continues to Blame the Troops for not winning Iraq for him earlier.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Always On The Run

John McCain stated AQ is on the run it's not defeated in Iraq, which is why we must continue the mission in Iraq. For like Zeno's Tortoise Al Qaeda is forever out of our grasp.

But, ignore the opening part of the previous news article with all the death and bombings and horror because Cheney states Iraq is a "successful endeavor". And Cheney can be trusted absolutely because he knows absolutely there was 'A Link Between Iraq and Al Qaeda? Seems To Me Pretty Clear That There Was' (Praise to ThinkProgress).

But after all why shouldn't Cheney just lie and lie and lie? There are and will be no consequences for him. Two-Thirds of Americans think the war's not worth fighting? "So?". Cheney's words to the Americans he rules... err... "represents" Go Fuck Yourself."

Perpetual War must be protected by Perpetual Lies. The Anti-War crowd is fractured and those elected ostensibly to end the War in 2006 self-neutered I guess we can look forward to an Occupation of Iraq continuing throughout the entire 21st century.

Update 03/19:
I don't know if McCain is lying, ignorant or just confused when he recently stated, "There are Al-Qaeda operatives that are taken back into Iran, given training as leaders and they’re moving back into Iraq."

Crooks and Liars has a post on the video illustrating McCain's lockstep with the Bush Regime:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bush Envy

"I must say, I'm a little envious," Bush said in a video conference with soldiers in Afghanistan. "It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger.

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
~ Rudyard Kipling, The Young British Soldier

I guess I could go on and on about the sheer ignorance of Bush. You can't expect a "man" who's read the Cliff Notes version of Nietzsche, Clausewitz and The Red Badge of Courage to understand the nature of War. Bush never had to deal with the day-to-day grind of being in country.

In fact, Bush never:
- was exposed to the long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of terror.
- had to shave his face in contaminated water.
- shit and puked all over himself at the same time because he caught some form of dysentery.
- piss in a bottle because you don't feel like getting you helmet, flak, rifle, and boots to walk a quarter mile to a port-a-potty (actually with his penchant for an adult beverage I'm probably wrong about this one)
- had to set up traps to capture the Euphrates River rats.
- or clean up your gear after they shit all over it and worry about what your going to catch from the rat feces.
- lived through a mortar attack... or saw someone who didn't.

To Bush War is Romantic. To him it's a short story. Begun with an unprovoked Casus Beli, then followed by parades and sermons as the Righteous are assured God is on Our Side. Next comes a quick victory accentuated by few comments from the newly minted Men, who praise the dead and return home to more parades.

There of course the story ends and we never have to worry ourselves with the lack of medical care for the wounded (because they are hidden from our sight), never see the personal struggle of those dealing with the horrors they've seen.

And that's what our Glorious Leader has to look forward. When he departs on 01/20/09, he'll get to forget the wars he's started as though he's closing up a book. But for those he's cavalierly sent off the "Excitement" of War doesn't end when they come home.

Update 03/17:
As if on cue, US Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) declares God has not abandoned US for our glorious War in Iraq.

Friday, March 14, 2008

IVAW: Winter Soldier Testimony

Listen to the stories of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Update 03/18:
The IVAW website is temporarily unavailable I'll re-link to videos of the testimony when it comes back on line.

Democracy Now has a transcript from the Winter Soldier II testimony.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Positive Battlefield News

“How could Democrats possibly hand McCain a better issue than to let him run on his record of advocating a robust U.S. presence in Iraq with all the positive battlefield news that is filtering out of that country?” asked Michael O’Hanlon.
From the Politico article, Support for war effort highest since 2006 by David Paul Kuhn.

O'Hanlon is, of course, one of the chief Chicken Hawks, who has been touting how well the Occupation has been going since the War began.

From a 09/28/2003 interview with NPR: "I think the counterinsurgency effort is going fairly well." Hey Mister O'Hanlon why don't you tell the families of the 3667 US killed, since your interview, how well the effort is going?

Glenn Greenwald has two excellent articles (here and here) collecting many of the Happy Happy Joy Joy We are Winning comments from O'Hanlon.

O'Hanlon has supported the War, the Occupation, The Surge and continuing the Surge all throughout.

3 US soldiers killed in a rocket attack? O'Hanlon would say: It's okay because the counterinsurgency effort is going well overall...

A 10 year old girl killed by US soldiers because of the Fog of War? Oh well, shrugs O'Hanlon, at least the counterinsurgency effort is going well overall...

And unfortunately, since the War is so removed from the eyes of America, we can allow ourselves to be coaxed into believing violence is down and the War in Iraq is going well overall...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Boring Evidence

Which doesn't support Warmonger claims, so just ignore it.
An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.

The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam's regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.

The new study of the Iraqi regime's archives found no documents indicating a "direct operational link" between Hussein's Iraq and al Qaida before the invasion, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report.

See! See! The words are right there in print! To quote: "Saddam... provided... support... to... terrorist groups". Bam! What more do you do you need you anti-war terrorist lovers! The war in Iraq has nothing to do with the Trillions being given to the Military-Industrial-Complex.

Surprise the US Government doesn't want the Pentagon Report showing no link between Saddam and Al Qaeda placed on the web. Where the definitive proof of the Bush Regime's lies could be accessed and referenced forever.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Every 2 years this is news...

It seems every 2 years the Press shockingly learns the US troops in Iraq are treated like expendable pawns and breaks the breathless news story the water given to US forces is contaminated.

From the AP Exclusive:
Dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq fell sick at bases using "unmonitored and potentially unsafe" water supplied by the military and a contractor once owned by Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, the Pentagon's internal watchdog says.

I don't know whether to be upset or vindicated the US people keep being exposed to this story. Of course, the warmongers can always say they support the troops and keep their ears and eyes covered to the evils of the War Profiteers.

Pay No Attention to the Carnage in Iraq

The ignorance or deceit by Bush and his rabid chicken hawk warmonger supporters about Iraq continues unabated.

In early 2007 when US and Iraqi deaths increased during the vaunted Surge, it was a sign of progress. Later when deaths tailed off because the insurgents went to ground to out wait the increased troop concentration it was hailed as even more progress.

Now Iraq is experiencing an increase in deaths and violence (only a troop hating anti-american terrorist would click any of these links) and the insurgents are adapting their techniques by using the mentally handicapped, to circumvent the identification of the stereotypical suicide bomber.

Of course, when you're funnelling 12 Billion dollars a month (Estimates are now 3 Trillion just for Iraq!) to the coffers of War profiteers, you need to keep lying.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Al Qaeda in Iraq follies

After the lies which were used to start the War in Iraq were exposed and debunked and the patriotic flag waving war fervor wore off, new rationales needed to be invented to ensure the DoD money train continued.

Two of the foulest reasons used by Bush, Chickenhawks and Warmongers are:
1) When they place the words like honor and noble deaths and scared blood on the lips of the dead and use their deaths to continue the occupation and
2) War is good because the massive destruction and mayhem it causes creates jobs.

Another oft quoted erroneous rationale is the "We're fight'em there so we don't have to fight'em here". Or as Sourcewatch phrases it Taking the fight to the terrorists.

Did we go into into Iraq to free the people from the iron fist of the Tyrant Saddam or did we go to create a sink hole for terrorists to fall into so we could slay them?

As an analogy:
Suppose your neighbor down the street beats his wife and children so you intervene and send in the police to arrest the abuser.

A good act.

But then you leave the police in the house and decide to fight the War on Drugs by inviting all manner of drug dealers in from the neighborhood and allowing them to set up a Meth lab inside the house. Then during the fighting the wife and children you just saved from a brutal tyrant are killed by the dealers or a Meth lab explosion or an errant round from a tac guy.

What did you accomplish?

Of course, I'm giving to much credence to those who believe the Al Qaeda in Iraq stories, usually ignorant Rush Limbaugh listeners or couch-bound commandos who've never been in Iraq. Foreign Fighters never made up more than 5% of the "enemy" in Iraq.

The "enemy" over in Iraq are Iraqis not Al Qaeda. The only Al Qaeda in Iraq prior to our invasion was Ansar al Islam a group of 200-300 guys in the Kurdish Northern Watch No Fly Zone, who hated Saddam and lived in the remote moutains. To think we went to war to kill 300 guys is either ignorant or buffonish.

The War in Iraq is a Racket.