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"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
Wednesday, 12 May 2004
Not so Swift Afterall
I was thinking of doing a write up about these Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and had this great intro and damn if The Daily Howler didn't beat me to it. NOT TOO SWIFT: Ironically, they call themselves “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” but some don’t seem to be all that swift—and they don’t really seem all that truthful. Yesterday, they met in DC to swear that John Kerry simply isn’t fit to be president. But here’s how one angry swift boat vet described something he found ironic: ELLIOTT: The second irony is, in 1971...he claimed that the 500,000 men in Vietnam in combat were all villains. There were no heroes. In 2004, one hero from the Vietnam War has appeared running for president. That is, of course, a buffoon’s account of what Kerry actually said way back then. But that’s what former lieutenant commander George Elliott had to say at yesterday’s session. Get ready to hear much more of this sort of thing as these men-who-are-angry-but-not-all-that-swift continue to vent against Kerry. (Elliott publicly praised Kerry in 1996 when Kerry was running for the Senate.) John E. O'Neill the official Nixon hitman and lifelong John Kerry stalker get a profile at Salon. Houston attorney John E. O'Neill, the Navy veteran who has emerged recently as a harsh and ubiquitous critic of John Kerry's military service, tells reporters that he has never really been interested in politics and isn't motivated by partisan interests. In the media, O'Neill is often described simply as a Vietnam vet still enraged by the antiwar speeches Kerry delivered more than 30 years ago. That was when O'Neill first came to public attention as a clean-cut, pro-war protégé of the Nixon White House's highest-ranking dirty trickster (aside from the late president himself), Charles Colson. Joe Conason claims my second favorite play-on-words title : Smear Boat Veterans for Bush The "swift boat" veterans attacking John Kerry's war record are led by veteran right-wing operatives using the same vicious techniques they used against John McCain four years ago. The latest conservative outfit to fire an angry broadside against John Kerry's heroic war record is "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" , which today launches a campaign to brand the Democrat "unfit to serve as commander in chief." Billing itself as representing the "other 97 percent of veterans" from Kerry's Navy unit who don't support his presidential candidacy, the group insists that all presidential candidates must be "totally honest and forthcoming" about their military service.......( something they don't care about as regards Preznit Bush, who as of this writing has still not released all his military records or anyway accounted for not fulfilling his ANG duties). And last, but not least Matt Gunn pulls a lot of the threads together: Swift Boat Veterans for a Big Lie Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.-- John Quincy Adams

Posted by comics/minister_mike at 9:27 AM PDT
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Thursday, 29 April 2004
Thinking Outside the Terror Box
Think Again: Al Qaeda

By Jason Burke
Page 1 of 4
May/June 2004
The mere mention of al Qaeda conjures images of an efficient terrorist network guided by a powerful criminal mastermind. Yet al Qaeda is more lethal as an ideology than as an organization. “Al Qaedaism” will continue to attract supporters in the years to come—whether Osama bin Laden is around to lead them or not.

“Al Qaeda Is a Global Terrorist Organization”?   

No. It is less an organization than an ideology. The Arabic word qaeda can be translated as a “base of operation” or “foundation,” or alternatively as a “precept” or “method.” Islamic militants always understood the term in the latter sense. In 1987, Abdullah Azzam, the leading ideologue for modern Sunni Muslim radical activists, called for al-qaeda al-sulbah (a vanguard of the strong). He envisaged men who, acting independently, would set an example for the rest of the Islamic world and thus galvanize the umma (global community of believers) against its oppressors. It was the FBI—during its investigation of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa—which dubbed the loosely linked group of activists that Osama bin Laden and his aides had formed as “al Qaeda.” This decision was partly due to institutional conservatism and partly because the FBI had to apply conventional antiterrorism laws to an adversary that was in no sense a traditional terrorist or criminal organization.

     The complete article is at Foreign Policy Magazine, registration required..

Posted by comics/minister_mike at 1:40 AM PDT
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Saturday, 24 April 2004
Bush is not King, he just acts like one.

Dirty Secrets

No president has gone after the nation's environmental laws with the same fury as George W. Bush -- and none has been so adept at staying under the radar.

The Bush administration has been gutting key sections of the Clean Water and Clean Air acts, laws that have traditionally had bipartisan support and have done more to protect the health of Americans than any other environmental legislation. It has crippled the Superfund program, which is charged with cleaning up millions of pounds of toxic industrial wastes such as arsenic, lead, mercury, and vinyl chloride in more than 1,000 neighborhoods in 48 states. It has sought to cut the EPA's enforcement division by nearly one-fifth, to its lowest level on record; fines assessed for environmental violations dropped by nearly two-thirds in the administration's first two years; and criminal prosecutions-the government's weapon of last resort against the worst polluters-are down by nearly one-third.

Posted by comics/minister_mike at 5:46 AM PDT
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Thursday, 22 April 2004
Bush Admin. covers up Kentucky spill

Corruption 101
The former head of a federal mine safety school alleges that Bush administration appointees halted an investigation of a coal mine sludge spill that polluted about 100 miles of creeks and rivers along the Kentucky-West Virginia state line. The bottom of a coal mine waste impoundment collapsed into an abandoned underground mine near Inez, Ky., in October 2000. An estimated 250 million to 300 million gallons of water, coal and rock particles poured out of the mine, killing fish and fouling drinking water supplies.

'' 'The Bush administration came in and the scope of our investigation was considerably shortened,' said Jack Spadaro, former superintendent of the federal Mine Health and Safety Academy. 'I had never seen something so corrupt and lawless in my entire career ... interference with a federal investigation of the most serious environmental disaster in the history of the Eastern United States.' ''

Posted by comics/minister_mike at 1:37 AM PDT
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Saturday, 17 April 2004
Conservative Cannibalism
I'm for lean government, I'm against waste, against padding bills with pork, I'm for a strong military to protect America and democracy against foreign threats, so I have no choice. I have to be a liberal.
Republicans say they're for the aforementioned, yet supported Saddam with weapons and cash in the eighties, government size and powers have historically expanded under conservatives, conservatives pork is a runaway elephant compared to the backpack donkey pork of Democrats. Liberals have too many ideas, they are frequently too hard on their own, but liberals don't crush their own. If liberals pushed for the kind of idealogical purity that neo-con conservatives push for, there wouldn't be a Democratic party. As recent events have shown, Democrats represent a fairly deverse contingent of the American people; from Dean liberals, to middle ground of Wesley Clark, Dick Gephart, and John Kerry, to the rightist foreign policies of Joe Leiberman. Occassionally you'll hear a hypocritical conservative talk about the lack of civil political discourse on the left; to those I would suggest you look at your own party first. In the current incarnation of conservatism ideaologic purity has become more important then respecting any Republican that dares deviant from the Whitehouse and theocratic right's script. McCain is a party man to be sure, yet is at odds with Republican theocrats. We will probably not see the likes of McCain again, if the Republican party keeps pushing hard right. Finally, you know that the Republican party is full throttle hard right when Arlen Specter of all people isn't considered conservative enough. Where are  some future centrist Democrats  going to come from? The disenfrenchised moderate Republicans.  The GOP Hunts its Own.

Posted by comics/minister_mike at 7:47 PM PDT
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Wednesday, 14 April 2004
War is a Racket

Posted by comics/minister_mike at 1:57 PM PDT
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Laziness in the Face of Mortal Danger by Ivan Eland
"The release of the classified intelligence briefing to President Bush entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S,” which was given to the president more than a month before September 11, illustrates the U.S. government’s failure at what should be its primary purpose: ensuring the security of its citizens."

Posted by comics/minister_mike at 1:53 PM PDT
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Saturday, 10 April 2004
Why three out of four experts predict a terrorist attack by November
Will America have elections in November?
I'm naturally adverse to alarmism, yet the apparent willingness of americans to so readily give up those freedoms for which the war on terror is supposed to be about preserving is more then disturbing.
"In Nov. 2003, you might recall, Gen. Tommy Franks told Cigar Aficionado magazine that a major terrorist attack (even one that occurred elsewhere in the Western world), would likely result in a suspension of the U.S. Constitution and the installation of a military form of government. "[A] terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world -- it may be in the United States of America -- [would cause] our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event," he said.

Posted by comics/minister_mike at 10:02 PM PDT
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Not a working man's president
"Bush has made 33 visits to his pretend ranch since becoming president. He has spent all or part of 233 days on his Texas ranch since taking office, according to a tally by CBS News. Adding his 78 visits to Camp David and his five visits to Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush has spent all or part of 500 days in office at one of his three retreats, or more than 40 percent of his presidency."

Perhaps it's just as well, since when he is at the Whitehouse he seems so ineffectual at doing his job.

Posted by comics/minister_mike at 9:53 PM PDT
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Wednesday, 7 April 2004
From painkillers to prison
Which is immoral? Respecting the right of a citizen to have dominion over his or her own body or
enforcing Calvinistic drug laws that send people to jail.

"When the issue of chronic pain intersects with this nation's draconian drug laws, common sense and compassion often take a holiday. Consider the case of Richard Paey, a 45-year-old father of three who sits in a wheelchair, debilitated by multiple sclerosis and chronic pain from botched back surgery, and is now facing a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for having forged prescriptions to treat his pain."

Posted by comics/minister_mike at 7:12 PM PDT
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