Archive for July, 2006

Ledeen lies about his record on Iran invasion

But Think Progress has the real scoop:

Ledeen makes a similar argument is his own response to Bramford, claiming “I’ve openly and consistently opposed military invasion.”

Actually, writing for the National Review on July 11, Ledeen said the United States should attack Iran:

“But one thing I do know: I would insist that my soldiers have the right of ‘hot pursuit’ into Iran and Syria, and I would order my armed forces to attack the terrorist training camps in those countries.”

Oops. Looks like Ledeen has been blabbing everywhere about his desire to invade Iran.

Should it really surprise us that a warmonger is also a dirty liar? He’s not even a very good liar, but we can give him points for boldness. He, like Hitler, understands the importance of The Big Lie. Getting us into Iran? That would be a really big lie.

Pat Roberts has a difficult job; he has to do exactly nothing while making it look like he’s working hard. Right now it looks like he’s got the “do nothing” part down, but he’s not very adept at making it look like he’s working:

When angry Democrats briefly shut down the Senate last year to protest the slow pace of a congressional investigation into prewar intelligence on Iraq, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) claimed a rare victory.

Republicans called it a stunt but promised to quickly wrap up the inquiry. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is overseeing the investigation, said his report was near completion and there was no need for the fuss.

That was nine months ago.

The Republican-led committee, which agreed in February 2004 to write the report, has yet to complete its work. Just two of five planned sections of the committee’s findings are fully drafted and ready to be voted on by members, according to Democratic and Republican staffers. Committee sources involved with the report, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they are working hard to complete it. But disputing Roberts, they said they had started almost from scratch in November after Democrats staged their protest.

That’s funny. Before the Democrats protested he hadn’t done jack shit! Now 2 sections are done, but I’m betting that the 2 sections completed are the most harmless. Any sort of competent or thorough investigation would reveal far more than Roberts is prepared to show us. He’s a cover-up guy. This is a cover-up. At most he will put a few mildly damaging bits in there to make it seem like he has teeth. He’s a naked partisan, sucking at Cheney’s wrinkled, wart-filled little cock with his toothless mouth.

The Republicans cannot be trusted to investigate themselves.

Part of the investigation that focuses on the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans, which was run by former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith, is on hold, staff members said, pending a separate inquiry by the Defense Department’s inspector general.

Feith is the guy charged with justifying the invasion of Iraq by the neocons. He did his job and he did it well. Now they will go to great lengths to provide cover for him. They will lie, obstruct, assassinate, and stall to make sure the public doesn’t learn what really went on in Feith’s dungeon.

This is all part of a complex political dance, most of it designed to lull the public to sleep and assure us that we have a responsive and non-criminal government when the reverse is actually true.

Everybody knows that our excuses for the Iraq War were manufactured in the Office of Special Plans. Everybody knows those excuses were bullshit, there were no WMDs (except the ones we gave Saddam) and Iraq was not a threat to us (just as Iran is not a real threat). That doesn’t matter. Nobody has the political will or power to take on the Bush administration and start throwing people in jail. Until the likely-to-be-fraudulent elections in November we don’t have a prayer of seeing real action on this investigation. Only if the neocons don’t manage to successfully rig the election will we see action. Let’s hope they fuck up and don’t stuff enough ballot boxes.

At this rate it looks like they will have to stuff a lot of ballot boxes.

AlterNet’s Norm Stamper calls for legalization to end the growing violence in Mexico and in America caused by drug prohibition:

In the mid-’90s, the Arellano brothers’ drug cartel ruled Tijuana, perched atop the hierarchy of Mexico’s multibillion dollar illegal drug trafficking industry. Using cars, planes and trucks — and an intimate knowledge of NAFTA — the Arellanos transported hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine into American cities.

They enlisted U.S. drug gangs. In 1993, in my last days as San Diego’s assistant police chief, the local gang Calle Treinte was implicated in the Arellano-inspired killing of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo. The Arellanos bribed officials on both sides of the border, spending over $75 million annually on the Mexican side alone, to grease their illicit trafficking.

And they enforced their rule not just with murder but with torture. If Steven Soderbergh’s gritty 2000 film “Traffic” caused you to squirm in your seat, the real-life story of Mexican drug dealing is even more disquieting. The brothers once kidnapped a rival’s wife and children. With videotape running, they tossed two of the kids off a bridge, then sent their competitor a copy of the tape, along with the severed head of his wife. Another double-crosser had his skull crushed in a compression vice. And who can forget the carne asada BBQs, where the Arellanos would roast entire families over flaming tires?

Whenever you hear horrible stories like this one, remember who is at least partly to blame for this situation: Politicians who support drug prohibition because they think it makes them look “tough on crime” when the policies they support are actually just tough on liberty. Prohibition simply creates attractive (black) markets for criminals and sociopaths. If drugs were legal, they would be under the control of Walgreens, not the Arellano brothers.

Illegal drugs are expensive precisely because they are illegal. The products themselves are worthless weeds — cannabis (marijuana), poppies (heroin), coca (cocaine) — or dirt-cheap pharmaceuticals and “precursors” used, for example, in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Yet today, marijuana is worth as much as gold, heroin more than uranium, cocaine somewhere in between. It is the U.S.’s prohibition of these drugs that has spawned an ever-expanding international industry of torture, murder and corruption. In other words, we are the source of Mexico’s “drug problem.”

The remedy is as obvious as it is urgent: legalization.

Regulated legalization of all drugs — with stiffened penalties for driving impaired or furnishing to kids — would bring an immediate halt to the violence. How? By (1) dramatically reducing the cost of these drugs, (2) shifting massive enforcement resources to prevention and treatment and (3) driving drug dealers out of business: no product, no profit, no incentive. In an ideal world, Mexico and the United States would move to repeal prohibition simultaneously (along with Canada). But even if we moved unilaterally, sweeping and lasting improvements to public safety (and public health) would be felt on both sides of the border. (Tragically and predictably, just as Mexico’s parliament was about to reform its U.S.-modeled drug laws, the Bush administration stepped in, pressuring President Vicente Fox to abandon the enlightened position he’d championed for two years.)

Stamper makes an excellent and well-thought-out call for legalization, but he’s missing part of the puzzle. The missing piece helps to explain why legalization won’t happen any time soon: The government is well aware of the problems caused by drug prohibition and that’s exactly the way they want it. They don’t want crime free cities (how could they strip us of our rights and frighten us if our cities are peaceful?), they don’t want cheap recreational drugs (how else could they make so much money without informing Congress of where it came from?) and they certainly don’t want to get rid of drug dealers (how else could they arrest any black person at any time?).

The elephant in the room has a kilo of coke jammed up his trunk and none of us are supposed to mention that fact. The Bush Crime Family has depended on the income delivered by drugs for years. This shouldn’t come as a surprise if you know that George Bush Senior (“Poppy Bush” as he is called) used to be the Director the CIA, an organization that is notorious for smuggling drugs, protecting drug kingpins, selling drugs to fund black ops and generally behaving like a bunch of state-sponsored terrorists… cause that’s what they are.

The CIA needs drugs to be illegal. They have to fund their illegal, terroristic black ops somehow: How are we supposed to assassinate foreign leaders, execute coup d’États, prop up right-wing dictators and generally spread fear around the globe if some goddamn hippies are goin’ around talking about drug legalization?! What the fuck?! Don’t you know how hard it is to spread fascism and evil without a slushfund?

Good point. America, the choice is soooo much harder than it seems: If we legalize drugs we might inadvertantly make the CIA less evil and impede its ability to launch terrorist attacks against its enemies, foreign and domestic! Oh noooo!!!!!

Holy fuck, it's hotter than Jessica Alba today

Jessica Alba in a hot outfitDamn! Smokin’ hot!

Er, the weather that is. It’s 97 degrees here in Minnesota. It’s supposed to hit 101 tomorrow and 103 on Monday. There’s a dude outside fryin’ up a pan of bacon on my car’s hood.

Anyway, I just slept 13 hours and I don’t feel like doing much… except Jessica Alba!

California’s sending us all their heat when what we really wish they’d send us is Jessica Alba!

Wake up, America!

Wake up America! Stop the New World Order. What a great fuckin’ picture, eh? Click on it for a larger view. So what’s funnier? Condi Rice in “blackface” or Rumsfeld looking like he’s dead, but reanimated somehow? I love this artwork, man. Great stuff. The generals in the rear, to the right, look particularly psychotic. This guy has some mad skillz! Head over to Mark Bryan’s site for more fucking sweet pics. Here’s another one in the same vein:

It’s called General Monkey Brains. Appropriate for this blog, yes? Monkeys are always funny — I keep telling you.

Okay, one more. I can’t resist:

It’s called, El Fin de Bozo and it’s fucking hilarious for reasons I can’t fully explain. But c’mon, a clown drive-by shooting is just funny as is. LOL!

Ahh… now that’s what I call art!

Workin' like a muthafucka

Been really busy lately. I worked an 11-hour day yesterday so I didn’t have time to post. Sorry about that. Mostly, I’d like to apologize to myself for that shift. Anyway, I took the day off! Yay! In fact, I took Monday off, too. This way I can relax a little bit and get a 4-day weekend. I will also be concentrating on my house hunting endeavor. Wish me luck!

I’ll be back in a second with another post. Great picture I found, you’ve gotta check it out.

One of my favorite investigative reporters, James Bamford, has a new piece in Rolling Stone detailing the build up to the near-inevitable War on Iran. There are many choice bits, but let me show you this one first:

In November 2003, Rumsfeld approved a plan known as CONPLAN 8022-02, which for the first time established a pre-emptive-strike capability against Iran. That was followed in 2004 by a top-secret “Interim Global Strike Alert Order” that put the military on a state of readiness to launch an airborne and missile attack against Iran, should Bush issue the command. “We’re now at the point where we are essentially on alert,” said Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of the 8th Air Force. “We have the capacity to plan and execute global strikes in half a day or less.”

The War on Iran has been planned for years. As the article makes clear, the planning began before 9/11, hell, even before Bush even became president. This is deliberate, methodical warmongering on the part of the neoconservatives.

They’re building an empire.

I guess some Americans may be okay with that. I’m not. There’s a little “problem” with empires: They are ruled by an emperor. In other words, they are not democratic in nature. They are not “republics” like ours. They are antithetical to the American Way and everything we stand for.

And it’s not like this some big fucking secret, although many people I know are shocked — SHOCKED! — when I tell them we’re going into Iran. I guess that’s what happens when you rely on mainstream news sources for information. Everybody who’s anybody knows we’re going into Iran. The neocons don’t even bother to hide the fact that they’re going to get us into Iran one way or another:

Stout and balding, with a scruffy white beard, [Michael] Ledeen is sitting in the living room of his white-brick home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, smoking a Dominican cigar. His Airedale terrier, Thurber, roams the room protectively. In his first extensive interview about the covert Pentagon operation, Ledeen makes no secret of his desire to topple the government in Tehran. “I want to bring down the regime,” he says. “I want the regime gone. It’s a country that is fanatically devoted to our destruction.”

Michael Ledeen, for those of you who don’t know, is a complete fuckwit who also happens to be one of the preeminent neoconservative “intellectuals” (their word, not mine) who guides neoconservative policy, rather like Irving Kristol. Ledeen is a fucking idiot, but that’s what makes him perfect as a neocon guru. He doesn’t let facts get in the way; he’s mentally agile enough to route around or rationalize anything under the sun in order to justify the dictates of the leaders of the group.

Ledeen, as the article makes clear, was one of the major players in the Iran-Contra scandal. So, he certainly has experience with Iran, law-breaking and war, which is really all you need to become a shining star in the neocon constellation (apparently).

Interestingly, the Iran-Contra affair also involved hostages (Americans this time) held by Hezbollah. The Reagan administration arranged to sell weapons to Iran in exchange for Iran pressuring Hezbollah into releasing the hostages. The money from the arms sales would go to fund the Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries (“Contras”) fighting to overthrow a democratically-elected leftist government (the Sandinistas). The Contras were also funded by other means, including massive cocaine smuggling coordinated by the U.S. government. Not just into other countries — into ours! So yes, the U.S. government has engaged in drug smuggling, arms dealing, and funding “terrorist” groups (the Contras were not gentlemen), all in the name of overthrowing democratically-elected governments in South America. Boy, don’t you just wanna start singing America the Beautiful?!

They say history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. I can only hope that this will be the farce time, but I think we’ve gotta get through the tragedy bit first. Shit. Well, here we are again, dealing with the dark side in order to accomplish some dark and hideous task in the name of freedom (ostensibly), but really in the name of more power for our ruling elite. Ain’t politics great!?!?!

If you think our illustrious leaders have changed their stripes and will pull back from the brink, you’re fucking dreaming. They will do no such thing unless we grab them by the neck. That’s why it is so important, So, SO important that when the time comes we protest — huge rallies, massive rallies — until the Bush regime has no choice but to surrender.

Unfortunately, the situation in Lebanon makes that more difficult. The Israelis and the neocons are trying to drag us into World War IV gradually so we won’t even know for sure that we’re in it until it’s too late. A good plan. But we’ve got to stop it. We can’t make the same mistakes we’ve made in Iraq (such as, ya know, invading). Our troops are already stretched thin; we can’t afford to have another war, another country to pacify. Things are spiraling out of control already.

We have to stop this war before it’s too late.

“[The] Five-year campaign plan [includes]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan” (Pentagon official quoted by General Wesley Clark)

read more | digg story


This should come as a surprise to no one who reads this blog regularly. For the rest of the world, it might be a bit of a shock. Alas, it’s hard to prove that we are in “Imperial” mode. Neocons on Digg have simply attacked Clark’s character rather than dealing with the revelation.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink
You can lead a person to truth, but you can’t make him think.

Congress to sue the President

I am not making this up. Arlen Specter is planning on introducing a bill that will allow Congress to sue President Bush for his abuse of “signing statements” that increasingly look like an end run around Congress:

“We will submit legislation to the United States Senate which will…authorize the Congress to undertake judicial review of those signing statements with the view to having the president’s acts declared unconstitutional,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said on the Senate floor.

Specter’s announcement came the same day that an American Bar Association task force concluded that by attaching conditions to legislation, the president has sidestepped his constitutional duty to either sign a bill, veto it, or take no action.

Bush has issued at least 750 signing statements during his presidency, reserving the right to revise, interpret or disregard laws on national security and constitutional grounds.

“That non-veto hamstrings Congress because Congress cannot respond to a signing statement,” said ABA president Michael Greco. The practice, he added “is harming the separation of powers.”

Bush has challenged about 750 statutes passed by Congress, according to numbers compiled by Specter’s committee. The ABA estimated Bush has issued signing statements on more than 800 statutes, more than all other presidents combined.

Signing statements have been used by presidents, typically for such purposes as instructing agencies how to execute new laws.

But many of Bush’s signing statements serve notice that he believes parts of bills he is signing are unconstitutional or might violate national security.

A line-item veto has already been declared unconstitutional. Why does Bush think he can get away with this? Probably because the Republican-led Congress has let him get away with everything else so far.

This is great news, but Specter cannot be trusted. He’s already trying to let the President weasel out of punishment (and court) for his unchecked wiretapping and his end run around of the FISA court (notice a pattern here?). But hopefully Specter will show spine for once.

But I wouldn’t count on it. Change is gonna come, but it’s gonna have to come from us, the common people. We need to take to the streets.

Amie St. is a new online store for selling tunes by independent artists. The best part: it takes a new approach in letting users decide how much a song costs based on how many recommendations they give it. Even better: The music is all in MP3 format and it is NOT encumbered by shitty DRM (digital restrictions management).

Tech Crunch has more on the new store and its founders:

Artists can upload their music to Amie Street for promotion and sale. Users form social networks with friends, listen to, and purchase music. All songs are DRM-free in MP3. Songs appear to be at 192kpbs quality level, although it may just be whatever the artist uploads.

All songs are free to start. Prices fluctuate over time based on demand for the song – currently the highest priced song, “Against the Wall” by Danny Ross, is $0.36. 273 songs have been uploaded so far. This demand based pricing model seems like a good way to sell music.

I hope this business model takes off! I will be adding my music to the store once we’ve got an album to sell, if not before. I’ve got a couple tracks layin’ around. We’ll see. For now, it’s pretty exciting and all-in-all, a great thing for independent artists.

12th Day of the War in Lebanon

We are entering the 12th day of the war. A few questions have been bouncing around in my mind:

1. Is President Bush doing everything he can to resolve the crisis?

2. What is Israel’s plan?

3. When will this war wind down?

4. What will we do if it doesn’t?

It’s hard to know what’s going to happen. Israel seems to be the one keeping it going, although Hezbollah militants are fighting back and launching rockets at Israel. But at this point in the conflict, it’s starting to get blurry about who started what and where the lines are. The best time to stop a war like this is in its infancy. We must end the hostilities now. Bush is sending Condi Rice to the region to press for…. not a ceasefire. That’s right folks: a ceasefire is not on the agenda. Some are saying the war has been “approved” by the U.S. for another week.

It doesn’t seem to be on Israel’s agenda either. They have apparently been calling (automatically, using a recording) Lebanese citizens and telling them to vacate the region south of the Litani River.

This war will continue because it is beneficial to certain parties. Not the Lebanese civilians under fire. But “certain parties” in the U.S. and in Israel. Will they end what they have begun?

Working too hard

Got this at work today from a friend:

working too hard

Luckily I didn’t have one of those smashing-my-face-against-the-keyboard days. Pretty gruesome, ehh?

Don’t work too hard. Happy weekend!