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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Quotes of the Morning:

“A few last Quotes before the New Year..”

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”
-Abraham Lincoln

“I never think of the future - it comes soon enough.”
-Albert Einstein

“The distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
-Albert Einstein

“Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.”
-Albert Camus

“When it comes to the future, our task is not to foresee it, but rather to enable it to happen.”
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Changing of the Year

“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one's energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.”
-‘Uncle’ Aleister Crowley

“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.”
-Charles Dickens

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”
-George Santayana

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”
-Henry David Thoreau

“The question, ‘Which is the happiest season of life?’ was asked of an aged man. And he replied: ‘When spring comes, and in the soft air the buds are breaking on the trees, and they are covered with blossoms, I think, 'How beautiful is spring'; and when summer comes and covers the trees with its heavy foliage, and singing birds are among the branches, I think, 'How beautiful is summer.' When autumn loads them with golden fruit, and their leaves bear the gorgeous tint of frost, I think, 'How beautiful is autumn.' And when it is severe winter, and there is neither foliage nor fruit, then I look up through the leafless branches as I never could until now, and see the stars shine in God's home.’"

“Happy New Year’s everyone! I hope you enjoy 2006, because you haven’t got a lot of other options.”

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Oops

“In Crawford, Texas, where Bush is spending the holidays, his spokesman, Trent Duffy, defended what he called a ‘limited program.’
‘This is not about monitoring phone calls designed to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a potluck dinner,’ he told reporters. ‘These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people who have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings, and churches.’"
-Reuters, December 28, 2005

“Um.. If this was really about people who blow things up, wouldn’t that be covered under out existing laws? I mean, I can’t imagine that you’d have any trouble getting a warrant to keep an eye on someone who blows up weddings. And why exactly have we let these violent people run free for the last four years? I’d think that if they have a known ‘history’ of violent acts it would be fairly simple to prove that and arrest them. I mean, we shouldn’t be screwing around with national security.”

“The CIA’s independent watchdog is investigating fewer than 10 cases where terrorist suspects may have been mistakenly swept away to foreign countries by the spy agency, a figure lower than published reports but enough to raise some concerns.
After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush gave the CIA authority to conduct the now-controversial operations, called ‘renditions,’ and permitted the agency to act without case-by-case approval from the White House or other administration offices.
The highly classified practice involves grabbing suspects off the street of one country and flying them to their home country or another where they are wanted for a crime or questioning.”
-Associated Press, December 27, 2005

“There are four things that you should note about the above quote..
1) ‘Renditions’ are ‘now-controversial’ because the public wasn’t aware of them until recently. It wasn’t like this was acceptable until now.
2) When they say ‘or another where they are wanted for a crime or for questioning’ what they mean is ‘for questioning’, and when they say ‘for questioning’ what they mean is ‘thumbscrews and internally inserted glow-sticks’.
3) We’ve screwed up a few of these leading to innocent people being ‘renditioned’.
4) The CIA claims that this is a ‘mistake’, when instead this is an illegal and immoral travesty.
You would think that we’d be a little more careful with National Security. You’d think that we were cutting corners and not doing due diligence.”

“One government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the administration complained bitterly that the FISA process demanded too much: to name a target and give a reason to spy on it.
‘For FISA, they had to put down a written justification for the wiretap,’ said the official. ‘They couldn't dream one up.’"
-Washington Post, December 22, 2005

“How many times can the administration blame a ‘mistake’ for what they do? So far, and this is by no means a complete list, we began a war based on intelligence ‘mistakes’, then we goofed on the needed number of troops and how the Iraqi people would take an invading force, then we screwed up rebuilding their post-war military forces, errored in setting up their infrastructure again, oopsied on a few bombing runs that took out weddings and 30,000 or so civilians, accidentally gave power in Iraq to conservative Islamic groups (the kind that we theoretically are there to stop), renditioned a few innocent people, tortured prisoners, sorta-kinda pissed off the UN and now are totally screwed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Do You Hear What I Hear (or Wiretap It)?

“Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the former N.S.A. director who is now the second-ranking intelligence official in the country, was asked at a White House briefing this week whether there had been any ‘purely domestic’ intercepts under the program.
‘The authorization given to N.S.A. by the president requires that one end of these communications has to be outside the United States,’ General Hayden answered. ‘I can assure you, by the physics of the intercept, by how we actually conduct our activities, that one end of these communications are always outside the United States.’
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales also emphasized that the order only applied to international communications. ‘People are running around saying that the United States is somehow spying on American citizens calling their neighbors,’ he said. ‘Very, very important to understand that one party to the communication has to be outside the United States.’"
-New York Times, December 21, 2005

“Whew.. I know I’ll breathe easier knowing that, though the spying may have been on American citizens and done without a warrant, at least they had SOME standards. It sounds like Hayden is saying that it is impossible for the spying to be entirely within the U.S.”

“A surveillance program approved by President Bush to conduct eavesdropping without warrants has captured what are purely domestic communications in some cases, despite a requirement by the White House that one end of the intercepted conversations take place on foreign soil, officials say.
The officials say the National Security Agency's interception of a small number of communications between people within the United States was apparently accidental, and was caused by technical glitches at the National Security Agency in determining whether a communication was in fact ‘international.’"
-New York Times, December 21, 2005

“Hmm.. I thought that the domestic spying was impossible. Doesn’t seem to be the case. I know that this all seems a little over-the-top, but shouldn’t someone be looking into whether or not this whole thing is legal?”

“The President spoke to this earlier and the Attorney General, who is, after all, the highest legal authority in the country, has spoken to this.”
-Condoleeza Rice, December 19, 2005

“Actually the Attorney General is the highest law enforcement authority in the country (except for the guy who approved the spying). The highest legal authority is, of course, the Supreme Court. Remember them? Please remember that the woman who said this, the woman who did not remember who the highest legal authority is in the U.S., is one of the half dozen or so most powerful people in this administration. The last person to hold her job was this guy..”

“Powell, who also is a former chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, had no reservations when asked whether eavesdropping should continue.‘Of course it should continue,’ he said. ‘And nobody is suggesting that the president shouldn't do this.’"
-Associated Press, December 26, 2005

“Actually they are suggesting that.. and suggesting it quite fervently. I guess that this is yet another in our long series of ‘pay no attention to the man behind the curtain’ scandals. If we pretend that there is no scandal, then maybe it will just go away.”

Friday, December 23, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Merry Christmas

“I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up - they have no holidays.”
-Henny Youngman

“The parent who gets down on the floor to play with a child on Christmas Day is usually doing a most remarkable thing - something seldom repeated during the rest of the year. These are, after all, busy parents committed to their work or their success in the larger society, and they do not have much left-over time in which to play with their children.”
-Brian Sutton-Smith

“Dear Lord, I've been asked, nay commanded, to thank Thee for the Christmas turkey before us... a turkey which was no doubt a lively, intelligent bird... a social being... capable of actual affection... nuzzling its young with almost human- like compassion. Anyway, it's dead and we're gonna eat it. Please give our respects to its family...”
-Berke Breathed

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Quotes of the Morning

“And now for a holiday Quotes of the Morning tradition..”

“So this is Christmas and what have you done?
Another year over, a new one just begun.

And so this is Christmas.
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones,
the old and the young.

A very merry Christmas
and a happy New Year.
Let's hope it's a good one
without any fear.

And so this is Christmas (war is over...)
for weak and for strong, (...if you want it)
the rich and the poor ones
the road is so long

And so happy Christmas
for black and for white
for the yellow and red ones
let's all stop the fight. (2x)

A very merry Christmas
and a happy New Year.
Lets hope it's a good one
without any fear .

So this is Christmas
and what have you done?

War is over - if you want it.
War is over - if you want it.
War is over - if you want it.
War is over - if you want it.”
-John Lennon, Merry Christmas (War is over)

“Merry Christmas everyone. Have a Happy Hanukkah too.. And a peaceful Solstice.. Aw heck, you kids go off and play nice. I declare truce in the War on American Christmas™ for a while. Peace and Joy to everyone.”

Quotes of the Morning

“And now for a holiday Quotes of the Morning tradition..”

“So this is Christmas
and what have you done?
Another year over,
a new one just begun.

And so this is Christmas.
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones,
the old and the young.

A very merry Christmas
and a happy New Year.
Let's hope it's a good one
without any fear.

And so this is Christmas (war is over...)
for weak and for strong, (...if you want it)
the rich and the poor ones
the road is so long

And so happy Christmas
for black and for white
for the yellow and red ones
let's all stop the fight. (2x)

A very merry Christmas
and a happy New Year.
Lets hope it's a good one
without any fear .

So this is Christmas
and what have you done?

War is over - if you want it.
War is over - if you want it.
War is over - if you want it.
War is over - if you want it.”
-John Lennon, Merry Christmas (War is over)

“Merry Christmas everyone. Have a Happy Hanukkah too.. And a peaceful Solstice.. Aw heck, you kids go off and play nice. I declare truce in the War on American Christmas™ for a while. Peace and Joy to everyone.”

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Tapped Out

“Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 20, 2004

“You see, Bush had already allowed his not-Constitutionally-allowed wiretaps by April of 2004. In other words, he LIED to you. Say it with me now.. HE LIED, and not just once..”

“One tool that has been especially important to law enforcement is called a roving wiretap. Roving wiretaps allow investigators to follow suspects who frequently change their means of communications. These wiretaps must be approved by a judge, and they have been used for years to catch drug dealers and other criminals. Yet, before the Patriot Act, agents investigating terrorists had to get a separate authorization for each phone they wanted to tap. That means terrorists could elude law enforcement by simply purchasing a new cell phone. The Patriot Act fixed the problem by allowing terrorism investigators to use the same wiretaps that were already being using against drug kingpins and mob bosses.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, June 9, 2005

“The Patriot Act helps us defeat our enemies while safeguarding civil liberties for all Americans. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, or to track his calls, or to search his property. Officers must meet strict standards to use any of the tools we're talking about. And they are fully consistent with the Constitution of the United States.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, July 20, 2005

“The Patriot Act is helping America defeat our enemies while safeguarding civil liberties for all our people. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Under the act, law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone or search his property. Congress also oversees our use of the Patriot Act. Attorney General Gonzales delivers regular reports on the Patriot Act to the House and the Senate.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 10, 2005

“You know, Bush keeps saying that we need to renew the Patriot Act to help save us from terror. I’m not sure why. It’s apparent that he’ll just continue to ignore any laws that he doesn’t feel like obeying anyway.”

“’The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy,’ Bush told reporters. ‘This program has targeted those with known links to Al Qaeda.’
The program will continue, Bush said, adding that he has reauthorized it more than 30 times. ‘And I will continue to do so for so long as our nation faces the continued threat of an enemy that wants to kill our American citizens.’"
-Fox News, December 19, 2005

“Now why would we have any problems with domestic surveillance? I mean, that kind of unconstitutional spying doesn’t seem like anything that our government would abuse..”

“Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.”
-New York Times, December 20, 2005

“Oh it probably wouldn’t make any difference anyway. It isn’t like this scandal could have a political impact.”

“The New York Times first debated publishing a story about secret eavesdropping on Americans as early as last fall, before the 2004 presidential election.”
-LA Times, December 20, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: American Freedom(tm)

“Now, in terms of legal authorities, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act provides -- requires a court order before engaging in this kind of surveillance that I've just discussed and the President announced on Saturday, unless there is somehow -- there is -- unless otherwise authorized by statute or by Congress. That's what the law requires. Our position is, is that the authorization to use force, which was passed by the Congress in the days following September 11th, constitutes that other authorization, that other statute by Congress, to engage in this kind of signals intelligence.”
-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, December 19, 2005

“Actually not true.. FISA does NOT require a court order before engaging in surveillance. The government can get the court order up to 72 hours AFTER surveillance has begun. The Attorney General of the United States of America just lied to you. Please note that Mr. ‘Thumbscrews’ Gonzales also just stated that Congress gave the President the power to wiretap people after 9/11.”

“Q: If FISA didn't work, why didn't you seek a new statute that allowed something like this legally?
ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: That question was asked earlier. We've had discussions with members of Congress, certain members of Congress, about whether or not we could get an amendment to FISA, and we were advised that that was not likely to be -- that was not something we could likely get, certainly not without jeopardizing the existence of the program, and therefore, killing the program. And that -- and so a decision was made that because we felt that the authorities were there, that we should continue moving forward with this program.”
-Press conference with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, December 19, 2005

“Well, why didn’t they try a new legal statute? Because they didn’t think that Congress would allow it. You see, apparently Congress gave the power to wiretap to the President without realizing it because (and this is according to the head of law enforcement in the United States), if they HAD realized it, they wouldn’t have done it. This is, of course, simply the domestic front of the War on Terra. Overseas things are doing just as well.”

“Early voting results announced by Iraqi electoral officials today, with nearly two-thirds of the ballots counted, indicated that religious groups, particularly the main Shiite coalition, had taken a commanding lead.
The secular coalition led by Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister, had won only meager support in crucial provinces where it had expected to do well, including Baghdad.
The front-runner among Sunni Arab voters was a religious coalition whose leaders have advocated resistance to the American military and have demanded that President Bush set a timetable for withdrawing the American military from Iraq.”
-New York Times, December 19, 2005

“Yep, we’re taken out Saddam and put in a democracy. And what is the first thing that that democracy does? Elect a fundamentalist Islamic government with strong ties to Iran. Sure, that sounds like a good use of a few thousand American soldiers lives (not to mention the tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens killed). We’re just bringing them the same kind of American Freedom™ that we’ve come to expect ourselves.”

“Q You mean you cannot say whether it's lawful to spy on Americans or not?
MR. McCLELLAN: We have a Constitution and we have laws.
Q We're not asking for any details. We're asking you –
MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I'm making a broad statement to let you know that we –
Q It is broad. Is it legal to spy on Americans?
MR. McCLELLAN: We have a Constitution and we have laws in place, and we follow those –
Q You say you are abiding by the law?
MR. McCLELLAN: Absolutely. And there's congressional oversight of intelligence activities, there's other oversight of intelligence activities.
Q Why do you have to have secret orders then?
MR. McCLELLAN: Does anybody have a question? Go ahead.
Q And how many secret orders have been issued by this President?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the American people appreciate what we do to work within the law to prevent attacks from happening. The Patriot Act is being debated right now.
Q It's never been within the law to spy on Americans.”
-Press Gaggle with Scott McClellan, December 16, 2005

“And now.. I leave you with the wise words of the Fourth Amendment and its statement on ‘unreasonable searches’..”

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
-Fourth Amendment to the Constitution

Monday, December 19, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Badges? We Don't Need No Stinking Badges

“Hey, did you hear about how the President has been overriding the laws that he is supposed to be upholding and allowing wiretaps and domestic spying without judicial review?”

“I know that people are anxious to know the details of operations, they– people want me to comment about the veracity of the story. It’s the policy of this government, just not going do it, and the reason why is that because it would compromise our ability to protect the people.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 16, 2005

“This relates to intelligence activities and ongoing intelligence operations that are aimed at saving lives. And there’s a reason why we don’t get into discussing ongoing intelligence activities, because it could compromise our efforts to prevent attacks from happening.”
-Press Secretary Scott McClellan, December 16, 2005-12-19

“Well, I’m, again, not going to comment on intelligence activities because intelligence activities, by their very nature, are activities that are sensitive and that should not be compromised.”
-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice

“Wow.. If it’s that important, I guess we’ll never hear about it. National security and all..”

“In acknowledging the message was true, President Bush took aim at the messenger Saturday, saying that The New York Times jeopardized national security by revealing that he authorized wiretaps on U.S. citizens after September 11. The president said he allowed the NSA ‘to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda.’ Publishing details of the program ‘damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk,’ Bush said.”
-CNN, December 17, 2005

“Yes, pointing out when our government lies and breaks our laws can damage our national security. Not only that, but the domestic spying was needed for save us from terrorists. Nothing to see here. Please move on.”

“The NSA eavesdrops on billions of communications worldwide. Although the NSA is barred from domestic spying, it can get warrants issued with the permission of a special court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court.
The court is set up specifically to issue warrants allowing wiretapping on domestic soil.”
-CNN, December 17, 2005

“But, but, but…. If they could already get a FISA warrant, Dubya didn’t need to override the laws. He COULD have worked within the law, had he chosen to.”

“Sources with knowledge of the program told CNN on Friday that Bush signed the secret order in 2002. The sources refused to be identified because the program is classified.
Bush, however, said he authorized the program on several occasions since the September 11 attacks and that he plans on doing it again.
‘I have re-authorized this program more than 30 times,’ he said. ‘I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups.’"
-CNN, December 17, 2005

“But there was already a system in place to handle the problem (FISA). Man, I am just glad that we can trust this administration not to abuse their powers, because otherwise I would be scared sh*tless about now. Luckily we know who the real threats are..”

“A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.
A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a ‘threat’ and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period.”
-NBC, December 14, 2005

“You know.. I’m beginning to think that the Dub-ster has been honest a grand total of once, and that was when he said this..”

“If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier... just so long as I'm the dictator.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 18, 2000

Friday, December 16, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Life in a Parallel Universe

“Hume: Secretary Rumsfeld, how does he stand with you?
Bush: Ahh-good, he's done a heck of a job.
Hume: Is he here to stay as far as you are concerned?
Bush: Yes, end of my term is a long time, but I tell you, he is doing a heck of a good job. I have no intention of changing him.”
-Brit Hume interview with George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 14, 2005

“I found a love I had lostIt was gone for too longHear no evil in all directionsExecution of bitternessMessage received loud and clearDon't change for youDon't change a thing for me”
-INXS, Don’t Change

“Ah.. I remember the last person who got such a rousing endorsement by Dubya.”

“Again, I want to thank you all for -- and, Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. The FEMA Director is working 24 -- (applause) -- they're working 24 hours a day.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 2, 2005

“You see, the bigger the disaster, the more Bush seems to like it. I think he just loves the stink of corruption and incompetence in the morning.”

“President Bush said yesterday he is confident that former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of money-laundering charges, as he offered strong support for several top Republicans who have been battered by investigations or by rumors of fading clout inside the White House.
In an interview with Fox News, Bush said he hopes DeLay will be cleared of charges that he illegally steered corporate money into campaigns for the Texas legislature and will reclaim his powerful leadership position in Congress.”
-Washington Post, December 14, 2005

“Now this is the same President who refuses to comment at all on the Plame investigation, despite the fact that his right hand man Rove is admittedly deeply involved in outing a CIA agent (though Rove has kept his security clearance somehow), because it is an ‘ongoing investigation’. The DeLay case he seems to have no problem getting into the middle of though. He seems to like surrounding himself with people who work at his level of competence.”

“[Sec. Rice] predicted that the Iraqi elections this week would yield the most democratic government ‘in the entire Middle East.’ She did not mention the long-standing democracy in Israel.”
-Associated Press, December 13, 2005

“Maybe it’s because he lives on Bizarro-world in some kind of parallel universe somewhere and up is down and wrong is right there. A place where people wear goatees and this is true..”

“My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision. Saddam was a threat and the American people and the world is better off because he is no longer in power.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 14, 2005

“Well.. except for the 30,000 civilians we’ve killed in Iraq, or the remainder of the country that is still dealing with the violence and terror of the insurgency, or the instability that the collapse of the Iraq government has brought to the region, the creation of a new terrorist training ground in Iraq, or the thousands upon thousands of dead or crippled American soldiers, or the costs of the war that will still be there when our grandchildren are old. I mean, the world is much better off as long as you don’t count Iraq, the United States or the Middle East. Yep, now that Saddam is no longer threatening us with his dilapidated army and his non-existent weapons of mass destruction the world is a better place.”

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Mortality Matters

“Clay lies still, but blood's a rover;
Breath's a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journey's over
There'll be time enough to sleep.”
-A.E. Housman

“Enjoy every minute. There's plenty of time to be dead.”
-A. Whitney Brown

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”
-Abraham Lincoln

“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.”
-Betty Smith

“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been kindness, beauty, and truth.”
-Albert Einstein

“Each year, one vicious habit rooted out, in time ought to make the worst man good.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
-Bertrand Russell

“A man who dares to waste an hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
-Charles Darwin

“There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
-Calvin, Calvin & Hobbes

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: The Same Thing We Do Every Night

“The Army has approved a new, classified set of interrogation methods that may complicate negotiations over legislation proposed by Senator John McCain to bar cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees in American custody, military officials said Tuesday.
The techniques are included in a 10-page classified addendum to a new Army field manual that was forwarded this week to Stephen A. Cambone, the under secretary of defense for intelligence policy, for final approval, they said.
The addendum provides dozens of examples and goes into exacting detail on what procedures may or may not be used, and in what circumstances. Army interrogators have never had a set of such specific guidelines that would help teach them how to walk right up to the line between legal and illegal interrogations.”
-Think Progress, December 14, 2005-12-14

“How could that interfere with what Senator McCain is trying to do to ban torture? Well, the McCain amendment would make the Army Field Manual on Intelligence Information (which strictly prohibits coercive interrogation techniques) the standard for interrogation. So what did the Bush Administration do? They rewrote the Army Field Manual on Intelligence Information to make it easier for interrogators to get around the restriction. Super. I see that we’re teaching the Iraqi troops what it means to live up to America’s high moral standards.”

“Two detainees may have been tortured to death at the hands of Iraqi security forces, the head of a commission investigating allegations of abuse at Iraqi jails said yesterday.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters yesterday that at least 120 prisoners have allegedly been abused at the hands of Iraqi security forces, more than previously disclosed by the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. As many as 18 prisoners may have died while in custody at a Baghdad detention center first identified last month in a Los Angeles Times report.”
-Baltimore Sun, December 14, 2005

“Wow.. Apparently the President was off a little while ago when he said this..”

"Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, October 8, 2003

“Or this..”

"One thing is for certain: There won't be any more mass graves and torture rooms and rape rooms."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, January 12, 2004

“So it is kind of looking like the new boss is the same as the old boss in Iraq. I’m so happy that we’ve brought them Freedom (and at such a low, low price).”

“How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 12, 2005

“Yep, we’ve killed (directly or indirectly) 30,000 innocent people in Iraq according to Dubya. We found no sign of weapons of mass destruction and have put a new government into control that certainly seems as monstrous as the one we took out. And we’ve done all of these good deeds for a mere $226 billion dollars and rising. Sure, we’ve had to sacrifice to do so much good.. The social programs for the poor have had to be cut (though the tax cuts for the wealthy have remained thankfully intact). Our educational system is being under funded, and we’re passing along debt to our great-great grandchildren, but I think that we’ll all agree that it’s worth it to see Freedom take root in the Middle East.”

“We will pass along to our children all the freedoms we enjoy -- and chief among them is freedom from fear. ...The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom. ...America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. ...And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace. ... The beginnings of reform and democracy in the Palestinian territories are now showing the power of freedom to break old patterns of violence and failure. ... To promote peace and stability in the broader Middle East, the United States will work with our friends in the region to fight the common threat of terror, while we encourage a higher standard of freedom. ...We expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom. Today, Iran remains the world's primary state sponsor of terror -- pursuing nukyular weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. ... Our generational commitment to the advance of freedom, especially in the Middle East, is now being tested and honored in Iraq. ...And the victory of freedom in Iraq will strengthen a new ally in the war on terror ... We will succeed in Iraq because Iraqis are determined to fight for their own freedom, and to write their own history. ...We are standing for the freedom of our Iraqi friends, and freedom in Iraq will make America safer for generations to come. ...And we have said farewell to some very good men and women, who died for our freedom, and whose memory this nation will honor forever. ...Ladies and gentlemen, with grateful hearts, we honor freedom's defenders, and our military families. ...The attack on freedom in our world has reaffirmed our confidence in freedom's power to change the world. We are all part of a great venture, to extend the promise of freedom in our country... and to spread the peace that freedom brings. ...The road of Providence is uneven and unpredictable -- yet we know where it leads. It leads to freedom. Thank you, and may God bless America.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, February 2, 2005

“Well, with Freedom on the march, I guess we only have one thing to worry about..”

“Add another creation to the strange scientific menagerie where animal species are being mixed together in ever more exotic combinations.
Scientists announced Monday that they had created mice with small amounts of human brain cells in an effort to make realistic models of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.”
-Associated Press, December 12, 2005

“Pinky: What do you want to do tonight Brain?
Brain: The same thing we do every night Pinky… try to take over the world!”
-Pinky and the Brain

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: The War on American Christmas (tm) part Deux

“KYRA PHILLIPS: Some thoughts now on the subject. Sam Seder hosts the show ‘Majority Report’ on Air America Radio. Bob Knight is the director of the Culture and Family Institute, it's affiliated with the Christian conservative organization, Concerned Women for America.
Gentleman, great to have you with me.
SAM SEDER: Thanks for having us on.
PHILLIPS: Let's start with the holiday card. What do you think, Sam?
SEDER: Listen, as far as the war on Christmas goes, I feel like we should be waging a war on Christmas. I mean, I believe that Christmas, it's almost proven that Christmas has nuclear weapons, can be an imminent threat to this country, that they have operative ties with terrorists and I believe that we should sacrifice thousands of American lives in pursuit of this war on Christmas. And hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.
PHILLIPS: Is it a war on Christmas, a war Christians, a war on over-political correctness or just a lot of people with way too much time on their hands?
SEDER: I would say probably, if I was to be serious about it, too much time on their hands, but I'd like to get back to the operational ties between Santa Claus and al Qaeda.
PHILLIPS: I don't think that exists. Bob? Help me out here.
SEDER: We have intelligence, we have intelligence.
PHILLIPS: You have intel. Where exactly does your intel come from?
SEDER: Well, we have tortured an elf and it's actually how we got the same information from Al Libbi. It's exactly the same way the Bush administration got this info about the operational ties between al Qaeda and Saddam.
PHILLIPS: Okay, Bob Knight, Sam is tying in now the lack of information regarding weapons of mass destruction and somehow moving that into Santa Claus. Help me out here. What's going on? Is this a war on Christians, a war on Christmas? Is this too much political correctness?
BOB KNIGHT, CULTURE AND FAMILY INSTITUTE: Well, first I want to compliment him on his dry humor, but this is actually a very serious subject, because a lot of people are waking up to realize that the war on Christmas is really the culmination of a war on faith and the idea that the public square has to be cleansed of any religious expression, particularly Christian religious expression.
At one time ‘happy holidays’ was a welcome addition to ‘Merry Christmas,’ so you wouldn't say the same thing over and over again, but a lot of people now see it as a substitute, and it's very gratuitous at times.
And it's actually insulting when you're talking about Christmas day or a Christmas tree and you can't bring yourself to use the word for fear of offending someone. In the name of diversity we're a less free country when that happens.
PHILLIPS: It's interesting, Sam, because this is a time where, if anything, we want to be even more sensitive to diversity considering everything that's happening with regard to war on terror, we're learning so much more about different religions, different ethnicities and trying to become more of one, versus being segregated.
SEDER: Yes, well, Kyra, I mean, listen, I would like Bob to tell me who is the person who has been offended by someone saying Merry Christmas to them? I've never met that person.
I don't celebrate Christmas. But if someone says ‘Merry Christmas’ to me, I either think, well, it's a little bit odd, it's like me saying happy birthday to you on my birthday, but no one cares.
But I will tell you this, as we wage the war on the war on the war on the war on Christmas on our radio show. News Corp., Fox News, those people who have started this entire war on Christmas mean, fake war, they're having a holiday party.
President Bush saying ‘Happy Holidays.’ Tokyo Rose, Laura Bush, saying ‘Happy Holidays’ to her dogs in the video, I'm sure you've seen it. I mean, these are the things that we should be talking about when we are waging this war in Iraq, we should be equating it to the war on Christmas.
What else would Bob Knight have an opportunity to do, how else would he get on television if he wasn't pretending to be attacked.”
-CNN, “Live From..”, December 12, 2005

“And, as a little background, Mr. Knight hails from the Culture and Family Institute, which is actually a sub-group of the Concerned Women for America, a group who’s web site includes such headlines as, ‘’Hate Crime’ Laws Threaten Religious Freedom’. I think that that really sums up all that you need to know about Mr. Knight’s organization.”

“PHILLIPS: Bob, I'm going to let you have the final thought.
KNIGHT: OK. You know, when the Nazis moved into Austria in 1936...
SEDER: Oh, that's offensive, Bob, to raise Nazis.
KNIGHT: They immediately removed from the schools. You can read about it in...
PHILLIPS: Hold on, Sam. Let Bob make his point. Let Bob make his point. Go ahead, Bob.
KNIGHT: You can't even let me speak. Can you? You're so...
Maria Trapp wrote the story of the Trapp singers that's in ‘The Sound of Music,’ and she said she sent her kids to school after the Nazis took over. And they came home and said mama, we can't say the word Christmas anymore. It's now winter holiday.
think that ought to disturb people...
SEDER: Kyra, that's offensive.
KNIGHT: ...that we're moving toward that kind of attitude in this country.
SEDER: The Puritans also outlawed Christmas. The founding fathers of this country would fine you in Massachusetts if you celebrated Christmas in the beginning. So don't talk about Nazis, Bob. I think that's really inappropriate.
Why do you have to bring hate to this Christmas and holiday season? That's so sad, Bob.
KNIGHT: Well, let's go to the Soviet Union then too. They had grandfather frost.
Well, it's the truth. You ought to read the book yourself, and maybe you'll change your mind.
SEDER: It's just sad that you have to raise Nazis when you're talking about Christmas and the holiday season. And we all know that Christmas actually, Tannenbaum, it's a German holiday. Bob, I'm really, really disappointed in you.
KNIGHT: I'm sorry to disappoint you, but if you can't understand the force of history...
SEDER: To bring up Nazis, Bob.
KNIGHT: I'm not calling you a Nazi.
SEDER: Oh, who you calling Nazi? Who are you calling a Nazi, sir?
KNIGHT: I'm not.”
-CNN, “Live From..”, December 12, 2005

Monday, December 12, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Saving American Christmas

“Every company in America should be on their knees thanking Jesus for being born. Without Christmas, most American businesses would be far less profitable. More than enough reason for business to be screaming ‘Merry Christmas.’”
-Bill O’Reilly, November 28, 2005

“Pope Benedict warned on Sunday against rampant materialism which he said was polluting the spirit of Christmas.
‘In today's consumer society, this time of the year unfortunately suffers from a sort of commercial 'pollution' that threatens to alter its real spirit,’ the Pope told a large crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square to hear his weekly Angelus blessing.
He said Christmas should be marked with sober celebrations and urged Christians to display a nativity crib in their houses as ‘a simple but effective way of showing their faith and conveying it to their children.’"
-Reuters, December 11, 2005

“Why does the Pope hate American Christmas™ so much? Is he trying to ruin the economy? And what can Bill O’Reilly do to keep the TRUE spirit of American Christmas™ alive?”

“This is America. This is the big commercial holiday. You're not going to acknowledge the holiday? Then I'm not shopping there. And that's what the bottom line is here.”
-Bill O’Reilly, November 30, 2005

“Here you have a national public holiday signed into law by Ulysses S. Grant in 1870. Christmas, all right? Federal holiday, everybody gets off, no mail delivered, everybody shuts down. Federal holiday. Why is it there? To honor a philosopher, Jesus. Whose philosophy was part of the foundation of our country. All of this is indisputable. Can't dispute it. OK? A man was born, his name is Jesus, he had a philosophy, the philosophy was incorporated by the Founding Fathers to make up the United States of America, U.S. Grant signs into law the holiday, Christmas. Now, we have people who are offended by that. Well, tough, right? Tough. Some people are offended by fingernails; I'm not pulling mine out. So I'm feeling -- I'm offended by everything you do, we're not firing you. OK? Offended? Too bad.”
-Bill O’Reilly, November 30, 2005

“Well I’m now convinced that the Pope is working against the American Christmas™ (brought to you by Coca-Cola). That does it. The Pope is anti-American Christmas™. He’s probably working with all of those other anti-American Christmas™ people to sabotage our way of life.”

“Secular progressives which are driving this movement, OK, don't want Christmas. They don't want it as a federal holiday, they don't want any message of spirituality or Judeo-Christian tradition because that stands in the way of gay marriage, legalized drugs, euthanasia, all of the greatest hits on the secular progressive play card.”
-Bill O’Reilly, November 30, 2005

“Speaking as a secular progressive I would like to say that I want Christmas as a federal holiday. I’d also like Festivus, the equinox (vernal and autumnal) and the winter solstice. Actually, I just don’t want to go to work. Who do I have to stop to keep my day off intact?”

“George Soros. He's the moneyman behind it.”
-Bill O’Reilly, November 30, 2005

“Oh sure.. Mr. Soros is the obvious one to try to defeat American Christmas™. First he tried to stop our Fearless Leader in the last election, and now he’s trying to stop our traditional American Christmas™. Why would Mr. Soros (who just happens to be Jewish) have problems with American Christmas™? I mean, celebrating the birth of the Lord God by indulging in rampant consumerism is what American Christmas™ is all about. It isn’t like we are making a state religion here..”

“Christians aren't going to be mad if you say ‘Happy Hanukkah’ or ‘Happy Kwanzaa,’ as long as you acknowledge what it's all about, the federal holiday of Christmas. If you don't, then Christians start to say, ‘You don't like us. You're anti-Christian, you have an anti-Christian bias.’"
-Bill O’Reilly, November 30, 2005

“And then we’ll put those anti-Christians into re-education programs (we’ll call them ‘camps’) until they learn to love American Christmas™. Amen.”

Friday, December 09, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Beating a Dead Horse

“One brief moment further on the lovely tradition of rendition..”

“The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.
The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.”
-New York Times, December 9, 2005

“So the rendition to Egypt to torture a captive (which of course, we don’t allow) gave us faulty information which was used to prop up support for the Iraq War. You see, rendition doesn’t just hurt those tortured. It has also helped to kill at least 2,135 American soldiers and at least 25,000 Iraqi civilians and it costing the American public billions of dollars a week. I guess there is only one thing to do..”

“The House today passed a $56 billion tax cut bill that extends for two years a reduction in tax rates for capital gains and dividend income.
After spirited debate, the House voted 234 to 197 to approve the bill, the fourth tax cut passed by the body in two days. The four tax cuts combined would slash federal revenue by $94.5 billion over five years, an amount nearly double the budget savings in a spending-reduction bill that Republicans pushed through the House last month.”
-Washington Post, December 8, 2005

“You see, the deficit has never been higher, and the middle class and the poor are being squeezed into non-existence to help pay for this war, so we need tax breaks for the wealthy. Don’t believe me? Look at the tax cuts listed. Dividend income (show me a poor person with a stock portfolio) and capital gains (which of course people only make if they own property.. and the more the merrier). And for the poor?”

“The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Friday to cut $700 million from the food stamp program as part of a broad bill to reduce federal spending by $50 billion, despite objections from antihunger groups.
Some 235,000 people would lose food stamp benefits under the House bill, according to one analysis.”
-Reuters, November 18, 2005

"’This is the crown jewel of the Bush administration's tax cut agenda,’ said Daniel Clifton, chief economist of Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative advocacy group. ‘This is what took us out of the bear market and started propelling the stock market gains, getting the liquidity to businesses to invest and to hire workers.’
Republicans had delayed the vote several times, first after Hurricane Katrina last summer fomented a rebellion by House conservatives over spending, and again after a rebellion among Republican moderates last month on spending cuts that targeted Medicaid, food stamps and other poverty programs.”
-San Francisco Chronicle, December 9, 2005

“Well all of that liquidity had better bear fruit quickly.”

“So far this year, U.S. employers have announced 964,232 job cuts, 3.6 percent more than the 930,690 cuts announced through November 2004.”
-Reuters, December 7, 2005

“Some people just have all of the luck I guess..”

“As Gillette's CEO, James M. Kilts had reason to expect a lucrative 2005, with annual pay likely exceeding $23 million. But this turned out to be an especially eventful year: The razor maker, one of America's best-known brands, agreed to be acquired by consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble Co. (PG ). For selling Gillette Co., Kilts received even more than his anticipated pay -- a lot more. The companies promised him a package valued at $165 million, including stock options and severance. On top of this, P&G has said it will give him stock and options worth $23 million in return for serving as its vice-chairman for one year and agreeing not to join a rival before 2009. Excluding $6.5 million he stands to earn during his year as vice-chairman, Kilts could eventually pocket an astounding $188 million.”
-Business Week, December 12, 2005 edition

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Another Rendition of the Same Old Tune

“Time for a little chat about ‘rendition’. Rendition is our habit of taking people to countries that are a little.. freer.. about things like torture in order to get information from them, except, of course, that we don’t allow torture because torture is bad, mmmkay?”

“Q Scott, one follow-up on that: Why not take them back to U.S. soil if you are concerned that they not be tortured, where you are under clear guidelines both of U.S. law and, of course, the whole torture issues that you raised. Why move them around to foreign countries --
MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things. Renditions have been in place for a long time.
Q Yes.
MR. McCLELLAN: Secretary Rice talked yesterday about the Jackal and others that have been rendered previously and brought to justice, and the importance of rendition as a tool that will -- can help us prevail in the war on terrorism. And she made very clear that we are going to do everything lawful within our means to protect our citizens. And we have to recognize --
Q Render them back here?
MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on, no, hang on, I'm coming to your question. We are in a different kind of war against a different kind of enemy.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, December 6, 2005

“I’m not exactly sure what renditions have to do with the type of war or the type of enemy.. I mean, by the time we send them off they aren’t ‘in’ the war anymore. They’ve been captured. We are then sending them somewhere that isn’t America to be questioned. If that isn’t in order to torture them, why send them to a third country?”

“Q Why not -- why not render them back to the United States where there is --
MR. McCLELLAN: Response to that -- the way I would say -- respond to that is that we make decisions on a case-by-case basis, working with other countries, in terms of where individuals are rendered.
Q What is the purpose of rendition, other than, if it is not, in fact, to subject detainees to a degree of interrogation somewhat more difficult than that which they would be subjected to in the United States? And that being the case, what definition of torture does the United States understand and accept?
MR. McCLELLAN: The ones that are defined in our law and our international treaty obligations. We have laws --
Q If that's the case, then why bother to render anybody?
MR. McCLELLAN: We have laws that prohibit torture. We have treaty obligations that we adhere to. And the Convention Against Torture is a treaty obligation that we take seriously and we adhere to. And in that treaty, it -- those treaties and laws, it defines torture. And --
Q Then what's the purpose of rendition?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- so we adhere to our laws and our treaty obligations, and our values. That's very important as we move forward in conducting the war on terrorism.
But what this is about is how we conduct the war on terrorism, how we protect our people, our citizens.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, December 6, 2005

“Still not getting this.. Apparently we are going to ‘protect our people, our citizens’ by shipping prisoners to other countries to be questioned (though not tortured). Our rendition ‘allies’ are held by the United States to the same moral standards that we are (aka: not torturing), so how is it that these other countries supposedly do so much better than the U.S. in getting intelligence?”

“Q If the countries to which we are rendering detainees are not torturing, are we to conclude that they have some technique that is, in fact, more successful in gaining intelligence than the United States?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I didn't say anything -- I didn't say anything to suggest that.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, December 6, 2005

“Um, but then why do we rendition them?”

Q But if we are committed to international conventions against torture, what, then, is the purpose of rendition?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I'm not going to get into talking about specific intelligence matters that help prevent attacks from happening and help save lives. As Secretary Rice indicated yesterday, the steps we have taken have helped save lives in America and in European countries. We will continue to work with --
Q But you seem to be suggesting that --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, you're --
Q -- there's more to be gained by interrogating these people outside the United States than there is inside.
MR. McCLELLAN: It depends. It's a case-by-case basis, Bill, and in some cases they're rendered to their home country of origin. You cited two examples of past renditions yesterday, one individual that was involved in the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993; another individual that is one of the most notorious terrorists of all time.
Q But how do we know they weren't tortured? They claim they were.
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?
Q How do we know they weren't tortured?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we know that our enemy likes to make claims like that.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, December 6, 2005

“Well I’m convinced. Given the extraordinary safeguards described by Scottie against abuses at least we can sleep easy knowing that only the worst of the worst are being tortured.. I mean renditioned.. Our intelligence teams are second to none. Thank Goddess. I’d hate to see us get it wrong when turning the thumbscrews and heating up the branding irons.”

“A lawsuit filed in Virginia Tuesday alleges former CIA Director George Tenet violated the U.S. constitution and international law by authorizing the detention and interrogation of a German man the agency erroneously believed to be a terrorist.
‘I'm filing this lawsuit because I believe in the American system of justice,’ said Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, in a statement. ‘What happened to me was outside the bounds of any legal framework, and should never be allowed to happen to anyone else.’
The complaint filed in the case says el-Masri was seized Dec. 31, 2003, ‘while on holiday in Macedonia,’ and later handed over to U.S. officials who beat and drugged him, and took him to a secret prison in Afghanistan, where he was detained without charge and subject to ‘coercive interrogation.’
Five months later, according to the complaint, he was ‘deposited at night, without explanation, on a hill in Albania.’"
-UPI, December 6, 2005

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Dumbing Down Success

“To be responsible, one needs to stop defining success in Iraq as the absence of terrorist attacks,”
-Donald Rumsfeld, December 5, 2005

“Honestly Mr. Rumsfeld, that isn’t how we define success. That is how we would define this as less than a miserable failure. Success would involve a Democratic Iraq with a rebuilt infrastructure and a working constitution guaranteeing human rights and equality in Iraq. To claim that success would just be a lack of terrorism is like saying that all of Shakespeare could be summed up in a single quote.”

“Out, damned spot! out, I say! -- One: two: why, then, 'tis time to do't. -- Hell is murky! -- Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?--Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.”
-Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, William Shakespeare

“Actually I think that that quote sums up the Bush Administration’s attitude towards Iraq much better than it does Shakespeare’s writings..”

“Rumsfeld, speaking at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, delivered a blistering attack on the U.S. media, saying that in the present 24-hour news cycle, events in Iraq can be reported too quickly and without context.
He said there was a ‘jarring contrast between what the American people are reading and hearing about Iraq and the views of the Iraqi people.’ The Iraqi people and the U.S. military deployed in the country, he said, were optimistic about the progress of the war there.
‘Which view of Iraq is more accurate?’ Rumsfeld asked. ‘The pessimistic view of the so-called elites in our country or the more optimistic view of millions of Iraqis and some 155,000 U.S. troops on the ground?
‘A lie moves around the world at the speed of light,’ Rumsfeld said, ‘while truth is still trying to get its boots on.’ He referred to the recent story in the U.S. media that private contractors working for the U.S. military had paid Iraqi media outlets to carry optimistic stories about the war.
‘That story has been pounded in the media,’ Rumsfeld said. ‘We don't know what the facts are yet. The story goes out and we're still trying to find out what the facts are.’"
-Washington Post, December 5, 2005

“Yes, if we would just listen to the people in Iraq we’d see how well all of this is going.. Hey, we’ve heard from some of them before! Let’s check the wayback machine and see what they have to say..”

“Human rights abuses in Iraq are as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein if not worse, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has said.
‘People are doing the same as (in) Saddam's time and worse,’ Allawi said in an interview published in Britain on Sunday.
‘It is an appropriate comparison,’ Allawi told The Observer newspaper. ‘People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.’
[Allawi] added that he now had so little faith in the rule of law that he had instructed his own bodyguards to fire on any police car that attempted to approach his headquarters without prior notice, following the implication of police units in many of the abuses."
-CNN, November 27, 2005

“Seeking to quell the insurgency and sectarian violence, leaders of Iraq's sharply divided Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish political factions ended three days of contentious talks Monday with a call for a pullout of foreign troops from the country but no agreement on a timetable.
In Egypt, the communiqué's attempt to define terrorism omitted any reference to attacks against U.S. or Iraqi forces. Delegates from across the political and religious spectrum said the omission was intentional.
‘Though resistance is a legitimate right for all people, terrorism does not represent resistance. Therefore, we condemn terrorism and acts of violence, killing and kidnapping targeting Iraqi citizens and humanitarian, civil, government institutions, national resources and houses of worships,’ the document said.”
-Associated Press, November 22, 2005

“As the American military pushes the largely Shiite Iraqi security services into a larger role in combating the insurgency, evidence has begun to mount suggesting that the Iraqi forces are carrying out executions in predominantly Sunni neighborhoods.
Hundreds of accounts of killings and abductions have emerged in recent weeks, most of them brought forward by Sunni civilians, who claim that their relatives have been taken away by Iraqi men in uniform without warrant or explanation.
Some Sunni males have been found dead in ditches and fields, with bullet holes in their temples, acid burns on their skin, and holes in their bodies apparently made by electric drills. Many have simply vanished.”
-New York Times, November 29, 2005

“Is anyone else troubled that we have a nutcase like Rumsfeld in charge of the Pentagon?”

“We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”
-Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Prisoners of Undeclared War

“You can file these under ‘Don’t they remember that we saved them from Hitler in WWII?’. Feel free to reference them the next time Europe seems a bit snippy with us.”

“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice turned the tables on European critics of tough U.S. tactics in the war on terror Monday, maintaining that intelligence gathered by the CIA has saved European as well as American lives.
Responding for the first time in detail to the outcry over reports of secret CIA-run prisons in European democracies, Rice said the United States ‘will use every lawful weapon to defeat these terrorists.’
But in remarks delivered as she got ready to leave on a trip to Europe, she steadfastly refused to answer the underlying question of whether the United States had CIA-operated secret prisons there.
Reports of the existence of the secret prisons has caused a trans-Atlantic uproar. The European Union has asked the Bush administration about these reports.
ABC News reported Monday night that the CIA held captured suspects at two secret prisons in Eastern Europe until last month when the facilities were shut down after media pressure.
Eleven al-Qaida prisoners who were held in Eastern Europe were relocated ‘to a CIA site somewhere in north Africa,’ ABC reported, citing CIA sources.
The United States scrambled to get all of the suspects off European soil before Rice arrived in Europe, ABC said, citing the sources.
ABC said the CIA declined comment and an agency spokesman was not available when Reuters tried to contact him.
The European Union’s justice commissioner said such prisons and detainee mistreatment would violate European human rights law, and he warned last week than any host countries could lose voting rights in the powerful 25-nation bloc.
Secret prisons and many harsh methods of interrogation would be illegal on U.S. soil. It has been long assumed that the United States holds some of its more valuable and potentially dangerous captives — such as alleged terror mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed — outside the country and beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.”
-MSNBC, December 6, 2005

“In March 2003, the Italian national anti-terrorism police received an urgent message from the CIA about a radical Islamic cleric who had mysteriously vanished from Milan a few weeks before. The CIA reported that it had reliable information that the cleric, the target of an Italian criminal investigation, had fled to an unknown location in the Balkans.
In fact, according to Italian court documents and interviews with investigators, the CIA's tip was a deliberate lie, part of a ruse designed to stymie efforts by the Italian anti-terrorism police to track down the cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, an Egyptian refugee known as Abu Omar.
The strategy worked for more than a year until Italian investigators learned that Nasr had not gone to the Balkans after all. Instead, prosecutors here have charged, he was abducted off a street in Milan by a team of CIA operatives who took him to two U.S. military bases in succession and then flew him to Egypt, where he was interrogated and allegedly tortured by Egyptian security agents before being released to house arrest.”
-Washington Post, December 5, 2005

“You see, we’ve been lying to our allies and using their airports as a way of transferring illegally apprehended prisoners to places where we can torture them beyond the sight of those snoopy human rights people. You know, secret military prisons themselves are illegal per the Geneva conventions. Not just if they are used to torture, but if they exist at all. Its that whole ‘ghost detainee’ issue that got them in trouble at Abu Ghraib (ok, the other issue.. the one that didn’t involve glowsticks, ice packed bodies and naked dogpiles of prisoners). Elsewhere in the world they at least are trying to improve their human rights record, and they take this kind of behavior by the ‘moral leader’ of the world kind of seriously. Maybe sometime we’ll get it right.”

“Q She [Condi] also said that whatever the United States did, that the European counties had cooperated. By saying that, doesn't that just inflame the rift?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think what she said, was she talked about how we have and will continue to respect the sovereignty of other nations. The issue here really to focus on is, what are we doing to protect our citizens. That's the highest responsibility of any government. And that's how we have to look at this. We are engaged in a different kind of war against a different kind of enemy, and we have to be able to adapt in order to face that enemy. And each country has to make their own choices. And she emphasized that in her remarks. But we all should do what we can to work together in order to prevail in this war on terrorism and defeat the terrorists.
Q Sharing the blame with Europe then, it sounds as if she's --
MR. McCLELLAN: Sharing the blame? I'm not sure what you're referring to. We are acting to protect the American people and working with other countries to protect their citizens, as well. This is a global war on terrorism. We have seen terrorists attack throughout the world, and this is an ongoing battle. This is a very dangerous enemy. And we all -- all of us in government, around the world, have a responsibility to do what we can to protect our citizens.”
-Press Gaggle with Scott McClellan, December 5, 2005

“’We have to be able to adapt in order to face that enemy’? I think that what Scottie is trying to say is that because our enemy hates our ‘freedom’ and our ‘way of life’ we need to sacrifice our ‘freedom’ and ‘way of life’ in order to protect them. We have to burn the village in order to save it. Charming.”

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
-Pogo, Walt Kelly

Monday, December 05, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Taking a Number Two

“U.S. national security adviser Stephen Hadley declined to confirm that Rabia, said to be among al-Qaida’s top five leaders and responsible for planning overseas attacks, was dead or that the attack was carried out by a pilotless U.S. plane.
‘At this point we are not in a position publicly to confirm that he is dead. But if he is, that is a good thing for the war on terror,’ Hadley told ‘Fox News Sunday.’
Rabia was involved in planning two assassination plots against Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and ‘we believe he was involved in planning for attacks against the United States,’ Hadley said.
Musharraf said Saturday it was ‘200 percent confirmed’ that Rabia was killed.
The senior Pakistani intelligence official said the missile attack blew up a stockpile of bomb-making materials, grenades and other munitions. Pakistan Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said Rabia’s two Syrian bodyguards also died in the explosion”.
-NBC News, December 5, 2005

“Well, we’ve taken out another one of al-Qaida’s top leaders. I believe that that makes number 2,443 of their top five leaders that we’ve eliminated (not re-counting those that we have killed several times over according to the media). Great! Please ignore the fact that it means that we sent a hellfire missile strike into the sovereign nation of Pakistan. I mean, Musharraf seems cool with it, so why should we worry? I mean heck, We apparently killed the right guy, Rabia, twice over. 200 percent confirmed kill. I just wish I knew why these people were so angry with us..”

“Private security contractors have been involved in scores of shootings in Iraq, but none have been prosecuted despite findings in at least one fatal case that the men had not followed proper procedures, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Times.
Instead, security contractors suspected of reckless behavior are sent home, sometimes with the knowledge of U.S. officials, raising questions about accountability and stirring fierce resentment among Iraqis.
Thousands of the heavily armed private guards are in Iraq, under contract with the U.S. government and private companies. The conduct of such security personnel has been one of the most controversial issues in the reconstruction of Iraq. Last week, a British newspaper publicized a so-called trophy video that appears to show private contractors in Iraq firing at civilian vehicles as an Elvis song plays in the background.
The contractors function in a legal gray area. Under an order issued by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority that administered Iraq until June 2004, contractors suspected of wrongdoing are to be prosecuted in their home countries. The contractors have immunity from Iraqi courts and have so far not faced American prosecution, giving little recourse to Iraqis seeking justice for wrongful shootings.”
-LA Times, December 4, 2005

“And now, thanks to Blogenlust, I give you a very non-comprehensive list of top al-Qaida operatives that we have killed.”

“Abu Azzam (9/27/05)
"The No. 2 official in the al-Qaida in Iraq organization.'
"The top deputy to Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
Mohammed Salah Sutton, aka Abu Zubair (8/14/05)
"A lieutenant of al-Qaida terror boss Abu Musab al Zarqawi."
Abu Abd al-Aziz (7/13/05)
"Zarqawi's 'main leader in Baghdad'"
Khalid Suleiman Darwish, aka Abu Alghadiya (6/26/05)
A Syrian dentist...was described by Arab media as the 'number two' in Iraq's al Qaeda network and tipped to succeed its leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi."
Mohammed Khalaf Shakar, aka Abu Talha (6/17/05)
"A top lieutenant of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
Mullah Mahdi, aka Abu Abdul Rahman (6/4/05)
"Suspected deputy of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi"
Abu Karrar (5/27/05)
"The Washington Post quoted a Zarqawi lieutenant by the nom-de-guerre of Abu Karrar as saying the Jordanian militant was shot and wounded in fighting with US forces near the western city of Ramadi."
Mullah Kamel al-Assawadi (5/25/05)
"Described as one of al-Zarqawi's top lieutenants."
Agha Umar (5/25/05)
"A top aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi"
Amar Adnan Muhammad Hamzah al-Zubaydi, aka Abu al-Abbas (5/9/05)
"A high-ranking aide to terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
Ghassan Muhammed Amin Husayn al-Rawi (4/26/05)
"A key associate of Iraq's most wanted militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
Hamza Ali Ahmed al-Wdimizyar, aka Abu Majid (beginning of April-05)
"Zarqawi associate"
Salman Aref Abulkadir Khwamurad al-Zardowe, aka Abu Sharif (beginning of April-05)
"Zarqawi associate"
Taifor Abulsattar Malallah (3/8/05)
"One of the 'princes' of Musab al-Zarqawi's terrorist group."
Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman al-Dulaymi, aka Abu Qutaybah (2/25/05)
"Iraqi forces have captured a man described as a trusted aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
Mohammed Najm Ibrahim, aka Mohammed Najm (2/25/05)
"Zarqawi lieutenant"
Adel Mujtaba, aka Abu Rim (2/20/05)
"A propaganda chief of al-Qaeda's frontman in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi"
Anat Mohammed Hamat al-Kays, aka Abu Alid (1/28/05)
"High-level Zarqawi lieutenant"
Sami Mohammed Ali Said Jaaf, aka Abu Omar Kurdi (1/25/05)
"A senior aide to Abu Musab al Zarqawi"
"The 'most lethal' top lieutenant of Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq."
Ismael Jeddan (1/23/05)
"The raids also netted a man identified as Ismael Jeddan, an alleged associate of al-Zarqawi."
Ali Hamad Ardani Yasin Isawi (1/20/05)
"top lieutenant"
Inad Mohammed Qais (1/20/05)
"The deputy prime minister for national security affairs, Barham Salih, later told a news conference that authorities have arrested a third Zarqawi lieutenant."
Salah Salman Idaaj Matar Luhaybi, aka Abu Sayf (12/31/04)
"Zarqawi's chief of operations in Baghdad"
Fadil Hussain Ahmed al-Kurdi, aka Abu Ubaydah al-Kurdi, aka Ridha (12/30/04)
"A senior member of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network."
Abdul Aziz Sa'dun Ahmed Hamduni, aka Abu Ahmed (12/22/04)
"Zarqawi-linked leader"
Hassan Ibrahim Farhan Zyda (12/14/04)
"An aide to Iraq's most-wanted man, Jordanian Islamist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi"
Abu Saeed (11/26/04)
"A lieutenant of Iraq's most feared terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi"
Nameless (10/23/04)
The US military has arrested a 'senior leader' in the network run by Jordanian mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
Omar Yusef Juma'a, aka Abu Anas al-Shami (9/25/04)
"A senior aide of the Jordanian al Qaeda mastermind, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi"
Umar Baziyani (6/4/04)
"A top aide of al-Qaeda suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi"
"His capture removes one of Zarqawi's most valuable officers from his network."
Abu Mohammed Hamza (2/24/04)
"A key lieutenant to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
Hassan Ghul (2/23/04)
"The letter was found on al-Zarqawi lieutenant Hassan Ghul, a Pakistani captured in Iraq."
The letter in reference was a "17-page letter to senior al Qaeda leaders written by terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who asked for help starting a Muslim civil war between Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites."
Nameless (4/30/03)
"An associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been captured in the Baghdad area."”
-Blogenlust, September 27, 2005

Friday, December 02, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Beam Me Up Scottie

“Ok, so I’m feeling a little lazy today. Here’s a few minutes with everyone’s favorite stand-up comedian, White House spokesman Scott McClellan, and his take on the classic ‘Who’s on First’ routine.”

Q Scott, in the document you all write, ‘It's not realistic to expect a fully functioning democracy able to defeat its enemies three years after Saddam is finally removed from power.’ Does that mean, then, that the administration now believes that it was unrealistic in its own expectations three years ago? Or, did, in fact, you always expect the war to be as intense as this point, three years later -- almost three years later, as it is?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it's a time of war and Iraq is the central front in the global war on terrorism. And you have to be flexible and be able to adapt. That's what the President was emphasizing in his remarks, that as conditions have changed, we have adapted. We have a dynamic strategy that is in place. Our tactics are flexible and we adjust those tactics as needed. So I think that's one thing that is important to listen to, in terms of what the President said today in his remarks.
Q But when you say here that it's not realistic, it seems to suggest that people had unrealistic expectations. And I'm trying to figure out what was the source of these unrealistic expectations? Was it something --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look, I think that over the course of history, we're going to look back and look at the decisions that were made and the steps that were taken over the course of the time in Iraq. And we'll let history be the judge of those different aspects. But what's important is when you're at war, is that it's important to learn from your experiences and be able to adapt in order to prevail.
Q And then the last question on this is, if it's not realistic to expect this in three years, when is it realistic to expect this?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you shouldn't have arbitrary timetables when you're talking about achieving victory when you're engaged in a war. The President made that very clear. It sends the wrong message to the enemy; it sends the wrong message to our troops.
The timetable should be based on conditions on the ground. It's a conditions-based withdrawal that we are pursuing. And that will be based on the commanders on the ground.
Q But we're not setting an artificial timetable --
MR. McCLELLAN: And as the President said, it takes time and patience as you move forward on building a lasting democracy.
Q But when you say, it's not realistic, without setting an artificial timetable --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the political milestones that are in place, and the Iraqi people are meeting those political milestones time and time again. They are meeting those political milestones here in just a couple of weeks -- December 15th -- the Iraqi people will, again, go back to the polls, this time to choose a permanent representative government. And that will be a significant milestone in Iraq's future.
Q You seem to suggest we know what's realistic, and I'm trying to explore what you think is --
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not sure that that's accurate. But I'm glad you're reading through this. We encourage the American people to read through it. And I think you have to look at the whole document --
Q -- suggests people who had any expectations of the war being in better shape today than it is, they're unrealistic. And I'm trying to see what is realistic.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think it would be wrong to have an expectation that you're going to have a lasting democracy in place in just two-and-a-half years. But it is realistic to -- well, I would say that the fact that the Iraqi people have made this progress in just two -- I'm sorry, able to defeat in just two-and-a-half years is something that is quite remarkable.
Were you were saying, able to defeat?
Q No, I'm just saying there was -- the phrase says, it's not realistic to expect a fully functioning democracy able to defeat its enemies in three years. And I'm just trying to explore, then, what our expectations are. I think the public is looking for, maybe not necessarily a specific time table --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the expectations I think --
Q -- but what should we find realistic --
MR. McCLELLAN: I think that's spelled out in the document, and people can go and read through that document. I mean, we can go and sit through and look through each different aspect of the document. I'll be glad to do that. It talks about the progress that's being made to meet some of the benchmarks that are in place for the political process.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, November 30, 2005

“So timetables are bad, and really, really hard to nail down. So how are we doing with our benchmarks for success?”

“Q In the document, you say victory is defined in stages, three stages: short, medium and long-term. Two questions. First is, does the President believe we have actually achieved any of these stages -- short-term, steady progress of fighting terrorists --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, each of those stages is defined in the document.
Q I understand --
MR. McCLELLAN: We're making real progress on all three tracks of the strategy for victory in Iraq. And --
Q These aren't the tracks of strategy. These are the definitions of short, medium and long-term victory.
MR. McCLELLAN: Right, and it spells out --
Q Does the President think we have achieved --
MR. McCLELLAN: -- how you define that.
Q Does the President think we have achieved short-term victory in Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, if you look at what the short-term -- what it says in the short-term, it says we're -- it says, short-term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up Iraqi security forces.
Medium-term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security with a fully constitutional government in place and on its way to achieving its economic potential. The President believes that we're making real progress when it comes to achieving victory in Iraq and implementing our strategy. We are making progress on the political front, we're making progress on the economic front, and we're making progress on the security front.
And in terms of more specific information, I think that our commanders on the ground and our leaders -- civilian leaders within Iraq would be in the best place to talk -- best position to talk about it in more specific terms.
Q On this spectrum, are you willing to say that we have achieved short-term victory, medium-term victory -- any of those?
MR. McCLELLAN: I want to say we've made real progress on all three fronts of the strategy for victory.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, November 30, 2005

‘So several years into this lovely war and we have made real progress in meeting our short-term victory. At this rate in just a few decades we should be able to meet our medium-term goals.”

Quotes of the Morning: A Dog's Life

"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight — it's the size of the fight in the dog."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

"When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem."
-Edward Abbey

"I have always thought of a dog lover as a dog that was in love with another dog."
-James Thurber

"The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment."
-Warren G. Bennis

"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person."
-Andy Rooney

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
-Groucho Marx

“A moment of silence please for Skippy’s dog Jazz, who today is losing all of her chances at motherhood. We wish her a speedy recovery, and the ability to read this. And to be able to talk. That would be really, really cool if she could talk, though today she would probably be saying things that I wouldn’t want to hear..”

"Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There's so little hope for advancement."

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