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Four Color Politics

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

Friday, March 31, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Sicilian Justice Supreme

“State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding.”
-Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Lawrence v. Texas, 2003

“We have no place in this country for prostitution, bestiality, incest, bigamy, masturba……. Huh? That’s illegal? Holy *%^! We really need to start putting police cameras in bedrooms. We can’t let this scourge continue! This is, of course, coming from Judge Scalia, a man known for his tact and decorum.”

“During an unpublicized March 8 talk at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, Scalia dismissed the idea that the detainees have rights under the U.S. Constitution or international conventions, adding he was ‘astounded’ at the ‘hypocritical’ reaction in Europe to Gitmo. ‘War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts,’ he says on a tape of the talk reviewed by NEWSWEEK. ‘Give me a break.’ Challenged by one audience member about whether the Gitmo detainees don't have protections under the Geneva or human-rights conventions, Scalia shot back: ‘If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy.’"
-Newsweek, April 3, 2006 Issue

“Um, sir? If I recall properly this is regarding a case that you currently have in front of you on the Supreme Court.. Isn’t it a little improper to declare that your mind is made up before you even listen to arguments? Especially when facts like this are brought to light regarding the people in Gitmo…”

“Out of the 132 men, 75 are not even accused of acts against the United States. Most, when captured, were innocent of any terrorist activity, were Taliban foot soldiers at worst, and were often far less than that... And much of the evidence -- even the classified evidence -- gathered by the Defense Department against these men is flimsy, second-, third-, fourth- or 12th-hand. It's based largely on admissions by the detainees themselves or on coerced, or worse, interrogations of their fellow inmates, some of whom have been proved to be liars.”
-National Journal, February 3, 2006

“This of course is not the first time that Justice Scalia has made unfortunate choices regarding cases before him.”

“Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a combative conservative known for his tough talk on and off the bench, isn't backing down in the face of criticism that he should stay out of a case involving his friend and hunting partner, Vice President Dick Cheney.
The two men went on a duck hunting trip last month, three weeks after the court agreed to hear a White House appeal in a case involving private meetings of the vice president's energy task force. Critics said the trip raised questions about Scalia's impartiality in the case.”
-Washington Post, February 11, 2004

“A hunting buddy of Dick Cheney. He’s lucky to have lived this long.. Justice Scalia always has a ready answer for his critics though..”

“Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled reporters in Boston just minutes after attending a mass, by making a hand gesture some consider obscene.
A Boston Herald reporter asked the 70-year-old conservative Roman Catholic if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state.
‘You know what I say to those people?’ Scalia replied, making the gesture and explaining ‘That's Sicilian.’
The 20-year veteran of the high court was caught making the gesture by a photographer with The Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper.
‘Don't publish that,’ Scalia told the photographer, the Herald said.”
UPI, March 27, 2006

“And I guess that answers the question of ‘Who would Jesus flip off? Justice Scalia says that the gesture was misinterpreted, and that he was really making a different gesture that means that he was being thoughtful. The photographer disagrees.”

“Despite Scalia’s insistence that the Sicilian gesture was not offensive and had been incorrectly characterized by the Herald as obscene, the photographer said the newspaper ‘got the story right.’

Smith said the jurist ‘immediately knew he’d made a mistake, and said, ‘You’re not going to print that, are you?’ ‘
Scalia’s office yesterday referred questions regarding the flap to Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg, who said a letter Scalia sent Tuesday to the Herald defending his gesture at the cathedral ‘speaks for itself.’
‘The judge paused for a second, then looked directly into my lens and said, ‘To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo.’’ punctuating the comment by flicking his right hand out from under his chin, Smith said.
The Italian phrase means ‘(expletive) you.’”
-Boston Herald, March 30, 2006

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: The Great Divide

“Bombs still rattle the capital and elsewhere, but far less regularly. U.S. helicopters still thunder through the sky, darting here and there and raising a racket that disturbs sleep and sends packs of wild dogs into a howling nighttime frenzy.
The tanks in the streets these days aren’t American, by and large, but old Russian T-72s driven by Iraqi soldiers. Faces at military checkpoints are increasingly Iraqi.

As of Wednesday, 27 U.S. military personnel had died in March — the lowest monthly American death count since February 2004 and the second-lowest of the war, according to an Associated Press count.
Coincidental with the sharp drop in American deaths was the huge rise in the number of execution-style killings among Iraqis. Since the beginning of the month, at least 385 people — an average of more than 13 a day — have been found slain, the apparent victims of sectarian hatred and settling of old scores after a Shiite shrine was bombed Feb. 22.
The count climbs to at least 486 when the last six days of February are added, according to figures compiled from daily AP reports based on police accounts.”
-Associated Press, March 29, 2006

“Very low American death count in March! Whoo hoo! Of course, most of that isn’t because people aren’t trying to kill us. It’s because we’ve pulled back as much as possible. American bases (where we are keeping most of our troops) are usually outside the cities, and we’re letting the Iraqis go on patrol for us, so there just aren’t as many chances for the enemy to kill our troops. This isn’t victory, this is retreat, and while the American troops are thankfully staying out of harm’s way, the Iraqi civilians are not so lucky.”

“Execution-style killings and kidnappings of civilians happened before late February, of course — but not nearly in such big numbers.
In one rough accounting of the rise, for example, the AP reported 36 bodies found in Iraq in December, 150 in January and 195 in February. To date in March, the AP has reported 374 bodies found.”
-Associated Press, March 29, 2006

“What could be fueling these tensions in Iraq? Why are the people suddenly so seemingly violent?”

“Bush said that Saddam was a tyrant and used violence to exacerbate sectarian divisions to keep himself in power, and that as a result, deep tensions persist to this day.

‘The enemies of a free Iraq are employing the same tactics Saddam used, killing and terrorizing the Iraqi people in an effort to foment sectarian division,’ Bush said.”
-Associated Press, March 29, 2006

“Oh. It was that Saddam was violently fueling these deep divisions between the people of Iraq. I guess now that he’s not in power to control it the violence is overflowing. Since this sounds so evident now, why didn’t we plan on this kind of thing when we invaded?”

“There are other differences that suggest that peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than our historical experience in the Balkans suggest. There has been none of the record in Iraq of ethnic militias fighting one another that produced so much bloodshed and permanent scars in Bosnia.”
-Paul Wolfowitz, February 27, 2003

“But Paul Wolfowitz was one of Bush’s inner circle in the plans to invade Iraq. He said that there was no record of ethnic militias fighting. Now Dubya is saying that Saddam was using violence to fuel sectarian divisions. I know that the wording is a little different, but wasn’t Wolfowitz saying that there weren’t deep divides between the people and Dubya is now saying that there were? I’m not sure I understand..”

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: A Shining Beacon

“The Prime Minister is a great Iraqi patriot, he's a friend of liberty, he's a strong partner for peace and freedom.
I appreciate Prime Minister Jaafari's brave leadership. Prime Minister Jaafari is a bold man. I've enjoyed my discussions with the Prime Minister. He is a frank, open fellow who is willing to tell me what's on his mind. And what is on his mind is peace and security for the people of Iraq, and what is on his mind is a democratic future that is hopeful.
I want to thank you for your courage. I want to thank you for your understanding about the nature of free societies. I want to thank you for helping Iraq become a beacon of freedom.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, June 24, 2005

“Our good friend Prime Minister Jaafari! Helping us make Iraq a shining beacon of freedom..”

“Iraq's security minister, a Shi'ite political ally of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, accused U.S. and Iraqi troops on Monday of killing 37 unarmed people in an attack on a mosque complex a day earlier.”
-Reuters, March 27, 2006

"’The Alliance calls for a rapid restoration of (control of) security matters to the Iraqi government,’ Jawad al-Maliki, a senior spokesman of the Shi'ite Islamist Alliance and ally of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, told a news conference.
The United States handed over formal sovereignty in 2004 but 133,000 troops in the country give it the main say in security.”
-Reuters, March 27, 2006

“What? Prime Minister Jaafari’s people want us out of Iraq just because of one little accidental slaughter in a mosque? Well we know what to do with our little puppets when they quit playing by our rules..”

“The ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, told the head of the main Shiite political bloc at a meeting last Saturday to pass a ‘personal message from President Bush’ on to the prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who the Shiites insist should stay in his post for four more years, said Redha Jowad Taki, a Shiite politician and member of Parliament who was at the meeting.
Ambassador Khalilzad said that President Bush ‘doesn't want, doesn't support, doesn't accept’ Mr. Jaafari to be the next prime minister, according to Mr. Taki, a senior aide to Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Shiite bloc. It was the first ‘clear and direct message’ from the Americans on the issue of the candidate for prime minister, Mr. Taki said.”
-New York Times, March 28, 2006

“Hate the game, but not the playa. It isn’t our fault that we need to blatantly manipulate the internal politics of the ‘sovereign’ nation of Iraq. These people shouldn’t take this kind of thing so seriously.”

“The Badr Organization, a political party that represents the paramilitary Badr Corps, the Shiite militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, demanded Monday that Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, be expelled from that country.”
-Juan Cole, March 29, 2006

“Zalmay though isn’t going to let a little thing like that drive him out. Hey, sometimes you have to get a little rough. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, and you can’t make a country without accidentally slaughtering a few tens of thousands of people. Politics are good.. but if that doesn’t work, well.. Zalmay has some other options.”

“American and Iraqi troops mounted two raids in Baghdad yesterday arresting more than 40 interior ministry guards at a secret prison and killing around 20 gunmen in an assault on a mosque loyal to the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
The sudden strikes seemed to put muscle behind a strong warning from the US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, on Saturday that militias must be brought under control. They had become a bigger threat to Iraq than the insurgency, he said.”
-The Guardian, March 27, 2006

“Oh yeah.. that’s the assault that started this thing off in the first place.. My bad.”

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: A Recent Surge

"Despite the recent surge in violence in Iraq, Mr. Reid said he believed that civil war was ‘neither imminent nor inevitable.’ He said Iraqi security forces now numbered around 235,000, with 5,000 more volunteering to join every month."
-New York Times, March 13, 2006

‘Whew. Iraq is getting better all the time. This is just a recent ‘surge’ of violence. Nothing to be alarmed about.”

"The training at the desert village is especially important for the Marines of the First Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. The battalion, made up mostly of Marine reservists, is leaving soon for Iraq, where sectarian tensions have brought a recent surge in violence - and growing concerns about civil war."
-Associated Press, March 6, 2006

“Hey, that was only a week before the first quote. A surge can last a week.”

"Dozens of bodies have been discovered in various parts of Baghdad gagged, bound and shot repeatedly in the past week, amid recent surge in violence, which analysts have repeatedly described as initial stages of an open-ended civil war between Iraq's ethnic groups."
-Associated Press, February 4, 2006

“Even a month isn’t too long to still call it a ‘recent surge’.”

"The recent surge in violence is "an anomaly" and Iraq is not on the verge of civil war, the top US commander there said yesterday, after one of the country's bloodiest days since the fall of Saddam Hussein."
-Sidney Morning Herald, January 8, 2006

“Ok.. Two months seems to be stretching it a little..:

"The fresh US effort to crack down on insurgents followed a recent surge in violence caused by the passing of the new Iraqi constitution in a referendum held earlier this month."
-Washington Times, October 31, 2005

"Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, has reportedly said the recent surge in violence is in retaliation for a coalition offensive against the group's stronghold in the northern city of Tal Afar."
-Associated Press, September 17, 2005

"Mr. President, we were told that you planned to sharpen your focus on Iraq. Why did this become necessary? And given the recent surge in violence, do you agree with Vice President Dick Cheney's assessment that the insurgency is in its last throes?"
-Question to George ‘Dubya’ Bush, June 20, 2005

"Even despite the recent surge in violence, in some areas - downtown Mosul, for example - Iraqi forces have begun limited independent operations."
-Salon, May 23, 2005

"A senior US military official told reporters Wednesday that the recent surge in violence in Iraq followed a meeting in Syria last month of associates of the Jordanian insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi."
-Washington Post, May 19, 2005

"Most of the victims were Shiites, the targets of a recent surge in violence, most notably a series of suicide bombings and other attacks that killed nearly 100 people during the Shiite religious commemoration known as Ashoura."
-ABC News, March 2, 2005

“Ok.. So the ‘recent surge’ is at least a year old.. That’s pretty bad.”

"The incident marks the most senior assassination since the death in May of Governing Council president Abd al-Zahra Uthman Muhammad and should be seen within the context of the recent surge in violence ahead of national and provincial elections slated for 30 January."
-Radio Free Europe, January 4, 2005

"The Iraqi leader also said that despite a recent surge in violence in Iraq, it is 'very important for the people of the world really to know that we are winning, we are making progress in Iraq, we are defeating terrorists.'"
-Washington Times, September 22, 2004

"Despite a recent surge in violence, including kidnappings, car bombings and assassinations, senior US and Iraqi officials gave a relatively optimistic assessment on Wednesday of the security situation in Iraq since the transfer of political authority from US to Iraqi authorities June 28."
-Washington Post, July 22, 2004

"Lt. Gen. David Barno, the top American commander in Afghanistan, said Monday that the military has seen a recent surge in violence, but that most attacks were directed against soft targets, such as civilians or isolated Afghan security outposts."
-CBS News, April 26, 2004

"A wave of bomb attacks in Baghdad and Karbala killing at least 171 people earlier this week has highlighted the difficulties in rebuilding the country and restoring peace. But Mr. Blair, speaking after a meeting in Rome with his Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi, said the recent surge in violence in Iraq did not constitute civil war."
-Reuters, March 4, 2004

“Um, I mean two years old. How long has this war been going on anyway? I thought it was only three years old.”

"Ansar is believed to be channeling into Iraq the foreign fighters who are behind a recent surge in violence in the country, officials say."
-UK Telegraph, October 31, 2003

"Meanwhile, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac were to meet in Germany on Thursday to discuss ways for the West to respond to the recent surge in violence in Iraq and the Middle East."
-Middle East Online, September 3, 2006

“So the ‘recent surge’ in violence has only lasted about 80% of the time since the war began. That doesn’t seem like a ‘surge’ as much as it does a steady, relentless pounding.. In other words, this isn’t a surge of violence, this is the entire tide of violence coming in. Surge just doesn’t seem to cover something that has lasted for 2 ½ years.”

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
-Inigo Montoya

“Thanks to Truthout and Joe Kuspan for today’s Quotes.”

Monday, March 27, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: The Good News

“Newspaper headlines have borne much bad and frightening news lately: car bombs in Baghdad, missile fusillades launched at hotels, deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers, Iraqi police and governmental officials, and representatives of the international community. But there is plenty of good news, too, even though it doesn't as often make the papers. And that good news stems from a single irreversible and critical truth: the Iraqi people are free. . . . Real progress is being made on the ground that gives Iraqis hope that life will get steadily better. . . . We have renovated more than 1,500 schools.”
-Colin Powell, October 31, 2003

“Yes, real progress is being made. We had already renovated 1,500 schools in Iraq way back in 2003. Why doesn’t the news pay more attention to all of the schools?”

"What I was saying is there's more than just terrorist attacks that are taking place in Iraq. There's schools opening, there are hospitals opening. The electricity -- the capacity to deliver electricity to the Iraqi people is back up to pre-war levels. ... I know it's a dangerous place. And I also know our strategy to rout them out -- which is to encourage better intelligence and get more Iraqis involved, and have our strike teams ready to move -- is the right strategy."

-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, January 20, 2004

“See.. Schools are opening. Electricity is restored. Why doesn’t the news pay more attention to this kind of thing? Why is the Press so anti-American?”

“On Wednesday, armed insurgents burst into the classroom of Khidhir al-Mihallawi, an English teacher at Sajariyah High School, accused him of being an agent for the CIA and Israeli intelligence and beheaded him in front of his students, according to students, fellow instructors and a physician at a local hospital.

One teacher, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because he feared retaliation from insurgents, said that most students ran from the classroom but that some stayed to watch. Many stopped coming to school after the incident, he said. Another teacher, who said he moved his mathematics class to his home to accommodate frightened students, said Mihallawi had earlier been threatened because he worked as a translator for U.S. forces in Ramadi, a hotbed of the Sunni Arab insurgency.
Mihallawi ‘looked at us just like he was telling us that we do not have to be scared. Even as we were running out of the door, his looks were still telling us that nothing will happen and we do not have to be scared,’ said a student, whose father asked that his name not be used. ‘I heard him screaming for a few seconds, then stop screaming.’"
-Washington Post, March 26, 2006

“Hey, that was just one little classroom beheading. It isn’t like this is happening everywhere. Just where we are involved. This isn’t about the schools though. I mean, look at how quickly we had the electricity up to pre-war levels. Why can’t the Press just pay more attention to our successes? Why do they hate America?”

“Electricity output has dipped to its lowest point in three years in Iraq, where the desert sun is rising toward another broiling summer and U.S. engineers are winding down their rebuilding of the crippled power grid.
The Iraqis, in fact, may have to turn to neighboring Iran to help bail them out of their energy crisis — if not this summer, then in years to come.
The overstressed network is producing less than half the electricity needed to meet Iraq's exploding demand.
American experts are working hard to shore up the system's weaknesses as 100-degree-plus temperatures approach beginning as early as May, driving up usage of air conditioning, electric fans and refrigeration.
If the summer is unusually hot, however, ‘all bets are off,’ said Lt. Col. Otto Busher, an engineer with the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division.”
-Associated Press, March 25, 2006

“You know, I’m beginning to think that we haven’t been all that successful in Iraq. It’s like what the Administration says and the real world aren’t meshing up. I wonder why that is?”

“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ ... ‘That's not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’”
-New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2004

Friday, March 24, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: All in the Family

“I made my mistakes, but in all my years of public life, I have never profited from public service. I've earned every cent. And in all of my years in public life I have never obstructed justice. And I think, too, that I can say that in my years of public life that I welcome this kind of examination because people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got.”
-Richard Nixon

“A noble sentiment sir. I can only hope that all of our presidents can claim to have morality as solid as Richard Nixon.”

“A top House Democrat released e-mails Tuesday detailing Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's role in pushing a $236 million federal contract for Carnival Cruise Lines to house Hurricane Katrina victims.

In a letter, Rep. Henry Waxman of California called on Bush to explain his role in the award of the ‘lucrative contract,’ which was given to the Florida-based company without a full competitive bid process. The e-mails Waxman released were provided to Congress by Michael Brown, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Carnival Cruise Lines contract has turned out to be enormously expensive," Waxman wrote to Gov. Bush, the president's younger brother. ‘The e-mails from Mr. Brown provide the first confirmation of your involvement in the award of this contract and the first details of your contacts with Carnival and FEMA.’
The Carnival official, Ric Cooper, has been a major political donor to the Florida and national Republican parties, including $65,000 to the state GOP in 2002, and $50,00 to the RNC in 2004, Waxman said.”

-Associated Press, February 28, 2006

“Doesn’t mean anything. Plus, that was Jeb, not Dubya. Jeb has made some money off of disasters, but Dubya has been honest.”

“Former first lady Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with specific instructions that the money be spent with an educational software company owned by her son Neil.”
-Houston Chronicle, March 22, 2006

“That isn’t the President either. That is his mom making large tax-deductible donations to a non-profit organization owned by his brother. Nothing out of the ordinary there, there are lots of UAE sheiks donating to that same cause, and you never hear anyone complaining about THAT.”

“In 2002, for instance, Bush signed a consulting contract with Grace Semiconductor -- a Shanghai-based company managed in part by the son of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin. Bush's contractual duties consist solely of attending board meetings and discussing ‘business strategies.’ For this, he is to be paid $2 million in company stock over five years, plus $10,000 for every board meeting he attends.
‘Now, you have absolutely no educational background in semiconductors, do you Mr. Bush?’ Brown asked.
‘That's correct,’ Bush responded.
Meanwhile, back home in Texas, Bush serves as co-chairman of a company called Crest Investment. Crest, he revealed in the deposition, pays him $60,000 a year to provide ‘miscellaneous consulting services.’
‘Such as?’ Brown asked.
‘Such as answering phone calls when Jamal Daniel, the other co-chairman, called and asked for advice,’ Bush replied.
Ah, it's nice to be Neil Bush, who seems to be living the lifestyle immortalized in those famous Dire Straits lyrics: ‘Money for nothin' and chicks for free.’"
-Washington Post, December 28, 2003

“Still Neal. I mean, you can’t hold what his brothers do against the President. It isn’t like the situations are related.. just the people.”

“As President Bush embarks on a new effort to shore up public support for the war in Iraq, an uncle of the commander in chief is collecting $2.7 million in cash and stock from the recent sale of a company that profited from the war.

A report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows that William H.T. Bush collected just under $1.9 million in cash plus stock valued at more than $800,000 from the sale of Engineered Support Systems Inc. to DRS Technologies of New Jersey....
Bush, known as ‘Uncle Bucky" in the president's family, joined ESSI's board in 2000, several months before his nephew became president.
He heads a St. Louis investment firm and is the youngest brother of former President George H.W. Bush.”
-LA Times, March 23, 2006

“Hey, that wasn’t Dubya either. That was his uncle. Dubya is a man of nobility and honor. And I’m sticking to that story.”

“Consider the Carlyle Group, the huge, politically wired private equity firm that has employed both the president and his father -- and from which the members of the Bush family and their closest associates, such as former Secretary of State James Baker III, have profited handsomely in recent years. With its sole Middle East office headquartered in Dubai, Carlyle has managed to attract substantial funding from the UAE government, which controls most of the tiny nation's oil wealth and channels that money into foreign investments.
Last year, to cite only the most recent example, Carlyle's newest buyout fund won an infusion of at least $100 million from the Dubai Investment Corp. -- another state-owned outfit created by the ruling families to reinvest the enormous inflows of capital from rising oil prices and oil consumption. If that individual deal with Carlyle represented only a small fraction of the Emirates' investments, the upside potential of the relationship could be far greater in the future. The directors of Dubai Investment expect to invest as much as $5 billion every year for a long time to come.
No doubt Carlyle will ardently bid to manage a slice of those billions -- and the president surely understands that maintaining good relations with the Emirates will enhance the prospects of the family's favorite equity firm. But to deprive Dubai of its $6.8 billion ports acquisition might well have the opposite effect. For a company that trades on its political influence as well as its business acumen, such incidents can be pivotal.”
-Salon, February 24, 2006

“And it is mainly Dubya’s father who is the big name at Carlyle. Dubya just worked there a while. Nothing to see here, and this had nothing to do with the port deal that Dubya was so adamantly behind (which, by the way, still happened). Let’s leave this story and get back to trying to do the important work: figuring out how to give tax cuts to the wealthy..”

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Here it Comes

“The centuries of special protection for the privacy of the home are over."
-Supreme Court Justice Roberts, March 23, 2006

“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, Constitution of the United States of America

“Wow.. A Supreme Court Justice against the right to privacy.. I wonder if that could have an impact on anything else?”

“In this landmark decision the Court declared that laws prohibiting abortion represented a violation of a women's right to privacy. While the right to privacy does exist as such in the Constitution it has long been interpreted to exist as an umbrella created by the first 5 amendments in the Bill of Rights. By creating this precedent abortion became legal in all 50 states.”
-Social Studies Help Center on Roe v Wade

“Enjoy your rights while you can ladies.. You aren’t going to have them for long. Lest all of you think that the War on Choice is all about preventing abortion, I give you the State of Missouri.”

“The Missouri House voted Wednesday to ban state funding of contraceptives for low-income women and to prohibit state-funded programs from referring those women to other programs.
Critics jumped on the proposal, saying it would lead to more abortions and more unwanted children on welfare.
But the proposal’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Susan Phillips of Kansas City, said contraceptive services were an inappropriate use of tax dollars. ‘If doctors want to give contraception privately or personally, they can,’ Phillips said. ‘But we don’t need to pay for contraception with taxpayer funds.’”
-Kansas City Star, March 16, 2006

“The part I appreciate most about this is that, despite the worry about paying for contraception with taxpayer funds, the program would also keep state-funded programs from referring women to other programs, something that I would think would be ‘no cost’. This isn’t about abortion, or tax money, or anything else like that. This is about making sure that women don’t have sex, and if they do they should suffer for it. I’m sure that these are the same people who complain about ‘welfare mothers’ who use tax money to support their children. Some days I just don’t understand the world.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Hello Cleveland!

“Monday brought Fearless Leader to Cleveland, Ohio. He’s apparently on the same tour as Spinal Tap, just a little behind and with slightly less intelligence..”

“First- just if I might correct a misperception, I don't think we ever said, at least I know I didn't say that there was a direct connection between September 11th and Saddam Hussein."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 21, 2006

“No sir, those exact words never escaped your lips. Instead you said this..”

"Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, January 28, 2003

“Which, since al-Qaeda is the group that is believed to have caused 9-11 (unless you have your tinfoil cap on too tight), that would seem to indicate that you were, well, linking Saddam and September 11. It seems that Dubya is under a lot of stress. Let’s give him a little time off and give the more intelligent group to tour Cleveland a little time to fill in..”

“Hello Cleveland!”
-Spinal Tap

“You said you listen to members of Congress, and there have been growing calls from some of those members for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; also from his own former subordinates like U.S. Army Major General Paul Eaton, who described him in a recent editorial as ‘incompetent and tactically inept.’ Do you feel that personally you've ever gotten bad advice in the conduct of the war in Iraq? And do you believe Rumsfeld should resign?”
-Question to George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 21, 2006

“It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever.”
-David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap

“Secretary Rumsfeld has said that if civil war should break out in Iraq, he's hopeful that Iraqi forces can handle it. If they can't, sir, are you willing to sacrifice American lives to keep Iraqis from killing one another?”
-Question to George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 21, 2006

“David St. Hubbins: We say, ‘Love your brother.’ We don't say it really, but...

Nigel Tufnel: We don't literally say it.
David St. Hubbins: No, we don't say it.
Nigel Tufnel: We don't really, actually mean it.
David St. Hubbins: No, we don't believe it either, but...
Nigel Tufnel: But we're not racists.
David St. Hubbins: But that message should be clear.”
-This Is Spinal Tap

“Will there come a day -- and I'm not asking you when, not asking for a timetable -- will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?”
-Question to George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 21, 2006

“Well, I don't really think that the end can be assessed as of itself as being the end because what does the end feel like? It's like saying when you try to extrapolate the end of the universe, you say, if the universe is indeed infinite, then how - what does that mean? How far is all the way, and then if it stops, what's stopping it, and what's behind what's stopping it? So, what's the end, you know, is my question to you.”
-David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap

“Iraq's Interim Prime Minister said Sunday that violence is killing an average of 50 to 60 people a day, and that, ‘if this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.’ Do you agree with Mr. Allawi that Iraq has fallen into civil war?”
-Question to George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 21, 2006

“Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It's just not really widely reported.”
-David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap

“Mr. President, in the upcoming elections I think many Republicans would tell you one of the big things they're worried about is the national debt, which was $5.7 trillion when you took office, and is now nearly $8.2 trillion, and Congress has just voted to raise it to $8.9 trillion. That would be a 58-percent increase. You've yet to veto a single bill, sir -- I assume that means you're satisfied with this.”
-Question to George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 21, 2006

“Derek Smalls: I mean, people should be envying us, you know.

David St. Hubbins: I envy us.
Derek Smalls: Yeah.
David St. Hubbins: I do.
Derek Smalls: Me too”.
-This Is Spinal Tap

“Derek Smalls: That's not to say I haven't had my visionary moments. I've taken acid seventy... five, seventy-six times.

Marty DiBergi: 76?
Derek Smalls: Yeah, so I've had my moments in the sky.”
-This Is Spinal Tap

“What, sir, do you think the impact of the discussion of impeachment and censure does to you and this office, and to the nation during a time of war, and in the context of the election?”
-Question to George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 21, 2006

“Making a big thing out of it would have been a good idea.”
-Derek Smalls, Spinal Tap

“You've said during your presidency that you don't pay that much attention to the polls, but there is a handful that have come back, and they all say the exact same thing: A growing number of Americans are questioning the trustworthiness of you and this White House. Does that concern you?”
-Question to George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 21, 2006

“Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation.”
-David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: The Birth of a Nation

“As Iraqis marked the three-year anniversary there were at least two fatal roadside bombings.
One killed at least four security guards near the town of Musayyib, south of Baghdad. The other killed two police commandos and two other people in the Baghdad neighbourhood of Karrada.
At least another nine bodies were also found, in the capital and elsewhere, most showing signs of torture and believed to be victims of sectarian attacks.
The continuing violence prompted former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to say at the weekend that Iraq was in the grip of civil war - a view played down by the US and UK.”
-BBC, March 20, 2006

“Well the ex-Prime Minister says that there is civil war in Iraq. Usually I’d believe him, what with him being ‘on the ground’ as it were in Iraq, but the Administration is so sure that things are getting better that I just can’t bring myself to believe it. Allawi has spoken against the Administration. The question must be asked...”

“Q The President had expressed so much confidence in the past in Allawi, does this leader no longer have any credibility?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll let him speak for himself. I mean, all I can do is speak to what our people on the ground are seeing and what the Iraqi people are showing. And the Iraqi people are showing that they want to live in freedom and democracy. They've shown that time and time again -- most recently, when more than 11 million showed up at the polls to elect a representative government, a government that is now moving forward on coming into place.”
-Press Gaggle with Scott McClellan, March 20, 2006

“Just like the song says..”

“It’s getting better all the time

I used to get mad at my school
The teachers who taught me weren’t cool
You’re holding me down, turning me round
Filling me up with your rules.
I’ve got to admit its getting better
A little better all the time
I have to admit its getting better
It’s getting better since you’ve been mine.
Me used to be a angry young man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word
I finally heard
I’m doing the best that I can.”
-Beatles, Getting Better

“But things are still bad, aren’t they? I mean it might not be civil war, but you’d have to admit that things haven’t exactly gone as well as we expected, right? Oddly enough, no.”

“SCHIEFFER: Mr. Vice President, all along the government has been very optimistic. You remain optimistic. But I remember when you were saying we'd be greeted as liberators, you played down the insurgency 10 months ago. You said it was in its last throes. Do you believe that these optimistic statements may be one of the reasons that people seem to be more skeptical in this country about whether we ought to be in Iraq?
CHENEY: No. I think it has less to do with the statements we've made, which I think were basically accurate and reflect reality, than it does with the fact that there's a constant sort of perception, if you will, that's created because what's newsworthy is the car bomb in Baghdad. It's not all the work that went on that day in 15 other provinces in terms of making progress towards rebuilding Iraq.”
-Interview with Dick Cheney, Face the Nation, March 19, 2006

“Things on the ground feel pretty bad though..”

“At least 51 people were killed by insurgents and shadowy sectarian gangs, police reported — continuing the wave of violence that has left more than 1,000 Iraqis dead since the bombing last month of a Shiite Muslim shrine.
As the Iraq war entered its fourth year, police found the bodies of at least 15 more people — including that of a 13-year-old girl — dumped in and near Baghdad. The discoveries marked the latest in a string of execution-style killings that have become an almost daily event as Sunni and Shiite extremists settle scores.”
-Associated Press, March 21, 2006

“That’s ok though, since all of this is just secondary and expected according to Big Dick. No, the good news in Iraq is there, just buried (possibly in a mass grave). Except for news like this. There really isn’t any way to spin this to make it sound good.”

“Iraqi police have accused American troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid last Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad.
The villagers were killed after American troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house, the document said.”
-Knight Ridder, March 19, 2006

“I’m going to have to humbly disagree with Big Dick and Little Scottie though. Iraq doesn’t sound so good right now. Luckily we’ve got the glories of our first war to bask in. Afghanistan, the country that is doing so well that we were able to pull out the majority of our forces in order to go after Saddam. Our success.”

“An Afghan man is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death after being charged with converting from Islam to Christianity, a crime under this country's Islamic Shari'a laws, a judge said yesterday.
The defendant, Abdul Rahman, 41, was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian, Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada told The Associated Press in an interview. Rahman was charged with rejecting Islam and his trial started last Thursday.
During the one-day hearing, the defendant allegedly confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, Mawlavezada said.
Afghanistan's constitution is based on Shari'a law, which states that any Muslim who rejects Islam should be sentenced to death, according to Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.
The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said he had offered to drop the charges if Rahman converted back to Islam, but he refused.
‘He would have been forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would always remain one,’ Wasi told the AP. ‘We are Muslims and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty.’"
-Associated Press, March 20, 2006

“Congratulations! Its an oppressive Islamic theocracy! I know that the Administration must be proud..”

Monday, March 20, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: American Freedom (tm) in Action

“Iraq is more free every day. The lives of the citizens are improving every day. And 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

“No more mass graves and torture. Whoo hoo!”

“Daylight Tuesday brought the discovery of at least 86 shot or strangled men across the city, most of them with hands tied and many of them tortured, according to police. They included 27 corpses in one of the first mass graves to be found in the capital since the U.S. invasion three years ago..”
-Washington Post, March 12, 2006

“Well that is a mass grave, sure, and there is some mention of torture, but I think that what Dubya REALLY meant is that the GOVERNMENT would no longer have mass graves and torture rooms. You are all just misinterpreting him. You want America to fail and hate our troops. You must, because otherwise Fearless Leader would have been lying, and he is infallible, so that can’t be the case. The US is still trying to show these people how a civilized country behaves, so a small amount of backsliding is expected.”

“As the Iraqi insurgency intensified in early 2004, an elite Special Operations forces unit converted one of Saddam Hussein's former military bases near Baghdad into a top-secret detention center. There, American soldiers made one of the former Iraqi government's torture chambers into their own interrogation cell. They named it the Black Room.”
-New York Times, March 19, 2006

“Ok, that was us. All part of spreading American Freedom ™. Hey, if Iraq is so free, and if our troops are just there to keep the peace, how come we’re using bombing runs? I don’t think I ever recall ‘keeping the peace’ using military air strikes before.”

“U.S. forces, joined by Iraqi troops, on Thursday launched the largest air assault since the U.S.-led invasion, targeting insurgent strongholds north of the capital, the military said.

‘More than 1,500 Iraqi and Coalition troops, over 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft participated in the operation,’ the military statement said of the attack designed to ‘clear a suspected insurgent operating area northeast of Samarra,’ 60 miles north of Baghdad.”
-Associated Press, March 17, 2006

“American forces have dramatically increased airstrikes in Iraq during the past five months, a change of tactics that may foreshadow how the United States plans to battle a still-strong insurgency while reducing the number of U.S. ground troops serving here.
A review of military data shows that daily bombing runs and jet-missile launches have increased by more than 50 percent in the past five months, compared with the same period last year. Knight Ridder's statistical findings were reviewed and confirmed by American Air Force officials in the region.
The numbers also show that U.S. forces dropped bombs on more cities during the last five months than they did during the same period a year ago. Airstrikes hit at least 11 cities between Oct. 1, 2004, and Feb. 28, 2005, but were mostly concentrated in and around the western city of Fallujah. A year later, U.S. warplanes struck at least 22 cities during the same months.
The spike in bombings comes at a crucial time for American diplomatic efforts in Iraq. Officials in Washington have said that the situation in Iraq is improving, creating expectations that at least some American troops might be able to withdraw over the next year.”
-Knight-Ridder, March 14, 2006

“Still not doing that whole ‘Keeping the Peace’ thing that well though..”

“A U.S. airstrike north of the capital Wednesday killed 11 people most of them women and children, said police and relatives of the victims. The U.S. military said it captured the target of the raid, a man suspected of supporting al-Qaida fighters.
But the military said only four people were killed a man, two women and a child.
Iraqi police, meanwhile, found 25 bodies discarded in various parts of Baghdad, the Interior Ministry said Thursday, part of a wave of apparent sectarian killing.”
-AP, March 16, 2006

“At least we got our man. Arrested during an airstrike. Someday I’ll figure out how that works. The bombs were apparently discerning enough to blow up only the women and children, while somehow slapping handcuffs on the target. The target who was not an al-Qaida fighter, but was SUSPECTED of SUPPORTING them. Iraq, where suspicion of supporting the enemy is punishable by the slaughter of your family. By the way, the 25 bodies in the article above are not part of the 86 bodies from the second item.. In four days they have found over 100 bodies of people who were executed in the capital city alone. And that doesn’t count those who have died of bombings, starvation, etc. With all of that American Freedom ™ now being enjoyed daily by the people of Iraq is it any wonder that we are looking to continue to spread the joy to others? American Freedom ™ is on the march!”

"Each passing day could be the one on which the Iraqi regime gives anthrax or VX nerve gas or someday a nuclear weapon to a terrorist group."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 28, 2002

“Oops.. That was back when we were preparing to attack Iraq. I meant to post this one..”

“The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, Wednesday compared the threat from Iran’s nuclear programs to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
‘Just like Sept. 11, only with nuclear weapons this time, that’s the threat. I think that is the threat,’ Bolton told ABC News’ Nightline. ‘I think it’s just facing reality. It’s not a happy reality, but it’s reality and if you don’t deal with it, it will become even more unpleasant.’”
-MSNBC, March 15, 2006

Friday, March 17, 2006

Quotes o' the Mornin'

“Some reprints from a few years ago. Enjoy.”

“The Irish are a fair people - they never speak well of one another.”
-Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

“God invented whiskey to keep the Irish from ruling the world.”
-Ed McMahon

“An Irishman is the only man in the world who will step over the bodies of a dozen naked women to get to a bottle of stout.”

“I showed my appreciation of my native land in the usual Irish way by getting out of it as soon as I possibly could.”
-George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

“May all who love the Lord, love you and those who don't love you, may the Lord give them a limp so you can see them coming.”
-Irish Blessing

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Short Takes

“Just a short one today as I find myself running a bit behind this morning. Finally, good news from Ohio.”

“Following the November 2004 repeal of a one-of-a-kind anti-gay law, the Cincinnati City Council voted today to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in employment, housing and public accommodations. Led by Equality Cincinnati and local leaders and supported by the Human Rights Campaign, the move ensures fairness for Cincinnatians.

‘Cincinnati is a symbol of where America itself is when it comes to fairness,’ said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. ‘Cincinnati is a symbol of where America itself is when it comes to fairness. In large cities and small towns, on the coasts and in the heartland, Americans want us moving toward equality, not away from it.’
Solmonese continued, ‘Equality Cincinnati and local leaders, especially Councilman Crowley, deserve enormous respect for their work. In the face of an anti-gay political obstacle sustained by a few, they gave voice to the many.’
In November 2004, the majority of Cincinnatians repealed the city's discriminatory Article XII, which prohibited the city from passing any laws protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The city stood alone in the United States as the only place where such laws were prohibited.
The Council voted 8 to 1 to pass the non-discrimination initiative. Some of Ohio's largest private corporations already prohibit this kind of discrimination, including Nationwide, NCR Corp., Owens Corning and Cooper Tire and Rubber.
Cincinnati joins 76 other jurisdictions prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia prohibit sexual orientation-based discrimination and eight also prohibit gender identity-based discrimination.”
-Human Rights Campaign, March 15, 2006

“And this from Cinci of all places.. There may be hope for Ohio yet. And now, from the national front…”

"Any time Washington passes a new law, sometimes the transition period can be interesting."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 14, 2006

“Yep, it can cause problems when the Republican controlled Senate passes a law for the Republican controlled White House to enforce. Dang it Dubya, despite the dude ranch in Texas you ARE Washington you idiot. Stand up and take some blame once in a while like a man instead of just taking the credit when things go right.”

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Beware the Ideas of March

“Ok, so last week this story came out..”

“U.S. military and intelligence officials tell ABC News that they have caught shipments of deadly new bombs at the Iran-Iraq border.
They are a very nasty piece of business, capable of penetrating U.S. troops' strongest armor.
What the United States says links them to Iran are tell-tale manufacturing signatures — certain types of machine-shop welds and material indicating they are built by the same bomb factory.
‘The signature is the same because they are exactly the same in production,’ says explosives expert Kevin Barry. ‘So it's the same make and model.’
U.S. officials say roadside bomb attacks against American forces in Iraq have become much more deadly as more and more of the Iran-designed and Iran-produced bombs have been smuggled in from the country since last October.”
-ABC March 6, 2006

“I stated my distrust for it. Mainly because of this story..”

“Eight British soldiers killed during ambushes in Iraq were the victims of a highly sophisticated bomb first used by the IRA, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

The soldiers, who were targeted by insurgents as they travelled through the country, died after being attacked with bombs triggered by infra-red beams. The bombs were developed by the IRA using technology passed on by the security services in a botched "sting" operation more than a decade ago.
This contradicts the British government's claims that Iran's Revolutionary Guard is helping Shia insurgents to make the devices.
The Independent on Sunday can also reveal that the bombs and the firing devices used to kill the soldiers, as well as two private security guards, were initially created by the UK security services as part of a counter-terrorism strategy at the height of the troubles in the early 1990s.”
-The Independent (UK), October 16, 2005

“Well guess what..”

“The top U.S. military officer said on Tuesday the United States does not have proof that Iran's government is responsible for Iranians smuggling weapons and military personnel into Iraq.

President George W. Bush said on Monday components from Iran were being used in powerful roadside bombs used in Iraq, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said last week that Iranian Revolutionary Guard personnel had been inside Iraq.
Asked whether the United States has proof that Iran's government was behind these developments, Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon briefing, ‘I do not, sir.’"
-Reuters, March 14, 2006

“This is the reason that I don’t trust the Administration. It is easier to count the times that they’ve told the truth than it is to count the times that they’ve lied. Enjoy the war in Iran kids. The other war (the one that the Aministration tells us isn’t a civil war) is going so well that it looks like the Administration is going to try buying a slightly bigger model.”

“More than seven in 10 Americans — majorities of both Democrats and Republicans — say a civil war is currently going on in Iraq, while another 13 percent think civil war is likely to break out in the near future.”
-CBS News, March 13, 2006

“Meanwhile, back at the ranch (or New York as the case may be) Fearless Leader was being his typical charming self..”

“I want to thank Antonia Novello. Dr. Novello, where are you? She's here -- oh, there you are. Good to see you. Appreciate you coming. She's the Commissioner of Health for the state of New York. I'm honored you're here. I'll tell old 41 I saw you. That's the number for my dad -- see, he's the 41st President, I'm the 43rd President, so -- I'll tell him I saw you.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 14, 2006

“I called upon a fellow named Dr. Mark McClellan to join me in this effort. He's here. That's him right there. He is a -- He's a PhD, see -- I'm a C student. Look who's the President and who's the advisor.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 14, 2006

“Yep. A C-student with a sense of entitlement is planning to invade yet another country. Maybe one of his advisors (preferably an A-student) should point out to him how stupid that is.”

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Negroponte

“Remotely controlled explosive devices have taken a heavy toll on U.S. military forces in Iraq and Bush said some of the best minds in America are working to find ways to combat them.
Quoting his national intelligence director John Negroponte, Bush said Iran has been responsible for at least some of the increasing lethality of attacks in Iraq.
‘Coalition forces have seized IEDs and components that were clearly produced in Iran,’ Bush said.”
-MSNBC, March 13, 2006

“It makes sense that Dubya would be quoting Negroponte. I mean, the current problems in Iraq revolve around the roaming death squads and an ongoing civil war.”

"I'm pleased to announce my decision to nominate Ambassador John Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence . . . John brings a unique set of skills to these challenges."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, February 17, 2005

“And what exactly were Mr. Negroponte’s unique skills? Well, he has a good working knowledge of Iran and its military. After all, he was one of the guys who involved with the Iran-Contra scandal, so he was actually involved in arming Iran to begin with (does any of this sound familiar?).”

“Iran-Contra Affair: in U.S. history, secret arrangement in the 1980s to provide funds to the Nicaraguan contra rebels from profits gained by selling arms to Iran. The Iran-contra affair was the product of two separate initiatives during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. The first was a commitment to aid the contras who were conducting a guerrilla war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. The second was to placate “moderates” within the Iranian government in order to secure the release of American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon and to influence Iranian foreign policy in a pro-Western direction.
Despite the strong opposition of the Reagan administration, the Democratic-controlled Congress enacted legislation, known as the Boland amendments, that prohibited the Defense Dept., the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or any other government agency from providing military aid to the contras from Dec., 1983, to Sept., 1985. The Reagan administration circumvented these limitations by using the National Security Council (NSC), which was not explicitly covered by the law, to supervise covert military aid to the contras. Under Robert McFarlane (1983–85) and John Poindexter (1985–86) the NSC raised private and foreign funds for the contras. This operation was directed by NSC staffer Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North. McFarlane and North were also the central figures in the plan to secretly ship arms to Iran despite a U.S. trade and arms embargo.”
-Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition

“Negroponte was in a little trouble a while back for the Iran-Contra deals. You know, the ones where we were supporting Central American death squads while selling weapons to Iran in order to support their ongoing war against Iraq. Iraq: the people he will now be the ambassador to... This guy was an aide to Kissinger in the Paris negotiations with Vietnam between 1969-1971, and was the officer-in-charge for Vietnam in the NSC from 1971-1973. Not, of course, that there is any comparison between Vietnam and Iraq. Remember back after September 11 when they said that irony was dead?”
-Skippy, April 20, 2004

“So this isn’t Vietnam, though most of the people involved were all involved in Vietnam (except Dubya of course. He was defending the skies of Texas part-time). It’s Negroponte’s time working in the Honduras that gets the most attention though..””

“Intelligence Battalion 3-16 was also created in the early 1980s with the help of the CIA. Together with the DNI, Battalion 3-16 is blamed for the repression, capture, interrogation and disappearance of about 180 people, generally popular movement leaders.”
-U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Honduras, October 14, 1998

“Battalion 3-16 counter-terrorist tactics included torture, rape, assassination against persons thought to be involved in support of Salvadoran guerrillas or the Honduran leftist movement. Information available to the United States Government in the 1980s indicated that named individuals were abducted and killed by Battalion 3-16 and the FUSEP Special Unit.”
-CIA Working Group Stipulations, September 13, 2001

"I think it is important to stress there was no effort on the part of myself or others serving the U.S. Government at the time to stifle reporting about human rights in Honduras, to cover up any credible evidence of human rights abuses which came to our attention, or to misrepresent the general picture with respect to the human rights situation in the country."
-John Negroponte, September 13, 2001

“A former commander of Battalion 316, General Luis Alonso Discua Elvir, might have made an informative witness at Negroponte's confirmation hearing, but although he has lived in Florida for several years, he is suddenly unavailable. He left the United States in February after his residence visa was canceled . . . When an American reporter asked about the notorious battalion, he demurred, saying he wanted no more ‘problems with the United States’ because ‘your country is too powerful.’"
-Stephen Kinzer, September 20, 2001

“I did a lot in the area of quiet diplomacy. I think that is acknowledged and I think that is demonstrable in the record."
-John Negroponte, September 13, 2001

“So Mr. Negroponte knows all about the skills needed to maintain the peace in Iraq, and oddly enough what he knows seems to be being useful in Iraq..”

“Senior Iraqi officials Sunday confirmed for the first time that death squads composed of government employees had operated illegally from inside two government ministries.
‘The deaths squads that we have captured are in the defense and interior ministries,’ Minister of Interior Bayan Jabr said during a joint news conference with the Minister of Defense. ‘There are people who have infiltrated the army and the interior.’"
-Knight-Ridder, March 13, 2006

“Oh, and Negroponte is also involved in the illegal wiretapping issue. Small world, isn’t it?”

"’This isn't a drift net out there where we're soaking up everyone's communications,’ said Hayden, who is now principal deputy to U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte.
‘This is hot pursuit of communications entering or leaving America involving someone we believe is associated with al-Qaida,’ he said in remarks delivered at the National Press Club.”
-MSNBC, January 23, 2005

“Ah yes.. Dubya quoting Negroponte. Kind of sums up the entire war. Ignorance and incompetence looking to fear, torture and lies for the answers.”

Monday, March 13, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Trust Me

“The succession of crisis after crisis has taken its toll. Some in the White House sound frazzled. While there are few stories of aides nodding off in meetings, some duck outside during the day so the fresh air will wake them up. "We're all burned out," said one White House official who did not want to be named for fear of angering superiors. ‘People are just tired.’"
-Washington Post, March 13, 2006

“That’s never a good sign.. These are people who screw an awful lot of stuff up when fully rested. I’d hate to find out how bad it is when they don’t get their naps. If these guys don’t get their rest things could really start getting bad.”

“The past two weeks have changed the war in Iraq, shifting its focus from a U.S.-driven fight against Sunni insurgents to a direct battle for power and survival between Iraq's empowered Shiite majority and disempowered Sunni minority. On Sunday, three car bombings in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City killed about 50 people, the deadliest string of sectarian attacks since the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra touched off a wave of retaliatory killings.”
-Washington Post, March 13, 2006

“Baghdad is about a third the size of New York City. It is also just about the only part of Iraq that we ever hear about because the media does very little traveling outside the ‘green zone’ in Baghdad. You know, I realize that the press hasn’t really caught on yet, but when there are two sides to a conflict going to war in a single country they call that a ‘civil war’. You can look it up.”

“Other neighborhoods, such as Dora, are no-go zones for nearly everyone except residents too poor to move elsewhere. Sunni insurgents frequently lob mortar rounds into the Shiite neighborhood on Baghdad's southern edge, occasionally drawing a riposte of U.S. artillery rounds aimed at the insurgent-friendly farms outside of Dora.
In Dora and elsewhere around Baghdad, gunmen step out of cars, riddle with bullets targets ranging from businessmen to boys selling black-market gasoline, and drive off again, without warning or explanation to victims or terrified onlookers.
The shifting focus of Iraq's war does not mean the fight against the insurgency has ended. Bombings attributed to insurgents have held fairly steady. But execution-style shootings of the kind frequently laid to Shiite militias and police have skyrocketed since mid-2005, claiming more lives monthly now than bombings, according to figures from Baghdad's morgue.”
-Washington Post, March 13, 2006

“Sounds bad. We have created a situation where civil war seems almost certain because of our incompetence. We refuse to put enough troops in to actually stop the war, but we also refuse to take the troops out of harm’s way. How do we justify this kind of behavior?”

“Presidential adviser Karl Rove said Saturday that the Bush administration will not pull American troops out of Iraq until victory is achieved, despite the growing number of Democrats urging a withdrawal.

Abandoning Iraq now would signal to U.S. allies that America can't be trusted, Rove said during a Republican fundraiser at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
‘Tyrants in the Middle East would laugh at our failed resolve,’ he said. ‘To retreat before victory would be a reckless act.’"
-Associated Press, March 12, 2006

“Yep. If we left Iraq it would show that America can’t be trusted (and oddly enough this Quote comes from a man who outed an undercover CIA agent). The fact that we invaded Iraq and overthrew its government in the first place based upon shoddy intelligence and didn’t figure out how to restore the peace afterwards is just proof that we are a reliable stand-up kind of government. Geez.”

Friday, March 10, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: The New Hipness

“Ok, Rumsfeld is insane. Just. Insane. Remember this one from a few days ago?”

“Rumsfeld, citing information from his top commander in Iraq, said the news media has exaggerated the number of attacks on mosques in the latest sectarian violence, the number of Iraqi deaths and has mischaracterized the actions of government security forces.

‘From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation,’ Rumsfeld said.
‘Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side. It isn't as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of the nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq.’"
-Washington Post, March 7, 2006

“It seems that violence on the part of ethnic and religious groups really isn’t such a big deal. It’s hardly even happening, and definitely not a civil war.”

“A bomb that killed five people in the Baghdad stronghold of a Shi'ite militia on Thursday and a machinegun attack on a top Sunni politician kept fears of civil war alive after a week of bloodshed that has left hundreds dead.
The Mehdi Army of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said it would defend its neighbourhoods after a bomb killed five and wounded eight in a minibus in the heart of Sadr City, a Shi'ite slum in eastern Baghdad.
In mainly Sunni west Baghdad, gunmen ambushed and destroyed the armoured vehicle of Adnan al-Dulaimi, a veteran leader of the Iraqi Accordance Front, the largest political bloc of the once-dominant Sunni minority. He then appealed for calm.
Sectarian attacks since suspected al Qaeda militants bombed a Shi'ite shrine in Samarra on February 22 have stalled U.S.-backed talks to forge a government of national unity that Washington hopes would stabilise Iraq and allow it to draw down its troops.”
-Reuters, March 2, 2006

“Well, its good to see that we aren’t embroiled in an Iraqi civil war. Its also good to see that the government has contingency plans to deal with this ‘not a civil war’ thing that we are currently embroiled in should it, you know, turn violent.”

“’Secretary Rumsfeld,’ Mr. Byrd said a moment later, ‘what is the plan if Iraq descends into civil war? Will our troops hunker down and wait out the violence? If not, whose side would our troops be ordered to take in a civil war?’
Mr. Rumsfeld replied that the ‘sectarian tension and conflict’ in Iraq do not constitute a civil war ‘at the present time by most experts' calculation.’
The secretary went on to say that he believed the unrest in Iraq ‘while changing in its nature from insurgency toward sectarian violence’ was still ‘controllable by Iraqi security forces and multinational forces.’"
-New York Times, March 9, 2006

“Well that isn’t so much a plan as a complete denial that there is or could be a problem. Kind of like the way that the war has run up until this point. No planning for contingencies, because nothing bad will ever happen. We’re just going to rely on Iraqi security forces..”

“The number of Iraqi army battalions judged by their American trainers to be capable of fighting insurgents without U.S. help has fallen from one to none since September, Pentagon officials said yesterday.”
-Associated Press, February 25, 2006

“..and multinational forces.”

“Yesterday, South Korea, which has the third-largest number of troops, announced that a planned one-third cut in its military in Iraq -- from 3,200 troops to 2,300 -- will begin next month, according to Major General Jung Seung-jo, chief of the South Korean troops stationed in the Kurdish region of Irbil in northern Iraq, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
The Defense Ministry in Seoul confirmed Jung's remarks.
Italy, which has the fourth-largest contingent in Iraq, has said it plans to pull out this year.”
-Taipei Times, March 6, 2006

“It can’t be such a big deal though. I mean, Iran is the new hipness. Iraq is just old and busted.”

“Despite the daily carnage in Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Iran might be an even bigger danger. ‘We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran,’ she said, describing that country's leadership as ‘the central banker for terrorism,’ an oppressor of its own people, a fomenter of unrest in the Middle East, and a would-be member of the nuclear-weapons club.”
-New York Times, March 9, 2006

“You can look forward to quotes like these coming to a news report near you soon! Remember, Iran is the new Iraq. Pass it on.”

"The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
-Condoleezza Rice, September 8, 2002

"We were all unhappy that the intelligence was not as good as we had thought that it was. But the essential judgment was absolutely right. Saddam Hussein was a threat."
-Condoleeza Rice, October 3, 2004.

"I want you to keep focused on what you are doing here.
This war came to us, not the other way around."
-Condoleeza Rice, May 15, 2005

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Harrisment

“Anyone remember Katherine Harris? She’s the one who called the election in Florida back in 2000 for Fearless Leader. Practically the psychopomp for the Administration. Maybe this will ring a bell.”

“Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris announced the certified totals Sunday night, after a deadline for counties to submit amended returns from hand recounts passed at 5 p.m. The final tally, according to Harris, was 2,912,790 votes for Bush; 2,912,253 for Gore.
‘Accordingly, on behalf of the state Election Canvassing Commission and in accordance with the laws of the state of Florida, I hereby declare Governor George W. Bush the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes for the president of the United States,’ Harris said.
Florida's electoral votes would give Bush, the Republican candidate, one more than the 270 needed to win the presidency in the Electoral College. Gore, the Democratic candidate, holds a total of 255 electoral votes.
Earlier, Harris rejected a request for an extension by Palm Beach County, where the canvassing board said it had less than 1,000 ballots left in a manual recount. The outcomes in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Nassau counties are expected to form the core of Gore's contest. Lieberman said Harris' decision ignored hundreds of votes and thousands of hours of labor by election workers.
‘This evening, the secretary of state of Florida has decided to certify what by any reasonable standard is an incomplete and inaccurate count of the votes cast by the state of Florida,’ Lieberman said.”
-CNN, November 27, 2000

“Or maybe this..”

“Harris served as co-chairwoman of the Bush presidential campaign in Florida as well as a member of the State Board of Canvassers. During the protracted elections process, some voters charged that blacks and others in Florida were systematically deprived of their right to vote, a point of focus for the civil rights panel.”
-CNN, January 12, 2001

“Well, she is running for the Senate. Who would have thought that she would get embroiled in another scandal?”

“U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris said she doesn't plan to drop out of the Senate race, a statement she made as rumors swirled Wednesday that she would end the campaign because of ties to a company involved in bribery scandal.

‘I am out there. We are running hard. We think we have great momentum,’ Harris said in a telephone interview. She is the only major Republican in the race to unseat Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.
Speculation was heavy in Washington and Florida that her association with a defense contractor, MZM Inc., that prosecutors say illegally funneled thousands of dollars to her 2004 House campaign would force her out of the race. Harris has said she didn't knowingly do anything wrong.”
-Associated Press, March 8, 2006

“She claims that she was unaware that the donations were illegal. I believe her. After all, this is the woman who gave us ‘Celestial Drops’. She obviously isn’t all that aware of the world around her.”

“Florida's citrus crop contributes billions of dollars to the state's economy, so when that industry is threatened, anything that might help is considered. Back in 2001, when citrus canker was blighting the crop and threatening to reduce that vital source of revenue, an interesting — if not quite scientific — alternative was considered.
Katherine Harris, then Florida's secretary of state — and now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives — ordered a study in which, according to an article by Jim Stratton in the Orlando Sentinel, ‘researchers worked with a rabbi and a cardiologist to test ‘Celestial Drops,' promoted as a canker inhibitor because of its ‘improved fractal design,' ‘infinite levels of order,' and ‘high energy and low entropy.'’
The study determined that the product tested was, basically, water that had apparently been blessed according to the principles of Kabbalic mysticism, ‘chang[ing] its molecular structure and imbu[ing] it with supernatural healing powers.’"
-MSNBC, November 15, 2005

“She does however to have the courage and foresight to see through the shallow lies that Donald Rumsfeld warned us about the other day and tell us the real story about what is going on in Iraq.”

“Just back from Iraq, US Representative Katherine Harris brought her Senate campaign to Pensacola, an area of the state that's dominated by the military.

She told small groups that the United States is succeeding in the war and troops don't want to be brought home yet.”
-Associated Press, February 12, 2006

“Yep. She’s on top of everything.”

“An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and more than one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows.”
-Zogby International, February 28, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Iraq, Iran, Whatever..

“Hey, did I mention yesterday that we’re gearing up to go for the Trifecta? You know, invade our third country in this Administration? Well guess what..”

"For our part, the United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime, and we join other nations in sending that regime a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."
-‘Dick’ Cheney, March 7, 2006

“Sound familiar? Maybe this will ring a bell.”

“And so one of the -- what the Vice President is doing is he's reminding people about this danger, and that we need to work in concert to confront this danger. Again, all options are on the table, and -- but one thing I will not allow is a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 13, 2002

“Its ok though because, despite all of the evidence, things are going really really well in Iraq. You just don’t know it because you are being lied to. No, no, not by the Administration. By the media.”

“Rumsfeld, citing information from his top commander in Iraq, said the news media has exaggerated the number of attacks on mosques in the latest sectarian violence, the number of Iraqi deaths and has mischaracterized the actions of government security forces.

‘From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation,’ Rumsfeld said.
‘Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side. It isn't as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of the nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq.’"
-Washington Post, March 7, 2006

“The media wants you to see the dark side and is probably working with the terrorists to undermine American Freedom ™. Only the military has the courage to see the bunnies and flowers.”

“On Sunday, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a televised interview that things in Iraq were ‘going very, very well, from everything you look at.’"
-LA Times, March 7, 2006

“You see, if you knew how well things were really going in Iraq you’d see that we can win the war in Iraq with one hand tied behind our backs, and you wouldn’t be so worried about us threatening Iran. Heck, if we invaded Iran they’d probably be throwing flowers at us, and we could pay for the whole thing with oil revenues so it wouldn’t need to worry about the cost. What could go wrong?”

“The top U.S. envoy to Iraq said Monday that the 2003 toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime had opened a ‘Pandora's box’ of volatile ethnic and sectarian tensions that could engulf the region in all-out war if America pulled out of the country too soon.

In remarks that were among the frankest and bleakest public assessments of the Iraq situation by a high-level American official, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the ‘potential is there’ for sectarian violence to become full-blown civil war.”
-LA Times, March 7, 2006

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