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Four Color Politics

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

Friday, June 30, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: The Men in Black

“For five years, President Bush waged war as he saw fit. If intelligence officers needed to eavesdrop on overseas telephone calls without warrants, he authorized it. If the military wanted to hold terrorism suspects without trial, he let it.
Now the Supreme Court has struck at the core of his presidency and dismissed the notion that the president alone can determine how to defend the country. In rejecting Bush's military tribunals for terrorism suspects, the high court ruled that even a wartime commander in chief must govern within constitutional confines significantly tighter than this president has believed appropriate.”
-Washington Post, June 30, 2006

“How dare they! Hold Fearless Leader accountable to the same laws that he is supposed to enforce? Don’t these people know that the rule of law is only for the little people? Fearless Leader is above all of that. He’s already shown that he cannot be controlled by the Legislature..”

“Sen. John McCain thought he had a deal when President Bush, faced with a veto-proof margin in Congress, agreed to sign a bill banning the torture of detainees.
Not quite.
While Bush signed the new law, he also quietly approved another document: a signing statement reserving his right to ignore the law. McCain was furious, and so were other lawmakers.
Rather than give Congress the opportunity to override a veto with a two-thirds majority in each house, he has issued hundreds of signing statements invoking his right to interpret the law on everything from whistleblower protections to how Congress oversees the USA Patriot Act.
‘It means that the administration does not feel bound to enforce many new laws which Congress has passed,’ said David Golove, a law professor at New York University who specializes in executive power issues. ‘This raises profound rule of law concerns. Do we have a functioning code of federal laws?’
Signing statements don't carry the force of law, and other presidents have issued them for administrative reasons — such as instructing an agency how to put a certain law into effect. When a president issues such a document, it's usually inserted quietly into the federal record.
Bush's signing statement in March on Congress's renewal of the Patriot Act particularly riled Specter and others who labored for months to craft a compromise between Senate and House versions, and what the White House wanted. Reluctantly, the administration gave in on its objections to new congressional oversight of the way the FBI searches for terrorists.
Bush signed the bill with much flag-waving fanfare. Then he issued a signing statement asserting his right to bypass the oversight provisions in certain circumstances.”
-Associated Press, June 26, 2006

“…and now the Supreme Court wants to get all up in this fight with Dubya. Based on some farcical ‘Constitution’ that they keep going on about the Supreme Court is saying things about how we have to obey treaties and how the Congress needs to actually give specific authorization for the Executive branch before Fearless Leader can do what he wants. Don’t these people know any better? Don’t they see that Fearless Leader is at War with the Media.. um, I mean Terror, and NEEDS the power to quietly torture and spy without these so-called ‘courts’ getting in the way? Well, it is like Fearless Leader always says…”

“Bring 'em on. We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, July 2, 2003

“Already the lines have been drawn up. Fearless Leader has his boys in the Court ready to rumble. The vote on Hamdan was 5-3, with the dissenting votes cast by Scalia, Alito and Thomas. Roberts had to sit this one out, as he had already made his decision for the Administration in a lower court. All it will take is one little ‘oops’ for one of the old Justices to be replaced by a newer choice who will see the obvious glaring Truth about Dubya’s divine right to rule. One more new Justice could finally fix the courts and get rid of all of those pesky problems like abortion, birth control, the Geneva Conventions and Mexicans. The four horsemen (Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Roberts) are wearing black and ready to march. Take it away Thomas..”

“Thomas said the majority ‘openly flouts our well-established duty to respect the Executive's judgment in matters of military operations and foreign affairs.’"
-Washington Post, June 30, 2006

“Yep. Thomas knows that duty to trust the Executive branch trumps any stupid need for ‘checks and balances’ in our government, or any so-called ‘Constitution’. We need more men like Thomas on the courts to make sure that Fearless Leader is able to rule properly.”

“Ironically, Justice Thomas refers to Justice Stevens’ ‘unfamiliarity with the realities of warfare’; but Stevens served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945, during World War II. Thomas’s official bio, by contrast, contains no experience of military service.”
-Aziz Huq, Associate Counsel of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, June 29, 2006

“Hey, if it was fair to Swiftboat John Kerry’s military record (despite Dubya deserting the National Guard for a while), then it is fair to Clarence ‘What’s that on my Coke?’ Thomas to rip on a WWII Navy vet. When the new America, Fearless Leader’s America, is built on the bones of the fallen Thomas will stand at Dubya’s right hand. And peace shall rule the Earth.”

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: This is Your Brain on Bush

“Remember the egg, the frying pan and the message? ‘This is your brain,’ the ominous narrator told us before cracking an egg over the sizzling skillet. ‘This is your brain on drugs.’ Public service announcements have changed a lot since that foreboding culinary lesson. They now include exploding cars, flying Matrix-style stuntmen and exceedingly dire messages like ‘Don't Suicide Bomb.’ A new, American-made PSA aimed at discouraging these deadly attacks is currently in production. The ad is slated to air as a 60-second spot on Iraqi television this summer.”
-Newsweek, June 20, 2006

“Yep, because PSAs have that power. Remember that whole ‘this is your brain’ thing? Can’t you just see the results? No more drug problems. It will be just like that. The Iraqi people probably just don’t realize that suicide bombing attacks are bad for them. Once they see on TV that there won’t be any more problems. I guess that really only leaves a couple of little problems.”

“With the heat soaring and the overtaxed and dilapidated power grid squeezing out barely a few hours of electricity a day in parts of the capital, sweaty Iraqis will remember this as the fourth simmering summer of their discontent.

It is more than 120 degrees outside and relief is nowhere in sight.
‘We don't know how to deal with the electricity cuts,’ said Shama Adib, 37, a graphic designer and mother of three. ‘We don't know what to do.’

Curfews keep her and other Baghdad residents from wandering the streets and parks in search of ice cream and cool drinks, the pastime of choice during hot summer nights in other Persian Gulf countries. Instead, she and her kids sit at home all day and all night and sweat.
‘We just stare at each other,’ she said.
This puts psychological pressure on us. It aggravates us. Most of the people in my neighborhood tend to explode over the littlest things. Even me, I think I'm going insane.’ According to the U.S. State Department, Iraq this month met its electricity production goals for the first time since last summer.
But the power supply still falls about 33% short of demand, largely because of the influx of electrical appliances after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
Overtaxed and crumbling lines in the capital have meant Baghdad often gets less power than the provinces.
According to a cable from U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to the State Department, a copy of which was printed by the Washington Post, one Baghdad neighborhood recently went a whole month without any electricity.”
-LA Times, June 26, 2006

“Doh! Dang it, with no electricity the people can’t watch television, and without television we can’t tell them not to commit suicide bombings, and, as the woman said, ‘people tend to explode over the littlest things’. We must stop these people from exploding! Thankfully they won’t be exploding at us soon. The White House is happy to announce that the Iraqis are stepping up so that we can step down.”

“Meanwhile, the U.S. military says that, in fact, it will meet its training goal for Iraqi security forces by the end of the year.”
-White House Spokesman Tony Snow, June 28, 2006

“See? The Iraqis will just be blowing up other Iraqis soon, not our troops, so everything will end happily. I mean, sure, the Iraqis were better off under that murderous bastich Saddam when they didn’t have these power problems and, you know, people blowing up and things like that. Back when people could at least walk the streets safely and a couple of hundred thousand of them weren’t dead as part of the war and the ongoing civil war that is following, but at least it will all be over soon (for us) and we can get back to our normal lives.”

“Q Tony, I was at the briefing at the Pentagon yesterday by General Dempsey, and it was actually a very sobering briefing, because when he talked about the Iraqi troops, he talked about their lack of equipment, the problems with attrition, and in response to my question, the biggest problem, leadership, not being able to find good leaders to lead the Iraqi troops that we train. And when he talked about them being equipped and ready for the end of the year, wasn't ready to do anything independently -- he said independent is not a word that applies now or anytime soon to these Iraqi forces.
MR. SNOW: That is correct.
Q Is the President concerned about the lack of progress, even more than three years into this?
MR. SNOW: Well, you are defining it as a lack of progress. I think what you're talking about is basic training levels. But the President is perfectly aware of the need for developing leadership cadres. As you know, we have embedded teams working with training mid-level officers to, in fact, become capable of serving as unit commanders in Iraq.
Q How quickly is a case of progress --
MR. SNOW: Well, you do it as quickly as you can. And there is certainly no foot-dragging on the part of our guys, or I think of the Iraqis. And, again, I think you get an interesting new dynamic with the new government, because it becomes something more tangible also for Iraqi forces. They know that they've got a Minister of Defense to whom they answer. They know that they have a civilian chain of command that ends up with the Prime Minister. All those -- who knows what kind of impact they're going to have. The answer is, we are still determined to do everything as quickly, but as thoroughly and effectively as possible to enable Iraqi military forces to take full control of securing Iraq. This also includes the police forces, as you know, and that's also been part of the ongoing dialogue.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, June 28, 2006

“Oh… Well the PSA messages might help (except for the electricity issue). We just need to find some better way to communicate with the insurgents in order to reach a peaceful conclusion.”

“In a sign of the e-times, Iraq's prime minister has set up an e-mail account to communicate with insurgents.
Nouri al-Maliki had the address flashed during a broadcast Sunday night on state-run al-Iraqiya television. It was advertised as an address to which insurgents could write and be assured confidentiality.
Al-Maliki unveiled his national reconciliation plan earlier in the day, calling on insurgents to lay down their arms and offering a limited amnesty for fighters who had not committed terrorist acts or killings.
Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish lawmaker and close associate of President Jalal Talabani, confirmed al-Maliki set up an e-mail account but did not have details about how many electronic messages had been received.
But Iraqi presidential security adviser Wafiq al-Samaraie said the response so far had been low, with just two messages reportedly arriving Wednesday. The government did not repeat the address after the initial broadcast to prevent it from being flooded with junk mail.”
-Associated Press, June 28, 2006

“Yep. They insure confidentiality for the insurgents. I trust that a little more than I trust the Bush Administration with our online confidentiality at the moment, but that isn’t saying much.”

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Low Intensity War on Terror

“President Bush said Monday it was ‘disgraceful’ that the news media had disclosed a secret CIA-Treasury program to track millions of financial records in search of terrorist suspects. The White House accused The New York Times of breaking a long tradition of keeping wartime secrets.
‘The fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win this war on terror,’ Bush said, leaning forward and jabbing his finger during a brief question-and-answer session with reporters in the Roosevelt Room.”
-Associated Press, June 27, 2006

“Dang straight! We can’t allow leaks to the media like this. We cannot allow leaks to jeopardize our national security, especially in a time of war, and even if the war is against a tactic and not a group.”

“Rove has been identified as a likely defense witness in next year's trial of I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff. Libby has been charged with lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury about how he learned about Valerie Plame's CIA status and what he told reporters about it.

If Libby's defense attorneys summon Rove to testify, Fitzgerald can cross-examine him about a host of issues, including a July 2003 conversation Rove had with syndicated columnist Robert Novak days before Novak published Plame's name.
Aboard Air Force One Tuesday, President Bush praised Fitzgerald.
‘It's a chapter that has ended,’ Bush said. ‘Fitzgerald is a very thorough person. I think he's conducted his investigation in a dignified way.’
The president said White House officials would remain mum about the leak and the results of the investigation. ‘I think it's going to be important for you all to recognize there's still a trial to be had,’ he said to reporters. ‘And those of us involved in the White House are going to be very mindful of not commenting on this issue ... because of the Libby trial.’
At the White House, Rove was all smiles, as he usually is, as he carried out his normal routine. With Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten in Iraq with Bush, Rove ran the senior staff meeting.”
-Associated Press, June 13, 2006

“..Except of course when the leakers are at the White House. I mean, sure, Rove talked to reporters about Valerie Plame and had a part in the scandal, but that doesn’t mean that he should lose his security clearance or anything like that. Leaking to the Press is bad when it works AGAINST the Administration, not when it works for it.”

“An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.

‘He made his displeasure known to Karl,’ a presidential counselor told The News. ‘He made his life miserable about this.’
Bush has nevertheless remained doggedly loyal to Rove, who friends and even political adversaries acknowledge is the architect of the President's rise from baseball owner to leader of the free world.”
-New York Daily News, October 19, 2005

“What we should really be doing is reigning in the media. I mean here they are talking about a secret government program to monitor bank transactions. Before that they exposed the government spying on the phone calls of American citizens, and then they figured out that the phone companies were giving them access to monitor the internet too. I mean, ever since that whole ‘Watergate’ thing it is like the press believes that it is supposed to keep the government responsible.
We need to give the government the power to handle these dangerous terrorists. Can’t we just trust Big Brother?”

“Just last week, the Justice Department said 261 people have been convicted in terror-related prosecutions since 2001. Many were solid wins — Iyman Faris, who plotted to attack the Brooklyn Bridge, for example. Would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid, and Mohammed Babar, who admitted providing support for al-Qaida operations overseas.
But of the total 261 convictions, the average sentence is only around a year, from plea agreements, to charges like immigration or document fraud. And sometimes the threat may seem remote, as with the Lackawanna Six, the group in Buffalo, N.Y., convicted of getting terror training but never charged with planning any specific attack.”
-NBC News, June 27, 2006

“Hmm? Wait a second.. You mean they are grabbing all of this power and lying to the American people in order to lock up ‘terrorists’ for about a seventh the time that dealing pot would get you? Apparently the War on Terror is a lower intensity war than the War on Drugs.”

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Problems with Polling

“Heeere’s Johnny!”
-Jack Torrance, The Shining

“Oh Lord do I hurt.. The reason that Comfest goes three days is that I would not survive it if it ran four days. A good time was had by all though, and we now return you to our regularly scheduled sarcasm and cynicism.”

“Sources have confirmed to CBS4 News that conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been detained at Palm Beach International Airport for the possible possession of illegal prescription drugs Monday evening.

Limbaugh was returning on a flight from the Dominican Republic when officials found the drugs, among them Viagra.”
-CBS4 News, June 26, 2006

“Mr. Limbaugh is of course already in trouble for his issues with prescription pain killers. Investigators will need to take a hard look at this new violation, though Limbaugh will probably get off with just a stiff fine. The real question is, how long will Limbaugh try to keep up his denials of personal responsibility in these issues? He keeps pretending that the media is just trying to stick it to him, but with one indictment already against him it really isn’t looking like the media is shafting him as much as it just looks like Limbaugh just can’t get up the energy to fight his addiction issues.
Sorry… I couldn’t help myself. Now, on to the world of the Far Right”

“Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes is on the warpath following his network’s recent ratings slump, and he won’t hesitate to clean house to turn things around.
So far during the second quarter, the No. 1 cable news channel’s primetime schedule has dropped 22% in its core 25-54 demo and 8% in total viewers. The first quarter was even worse.”
-Broadcasting and Cable, June 26, 2006

“Hmm… I wonder if this might have anything to do with the other ratings that have dropped over recent months?”

“Bush's approval rating is at 37%. After hitting the low point of his presidency at 31% in May, it rose to 38% in mid-June. His standing, which slipped below 40% in February, hasn't rebounded above that level since then.
The percentage of Americans who say the president has ‘a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq’ has dropped to 31%, a new low.“
-USA Today, June 26, 2006

“You see, this is the problem with being seen as the mouthpiece of a political party rather than as a news service. When people support the political party you will thrive, but when people become critical of the politicians you suddenly drop like a stone. Se la vie.”

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Happy Comfest Eve

"You are the music while the music lasts."
-T.S. Eliot

“I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.”
-Hunter Thompson

“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas ... with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.”
-Hunter S. Thompson

"Alcohol and marijuana, if used in moderation, plus loud, usually low-class music, make stress and boredom infinitely more bearable."
-Kurt Vonnegut

“Quotes of the Morning, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fly by Night Industries, does not condone or endorse the use of any form of intoxicant except the legal and socially acceptable option of alcohol. We endorse the living heck out of that one, but drugs are evil and bad and will make you go blind and grow hair on the palms of your hands. At least I think that it was drugs that were supposed to do that.
Oh well, just listen to the words of the Hippies and Yippies who have come before us..”

“Stay away from needle drugs. Richard Nixon is the only dope worth shooting.”
-Abbie Hoffman

“And remember the wise words of Nancy Reagan..”

“Just say no.”
-Nancy Reagan

“Gentlemen, we all know this is illegal and against Club practice and I'd like to ask at this time if you all agree to waive all sanction against said referee or anything that might get me fired.”
-Lou, Caddyshack

“Comfest is at T-1. The Holy Season begins tomorrow. Five stages of music, hippies, commies, psychics, freaks, geeks and drunken guys screaming ‘Freebird’. The Quotes of the Morning will return Tuesday once I have a chance to recover. I’ll be the guy at the festival carrying the shaman staff with the rabbit-ear antennae on the top and the binary runes carved into it. God I love Comfest.
Be there or the cool kids will make fun of you. You have been warned.”

“Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Comfest is at T-2

“I like ideas about the breaking away or overthrowing of established order. I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that seems to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road towards freedom - external freedom is a way to bring about internal freedom.”
-Jim Morrison

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
-Hunter Thompson

“Comfest is at T-2. Two mere days until the Holy Season is upon us. Light a candle to St. Jerry and pray that Friday gets here quickly. Five stages of free live music, dance, poetry and the companionship of people who are, in all likelihood, far stranger than you are. How can you not love it? You have been warned.”

“Homer: I don't have the discipline to be a hippie.Marge: Does this mean you are going to shower again?Homer: ... perhaps ... in time.”

“One thing I can tell you is you’ve got to be free..”
-John Lennon, Come Together

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Comfest is at T-3

“Do you hear it in the distance? The sound of Comfest calling. This is what Love sounds like. Comfest, the Holy Season of Peace, Love and Understanding (and loud Music and Beer). Comfest is at T-3. Friday it begins. Mmmmmmm….. Beer with Love. You have been warned.”

"Ah, beer, my one weakness. My Achilles’ heel, if you will."
-Homer Simpson

"Oh no! What have I done? I smashed open my little boy's piggy bank, and for what? A few measly cents, not even enough to buy one beer. Wait a minute, lemme count and make sure...not even close."
-Homer Simpson

"Here's to alcohol: The source of, and answer to, all of life's problems."
-Homer Simpson

"Ah, good ol' trustworthy beer. My love for you will never die."
-Homer Simpson

"Me lose brain? Uh, oh! Ha ha ha! Why I laugh?"
-Homer Simpson

"Now, son, you don't want to drink beer. That's for daddies and kids with fake IDs."
-Homer Simpson

“Remember Comfest is Love. Beer is Peace. Music is Understanding. And that was how I learned to stop worrying and love hippies.”

"God bless those pagans."
-Homer Simpson

“This is more important than the ideals that our Hippy forefathers refused to go to war and die for.”
-Homer Simpson

“Meanwhile, this weekend is also Pride, a celebration that will involve the Pride parade passing in front of Comfest Saturday morning. A beautiful occasion that is not to be missed. Take it away Homer J.”

“I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals flaming.”
-Homer Simpson

Monday, June 19, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Comfest is at T-4

“I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music.”
-George Eliot

“Hell is full of musical amateurs: music is the brandy of the damned.”
-George Bernard Shaw

“Everybody should be able to make some music...That's the cosmic dance!”
-Maude, Harold & Maude

“There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.”
-Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)

“That’s right people. Comfest is a mere four days away. Even now the scent of patchouli is rising into the air and the kegs are being set aside for their sacred use. Three days of free live music and fascinating people. Be there or let your soul die a slow and lingering death. You have been warned.
Now I just need to figure out how to make it all the way to Friday…”

"All right, brain. You don't like me and I don't like you, but let's just do this and I can get back to killing you with beer."
-Homer Simpson

Friday, June 16, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: ComFest is at T-One Week

“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.”
-Martin Luther

“Alcohol is a very necessary article... It makes life bearable to millions of people who could not endure their existence if they were quite sober. It enables Parliament to do things at eleven at night that no sane person would do at eleven in the morning.”
-George Bernard Shaw

“My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.”
-Vladamir Nabokov

“Great thinkers the world around agree.. Loud music and alcohol are good.”

“You can't be a Real Country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.”
-Frank Zappa

“It hath come.. Yea, like unto a garage band in the night. Comfest is a mere week away. That is correct. We are at T-one week for Comfest. Please stow all carry-on baggage and return your seats to an upright position. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride. You have been warned.”

Monday, June 12, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: All Your Base Are Belong to Us

“Ok.. First. The headline is correct. It is an obscure reference. Sorry.”

“White House officials were steamed when Andrew S. Natsios, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said earlier this year that U.S. taxpayers would not have to pay more than $1.7 billion to reconstruct Iraq -- which turned out to be a gross understatement of the tens of billions of dollars the government now expects to spend.
Recently, however, the government has purged the offending comments by Natsios from the agency's Web site. The transcript, and links to it, have vanished.”
-Washington Post, December 18, 2003

“Bush made a 20-minute speech to a crowd of about 500 party faithful in the main ballroom of the Hanover Marriott at a $2,000-a-plate evening fund-raiser.

Not breaking any ground, Bush highlighted the accomplishments of his administration, saying he had eliminated the terror threat from Afghanistan and weapons of mass destruction from Iraq and ensured that Medicare will remain solvent.
‘I came to this office to solve problems and not pass them on to future presidents and future generations,’ Bush told the crowd.”
-Associated Press, December 2, 2003

“Yep. We were going to take out Saddam and restore Iraq to a working nation on about $1.7 billion during Bush’s Administration. Then things got a little, um, bad.”

“President Bush said Friday that it's not yet clear when Iraqi forces will be able to take control of their country's security, a key step in bringing U.S. troops home.
Making that determination depends on an assessment of the new government in Baghdad, which just on Thursday installed a new defense minister and other top national security posts, Bush said.”
-Associated Press, June 9, 2006

“Mr. Bush on Friday made clear that the American commitment to the country will be long-term. Officials say the administration has begun to look at the costs of maintaining a force of roughly 50,000 troops there for years to come, roughly the size of the American presence maintained in the Philippines and Korea for decades after those conflicts.”
-New York Times, June 11, 2006-06-12

“Well, if it’s a government that works, we can probably sustain the U.S. troops, 50,000, 60,000, 70,000 troops there for 10 years and hope that Iraq turns into a responsible governmental entity that doesn’t attack its neighbors, doesn’t build WMD. I still think that’s a likely outcome if the political system can come together on the ground.”
-General McCaffrey, Meet the Press, June 11, 2006

“Wow. We didn’t know that things were going to get so bad. The Iraqi people must just be dangerous. I mean, I thought that the evil in Iraq came from Saddam, but now I hear that it is going to take 50,000 troops to make sure that the Iraqi people, who currently have a shattered economy and civil war, don’t all suddenly get together and invade someone. Apparently we’ve needed to change our plans in Iraq to create some permanent bases for our troops. We never originally planned on doing that. It was just something that happened.”

“But a dozen is the number of so-called ‘enduring bases’ located by John Pike, director of GlobalSecurities.org. His military affairs website gives their names. They include, for example, Camp Victory at the Baghdad airfield and Camp Renegade in Kirkuk. The Chicago Tribune last March said US engineers are constructing 14 ‘enduring bases,’ but Mr. Pike hasn't located two of them.
Note the terminology ‘enduring’ bases. That's Pentagon-speak for long-term encampments - not necessarily permanent, but not just a tent on a wood platform either. It all suggests a planned indefinite stay on Iraqi soil that will cost US taxpayers for years to come.
The actual amount depends on how many troops are stationed there for the long term. If the US decides to reduce its forces there from the 138,000 now to, say, 50,000, and station them in bases, the costs would run between $5 billion to $7 billion a year, estimates Gordon Adams, director of Security Policy Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. That's two to three times as much as the annual American subsidy to Israel. Providing protection for Israel is one of several reasons some analysts cite for the US invasion of Iraq.
So far, the Bush administration has not publicly indicated that it will seek permanent bases in Iraq to replace those recently given up in Saudi Arabia, a possibility mentioned by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz before US forces moved into Iraq. The US already has bases in Kuwait and Qatar.
At an April 2003 press conference, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said any suggestion that the US is planning a permanent military presence in Iraq is "inaccurate and unfortunate." With the presidential election weeks away, he is unlikely to alter that pronouncement on such a politically touchy matter. Such a move would almost certainly attract fire from Democratic candidate John Kerry.
Nonetheless, several military experts in Washington assume Iraq's new government will need the support of American troops - and thus ‘permanent’ bases - for years, perhaps decades, to come.
The US already has 890 military installations in foreign countries, ranging from major Air Force bases to smaller installations, say a radar facility. Perhaps bases in Iraq would enable the Pentagon to close a few of those facilities. As part of a post-cold-war shift in its global posture, the Defense Department has been cutting the number of its installations in Germany, which total more than 100. Last week Mr. Rumsfeld testified about a global "rearrangement" of US forces to the Senate Armed Forces Committee.”
-Christian Science Monitor, September 30, 2004

“Ok, we planned on it for years. But at least they’re telling the American people who will need to pay for it (in blood and money) finally.
The Quotes of the Morning will be going on a quick hiatus. Business trip. See you all Friday.”

Friday, June 09, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Don't Let the Door Hit Ya

“Yesterday Tom DeLay gave his final speech from Congress.”

“In preparing for today, I found that it is customary in speeches such as these to reminisce about the good old days of political harmony and across-the-aisle camaraderie, and to lament the bitter, divisive partisan rancor that supposedly now weakens our democracy.
Well, I can't do that because partisanship, Mr. Speaker, properly understood, is not a symptom of democracy's weakness but of its health and its strength, especially from the perspective of a political conservative.”
-Tom DeLay, farewell speech to Congress, June 8, 2006

“See, the fact that they Democrats and Republicans battle unthinkingly over every little topic is a good thing, especially from the viewpoint of the conservatives.”

“Liberalism, after all, whatever you may think of its merits, is a political philosophy and a proud one with a great tradition in this country, with a voracious appetite for growth.
In any place or any time on any issue, what does liberalism ever seek, Mr. Speaker? More -- more government, more taxation, more control over people's lives and decisions and wallets. If conservatives don't stand up to liberalism, no one will. And for a long time around here, almost no one did.”
-Tom DeLay, farewell speech to Congress, June 8, 2006

“Yes, liberalism believes that it is ok for the government to spy on people’s personal lives, control ‘free’ speech and act without any oversight by ‘we the people’. Oops.. Sorry, that was the current Republican administration, not the liberals.”

Indeed, the common lament over the recent rise in political partisanship is often nothing more than a veiled complaint instead about the recent rise of political conservatism.
I should add here that I do not begrudge liberals their nostalgia for the days of a timid, docile and permanent Republican minority.
-Tom DeLay, farewell speech to Congress, June 8, 2006

“Yes, liberals miss the olden days of the permanent Republican minority. Hey, wait a second. How could anyone miss a permanent minority? If it was ‘permanent’ wouldn’t they still be the minority? Sigh, you have to love Tom ‘the Exterminator’ DeLay. Even in his last speech before stepping down in disgrace he manages to say something that makes no friggin’ sense. Let’s have a few quiet moments of retrospective for the dearly departed shall we?”

"Emotional appeals about working families trying to get by on $4.25 an hour are hard to resist. Fortunately, such families do not exist."
- Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), House Majority Whip, April 23, 1996

“The grand jury has indicted three of DeLay's political associates in connection with fundraising activities for a political action committee closely linked to DeLay.”
-Washington Post, November 18, 2004

“Emboldened by their election success, House Republicans changed their rules yesterday to allow Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) to keep his post even if a grand jury indicts him, and Senate GOP leaders continued to weigh changing long-standing rules governing filibusters to prevent Democrats from blocking President Bush's most conservative judicial nominees.”
-Washington Post, November 18, 2004

“House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert is leaning toward removing the House ethics committee chairman, who admonished House Majority Leader Tom DeLay this fall and has said he will treat DeLay like any other member, several Republican aides said yesterday.
Although Hastert (Ill.) has not made a decision, the expectation among leadership aides is that the chairman, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), long at odds with party leaders because of his independence, will be replaced when Congress convenes next week.”
-Washington Post, December 28, 2004

“The aides said a likely replacement is Rep. Lamar S. Smith, one of DeLay's fellow Texans, who held the job from 1999 to 2001. Smith wrote a check this year to DeLay's defense fund. An aide said Smith was favored for his knowledge of committee procedure.”
-Washington Post, December 28, 2004

"Mrs. Schiavo's life is not slipping away -it is being violently wrenched from her body in an act of medical terrorism."
-Tom Delay, March 18, 2005

“House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an ‘ongoing victory,’ and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.

Mr. DeLay was defending Republicans' choice to borrow money and add to this year's expected $331 billion deficit to pay for Hurricane Katrina relief. Some Republicans have said Congress should make cuts in other areas, but Mr. DeLay said that doesn't seem possible.
‘My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet,’ the Texas Republican told reporters at his weekly briefing.
Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, ‘Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good.’"
-Washington Times, September 14, 2005

“On Wednesday, DeLay was indicted with two aides by a Texas grand jury, accused of flouting campaign finance laws by illegally sending corporate funds to GOP candidates in the state. Two months ago, Abramoff was arrested and charged with fraud in connection with a casino deal in Florida. On Tuesday, two employees of a company owned by Abramoff were charged with murdering the casino's former owner. Last week, the feds arrested David Safavian, who has been working in the White House, on charges of lying to investigators about a trip to Scotland with DeLay and Abramoff. Scanlon, the former DeLay aide who worked with Abramoff, is said to be cooperating with investigators, who are likely to file even more charges.”
-Salon, September 29, 2005

“Ah yes, Tommy Boy shall be missed. On a lighter note, ComFest is at T-2 weeks. We have two weeks until the holiday season begins. Gentlemen, prepare your tie-dye.”

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Fear of a Pink Planet

"I don't believe there's any issue that's more important than this one. I think this debate is very healthy, and it's winning a lot of hearts and minds. I think we're going to show real progress."
-Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, June 6, 2006

“And what is that topic that a Louisiana Senator could find so intensely vital? Rebuilding New Orleans of course!...
No, just kidding. He was talking about the need for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Sure, I know that the war is ‘important’, preventing terrorism is ‘vital’, that the economy should be ‘fixed’, and that the city of New Orleans is still primarily in ruins, but let’s look at the most important burning issue that threatens to bring down the Republic: Gay Marriage.”

“Sen. John McCain on Tuesday told the Senate that he would oppose the amendment despite his belief that ‘marriage should be reserved for the union of a man and a woman.’
‘I disagree that the current Constitutional structure provides insufficient mechanisms for ensuring that the public meaning of marriage is not tampered with by activist judges,’ the Arizona Republican said, according to prepared remarks.”
-CNN, June 6, 2006

“See? Mr. McCain, the darling of the moderate far right and those who haven’t really looked all that that intensely at his voting record, says that he is against the amendment. He also manages to say that they shouldn’t be allowed to get married and work in a reference to ‘activist judges’. He just disagrees with making the ban on gay marriage a Constitutional one. What a swell guy. Oh, and as to the ‘activist judges’? It was activist judges who made interracial marriage legal back about 100 years ago against the ‘will of the people’. Things like this were being said at the time…”

"Intermarriage between whites and blacks is repulsive and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and repugnant. It is subversive to social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy, and ultimately this slavery to black beasts will bring this nation to a fatal conflict"
-Rep. Seaborn Roddenberry, 1911

“Sound familiar? You see, the problem here is that they say that the family is the basis of American society. Then they say that marriage is the basis of the family. Then they act like they have to ‘protect’ marriage in order to preserve families. I’ve got news for people. There are an awful lot of families out there that do not involve marriage. Some are gay or lesbian couples. Some are couples that for whatever reason simply never married. Some are more exotic families involving people who simply love and live with people without that ‘sex’ problem that seems to be the issue here. None of those families are wrong if they work. I will admit that marriage is the basis of many families, but it isn’t the basis of all of them. Family is bigger than marriage, and allowing people who love each other to marry will not take away from the love that is in other families.
Of course, it is an election year, so I guess we should expect this kind of idiocy.”

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: The State of the Debate

“Ok.. It has been a while since I last picked on Ann Coulter. Mainly that has been because she’s kind of boring once you get past her ‘shock jock’ method of pushing the conservative agenda, but I have to admit.. this stuff is funny.”

“Although my Christianity is somewhat more explicit in this book [Godless], Christianity fuels everything I write. Being a Christian means that I am called upon to do battle against lies, injustice, cruelty, hypocrisy—you know, all the virtues in the church of liberalism. As St. Paul said, if Christ is not risen from the dead, then eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”
-Ann Coulter, interview with Human Events Online, posted June 6, 2006

“Except of course that Paul never said anything like that, and that, well, the rest of what she said was full of shit also. You’ve got to love Ann for her blatant ignoring of this little thing I like to call ‘reality’.”

“I would like evolution to join the roster of other discredited religions, like the Cargo Cult of the South Pacific. Practitioners of Cargo Cult believed that manufactured products were created by ancestral spirits, and if they imitated what they had seen the white man do, they could cause airplanes to appear out of the sky, bringing valuable cargo like radios and TVs. So they constructed airport towers out of bamboo and headphones out of coconuts and waited for the airplanes to come with the cargo. It may sound silly, but in defense of the Cargo Cult, they did not wait as long for evidence supporting their theory as the Darwinists have waited for evidence supporting theirs.”
-Ann Coulter, interview with Human Events Online, posted June 6, 2006

“No, seriously, ‘reality’.. She should look into that.”

“HEO: What books do you look forward to reading this summer?
Coulter: I think I’ll just keep reading Godless over and over again. I love it so!”
-Ann Coulter, interview with Human Events Online, posted June 6, 2006

“So she is looking forward to reading her own book again and again. Sigh. The scary thing is that she is one of the best known ‘conservative’ writers. Probably because she has said things like this in the past..”

“If we're so cruel to minorities, why do they keep coming here? Why aren't they sneaking across the Mexican border to make their way to the Taliban?”

-Ann Coulter

“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.“

-Ann Coulter

“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”
-Ann coulter

“Whether they are defending the Soviet Union or bleating for Saddam Hussein, liberals are always against America. They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America's self-preservation, the difference is irrelevant.”

-Ann Coulter

“While the form of treachery varies slightly from case to case, liberals always manage to take the position that most undermines American security.”
-Ann Coulter

“And that is the state of intellectual debate on the far right. Thanks to Pandagon for pointing me in the direction of the Coulter interview.”

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Quotes of the Beast 06-06-06

“For this special day I give you six Quotes about the Devil. Feel free to insert relevant Quotes about current politics on your own..”

“This is the devilish thing about foreign affairs: they are foreign and will not always conform to our whim.”
-James Reston (1909 - ), New York Times, June 12 1968

“There are no whole truths; all truths are half- truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.”
-Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

“Illusion is the dust the devil throws in the eyes of the foolish.”
-Mina Thomas Antrim

“A religion which requires persecution to sustain it is of the devil's propagation.”
-Hosea Ballou (1796 - 1861)

“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”
-William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), "The Merchant of Venice", Act 1 scene 3

“Ok, so that is five of them. For the last one I give you the words of one of the wisest and strangest men that I have read, the self-described ‘Great Beast’ himself… ‘Uncle’ Aleister Crowley.”

“The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without. Inevitably anyone with an independent mind must become ‘one who resists or opposes authority or established conventions’: a rebel. If enough people come to agree with, and follow, the Rebel, we now have a Devil. Until, of course, still more people agree. And then, finally, we have --- Greatness.”
-Aleister Crowley (1875 - 1947)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Lowered Expectations

“Marine commanders in Iraq learned within two days of the killings in Haditha last November that Iraqi civilians had died from gunfire, not a roadside bomb as initially reported, but the officers involved saw no reason to investigate further, according to a senior Marine officer.
The commanders have told investigators they had not viewed as unusual, in a combat environment, the discrepancies that emerged almost immediately in accounts about how the two dozen Iraqis died, and that they had no information at the time suggesting that any civilians had been killed deliberately.
But the handling of the matter by the senior Marine commanders in Haditha, and whether officers and enlisted personnel tried to cover up what happened or missed signs suggesting that the civilian killings were not accidental, has become a major element of the investigation by an Army general into the entire episode.
Officials have said that the investigation, while not yet complete, is likely to conclude that a small group of marines carried out the unprovoked killings of two dozen civilians in the hours after a makeshift bomb killed a marine.
A senior Marine general familiar with the investigation, which is being led by Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell of the Army, said in an interview that it had not yet established how high up the chain of command culpability for the killings extended. But he said there were strong suspicions that some officers knew that the Marine squad's version of events had enough holes and discrepancies that it should have been looked into more deeply.”
-New York Times, June 3, 2006

“A massacre of civilians is always terrible (and several of those killed were children, making it so very much worse), but to cover up this kind of thing makes it infinitely worse. These people should have been investigated immediately and publicly. If you really want to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the Iraqi population you need to make sure that they know that the American military will show them as much respect as we would want them to show us. Unfortunately there was a cover-up, and ‘responsibility’ seems to be a word missing from our government’s vocabulary at the moment.”

“Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Friday defended the training of the American troops in Iraq and insisted that the overwhelming majority respect the rights of Iraqi civilians.
‘We know that 99.9 percent of our forces conduct themselves in an exemplary manner,’ Rumsfeld said. ‘We also know that in conflicts things that shouldn't happen do happen.’
His comments followed charges by the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al- Maliki, on Thursday that American forces had regularly infringed on the rights of Iraqis.
He also said that his government would take this conduct into account in determining how long American troops should remain in Iraq.
‘They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion,’ Maliki said. ‘This is completely unacceptable.’"
-International Herald Tribune, June 3, 2006

“Yep, just so long as most of the military isn’t running people over or slaughtering them in their homes there is nothing to see here. Just a few bad apples (just like in Abu Ghraib). The Pentagon maintains only the highest standards, and anything that doesn’t meet their rigorous policy standards is unacceptable. In cases like this there is only one thing to do… Lower the standards.”

“I'm the master of low expectations.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, June 4, 2003

“The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Conventions that explicitly bans ‘humiliating and degrading treatment,’ according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.
The decision culminates a lengthy debate within the Defense Department but will not become final until the Pentagon makes new guidelines public, a step that has been delayed. However, the State Department opposes the military's decision to exclude Geneva Conventions protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider, the defense officials acknowledged.”
-Baltimore Sun, June 5, 2006

“Though these last few years have been tough on the Republican party.. I mean, how many scandals like this can you have before the entire party starts looking bad? It seems though that their biggest fan is sticking with them.”

“Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell offered a greeting to delegates to the Republican convention. ‘It's great to be back in the holy land,’ the Fort Worth native said to the cheers of the party faithful. For the 4,500 delegates at last week's biennial gathering, it was both an expression of conservative philosophy and religious faith, a melding of church and state.

At Saturday morning's prayer meeting, party leader Tina Benkiser assured them that God was watching over the two-day confab.
‘He is the chairman of this party,’ she said against a backdrop of flags and a GOP seal with its red, white and blue logo.
The party platform, adopted Saturday, declares ‘America is a Christian nation’ and affirms that ‘God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom.’"
-Dallas Morning News, June 4, 2006

“See? Its ok to kill the innocent and torture because God supports us, just like he supported His son when Herod ordered the slaughter of the innocents or when Jesus was beaten and nailed to a tree. Just remember, what so ever you do to the least of my brothers is okay as long as you have plausible deniability.”

Friday, June 02, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: What? An Election Year?

“Whether President Bush is talking about a get-tough border policy or the importance of judicial restraint — he discussed both Thursday — he is sure to throw in an appeal these days to wavering conservative supporters.
Bush and his aides are playing up items such as tighter borders and judges who ‘administer the law’ rather than make it, seeking to reconnect with conservative Republicans whose support has shrunk in recent polls — and whose votes will be critical in this fall's congressional elections.
Bush used to be able to count on overwhelming support from Republicans and conservatives, but the Iraq war and a variety of other issues have eroded that backing.
A May 5-7 USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found Bush's approval among Republicans at 68%, down from 85% in early January. Among conservatives — who also include some Democrats and independents — Bush's support fell to 52%, from 73% in January.”
-USA Today, June 1, 2006

“Hmm.. Things are getting tough for Dubya. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are really wearing away at his approval ratings. The enemies there are kind of hard to beat. Too many variables, too many weapons, and too much ingrained hatred at this point for the American military. It’s hard work. Gosh, I wish we had an enemy that wasn’t so difficult. Maybe some dirt poor, desperate, and unarmed group that we could blame for things and then ‘beat’. And golly, it sure would be nice if they were an immediate ‘threat’ to the Homeland. Ideally we’d want to be able to recognize them easily too (and no, using gold stars will not work)… We don’t want to confuse the base. Where can we find those people?”

“President Bush spoke on national TV night and called for 6,000 National Guard troops to be deployed to the U.S.-Mexican border. We looking at the growing militarization of the border and the role private contractors, like Halliburton, are playing.”
-Democracy Now!, May 16, 2006

“Unfortunately this doesn’t play so well in some areas.. You see, Hispanics make up an increasingly large portion of the population, and all of this border-bashing kind of sounds a little.. you know.. racist.”

“Hispanic voters, many of whom responded favorably to President Bush's campaign appeals emphasizing patriotism, family and religious values in Spanish-language media in 2004, are turning away from the administration on immigration and a host of other issues, according to a new survey.”
-Washington Post, May 21, 2006

“It appears that things are not going too well for Fearless Leader. He needs a different topic that he can rally his base around. Some topic that he can pull out for the coming election this fall to show ‘his’ people that he is still one of them, despite betraying them on his economic policies and just about everything else. Something that proves he’s still one of the ‘tough guys’. I know! Let’s play another round of that old conservative favorite: Smear the Queer!”

“President Bush will promote a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Monday, the eve of a scheduled Senate vote on the cause that is dear to his conservative backers.
The amendment would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages. To become law, the proposal would need two-thirds support in the Senate and House, and then be ratified by at least 38 state legislatures.
It stands little chance of passing the 100-member Senate, where proponents are struggling to get even 50 votes. Several Republicans oppose the measure, and so far only one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, says he will vote for it.”
-Associated Press, June 1, 2006

“Ah yes, after a year and a half of quietly dropping his militant stance against homosexuals, Bush has decided, just coincidentally, that an election year would be a good time to bring up that most dire of threats to American Freedom ™: Gay People. Thank Goddess we don’t have anything else to worry about.”

“Two bombs struck in quick succession at a pet market Friday morning in central Baghdad, killing at least five people and wounding 57, police said.”
-Associated Press, June 2, 2006

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: The Last Five Years

“Let’s walk through this one more time… We went to war in Afghanistan because they were supporting Osama (who attacked us on 9-11), and we needed to stop terrorism. We liberated them from their oppressive Taliban government.”

“Taliban fighters killed at least a dozen Afghan police and abducted up to 40 in two separate attacks in southern Afghanistan, while US-led forces launched an offensive in a nearby province, officials said yesterday.
In the southern province of Zabul, a senior police official, Mohamed Rasoul, was killed and four other people, including two senior provincial officials, were wounded after the Taliban hit their car with a rocket on Tuesday night.”
-Gulf Times, June 1, 2006

“When the Pakistan army's front line in its war on terrorism moved elsewhere, and the Taliban took control of his hometown, Baidar decided it was time to leave.
‘The government is helpless. The Taliban is in full control there, not religious students, but militant Taliban,’ said the 30-year-old Wazir tribesman.
Baidar shut his medical store in the bazaar at Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, one of Pakistan's seven semi-autonomous tribal agencies, and moved to Tank, just across the boundary in North West Frontier Province.
‘The real worry is for businessmen and educated people because they fear being targeted or killed by the Taliban on suspicion of being informers for the government or America,’ said the shopkeeper, who, unlike many others, dared to give his name.”
-Reuters, May 30, 2006

“While a survey of hospitals on Monday found 14 people dead from the rioting, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday that 12 had been killed, including one policeman, and that 138 had been wounded. Afghan troops were deployed across the capital on Tuesday, sitting atop armored personnel carriers at main intersections. Gen. Jamil Junbish, the Kabul police chief, said a curfew would be enforced for a second night.
There was an unmistakably anti-government and anti-American tinge to Monday's protests. In the main square, rioters burned a huge banner of President Hamid Karzai, who is frequently caricatured by his opponents as a puppet of Washington. A similar banner of the late commander of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was assassinated by Al Qaeda on Sept. 9, 2001, remained untouched.”
-New York Times, May 31, 2006

“After successfully stopping Osama (What? We didn’t?) we moved on to liberate Iraq from the oppressive rule of Saddam (unless this is the day of the week that we claim to have done it because of WMDs or some other reason… It is difficult to keep track). Our efforts were successful, and now the Iraqi people are free.”

“U.S. forces killed two Iraqi women — one of them about to give birth — when the troops shot at a car that failed to stop at an observation post in a city north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials and relatives said Wednesday.
Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, 35, was being raced to the maternity hospital in Samarra by her brother when the shooting occurred Tuesday.
Jassim, the mother of two children, and her 57-year-old cousin, Saliha Mohammed Hassan, were killed by the U.S. forces, according to police Capt. Laith Mohammed and witnesses.
The U.S. military said coalition troops fired at a car after it entered a clearly marked prohibited area near an observation post but failed to stop despite repeated visual and auditory warnings.
‘Shots were fired to disable the vehicle,’ the military said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. ‘Coalition forces later received reports from Iraqi police that two women had died from gunshot wounds ... and one of the females may have been pregnant.’
Jassim's brother, who was wounded by broken glass, said he did not see any warnings as he sped his sister to the hospital. Her husband was waiting for her there.”
-Associated Press, May 31, 2006

“Oddly enough the Iraqi people have not appreciated our fine work in Iraq, and seem somewhat miffed with us.”

“The Shia-dominated southern sector of Iraq, where Britain has 7,200 soldiers, has experienced mounting unrest in recent months, with violence being blamed on sectarian rivalry, militias as well as rival tribal groups.

One group has openly threatened to halt the country's oil exports. More than 100 people were killed in May, including nine British soldiers in the deadliest month for British troops since the 2003 invasion. The Defence Secretary, Des Browne, has said the number of attacks against coalition forces in southern Iraq rose to 103 in April from 36 in January.
Yesterday's announcement of a state of emergency is the first in Iraq and a sign of how serious the unrest has become in the British-controlled southeastern region, which had previously been relatively calm compared with Sunni areas of the country. In other troubled areas, including Baghdad and Ramadi, a curfew is in force.”
-The Independent (UK), June 1, 2006

“And how exactly can we afford to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while simultaneously cutting taxes to the wealthiest Americans? Hmm.. Let’s cut the budget for Homeland Security, which was put there after 9-11 to keep the American people sage from terrorism and massive disasters.”

“The two cities targeted in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks will receive far fewer counterterrorism dollars this year than in 2005 in what the Homeland Security Department described Thursday as a need to spread funding out to other communities facing threats.
Homeland Security officials also noted a $125 million cut in the funds available for the 2006 fiscal year from last year. In all, 46 cities will share $740 million in Homeland Security grants to prevent and respond to terror attacks and, to a lesser extent, other catastrophic disasters like hurricanes.
Hurricane-ravaged New Orleans will receive half of what it got last year — $4.6 million, down from $9.3 million — although Homeland Security said the money was to help cities grapple with catastrophic disasters from Mother Nature and terrorists alike.”
-Associated Press, May 31, 2006

“Don’t you feel safer now?”

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