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Four Color Politics

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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Not Political

“Calling resistance against terrorism the ‘defining struggle of the 21st century,’ President Bush declared Tuesday that he would not let Americans’ frustration with the war deter him from finishing the job in Iraq.
Bush said he could ‘understand the frustrations of our citizens.’ But ‘if we retreat for the sake of popularity, is that the smart thing to do? My answer is absolutely not,’ he said. ‘It’d be a huge mistake to give the battlefield to these extremists.
‘We retreat, they follow us,’ he added. ‘And I see this clearly as day.’”
-MSNBC and NBC News, August 29, 2006

“Couldn’t we just not allow them to come in? I mean, don’t we have passports, visas, etc, meant to keep people that want to hurt us from getting in? If not, shouldn’t we, you know, think about getting stuff like that?”

“’These terrorists have made it clear they want us to leave Iraq prematurely, and why is it?’ he asked. ‘Because they want a safe haven. They’d love to get ahold of oil. They have territorial ambitions. ...
‘I personally do not believe Saddam Hussein picked up the phone and said to al-Qaida, ‘Attack America.’ [But] he was on our state-sponsor-of-terrorists list, and he was paying families of suiciders. He also, by the way, had weapons of mass destruction at one time and had the capacity to make them. That’s a dangerous mix.’”
-MSNBC and NBC News, August 29, 2006

“They wanted a safe haven. We built one for them in a place unrelated to the 9/11 attacks. Haven’t we appeased the terrorists enough? Do we need to continue their recruiting drive for them?”


"’A lot of the people who say we need to withdraw from Iraq say we'll be safer, and I don't think that's accurate,’ said Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, a key architect of the party's strategy heading into the fall congressional campaign. Mehlman noted that Osama bin Laden and other Islamic radicals have said they want to drive Americans out of Iraq and use it as a base. ‘We ought to not ignore when they say they're going to do that.’"
-Washington Post, August 30, 2006

“True.. true.. And I guess we should have been paying attention when this was said..”

“Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the US”
-Presidential Daily Briefing, August 6, 2001

“Yet apparently the Administration has chosen to pay attention to the wrong one. Go figure.”

“While no Democrat has the powerful platform that the White House affords Bush and Cheney, the complaints about the mischaracterizing of positions on the war flow in both directions. Many Democrats accuse the president of advocating ‘stay the course’ in Iraq, but the White House rejects the phrase and regularly emphasizes that it is adapting tactics to changing circumstances, such as moving more U.S. troops into Baghdad recently after a previous security strategy appeared to fail.”
-Washington Post, August 30, 2006

“Yes, the Democrats are being completely unfair to the White House’s position.”

“We’re not going to lose in Iraq. As a matter of fact, we will win in Iraq so long as we stay the course.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, July 11, 2006

“I think the thing you do, number one is, you bring to justice those who are guilty of breaking laws. And certainly this is not a government that condones rape, murder, or the abuse of human rights. The second thing you do is you stay the course..”
-White House Spokesman Tony Snow, July 10, 2006

“We’re for staying the course in Iraq and the war on terror.”
-Senator Bill Frist, July 27, 2006

“They said that, but obviously that isn’t what they meant. Just another of the liberal terrorist-sympathizing media and the Democrats siding with the forces that want to kill you and your little dog too.”

“Bush's speech to the American Legion this morning will launch his third intensive campaign in the past year to address public anxiety over the war. Aides said he will tackle the perception that the world is in chaos and tie together the conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan and elsewhere into the common ideological thread of fighting ‘Islamic fascism.’
The effort will continue with other speeches in Washington and around the country, followed by a whirlwind tour of the Sept. 11 attack sites and a Sept. 19 address to the U.N. General Assembly. During a campaign stop in Arkansas yesterday, Bush denied that the efforts are connected to the election campaign.
‘They're not political speeches,’ he said. ‘They're speeches about the future of this country, and they're speeches to make it clear that if we retreat before the job is done, this nation would become even more in jeopardy. These are important times, and I seriously hope people wouldn't politicize these issues that I'm going to talk about.’"
-Washington Post, August 30, 2006

“Yes. Fearless Leader is going to talk about the future of the country. Nothing political about it. How dare they accuse him of that!”

"’Over the next 69 days,’ [Republican National Committee Chairman Ken] Mehlman said, ‘there will be an important discussion in America over what it takes to make America safe’"
-Washington Post, August 30, 2006

“Yep. Nothing political about it. The fact that it comes in the lead-up to the mid-term elections is mere coincidence. Nothing to see here. Move on.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Hitting the Rummy

“Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday he is deeply troubled by the success of terrorist groups in ‘manipulating the media’ to influence Westerners.
‘That's the thing that keeps me up at night,’ he said during a question-and-answer session with about 200 naval aviators and other Navy personnel at this flight training base for Navy and Marine pilots.
‘They are actively manipulating the media in this country’ by, for example, falsely blaming U.S. troops for civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.
‘They can lie with impunity,’ he said, while U.S. troops are held to a high standard of conduct.”
-Associated Press, August 29, 2006

“Dang straight! It is terrible the way that the media is reporting on all of those civilian deaths. They are just playing into the Enemy’s hands. Meanwhile our forces are being held to a high standard.”

“It was American soldiers serving as military police at Abu Ghraib who took these pictures. The investigation started when one soldier got them from a friend, and gave them to his commanders. 60 Minutes II has a dozen of these pictures, and there are many more – pictures that show Americans, men and women in military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners. There are shots of the prisoners stacked in a pyramid, one with a slur written on his skin in English.

In some, the male prisoners are positioned to simulate sex with each other. And in most of the pictures, the Americans are laughing, posing, pointing, or giving the camera a thumbs-up.”
-CBS News, April 29m 2004

“Photos broadcast by CBS's 60 Minutes II last week showed grinning U.S. soldiers alongside a pyramid of hooded and naked Iraqi detainees. Adding to the growing scandal, The New Yorker magazine this week reported details from an internal U.S. Army report that said prisoners were beaten and threatened with rape and electrocution to coerce them to talk. And former Iraqi detainees have alleged to U.S. media that they were forced to perform humiliating sexual acts.”
-USA Today, May 3, 2004

“A military intelligence analyst who recently completed duty at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq said Wednesday that the 16-year-old son of a detainee there was abused by U.S. soldiers to break his father's resistance to interrogators. T

he analyst said the teenager was stripped naked, thrown in the back of an open truck, driven around in the cold night air, splattered with mud and then presented to his father at Abu Ghraib, the prison at the center of the scandal over abuse of Iraqi detainees.
Upon seeing his frail and frightened son, the prisoner broke down and cried and told interrogators he would tell them whatever they wanted, the analyst said.”
-Chicago Tribune, May 20, 2004

“You’d have thought that Rummy would have remembered that..”

“Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in a surprise visit to boost the morale of U.S. forces in Iraq, dismissed as ‘garbage’ Thursday any suggestion that the Defense Department tried to cover up the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers.
But Rumsfeld, who visited the facility at the heart of the uproar, the notorious Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, warned that the scandal would get worse before it got better, and he said Bush administration lawyers were advising the Defense Department not to publicly release any more photographs of the abuse.”
-NSNBC, May 13, 2004

“Still, Abu Gharib was just one instance.. Most of the time our troops have been held to a much higher standard. Abu Gharib was different.”

“In March, Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who investigated abuses at Abu Ghraib, criticized the holding of ‘ghost’ detainees as ‘deceptive, contrary to Army doctrine, and in violation of international law.’
Rumsfeld was asked how this case differed from the practice Taguba criticized. ‘It is just different, that's all,’ he said.”
-Reuters, June 17, 2004

“Three former members of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division say soldiers in their battalion in Iraq routinely beat and abused prisoners in 2003 and 2004 to help gather intelligence on the insurgency and to amuse themselves....

The abuses reportedly took place between September 2003 and April 2004, before and during the investigations into the notorious misconduct at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Senior Pentagon officials initially sought to characterize the scandal there as the work of a rogue group of military police soldiers on the prison's night shift. Since then, the Army has opened more than 400 inquiries into detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, and punished 230 enlisted soldiers and officers.”
-New York Times, September 24, 2005

“Of course Abu Gharib isn’t the only incident that the terrorist-sympathizing media has noticed.”

“Survivors of the attack in Mogr el-Deeb, a desert village inhabited by members of the Bou Fahad clan, said they had just finished a wedding celebration when bombs fell before dawn Wednesday. More than 40 people were killed, including women and children.
Associated Press Television News footage taken at the site Thursday showed broken musical instruments, pieces of bloodied women's hair and the bodies of children. Kimmitt said no musical instruments were found, however. “
-Boston Globe, May 22, 2004

“In its report of the U.S. attack, Al Arabiya showed pictures of several shrouded bodies lined up on a dirt road. Men were shown digging graves and lowering bodies, one of a child, into the pits while relatives wept.”
-Reuters, May 20, 2004

“The military didn’t know about that wedding. You cannot hold those civilian deaths against the military. By even reporting it the press was obviously working for the Enemy.”

“The Army is investigating complaints that soldiers posted photographs of Iraqi corpses on an Internet site in exchange for access to pornographic images on the site, officials said Tuesday.”
-Associated Press, September 27, 2005

“Rumors and lies! I blame the press for even mentioning it. A bunch of fifth-columnists and Communists!”

“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

“Four more soldiers have been charged with the rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman and her family, the most explosive of the five war crimes investigations currently under way in Iraq.
A fifth soldier was charged with dereliction of duty for failing to report the events of the night of March 12 when a group of soldiers are alleged to have abandoned their checkpoint to enter the home of an Iraqi family in the town of Mahmudiya. They allegedly raped and killed a young woman inside the house, and shot dead her parents and young sister.”
-Guardian (UK), July 11, 2006

“Hey, it takes two people to commit a war crime. One to shoot the innocent person in the head and one to report it, yet I never hear anyone arguing that we should lock up all the reporters. Just goes to show how ‘fair and balanced’ the terrorist-loving media really is. Just remember, the media never reports on the tens of thousands of troops that DON’T shoot someone in the head, just the few bad apples.”

“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

“I salute you Donald Rumsfeld. Your denial of reality is an absolutely perfect example of what this Administration is all about. Well done.”

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: We Ain't Leavin' Til We're Heavin'

“Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki predicted it ‘will not be long’ before US troops can start withdrawing from his country but would not commit to a timetable.
Maliki said in an interview with CNN that Iraqi security forces were growing stronger alongside the 138,000 US troops still in Iraq nearly three and a half years after the invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.”
-AFP, August 27, 2006

“Well that is good, but it doesn’t really matter. We aren’t leaving.”

"We're not leaving, so long as I'm the president.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 21, 2006

“And al-Maliki doesn’t really sound like he has all that good a grip on what is happening either..”

“Two dozen Iraqi soldiers were killed in fierce street fighting with Shi'ite militiamen in the city of Diwaniya on Monday in some of the bloodiest clashes yet among rival factions in Shi'ite southernIraq.

Thirty seven people were killed, according to army, militia and medical sources. Five soldiers were posted missing in a battle officials said began late on Sunday when troops tried to detain men of the Mehdi Army militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
In Baghdad, a suicide car bomber killed 13 policemen and wounded 62 other people outside the Interior Ministry, police said, in one of the deadliest attacks in the city since U.S. and Iraqi troops launched a big security clampdown three weeks ago.
Seven U.S. soldiers were among more than 60 people killed on Sunday in violence that challenged assertions by Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that his forces had the upper hand in violence that many fear could turn into all-out civil war.”
-Reuters, August 28, 2006

“A suicide car bomber struck at the nerve centre of Iraq's embattled security forces, killing 14 people and injuring 45 more in an attack on the interior ministry.
The attack came as Interior Minister Jawad Bolani was due to hold a meeting with police chiefs, and capped off a torrid 24 hours of carnage in which more than 60 Iraqis and five American soldiers had already been killed.
A security official told AFP that eight police commandos were among those killed when the bomber detonated his cargo of explosives near a checkpoint outside the ministry's tightly-guarded compound in downtown Baghdad.”
-AFP, August 28, 2006

“A spate of car bombings and shootings across Iraq killed at least 55 people on Sunday, but Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said violence was on the decrease and that the country would never slide into a civil war.

A top government official said Maliki planned to reshuffle his coalition cabinet just 100 days after it was formed because he wanted to root out disloyal or poorly performing ministers and rally factions behind his national reconciliation plan.”
-Reuters, August 28, 2006

“But we have to fight the War on Terror in Iraq so that we don’t have to fight it here. After all, remember what Osama did to us on 9/11?”

“Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is a longtime and prominent member of the FBI's ‘Ten Most Wanted’ list, which notes his role as the suspected mastermind of the deadly U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa on Aug. 7, 1998.
But another more infamous date -- Sept. 11, 2001 -- is nowhere to be found on the same FBI notice.
“The curious omission underscores the Justice Department's decision, so far, to not seek formal criminal charges against bin Laden for approving al-Qaeda's most notorious and successful terrorist attack. The notice says bin Laden is ‘a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world’ but does not provide details.
The absence has also provided fodder for conspiracy theorists who think the U.S. government or another power was behind the Sept. 11 hijackings. From this point of view, the lack of a Sept. 11 reference suggests that the connection to al-Qaeda is uncertain.”
-Washington Post, August 27, 2006

“Apparently the government doesn’t remember either. Rest safe America in the knowledge that Fearless Leader will protect you, even if he doesn't know what from.”

Monday, August 28, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Legislating Idiocy

“Ok.. To bring you up to speed. Remember the Republican juggernaut Katherine Harris in Florida? No? 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

“She’s running for the Senate. It isn’t going well. Perhaps some of the problem is the scandals..”

“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

“And part of the problem might be her utter cluelessness..”

“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

“And maybe part of the problems is her campaign turn over..”

“In just under three years, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris has had four chiefs of staff, four district directors and four press secretaries.

Harris has had to replace key people on her staff every nine months, a rate of staff turnover that far exceeds most of those in Congress.
On average, members of Congress hold onto their high-level staff for four to five years.
Turnover isn't limited to Harris' congressional office, either. As she prepares to run against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, Harris has been hampered by turnover on her campaign staff. Her campaign manager quit last week, after just a few months on the job and not long after she lost a pollster and a campaign finance director earlier this year.
Coupled with bad poll numbers and her struggles to raise money, political watchers say the staff turnover adds to the appearance that her operations are in disarray.
But Harris said most of the employees have left because they've gone on to better jobs. If anything, the turnover shows her staff members are in high demand after gaining experience in a 'high-profile' office.”
-Herald Tribune, November 28, 2005

“But her largest problem seems to be her complete and utter inability to keep her mouth shut when she should.”

“U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris has lost another key staffer in the wake of a disastrous political rally last week.
Rhyan Metzler, who had been Harris' political director, is no longer with the campaign, according to Harris spokeswoman Jennifer Marks. Metzler is the staffer that is being blamed for embarrassing comments Harris made following a rally at Orlando Executive Airport.
Only 40 people showed up for the event -- a number that includes Harris staff and media -- and Harris blamed the paltry turnout in part on a last-minute location change. She said a tree fell on the hangar that the rally was scheduled to be in forcing her campaign to switch to another hangar.
Airport officials, however, said no trees had fallen and that Harris was in the hangar her campaign had originally booked.”
-Orlando Sentinel, August 21, 2006

“Still she seems to want to stay in the race, probably because God wants her there.”

“During an interview soon after on Fox News's ‘Hannity & Colmes,’ Ms. [Katherine] Harris made public her fresh resolve. ‘Let me just answer the burning question,’ she said. ‘I'm in this race. And I'm going to win.’ She pledged to spend up to $10 million of her own fortune to do so.
In private, Mr. Rollins recalls Ms. Harris saying God told her to stay in the race -- God wanted her to be a senator.”
-Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2006

“She might want to figure out which God that is though..”

“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

“You see, the ‘rabbi’ should be a tell-tale sign that Kabbala is a mystical branch of the Jewish faith. It is odd then that Katherine seems to have such low opinion of the Jewish people.”

“U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris told a religious journal that separation of church and state is ‘a lie’ and that God and the nation's founding fathers did not intend the country to be ‘a nation of secular laws.’
The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate also said that if Christians are not elected, politicians will ‘legislate sin,’ including abortion and gay marriage.
Harris made the comments in the Florida Baptist Witness, the weekly journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention, which interviewed political candidates and asked them about religion and their positions on issues. “
-Associated Press, August 27, 2006

“So Jewish people (or Hindu, or Muslim, or secular humanists) will ‘legislate sin’. I cannot express to you how well this line of logic goes over in Florida. Oh Katherine, do you have anything to say that will make this all sound ok?”

"Harris' campaign released a statement Saturday saying she had been ‘speaking to a Christian audience, addressing a common misperception that people of faith should not be actively involved in government.’
The comments reflected 'her deep grounding in Judeo-Christian values,' the statement said, adding that Harris had previously supported pro-Israel legislation and legislation recognizing the Holocaust."
-Associated Press, August 26, 2006

“Thanks Katherine. That makes it all better.”

Friday, August 25, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: The New Fall Lineup

“Presidential adviser Karl Rove criticized a federal judge's order for an immediate end to the government's warrantless surveillance program, saying Wednesday such a program might have prevented the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Rove said the government should be free to listen if al-Qaida is calling someone within the U.S.
‘Imagine if we could have done that before 9/11. It might have been a different outcome,’ he said.”
-Associated Press, August 23, 2006

“Yes, it might have had a different outcome. Of course reading the Presidential Daily Briefing named ‘Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S.’ might have helped too. And listening to al-Qaida calls within the U.S. was legal then anyway as long as there was sufficient evidence for a FISA warrant, but we shouldn’t let any of that get in the way of a good story. I mean, I love a good story. How about that story about how Saddam was linked to 9/11?”

“Because Bush has told the public that Iraq is central to the war on terror, the worse things go in Iraq, the more the public thinks the war on terror is going badly. Asked at his press conference what invading Iraq had to do with Sept. 11, Bush seemed so dumbfounded that at first he answered directly. ‘Nothing,’ he said, before sliding into a falsely aggrieved self-defense – ‘except for it's part of -- and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack.’"
-Salon, August 24, 2006

“Oh.. Sorry. For some strange reason I thought that Saddam had been linked to 9/11. I guess I was mistaken.”

“The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al-Qaida, because there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida. This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al-Qaida. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, June 18, 2004

“Oh.. Apparently the issue is that Saddam didn’t actually order the attack. He was just a big supporter (which is pretty impressive, since Osama wanted him dead).”

“A taped message believed to be from fugitive militant Osama bin Laden on Tuesday warned Arab nations against supporting a war against Iraq as threatened by the United States -- but branded Saddam Hussein an infidel.”
-Reuters, February 11, 2003

“Hey, maybe that was just Osama trying to throw pursuers off the trail of his good buddy Saddam? Who are you going to believe: Osama or Dubya? No, seriously, who are you going to believe?”

“On Tuesday night, President Bush mentioned the September 11 attacks five times during his address on the war in Iraq, prompting criticism from congressional Democrats.”
-CNN, June 29, 2005

“Cheney, interviewed on Sunday on NBC's ‘Meet the Press,’ left open the possibility of a Saddam link to the attacks.
Cheney said on Sunday ‘It's not surprising’ the public would believe Saddam was involved in the attacks, blamed on the al Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden, who has repeatedly praised the attacks.
‘We don't know,’ Cheney said. ‘We've learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the '90s.’
Bush said Cheney was right about suspicions of an Iraq-al Qaeda link, citing the case of Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi, a leader of an Islamic group in northern Iraq called Ansar al-Islam believed to have links to al Qaeda.
The United States believes Zarqawi received medical treatment in Baghdad and helped orchestrate the assassination of a U.S. diplomat in Jordan.
‘There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties,’ Bush said.”
-Reuters, September 18, 2003

“Up next: the links between Osama bin Laden and Iran. Coming to a news program near you this fall.”

"From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August.''
-Andrew Card, September 2002

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Iran, Iraq, Whateva

“The U.S. intelligence community is ill-prepared to assess Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities and its intentions for developing weapons of mass destruction, a congressional report said on Wednesday.
Noting ‘significant gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the various areas of concern about Iran,’ the House Intelligence Committee staff report questioned whether the United States could even effectively engage in talks with Tehran on ways to diffuse tensions.”
-Reuters, August 24, 2006

“Hmmm.. We don’t exactly know what Iran is up to, but they are Middle-Eastern and Iran sure sounds a lot like Iraq. I guess that there is only one thing that we can do… Prepare to attack!”

“Some policy makers have accused intelligence agencies of playing down Iran’s role in Hezbollah’s recent attacks against Israel and overestimating the time it would take for Iran to build a nuclear weapon.

The complaints, expressed privately in recent weeks, surfaced in a Congressional report about Iran released Wednesday. They echo the tensions that divided the administration and the Central Intelligence Agency during the prelude to the war in Iraq.
The criticisms reflect the views of some officials inside the White House and the Pentagon who advocated going to war with Iraq and now are pressing for confronting Iran directly over its nuclear program and ties to terrorism, say officials with knowledge of the debate.”
-New York Times, August 24, 2006

“Somehow this all sounds vaguely familiar.. Now that Iraq is commonly recognized as a fiasco we need a war, a good war that we can look to with pride. Hmm.. How can we get involved in a war with Iran? What trigger can we use?”

“We have passed one Security Council resolution, demanding that Iran cease its enrichment activities. We will see what the response is. We're beginning to get some indication, but we'll wait until they have a formal response. The U.N. resolution calls for us to come back together on the 31st of August. The dates -- dates are fine, but what really matters is will. And one of the things I will continue to remind our friends and allies is the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.
But, no, you're right, this is a -- they're a central part of creating instability, trying to stop reformers from realizing dreams. And the question facing this country is, will -- do we, one, understand the threat to America? In other words, do we understand that a failed -- failed states in the Middle East are a direct threat to our country's security? And secondly, will we continue to stay engaged in helping reformers, in working to advance liberty, to defeat an ideology that doesn't believe in freedom?”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 21, 2006

“Yes! Holding Iran accountable to U.N. resolutions will truly be a triumph of the will. We cannot allow nations to flaunt U.N. resolutions. That’s like breaking the law, and we all know how Fearless Leader feels about obeying the law.. for other people I mean.”

“The Security Council, Taking note of the letters of the Permanent Representative of Lebanon (S/12600 and S/12606) and the Permanent Representative of Israel (S/12607), and having heard the statements of the Permanent Representatives of Lebanon and Israel. The Security Council is gravely concerned at the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East, and its consequences to the maintenance of international peace, convinced that the present situation impedes the achievement of a just peace in the Middle East.
The Security Council,
1. Calls for strict respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries;
2. Calls upon Israel immediately to cease its military action against Lebanese territorial integrity and withdraw forthwith its forces from all Lebanese territory;
3. Decides, in the light of the request of the Government of Lebanon, to establish immediately under its authority a United Nations interim force for southern Lebanon for the purpose of confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces, restoring international peace and security and assisting the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area, the force to be composed of personnel drawn from States Members of the United Nations.
4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council within twenty-four hours on the implementation of this resolution.”
-U.N. Resolution 425, March 19, 1978

“Hey, it took them a while to implement that one, and Israel is right back in there again, but Iran is different. Have fun with the mid-term election war everyone.”

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

“President Bush, acknowledging that the war in Iraq is ‘straining’ the national psyche, nonetheless vowed that US forces would remain there ‘so long as I am president’ and warned that pulling out early would have disastrous consequences for other critical US foreign policy goals.
‘We're not leaving so long as I am president,’ Bush said at an hourlong White House press conference yesterday. ‘That would be a huge mistake. It would send an unbelievably . . . terrible signal to reformers across the region. It would say we've abandoned our desire to change the conditions that create terror. It would give the terrorists a safe haven from which to launch attacks. It would embolden Iran. It would embolden extremists.’"
-Boston Globe, August 22, 2006

“Fearless Leader has made it clear that he will not leave Iraq.. ever. We are there for the duration, as leaving would embolden the evil-doers in the region. It would embolden Iran. We can’t have that happen. After all, we are in Iraq to spread peace and democracy.”

“Iran's standing in the Middle East has been bolstered by President George W Bush's ‘war on terror’ and its power will continue to grow unless stability is restored to its neighbors, a top think tank said on Tuesday.
London's Royal Institute for International Affairs said wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and with Lebanon's Hizbollah had put Iran ‘in a position of considerable strength’.
‘There is little doubt that Iran has been the chief beneficiary of the war on terror in the Middle East,’ the RIIA said in a report on the region. “
-Reuters, August 23, 2006

“Wait.. That can’t be right. Leaving would embolden Iran. Staying is helping them too?”

“Darling you gotta let me know

Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here ’til the end of time
So you got to let know
Should I stay or should I go?

Always tease tease tease
You’re happy when I’m on my knees
One day is fine, next is black
So if you want me off your back
Well come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An’ if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know”
-The Clash, “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”

“Well, since Fearless Leader has made his mind (?) up, I guess there is no use in arguing. No big whoop. After all, we have the needed forces to handle any problems.”

“The number of U.S. troops in Iraq has climbed back to 138,000, driven up in part by the need to control the escalating violence in Baghdad and the decision to delay the departure of an Alaska-based Army brigade.
The U.S. Marine Corps said Tuesday it has been authorized to recall thousands of Marines to active duty, primarily because of a shortage of volunteers for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Up to 2,500 Marines will be brought back at any one time, but there is no cap on the total number of Marines who may be forced back into service in the coming years as the military battles the war on terror. The call-ups will begin in the next several months.
This is the first time the Marines have had to use the involuntary recall since the early days of the Iraq combat. The Army has ordered back about 14,000 soldiers since the start of the war.”
-Associated Press, August 22, 2006

“Ok, so some of those forces may be a little over-stressed, but at least we take care of them. They are the best treated, best equipped military force in the world.”

“Congress appears ready to slash funding for the research and treatment of brain injuries caused by bomb blasts, an injury that military scientists describe as a signature wound of the Iraq war.
House and Senate versions of the 2007 Defense appropriation bill contain $7 million for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center — half of what the center received last fiscal year.
Proponents of increased funding say they are shocked to see cuts in the treatment of bomb blast injuries in the midst of a war.”
-USA Today, August 8, 2006

“Ok.. So the military is having some issues. Just a few. And the situation in Iraq is terrible, and there doesn’t seem to be much that we can do, overextended as we are, to deal with Iran. Still, Fearless Leader is a bold, decisive thinker. We can trust him to make a reasoned, sensible, practical response to the issues involved, and to show the maturity and statesmanship required to diplomatically handle the complicated interrelationships between the various power groups in the Middle East.”

“He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that.”
-U.S. News and World Report, August 20, 2006

“We are freaking doomed.”

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Real Men of Genius

“Thank God (or whoever is responsible for him) for Fearless Leader. Sometimes I get in in the morning and don’t know what I am going to talk about, but when I see that Fearless Leader has spoken I can rest assured that I will be able to find something to mock.”

“No, al Qaeda is still very active in Iraq. As a matter of fact some of the more -- I would guess, I would surmise that some of the more spectacular bombings are done by al Qaeda suiciders.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 21, 2006

“It must be really hard to fill positions in al Qaeda. All the job listings apparently are for ‘suiciders’.”

“No question there's sectarian violence, as well. And the challenge is to provide a security plan such that a political process can go forward. And I know -- I'm sure you all are tired of hearing me say 12 million Iraqis voted, but it's an indication about the desire for people to live in a free society. That's what that means.
And the only way to defeat this ideology in the long-term is to defeat it through another ideology, a competing ideology, one where government responds to the will of the people. And that's really -- really the fundamental question we face here in the beginning of this 21st century is whether or not we believe as a nation, and others believe, it is possible to defeat this ideology.”

-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 21, 2006

“That is right.. If we leave Iraq we will never have a chance to see Iraq with a government that responds to the will of the people. That would be a shame.”

“I've been here long enough to understand you cannot make good decisions if you're trying to chase a poll. And so the second part of your question is, look, I'm going to do what I think is right, and if people don't like me for it, that's just the way it is.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 21, 2006

‘But… I thought that government was supposed to respond to the will of the people? Ow.. Cognitive dissonance.. grows.. strong.. Brain.. locking.. up.. Making.. me sound… like.. Shatner.. “

“Now, I recognize some say that these folks are not ideologically bound. I strongly disagree. I think not only do they have an ideology, they have tactics necessary to spread their ideology. And it would be a huge mistake for the United States to leave the region, to concede territory to the terrorists, to not confront them. And the best way to confront them is to help those who want to live in free society. “
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 21, 2006

“Tactics spread ideology? Who is he talking about? Rove?”

“I fully understand that some didn't think we ought to go in there in the first place. But defeat -- if you think it's bad now, imagine what Iraq would look like if the United States leaves before this government can defend itself and sustain itself. Chaos in Iraq would be very unsettling in the region. Leaving before the job would be done would send a message that America really is no longer engaged, nor cares about the form of governments in the Middle East. Leaving before the job was done would send a signal to our troops that the sacrifices they made were not worth it. Leaving before the job is done would be a disaster, and that's what we're saying. “
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 21, 2006

“Yes. If we don’t stay in Iraq and have more American troops killed it will lead those troops to believe that their sacrifices were meaningless. You only hurt the ones you love.”

“These aren't isolated incidents, they're tied together. There is a global war going on. And somebody said, well, this is law enforcement. No, this isn't law enforcement, in my judgment. Law enforcement means kind of a simple, singular response to the problem. This is a global war on terror. We're facing extremists that believe something, and they want to achieve objectives. And therefore, the United States must use all our assets, and we must work with others to defeat this enemy. That's the call. And we -- in the short run, we've got to stop them from attacking us.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 21, 2006

“That is true. The extremists believe something (unlike normal criminals), and they want to achieve objectives (also unlike normal criminals). We apparently must stop them from believing in things or wanting things. In the short run just stopping them from killing people would be cool with me.”

“THE PRESIDENT: Now, look, part of the reason we went into Iraq was -- the main reason we went into Iraq at the time was we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out he didn't, but he had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction. But I also talked about the human suffering in Iraq, and I also talked the need to advance a freedom agenda. And so my question -- my answer to your question is, is that, imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that had so much resentment and so much hatred that people came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.
You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of "we're going to stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.
Q What did Iraq have to do with that?
THE PRESIDENT: What did Iraq have to do with what?
Q The attack on the World Trade Center?
THE PRESIDENT: Nothing, except for it's part of -- and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a -- the lesson of September the 11th is, take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq. I have suggested, however, that resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill to achieve an objective. I have made that case.”
-Press Conference with George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 21, 2006

“9/11! 9/11! You see, if we get out of Iraq it will create a breeding ground for terrorists because of the resentment and lack of hope. The primary cause of resentment and lack of hope at the moment in Iraq is?.. anyone?.. anyone?.. That’s right, us.”

“May the circle be unbroken

Bye and bye, Lord, bye and bye
There's a better home a-waiting
In the sky, Lord, in the sky”
-Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Traditional

“Sure this may sound a little confusing. You may think that with that much rejection of reality Fearless Leader seems a little unbalanced. You would be wrong. He is a strong, confident leader who has a good grip on who he is and what he believes. He says so himself.”

“Right, I've listened to them very carefully. I'm a thoughtful guy, I listen to people. I'm open-minded. I'm all the things that you know I am.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 21, 2006

“And that’s why we salute you, Mister Insane-Fear-Mongering-As-Style-of-Governing. You may be down in the polls, but you’ll always be Number One in our hearts.”

Monday, August 21, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: He Said, She Said

“Just a short one this morning. I’m tired.”

"For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East -- and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course."
-Condoleezza Rice, June 20, 2006

“Yep. We have had enough of worrying about ‘stability’ in the Middle East. We want democracy! We want the people to vote to choose their government, no matter what it may do to the stability of the region. We want young democracies like Lebanon to feel free to elect the people that they want, even if it causes problems, like their election of members of Hezbollah to office. Dang straight.”

"The first reaction, of course, of Hezbollah and its supporters is, declare victory. I guess I would have done the same thing if I were them. But sometimes it takes people a while to come to the sober realization of what forces create stability and which don't. Hezbollah is a force of instability."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 18, 2006

“But, but, but… I thought that we weren’t worried about stability. I thought that we were looking for democracy. I get so confused. Thanks to Billmon for this morning’s Quotes.”

Friday, August 18, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Breaking Off a Peace

“For the past month the United States has worked urgently to end the violence that Hezbollah and its sponsors have imposed on the people of Lebanon and Israel.”
-Washington Post, August 16, 2006

“Ah yes. We were in the center of it from the very beginning working hard to bring peace…”

“After all, I could have gotten on a plane and rushed over and started shuttling and it wouldn't have been clear what I was shuttling to do […] I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante."
-Condoleeza Rice, July 21, 2006

“In the days after Hezbollah crossed from Lebanon into Israel, on July 12th, to kidnap two soldiers, triggering an Israeli air attack on Lebanon and a full-scale war, the Bush Administration seemed strangely passive. ‘It’s a moment of clarification,’ President George W. Bush said at the G-8 summit, in St. Petersburg, on July 16th. ‘It’s now become clear why we don’t have peace in the Middle East.’ He described the relationship between Hezbollah and its supporters in Iran and Syria as one of the ‘root causes of instability,’ and subsequently said that it was up to those countries to end the crisis. Two days later, despite calls from several governments for the United States to take the lead in negotiations to end the fighting, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that a ceasefire should be put off until ‘the conditions are conducive.’”
-Sy Hersh, The New Yorker, August 14, 2006

“Except for Condi. She was waiting for things to happen.”

"’I don't think there is an expectation that this (U.N.) force is going to physically disarm Hezbollah,’ Rice said. ‘I think it's a little bit of a misreading about how you disarm a militia. You have to have a plan, first of all, for the disarmament of the militia, and then the hope is that some people lay down their arms voluntarily.’
If Hezbollah resists international demands to disarm, Rice said, ‘one would have to assume that there will be others who are willing to call Hezbollah what we are willing to call it, which is a terrorist organization.’"
-USA Today, August 16, 2006

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but it takes a bombing run to really screw up someone’s afternoon. Yep, the U.S. is deeply involved in bringing peace between Lebanon and Israel.”

“The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.”
-Sy Hersh, The New Yorker, August 14, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: What Have You Done for Me Lately?

“President Bush made clear in a private meeting this week that he was concerned about the lack of progress in Iraq and frustrated that the new Iraqi government — and the Iraqi people — had not shown greater public support for the American mission, participants in the meeting said Tuesday.
More generally, the participants said, the president expressed frustration that Iraqis had not come to appreciate the sacrifices the United States had made in Iraq, and was puzzled as to how a recent anti-American rally in support of Hezbollah in Baghdad could draw such a large crowd. ‘I do think he was frustrated about why 10,000 Shiites would go into the streets and demonstrate against the United States,’ said another person who attended.”
-New York Times, August 15, 2006

“Darn ungrateful Iraqis. I understand Fearless Leader’s angst over them not liking us. It’s like they don’t appreciate all that we are doing for them.”

“Senior Bush administration officials reject the idea that Iraq is on the verge of civil war, and state with unwavering confidence that the broad American strategy in Iraq remains on course. But American commanders in Iraq have shifted thousands of soldiers from outlying provinces to Baghdad to combat increased violence in the Iraqi capital.
The increased attacks have taken their toll. While the number of Americans killed in action per month has declined slightly — to 38 killed in action in July, from 42 in January, in part reflecting improvements in armor and other defenses — the number of Americans wounded has soared, to 518 in July from 287 in January. Explosive devices accounted for slightly more than half the deaths.”
-New York Times, August 17, 2006

“Hey, so the violence is up against Americans. At least we’ve given the Iraqi people a dose of American Freedom™ and kept them out of civil war during this untidy initial spasm of violence.”

“Q Is there a civil war going on in Iraq? And is the President frustrated with the lack of American public support for Iraq?
MR. SNOW: No, number one, there is not a civil war going on. I was on the phone earlier today with Major General Caldwell in Baghdad --
Q One hundred people a day?
MR. SNOW: He understands. And the other thing that's happening is that there has been -- there has been some improvement at least in the situation on the ground, slightly. Yes, you have a number of sectarian violence operations going on, but you've also seen now in targeted neighborhoods in Baghdad, there has been a notable decrease in violence in three of the neighborhoods that have been targeted in the last week, and that's obviously a promising sign; that's not a victory lap.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, August 16, 2006

“The stupid liberal press keeps pushing this whole ‘civil war’ meme, but honestly, would the White House lie to you? If there was a civil war don’t you think they’d tell you?”

“Mortar attacks that erupted last month between Sunni and Shiite villages around Khan Bani Sad are part of a complex power struggle in the demographically mixed province of Diyala, a contested area stretching from Baghdad to Iran. Sunni fighters are trying to push Shiite families out of the region, while Shiite militiamen from Baghdad are moving in aggressively to attack Sunnis and expand their turf, the officials say.
U.S. commanders had planned on withdrawing hundreds of American troops from this province, but instead this month they ordered an increase in troop levels to help stem the spread of sectarian violence. The Iraqi army has grown more capable in Diyala, and took over a large portion of the province last month. But the decision to add American troops underscored the limitations of their Iraqi counterparts, particularly the police, who must overcome mistrust fostered by the sectarian tensions.
‘Our mission is not to let them fail catastrophically,’ one U.S. officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of the Iraqi troops.”
-Washington Post, August 16, 2006

“See? That isn’t civil war. That is just two opposing groups within a nation using violence to gain territory. Entirely different. Anyway, we’re there to help support the local police, and we have a clear mission in this case.. We need to keep the Iraqi forces keeping the peace from failing catastrophically.”

“’Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy,’ said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.
‘Everybody in the administration is being quite circumspect,’ the expert said, ‘but you can sense their own concern that this is drifting away from democracy.’”
-New York Times, August 17, 2006

“That’s just how Dubya rolls. Either they can start appreciating us more or… well, that’s a nice fledgling democracy you’ve got there. It would be a real shame if something happened to it.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Killing an Arab

“Here's the unmentionable secret: Racism isn't that big a deal any more. No sensible person supports it. Nobody of importance preaches it. It's rapidly becoming an ugly memory.”
-Tony Snow, October 6, 2003

“Yep. No more racism in the U.S. Nobody important worries about it. It doesn’t happen.”

“’My friends, we're going to run this campaign on positive, constructive ideas,’ Sen. George F. Allen told a rally of Republican supporters in Southwest Virginia last week. ‘And it's important that we motivate and inspire people for something.’ Whereupon Mr. Allen turned his attention to a young campaign aide working for his Democratic opponent -- a University of Virginia student from Fairfax County who was apparently the only person of color present -- and proceeded to ridicule him.
Let's consider which positive, constructive or inspirational ideas Mr. Allen had in mind when he chose to mock S.R. Sidarth of Dunn Loring, who was recording the event with a video camera on behalf of James Webb, the Democratic nominee for the Senate seat Mr. Allen holds. The idea that holding up minorities to public scorn in front of an all-white crowd will elicit chortles and guffaws? (It did.) The idea that a candidate for public office can say ‘Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia!’ to an American of Indian descent and really mean nothing offensive by it? (So insisted Mr. Allen's aides.) Or perhaps the idea that bullying your opponents and calling them strange names -- Mr. Allen twice referred to Mr. Sidarth as ‘Macaca’ -- is within the bounds of decency on the campaign trail?”
-Washington Post editorial, August 15, 2006

“Wow. Sounds bad. How can you justify that kind of statement?”

“Wadhams said Allen campaign staffers had begun calling Sidarth ‘mohawk’ because of a haircut Wadhams said the Webb staffer has. ‘Macaca was just a variation of that,’ Wadhams said.”
-Washington Post, August 15, 2006

“Sure, that makes sense… except that Mr. Sidarth doesn’t have a Mohawk. Other than that it makes perfect sense. Honestly, it doesn’t seem like Senator Allen was talking about his hair. Perhaps there was a different meaning he was thinking of..”

“Depending on how it is spelled, the word macaca could mean either a monkey that inhabits the Eastern Hemisphere or a town in South Africa. In some European cultures, macaca is also considered a racial slur against African immigrants, according to several Web sites that track ethnic slurs.”
-Washington Post, August 15, 2006

“One of those ‘European cultures’ is the French, who gained a certain amount of bias against the North African people after their problems in Algeria, Tunisia and surrounding areas back in the early decades of the last century. Hey.. Isn’t Senator Allen’s mother of French North African descent?”

“My mother came over from Tunisia and fell in love with my father, they got married.”
-Senator George Allen, June 19, 2006

“Sure. It was about Mr. Sidarth’s hair.. Oddly enough the French experience in North Africa is in the news for a different reason also. It seems that at this late date Fearless Leader has learned to read.”

“On his summer vacation in Crawford, Texas, George Bush read Albert Camus' novel The Stranger.”
-Slate, August 14, 2006

“Camus is, of course, the famous French existentialist. His novel The Stranger is about a man who is accused of.. aw heck, let’s just let the Cure give you the flavor of the work.”

“Standing on the beach

With a gun in my hand
Staring at the sky
Staring at the sand
Staring down the barrel
At the Arab on the ground
See his open mouth
But I hear no sound
I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm a stranger
Killing an Arab
I can turn
And walk away
Or I can fire the gun
Staring at the sky
Staring at the sun
Whichever I choose
It amounts to the same
Absolutely nothing
I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm a stranger
Killing an Arab
I feel the silver jump
Smooth in my hand
Staring at the sea
Staring at the sand
Staring at myself
Reflected in the eyes
Of the dead man on the beach
The dead man on the beach
I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm the stranger
Killing an Arab”
-The Cure, “Killing An Arab”

“Hmm… Maybe that is why Fearless Leader is reading Camus. He’s looking for pointers.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Stay the Course

“Look, the fact is that our mission in the war in Iraq is critical. We agree on that; we agree it’s wrong to cut and run. But look, we’re not coming in and saying ‘Stay the course.’ The choice in this election is not between ‘Stay the course’ and ‘Cut and run,’ it’s between ‘Win by adapting’ and ‘Cut and run.’”
-Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, August 13, 2006

“Absolutely. To say that we need to ‘stay the course’ in Iraq is insanity! I think that we can all agree on that.”

“We’re not going to lose in Iraq. As a matter of fact, we will win in Iraq so long as we stay the course.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, July 11, 2006

“I think the thing you do, number one is, you bring to justice those who are guilty of breaking laws. And certainly this is not a government that condones rape, murder, or the abuse of human rights. The second thing you do is you stay the course..”
-White House Spokesman Tony Snow, July 10, 2006

“We’re for staying the course in Iraq and the war on terror.”
-Senator Bill Frist, July 27, 2006

“And a believe that a free, democratic Iraq is quickly becoming an inevitable fact, and that now more than ever we need to stay the course there.”
-Senator John Thune, February 17, 2005

“On behalf of our men and women in harm’s way, the children they protect, and the dreams and aspirations of Americans for a bright future, I will stay the course as a member of the Senate to support them in the war on terror.”
-Senator Johnny Isakson, November 8, 2005

“And I'd just like to reiterate what the other governors have said, that it is very important that we stay the course…”
-Governor Jeb Bush, April 19, 2006

“Hey, those are just the Republicans.. Our allies are also staying the course.”

“U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair said he plans to ‘stay the course’ in Iraq after the outgoing British envoy to the country warned that it is more likely to descend into civil war than form a successful democracy.”
-Bloomberg News Service, August 3, 2006

“So the Republicans actually ARE saying that we should ‘stay the course’, and our allies (ok, just Blair) are down with that funky sickness. At least the Democrats are showing more common sense.”

“But Lieberman has opted for a rematch and is now running as an independent for a second chance at keeping his seat. With Lamont calling for a troop withdrawal from Iraq and Lieberman saying the U.S. should stay the course, what does this week’s vote say about Democratic views and public sentiment about the war?”
-Fox News, August 13, 2006

“Um.. I meant no real Democrats. Thanks to Think Progress for most of this morning’s Quotes.”

Monday, August 14, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Fly the Friendly Skies

“When Vice President Cheney went out of his way Wednesday to blast Democrats as weak on terrorism, he knew something that few Americans knew: Another stark reminder of the dangers of terrorism was about to hit the headlines.
The White House confirmed Thursday that senior administration officials have been aware since at least last weekend that British authorities were moving toward arrests in an alleged terrorism plot.
Some of these top officials worked in concert with the Republican National Committee to blast Democrats after Tuesday's primary defeat of Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a supporter of President Bush's Iraqi war strategy.”
-Cox News Service, August 11, 2006

“Sure, Cheney knew about the impending terror arrests, but that isn’t the point. He was just showing, once again, that the Democrats are bad for national security. Only the Republican party can save us from the terror of.. um.. terror.”

“The TSA, which has a budget of $6.2 billion and has seen its number of screeners drop to 43,000 from 55,000 in 2002, is one of the last lines of defense in the country's efforts to battle terrorism, particularly attacks directed at airplanes.”
-Washington Post, August 13, 2006

“We don’t need those additional 12,000 screeners. They were just bogging down our streamlined airport security systems.”

“Lawmakers and recently retired Homeland Security officials say they are concerned the department's research and development effort is bogged down by bureaucracy, lack of strategic planning and failure to use money wisely.
The department failed to spend $200 million in research and development money from past years, forcing lawmakers to rescind the money this summer.
The administration also was slow to start testing a new liquid explosives detector that the Japanese government provided to the United States earlier this year.”
-Associated Press, August 12, 2006

“I’m sure that they didn’t spend that $200 million because they already had everything under control and didn’t need to learn anything more. We shouldn’t worry.”

“The TSA should have banned liquids long ago or pushed more aggressively to develop technology to detect them because the threat from such explosives has been well-established for at least a decade, critics argue. They also wonder why the Department of Homeland Security, of which the TSA is a part, has seen its research and development budgets slashed from $110 billion in 2003 to $44 billion this year.”
-Washington Post, August 13, 2006

“See? The Administration must know what it is doing. No one in their right mind would cut $66 billion dollars from their R&D budget unless they really, honestly thought that they had every possible scenario covered. Especially with this huge threat of terrorism that they keep talking about.”

“The administration's most recent budget request also mystified lawmakers. It asked to take $6 million from the Sciences & Technology Directorate's 2006 budget that was supposed to be used to develop explosives detection technology and divert it to cover a budget shortfall in the Federal Protective Service, which provides security around government buildings.”
-Associated Press, August 12, 2006

“And that, as Dick Cheney will tell you, is why the Democrats are weak on national security. They just don’t take threats to government buildings seriously.”

Friday, August 11, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Its All in the Timing

“Let it never be said that I am too proud to admit when I am wrong.. Yesterday I was talking about Senator Joseph Lieberman, the loser in the recent Democratic primary election in Connecticut. I was critical of Senator Lieberman running as an independent in the general election because I believed that he would split the Democrat vote, and I noted that the Republicans, like Dick Cheney, were supporting him with statements like this…”

“The attacks came in searing remarks from, among others, Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee and Vice President Dick Cheney, who went so far as to suggest that the ouster of Mr. Lieberman might encourage ‘al Qaeda types.’
’It’s an unfortunate development, I think, from the standpoint of the Democratic Party, to see a man like Lieberman pushed aside because of his willingness to support an aggressive posture in terms of our national security strategy,’ Mr. Cheney said in a telephone interview with news service reporters.
Mr. Cheney offered warm praise for Mr. Lieberman, who was his opponent for vice president in 2000, though he said he did not want his remarks to be construed as an endorsement of Mr. Lieberman.

He cast Mr. Lieberman’s loss in ominous terms, suggesting that it would hearten American terrorist enemies. Terrorists, he said, are ‘betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.’”
-New York Times, August 10, 2006

“Well I’ve changed my mind. Judging from statements like this one…”

“Senator Joseph I. Lieberman seized on the terror arrests in Britain today to attack his Democratic rival, Ned Lamont, saying that Mr. Lamont’s goals for ending the war in Iraq would constitute a ‘victory’ for extremists, including those accused of plotting to blow up airliners traveling between Britain and the United States.
‘If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England,’ Mr. Lieberman said at a campaign event at lunchtime in Waterbury, Conn. ‘It will strengthen them and they will strike again.’”
-New York Times, August 10, 2006

“…I am now convinced that Senator Lieberman may actually end up splitting the Republican vote. Heck, he’s more Republican than most of the Republicans out there, and far, far too far to the right to be a legitimate concern to the Democratic party. Look out neo-cons, Joltin’ Joe is coming for your job.
Meanwhile, in the war that Lieberman refuses to contemplate leaving…”

“A suicide bomber blew himself up Thursday among pilgrims outside Iraq's holiest Shiite shrine, killing 35 people and wounding 122. A radical Sunni group claimed it carried out the attack in the southern city of Najaf, warning Shiites they are not safe even ‘deep in your regions.’

At least 37 other people were killed or found dead Thursday elsewhere in Iraq, police said. They included five civilians who died when a mortar shell struck a cafe in a Shiite Muslim area of north Baghdad.”
-Associated Press, August 10, 2006

“Figures compiled by the city morgue indicated Wednesday that the number of killings in the Iraqi capital reached a new high last month, and the U.S. military said a new effort to bring security to Baghdad will succeed only if Iraqis ‘want it to work.’

The Baghdad morgue took in 1,815 bodies during July, news services quoted the facility's assistant manager, Abdul Razzaq al-Obeidi, as saying. The previous month's tally was 1,595. Obeidi estimated that as many as 90 percent of the total died violent deaths.”
-Washington Post, August 10, 2006

“Thank Goddess there was a terrorist threat to make us all realize that we aren’t safe and that we need the Administration to keep us safe. Darn good timing at a moment when it looked like the pro-peace side of the nation (polling at about 60% of the people out there) might just be winning.”

“The London conspiracy is ‘a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation,’ the president said on a day trip to Wisconsin.”
-AFP, August 10, 2006

“As a side note.. What the heck is an Islamic fascist? I mean, I know that calling people fascists is the new hipness, but one of the defining aspects of fascism is a belief in the State over all. Nationalism is vital to the concept, and I don’t think that anyone has seriously proposed that the people who are fighting us are doing it for nationalistic reasons. I now return you to your news article already in progress..”

‘It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America,’ he said. ‘We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously we still aren't completely safe.’
His remarks came a day after the White House orchestrated an exceptionally aggressive campaign to tar opposition Democrats as weak on terrorism, knowing what Democrats didn't: News of the plot could soon break.
Vice President Dick Cheney and White House spokesman Tony Snow had argued that Democrats wanted to raise what Snow called ‘a white flag in the war on terror,’ citing as evidence the defeat of a three-term Democratic senator who backed the Iraq war in his effort to win renomination.
But Bush aides on Thursday fought the notion that they had exploited their knowledge of the coming British raid to hit Democrats, saying the trigger had been the defeat of Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut by an anti-war political novice.
‘The comments were purely and simply a reaction’ to Democratic voters who ‘removed a pro-defense Senator and sent the message that the party would not tolerate candidates with such views,’ said Snow.
The public relations offensive ‘was not done in anticipation. It was not said with the knowledge that this was coming,’ the spokesman said.
Snow said Bush first learned in detail about the plot on Friday, and received two detailed briefings on it on Saturday and Sunday, as well as had two conversations about it with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
But a senior White House official said that the British government had not launched its raid until well after Cheney held a highly unusual conference call with reporters to attack the Democrats as weak against terrorism.”
-AFP, August 10, 2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Joementum

“As you may be aware, Senator Joe Lieberman, one time Democratic vice-presidential nominee and war-hawk supporter of Dubya’s, lost the Democratic election to run for Senator the other day. He is taking it with the grace and aplomb that one would expect from his distinguished history.”

“For his part, Lieberman, 64, vowed to wage an independent campaign to hold his seat regardless of pressure to drop out and endorse Democratic nominee Ned Lamont, 52.
‘My mind is made up,’ Lieberman said on NBC's ‘Today’ show. ‘I'm going forward. I'm going forward because I'm fed up with all the partisanship in Washington that stops us from getting anything done.’"
-Seattle Times, August 10, 2006

“Yes. What a wonderful idea. Lieberman can split the Democratic vote in Connecticut by running as a third party. That only makes sense. I mean, sure he was voted out in the primary election, but democracy isn’t about letting people vote for who leads them. It is about letting the people in power stay there. I mean, why not run as a third party since the voters obviously don’t know what is good for them?”

“For Republicans to be putting Ralph Nader on television in a paid ad, certainly might lead your average observer to be cynical.”
-Senator Joe Lieberman, October 2000

“A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush.”
-Senator Joe Lieberman, September 2000

“That was entirely different. That was about Republicans supporting the third party in order to split the Democrat vote. This is different. This is about a Senator deliberately running against his own party. The Republicans are not involved at all.”

“The attacks came in searing remarks from, among others, Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee and Vice President Dick Cheney, who went so far as to suggest that the ouster of Mr. Lieberman might encourage ‘al Qaeda types.’
‘It’s an unfortunate development, I think, from the standpoint of the Democratic Party, to see a man like Lieberman pushed aside because of his willingness to support an aggressive posture in terms of our national security strategy,’ Mr. Cheney said in a telephone interview with news service reporters.
Mr. Cheney offered warm praise for Mr. Lieberman, who was his opponent for vice president in 2000, though he said he did not want his remarks to be construed as an endorsement of Mr. Lieberman.

He cast Mr. Lieberman’s loss in ominous terms, suggesting that it would hearten American terrorist enemies. Terrorists, he said, are ‘betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.’”
-New York Times, August 10, 2006

“Joe Lieberman: Good enough for the Republicans. Good enough for Dick Cheney.”

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Yadda Yadda Yadda

“You know, I hear people say, Well, civil war this, civil war that.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 7, 2006

“Yeah, I know. People keep talking about Iraq falling into civil war. Blah, blah, blah… Can’t these people talk about anything good? It is such a total bummer when people keep going on about this stupid civil war stuff.”

“The top US commander in the Middle East, General John Abizaid of the Army, told a Senate panel last week that fighting in Baghdad is at its highest level since the US-led invasion and threatens to split Iraq among sectarian factions. Some lawmakers, including Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, have said there already is civil war.”
-Bloomberg News Service, August 8, 2006

“Stupid generals and Republican Senators. What do they know? I mean, we got rid of Saddam! He was a very bad person. We brought American Freedom™ to the Iraqi people! Why the heck can’t these people just accept how good they have it now and be grateful?”

“A series of bombings and shootings killed at least 31 people Tuesday, most in the Baghdad area, as more U.S. troops were seen in the capital as part of a campaign to reduce Sunni-Shiite violence that threatens civil war.

Three bombs exploded simultaneously near the Interior Ministry buildings in central Baghdad, killing 10 people and wounding eight, police Lt. Bilal Ali Majid said.
A couple of hours later, two roadside bombs ripped through the main Shurja market, also in central Baghdad, killing 10 civilians and wounding 50, police Lt. Mohammed Kheyoun said.”
-Washington Post, August 9, 2006

“Iraq, and particularly Baghdad, has been engulfed in sectarian bloodshed since February, as tit-for-tat attacks by militias and death squads have killed thousands of people from both communities.

Bodies of people are found daily across the country, especially in Baghdad, where kidnappers dump the tortured corpses of the victims by the roadside and in the Tigris river.
In May and June alone, around 6,000 people were killed in such bloodletting across Iraq, the UN said in a report last month.”
-Gulf Times, August 8, 2006

“Hey, those people at least died free instead of being trapped in long, lingering lives under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Our work in Iraq has been good and noble. We have freed the Iraqi people from a brutal dictator. Now we just need to get people to stop talking about how we did it…”

“The Bush administration has drafted amendments to a war crimes law that would eliminate the risk of prosecution for political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel for humiliating or degrading war prisoners, according to U.S. officials and a copy of the amendments.
Officials say the amendments would alter a U.S. law passed in the mid-1990s that criminalized violations of the Geneva Conventions, a set of international treaties governing military conduct in wartime. The conventions generally bar the cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment of wartime prisoners without spelling out what all those terms mean.”
-Washington Post, August 8, 2006

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