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Four Color Politics

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

Friday, September 29, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: The Guttenberg Report

“It is not secret that the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan are both disasters, so here to explain the situations are quotes from another great disaster: The film career of Steve Guttenberg. Enjoy.”

“My name is Lieutenant Harris, in case you missed it. This is Sergeant Callahan, in case you missed it. We are the meanest instructors here. We've got you because you are the worst people here. From now on, you are ‘D’ Squad; ‘D’ for ‘dirtbags.’ When I say: ‘Hey, dirtbags.’ that means you. I'm going to make you hate me for the rest of your lives.”
-Lieutenant Harris, Police Academy

“A $75 million project to build the largest police academy in Iraq has been so grossly mismanaged that the campus now poses health risks to recruits and might need to be partially demolished, U.S. investigators have found.”
-Washington Post, September 28, 2006

“Lieutenant Harris: You make me sick.

Carey Mahoney: Thank you, sir. I make everybody sick.”
-Police Academy

“The Baghdad Police College, hailed as crucial to U.S. efforts to prepare Iraqis to take control of the country's security, was so poorly constructed that feces and urine rained from the ceilings in student barracks. Floors heaved inches off the ground and cracked apart. Water dripped so profusely in one room that it was dubbed ‘the rain forest.’”
-Washington Post, September 28, 2006

“I'm an architect for Christ sake, I build 50 story skyscrapers, I assemble cities of the future, I can certainly put together a goddam diaper.”
-Peter Mitchell, Three Men and a Baby

“What do you think would be the problem with the Taliban if we left all those soldiers in Afghanistan? Do you think they’d have been a 50 percent increase in the heroin poppy or the opium poppy production? Do you think the women would be running around that country now, reportedly some of them are having to wear burqas again as the Taliban begins to reassert its influence? I don’t think so and, and I think both of these guys are probably reluctant to say, ‘You know President Bush, you’re part of the problem. You decided to invade Iraq.”
-Jack Cafferty, The Situation Room, CNN, September 27, 2006

“There's a quarter of a million dollars in heroin in the diaper pail and the new baby wipes are in the hall cabinet.”
-Peter Mitchell, Three Men and a Baby

“Peter, this is a girl. Should we be doing this?”
-Michael Kellam, Three Men and a Baby

“A U.S. Army investigator has recommended that four American soldiers who face charges in connection with the rape and killing of 14-year-old girl and the killing of her family face a court-martial, a lawyer in the case confirmed on Monday.”
-Associated Press, September 4, 2006

“I am thinking she is a virgin. Or at least she used to be.”
-Ben Jabituya, Short Circuit

“Howard Marner: What if it goes out and melts down a bus load of nuns? How would you like to write the headline on that one?

Benjamin Jabituya: Nun soup?”
-Short Circuit

“A federal judge rejected a gag order that could have kept lawyers and even President Bush from publicly discussing the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the slaying of her relatives.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell said there is ‘no reason to believe’ that a former soldier's right to a fair trial would be jeopardy.
In a ruling Thursday, Russell also ordered former Pvt. Steven D. Green, 21, to be arraigned Nov. 8 in federal court in Louisville.
Investigators say Green and four other soldiers from the Fort Campbell-based 101st Airborne Division plotted to rape the girl in the village of Mahmoudiya. Green is accused of being the triggerman in the shooting of three family members in a room of the girl's house before she was raped and killed.
Defense lawyers had asked the judge to silence a variety of people, from the attorneys in the case to Bush.”
-Associated Press, September 1, 2006

“The bodies of 40 men who were shot and had their hands and feet bound have been found in the capital over the past 24 hours, police said Thursday.
All the victims showed signs of torture, police Lt. Thayer Mahmoud said. They were dumped in several neighborhoods in both eastern and western Baghdad, he said.”
-Associated Press, September 28, 2006

“I'll hit you so hard, I'll kill your whole family.”
-Billy, Diner

“The compromise legislation does not seek to narrow U.S. obligations under the Geneva Conventions in the treatment of prisoners, as Bush had hoped. But it would give the executive branch substantial leeway in deciding how to comply with treaty obligations.
It would bar military commissions from considering testimony obtained through interrogation techniques that involve ‘cruel, unusual or inhumane treatment or punishment,’ which is proscribed by the 5th, 8th and 14th amendments to the Constitution. But the bar would be retroactive to Dec. 30, 2005, when Congress adopted the Detainee Treatment Act, sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to protect CIA operatives from being prosecuted over interrogation tactics used before then.”
-Washington Post and the New York Times, September 28, 2006

“Originally I had non-military purposes in mind. I designed it as a marital aid.”
-Newton Crosby, Short Circuit

“My feet were tied to that ring as I mentioned before. They then laid me out on my back and put the extra shackles on top of my hand shackles and pulled me by them forcefully and brutally in the opposite direction, towards my feet, while I was lying on my back. Then the investigator signaled to a soldier who [had] a pair of scissors in his hand to cut off all my clothes (sic). The soldiers cut off all my clothes, removed them and threw them in a corner of the room. The investigator then started taking off her clothes -- the soldier with the camera was filming everything. When she was in her underwear, she stood on top of me. She took off her underpants, she was wearing a sanitary towel, and drops of her menstrual blood fell on me and then she assaulted me.”
-Testimony of Guantánamo detainee Jumah al-Dossari, posted by Amnesty International, December 16, 2005

“With excitement like this, who is needing enemas?”
-Ben Jabituya, Short Circuit

“The House and Senate bills allow use of interrogation methods that would be tougher than what the military uses but do not specify what is permitted or banned.
Waterboarding, in which a prisoner is strapped to a board and made to believe he is drowning, would be banned, according to those who helped broker the deal. McCain allies and some human-rights advocates say sleep deprivation and exposure to extreme temperatures would be banned.”
-Washington Post and the New York Times, September 28, 2006

“Do you ever get the feeling that there's something going on that we don't know about?”
-Timothy Fenwick, Jr, Diner

“Attempting to confront criticism that the war in Iraq has made the world more dangerous by recruiting and training a new generation of terrorists, President Bush today ordered a public release of a summary of a classified National Intelligence Estimate that was made of the war against terrorism in April.
At the same time, Bush angrily complained of a leak that released a select finding of the NIE to newspapers over the weekend.
’Once again,’ Bush said angrily, ‘there's a leak out of our government, coming right down the stretch in this campaign, you know, to create confusion in the minds of the American people. In my judgment, it's why they leaked it…. You can read it for yourself. We'll stop all the speculation, all the politics about somebody saying something about Iraq, you know, somebody trying to confuse the American people about the nature of this enemy… Everybody can draw their own conclusions about what the report says.’
The White House has ordered Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte to release a summary of the report, once sensitive information about methods or sources is redacted.”
-Chicago Tribune, September 26, 2006

“Frankie, you broke the unwritten law. You ratted on your friends. When you do that Frankie, you're enemies don't respect you. You got no friends no more. You got nobody, Frankie.”
-Number 5, Short Circuit

“Descriptions of the National Intelligence Estimate had surfaced in newspapers over the weekend, the result of what the president called politically motivated leaks.
Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte released the summary Tuesday -- the first time a current N.I.E. has been declassified since the flawed 2002 Iraq estimate.
News of the classified document overshadowed the president's meeting with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, who said his country was grateful for U.S. support.
‘I think it's a bad habit for our government to declassify every time there is a leak,’ President Bush said. ‘Because it means it will be difficult to get good product out of our analysts.’"
-NPR, All Things Considered, September 26, 2006

“Yes, I'd like to speak to one of your head warmongers, please.”
-Stephanie Speck, Short Circuit

“Central Ohio Thursday will get its second presidential visit this week.
On Tuesday, first lady Laura Bush was in Granville helping to raise money for Republican congressional candidate Joy Padgett.
Thursday afternoon, President George W. Bush will be in suburban Columbus for a fundraiser for GOP Rep. Deborah Pryce.
It's being held at the home of Limited Brands founder and CEO Leslie Wexner and his wife, Abigail. According to the invitation, admission to the reception is $1,500 per person and $2,100 per couple. A photo opportunity with the president costs $5,000.
The trip is the president's second to Ohio this week. He stopped in Cincinnati on Monday.”
-WHIOTV.com, September 28, 2006

“You're my favorite Martian.”
-Jack Bonner, Cocoon: The Return

“I make no apologies. My only regret is that I couldn’t find any decent quotes from The Day After.”

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Who's on Jihad?

“Abbot: Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third...
Costello: That's what I want to find out.
Abbott: I say Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third.
-Abbot and Costello

“Q A couple things. You said, first of all, that al Qaeda has been degraded. Actually, the report said al Qaeda's leadership has been degraded, but that its ranks have increased. You also just --
MR. SNOW: But operational -- okay.
Q Let me just finish and go through here. You also said that -- you're talking about things the administration has done and, yet, the intelligence estimate is taking this into account and coming up with this conclusion that the factors fueling this growth of the movement, they report, outweigh the vulnerability of the movement and will do so for some time. That's not ‘we're safer.’
MR. SNOW: No. It talks about jihadism.
Q It's also not ‘we're winning.’
MR. SNOW: Well, it doesn't draw judgments like that. You've read the National Intelligence Estimate.
Q I'm practically quoting verbatim from the report. I could read it.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: Are you the manager?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: You gonna be the coach too?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: And you don't know the fellows' names?
Abbott: Well I should.
Costello: Well then who's on first?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: I mean the fellow's name.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy on first.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The first baseman.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy playing...
Abbott: Who is on first!”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q Well, again, the report says, ‘factors fueling the movement outweigh the vulnerabilities.’ It says they're not --
MR. SNOW: Yes, but --
Q -- that the movement has grown, and that it's harder to find and harder to prevent attacks.
MR. SNOW: I believe what it says. You've gotten it about right.
Q And they're training new leaders who are being battle-tested in Iraq.
MR. SNOW: No, it says -- let's run through it, because these are all good questions. First, it says -- let's see -- what you're talking about -- I'm sorry. Where are we here? Rephrase the one that you're going after here.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: I'm asking YOU who's on first.
Abbott: That's the man's name.
Costello: That's who's name?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.
Abbott: That's it.
Costello: That's who?
Abbott: Yes.”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q Let's see --
Q The vulnerabilities question.
Q Right. Well, we can go back over -- I can read you verbatim --
MR. SNOW: All right, here we go. Yes, the -- okay, that's -- thank you.
Q -- but we're also talking about harder -- you know, the ‘confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups.’
MR. SNOW: Right. Which is precisely why the President has said -- if you look back at what the President has been saying, he says it's numerous and more dispersed. We're not disagreeing with that. I'm not trying to pick a fight with it.
What I'm trying to tell you is, there's a difference between an al Qaeda that has training camps, that has the operational ability. What this is talking about is the ability to get people to say, I'm a jihadist, and be angry, to identify themselves as part of a movement. It's not the same --
Q Tony, he says we're winning the war on terrorism. That's what he says.
MR. SNOW: I know.
Q And there are more of them. They're more dispersed. They're harder to find. And, yet, the President is saying, we're winning the war on terrorism.
MR. SNOW: That's right. But we're also fighting the war on terrorism.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: Look, you gotta first baseman?
Abbott: Certainly.
Costello: Who's playing first?
Abbott: That's right.
Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?
Abbott: Every dollar of it.
Costello: All I'm trying to find out is the fellow's name on first base.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy that gets...
Abbott: That's it.
Costello: Who gets the money...
Abbott: He does, every dollar. Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.
Costello: Whose wife?
Abbott: Yes.”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q Tony, let me refocus for a second here, because when this story broke, it seemed to me that the question here was whether or not the NIE, at least according to the part that was leaked, suggested that the war in Iraq, as a part of the general war on terror, was creating more terrorists, not fewer. And it seemed as though the administration's first response had to do with how the information came out, or that it was a small part. Is there -- do you have an issue with that statement?
MR. SNOW: Yes, as a matter of fact, I called you and took issue with it because there's a difference between causation and something that's simply -- two phenomena that happen to go side-by-side.
Q So it's a misreading of the report?
MR. SNOW: The report does not say that Iraq is -- it says that Iraq jihad is a contributing factor to trying to recruit people to jihad. It doesn't say that Iraq has made terrorism worse. And that is the shorthand that was employed in a number of cases.
Q I'm sorry -- spell out the difference for me?
MR. SNOW: Real simple, number one --
Q -- read it.
MR. SNOW: Yes, here it is. No, I'd be happy to read the sentence, I'll do it for everybody, because there are two parts to it -- and only the first half was leaked.
‘The Iraq conflict has become a cause celebre for jihadists breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement,’ correct? ‘Supporters.’ That's right. People say they -- this is what we're talking about, we're talking about supporters of a global jihadist movement. What it doesn't say is we now have tens of thousands more people armed and ready to hit the United States. It doesn't say that. It says that they're creating an atmosphere where people are identifying themselves as jihadists’.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Abbott: What's wrong with that?
Costello: Look, all I wanna know is when you sign up the first baseman, how does he sign his name?
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: How does he sign...
Abbott: That's how he signs it.
Costello: Who?
Abbott: Yes.”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q But it seems to me that what is being suggested here --and maybe we're -- the question is, how do we define ‘jihad,’ and is it the same thing? Is their ‘jihad’ our ‘war in Iraq’? And maybe we're just having a problem with terms. But it seems to me that what is being suggested here is that what is going on in Iraq, that conflict is creating more jihadists, terrorists -- I'm not sure what term you want to use here.
MR. SNOW: You know what's being used? It's -- what it's doing is, it's trying -- and let me go see if I can find the bin Laden quote here. What bin Laden tries to do is to use events as a way of stirring up hatred so that he can get people who will identify -- who will support him. That does not mean -- and I want to make -- because I don't know -- you try to make the distinction. People who say, yes, I support bin Laden is a lot different than people who say, I'm strapping on the vest and going to kill Americans. That's a difference.
And so you've got a jihadist movement where there has been propaganda – “
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: All I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name on first base.
Abbott: No. What is on second base.
Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.
Abbott: Who's on first.
Costello: One base at a time!
Abbott: Well, don't change the players around.
Costello: I'm not changing nobody!
Abbott: Take it easy, buddy.
Costello: I'm only asking you, who's the guy on first base?
Abbott: That's right.
Costello: Ok.
Abbott: All right.”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q But it does say that --
Q That's exactly what this is suggesting --
Q Jihadists aren't on the sidelines. They're not just --
MR. SNOW: No, it's -- no, I --
Q They're not spectators.
MR. SNOW: They're also not people -- they are not people -- well, a lot of them are. But the other --
Q By definition, they're not spectators.
MR. SNOW: No, there's no definition in here.
Q The word, ‘jihadist.’
MR. SNOW: A jihadist is somebody who says --
Q That implies action.
MR. SNOW: Well, but what's interesting is --
Q Finish that sentence, ‘jihadist is somebody who says,’ what?
MR. SNOW: A jihadist is somebody who says that they believe -- that they believe that these kind of actions, that terror, in fact, will provide a road to glory. So they believe it. They buy the ideology.
Q So you're suggesting we've created more people who dislike us, but not more people who want to harm us.
MR. SNOW: Well, they may even want to harm us. “
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: What's the guy's name on first base?
Abbott: No. What is on second.
Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.
Abbott: Who's on first.
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott: He's on third, we're not talking about him.
Costello: Now how did I get on third base?
Abbott: Why you mentioned his name.
Costello: If I mentioned the third baseman's name, who did I say is playing third?
Abbott: No. Who's playing first.
Costello: What's on first?
Abbott: What's on second.
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott: He's on third.
Costello: There I go, back on third again!”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q Tony, trying to understand your response to Jim's question, you're saying -- to paraphrase, you at the risk of becoming the new PR --
MR. SNOW: That's okay.
Q -- that the report says that Iraq is creating more jihadists, but that this doesn't necessarily mean it's creating more terror.
MR. SNOW: No, what it says is there are contributing factors to the jihadi movement. It does not try to render a judgment about what's -- if there is a single factor creating more. As you go back and take a look at the four parts, you have a number of things that are fueling the growth in the jihadi movement. You know what? It's perfectly possible that the war in Iraq is creating more people who say that they want to be jihadis.
Q Right, so --
MR. SNOW: Perfectly possible.
Q But that doesn't mean that these people are terrorists, is that what you're saying?
MR. SNOW: It does not mean that they have the operational capability, because we have been, in fact, on a very aggressive and continued campaign that has succeeded. And the President laid that out. A number of terror plots have been intercepted and interceded.
Q But you're making a distinction that the report doesn't make. I mean, the report says, using the word ‘jihadist,’ it says, ‘We judge that most jihadist groups -- both well known and newly formed -- will use improvised explosive devices and suicide attack.’ It says, ‘CBRN capabilities will continue to be sought by jihadist groups.’
They're saying jihadists, not terrorists. If Iraq is creating more jihadists, doesn't that according to the logic of the report mean that it's creating more terrorists?
MR. SNOW: Okay, it's creating more people who want to commit acts of terror. And it gets back to the practical judgment, which is neither addressed nor answered in here, and I will try to get "greater granularity" for you, about whether or not the operational capability is the same.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: Would you just stay on third base and don't go off it.
Abbott: All right, what do you want to know?
Costello: Now who's playing third base?
Abbott: Why do you insist on putting Who on third base?
Costello: What am I putting on third.
Abbott: No. What is on second.
Costello: You don't want who on second?
Abbott: Who is on first.
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott & Costello Together:Third base!”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q I'm not arguing with your other point, which is simply that there's more terrorists but they're less effective. What I'm saying is that this report seems to be very clearly stating that Iraq is creating more jihadists, which it equates in this report with terrorists. And, furthermore, there's another phrase that specifically mentions terrorists that says, ‘We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives.’ Those are more terrorists.
MR. SNOW: Yes, no -- more terrorist leaders and operatives. Absolutely right. And once again, in part because you have a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives, in part because the old generation has suffered significant casualties -- Zarqawi and others -- but, yes, you've got a new generation. And the question we have to keep asking ourselves is, operationally, what can they do and how can they do it. And I don't disagree.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: Look, you gotta outfield?
Abbott: Sure.
Costello: The left fielder's name?
Abbott: Why.
Costello: I just thought I'd ask you.
Abbott: Well, I just thought I'd tell ya.
Costello: Then tell me who's playing left field.
Abbott: Who's playing first.
Costello: I'm not... stay out of the infield! I want to know what's the guy's name in left field?
Abbott: No, What is on second.
Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.
Abbott: Who's on first!
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott & Costello Together: Third base!”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q Can I just go back to your argument? Just so I'm clear. There is another way to say it, that the Americans should take comfort because while there may be more seeds of terrorist ideology across the globe, they're not in full bloom, full operational bloom --
MR. SNOW: That's probably -- but the other thing is, I don't want -- that's a good way of putting it. Now, you know, the PR crown now passes to you. But let me –“
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: The left fielder's name?
Abbott: Why.
Costello: Because!
Abbott: Oh, he's centerfield.”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q But why should that be a comforting thought, it's --
MR. SNOW: But let me -- I was about to answer that part. You don't sit back and take comfort. What you do is you say, we've got an enemy, we've got to beat them.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: Look, You gotta pitcher on this team?
Abbott: Sure.
Costello: The pitcher's name?
Abbott: Tomorrow.
Costello: You don't want to tell me today?
Abbott: I'm telling you now.
Costello: Then go ahead.
Abbott: Tomorrow!
Costello: What time?
Abbott: What time what?
Costello: What time tomorrow are you gonna tell me who's pitching?
Abbott: Now listen. Who is not pitching.
Costello: I'll break your arm, you say who's on first! I want to know what's the pitcher's name?
Abbott: What's on second.
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott & Costello Together: Third base!”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q Change of subject, but not venue. The Washington Post is carrying a series of polls saying that the Iraqi people most affected by our so-called war want us out, want us out of Iraq. What is the President's reaction?
MR. SNOW: Not really surprised. I mean, nobody wants to have an occupying army. It's understanding that when you have an army on your soil, that you want them out. But on the other hand, the Iraqi government has made it clear, and you've heard statements by Prime Minister Maliki, and now President Talabani, as recently as last week, saying, don't leave until the job is done.
We understand the sentiments of the Iraqi people and we'd love to be out of there as soon as possible, but you have to have the end state – “
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: Gotta a catcher?
Abbott: Certainly.
Costello: The catcher's name?
Abbott: Today.
Costello: Today, and tomorrow's pitching.
Abbott: Now you've got it.
Costello: All we got is a couple of days on the team.”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q Well, do they count?
MR. SNOW: Of course, they count -- and one of the reasons why their elected officials want us to stay is that they don't want them subjected to tyranny. They want the ability to win the battle of terror on Iraqi soil. So the President does understand it. It's also interesting, Helen –“
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: You know I'm a catcher too.
Abbott: So they tell me.
Costello: I get behind the plate to do some fancy catching, Tomorrow's pitching on my team and a heavy hitter gets up. Now the heavy hitter bunts the ball. When he bunts the ball, me, being a good catcher, I'm gonna throw the guy out at first base. So I pick up the ball and throw it to who?
Abbott: Now that's the first thing you've said right.
Costello: I don't even know what I'm talking about!”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q -- on Iraqi soil. We want it on Iraqi soil.
MR. SNOW: Let me just finish the -- I'm sorry, what?
Q I said, the question of winning, we declared Iraq a central front and so forth -- we want it there, instead -- and they want out.
MR. SNOW: Well, no, we didn't declare Iraq the central front, bin Laden did.
Q Yes, we did.
MR. SNOW: Bin Laden declared it the central front in the war on terror. But we're quibbling here. They want us out. Yes, of course. The Europeans wanted us out after World War II. We ended –“
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Abbott: That's all you have to do.
Costello: Is to throw the ball to first base.
Abbott: Yes!
Costello: Now who's got it?
Abbott: Naturally.”
-Abbot and Costello

“Q Why do we stay there?
MR. SNOW: The reason we're staying is that we have made a commitment to providing a government -- a democracy --
Q A commitment to whom?
MR. SNOW: To the people of Iraq and to their government, a government than can sustain itself, defend itself, and govern itself. And we are continuing --
Q We invaded that country.
MR. SNOW: Please, please, we're getting into the heckle zone here. The point is that the government has asked us and you have now had a Shia prime minister and a Kurdish President saying, stay, finish the job.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, September 27, 2006

“Costello: Look, if I throw the ball to first base, somebody's gotta get it. Now who has it?
Abbott: Naturally.
Costello: Who?
Abbott: Naturally.
Costello: Naturally?
Abbott: Naturally.
Costello: So I pick up the ball and I throw it to Naturally.
Abbott: No you don't, you throw the ball to Who.
Costello: Naturally.
Abbott: That's different.
Costello: That's what I said.
Abbott: You're not saying it...
Costello: I throw the ball to Naturally.
Abbott: You throw it to Who.
Costello: Naturally.
Abbott: That's it.
Costello: That's what I said!
Abbott: You ask me.
Costello: I throw the ball to who?
Abbott: Naturally.
Costello: Now you ask me.
Abbott: You throw the ball to Who?
Costello: Naturally.
Abbott: That's it.
Costello: Same as you! Same as YOU! I throw the ball to who. Whoever it is drops the ball and the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to What. What throws it to I Don't Know. I Don't Know throws it back to Tomorrow, Triple play. Another guy gets up and hits a long fly ball to Because. Why? I don't know! He's on third and I don't give a darn!
Abbott: What?
Costello: I said I don't give a darn!
Abbott: Oh, that's our shortstop.”
-Abbot and Costello

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Safer Already

"’What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years,’ Rice said during a meeting with editors and reporters at the New York Post.
The newspaper published her comments after Mr. Clinton appeared on "Fox News Sunday" in a combative interview in which he defended his handling of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and said he "worked hard" to have the al Qaeda leader killed.
‘That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now,’ Mr. Clinton said in the interview. ‘They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try, they did not try.’
Rice disputed his assessment.
‘The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn't do that is just flatly false? and I think the 9/11 commission understood that,’ she said.
Rice also took exception to Mr. Clinton's statement that he ‘left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy’ for incoming officials when he left office.
‘We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda,’ she told the newspaper, which is owned by News Corp., the same company that owns Fox News Channel.”
-ABC News, September 26, 2006

“So Condi is claiming that President Clinton lied and that no comprehensive strategy was left for them.. Hmm… Let’s look into that.”

“A memo received by United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shortly after becoming National Security Advisor in 2001 directly contradicts statements she made to reporters yesterday, RAW STORY has learned.

We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda,’ Rice told a reporter for the New York Post on Monday. ‘Big pieces were missing,’ Rice added, ‘like an approach to Pakistan that might work, because without Pakistan you weren't going to get Afghanistan.’
Rice made the comments in response to claims made Sunday by former President Bill Clinton, who argued that his administration had done more than the current one to address the al Qaeda problem before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She stopped short of calling the former president a liar.
However, RAW STORY has found that just five days after President George W. Bush was sworn into office, a memo from counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke to Rice included the 2000 document, ‘Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al-Qida: Status and Prospects.’ This document devotes over 2 of its 13 pages of material to specifically addressing strategies for securing Pakistan's cooperation in airstrikes against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.”
-Raw Story, September 26, 2006

“I won’t say that Condi lied. I’ll just say that it looks like she didn’t do all of her required reading. You know, kind of like when Bush didn’t pay any attention to this…”

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

“Still… All’s well that end’s well. I mean, sure we lost a few thousand people that day in a horrific terrorist attack, but we are taking the War on Terror directly back to the source, Iraq, to eliminate it once and for all. We may have lost the battle of 9/11, but we are winning the War on Terror.”

“Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion.”
-National Intelligence Estimate “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States”, April 2006

“Um, the war may need to go into extra innings though. It seems that they are making terrorists faster than we can kill them off.”

“If this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide.”
-National Intelligence Estimate “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States”, April 2006

“So it sounds like the situation is getting less safe rather than more. Why are these Muslims so upset with us?”

“The Iraq conflict has become the ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.

We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate.”
-National Intelligence Estimate “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States”, April 2006

“Iraq? That can’t be right. They can’t be upset with us for spreading American Freedom™ to the poor Iraqi people. We’re there to kill terrorists. The Iraqi people understand that (except the ones that we accidentally kill or torture). This makes it sound like the world is getting worse instead of better because of the War on Terra.”

“Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint.”
-National Intelligence Estimate “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States”, April 2006

“Dang. Well, you know what would help take global attention away from the Iraq War? We should invade Iran!”

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
-George Santayana

"I think it's clear that we are safe -- safer -- but not really yet safe.”
-Condoleeza Rice, September 10, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: It's Getting Better All the Time

“It's getting better all the time
I used to get mad at my school (No I can't complain)
The teachers who taught me weren't cool (No I can't complain)
You're holding me down (Oh), turning me round (Oh)
Filling me up with your rules (Foolish rules)
I've got to admit it's getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can't get more worse)
I have to admit it's getting better (Better)
It's getting better”
-The Beatles, “Getting Better”

“For the first time, young girls go to school in Afghanistan, thanks to the United States and our coalition.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, July 1, 2002

“That’s wonderful. Good to hear it.”

“We're helping with the reconstruction and the founding of a democratic government. We're making steady progress in Afghanistan. New roads are being built, medical clinics are opening, there are new schools in Afghanistan where many young girls are now going to school for the first time, thanks to the United States of America.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 14, 2003

“Like I said.. Good to know that the girls can go to school.”

“And it was hard leadin' up the Afghan elections, as you remember. There was the lot of talk about how the -- somebody was gonna get killed and they couldn't vote. And sure enough, when people were given a chance, millions of people showed up, and the first voter was a woman in a country where women had been savaged by the former government run by the Taliban. So, look, I know it's hard.”
-January 7, 2005

“Women are voting in Afghanistan too. Glad to know that is happening.”

“Inspired by Afghan women who have boldly shed their burqas after years of Taliban repression, Laura Bush urged more educational opportunities and greater rights for women Wednesday in this war-wrecked nation.”
-Associated Press, March 30, 2005

''The survival of a free society ultimately depends on the participation of all its citizens, both men and women."
-Laura Bush, March 30, 2005

“Agreed, agreed… I’m just glad to hear how well things are are going for women in Afghanistan.”

“Speaking to a gathering of women at Kabul University, Mrs. Bush said, ‘The United States government is wholeheartedly committed to the full participation of women in all aspects of Afghan society, not just in Kabul, but in every province.’
That last clause was an acknowledgement that women's progress has lagged in Afghanistan's rural areas. Indeed, as Bush celebrates the progress of Afghan women since the fall of the Taliban three years ago, observers say women in rural areas remain captive to stubborn traditions that severely limit their role in public life.
‘Women's rights in Afghanistan has come a long way in the last three years,’ says Asefa Kakar, a judge in Afghanistan's Supreme Court. ‘Girls are going to school and women are working. But this is mostly in the cities. Rural Afghanistan is a long ways away from much needed change.’"
-Christian Science Monitor, March 31, 2005

“So… Sure, good about the girls in school thing. Getting better all the time. Fantastic.”

“It's hard for the Western mind to even comprehend what life was like for people in Afghanistan, but this is a society in which young girls couldn't go to school. And if you objected to their point of view, you were taken into the public square and whipped, or sometimes assassinated.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, August 3, 2005

“Again with the schools? Do we have any other signs of progress? I mean, that is fantastic and all, but I’m not sure that the fact that people that support girls’ education aren’t assassinated anymore is really all that incredible a sign of progress. I would think that that would be the bare minimum expected from a country.”

“Two gunmen on a motorbike killed the southern provincial head of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs outside her home Monday in apparent retribution for her efforts to help educate women, officials said.
Safia Ama Jan was slain outside the front gate of her Kandahar home as she was walking to her office, said Tawfiq ul-Ulhakim Parant, senior adviser to the women’s ministry in Kabul.
Ama Jan was known for being an active proponent of women’s rights and education in this former Taliban stronghold, a region where insurgents have turned increasingly violent in the last several months.”
-Associated Press, September 25, 2006

“I take that back. Having people that support the girls’ educations avoid assassination would still be a plus in Afghanistan. Wow. Wouldn’t it have been nice to actually stabilize Afghanistan before invading a second country?”

“Taliban-linked militants have stepped up their attacks across Afghanistan the last several months, though attacks in Kabul are still much rarer than in the country’s south.
Attacks in the capital are mostly aimed at foreign military troops. On Sept. 8, a suicide car bomber rammed into a U.S. Humvee, killing 16 people, including two U.S. soldiers. The attack was Kabul’s deadliest since the 2001 toppling of the Taliban.”
-Associated Press, September 25, 2006

“I can look you in the eye and tell you I feel I've tried to solve the problem diplomatically to the max, and would have committed troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq knowing what I know today.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 24, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Submitted Without Comment

“What the heck.. For once I’ll post without commenting too much. See if you can follow the thread here…”

“No one can argue that the Iraqi people would be better off with the thugs and murderers back in the palaces. Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 19, 2004

“The bad news is that Mr. Bush, as he made clear yesterday, intends to continue using the CIA to secretly detain and abuse certain terrorist suspects. He will do so by issuing his own interpretation of the Geneva Conventions in an executive order and by relying on questionable Justice Department opinions that authorize such practices as exposing prisoners to hypothermia and prolonged sleep deprivation.
Under the compromise agreed to yesterday, Congress would recognize his authority to take these steps and prevent prisoners from appealing them to U.S. courts. The bill would also immunize CIA personnel from prosecution for all but the most serious abuses and protect those who in the past violated U.S. law against war crimes.”
-Washington Post, September 22, 2006

“It's important for Americans and others across the world to understand the kind of people held at Guantanamo. These aren't common criminals, or bystanders accidentally swept up on the battlefield -- we have in place a rigorous process to ensure those held at Guantanamo Bay belong at Guantanamo.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 6, 2006

“It's hard to picture Haji Nasrat Khan as an international terrorist. For a start, the grey-bearded Afghan can barely walk, shuffling along on a three-wheeled walking frame. His sight is terrible -- he squints through milky eyes that sometimes roll towards the heavens -- while his helpers have to shout to make themselves heard. And as for his age -- nobody knows for sure, not even Nasrat himself. ‘I think I am 78, or maybe 79,’ he ventures uncertainly, pausing over a cup of green tea.
Yet for three and a half years the US government deemed this elderly, infirm man an ‘enemy combatant’, so dangerous to America's security that he was imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay.”
-Guardian (UK), September 22, 2006

"Clearly at the end of the day, we've got to eliminate that pool of people who are susceptible to becoming killers."
-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, August 11, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Not Concerned... With a Vengeance!

“BLITZER: Osama bin Laden's still at large, Ayman al-Zawahiri is still at large. What went wrong?
BUSH: Well, a lot went right. Khalid Sheik Mohammed is -- if we can get a good bill out of the Senate and the House -- is going to go on trial. Ramzi Binalshibh, Abu Zubaydah -- the whole ...
BLITZER: But the guys -- the major guys are still at large.
BUSH: Well, no question Osama bin Laden's at large, but the man who ordered the attack and about 75 to 80 percent of al Qaeda that was involved in planning and operating the attacks are in -- just -- Osama ...
BLITZER: But the United States is the most powerful country in the world ...
BUSH: Can I finish? Let me finish.
BLITZER: Why can't we find these guys?
BUSH: Wolf, thank you. Just give me a chance to finish.
Osama bin Laden is in hiding and we're still spending a lot of time trying to find him. But the key thing that the American people have got to know is that security comes not only with getting him -- which I'm convinced we will -- but also doing other things to protect them.”
-Interview with George ‘Dubya’ Bush, the Situation Room, CNN, September 20, 2006

“Osama who? Oh! You mean the guy behind 9/11! My mistake. I guess he is kind of important.”

“President George W Bush has compared Osama Bin Laden to Lenin and Hitler in a speech to US military officers.
‘Underestimating the words of evil and ambitious men is a terrible mistake,’ he said as he quoted extensively from Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures.
He said the world had ignored the writings of Lenin and Hitler ‘and paid a terrible price’ - adding the world must not to do the same with al-Qaeda.”
-BBC, September 5, 2006

“Wow.. Osama really is extra-super important. He’s like Hitler or Lenin! He is a horrible, terrible monster. I am sure that Fearless Leader will stop at nothing to bring him to American Justice™.”

“REPORTER: Is Osama bin Laden cornered? And when you weigh the pros and cons of either option, would you rather take him alive so you can question him, or dead so you don't have to deal with him?

DUBYA: I don't care. Dead or alive, either way. I mean, I -- it doesn't matter to me.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 14, 2001

“Yee-Haw! Saddle up the ponies, we’re gonna have us a lynchin’.”

“Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is -- really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission.
Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just -- he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is -- as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide -- if, in fact, he's hiding at all.
So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 13, 2002

“Whaaa? No lynching? You don’t spend that much time on him? Wow, it kind of sounds like you aren’t that concerned about him.”

"I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 13, 2002

“Really? Not even a little worried?”

“Uhh -- Gosh, I -- don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those, uhh, exaggerations.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, October 13, 2004

“Sorry Fearless Leader. My confusion obviously comes from my inability to remember the proper past.”

“He accepted everything. The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford were guilty of the crimes they were charged with. He had never seen the photograph that disproved their guilt. It had never existed, he had invented it. He remembered remembering contrary things, but those were false memories, products of selfdeception.”
-George Orwell, 1984

“I can assure the American people that had we had any inkling that this was going to happen, we would have done everything in our power to stop the attack.
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 13, 2004

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

“Here's what I feel about that. The person responsible for the attacks was Osama bin Laden. That's who's responsible for killing Americans. And that's why we will stay on the offense until we bring people to justice.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 13, 2004

“Yes! We’re going to have that lynching after all! We shall not stop until Osama is brought to justice!”

“The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.
The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.
The decision is a milestone for the agency, which formed the unit before Osama bin Laden became a household name and bolstered its ranks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush pledged to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice ‘dead or alive.’"
-New York Times, July 3, 2006

“Um.. I guess we will stop. So if catching Osama isn’t our big priority, what is?”

“One is to dismantle al Qaeda. Two is to listen to phone calls if al Qaeda's calling to the United States and respond to that. Three is to get information so we can prevent attack. Getting bin Laden is important, but putting things in place, putting procedures in place that protect you is equally important, and we're doing both.”
-Interview with George ‘Dubya’ Bush, the Situation Room, CNN, September 20, 2006

“Excuse me… If we dismantle al Qaeda do we still need to worry about tapping phone calls in the United States? I mean, seriously, that sounds like you’re just tacking that one on to justify the illegal wiretapping that they busted you on… Ok Fearless Leader, let’s wrap this up. You have referred to Osama as being like Hitler. Can you quickly and concisely let me know any way in which that is true?”

“I, I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 10, 2001

“Well, I’ve got to give you that one sir. I’m pretty sure that Hitler didn’t like Hanukkah either. For once I believe that you are entirely correct.”

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: For All the Right (Wing) Reasons

“Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that Congress should require Internet service providers to preserve customer records, asserting that prosecutors need them to fight child pornography.
He called the government's lack of access to customer data the biggest obstacle to deterring child porn.
‘We have to find a way for Internet service providers to retain information for a period of time so we can go back with a legal process to get them,’ he said.”
-Associated Press, September 19, 2006

“Yes. The information would just be used by the government to stop child pornography. They would never, ever, ever think of abusing that database, and you know that they would use the proper legal process to access the information.”

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

“The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.”
-USA Today, May 11, 2006

“You see, this Administration doesn’t exactly have a great history of respecting little things like laws and civil liberties.”

"We respect civil liberties but we have to harmonize this so we can get more information.”
-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, September 19, 2006

“Here is a simple rule for you. If someone says that they respect civil liberties ‘but’… well, they don’t respect civil liberties. He occasionally doesn’t make a lot of sense either..”

“President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale.”
-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, February 6, 2006

“I’m guessing, just guessing mind you, that President Washington had little or nothing to do with electronic surveillance. And Alberto hasn’t got exactly the best record in the world when it comes to human rights and associated topics.”

“Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Sunday he believes journalists can be prosecuted for publishing classified information, citing an obligation to national security.
The nation's top law enforcer also said the government will not hesitate to track telephone calls made by reporters as part of a criminal leak investigation, but officials would not do so routinely and randomly.
‘There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility,’ Gonzales said, referring to prosecutions. ‘We have an obligation to enforce those laws. We have an obligation to ensure that our national security is protected.’
‘We don't engage in domestic-to-domestic surveillance without a court order,’ Gonzales said, under a ‘probable cause’ legal standard.
But he added that the First Amendment right of a free press should not be absolute when it comes to national security. If the government's probe into the NSA leak turns up criminal activity, prosecutors have an ‘obligation to enforce the law.’”
‘It can't be the case that that right trumps over the right that Americans would like to see, the ability of the federal government to go after criminal activity,’ Gonzales told ABC's ‘This Week.’"
-Associated Press, May 21, 2006

“Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel, intervened directly with Justice Department lawyers in 2002 to obtain a legal ruling on the extent of the president's authority to permit extreme interrogation practices in the name of national security, current and former administration officials said Tuesday.

Mr. Gonzales's role in seeking a legal opinion on the definition of torture and the legal limits on the force that could be used on terrorist suspects in captivity is expected to be a central issue in the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings scheduled to begin on Thursday on Mr. Gonzales's nomination to be attorney general.
The request by Mr. Gonzales produced the much-debated Justice Department memorandum of Aug. 1, 2002, which defined torture narrowly and said that Mr. Bush could circumvent domestic and international prohibitions against torture in the name of national security.”
-New York Times, January 4, 2005

“Yep. Nothing to worry about. The government would just have record of every web site that you go to and every email that you send or receive. I can’t imagine why anyone would worry.”

“On many occasions, Doyle instructed the victim, whom he believed to be a 14-year-old girl, to perform a sexual act while thinking of him, and described explicit and perverse sexual acts he wished to have with her, in addition to sending her numerous obscene .mpg files (digital movies). He also had sexually explicit telephone conversations with a detective posing as a child on his office line and cell phone. He attempted to seduce the girl during their online chats, encouraging her to purchase a web cam so that she could send graphic images of herself to him, and promised her that he would likewise send nude photos of himself. Many of the conversations he initiated with the victim are too extraordinary and graphic for public release.

During future online chats, Doyle gave the undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl his office phone number and his government-issued cell phone number, so that they could have telephone conversations, in addition to their online chatting. Doyle used the Internet to send hard-core pornographic movie clips to the girl and used the AOL Instant Messenger chat service to have explicit sexual conversations with her.”
-WTSP, Tampa Bay, April 4, 2006

“Brian Doyle, the man in question above, was the Homeland Security Deputy Press Secretary. He is, of course, accused of pedophilia. Now you may say, ‘But Skippy, that is just one instance. He is a sick man, but he’s the exception, not the rule.’ I agree with that, but there seems to be more than one recent exception to the rule.”
-Skippy, April 6, 2006

“When an Orlando mall security officer responded to a complaint about a man exposing himself to a girl in the food court, the suspect hurried out of the mall and ran through the parking lot.
The suspect was Frank Figueroa, then one of Florida's highest-ranking federal law enforcement officers and the former head of a national program formed to target child sex predators. Since his Oct. 25 arrest at The Mall at Millenia, Figueroa has been suspended from his post as the special agent in charge of the Tampa office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the law enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
Figueroa is charged with exposure of sexual organs and disorderly conduct, which carry a potential punishment of more than a year in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.”
-Tampa Tribune, February 14, 2006

“Mr. Figueroa was also a member of the Department of Homeland security. Hell, he used to run their Operation Predator, which is the Homeland Security Department’s unit devoted to stopping child endangerment. He was, um.. pleasuring himself in front of a 16 year-old girl. Hmm.. Seeing a pattern? Let’s go for the trifecta, and remember what they say..”
-Skippy, April 6, 2006

"Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. Third time is enemy action.”
-Auric Goldfinger

“My father was a police officer. I was a police officer. I work for the Department of Homeland security. I understand you guys have a job to do and I’m not trying to tell anything else other than that. I swear to God, as God as my witness, I’m wearing a St. Michael’s medal right now, okay? I was not going to do anything with her.”
-Michael Burks

“Yep. We need to have records of your email and web surfing habits to protect the kids from sexual predators. It would never be abused by sexual predators working for the government and it certainly would not be abused by the same Administration responsible for wiretapping the phones of American citizens without a warrant. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about that. Big Brother will take care of everything.”

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Beating Our Plowshares Into Swords

“Last week, America and the world marked the fifth anniversary of the attacks that filled another September morning with death and suffering. On that terrible day, extremists killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, including citizens of dozens of nations represented right here in this chamber. Since then, the enemies of humanity have continued their campaign of murder.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 19, 2006

“Following are the latest figures for military deaths in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003:
Military Between 4,900 and 6,375
Civilians Between 43,269 and 48,046”
-Reuters, September 19, 2006

“Your guess is as good as mine as to which side this Administration is currently on.”

“At the start of the 21st century, it is clear that the world is engaged in a great ideological struggle, between extremists who use terror as a weapon to create fear, and moderate people who work for peace.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 19, 2006

“I’m still guessing which side Fearless Leader is on...”

“This morning, I want to speak about the more hopeful world that is within our reach, a world beyond terror, where ordinary men and women are free to determine their own destiny, where the voices of moderation are empowered, and where the extremists are marginalized by the peaceful majority.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 19, 2006

“Extremists marginalized by a peaceful majority… Wow, I wonder what that would be like?.”

“The principles of this world beyond terror can be found in the very first sentence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document declares that the ‘equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom and justice and peace in the world.’"
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 19, 2006

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Hmm.. Sounds like an interesting document. Let’s see what it has to say…”

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
-Article 5, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“Such vague terms. I mean, if Dubya can say things like this…”

“Bush called on Congress to define these ‘vague and undefined’ terms in Common Article 3 [of the Geneva Conventions] because ‘our military and intelligence personnel’ involved in capture and interrogation ‘could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act.’”
-Marjorie Cohn, Legal News TV, September 18, 2006

“…about terms like ‘outrages upon personal dignity’ and ‘humiliating and degrading treatment’, then you can be sure that ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’ is going to have way too much wiggle room for him. This is a man who likes his definitions nailed down, except for words like ‘freedom’ (which includes spying on US citizens and ‘free speech zones’), ‘justice’ (which includes locking people up without trial or legal recourse), and ‘peace’ (which includes war). Those words he has no problem redefining as needed.”

“Every nation that travels the road to freedom moves at a different pace, and the democracies they build will reflect their own culture and traditions. But the destination is the same: A free society where people live at peace with each other and at peace with the world.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 19, 2006

“So far Fearless Leader has started two wars. I guess that we aren’t really a free society. Dubya, can you back up that assertation?”

“While your peers in other parts of the world have received educations that prepare them for the opportunities of a global economy, you have been fed propaganda and conspiracy theories that blame others for your country's shortcomings.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 19, 2006

“To be fair, he was speaking of the poor disenfranchised youth of the Middle East. It just sounded more appropriate this way.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Smooth Criminal

“You've Been Hit By
You've Been Struck By-
A Smooth Criminal”
-Michael Jackson, Smooth Criminal

“Canadian intelligence officials passed false warnings and bad information to American agents about a Muslim Canadian citizen, after which U.S. authorities secretly whisked him to Syria, where he was tortured, a judicial report found Monday.
The report, released in Ottawa, was the result of a 2 1/2-year inquiry that represented one of the first public investigations into mistakes made as part of the United States' ‘extraordinary rendition’ program, which has secretly spirited suspects to foreign countries for interrogation by often brutal methods.”
-Washington Post, September 19, 2006

“Well, you know what they say… You can’t make an omelet without torturing some Canadians. This article is fun for a few reasons. First, it points out that the United States is more than happy to torture people (or have them tortured.. po-tay-to, po-tah-to). Second, that we are using what is called ‘extraordinary rendition’, aka secretly shipping them off to places where the media or other governments can’t see them… Both are, of course, violations of the Geneva Conventions. Still, we needed to torture that guy. There could have been important information involved.”

“Amid a debate between President Bush and bipartisan members of Congress over how harshly to question terror detainees, a former FBI agent said some of the most aggressive interrogation techniques in dispute are rarely effective anyway.
"Generally speaking, those don't work," said Jack Cloonan, a former FBI agent and an ABC News consultant.”
-ABC News, September 16, 2006

“It works in the movies (and I am fairly sure that the movies are where the War on Terror game plan has been drawn from).”

“With great fanfare, George W. Bush announced to a group of carefully selected 9/11 families that he had finally decided to send Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and 13 other alleged terrorists to Guantánamo Bay, where they will be tried in military commissions. After nearly 5 years of interrogating these men, why did Bush choose this moment to bring them to ‘justice’?

Bush said his administration had ‘largely completed our questioning of the men’ and complained that ‘the Supreme Court's recent decision has impaired our ability to prosecute terrorists through military commissions and has put in question the future of the CIA program [aka secret CIA 'black sites'].’
He was referring to Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the high court recently held that Bush's military commissions did not comply with the law. Bush sought to try prisoners in commissions they could not attend with evidence they never see, including hearsay and evidence obtained by coercion.
The Court also determined that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to al Qaeda detainees. That provision of Geneva prohibits ‘outrages upon personal dignity’ and ‘humiliating and degrading treatment.’"
-Marjorie Cohn, Legal News TV, September 18, 2006

“Luckily the Supreme Court did its job and pointed out that the Geneva Conventions applied, no matter what Alberto Gonzales says..”

"The nature of the new war places a high premium on other factors, such as the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians...In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."
-Alberto Gonzales, on the Geneva Convention

“Quaint! Quaint I tell you! Oh if only Alberto were in charge of defining the lay instead of judges.. The Supreme Court’s decision makes those who tortured, by definition, war criminals.”

“The concern about possible future prosecution for war crimes - and that it might even apply to Bush administration officials themselves - is contained in a crucial portion of an internal January 25, 2002, memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales obtained by Newsweek. It urges President George Bush declare the war in Afghanistan, including the detention of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, exempt from the provisions of the Geneva Convention.”
-Newsweek, May 19, 2004

“Rut ro Raggie.. It looks like Bush might be in a little trouble.”

“Bush called on Congress to define these "vague and undefined" terms in Common Article 3 because ‘our military and intelligence personnel’ involved in capture and interrogation ‘could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act.’”
-Marjorie Cohn, Legal News TV, September 18, 2006

“Vague and undefined terms like ‘outrages upon personal dignity’ and ‘humiliating and degrading treatment’. And to think that this is the same political party that had trouble when Clinton wanted to parse ‘sexual relations’.”

“Congress enacted the War Crimes Act in 1996. That act defines violations of Geneva's Common Article 3 as war crimes. Those convicted face life imprisonment or even the death penalty if the victim dies.

The President is undoubtedly familiar with the doctrine of command responsibility, where commanders, all the way up the chain of command to the commander in chief, can be held liable for war crimes their inferiors commit if the commander knew or should have known they might be committed and did nothing to stop or prevent them.
Bush defensively denied that the United States engages in torture and foreswore authorizing it. But it has been well-documented that policies set at the highest levels of our government have resulted in the torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of U.S. prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo.
Indeed, Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act in December, which codifies the prohibition in United States law against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners in U.S. custody. In his speech, Bush took credit for working with Senator John McCain to pass the DTA.
In fact, Bush fought the McCain ‘anti-torture’ amendment tooth-and-nail, at times threatening to veto the entire appropriations bill to which it was appended. At one point, Bush sent Dick Cheney to convince McCain to exempt the CIA from the prohibition on cruel treatment, but McCain refused.
Bush signed the bill, but attached a ‘signing statement’ where he reserved the right to violate the DTA if, as commander-in-chief, he thought it necessary.
Throughout his speech, Bush carefully denied his administration had violated any laws during its ‘tough’ interrogations of prisoners. Yet, the very same day, the Pentagon released a new interrogation manual that prohibits techniques including ‘waterboarding,’ which amounts to torture. The CIA reportedly subjected Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to waterboarding.
Before the Supreme Court decided the Hamdan case, the Pentagon intended to remove any mention of Common Article 3 from its manual. The manual had been the subject of revision since the Abu Ghraib torture photographs came to light.
But in light of Hamdan, the Pentagon was forced to back down and acknowledge the dictates of Common Article 3.
Bush also seeks Congressional approval for his revised military commissions, which reportedly contain nearly all of the objectionable features of his original ones.
The President's speech was timed to coincide with the beginning of the traditional post-Labor Day period when Congress focuses on the November elections. The Democrats stand a good chance of taking back one or both houses of Congress. Bush fears impeachment if the Democrats achieve a majority in the House of Representatives.
By challenging Congress to focus on legislation about treatment of terrorists - which he called ‘urgent’- Bush seeks to divert the election discourse away from his disastrous war on Iraq.”
-Marjorie Cohn, Legal News TV, September 18, 2006

“Yep, Bush is just trying to help our All-American torturers battle evil. He wants them to be immune to impeachment... and war crime trials… and if that just happens to save his own arse, well, that is just a happy coincidence.”

Monday, September 18, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Gone to a Better Place

“The world is a better place when we got rid of Saddam Hussein.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, October 3, 2003

“At least five bombings in Kirkuk killed 23 bystanders and wounded 76 others Sunday in what appeared to be coordinated attacks on police as well as Kurdish and Sunni Arab politicians in the oil-rich northern city, bringing the day's toll in Iraq to at least 59 dead.”
-LA Times, September 17, 2006

“The ministry recently discovered that more than 1,200 policemen and other employees had been convicted years ago of murder, rape and other violent crimes, said a Western diplomat who has close contact with the ministry. Some were even on death row. Few have been fired.
Despite the importance American commanders place on hiring more Sunni Arabs for the overwhelmingly Shiite police force, the ministry still has no way to screen recruits by sect or for militia allegiance. Such loyalties are the root cause of the ministry’s problems.
A senior American commander said that of the 27 paramilitary police battalions, ‘we think 5 or 6 battalions probably have leaders that have led that part of the organization in a way that is either criminal or sectarian or both.’
Death squads in uniforms could be responsible for the recent surge in sectarian violence, with at least 165 bodies found across Baghdad since Wednesday.”
-New York Times, September 16, 2006

“The people know where I stand. I mean, in terms of Iraq, I was very clear about what I believed. And, of course, I want to know why we haven't found a weapon yet. But I still know Saddam Hussein was a threat, and the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. I don't think anybody can -- maybe people can argue that. I know the Iraqi people don't believe that, that they're better off with Saddam Hussein -- would be better off with Saddam Hussein in power.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 13, 2004

“U.S. operations around Sadr City met with increased resistance this weekend, as soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team continued clearing operations in the poor, restive neighborhoods around the Shiite mega-slum.
But rather than resist with bullets and bombs, residents took a decidedly grass-roots approach, hurling rocks and shouting obscenities.
The movement’s unlikely foot soldiers, a rowdy band of little boys and adolescents, slung insults and rocks with impunity as adult Iraqi soldiers and policemen stood by and watched.”
-Stars and Stripes, September 17, 2006

“The U.S. military in Iraq has imprisoned an Associated Press photographer for five months, accusing him of being a security threat but never filing charges or permitting a public hearing.
Military officials said Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen, was being held for ‘imperative reasons of security’ under United Nations resolutions. AP executives said the news cooperative's review of Hussein's work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system.”
-Associated Press, September 17, 2006

“And I call upon the Iraqi people to reject violence, band together to insist that the country move toward a peaceful tomorrow. Iraq is changing for the better. I mean, look at the soccer team.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, May 20, 2004

“Members of the Iraqi Olympic soccer team branded US President George Bush a 'criminal' and called for American troops to pull out of the war-torn country."
-The Scotsman, August 20, 2004

“Assailants abducted Ghanim Ghudayer, a soccer star and member of Iraq's Olympic team. Considered one of the best players on Baghdad's Air Force Club, the 22-year-old was taken Sunday evening by unknown assailants, some of whom were wearing military uniforms, police said.”
-USA Today, September 4, 2006

“REPORTER: In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. You've looked back before 9/11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?

DUBYA: I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it. John, I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could have done it better this way, or that way. You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet.”
-Press Conference with George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 13, 2004

“As of Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006, at least 2,676 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,126 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.”
-Associated Press, September 14, 2006

“Iraqi police have found the bodies of 47 more death squad victims in Baghdad, the latest in a wave of sectarian killings which prompted the United States to divert troops from other parts of Iraq to the embattled capital.
The bodies were found early Saturday. Most victims had been bound, tortured and shot, bringing the toll from such killings to nearly 180 in four days.”
-Reuters, September 16, 2006

“The truth of that matter is, if you listen carefully, Saddam would still be in power if he [Kerry] were the president of the United States, ‘And the world would be a lot better off.’"
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, Second Presidential Debate, October 8, 2004

Friday, September 15, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Politics is Priority #1

“Congress and the American public must accept that the government cannot protect every possible target against attack if it wants to avoid fulfilling Al Qaeda’s goal of bankrupting the nation, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a Senate committee Tuesday.
Osama bin Laden, Mr. Chertoff said, has made it clear that scaring the United States into an unsustainable spending spree is one of his aims. In a 2004 video, Mr. bin Laden, the Qaeda leader, spoke of ‘bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.’
‘He understood that one tool he had in waging war against the United States was to drive us crazy, into bankruptcy, trying to defend ourselves against every conceivable threat,’ Mr. Chertoff said at a hearing of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. ‘We have to be realistic about what we expect and what we do. We do have limits, and we do have choices to make.’”
-New York Times, September 13, 2006

“You have to pick your battles people.. If we try to defend against everything, like inspecting cargo ships coming into the United States or silly things like that, then the terrorists have already won.”

“It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified ‘Beach at End of a Street.’

But the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, in a report released Tuesday, found that the list was not child’s play: all these ‘unusual or out-of-place’ sites ‘whose criticality is not readily apparent’ are inexplicably included in the federal antiterrorism database.”
-New York Times, July 11, 2006

“We need to protect our Mule Day Parade. Cargo containers?… Not so much. Still, we can’t protect everything and let terrorists bankrupt our nation. We have to be responsible.”

"As of August 31, 2006, 2,635 troops have lost their lives in Iraq and 19,773 have been wounded. On September 30, 2006, the total cost of the Iraq war will reach 318.5 billion dollars.”
-Senator Barbara Boxer, draft of bill before the U.S. Senate, September 2006

“Hey, that’s different! That 318.5 billion dollars was needed to spread freedom in Iraq. I mean sure, originally it was because Saddam was an immediate threat…”

“Rumsfeld: You and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase ‘immediate threat.’ I didn't. The President didn't. And it's become kind of folklore that that's what's happened. The president went...
Schieffer: You're saying that nobody in the administration said that...
Rumsfeld: I can't speak for ‘nobody’ [unintelligible] everybody in the administration and say nobody said that.
Schieffer: The Vice-President didn't say that?
Rumsfeld: Not...if you have any citations, I'd like to see them.
Friedman: We have one here. It says ‘some have argued’ (and this is you speaking) ‘some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam is at least five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain.’ [quote displayed and attributed to Donald Rumsfeld, September 18, 2002]
Rumsfeld: and and uh... well I tried to be precise, I've tried to be accurate.
Friedman: ‘No terror state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.’ [quote displayed and attributed to Donald Rumsfeld, September 18, 2002]
Rumsfeld: uh... My view of the situation was we had... we believe... the best intelligence...”
-Face the Nation, with Bob Schieffer and Donald Rumsfeld, March 21, 2004

“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.
The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.”
- George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 17, 2003

“…But now we know that it was done to spread American Freedom™ to those poor Iraqis who were suffering under Saddam, so at least the money was well spent. I’m sure they appreciate the effort.”

“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

“In the U.S. of course nothing is too good for our citizens.”

“He [Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty] said the Justice Department was seeking more funds for its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives division to stem gun trafficking. But reclaiming money that was diverted from crime-fighting to anti-terror efforts may be difficult, he said.
‘I wish I could stand here and say all that will be restored in the next year or two,’ McNulty said. ‘We are facing some big challenges. I see the challenges in fighting the war on terror. I see it is very expensive to fund soldiers overseas. At the same time, we have to find ways to get resources to win here at home.’"
-Associated Press, August 30, 2006

“So we can’t afford to protect our ports, and we can’t afford to stop crime (though our Amish Popcorn Factories are secure), but we are somehow safer. The Administration wouldn’t have it any other way. After all 9/11 changed everything for all time. It was the single worst thing that ever happened. Don’t believe me? How about a US senator?”

“September 11, 2001, was the most tragic event in the history of mankind.”
-Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga), September 13, 2006

“Yep. It was worse than the Children’s Crusade (1212, in which 30,000 children died or were sold into slavery). It was worse than Hiroshima (which killed over 140,000 people and destroyed an entire city). It was worse than the Rape of Nanking (1937, 300,000 dead and a city destroyed by looting, murder, rape and arson). It was worse than the Boxing Day Tsunami (2004, 187,000 dead and 43,000 missing). And it was worse than the last season of ‘American Idol’ (devastation destroying the brain cells of an entire generation).
This is why our government obviously takes it so seriously. The only thing as important as protecting America against the terrorist threat is the cost of protecting America from the terrorist threat.”

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