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Four Color Politics

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

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Dinner and a War Movie

“Well, Fearless Leader is all set up to meet with the Prime Minister of Iraq today after having missed a dinner with him last night. Nothing odd about that.”

“Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki arrived in Jordan on Wednesday and met with Jordan's King Abdullah. However, he skipped a dinner with President Bush and Abdullah, and is to meet with the president on Thursday, said Counselor to the President Dan Bartlett.”
-CNN, November 29, 2006

“See? Nothing unusual at all. He just missed a little dinner. Probably filled up on the plane on the way in and wasn’t hungry.”

“The President is going to have a bilateral and dinner with the King of Jordan. Since the King of Jordan and Prime Minister Maliki had a bilateral themselves, earlier today, everybody believed that negated the purpose for the three of them to meet tonight, together, in a trilateral setting. So the plan, according to — since they had such a good, productive bilateral discussion, was just for the President to deal with bilateral issues and other issues with the King this evening in a dinner setting, and then the meetings set for tomorrow will still take place as scheduled.”
-White House Consul Dan Bartlett, November 29, 2006

“The President requested the meeting. This was the President requesting the meeting with the Prime Minister. And the substantive meetings on Iraq — look, they were not going to be doing a full detail discussion in a trilateral setting about Iraq and the future of Iraq and the strategy anyway, that just wouldn’t be appropriate. So it was going to be more of a social meeting anyways. But the fact that they had already had a good meeting together, felt like it negated the purpose to doing so. And the President and Prime Minister Maliki will have a very robust and lengthy dialogue tomorrow morning.”
-White House Consul Dan Bartlett, November 29, 2006

“It was just a dinner. Just a social meeting, and Fearless Leader, being the straightforward kind of guy that he is, didn’t want to go over stuff that had already been discussed (even though he’d flown into Jordan specifically to meet with al-Maliki as Iraq is too dangerous for him to go to now).”

“President Bush's high-stakes summit with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was put off Wednesday amid political unrest in Baghdad and public disclosure of U.S. doubts about the Iraqi leader's capacity to control sectarian warfare.”
-Associated Press, November 29, 2006

“No, no, no.. This was not a ‘high-stakes summit’. It was a social event. If it was a high-stakes summit it would look like the head of Iraq didn’t want to meet with Fearless Leader, and that can’t be true because Fearless Leader is loved all over the world. If this was a brush-off there would have had to have been a darn good reason.

“The political bloc of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced earlier Wednesday that it would suspend its activities in the Iraqi government because the meeting was being held. The group also threatened to eventually quit the government if certain demands weren't met.”
-CNN, November 29, 2006

“Not good enough. I mean, when did we start caring what the Iraqis think? If we cared about that we’d never have invaded in the first place. Our puppet government needs to learn that what we want comes before what they want.”

“The White House has avoided saying that Bush would pressure al-Maliki at the meeting to do more to stop the bloodshed. National security adviser Stephen Hadley says the Iraqi prime minister pushes himself — and that Bush will be listening to al-Maliki's ideas, not imposing plans on him.
But in a classified Nov. 8 memo following his Oct. 30 trip to Baghdad, Hadley expressed serious doubts about whether al-Maliki had the capacity to control the sectarian violence in Iraq, and recommended steps to strengthen the Iraqi leader's position, The New York Times reported in Wednesday editions.
‘The reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action,’ the memo said.
In an unusual move for a White House that typically refuses to discuss classified material, the White House did not dispute the accuracy of the memo. But a senior administration official said the document, taken as a whole, was an expression of support for al-Maliki. ‘You have a constant reiteration of the importance of strengthening the Maliki government, the need to work with him, to augment his capabilities,’ the official said.
He added that Bush and Maliki have a ‘personal relationship’ that allows them to ‘talk candidly about the challenges.’"
-Associated Press, November 29, 2006

“Oh.. So the ultra-secretive Administration leaked information that made al-Maliki look stupid and implied that he didn’t know what was happening in his own country just before a summit with him. Yeah, I can see how he might be a little miffed about that. Still, he shouldn’t have blown off dinner. When you fight you should never go to bed mad..”

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Iraq Was Asking For It

“From troops on the ground to members of Congress, Americans increasingly blame the continuing violence and destruction in Iraq on the people most affected by it: the Iraqis.”
-Washington Post, November 28, 2006

“Yep. There wouldn’t be any civil war currently raging in Iraq if they would just stop fighting a civil war. I mean, heck, we expected them to behave like civilized adults.”

"I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators. ... The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."
-Dick Chaney, March 16, 2003

“You see? It is all their fault for not greeting us like liberators when we invaded their country. If they had just smiled and turned the other cheek when we took down their government there wouldn’t be all of these problems. No one knew that the occupation would be required or that this would make Iraq into a bitterly hostile place to be.”

“Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in ‘mission creep,’ and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under the circumstances, there was no viable ‘exit strategy’ we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different — and perhaps barren — outcome.”
-President George Herbert Walker Bush, A World Transformed, 1998

“Well, no one except Fearless Leader’s father. He was on top of it. It isn’t our fault that they didn’t like us. We tried to make friends.”

“Farmer Shahab, 41, stood amid the rubble of the former home of 55-year-old farmer Omar Khalil, who was arrested shortly before the home was destroyed. The military said Khalil's son, who escaped, was one of the suspects in the downing of the Black Hawk.
Khalil's wife, Kafey, sat wailing near her wrecked house. "I have no son. I have no husband. I have no home. I will be a beggar."
Kafey Khalil said military officials first visited the house two days ago, demanding that her husband turn in her son. He refused. Then about 10 p.m. Sunday, the military returned, she said.
‘They started shouting at us: 'Get up! Get out!' ‘ she said. ‘They brought a big truck for us. It was so cold we felt like we were dying. After five minutes they started shooting. We didn't have time to get anything but blankets. They brought in the tanks and the helicopters and started bombing.’”
-Philadelphia Enquirer, November 12, 2003

“A new report by US pressure group Human Rights Watch says American forces in Iraq continued to torture and abuse detainees after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in 2004.
The report flies in the face of claims by the US Defense Department that abuse of detainees was the work of a few bad apples acting on their own initiative.
Human Rights Watch senior researcher John Sifton says the findings are the result of direct testimony from three former US soldiers about prisoners in American custody in Iraq between 2003 and 2005.
‘The soldiers described detainees being routinely subjected to beatings, painful stress positions, severe sleep depravation, exposure to extreme cold and hot temperatures, very serious abuses,’ he said.
‘And it shows that abuses in Iraq were not isolated events by independent actors but rather, they were routine and authorized.’"
-ABC News Online, July 23, 2006

“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

“The Iraqi people just didn’t understand our peaceful and well-meaning ways. Now this is all their fault.”

“Five young girls were among six Iraqis killed by US forces yesterday after troops used tanks and machine guns to attack what they said was a house occupied by insurgents.”
-Belfast Telegraph, November 29, 2006

“We didn’t want to do that, but they forced us to. Now Iraq should go to the kitchen, make dinner and give us a *&%@# beer like we asked the first time.”

“What do you tell a woman with two black eyes? Nothing. You’ve told her twice already.”
-Unknown Sexist Pig

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Bush League

“QUESTION: Do you still believe they were trying to buy nuclear materials in Africa?
BUSH: Right now?
QUESTION: No, were they? The statement you made...
BUSH: One thing is for certain, he's not trying to buy anything right now. If he's alive, he's on the run. And that's to the benefit of the Iraqi people. But, look, I am confident that Saddam Hussein had a weapons of mass destruction program. In 1991, I will remind you, we underestimated how close he was to having a nuclear weapon. Imagine a world in which this tyrant had a nuclear weapon. In 1998, my predecessor raided Iraq, based upon the very same intelligence. And in 2003, after the world had demanded he disarm, we decided to disarm him. And I'm convinced the world is a much more peaceful and secure place as a result of the actions.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush question and answer session, Pretoria, South Africa, July 9, 2003

“Convinced that the world is a much more peaceful and secure place? Maybe three and a half years ago, but how do you explain this now?”

“The Argentine government confirmed Wednesday that a daughter of President Bush had her purse stolen during a visit to the Argentine capital, despite the presence of Secret Service agents and local police.
‘The daughter of the president was on a tour in a typical tourist place, left her bag on the floor and it was stolen,’ Interior Minister Anibal Fernandez told reporters, confirming U.S. and Argentine media reports.
‘There isn't much I want to say about this topic,’ he said.”
-Associated Press, November 23, 2006

“Oops.. Didn’t mean to talk about the Bush twins problems in Argentina. I meant to talk about Iraq.”

“[Col. Peter] Devlin suggested that without the deployment of an additional U.S. military division -- 15,000 to 20,000 troops -- plus billions of dollars in aid to the province, ‘there is nothing’ U.S. troops ‘can do to influence’ the insurgency.

He described al-Qaeda in Iraq as the ‘dominate organization of influence in al-Anbar,’ surpassing all other groups, the Iraqi government and U.S. troops ‘in its ability to control the day-to-day life of the average Sunni.’
Al-Qaeda itself, now an ‘integral part of the social fabric of western Iraq,’ has become so entrenched, autonomous and financially independent that U.S. forces no longer have the option ‘for a decapitating strike that would cripple the organization,’ the report says. That is why, it says, the death of al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al- Zarqawi in June ‘had so little impact on the structure and capabilities of al-Qaeda,’ especially in Anbar province.”
-Washington Post, November 28, 2006

“Aw, the heck with it.. Let’s talk about the Bush twins instead.”

“Amid a growing barrage of front-page headlines, U.S. embassy officials ‘strongly suggested’ President Bush's twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara Bush, cut short their trip to Buenos Aires because of security issues, U.S. diplomatic and security sources tell ABC News.
But the girls have stayed on, celebrating their 25th birthday over the weekend and producing even more headlines about their activities.
Officials say the media coverage upstaged publicity plans for the new U.S. Ambassador Anthony Wayne, who had only recently arrived in the country.
Stories of the twins' visit took on wild proportions in the Argentinean press. One tabloid headline had the young women running nude in the hallway of their hotel, a report the hotel staff denied to ABC News.
According to sources, the U.S. embassy encouraged the two girls to cut their stay short because the added attention was making their security very difficult.
But to the dismay and anger of some U.S. embassy and security staff, the girls stayed on.
Thursday night, an ABC News producer was able to walk into their hotel unchecked and engage Barbara Bush in conversation while she checked her e-mail on a computer in the lobby. Jenna sat talking with friends on a sofa nearby. No Secret Service agents were anywhere to be seen in the lobby, according to ABC News' Joe Goldman.
And yesterday the Bush twins were spotted at the Sunday soccer matches, wearing team jerseys and sitting in the owner's box, watching Argentina's top team Boca Juniors compete. Several games have been canceled due to violence in the crowds this year. In fact, last weekend no spectators were allowed to attend the match other than season ticket holders.
Sources tell ABC News the twins plan to stick to their original itinerary and stay in Buenos Aires until Thursday.”
-ABC News, November 27, 2006

“And the moral to our story is this… No one tells a Bush when to leave.”

Monday, November 27, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Peace on Earth

“Good news everyone! They’ve finally figured out how to fund the War in Iraq!”

“The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, corrupt charities and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified United States government report has concluded.

The report, obtained by The New York Times, estimates that groups responsible for many of the insurgent and terrorist attacks are raising $70 million to $200 million a year from illegal activities. It says that $25 million to $100 million of the total comes from oil smuggling and other criminal activity involving the state-owned oil industry aided by ‘corrupt and complicit’ Iraqi officials.
As much as $36 million a year comes from ransoms paid to save hundreds of kidnap victims in Iraq, the report said. It estimates that unnamed foreign governments — previously identified by senior American officials as including France and Italy — paid Iraqi kidnappers $30 million in ransom last year.”
-New York Times, November 26, 2006

“Oops.. My mistake. The enemy is now self-sustaining. Our troops are not.”

“Politicians on both sides of the aisle Sunday compared Iraq to Vietnam, signaling they'll take a hard look when President Bush asks soon for as much as $160 billion in emergency funds to keep footing the bill for the war.
Democrats, who take control of Congress in January, have said they will not cut off money for the ever-more unpopular war, but Bush's expected request will push the cost well over $400 billion.
The total cost for the war on terror, including the conflict in Afghanistan, will be well over $500 billion and surpass the cost of Vietnam, adjusted for inflation.”
-New York Daily News, November 27, 2006

“No, no, no… I wasn’t talking about the financial cost of the war (equaling about $1,675 dollars for every man, woman and child in the country). I was talking about the troops. You know, the people that we need to keep fighting the now-self-sustaining insurgency..”

“According to the Department of Defense, as of Nov. 4, 46,137 battle- and non-battle related military injuries have been treated in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Of that number, 31,122 military personnel had injuries or ‘diseases’ serious enough to require air transport off the battlefield.
Since 2002, Veterans Affairs agencies have treated 185,000 of the estimated 588,000 service men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Of that group, about 6,000 have been hospitalized, the rest have received outpatient services.
In what the VA calls ‘very raw categories,’ 64,000 vets have sought mental health services, 32,000 have come in with respiratory problems, 56,000 have had digestive issues, 54,000 have had problems relating to the nervous system, 25,000 have had skin diseases and 25,000 have had circulatory problems.
By far, said officials, 76,000 veterans fall under the broad category of ‘muscular and skeletal’ diagnosis, which would include anything from a pulled muscle to injuries received from an IED blast.
In addition, the VA has assisted 500 amputees in the last year. Those seeking assistance collectively have had their leg prostheses adjusted 11,000 times and hand and arm prostheses checked 1,200 times.
Nicholson said the severity of injuries in this war made necessary the creation of the polytrauma centers as well as 17 smaller, regional polytrauma facilities.
‘Instead of coming home in a body bag, they are coming back on a gurney, and that presents us with new and challenging opportunities, if you will, to reconstitute people,’ he said.”
-Fox News, November 26, 2006

“Still, sacrificing our troops lives and health would only be done for a worthy cause. We are in Iraq to spread American Freedom™ and save the Iraqi people from terror. There can’t be a nobler goal than that.”

“Revenge-seeking Shiite militiamen seized six Sunnis as they left Friday prayers, drenched them with kerosene and burned them alive, and Iraqi soldiers did nothing to stop the attack, police and witnesses said.
Police Capt. Jamil Hussein said Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in the burnings of Sunnis carried out by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia, or in subsequent attacks that torched four Sunni mosques and killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same northwest Baghdad area.”
-Associated Press, November 24, 2006

“Um.. The Iraqi soldiers didn’t stop people from being burnt alive in front of them? That doesn’t sound good.
I guess that In this joyous time of the year all we can hope for is that peace and love fill the hearts of everyone involved and show them the true meaning of God’s love (or the love and affection of your deity of choice of course).”

“A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.
Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.”
-Associated Press, November 26, 2006

“When I say ‘deity of choice’ I honestly don’t mean to include Satan. I didn’t even know that Satan was all that big into peace. My bad.”

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Buy Nothing Day

“And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn't want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap you're saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That's what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get...more stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore.”
-George Carlin

“Ok.. I know that this never gets much attention, but this Friday (you know.. Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year) is Buy Nothing Day. That’s right, on the biggest shopping day of the year we are asked to put aside our rampant consumerism and focus on what really matters. Sit down and talk to your family. Play with your children. Go visit loved ones. Walk the dog. Get out a board game and play. Do something (anything) that doesn’t require you to participate in the Great American Feeding Frenzy. In the end, he who has the most toys DOESN’T win.. The person who does the most good in life does. Do some good this Friday. Thank you.”

“The individual choice of garnishment of a burger can be an important point to the consumer in this day when individualism is an increasingly important thing to people.”
-Donald N. Smith, past president of Burger King

“Americans become unhappy and vicious because their preoccupation with amassing possessions obliterates their loneliness. This is why production in America seems to be on such an endless upward spiral: every time we buy something we deepen our emotional deprivation and hence our need to buy something.”
-Philip Saltier

“Junk is the ultimate merchandise. The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to the product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise, he degrades and simplifies the client.”
-William Burroughs

“Mother is the dead heart of the family, spending father's earnings on consumer goods to enhance the environment in which he eats, sleeps, and watches television.”
-Germaine Greer

“Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves.”
-Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

“Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you all realize how very, very lucky you are.”

"Prosperity depends more on wanting what you have than having what you want."
-Geoffrey F. Abert

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Thanksgiving

“Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday...The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production.”
-Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982)

“Oh bitter, bitter Ayn Rand.. Will you never find happiness? In two days it is Thanksgiving, the American holiday of family, excessive eating and football. Enjoy yourselves, drive safely, and give a little sincere thanks to the Universe or your Deity of Choice that you’ve made it this far. Life is pretty good sometimes.”

“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”
-Mark Twain

“I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up - they have no holidays.”
-Henny Youngman (1906 - 1998)

“Thanksgiving Day is a day devoted by persons with inflammatory rheumatism to thanking a loving Father that it is not hydrophobia.”
-H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

“On Thanksgiving Day all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment - halftime.”

“A two-pound turkey and a fifty-pound cranberry - that's Thanksgiving dinner at Three-Mile Island.”
-Johnny Carson (1925 - )

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new. “
-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

“Never eat more than you can lift.”
-Miss Piggy

“Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.”
-Samuel Butler (1835 - 1902)

“Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent.”
-Epictetus (50-138)

“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.”

Monday, November 20, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Rock the Casbah

“U.S. congressional Democrats said on Sunday Iran and Syria need to be made part of a Middle East meeting on Iraq, but Republicans insisted the United States' adversaries should first agree to conditions.
Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is expected to head the Senate Armed Services Committee in the new Congress in January, said a solution in Iraq required the involvement of the two neighbors ‘whether we like it or not. And we don't.’
Speaking on CNN's ‘Late Edition,’ Levin said it was likely a bipartisan group examining options for Iraq led by James Baker, the former U.S. secretary of state, would call for Iran and Syria to be included in the diplomatic efforts on Iraq.
Baker's group has already met several times with Syrian officials to discuss how they could cooperate.
The move would force the U.S. administration to deal with Tehran and Damascus, which it has resisted. President George W. Bush is under pressure to change his Iraq policy after his Republican Party suffered a severe setback in Nov. 7 elections.
Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas said Iran must first agree to drop its nuclear ambitions, while Syria should agree to stop insurgents from crossing the border into Iraq and fomenting a Sunni insurgency.
-Reuters, November 19, 2006

“Stupid Democrats. Look at them, trying to come up with a ‘diplomatic’ and ‘peaceful’ solutions to problems to the problems that we have created in the Middle East. Don’t you know that if the enemy sees us using diplomacy then it will embolden them to use diplomacy too? Can you imaging how bad it would be if we were forced to sit across from them and be polite? My God (and I mean the big Caucasian God with the beard and the white robes), how could we survive?
Don’t worry though.. Fearless Leader and Big Dick aren’t going to let any little problem like Congress get in the way of a future war with Iran if the Administration decides that one is really really needed.”

“A month before the November 7 legislative elections, Hersh wrote, Vice President Dick Cheney attended a national-security discussion that touched on the impact of Democratic victory in both chambers on Iran policy.

‘If the Democrats won on November 7th, the vice president said, that victory would not stop the administration from pursuing a military option with Iran,’ Hersh wrote, citing a source familiar with the discussion.
Cheney said the White House would circumvent any legislative restrictions ‘and thus stop Congress from getting in its way,’ he said.”
-AFP, November 18, 2006

“So never fear. No matter how difficult it may be to try to expand the War on Terra, the Administration will give it their best try.”

“U.S. President George W. Bush and President Jacques Chirac of France met several weeks ago. Bush told his French counterpart that the possibility that Israel would carry out a strike against Iran's nuclear installations should not be ruled out.
Bush also said that if such an attack were to take place, he would understand it. According to European diplomats who later met with Rice, the secretary of state did not express the same willingness to show understanding for a possible Israeli strike against Iran.”
-Ha’aretz (Israel), November 20, 2006

“We cannot let Iran get away with their nuclear ambitions (unlike North Korea of course). We may need to invade them in order to spread peace further over the Middle East. It is a last-ditch effort to save the world. We do not have a minute to lose. Iran is a threat! An immediate and dire threat! Be afraid! Panic!”

“A classified draft CIA assessment has found no firm evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as alleged by the White House, a top US investigative reporter has said.

But the administration's planning of a military option was made ‘far more complicated’ in recent months by a highly classified draft assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency ‘challenging the White House's assumptions about how close Iran might be to building a nuclear bomb,’ he wrote.
‘The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency,’ Hersh wrote, adding the CIA had declined to comment on that story.
A current senior intelligence official confirmed the existence of the CIA analysis and said the White House had been hostile to it, he wrote.”
-AFP, November 18, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Good Morning Vietnam!

“Fearless Leader has chosen now, following the electoral defeat of the Republican Party, to take in a little travel. Hmm… If I were the President and my Party had just lost an election based on how an ongoing military conflict was turning out where would I want to travel to?”

“’Laura and I were talking about how amazing it is that we’re here in Vietnam,’ the president said.”
-Associated Press, November 17, 2006

“That is fairly amazing. I mean, before now Fearless Leader did everything possible to avoid going to Vietnam.”

“Did then-Lt. Bush fulfill all of his military obligations? And just how did he land that spot in the National Guard in the first place? Correspondent Dan Rather has new information on the president's military service - and the first-ever interview with the man who says he pulled strings to get young George W. Bush into the Texas Air National Guard...

A few months before Mr. Bush would become eligible for the draft, Barnes says he had a meeting with the late oilman Sid Adger, a friend to both Barnes and then-Congressman George Bush.
‘It's been a long time ago, but he said basically would I help young George Bush get in the Air National Guard,’ says Barnes, who then contacted his longtime friend Gen. James Rose, the head of Texas' Air National Guard.
‘I was a young ambitious politician doing what I thought was acceptable,’ says Barnes. ‘It was important to make friends. And I recommended a lot of people for the National Guard during the Vietnam era - as speaker of the house and as lt. governor.’
George W. Bush was among those he recommended for the National Guard. Was this a case of preferential treatment?
‘I would describe it as preferential treatment. There were hundreds of names on the list of people wanting to get into the Air National Guard or the Army National Guard,’ says Barnes. ‘I think that would have been a preference to anybody that didn't want to go to Vietnam or didn't want to leave. We had a lot of young men that left and went to Canada in the '60s and fled this country. But those that could get in the Reserves, or those that could get in the National Guard - chances are they would not have to go to Vietnam.’"
-60 Minutes, September 8, 2004

“Yes, we all know about the forged documents, Dan Rather, blah, blah, blah, but that doesn’t change the fact that Fearless Leader did in fact get preferential treatment to get into the Texas National Guard, where he served until he stopped showing up. Still, even without physically being there, Vietnam managed to teach Fearless Leader some lessons…”

"I learned some good lessons from Vietnam. First, there must be a clear mission. Secondly, the politics ought to stay out of fighting a war. There was too much politics during the Vietnam War. There was too much concern in the White House about political standing.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 13, 2002

“Of course some of these lessons he learned better than others. One thing has stuck with him though…”

“President Bush said Friday the United States’ unsuccessful war in Vietnam three decades ago offered lessons for the American-led struggle in Iraq. ‘We’ll succeed unless we quit,’ Bush said shortly after arriving in this one-time war capital.”
-Associated Press, November 17, 2006

“Yep. The main lesson that Dubya learned from Vietnam is that if we had just stayed there longer we wouldn’t have lost. Apparently it is this lesson, rather than the lessons about clear missions or politics staying out of fighting a war, that he has chosen to implement in Iraq. This is the kind of decisive military genius that we need to have leading us in these difficult times.”

“If we had had the leadership of a George W. Bush back in the Vietnam War days, we probably would not have lost the war.”
-Tom DeLay, March 9, 2002

“And the reason for that is that if we had the leadership of Fearless Leader in Vietnam we never, ever, would have left. Fearless Leader, can you follow this up with one more Quote that will show your sensitivity to regional issues?”

“My first reaction is history has a long march and societies change and relationships can constantly be altered to the good,” Bush said.
-Associated Press, November 17, 2006

“Ah.. A subtle reference to the Long March, in which the Chinese Communists in 1934 retreated under attack by the Nationalist Party led by Chiang Kaishek. It was a rout of the Communists, but the retreat gave them enough room to rebuild their forces. It is also the event which led to the ascendancy of Mao to the head of the Chinese Communist Party. I’m not sure exactly what the coded message is on this one. Is Dubya talking about retreat in the face of possible defeat? Is it just some words that someone pulled out of a hat that they thought would go over well in south-east Asia? Is he threatening to leave, but later come back more powerful than before?”

“You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”
-Obi-Wan Kenobi

“Here is today’s lesson. Fearless Leader believes that as long as we are fighting a war we can’t lose it, no matter how many soldiers have to die.”

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Whip It. Whip It Good.

“Good news everyone! The Republican’s have chosen a new Minority Party Whip! (Like Miracle Whip, but a little whiter). They’ve chosen Trent Lott, a man who fell from favor a few years back due to his unfortunate comments at the birthday party of an old Dixiecrat.”

“I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.”
-Trent Lott, December 5, 2002

“Still, this isn’t the first time that Trent found himself in a sticky position due to his apparent racist sympathies. He has been tied to the racist Council of Conservative Citizens (a southern ‘pride’ group) on several occasions.”

“[Lott] doesn’t consider himself a member. Nor does he have firsthand familiarity or knowledge of their views.”
- John Czwartacki, press secretary for Trent Lott, on reports of Lott’s connections to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), 1998

“He spoke before the CCC three times in the 1990s, including once as a keynote speaker in 1992. He also wrote a column in the newsletter. His uncle was a local executive for the group, and his cousin was a member.”
-Skippy, December 19, 2002

“The people in this room stand for the right principles and the right philosophy. Let's take it in the right direction and our children will be the beneficiaries!"
-Trent Lott in his keynote speech before the CCC, 1992

"Each of the three major races plays a distinct role in history. . . . The whites were the creators of civilization, the yellows its sustainers and copyists, the blacks its destroyers.”
-CCC website, December, 1998

"Western civilization with all its might and glory would never have achieved its greatness without the directing hand of God and the creative genius of the white race. Any effort to destroy the race by a mixture of black blood is an effort to destroy Western civilization itself."
-Citizen’s Informer (the CCC Newsletter), Fall, 1994

"The presence [in Congress] of even one white person with our interests foremost in his mind is simply unacceptable to the issues-obsessed conservative race traitors. Texas Governor George Bush and his brother Jeb in Florida have manifested their self-hatred by embracing Hispanics ahead of whites. Somehow we must find a way to relieve whites of their self-hatred."
-“Open Letter to White People”, CCC Website, December 1998

"If we want to live, white Americans must begin today to lay the foundations of our future and our children's future.... Start today, fellow white Americans. Look at the faces around you: Find the faces like yours, and see them as your brothers and sisters. Find the fair-skinned babies and see them as your children."
-“A Call to White Americans”, CCC Website, December 1998

“Let’s all welcome Trent Lott to his new role. He has lots of experience in trying to bring losing groups back to their former prominence (though it hasn’t worked out so well for the Confederacy so far), and I am sure that he will have a lovely time seeing that the South.. um, I mean the Republicans, shall rise again.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Judy

“Judith Miller, a former New York Times investigative reporter who went to jail to protect a confidential source, said the balance between national security and civil liberties has been tipped, allowing the Bush administration to become secretive about its decisions, intrusive into public lives and reluctant to share information the public has a right to know.
Miller said many Americans don't understand how their access to information and the freedom of the press have been affected in the past few years.
‘We are less free and less safe,’ she said, explaining that there is a ‘growing secrecy in the name of national security.’"
-Topeka Capital-Journal, November 11, 2006

“I am glad that Judith Miller is here to show us all about how our civil liberties have become restricted, allowing the Bush administration to become more secretive. It is a topic she knows a lot about.”

“Defense lawyers also asked about the 85 days Miller spent in jail last year, which she said she chose to serve in order to protect a confidential source involved in the Plame case. She eventually did appear before a grand jury after her source--vice presidential aide Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, who has since been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice--gave her clearance.”
-Chicago Tribune, November 14, 2006

“In two appearances before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's name, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, did not disclose a crucial conversation that he had with New York Times reporter Judith Miller in June 2003 about the operative, Valerie Plame, according to sources with firsthand knowledge of his sworn testimony.”
-National Journal, October 11, 2005

“You see, she was jailed for 85 days for covering up a source in the case of an undercover CIA agent (you know, national security) who had been outed by a member of the Bush administration. She was jailed for helping the Bush administration become more ‘secretive’ about what it was doing.”

“Miller's appearance Monday was a rare example of a high-profile journalist testifying at a federal criminal trial. Lawyers for Salah and co-defendant, Abdelhaleem Ashqar, questioned her credibility given the controversies surrounding her reporting on the war in Iraq, among other things.

They asked about her reporting on supposed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the war and her decision not to answer a subpoena in the CIA leak case involving the identity of operative Valerie Plame.
Miller, a former Middle East correspondent and Cairo bureau chief of The New York Times, said she was only allowed to see Salah after making arrangements with ranking Israeli officials she knew, including Yitzhak Rabin, then Israel's prime minister.
Salah's lawyer, Michael Deutsch, asked Miller whether her job was to cultivate special access through high government officials, and whether she would then print the stories they wanted to see. As an example, he pointed to her stories in 2003 that said there were definitely weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, which has since been disproven.”
-Chicago Tribune, November 14, 2006

“During the winter of 2001 and throughout 2002, Miller produced a series of stunning stories about Saddam Hussein’s ambition and capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, based largely on information provided by Chalabi and his allies—almost all of which have turned out to be stunningly inaccurate.”
-New York Magazine, June 7, 2004 Issue

“Oh, and she was behind an awful lot of the ‘Saddam has weapons of mass destruction’ stories that happened before the war. You know.. the stories that were used to justify the invasion. Yep, I’m sure glad that Judith Miller is here to warn us about the evils of the Bush administration.”

"It is my experience that everyone tries to spin."
-Judith Miller, November 13, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: School's Out

“Q But you still think your strategy for victory is working?
MR. SNOW: The strategy for victory is working, but the strategy for victory also, as the President said and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, we're not -- it's not getting better fast enough. And so you need to find ways, militarily and otherwise, to try to improve the situation.”
-Press Gaggle with White House spokesman Tony Snow, November 13, 2006

“Hey, we’re winning in Iraq. The only problem is that we aren’t winning fast enough. I mean things are getting better for the Iraqis all the time. Look at how many schools we’ve renovated.”

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

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

-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, January 20, 2004

“Thank goodness we have the schools open. Otherwise it would look bad for the war effort. I mean, every time we need to show progress they point to the schools. If something were to happen there it would reflect poorly on how the War on Terra is really going.”

“Gunmen wearing Iraqi police commando uniforms kidnapped up to 150 staff and visitors in a lightning raid on a government research institute in downtown Baghdad on Tuesday, the largest mass abduction since the start of the U.S. occupation.
Iraq’s higher education minister immediately ordered all universities closed until security improvements are made, saying he was ‘not ready to see more professors get killed.’
‘I have only one choice which is to suspend classes at universities. We have no other choice,’ Abed Theyab said in an address to parliament.”
-Associated Press, November 14, 2006

“School's out for summer

School's out forever
School's been blown to pieces

No more pencils

No more books
No more teacher's dirty looks

Well we got no class
And we got no principles
And we got no innocence
We can't even think of a word that rhymes

School's out for summer
School's out forever
School's been blown to pieces”
-Alice Cooper, School's Out for Summer

Quotes of the Morning: School's Out

“Q But you still think your strategy for victory is working?
MR. SNOW: The strategy for victory is working, but the strategy for victory also, as the President said and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, we're not -- it's not getting better fast enough. And so you need to find ways, militarily and otherwise, to try to improve the situation.”
-Press Gaggle with White House spokesman Tony Snow, November 13, 2006

“Hey, we’re winning in Iraq. The only problem is that we aren’t winning fast enough. I mean things are getting better for the Iraqis all the time. Look at how many schools we’ve renovated.”

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

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

-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, January 20, 2004

“Thank goodness we have the schools open. Otherwise it would look bad for the war effort. I mean, every time we need to show progress they point to the schools. If something were to happen there it would reflect poorly on how the War on Terra is really going.”

“Gunmen wearing Iraqi police commando uniforms kidnapped up to 150 staff and visitors in a lightning raid on a government research institute in downtown Baghdad on Tuesday, the largest mass abduction since the start of the U.S. occupation.
Iraq’s higher education minister immediately ordered all universities closed until security improvements are made, saying he was ‘not ready to see more professors get killed.’
‘I have only one choice which is to suspend classes at universities. We have no other choice,’ Abed Theyab said in an address to parliament.”
-Associated Press, November 14, 2006

“School's out for summer

School's out forever
School's been blown to pieces

No more pencils

No more books
No more teacher's dirty looks

Well we got no class
And we got no principles
And we got no innocence
We can't even think of a word that rhymes

School's out for summer
School's out forever
School's been blown to pieces”
-Alice Cooper, School's Out for Summer

Monday, November 13, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Compromise

“In the Senate, Rove and associates believe, a Democratic victory would require the opposition to ‘run the table,’ as one official put it, to pick up the necessary six seats — a prospect the White House seems to regard as nearly inconceivable.”
-Washington Post, October 15, 2006

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

“Still, the Democrats won, and now Fearless Leader is forced to compromise and work with Congress to get things done. Aw, who am I kidding?”

“The Bush administration said on Sunday that it would strenuously oppose one of the Democrats’ top priorities for the new Congress: legislation authorizing the government to negotiate with drug companies to secure lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries.
In an interview, Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, said he saw no prospect of compromise on the issue.”
-New York Times, November 13, 2006

“Healthcare costs? No, we don’t need compromise for that. Still, there are other important issues in this country. Things like the war…”

“Iraq is the central front in this war on terror. I look forward to listening to ideas from the new leaders of Congress on the best way to support our troops on the front lines -- and win the war on terror.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, November 11, 2006

“So Fearless Leader believes in listening to congress about supporting our front line troops in Iraq. This is a brilliant political statement. It implies compromise, but at the same time assumes that Iraq is part of the War on Terra and that our troops will be stationed there. Brilliant.”

“Vizzini: I can't compete with you physically, and you're no match for my brains.

Wesley: You're that smart?
Vizzini: Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?
Wesley: Yes.
Vizzini: Morons!”
-The Princess Bride

“But there must be compromise with the new Congress, and Fearless Leader is a man who understands compromise. He understands it. He just doesn’t do it.”

“While [James] Baker has been testing the waters for some time to determine how much change in Iraq policy will be tolerated by the White House, [former Democratic Rep. Lee] Hamilton perhaps faces the now even-more-difficult challenge of cajoling Democrats such as former Clinton administration chief of staff Leon E. Panetta and power broker Vernon E. Jordan Jr. to sign on to a plan that falls short of a phased troop withdrawal, the position of many congressional Democrats.”
-Washington Post, November 12, 2006

“So the White House is willing to work with the Democrats, as long as the Democrats are willing to do something that the White House wants to do anyway (something that can be ‘tolerated’ by the White House). All that Fearless Leader asks is that they sign on the dotted line so that any blame for what might happen is bipartisan.
There are at least some changes are in the works for Iraq. Sen. McCain has some ideas.

“Arizona Sen. John McCain said yesterday the United States needs to send another 20,000 troops to Iraq.
’Roughly, you need another 20,000 troops in Iraq, but that means expanding the Army and Marine Corps by as much as 100,000 people,’ the Arizona senator told reporters after a campaign event for Republicans in New Hampshire's North Country.”
-Union Leader, October 28, 2006

“We need more troops in Iraq. A bold initiative in a time when Iraq has basically fallen to civil war, so they had better get moving…”

“If you talk to most military experts, we’re in a critical and crucial time. We’re either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months.”
-Senator John McCain, November 12, 2006

“Yes… According to Senator McCain we need to win this thing in the next several months, and that means increasing the military by about 100,000 people. I hope that the recruiters have plenty of coffee. They’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Friday, November 10, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: The New Era of Nonpartisanship

“The president wants to work with the new House leaders, said Snow, and was encouraged by several Democrats' calls ‘to get rid of partisanship.’
‘Bush wants to go back to the Texas model. He's always reached out. He's been trying over the last couple of years with limited success,’ Snow said.”
-CNN, November 8, 2006

“Good news Democrats! Fearless Leader has decided that now that you control both houses of Congress you are worthy of working with him. The whole age of partisanship is over now that the Republican Party can no longer just shove their agenda through as they have for the last six years. Still, our sitting Congress (you know, the one that CAN shove their agenda through) still has a few things left to do before the official beginning of this brave new age of compromise.”

“The White House said today that it would seek confirmation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s successor in the lame duck Congress that is about to reconvene, and that it would seek confirmation of United Nations Ambassador John R. Bolton as well.”
-New York Times, November 9, 2006

“That would be John ‘The Mustache’ Bolton. The man who made America proud as our U.N. Ambassador. The man who has done so much to change the world’s opinion of the United States. You know, this guy.”

“His nomination is likely to be seen by many at the UN headquarters in New York as an aggressive move by Washington. Mr Bolton has made clear he is no friend of the UN. He once said: ‘There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States.’”
-The Times (UK), March 8, 2005

"We know that there are several hawks within the present U.S. administration but have not yet found out such rude human scum as Bolton. What he uttered is no more than rubbish which can be let loose only by a beastly man bereft of reason. […] such human scum and bloodsucker is not entitled to take part in the talks."
-North Korean Foreign Ministry, August 3, 2003

“Ah yes, just the kind of man who should be working with the United Nations to try to resolve the North Korean nuclear bomb issues. His partner in last minute nominations, Robert Gates, is another prime choice for office. As head of the Pentagon Mr. Gates will be responsible for fighting the War on Terra (which, as we all know, is actually America vs. the Arab terrorists). Luckily Mr. Gates has a lot of experience dealing with Arab terrorists.”

“In a speech in 1999, Mr Gates said that its most important role was in Afghanistan.
‘CIA had important successes in covert action. Perhaps the most consequential of all was Afghanistan where CIA, with its management, funnelled billions of dollars in supplies and weapons to the mujahideen, and the resistance was thus able to fight the vaunted Soviet army to a standoff and eventually force a political decision to withdraw,’ he said.”
-BBC News, November 9, 2006

“In fact, he funded them. In Afghanistan. In the 1980s. When Osama and the mujahideen were the main threat to Soviet control of Afghanistan. To put it simply, Mr. Gates is familiar with Osama bin Ladin because he was one of the people involved in getting Osama his early funding.”

“The CIA, ever mindful of the need to justify its ‘mission,’ had conclusive evidence by the mid-1980s of the deepening crisis of infrastructure within the Soviet Union. The CIA, as its deputy director Robert Gates acknowledged under congressional questioning in 1992, had decided to keep that evidence from President Reagan and his top advisors and instead continued to grossly exaggerate Soviet military and technological capabilities in its annual ‘Soviet Military Power’ report right up to 1990.
Given that context, a decision was made to provide America’s potential enemies with the arms, money - and most importantly - the knowledge of how to run a war of attrition violent and well-organized enough to humble a superpower.
That decision is coming home to roost.”
-MSNBC, August 24, 1998

“Hey, he not only funded the mujahideen in Afghanistan, he also lied to the President of the United States about the capabilities of America’s enemies! Sounds like such a wonderful idea to put him in charge of the Pentagon. I can’t wait for our pre-nonpartisan Congress to officially bless this union before oversight (and all of that dirty ‘compromise’) begins.”

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Ode to Rummy

“Ah yes… The Rummy. One of my favorite members of the Administration. The Thing to this administration’s Fantastic Four. The man who brought us gems like these..”

"We know where [the WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat."
-Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003

"QUESTION: Do you expect the invasion, if it comes, to be welcomed by the majority of the civilian population of Iraq?
RUMSFELD: There is no question but that they would be welcomed. Go back to Afghanistan, the people were in the streets playing music, cheering, flying kites, and doing all the things that the Taliban and the al-Qaeda would not let them do."
-PBS News Hour, February 20, 2003

“Still, he has the full support of the rest of the rest of the White House super-team: Condi ‘The Invisible Woman’ Rice, Dick ‘Hothead’ Cheney, and Dubya ‘the Decider’ Bush.”

“With less than a week before the election, President George W. Bush sought to rally Republican voters on Wednesday with a vigorous defense of the war in Iraq and a vow to keep Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in office until the end of Bush's term.”
-New York Times, November 2, 2006

“Nothing new here. We all know how much The Decider loves his Rummy.”

"I hear the voices. And I read the front page. And I know the speculation. But I'm the decider. And I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 18, 2006

“Yep. We’re keeping the Rummy for at least another two years…”

“Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stepped down as defense secretary on Wednesday, one day after midterm elections in which opposition to the war in Iraq contributed to heavy Republican losses.
President Bush said he would nominate Robert Gates, a former CIA director, to replace Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.”
-MSNBC, November 8, 2006

“…Or at least until after the election less than a week later. You’d have thought that Bush must have somehow been aware that the Rummy was looking to step down, especially since he apparently already had someone waiting in the wings for the Rummy’s job, but that would mean that Bush, you know, LIED a week ago, and since we know that that never happens I am only left with the premise that ‘The Decider’ made up his mind quickly to nominate Robert Gates.”

“Asked about that comment, Bush said he made it because ‘I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign,’ Bush said. He appeared to acknowledge having misled reporters, saying, ‘And so the only way to answer that question and to get you onto another question was to give you that answer.’
He added later, ‘Win or lose, Bob Gates was going to become the nominee.’"
-Washington Post, November 9, 2006

“Or maybe he did lie… Man, this is just not Fearless Leader’s week. But who is Mr. Gates, the man whom apparently Fearless Leader had at his fingertips for just such an occasion?..”

“Gates became the 22nd President of Texas A&M University on August 1, 2002 following a tenure as Interim Dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999 to 2001. He has served as a member of the board of trustees of The Fidelity Funds, and on the board of directors of NACCO Industries, Inc., Brinker International, Inc. and Parker Drilling Company, Inc.”

“Wow.. Someone from Texas A&M. I did not expect that. And he headed the ‘George Bush School of Government and Public Service’ too. How surprising. He was also on the board of an oil company. Huh. Go figure. Well, he looks like a family loyalist, but at least we won’t have to worry about Rummy slanting intelligence reports to make the Administration policy look good.”

“The Senate Intelligence Committee last week voted to more or less forgive and forget charges that Robert M. Gates, as a top Central Intelligence official in the 1980's, slanted intelligence reports and failed to take notice as the Iran-contra affair blossomed in his backyard.”
-New York Times, October 20, 1991

“Ok, so there may have been a small amount of intelligence slanting going on (it seems so ironic to discuss ‘intelligence’ in the context of this Administration), but still, they voted to forgive and forget, so it couldn’t have been all that bad.”

“The dust from Iran-Contra had settled sufficiently by 1991, when President George H. W. Bush nominated Gates to head the CIA. Then all hell broke loose. Playing the role discharged so well earlier this month by former INR director Carl Ford in critiquing Bolton, a former senior Soviet analyst and CIA division chief, Mel Goodman, stepped forward and gave the Senate intelligence committee chapter and verse on how Gates had shaped intelligence analysis to suit his masters and his career. Goodman was joined at once by several other analysts who put their own careers at risk by testifying against Gates’ nomination. They were so many and so persuasive that, for a time, it appeared they had won the day. But the fix was in.
With a powerful assist from George Tenet, then staff director of the senate intelligence committee, members approved the nomination. In his memoir Gates makes a point of thanking Tenet for greasing the skids. Even so, 31 Senators found the evidence against Gates so persuasive that, in an unprecedented move, they voted against him when the nomination came to the floor.
The result? Many bright analysts quit rather than take part in cooking intelligence-to-go. In contrast, those inspired by Gates’ example followed suit and saw their careers flourish. So much so that when in September 2002 Tenet asked his senior managers to prepare a National Intelligence Estimate parroting what Cheney had been saying about the weapons-of-mass-destruction threat from Iraq, they saluted and fell to the task. Several of them traced their career advancement to Robert Gates.
When Gates became CIA director, the honest analysts who left were replaced by more inexperienced, pliable ones. It is no exaggeration to say that recent intelligence fiascos can be traced directly to the kinds of people Gates created in his image and promoted to managerial positions.”
-Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst, April 27, 2005

“Also, Mr. Gates is apparently on the board of VoteHere, a group that does ‘Independent audit solutions for validation and verification of election results’. Nothing to worry about. Just an ex-head of the CIA, once accused of slanting intelligence information during Iran-Contra and on the board of a company that validates elections, being nominated the day after the midterm elections to head the military. Nothing to see here.”

“Meet the new boss

Same as the old boss”
-The Who, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Post-Election Recovery

“That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
-Abraham Lincoln

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all of the other forms which have been tried from time to time.”
-Winston Churchill

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicity.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“Now to see if this gang can shoot any straighter than the last one…”

“I don't know jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”
-Will Rogers

Monday, November 06, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Get Out and Vote

"A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national election."
-Bill Vaughan

"President Bush warned Democrats not to celebrate too early. This is from the guy who put up the 'Mission Accomplished' sign three years ago."

-Jay Leno

"I think it's important to note that nobody hates the troops more than decorated war hero John Kerry. We're all very, very lucky that we have draft-dodgers like George Bush and Dick Cheney to point that out to us."

-Jimmy Kimmel

"Do you remember last election day... and how you convinced me to not vote. You argued that since we disagreed on all issues, we could both stay home and the outcome would be the same as if we both voted. DOGS CAN'T VOTE!!"

“Please remember to get out and vote tomorrow.. The Quotes may be on a quick hiatus.. I live in one of the areas that seems to have had a massive shortage of voting booths in the last election, and I suspect (just suspect) that this may become a problem again. If so, the Quotes will return on Wednesday.”

"Election irregularities are particularly acute here in Ohio. Two years ago, voting was marked by long lines and insufficient voting booths in many neighborhoods---oddly enough, mostly minority neighborhoods. Many blame the fiercely pro-Bush Kenneth Blackwell, who oversaw the elections as Ohio's Secretary of State. Who is Kenneth Blackwell? Think of him as a more `do-able' Katherine Harris."

-Jon Stewart

"It does not matter who you vote for, either way your planet is doomed!"

"Because you NEED me, Springfield. Your guilty conscience may force you to vote Democratic, but deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king."
-Sideshow Bob Terwilliger

Friday, November 03, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Taken with a Grain of Assault

“A Republican congressman accused of abusing his ex-mistress agreed to pay her about $500,000 in a settlement last year that contained a powerful incentive for her to keep quiet until after Election Day, a person familiar with the terms of the deal told The Associated Press.
Rep. Don Sherwood is locked in a tight re-election race against a Democratic opponent who has seized on the four-term congressman's relationship with the woman. While Sherwood acknowledged the woman was his mistress, he denied abusing her and said that he had settled her $5.5 million lawsuit on confidential terms.
The settlement, reached in November 2005, called for Cynthia Ore to be paid in installments, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is confidential. She has received less than half the money so far, and will not get the rest until after the Nov. 7 election, the person said Thursday.”
-Associated Press, November 2, 2006

“So? I mean, doesn’t everyone buy off their accusers when their election needs demand it? No story here. Move on.”

“A woman who says she was assaulted and propositioned by a Republican congressman running for Nevada governor said Wednesday she was physically threatened, pressured and offered money to drop her accusations and change her story.
Chrissy Mazzeo, 32, a Las Vegas Strip hotel-casino cocktail waitress, said a friend, Pennie Puhek, who claimed to have connections to Rep. Jim Gibbons' gubernatorial campaign, told her she would be paid if she dropped her accusations and signed a statement changing her account, said Mazzeo's lawyer, Richard Wright.”
-Associated Press, October 26, 2006

“Didn’t we already go over this? No story. This is just another woman claiming to be physically assaulted by a Republican Congressman. I am sure that Bill Clinton put them up to it. He has eerie supernatural powers over women. I mean, if this were another gay sex scandal it might have some legs (the press LOOOOVES the gay sex scandals), but this is just another case of much ado about nothing (except women being assaulted by Republican congressmen).”

“The leader of America’s powerful National Association of Evangelicals, a vocal supporter of George Bush and opponent of same-sex marriage, has resigned after being accused of paying for sex with a man.
The Rev Ted Haggard, a married father of five who is seen as one of the most influential conservative Christians in the nation, vigorously denied the allegations but said he could not ‘continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations.’
The claims were made by Mike Jones, a male escort from Denver, who told the media that Mr Haggard had paid him to have sex every month for nearly three years. He claimed that the Reverend had snorted methamphetamine before their sexual encounters in order to heighten the experience, an allegation also denied by Mr Haggard.
Mr. Jones said that he had voicemail messages from Mr Haggard as well as an envelope allegedly used to send him cash, which provided evidence of their secret trysts. ‘There’s some stuff on there (the voice mails) that’s pretty damning,’ he said.”
-Times Online (UK), November 3, 2006

“Ha! Thought you had me, didn’t you? Haggard isn’t a Republican politician! He’s just one of the most influential evangelical (and rabidly anti-gay) ministers in the United States who has consistently endorsed Bush. Completely different. This is just a blanket accusation anyway. There isn’t any proof (beyond a few letters and some audiotape).
Now think about this for a minute… This is all coming from the ‘moral’ party. Man, I’d hate to see the evil things that the Democrats must be doing.
Still, if you want to be safe then you are just going to deal with this kind of thing. What else are you going to do? Trust the Democrats? As we have been told a thousand times before (by the Republicans), the Democrats cannot be trusted on national defense. Only the Republicans are serious about national defense. You’re just going to have to put up with the hypocrisy and assaults. It is all for the good of the country.”

“Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to ‘leverage the Internet’ to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.
But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts ‘were shocked’ at the public disclosures.
The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.
‘For the U.S. to toss a match into this flammable area is very irresponsible,’ said A. Bryan Siebert, a former director of classification at the federal Department of Energy, which runs the nation’s nuclear arms program. ‘There’s a lot of things about nuclear weapons that are secret and should remain so.’”
-New York Times, November 3, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Feelings. Nothing More Than Feelings

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.”
-Senator John Kerry, October 30, 2006

“Awful! Terrible! I mean, even though in context he was obviously insulting Fearless Leader (who apparently didn’t get it.. He doesn’t understand criticism), this could easily be misinterpreted to look like insulting our troops. We can’t have that!”

“The White House was quick with a response to Kerry's apology.
‘Sen. Kerry's apology to the troops for his insulting comments came late, but it was the right thing to do,’ deputy press secretary Dana Perino said.
Earlier today, with Republicans eager to keep the story of Kerry's gaffe front and center in the final days of the campaign, President Bush got help from Rush Limbaugh.
The conservative talk-show host told the president that military people in Iraq ‘get insulted routinely. John Kerry's not the first. He's just the latest, Mr. President. … And that's his thinking on who compromises military members: That they're basically uneducated rubes.’
The president had a simple reply to Limbaugh: ‘Yes.’”
-ABC News, November 1, 2006

“Good move! Let Fearless Leader and the guy who was mocking Parkinson’s patients last week go after him. What can Kerry do to diffuse this misunderstanding?”

“Sen. John Kerry has apologized for a ‘poorly stated joke,’ which the Massachusetts senator said was aimed at the president but was widely perceived as a slam on U.S. troops.
‘I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member or American who was offended,’ Kerry said in a statement Wednesday.
‘As a combat veteran, I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: My poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and [was] never intended to refer to any troop,’ he said.”
-CNN International, November 2, 2006

“Huh.. He apologized. That seems so.. easy. Even if you didn’t mean to do it, I guess blaming the troops on the ground does deserve an apology.”

“House Majority Leader John Boehner: Wolf, I understand that, but let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld.

Wolf Blitzer: But he's in charge of the military.
House Majority Leader John Boehner: But the fact is the generals on the ground are in charge and he works closely with them and the president.”
-CNN, November 1, 2006

“Hey, aren’t the generals on the ground technically ‘troops’? How come this hasn’t started a political firestorm? You see, our troops are sensitive to criticism. It can really hurt their feelings, so we should go after those who insult them immediately. Thank goodness we can hold those responsible for this fiasco accountable.”

“The U.S. Air Force is asking the Pentagon's leadership for a staggering $50 billion in emergency funding for fiscal 2007 -- an amount equal to nearly half its annual budget, defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute said on Tuesday.
[A] source familiar with the Air Force plans said the extra funds would help pay to transport growing numbers of U.S. soldiers being killed and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
-Washington Post, October 31, 2006

“The number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans getting treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder nearly doubled from fall 2005 to this summer, but officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs say that isn’t necessarily bad news.
They believe the increase points to a growing awareness of the symptoms of PTSD and a larger willingness among young veterans to seek out help for the illness.
According to internal department data, the number of young veterans receiving PTSD treatment from VA hospitals and counseling centers rose from 20,394 patients in September 2005 to 38,144 patients in June 2006, an increase of 87 percent.
Hospital cases alone totaled 29,041 in June, up 82 percent from nine months earlier. The number of veterans who visited counseling centers more than doubled, from 4,467 to 9,103, over that same period.
Dr. Ira Katz, VA deputy chief of patient mental health services, said at least some of that increase is due to the increasing number of veterans: The number of troops who have separated from the service since September 2002 grew to 588,923 this summer, up more than 150,000 from the previous year.
Overall, the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans visiting VA centers for any type of counseling rose from 43,682 in September 2005 to 144,227 in June.”
-Stars and Stripes, November 2, 2006

“I meant the insults. No one is holding those responsible for the war accountable.”

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Get Out

“Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki demanded the removal of American checkpoints from the streets of Baghdad on Tuesday, in what appeared to be his latest and boldest gambit in an increasingly tense struggle for more independence from his American protectors.
The language of the declaration, which implied that Mr. Maliki had the power to command American forces, seemed to overstep his authority and to be aimed at placating his Shiite constituency.”
-New York Times, October 31, 2006

“Heh. Silly little puppet. Doesn’t he know who he is talking to? We are the U.S. of A.. We invade countries for no reason whatsoever. What makes him think that we will listen to him?”

“On Tuesday, U.S. forces dismantled road blocks around the Mahdi Army's Baghdad stronghold, the Sadr City neighborhood, following an order from the prime minister that was the latest in a series of challenges to the U.S. designed to test Washington's readiness to give him a greater say in securing the world's most violent capital.
Aides to the prime minister say he hopes to expand his authority by exploiting the pressure on President Bush over rising voter dissatisfaction with the conduct of the war and the rising U.S. death toll.”
-Associated Press, November 1, 2006

“Oh.. I guess we did listen to him. Odd. Still, no big deal. It just means that our troops won’t be caught up in those vulnerable check points. I mean heck, it isn’t like they were doing anything important.”

“U.S. forces, who had set up the checkpoints in Baghdad last week as part of an unsuccessful search for the soldier, drove away in Humvees and armored personnel carriers at the 5 p.m. deadline set by al-Maliki. Iraqi troops, who had manned the checkpoints with the Americans, loaded coils of razor wire and red traffic cones onto pickup trucks.”
-Associated Press, November 1, 2006

“They were searching for a captured soldier? And we let them tell us to go home? Very odd. We listened to the Iraqi government even when it meant doing away with a piece of our search for a missing soldier. We must really want al-Maliki to seem legitimate.”

“A classified briefing prepared two weeks ago by the United States Central Command portrays Iraq as edging toward chaos, in a chart that the military is using as a barometer of civil conflict.
A one-page slide shown at the Oct. 18 briefing provides a rare glimpse into how the military command that oversees the war is trying to track its trajectory, particularly in terms of sectarian fighting.
The slide includes a color-coded bar chart that is used to illustrate an ‘Index of Civil Conflict.’ It shows a sharp escalation in sectarian violence since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, and tracks a further worsening this month despite a concerted American push to tamp down the violence in Baghdad.
One significant factor in the military’s decision to move the scale toward ‘chaos’ was the expanding activity by militias.
Another reason was the limitations of Iraqi government security forces, which despite years of training and equipping by the United States, are either ineffective or, in some cases, infiltrated by the very militias they are supposed to be combating. The slide notes that ‘ineffectual’ Iraqi police forces have been a significant problem, and cites as a concern sectarian conflicts between Iraqi security forces.
Other significant factors are in the political realm. The slide notes that Iraq’s political and religious leaders have lost some of their moderating influence over their constituents or adherents.”
-New York Times, October 30, 2006

“So we have a choice. We can start listening to the Iraqis or we can let the country slide further into chaos. Yep, things over there are going swimmingly.. Now we just need to figure out what to do if al-Maliki tells us that he wants us out of Iraq.”

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