Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bush On Iraq: A War We Did Not Start

Yep. You heard right:

"We meet today at a time of war for our country. A war we did not start, yet one that we will win," Bush said at the American Legion's national convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
This guy is hilarious. Maybe Bush is engaging in a little revisionist history, as he likes to call it?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Coalition of the Idiots!

Too funny. Frickin' Cannuckies tellin it like it is:

Carolyn Parrish, the Toronto-area MP with a history of anti-American comments, fanned the flames during a break from a Liberal caucus meeting.

"We are not joining the coalition of the idiots," Parrish said at a small anti-missile-defence rally outside the Parliament buildings.

"We are joining the coalition of the wise."

Of course, if the Bushies hadn't been so worried about missile defence (with Condi expecting to deliver a 'missile defense' speech on the morning of September 11, 2001 - yes, that September 11, 2001 - it was postponed), then 9/11 would probably have never happened.

Florida Latino Vote Affected?

When a Miami area hispanic man tries to burn himself alive after hearing about the death of his eldest son, a GI in Iraq, will Cuban-American voters, or Latino voters in general, be affected? Could Florida swing the other way because of an event like this?

Bush is always playing politics with Miami-based Cuban-Americans - denouncing Cuba and all that fun stuff, but I'm curious if this kind of tragedy hits especially hard the Cuban-Americans, who I suspect (albeit, out of my ignorance), place a very strong emphasis on family. Personally, I don't want to think about what this father is going through - too brutal.

I don't understand why some Cubans (about half of the Cuban population in the Miami area, apparently) think talking trash about Cuba and encouraging Bush to further tighten the harsh economic sanctions against the tiny island nation is a good thing. Do they think they're helping the people in their homeland? Do they think they're hastening the demise of Fidel? Didn't we learn from Iraq that it's not the dictator who suffers but his people?

Regardless, I'm curious if an event like this hits home powerfully enough to shake a Bush supporter. Most Bush/war supporters would say of the now-dead GI, 'he was a brave guy', 'he did his duty', 'yadda yadda yadda', but it's obvious that the family doesn't think too highly of Bush's war of choice - with the soldier's mom saying 'They should stop this now. They send them like guinea pigs over there.'

I bring up Cuban voters because they're in a crucial swing state, they are presumably 'swingable', and this event happened in the Miami area, whose population is 'heavily Cuban'. But could an event like this swing Latino voters all over the state, all over the country? What about non-Latinos? I'm not sure what it takes to wake people up to the fact that war is not all fun - that people actually die - and that it's not only the injured and dying that suffer - it's their family and friends back home that suffer too.

Incidentally, the 'Bush playing politics' link above says that Bush's more hardline stance against Cuba has actually decreased his support among the Cuban population in Florida from 80+ percent to 60+ percent. If that's so, why did he do it? Money? Money is important, sure, but votes are important, too. I can't imagine that Rove would allow legislation like this to pass without sufficient focus groups to be able to predict how the Cuban electorate would react, but I'll be darned if I can figure out what the ulterior motive was.

The police will not decide whether or not to charge the father, nor what to charge him with, until they figure out how badly he disfigured himself. How's that for a bad day at the office? First-born son dies in a phony war orchestrated by a spoiled brat and his crime family, burn yourself severely over 50% of your body - with all the fun that burn recovery entails, and get to await arrest, possible detention, lawyers, courtrooms, possible jail time, and $20 grand or so for that van you torched. Oh, and don't forget about the grieving process for your son - you'll have to find time to do that, too. And hope your marriage doesn't fall apart in the process. And hope you don't get hooked on anti-depressants.

Phew - too much.

Worst. President. Ever.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Sudan: Day of Conscience

FaithfulAmerica.org has organized a 'Day of Conscience' to draw attention to the refugee crisis in Darfur. Through private donations, FaithfulAmerica was able to send a camera crew over to Darfur to get some live video footage of what is going on over there on the ground. A live video fee was made available across the internet at 9 am this morning, and it's now available via archive.

This is pretty awesome stuff. Shoe-string budget, taking live questions over the internet from viewers of the streaming video, interviews with a representative of Doctors Without Borders, an interview with one of the refugees, talk about the current political situation, etc. Too cool.

I and about 3,000 other people are doing a little hunger strike today - no solid food during daylight hours - to join in solidarity with the people of Darfur.

This filming/video feed is apparently a joint project between FaithfulAmerica and TrueMajority.

Some of the humanitarian organizations out there include Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam, Red Cross, and Care. Global Nomads Group is the group of people helping out specifically with the technology and camerwork needed to make this interactive event happen.

Man, so many people helping out.

I used to think of the Red Cross as just an American entity, but I realize now that it's actually part of a global Red Cross organization - as seen through the link above. If you search for 'Red Cross' in Google, you'll first come across a link to 'redcross.org' which belongs to 'American Red Cross'.

A couple of other links here: Darfur Genocide, Save Darfur.

The most important thing you can do to 'take action' is to:

  • Sign up with either FaithfulAmerica.org or TrueMajority.org - including their email newsalerts which will keep you informed of the Sudan situation.
  • Ask your friends to sign up with one of these organizations.
  • Donate money to any one of the organizations listed in this posting.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper asking them to cover the ongoing situation in Sudan.
  • Write your congresspersons, Senators, and President Bush and tell them you want them to do something to help solve the Sudanese refugee situation.

For what it's worth, I really like the FaithfulAmerica.org organization because it seems to embody many of the best aspects of religion (community, cooperation, compassion, etc.) without condoning the actions of corrupt politicians who use religion for politican gain (war, imperialism, racism, etc). They are definitely faith-based, but not in a scary, barbarian, psychotic way like I imagine many of President Bush's faith-based organizations are run.

Tom Brokaw - Time To Sac-Up

Tom Brokaw said the following in introducing yet another Swift piece:

Kerry said the Bush campaign is using quote fear and smear tactics to avoid debating the real issues facing America. He's referring in part to the campaign by a group of Vietnam veterans, some with ties to Bush allies and other Republicans, to try to discredit Kerry's war service.

This piece was aired on August 24, 2004. Let's look at the evidence up through yesterday, the 24th, presumably the day that Brokaw shot this clip:

Fri, Aug 6: McCain denounces ad criticizing Kerry
Fri, Aug 20: W.House Says Not Behind Ads, Derides Kerry
Sat, Aug 21: Public relations woman has central role in Kerry ad controversy
Sun, Aug 22: Bush Campaign Drops Swift Boat Ad Figure
Sun, Aug 22: Tangled web links veterans to Bush, Rove
Mon, Aug 23: Bush adviser quits after appearing in swift boat ad
(first it was fired, then quit, whatever)
Tue, Aug 24: Bush Campaign Lawyer Is Advising Swift Boat Group, AP Reports
Wed, Aug 25: Lawyer Advising Vets Quits Bush Campaign

Now, I'm no genius, but I think it would be pretty difficult, after seeing all of this evidence (save for the last headline, perhaps), to say anything other than 'some with ties to the Bush campaign.' Instead, we get 'some with ties to Bush allies and other Republicans.' Admittedly, what Brokaw did say was true - it's just that he left out the most important piece of information - that there are ties between the not-so-Swifties and the Bush campaign. Why?

Before Mr. Brokaw did his piece we had the obviousness of the myriad connections between bigtime Republican donors and the Swifties pointing to a direct link, we had a Bush campaign adviser quit (or fired) for directly appearing in a Swiftie ad, we had an FEC complaint filed by the Kerry campaign directly accusing the Bush campaign of illegally cooperating with the Swifties, we had McCain telling Bush to denounce the ads (of course, the only reason McCain would tell Bush to denounce them, as opposed to Sponge Bob, is because McCain knew that Bush was responsible for them, at least indirectly, indicating once again a potentially-illegal tie to the Bush campaign), and various other reports linking the money, people, party, and places associated with the Swifties and the Bush campaign.

What, exactly, does Tom want - in terms of evidence - to allow himself to say that there were, in fact, illegal ties from the Bush campaign to the Swifties? He could at least do us the honor of alleging such a charge since they've been out in the mainstream press for almost a month now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

CareerBuilder.com Not On Message

Don't think CareerBuilder.com sync'ed up with Mr. Bush before releasing this email/newsletter:

Subject: Good news! Some industries are still growing in the US!

The recent negative unemployment numbers are another blow to the nation's struggling job situation. Not all sectors are slowing though. Take a look at the top industries with the most growth on CareerBuilder.com now.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Letter to WaPost Ombudsman on Swift Liars

Dear Ombudsman,

I believe this article is very one-sided in that it does not point out that that many people associated with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have changed their story and are directly contradicted by the official U.S. government documentary evidence. Take the following paragraph:

An investigation by The Washington Post into what happened that day suggests that both sides have withheld information from the public record and provided an incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, picture of what took place. But although Kerry's accusers have succeeded in raising doubts about his war record, they have failed to come up with sufficient evidence to prove him a liar.
Of course, documentary evidence that supports Kerry's version of events *is* sufficient evidence to prove at least some of the Swift Boat Veterans are liars. Mr. O'Neill himself was on George Stephanopoulos' show yesterday saying that Kerry's boat returned to pick up Rassman, from the water, while the other boats remained under fire. This was to paint Kerry as some kind of coward - but of course, Mr. O'Neill can't seem to make up his mind about whether the boats were under fire or not - he continually changes his story.

It's embarrassing that your paper has such a low capacity to point out the obvious - that Swifties are lying through their teeth.

Here's another gross example:

O'Neill has said that the initials "KJW" on the bottom of the report "identified" it as having been written by Kerry. It is unclear why this should be so, as Kerry's initials are JFK. A review of other Swift boat after-action reports at the Naval Historical Center here reveals several that include the initials "KJW" but describe incidents at which Kerry was not present.

It would be nice if the Post did a little critical analysis once in a while on Kerry's critics. How about calling O'Neill's account, here, 'factually challenged', or 'hard to believe', or 'obviously false', or 'the guy must be off his rocker', or 'little green men on his shoulder must have gave him that account', or something, anything sufficiently negative. Instead, we get 'it is unclear why this should be so' - as if the Post is just an innocent bystander, incapable of calling a lie a lie.

Great job guys. Keep up the good work.


UPDATE: I did not send this link to the WaPost, but it's just one of many - and they know about them - but Mr. Republican Editor didn't want anyone to get the real story behind the Swift Liars.

Bob Dole, too? What a piece of shit.

I quote from Altercation quoting Andrew Ferguson at the uber-conservative Weekly Standard:

Yet in 2004, Republicans find themselves supporting a candidate, George W. Bush, with a slender and ambiguous military record against a man whose combat heroism has never (until now) been disputed. Further--and here we'll let slip a thinly disguised secret--Republicans are supporting a candidate that relatively few of them find personally or politically appealing. This is not the choice Republicans are supposed to be faced with. The 1990s were far better. In those days the Democrats did the proper thing, nominating a draft-dodger to run against George H.W. Bush, who was the youngest combat pilot in the Pacific theater in World War II, and then later, in 1996, against Bob Dole, who left a portion of his body on the beach at Anzio.

Republicans have no such luck this time, and so they scramble to reassure themselves that they nevertheless are doing the right thing, voting against a war hero. The simplest way to do this is to convince themselves that the war hero isn't really a war hero. If sufficient doubt about Kerry's record can be raised, we can vote for Bush without remorse. But the calculations are transparently desperate. Reading some of the anti-Kerry attacks over the last several weeks, you might conclude that this is the new conservative position: A veteran who volunteered for combat duty, spent four months under fire in Vietnam, and then exaggerated a bit so he could go home early is the inferior, morally and otherwise, of a man who had his father pull strings so he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam in the first place.

Besides, it can be easy to earn a purple heart - not that it always is.

UPDATE: LA Times comes out big for Kerry.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Truth Before Power

The National Security Archive always sounded to me like a government organization, but they're actually non-governmental, and non-profit. I ran across their site when doing some research.

Anyways, perusing their website quickly, I came across some cool-looking pictures. Upon further inspection I realized they were an art exhibit. A 'noted modern artist' named Jenny Holzer put together a show called Art Before Power in Bregenz, Austria.

In this exhibit, she shows a bunch of once-classified documents, obtained from the National Security Archive, in massive displays - on big walls, on the sides of buildings, etc. Some of the pictures are awesome, and the displays are awesome, and the concept, to me, is awesome. It's the perfect mix of artistic expression, with democratic activism, which the power of the written word, and the insight provided by the unearthed secrets of governments.

Great stuff.

Komodo Dragon Dies In Captivity

Am I the only person on this earth to have seen Jurassic Park? I mean, did all the zookeepers of the world just decide they were too good for the movie - that they couldn't learn anything? Is that why the curator here seems so baffled:

"The design of the enclosure was thoroughly researched drawing on the knowledge of the world's leading reptile experts, but sadly this individual female dragon's agility far exceed our expectations and research," curator Dr David Field said.
How many more stories do we have to hear of man-eating Lions and other bigger-than-life animals getting out of their cages - loosed upon unsuspecting humanoids? F*cking idiots. Truly.

Go rent the movie - it's pretty good - I swear - a buck-fifty (well, three dollars) and a buck-fifty hours - you'll learn a lesson you'll never forget. And you might unwittingly save the life and/or limbs of some humanoids in the future.

Mens 100m final...taped?!

Yep - that's the only way you'll get to see it in America. F*cking pathetic, NBC. We already know the finish, and it's only 5:20 pm. NBC won't show it until sometime after their primetime coverage starts at 7:00 pm. The order: Justin Gatlin (USA), Francis Obikwelu (Portugal), Maurice Greene (USA), in 9.85, 9.86, and 9.87, respectively.

Sounds like it was probably an exciting race - if you got to watch it live. Drugs be damned! Hey, we're all hypocrites at some level. That we couldn't see it live is just unbelievable. Talk about monopolizing the airwaves. Thanks to the Internet we know who won almost as soon as the rest of the world.

I'll make sure to tune in tonight to watch these guys justify their existence in ten lonely seconds - 3 hours after the fact. Horrible horrible horrible.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Iraq vs. Olyroos, 11 am Athens Time

Took me a while to dig up the schedule, but it looks like Iraq mens soccer team will play Australia at 11 am EST on Telemundo (18:00 GMT in a GMT+2 timezone yields 11 am EST. No idea what time it's supposed to mean in a GMT-5 timezone, GMT-5 being EST). At least, Telemundo, when given the choice, usually runs with soccer, especially if it's a South/Central American team involved.

Oh yeah, the Olyroos is the nickname given to the Australian international mens soccer team - usually the Socceroos - from Kangeroos, of course - but with an Olympic twist. Most of the Aussie teams have cool nicknames.

Other nicknames that spring to mind: All Blacks, Tall Blacks (New Zealand mens basketball team), Wallabies, Matildas (Australia womens soccer team), Kookaburras (Australia mens field hockey), Hockeyroos (Australia womens field hockey), Jillaroos (Australia under-21 womens field hockey), Boomers (Australia mens basketball), Opals (Australia womens basketball), Kangaroos (Australia rugby league), Joeys (Australia junior mens soccer), etc. You get the idea. Methinks it's totally cool. This is the way they're actually referred to in the Aussie (awzee) press, too.

UPDATE: Great game. Bicycle kick for the game winner? Nice. I'm really impressed by Iraq. They've got some good players - and they play with some flair - a bit of Brazil, even. Think I actually caught it on CNBC, not Telemundo, though it might have been on there too.

Australian coach was crying. Here's the oddest part about all the crying that these supposed soccer nations do - the only team that is actually gracious in defeat? The US mens basketball team. Can you imagine? Unbelievable.

Next match, I believe, is vs. Paraguay - semis - this upcoming Tuesday at 2 pm eastern. It'll definitely be live on an English-language station.

UPDATE: Iraq lost to Paraguay, but it was a closer game than the 3-1 scoreline indicates. The Iraq coach was classy, saying, "We missed a lot of opportunities, but Paraguay was better on this day."

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Naked Olympics

Haven't read the book, but this Booknotes presentation by author Tony Perrottet is pretty awesome. He set it up as more of a lecture. Caught it by accident on weekend C-SPAN (a.k.a. Book TV), as I usually do catch a lot of good stuff on Book TV on the weekends while lounging around.

The most interesting thing I learned was the history of how the Olympics came to be amateur-only. It was to exclude athletes from the working classes. This, of course, puts the whole amateur vs. professional conflict of the modern Olympics in a new light altogether.

On the topic of the value of Book TV, too bad Brian Lamb's show, Booknotes, is going away this December. Sucks. That show is awesome. I didn't know Lamb was CEO of C-SPAN. I plan on letting C-SPAN know I want the show to stay. Not sure if it'll do any good.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Bush Job Growth Always Revised Downwards?

I thought the answer was most assuredly a 'yes', but looks like I was wrong. I gathered this data from news articles (mainly CNN/Money online), so I cannot guarantee any sort of accuracy, but for that matter, the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Deparment of Labor look no more accurate - i.e. none of them jive with what the articles are written. So, who knows?

But, here are my numbers (some of which are stolen from another blog - sorry to the unfortunate blogger whose address I forget!):

July, '04 32,000 n/a yet n/a yet
June, '04 112,000 78,000 -34,000
May, '04 248,000 235,000 -13,000
April, '04 288,000 346,000 +48,000
March, '04 308,000 337,000 +29,000
February, '04 21,000 83,000 +62,000
January, '04 112,000 97,000 -15,000
December, '03 16,000 1,000 -15,000
November, '03 57,000 43,000 -14,000
October, '03 126,000 100,000 -26,000

The negative numbers are revisions downward - bad for Bush - the positive numbers are revisions upward - good for Bush. All in all, it looks like the numbers are fairly unpredictable. So, Bush gets off on this one, but it doesn't excuse him from totally misrepresenting the job situation any chance he gets by grossly distorting the data contained in the report - like using the Household Survey results whenever they suit his purpose better. Sucka.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Lotsa Love for USA

Compliments of Reuters:

Protesters tear apart a large U.S. flag near the U.S. embassy in Seoul Aug. 15, 2004 during a rally marking 59 years of independence from Japan's colonization. About 10,000 protesters rallied on Sunday as they demanded U.S. withdraw its troops from South Korea (news - web sites), that South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun cancel planned troop dispatch to Iraq (news - web sites) and for Roh to resign. (Lee Jae-Won/Reuters)

Friday, August 13, 2004

Greek Anti-Heroes

Kostas Kenteris, winner of the Syndey Games 200 m sprint, has mysteriously failed to show up for his drugs test. He has subsequently mysteriously been involved in a motorcycle accident - that will presumably remove him from the Olympics competition - if, of course, he feels the Greeks are serious about testing him, and I believe they are.

Now, take a look at this man's legs. Do those look like sprinter's legs to you? I'm no genius, but I know bodybuilder legs when I see them. I know steroids when I see them. It's almost impossible to have legs that big and sprint so fast because the muscles would actually get in the way of your sprinting! Impossible, unless, of course, the incredible super-human power that your steroids-enhanced muscles can produce can actually overcome the awkward bio-physio-kinetic-type effects of your lobsided muscle masses. I believe this is the case with Mr. Kostas Kenteris, as it was the case with Mr. Ben Johnson. Take a look at this pic of Mr. Johson and decide for yourself if he looks more like a bodybuilder than a sprinter:

Mind you, it's not just the men that are the druggie cheats. We have every reason to believe that most professional athletes today are on the juice. Believing otherwise is just blind ignorance of the facts. Most people outside of the United States, and even some here, believe that Florence Griffith-Joyner also used steroids. Let's go to the video-Tape:

Ben Johnson has a good quote in this article, after he got outted:

There is a level playing field out there. It just isn't the playing field you thought it was.
We should talk about steroids in sports. It's apparently necessary to do drugs if you wish to compete at the highest levels. So, should we legalize drugs, or continue to promote their underground usage?

p.s. You thought our Carl Lewis was clean? Puh-leaze. And for all those who think all the American baseball players, miraculously, are not taking - wake the f*ck up!

...fixed the typo in the title of this post.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Oil Flow Stopped Because Of Sabotage Threats?

Well, if you believe a senior oil company official, who of course, has no interest in making sure we all believe the Administration's hype. On the other hand, if you look a little harder, you might be able to spot some shimmers of truth making their way through the fog that is the U.S. propaganda machine.

Those shimmers of truth are saying that the oil has stopped flowing because Iraqi oil workers have stopped the oil - to protest what the U.S. military is doing in Najaf - devastating the city, its civilian population, desecrating some of the holiest sites in the world - you know, the usual.

But don't believe me, keep looking for those shimmers that keep escaping into the ether...

UPDATE: Southern Iraq seceding from Churchill's union (a.k.a. Iraq)? What is it, a red state or something? Sheesh. Why did that oil stop flowing, again??

U.S. Military Tough Talk

U.S. military commands are constantly talking big. They put up these huge Orwellian declarations about how swimmingly the war is going, how many freedom fighters have been killed, and they absolutely love to give ultimatums - which ultimately come to nothing, but more devastating evidence that U.S. credibility is null and void.

Let's take a look at the headlines coming out of Najaf. If you look back over the past couple of years you'll be able to see this pattern over and over and over again. It is soooo tired. Here's how the story's been going, and how it will continue to go:

Escalation and lots of 'pounding':
US forces pound Iraqi militia

Now we're gonna get serious:
US, Iraqi Forces Ready for `Major Assaults' on Najaf Rebels

Then, after more stalemate, the ultimatum:
US forces demand militants in Najaf lay down arms or face death

Now what is going to happen is this - the U.S. will cut a deal behind the scenes that allows them to let al-Sadr roam free while the U.S. gets to save face back home after boasting so loudly for so long. Of course, this deal-cutting stuff only empowers the resistance - it shows the weakness of our forces, and encourages the resistance, showing them that they can beat the almighty Americans if they're persistent enough. Whether our weakness on the battlefield is military or political really doesn't matter. What matters is our credibility on the battlefield continues to dissipate in these guerrilla battles where we give ultimatums, and then walk away and declare victory. If we say we're going to do something, we had better well damn do it.

Let me guess how this standoff is going to end - here's my guess at the headlines - we'll update this post when it goes down:
Order Restored to Najaf. Sadr to leave. U.S. Forces Withdraw

Of course, this won't be at all what happened. Order will not have been restored. Sadr will not have left. And the U.S. forces would withdraw far enough to avoid mortar fire coming from the city. Chaos will continue to reign in the city, and the terrorist training camp that is now Iraq will continue to flourish.

Smile. :)

UPDATE: I couldn't make this up if I tried, people. Our first post-tough-talk headline is as follows:
U.S. Troops Postpone Offensive in Najaf

I should fess up right away and say that the U.S. propaganda machine would never allow such a blatant headline like 'U.S. Forces Withdraw' to appear. That will be exactly what happens, but it'll be buried in the fine print, in the last paragraph of the story. A 'compromise' will be mentioned, of course, and that 'al-Sadr will still have to answer for his crimes', yadda-yadda-yadda, but all of this is to be expected.

Hey, if Bush gets to backtrack all the time on almost everything he says, then so can I! :)

But to sum up, any headline coming from Iraq, regardless of the actual conditions on the ground, will reassure all us American November Presidential Election voters that what happened was nothing less than absolute, total, unconditional victory.

UPDATE: Another classic headline:
U.S., Iraqi Forces Launch Najaf Offensive

So, here we go - the transformation of yet another losing US military effort, but before we invade, get in a few punches, and then withdraw, we have to say that this is partially an Iraqi effort - thus the 'Iraqi Forces' in the headline. As if there is such a thing as 'Iraqi Forces' - you gotta be kidding me. Most of Iraq, that includes government officials, is already calling on the US to get the hell out of Najaf. This should be fun.

UPDATE: Latest headline:
Iraq, Al-Sadr Aides Negotiate Najaf Truce

I love it. All of a sudden the U.S. military has disappeared from the equation. We got our asses handed to us, decided to pull out, and leave it to 'Iraq' to declare victory via a negotiated truce. Too funny. Bush is making a mockery of our military, he's making a mockery of our would-be strength. What an asshole. We knew it would happen, it happened, but are we supposed to be satisfied that we correctly predicted the abysmal conclusion of Bush's horrific Iraq strategy? Jee-zoo.

UPDATE: Al-Sistani brokers peace deal - Najaf, Kufa to become weapons-free cities

I don't care how much moral authority Sistani has - he ain't gonna get Najaf and Kufa to become weapons free. One would have to be smoking a *lot* of crack to believe that. Sadr's followers are not stupid - they know Allawi will make his move on them if they give him the chance by putting down their weapons - so don't count on it. And if you believe this is the end of the little Najaf uprising, I have a bridge to sell you. More to come, of that, I am sure...

Monday, August 09, 2004

Iraqi Soccer and Bremer

ESPN.com does a nice little ditty about Iraqi Soccer as it moves into the spotlight of the Olympics.


In the rubble that is their homeland, Iraqi soccer players fight the past and present to build a future

The players were unmoved by Bremer's congratulatory drop-in.PEOPLE'S STADIUM is the largest venue in Iraq, a gently curved structure where black-and-white portraits of Saddam Hussein once jutted from its rim like thunderstorms on the horizon. Some of the country's most important soccer games have been played on this pitch. Beneath the bleachers, on orders of the tyrant's son Uday, some of its top athletes were tortured.

The portraits are gone now, as is Uday. So it is with the élan of a liberator that on a sunny May afternoon, L. Paul Bremer III, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq, descends into the stadium in a Black Hawk helicopter. Two days earlier, the Iraqi soccer team had earned its first Olympic berth since 1988. On the night of the clinching victory, against Saudi Arabia, Baghdad pulsated with rifle shots as the skies flashed with tracer bullets. Startled U.S. soldiers assumed they were under attack, but it was only the delirious outburst of local fans. Now it's Bremer's turn to throw a party.

The chopper alights on the pitch, and Bremer steps out, his trademark blue blazer and white pocket square flapping in the gusts created by the rotors. He is met quickly by several armed guards in wraparound shades who escort him to the assembled players. "Iraq is back!" Bremer declares triumphantly as cameras roll and reporters scribble. He repeats the slogan again and again.

But widen the lens a little and you'll see that the players, bunched behind Bremer as he speaks, are frowning. Widen it a bit more, and you'll see that People's Stadium is otherwise devoid of people. It is simply too dangerous to let the public near our man in Baghdad.

The soccer players were among America's biggest fans after the fall of the capital city. They played more creatively, no longer worried that a poor pass might lead to punishment from Uday, the onetime head of Iraq's soccer federation and Olympic committee. But now, 17 months after the Americans arrived, key facilities remain in shambles, pummeled by the war. The domestic pro league has been suspended, interrupting the payment of player salaries. The streets are so dangerous that some players use bodyguards to get them to practice. And Uday's lieutenants still run the show.

"Mr. Bremer, what did he do? He took photos with the players," says Adnan Hamad, the Olympic team coach. "The truth is, he never helped us."

Iraq's coach recently resigned because he feared for his life. His driver had already been killed. Iraq is truly free - everyone is free to do whatever the heck they want, apparently.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Really, I Give A F*ck What You Think

Bush, to minority journalists at the 2004 Unity Conference...(photo credit to WaPost)

UPDATE: Bush gets laughed at by the journalists at this event. Wow. That's gotta be painful...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Another Bogus Terror Arrest

Call me cynical, but I think the Bushies have had all they can take of this terror-alert-as-political-tool bashing. So what do they do, announce some other high-profile arrests of Muslims to deflect attention from their scandal.

UPDATE: Another arrest - for a non-terror terror plot. But you won't hear about it - why? Because the culprit is not a brownish Muslim. Racism is at the heart of this 'war on terror', and is at the heart of all imperialism.