Friday, August 18, 2006

More lies, another war, the death toll soars

-- by John Sugg

"Never has so much military and economic and diplomatic power been used so ineffectively, and if after all this time, and all of this sacrifice, and of all this support, there is no end in sight, then I say for the American people to turn to new leadership not tied to the mistakes and policies of the past."-- Richard Nixon, 1968

In August 1939, German soldiers dressed as Poles seized a German radio station and broadcast an inflammatory message. It was the justification the Nazis cited for launching what would become World War II.

Six years later, what began as a "false flag" provocation ended after the deaths of 48 million people.

In August 1964, the United States claimed North Vietnamese boats had attacked two of our destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. The uncritical press -- practicing "war enabling" that would be the norm by the time George W. Bush became president -- trumpeted the administration spin. The New York Times, for example, reported: "President Johnson has ordered retaliatory action against gunboats and 'certain supporting facilities in North Vietnam' after renewed attacks against American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin."

Decades later, a book by investigative author Tom Wells, The War Within: America's Battle Over Vietnam, detailed elements of Johnson's lie. Rather than a "response" to provocation, LBJ's escalation really "reflected plans the administration had already drawn up for gradually increasing" attacks on North Vietnam. We wanted all-out war and we got it, based on a lie, at the cost of 50,000 American lives and 2 million, maybe 3 million, Vietnamese.

And, so now in August 2006, we learn -- if we're diligent because newspapers such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are burying the story or not printing it at all -- that the destruction of a democracy, Lebanon, was not mere "tit for tat" by Israel.

You Say Potato, I Say Hyperbole

I think it fair to say that Dean Mundy, author of the blog Musings of a Thoughtful Conservative, and a part-time community columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is widely respected on both the left and right sides of the cheddarsphere. I know I have appreciated his approach to issues, if not agreeing with them always.

But recently, Dean decided to become involved in comments over at The Xoff Files regarding a piece titled "A tax-exempt GOP rally and hate fest." I suspect the real reason Dean became so upset was because the event targeted by Xoff was one that Dean attended. Maybe not. But the exchange occurred over this portion of an article written by an insider at the event.

Vicki McKenna, conservative radio host at WIBA-AM 1310 in Madison, urged the audience to challenge the "left-ended world view" of the mainstream media "until we kill them," she said, "until they are deader than dead."

A blogger/commenter named George Roberts responded to this.

And such a frustration with the media, Owen, that the audience was called upon to kill them? Would that include Ms. McBride, still a newspaper columnist in the MSM? Or just how many hours a week does one have to be in journalistic employment to merit murder? Do you require an 8-hour workday? Or is one a prorated target if working part-time in the MSM? That kind of talk would get Ms. McKenna hauled away at airport security, I would hope, but it was okay at your convention? So much for the kinder, gentler country brought to us by the conservative revolution.

At this point, Dean intervened.

I attended it also, saw and visited the Libertarian party booth, heard one panel led by Sheriff David Clarke, who, in spite of protestations from the Left, is still a Democrat, and listened to another one which Mikel Holt, a self-confessed independent, sat on. A conservative convention, perhaps, but certainly not a Republican one.

I'm surprised the left takes the phrases about killing so literally. Must never have played sports where killing is mentioned with no one contemplating homicide.

One of the "nuts," I guess.

Aside from the silliness regarding Sheriff Clarke, whom we all know could not win if he ran as a Republican, and Mikel Holt, who is a creation of Charlie Sykes if there ever was one, this was too much … associating threats of murder with sports. So I responded.

There's a heck of a difference between yelling as a team (for example) ... "Let's kill'em, go Tigers" ... and pointing out individuals or groups of individuals for murder.

I would have thought you knew that difference, Dean. Not very thoughtful in this case.

Dean retaliated with this.

Well, let's see, Tim, the writer described it as a "pep rally". Do you really think they were calling for murder?

I would have to question your literary skills, then.

Oh, come on, I thought. Needing to respond, I said:

No need to get snippy.It was the author's decision to use those words. I think Ms. McKenna's phrasing was a little more ominous. Big difference!

My literary skills are fine, thank you.

Dean came right back:

It was hyperbole. Good grief, in a public place, someone is going to call for someone's murder? I can't believe you guys would take that literally. I can't wait for the next time a liberal speaks in hyperbole.

At which point I decided to quit. But only briefly, so I could comment in length here. First of all, a description of the word hyperbole from the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary.

Etymology: Latin, from Greek hyperbolE excess, hyperbole, hyperbola, from hyperballein to exceed, from hyper- + ballein to throw -- more at DEVIL: extravagant exaggeration (as "mile-high ice-cream cones")

Exaggeration ... as in mile-high ice cream cones, or sleeping for a year, or a book weighing a ton … you, know, nasty stuff. Stuff that kids do all the time. I’ve even told my kids a million times not to exaggerate.

THESE are samples of hyperbole. Notice that these samples really couldn’t, wouldn’t happen. Now, check this one out.

"Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized."

Sterilized? My children like to draw. Are they bound to be sterilized for this? Well, of course not, because as Dean would say, "It’s hyperbole. "

The author of that hyperbole was Adolf Hitler. Ach, that Fuhrer, he’s such a kidder.

I do not know if the previous quote was ever said in public, which seems to define a true hyperbole for Dean. But the following were said in public by Adolf.

I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work. (speech in PUBLIC before the Reichstag in 1933)
My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognised these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognise more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice...and if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. (Speech in PUBLIC Munich (12 April 1922)

We all know what happened to the Jews in Europe. Just hyperbole, right?

I’ve only chosen to use Adolf Hitler as a source of refutation. I’m sure that the works of Josef Stalin, Mao, etc. would provide more fodder. Still not convinced that anyone in their right mind would say such “hyperbole” in public?

"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?" (Glenn Beck)
In this recurring nightmare of a presidency, we have a national debate about whether he "did it," even though all sentient people know he did. Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate. (Ann Coulter, regarding Bill Clinton)

If a liberal were to say something like this – and I have no doubt some fool has – the conservative media would be all over it, as would legion of liberals. However, a conservative says it and the response from their media and their partisans is, “It’s hyperbole.”

I still have much respect for Dean. But, IT IS NEVER HYPERBOLE WHEN LIVES ARE THREATENED.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See?

So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See? and Bush says, "Whad'l'ya have, pardner?" and Osama says...

But wait a minute. I'd better shut my mouth. The sign here in the airport says, "Security is no joking matter." But if security's no joking matter, why does this guy dressed in a high-school marching band outfit tell me to dump my Frappuccino and take off my shoes? All I can say is, Thank the Lord the "shoe bomber" didn't carry Semtex in his underpants.

Today's a RED and ORANGE ALERT day. How odd. They just caught the British guys with the chemistry sets. But when these guys were about to blow up airliners, the USA was on YELLOW alert. That's a "lowered" threat notice.

According to the press office from the Department of Homeland Security, lowered-threat Yellow means that there were no special inspections of passengers or cargo. Isn't it nice of Mr. Bush to alert Osama when half our security forces are given the day off? Hmm. I asked an Israeli security expert why his nation doesn't use these pretty color codes.

He asked me if, when I woke up, I checked the day's terror color. "I can't say I ever have. I mean, who would?"

He smiled. "The terrorists."

America is the only nation on the planet that kindly informs bombers, hijackers and berserkers the days on which they won't be monitored. You've got to get up pretty early in the morning to get a jump on George Bush's team.

There are three possible explanations for the Administration's publishing a good-day-for-bombing color guidebook.

1. God is on Osama's side.
2. George is on Osama's side.
3. Fear sells better than sex.

A gold star if you picked #3.

I'm going to tell you something which is straight-up heresy: America is not under attack by terrorists. There is no WAR on terror because, except for one day five years ago, al Qaeda has pretty much left us alone.

That's because Osama got what he wanted. There's no mystery about what Al Qaeda was after. Like everyone from the Girl Scouts to Bono, Osama put his wish on his web site. He had a single demand: "Crusaders out of the land of the two Holy Places." To translate: get US troops out of Saudi Arabia.

And George Bush gave it to him. On April 29, 2003, two days before landing on the aircraft carrier Lincoln, our self-described "War President" quietly put out a notice that he was withdrawing our troops from Saudi soil. In other words, our cowering cowboy gave in whimpering to Osama's demand.

The press took no note. They were all wiggie over Bush's waddling around the carrier deck in a disco-aged jump suit announcing, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED." But it wasn't America's mission that was accomplished, it was Osama's.

Am I saying there's no danger, no threat? Sure there is: 46 million Americans don't have health insurance. IBM is legally stealing from its employees' pension plan and United Airlines has dumped its pensions altogether. Four-million three-hundred thousand Americans were injured, made sick or killed by their jobs last year. TXU Corporation is right now building four monster-sized power plants in Texas that will burn skuzzy gunk called "lignite." The filth it will pour into the sky will snuff a heck of a lot more Americans than some goofy group of fanatics with bottles of hydrogen peroxide.

But Americans don't ask for real protection from what's killing us. The War on Terror is the Weapon of Mass Distraction. Instead of demanding health insurance, we have 59 million of our fellow citizens pooping in their pants with fear of Al Qaeda, waddling to the polls, crying, "Georgie save us!"

And what does he give us? In my own small town, the federal government has paid for loading an SUV with .50 caliber machine guns to watch for an Al Qaeda attack at the dock of the ferry that takes tourists to the Indian casino in Connecticut. The casino dock is my town's officially designated "Critical Asset and Vulnerability Infrastructure Point (CAVIP)." (To find the most vulnerable points to attack in the USA, Al Qaeda can download a list from the Department of Homeland Security -- no kidding.)

But that's not all. Bush is protecting us from English hijackers with a fearsome anti-terrorist tool: the Virginia-class submarine. The V-boat was originally meant to hunt Soviet subs. But there are no more Soviet subs. So, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin have "refitted" these Cold War dinosaurs with new torpedoes redesigned to carry counter-terror commandoes. That's right: when we find Osama's beach house, we can shoot our boys right up under his picnic table and take him out. These Marines-in-a-tube injector boats cost $2.5 billion each -- and our President's ordered half a dozen new ones.

Lynn Cheney, the Veep's wife, still takes in compensation from Lockheed as a former board member. I'm sure that has nothing to do with this multi-billion dollar "anti-terror" contract.

Fear sells better than sex. Fear is the sales pitch for many lucrative products: from billion-dollar sailor injectors to one very lucrative war in Mesopotamia (a third of a trillion dollars doled out, no audits, no questions asked).

Better than toothpaste that makes our teeth whiter than white, this stuff will make us safer than safe. It's political junk food, the cheap filling in the flashy tube. What we don't get is safety from the real dangers: a life-threatening health-care system, lung-murdering pollution production and a trade deficit with China that's reducing mid-America to coolie status. Protecting us from these true threats would take a slice of the profits of the Lockheeds, the Exxons and the rest of the owning class.

War on Terror is class war by other means -- to keep you from asking for real protection from true menace, the landlords of our nation give you fake protection from manufactured dangers. And they remind you to be afraid every time you fly to see Aunt Millie and have to give up your hemorrhoid ointment to the underpaid guy in the bell-hop suit with a security badge.

Oh, hey, you never got the punch line.So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See? and Bush says, "Whad'l'ya have, pardner?" and Osama says, "Well, George, what are you serving today?" and Bush says, "Fear," and Osama shouts, "Fear for everybody!" and George pours it on for the crowd. Then the presidential bartender says, "Hey, who's buying?" and Osama points a thumb at the crowd sucking down their brew. "They are," he says. And the two of them share a quiet laugh.


-- Greg Palast is the author of the just-released New York Times bestseller, "Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War" from which this is adapted.

The Amish are Coming

I knew there was something sneaky about those Amish. Read this from Molly Ivins …

I personally have been sleeping more soundly at night knowing that Michael Chertoff is secretary of homeland security. Ever since Chertoff's agency brought us the stunning news that there are more terrorist targets in Indiana than in New York or Washington, I've realized this guy could find a terrorist plot anywhere. Watch out for the Amish -- they'll run right over you with those buggies, and they all have pitchforks, too. I hear they're connected to al-Qaida through Saddam Hussein.

Time to invade Pennsylvania. I hear there are lots of Amish there. And with their connections to al-Qaida, I just know that bunches of WMDs (wholesome maple desks) will be found.

Ivins also touches on the fall of Lieberman. Her source is none other than the ever popular veep of whom Jessica McBride says we should not complain. Last I heard, about 20% of the population still cared what he had to say (still higher than McBride’s ratings at night I’d bet).

Well, click here to read her entire column. I have to leave and duck ... I'm sure my friend Clint will have some mud to throw my way. Maybe not. I'll duck anyway.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New Type of Body Armor

The number of large chested women in the Middle East may increase after they hear of or read this story.

JERUSALEM - An Israeli woman's breast implants saved her life when she was wounded in a Hezbollah rocket attack during Israel's war with the Lebanese group, a hospital spokesman said Tuesday.

Doctors found shrapnel embedded in the silicone implants, just inches from the 24-year-old’s heart.

Or, the combatants could just stop bombing each other. Just a thought.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Evening Good Night

Was watching some movies tonight with the beautiful Kelly. The first was the Odd Couple with Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau. I had not seen it in its entirety for quite a while. Loved the coo, coo Pigeon sisters.

After it was over, flipped over to see the end of Back to the Future. It was the clock tower scene. Marty and Doc are discussing the future. Marty has tried to give Doc a letter regarding Doc's fate ... at the bottom of the screen, there is a dialogue box and in it there is a discussion of how cold it was during filming and that the wind machine used, which was called a McBride, was so loud that some of the dialogue had to be re-recorded.

The thought crossed my mind that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Sunday Ruminations

My son's birthday party was a smash hit Saturday. The now 11-year old made out like a bandit. He has enough gift cards to start his own wallet. He also has two lava lamps (Bill, do you remember lava lamps?). He got that from me. Friends, neighbors and family showed up and I didn't even have to beg them to or provide peace offerings (snicker!).

This from a friend of mine. Another of those Internet pieces, but again I'll post it because I like what it says (this is unusual, because I usually just toss these dregs).


1. There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.

2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.

4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

6. You mean the world to someone.

7. You are special and unique.

8. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

10. When you think the world has turned its back on you take another look.

11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.