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Tom Coburn is a Big Fat Jerk


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Home of the Barking Moonbat


 

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Wingers & Truth

Yet again, we find wingers playing fast and loose with the truth, this time in the form of one David Yeagley, columnist for David Horowitz's Front Page Magazine, self-proclaimed enrolled Comanche, purported expert on All Things Indian and darling of the Radical Right.

But who is David Yeagley? He's not, as he claims, a professor at University of Oklahoma. He also is not, as he claims, author of the only epic poem of the 20th Century. A quick google turns up a healthy list of 20th C American epic poems and more than a few 20th C epic poems by internationally recognized authors, such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

More telling, perhaps, is that Yeagley appears to not only not know a whole lot about contemporary tribal life, but he doesn't know and is not recognized by any other Oklahoma Indians - including Comanches.

Hmmmm.

Shawn Harjo of Indian Country Today commented on Yeagley's claims of being an Indian patriot:

The closest he's been to war was a visit in 2001 to the Museum of the U.S. Army 45th Infantry Division in Oklahoma City. He wrote about the "Indian signs and emblems" there, but missed the myriad images of real Indian people.

My father's picture is displayed in that Museum as one of the WWII Indian Thunderbirds from Company C (for Chilocco Indian School). Most of them were wounded or killed in North Africa and Southern Europe, and were highly decorated for valor and heroism. Dad also is a member of the Red Sticks Society of Muscogee (Creek) Nation combat veterans.

In addition to being a warrior and patriot, my father wants sports teams to retire their Indian-related names and images. This puts him in the category of Indians Yeagley belittles and calls names. But, Yeagley's gum flapping about war and patriotism and what is offensive to Indians are puny indeed beside the real thing.

Yeagley wrote that he came away from the Thunderbird Museum "feeling like one small and unworthy man." On this one point, Yeagley is right on the money.


Yup. And so, just like so many other shrieking commandoes of the Radical Right --- we find that The Emperor Has No Clothes.

The Peter Principle and the Neocon Coup

Meanwhile, incompetence begat by ideological blindness has been rewarded.

That about sums it up.
From The Nation:

Robert Scheer

The Peter Principle and the Neocon Coup

I'm not referring to the latest attempt to reconquer Iraq, but rather the wholesale political revenge campaign being waged by the hard-liners in the Bush Administration against anybody and everybody inside the government who challenged the way the second Persian Gulf war in a decade was marketed and run.

Out: Secretary of State Colin Powell, whose political epitaph should now read, "You break it, you own it" for his prescient but unwanted warning to the President on the danger of imperial overreach in Iraq.

Out: Top CIA officials who dared challenge, behind the scenes, the White House's unprecedented exploitation of raw intelligence data in order to sell a war to a Congress and a public hungry for revenge after 9/11.

Out: Veteran CIA counterterrorism expert and Osama bin Laden hunter Michael Scheuer, better known as the best-selling author "Anonymous," whose balanced and devastating critiques of the Iraq war, the CIA and the way President Bush is handling the war on terror have been a welcome counterpoint to the "it's true if we say it's true" idiocy of the White House PR machine.

Meanwhile, incompetence begat by ideological blindness has been rewarded. The neoconservatives who created the ongoing Iraq mess have more than survived the failure of their impossibly rosy scenarios for a peaceful and democratic Iraq under US rule. In fact, despite calls for their resignations--from the former head of the US Central Command, Gen. Anthony Zinni, among others -- the neocon gang is thriving. They have not been held responsible for the "sixteen words" about yellowcake, the rise and fall of Ahmad Chalabi, the Abu Ghraib scandal, the post-invasion looting of Iraq's munitions stores and the disastrous elimination of the Iraqi armed forces.

As of today, the neocons on Zinni's list of losers--Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz; the vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby; National Security Council staffer Elliott Abrams; Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld--are all still employed even as Bush's new director of central intelligence, Porter J. Goss, is eviscerating the CIA's leadership.

This is the culmination of a three-year campaign by the President's men to scapegoat the CIA for the fact that 9/11 occurred on Bush's watch.

So far, half a dozen of the nation's top spymasters have been forced out abruptly--a strange way to handle things at a time when Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are still seeking to attack the United States. Ironically, this all comes as Goss is suppressing a lengthy study, prepared for Congress by the CIA's inspector general, that, according to an intelligence official who has read it, names individuals in the government responsible for failures that paved the way for the 9/11 attacks.

Thus Bush, with Goss as his hatchet man, is having it both ways: He can be seen to be cleaning house at the CIA--when he is simply punishing independent voices--while denying Congress access to an independent audit of actual intelligence failures.

We should remember that as flawed as its performance was under former Director George J. Tenet, the CIA at least sometimes tried to be a counterweight to the fraudulent claims of Rumsfeld's and Dick Cheney's neoconservative staffs. All of the nation's traditional intelligence centers were bypassed by a rogue operation based in Feith's Office of Special Plans. Feith was given broad access to raw intelligence streams--the better to cherry-pick factoids and fabrications that found their way into even the president's crucial prewar State of the Union address.

Now, by successfully discarding those who won't buy into the Administration's ideological fantasies of remaking the world in our image, the neoconservatives have consolidated control of the United States' vast military power.

With the ravaging of the CIA and the ousting of Powell--instead of the more-deserving Rumsfeld--the coup of the neoconservatives is complete. They have achieved a remarkable political victory by failing upward.

Oops

Apparently he didn't mean to cause a panic. So Greenspan reverses himself.
From Reuters: Greenspan tells G20 U.S. outlook favourable-source
The outlook for the U.S. economy in the coming quarters is favourable despite a continued fall in personal savings, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was quoted as saying on Saturday.

According to a participant, Greenspan told G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Berlin that the U.S. savings rate was currently around zero and the transfer of savings to consumption was slowing.

He said however growth in nominal gross domestic product would continue to support wages. Overall the outlook for U.S. economic growth was moderate but sustainable, the participant quoted Greenspan as saying.

Weather and financial predictions

We haven't yet had a freeze --- and may not til February, if The Farmer's Almanac has predicted correctly, which they usually do. Despite that, our winter fog storms have begun, meaning I can't see the cows across the road because I can't see that far. Someday, I'll figure out the difference between winter fog storms, and spring, summer and fall fog storms.

But not today. Today I'm combing the financial news and picking out the most glum predictions to see if I can set off a market panic, even though it's Saturday and the markets are closed.

The Day reports that what we have on our hands is A Bad Economic Scene.

The Motley Fool by contrast has nothing to say about the economy, except on their bulletin boards, where there's a good old fashioned flame war brewing here.

And Economist.com has decided to join the melee by announcing The world is set to jump off the top of a waterfall without knowing how deep the water is below. Oh dear, that doesn't sound too promising.

Friday, November 19, 2004

New Music

I am eternally indebted to Rob Schumacher's blog for introducing me to the music of Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole. Especially his 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.'

Everyone must buy this CD and hear it for themselves - great stuff!

But it is the economy, stupid

The temptation to title a post HEY BUBBA! and showcase the similarities between the new Clinton library and a singlewide was almost too much to resist. But resist I did, although I may sneak on late tonight and do it anyway.

I really am quite a Clinton fan. Especially in comparison to The Chimperor. Really I am!

But, my better angel won and I will now bore you with economics. Which I know absolutely nothing about but which I talk about anyway.
First, Greenspan --- like we all didn't suspect it anyway --- Greenspan has shown his partisan stripes by waiting until after the election to issue stern warnings about the deficit and the falling dollar. Hopefully everyone has already cashed in their pension plans and 401(K)s, and purchased foreign currency and bonds --- or better, land and a few years' worth of food (for you and the goats and donkeys you'll be needing, once we're all reduced to drawn carts).

If you have a morbid curiosity or an especially strong constitution, you can read about the implications of Greenspan's carefully worded warnings here.

Second, there are some real financial whizzes over at Agonist. While everybody else is gnashing their teeth and wailing and forming lynch mobs, they're actually talking intelligently about these things at Agonist. Check out one such conversation here.

I'll be back a little later --- I have to run into town to get some more rations.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Morally Correct

Peter Beinart's Morally Correct is a must read. Edited for length, subscribe to read in its entireity.
In the wake of their recent triumph at the polls, conservatives have found their own supposedly disrespected minority: evangelicals. And they are playing victim politics with a gusto that would make campus radicals proud. 

In other words, disagree with me and you're a racist. Al Sharpton couldn't have said it better.


Once upon a time, conservatives considered "sensitivity" a dirty word. In the 1980s and 1990s, when African Americans and other campus minorities claimed they were victims of racism and demanded greater respect from white students and faculty, conservatives popularized a term for this group whining: political correctness. They gasped when campus radicals tried to silence criticism of affirmative action by saying it created a hostile climate for black students. They worried aloud that university administrators--in their efforts to spare minority students' feelings--were stifling debate. For a time, combating this culture of punitive sensitivity was one of the right's primary concerns. 

Not anymore. In the wake of their recent triumph at the polls, conservatives have found their own supposedly disrespected minority: evangelicals. And they are playing victim politics with a gusto that would make campus radicals proud. 

In other words, disagree with me and you're a racist. Al Sharpton couldn't have said it better."

Identity politics is a powerful thing--a way of short-circuiting debate by claiming that your views aren't merely views; they are an integral part of who you are. And who you are must be respected. But harsh criticism is not disrespect--and to claim it is undermines democratic debate by denying opponents the right to aggressively, even impolitely, disagree. That is what conservatives are doing when they accuse liberals of religious bigotry merely for demanding that the Christian Right defend their viewpoints with facts, not faith. Once upon a time, conservatives knew better. I hope some still do.

A Plague of Toadies

Maireen Dowd nails it. No wonder she is so heartily disliked. Click the link to read A Plague of Toadies in its entireity.

I went to see the magical "Pericles'' at the Shakespeare Theater the other night.

In ancient Greece, the prince of Tyre tires of all the yes men around him. He chooses to trust the one courtier who intrepidly tells him: "They do abuse the king that flatter him. ... Whereas reproof, obedient and in order, fits kings, as they are men, for they may err.''

Not flatter the king? Listen to dissenting viewpoints? Rulers who admit they've erred?

It's all so B.C. (Before Cheney).


A Plague of Toadies
Now, in the 21st-century reign of King George II, flattery is mandatory, dissent is forbidden, and erring without admitting error is the best way to get ahead. President Bush is purging the naysayers who tried to temper crusted-nut-bar Dick Cheney and the neocon crazies on Iraq.

First, faith trumped facts. Now, loyalty trumps competence. W., who was the loyalty enforcer for his father's administration, is now the loyalty enforcer for his own.

Those promoted to be in charge of our security, diplomacy and civil liberties were rewarded for being more loyal to Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney than to the truth.

The president and vice president are dispatching their toadies to the agencies to quell dissent. The crackdown seems bizarre, since hardly anyone dared to disagree with them anyway and there were plenty willing to twist the truth for them.

Consider George Tenet, who assured Mr. Bush that the weak case on Iraqi W.M.D. was "a slam-dunk.'' And Colin Powell, who caved and made the bogus U.N. case for war. Then, when he wanted to stay a bit longer to explore Mideast opportunities arising from Arafat's death, he got shoved out by a president irked by the diplomat's ambivalence and popularity.

Mr. Bush prefers more panting enablers, like Alberto Gonzales. You wanna fry criminals or torture prisoners? Sure thing, boss.

W. and Vice want to extend their personal control over bureaucracies they thought had impeded their foreign policy. It's alarming to learn that they regard their first-term foreign policy - a trumped-up war and bungled occupation, an estrangement from our old allies and proliferating nuclear ambitions in North Korea, Iran and Russia - as impeded. What will an untrammeled one look like?

The post-election hubris has infected Capitol Hill. Law-and-order House Republicans changed the rules so Tom DeLay can stay as majority leader even if he's indicted; Senate Republicans are threatening to rule Democratic filibusters out of order.

In 2002, Cheney & Co. set up their own C.I.A. in the Pentagon to bypass the C.I.A. and conjure up evidence on Iraqi W.M.D. Now Mr. Cheney has sent his lackey, Porter Goss, who helped him try to suffocate the 9/11 commission, to bully the C.I.A. into falling into line.

In an ominous echo of the old loyalty oaths, Mr. Goss has warned employees at the agency that their job is to "support the administration and its policies in our work.''

Mr. Bush doesn't want any more leaks, like the one showing that he was told two months before invading Iraq that such a move could lead to violent internal conflict and more support for radical Islamists.

Mr. Goss has managed to make the dysfunctional C.I.A. even more dysfunctional. Instead of going after Al Qaeda, he's busy purging top-level officials who had been going after Al Qaeda - replacing them with his coterie of hacks from Capitol Hill.

Mr. Cheney is letting his old mentor, Rummy, stay on. What does it matter if the Rummy doctrine - dangerously thin allotments of forces, no exit strategy, snatching State Department occupation duties and then screwing them up - has botched the Iraq mission and left the military so strapped it's calling back old, out-of-shape reservists to active service?

Condi Rice and Stephen Hadley did not do their jobs before 9/11 in coordinating the fight against Al Qaeda, and they did not do their jobs after 9/11 in preventing the debacle in Iraq. They not only suppressed evidence Americans needed to know that would have debunked the neocons' hyped-up case for invading Iraq; they helped shovel hooey into the president's speeches.

Dr. Rice pitched in to help Dr. No whip up that imaginary mushroom cloud. Condi's life story may be inspirational. But the way she got the State Department job is not.

Not only are the Bush officials who failed to protect the country and misled us into war not losing their jobs. They're getting promoted.

We may have won Fallujah, but we're quickly losing the war

Abu Aardvark reports that the shooting in the mosque is quickly becoming another Abu Ghraib for the Arab world. Yet we in America are ignoring the incident.

Juan Cole offers a differing --- and good --- perspective.

Juan Cole, edited for length:
To compare them to the murderous thugs who kidnapped CARE worker Margaret Hassan, held her hostage, terrified her, and then killed her is frankly monstrous. The multinational forces are soldiers fighting a war in which they are targetting combatants and sometimes accidentally killing innocents. The hostage-takers are terrorists deliberately killing innocents. It is simply not the same thing.

[...]

Some of my readers still want good guys and bad guys, white hats and black hats. That's not the way the world is. It is often grey, and very bleak.

Rock the vote?

75% of the voters in Cherokee County, Oklahoma are registered as Democrats. Yet this year, the vote went Republican. Why?

According to The Tahlequah Daily Press, this switch was due to an upswing in registered Republicans among the 18-25 age group. Couple that with a very large consrtituency which is either Libertarian or Green (neither allowed on Oklahoma ballots) and many who did not vote at all, and you have a Republican sweep.

We won't even get into the effects of the disastrous decision by Brad Carson to allow Cherokee Nation to endorse him --- which immediately led to most of the Indians in the state voting against him.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

New movies

I'm a bit of a luddite in my own way. This has become especially apparent in recent days, thanks to the smart ass remarks of various friends. But the final humiliation came when one of my students blurted out "You really need to see some new movies." To which I could only respond "But movies cost so much and I have chickens to worry about!"

Which, of course, I didn't mean to say (at least, not out loud) and which, of course, led me to conclude maybe I do need to see some new movies.

So Tuesday evening,, I got online and got a couple Matrix movies - well, DVDs - and Harry Potter. And Fahrenheit 911, which I haven't yet seen because the closest movie theatre is somewhere between 30-50 miles away and besides, I have chickens. Dependng on how this goes, I may spring for a couple more DVDs, too.

Political retaliation at the CIA

Their words. Via Agonist, edited for length, complete text here.

Shake-up at CIA riles spies By Richard Sale, UPI Intelligence Correspondent

Former senior CIA officials have charged that the recent shake-up at the agency is the result of a White House-orchestrated political retaliation against elements in the agency believed to be anti-President Bush, adding the changes are destabilizing the institution and weakening the U.S. intelligence product.


"(CIA Director Porter) Goss is trying to break the back of the agency," said former longtime CIA analyst Stan Bedlington.

A very senior former CIA official who has solid ties with Pentagon and White House neo-conservatives said the staff changes made by Goss and his staff mark the end of a "long, bitter secret struggle over U.S. policy in Iraq and on the war on terror. I mean it was a really poisonous relationship."

He added: "For myself, I think the appointment of Porter Goss a mistake -- he's too much of a political animal."

A former long-time agency Middle East operative said: "It's no secret that many of the agency personnel were pro-John Kerry for president. Leaks were made during the election campaign by the agency that were politically damaging to the president."

One long-time Directorate of Operations spy told UPI: "The White House is playing with fire. These guys in the DO aren't going to take this stuff lying down. Their job is destabilizing countries, and they can certainly destabilize Porter Goss.

Homosexual overtones in Texas

Good grief. Likely their next move will be legislation outlawing Sadie Hawkins Day as Satanic.

Dress Tradition A Real Drag

A homecoming tradition in which boys dress like girls and vice versa in a tiny Texas school district won't be held Wednesday after a parent complained about what she regarded as the event's homosexual overtones.

Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute issued a news release Tuesday reporting that it "came to the aid of a concerned parent" over an "official cross-dressing day" in the school district 150 miles northeast of Houston.

"It is outrageous that a school in a small town in east Texas would encourage their 4-year-olds to be cross-dressers," Liberty Legal Institute attorney Hiram Sasser said in the release.


Read the entire article here.

The moral values of the radical right

The radical right supports sterilization of young women without consent, a la Tom Coburn. The radical right supports sado-masochistic torture and rape, a la Abu Garaib. The radical right supports the malnutrition and early deprivation of hundreds of thousands of American children. The radical right is proud that our longevity and healthcare status now resembles that of Third World countries, and that we now rank last in the entire industrialized world.

For starters.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

And speaking of Rob Schumacher's blog ...

My new favorite musician: Bruddah Iz" (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole)

Rob Schumacher on the inevitable in Iraq

Schumacher is an active duty Navy dude who gets it. If only our *fearless* leaders had a whit of his good old fashioned common sense and military integrity.

This is how the atricities in Vietnam started. We cycle these guys through combat, push 'em out there with obvious psychological scars, tacitly condone stuff like Abu Ghraib, "unofficially" whip up a feeling of the Iraqi's (any and all of 'em) being the enemy...and we get murderers instead of soldiers.

[...]

This, Mr. President, is why we should not go to war unless it's justified to the utmost. The Iraq war set this man up for failure; it's an inevitible product of war, and should be a consideration in the decision to take our nation to war. There is a far higher cost than even world prestige or political position. The cost I refer to is borne by people on the ground in these wars.


The issue that got my blood boiling was a conversation I overheard between a caller and Michael Medved on the radio (Medved is a Rush Limbaugh style conservative talk show host on the radio.) Medved's caller was a former combat Marine who felt that this Marine who shot an unarmed possible insurgent (who Medved felt may have been rigged with explosives) should be held accountable, and if he was guilty should face murder charges. Medved took the caller to task for not supporting the operations on the ground, insisted that the Marine was justified in killing any and all insurgents because they might be booby-trapped, and went so far as to tell this former combat Marine that his combat experience (Vietnam and Desert Storm) didn't qualify him to analyze the situation. Medved further hinted this guy was un-patriotic, didn't undertand combat (Medved felt he did, though he's never served in the military) and berated this guy for placing the life of Iraqi insurgents above American lives (which he clearly did not do.)

Though he's a conservative (and pretty far to the right) I'd listened to Medved before, as he usually seemed reasonable and pretty well informed. His views lately, especially in this regard, have really turned me off to him. He actually had the audacity to call this Marine (the one who shot the unarmed Iraqi) a "hero" and "patriot"; he somehow equates killing an unarmed prisoner with a gunshot to the head at point blank range (with the prisoner on the floor, weaponless and in custody) with American heroism.


More here.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Christian Taliban

More here.

Information became a prime target of the Christian Taliban. President Bush says he respects "good science," when making public policy. But, the crux of the matter apparently hinges on the definition of "good," especially when it comes to family-planning issues. When good science clashes with Biblical fundamentalist beliefs in this administration, science loses every time.

Early in 2001 Bush's Christian Taliban began scrubbing federal information sources of offending materials. The censorship campaign prompted Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) to send a letter to o HHS Secretary Thompson demanding an explanation for the removal of information from the HHS Web site of scientific findings by the National Cancer Institute that, contrary to anti-choice propaganda, abortions do not increase the risk of breast cancer. Thompson never responded but the "cleansing" continued.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

When Kitty Cats Attack

The only sensible response to a second term is playing Feline Crisis. That and stocking up on a few years' worth of food and rations.

When Kitty Cats Attack

I don't even know how to react

CIA plans to purge its agency --- sources say White House has ordered new chief to eliminate officers who were disloyal to Bush

Purge ordered at CIA

The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources.


We knew it was coming and that they would claim a mandate for such.

But it's hard to believe they really are this crazy.