Monthly Archives: December 2007

Flipflopping Old John McCain loses the rest of his integrity

Having caved in to the Republican base on taxes and religion, McCain now panders on immigration, as well, and abandons his principles on campaign financing. The old guy is giving Romney a run for his money on who can be the least principled. Or maybe Old John just can’t remember what he used to think. He’s still my choice for president of Del Boca Vista, Phase II.

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Filed under immigration, John McCain for president of Del Boca Vista, Mitt Romney: double guantanamo, Politics, Wordpress Political Blogs

Bush to negotiate with the Taliban

The war against Bin Laden and his allies has been lost.  Because of the criminal assault on Iraq.

Brandon Friedman at dKos summarizes.

On Thursday, Flight Suit’s top guy in Afghanistan, Ambassador William Wood, delivered the message of surrender to America:

The United States supports reconciliation talks with Taliban fighters who have no ties to al-Qaida and accept Afghanistan’s constitution, the U.S. ambassador said Thursday.

William Wood said the U.S. is in favor of a “serious reconciliation program with those elements of the Taliban who are prepared to accept the constitution and the authority of the elected government” of President Hamid Karzai.

Let me be clear about one thing: ALL elements of the Taliban sympathize with and support al Qaeda. That’s their whole purpose. They are both Sunni extremist groups that share the same goal of enforcing medieval Islamic law on whomever they can.

So if I hear another word about how Republicans are “strong on security,” I’m going to ralph on my keyboard. To illustrate what I’m talking about, let’s take a trip in the ol’ wayback machine to September 15, 2001. That’s when the tough-talking, cheerleader-in-chief set the stage for future irony by telling us all:

We will find those who did it; we will smoke them out of their holes; we will get them running and we’ll bring them to justice. We will not only deal with those who dare attack America, we will deal with those who harbor them and feed them and house them.

Make no mistake about it: underneath our tears is the strong determination of America to win this war. And we will win it.

I guess when he said that, his definition of “deal” meant to engage in half-hearted, indecisive military operations for six years, followed by a “serious reconciliation program.”

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Filed under Afghanistan, Bush blunders worldwide, Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, Countdown to attack on Iran, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Donald Rumsfeld:criminal or just incompetent?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Middle East, Pakistan, Politics, religion, Wordpress Political Blogs

Bill Kristol and the passing of the Peter Principle

Famously and consistently wrong pundit Bill Kristol, recently booted by TIME magazine, somehow gets a gig at the NY Times.

John Cole:

if the Peter Principle were true, George Bush and Bill Kristol would be the street-cleaner and dogcatcher in Crawford, Texas.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Bush blunders worldwide, celebrities in the news, Countdown to attack on Iran, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Donald Rumsfeld:criminal or just incompetent?, economics, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, media, Middle East, Politics, Republican politicians: are any of them normal

US surveillance of citizens similar to Russia, China

via Glenn Greenwald:

…the annual survey of worldwide privacy rights conducted by Privacy International and EPIC has been released for 2007, and the U.S. has been downgraded from “Extensive Surveillance Society” to “Endemic Surveillance Society,” the worst possible category there is for privacy protections, the category also occupied by countries such as China, Russia, Singapore and Malaysia. The survey uses a variety of objective factors to determine the extent of privacy protections citizens enjoy from their government, and the U.S. now finishes at the bottom for obvious reasons.
Evidence that we are becoming a lawless surveillance state is abundant. But let’s forget all of that and figure out how we can best micro-manage the internal affairs of Pakistan and Iraq and Russia and Iran so that we can preserve Freedom and Democracy for the world.

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US torturers used “24” as a guide

Link

on my way into the office, I stopped by my mail slot, where a book lay in wait. It was called “Secrets of 24: The Unauthorized Guide to the Political & Moral Issues Behind TV’s Most Riveting Drama.”

One of my Times columns on “24” was included in it. So I spent the rest of the morning re-reading the piece five or ten times, and happening upon the table of contents, where I’d accidentally find my name.

I also read interviews with Joel Surnow, “24”’s co-creator, with Mary Lynn Rajskub, who plays Chloe O’Brian, with Shohreh Aghdashloo, who played the anguished wife, Dina, in the terrorist sleeper cell family featured in Season Four. I read some “Reflections on 24 and the Real World” by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, assertions that “The Threats Portrayed on 24 Are Quite Realistic” by former CIA Director James Woolsey, an interview with former FBI Director William S. Sessions (“I Sleep Well at Night”) and a surreal account of how the dean of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point plus three experienced military interrogators traveled to Hollywood to meet with the “24” creative team to try to beg them to tone down the show’s use of torture for the good of the American viewing public – and for our troops.

I learned how some of the young American military interrogators in Iraq, in places like Mosul, Fallujah and, of course, Abu Ghraib, used “24”’s screenplays as a guidebook when trying to figure out the right way to extract information from detainees. Lacking leadership from the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush, they turned instead to Jack Bauer for insight and inspiration.

“All the people who were actually conducting interrogations were privates or specialists who had no idea what they were doing,” Tony Lagouranis, a former U.S. Army interrogator at Abu Ghraib, said in an interview. “[The Bush Administration] said the Geneva Conventions don’t apply, so we had no idea what the rules were. They took away our rules and our training, so we really had nothing to fall back on, and the only role models we had were from TV and movies.”

There is much that can be said, pro and con, about “24.” But contemplating the inner lives of troops who, devoid of guidance, education, and consistent training, turned to a sadistic action adventure series for direction, leaves me speechless.

What kind of country produces this kind of person and ships him – or her – overseas? What kind of military leadership would leave such people unattended to run sensitive operations in the nightmare hours when “24” goes dark?

I’ve always considered “24” to be pure fluff and fun. But it is time, I think, to widen out the gaze to the periphery, and let it dwell there for an uncomfortably long time.

This is one sick era.

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Movie review: I Am Legend. No, you’re not.

Will Smith stars in this unfortunate film, which makes me think of a collage of old movie plots, none of which I liked very much…horrible virus, war of the worlds, road warriors, zombies, Twilight Zone, Rin Tin Tin. It’s a rather shocking horror flick, but also a psychological thriller, a loud sci fi chiller, close encounters, a computer graphics wonderland, and a plot that seems half baked. The ending is limp.

Don’t waste your time unless you really, really like expensive popcorn. 1 out of 4.

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Creationists apply for accreditation to grant degrees in science education in Texas

hmmm…..I guess they don’t teach about astronomy, biology, zoology, botany, genetics, paleontology, geology…or telling the truth…..

link

Science teachers are not allowed to teach creationism alongside evolution in Texas public schools, the courts have ruled. But that’s exactly what the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research wants them to do.

The institute is seeking state approval to grant an online master’s degree in science education to prepare teachers to “understand the universe within the integrating framework of Biblical creationism,” according to the school’s mission statement.

Last week, an advisory council made up of university educators voted to recommend the program for approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, sparking an outcry among science advocates who have fended off attempts by religious groups to insert creationism into Texas classrooms.

“It’s just the latest trick,” said James Bower, a neurobiologist at the University of Texas at San Antonio who has publicly debated creationists. “They have no interest in teaching science. They are hostile to science and fundamentally have a religious objective.”

Critics of evolution — the theory that life forms morphed slowly over time into their present forms — have ignited heated debates over the teaching of science in K-12 public schools.

The Institute for Creation Research, which recently moved to Dallas from Santee, Calif., says it teaches its graduate students “more typical secular perspectives” alongside creationism.

But students and faculty must profess faith in a literal translation of Biblical creation — that God created the world in six days and made humans and animals in their current life forms; that the Earth is only thousands of years old; and the fossil record is the result of a global flood described in the Bible, according to the Web site.

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Filed under bigotry and prejudice, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, global warming/environment, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?, Politics, Racism, religion, Republican politicians: are any of them normal, science: not a very Republican thing to do, Smokey award finalist