Sid's Fishbowl
A proud member of the reality-based community (aquatic division)
Sunday, July 31, 2005

Amanda from Pandagon tries to slap some sense into the Jeebus-lovin' crowd:

Jesus was not white. A lot of people claim him for their race, which I understand, but odds are that he had a look about him that would cause Ann Coulter to call for him to be checked in airports. In fact, his nickname would probably be Jesus "Random Bag Check" Christ.

Go read.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

The chief operative of the New Swift Boat Liars, Eric Minamyer, retracts his accusations against Paul Hackett, but not before the damage is done.

It's worthwhile to read the comments on Minamyer's post. I especially like this one:

Mr. Minamyer,

I agree with you 100%, asking questions is not equal to smearing anyone. You could be more correct on that point. With that said I have a couple questions for you.

1. You claim that you "can personally attest" to the danger in Iraq. I'm assuming you have been there, my question is- Did you go to Iraq before or after you beat your ex-wife?

2. My follow up question is now that there is a restraining order against you filed by your ex-wife do you miss the beatings you used to give your ex-wife?

3. Have ever felt the impulse to beat Mrs. Schmidt, Beth or Amy the way you used to beat your ex-wife and if so have you ever acted upon those impulses?

4. Do you wish to re-marry so you can beat your new wife?

And this one wasn't bad either:

Minamyer, once, back in 1987, I had to give a stool sample to the doctor at my college. You see, I was having wicked diarrhea, didn't know what the problem was. Anyway, I gave the doctor this stool sample, see? That plastic cup of my waste had more personal integrity and character than you have accumulated in your entire worthless life. Hackett didn't bother replying to you because you are lower than excrement. He would have been better off defending his military service to a septic tank than to sully himself responding to a thing like you.

Fighting back is good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tom Burka:

White House Cannot Confirm Ever Having Met Karl Rove

In a press conference yesterday, White House spokesperson Scott McClellan refused to confirm that the President knew a "Karl Rove" or that he had every come across anyone by that name.

"I will not comment upon whether the name is even vaguely familiar to me," said McClellan, saying that "the White House has a policy of not giving potentially damaging information to the public at any time."

McClellan received questions from reporters about an incident wherein Mr. Rove -- today the Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House -- compromised the nation's security in order to punish a former ambassador with whom he was displeased. In response, McClellan declined to say whether the President still had confidence in Rove, would not say whether the President had spoken to Rove about the "Plame incident," whether the President knew him, or had heard of him.

Finally, Mr. McClellan denied understanding the words "Karl Rove," merely shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders in a show of incomprehension.

The questioning soon turned to abuse, and reporters hurled threats, insults, and rolled-up newspapers at McClellan until he left the Briefing Room and was replaced by his assistant, Pamela Wiesenstadt.

Ms. Wiesenstatdt refused to confirm or deny the existence of any "Scott McClellan."

Cheney? Rumsfeld? Nope. Those names don't ring a bell either.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Greg Priddy:

How plausible is it that Bush hasn't known about Rove's involvement since the story first broke in 2003?  If Rove has concealed it from Bush, why wasn't he fired immediately when his lawyer made the disclosure? If Bush has known all along, then doesn't that make him a party to the coverup?


"What did the President know, and when did he know it?"

Given the ferocity with which the White House attack poodles latched onto Scotty McLellan's leg at today's press briefing, maybe someone will ask this question a few hundred times...

Jan Frel:

A week ago, what Karl Rove may have done to expose the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame was just another gone-nowhere, 2-year-old, dusty Bush scandal on the shelf, relegated to languish among the lies that got us into the war in Iraq and the doctored FDA reports that suppressed the risks of Big Pharma's moneymakers.

Today, What Karl Rove Said is the story. And there's every indication that for the first time, he is in deep shit. That's really what everyone wants to confirm: Is Karl Rove screwed, or not? And luckily for us, for the first time he's going to have to answer some questions on terms other than his.

Turd Blossom really stepped in it this time.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

From Kevin at Catch via Digby:

Tony Blair's shellshocked appearance during his initial statement earlier this morning offers the best rebuttal yet to the sleazy Michael Moore-style attack on President Bush's behavior on the morning of September 11. It would have been a disaster for Bush to have spoken as the choked-up Blair was. This is intended as no criticism of Blair, who was clearly under a far different sort of burden at the G-8 than Bush was sitting in a classroom in Sarasota. But Blair is not the leader of the free world, Bush is, and had he seemed unable to collect himself -- as would surely have been the case in that first hour after Andy Card told him about the attack on America -- I can't imagine what the day would have been like. Not that the president's first words on 9.11, an hour after the attacks, were strong and focused. But they were more controlled.
As Digby says, "Reading My Pet Goat while the WTC was under attack was a show of 'resolve.'"

Fuck us. Fuck us all.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Michael Berube (curse you, Blogger, for not being able to handle the two accents in his name!) is one great sleuth. He ran across this transcript of Bush's speech announcing his nomination to replace Judge Sandra Day O'Connor. I can just hear W saying lines like these:

When I first sought the office of the Presidency, I promised to be a uniter, not a divider.  Since then, I have made every effort to unite this nation by purging it of Democrats.  Together with my trusted aides and advisors, I have worked tirelessly to impugn the patriotism and question the integrity of anyone who’s voiced even the most timid criticism of my conduct as President.  It hasn’t mattered whether my critics are decorated Vietnam vets, undercover intelligence agents, middle-aged elementary-school teachers, or Democratic Senators with weapon-grade anthrax in their mail—my administration and I have reached out across America to slime and to slander them.  We’ve undertaken a great work in this great nation, and I know that many of you have dedicated yourselves to that work.

And this one:

But a still greater work lies before us.  The next Justice of the Supreme Court will very likely determine the direction of the Court for another generation, shaping our laws and our lives throughout the land.  And I have decided that this is not a time to play games with the American people or score cheap political points.  It is a time, instead, to heal the wounds I have inflicted, and repair some of the damage I have wrought.

Heh. Indeed.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Dear skippy and August:

Al Neuharth is the founder of USA Today, not the publisher. In fact, he is not a member of the executive staff. He gets to write an editorial at regular intervals, but he doesn't have a seat in the news room.

I'm just sayin'.


Monday, July 04, 2005

This is remarkable and worth reprinting in full:

I Wrote Bush's War Words -- in 1965

By Daniel Ellsberg
Daniel Ellsberg worked in the State and Defense departments under Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. He released the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971.

July 3, 2005

President Bush's explanation Tuesday night for staying the course in Iraq evoked in me a sense of familiarity, but not nostalgia. I had heard virtually all of his themes before, almost word for word, in speeches delivered by three presidents I worked for: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. Not with pride, I recognized that I had proposed some of those very words myself.

Drafting a speech on the Vietnam War for Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara in July 1965, I had the same task as Bush's speechwriters in June 2005: how to rationalize and motivate continued public support for a hopelessly stalemated, unnecessary war our president had lied us into.

Looking back on my draft, I find I used the word "terrorist" about our adversaries to the same effect Bush did.

Like Bush's advisors, I felt the need for a global threat to explain the scale of effort we faced. For that role, I felt China was better suited as our "real" adversary than North Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh, just as Bush prefers to focus on Al Qaeda rather than Iraqi nationalists. "They are trying to shake our will in Iraq — just as they [sic] tried to shake our will on Sept. 11, 2001," he said.

My draft was approved by McNamara, national security advisor McGeorge Bundy and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, but it was not delivered because it was a clarion call for mobilizing the Reserves to support an open-ended escalation of troops, as Johnson's military commanders had urged.

LBJ preferred instead to lie at a news conference about the number of troops they had requested for immediate deployment (twice the level he announced), and to conceal the total number they believed necessary for success, which was at least 500,000. (I take with a grain of salt Bush's claim that "our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job.")

A note particularly reminiscent in Bush's speech was his reference to "a time of testing." "We have more work to do, and there will be tough moments that test America's resolve," he said.

This theme recalled a passage in my 1965 draft that, for reasons that will be evident, I have never chosen to reproduce before. I ended by painting a picture of communist China as "an opponent that views international politics as a whole as a vast guerrilla struggle … intimidating, ambushing, demoralizing and weakening those who would uphold an alternative world order."

"We are being tested," I wrote. "Have we the guts, the grit, the determination to stick with a frustrating, bloody, difficult course as long as it takes to see it through….? The Asian communists are sure that we have not." Tuesday, Bush said: Our adversaries "believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat."

His speechwriters, like me, then faced this question from the other side. To meet the enemy's test of resolve, how long must the American public support troops as they kill and die in a foreign land? Their answer came in the same workmanlike evasions that served Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon: "as long as we are needed (and not a day longer) … until the fight is won."

I can scarcely bear to reread my own proposed response in 1965 to that question, which drew on a famous riposte by the late U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson during the Cuban missile crisis:

"There is only one answer for us to give. It was made … by an American statesman … in the midst of another crisis that tested our resolution. Till hell freezes over."

It doesn't feel any better to hear similar words from another president 40 years on, nor will they read any better to his speechwriters years from now. But the human pain they foretell will not be mainly theirs.

I'm about to go get some BBQ and watch some fireworks and hang out with some blue people in this dark red part of the world. So to psych myself up I read Billmon's Goodbye Columbus:

Which means that if I still support the war on terrorism, or hope that America finds a way out of the Iraq quagmire, or wish for a more successful U.S. foreign policy, it's not out of patriotism. I live in the United States, my family lives here, and we're not moving, at least not any time soon. That being the case, I'd rather not see it nuked, or hit with a dirty bomb, or anthrax or smallpox. I'd also rather not live in a complete police state, which is what we may get if any of those things happen. That's not patriotism -- just the instinct for self preservation.

The essay is simply remarkable. Read the rest.

And then go click the links in the annotated Declaration of Independence.

And try not to blow anything up, OK?