Monday, February 28, 2005

Right Wing, Left Wing, Chicken Wing

Christmas Aitch Keerist on a cracker! This just goes to show that people are not walking around identifying as right or left in their everyday lives (people who do not live in certain rarified college towns, I imagine). This settles it. I'm going on vacation. It can't be as bad as all that, can it? Maybe it can.

To wit:
The Harris polling agency last week released the results of an interesting study. In a survey of 2,209 adults, they discovered that most Americans only have the vaguest idea of the meaning of two important pairs of words that play crucial roles in the national political discourse: conservative and liberal, and left and right.

Some of the numbers are surprising. According to the survey, 37 percent of Americans think liberals oppose gun control, or else they are not sure if liberals oppose gun control. Likewise, 27 percent of respondents thought a right-winger was someone who supported affirmative action. Furthermore, the survey showed that respondents generally viewed the paired concepts liberals and left-wingers and conservatives and right-wingers as possessing, respectively, generally similar political beliefs – with one caveat. In both cases, respondents were roughly 10 percent more clueless about left-wingers and right-wingers than they were about liberals and conservatives.

"The label left-winger is broadly perceived to be similar to liberal," the agency concluded, "except that more people are not sure what it means."

Hoo! You cannot make this stuff up, friends! Tell me more!
Respondents were asked to define the labels according to what their positions were on seven "political issues": abortion rights, gun control, cutting taxes, gay rights, same-sex marriage, affirmative action and moral values. This list of issues is preposterous in itself as a symbolic reflection of the political landscape, but that's a discussion for another time. To me the most instructive category was "moral values." According to the survey, 78 percent of respondents believe conservatives support moral values, while only 40 percent said the same about left-wingers. In fact, 29 percent said they believed left-wingers actually opposed moral values.

God, I just want to marry that last sentence. 29 percent said they believed left-wingers actually opposed moral values. Beautiful. Wingers just don't mince judgment, do they? At least I deign to patronize them for being mislead, misinformed, and, to paraphrase Mr. Summers, not so bright. They can't help. They were raised that way. (Tongue planted firmly in cheek, wingers.)

The writer is a clever monkey though:
When I see someone called a leftist or left-leaning in print, I'm never sure whether they're talking about an actual communist, or just some timorous capitalist yuppie whom David Brooks spotted drinking a latte, or standing in line to see Cinema Paradiso. Politically, it's just not a very concise definition.

Teehee. Sadly, he's ends on a sharp note. It cuts because it's true.
Obviously there's no way to really stop a group of people bent on demonizing dissenters by the tireless use of some all-encompassing, Satanic label. When even Nancy Pelosi can be described as a "left-wing torch-thrower" (a small California paper used that term last week), it's pretty clear the word is more meant as an insult, to describe a fuzzy-headed refusal to accept patriotic orthodoxy, than it is to refer to a concrete set of political beliefs.

But at some point it says something about you if you allow these labels to stick. Either the left is not being very clear about the winning politics that it stands for, or else the word accurately describes a secret willingness to be constantly abused by bigots, a market niche full of bashful subscribers to Total Pussy Weekly. Because nothing else makes the American left look worse; it can't even change your mind about its name, much less change the world.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

NC: The Democratic Revolution Continues

Alright, friends. Y'all think it's all NASCAR*, waving flags, and yellow ribbons in our red state, eh? Well, there's been some serious progressive activity around here of late, including the election of Jerry Meek, the "grassroots candidate", as NC Dem State Party Chairman.

What's the big deal, you ask? Well, he beat John Kerry's campaign director Ed Turlington, howzat? Just a little name recognition there, not to mention that every single establishment Dem in NC supported Turlington over Meek. But every once in a while, the will of the people is done. I'm just sayin' that if little ol' redneck-ass NC can do it, y'all in the purple states sure as hell can.

Does anyone else see this coming on the heels of Dean's election to chair of the DNC as significant? Do you see these as isolated? I'd like to think not. Even Bill Clinton, who was, in effect, a palatable Republican, said at Terry MacAuliffe's send off that being Repugnican-lite ain't going to get us hogswaddle. I feckin' agree. Take yer Repugnican-lite and stick it where the sun don't shine. Bring it on, Dean and Meek! Let progressives drive this bus for a little while and see what she can do. I'm thinking 0 to hero in 60 seconds.

*Jeff Gordon won, and I'll thank you to tuck that sneer in.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Do you LOVE hypocrisy

Do you love hypocrisy? You do!!!??? Then THE GOP IS FOR YOU! Here are two of the reasons why!

Bush wants a “Defense of Marriage” amendment to protect us from all them ravening gayzes and lesbines. Yet, his vice (vice? Is this a sign from god?) president has a daughter who is a lesbian of the diesel variety. Now, Alan “I’m a credit to my race” Keyes’s daughter announces to all and sundry that she is a “liberal queer.” Hmmm… Does it make sense to you that the children of prominent Republicans, would be OPENLY PUBLICLY gay, yet their parents still be involved in hate-mongering? I mean, I would totally cheer for them if Cheney and Keyes went on national TV and said, “My daughter is a sinner, and I renounce her. I hope never to see her again, unless she repents.” I would cheer this because it would at least be consistent with the GOP’s public stance. And yes, I know, I know, Cheney has said that he thinks it should be up to the individual states as to whether to allow same-sex marriages, but what kind of namby-pamby crap is that? He hasn’t said “You, W., are an idiot. My daughter, who I EMBRACED ON NATIONAL TV, is a lesbian, and I think that she is cool!”

Forgive me, I am yammering. Let me see if I can paraphrase. GOPsters hate gays. Two prominent GOPsters have daughters that are openly gay, and those two GOPsters are on record saying “I love my daughter.” Yet these GOPsters aren’t being real vocal in saying the GOP is full of what makes the grass grow green. This, amigos and amigas, is hypocrisy.

Thing number two that makes me say GOPsters are hypocrites: They love the heck out of some “pre-born” babies, but they could give a rip if the “just born” or the “not so recently born” have health care and education and food or clean air and water. So, why is your status in the womb more important than your status in the air? Also, if the “pre-born” are so damn special, why don’t their incubators (i.e. mommies) get health care and so forth?

Forgive me, I’m yammering again. Being confronted with rank hypocrisy does that to me every time.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Jeff Gannon Press Credentials -- Get Your Very Own!



Listen, far be it for me to feign surprise that the kabuki theatre ritual that is the Press Gaggle might be compromised by an under-credentialed hack. ::cough:: What, like Scott McClellan is going to insist on professional integrity? Bwaaaahhaaaaahhaaaa!

Meet "Jeff Gannon," er, James Guckert, hack extraordinaire. All together now: Awwwwww, fake journos for a fake preznit. This is your America, red staters. Fakers fetching water for liars.

[Snagged this from Pam's blog. Plus, Pam reads Free Republic so you don't have to. Drop in and say hi.]

Friday, February 11, 2005

666

OK.... at this point, it is pretty apparent that we (meaning Dubya's Strike Force) are going to be taking a much needed rest break in Iran. I have studied the portents, and I truly believe that Dubya's TRUE mission is this: He is trying to hasten Armageddon.

As a born-again agnostic, it is difficult for me to wrap my brain around such a world view, but Dubya sees himself as some force for good in the world, and he truly believes that sometime soon Jesus Christ is literally going to split the sky and come back to gather up the faithful, after which there will be a war to end all wars, with blood flowing "up to the horses' bridles," along with countless other Cecil B. DeMille meets Wes Craven scary stuff. Dubya seems to have cast himself in the role of orchestrator of these events, and his fiddling around in the Middle East is his way of hastening that day.

But does it strike anyone as a trifle unsettling that he seems to have cast himself in the role of the Antichrist, a la THE OMEN? Beyond his general ignorance and Hitleresque posturing, he is clearly a megalomaniac to the Nth power, and is trying to conduct events that--granting their literal biblical truth--are so far beyond his limited intellectual ken that it's like a grasshopper writing a dissertation on Shakespeare.

Travel with me down this path for just a moment. The Bible is the inerrant, literal word of God. All the prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled is due to be fulfilled "soon." Given these assertions, and assuming that Dubya lacks the qualities to be the TRUE Antichrist (traits like intellect, charisma, Satan for a daddy, etc.) isn't he playing a dangerous game, trying to force the hand of God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, the great I AM, the Alpha and Omega? One can only hope that God will sit up, notice what is going on, and swat Dubya and his crew of puppetmasters like the unsightly little flies they are.

...on the other hand, if Dubya really *IS* the Antichrist, boys and girls, we are in a world of trouble and better hasten our getting right with Jesus, since no one knows the day or the hour.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"Does That Make Any Sense to You?": Dumbyass Explains Social Security

From the Bushism of the Day By Jacob Weisberg"
"Because the—all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those—changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be—or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the—like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate—the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those—if that growth is affected, it will help on the red."—Explaining his plan to save Social Security, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005
Does anybody in the world know what in the bejeezus this idiot is talking about? Good Lord, he is dumber than a doorknob. A doorknob could do theoretical physics compared to him, and that is more obviously true than anything this madministration has ever uttered in its too-long, ignominous history. If this is, indeed, what is in dumbyass's brain, it obviously sucks being him.

UPDATE: Reggie's astute translation of dumbyass's "thoughts" on Social Security deserved to be brought upstairs and into the light.
You know darn well that if Bush could articulate his thoughts on Social Security honestly it would go something like this:

"Well, the people who bought this office for me have been trying to get rid of 'entitlement' programs for years, so it doesn't really matter what crap comes out of my mouth, so long as it sounds convincing enough to dupe the people into sabotaging social security. Hell, rich people, investment bankers, anyone with a six-figure income will benefit, and those are the only people who really matter, right?"

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A PRESIDENT'S DAY RANT

This is Our America, 2005

Reg: I want to really write about what is bothering me about this country here in the middle of the first decade of the new millenium. The reason we keep letting rapacious, right-wing dunderheads like Bush get "reelected" has to do with moral values and character all right, just not in the way that the Republicans and their media lapdogs would like everyone to think--

Nattering Nabob: That's all well and good buddy, but market research on blogs shows that Net surfers prefer short blogs with a breezy, diary-like feel, preferably with pictures and links to porn sites. Maybe you should write 200 words about the Super Bowl's best commercial or give your Grammy picks?

Reg: Who the hell are you? You've never contributed to dissent channel before? Besides, this blog is dedicated to dissenting against the status quo and in particular speaking out against the not-so-gradual erosion of our civil liberties in service of constructing the perfect Christian Fundamentalist war state--

N. Nabob: Blah blah blah blah. I'm your alter ego man, and I'm telling you that that is some boring, wack shit! You pointyhead liberals are always going on and on about "civil liberties" and "Fundamentalism". What's wrong with a little old time religion? And the terrorists who flew those jets into the World Trade Center weren't concerned about anybody's liberties. If we had placed stricter controls on foreign nationals, they might have never been able to pull off such a heinous crime. Besides, blogs should be entertaining! You're not CNN or the New York Times. You have no staff! You're just four people with opinions and access to thousands of weblinks. Why not make it more...fun?!

Reg: The problem with old-time religion is just that--it's old-time. It hasn't evolved to reflect the realities of being a human being in the 21st--hell, the 19th--century. Some things will always be morally wrong. Murder. Rape. Incest. Lying. But where it gets hinky is with issues like abortion, stem cell research, cloning. The people who wrote the Bible weren't dealing in science fiction. They could have never envisioned such things and as such their moral guidance doesn't help us a lot there. We need something new, something fresh and you never get new and fresh with any religion, be it Christian, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism or whatever. As for liberties, too many Americans are like you on that subject--I believe we have certain inalienable rights which shouldn't be infringed upon because of political expediency. I know one thing...once you give an inch, you never get that inch back. That's one of the things that scares me most about our present administration.

N. Nabob: That girl in the godaddy.com commercial in the Super Bowl had some super huge knockers. That was a funny commercial!

Reg: Which Fox pulled before it could run in the second half. All because of the fear of the FCC's wrath, which plays right into my civil liberties rant. Our national debate has become more concerned with boobs than with funding for education. We worry more about exposed flesh than we do the cancers and new diseases the ravaging of our environment has caused over the years.

N. Nabob: Why are progressives always ranting? You guys need to mellow out, watch some Desperate Housewives preferably while drinking a decaf. And as for the environment, there's not much that can be done with over six billion people on the planet and a need to provide food, clothing and shelter for all of them. It's a balance that just can't be maintained, but all things considered mankind probably does a pretty decent job--

Reg: If we were actually providing food, shelter and clothing for everyone on planet Earth I might actually buy into that. We're doing a lousy job. We can't even insure these things for all of our citizens in the U.S. and we are by far the wealthiest nation on Earth! And I do watch Desperate Housewives, and frankly, I find it lacking. What's all the hype about?

N. Nabob: I'll bet you prefer PBS and HBO? Why don't you write something about your sex life? It's Valentine's Day, don't you have a girlfriend? People love to read about sex...

Reg: What's wrong with preferring something unsullied by the inexorable mind fuck of commercialism? Right now the only right in this country that we can be sure will be protected is the right to be a consumer, to go into debt to pay bankers and insurance companies money. Some rights! And frankly, television is better when it doesn't have to try and fit a story in between erectile dysfunction ads and beer commercials. As for my sex life, that's none of anybody's business, although I will say that I do have a girlfriend and I probably need to order that bouquet of flowers soon.

N.Nabob: How about the Michael Jackson trial? I think he's guilty, the sick fuck! All those years of inappropriate relationships with young boys. We never got the whole story of what happened when a then 28-year old Michael Jackson tried to check Emanuel Lewis into an LA hotel room as his "son". Why don't you write about that? You bought a Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits album a couple of weeks ago. Are you a Blue State pervert? Do you belong to NAMBLA?

Reg: I'm running out of patience with you and don't you dare use that old Republican/McCarthy trick of slandering my name by associating me with groups I am not a member of and in no way support. All because I bought a Michael Jackson album! If that's the case then there are about 45 million perverts in the United States or more. Admittedly, he's not selling many records these days, but he's still innocent until proven guilty and there has always been something out of whack with the stories of all these accusers over the years.

Look, I'll grant you this--Michael Jackson isn't mentally healthy and he could use real therapy. His Dad is a vicious, jealous, petty man who beat him when he was a boy and tried to control his life well into adulthood, which factors into Jackson's problems now. His Peter Pan fixation is obvious even to those without a psychology degree and it's obvious that he doesn't realize that his relationships with young boys cross a line of appropriateness--which is by no means is the same thing as saying he molested these young boys or that he is some wanton sex criminal. I believe the truth will come out and Jackson, whatever his weaknesses, will be exonerated.

I hate that you did this! I didn't want to talk about Michael Jackson! The corporate media distracts us with wall-to-wall coverage of the latest celebrity trial and spends relatively little time talking about the President's budget, which takes us back to early Reaganomics with it's heavy defense budget and across the board cuts in social spending. How much have we heard in the mainstream media about Bush's attorney general appointee, Alberto Gonzales and his not-so-tacit support of government sponsored torture? Not as interesting as the latest Paris Hilton sighting or celebrity DUI arrest, is it?

N. Nabob: (yawning) Did you see that picture on the Internet of Paris Hilton getting out of the limo without wearing any panties?

Reg: Jesus, you're hopeless. Go away, we don't want you on dissent channel!

N. Nabob: That's left wing censorship! I have a right to say what I want, even if it disagrees with your group "Berkeley-think".

Reg: At least there's thinking going on in Berkeley, as opposed to a blind embrace of the Bible.

N. Nabob: Blue state heathen!

Reg: Red state hypocrite!...Now, where was I? Oh yes, this President's Day perhaps we should think about the qualities that truly make for a great president....




Sunday, February 06, 2005

Please Kill Me. Oh Wait, They Are

I'm sorry, but I would like a stronger note of hysteria in this pronouncement:
Worried that the nation's aging nuclear arsenal is increasingly fragile, American scientists have begun designing a new generation of nuclear arms meant to be sturdier and more reliable and to have longer lives, federal officials and private experts say.

Everything in the news makes me want to give up, and part of me thinks this is their concerted campaign to overload us with horror after horror so that we have to turn away for the sake of our own sanity. Longer lives on nukes? Who is running the world now? Do experts and children and the half-life of plutonium matter at all anymore? Tonight, I'll sleep, and tomorrow we'll live to fight again.

State of the Union Fact Check

Lissen here, people, if I were paid to do this, I could rustle up this kind of in-depth analysis and probing research. As it is, I'm overworked, underpaid, and behind the 8 ball, so it's all I can do to provide these ineffectual mewlings for free. Drat.

Thankfully, the folks at moving ideas have a fine staff to bring you the information you need to Fight the Man. Let's reality check the SOTU, shall we? Let's all please do the hard work of actually thinking, of considering long-term consequences, of understanding the "security" portion of Social Security. Let's not let the loudmouths crowd out reason for effin' once, please.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Goo



Happy Birthday to Dissent Channel, 1 year old today! (And Happy Birthday, eoe!) It's been a sad, infuriating, sometimes absurdly bizarre and ruefully funny, long year, but we've come out on the other side. Thanks to those who've read, chimed in, sent encouraging words. We hope this next year brings more compassion, quiet reflection, judicious action, and intelligence -- no, not to us, thought we could use it, too -- to the whole stupid B*sh nightmare, may it be short-lived in both memory and influence.

Thanks again to all who read this humble dissent.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Birth Tax?

The imbecile boy king once again addressed the serfs in an extended hallucinatory riff, otherwise known as the State of the Empire speech. Quoth he:
Our generation has been blessed by the expansion of opportunity, by advances in medicine, by the security purchased by our parents' sacrifice. Now, as we see a little gray in the mirror -- or a lot of gray -- (laughter) -- and we watch our children moving into adulthood, we ask the question, what will be the state of their union? Members of Congress, the choices we make together will answer that question. Over the next several months, on issue after issue, let us do what Americans have always done and build a better world for our children and our grandchildren.

There you go, kiddies! What do you think about your "better world"?


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Good News and Bad News

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Bush "Unfamiliar" with Voting Rights Act

Now, really. Is anybody the least bit surprised that the Thief in Chief is "unfamiliar" with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 -- what the DOJ, hardly a bastion of liberalism, says is "generally considered the most successful piece of civil rights legislation ever adopted by the United States Congress"? I will admit that when my friend mentioned this to me this afternoon, I did express disbelief, right before I yelled...

WHAT A F*CKING IDIOT.

There is no excuse whatsover for dumbyass to be "unfamiliar" with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Unlike your humble dissenters, dear readers, he was at least alive then, which should suggest that such an important piece of legislation would at least ring a bell. And it should be a no-brainer (of a different kind) for him to assure the Congressional Black Caucus that the Voting Rights Act will be reauthorized next year. For the love of God, will this man EVER do anything right? This is astonishing, and now we are at all new Inigo Montoya levels here. "Astonishing" clearly does not mean what I think it means.

From the preznit the red staters love to love:
"I don't know anything about the 1965 Voting Rights Act," Jackson recalled the president saying in an interview with the Chicago Defender.

He said that a hurried Bush went on to say that "when the legislation comes before me, I'll take a look at it, but I don't know about it to comment any more than that, but we will look at it when it comes to us."

Oh. My. God.

1) He's a f*cking moron, and I don't EVER want to hear anyone call him intelligent again.
2) He's a f*cking moron, and he has no historical appreciation or comprehension WHATSOEVER.
3) He's a f*cking moron, and he doesn't know better than to hide it.
4) He's a f*cking moron, and we have to watch in open-mouthed wonder as Repugnicans and their stenographers in the right-wing media insist that he is "in charge."
5) He's a f*cking moron, who has no idea that what he says to the Congressional Black Caucus in light of his cheating in Florida and then his cheating in Ohio, which falsely handed him two victories because of the disenfranchisement of black folk (you know, actual violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965!!), might matter.
6) He's a f*cking moron, and why will no one hold him to any standard? Even the retarded kids at the Special Olympics meet the challenges they're given.
7) He's a f*cking moron, and he arrogantly approaches the Congressional Black Caucus, members of whom have spent their lives trying to right the wrongs that black folks have suffered, with no sense of the historical struggle.
8) He's a f*cking moron, and we are supposed to believe, after so many examples to the contrary, that he is the president of all the people?
9) He's a f*cking moron, and I am dying to know, since he doesn't read the papers, if Condi will let him know what a f*cking moron half the country and most of the world knows him to be.
10) He's a f*cking moron, and the New York Times sucks because I cannot find a reference to this anywhere in the paper.

What further indignity?
As for Rice, Rush said the new secretary of state said "absolutely nothing. She was just there. For what reason, I'm not sure."

Condi said absolutely nothing and sat loyally next to her "husband" while he basically dismissed out of hand one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in this country's history, hunh? Yep, that'll do.

Think of it, people. We're talking 1965. Nineteen-, not 1865. It was just 40 years ago in this great democracy that folks were assured of their right to vote free from the harrassment of state and local officials (that's you, Florida; I'm looking at you, Ohio). Dumbyass is 60-ish, which means he was 20-ish when this legislation was passed. And we are to believe that this unparalleled incompetent would not be "familiar" enough with the Voting Rights Act to comment on its being reauthorized, especially in light of ALL OF THE VOTING "IRREGULARITIES" (read: fraud) THAT PLACED HIM IN OFFICE BOTH MOFO'in TIMES???

THUD.

There Is No Crisis

It occurs to me that since THERE IS NO CRISIS, I'm wondering if the Right-wing Media has it in them to credit the Dems for saving Social Security when and if the Dems are able to save it from the full frontal assault of the vipers in the B*sh madministration?

Just a thought.

That said, why not have a party and watch the SOTU with 100 of your closest friends? You can chat about how THERE IS NO CRISIS and strategize to elect more Dems next year and raise a little money to boot. And bonus! Conference call with Atrios's Duncan Black at 11 p.m. following the torturous, lie-filled dreck from C+ Augustus.

No. Really. THERE IS NO CRISIS. The Congressionla Budget Office doesn't think so.

Hmm. Seems dumbyass doesn't think so either. To (t)wit:
B*sh, who plans to make Social Security the centerpiece of tomorrow's State of the Union address, has privately told GOP lawmakers and aides that he would support phasing in changes to the system to keep deficits under control over the next several years and push individuals who opt for private accounts into more conservative investments, such as bonds, as they near retirement to mitigate long-term risks, the sources said.

First of all, let's not pretend that dumbyass told anybody anything about anything. Obviously that asshat was trying to reset his Tetris game at the time of the meeting. That said, did I read that he is proposing that individuals who opt for private accounts then put their money into bonds to mitigate long-term risks ????????? Let me get this straight:
1. Put money into Bonds
2. To mitigate long-term risks

Um, is it just me, or ISN'T THAT SOCIAL SECURITY?!?!?! Do we not now keep our money in Treasury Bonds? So that we can mitigate long-term risks to seniors who may have nothing else to live on? Funny, dumbyass (well, Ch*n*y) just wants to skip that important middle step, the intervening 40 years of paying in, and, instead, collapse 40 years of giving in to a few years of looting the joint. SICK. SICK. SICK. Who here would like to give grandma's life savings to the hucksters at Enron? Or maybe we should just give 30% of her limited money away to some money manager middle person? Why not re-bureaucratize the whole dodgam thing??

Oh, wait, I forgot. THERE IS NO CRISIS.

Vote (and/)or Die?

Not a lot to say about the Iraqi election here at Dissent Channel. We would love to hope for the best, but there is no indication that "the best" is anything this madministration can muster. Ushering in a new age in Iraq would be a great thing, of course, provided Iraqis could do the ushering and nurturing. No one can disregard the mixture of pride and defiance and joy and relief that must have gone into casting ballots for one's candidate of choice yesterday, and I know that it took much courage to vote amidst the deadliest day in Iraq yet. I'm not inured to positive expressions of civic pride and political freedoms. I'd like more of both here, to be sure. I'm just not ready to call this a "win," and it's not because I hate Murka, freedom, or the Iraqi People. It's because I am afraid this year's purple ink-stained finger is last year's Saddam statue toppling.

Sami Ramadani, an Iraqi now living and teaching in London, has more to say about this uncritical celebration of democracy come to the Iraqis, noting that similar propaganda was published (in the NY Times, of course) about the South Vietnamese presidential elections during the height of the Vietnam War. That 70% turnout number thrown around yesterday will come back to haunt us, so obviously planted, wished for, unreal it was.

Check Under the Couch Cushions...

Audit: $9 Billion Unaccounted for in Iraq Ya don't say! Gosh, what could preppie Pauly Bremer possibly have done with $9 BILLION? Gosh.
The U.S. occupation authority in Iraq was unable to keep track of nearly $9 billion it transferred to government ministries, which lacked financial controls, security, communications and adequate staff, an inspector general has found.

[...]

The findings were released Sunday by Stuart Bowen Jr., special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. Bowen issued several reports on the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the U.S. occupation government that ruled Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004.

The official who led the CPA, L. Paul Bremer III, submitted a blistering, written reply to the findings, saying the report had "many misconceptions and inaccuracies," and lacked professional judgment.

Bremer complained the report "assumes that Western-style budgeting and accounting procedures could be immediately and fully implemented in the midst of a war.''

Oh, right. "Western-style budgeting"? Is that Enron-style budgeting? WorldCom-style budgeting? Halliburton-style budgeting? Sure seems like it! That said, shut the hell up, Bremer. As if putting numbers in one column and tracking expenditures in another column requires some sort of uniquely American mathematical sensibility. For the love of Pete, how do these people get away with this? Is this a bad time to bring up the fact that they started this illegal war of choice on a whim, so they don't have much room to complain that they could not keep track of taxpayer money cos there was a war on? No? Oh well. Can I make a snide remark about 'lacking professional judgment'? No? Dang.
U.S. officials, the report said, "did not establish or implement sufficient managerial, financial and contractural controls.'' There was no way to verify that the money was used for its intended purposes of financing humanitarian needs, economic reconstruction, repair of facilities, disarmament and civil administration.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Sunday the authority was hamstrung by "extraordinary conditions'' under which it worked throughout its mission.

"We simply disagree with the audit's conclusion that the CPA provided less than adequate controls,'' Whitman said.

You just can't make this stuff up! Isn't it simply dear that Pentagon spokesman Bryan "simply disagrees" that the CPA provided less than adequate controls, cos it's not like $9 BILLION is missing or anything. There would be no indication that the CPA was remiss in their managing of these monies, especially since $9 BILLION isn't, like, missing, right? I'm just sayin'.

But my favorite rebuttal of Bremer's is this:
-U.S. policy was to build up the Iraqi force guarding government facilities, and it was better to accept an imperfect payroll system than "to stop paying armed young men'' providing security.

Oh, that is rich beyond words. The man responsible for the assinine policy of firing all the young army men and then sending them home with their guns suddenly decides that he is willing to Halliburtonize the whole operation and pay for people who are not there because he is worried well after the fact about all the young men with guns that he's sent home to be armed and idle.

Par for the g.d. course for these weasels (apologies to weasels).