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Mr. T's Socratic Dialogue and Ass-whuppin'

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Satan's Left Nut


4.29.2004 at 16:26 Pacific - Ridiculous But True 

One of my favorite headlines in The Onion went something like this - "ACLU Defends Right of Nazis to Burn Down ACLU Headquarters." In an interesting case of life imitating art, or at least comedy, the ACLU's recent lawsuit filed against measures in the Patriot Act was suppressed for three weeks to avoid violating secrecy rules contained in the Patriot Act. They've finally been allowed to release a censored version of the lawsuit after weeks of negotiating with the government.

Here's the whole damn sorry story.

Current Mood - Hot-blooded, check it and see.
Currently Listening To - Aqua Teen Hunger Force, "Episode 8: Revenge of the Mooninites".

4.28.2004 at 11:27 Pacific - The Religious Policeman's Other Ball 

The Religious Policeman is, in the author's own words, "A Saudi man's diary of life in the 'Magic Kingdom', where the Religious Police ensure that everything remains as it was in the Middle Ages." Definitely worth reading, and he's been getting good press, which is raising his profile. So check him out before the real muttawa shuts him down.

Current Mood - Cranky.
Currently Listening To - Loretta Lynn, "Family Tree".

What's Playing In My Fridge 

Currently being consumed by me (not necessarily at the same time) -

Chipotle Honey Lime Mustard Spread & Dip by Earth and Vine Provisions. This stuff is good on everything. No kidding. I even lick the knife when I use it on a sandwhich. Got it at Crate & Barrel - and not for no damn $ 7 like Earth and Vine charges online. Jeez! Who the hell do they think they are? It's good, but it ain't $ 7 worth of good.

Fruity Licorice Sticks from Starbucks. Fruit and licorice. What the hell else do you need to know? Kinda pricey at $ 3.95, but if you love candy (And I do!) it's worth it.

BridgePort Black Strap Stout from BridgePort Brewing Company in Portland. Seems like all the beer I've been drinking lately comes from our neighbor to the south. I've been more partial to porters for the last few years, and still prefer them to stouts, but this is a damn tasty brew of the latter family of ales.

Current Mood - Country.
Currently Listening To - Willie Nelson, "If You've Got the Money (I've Got the Time)".

4.25.2004 at 08:03 Pacific - This Is A Test 

This is a test of the new blog interface. Regular readers should change your bookmark for SLN to http://www.lackoftalent.org if you haven't already done so.
The rest of y'all can just go back to looking for penguin fisting or whatever.

Current Mood - Jet-lagged.
Currently Listening To - nothing.

4.16.2004 at 23:30 Pacific -

Honest to God conversation overheard at the mailboxes. Actually "conversation" is probably not the right word because Stoned Doofus Hipster Guy was the only one talking. Androgynous Raver Girl just seemed to be there for moral support.

Stoned Doofus Hipster Guy: "50 dollars!!! Man!!! Whoaaa!!! It's like someone's got my checkbook and he's writing checks... but it's me!!!"

Androgynous Raver Girl: "..." (Nods, smiles, and throws junk mail in the recycle bin).

Stoned Doofus Hipster Guy: "Hey is that a credit card offer you just threw in the bin?" (Starts rooting around in recycle bin).

Current Mood - Keepin' it real, yo.
Currently Listening To - Not too damn much.

4.12.2004 at 18:23 Pacific - The Passion of the Rice 

I've been surprisingly silent about the whole 9/11 Commission - at least as far as the web is concerned, since my wife can tell you I've been screaming at the TV like a maniac, as has she. I have been so - silent that is - because I like to think of myself as a reasonable person. I sure as shit don't take the word of anything I hear on the FOX News Channel, but despite calling myself a liberal, I likewise take everything in The Nation and Mother Jones with a grain of salt. My subscription to that last publication ended back in 2000 with their expose of how the Clinton administration was wasting money and panicking people about terrorist attacks within the US that were never going to happen. Prescience like that I can get from Ann Coulter and Brit Hume for free. I'm a big foreign-policy junky and even back then was tuned in enough to jihadist groups to know they weren't just going to go away. Though I never would have dreamed that they could do what they did.

So likewise I have been skeptical about any claims and counter-claims as to whose fault 9/11 was. I've been inclined to believe that the real failure was in our intelligence structures, which, given history, is really nobody's fault. Now some conservatives will tell you that intelligence structures were so weak because of all the pansies and paranoids like the ACLU who whine about civil rights all the time. I can toss that ball back by pointing out that such concern and paranoia is natural in a free society when intelligence sources are abused on the levels that they were under J. Edgar "Mary" Hoover and Dick Nixon. If you want to play that kind of "what if" blame game, maybe if Hoover had been less concerned about Martin Luther King's sex life the FBI would have caught the hijackers before 9/11 ever happened. But, such speculations are a useless exercise.

I'm still not going to say the Bush administration is to blame for 9/11, even with the release of the now infamous PDB, which many seem to regard as if it were dipped in the sacred blood of the victims of that day. The significance of that document to me has been less substantive and more to do with the massive spinning (verging on lies I would say) from the President on down. I've the read the damn thing and there is no way that all it equals is "historical information based on old reporting" as Dr. Rice put it, or "said nothing about an attack on America" as the President stated. Maybe this is unfair of me, as he did later admit that the PDB contained "ongoing" and "current threat information", just before shifting any possible blame to the FBI. I will further admit that a Democratic President would be trying to spin this thing as much as he could. But it's not some theoretical Democratic President we're talking about. Even Jimmi Hendrix, with a headful of acid didn't believe his audience would really think 6 was 9. That's why he said "IF" 6 was 9. But Bush actually seems to expect us to believe that 6 is 9 if he says so. I'll forgive alot of things as just being the way the game is played, but trying to play me for stupid ain't one of them.

I may be wrong, but to me the 9/11 Commission is probably going to be a big waste of time as concerns its charge, other than possibly proving to the public that there really isn't any blame to be placed (although I ain't holding my breath on that one), and hopefully getting rid of any lingering resistance to reforming intelligence structures. Of course on the partisan side I also hope it will result in Bush spinning himself into an early political grave.

But for me the primary issue, which will probably never be addressed, is how the mishandling of Iraq has diverted our attention from other pressing matters in the War on Terror, or as I like to refer to it, The Recent Jihadist Unpleasantness. From all the evidence I've seen, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and other members of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) now in the Bush administration, were going to see that Iraq was spindled, folded, and manipulated, come hell or high water.

In a Sept. 2000 project paper of the PNAC, titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century " is the following quote,

"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."

While the "transformation" being referred to is specifically the transformation of the US military to a theoretical model favored by the PNAC, the invasion of Iraq has been a long-term goal of theirs and is a primary component of that transformation.

Listed on the last page as a project participant is Paul "Ears" Wolfowitz, Don Rumsfeld's Deputy Secretary of Defense.

In 1998 a PNAC letter was sent to President Clinton urging him to eliminate "the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction." It was signed by several people who have or currently hold positions in the Bush administration - Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Dick Armitage (Who I like - and not just because he looks and sounds like the character of George Liquor in the old Ren and Stimpy Show and the Goddamn George Liquor Program cartoons).

In light of all this, Rumsfeld's denial of having made the statements reported by Richard Clarke below ring false -

"Well Rumsfeld was saying that we needed to bomb Iraq and we all said, 'No no, al Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan.' Rumsfeld said, 'There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.' I said, 'Well there are lots of good targets in lots of places but Iraq had nothing to with it.' "

Come on. Rumsfeld expects us to believe that when the Pearl Harbor-like event of 9/11 landed in their laps they were not going to take advantage of it to advance their agenda. As far as his denial, I believe that he didn't use those exact words, but that is as far as I believe that crazy sumbitch.

Now I'm pragmatic enough to believe that converting Arab states to democratic republics is not a bad idea, even if you have to do it at gunpoint. Hell, I supported the invasion at the time. But the administration denies that they had some preconcieved plan. That it's all about the WMD's. Not that anyone has come right out and asked them if they had a pre- 9/11 plan to invade Iraq, though they appear to be denying anything that even comes close to suggesting that in their denials of Richard Clarke's assertions.

I'm pretty uncomfortable about lying to the public regarding the reasons for going to war, but if the result was a stable Iraq as a foundation for changing the face of the Middle East I'd probably be willing to cut them some slack (Notice I didn't say Arab states, and not just because I know the difference between Persians and Arabs. That's right. I'm looking at you Israel, you bunch of half-assed, low-grade apartheidists.). Then again, considering how they crucified President Clinton over lying about getting the old kaiser's helmet spit-polished, I probably wouldn't. Regardless, I would be less fervant in my desire to see them nailed to a tree.

But a well thought out plan does not look like what we are dealing with here, ladies and gents. And here is the punch line y'all have been waiting for. It is looking more and more like Bush and them were so hot to invade Iraq that they had no better plan than this guy did. If that turns out to be true, getting their asses ridden out of town on a rail come next January is the least that they deserve.

Current Mood - Punditudinous.
Currently Listening To - The Iron Man of TV News, Wolf Blitzer, crappin' on about something or other.

4.11.2004 at 08:40 Pacific -

Oh no! Moses is angry. Pharoah is angry. The frogs are angry. I hate it when you fight. Stop yelling at each other! YOU'RE TEARING ME APART!!!

Seriously though, I would love to have that li'l Hebrew Seder dish set. The Plague of Frogs bowl kicks ass! It'd be just the thing for when I have the Rabbi over for a nosh.

Current Mood - Oy gvalt
Currently Listening To - nothing.