Friday, June 18, 2004

(sigh)...I told you so....

Al Qaeda followed through on its promise to behead American Contractor Paul Johnson, as I foretold in my earlier post.

What now? Read my original post, its too depressing to have to type it again...

Not quite the Last Supper

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Oh, the ironies...

Jacksonville, NC, home of the Marine's Camp Lejuene, is considering naming a new road after Reagan.

Not really that unusual this week, right?

In this case, however, the new road was originally planned to be named in honor of MLK Jr. Instead, Reagan, a man known as giving human and civil rights a cold shoulder, will find his moniker in place

After failing to name the new road after MLK Jr, due in part to the pre-existence of another MLK Jr. Highway, the town is now seeking to jump ahead of any "competitors."
From the Jacksonville Daily News:

"We found out we couldn't be Martin Luther King Jr., and my only concern is that if we wait to make this proposal, we won't be Ronald Reagan, either"==Councilman Horace Mann
Not that this isn't irony enough, but there is more.

The new highway is actually a bypass to an existing route. This means, of course, that the new road will miss all of downtown. Avoided will be homeless people, government housing complexes, unemployment lines, and welfare recepients.

Maybe Ronald Reagan Highway would the most appropriate choice after all...

Trust Bush's word on the economy? Read this...

Fellow Kossack mikepridmore has posted an excellent piece in his Daily Kos diary about the role of the President in economic recovery, and his analysis breaks down the real facts behind the statistics for both current and previous recoveries.
Yes George Bush has finally told the truth about finding something to be pessimistic about no matter how hard you look at the economy. There is some improvement but the middle class is mostly being left out. Kerry is not wrong to talk about the squeeze on the middle class. Kerry certainly seems to have the facts on his side. And he proposes pinpoint tax cuts and other incentives to create jobs instead of the red herring tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that George Bush keeps telling us are responsible for jobs growth.

9-11 panel destroys Iraq links to Al Qaida

After Cheney again uttered his moronic assertion that Iraq and Al Qaida had "long-established ties," the 9-11 Commission offers a stinging rebuke to the Bush administration "evidence." According to the AP:
Bluntly contradicting the Bush administration, the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported Wednesday there was "no credible evidence" that Saddam Hussein had ties with al-Qaida.
Anyone who has been following this disaster in foreign policy has no doubt long ago given up on any reasonable expectation of such a link proving true. Just like every other rationale used in "persuading" our nation and its "coalition" into war with Iraq, the Al Qaida-Saddam connection was hyped and misconstrued. From mobile weapons labs that were actually water and fuel trucks, to a forged document suggesting Iraqi interest in "yellow cake" uranium from Niger, the Bush administration's claims have all been found to be without support or integrity.

While the AP restates that"
Bin Laden made overtures to Saddam for assistance, the commission said, as he did with leaders in Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere as he sought to build an Islamic army
The news report goes on to reiterate that:
While Saddam dispatched a senior Iraqi intelligence official to Sudan to meet with bin Laden in 1994, the commission said it had not turned up evidence of a "collaborative relationship
Don't forget that Cheney made his statement only two days ago, yet another sign that this administration has no integrity, no accountability, and no interest in protecting the most basic rights of its citizenry.

It is one thing to lie about a blow job. It is quite another to lie about reasons to go to war.

Clinton's lie ended in a semen-stained dress and a tarnished personal image.

Bush/Cheney lies are ending in blood-stained camos and tarnished international relations.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

A Pissing Contest with Razor Blades

From Reuters:

DUBAI - A statement purporting to be from al Qaeda said on Tuesday the group would kill an American hostage in Saudi Arabia unless authorities released jailed militants within 72 hours.

If the tyrants in the Saudi government want to secure the release of the American hostage, they must release our mujahideen held hostage in its jails. They have 72 hours from today or else we will sacrifice him," said the statement, carried on an Islamist Web site.

The statement was signed by the Qaeda Organization in the Arabian Peninsula and published on an Islamist Web site that has carried similar messages in the past.

On Saturday, al Qaeda said was holding U.S. engineer Paul Johnson, the first Westerner to be kidnapped in the wave of militant attacks in the kingdom that began more than a year ago.

The Web site showed pictures of Johnson, blindfolded and wearing an orange uniform, sitting in a chair. It also gave a link to a video which it said showed him in captivity.

"The blood of Muslims is being spilled all over the globe and by the will of God, the blood of this parasite will flow in the rivers of blood of Crusaders that will run this blessed year," the statement said. It was accompanied by a picture of Saudi al Qaeda leader Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin.

Saudi Arabia has arrested and killed scores of militants in its crackdown on al Qaeda, which has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Westerners

In case anyone still doubted that this was going to happen, I present this newswire report as exhibit A. After the impact of the Nick Berg video on the situation, Al Qaeda has found a perfect way to further exacerbate the fragmentary, covetous relationship between the US and the Saudis. Tensions have been growing lately to a point not seen in years. The US has even pleaded with Americans to leave Saudi Arabia, not long ago considered a bastion of the potential for US relations in the Middle East.

The Saudis are facing a serious internal threat which may, at the extreme, cause the fall of the House of Saud. At a more realistic viewpoint, the current instability in Saudi Arabia will hamstring any potential goodwill the US can project in the Middle East. The few countries, such as Jordan, who have made some effort to work with the US on national relations will have no popular support for such a stance in view of the current situation facing the Saudis.

The instability in Saudi Arabia is a microcosm of the grander struggle against the selling-out of traditional Muslim and Arab beliefs. The House of Saud, like its American cousin the House of Bush, has long lauded extremist religions dogma only to act in a fashion which demonstrates a complete lack of respect for said religion. Traditional Muslims have no voice, and no opportunity to work around the current US-Saudi stranglehold on international relations. When religion is so blatantly and violently used as a means for political power, it can only bring about an ultimate resistance by those who adhere to its dogma.

Al Qaeda is using this hostage situation in a way both expected and inescapable. So long as personal freedoms exists, there will also exist groups which prey upon such freedoms to pursue personal causes. For good or ill, this is simply the case. I fear that Paul Johnson, the American hostage, has been the unfortunate victim in a much larger conflict.

The Saudis will not budge, Johnson will be slaughtered, and absolutely nothing will have changed in the big picture. The Saudis will still hold power, Al Qaeda will seek to exploit a new weakness, and the Paul Johnson's death will pass quickly from the memory of most everyone...

Cheney lies again about Saddam-Al Qaida link

In his desperation to turn around shrinking support for the war in Iraq, Cheney has resorted to resurrecting one of the most contrived rationales for the conflict. In his recent speech, Cheney offered that Saddam had "long-standing ties" with the terrorist network. He gave no details, as usual, and offered no other support for his statement.

Curiously, this assertion has been very recently debunked by another Bush Administration official, namely secretary of State Colin Powell. A NYTimes article quotes Powell as saying "I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection."

Who is right? Well, as the bloggers, journalists, terrorism experts, and foreign policy wonks have noted, there is no solid connection between Saddam and anyone in Al Qaida, and only a few Bush Administration officials, namely Bush and Cheney, have even attempted to draw the connection.

As kos from Daily Kos offered,
"But really, isn't this all rather pathetic and bordering on the pathological?"

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Current Events Monitor--online mini-digest

I don't have time this weekend to put out a full version of the CEM, so here are a few good links for you. The next CEM will be later this week, but publishing regularity will be spotty until after June 25 when my exams and finals projects are complete. Enjoy!

NYTimes on e-voting, which is less secure than video gambling...

US killed many civilians, no top Iraqi officials, during misguided bombing in war.

Bush strategy has devastated the U.S. Army.

Congress likely to pass another foolish corporate tax bill.

Posts Jim Hoagland chases Bush administration's vicious cycle in Iraq.

It is official: Marion Berry is back in politics!

GOP using any means necessary to steal voters, even breaking the law (big surprise)

Howard Dean on his Presidential campaign.

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